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Holocaust Warriors Created Holy Warriors

NOVANEWS


By Sajjad Shaukat

Like other religions, Islam is a religion of peace and does not permit acts of terrorism such as
bomb blasts suicide attacks etc. But, the Holocaust warriors and the typical Jews who created
holy warriors are misguiding the international community by equating the ideology of Islam with
terrorism. Control of these Jews on the mainstream media houses of the world is so strong that
terms such as Islamic militants, Jihadist groups and holy warriors (Mujahideen) have become
popular. While reporting regarding global and regional events of terrorism, they do not use the
terms like Hindu militants and Jewish terrorism or Christian militants.

Everyone knows that Al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban were created by the American CIA to fight
against the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

In this respect, former British Foreign secretary, Robin Cook stated, “Throughout the 1980s, he
[Bin Laden] was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian
occupation of Afghanistan.”

The then US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski met Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin
Laden and said about the militants (Mujahideen), “We know of their deep belief in God, and we
are confident their struggle will succeed…because, you are fighting against the infidel Russians.”
However, after obtaining the political and economic interests of the US-led Israel, Washington
had left Afghanistan in particular and Pakistan in general to face the fallout of a prolonged
conflict—terrorism and instability. These Mujahideen who pulled the Russians out of
Afghanistan, later become the Taliban, Al-Qaeda (New version) and the Muslim Brotherhood,
Islamic State group (Daesh, ISIS, ISIL). They got the label of terrorists.

Notably, massacre of Jews through various tactics of torture in the concentration camps, erected
by Hitler before and during the World War 11 is still shocking and condemnable. It was a big
tragedy, popularly known as the Holocaust, conducted by the forces of state terrorism. But,
before and in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, the Zionist-Israeli- led America has been taking
unjustified revenge of the Holocaust from the Muslims in particular and the Christians in
general, including persons of some other religious communities, who were not responsible for
the Holocaust. These Holocaust warriors have been trying to convert the entire world into
holocaust, as terror-related attacks have shown in various Islamic countries, including America,
Europe and other Western countries.

Zionist-controlled American leading think-tanks and media have propagated that “genocide of 5
million Jews was carried out at the extermination camps, using tools of mass murder, such as gas
chambers of Germany, Poland, Austria and Alsace”, while some Jewish-influenced Western
scholars have estimated the genocide of the 7.8 million Jews.

On the other side, impartial writers, researchers and authors have opined, “Following the rise of
Hitler there were no more than 4 million Jews, living in areas occupied by the Third Reich at the
height of its power. Yet on June 30, 1965, the West German government announced that some

3,375,000 Jewish holocaust “survivors” had applied for reparations money. The International
Red Cross had already reported in 1946 that of registered Jewish camp inmates no more than
300,000 could have died, and their audit to December 31, 1984 records a total 282,077 registered
deaths of all internees in all German Concentration Camps from all causes.”
Regarding the present holocaust, it had already started when the US emerged as the sole
superpower in the unipolar world after the disintegration of the former Russia. American former
President Bush, (The Senior) replaced the old bipolar order with the New World Order, with the
US acting as a kind of global policeman to protect the political and economic interests of Israel
and the American Jews who are owners of many big cartels—multinational corporations, arms
factories, oil companies, banks etc., including print and electronic media of the US in particular
and the world in general. By dominating American internal policies, Zionist Jews mould
country’s foreign policy for their own interests. And, by changing America into corporate
industry, they have converted the world into corporate industry.

In the unipolar world, the United Nations became an instrument of the US policy to establish
American hegemony in the world. In order to obtain the hidden agenda of Jews, the US imposed
its sudden terms of globalization such as free markets, privatization and de-nationalization etc.
on the ill-prepared developing countries and the Muslim states which left behind shattered
nations and a global financial crisis, increased poverty in most of these countries, which resulted
into deaths of many persons due to diseases and lack of medical treatment. It further widened the
gap between the poor and the rich countries or G-7 countries. The corporations and international
financial institutions like IMF and World Bank which are indirectly controlled by the Jews have
continued to drive the project of globalization through the sole superpower. Besides, America’s
child-killing sanctions against Iraq and Iran; late action to curb ethnic cleansing in
Kosovo—genocide of the Bosnian Muslims annoyed the Muslims all over the world.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, American former President Bush (The Senior) in
connivance with his Zionist-advisers and neoconservatives took the Islamic fundamentalism as a
great threat. Since then, sometimes, Al-Qaeda has continuously been used by the US and some
Western countries as a scapegoat to malign Pakistan, as the latter is the only nuclear country in
the Muslim World. Sometimes, they accused Iran of harbouring terrorism, and to propagate
against Tehran’s peaceful nuclear progragmme—sometimes to achieve the goals of external
policy and sometimes to pacify their public, including the opposition in relation to the prolonged
war in Afghanistan and the anti-Muslim ‘different war’. In all cases, the purpose behind has been
to safeguard the interests Israel and Zionists who consider themselves God’s chosen people to
rule over the world.

As regards the double game, on November 13, 2009, a Reuters report quoting Labeviere’s book
“Corridors of Terror” (Released in November 2003) points to negotiations between Bin Laden
and CIA, which took place two months prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks-at the American
Hospital in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, when Bin Laden was under a kidney dialysis
treatment.

Meanwhile, while making Osama and Al-Qaeda as scapegoats, a number of fake video messages
were telecast on various TV channels and websites by some Zionist Jews to obtain Israel’s anti-

Muslim goals. For example, during the November 2004 elections in the US, a fake video tape
helped the ex-president George W. Bush to get lead over John Kerry.

It is well-known that in a tape released on December 27, 2001, the authenticity of which is not in
question, Osama denied any involvement in the September 11 tragedy. However, later, two video
tapes appeared to validate his guilt in relation to 9/11, because the main aims of the Bush
administration were to provoke American public against the Muslims and to justify the fake
global war on terror—the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq to possess energy resources of
Central Asia and Iraq, including proxy wars in other Middle Eastern countries. Besides other
actions of Bush era such as America’s state-sponsored terrorism in the volatile Islamic countries,
persecution of Muslims through torture, detentions and arrests, CIA and FBI-operated facilities,
promotion of sectarian violence and divide between Sunnis and Shias in the Islamic
World—radicalizing the Western Christians against the Muslims.

It was because of the dual strategy of Bush through phony war on terror, and on the other side,
response of Al-Qaeda militants by clandestine terror attacks, as shown through a number of the
past suicidal missions such as on Indonesian resort island of Bali, Saudi Arabia, Spain etc., and a
series of bomb attacks on London’s transport network, including those ones in other Afro-Asian
countries have clearly pointed out that Al-Qaeda was organized on world level. But, the outfit
lost control on its affiliated militant groups. Al-Qaeda’s decimated old guard may no longer be
able to mount elaborately detailed plots, executed by other trained terrorists of various new
groups which claim their links with Al-Qaeda, but, are not under its direct command. For
example, in Somalia—splitting away of a hardliner-faction Al-Shabaab is an offshoot of the
Islamic Courts Union, though the US defined Al-Shabaab as Al-Qaida allies.

In this connection, in March 2004, the former CIA Director, George Tenet said, “Al-Qaeda has
become a loose collection of regional networks working autonomously-[they] pick their own
targets, they plan their own attacks…in this new phase of franchise terrorism, Al-Qaeda has been
described as an idea rather than an organization.”

It is mentionable that some Holocaust deniers claim, “The mass extermination of the Jews by the
Nazis never happened…the Nazi command had a policy of deporting Jews, not exterminating
them”, while some remark that the number of Jewish losses has been greatly exaggerated…that
the Holocaust was not systematic nor a result of an official policy…only 600,000 Jews were
killed rather than six million. All Jews were not killed through gas chambers, but also due to
hunger, diseases and depression.”

On the one hand, the Jews have made the Holocaust the greatest device of gaining sympathy,
while, on the other, they have used it for wars, anti-Muslim policies, expansion and foreign-aid,
and to fulfill the Zionist ambition of greater Israel. With the support of American-Zionist Jews
who manipulate the Holocaust, Israel has also become the sixth strongest military power of the
world owing to the US assistance.

Once Henry Kissinger stated “legitimacy is not natural or automatic, but created.” Under the
cover of the 9/11 tragedy, the US President George W. Bush who was in collaboration with the
neo-conservatives and the Zionist Jews, orchestrated the drama of global war on terror to obtain

the illegitimate interests of Israel by targeting the Islamic countries and persecution of the
Muslims.

Bush who used the words, “crusade against the evil-doers” adding to the perception that the
ongoing ‘different war’ against terrorism is actually a war against the Muslim countries also
warned the world to choose sides by saying, “either you are with us or with terrorists.” It was due
to employment of pressure-diplomacy on the weak states—Muslim countries like Pakistan,
Indonesia, Libya etc., including almost all the Arab states joined Bush’s anti-terrorism war. By
manipulating the 9/11 carnage, Bush also got the sympathies of almost all the major Western
countries, including NATO states which also joined the fake global war on terror.
By justifying the unjustified war on terror, several Muslim countries were deliberately
destabilized and converted into concentration camps to attain the political, economic and
religious goals of the Jews and Israel. For the purpose, double game and false flag operations
which still continue became the part of the American CIA, Israeli Mossad and Indian RAW.
In case of Iraq, many of the Iraqis including some members of the former Interim Governing
Council were shocked at the violence in Fallujah. Even the US weekly, ‘Newsweek’ admitted in
its publication of April 19/April 26, 2004 that the US forces “used very heavy hand in Fallujah
where more than 400 people were killed. Four members of the [former] Governing Council
resigned in a protest against America’s crackdown in Fallujah…according to doctors figure of
the deaths was impossible to check and it is more than 400…an airstrike dropped a 500 pound
bomb. Arab language TV claimed that the bomb killed more than a score of civilians at prayer.”
Like Afghanistan, American soldiers also massacred several wounded people and civilians in
Iraq. In November, 2004, a number of world’s televised channels including those of America
showed footage of a US marine who was shooting and killing an already captive and wounded
Iraqi prisoner at close range in a mosque in Fallujah where civilians had taken shelter.
No one can deny the fact that these were the worst examples of the US-led state terrorism or use
of abnormal force.

It is of particular attention that the US-led troops, assisted by CIA have carried out indiscriminate
mass round-ups in catching up suspected Muslim men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq,
including some Arab countries without evidence. Mossad has helped the CIA officials in
arresting the Muslim men, having beard and ladies, wearing scarves. Besides Guantanamo Bay
and Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, CIA torture cells were present in several Islamic countries and
were also set up in ships where US secret agencies and military personnel employed various
methods of torture on the militants and suspected persons like physical violence and even
murder. American notorious private military firm Blackwater also eliminated countless Muslims
in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When America implemented the suggested plan of Rand Corporation and sparked a civil war
(Sectarian violence) between the Sunnis and Shias in wake of war on terror to promote the
objectives of Israel in the Muslim World, the horrible scenes of deaths were witnessed in
Pakistan and especially in Iraq.

In March, 2013, an investigative report by the British Guardian/BBC disclosed that acting under
the direction of the top US officials; the CIA utilized a global network of secret prisons, foreign
intelligence agents and torture centers in various Islamic countries including Belgium, Thailand
etc. where torture was conducted directly by American intelligence operatives.
The report also mentioned atrocities of the US-backed entities, carried out in Bagram Airbase
(Afghanistan), Guantanamo and Iraq—unleashed a deadly sectarian militia which terrorized the
Sunni community and germinated a civil war between Sunnis and Shias, and claimed tens of
thousands of lives.

It revealed, “At the height of that sectarian conflict, 3,000 bodies a month were strewn on the
streets of Iraq. Rounding up Sunnis in American pickup trucks, the captives were thrown into
secret prisons established in libraries, airports, and ministries. Anti-occupation politicians,
human rights activists, and journalists were murdered. The purpose was also to terrorize ordinary
Iraqis who opposed the US occupation.”

In this regard, the report focuses on the role of retired Colonel James Steele who worked with the
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. David Petraeus who also served as Obama’s CIA
director. Steele sent regular memos to Donald Rumsfeld who forwarded them to Vice-President
Dick Cheney and President George Bush, while, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died and
millions were displaced as a result of the chaos and brutal practices.

As exact details of the death toll in Afghanistan and Iraq are not available due to the Jewish
controlled media and their dominated concerned strategic institutes, some independent
organizations have published their reports on the basis of randomly selected interviews of the
household persons and the military officials. Some reports suggest that more than 3 million
people including civilians died in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Following his predecessor, President Barack Obama had also continued the ruthless killings of
the Muslims to complete the unfinished agenda of the Zionist Jews and Israel. Apart from air
strikes on funerals, marriage-ceremonies and mosques in Afghanistan, and extrajudicial killings
of the innocent people through illegal CIA-operated drone attacks in Afghanistan, Somalia,
Yemen etc. in general and Pakistan in particular, he converted Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen etc.
into concentration camps. As part of the US double game, CIA which created Al-Qaeda and then
ISIL, including Al-Qaeda’s Al-Nusra Front and Syrian rebel groups in fighting against the Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad and Iraqi regime is responsible for the mass murder of more than 7
million Muslims and Christians who were killed in civil wars—ground and aerial strikes of the
US-led Western countries, including various terrorism-related assaults like suicide attacks and
bomb blasts, conducted by Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Besides, during the phony global war on terror, in
these countries and Afghanistan and Iraq, especially in Syria, millions of Muslims became
homeless. The plight of refugees—countless deaths, particularly of children owing to lack of
medical treatment and starvation has displayed the holocaust on larger scale.
It is worth-mentioning that through the war against terrorism, President Bush and Obama
provided a golden chance to Israel and India to accelerate the systematic genocide of the
Palestinians and Kashmiris in the occupied territories of Palestine and Kashmir. Their forces

have been employing military terrorism such as curfews, crackdowns, sieges, massacre and
targeted killings to maintain alien rule on these territories.
In the recent years, the US-backed military regime in Burma (present Myanmar) has broken all
the record of religious cleansing by encouraging Rakhine extremist Buddhists who butchered
thousands of the Burmese Muslims belonging to the Rohingya Muslim through various brutal
methods of torture. Eye witnesses disclosed that Buddhist extremists who are in majority in the
country, torched several mosques, shops and houses of Muslims, while Burmese military and
police have been found involved in genocide, targeted killings, disappearances and rape of
Muslim women. Indian RAW which is in collaboration with the CIA and Mossad was behind the
genocide of the Muslims.

According to reports, nearly one and half million Rohingya Muslims have been murdered since
June 28, 2012, while more than 20,0000 are missing.
It is noteworthy that since September 2015, Russian-led coalition of Iran, Iraq, the Syrian army-
the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Lebanon-based Hezbollah has broken the backbone of
the CIA-Mossad- assisted ISIS terrorists, Al-Qaeda’s Al-Nusra Front and the rebel groups.
Russian-supported Assad’s forces and Iraqi troops have retaken several territories from the
control of the rebels and the ISIS terrorists who are on flee in Syria and Iraq. Recently, Iraqi
forces have recaptured the city of Mosul by defeating the ISIL militants. Very soon, through the
skilful diplomacy, Russian President Vladimir Putin will liberate entire Iraq and Syria from the
control of the US and Israeli supported non-state actors. Moscow which is destroying the pillars
of the New World Order has also exposed the sinister designs of Washington and Tel Aviv
against the Muslims and the international community.

In this backdrop, there is an interrelationship of the terror attacks in the US, Europe, Turkey,
Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Philippines etc., and elsewhere in the world, which
were false flag terror assaults, conducted by Mossad in connivance with the agents of Indian
RAW and those of the vulnerable CIA operatives.

Through all these false flag terror operations, the US and Israel wanted to obtain their covert
aims against Russia and the Muslims. Mossad had also provided the US President Donald Trump
with an opportunity to manipulate various terror assaults of Europe and America to win the US
presidential election and to reunite America and Europe, as a rift was created between America
and its Western allies, especially Europe on a number of issues. And, pro-Israeli President
Donald Trump have left no stone unturned in implementing anti-Muslim policies, while speaking
openly against the Muslims and Syrian refugees.

Nevertheless, Israeli Mossad which was in collaboration with the vulnerable CIA operatives,
particularly, organized terror assaults in the US and Europe. As part of the double game, these
terror attacks were conducted by these secret agencies, especially Mossad with the assistance of
the ISIS terrorists who used the home-grown terrorists of these countries. Main aims of the
Mossad were to reunite Europe and America and keep NATO united, and to divert the attention
of their public from internal crises and a prolonged war in Afghanistan. Other purposes of Tel
Aviv were to muster the support of America’s Western allies against Russia in relation to the

Syrian war and to instigate the Western Christians, particularly those of Europe against the
Muslims. Exaggeration of the threat of Islamophia and persecution of the Muslims in America
and these countries might be cited as instance.

Another regrettable point is that irresponsible attitude of Indian, Israeli and some Western
politicians has introduced dangerous socio-religious dimension in their societies by equating the
“war on terror” with “war on Islam” and acts of Al-Qaeda and ISIS with all the Muslims. Their
media have also been contributing to heighten the currents of world politics on cultural and
religious lines with the negative projection of Islam.

Although overtly President Trump has softened his external policy regarding Muslims and
Islamic countries to some extent, yet covertly, he is acting upon the conspiracy of Mossad and
RAW, which is, intentionally or unintentionally, being followed by America’s Western partners
against the Muslims. If not checked in time by the peace-loving Muslims, Christians, Hindus,
Jews and Buddhists, these policies of the President Donald Trump who is particularly completing
the extremist agenda of Israel are likely to result into more recruitment in the militant outfits,
especially in the ISIS group, inspiring the extremist Muslims for more terrorism-related attacks.
Israel, who will never accept the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, will prefer to
seek the final revenge by bringing about a major war between the Muslim and the Christian
worlds or to cause a nuclear war between Russia and the US-led some Western countries.
Nonetheless, the Holocaust warriors who created holy warriors to fight against the former Soviet
Union in Afghanistan are likely to create more holy warriors, while dividing the nations on
religious lines which would convert the whole world into holocaust.

 

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Palestinian Journalists Declare Hunger Strike

NOVANEWS

A journalist during a protest at Israel’s Ofer detention center in the West Bank (PLO/File)
By Jaclynn Ashly | IMEMC News 

As local and international criticism continued to mount against the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority’s (PA) tightening noose on freedoms of expression in the occupied West Bank, seven Palestinian journalists imprisoned by the PA have begun a hunger strike after being detained under the controversial Cyber Crimes Law, approved by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last month.

Palestinian journalists Mamduh Hamamra, a correspondent for Al-Quds News, Al-Aqsa TV correspondent Tariq Abu Zeid, and freelance journalist Qutaiba Qassem all declared a hunger strike immediately after their detentions were extended by up to 15 days on Thursday, according to a statement released by Omar Nazzal, a member of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate and former prisoner of Israel.

Issam Abdin, a lawyer and head of advocacy at Palestinian NGO al-Haq, confirmed to Ma’an News Agency that four more Palestinian journalists –Al-Quds News correspondent Ahmad Halayqa, Shehab News Agency correspondent Amer Abu Arafa, and reporters Islam Salim and Thaer al-Fakhouri — had declared a hunger strike on Thursday to protest their detention.

The journalists had all been detained several days prior for allegedly violating the terms of the new law, according to Abdin.

All seven of the journalists reportedly work for media outlets that were among 30 sites blocked by the PA in June — all of which were reportedly affiliated with the Hamas movement, the ruling party in the besieged Gaza Strip which has been embroiled in a bitter ten-year rivalry with the Fateh-led PA, or Abbas’ longtime political rival, Muhammad Dahlan.

While the move to block the websites in the West Bank was condemned at the time as an unprecedented violation of press freedoms in the Palestinian territory, Abbas took the crackdown on media to another level last month by passing the Cyber Crimes Law by presidential decree.

‘A draconian law’

In a statement on Thursday, Nazzal said that at least six of the imprisoned journalists — omitting al-Fakhouri — were being detained over allegations of violating Article 20 of the Cyber Crimes Law.

The article states that an individual could face at least one year in prison or be fined at least $1,410 for “creating or managing a website or an information technology platform that would endanger the integrity of the Palestinian state, the public order, or the internal or external security of the State.”

Meanwhile, “any person who propagates the kinds of news mentioned above by any means, including broadcasting or publishing them” faces up to one year in prison or a fine ranging from $282 to $1,410, according to the new law.

Abdin said that these “loose articles,” through which individuals would face imprisonment simply for publishing certain articles on their social media accounts, set the groundwork for arresting Palestinian journalists and “destroying the freedom of journalism work in Palestine.”

Nadim Nashif, the cofounder and director of Palestinian and Arab digital advocacy group 7amleh, called the law “terrible” and “draconian.”

“It’s the worst law in the PA’s history,” Nashif said. “It allows the PA to arrest anyone under unclear definitions.”

Nashif noted that not only did the law criminalize the creation, publication, and propagation of certain information deemed dangerous by the PA, it also ruled that individuals found to have bypassed PA blocks on websites through proxy servers or Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) could face three-month prison sentences.

Nashif said that the law had dragged the West Bank “backwards.”

Despite Israel’s decade-long occupation of the West Bank and the more than 10-year political split with Hamas, “generally, the media and websites were left alone,” Nashif said. “They were not part of this political fight.”

“The PA is kind of breaking the last spaces of freedom of speech,” he said.

Palestinian journalists trapped between Hamas-PA divide

Rights groups were quick to condemn the detention of the journalists, claiming that the new law was aimed at rooting out political dissent against Abbas and the PA — likely under the auspices of the PA’s widely condemned security coordination with the Israeli state, although the PA has repeatedly stated that it has halted this policy since July.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, a PA security official had initially said that at least five of the imprisoned journalists were arrested for “leaking information and communicating with hostile parties.”

However, Addameer added, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate contacted Palestinian security forces on Wednesday morning and were told that the journalists were detained “in order to pressure Hamas to release another journalist detained in the Gaza Strip,” referring to Fouad Jaradeh, a correspondent for official PA news channel Palestine TV who has been imprisoned in Gaza for more than two months.

Both Hamas and the PA have been criticized for carrying out retaliatory acts on individuals affiliated with the opposing group, most notably in the shape of politically motivated arrests and imprisonment.

Abdin said that Palestinian journalists have been “plunged into the Hamas-Fateh division,” as both groups have targeted journalists in order to quash opposition that could affect their political hold in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank respectively.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) said in a statement on Wednesday that the journalists’ arrests were “part of a marked escalation of violations against media freedoms” in both the West Bank and Gaza.

However, the new law and Abbas’ moves to stifle dissent against the PA are “not just problematic for journalists,” Nashif said. “Any activist or individual who the PA thinks is an opponent can now be arrested without any clear reason.”

The PA has also been accused of conducting sweeping detention campaigns targeting Hamas-affiliated residents of the West Bank, while the PA has escalated measures in recent months to pressure Hamas to relinquish control of the Gaza Strip.

A study by Palestinian think tank al-Shabaka documented the consequences of the PA’s security campaigns, “whose ostensible purpose were to establish law and order,” but have been perceived by locals as criminalizing resistance against Israel.

‘It’s illegal under Palestinian law’

Abdin pointed out that both the website blocking and the new cyber crimes law violated Article 27 of Palestinian Basic Law, which protects the press freedoms of Palestinian citizens, including their right to establish, print, publish, and distribute all forms of media. The law also guarantees protections for citizens who are working within the field of journalism.

The article also prohibits censorship of the media, stating that “no warning, suspension, confiscation, cancellation, or restriction shall be imposed upon the media,” unless a law violating these terms passed a legal ruling.

Abbas, however, has not received permission from the judiciary to approve these far-reaching restrictions on the press, according to Abdin.

Since Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006, the Palestinian Legislative Council has not convened in Ramallah, meaning that the vast majority of laws passed by the PA in the past ten years have been passed by Abbas, who extended his presidency indefinitely in 2009, via presidential decrees.

Al-Haq has pointed out that the new legislation violates international law, including Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Rights groups, activists, and journalists have demanded that the PA amend the law to abide by pre-existing Palestinian legislation, rescind its blockage of news sites, and end its practice of routinely arresting Palestinian activists, writers, journalists, and others for their political opinions.

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Mainstream Media Weeps for Dead White Helmets Terrorists, Cries for Nusra

In between reports about Charlottesville, race war, and Donald Trump, the Western media is also mourning the loss of several members of its terrorist PR brigade known as the White Helmets. Falsely labeled the Syria Civil Defense (the real Syria Civil Defense is a completely different organization), the White Helmets are a documented wing of al-Nusra Front.

Resting assured that its regular readers are unaware of the White Helmets’ Nusra connections, Western corporate press outlets are parading the dead White Helmets as if they are an example of the “war on humanitarian personnel” in Syria which it disingenuously portrays as being the agenda of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Seven White Helmets members were shot and killed on Saturday by “unknown assailants” in Sarmin, Idlib near the Turkish border. All through rebel-held territory, propaganda vigils were held for the dead White Helmets, with participants carrying signs saying “Save White Helmets” and “The men of civil defense are used to saving civilian lives, but found none to save theirs.”

Raed al-Saleh, head of the White Helmets and notorious terrorist sympathizer, stated that

 “Every one of you has a story with the wounded and you have given your blood to save others. I hold all those who claim leadership responsible. You must uncover the criminals who carried out this heinous crime.”

The White Helmets claimed that the attackers were masked and that they stole two vans from the group.

Interestingly enough, most of the articles in the corporate press insinuate (though never actually claim) through clever sentence structuring that the Assad government is responsible. Of course, if it was true, the Syrian government would not have been killing aid workers but al-Nusra terrorists. This fact has been documented repeatedly in my articles and those of Vanessa Beeley of 21st Century Wire.

Source: 21st Century Wire

What is most notable, however, is that Idlib is terrorist territory and it is also where all the terrorists who have agreed to “population swaps” with the Syrian government have flocked. As a result, it is an area that has a high density of religious fanatics; and we all know religious fanatics cannot play nice with others, particularly other religious fanatics. After all, terrorist groups have been fighting one another in Idlib for quite some time, with battles picking up intensity in recent weeks.

With this in mind, the deaths of the White Helmets terrorists are clearly the work of inter-terrorist squabbling and, since the group is essentially the public relations wing of al-Nusra, one need only look to the groups battling Nusra in Idlib to look for the culprits.

Or, we could simply move on and take comfort in the fact that terrorists killing terrorists reduces the net amount of terrorists as well as the workload on the Syrian military when the battle for Idlib inevitably begins. Personally, I’ll take the latter strategy.

If there was any doubt about the true nature of the White Helmets, I suggest reading my previous articles on the group as well as Vanessa Beeley’s excellent work on the same topic.

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Fake News on Russia and Other Official Enemies

NOVANEWS

The New York Times, 1917–2017

 

It has been amusing to watch the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets express their dismay over the rise and spread of “fake news.” These publications take it as an obvious truth that what they provide is straightforward, unbiased, fact-based reporting. They do offer such news, but they also provide a steady flow of their own varied forms of fake news, often by disseminating false or misleading information supplied to them by the national security state, other branches of government, and sites of corporate power.

An important form of mainstream media fake news is that which is presented while suppressing information that calls the preferred news into question. This was the case with “The Lie That Wasn’t Shot Down,” the title of a January 18, 1988, Times editorial referring to a propaganda claim of five years earlier that the editors had swallowed and never looked into any further. The lie—that the Soviets knew that Korean airliner 007, which they shot down on August 31, 1983, was a civilian plane—was eventually uncovered by congressman Lee Hamilton, not by the Times.

Mainstream media fake news is especially likely where a party line is quickly formed on a topic, with any deviations therefore immediately dismissed as naïve, unpatriotic, or simply wrong. In a dramatic illustration, for a book chapter entitled “Worthy and Unworthy Victims,” Noam Chomsky and I showed that coverage by TimeNewsweek, CBS News, and the New York Times of the 1984 murder of the priest Jerzy Popieluzko in Communist Poland, a dramatic and politically useful event for the politicized Western mainstream media, exceeded all their coverage of the murders of a hundred religious figures killed in Latin America by U.S. client states in the post-Second World War years taken together.1 It was cheap and safe to focus heavily on the “worthy” victim, whereas looking closely at the deaths of those hundred would have required an expensive and sometimes dangerous research effort that would have upset the State Department. But it was in effect a form of fake news to so selectively devote coverage (and indignation) to a politically useful victim, while ignoring large numbers whose murder the political establishment sought to downplay or completely suppress.

Fake news on Russia is a Times tradition that can be traced back at least as far as the 1917 revolution. In a classic study of the paper’s coverage of Russia from February 1917 to March 1920, Walter Lippmann and Charles Merz found that

“From the point of view of professional journalism the reporting of the Russian Revolution is nothing short of a disaster. On the essential questions the net effect was almost always misleading, and misleading news is worse than none at all…. They can fairly be charged with boundless credulity, and an untiring readiness to be gulled, and on many occasions with a downright lack of common sense.”2

Lippmann and Merz found that strong editorial bias clearly fed into news reporting. The editors’ zealous opposition to the communists led the paper to report atrocities that never happened, and to predict the imminent collapse of the Bolshevik regime no fewer than ninety-one times in three years. Journalists uncritically accepted official statements and relied on reports from unidentified “high authority.” This was standard Times practice.

The Soviet delegation arrives at Brest-Litovsk. Lev Trotsky is in the center surrounded by German officers. David King Collection. (The Bolsheviks in Power, p. 152)

This fake news performance of 1917–20 was repeated often in the years that followed. The Soviet Union was an enemy target up to the Second World War, and through it all, Times coverage was consistently hostile. With the end of the war and the emergence of the Soviet Union as a military rival, and soon a competing nuclear power, the Cold War was on. In the United States, anti-communism became a national religion, and the Soviet Union was portrayed in official discourse and the news media as a global menace in urgent need of containment. With this ideology in place and with U.S. plans for its own global expansion of power established, the Communist threat would help sustain the steady growth of the military-industrial complex and repeated interventions to counter purported Soviet aggressions.3

An Early Great Crime: Guatemala

One of the most flagrant cases in which the Soviet threat was exploited to justify U.S.-sponsored violence was the overthrow of the social democratic government of Guatemala in 1954 by a small proxy army invading from U.S. ally Somoza’s Nicaragua. This action was provoked by government reforms that upset U.S. officials, including a 1947 law permitting the formation of labor unions, and plans to buy back (at tax-rate valuations) and distribute to landless peasants some of the unused property owned by United Fruit Company and other large landowners. The United States, which had been perfectly content with the earlier fourteen-year-long dictatorship of Jose Ubico, could not tolerate this democratic challenge, and the elected government, led by Jacobo Arbenz, was soon charged with assorted villainies, based on an alleged Red capture of the Guatemalan government.4

In the pre-invasion propaganda campaign, the mainstream media fell into line behind false charges of extreme government repression, threats to its neighbors, and the Communist takeover. The Times repeatedly reported these alleged abuses and threats from 1950 onward (my favorite: Sidney Gruson’s “How Communists Won Control of Guatemala,” March 1, 1953). Arbenz and his predecessor, Juan Jose Arevalo, had carefully avoided establishing any embassies with Soviet bloc countries, fearing U.S. reprisals—to no avail. Following the removal of Arbenz and the installation of a right-wing dictatorship, court historian Ronald Schneider, after studying 50,000 documents seized from Communist sources in Guatemala, found that not only did Communists never control the country, but that the Soviet Union “made no significant or even material investment in the Arbenz regime,” and was at the time too preoccupied with internal problems to concern itself with Central America.5

Árbenz, Toriello and Arana

Árbenz, Jorge Toriello (center), and Francisco Arana (right) in 1944. The three men formed the junta that ruled Guatemala from the October Revolution until the election of Arévalo. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The coup government quickly attacked and decimated the new social groups that had formed in the democratic era, mainly peasant, worker, and teacher organizations. Arbenz had won 65 percent of the votes in a free election, but the “liberator” Castillo Armas quickly won a “plebiscite” with 99.6 percent of the vote. Although this is a result familiar in totalitarian regimes, the mainstream media had by then lost interest in Guatemala, barely mentioning this electoral outcome. The Times had claimed in 1950 that U.S. Guatemala policy “is not trying to block social and economic progress but is interested in seeing that Guatemala becomes a liberal democracy.”6 But in the aftermath, the editors failed to note that the result of U.S. policy was precisely to “block social and economic progress,” through the installation of a regime of reactionary terror.

In 2011, more than half a century after 1954, the Times reported that Guatemalan president Alvaro Colom had apologized for that “Great Crime,” the violent overthrow of the Arbenz government, “an act of aggression to a government starting its democratic spring.”7 The article mentions that, according to president Colom, the Arbenz family is “seeking an apology from the United States for its role” in the Great Crime. The Times has never made any apology or even acknowledgement of its own role in the Great Crime.

Another Great Crime: Vietnam

Fake news abounded in the Times and other mainstream publications during the Vietnam War. The common perception that the paper’s editors opposed the war is misleading and essentially false. In Without Fear or Favor, former Times reporter Harrison Salisbury acknowledged that in 1962, when U.S. intervention escalated, the Times was “deeply and consistently” supportive of the war policy.8 He contends that the paper grew steadily more oppositional from 1965, culminating in the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. But Salisbury fails to recognize that from 1954 to the present, the Times never abandoned the Cold War framework and vocabulary, according to which the United States was resisting another nation’s “aggression” and protecting “South Vietnam.” The paper never applied the word aggression to this country, but used it freely in referring to North Vietnamese actions and those of the National Liberation Front in the southern half of Vietnam.

The various pauses in the U.S. bombing war in 1965 and after, in the alleged interest of “giving peace a chance,” were also the basis of fake news as the Johnson administration used these temporary halts to quiet antiwar protests, while making it clear to the Vietnamese that U.S. officials demanded full surrender. The Times and its colleagues swallowed this bait without a murmur of dissent.9

A US tank convoy during the Vietnam War (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Furthermore, although from 1965 onward the Times was willing to publish more reports that put the war in a less favorable light, it never broke from its heavy dependence on official sources, or from its reluctance to confront the damage wrought on Vietnam and its civilian population by the U.S. war machine. In contrast with its eager pursuit of Cambodian refugees from the Khmer Rouge after April 1975, the paper rarely sought testimony from the millions of Vietnamese refugees fleeing U.S. bombing and chemical warfare. In its opinion columns as well, the new openness was limited to commentators who accepted the premises of the war and would confine their criticisms to its tactical problems and domestic costs. From beginning to end, those who criticized the war as an immoral campaign of sheer aggression were excluded from the debate.10

The 1981 Papal Assassination Attempt

The mainstream media gave a further boost to Cold War propaganda in reporting on the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in Rome in May 1981. At a time when the Reagan administration was seeking to demonize the Soviet Union as an “evil empire,” the shooting of the pope by Turkish fascist Ali Agca was quickly tied to Moscow, helped by Agca’s confession—after seventeen months of imprisonment, interrogations, threats, inducements, and access to the media—that the Bulgarians and Soviet KGB were behind it all. No credible evidence supported this connection, the claims were implausible, and the corruption in the process was remarkable. (Agca also periodically claimed to be Jesus Christ.) The case against the Bulgarians (and implicitly the KGB) was lost even in Italy’s extremely biased and politicized judicial framework. But the Times bought it, and gave it prolonged, intense, and completely unquestioning attention, as did most of the U.S. media.

Image result for assassination of pope john paul ii

Source: Fatima Crusader

During the 1991 Senate hearings on the nomination of Robert Gates to head the CIA, former agency officer Melvin Goodman testified that the CIA knew from the start that Agca’s confessions were false, because they had “very good penetration” of the Bulgarian secret services. The Times omitted this statement in its reporting on Goodman’s testimony. During the same year, with Bulgaria now a member of the “free world,” conservative analyst Allen Weinstein obtained permission to examine Bulgarian secret service files on the assassination attempt. His mission was widely reported, including in the Times, but when he returned without having found anything implicating Bulgaria or the KGB, several papers, including the Times, found his investigations no longer newsworthy.

Missile Gap

From roughly 1975 to 1986, much of the reporting on the purported “missile gap” between the United States and the Soviet Union was little more than fake news, with Times reporters passing along a steady stream of inflammatory official statements and baseless claims. An important case occurred in the mid-1970s, as right-wing hawks in the Ford administration were trying to escalate the Cold War and arms race. A 1975 CIA report had found that the Soviets were aiming only for nuclear parity. This was unsatisfactory, so CIA head George H. W. Bush appointed a new team of hardliners, who soon found that the Soviets were achieving nuclear superiority and preparing to fight a nuclear war. This so-called Team B report was taken at face value in a Times front page article of December 26, 1976, by David Binder, who failed to mention its political bias or purpose, and made no attempt to consult experts with differing views. The CIA finally admitted in 1983 that the Team B estimates were fabrications. But throughout this period, the Times supported the case for militarization by disseminating false information, much of it convincingly refuted by Tom Gervasi in his classic The Myth of Soviet Military Supremacy, a book never reviewed in the Times.

Yugoslavia and “Humanitarian Intervention”

The 1990s wars of dismantlement in Yugoslavia succeeded in removing an independent government from power and replacing it with a broken Serbian remnant and poor and unstable failed states in Bosnia and Kosovo. It also provided unwarranted support for the concept of “humanitarian intervention,” which rested on a mass of misrepresentations and selective reporting. The demonized Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević was not an ultra-nationalist seeking a “Greater Serbia,” but rather a non-aligned leader on the Western hit list who tried to help Serb minorities in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo remain in Yugoslavia as the United States and the European Union supported a legally questionable exodus by several constituent Yugoslav Republics. He supported each of the proposed settlements of these conflicts, which were sabotaged by Bosnian and U.S. officials who wanted better terms or the outright military defeat of Serbia, ultimately achieving the latter. Milošević had nothing to do with the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which Bosnian Serbs took revenge on Bosnian Muslim soldiers who had been ravaging nearby Bosnian Serb villages from their base in Srebrenica under NATO protection. The several thousand Serb civilian deaths were essentially unreported in the mainstream media, while the numbers of Srebrenica’s executed victims were correspondingly inflated.11

The Putin Era

The U.S. political establishment was shocked and delighted by the 1989–91 fall of the Soviet Union, and its members were similarly pleased with the policies of President Boris Yeltsin, a virtual U.S. client, under whose rule ordinary Russians suffered a calamitous fall in living standards, while a small set of oligarchs were able to loot the broken state. Yeltsin’s election victory in 1996, greatly assisted by U.S. consultants, advice, and money, was, for the editors of the Times, “A Victory for Russian Democracy.”12 They were not bothered by either the electoral corruption, the creation of a grand-larceny-based economic oligarchy, or, shortly thereafter, the new rules centralizing power in the office of president.13

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Source: Strategic Culture Foundation)

Yeltsin’s successor, Vladimir Putin, gradually abandoned the former’s subservience to Western interests, and was thereby perceived as a menace. His reelection in 2012, although surely less corrupt than Yeltsin’s in 1996, was castigated in the U.S. media. The lead Times article on May 5, 2012, featured “a slap in the face” from Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe observers, claims of no real competition, and “thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in Moscow square to chant ‘Russia without Putin.’”14 There had been no “challenges to legitimacy” reported in the Times after Yeltsin’s tainted victory in 1996.

The demonization of Putin escalated with the Ukraine crisis of 2014 and subsequent Kiev warfare in Eastern Ukraine, Russian support of the East Ukraine resistance, and the Crimean referendum and absorption of Crimea by Russia. This was all declared “aggression” by the United States and its allies and clients, and sanctions were imposed on Russia, and a major U.S.-NATO military buildup was initiated on Russia’s borders. Tensions mounted further with the shooting-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over southeastern Ukraine—promptly, but almost surely falsely, blamed on the “pro-Russian” rebels and Russia itself.15

Anti-Russian hostilities were further inflamed by the country’s escalated intervention in Syria from 2015 on, in support of Bashar al-Assad and against rebel forces that had come to be dominated by ISIS and al-Nusra, an offshoot of al-Qaeda. The United States and its NATO and Middle East allies had been committing aggression against Syria, in de facto alliance with al-Nusra and other extremist Islamic factions, for several years. Russian intervention turned the tide, frustrating the U.S. and Saudi goal of regime change against Assad, and weakening tacit U.S. allies.

The Times has covered these developments with unstinting apologetics—for the February 2014 coup in Kiev—which it has never labeled as such, for the U.S. role in the overthrow of the elected government of Victor Yanukovych, and with anger and horror at the Crimea referendum and Russian absorption, which it never allows might be a defensive response to the Kiev coup. Its calls for punishment for the casualty-free Russian “aggression” in Crimea is in marked contrast to its apologetics for the million-plus casualties caused by U.S. aggression “of choice” (not defensive) in Iraq from March 2003 on. The paper’s editors and columnists condemn Putin’s disregard for international law, while exempting their own country from criticism for its repeated violations of that same law.16

In the Times‘s reporting and opinion columns Russia is regularly assailed as expansionist and threatening its neighbors, but virtually no mention is made of NATO’s expansion up to the Russian borders and first-strike-threat placement of anti-missile weapons in Eastern Europe—the latter earlier claimed to be in response to a missile threat from Iran! Analyses by political scientist John Mearsheimer and Russia scholar Stephen F. Cohen that noted this NATO advance were excluded from the opinion pages of the Times.17 In contrast, a member of the Russian band Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina, was given op-ed space to denounce Putin and Russia, and the punk rock group was granted a meeting with the Times editorial board.18Between January 1 and March 31, 2014, the paper ran twenty-three articles featuring Pussy Riot and its alleged significance as a symbol of Russian limits on free speech. Pussy Riot had disrupted a church service in Moscow and only stopped after police intervened, at the request of church authorities. A two-year prison sentence followed. Meanwhile, in February 2014, eighty-four-year-old nun Sister Megan Rice was sentenced to four years in prison for having entered a U.S. nuclear weapons site in July 2012 and carried out a symbolic protest. The Timesgave this news a tiny mention in its National Briefing section, under the title “Tennessee Nun is Sentenced for Peace Protest.” No op-ed columns or meeting with the Times board for Rice. There are worthy and unworthy protesters, just as there are victims.

In Syria, with Russian help, Assad’s army and allied militias were able to dislodge the rebels from Aleppo, to the dismay of Washington and the mainstream media. It has been enlightening to see the alarm expressed over civilian casualties in Aleppo, with accompanying photographs of forsaken children and stories of civilian suffering and deprivation. The Times‘s focus on those civilians and children and its indignation at Putin-Assad inhumanity stands in sharp contrast with their virtual silence on massive civilian casualties in Fallujah in 2004 and beyond, and more recently in rebel-held areas of Syria, and in the Iraqi city of Mosul, under U.S. and allied attack.19 The differential treatment of worthy and unworthy victims has been in full force in coverage of Syria.

A further phase of intensifying Russophobia may be dated from the October 2016 presidential debates, in which Hillary Clinton declared that Donald Trump would be a Putin “puppet” as president, a theme her campaign began to stress. This emphasis only increased after the election, with the help of the media and intelligence services, as the Clinton camp sought to explain their electoral loss, maintain party control, and possibly even have the election results overturned in the courts or electoral college by attributing Trump’s victory to Russian interference.

A major impetus for the Putin connection came with the January 2017 release of a report by the Office of Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Background of Assessing Russian Activities and Intention in Recent US Elections. More than half of this short document is devoted to the Russian-sponsored RT news network, which the report treats as an illegitimate propaganda source. The organization is allegedly part of Russia’s “influence campaign…[that] aspired to help President-elect Trump’s chances of victory when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to the President-elect.” No semblance of proof is offered that there was any planned “campaign,” rather than an ongoing expression of opinion and news judgments. The same standards used to identify a Russian “influence campaign” could be applied with equal force to U.S. media and Radio Free Europe’s treatment of any Russian election—and of course, the U.S. intervention in the 1996 Russian election was overt, direct, and went far beyond any covert “influence campaign.”

Regarding more direct Russian intervention in the U.S. election, the DNI authors concede the absence of “full supporting evidence,” but in fact provide no supporting evidence at all—only speculative assertions, assumptions, and guesses. “We assess that…Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2015,” they write, designed to defeat Mrs. Clinton, and “to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process,” but provide no proof of any such order. The report also contains no evidence that Russia hacked the communications of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) or the emails of Clinton and former Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, or that it gave hacked information to WikiLeaks. Julian Assange and former British diplomat Craig Murray have repeatedly claimed that these sources were leaked by local insiders, not hacked from outside. Veteran intelligence experts William Binneyand Ray McGovern likewise contend that the WikiLeaks evidence was leaked, not hacked.20 It is also notable that of the three intelligence agencies who signed the DNI document, the National Security Agency—the agency most likely to have proof of Russian hacking and its transmission to WikiLeaks, as well as of any “orders” from Putin—only expressed “moderate confidence” in its findings.

But as with the Reds ruling Guatemala, the Soviets outpacing U.S. missile capabilities, or the KGB plotting to assassinate the pope, the Times has taken the Russian hacking story as established fact, despite the absence of hard evidence. Times reporter David Sanger refers to the report’s “damning and surprisingly detailed account of Russia’s efforts to undermine the American electoral system,” only to then acknowledge that the published report “contains no information about how the agencies had …come to their conclusions.”21 The report itself includes the astonishing statement that “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.” Furthermore, if the report was based on “intercepts of conversations” as well as on hacked computer data, as Sanger and the DNI claim, why has the DNI failed to quote a single conversation showing Putin’s alleged orders and plans?

The Times has never cited or given op-ed space to William Binney, Ray McGovern, or Craig Murray, leading dissident authorities on hacking technology, methodology, and the specifics of the DNC hacks. But room was found for Louise Mensch’s op-ed “What to Ask about Russian Hacking.” Mensch is a notorious conspiracy theorist with no relevant technical background, described by writers Nathan Robinson and Alex Nichols as best-known for “spending most of her time on Twitter issuing frenzied denunciations of imagined armies of online ‘Putinbots,’” making her “one of the least credible people on the internet.”22 But she is published in the Times because, in contrast with the informed and credible Binney and Murray, she follows the party line, taking Russian hacking of the DNC as a premise.

The CIA’s brazen intervention in the electoral process in 2016 and 2017 broke new ground in the agency’s politicization. Former CIA head Michael Morell announced in an August 2016 op-ed in the Times: “I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton,” and former CIA boss Michael Haydenpublished an op-ed in the Washington Post just days before the election, entitled “Former CIA Chief: Trump is Russia’s Useful Fool.” Morell had yet another op-ed in the Times on January 6, now openly assailing the new president. These attacks were unrelievedly insulting to Trump and laudatory to Clinton, even portraying Trump as a traitor; they also made clear that Clinton’s more pugnacious stance toward Syria and Russia was preferable by far to Trump’s leanings toward negotiation and cooperation with Russia.

This was also true of the scandal surrounding former Trump Defense Intelligence nominee Michael Flynn’s telephone call with the Russian ambassador, which may have included a discussion of the incoming administration’s policy actions. The political possibilities of this interaction were quickly grasped by outgoing Obama officials, security personnel, and the mainstream media, with the FBI interrogating Flynn and with widespread expressions of horror at Flynn’s action, which could have allegedly exposed him to Russian blackmail. But such pre-inauguration meetings with Russian diplomats have been a “common practice” according to Jack Matlock, the U.S. ambassador to Russia under Reagan and Bush, and Matlock had personally arranged such a meeting for Jimmy Carter.23 Obama’s own ambassador to the country, Michael McFaul, admitted visiting Moscow for talks with officials in 2008, even before the election. Daniel Lazare has made a good case not only that the illegality and blackmail threat are implausible, but that the FBI’s interrogation of Flynn reeks of entrapment. “Yet anti-Trump liberals are trying to convince the public that it’s all ‘worse than Watergate.’”24

The political point of the DNI report thus seems to have been, at minimum, to tie the Trump administration’s hands in its dealings with Russia. Some analysts outside the mainstream have argued that we may have been witnessing an incipient spy or palace coup that fell short, but still had the desired effect of weakening the new administration.25 The Times has not offered a word of criticism of this politicization and intervention in the election process by intelligence agencies, and in fact the editors have been working with them and the Democratic Party as a loose-knit team in a distinctly un- and anti-democratic program designed to undermine or reverse the results of the 2016 election, on the pretext of alleged foreign electoral interference.

The Times and the mainstream media in general have also barely mentioned the awkward fact that the allegedly hacked disclosures of the DNC and Clinton and Podesta emails disclosed uncontested facts about real electoral manipulations on behalf of the Clinton campaign, facts that the public had a right to know and that might well have affected the election results. The focus on the evidence-free claims of a Russian hacking intrusion have helped divert attention from the real electoral abuses disclosed by the WikiLeaks material. Here again, official and mainstream media fake news helped bury real news.

Another arrow in the Russophobia quiver was a private intelligence “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent working for Orbis Business Intelligence, a private firm hired by the DNC to dig up dirt on Trump. Steele’s first report, delivered in June 2016, made numerous serious accusations against Trump, most notably that Trump had been caught in a sexual escapade in Moscow, that his political advance had been supported by the Kremlin for at least five years, under Putin’s direction, in order to sow discord within the U.S. political establishment and disrupt the Western alliance. This document was based on alleged conversations by Steele with distant (Russian) officials: that is, strictly on hearsay evidence, whose assertions, where verifiable, are sometimes erroneous.26 But it said just what the Democrats, the mainstream media, and the CIA wanted to hear, and intelligence officials accordingly declared the author “credible,” and the media lapped it up. The Times hedged somewhat on its own cooperation in this tawdry campaign by calling the report “unverified,” but nevertheless reported its claims.27

The Steele dossier also became a central part of the investigation and hearings on “Russia-gate” held by the House Intelligence Committee starting in March 2017, led by Democratic Representative Adam Schiff. While basing his opening statement on the hearsay-laden dossier, Schiff expressed no interest in establishing who funded the Steele effort, the identity and exact status of the Russian officials quoted, or how much they were paid. Apparently talking to Russians with a design of influencing an American presidential election is perfectly acceptable if the candidate supported by this intrusion is anti-Russian!

The Times has played a major role in this latest wave of Russophobia, reminiscent of its 1917–20 performance in which, as Lippmann and Merz noted in 1920, “boundless credulity, and an untiring readiness to be gulled” characterized the news-making process. While quoting the CIA’s admission that it had no hard evidence, relying instead on “circumstantial evidence” and “capabilities,” the Times was happy to describe these capabilities at great length and to imply that they proved something.28 Editorials and news articles have worked uniformly on the false supposition that Russian hacking was proved, and that the Russians had given these data to WikiLeaks, also unproven and strenuously denied by Assange and Murray.

The Times has run neck-and-neck with the Washington Post in stirring up fears of the Russian information war and illicit involvement with Trump. The Times now easily conflates fake news with any criticism of established institutions, as in Mark Scott and Melissa Eddy’s “Europe Combats a New Foe of Political Stability: Fake News,” February 20, 2017.29 But what is more extraordinary is the uniformity with which the paper’s regular columnists accept as a given the CIA’s assessment of the Russian hacking and transmission to WikiLeaks, the possibility or likelihood that Trump is a Putin puppet, and the urgent need of a congressional and “non-partisan” investigation of these claims. This swallowing of a new war-party line has extended widely in the liberal media. Both the Times and Washington Post have lent tacit support to the idea that this “fake news” threat needs to be curbed, possibly by some form of voluntary media-organized censorship or government intervention that would at least expose the fakery.

The most remarkable media episode in this anti-influence-campaign was the Post‘s piece by Craig Timberg, “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say,” which featured a report by a group of anonymous “experts” entity called PropOrNot that claimed to have identified two hundred websites that, wittingly or not, were “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.” While smearing these websites, many of them independent news outlets whose only shared trait was their critical stance toward U.S. foreign policy, the “experts” refused to identify themselves, allegedly out of fear of being “targeted by legions of skilled hackers.” As journalist Matt Taibbi wrote, “You want to blacklist hundreds of people, but you won’t put your name to your claims? Take a hike.”30 But the Post welcomed and promoted this McCarthyite effort, which might well be a product of Pentagon or CIA information warfare. (And these entities are themselves well-funded and heavily into the propaganda business.)

On December 23, 2016, President Obama signed the Portman-Murphy Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, which will supposedly allow the United States to more effectively combat foreign (namely Russian and Chinese) propaganda and disinformation. It will encourage more government counter-propaganda efforts, and provide funding to non-government entities to help in this enterprise. It is clearly a follow-on to the claims of Russian hacking and propaganda, and shares the spirit of the listing of two hundred tools of Moscow featured in the Washington Post. (Perhaps PropOrNot will qualify for a subsidy and be able to enlarge its list.) Liberals have been quiet on this new threat to freedom of speech, undoubtedly influenced by their fears of Russian-based fake news and propaganda. But they may yet take notice, even if belatedly, when Trump or one of his successors puts it to work on their own notions of fake news and propaganda.

The success of the war party’s campaign to contain or reverse any tendency to ease tensions with Russia was made dramatically clear in the Trump administration’s speedy bombing response to the April 4, 2017, Syrian chemical weapons deaths. The Times and other mainstream media editors and journalists greeted this aggressive move with almost uniform enthusiasm, and once again did not require evidence of Assad’s guilt beyond their government’s claims.31 The action was damaging to Assad and Russia, but served the rebels well.

But the mainstream media never ask cui bono? in cases like this. In 2013, a similar charge against Assad, which brought the United States to the brink of a full-scale bombing war in Syria, turned out to be a false flag operation, and some authorities believe the current case is equally problematic.32 Nevertheless, Trump moved quickly (and illegally), dealing a blow to any further rapprochement between the United States and Russia. The CIA, the Pentagon, leading Democrats, and the rest of the war party had won an important skirmish in the struggle over permanent war.

Notes

1. Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman,Manufacturing Consent (New York: Pantheon, 2008), chapter 2.

2.Walter Lippmann and Charles Merz,A Test of the News (New York: New Republic, 1920).

3. On the Grand Area framework, see Noam Chomsky, “The New Framework of Order,” inOn Power and Ideology (Boston: South End, 1987).

4. Edward S. Herman, “Returning Guatemala to the Fold,” in Gary Rawnsley, ed.,Cold War Propaganda in the 1950s (London: Macmillan, 1999).

5. Ronald Schneider, Communism in Guatemala, 1944–1954 (New York: Praeger, 1959), 41, 196–97, 294.

6. Editorial Board, “The Guatemala Incident,”New York Times, April 8, 1950.

7. Elisabeth Malkin, “An Apology for a Guatemalan Coup, 57 Years Later,”New York Times, October 11, 2011.

8. Harrison Salisbury, Without Fear or Favor (New York: Times Books, 1980), 486.

9. Richard Du Boff and Edward Herman,America’s Vietnam Policy: The Strategy of Deception (Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs, 1966).

10. See Chomsky and Herman,Manufacturing Consent, chapter 6.

11. Editorial Board, “A Victory for Russian Democracy,”New York Times, July 4, 1996.

12. Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “The Dismantling of Yugoslavia,”Monthly Review 59, no. 5 (October 2007); Herman and Peterson, “Poor Marlise: Her Old Allies Are Now Attacking the Tribunal and Even Portraying the Serbs as Victims,” ZNet, October 30, 2008, http://zcomm.org.

13. Stephen F. Cohen, Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia (New York: Norton, 2000).

14. Ellen Barry and Michael Schwartz, “After Election, Putin Faces Challenges to Legitimacy,”New York Times, March 5, 2012.

15. Robert Parry, “Troubling Gaps in the New MH-17 Report,” Consortium News, September 28, 2016, http://consortiumnews.com.

16. Paul Krugman says, “Mr. Putin is someone who doesn’t worry about little things like international law” (“The Siberian Candidate,”New York Times, July 22, 2016)—implying, falsely, that U.S. leaders do “worry about” such things.

17. A version of Mearsheimer’s article appeared as “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault,”Foreign Affairs, September 10, 2014. The paper likewise rejected Stephen Cohen’s 2012 article “The Demonization of Putin.”

18. “Sochi Under Siege,”New York Times, February 21, 2014.

19. Michael Kimmelman, “Aleppo’s Faces Beckon to Us, To Little Avail,”New York Times, December 15, 2016. Above this front-page article were four photographs of dead or injured children, the most prominent one in Syria. The accompanying editorial, “Aleppo’s Destroyers: Assad, Putin, Iran,” omits some key actors and killers. See also Rick Sterling, “How US Propaganda Plays in Syrian War,” Consortium News, September 23, 2016.

20. William Binney and Ray McGovern, “The Dubious Case on Russian ‘Hacking,’” Consortium News, January 6, 2017.

21. David Sanger, “Putin Ordered ‘Influence Campaign’ Aimed at U.S. Election, Report Says,”New York Times, January 6, 2017.

22. Nathan J. Robinson and Alex Nichols, “What Constitutes Reasonable Mainstream Opinion,”Current Affairs, March 22, 2017.

23. Jack Matlock, “Contacts with Russian Embassy,” Jack Matlock blog, March 4, 2017, http://jackmatlock.com.

24. Daniel Lazare, “Democrats, Liberals, Catch McCarthyistic Fever,” Consortium News, February 17, 2017.

25. Robert Parry, “A Spy Coup in America?” Consortium News, December 18, 2016; Andre Damon, “Democratic Party Floats Proposal for a Palace Coup,” Information Clearing House,” March 23, 2017, http://informationclearinghouse.info.

26. Robert Parry, “The Sleazy Origins of Russia-gate,” Consortium News, March 29, 2017.

27. Scott Shane et al., “How a Sensational, Unverified Dossier Became a Crisis for Donald Trump,”New York Times, January 11, 2017.

28. Matt Fegenheimer and Scott Shane, “Bipartisan Voices Back U.S. Agencies On Russia Hacking,”New York Times, January 6, 2017; Michael Shear and David Sanger, “Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds,”New York Times,January 7, 2017; Andrew Kramer, “How Russia Recruited Elite Hackers for Its Cyberwar,”New York Times, December 30, 2016.

29. Robert Parry, “NYT’s Fake News about Fake News,” Consortium News, February 22, 2017.

30. Matt Taibbi, “The ‘Washington Post’ ‘Blacklist’ Story Is Shameful and Disgusting,”Rolling Stone, November 28, 2016.

31. Adam Johnson, “Out of 47 Media Editorials on Trump’s Syria Strikes, Only One Opposed,” Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, April 11, 2017, http://fair.org.

32. Scott Ritter, “Wag the Dog—How Al Qaeda Played Donald Trump and The American Media,” Huffington Post, April 9, 2017; James Carden, “The Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria: Is There a Place for Skepticism?Nation, April 11, 2017.

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RT Slams The Times’ Claims About Making Fake News to Serve Russian Interests

NOVANEWS
Sputnik 

RT Broadcaster on Friday responded to a request for commentary from The Times newspaper, which alleged that RT published a false story about itself to promote Russian state interests.

The Times suggested in an email to RT that last fall’s story about a UK bank closing RT accounts in the country was published to serve the Russian state’s narrative. The Times said that the letter from National Westminster Bank (NatWest) bank, cited by RT Editor-In-Chief Margarita Simonyan on her Twitter, was sent to a supplier of RT rather than the broadcaster itself, and that NatWest and the supplier eventually reached an agreement. The Times quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s criticism of the situation as an example of how wrong information appears to have been put into the public sphere.

“As you’ve apparently forgotten, here’s a refresher: NatWest (which has a significant shareholding by the UK government) provided RT’s principle UK banking facility to Russia Today TV UK Ltd, the production company for RT UK, which services the salaries of all RT UK staff and handles practically all other RT UK operations. Last October the bank informed the company that it is closing (not threatening to close) all of its accounts, and that the decision was final and not subject to redress – precisely what Margarita Simonyan said in her post,” the broadcaster said in a response to The Times.

RT added that the information was made into a story because it was true and newsworthy.

“But we look forward to the Times’ valiant effort in turning these facts into fakes; it wouldn’t be the first time,” the broadcaster said.

After the RT’s accounts were blocked in the United Kingdom in October, Lavrov criticized the move suggesting that “no bank can make these decisions on their own” and reminded “an old wisdom that goes something like this: never treat others the way you would not want them to treat you.”

In January, RT said that NatWest reviewed its decision and would retain the broadcaster’s accounts. In March, Simonyan said RT was in consultations with other banks, when asked if RT had taken any precautions to avoid problems with their accounts in the future.

RT operates a number of cable and satellite television channels in a number of languages and is directed at a foreign audience. The channels provide 24-hour news coverage, as well as airing documentaries, talk shows and debates.

German Bombshell Bestseller Exposing CIA Media Control Blocked in US

 

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PBS’: Anti – Russia Propaganda Series

NOVANEWS

By Rick Sterling 

The U.S.-government-supported Public Broadcasting System (PBS) recently ran a five-part series dubbed “Inside Putin’s Russia”. With a different theme each night, it purports to give a realistic look at Russia today. The image conveyed is of a Russia that is undemocratic with widespread state repression, violence and propaganda. Following are significant distortions and falsehoods in the five-part documentary.

Episode 1: “How Putin Redefined what it means to be Russian”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Claims that Russian identity is based on “projection of power.” In reality, “projection of power” characterizes the U.S. much more than Russia. For the past two centuries the United States has expanded across the continent and globe. The last century is documented in the bookOverthrow: American’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. The U.S. currently has nearly 800 foreign military bases in over 70 countries. In contrast, Russia has military bases in only two countries beyond the former Soviet Union: Syria and Vietnam.

–Ignores crucial information about events in Ukraine. Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine and Crimea are presented as examples of “projection of power.” But basic facts are omitted from the documentary. There is no mention of the violent February 2014 coup in Kiev nor the involvement of neoconservatives such as Sen. John McCain and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in supporting and encouraging the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government. In a December 2013 speech, Nuland outlined her intense involvement in Ukraine including U.S. insistence that Ukraine choose a “European future” since the U.S. had “invested $5 billion to assist.” Days before the coup in February 2014, Nuland was captured on audio planning the composition of the coup leadership.

–Ignores Crimea’s historic connections with Russia and the Ukrainian violence. The documentary says, In 2014 in Crimea, Russia helped install separatist leaders who rushed through a referendum that led to Crimea’s annexation.” This gives the misleading impression the decision was Russian, not Crimean.

Even the New York Timesreport on March 16, 2014, acknowledged that, “The outcome, in a region that shares a language and centuries of history with Russia, was a foregone conclusion even before exit polls showed more than 93 percent of voters favoring secession.”

The documentary fails to mention the fear of violence after Crimean travelers to Kiev were beaten and killed by Ukrainian hyper-nationalists. One of the first decisions of the Kiev coup government was to declare that Russian would no longer be an official language. A good overview including video interviews with Crimeans is in this video, contrasting sharply with the implications of the PBS documentary.

–Trivializes Russian opposition to NATO expansion. The documentary suggests Russians feel “humiliated” by NATO expanding to their borders. This distorts a serious military concern into a subjective, emotional issue. In 2002, the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and started construction of missile defense systems which could be used in tandem with a nuclear first strike. In recent years, NATO troops and missiles have been installed at Russia’s borders. Imagine the response if Russian troops and missiles were placed at the U.S. border in Canada and Mexico.

–Falsely claims that coup violence in Odessa was “exaggerated.”

The documentary says that Russians who went to help defend civilians in eastern Ukraine were convinced by Russian “propaganda” where “dozens of pro-Russian separatists died in Odessa, Ukraine” but “Russian media exaggerated the attack.” In reality, the Odessa attack killed at least 42 people and injured 100. This video shows the sequence of events with the initial attack on peaceful protesters followed by fire-bomb attacks in the building. Fire trucks were prevented from reaching the building to put out the fire and rescue citizens inside.

Episode 2: “Inside Russia’s Propaganda Machine.”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Suggests Russians are aggressive and threatening. The documentary highlights a Russian TV broadcaster who is translated to say, “Russia is the only country in the world that is realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash.” And later, “If you can persuade a person, you don’t need to kill him … if you aren’t able to persuade, then you will have to kill.” We do not know the context or accuracy of these translated statements. However on the basis of my own travels in Russia and the experience of many other Americans, these statements are strange and uncharacteristic.

At the popular and government level, Russians are typically at pains to call the U.S. a “partner” and to wish for peace and better relations. With 27 million killed in World War 2, most Russians are very conscious of the consequences of war and deeply want peace. Russians vividly recall the Russia-U.S. alliance during WW2 and seek a return to friendly collaboration. The film producers must have heard this message and desire for peace expressed by many Russians many times. But the documentary only presents this uncharacteristic aggressive message.

–Inaccurately suggests that producers of a private TV network received angry public messages because they were exposing corruption. In reality, the angry public response was because the TV station ran a poll asking viewers if the Soviet Union should have surrendered to Nazi Germany to save lives during the siege of Leningrad.

–Falsely suggests that RT (Russia Today TV) typically features Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis. This is a grotesque distortion Anyone who watches RT will know that American personalities such as Chris Hedges, Larry King and Ed Schultz are regulars on RT. Interviewees on international affairs generally come from the left side of the political spectrum – the opposite of what is suggested.

–Uncritically repeats the conspiracy theory that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton emails. The findings have been disputed by the publisher of the emails, Julian Assange of Wikileaks , as well as Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanityrecent forensic examination confirms that this was a leak not a hack (inside job done by local data transfer NOT a hack over the internet) and points to “Guccifer 2.0the presumptive “hacker,” being a hoax intentionally created to implicate Russia.

–Falsely suggests that anti-Clinton social media messaging during 2016 was significantly caused by Russian government trolls. Hillary Clinton was strongly opposed by significant portions of both the left and right. There were probably hundreds of thousands of Americans who shared anti-Clinton social media messages.

–Claims that research showing a Google search engine bias in favor of Hillary Clinton was “quickly debunked.” The documentary ignores the original article describing the potential effect of search-engine bias, which was published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The author is Dr. Robert Epstein, former editor-in-chief of Psychology Todaymagazine. Contradicting the claim that this research was “debunked,” this academic article estimates the effect of the Google bias and how the bias went away AFTER the election. The response from Google and very shallow Snopes “fact check” are effectively rebutted by the lead author here. In neo-McCarthyist style, the documentary smears the findings and claims they were “laundered” after being published by the Russian “Sputnik” media.

–Suggests the “idea that President Kennedy was killed by the CIA” was “planted” by the Soviet intelligence agency KGB. Many impressive American books have been written supporting this contention, from New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s book to David Talbot’s 2015 book Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and Deep State. Claiming that this accusation is based on KGB “disinformation” is another grotesque distortion. It is not revealing disinformation; this is an example of disinformation.

Episode 3: “Why are so many from this Russian republic fighting for Isis?”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Rationalizes and almost justifies Russian Muslims traveling to join ISIS. The documentary suggests that religious repression and discrimination is a cause of ISIS recruitment and that “Dagestanis who fought for ISIS continue a decades-old legacy here of radicalism and militancy.”

–Ignores the role of the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in promoting Islamist fundamentalism in Dagestan. As described by Robert Dreyfus in the book Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam: “the Casey-ISI (CIA and Pakistan Secret Service) actions aided the growth of a significant network of right-wing, Islamist extremists who, to this day, plague the governments of the former Soviet republics … In particular, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Liberation Party, the powerful Islamist groups in Chechnya and Dagestan.”

–Ignores the role of the US and allies in facilitating ISIS. As journalist Patrick Cockburn has written, In the 20 years between 1996 and 2016, the CIA and British security and foreign policy agencies have consistently given priority to maintaining their partnership with powerful Sunni states over the elimination of terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and Isis.”

Journalist Nafeez Ahmed exposed the role of Turkey here, “A former senior counter-terrorism official in Turkey has blown the whistle on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s deliberate sponsorship of the Islamic State (ISIS) as a geopolitical tool to expand Turkey’s regional influence and sideline his political opponents at home.”

Elements of the U.S. military/intelligence suggested the establishment of ISIS to “isolate the Syrian regime.” This was revealed in the classified 2012 report of the Defense Intelligence Agency that THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME”

In short, ISIS recruitment from Muslim communities in Russia and worldwide has been spurred by the policies and actions of the U.S. and allies such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This is what Dreyfus calls The Devil’s Game, but is ignored in the documentary.

Episode 4: “The Deadly Risk of Standing up to Putin”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Suggests that critics of Putin and the Russian government face “consequences” including death. These accusations are widespread in the West but largely based on the claims of different U.S.-supported “activists.” One of the most famous cases, and the one on which U.S. congressional sanctions against Russia are based, is that of Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky’s death was the subject of a documentary, which has been effectively banned in the U.S. In the course of researching what happened, the filmmaker learned that the truth was very different than has been told in the West and promoted by hedge-fund executive William Browder. Gilbert Doctorow outlines what happens in his review of the film here:

“‘Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes’ is an amazing film which takes us through the thought processes, the evidence sorting of the well-known independent film maker Andrei Nekrasov as he approached an assignment that was at the outset meant to be one more public confirmation of the narrative Browder has sold to the US Congress and to the American and European political elites. That story was all about a 36 year old whistle-blower ‘attorney’ (actually a bookkeeper) named Sergei Magnitsky who denounced on Browder’s behalf the theft of Russian taxes to his boss’s companies amounting to $230 million and who was rewarded for his efforts by arrest, torture and murder in detainment by the officials who perpetrated the theft. This shocking tale drove legislation that was a major landmark in the descent of US-Russian relations under President Barack Obama to a level rivaling the worst days of the Cold War.

At the end of the film we understand that this story was concocted by William Browder to cover up his own criminal theft of the money in question, that Magnitsky was not a whistleblower, but on the contrary was likely an assistant and abettor to the fraud and theft that Browder organized, that he was not murdered by corrupt Russian police but died in prison from banal neglect of his medical condition.”

The PBS documentary quotes an opposition leader, Vladimir Kara-Murza, saying “We have no free and fair elections. We have censorship in the media. We have political prisoners, more than 100 political prisoners now in Russia, today.” Kara-Murza now lives in Washington “for his safety” but returns to Russia periodically. He claims to have been poisoned several times.

Opponents of the Russian government are quick to accuse but the evidence is largely hearsay and speculation. Public polls of citizens in Russia repeatedly indicate that Putin and the government have widespread popularity, in contrast with the accusations in this documentary that they rule by intimidation and violence.

Episode 5: “What Russians think about Trump and the U.S.”                                                

Based on the content, the final episode should be titled “What the U.S. establishment and media thinks of Putin and Russia.” In this episode, the documentary:

–Features accusations by CIA Director Mike Pompeo that Russian President Putin, “ is a man for whom veracity doesn’t translate into English.” An objective documentary would take CIA claims about “veracity” with a healthy dose of skepticism. Just a few years ago, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was confirmed to have lied under oath to Congress. Former CIA chief of counterintelligence James Angleton said in his dying days, “Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars. The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you got promoted.” So it is curious to see the PBS documentary uncritically presenting the new CIA director as a judge of veracity.

–Implies that President Trump is out of line to question “the U.S. intelligence community’s unanimous assessment that Russia hacked the 2016 election.” It has been recently exposed that the “unanimous assessment” was, in reality, by “hand-picked” analysts at three agencies, under DNI Clapper’s oversight, not all 17 agencies and that the National Security Agency did NOT have “high confidence” in a key finding. The “assessment,” which the Jan. 6 report acknowledged was NOT an establishment of fact, was based on the forensics of a private company, Crowdstrike, with a checkered record in this field, and the dubious Christopher Steele dossier, a collection of “opposition research” reports against Donald Trump, paid for unidentified allies of Hillary Clinton and compiled by Steele, an ex-British intelligence agent.

In March 2017, Crowdstrike was found to have made false claims in another investigation of an alleged Russian “hack.” Yet, neither the CIA nor FBI examined the Democratic National Committee’s computers. If the issue was as important as it supposedly has now become, the FBI should have issued a subpoena to do its own examination. Why the DNC rejected the FBI request, and why the FBI did not insist, raises serious questions given the enormous publicity and accusations that have followed.

–Uncritically features two US politicians making loose accusations and effectively criminalizing “contacts” with Russians. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, says President Trump is “pushing out some messages that are consistent with the Kremlin policies … there’s no question that the Russians were trying to hack into our elections.” Yet, former U.S. intelligence officers with experience in these areas recently presented evidence raising significant questions about this conventional wisdom.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia indicates the Senate investigation reached its conclusion before it began. He said, “The goal of this investigation is not only to reconfirm Russian intervention and explain that to the American public, but to also see if there were any contacts between Trump and the Russians.”

In the current environment, to have “contacts” with Russians has been criminalized. Instead of questioning the validity or wisdom of this position, the documentary presents it with seeming approval.

–Uncritically promotes false statements and reckless threats. Sen. Lankford says We believe strongly that what Russia continues to do to be able to threaten Ukraine, threaten its neighbors, threaten NATO, to continue to pry into not only our elections, but other elections, is destabilizing, and it demands a response. They have yet to have a consequence to what they did in the election time. And they should.”

Lankford’s assertions are presented as facts but are debatable or false. For example, security services in GermanyFrance and theU.K. all found that – despite the international accusations – there was NO evidence of Russian interference in their recent elections.

–Justifies and promotes “punishment” of Russia. The belligerent approach of Lankford and Warner is continued by PBS host Judy Woodruff and narrator Nick Schifrin. The U.S. is portrayed as a vulnerable victim with a future that is “foreboding”. Russia is portrayed as threatening and needing some punishment soon: “The Russian government doesn’t feel like the United States government really penalized them for what happened last year…. a lot of officials here in Washington agree with that… Russia should have paid for what they did last year.”

This threatening talk is then followed by the following assessment from the narrator: “There are analysts in Moscow who think the only thing we can hope is that we avoid war.”

In 2002-2003, American mainstream media failed to question or challenge the assertions of the CIA and politicians pushing for the invasion of Iraq. At that time, the false pretense was that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat to the U.S.

Much of the media and many of the same politicians are now claiming Russia is an adversary that has “attacked us.” This claim is being widely made without serious question or challenge. “Liberal” media seems to be in alliance with hawkish neoconservatives on this issue. Virtually any accusation against Russia and its leader can be made with impunity and without serious evidence.

The PBS documentary “Inside Putin’s Russia” aims to expose Russian repression, aggression and disinformation. As shown in the many examples above, the five-part documentary is highly biased and inaccurate. While it shows some features of Russia, it also demonstrates American propaganda in the current tumultuous times.

  1. Armed wing of Putin…

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German Bombshell Bestseller Exposing CIA Media Control Blocked in US

NOVANEWS
Americans are being prevented from reading an important book by a hero who made a huge difference

By Charles Bausman 

Udo Ulfkotte is near and dear to our hearts, because we wrote about him in October of 2014, (Top German Editor: CIA Bribing Journalists) a few weeks after our founding, and these articles were some of our first to go viral, getting hundreds of thousands of views, despite the fact that we were practically unknown.

His book caused a sensation in Germany, was a best-seller despite being completely ignored by the same media he was implicating, and was a major factor in turning German public opinion against the Ukraine war.

Ulfkotte’s book was extraordinary because it named names in the German establishment, a sure-fire path to massive libel lawsuits. We were the first English language publication to write about Ulfkotte, and he gave us an exclusive interview shortly after we ran the above article.

We were in touch with Ulfkotte after writing about him, and followed his story. He told us at the time that he wasn’t afraid of any lawsuits, because he was near death due to complications from gas poisoning he suffered while reporting on the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s (ironically it was German manufactured gas), another story suppressed in Germany.

Sure enough, he passed away in January 2017, at the age of 56.

Perhaps the English translation of his book has been taken out of circulation because of libel threats?

R.I.P. Mr. Ulfkotte, you are a hero, and remembered by millions, and not just in Germany.

We quote in its entirety below an excellent article which recently appeared at Global Research, who noticed that the English translation is being stymied.

The English translation of German journalist Udo Ulfkotte’s best-selling book, Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists) appears to have been suppressed throughout North America and Europe.  On May 15, 2017 Next Revelation Press, an imprint of US-Canadian-based publisher Tayen Lane, released the English version of Bought Journalists, under the title, Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News.

Tayen Lane has since removed any reference to the title from its website. Correspondingly Amazon.com indicates the title is “currently unavailable,” with opportunities to purchase from independent sellers offering used copies for no less than $1309.09. The book’s subject matter and unexplained disappearance from the marketplace suggest how powerful forces are seeking to prevent its circulation.

Gekaufte Journalisten was almost completely ignored by mainstream German news media following its release in 2014. “No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about [my] book,” Ulfkotte observed. “Otherwise he or she will be sacked. So we have a bestseller now that no German journalist is allowed to write or talk about.”[1]

Along these lines, publication of the English translation was repeatedly delayed. When this author contacted Ulfkotte in early December 2015 to inquire on the book’s pending translation, he responded,  “Please find the link to the English edition here,”

http://www.tayenlane.com/bought-journalists

The above address once providing the book’s description and anticipated publication date now leads to an empty page.[2] Tayen Lane has not responded to emails or telephone calls requesting an explanation for the title’s disappearance.

When a book publisher determines that it has acquired a politically volatile or otherwise “troublesome” title it may embark on a process recognized in the industry as “privishing.” “Privishing is a portmanteau meaning to privately publish, as opposed to true publishing that is open to the public,” writes investigative journalist Gerald Colby.

It is usually employed in the following context: “We privished the book so that it sank without a trace.” The mechanism used is simple: cut off the book’s life-support system by reducing the initial print run so that the book “cannot price profitably according to any conceivable formula,” refuse to do reprints, drastically slash the book’s advertising budget, and all but cancel the promotional tour.”[3]

Privishing often takes place without the author knowing, simply because it involves breach of contract and potential liability. Tayen Lane will likely not face any legal challenge in this instance, however. Ulfkotte died of a heart attack on January 13, 2017, at age 56.[4]

Udo Ulfkotte was a prominent European journalist, social scientist, and immigration reform activist. Upon writing Gekaufte Journalisten and becoming one of the most significant media industry and deep state whistleblowers in recent history, Ulfkotte complained of repeated home searches by German state police and expressed fear for his own life. He also admitted previous health complications stemming from witnessing a 1988 poisoned gas attack in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Ulfkotte’s testimony of how intelligence agencies figure centrally in Western journalism is especially compelling because he for many years functioned in the higher echelons of mainstream newsworkers. The German journalist explains how he was recruited during the 1980s to work in espionage. This began through an invitation proffered by his graduate school advisor for an all-expense-paid trip to attend a two-week seminar on the Cold War conflict in Bonn.

After Ulfkotte obtained his doctorate he was given a job as a reporter at “the leading conservative German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, oddly appointed despite no journalistic training and hundreds of other applicants. Serving as a correspondent throughout the Middle East, Ulfkotte eventually became acquainted with agents from the CIA, German intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Britain’s MI6, and Israel’s Mossad, all of whom valued his ability to travel freely in countries largely closed to the West. His editors readily collaborated in such intelligence gathering operations,”[5] for which journalist possess “non-official cover” by virtue of their profession.

“Non-official cover” occurs when a journalist is essentially working for the CIA, but it’s not in an official capacity,” Ulfkotte explains. “This allows both parties to reap the rewards of the partnership, while at the same time giving both sides plausible deniability. The CIA will find young journalists and mentor them. Suddenly doors will open up, rewards will be given, and before you know it, you owe your entire career to them. That’s essentially how it works.”[6]  He likewise ruefully admits to “publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service.”[7]

Ulfkotte’s insider knowledge of the relationship between mainstream media and the intelligence community has special relevance in terms of informing the CIA’s antipathy toward Wikileaks, as well as the media campaign centering on the Trump administration’s alleged “ties to Russia,” while also lending credence to Trump’s frequent claims of the US media’s political biases and deep state ties. Indeed, Ulfkotte “Tweeted” about these very subjects just two days before he passed.

Ulfkotte’s explosive revelations still have the potential to further intensify the much-deserved scrutiny corporate news media presently face. In a society that pays more than lip service to freedom of thought and expression Journalists for Hire would be required reading for college students—and particularly those studying in journalism programs intending to seek employment in the media industries.

In fact, journalism professors, some of whom have migrated to the academy following long careers at renowned news outlets, possess similar insider knowledge of the relationships Ulfkotte readily explains. As both journalists and educators they have a twofold burden of responsibility. This is the case more so than ever because the entire professional and intellectual enterprise they are engaged in (and one directly linked to the nation’s accelerating civic deterioration) has been made a farce. Journalists for Hire’s suppression suggests how Ulfkotte’s posthumous censors refuse for this important examination and cleansing to proceed.

Notes

[1] Ralph Lopez, “Editor of Major German Newspaper Says He Planted Stories for CIA,” Reader Supported News, February 1, 2015.

[2] Udo Ulfkotte to James Tracy, email correspondence, December 6, 2015. In author’s possession.

[3] Gerard Colby, “The Price of Liberty,” in Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press, Kristina Borjesson, ed., Amherst NY: Prometheus Books, 2002, 15-16.

[4] Former US military intelligence officer L. Fletcher Prouty relates a similar experience of how publication of his book, The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, was greeted in 1972. “Then one day a business associate in Seattle called to tell me that the bookstore next to his office building had had a window full of books the day before, and none the day of his call. They claimed they had never had the book. I called other associates around the country. I got the same story from all over the country. The paperback had vanished. At the same time I learned that Mr. Ballantine had sold his company. I traveled to New York to visit the new ‘Ballantine Books’ president. He professed to know nothing about me, and my book … The campaign to to kill the book was nationwide and worldwide. It was removed from the Library of Congress and from College libraries as letters I received attested all too frequently.” Prouty, The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, New York: SkyHorse Publishing, 2008, xii.

[5] Ronald L. Ray, “Reporter Admits Most Media Work for CIA, MI6, Mossad,” American Free Press, October 26, 2014. See also Tyler Durden, “German Journalist Blows Whistle on How CIA Controls the Media,” Zerohedge, October 9, 2014; Udo Ulfkotte, “German Politicians Are US Puppets,” Center for Research on Globalization, November 9., 2014.

[6] Durden, “German Journalist Blows Whistle on How CIA Controls the Media.”

[7] Lopez, “Editor of Major German Newspaper Says He Planted Stories for CIA.”

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‘Doing Nothing is Not an Option:’ Congress Demands Anti-Russian Propaganda Plan

NOVANEWS
Sputnik 

Posing an ultimatum to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, US lawmakers are hinting that Congress will create a specific strategy to combat “Russian propaganda campaigns” if the State Department fails to do so.

“I urge you to come up with a strategy and work with Congress to implement it at once,” New York Representative Eliot Engel, ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to Tillerson. “Otherwise, the House and Senate will look for legislative alternatives to direct the administration to treat the threats of Russia and [Daesh] with the seriousness they deserve.”

​Sent on Friday but revealed to the public Monday, Engel’s letter was prompted by reports that Tillerson was uneasy about using the nearly $80 million Congress has allocated to fight alleged misinformation from Moscow, instead opting to make amends.

Currently, $60 million earmarked for the State Department’s Global Engagement Center is at the Pentagon and another $19.8 million has been left untouched at the State Department, Politico reports. The Global Engagement Center is a unit that replaced the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communication in 2016, and is “charged with coordinating US counterterrorism messaging to foreign audiences,” according to its site. Though Tillerson’s team has indicated they want to avoid spending money wastefully, the $60 million will be reabsorbed on September 30 if it isn’t transferred, officials told Politico.

“It seems again that this Administration just isn’t getting the message about Russia, so let me put it plainly: Russia is not America’s friend,” Engel stressed. “President Putin attacked American democracy.”

“Doing nothing is not an option,” the congressman warned.

If Tillerson fails to respond, lawmakers may once again take it upon themselves to tie US President Donald Trump’s hands on foreign policy, according to reports, as they did with the most recent sanctions bill, which put restrictions on the president’s ability to modify sanctions against Russia.

“While we, too, would ultimately like to see better relations with Russia, the Kremlin’s actions simply do not permit such improvement,” Engel noted.

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The NYT’s Grim Depiction of Russian Life

NOVANEWS

Sakhalin, Russia: photo by Lesya Kim, 19 August 2016
By Gilbert Doctorow 

Our five-week stay at our home in the Russian countryside was approaching its conclusion when I got an email from a friend in France asking me to comment on an article in The New York Times entitled “Russia’s Villages, and Their Way of Life, Are ‘Melting Away’.”

The article surely met the expectations of its editors by painting a grim picture of decline and fall of the Russian countryside in line with what the author sees as very unfavorable demographic trends in the Russian Federation as a whole. The fact that his own statistics do not justify the generalization (a net population loss of a few thousand deaths over live births in 2016 for a population of 146 million) does not get in the way of the paint-by-color canvas.  Nor does the author explain why what he has observed in a village off the beaten track in Northwest Russia, in precisely the still poor region of Pskov, gives an accurate account of country life across the vast territory of Russia, the world’s largest nation-state.

As the author notes, the main source of income from the land of the town he visited was – in the past – linen. That cultivation turned unprofitable and was discontinued. Consequently, the able-bodied part of the population has been looking for employment and making their lives elsewhere (a process of internal migration common all over the world, including the United States).

The author fails to mention that linen production is not a major agricultural indicator in Russia today, whereas many other crops are booming. Linen goes into the lovely traditional handicraft tablecloths and napkins sold to tourists at riverboat landings, and that is the extent of demand.

I could respond to the overriding portrait of countryside decay in the Times article by drawing on my observations a year ago from the deck of one of those riverboats navigating the canals and rivers connecting St. Petersburg and Moscow. From that deck and from the experience of walking around the little picturesque towns where we made stops, I understand that growing domestic Russian tourism has pumped financial resources into historic centers, like Uglich. They are coming alive, with infrastructure improvements and reviving trade.

But tourist sites are not going to be representative of the country at large, either. So I will instead use two sources of information that I am confident have greater relevance to the issue at hand. The first, and surely the most politically significant, comes from a couple of family friends who for nearly 50 years have spent summers at a parcel of land deep in the hinterland, 280 kilometers southeast of St. Petersburg, close to regional industrial center of Pikalyovo, (Leningradskaya Oblast) with its train station along the line linking the northern capital to Vologda.

My Own Eyes

The second source is my own experience in and around our property in Orlino, a hamlet numbering 300 inhabitants in the Gatchina district, also Leningradskaya Oblast, but 80 kilometers due south of St. Petersburg.

The homesteads around Pikalyovo were always hard to get to, with very poor local roads. There was no commercial infrastructure, so the bold and determined vacationers coming here had to bring most provisions for their stay with them. They were rewarded for their efforts by the produce grown in their gardens and by foraging for berries and highly desirable boletes and other wild mushrooms in the surrounding forests.

When the Soviet Union collapsed and the Russian economy followed suit in the 1990s, the Pikalyovo region suffered the kind of economic misery and population loss that the Times describes today in the Pskov region. Our friends saw that normal folks left, and the concentration of drunkards and thieves rose proportionately. The theft of anything of value in common space became acute when scrap metal scavengers pulled up kilometers of electrical cables for their copper content, leaving swathes of the district temporarily without electricity.

Pikalyovo came to the attention of national news during the 2008-2009 financial crisis when its three main industrial enterprises shut down, causing widespread misery. The best known of these enterprises, a clay processing plant owned by the oligarch Oleg Derispaska’s conglomerate Basic Element, caused a major scandal when state television carried reports on how the factory had not paid its employees for months while the boss was seeking and obtaining government assistance with repayment and rescheduling of his foreign loans. In the spring of 2009, there were protest demonstrations in Pikalyovo that resulted in both Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin personally entering the dispute to pressure Deripaska to do the right thing.

The economic woes of the regional economic hub did nothing to improve the living conditions in nearby hamlets like the one where our friends have their parcel. Our friends started cutting back on their visits and missed a year or two altogether. All of this would seem to confirm the storyline of the Times reporter, but the latest word from Volodya and Tamara overturns the storyline completely.

A Revival

A few weeks ago, our friends decided to go back to the property to prepare it for sale. They had had enough, they thought. However, once there, they discovered things were definitely looking up. A newly completed 35 kilometer highway makes their settlement much more accessible.

But, more importantly, the neighbors have changed – for the better. A retired colonel moved in a couple of years ago and started raising pigs, cows and chickens, offering meat, eggs and dairy products for sale, thereby ending our friends’ need for brought-in provisions. His example attracted others. New and dynamic settlers are putting into practice the “return to the land” trend that is an undeniable feature of current Russian social life. Our friends have decided not to sell, and to spend more time on their property.

In legal terms, the parcel of land my wife owns in the hamlet of Orlino (population 300) is categorized as a “subsistence farm.” The nature of the farming to be done there even features in the plan attached to the cadastral registry: the 700 square meters where the house was built facing the “Central Street” can be used for fruit trees and vegetable garden; the back field of another 700 square meters is allocated for potatoes, cabbage and similar crops.

In the vernacular, however, together with the two-story planed log house we built here five years ago, the property is considered a “dacha,” a summer residence. Nearly one in two urban Russian households has a dacha.

Young people think of dachas as weekend getaway locations to hold a barbecue for friends and family. If they have a feeling for Russian traditions, it is where they take their Saturday banya, or sauna in dedicated outhouses heated by wood burning stoves and then socialize over a beer. Older folks and pensioners find this frivolous. In their view, the dacha is not so much a place to idle time away as it is a place of honest toil, working the land and communing with nature. And even some of the younger generation buys into the concept of growing their own organic foods on their land, thus getting along without industrially farmed supermarket produce, whether domestic or imported.

One hundred years ago, Orlino was populated mostly by wealthy merchants whose businesses were in the extended district. They lived here year-round in substantial houses, some of which have survived to this day. To the back of the houses, what were essentially barns were built on, and there they kept some small livestock. No one in Orlino today keeps chickens, pigs, goats, not to mention cows. But they do till the land with great enthusiasm and look after their fruit trees and red berry shrubs.

The notion of subsistence farming suggests border-line poverty. But Orlino was never poor, and its residents are not indigent today. Oldsters whose pensions are inadequate are supported by their children or nephews/nieces’ families living in the local towns, in the district capital of Gatchina 50 kilometers away, or even in St. Petersburg. In return, these relatives visit in the summer to spend some days of vacation and take advantage of the large lake on the edge of the hamlet, which is lovely for swimming or boating when the weather is cooperative.

Good Use of Land

The notion of subsistence farming also suggests tough practicality. But making good use of the land does not exclude aesthetic pleasures, and every parcel of land in the hamlet is decorated by flower beds showing great ingenuity and effort.

Similarly, in the last year the Orlino farmers have all gone the way of their brethren across Russia and invested in greenhouses made of pre-formed polycarbonate walls, most commonly resembling hoops in profile. Here they put in tomatoes, cucumbers and other highly prized vegetables for their dining table which do not do well in the short growing season of the North, and in the very adverse climatic conditions which were exemplary this year in terms of cool temperatures and incessant rains. Given the expense of these greenhouses, the investment is not so much economically justified as it is a point of pride in self-sufficiency and green-thumb skills.

Electricity is the only utility that spells dependency for Orlino residents. Otherwise, each household has its own well, its own septic tank system, its own gas cylinder for the cooking stove and its own supply of birch logs for a wood-burning stove that is the mainstay of heating.

Many households have cars. The most recent arrivals, being by far the most prosperous, often have four-wheel-drive utility vehicles. This is a valuable benefit given the deplorable condition of many local roads. But then there is a significant minority who depend on the local bus system to get around. It is cheap, runs to schedule and gets you from point A to point B without fuss. The hamlet has a couple of grocery stores, so that staples are always available within easy walking distance.

An Economic Hub

For luxuries, there is the town of Siversk 10 kilometers away. Numbering perhaps 10,000 people, it is the local economic hub, with several factories, including a manufacturer of good quality upholstered furniture.

Siversk has a train station with hourly connections to Gatchina and St. Petersburg. It also has several supermarkets run by major national retail chains, so that you will find exactly the same product assortment as in St. Petersburg or Moscow. And there are a number of high quality specialty food stores and at least one bakery which is indistinguishable from what you might find in Vienna or Frankfurt.

In the not so distant past, even urban Russians had not much interest in salads or in fish. Chicken legs or sausages or pork cutlets for the barbecue were what folks shopped for as main courses. Now even our Siversk stores offer pre-packaged mixed lettuce salads or rucola coming from greenhouse complexes in Greater St. Petersburg.

And the leading fish store offers not only salmon steaks from Scandinavian producers, but several varieties of delicacy fish from Europe’s largest fresh water lake, situated 50 kilometers to the east of St. Petersburg. Still more impressive is the assortment of fish coming down each day from Murmansk: excellent flounder and superb gorbusha, a wild salmon usually considered to be a Pacific Ocean variety but also available in the waters north and west of Siberia. For those with deeper pockets, the fish vendor in little Siversk occasionally offers a fresh sterlet, the magnificent 1 kilogram-size representative of the sturgeon family that is farmed on the Volga in Astrakhan, far to the South.

I offer these observations from shopping to make the following point about the Russian country life as I see it: a lively economy with a population growing ever more sophisticated and aspiring to the good life.

The Lower Strata

When I shared these thoughts with my friend in France, he shot back: what about the lower strata of society? How are they faring?

My ready response draws on my five-year acquaintance with our “average Joe” neighbor in Orlino, Sergei. When we settled here five years ago, he drilled our artesian well, installed the electric pump and all sanitary plumbing in our house. Now he winterizes the house each year and keeps an eye on the property when we are away, for compensation to be sure, but more out of friendship, because he has other, more lucrative sources of income as a subcontractor or day worker on local construction projects. There is a lot of work of this kind now that Orlino’s fallow fields are slowly being converted into housing estates.

Sergei is a master of several building trades. He also drives a tractor. He is mechanically gifted.

Sergei is about 55, the father of a grown son and daughter, the grandfather of two. When we first met, he was living in an apartment in a multi-unit wooden house dating back 60 or 70 years that was neither comfortable nor attractive. In the past three years he has realized a long time dream and built for himself a two-story cement block house, now clad in siding. The interior space is perhaps 250 square meters. When you pass it from the road, in a row of several other very substantial recent houses, you would place it as solidly upper-middle class. And next to his house Sergei has put up a very fine and large greenhouse. Beyond that is an extensive field of splendid potatoes and vegetables.

To be sure, the second story of Sergei’s house still needs work and he and his wife live now only on the ground floor. Moreover, the investment of all spare cash into the house has scuttled other needs. When Sergei’s ancient Toyota pick-up finally rusted into irreparable condition, he found himself without motorized transport. Until further notice, until he can put together the down payment for a new vehicle, he gets around town on a bicycle.

Sergei is no fool. He gripes about local corruption and terrible roads. But on the whole he is satisfied with his lot and optimistic about the future. Any belt-tightening that has been made necessary by Western sanctions he takes in his stride. He is resolutely patriotic.

I realize full well that the observations taken from my personal experience of the Russian countryside and from the experience of close friends is anecdotal and so not statistically significant. But then neither are the observations of The New York Times reporter.

Russia is a vast land and you can pretty much find what you are looking for there. Nonetheless, the gross economic statistics published by Rosstat are upbeat and fully contradict the notion of a country in decline, including its rural component.

Posted in USA, Media, Russia0 Comments

Nazi regime to expel Al Jazeera, block broadcasts & revoke journalists’ credentials

NOVANEWS

Israel has announced plans to effectively expel the Al Jazeera network from the country, revoking journalists’ credentials, shutting the company’s bureau in Jerusalem and pulling its broadcasts from national cable and satellite television networks.

Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara announced the measures Sunday at a news conference. Journalists and representatives from Al Jazeera were not permitted to attend.

“We are going to set measures in order to illustrate our war on terrorism, on radical Islam and our solidarity with the sane Arab world,” Kara stated.

While the proposal will not take immediate effect, Kara confirmed that both the Arabic and English versions of the news channel will be shuttered once the proposal is passed in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament).

“I am the only one [in government] who is an Arabic speaker, who understands Arabic and my native language is Arabic. You cannot fool me with Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic. I know how to identify how disturbing reporting becomes incitement instead of being free speech,” he added.

Kara claimed that such extreme measures are ostensibly intended to improve journalistic practice in the country by creating “a situation that channels based in Israel will report objectively.”

“We have based our decision on the move by Sunni Arab states to close the Al Jazeera offices and prohibiting their work.”

“I congratulate the Minister of communications, Ayoob for my guidance took today in line with practical steps to stop the activity of incitement in Israel,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of Kara’s proposal on Twitter.

In July, Netanyahu announced that he was working to shut down the network which he accuses of stoking tensions and inciting violence in Israel, particularly at the al-Aqsa mosque where six Palestinians and five Israelis, including two police officers, have been killed in recent clashes.

“This attack on Al Jazeera is really an attack on all critical independent journalism.” Aidan White, director of the London-based Ethical Journalism Network told Al Jazeera.

The network’s offices in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank city of Ramallah would not be affected.

The network will not give up its Jerusalem bureau without a fight, however.

“Al Jazeera deplores this action from a state that is called the only democratic state in the Middle East and considers what it has done is dangerous,” an unnamed official with Al Jazeera told the AFP.

The broadcaster “will follow up the subject through appropriate legal and judicial procedures,” he added.

Saudi Arabia and Jordan have both shut Al Jazeera bureaux this year as part of the ongoing ‘cold war’ playing out in the Gulf, which culminated in the full blockade of Qatar.

Egypt banned the Al Jazeera network and several other websites that were critical of the government in May and broadcasts have also been blocked in the UAE.

Posted in Middle East, ZIO-NAZI, Media, Qatar0 Comments

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