Censorship, fake news, perception management

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:02 pm

Inside The "Humanitarian" Regime-Change Network Exploiting The Death Of Jo Cox

August 27th, 2018

By Vanessa Beeley and
Whitney Webb Whitney Webb

LONDON — The Jo Cox Fund, set up in memory of the slain MP soon after her death in 2016, was established by a cadre of pro-interventionist “humanitarians” with a history of involvement in past regime-change operations and whose connections to some of the world’s most ardent imperialists, as well as the Not for Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC), are legion. For that reason, as well as the past of Cox herself, it is hardly surprising that the fund designated among its causes the U.S. coalition-financed White Helmets, whose primary purpose has been to escalate unlawful NATO state-proxy and direct military intervention in Syria.

However, the fund’s efforts in promoting the White Helmets goes far beyond merely filling the organization’s coffers. Using lessons learned in past NATO interventions, the founders of the Jo Cox Fund — along with their financiers and associates — have used the fund’s association with the White Helmets in order to protect that group from criticism, largely by exploiting Jo Cox’s posthumous status as a modern-day saint in British politics, now known more for her “compassion” than her support of pro-interventionist policies that are hardly “humanitarian” in practice.

Thus, the Jo Cox Fund — and those behind it — not only have exploited the fund to promote the White Helmets “humanitarian” image but have also profited from their combined expertise to develop a sophisticated “public relations” machine that effectively promotes the destruction of the Syrian state.




This is Part II of a four-part series on the life and legacy of Jo Cox. Read part 1 here. In this part, we focus on how the people behind the Jo Cox Fund have applied strategies intended to promote foreign military intervention that was first perfected in the NATO intervention in the Balkans to the current conflict in Syria. Additionally, we examine how these players have helped develop the massive public-relations machine with the White Helmets at its center and how that machine has sought to use Cox’s death to sanctify the controversial group and shield it from scrutiny.


Perfecting the blueprint for “humanitarian” regime change: from the Balkans to Syria
It all began in the Balkans. The blueprint for the Syrian regime change, multi-spectrum war, and the roadmap for partitioning a sovereign nation along sectarian lines, was inaugurated in what was once known as Yugoslavia. Corporate media in the West, during the conflict and after, have diligently followed the NATO script, namely that the Bosnian Serbs were “motivated by a hatred of Muslims.” It was largely ignored that the Serbs wanted to protect the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia and that, in Bosnia, they opposed the concept of an Islamic fundamentalist government, which the authorities of Alija Izetbegovic were attempting to introduce.

The fact that many Bosnian Muslims — including Fikret Abdic, who was actually the true winner of the 1990 elections for the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina — were in agreement with the Bosnian Serbs over those two key issues was largely disregarded. While Western media labelled the Bosnian Serbs as “the new Nazis,” NATO-friendly Bosnian Muslims were euphemistically labelled “rebels,” and, in Kosovo, the NATO-backed Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), an organized crime group with Islamic fundamentalist leanings and connections, was labelled as “moderate” and “democrats.”

Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos, an expert on former Yugoslavia and a frequent traveller to the region, told Mint Press News:

Yugoslavia and the Serbs were the first victims of the American-led unipolar world that emerged in 1991. Because it was in Yugoslavia — namely, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo — where the U.S. and its principal ally, Britain, together with Germany, destroyed the sanctity of internationally recognized borders; disregarded the authority of the United Nations Security Council; dealt irrevocable damage to the United Nations Charter by having undermined legitimate state authorities and having supported, with arms, training, money, logistics and intelligence information, armed secessionist movements (which comprised fascist, Islamist and organised crime groups); facilitated the arrival of Mujahideen and jihadist fighters to the region; employed their respective media outlets to demonize the people standing in the way of their objectives — the Serbs — accusing them of mass murder and genocide, thus justifying the West’s policy in the Balkans; and then directly intervened with military force to guarantee the accomplishment of their objectives. In short, Yugoslavia was the template for Iraq, Libya and Syria.”

Acclaimed historian Mark Curtis has written extensively about the British government’s collaboration with the “pro-Jihadist forces in Kosovo” under the leadership of Iraq war-hawk, Tony Blair. In his book Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam, Curtis concludes:

[T]he NATO bombing that began in March 1999 had the effect of deepening, not preventing, the humanitarian disaster that Milosevic’s forces inflicted on Kosovo.”

Author and academic John Laughland wrote a book detailing the travesty of justice that was the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, entitled: Travesty: The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the Corruption of International Justice. In an opinion piece written for The Guardian in 2008, under the title “Lies of the Vigilantes,” Laughland wrote:

Slobodan Milosevic was posthumously exonerated on Monday when the international court of justice ruled that Serbia was not responsible for the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica […] The new ICC, created by Britain, also seems to operate on the basis that white men do not commit war crimes: its prosecutors are currently investigating two local wars in Africa while turning a blind eye to Iraq. Only when that hideous strength which flows from the hypocrisy of interventionism is sapped, will the world stand any chance of returning to lawfulness and peace.”

Dr. Papadopoulos also spoke to Mint Press News about the role played by Bernard Kouchner, high-profile founder of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders), and former French Foreign Minister, in Kosovo:

Like Paddy Ashdown in Bosnia, Bernard Kouchner acted like a colonial-style governor in Kosovo. Mr. Kouchner played a lead role in the Western colonization of the Serbian province by, for instance, dismantling the Yugoslav civil service there and replacing it with a pro-U.S., pro-NATO and pro-EU one, and ensuring that NATO would have supervisory offices in key institutions in Kosovo.”

In a recent article published at Global Research, Dr. Papadopoulos highlights how in the summer of 1995, the Bosnian Serb army was presented with an opportunity to conquer Srebrenica and thereby end the massacres of Serb villagers in the area. According to Dr. Papadopoulos, “it was a trap set by Bill Clinton and Bosnian Muslim leader, Alija Izetbegovic, who were both looking for ‘genocide’ so that NATO would have the justification to extensively intervene in Bosnia.”

Dr. Papadopoulos then describes how even Kouchner, the “colonial–style governor” in Kosovo, admitted the lies that permeated Western media accounts of events in Bosnia.

In 2003, Kouchner interviewed Izetbegovic when the Bosnian Muslim leader was on his deathbed. “They [the camps in Bosnia] were horrible places, but people were not systematically exterminated. Did you know that?” asked Kouchner. To which Izetbegovic replied, “Yes. I thought that my revelations could precipitate bombings. Yes, I tried, but the assertion was false. There were no extermination camps…” (excerpted from Les Guerriers de la Paix: Du Kosovo a l’Iraq, Editions Grasset, 2004; published in English as The Warriors of Peace).

Even now, after analyses and counter narratives abound to challenge the NATO-aligned media versions of events in the former Yugoslavia, those who question the “official” accounts are still attacked, maligned and slandered as “genocide deniers.”

In Part 1 of this series, we outlined the role played by Mabel van Oranje in manufacturing consent for the NATO bombing campaign in the Balkans through her founding of the European Action Council for Peace in the Balkans. That “council for peace,” with van Oranje at the helm, went on to promote a bombing campaign that pounded Yugoslavia into sectarian division and chaos, from which the region has never recovered.

Another intelligence cog in the Syrian-regime-change-war apparatus was also present in Kosovo during the NATO intervention there. James Le Mesurier, who would go on to found the White Helmets in Turkey in 2013, served as intelligence coordinator for Pristina City in Kosovo soon after the NATO intervention that led to NATO being accused of war crimes for its targeting of thousands of civilians and media.

Years later, in 2015, Le Mesurier was interviewed for a Georgetown Security Studies Review, a publication for the Center of Security Studies at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Services. The review examined the Le Mesurier-proposed “framework for demobilization and reconstruction in post-conflict Syria.” The parallels with the Kosovo operation reviewed by Le Mesurier and Georgetown Security are blatant:

These teams [White Helmets] possess many of the factors that made past demobilization efforts successful, such as the transition of the Kosovo Liberation Army to the Kosovo Protection Corps.”

In Syria, the Yugoslavia blueprint has since evolved, as the forces that destroyed Yugoslavia seek to perfect their practice of rehabilitating terrorists for the purpose of justifying foreign military intervention. In Kosovo, the KLA, a terrorist group, was rebranded as a “protection corps.” In Syria, the same “protection corps” myth was incubated with immediate effect, working in lock-step with the various terrorist and sectarian gangs that were armed, trained and financed by the U.S/U.K.-led interventionist coalition.

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Screenshot from a promotional video for the “moderate opposition” in Syria.

The Georgetown study argues that the White Helmets must be an integral part of the transitional process in post-conflict Syria. Despite claims of being an apolitical organization, the White Helmets would be involved in an external “reconciliation” process managed by NATO member-states, their allies in the Gulf, and Israel, per Georgetown’s recommendations. Internal Syrian/Russian-led reconciliation processes are not even acknowledged, despite their many successes in achieving reintegration of many of the armed factions back into the fabric of Syrian secular society.

The study then claims that the Kosovo model shows that such proposed reintegration programs can succeed if they are managed by groups like the White Helmets and similar local actors aligned with the U.S coalition policy of toppling the Syrian government. The lofty claims of promoting “stability on multiple fronts” should ring hollow considering the role of the NATO member-states in fomenting instability and chaos in a recalcitrant sovereign nation to force compliance with their supremacist geo-strategic objectives in the region. Effectively, the White Helmets are the entry point of the shadow-state wedge that has been plunged deep into the heart of Syrian society and culture.



The Balkans, the Jo Cox Foundation and James Le Mesurier
Unsurprisingly, the Jo Cox Foundation retrospectively endorses the NATO intervention in 1999 and upholds the narratives that manufactured consent for this NATO-state unlawful aggression that was never legitimized by a UN mandate.

Jo Cox named her first child Lejla, in memory of a “Bosniak genocide victim she met at Srebrenica.” Cox based much of her argumentation for military intervention in Syria upon the dubious and deadly case for military interference in the Balkans.

In February 2018, Brendan Cox resigned from both the Jo Cox Foundation and More In Common after sensationally admitting to being a repeat-offending “sex-pest” during his time working for Save the Children (STC). This followed new allegations that Cox drunkenly grabbed a woman by the throat, forced her against the wall of a London bar, and told her “I want to f**k you.” Cox had resigned from STC in 2015 after accusations of harassment and indecent behavior had forced his ignominious departure.

Brendan Cox had started working with orphans and children in Sarajevo when he was just 18 years old. In a speech given in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, in March 2017, under the auspices of the Jo Cox Foundation, Cox stated that he had been “working to counter extremism and hatred long before it attacked his own family.” Cox’s journey began in the former Yugoslavia, where he worked with “survivors of the siege of Sarajevo” and continued for the “next ten years.” Cox claims to have spent every summer and Christmas running “holiday camps, volunteering in orphanages and teaching in schools.” Cox worked with “children from Moster, Vukovar and Srebrenica”

James Le Mesurier’s Balkans career path is a little more intricate than previously revealed. After speaking to sources in Serbia, his role has been clarified in greater detail.

In 1998 Le Mesurier was seconded to the Office of the High Representative (OHR) for Bosnia and Herzegovina, under Carlos Westendorp, before being sent to Kosovo in summer of 1999 after the deployment of KFOR (Kosovo Force) to the province.

From July 1999 – 2000, Le Mesurier was appointed Intelligence Coordinator for Pristina City, acting as liaison officer between Intel officers of different national contingents in KFOR. Le Mesurier left the British Army in 2000.

From January 2001 – February 2002, Le Mesurier was Deputy Head of the Advisory Unit on Security and Justice and the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) Hans Haekkerup’s security policy body within the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). In this position, Le Mesurier acted as political advisor to the UN Police Commissioner and represented the SRSG on civil-military-police coordination bodies. He led interdepartmental working groups, developing regulatory regimes for private security companies and weapon possession and control.

From February 2002 – July 2003, Le Mesurier was advisor on economic crime with the EU Mission in Kosovo, supporting units countering money laundering, terrorism, smuggling, anti-corruption and financial disclosure.



The Bernard Kouchner connection

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Bernard Kouchner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, Sept. 27, 2010 David Karp | AP

In 1999, MSF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Bernard Kouchner was one of the original co-founders of MSF and in 1999 he arrived in Pristina as the UN Special Representative to Kosovo, elected by Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General at the time. Kouchner served as head of UNMIK from July 1999 until January 2001. Kouchner also has a history of high-level involvement in interventionist campaigns from Romania in 1989 and including Haiti, Sudan, Iraq, Libya and the more recent, ongoing Syrian and Ukrainian NATO-led regime change projects.

According to the Serbian sources who described Le Mesurier’s role in greater detail, Le Mesurier would have been under the direction of Kouchner in Pristina:

Bernard Kouchner was UN Special Representative until mid-January 2001. Le Mesurier left the British Army (where he served as an intel coordinator for City of Pristina) in mid-2000. Therefore, it is clear that he was given a job by Kouchner.”

Kouchner’s tenure in Kosovo was plagued by controversy and accusations of involvement in human and organ trafficking masterminded by the Albanian mafia gangs within the KLA. We will examine this element in greater detail in the final part of this series, which will outline the possibility of a far more nefarious role played by the White Helmets as an integral part of the global human-trafficking schemes that benefit from the chaos of conflict and war.

In this video, Kouchner responds to questions about the “yellow houses” that were the suspected center of the organ-trafficking trade. Victims, the majority of whom were Serbs, had been taken from Kosovo to Albania where their organs were brutally removed. Kouchner responds with laughter and calls the reporter “stupid, insane.”



Carla Del Ponte, former chief prosecutor for war crimes in former Yugoslavia, detailed these crimes in her book The Hunt: Me and the War Criminals, which was published in 2008 just after Kosovo declared its independence. In 2010 an interim report by the Council of Europe vindicated Del Ponte’s claims, which had garnered skepticism and criticism from the NATO-aligned media and spokespeople. Del Ponte persistently complained, at the time, that UN authorities in Kosovo were systematically blocking her investigations into crimes committed by the Kosovan Albanians in the KLA and the rebranded Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC):

The allegations are macabre and shocking. In the closing days of the Kosovo conflict, hundreds of civilians were allegedly kidnapped by Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) guerrillas and transported to neighboring Albania. There, dozens were killed and their organs “harvested” to be sold abroad. The victims included Serbs, Russians, and at least one Albanian.” (Allegations of Organ Trafficking in Del Ponte Memoir Spark Scandal)

So, in Kosovo we saw the early interconnecting links that would later expand into Syria and into the establishment of soft-power structures that would infiltrate Syrian society and provide justification for the criminalization of the Syrian government and its allies. We witnessed the curiously coincidental positioning of actors such as Kouchner, Le Mesurier and even Cox — all of whom would move on to take a pivotal role in the Syrian regime-change war.

Kouchner parted company with MSF in 1979 but subsequently founded Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World). His has been one of the most strident anti-Syrian government voices in Western media and among the ruling elite organizations that have driven the narratives on Syria in the West. In 2013, Kouchner accompanied John McCain on a clandestine tour of Syria, smuggled in illegally by armed extremist factions. In 2012, Huffington Post published an article co-authored by French war-orchestrator Bernard-Henri Levy and Bernard Kouchner, Jacques Beres, Mario Bettati and Andre Glucksmann. It was entitled “Enough Evasion, We Must Intervene in Syria!”

Did Brendan Cox cross paths with Le Mesurier and Kouchner or both? Was it a coincidence that they all operated in the same interventionist theatre at the same time? Why have Cox and Le Mesurier never emphasized the crimes committed by the Kosovar Albanians against the Serbs? Why have they been silent (to our knowledge) on the organ trade and human trafficking that would have potentially preyed on the very orphanages where Cox worked during his summer holidays?

Probably the most telling element in the updated description of James Le Mesurier’s role is that he was instrumental in the conversion of the KLA, consisting of Al Qaeda elements alongside the Kosovar Albanian warlords, into the rebranded Kosovo ‘Protection’ Corps. This blueprint has clearly been carried forward into Syria with the creation of the White Helmets to merge with and offer protection for the extremist groups, including Al Qaeda. We have also seen similar rebranding exercises for Al Qaeda in Syria: Al Nusra Front has been given a number of new identities in an effort to disassociate it from its terrorist origins.



The White Helmets PR machine and the Jo Cox Fund
Having perfected the blueprint of “humanitarian” regime change in the Balkans, many of the same players, along with their proteges and the reincarnations of certain pro-intervention NGOs, have since been sought to apply this model to other “rogue” states deemed regime-change targets, such as Syria.

In Syria, the White Helmets have been crucial to these efforts aimed at disguising the destruction and plundering of the Syrian state as an exercise in “humanitarianism.” Unsurprisingly, the White Helmets’ reputation as “humanitarians” and “good-doers” has been promoted by a highly sophisticated and interconnected nexus of NGOs that have consistently perpetuated falsehoods about the Syrian conflict in service to reviving this blueprint — first developed in Kosovo — once more in Syria. Many of the NGOs at the heart of this nexus count among their most influential members the same four individuals who formed the Jo Cox Fund in 2016.

Of the organizations most deeply involved in this effort, several stand out for their capacity to shift public opinion, their creation and co-opting of popular movements, and their ability to manipulate popular sentiment through the use of petitions, social media campaigns and other related strategies. Groups like Purpose, Avaaz and Change.org are arguably the most notable of these organizations and two of the founders of the Jo Cox Fund are intimately involved in their leadership.

For instance, Tim Dixon, once a speechwriter for Australian prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, is an experienced corporate and political strategist who shifted his focus to “humanitarian” NGOs after 2010 — co-founding Purpose Europe after joining Purpose New York in 2011, and subsequently the pro-intervention Syria campaign. Dixon also shares deep connections to Avaaz, which helped create Purpose, through Dixon’s collaboration with his “professional associate” Jeremy Heimans, who helped found Avaaz and co-founded Purpose.

https://www.mintpressnews.com/inside-th ... th/248209/

Much more to this at link
Even an entire society, a nation, or all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not owners of the earth. They are simply its possessors, its beneficiaries, and have to bequeath it in an improved state to succeeding generations

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:45 pm

'Integrity Initiative' - New Documents From Shady NGO Released
The British Government runs an anti-Russian smear campaign through the pseudo non-government-organization Integrity Initiative. Some person, operating under the 'Anonymous' label, obtained internal papers of the Initiative and publishes those in several batches. Moon of Alabama was one of the first sites that analyzed the released papers.

Our last piece on the Initiative concluded:

After reading through all the released Initiative papers and lists one gets the impression of a secret military intelligence operation, disguised as a public NGO. Financed by millions of government money the Institute for Statecraft and the Integrity Initiative work under a charity label to create and disseminate disinformation to the global public and back into the government and military itself.
Today the Anonymous account released a new batch of some 50 internal Integrity Initiative documents at the Cyber Guerrilla website.

With the new release Anonymous lays out a timeline that connects the Skripal affair in Britain with the activities and personal of the Integrity Initiative. Our last piece had already drawn the Skripal connection to the Initiative, but some of the new documents add to the trail.

The trail starts with a document (pdf), written in January 2015(!), that lays out a plan and options for sanctioning Russia.


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We have since seen that several of these planned sanctions have been realized after this or that curious event, like the alleged use of doping by Russian athletes and during the Skripal affair.

It will take some time to analyze the newly released papers and to draw conclusions. If you opt to read them yourself please leave notes on them in the comments.

Previously published:

Nov 24 - British Government Runs Secret Anti-Russian Smear Campaigns
Dec 13 - British Spies Infiltrated Bernie Sanders' Campaign?
Dec 14 - Newly Released 'Integrity Intitiative' Papers Include Proposal For Large Disinformation Campaigns
Dec 15 - The 'Integrity Initiative' - A Military Intelligence Operation, Disguised As Charity, To Create The "Russian Threat"
Tim Hayward provides a complete list (scroll down) of all articles written so far here and elsewhere about the Integrity Initiative .

Posted by b on January 4, 2019 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

Comments
Integrity Initiaive also smeared and plotted to undermine Jill Stein as Russian puppet

Think Tank That Infiltrated Sanders Campaign And Smeared UK's Corbyn Promotes Militarist "Anglo-Saxon World View"
http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2019/01/437035.shtml

A British military-intelligence think tank funded by the Foreign Office, NATO, and Facebook known as the Integrity Initiative that The Greyzone Project revealed to have infiltrated the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016 also targeted US Green Party candidate for President Jill Stein, documents leaked on the CyberGuerrilla website reveal.

One document accuses the Russian-backed TV channnel RT as having "nothing but good to say" about Stein's candidacy, which is portrayed exclusively as an operation designed to take votes away from Democrat Hillary Clinton. They accuse the Green Party of being bolstered by a "Kremlin PR vehicle" that must be confronted.

They accuse the Stein candidacy of being part of a Kremlin plot to "make American democracy look bad." They say that "the protest potential of the [US] population is part of a Russian military operation.

Given that the think tank has targeted left-wing parties including the German Die Linke and the French Communist Party by "challenging their credibility" and "investigating their finances," one wonders about the Initiaive's role in the DNC/US media narrative that she was a puppet of the Kremlin.
https://www.pdf-archive.com/2018/12/28/ ... -short.pdf

Posted by: Blooming Barricade | Jan 4, 2019 11:57:54 AM | 1

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/01/i ... eased.html
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:52 pm

Not keen on this source or writer, stealth libertarians, but this news worth examining. Ya knew it was coming....

*****************************

How a NeoCon-Backed “Fact Checker” Plans to Wage War on Independent Media
As Newsguard’s project advances, it will soon become almost impossible to avoid this neocon-approved news site’s ranking systems on any technological device sold in the United States.

by Whitney Webb


January 09th, 2019

By Whitney Webb

MINNEAPOLIS — Soon after the social media “purge” of independent media sites and pages this past October, a top neoconservative insider — Jamie Fly — was caught stating that the mass deletion of anti-establishment and anti-war pages on Facebook and Twitter was “just the beginning” of a concerted effort by the U.S. government and powerful corporations to silence online dissent within the United States and beyond.

While a few, relatively uneventful months in the online news sphere have come and gone since Fly made this ominous warning, it appears that the neoconservatives and other standard bearers of the military-industrial complex and the U.S. oligarchy are now poised to let loose their latest digital offensive against independent media outlets that seek to expose wrongdoing in both the private and public sectors.

As MintPress News Editor-in-Chief Mnar Muhawesh recently wrote, MintPress was informed that it was under review by an organization called Newsguard Technologies, which described itself to MintPress as simply a “news rating agency” and asked Muhawesh to comment on a series of allegations, several of which were blatantly untrue. However, further examination of this organization reveals that it is funded by and deeply connected to the U.S. government, neo-conservatives, and powerful monied interests, all of whom have been working overtime since the 2016 election to silence dissent to American forever-wars and corporate-led oligarchy.




More troubling still, Newsguard — by virtue of its deep connections to government and Silicon Valley — is lobbying to have its rankings of news sites installed by default on computers in U.S. public libraries, schools, and universities as well as on all smartphones and computers sold in the United States.

In other words, as Newsguard’s project advances, it will soon become almost impossible to avoid this neocon-approved news site’s ranking systems on any technological device sold in the United States. Worse still, if its efforts to quash dissenting voices in the U.S. are successful, Newsguard promises that its next move will be to take its system global.

Red light, green light . . .
Newsguard has received considerable attention in the mainstream media of late, having been the subject of a slew of articles in the Washington Post, the Hill, the Boston Globe, Politico, Bloomberg, Wired, and many others just over the past few months. Those articles portray Newsguard as using “old-school journalism” to fight “fake news” through its reliance on nine criteria allegedly intended to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to online news.

Newsguard separates sites it deems worthy and sites it considers unreliable by using a color-coded rating — green, yellow, or red — and more detailed “nutrition labels” regarding a site’s credibility or lack thereof. Rankings are created by Newsguard’s team of “trained analysts.” The color-coding system may remind some readers of the color-coded terror threat-level warning system that was created after 9/11, making it worth noting that Tom Ridge, the former secretary of Homeland Security who oversaw the implementation of that system under George W. Bush, is on Newsguard’s advisory board.

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Newsguard gives Fox News high marks for accuracy.

As Newsguard releases a new rating of a site, that rating automatically spreads to all computers that have installed its news ranking browser plug-in. That plug-in is currently available for free for the most commonly used internet browsers. NewsGuard directly markets the browser plug-in to libraries, schools and internet users in general.

According to its website, Newsguard has rated more than 2,000 news and information sites. However, it plans to take its ranking efforts much farther by eventually reviewing “the 7,500 most-read news and information websites in the U.S.—about 98 percent of news and information people read and share online” in the United States in English.

A recent Gallup study, which was supported and funded by Newsguard as well as the Knight Foundation (itself a major investor in Newsguard), stated that a green rating increased users likelihood to share and read content while a red rating decreased that likelihood. Specifically, it found 63 percent would be less likely to share news stories from red-rated websites, and 56 percent would be more likely to share news from green-rated websites, though the fact that Newsguard and one of its top investors funded the poll makes it necessary to take these findings with a grain of salt.

However, some of the rankings Newsguard itself has publicized show that it is manifestly uninterested in fighting “misinformation.” How else to explain the fact that the Washington Post and CNN both received high scores even though both have written stories or made statements that later proved to be entirely false? For example, CNN falsely claimed in 2016 that it was illegal for Americans to read WikiLeaks releases and unethically colluded with the DNC to craft presidential debate questions to favor Hillary Clinton’s campaign that same year.

In addition, in 2017, CNN published a fake story that a Russian bank linked to a close ally of President Donald Trump was under Senate investigation. That same year, CNN was forced to retract a report that the Trump campaign had been tipped off early about WikiLeaks documents damaging to Hillary Clinton when it later learned the alert was about material already publicly available.

The Washington Post, whose $600 million conflict of interest with the CIA goes unnoted by Newsguard, has also published false stories since the 2016 election, including one article that falsely claimed that “Russian hackers” had tapped into Vermont’s electrical grid. It was later found that the grid itself was never breached and the “hack” was only an isolated laptop with a minor malware problem. Yet, such acts of journalistic malpractice are apparently of little concern to Newsguard when those committing such acts are big-name corporate media outlet.

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Furthermore, Newsguard gives a high rating to Voice of America, the U.S. state-funded media outlet, even though its former acting associate director said that the outlet produces “fluff journalism” and despite the fact that it was recently reformed to “provide news that supports our [U.S.] national security objectives.” However, RT receives a low “red” rating for being funded by the Russian government and for “raising doubts about other countries and their institutions” (i.e., including reporting critical of the institutions and governments of the U.S. and its allies).



Keeping the conversation safe for the corporatocracy
Newsguard describes itself as an organization dedicated to “restoring trust and accountability” and using “journalism to fight false news, misinformation and disinformation.” While it repeatedly claims on its website that its employees “have no political axes to grind” and “care deeply about reliable journalism’s pivotal role in democracy,” a quick look at its co-founders, top funders and advisory board make it clear that Newsguard is aimed at curbing voices that hold the powerful — in both government and the private sector — to account.

Newsguard is the latest venture to result from the partnership between Steven Brill and Louis Gordon Crovitz, who currently serve as co-CEOs of the group. Brill is a long-time journalist — published in TIME and The New Yorker, among others — who most recently founded the Yale Journalism Initiative, which aims to encourage Yale students who “aspire to contribute to democracy in the United States and around the world” to become journalists at top U.S. and international media organizations. He first teamed up with Crovitz in 2009 to create Journalism Online, which sought to make the online presence of top American newspapers and other publishers profitable, and was also the CEO of the company that partnered up with the TSA to offer “registered” travelers the ability to move more quickly through airport security — for a price, of course.

While Brill’s past does not in itself raise red flags, Crovitz — his partner in founding Journalism Online, then Press+, and now Newsguard — is the last person one would expect to find promoting any legitimate effort to “restore trust and accountability” in journalism. In the early 1980s. Crovitz held a number of positions at Dow Jones and at the Wall Street Journal, eventually becoming executive vice president of the former and the publisher of the latter before both were sold to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in 2007. He is also a board member of Business Insider, which has received over $30 million from Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos in recent years.

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L. Gordon Crovitz, then-publisher of The Wall Street Journal, introduces the redesign of the newspaper, Dec. 4, 2006 in New York. Mark Lennihan | AP

In addition to being a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Crovitz proudly notes in his bio, available on Newsguard’s website, that he has been an “editor or contributor to books published by the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation.” Though many MintPress readers are likely familiar with these two institutions, for those who are not, it is worth pointing out that the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is one of the most influential neoconservative think tanks in the country and its “scholars,” directors and fellows have included neoconservative figures like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Bolton and Frederick Kagan.

During the George W. Bush administration, AEI was instrumental in promoting the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq and has since advocated for militaristic solutions to U.S. foreign policy objectives and the expansion of the U.S.’ military empire as well as the “War on Terror.” During the Bush years, AEI was also closely associated with the now defunct and controversial neoconservative organization known as the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which presciently called, four years before 9/11, for a “new Pearl Harbor” as needed to rally support behind American military adventurism.

The Heritage Foundation, like AEI, was also supportive of the war in Iraq and has pushed for the expansion of the War on Terror and U.S. missile defense and military empire. Its corporate donors over the years have included Procter & Gamble, Chase Manhattan Bank, Dow Chemical, and Exxon Mobil, among others.

Crovitz’s associations with AEI and the Heritage Foundation, as well as his ties to Wall Street and the upper echelons of corporate media, are enough to make any thinking person question his commitment to being a fair watchdog of “legitimate journalism.” Yet, beyond his innumerable connections to neoconservatives and powerful monied interest, Crovitz has repeatedly been accused of inserting misinformation into his Wall Street Journal columns, with groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation accusing him of “repeatedly getting his facts wrong” on NSA surveillance and other issues. Some of the blatant falsehoods that have appeared in Crovitz’s work have never been corrected, even when his own sources called him out for misinformation.

For example, in a WSJ opinion piece that was written by Crovitz in 2012, Crovitz was accused of making “fantastically false claims” about the history of the internet by the very people he had cited to support those claims.

As TechDirt wrote at the time:

Almost everyone he [Crovitz] sourced or credited to support his argument that the internet was invented entirely privately at Xerox PARC and when Vint Cerf helped create TCP/IP, has spoken out to say he’s wrong. And that list includes both Vint Cerf, himself, and Xerox. Other sources, including Robert Taylor (who was there when the internet was invented) and Michael Hiltzik, have rejected Crovitz’s spinning of their own stories.”



The oligarch team’s deep bench
While Brill and Crovitz’s connections alone should be enough cause for alarm, a cursory examination of Newsguard’s advisory board makes it clear that Newsguard was created to serve the interests of American oligarchy. Chief among Newsguard’s advisors are Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush and Ret. General Michael Hayden, a former CIA director, a former NSA director and principal at the Chertoff Group, a security consultancy seeking to “advise corporate clients and governments, including foreign governments” on security matters that was co-founded by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who also currently serves as the board chairman of major weapons manufacturer BAE systems.

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Another Newsguard advisor of note is Richard Stengel, former editor of Time magazine, a “distinguished fellow” at the Atlantic Council and Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy under President Barack Obama. At a panel discussion hosted last May by the Council on Foreign Relations, Stengel described his past position at the State Department as “chief propagandist” and also stated that he is “not against propaganda. Every country does it and they have to do it to their own population and I don’t necessarily think it’s that awful.”

Other Newsguard advisors include Don Baer, former White House communications director and advisor to Bill Clinton and current chairman of both PBS and the influential PR firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe as well as Elise Jordan, former communications director for the National Security Council and former speech-writer for Condoleezza Rice, as well as the widow of slain journalist Michael Hastings — who was writing an exposé on former CIA director John Brennan at the time of his suspicious death.

A look at Newguard’s investors further illustrates the multifarious connections between this organization and the American political and corporate elite. While Brill and Crovitz themselves are the company’s top investors, one of Newsguard’s most important investors is the Publicis Groupe. Publicis is the third largest global communications company in the world, with more than 80,000 employees in over 100 countries and an annual revenue of over €9.6 billion ($10.98 billion) in 2017. It is no stranger to controversy, as one of its subsidiaries, Qorvis, recently came under fire for exploiting U.S. veterans at the behest of the Saudi government and also helped the Saudi government to “whitewash” its human rights record and its genocidal war in Yemen after receiving $6 million from the Gulf Kingdom in 2017.

Furthermore, given its size and influence, it is unsurprising that the Publicis Groupe counts many powerful corporations and governments among its clientele. Some of its top clients in 2018 included pharmaceutical giants Eli Lilly, Merck, Pfizer and Bayer/Monsanto as well as Starbucks, Procter & Gamble, McDonalds, Kraft Heinz, Burger King, and the governments of Australia and Saudi Arabia. Given its influential role in funding Newsguard, it is reasonable to point out the potential conflict of interest posed by the fact that sites that accurately report on Publicis’ powerful clients — but generate bad publicity — could be targeted for such reports in Newsguard’s ranking.

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Maurice Lévy (center), the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Publicis Groupe, appears with a cadre of high-level politicians and corporate executives at an event for Rabbi Arthur Schneier’s “Appeal of Conscience Foundation,” Sept. 26, 2018. Brian Ach | AP Images for Appeal of Conscience Foundation

In addition to the Publicis Groupe, another major investor in Newsguard is the Blue Haven Initiative, which is the venture capital “impact investment” fund of the wealthy Pritzker family — one of the top 10 wealthiest families in the U.S., best known as the owners of the Hyatt Hotel chain and for being the second largest financial contributors to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Other top investors include John McCarter, a long-time executive at U.S. government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, as well as Thomas Glocer, former CEO of Reuters and a member of the boards of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., financial behemoth Morgan Stanley, and the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as a member of the Atlantic Council’s International Advisory Board.

Through these investors, Newsguard managed to raise $6 million to begin its ranking efforts in March of 2018. Newsguard’s actual revenues and financing, however, have not been disclosed despite the fact that it requires the sites it ranks to disclose their funding. In a display of pure hypocrisy, Newsguard’s United States Securities and Exchange Commission Form D — which was filed March 5, 2018 — states that the company “declined to disclose” the size of its total revenue.



Why give folks a choice?
While even a quick glance at its advisory board alone would be enough for many Americans to decline to install Newsguard’s browser extension on their devices, the danger of Newsguard is the fact that it is diligently working to make the adoption of its app involuntary. Indeed, if voluntary adoption of Newsguard’s app were the case, there would likely be little cause for concern, given that its website attracts barely more than 300 visits per month and its social-media following is relatively small, with just over 2,000 Twitter followers and barely 500 Facebook likes at the time of this article’s publication.

To illustrate its slip-it-under-the-radar strategy, Newsguard has gone directly to state governments to push its browser extension onto entire state public library systems, even though its website suggests that individual public libraries are welcome to install the extension if they so choose. The first state to install Newsguard on all of its public library computers across its 51 branches was the state of Hawaii — which was the first to partner with Newsguard’s “news literacy initiative,” just last month.


According to local media, Newsguard “now works with library systems representing public libraries across the country, and is also partnering with middle schools, high schools, universities, and educational organizations to support their news literacy efforts,” suggesting that these Newsguard services targeting libraries and schools are soon to become a compulsory component of the American library and education system, despite Newsguard’s glaring conflicts of interest with massive multinational corporations and powerful government power-brokers.

Notably, Newsguard has a powerful partner that has allowed it to start finding its way into public library and school computers throughout the country. As part of its new “Defending Democracy” initiative, Microsoft announced last August that it would be partnering with Newsguard to actively market the company’s ranking app and other services to libraries and schools throughout the country. Microsoft’s press release regarding the partnership states that Newsguard “will empower voters by providing them with high-quality information about the integrity and transparency of online news sites.”

Since then, Microsoft has now added the Newsguard app as a built-in feature of Microsoft Edge, its browser for iOS and Android mobile devices, and is unlikely to stop there. Indeed, as a recent report in favor of Microsoft’s partnership with Newsguard noted, “we could hope that this new partnership will allow Microsoft to add NewsGuard to Edge on Windows 10 [operating system for computers] as well.”

Newsguard, for its part, seems confident that its app will soon be added by default to all mobile devices. On its website, the organization notes that “NewsGuard will be available on mobile devices when the digital platforms such as social media sites and search engines or mobile operating systems add our ratings and Nutrition Labels directly.” This shows that Newsguard isn’t expecting its rating systems to be offered as a downloadable application for mobile devices but something that social media sites like Facebook, search engines like Google, and mobile device operating systems that are dominated by Apple and Google will “directly” integrate into nearly every smartphone and tablet sold in the United States.

A Boston Globe article on Newsguard from this past October makes this plan even more clear. The Globe wrote at the time:

Microsoft has already agreed to make NewsGuard a built-in feature in future products, and [Newsguard co-CEO] Brill said he’s in talks with other online titans. The goal is to have NewsGuard running by default on our computers and phones whenever we scan the Web for news.”

This eventuality is made all the more likely given the fact that, in addition to Microsoft, Newsguard is also closely connected to Google, as Google has been a partner of the Publicis Groupe since 2014, when the two massive companies joined Condé Nast to create a new marketing service called La Maison that is “focused on producing engaging content for marketers in the luxury space.” Given Google’s power in the digital sphere as the dominant search engine, the creator of the Android mobile operating system, and the owner of YouTube, its partnership with Publicis means that Newsguard’s rating system will soon see itself being promoted by yet another of Silicon Valley’s most powerful companies.

Furthermore, there is an effort underway to integrate Newsguard into social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Indeed, as Newsguard was launched, co-CEO Brill stated that he planned to sell the company’s ratings of news sites to Facebook and Twitter. Last March, Brill told CNN that “We’re asking them [Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google] to pay a fraction of what they pay their P.R. people and their lobbyists to talk about the problem.”

On Wednesday, Gallup released a poll that will likely be used as a major selling point to social media giants. The poll — funded by Newsguard and the Knight Foundation, which is a top investor in Newsguard and has recently funded a series of Gallup polls relating to online news — seems to have been created with the intention of manufacturing consent for the integration of Newsguard with top social media sites.

This is because the promoted findings from the study are as follows:“89% of users of social media sites and 83% overall want social media sites and search engines to integrate NewsGuard ratings and reviews into their news feeds and search results” and “69% would trust social media and search companies more if they took the simple step of including NewsGuard in their products.” However, a disclaimer at the end of the poll states that the results, which were based on the responses of 706 people each of whom received $2 to participate, “may not be reflective of attitudes of the broader U.S adult population.”

With trust at Facebook nose-diving and Facebook’s censorship of independent media already well underway, the findings of this poll could well be used to justify its integration into Facebook’s platform. The connections of both Newsguard and Facebook to the Atlantic Council make this seem a given.



Financial censorship
Another Newsguard service shows that this organization is also seeking to harm independent media financially by targeting online revenue. Through a service called “Brandguard,” which it describes as a “brand safety tool aimed at helping advertisers keep their brands off of unreliable news and information sites while giving them the assurance they need to support thousands of Green-rated [i.e., Newsguard-approved] news and information sites, big and small.”

At the time the service was announced last November, Newsguard co-CEO Brill stated that the company was “in discussions with the ad tech firms, leading agencies, and major advertisers” eager to adopt a blacklist of news sites deemed “unreliable” by Newsguard. This is unsurprising given the leading role of the Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s largest advertising and PR firms, has in funding Newsguard. As a consequence, it seems likely that many, if not all, of Publicis’ client companies will choose to adopt this blacklist to help crush many of the news sites that are unafraid to hold them accountable.

It is also important to note here that Google’s connection to Publicis and thus Newsguard could spell trouble for independent news pages that rely on Google Adsense for some or all of their ad-based revenue. Google Adsense has long been targeting sites like MintPress by demonetizing articles for information or photographs it deemed controversial, including demonetizing one article for including a photo showing U.S. soldiers involved in torturing Iraqi detainees at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison.

Since then, Google — a U.S. military contractor — has repeatedly tried to shutter ad access to MintPress articles that involve reporting that is critical of U.S. empire and military expansion. One article that has been repeatedly flagged by Google details how many African-Americans have questioned whether the Women’s March has aided or harmed the advancement of African-Americans in the United States. Google has repeatedly claimed that the article, which was written by African-American author and former Washington Post bureau chief Jon Jeter, contains “dangerous content.”

Given Google’s already established practice of targeting factual reporting it deemed controversial through Adsense, Brandguard will likely offer the tech giant just the excuse it needs to cut off sites like MintPress, and other pages equally critical of empire, altogether.



An action plan for the genuine protection of journalism
Though it is just getting started, Newsguard’s plan to insert its app into every device and major social-media network is a threat to any news site that regularly publishes information that rubs any of Newsguard’s investors, partners or advisors the wrong way. Given its plan to rank the English-language U.S. news sites that account for 98 percent of U.S. digital news consumption, Newsguard’s agenda is of the utmost concern to every independent media page active in the United States and beyond — given Newsguard’s promise to take its project global.

By linking up with former CIA and NSA directors, Silicon Valley Giants, and massive PR firms working for some of the most controversial governments and corporations in the world, Newsguard has betrayed the fact that it is not actually seeking to “restore trust and accountability” in journalism, but to “restore trust and accountability” in news outlets that protect the existing power structure and help shield the corporate-led oligarchy and military-industrial complex from criticism.

Not only is it trying to tank the reputations of independent media through its biased ranking system, Newsguard is also seeking to attack these alternative voices financially and by slipping its ranking system by default onto all computers and phones sold in the U.S.

However, Newsguard and it agenda of guarding the establishment from criticism can be stopped. By supporting independent media and unplugging from social media sites committed to censorship, like Facebook and Twitter, we can strengthen the independent media community and keep it afloat despite the unprecedented nature of these attacks on free speech and watchdog journalism.

Beyond that, a key way to keep Newsguard and those behind it on their toes is to hold them to account by pointing out their clear conflicts of interest and hypocrisy and by derailing the narrative they are carefully crafting that Newsguard is “non-partisan,” “trustworthy,” and true guardians against the scourge of “fake news.”

While this report has sought to be a starting point for such work, anyone concerned about Newsguard and its connections to the war machine and corrupt corporations should feel encouraged to point out the organization’s own conflicts of interests and shady connections via its Twitter and Facebook pages and the feedback section on Newsguard’s website. The best way to defeat this new tool of the neocons is to put them on notice and to continue to expose Newsguard as a guardian of empire, not a guardian of journalism.

Correction | An earlier version of this story wrote that CNN’s collusion with the Clinton campaign was illegal. However, upon further investigation, MintPress News could not corroborate that such a move was, in fact, illegal, though it is clearly in breach of journalistic ethics. As a consequence, the sentence in question was changed to say that CNN “unethically colluded” with the Clinton campaign. MintPress apologizes for the error and thanks its readers for bringing this oversight to our attention.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

https://www.mintpressnews.com/newsguard ... ia/253687/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:33 pm

Coincidence? - Chief Nurse Of British Army Was First To Arrive At Novichoked Skripal Scene
On March 4 2018 the British/Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found incapacitated on a bench in Salisbury. The British government asserts that they were affected by a chemical poison of the so called Novichok group. The case led to a diplomatic conflict as Britain accused Russia of an attempt to kill the Skripals. No evidence was provided by the British government to support those accusations. The Skripals have since been vanished.

Today an intriguing new detail of the case came to light. Spire FM, a local radio station in Salisbury, reports of a young woman, Abigail McCourt, who was given a 'Lifesaver Award' for her involvement in the Skripal case:

The 16 year old, from Larkhill, was the first to spot two people collapsed on a bench in the Maltings on March 4th and didn't hesitate to help. Abigail quickly alerted her mum, a qualified nurse, who was nearby and together they gave first aid to the victims until paramedics arrived.
It soon became clear this was no ordinary medical incident, but the poisoning of a former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, with Novichok.
...
Immediately following the incident and with the world's media focused on Salisbury, the pair didn't want any want press attention and kept their involvement quiet.

But Abby's mum now feels the time is right for her daughter to be recognised for the "incredible" way she dealt with the scenario. Alison nominated her for the Lifesaver Award at Spire FM's Local Hero Awards, and the judges were unanimous in their decision that Abigail was a very worthy winner.

Earlier reports mentioned that a 'military nurse' had attended to the Skripals. Following the above report Elena Evdokimova checked the name of the young woman's mothers and found a curiosity:

Elena Evdokimova @elenaevdokimov7 - 10:50 utc - 19 Jan 2019
We were right, it was Alison McCourt who was that"unknown military nurse" who, absolutely randomly, happened to be near the bench where #Skripals collapsed . Spire FM alleges that it was her daughter Abigail alerted her, but no one mentioned her before ...

Here is the thing. Alison McCourt is not just one random 'off-duty army nurse'. She is the Chief Nursing Officer for the British Army in the rank of Colonel:

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Colonel A L McCourt OBE ARRC QHN - Assistant Head Health Strategy / Chief Nursing Officer (Army) - Senior Health Advisor (Army) Department.

Colonel McCourt was appointed Chief Nursing Officer on February 1 2018, just one month before the Skripal incident happened. Colonel McCourt lives in Larkhill, a garrison town some 11 miles from Salisbury. She is known to visit elsewhere.


Image
via QARANAC Association

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Alison McCourt with her daughter Abigal receiving the Livesaver Award
Photo via Spire FM

There is a discrepancy between the Spire FM report and Alison McCourt's narrative of the event in the video posted with the Spire report. The written report only mentions Abigal McCourt and her mother. But in the video the mother speaks of "Abigal and the rest of our family" who were the first to arrive at the Skripal poisoning scene. She continues to contrast "Abigal" and "we" and later again "Abigal" and "the rest of us" meaning that there were more persons on the scene than just the mother and the daughter. In a recorded interview at the bottom of the Spire FM page Abigal says that it was her brothers birthday and that "we" were out celebrating it. (She also mentions that "the woman [Yulia Skripal] was not breathing at the time we found her." How then could she vomit?)

In 2014 the Daily Mail reported (video) on Colonel Alison McCourt's deployment as British mission leader to Sierra Leone where she helped to fight the highly infectious Ebola disease. According to that report McCourt is married and has two children. Her son must by now be fourteen. There is no further information available about her husband.

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via Daily Mail

Neither Colonel McCourt nor her daughter were affected by the extremely dangerous Novichok with which the Skripals were allegedly poisoned. But what about the other persons, her son and her husband, who were also at the scene? What were they doing?

No additional information about the McCourts has so far come to light.

Isn't it an extremely unlikely coincidence that the first person who 'by chance' attends to the Skripals is the top nurse of the British army? An experienced officer, highly connected, who is also know for handling highly infectious patients? Who wrote the script for this enthralling saga (rec.)?

This is one of the many, many 'coincidences', curiosities and lies that make the official Skripal poisoning narrative so unbelievable.


There are also many indications that the case is related to other British government operations. Indeed the whole Skripal incident might well have been staged.

Pablo Miller, the MI6 agent who recruited, handled and befriended Sergei Skripal, also worked for Orbis Ltd. Orbis is the company of the 'former' MI6 agent Christopher Steele who was paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign to write the 'Dirty Dossier' about alleged Trump connections to Moscow. Soon after the Skripal incident happened, the British government released a D-Notice that prohibited British media from further mentioning Pablo Miller's name and thereby the relation of the two cases.

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Long before the Skripal incident happened an experienced Russia scholar asserted that the Steele dossier was written by someone trained by Soviet intelligence. It is thus quite possible that Sergej Skripal, the former Russian spy, was an informant or even author of the Steele dossier about Trump.

The recently exposed British military intelligence operation Integrity Initiative has shown extensive interest in the media echo the Skripal case had in various countries. Curiously one of its papers lists Pablo Miller, the Skripal handler, as a contact of the Integrity Initiative's leader Colonel Chris Nigel Donnelly.

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There is additional suspicion that the Integrity Initiative, whose primary function is to stoke Russophobia, was one of the brains behind the Skripal incident.

The Initiative was also involved in the Steele dossier and the russophobic anti-Trump campaign. Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Moscow, is employed by the Institute for Statecraft, the shadowy parent organization of the Integrity Initiative funded by the Ministry of Defense and Foreign Office. It was Andrew Wood who helped to disseminate the Steele dossier to U.S. Senator John McCain. McCain then gave the dossier to FBI Director James Comey. The FBI used the dossier first to get FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, and, after Comey was fired, to launch a counter-intelligence investigation (section 3) against Trump himself.

Here is a theory how all this may come together. Back in 2015 the Institute of Statecraft and its russophobic director Colonel Donnelly discussed how to increase sanctions on Russia. In 2016 the Steele dossier was created in an attempt to connect Trump to Russia. Steele's colleague Pablo Miller and his spy Sergei Skripal were quite likely involved in creating the dossier. The dossier was disseminated with the help of Donnelly's Institute of Statecraft.

For some reason the Skripals had to be taken out. Sergei Skripal probably threatened to spill the beans about the dossier after it became public. The highly scripted 'Novichok' incident in Salisbury was staged to remove Skripal and to smear Russia with an alleged murder attempt. Colonel McCourt, the trusted army nurse, was asked to help on the scene. After the Skripal incident, and with no evidence shown, Russia was blamed and massive sanctions followed. The Integrity Initiative, the propaganda arm of the Institute of Statecraft, analyzes the media results of the Skripal affair and continues to stoke the anti-Russia campaign.

It might be possible that Steele's 'dirty dossier', the Skripal case and the Integrity Initiative operation are unrelated. But that chance for that now tends towards zero.

Posted by b on January 19, 2019 at 02:41 PM | Permalink

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/01/c ... ripal.html
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:45 pm

These Media Claims About Venezuela Are Lies Or Misconceptions
The U.S. mainstream media is suddenly discovering Venezuela. Without having any actual knowledge of the country, all dirt the writers can think of is thrown against its government. Don't expect to get any facts from them. Most is just propaganda in a media build for a war.

In this NPR report for example, Amid Chaos Venezuelans Struggle To Find The Truth, Online, the first line is already an outrageous lie:

In Venezuela, where media is controlled by the government, figuring out what is truth, rumor or propaganda has always been difficult.
No. The media in Venezuela is NOT controlled by the government. There are many privately owned newspapers and TV stations. Many of them oppose the government. They have a larger viewership than the government controlled ones. While there are, as elsewhere, laws that allow for some censorship, their actual use is not common.

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Secretary of State Pompeo and others claim that Cuba is involved in Venezuela. The NYT even headlines: With Spies and Other Operatives, a Nation Looms Over Venezuela’s Crisis: Cuba. But all the experts quoted refute Pompeo's claim:

“This claim that Cuba is controlling Venezuela has been around, really, since Chávez started,” said David Smilde, a sociology professor and expert on Venezuela at Tulane University. “It’s been long overblown.”
...
While former military officials who have fled Venezuela have reported the involvement of Cubans within the security and intelligence forces, experts say the extent of that involvement remains shrouded in mystery.
...
“There’s been a lot of speculation about this, and rumors about numbers and about how close they are to Maduro,” said Ted Piccone, a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. “But I haven’t seen any hard, solid reporting on it.”
...
[T]he ranks of Cuban professionals working in the South American country have thinned in recent years, analysts say, and the relationship between Mr. Maduro and the current Cuban leadership is not nearly as warm as the friendship between their predecessors.
...
Political advisers still have the ear of key officials in the Maduro administration, though Mr. Smilde said: “Cubans often complain that Maduro doesn’t listen to them.”
Cuba has good economic relation with Venezuela. Several thousand Cuban doctors work there. But that's about it.

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One claim, repeated yesterday by the British ambassador at the UN, is that Maduro won the presidential election by "stuffing the ballot boxes". Venezuela doesn't have ballot boxes. It uses an electronic system developed by a British company that is highly praised:

In September 2012 former US President Jimmy Carter said “the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world”.
The voters identify with a voter ID and a finger print and vote on a touch screen. Maduro was duly elected as president. Twice. Some, not all opposition parties and candidates, boycotted the last election which led to a lower than usual turnout. Not taking part is a right the opposition can use. It is not the fault of the government.

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Some media claim that the "international community" accepted the U.S. sponsored dude's presidential claim. That is a lie. The U.S. tried to find allies for its onslaught on Venezuela but failed to get international support except from a few of its poodles. Yesterday the UN security council did not take up a resolution against Venezuela because it was obvious that it would fail. Even at the Organisation of American States (OAS) U.S. attempts to push for a resolution against Maduro failed to gain a simple majority:

Thursday also saw a diplomatic battle at the Organization of American States, with Secretary Pompeo and OAS Secretary Almagro pushing the body to recognize Guaidó. The efforts were unsuccessful, garnering only 16 favourable votes out of the 34 countries, with US allies Guyana, Santa Lucia, and Jamaica abstaining.
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Another frequently seen claim is that economic mismanagement caused the problems in Venezuela. But it was the drop in oil prices and, even more important, U.S. sanctions that led to billions of losses of government income and caused the economic difficulties. Sanctions do not work against governments as often claimed, but impoverish the people. Already back in 2014 Maduro identified them as part a regime change attempt. The Congressional Research Service lists all the sanctions and warns (pdf) that these hit the poor the most. Even the U.S. sponsored dude acknowledges that the U.S. sanctions are part of the 'regime change' plan:

Guaido also praised countries that had imposed sanctions against Venezuela, stressing that “sanctions worked” and played a part in getting the country where it is today.
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is not even as messy as its neighbors are. Despite the current problems the UN's Human Developing Index ranks Venezuela higher than most of them.

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All 'western' media repeat the claim that the U.S. sponsored dude claimed the presidency based on article 233 of the constitution. But none of them refute that obviously false claim. Article 233 of the constitution (pdf) of Venezuela details the procedures for the case that the president "becomes permanently unavailable" which Nicolas Maduro is obviously not. Moreover the next in place if the president becomes unavailable is the vice president, not the leader of the National Assembly. The dude has no legal basis to claim the presidency.

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Another claim is that the U.S. sponsored dude is somewhat prominent. He is not:

Félix Seijas, a political analyst and director of the Delphos polling agency, said surveys showed that few Venezuelans even knew Guaidó’s name a few weeks ago.
The dude is simply a stand-in for Leopoldo López, a criminal opposition politician who already twice attempted violent coups:

Born into a well-off family with links to the business and oil sector, López, now 46, was educated in the United States and has a master's degree from Harvard University.
...
In a 2009 classified cable published by Wikileaks, the political counsellor of the US embassy in Caracas, Robin D Meyer, wrote that López had become a "divisive figure within the opposition".
"He is often described as arrogant, vindictive, and power-hungry - but party officials also concede his enduring popularity, charisma, and talent as an organiser," the US diplomat wrote.

In the U.S. the real man behind the coup attempt is anti-Cuban Senator Marco Rubio:

[Rubio] waited less than a month after Mr. Trump took office to begin a persistent effort to draw the president’s attention to Venezuela. In February 2017, Mr. Rubio along with Mr. Pence helped usher Lilian Tintori, a Venezuelan political activist and television star, into the Oval Office to meet Mr. Trump. She told the president about her husband, Leopoldo López, an opposition leader under house arrest.
Rubio and other neoconservatives have since plotted to convince Trump to confront the people of Venezuela. Former CIA official Ray McGovern thinks, like me, that Trump seems to fall into a catastrophic trap:

Ray McGovern @raymcgovern - 16:47 utc - 25 Jan 2019
Venezuela could be Trump’s Bay of Pigs, with Bolton playing CIA's Alan Dulles and Pompeo John Foster Dulles. They and the US military brass tried to mousetrap JFK with deceitful assurances that there would be no need for US military action. Will Trump face them down, as JFK did?

The above are only some of the false claims and misconceptions about Venezuela that are floating around. Please use the comments to collect and refute whatever other lies you see.

Posted by b on January 27, 2019 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/01/t ... tions.html

That last quote from Ray McGovern is some crazy shit, 'cept for the Bay of Pigs part. And if it happens like that in the media it will be like Syria, where all the fake left, after hating on Syria for a couple years start pretending they were behind Syria all along when it was clear that Syria was winning. First against the wall.
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by kidoftheblackhole » Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:22 pm

First against the wall.
They'll be the easy ones. No one will miss them.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:55 pm

Social media automation & infowars by the Venezuelan opposition
Go to the profile of Erin Gallagher
Erin Gallagher
Jan 30
A critical look at some of the methods used by the right-wing Venezuelan opposition against the Maduro government and supporters of Chavismo.

Image
User-to-hashtag network for 18,116 #23E tweets from Jan 24 to Jan 28

There is a long history of foreign interference in Latin America and Venezuela specifically. In recent years, the US government has imposed crushing sanctions on the already struggling Venezuelan economy. An information war is also playing out on Venezuelan social media, though the actors involved are unknown. For 1.5 years I have tracked a hashtag associated with a group of right-wing political hackers who support the Venezuelan opposition. I’ve found blatant use of automation, coordinated inauthentic behavior and cyborgs in Venezuelan networks; accounts that tweet hundreds to thousands of times per day in order to push out a massive volume of media on Twitter.

One of these cyborgs tweeted at me in 2017 after I published an initial study about opposition hashtag, #TeamHDP. The cyborg told me they were using IFTTT to boost their tweets because of censorship. I believe the person who was running this account was likely an activist who genuinely believed they were trying to circumvent state censorship, but the Venezuelan opposition is far from censored on Twitter. To the contrary, their trends generate billions of impressions every day.

I’ve never seen anything with such a tremendous reach as this Venezuelan opposition hashtag, which is why I’ve continued monitoring it since I first found it in June 2017.

Background
In March 2016 Bloomberg published the investigation How to Hack an Election, which is how we learned that Andres Sepulveda, Colombian right-wing political hacker, had rallied Anonymous in Venezuela against Chavez in 2012.

I had seen some Venezuelan Anonymous accounts on Twitter and noticed they were using hashtag #TeamVene10, so I downloaded some tweets that corresponded with that hashtag in June 2017. That was how I stumbled across #TeamHDP.

At the time I was mostly experimenting, so I downloaded some #TeamHDP tweets too, and realized soon after that the hashtag was unusual.

I later discovered that #TeamHDP was used by an Anonymous group of right-wing political hackers that have attacked the Venezuelan government, leaked documents online and targeted supporters of President Maduro, known as Chavistas with doxing campaigns on Twitter.

When I graphed the hashtag in 2017, #TeamHDP consisted of three main actors:

an anonymous penguin (handle: HDPY0)
a Justin Bieber parody account (handle: YoSoyJustin)
a US website based in Miami (handle: DolarToday) that, according to wikipedia, “is more known for being an exchange rate reference to the Venezuelan bolivar” and “monitoring the Venezuelan economy.”
I did an analysis of their networks in June 2017 which you can read here:

Automation in Venezuelan Twitter Networks

Something unusual is happening in Venezuelan twitter networks.
medium.com
The network is currently down to 2 actors: DolarToday (3.4 million followers) and another iteration of the anonymous penguin, ThePinguinHDP (17.5K followers). Justin Bieber has disappeared and I’m not sure what happened to him but I’m going to backtrack to 2017 briefly to explain something I found then that wasn’t included in my initial analysis.

The Venezuelan Justin Bieber
The accounts that were tweeting under hashtag #TeamHDP were also using a second hashtag #LaListaJustin (Justin’s list). This hashtag was a network used to dox government officials and Chavistas. In May 2017, they hacked a government portal of national ID cards and leaked a cache of personally identifiable information on Twitter.

I found out about the hashtag dox list after I published my blog and I easily found some of the tweets with personal data. I reported them (PII was still on Twitter in June 2017, a month after it had been hacked). They were doxing supporters of the Venezuelan government including military members and police, and also doxing their wives and families.

Then Twitter suspended the Venezuelan Justin Bieber, YoSoyJustin. I received a notification back from my reports that the account had violated Twitter rules. But shortly after he was suspended, sometime overnight between June 26 and June 27, 2017, he came back on a new profile (YoSoyJustin_ ). I monitored this new account and watched it rapidly gain tens of thousands of followers within a matter of days. I documented the progression on Facebook and took screenshots:

“@YoSoyJustin was one of three trollish accounts I found in #TeamHDP and since he was doxing people, I reported the tweets with private info and his account was suspended sometime overnight between June 26 & 27.
Here’s the progression in chronological order of his “new” account after he came back on a new profile.
The new account @YoSoyJustin_ was actually opened in May 2014 (during La Salida protests) and has been lying dormant until this week when it was activated, began tweeting and has gained over 21K followers in 1 week.” — me from June 2017

continue at link:

https://medium.com/@erin_gallagher/soci ... db407492f8
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:00 pm

Venezuela - Coup Propaganda Claims Gang Violence Is Coup Supporting Protest
To demonize the President of Venzuela, Nicolás Maduro, and Venezuelan government forces, a concerted effort is made to falsely depict gang violence, and the police reaction to it, as a confrontation between coup supporting protesters and the Maduro government.

Gang violence in the various slums in Caracas and elsewhere has been a problem for decades. The phenomenon is by far not exclusive to Venezuela. The gangs mostly fight each other over territory, but sometimes collide with the police that tries to keep the violence level down. This violence has nothing to do with the recently attempted coup or the anti-government protest by the mostly well-off people who support it.

On January 29 the Washington Post, the CIA's favored outlet, launched the campaign. As detailed yesterday an incident of gang violence and the police's reaction to it was manipulated into a story of anti-government protest.

The first three paragraph of the story told of an alleged anti-government protests in a slum in Caracas which included the arson of a culture center. The next day the police arrested some culprits which led to more violence. Some twenty propaganda filled paragraphs about the coup attempt follow. Only at the end of the Washington Post piece was revealed what really happened. The arson incident took place a January 22, a day before the coup attempt. It was a gang attack:

Around midnight, neighbors say, a group of hooded boys threw molotov cocktails at the culture center.
The following day the police arrested some of the arsonists. More rioting followed:

A group set fire to barricades, threw stones and attacked an outpost of the National Guard. ... Neighbors said that criminal gangs were among the crowd and created havoc by violently confronting the police.
The whole tit for tat incident was typical gang violence. It likely had nothing to do with the coup attempt.

On January 30 the New York Times added to the propaganda theme:


The agents barged into the home of Yonaiker Ordóñez, 18, on Sunday morning as he slept. Dressed in helmets and carrying rifles, the men grabbed the teenager and forced him to another room without explaining why they came, his family said.
...
The operation resembled one of the many police raids against the gangs that terrorize Venezuela’s poor neighborhoods. But Mr. Ordóñez’s only crime, his family said, was that he attended a protest against the government days before.
The Times goes on to claim that a special police force, the FAES, has replaced the National Guard as anti-protester force. It quotes an 'opposition lawmaker', a 'human rights organization', a 'former military general who broke ranks with Mr. Maduro', a 'criminologist in Caracas who teaches at the Central University of Venezuela' and an 'opposition activist' in support of that claim. No attempt is made to quote someone from the police or government side. How the FAES, a special police force with some 1,000 officers in Caracas, could ever replace the 70,000 strong militarized National Guard is left unexplained.

On January 31 an op-ed by the dude the U.S. wants to make president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, was published in the NYT. He mentioned (not by chance) the same incident describe in Washington Post. He also claimed that it was motivated by anti-Maduro sentiment:

Last week in Caracas, citizens from the poorest neighborhoods that had been Chavista strongholds in the past took to the streets in unprecedented protests. They went out again on Jan. 23 with the full knowledge that they might be brutally repressed, and they continue to attend town hall meetings.
The phrase 'they went out again on Jan. 23' confirms that the incident happened before the coup-attempt on January 23 and the protests related to it.

Today Bloomberg reports of the same incident as WaPo and NYT before. It also falsely claiming that the FAES police raids against gangs are part of a government reaction to an alleged anti-Maduro sentiment:

Since protests against Maduro began last week, the socialist regime has regularly sent the police’s elite Special Action Force racing into Caracas slums on personnel carriers and motorcycles. Its masked members, all in black, attack demonstrators with weapons including tear gas, guns and even grenades. They settle long-standing scores and rob residents’ homes, eyewitnesses say. At least 35 people have died amid the demonstrations, adding to scores of deaths in two years of unrest.
The government sent the FAES to arrest gang criminals in Caracas' slums ever since that force was founded for exactly that purpose. To say that it does so "since protests against Maduro began last week" makes absolutely no sense.

Gang violence is a huge problem in Venezuela. Like in other countries it is a side-effect of rapid urbanization and the uncontrolled growth of new city quarters or slums. Other factors are drugs and the availability of weapons. Some six million guns are believed to be in civilian hands and drug dealing is rampant. Youth unemployment exacerbates the problem. The same gang problem exists in Brazil, Honduras, Colombia and Mexico. In Los Angeles 60% of homicides are gang related.

The problem is not new. In March 2011 the Guardian reported on Drugs, murder and redemption: the gangs of Caracas. In October 2012 Time Magazine published a photo essay about the The Street Gangs of Caracas. In June 2015 the government created a joint military and police force to get a grip on the problem. It was not successful: Controversy Continues over Venezuela’s New Security Operation. The Daily Mail ran a typically sensational piece about gang violence in Caracas in June 2016: Boss of brutal kidnap gang boasts of murdering HUNDREDS - and police admit they're powerless to stop him. In August 2016 Reuters chimed in: Ultra-violent gangs thrive in chaotic Venezuela despite crackdown. In May 2017 the LA Times headlined Venezuela's raging homicide epidemic is going unrecorded.

Since the late 1980s the homicide rate in Venezuela (and elsewhere) has constantly risen. The gang violence existed in Venezuela way before 2002 when the socialists under Hugo Chavez came to power. Several large programs were created to calm it down with more or less success. Special anti-gang forces were created and abandoned. The problem still does not go away. There are many ideas of how to fight gang violence. Some may work, some may not. They all require lots of money and time.

In 2017 the Venezuelan government created the Bolivarian National Police Special Forces (‘FAES’ in Spanish). It replaced a joint military and police force, the Operation Liberate the People, that was criticized after some bloody incidents. The FAES are equipped like typical SWAT teams and have a similar function. Here are pictures of them in a recent raid against criminal groups. There are only 1,000 FAES officers in Caracas, a city with 3 million people. Their job is to react to violent gang crime. The force is too small to be tasked with controlling anti-government activities. That is the job of the regular police and national guard.

Criminal gang activity in the slums and the police reaction to it that has been going on for decades. To now claim that it is somehow related to the recent coup attempt and anti-Maduro activities is nonsensical.

It is typical demonization propaganda. As soon as the U.S. government declares some head of state an 'enemy', U.S. media start to villainize that person. The same stories that were written about alleged cruelty of Saddam Hussein, Muhammad Ghaddafi, Kim Jong-Il and Bashar al-Assad will now be recycled with regards to Nicolas Maduro. In Syria Shabiha, youth groups supporting the Baath party, were claimed to be a secret killer force for the government. The same claim is now made about Colectivos in Venezuela. These are civil neighborhood groups doing mostly social work in support of the United Socialist Party. It is lather, rinse, repeat 'reporting' in the service of war mongering.

The people who live in the slums of Caracas have profited most from the socialist policies of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. They are the most avid chavistas. It were those people who took to the streets and came to Chavez' help during the failed coup in 2002. To claim that they now rise against the government is at best wishful thinking of the coup-attempt supporters and at worst war drums propaganda.

Posted by b on February 1, 2019 at 03:08 PM | Permalink

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/02/v ... otest.html
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:57 pm

How the Media Manufactures Consent for Regime Change in Venezuela
Alan MacLeod looks at the role of the media in the regime change operation in Venezuela.

jguaido.jpg

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Juan Guaido swore himself in as "interim president" on January 23 (EFE)

By Alan MacLeod – Venezuelanalysis.com
Feb 10th 2019 at 6.52pm
January 2019 CoupMedia

The latest extraordinary chapter in the bizarre world of Venezuelan politics is playing out before our eyes. After winning the 2018 presidential elections, Nicolás Maduro was inaugurated in January, only for the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó -- a man whom, at the time, less than 20 percent of the country had even heard of -- to declare himself President.

Guaidó was immediately backed by the governments of the U.S. and U.K., with Vice President Mike Pence stating, "Nicolás Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power. He has never won the presidency in a free and fair election, and has maintained his grip of power by imprisoning anyone who dares to oppose him."

I've previously cataloged how the media has been quick to echo the idea that Maduro is completely illegitimate and has been eager to position America's stance towards Venezuelan politics as one of a neutral arbiter.

Why do mainstream media outlets, who resist Trump at home, neatly align themselves with his administration's Venezuela policy? And why has there so little criticism of what is essentially an ongoing U.S.-backed coup attempt?

In a recent study, I analyzed how the media presented the 2018 elections in Colombia and Venezuela. Looking at how these two elections were covered can help us understand why there's so little nuance in the media coverage of U.S.-Venezuela relations.

A seminal study inspires
To study the 2018 elections, I used the propaganda model media scholars Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky outlined in their book Manufacturing Consent. Their propaganda model contends that mainstream, corporate media is not a neutral venue for truth. Instead, it is a vehicle that advances the interests of media owners and their advertisers.

The authors argue that, in contrast to the top-down censorship of authoritarian states, these outlets achieve uniform opinions through the pre-selection of "right-thinking" editors and reporters who have been trained at the "right" schools. They then disseminate information – or, at the very least, self-censor – in a way that protects or advances the ideology of ownership, advertisers and official sources.

Herman and Chomsky highlight this phenomenon through coverage of elections in three countries: Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

The Guatemalan presidential election of 1982 and the Honduran presidential election of 1984 to 1985 were held under what Herman and Chomsky describe as "conditions of severe, ongoing state terror against the civilian population." They show how the U.S. media ignored the enormous waves of violence inundating these two elections. CBS' Dan Rather, for example, described the events in Guatemala as "heartening."

Meanwhile, Herman and Chomsky explain that the 1984 Nicaraguan elections were won by the Marxist sandinistas in a "model of probity and fairness by Latin American standards." Yet American media coverage portrayed this election with a relentless tone of negativity. Time Magazine reported that the election mood was "one of indifference," with voters "too apathetic to go to the polls" and that "the outcome was never in doubt," suggesting a rigged system, while many articles discussed the "fear" of Nicaraguan voters.

Mainstream media coverage, they concluded, manufactured a reality that was conducive to the interests of the U.S. government – which sought to prop up their client states and demonize Nicaragua – and multinational corporations, who were eager to work with sympathetic right-wing governments to increase their foothold in Central America.

Coverage of two elections: A case study
Using this paired example method to test the propaganda model I studied Western media coverage of the 2018 elections in Colombia – a key U.S. ally – and Venezuela, a sworn enemy. In Colombia, the conservative Ivan Duque triumphed; in Venezuela, the socialist Maduro won.

The elections in Colombia took place under a heightened state of terror, with the left-wing candidate Gustavo Petro narrowly surviving an assassination attempt and right-wing paramilitaries issuing generalized threats to those who tried to vote for him. The incumbent conservative party under President Alvaro Uribe had massacred over 10,000 civilians, while American election observers, such as University of Pittsburgh law professor Daniel Kovalik, were mistaken for voters and offered bribes to vote for Duque. There were over 250 official electoral fraud complaints.

The mainstream media, however, overwhelmingly endorsed the elections in the U.S.-ally state, presenting it as a moment of hope for the country and downplaying any negative aspects, especially violence. CNN reported that "though there have been isolated incidents of violence related to the election, they have been minimal." The Associated Press went further, claiming the real danger facing Colombia was that Petro would push the country "dangerously to the left" while NPR described Alvaro Uribe as "immensely popular," and failed to mention any connection to the massacres his government had implemented.

In contrast, the mainstream media virtually unanimously presented the simultaneously occurring elections in Venezuela as a travesty, the "coronation of a dictator," according to The Independent. Other major outlets described them as "heavily rigged," "the fortification of a dictatorship" and a "farce cementing autocracy." The Miami Herald called them "fraudulent," a "sham," a "charade" and a "joke" in one column alone.

There were certainly some questionable aspects to the Venezuelan election. However, the idea of a full-blown "sham election" was flatly contradicted by every international election observation organization monitoring the elections, many of whom produced detailed reports attesting to their exemplary organization and implementation. There were a number of prominent international observers monitoring the 2018 elections, including former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero, who said he "did not have any doubt about the voting process" and the ex-President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, who declared the “impeccably organized” elections proceeded with "absolute normalcy."

But you would have been hard pressed to find any acknowledgment of this in Western media outlets.

The administration shows its true hand
Instead, since Maduro's swearing-in, many seem to have been openly championing regime change in the country. One of the few positive things about the Trump administration is that it does not try to conceal its true intentions behind misleading, flowery words. John Bolton, Trump’s National Security Advisor, has openly described Venezuela as a business opportunity.

"It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela," he said.

With clear parallels to the build-up to the Iraq War, he also labeled Venezuela as belonging to a "troika of tyranny" and recently suggested sending Maduro to Guantanamo Bay. The U.K. government has blocked the transfer of Venezuela's gold out of the Bank of England after it declared Guaidó its legitimate leader. At the same time, the U.S. has ramped up its sanctions on the beleaguered nation, in spite of pleas from the UN to do the opposite. The Human Rights Council formally condemned them, noting they made the crisis far worse. One Special Rapporteur declared them a possible "crime against humanity".

And yet the press overwhelmingly abets the pretense of "democracy promotion" and protection of human rights. The Washington Post, for example, applauded the administration's actions, urging it to work with the body to tighten the sanctions while claiming Guaido had given hope to the people of Venezuela.

The mainstream media seems to ignore the opinions of everyday Venezuelans. Eighty-six percent are against military intervention and 81 percent disagree with the current sanctions, according to a recent local poll. Perhaps there's a ulterior motive to the mainstream media's uniform approach in delegitimatizing Maduro's regime: to undermine and attack the rise of socialist-inspired ideas back home.

When it comes to key issues such as foreign policy, the charade that the media cares about impartiality and truth withers away to reveal its true role in serving the powerful.

Alan MacLeod (@AlanRMacLeod) is an academic and writer for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. His book, Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting was published in April.

https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14314
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:44 am

Lyndon LaRouche is dead or at least so I hear, at age 96.Not seen official notification but expect much hilarity. And while he was a charlatan of a high order he did some damage as the occasional truths that he expounded on, such as the Royal's connection with smack, get tarred with the mass of insanity that he spewed. He was a man before his time, so Trump took his place.
Even an entire society, a nation, or all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not owners of the earth. They are simply its possessors, its beneficiaries, and have to bequeath it in an improved state to succeeding generations

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