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

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

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

Postby admin » Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:54 am

Removing Additional Inauthentic Activity from Facebook
by Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy and Oscar Rodriguez, Product Manager
Facebook Newsroom
October 11, 2018

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People need to be able to trust the connections they make on Facebook. It’s why we have a policy banning coordinated inauthentic behavior — networks of accounts or Pages working to mislead others about who they are, and what they are doing. This year, we’ve enforced this policy against many Pages, Groups and accounts created to stir up political debate, including in the US, the Middle East, Russia and the UK. But the bulk of the inauthentic activity we see on Facebook is spam that’s typically motivated by money, not politics. And the people behind it are adapting their behavior as our enforcement improves.

One common type of spam has been posts that hawk fraudulent products like fake sunglasses or weight loss “remedies.” But a lot of the spam we see today is different. The people behind it create networks of Pages using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names. They post clickbait posts on these Pages to drive people to websites that are entirely separate from Facebook and seem legitimate, but are actually ad farms. The people behind the activity also post the same clickbait posts in dozens of Facebook Groups, often hundreds of times in a short period, to drum up traffic for their websites. And they often use their fake accounts to generate fake likes and shares. This artificially inflates engagement for their inauthentic Pages and the posts they share, misleading people about their popularity and improving their ranking in News Feed. This activity goes against what people expect on Facebook, and it violates our policies against spam.

Topics like natural disasters or celebrity gossip have been popular ways to generate clickbait. But today, these networks increasingly use sensational political content – regardless of its political slant-– to build an audience and drive traffic to their websites, earning money for every visitor to the site. And like the politically motivated activity we’ve seen, the “news” stories or opinions these accounts and Pages share are often indistinguishable from legitimate political debate. This is why it’s so important we look at these actors’ behavior -– such as whether they’re using fake accounts or repeatedly posting spam -– rather than their content when deciding which of these accounts, Pages or Groups to remove.

Today, we’re removing 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior. Given the activity we’ve seen — and its timing ahead of the US midterm elections — we wanted to give some details about the types of behavior that led to this action. Many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages to drive traffic to their websites. Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was. Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.

Of course, there are legitimate reasons that accounts and Pages coordinate with each other — it’s the bedrock of fundraising campaigns and grassroots organizations. But the difference is that these groups are upfront about who they are, and what they’re up to. As we get better at uncovering this kind of abuse, the people behind it — whether economically or politically motivated — will change their tactics to evade detection. It’s why we continue to invest heavily, including in better technology, to prevent this kind of misuse. Because people will only share on Facebook if they feel safe and trust the connections they make here.
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:37 am

Trust Is Collapsing in America: When truth itself feels uncertain, how can a democracy be sustained?
by Uri Friedman
The Atlantic
January 21, 2018

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“In God We Trust,” goes the motto of the United States. In God, and apparently little else.

Only a third of Americans now trust their government “to do what is right”—a decline of 14 percentage points from last year, according to a new report by the communications marketing firm Edelman. Forty-two percent trust the media, relative to 47 percent a year ago. Trust in business and non-governmental organizations, while somewhat higher than trust in government and the media, decreased by 10 and nine percentage points, respectively. Edelman, which for 18 years has been asking people around the world about their level of trust in various institutions, has never before recorded such steep drops in trust in the United States.

“This is the first time that a massive drop in trust has not been linked to a pressing economic issue or catastrophe like [Japan’s 2011] Fukushima nuclear disaster,” Richard Edelman, the head of the firm, noted in announcing the findings. “In fact, it’s the ultimate irony that it’s happening at a time of prosperity, with the stock market and employment rates in the U.S. at record highs.”

“The root cause of this fall,” he added—just days after polling revealed that Americans’ definition of “fake news” depends as much on their politics as the accuracy of the news, and a Republican senator condemned the American president’s Stalinesque attacks on the press and “evidence-based truth,” and a leading think tank warned that America was suffering from “truth decay” as a result of political polarization and social media—is a “lack of objective facts and rational discourse.”

It used to be that what Edelman labels the “informed public”—those aged 25 to 64 who have a college degree, regularly consume news, and are in the top 25 percent of household income for their age group—placed far greater trust in institutions than the U.S. public as a whole. This year, however, the gap all but vanished, with trust in government in particular plummeting 30 percentage points among the informed public. America is now home to the least-trusting informed public of the 28 countries that the firm surveyed, right below South Africa. Distrust is growing most among younger, high-income Americans.

But whereas trust is falling in the United States and a number of other countries with tumultuous politics at the moment, including South Africa, Italy, and Brazil, it’s actually increasing elsewhere, most prominently in China. Eighty-four percent of Chinese respondents said they trusted government—levels the United States hasn’t seen since the early Johnson administration—and 71 percent said they trusted the media. The world’s two most powerful countries, one democratic and the other authoritarian, are moving in opposite directions. In each case, the trajectory is largely being determined by people’s views of government.

Chinese respondents are probably reflecting on the upward mobility and improving quality of life that their political leaders have helped deliver, David Bersoff, the lead researcher for the Edelman report, told me: “I’m looking at my life now and it looks a lot better than it did before, and I can look forward and still see things that would get even better.” When I asked Richard Edelman why survey participants tended to trust technology companies much more than government, he reasoned that it was because those companies “have products that perform for you every day—whether it’s your cell phone or your airline.” Chinese respondents might have been making a similar statement about the government’s performance.

“There’s a lot of chaos and uncertainty in the world, and when there is chaos and uncertainty in the world centralized, authoritative power tends to do better,” Bersoff added. (It’s worth noting that other countries with high trust levels in the report range politically from democratic India to more-or-less democratic Indonesia and Singapore to the undemocratic United Arab Emirates.)

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Percent Change in Trust in Government, Media, Business, and NGOs, 2017 — 2018
2018 EDELMAN TRUST BAROMETER


Why, though, is trust eroding in the United States in the absence of an economic crisis or other kind of catastrophe? What’s changed, according to the Edelman report, is that it’s gotten much harder to discern what is and isn’t true—where the boundaries are between fact, opinion, and misinformation.

“The lifeblood of democracy is a common understanding of the facts and information that we can then use as a basis for negotiation and for compromise,” said Bersoff. “When that goes away, the whole foundation of democracy gets shaken.”

“This is a global, not an American issue,” Edelman told me. “And it’s undermining confidence in all the other institutions because if you don’t have an agreed set of facts, then it’s really hard to judge whether the prime minister is good or bad, or a company is good or bad.” A recent Pew Research Center poll, in fact, found across dozens of countries that satisfaction with the news media was typically highest in countries where trust in government and positive views of the economy were highest, though it didn’t investigate how these factors were related to one another.

America actually falls in the middle of surveyed countries in terms of trust in the media, which emerges from the Edelman poll as the least-trusted institution globally of the four under consideration. (In the United States, the firm finds, Donald Trump voters are over two times more likely than Hillary Clinton voters to distrust the media.) Nearly 70 percent of respondents globally were concerned about “fake news” being used as a weapon and 63 percent said they weren’t sure how to tell good journalism from rumor or falsehoods. Most respondents agreed that the media was too focused on attracting large audiences, breaking news, and supporting a particular political ideology rather than informing the public with accurate reporting. While trust in journalism actually increased a bit in Edelman’s survey this year, trust in search and social-media platforms dipped.

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Percent Trust in Media and Change From 2017 to 2018
2018 EDELMAN TRUST BAROMETER


In last year’s survey, the perspective that many respondents expressed was “‘I’m not sure about the future of my job because of robots or globalization. I’m not sure about my community anymore because there are a lot of new people coming in. I’m not sure about my economic future; in fact, it looks fairly dim because I’m downwardly mobile,’” Edelman said. These sentiments found expression in the success of populist politicians in the United States and Europe, who promised a return to past certainties. Now, this year, truth itself seems more uncertain.

“We’re desperately looking for land,” Edelman observed. “We’re flailing, and people can’t quite get a sense of reality.” It’s no way to live, let alone sustain a democracy.
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:22 am

Failed Venezuela coup was fake news — designed to fool people in two nations: CNN and the New York Times made major reporting errors in covering the failed coup. Was it laziness or propaganda?
by Dave Lindorff
Salon
May 8, 2019 11:00AM (UTC)
This article was originally published by FAIR.org. Used by permission.

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Image
Opponents to Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro stand behind makeshift shields as they face off with Bolivarian National Guards who are loyal to the president, during an attempted military uprising in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

After days of breathless reporting in the U.S. media about public and military support for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro collapsing, and about an April 30 coup by presidential poseur Juan Guaidó, we now know the truth: The whole thing was a fraud, staged at the instigation of Washington in hopes that the Venezuelan people and rank-and-file troops would fall for the trick and think an actual coup was underway.

We also know, from an excellent May 2 report by Michael Fox in the Nation, that the U.S. mainstream media and its reporters in country were promoting that dangerous fraud.


Image
CNN: Venezuela's Guaido: Final Phase of Operation Freedom
CNN ran Juan Guaido’s video, in which he falsely claimed to be “in the La Carlota air force base.”


Take CNN. In its reporting on the “uprising” announced by Guaidó on Tuesday, April 30, it ran a video from social media depicting Guaidó, accompanied by opposition leader Leopoldo López, along with some armed men in uniform, said to be military defectors, standing behind them. The video claimed they were on the La Carlota military airfield in eastern Caracas, which Guaidó said had been “liberated.” According to CNN, he was addressing “thousands of supporters” on the scene, urging the rest of the Venezuelan military to join the coup and oust the “usurper” Maduro.

But as Michael Fox and other observers noted, CNN didn’t show those “thousands” of supporters — because there were none. Nor did the cable network explain in its report that Guaidó and López were not actually at the airbase, but rather were standing on a highway overpass outside the base — which was, in fact, never in rebel hands at all.


Guaidó and his “deserting” soldiers quickly left the scene as government troops headed their way, with López later that day holing up in the Chilean and eventually the Spanish embassy, seeking asylum for himself and his family, and with some two dozen soldiers who had deserted in support of Guaidó asking for asylum in the Brazilian embassy.

There are two possibilities here: Either CNN’s U.S.-based editors were lied to by their reporters in Caracas, or they were well aware that their story of the takeover of a military airfield, along with reports of thousands of protesters on the scene in support of Guaidó, was a hoax. It’s not hard to imagine the latter being the truth, because CNN earlier was caught fraudulently reporting that Venezuelan troops had set aid trucks stopped at the Colombian border afire, when in fact the fires had been started by anti-Maduro protesters. Though this truth was proven by other reports and video, CNN never corrected its false story in that case, nor did it discipline its on-the-scene reporters.

Alan MacLeod@AlanRMacLeod
Terrible journalism from @cnn. SIX journalists wrote this! Pressure is clearly falling for Maduro. Juan Guaido has never stood for President. The elections were in May 2018 (maduro got 68%). What happened in January was a coup attempt, not an election.
edition.cnn.com/2019/05/05/ame ...
According to the Ministry of Defense, authorities are currently investigating the deadly crash.
It comes as pressure is mounting on Maduro to step down, following elections in January in which voters chose opposition leader Juan Guaido over him for president.
7:37 AM - 6 May 2019


Alan MacLeod (5/6/19) was one of several on Twitter who noted the absurd errors in CNN‘s May 5 report on Venezuela.

CNN’s standards of accuracy were further discredited by its May 5 claim that

pressure is mounting on Maduro to step down, following elections in January in which voters chose opposition leader Juan Guaidó over him for president.


Six reporters were credited for the story that contained this line, which has almost as many errors: Guaidó was not even a candidate in the May 2018 (not January 2019) presidential elections; Maduro won that race with 68 percent of the vote, a credible total given the opposition’s boycott of the balloting. Guaidó was chosen not by voters but by the National Assembly — which has been suspended by the Venezuelan Supreme Court — and ultimately by the Trump administration. As for “pressure … mounting on Maduro,” that seems like a dubious reading indeed of the post-coup-attempt political terrain.

After much social media ridicule, CNN corrected the line, keeping in the bit about mounting pressure, but acknowledging that Guaidó “declared himself interim president.”

The New York Times hasn’t done any better.
On the day of the fake coup, the Times reported, in an unusual unbylined article (at the end there was a note saying only that reporting was contributed by Isayen Herrera, Nicholas Casey, Anatoly Kurmanaev, Ana Vanessa Herrero, Rick Gladstone and Katie Rogers) headed “Venezuela Crisis: Guaidó Calls for Uprising as Clashes Erupt”:

“Today, brave soldiers, brave patriots, brave men attached to the Constitution have followed our call,” Mr. Guaidó said in a video posted on social media, speaking from Generalissimo Francisco de Miranda Air Base, a military airport in Caracas known as La Carlota.


The “newspaper of record” either made no effort to check its reporters’ “facts,” or went along deliberately with the charade that Washington’s hand-picked “legitimate president” Guaidó was actually speaking from a “liberated” military airfield, when he was really only standing on a highway overpass outside the airfield, which itself was never even contested, remaining in government hands throughout the day.

To compound the journalistic felony, the Times ran a Reuters wire photo showing Guaidó speaking to a street full of supporters, purportedly taken that day, but clearly not depicting where he had made his call for a coup, when he had only the camera to address, though incautious readers might well have assumed that is what the photo showed.

Did editors at the Times’ home office in New York double-check the reporters’ claims before running their incendiary report of the capture of a government military airbase? Why didn’t one of the paper’s many reporters and photographers in Caracas hightail it to the La Carlota base to get a firsthand report and video of the first victory in this so-called coup attempt?

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NYT: Venezuelan Opposition Leader Steps Up Pressure, but Maduro Holds On
UNREST IN VENEZUELA
OPPOSITION LEADER CALLS FOR UPRISING
The Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido called for the military to rise up against the government of President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday. Fernando Liano / Associated Press
by Nicholas Casey


This New York Times article’s claim (4/30/19) of “a predawn takeover of a military base in the heart of the capital, Caracas,” remains uncorrected.

In another linked story published the same day, this time authored by Nicholas Casey, the Times again reported falsely:

It was the boldest move yet by Juan Guaidó, Venezuela’s opposition leader: At sunrise, he stood flanked by soldiers at an air force base in the heart of the capital, saying rebellion was at hand.


Clearly Casey was either making it up or, more likely, had been too lazy to go (or to dispatch one of his colleagues to go) to the airport to confirm the veracity of Guaidó’s “bold” claim. But this is not just fraudulent reporting, it is dangerous and incendiary propaganda. Its publication could have, and perhaps did, lead hundreds of coup backers to rush to the airport, where they were met by the Venezuelan military, with a number of protesters reportedly being injured in the ensuing confrontation.

Casey, in his article, writes that “by the end of the day,” it was clear that Guaidó had failed to precipitate a successful coup, but he doesn’t say what had been clear much earlier that day: that the airport had never been captured at all, and that Guaidó had not spoken from a liberated airfield, but from a bridge outside the airfield.

In fact, Casey must have known, or should have by day’s end, and well before the Times’ deadline, that his earlier report on Guaidó’s call-to-arms had been based on fake information. Instead, he was still pretending his story was fact-based, and presented as if he had been witness to the events he was reporting on. Even though his article notes that “by day’s end, news spread of another blow to the opposition: Leopoldo López, the political prisoner who heads Mr. Guaidó’s party, had fled into the Chilean Embassy, along with his wife, Lilian Tintori,” he continued with the fiction that an airbase had been captured and that the military was falling apart, writing:

The events also cast a harsh new light into the division within the armed forces, which puts Venezuela in a precarious position as the country’s political crisis deepens. While the highest ranks of the military dig into their support for Mr. Maduro’s government, many rank-and-file soldiers appear willing to defy their commanders and come to the aid of the opposition.


In fact, far from “many” soldiers deserting, it may have been no more than 25 men in uniform who defected in support of Guaidó, and they, as was well known by the time Casey filed his article, had sought asylum in the Brazilian embassy, a devastating sign of his failed call-to-arms, a reality which Casey didn’t bother to mention in his article. (Sitting at home on the evening of April 30 and reading reports in publications like Telesur English and Al Jazeera, I was able to learn about this and about López seeking asylum with his family in the Spanish embassy, so surely Times fact-checkers should have also been able to get that information challenging Casey’s reporting.)

Interestingly, Casey did quote the Maduro administration as stating late Tuesday night in a public TV broadcast that the La Carlota airport had never been threatened or taken over by defecting soldiers. Instead of verifying it as fact, all Casey did was cite Maduro’s denial, hinting that maybe it had not actually been “liberated.”

The Casey article, still available online, contains a correction at the end, dated May 1:

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misidentified the CNN program on which Mr. Pompeo made his remarks about plans for Mr. Maduro to fly to Cuba. It was The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer, not State of the Union.


But as of this story’s May 7 posting date, no correction has yet been made by the Times concerning the article’s fundamental and far more serious errors of reporting, such as the claim that there had been “a predawn takeover of a military base in the heart of the capital,” or that Guaidó had made his video appeal for a rebellion from that “liberated” airbase.

How does any self-respecting news organization allow such abysmally inaccurate reporting to remain this long online uncorrected? The only possible answer is that Casey, and the other in-country reporters who were said to have contributed to his bylined piece (Isayen Herrera, Ana Vanessa Herrero, Anatoly Kurmanaev and Katie Rogers), were giving the New York Times exactly the propaganda piece that its editors and the coup plotters in Washington wanted.
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:51 am

Once Again, Mainstream Media Get It Wrong on Venezuela: Foreign outlets, dutifully supporting Trump administration calls for regime change, reported that a widespread uprising was underway, even though Juan Guaidó’s coup attempt had little support.
by Michael Fox
The Nation
May 2, 2019

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An anti-government protester throws a rock toward security forces inside La Carlota airbase in Caracas on May 1, 2019. (AP Photo / Ariana Cubillos)

Caracas—It began with a tweet.

In it, Venezuela’s self-declared president, Juan Guaidó, stands in front of a line of military vehicles and rows of Venezuelan soldiers in green uniforms. Beside them is opposition leader Leopoldo López, whom they have freed from house arrest, which stemmed from his role in the 2014 guarimba street protests in which dozens of people were killed.

Guaidó, dressed in a black suit and a white shirt, talks to the camera. “Today, the armed forces are clearly with the people,” he says. “The time is now.” He calls on the military to rise up and says they are in the streets. He insinuates that they have taken the Carlota military base in eastern Caracas.

My phone rings and then rings again.

“It looks like there was a coup,” says a friend’s voice. That is what people are thinking across the city. It’s just after 6 a.m., and the sky is still orange from dawn. Neighbors bang pots and pans, the sound rattling through the open window. School is canceled, and the metro is closed. Supporters of President Nicolás Maduro get the word that people are being called to defend Miraflores, the presidential palace, from a potential attack. They begin to make the trek across the city, some by foot, others by bus or car.

A stream of Guaidó supporters flows toward the opposition stronghold of Altamira and the Carlota base, just a few blocks away. But it’s clear that Guaidó has not taken the base; his video was recorded from an overpass nearby.

Hooded protesters hurl rocks and other projectiles toward soldiers loyal to Maduro, who force them back with tear gas. The smoke wafts into the crowds, and people stampede back up the street, screaming and covering their faces.

Estefani Braz stands on a small wall calling for those around her to stay calm. She’s 28, a mother and a graphic designer, with long curly brown hair. “I thought it was over,” she says. “But we’re going to continue fighting and supporting each other because we are going to get out of this.”

Maduro’s ouster seemed within grasp. As if she could almost touch it. But it was just an illusion. Within a few hours, Guaidó and López gave up hope of a military insurrection. López and his wife and daughter requested asylum first in the Chilean embassy and then in the Spanish embassy. Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro granted asylum to the couple of dozen Venezuelan soldiers who joined the opposition.

In a video that went viral over social media, at least a dozen soldiers who appeared in Guaidó’s early-morning call for an uprising said they were “tricked,” ordered there by a commanding officer.

Despite these setbacks, Guaidó led thousands in a march heading west from Altamira, but they were turned back by tear gas from the national guard. Rock-wielding hooded protesters and teams of opposition supporters on motorcycles played cat and mouse with the guard. In a scene reminiscent of the violent 2014 and 2017 protests, the protesters blocked roads and set fire to at least one bus and five motorcycles. Rocks and debris covered the streets. Several dozen protesters were injured, largely from tear gas, according to first-aid providers on the scene. Several guard troops were shot by live rounds from Guaidó’s small rebel force.

On the other side of town, thousands rallied before a stage outside Miraflores, where Chavista leaders spoke. They danced to music from large speakers at a rally that would continue through the night in order to ensure that no one would try to take Miraflores.

What began as a threat of wide-scale military insurrection against the Maduro government ended in disastrous failure for Guaidó and the opposition—yet another in a 20-year string of aborted US-backed attempts to overthrow the Bolivarian process.

Even so, thousands of opposition supporters came out for Guaidó’s May Day march on Wednesday, filling most of Altamira Plaza and surrounding streets.

“I don’t feel defeated,” said Aylen Cejas, a teacher and longtime supporter of the opposition. “Many Venezuelans might say this process is too slow, but sometimes it has to be like that.” But those in the crowd seemed subdued, stung by the previous day’s defeat, their hopes lifted and then crushed once more. Earlier, Guaidó said this rally would be one of the largest in Venezuelan history. It didn’t come close.

Guaidó is now calling for a series of rolling strikes leading up to a large national strike to push for Maduro to step down. It is hard to imagine how these strikes will be carried out, since most of Guaidó’s support comes from the middle to upper classes and the country is already suffering hyperinflation that is making it hard for people to get food. The last major strike by the opposition was long ago, the 2002–03 oil lockout, in which top executives in the state oil company, PDVSA, shut down the industry—and the country—for two months.

Meanwhile, across town, hundreds of thousands marched in support of Maduro.

“We are with Maduro—now more than ever,” said Carmen Mejía, an elderly hairdresser, as she marched the final stretch toward Miraflores. “We Venezuelans only have one president, and that’s Nicolás Maduro, and we need to support him.”

Many in the crowd said it was one of the largest and most vibrant demonstrations in support of the Maduro government, echoing marches from the era of his popular predecessor, Hugo Chávez. This point is key: If this march was any measure, the continuing push to overthrow Maduro has had the opposite effect, consolidating his base despite internal divisions and criticism of his government.

“Guaidó’s stupidity is Chavismo’s best ally, because it has unified people in support of Maduro,” said Gilberto Giménez, the president of the small, pro-Maduro Electoral People’s Movement party.

This is a far cry from the image that continues to be pushed by Washington and the opposition, as well as on social media and the international press. On Wednesday night, just two hours after the end of the Maduro rally, Guaidó told Fox News’ Trish Regan that Maduro’s government was crumbling.

“Today, between 91 and 95 percent of our population wants change. Today Maduro is very weak. He doesn’t even have the support of the armed forces,” Guaidó claimed. This illusion, like his Tuesday morning tweet, has helped distort the reality of events here for the foreign media.

Just one hour after Guaidó’s message, the Venezuelan defense minister tweeted that the military remained loyal to Maduro. The street protesters’ battles outside Carlota made clear that Guaidó did not hold that base and that he had no military support beyond a few dozen soldiers. Yet international outlets continued to report that a widespread military uprising was underway. In a story published that evening, which has now been revised, the BBC asked whether Guaidó controlled a substantial portion of the Venezuelan armed forces.

Venezuelans know the power of media. The pretext for the 2002 coup against Chávez was based on images recorded and manipulated by an opposition media outlet to show metropolitan police firing on unarmed protesters. It was a lie, as uncovered in several investigations, including the documentary Llaguno Bridge: Keys to a Massacre, which I narrated and translated into English 15 years ago.


The impact of these policies is profound. Donald Trump insists on Twitter that all options are still on the table for regime change in Venezuela. The fight for the image of Venezuela depends largely on who controls the story—one often told these days in less than 280 characters, in images and video.

Michael Fox is an independent multimedia journalist based in Brazil and a former editor of the NACLA Report on the Americas. More of his work can be found at his website, http://www.mfox.us.
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Re: Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:24 pm

Chapter 6: The Times, Excerpt From The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden
by Carroll Quigley

Chapter 6: The Times

Beyond the academic field, the Milner Group engaged in journalistic activities that sought to influence public opinion in directions which the Group desired. One of the earliest examples of this, and one of the few occasions on which the Group appeared as a group in the public eye, was in 1905, the year in which Milner returned from Africa. At that time the Group published a volume, The Empire and the Century, consisting of fifty articles on various aspects of the imperial problem. The majority of these articles were written by members of the Milner Group, in spite of the fact that so many of the most important members were still in Africa with Lord Selborne. The volume was issued under the general editorship of Charles S. Goldman, a friend of John Buchan and author of With General French and the Cavalry in South Africa. Among those who wrote articles were W. F. Monypenny, Bernard Holland, John Buchan, Henry Birchenough, R. B. Haldane, Bishop Lang, L. S. Amery, Evelyn Cecil, George Parkin, Edmund Garrett, Geoffrey Dawson, E. B. Sargant (one of the Kindergarten), Lionel Phillips, Valentine Chirol, and Sir Frederick and Lady Lugard.

This volume has many significant articles, several of which have already been mentioned. It was followed by a sequel volume, called The Empire and the Future, in 1916. The latter consisted of a series of lectures delivered at King's College, University of London, in 1915, under the sponsorship of the Royal Colonial Institute. The lectures were by members of the Milner Group who included A. L. Smith, H. A. L. Fisher, Philip Kerr, and George R. Parkin.(1) A somewhat similar series of lectures was given on the British Dominions at the University of Birmingham in 1910-1911 by such men as Alfred Lyttelton, Henry Birchenough, and William Hely-Hutchinson. These were published by Sir William Ashley in a volume called The British Dominions.

These efforts, however, were too weak, too public, and did not reach the proper persons. Accordingly, the real efforts of the Milner Group were directed into more fruitful and anonymous activities such as The Times and The Round Table.

The Milner Group did not own The Times before 1922, but clearly controlled it at least as far back as 1912. Even before this last date, members of the innermost circle of the Milner Group were swarming about the great newspaper. In fact, it would appear that The Times had been controlled by the Cecil Bloc since 1884 and was taken over by the Milner Group in the same way in which All Souls was taken over, quietly and without a struggle. The midwife of this process apparently was George E. Buckle (1854-1935), graduate of New College in 1876, member of All Souls since 1877, and editor of The Times from 1884 to 1912. (2) The chief members of the Milner Group who were associated with The Times have already been mentioned. Amery was connected with the paper from 1899 to 1909. During this period he edited and largely wrote the Times History of the South African War. Lord Esher was offered a directorship in 1908. Grigg was a staff writer in 1903-1905, and head of the Imperial Department in 1908-1913. B. K. Long was head of the Dominion Department in 1913-1921 and of the Foreign Department in 1920-1921. Monypenny was assistant editor both before and after the Boer War (1894-1899, 1903-1908) and on the board of directors after the paper was incorporated (1908-1912). Dawson was the paper's chief correspondent in South Africa in the Selborne period (1905-1910), while Basil Williams was the reporter covering the National Convention there (1908-1909). When it became clear in 1911 that Buckle must soon retire, Dawson was brought into the office in a rather vague capacity and, a year later, was made editor. The appointment was suggested and urged by Buckle.(3) Dawson held the position from 1912 to 1941, except for the three years 1919-1922. This interval is of some significance, for it revealed to the Milner Group that they could not continue to control The Times without ownership. The Cecil Bloc had controlled The Times from 1884 to 1912 without ownership, and the Milner Group had done the same in the period 1912-1919, but, in this last year, Dawson quarreled with Lord Northcliffe (who was chief proprietor from 1908-1922) and left the editor's chair. As soon as the Milner Group, through the Astors, acquired the chief proprietorship of the paper in 1922, Dawson was restored to his post and held it for the next twenty years. Undoubtedly the skillful stroke which acquired the ownership of The Times from the Harmsworth estate in 1922 was engineered by Brand. During the interval of three years during which Dawson was not editor, Northcliffe entrusted the position to one of The Time's famous foreign correspondents, H. W. Stead.

Dawson was succeeded as editor in 1944 by R. M. Barrington-Ward, whose brother was a Fellow of All Souls and son-in-law of A. L. Smith. Laurence Rushbrook Williams, who functions in many capacities in Indian affairs after his fellowship in All Souls (1914- 1921), also joined the editorial staff in 1944. Douglas Jay, who graduated from New College in 1930 and was a Fellow of All Souls in 1930-1937, was on the staff of The Times in 1929-1933 and of the Economist in 1933-1937. He became a Labour M.P. in 1946, after having performed the unheard-of feat of going directly from All Souls to the city desk of the Labour Party's Daily Herald (1937-1941). Another interesting figure on The Times staff in the more recent period was Charles R. S. Harris, who was a Fellow of All Souls for fifteen years (1921-1936), after graduating from Corpus Christi. He was leader-writer of The Times for ten years (1925-1935) and, during part of the same period, was on the staff of the Economist (1932-1935) and editor of The Nineteenth Century and After (1930-1935). He left all three positions in 1935 to go for four years to the Argentine to be general manager of the Buenos Aires Great Southern and Western Railways. During the Second World War he joined the Ministry of Economic Warfare for a year, the Foreign Office for two years, and the Finance Department of the War Office for a year (1942-1943). Then he was commissioned a lieutenant colonel with the military government in occupied Sicily, and ended up the war as a member of the Allied Control Commission in Italy. Harris's written works cover a range of subjects that would be regarded as extreme anywhere outside the Milner Group. A recognized authority on Duns Scotus, he wrote two volumes on this philosopher as well as the chapter on "Philosophy" in The Legacy of the Middle Ages, but in 1935 he wrote Germany's Foreign Indebtedness for the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Harris's literary versatility, as well as the large number of members of All Souls who drifted over to the staff on The Times, unquestionably can be explained by the activities of Lord Brand. Brand not only brought these persons from All Souls to The Times, but also brought the Astors to The Times. Brand and Lord Astor were together at New College at the outbreak of the Boer War. They married sisters, daughters of Chiswell Dabney Langhorne of Virginia. Brand was apparently the one who brought Astor into the Milner Group in 1917, although there had been a movement in this direction considerably earlier. Astor was a Conservative M.P. from 1910 to 1919, leaving the Lower House to take his father's seat in the House of Lords. His place in Commons has been held since 1919 by his wife, Nancy Astor (1919-1945), and by his son Michael Langhorne Astor (1945- ). In 1918 Astor became parliamentary secretary to Lloyd George; later he held the same position with the Ministry of Food (1918-1919) and the Ministry of Health (1919-1921). He was British delegate to the Assembly of the League of Nations in 1931, chairman of the League Committee on Nutrition (1936-1937), and chairman of the council of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (since 1935). With help from various people, he wrote three books on agricultural problems: Land and Life (1932), The Planning of Agriculture (1933), and British Agriculture (1938). Both of his sons graduated from New College, and both have been Members of Parliament, the older in the period 1935-1945, and the younger since 1945. The older was secretary to Lord Lytton on the League of Nations Commission of Enquiry into the Manchurian Episode (1932) and was parliamentary private secretary to Sir Samuel Hoare when he was First Lord of the Admiralty and Home Secretary (1936-1939).

Lord Astor's chief importance in regard to The Times is that he and his brother became chief proprietors in 1922 by buying out the Harmsworth interest. As a result, the brother, Colonel John Jacob Astor, has been chairman of the board of The Times Publishing Company since 1922, and Brand was a director on the board for many years before 1944. Colonel Astor, who matriculated at New College in 1937, at the age of fifty-one, was military aide to the Viceroy of India (Lord Hardinge) in 1911-1914, was a Member of Parliament from 1922 to 1945, and is a director of both Hambros' and Barclay's Banks.

This connection between the Milner Group and The Times was of the greatest importance in the period up to 1945, especially in the period just before the Munich crisis. However, the chief center of gravity of the Milner Group was never in The Times. It is true that Lord Astor became one of the more important figures in the Milner Group after Milner's death in 1925, but the center of gravity of the Group as a whole was elsewhere: before 1920, in the Round Table Group; and after 1920, in All Souls. Lord Astor was of great importance in the later period, especially after 1930, but was of no significance in the earlier period — an indication of his relatively recent arrival in the Group.

The Times has recently published the first three volumes of a four-volume history of itself. Although no indication is given as to the authorship of these volumes, the acknowledgments show that the authors worked closely with All Souls and the Milner Group. For example, Harold Temperley and Keith Feiling read the proofs of the first two volumes, while E. L. Woodward read those of the third volume.

While members of the Milner Group thus went into The Times to control it, relatively few persons ever came into the Milner Group from The Times. The only two who readily come to mind are Sir Arthur Willert and Lady Lugard. (4)

Arthur Willert (Sir Arthur since 1919) entered Balliol in 1901 but did not take a degree until 1928. From 1906 to 1910 he was on the staff of The Times in Paris, Berlin, and Washington, and was then chief Times correspondent in Washington for ten years (1910-1920). During this period he was also secretary to the British War Mission in Washington (1917-1918) and Washington representative of the Ministry of Information. This brought him to the attention of the Milner Group, probably through Brand, and in 1921 he joined the Foreign Office as head of the News Department. During the next fifteen years he was a member of the British delegations to the Washington Conference of 1922, to the London Economic Conference of 1924, to the London Naval Conference of 1930, to the World Disarmament Conference of 1932-1934, and to the League of Nations in 1929-1934. He retired from the Foreign Office in 1935, but returned to an active life for the duration of the Second World War as head of the southern region for the Ministry of Information (1939-1945). In 1937, in cooperation with H. V. Hodson (then editor of The Round Table) and B. K. Long (of the Kindergarten), he wrote a book called The Empire in the World. He had previously written Aspects of British Foreign Policy (1928) and The Frontiers of England (1935).

The second person to come into the Milner Group from The Times was Lady Lugard (the former Flora Shaw), who was probably a member of the Rhodes secret society on The Times and appears to have been passing from The Times to the Milner Group, when she was really passing from the society to the Milner Group. She and her husband are of great significance in the latter organization, although neither was a member of the innermost circle.

Frederick Lugard (Sir Frederick after 1901 and Lord Lugard after 1928) was a regular British army officer who served in Afghanistan, the Sudan, and Burma in 1879-1887. In 1888 he led a successful expedition against slave-traders on Lake Nyasa, and was subsequently employed by the British East African Company, the Royal Niger Company, and British West Charterland in leading expeditions into the interior of Africa (1889- 1897). In 1897 he was appointed by the Salisbury government to be Her Majesty's Commissioner in the hinterland of Nigeria and Lagos and commandant of the West African Frontier Force, which he organized. Subsequently he was High Commissioner of Northern Nigeria (1900-1906) and Governor of Hong Kong (1907-1912), as well as Governor, and later Governor-General, of Nigeria (1912-1919). He wrote Our East African Empire (1893) and The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa (1922), and also numerous articles (including one on West Africa in The Empire and the Century). He was one of the chief assistants of Lord Lothian and Lord Hailey in planning the African Survey in 1934- 1937, was British member of the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations from 1922 to 1936, was one of the more influential figures in the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and is generally regarded as the inventor of the British system of "indirect rule" in colonial areas.

Flora Shaw, who married Sir Frederick Lugard in 1902, when he was forty-four and she was fifty, was made head of the Colonial Department of The Times in 1890, at the suggestion of Sir Robert George Wyndham Herbert, the Permanent Under Secretary of the Colonial Office. Sir Robert, whose grandmother was a Wyndham and whose grandfather was Earl of Carnarvon, was a Fellow of All Souls from 1854 to 1905. He was thus elected the year following Lord Salisbury's election. He began his political career as private secretary to Gladstone and was Permanent Under Secretary for twenty-one years (1871-1892, 1900). He was subsequently Agent General for Tasmania (1893-1896), High Sheriff of London, chairman of the Tariff Commission, and adviser to the Sultan of Johore, all under the Salisbury-Balfour governments.

When Miss Shaw was recommended to The Times as head of the Colonial Department, she was already a close friend of Moberly Bell, manager of The Times, and was an agent and close friend of Stead and Cecil Rhodes. The story of how she came to work for The Times, as told in that paper's official history, is simplicity itself: Bell wanted someone to head the Colonial Department, so he wrote to Sir Robert Herbert and was given the name of Flora Shawl Accordingly, Bell wrote, "as a complete stranger," to Miss Shaw and asked her "as an inexperienced writer for a specimen column." She wrote a sample article on Egyptian finance, which pleased Bell so greatly that she was given the position of head of the Colonial Department. That is the story as it appears in volume III of The History of The Times, published in 1947. Shortly afterward appeared the biography of Flora Shaw, written by the daughter of Moberly Bell and based on his private papers. The story that emerges from this volume is quite different. It goes somewhat as follows:

Flora Shaw, like most members of that part of the Cecil Bloc which shifted over to the Milner Group, was a disciple of John Ruskin and an ardent worker among the depressed masses of London's slums. Through Ruskin, she came to write for W. T. Stead of the Pall Mall Gazette in 1886, and three years later, through Stead, she met Cecil Rhodes. In the meantime, in 1888, she went to Egypt as correspondent of the Pall Mall Gazette and there became a close friend of Moberly Bell, The Times correspondent in that country. Bell had been employed in this capacity in Egypt since 1865 and had become a close friend of Evelyn Baring (Lord Cromer), the British agent in Egypt. He had also become an expert on Egyptian finance and published a pamphlet on that subject in 1887. Miss Shaw's friendship with the Bell family was so close that she was practically a member of it, and Bell's children knew her, then and later, as "Aunt Flora."

In 1890, when Bell was transferred to Printing House Square as manager of The Times, Baring tried to persuade The Times to name Miss Shaw as Egyptian correspondent in Bell's place. This was not done. Instead, Miss Shaw returned to London and was introduced by Bell to Buckle. When Buckle told Miss Shaw that he wanted a head for the Colonial Department of the paper, she suggested that he consult with Sir Robert Herbert. From that point on, the account in The History of The Times is accurate. But it is clear, to anyone who has the information just mentioned, that the recommendation by Sir Robert Herbert, the test article on Egyptian finance, and probably the article itself, had been arranged previously between Moberly Bell and "Aunt Flora."

None of these early relationships of Miss Shaw with Bell, Buckle, and Herbert are mentioned in The History of The Times, and apparently they are not to be found in the records at Printing House Square. They are, however, a significant indication of the methods of the Milner Group. It is not clear what was the purpose of this elaborate scheme. Miss Moberly Bell apparently believes that it was to deceive Buckle. It is much more likely that it was to deceive the chief owners of The Times, John Walter III and his son, Arthur F. Walter.

Miss Shaw, when she came to The Times, was an open champion of Lord Salisbury and an active supporter of a vigorous imperial policy, especially in South Africa. She was in the confidence of the Colonial Office and of Rhodes to a degree that cannot be exaggerated. She met Rhodes, on Stead's recommendation, in 1889, at a time when Stead was one of Rhodes's closest confidants. In 1892, Miss Shaw was sent to South Africa by Moberly Bell, with instructions to set up two lines of communication from that area to herself. One of these was to be known to The Times and would handle routine matters; the second was to be known only to herself and was to bring confidential material to her private address. The expenses of both of these avenues would be paid for by The Times, but the expenses of the secret avenue would not appear on the records at Printing House Square. (5)

From this date onward, Miss Shaw was in secret communication with Cecil Rhodes. This communication was so close that she was informed by Rhodes of the plot which led up to the Jameson Raid, months before the raid took place. She was notified by Rhodes of the approximate date on which the raid would occur, two weeks before it did occur. She even suggested on several occasions that the plans be executed more rapidly, and on one occasion suggested a specific date for the event.

In her news articles, Miss Shaw embraced the cause of the British in the Transvaal even to the extent of exaggerating and falsifying their hardships under Boer rule. (6) It was The Times that published as an exclusive feature the famous (and fraudulent) "women and children" letter, dated 20 December 1895, which pretended to be an appeal for help from the persecuted British in the Transvaal to Dr. Jameson's waiting forces, but which had really been concocted by Dr. Jameson himself on 20 November and sent to Miss Shaw a month later. This letter was published by The Times as soon as news of the Jameson' Raid was known, as a justification of the act. The Times continued to defend and justify the raid and Jameson. After this became a rather delicate policy — that is, after the raid failed and had to be disavowed — The Times was saved from the necessity of reversing itself by the "Kruger telegram" sent by the German Kaiser to congratulate the Boers on their successful suppression of the raiders. This "Kruger telegram" was played up by The Times with such vigor that Jameson was largely eclipsed and the incident assumed the dimensions of an international crisis. As the official History of The Times puts it, "The Times was carried so far by indignation against the outrageous interference of the Kaiser in the affairs of the British Empire that it was able to overlook the criminality of Jameson's act." A little later, the same account says, "On January 7, Rhodes' resignation from the Premiership was announced, while the Editor found it more convenient to devote his leading article to the familiar topic of German interference rather than to the consequences of the Raid." (7)

All of this was being done on direct instructions from Rhodes, and with the knowledge and approval of the management of The Times. In fact, Miss Shaw was the intermediary between Rhodes, The Times, and the Colonial Office (Joseph Chamberlain). Until the end of November 1895, her instructions from Rhodes came to her through his agent in London, Dr. Rutherfoord Harris, but, when the good Dr. Harris and Alfred Beit returned to South Africa in order to be on hand for the anticipated excitement, the former gave Miss Shaw the secret code of the British South Africa Company and the cable address TELEMONES LONDON, so that communications from Rhodes to Miss Shaw could be sent directly. Dr. Harris had already informed Rhodes by a cable of 4 November 1895:

"If you can telegraph course you wish Times to adopt now with regard to Transvaal Flora will act."


On 10 December 1895, Miss Shaw cabled Rhodes:
"Can you advise when will you commence the plans, we wish to send at earliest opportunity sealed instructions representative of the Lond Times European Capitals; it is most important using their influence in your favor."


The use of the word "we" in this message disposes once and for all of Miss Shaw's later defense that all her acts were done on her own private responsibility and not in her capacity as a department head of The Times. In answer to this request, Rhodes replied the next day: "We do think about new year."

This answer made The Times' s manager "very depressed," so the next day (12 December) Miss Shaw sent the following cable to Rhodes:

"Delay dangerous sympathy now complete but will depend very much upon action before European powers given time enter a protest which as European situation considered serious might paralyze government."


Five days after this came another cable, which said in part:

"Chamberlain sound in case of interference European powers but have special reason to believe wishes you must do it immediately."


To these very incriminating messages might be added two of several wires from Rhodes to Miss Shaw. One of 30 December 1895, after Rhodes knew that the Jameson Raid had begun and after Miss Shaw had been so informed by secret code, stated:

"Inform Chamberlain that I shall get through all right if he supports me, but he must not send cable like he sent high commissioner in South Africa. Today the crux is, I will win and South Africa will belong to England."


And the following day, when the outcome of the raid was doubtful because of the failure of the English in the Transvaal to rise against the Boers — a failure resulting from that the fact that they were not as ill-treated as Miss Shaw, through The times, had been telling the world for months — Rhodes cabled:

"Unless you can make Chamberlain instruct the high commissioner to proceed at once to Johannesburg the whole position is lost. High commissioner would receive splendid reception and still turn position to England advantage but must be instructed by cable immediately. The instructions must be specific as he is weak and will take no responsibility." (8)


When we realize that the anticipated uprising of the English in the Transvaal had been financed and armed with munitions from the funds of the British South Africa Company, it is clear that we must wait until Hitler's coup in Austria in March 1938 to find a parallel to Rhodes's and Jameson's attempted coup in South Africa forty- two years earlier.

The Jameson Raid, if the full story could ever be told, would give the finest possible example of the machinations of Rhodes 's secret society. Another example, almost as good, would be the completely untold story of how the society covered up these activities in the face of the investigation of the Parliamentary Select Committee. The dangers from this investigation were so great that even Lord Rothschild was pressed into service as a messenger. It was obvious from the beginning that the star witness before the committee would be Cecil Rhodes and that the chief danger would be the incrimination of Joseph Chamberlain, who clearly knew of the plot. Milner, Garrett, Stead, and Esher discussed possible defenses and reached no conclusion, since Stead wanted to admit that Chamberlain was implicated in plans for a raid but not plans for the raid. By this, Stead meant that Chamberlain and Rhodes had seen the possibility of an uprising in the Transvaal and, solely as a precautionary measure, had made the preparations for Jameson's force so that it would be available to go to Johannesburg to restore order. The others refused to accept this strategy and insisted on the advantages of a general and blanket denial. This difference of opinion probably arose from the fact that Stead did not know that the prospective rebels in Johannesburg were armed and financed by Rhodes, were led by Rhodes's brother and Abe Bailey, and had written the"women and children" message, in collaboration with Jameson, weeks before. These facts, if revealed to the committee, would make it impossible to distinguish between "the raid" and "a raid." The event of 31 December 1895, which the committee was investigating, was the former and not the latter merely because the plotters in Johannesburg failed to revolt on schedule. This is clear from Edward Cook's statement, in his biography of Garrett, that Garrett expected to receive news of a revolution in Johannesburg at any moment on 30 December 1895. (9)

The difficulty which the initiates in London had in preparing a defense for the Select Committee was complicated by the fact that they were not able to reach Rhodes, who was en route from South Africa with Garrett. As soon as the boat docked, Brett (Lord Esher) sent "Natty" Rothschild from London with a message from Chamberlain to Rhodes. When Rothschild returned, Brett called in Stead, and they discussed the projected defense. Stead had already seen Rhodes and given his advice. (10) The following day (5 February 1896), Brett saw Rhodes and found that he was prepared to confess everything. Brett tried to dissuade him. As he wrote in his Journal, "I pointed out to him that there was one consideration which appeared to have escaped him, that was the position of Mr. Chamberlain, the Secretary of State. Chamberlain was obviously anxious to help and it would not do to embarrass him or to tie his hands. It appeared to me to be prudent to endeavour to ascertain how Chamberlain would receive a confidence of this kind. I said I would try to find out. On leaving me he said, 'Wish we could get our secret society.'" Brett went to Chamberlain, who refused to receive Rhodes's confession, lest he have to order the law officers to take proceedings against Rhodes as against Jameson. Accordingly, the view of the majority, a general denial, was adopted and proved successful, thanks to the leniency of the members of the Select Committee. Brett recognized this leniency. He wrote to Stead on 19 February 1897: "I came up with Milner from Windsor this morning. He has a heavy job; and has to start de novo. The committee will leave few of the old gang on their legs. Alas. Rhodes was a pitiful object. Harcourt very sorry for him; too sorry to press his question home. Why did Rhodes try to shuffle after all we had told him?" (11)

It is clear that the Select Committee made no real effort to uncover the real relationships between the conspirators, The Times, and the Salisbury government. When witnesses refused to produce documents or to answer questions, the committee did not insist, and whole fields of inquiry were excluded from examination by the committee.

One of these fields, and probably the most important one, was the internal policies and administration of The Times itself. As a result, when Campbell-Bannerman, an opposition leader, asked if it were usual practice for The Times correspondents to be used to propagate certain policies in foreign countries as well as to obtain information, Miss Shaw answered that she had been excused from answering questions about the internal administration of The Times. We now know, as a result of the publication of the official History of The Times, that all Miss Shaw's acts were done in consultation with the manager, Moberly Bell.(12) The vital telegrams to Rhodes, signed by Miss Shaw, were really drafted by Bell. As The History of The Times puts it, "Bell had taken the risk of allowing Miss Shaw to commit The Times to the support of Rhodes in a conspiracy that was bound to lead to controversy at home, if it succeeded, and likely to lead to prosecution if it failed. The conspiracy had failed; the prosecution had resulted. Bell's only salvation lay in Miss Shaw's willingness to take personal responsibility for the telegrams and in her ability to convince the Committee accordingly." And, as the evidence of the same source shows, in order to convince the committee it was necessary for Miss Shaw to commit perjury, even though the representatives of both parties on the Committee of Enquiry (except Labouchere) were making every effort to conceal the real facts while still providing the public with a good show.

Before leaving the discussion of Miss Shaw and the Jameson Raid, it might be fitting to introduce testimony from a somewhat unreliable witness, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, a member by breeding and education of this social group and a relative of the Wyndhams, but a psychopathic anti-imperialist who spent his life praising and imitating the Arabs and criticizing Britain's conduct in India, Egypt, and Ireland. In his diaries, under the date 25 April 1896, he says: "[George Wyndham] has been seeing much of Jameson, whom he likes, and of the gang that have been running the Transvaal business, about a dozen of them, with Buckle, The Times editor, and Miss Flora Shaw, who, he told me confidentially, is really the prime mover in the whole thing, and who takes the lead in all their private meetings, a very clever middle-aged woman. "(13) A somewhat similar conclusion was reached by W. T. Stead in a pamphlet called Joseph Chamberlain: Conspirator or Statesman, which he published from the office of The Review of Reviews in 1900. Stead was convinced that Miss Shaw was the intermediary among Rhodes, The Times, and the Colonial Office. And Stead was Rhodes's closest confidant in England.

As a result of this publicity, Miss Shaw's value to The Times was undoubtedly reduced, and she gave up her position after her marriage in 1902. In the meantime, however, she had been in correspondence with Milner as early as 1899, and in December 1901 made a trip to South Africa for The Times, during which she had long interviews with Milner, Monypenny, and the members of the Kindergarten. After her resignation, she continued to review books for The Times Literary Supplement, wrote an article on tropical dependencies for The Empire and the Century, wrote two chapters for Amery's History of the South African War, and wrote a biographical sketch of Cecil Rhodes for the eleventh edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

A third member of this same type was Valentine Chirol (Sir Valentine after 1912). Educated at the Sorbonne, he was a clerk in the Foreign Office for four years (1872- 1 876) and then traveled about the world, but chiefly in the Near East, for sixteen years (1876-1892). In 1892 he was made The Times correspondent in Berlin, and for the next four years filled the role of a second British ambassador, with free access to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin and functioning as a channel of unofficial communication between the government in London and that in Berlin. After 1895 he became increasingly anti- German, like all members of the Cecil Bloc and the Milner Group, and was chiefly responsible for the great storm whipped up over the "Kruger telegram." In this last connection he even went so far as to announce in The Times that the Germans were really using the Jameson episode as part of a long-range project to drive Britain out of South Africa and that the next step in that process was to be the dispatch in the immediate future of a German expeditionary force to Delagoa Bay in Portuguese Angola. As a result of this attitude, Chirol found the doors of the Foreign Ministry closed to him and, after another unfruitful year in Berlin, was brought to London to take charge of the Foreign Department of The Times. He held this post for fifteen years (1897-1912), during which he was one of the most influential figures in the formation of British foreign and imperial policy. The policy he supported was the policy that was carried out, and included support for the Boer War, the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, the Entente Cordiale, the agreement of 1907 with Russia, the Morley-Minto Reforms in India, and the increasing resistance to Germany. When he retired in 1912, he was knighted by Asquith for his important contributions to the Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909 and was made a member of the Royal Commission on Public Services in India (1912-1914). He remained in India during most of the First World War, and, indeed, made seventeen visits to that country in his life. In 1916 he was one of the five chief advisers to Lionel Curtis in the preparatory work for the Government of India Act of 1919 (the other four being Lord Chelmsford, Meston, Marris, and Hailey). Later Chirol wrote articles for The Round Table and was a member of the British delegation at the Paris Peace Conference.

Chirol was replaced as head of the Foreign Department during his long absences from London by Leopold Amery. It was expected that Amery would be Chirol's successor in the post, but Amery entered upon a political career in 1910, so the position was given briefly to Dudley Disraeli graham, graham, a former classmate of many of the Kindergarten at New College, was a foreign correspondent of The Times for ten years (1897-1907) and Chirol's assistant for five (1907-1912), before he became Chirol's successor in the Foreign Department and Grigg's successor in the Imperial Department, thus combining the two. He resigned from The Times in 1914 to become editor of the Daily Telegraph in Sydney, Australia, and was subsequently a very important figure in Australian newspaper life.

This account, by no means complete, shows clearly that the Milner Group controlled The Times, indirectly from 1912 if not earlier, and directly from 1922. The importance of this control should be obvious. The Times, although of a very limited circulation (only about 35,000 at the beginning of the century, 50,000 at the outbreak of the First World War, and 187,000 in 1936), was the most influential paper in England. The reason for this influence is not generally recognized, although the existence of the condition itself is widely known. The influence depended upon the close relationship between the paper and the Foreign Office. This relationship, as we are trying to show, was the result of the Milner Group's influence in both.

This influence was not exercised by acting directly on public opinion, since the Milner Group never intended to influence events by acting through any instruments of mass propaganda, but rather hoped to work on the opinions of the small group of "important people," who in turn could influence wider and wider circles of persons. This was the basis on which the Milner Group itself was constructed; it was the theory behind the Rhodes Scholarships; it was the theory behind "The Round Table and the Royal Institute of International Affairs; it was the theory behind the efforts to control All Souls, New College, and Balliol and, through these three, to control Oxford University; and it was the theory behind The Times. No effort was made to win a large circulation for The Times, for, in order to obtain such a circulation, it would have been necessary to make changes in the tone of the paper that would have reduced its influence with the elite, to which it had been so long directed. The theory of "the elite" was accepted by the Milner Group and by The Times, as it was by Rhodes. The historian of The Times recognizes this and, after describing the departure from Printing House Square of Bell, Chirol, and Buckle, says, "It is a valid criticism of the 'Olaf Gang' that they had not realized that they were in the habit of valuing news according to the demands and interests of a governing class too narrowly defined for the twentieth century." It was on this issue that the "Old Gang" disputed with Northcliffe in the period 1908-1912 and that Dawson disputed with Northcliffe in 1919. Although the new owner protested to all who would listen, in 1908 and later, that he would not try to make The Times into a popular paper, he was, as The History of The Times shows, incapable of judging the merits of a newspaper by any other standard than the size of its circulation. After he was replaced as chief proprietor by Astor, and Dawson re-occupied the editor's chair, the old point of view was reestablished. The Times was to be a paper for the people who are influential, and not for the masses. The Times was influential, but the degree of its influence would never be realized by anyone who examined only the paper itself. The greater part of its influence arose from its position as one of several branches of a single group, the Milner Group. By the interaction of these various branches on one another, under the pretense that each branch was an autonomous power, the influence of each branch was increased through a process of mutual reinforcement. The unanimity among the various branches was believed by the outside world to be the result of the influence of a single Truth, while really it was the result of the existence of a single group. Thus, a statesman (a member of the Group) announces a policy. About the same time, the Royal Institute of International Affairs publishes a study on the subject, and an Oxford don, a Fellow of All Souls (and a member of the Group) also publishes a volume on the subject (probably through a publishing house, like G. Bell and Sons or Faber and Faber, allied to the Group). The statesman's policy is subjected to critical analysis and final approval in a "leader" in The Times, while the two books are reviewed (in a single review) in The Times Literary Supplement. Both the "leader" and the review are anonymous but are written by members of the Group. And finally, at about the same time, an anonymous article in The Round Table strongly advocates the same policy. The cumulative effect of such tactics as this, even if each tactical move influences only a small number of important people, is bound to be great. If necessary, the strategy can be carried further, by arranging for the secretary to the Rhodes Trustees to go to America for a series of "informal discussions" with former Rhodes Scholars, while a prominent retired statesman (possibly a former Viceroy of India) is persuaded to say a few words at the unveiling of a plaque in All Souls or New College in honor of some deceased Warden. By a curious coincidence, both the "informal discussions" in America and the unveiling speech at Oxford touch on the same topical subject.

An analogous procedure in reverse could be used for policies or books which the Group did not approve. A cutting editorial or an unfriendly book review, followed by a suffocating blanket of silence and neglect, was the best that such an offering could expect from the instruments of the Milner Group. This is not easy to demonstrate because of the policy of anonymity followed by writers and reviewers in The Times, The Round Table, and The Times Literary Supplement, but enough cases have been found to justify this statement. When J. A. Farrer's book England under Edward VII was published in 1922 and maintained that the British press, especially The Times, was responsible for bad Anglo-German feeling before 1909, The Times Literary Supplement gave it to J. W. Headlam-Morley to review. And when Baron von Eckardstein, who was in the German Embassy in London at the time of the Boer War, published his memoirs in 1920, the same journal gave the book to Chirol to review, even though Chirol was an interested party and was dealt with in a critical fashion in several passages in the book itself. Both of these reviews were anonymous.

There is no effort here to contend that the Milner Group ever falsified or even concealed evidence (although this charge could be made against The Times). Rather it propagated its point of view by interpretation and selection of evidence. In this fashion it directed policy in ways that were sometimes disastrous. The Group as a whole was made up of intelligent men who believed sincerely, and usually intensely, in what they advocated, and who knew that their writings were intended for a small minority as intelligent as themselves. In such conditions there could be no value in distorting or concealing evidence. To do so would discredit the instruments they controlled. By giving the facts as they stood, and as completely as could be done in consistency with the interpretation desired, a picture could be construed that would remain convincing for a long time.

This is what was done by The Times. Even today, the official historian of The Times is unable to see that the policy of that paper was anti-German from 1895 to 1914 and as such contributed to the worsening of Anglo-German relations and thus to the First World War. This charge has been made by German and American students, some of them of the greatest diligence and integrity, such as Professors Sidney B. Fay, William L. Langer, Oron J. Hale, and others. The recent History of The Times devotes considerable space and obviously spent long hours of research in refuting these charges, and fails to see that it has not succeeded. With the usual honesty and industry of the Milner Group, the historian gives the evidence that will convict him, without seeing that his interpretation will not hold water. He confesses that the various correspondents of The Times in Berlin played up all anti-English actions and statements and played down all pro-English ones; that they quoted obscure and locally discredited papers in order to do this; that all The Times foreign correspondents in Berlin, Paris, Vienna, and elsewhere were anti-German, and that these were the ones who were kept on the staff and promoted to better positions; that the one member of the staff who was recognized as being fair to Germany (and who was unquestionably the most able man in the whole Times organization), Donald Mackenzie Wallace, was removed as head of the Foreign Department and shunted off to be editor of the supplementary volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica (which was controlled by The Times); and that The Times frequently printed untrue or distorted information on Germany. All of this is admitted and excused as the work of honest, if hasty, journalists, and the crowning proof that The Times was not guilty as charged is implied to be the fact that the Germans did ultimately get into a war with Britain, thus proving at one stroke that they were a bad lot and that the attitude of The Times staff toward them was justified by the event.

It did not occur to the historian of The Times that there exists another explanation of Anglo-German relations, namely that in 1895 there were two Germanies — the one admiring Britain and the other hating Britain — and that Britain, by her cold-blooded and calculated assault on the Boers in 1895 and 1899, gave the second (and worse) Germany the opportunity to criticize and attack Britain and gave it the arguments with which to justify a German effort to build up naval defenses. The Times, by quoting these attacks and actions representative of the real attitude and actual intentions of all Germans, misled the British people and abandoned the good Germans to a hopeless minority position, where to be progressive, peaceful, or Anglophile was to be a traitor to Germany itself. Chirol's alienation of Baron von Eckardstein (one of the "good" Germans, married to an English lady), in a conversation in February 1900,(14) shows exactly how The Times attitude was contributing to consolidate and alienate the Germans by the mere fact of insisting that they were consolidated and alienated — and doing this to a man who loved England and hated the reactionary elements in Germany more than Chirol ever did.  
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