Censorship, fake news, perception management

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:08 pm

BBC Producer Says Footage of Alleged Gas Attack Victims in Syria's Douma Staged © REUTERS / Bassam Khabieh
MIDDLE EAST
01:21 14.02.2019(updated 17:35 14.02.2019) Get short URL21863

LONDON (Sputnik) - Riam Dalati, a BBC Syria producer, has said that the footage of people being treated after an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian city of Douma was staged.

Dalati wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that the issue had been investigated for six months.

The journalist pointed out that no fatalities had occurred at the hospital, adding that the attack in Douma had happened but sarin had not been used there. However, Dalati noted that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) would look into whether chlorine was used at the scene.

Truth is @James__Harkin got the basics right in terms of #Douma's "propaganda" value.
The ATTACK DID HAPPEN, Sarin wasn't used, but we'll have to wait for @OPCW to prove Chlorine or otherwise.
However, everything else around the attack was manufactured for maximum effect. https://t.co/abRvSIMV1L

— Riam Dalati (@Dalatrm) 13 февраля 2019 г.
Riam Dalatis Tweet
SCREENSHOT
Riam Dalatis Tweet
Everything else around the attack was fabricated, according to Dalati.

Riam Dalatis Tweet
SCREENSHOT
Riam Dalatis Tweet
The Russian Foreign Ministry, commenting on the issue, said that Moscow is awaiting the BBC's official position after a statement by one of its producers about footage after an alleged chemical attack in Douma.

"The culmination of this theatre of the absurd may be considered the statements by a producer from Britain's BBC, who confirmed, based on his own research, the staged nature of the footage with the direct participation of the ‘white helmets'", Maria Zakharova said.

She added that Moscow wants to hear the company's position as a whole, because it actively covered those events.

The White Helmets group published a video after the reported attack in Douma, which is located in the Damascus neighbourhood of Eastern Ghouta, in early April 2018. The video showed local residents, both adults and children, being treated in the hospital after the alleged attack.

But never approached the block of flats and curtailed access immediately after #Douma takeover.
I can tell you that Jaysh al-Islam ruled Douma with an iron fist. They coopted activists, doctors and humanitarians with fear and intimidation.

— Riam Dalati (@Dalatrm) 13 февраля 2019 г.


However, within a few hours, Dalati made his Twitter account private.

The Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has condemned any use of chemical weapons, referring specifically to the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission findings

© AP PHOTO / ALFONSO PEREZ
OPCW Found No Trace of Nerve Agents in Syria's Douma - Preliminary Report
The reports about the attack and the publication of the footage by the White Helmets were followed by missile strikes carried out by France, the United Kingdom, and the United States on alleged chemical weapons production facilities in Damascus.
Western states have repeatedly accused the Syrian authorities of having carried out the Douma attack, while Damascus has denied any involvement in the incident.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that the claims about the alleged use of toxic chemicals by the Syrian government were aimed at justifying external military action.

Moreover, prior to the Douma incident, the Russian Armed Forces warned of a provocation using chemical weapons in the Syrian city by militants.

Notably, back in April, the RT broadcaster reported that Dalati had already expressed his skepticism about the Douma hospital video in a Twitter post. However, the journalist subsequently deleted his tweet, citing a breach of editorial policy.
The same month, Hassan Diab, 11, who was featured in the White Helmets video, in an interview with a Russian media outlet alongside his father, gave a detailed description of how the footage of people treated in the hospital had been filmed. Diab said, among other things, that children were given food for participating in the video.

Douma residents, interviewed by Sputnik, were unable to confirm that the attack had taken place there. They said they knew nothing about it and were not aware of anybody having been affected by toxic chemicals.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/2019 ... shortening

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

White Helmets Hiring Locals for Staged Chemical Attacks, Paying in Food - MoD © AP Photo / Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets
MIDDLE EAST
14:52 31.10.2018(updated 16:18 31.10.2018) Get short URL10453
According to intelligence information available to the Russian defense ministry, Daesh (ISIS)* has committed some 57 terrorist attacks and members of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces since September 1.

Terrorists Planning Provocation Using Chemical Weapons in Aleppo, Elsewhere

Militants in several Syrian regions including Aleppo are engaged in planning provocations involving the use of chemical weapons including chlorine, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said, citing information provided by the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria.

"We have repeatedly informed the public about attempts by radical militants and the White Helmets, notorious for their fakes, to organize provocations using chemical agents and accusing government forces of using chemical weapons against the local population," Konashenkov noted, speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday.
According to the spokesman, on October 27, the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria received information from locals that terrorists from the Islamic Party of Turkestan* had transferred twenty 10 liter containers of chlorine for use in false flag attacks in Maarrat al-Nu'man, a city in Idlib province, northwest Syria.

These weapons were unloaded at Kafr Nabl and Al-Hawash, two nearby towns, according to eyewitnesses. Locals told the Center for Reconciliation that White Helmets had conducted a search for "residents ready to participate in staged video shoots in exchange for food," the spokesman said.

Plans for similar provocations have been reported in other regions, Konashenkov said. "Only yesterday [October 30], residents in Aleppo province received information about preparations for such a provocation by the militants. To carry it out, members of the White Helmets arrived in the villages of Azaz, Marea and Al-Rai with professional video equipment and containers with poisonous substances, presumably chlorine."

The Russian military continues to closely monitor the situation around possible provocations involving the use of chamical substances, the spokesman said. "To this end, Russian posts in the immediate vicinity of the demilitarized zone in Idlib province have been equipped with six special radiation, chemical and biological reconnaissance vehicles."

Attacks in US-Occupied Areas of Syria Causing Losses Among Foreign Troops

Terror attacks in the US-controlled areas of Syria have led to losses among foreign military personnel, as well as local Kurdish forces, Konashenkov said.

According to the Russian military spokesman, since September 1, Daesh terror attacks and attacks on Kurdish forces have left over 300 Kurdish militia personnel dead or injured.
"According to information obtained from the local population of territories beyond the Euphrates River, these terrorist attacks have also led to casualties among foreign military personnel," Konashenkov said.

The spokesman reiterated that a "catastrophic humanitarian situation" has developed in the Rukban refugee camp in southern Syria as a result of US actions. "As a result of the irresponsible actions of the United States, which illegally occupied a large portion of Syria, a catastrophic humanitarian situation has developed in the Rukban refugee camp. Moreover, US forces, no longer hiding, are openly conducting intensive training of armed units among the local population," Konashenkov said.

The Rukban refugee camp, located along the Syrian-Jordanian border in Homs province, southern Syria, is situated next to a US base in the town of Al-Tanf. Damascus and Moscow have repeatedly slammed the US over the humanitarian situation in the area, and accused Washington of training ex-jihadist militants at the base. Considering the US presence in the Arab Republic to be illegal, Syrian officials have repeatedly demanded that the US end its presence and operations in the country.
US-Led Coalition Continuing Airstrikes Using Illegal Munitions

According to Konashenkov, the US and its allies are continuing an intensive campaign of airstrikes in Syria, "including using ammunition prohibited by international conventions."

Earlier this week, a coalition spokesman categorically denied that the coalition had used white phosphorus following reports that the town of Hajin, Deir Ez-Zor province, had been hit using the substance for the second time this month, leading to civilian casualties.

* Terrorist groups outlawed in Russia and many other countries.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/2018 ... lled-area/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:34 pm

What Strange Corruption
Posted on 8 Hours Ago by Sassy Sourstein

The Racist Venezuelan Bourgeoisie’s Accusations Against Chavistas Are Pure Projection
Social media truly is the great democratizer. Where else can Twitter trolls and bot armies create a web of baseless rumors that make their way into the empire’s leading publications? For example:

“Maduro is a murdering criminal starving Venezuelan children while he loots the country like Chavez did. When supposed socialist Chavez died the richest Venezuelan in the world was his daughter w billions. Same w Maduro. Looting Venezuelan wealth. Giving it to himself & Cuba!” (source)

So much to unpack, but this is a template used throughout social media in various forms. Make unsourced allegations of mass murder, purposeful starvation (especially of The Children), corruption, and looting. This is a more sophisticated version (really!) in which Chávez is separated from socialism with the word “supposed,” meant to give the accuser some leverage on the left. You see, corruption is what ails Venezuela, not socialism necessarily. Much of the rest has been thoroughly debunked — there is a crime problem but no death squads, there have been a few dozen deaths in years of violent right-wing riots but no campaign of official slaughter of “protesters,” and frankly Cuba has paid for its oil many times over with solidarity and other material support to poor Venezuelans. What persists — in right-wing AND left narratives — is the corruption boogeyman. The tweet above is truly tapping into a rich vein of existing ultraleftism, in which the Bolivarian revolution isn’t socialist at all, but merely an emerging, competing bourgeoisie. I hope here to discuss and counter just some of this bullshit.

First, the claims about the Chávez family are based on the thinnest, most laughable evidence. For Hugo himself, the British tabloid Daily Mail cites a “respected analyst” from a fake “criminal justice” outfit run by a guy with 300 followers. Twitter user Bernardo Canto did the research on this lie and traced it back to a Scribd post devoid of citation or source material. Apart from that, there is absolutely zero evidence that Chávez “died rich,” as they say — which is a pretty idiotic way to do massive corruption.

As for María Gabriela Chávez, why, there must be reams of evidence against her. Well. Get a load of this.

Canto delved into these accusations uncritically published all over corporate media, including Forbes. The claim in Forbes is credited to known CIA front Diario Las Americas, based in Miami, which, “as it happens,” is now owned since 2013 by the Venezuelan backers of opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, himself accused of corruption by the Maduro administration.

It all literally boils down to a receipt shown on a tabloidy TV news show whose host is a Cuban-American Republican who ran for Congress to represent Miami. That receipt? Look for yourself:


If you think that, within the United States, ATM receipts say at the bottom “United States,” well, charitably, you’ve never used an ATM here. And the address is that of the Venezuelan consulate, not any bank. Another mistake made on this truly pathetic fabrication, is that in the US we use commas, not periods, to denote whole numbers. Of course there is no way to verify if this is Amb. Chávez’s card number, and the scammer who made this knows at least that. Aporrea already debunked this — there is no “Frabz Federal Bank,” as any US resident or a quick Google search will tell you. Frabz is literally a fake ATM receipt generator. Nevertheless, Diario Las Americas claims that the reporting of supermarket-tabloid caliber blog Maduradas.com is “precise and trustworthy,” which of course makes any claim of journalistic rigor in that entire operation a preposterous notion.

Endless insinuations of impropriety against Venezuelan officials litter the internet from troll comments on up to The New York Times. The Atlantic published a particularly nasty set of libels against María Gabriela Chávez, all caged in careful transitions and caveats so as not to actually be required to provide proof. Everything from how much public money she spends (even though she’s a billionaire!) to alleged import corruption (again with no evidence provided) to comments on her musical ability. It even gives credence to a conspiracy theory that her ambassadorship was given so that Cuba would have a trojan-horse advocate at the UN. This is pure smear, a series of fevered speculations, and yet there it is in a leading light of the liberal media.

The rest of the Chávez and Maduro clans’ children are targets as well. Check out this nutty Daily Mail post published presumably to contribute wind to the sails of the ongoing coup attempt. All the María Gabriela claims are breezily restated with no attempt to corroborate, but the “accusations” against her youngest sister Rosinés are uh… well she held up “a fistful of dollar bills” — yes, ONE-dollar bills — and well, goes to school in Paris where, we are assured, she is “care free.” And then of course there’s the time Maduro stopped in Turkey to eat a steak, which is outrageous for the president of a country on his way home from trade talks in China. Diosdado Cabello, a leading PSUV member and one of Chavismo’s most efficacious orators, is mentioned for being accused by the US government of drug running but even this is admitted to be unproven. (More on narco allegations in a future post.) Cabello’s daughter Daniela is mentioned because she is pretty. Yes really. The first lady Celia Flores’s children are said to have spent $45,000 at a hotel in Paris, though the claim seems to originate with a Spanish tabloid that did some paper napkin math and has absolutely no sources whatsoever to confirm any of it — assuming the stay itself even happened.

If Maduro has a billion dollars, if Chávez had two to four — depending on whom you ask — billion fucking dollars, why would they stick around Venezuela suffering endless ridicule, threats and even attempts on their lives, and the general stresses of being responsible for the running of an entire country? Is it just megalomania against all odds? Do you think Maduro feels powerful against all that he has to deal with right now? The prospect is risible, they could buy an entire country with that amount of money and yet there they stay, ready to go down with the ship if the empire torpedoes it. What strange corruption! Something isn’t adding up, probably because it’s all lies. We should apply a high level of skepticism to any claim we see about the empire’s targets, especially if they’re at the top of the news cycle.

There’s also the matter of the so-called Bolibourgeoisie, nouveau-riche types who are said to have leveraged the revolution for personal gain. It’s no secret that — especially after the 2002 coup — the Bolivarian project created a tactical alliance with certain business interests in the country. But reports detailing the purported gluttony and profligacy rarely name anyone and make it clear that this “plugged in” wealthy set is just a consequence of 70% of the Venezuelan economy remaining in private hands. Companies that contract with the state are, of course, compensated, as they are anywhere in the world. These private companies are for profit and these profits are, of course and unfortunately, distributed to the owners and as in any capitalist society, they are free to use this wealth for any idiotic frivolous thing they please.

From personal experience living in Miami, an old-guard Venezuelan typically makes a judgement on the “legitimacy” of the wealth of say, someone exiting an expensive car based on their complexion and features. Darker and more native-featured people are assumed to be Bolibourgeois. They’ve done nothing different from a typical businessman — the white expats are just mad that black and indigenous people may have muscled their way into what should be a purely European- or Arab-descended endeavor.

There’s no evidence that these “plugged-ins” are responsible for the economic problems in Venezuela. After all, some of the most famous episodes of Latin American corruption and economic upheaval happened during the IMF-obedient regimes of the 1990s in which populist polices were rolled back, privatization ran rampant, and austerity reigned.

Real corruption is when you warehouse food to create artificial scarcities and deliberately provoke hunger. The parties who are purposely starving the Venezuelan people are the same types as in Chile who stoked privation and misery in the campaign to overthrow Allende. In Chile we know they were kept solvent by CIA money, and we can assume the same sorts of economic support exists in the case of Venezuela. In addition to smaller importers and producers being able, through whatever means, to create very telegenic scarcities of certain products, there are conglomerates whose resources are deeper, and in whose interests an overthrow is even more intensely represented, than what is available from US intel schemes.

Empresas Polar, makers of the ubiquitous harina PAN used in every single household to make arepas, has had it out for the Revolution from day one. Despite state and communal efforts to break their strangehold on the corn flour market, their generations-deep imprint on the Venezuelan household rich and poor has persisted. If anyone “retains the ability to keep its products off the shelves just as readily as its ability to keep them on,” it’s La Polar. This is due to their still-gigantic home market share and, ironically, their being a major beneficiary of Venezuelan state subsidies for food importation. In addition, Polar’s various corporate vehicles in the US benefit from United States subsidies on corn for their many products which are sold in a growing market of quite affluent Venezuelans in the US. With all these resources at its disposal, creating artificial scarcities in a comparatively low-revenue market would be a minor line-item on Polar’s books.

There’s also the phenomenon of the “raspao,” or scrape. I don’t pretend to understand all the ways that currency can be manipulated, but merely printing too much money isn’t responsible for a one-million-percent unofficial inflation rate. For many years the Venezuelan state offered USD at an official exchange rate, for imports and travel, etc. People could buy dollars at this official rate with credit cards and then immediately convert these dollars back into bolivares in the black market — instant profit. On a trip to Mexico City last year I had a Mexican tell me with great excitement about how local Venezuelan friends of his who were involved in the scam used the profits to live well in the most exclusive neighborhoods. While the practice seems to have been curbed in recent years, the damage to the currency rate is done and the tightening sanctions compound it. I can only speculate, but with probably more certainty than a Eurotrash tabloid, that some of my Venezuelan neighbors themselves started their own nest eggs by ripping off their country. This truly is corruption, and though official currency policy is what facilitates it, it’s private criminals who take advantage, destroying their country’s economy while they live it up in exile.

The ultimate corruption is when you make millions through inheritance and other people’s labor. The accusations of the elites of Venezuela are a form of projection: they are the corrupt parasites who for generations have fed off the productive people of Venezuela, as in all nations. The same author as the Atlantic Chávez smear list — proud putchist! — has an entire post about the watches worn by some Venezuelan politicians, potentially the most news-unworthy subject of all time. The charge, of course, is “hypocrisy”: lol look at the socialists having quality timepieces! Yet when the idle scions of the Venezuelan elite themselves own safes full of jewels, several luxury cars, houses across the world, this is fine because there’s no hypocrisy involved — they never pretended to care about another soul on this planet but their own. There has never been a cynicism so toxic, so deep.

When “opposition” supporters, in between #SOS posts on Instagram, post stories of themselves on their yachts in Aruba, or their family farm in the mountains, or their beach house in Isla Margarita, or flaneuring around Barcelona and Madrid, are we meant to consider this a life of suffering? If they’re doing this, who is “earning” the money they draw to pay for these extravagances most people on earth — let alone Venezuela — can’t afford? This is corruption in every sense of the word: an indolent, lazy, entitled, racist caste of princes and princesses living off interest in foreign banks made from exploiting generations of poor workers going back into the times of chattel slavery and primitive accumulation. What is “nepotism” if not passing immense ill-gotten fortunes and estates to your children? What makes a country-club brat particularly adept at guiding such large agglomerations of the national wealth?

And even if it’s not strictly corruption, there is a certain moral emptiness to receiving a free education in Venezuela and then immediately going abroad to use your degree for personal gain, as many have done. These people are true leeches, not those demanding a fairer share of the national produce they helped create.

We also know that they consider “corruption” — or at least the even more vague “waste” — to include the building of 2.5 million homes, universities, collective farms, markets, food programs, medical facilities. To the bruised egos of the waning nobles, it’s unconscionable to give literal peasants a boost up from the dirt floor.
Petro Populist
@RancidSassy
Listen when they talk:

"From 1999 through 2013, Venezuela collected $1.3 trillion in oil revenues but it largely has vanished through corruption, MASSIVE SOCIAL SPENDING, and waste"https://www.oilandgas360.com/venezuela- ... n-capital/

163
2:55 PM - Feb 1, 2019
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All this is why we hear so much about “corruption” in Venezuela: an utterly worthless class of human beings is angry that some small share of the wealth they used to skim exclusively for themselves is now being distributed with just a bit more equity across social lines.

Local issues of corruption, whatever they consist of, are for Venezuelans to solve. It is a completely internal matter. Imagine making the case for the bombing and invasion of a country based on the fact that it has economic problems. Now imagine those problems are mostly caused by the party who is meant to “liberate” this country. That is literally what the argument boils down to. It’s bonkers on the surface, without even so much investigation. As Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza quipped, on the subject of the farcical “humanitarian aid”: “I’m choking you, I’m killing you — and then I’m giving you a cookie.” The US is not now and has never been in the business of securing liberty for anyone other than the financial interests of its wealthy owners. If you believe otherwise, it’s your brain that’s corrupted.

https://cienflamingos.wordpress.com/201 ... orruption/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:39 pm

Venezuela - No More Than 20,000 People Came To Branson's Concert Stunt - (Updated)
UPDATE Feb 25:

After our critic below the Washington Post quietly changed its piece and eliminated the fake concert attendance claim.

End update
---

The Washington Post writes:

The attention on Saturday remained immediately focused on the single largest staging ground for aid in Cucuta, Colombia — where a massive benefit concert hosted by British billionaire Richard Branson drew a crowd of more than 200,000 people Friday.
200,000 people!

Hmm ...

200,000 people?

Image

200,000 people??

Image
200,000 people???


Image
Dan Cohen was in the VIP area in front of the stage:

Dan Cohen @dancohen3000 - 3:50 utc - 23 Feb 2019
#VenezuelaAidLive organizers claim 317,000 people attended today’s event. The real figure is a tiny fraction of that. Here’s a photo I took of the crowd at 11am. I estimate no more than 10,000. That might be generous.


10,000 people?

Let's check a map:

Image
The stage was build at the top right across both roadways with its front towards the southwest. There was room for a few hundred VIP and reporters right in front of it. The field where the plebs were kept away lies between the north to south treeline at the right and the north to south ditch with the two single trees. According to the Google map scale the field's northern edge is some 125 meters wide. The crowd was standing at the northern end of the field at a depth of about 50 meters. The density of the static crowd was low to medium with on average 2 to 3 people per square meter.

125m * 50m = 6,250 m2 * 2.5 people/m2 = 15,625 people
One may generously add a count of one or two thousand for the people mingling around in the back of the public area. In total there may have been up to 18,000, but certainly no more than 20,000 people at the concert.

The show the British oligarch arranged was supposed to attract 250,000 people. Less than 8% of the expected crowd arrived. Branson claimed the concert would raise $100 million but did not explain by what magic that is going to happen. The idea failed to attract any globally known acts. That is probably thanks to Roger Waters who spoke out against the fake 'humanitarian' stunt.

The stage setup far away from the public area was unreasonable. The concert attracted only some local people who had nothing better to do. The whole thing was a complete fail.

The Washington Post's count of "200,000 people" is obviously an outrageous lie. But the Post agitated throughout the last 20 long years for regime change in Venezuela. It now sees a chance to achieve that. There is no way that it will let get facts in the way of it.

Posted by b on February 23, 2019 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

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

Post by blindpig » Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:07 pm

MIAMI — Jorge Ramos, veteran journalist for the Univision network, was welcomed back to the U.S. with open arms by the establishment press corp following his three-hour detention during a Trump administration-approved journalistic excursion in Venezuela complete with an interview with President Nicolas Maduro.

Upon his return to the U.S., Ramos took to the opinion section of the New York Times to declare that Maduro had earned his title as a dictator for infringing on his reporting.

Ramos is no small fish and hardly wet behind the ears: he has been with Univision since 1984. Today, Univision is the largest Spanish-language media company in the United States and is estimated to reach nearly 60 percent of all U.S. households. On the board of directors is Israeli-American media mega-financier Haim Saban, who also serves as Univision’s director of communications. In 2007, Saban organized a network of financiers to bail out the debt-ridden network.

According to Ramos: “Maduro ordered his security agents to confiscate my team’s four cameras and other equipment and the video cards on which we had recorded the conversation.”

Ramos boasts of his feats in the New York Times: “The first question I asked Mr. Maduro was whether I should call him ‘Presidente’ or ‘Dictador,’ as many Venezuelans do.”

Per his account, Ramos grilled Maduro on alleged humanitarian issues in the country. The narrative continues:

The day before, I had recorded on my cellphone three young men looking for food on the back of a garbage truck in a poor neighborhood minutes away from the presidential palace. I showed those images to Mr. Maduro. Each frame contradicted his narrative of a prosperous and progressive Venezuela 20 years after the revolution.

In this tale of dauntless journalistic triumph, it is at this point that Ramos says his line of inquiry “broke” the longtime leader Maduro — who served for a time as vice president to revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez. “About 17 minutes into the interview, Mr. Maduro stood up, comically tried to block the images on my iPad and declared that the interview was over,” Ramos writes.

“That’s what dictators do,” our self-satisfied narrator assures us he informed Maduro.

Per Ramos’ account, Maduro then ordered his equipment confiscated. Ramos openly admits in the New York Times that his colleague, María Martínez, called Univision News’ president, Daniel Coronel, who called the State Department and “many news organizations.”

Despite having backers like the U.S. State Department — which, in the event of the abuse of a journalist like Ramos, may presumably make a phone call to the CIA or Defense Department — Ramos tells us he was “concerned” about being taken to “a detention center or an even darker place.” After all, this is the “dictator” Maduro we are talking about.

Ramos claims that his belongings were confiscated and his phone was wiped. “Our cameras and the records of our interview remained behind,” Ramos says. The “government’s intelligence agency cordoned off the hotel so we couldn’t leave,” he adds, but gives few further details. Miraculously, and conveniently for Ramos’ story, the footage that allegedly enraged Maduro survived.

After touching back down in Miami, Ramos tweeted:

I really want to thank the U.S. State Department and the American Embassy in Caracas for making sure that we were protected and safe in Venezuela. Their help was instrumental in our safe departure today from Caracas after being detained yesterday by the Maduro regime.”



Our intrepid reporter gets a taste of his own medicine
By then, reports of Ramos’ heroics had already made international headlines.

In Miami, journalist Max Blumenthal asked Ramos a simple enough question about a tweet from Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, one of the main architects of the U.S. support for the coup attempt in Venezuela.

Because Rubio is so heavily involved in U.S. policy on Venezuela, that tweet was widely seen as a threat to assassinate Maduro because it invoked the U.S.-backed regime-change operation in Libya. Rubio’s tweet showed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi when he was sodomized to death with a bayonet by NATO-backed, so-called moderate rebels. The U.S.-NATO “humanitarian intervention” has had disastrous consequences for the country, which was once the wealthiest in Africa, with black migrants being sold as slaves through a burgeoning black market that has flourished since the government was toppled.

“I just asked Jorge Ramos if now that he’s back in Miami he had any plans to confront Marco Rubio for calling for the killing of Nicolas Maduro,” Blumenthal tweeted.



Blumenthal told MintPress:

[Ramos was] surrounded by a gaggle of fawning press as he talked about his three-hour detention at Miraflores Palace by the guards of Nicolas Maduro after he engineered a confrontation with Maduro about people digging through trash in Caracas, as if that doesn’t happen minutes from the White House — I’ve actually seen it many times.”

After nearly 15 minutes of light questioning during the live-stream, Ramos found himself on the receiving end of a ruthless inquiry, much like the one he says he lobbed at Maduro.

Blumenthal fired off a series of tough questions:

Do you have any plans to confront Marco Rubio about his threats to kill Nicolas Maduro? … Any plans to confront Marco Rubio about his threats of military invasion or to confront Donald Trump about the sanctions on Venezuela.”

Ramos, ignoring the questions but perhaps sensing the gravity of the line of inquiry, responded with a candid admission.

What I can tell you is that many people here in the United States supporting [sic] what we were doing, and that Marco Rubio, Vice President [Mike] Pence, and many others were supporting what we were doing over there.”

When Blumenthal wondered whether Ramos was acting on their behalf, Ramos responded guardedly, listing off his reporting credentials and mischaracterizing himself as an “independent journalist.” Much as he did in his New York Times editorial, Ramos centered the narrative on his accolades. With a wide-eyed gaze into Blumenthal’s cellphone camera, Ramos cited a viral confrontation he had with candidate Trump in 2015 and asked Blumenthal, “Do you remember what happened with Donald Trump?”

A regime-change proxy who ‘holds truth to power’
Of course, citing one’s opposition to Trump has become a go-to defense for pro-war propagandists; by centering Trump as the fountainhead of injustice, humanitarian interventionists find cover for their right-wing foreign policy agenda. As Blumenthal told MintPress:

Ramos boasted that Rubio and Pence supported what he did in Venezuela then suddenly pivoted to his 2015 confrontation with Trump, where he was tossed from a press conference for asking a question without being called on. He was clearly proud of acting as a proxy of Rubio and Pence, but sought to flash his adversarial creds by invoking his stunt with Trump. It came off as a desperate deflection from questions he couldn’t address.”

Blumenthal told MintPress News that Ramos owned up to not being “such an independent journalist after all” and, in fact, “actually a proxy of the U.S. regime-change machine,” in Blumenthal’s estimation. He told MintPress:

There are few better exchanges than the one that I just had with Jorge Ramos to demonstrate the role that corporate media is playing in Latin America in pushing for the re-colonization of countries like Venezuela and Nicaragua, and supplying the mood music for regime change.”

While Ramos’ true relationship with empire remains unclear, his admission continues a legacy of the U.S. government working “reporters” as useful stooges — the most famous example of which is the CIA’s “Operation Mockingbird” program. After veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh broke the story of a CIA program that spied on American anti-Vietnam War activists, Congress investigated the agency, finding that under the Mockingbird program domestically “approximately 50 of the [CIA’s] assets are individual American journalists or employees of U.S. media organizations.”. Internationally:

The CIA … maintain[ed] a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.”

Like the reporters who wittingly and unwittingly took stories from the CIA under Mockingbird, the U.S. government’s support for Ramos’ oppositional reporting serves as a propaganda cudgel against a country in which the U.S. is currently attempting a regime change. Compounded with Univision’s dominance in the Spanish-American media landscape, Ramos’ stunt in Venezuela furthers the interests of Pence, Rubio and their coup cohorts. And, like his confrontation with Trump, it will give Ramos a story to deflect to the next time he is challenged.

https://www.mintpressnews.com/the-holes ... ro/255678/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:57 pm

Blumenthal, Norton, Khalek - The Turncoats Deliver A Poor Excuse - by Daniel
by Daniel
lifted from a comment

I see b’s Twitter linked to the "Moderate Rebels" discussion of Blumenthal / Norton / Khalek. I hope y’all don’t mind my posting the below. I originally wrote it as an "open letter" to the above triumvirate, but changed pronouns for this audience.

Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton and Rania Khalek talk about their late “evolution” on the war against Syria in this episode of “Moderate Rebels.”

For those who don’t know, each was pro-"opposition", anti-Syrian government for years, but changed positions sometime in around 2016.

I'm glad to hear Max finally directly address his anti-Syrian stance from 2011 to 2016. He acknowledges that Sharmine Narwani was correct all along. It would be nice to hear him actually apologize to Sharmine and other journalists he disparaged, but especially to the Syrian people who sure could have used the support of a well known Arab/Palestinian Rights advocate with a large audience and influence.

Yes, Max "didn’t take a serious look at what was actually going on" in Syria. And didn't for five more years. He began writing for Al Akhbar in Lebanon in July, 2011. As a journalist, he was obligated to inform himself about what was happening before writing about it. Syrian police and military had already been massacred by then. Post office workers had been thrown to their deaths from the roof because they were "government supporters." The violence of the "protesters" was even being reported in Israeli newspapers.

He says he "didn’t think it was going to become, you know, the 7-year devastating conflict that it became." That is apparent. Libya was already descending into the F-UK-US “Mission Accomplished” with NATO bombers warming up to finish the job. Perhaps Max’s dad had assured him that Syria would follow the same pattern his emails with Hillary Clinton show he had helped plan and define in Libya.

BTW: Has he ever addressed his father's role in the destruction of the once most prosperous country on the African continent? I haven't read or heard anything from Max on Syd Blumenthal's pre-Qaddafi "removal" explanation that Libya had to be destroyed to:

Steal their nationalized oil.
Confiscate the hundreds of tons of gold and silver Libya held.
Prevent Libya from establishing a gold-backed currency and pan-African development bank to compete with the US petro-dollar and IMF, and lift Africa out of neo-colonial subservience.
Yeah. Max was "pretty quiet on Libya and not really - didn’t really make any coherent statements on that either."

That newspaper that Max publicly maligned and quit ("grandstanding" as he now says) "had taken an anti-imperialist agenda." Did that paper ever reject any articles Max wrote defending "the Syrian revolution"? I didn’t think so. Who had "an agenda"? Because it sure sounds like it was Max who was so focused on his new book release and two upcoming book tours that at the least he abandoned journalistic values. Or did he fear that "being associated" with a paper that also published articles critical of "the revolution" could hurt book sales?

After all, he thought it was all going to be over soon anyway.

It would also be nice for Max to explain why, once he changed his position on Syria after Russia had helped turn the tide, he, Ben and Rania scrubbed all their anti-Syrian/pro-"rebel" posts from the internet without explanation. How Orwellian.

But he "just haven’t really had the chance to sit down and write" an apology and explanation.

And once Russia stepped in, Max was "pretty relieved" he didn’t "have to engage in" the Syrian disaster and so he "sort of tapped out." Wait. I thought he just said that was when he finally "tapped in" and began investigating and writing about what had really been going on.

So, he goes on to say that after the "eastern Aleppo operation", he "started to come to" his "senses" "BECAUSE I STARTED TO REALIZE THAT AN INTERVENTION AT THIS POINT BY THE US WOULD BE A RECIPE FOR CATASTROPHE"! Wait! What? It was too late for "intervention", so Max changed horses? And then he finally took a few weeks to read what he could about Syria and do his "due diligence."

Another BTW: Why did Max write those articles on the White Helmets without crediting Cory Morningstar, Vanessa Beeley and other journalists whose work he so obviously relied on? I read those articles, and saw NOTHING that I hadn’t already read at 21st Century Wire. What "independent investigative journalism" did Max and Ben do?

Rania says she has Druze Syrian relatives, and somehow that kept her from investigating and reporting on the sectarian "rebels" in Syria. Huh? Everything I hear is that most Syrians don’t really classify people by their religion. Yes, as she says, the Syrian war has engendered the most deluded propaganda. Yes, the reporting (MSM that is) was horrible. But those are not excuses to avoid it. Those are reasons for her to have deeply investigated and reported the truth.

Ben notes that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine always supported the Syrian government against the Zionist-supported "rebels" and wrote that quite clearly by 2013. Ben specifies that one cannot support Palestinian Liberation AND the "rebels" in Syria. Yet, he did. For years. Ben's explanation of his "evolution" on Syria is the least legitimate of this group. But they ran out of time while Ben was talking, so maybe he’ll do better in episode 3.

[Daniel added an additional comment here.]

b says:

Here is an earlier piece on Moon of Alabama which includes evidence for the claims Daniel makes:

Syria - The Alternet Grayzone Of Smug Turncoats - Blumenthal, Norton, Khalek

The most abhorrent issue with their talk is that these folks whine and lament how they are being condemned by supporters of war on Syria for their "brave stand" against the war. This from the folks who for five long years harshly condemned everyone who was pro-Syria in their writings and public talks. From the folks who in two years have found no time to write an apology to those who they condemned or publish an explanation for their deleting of the tweets and blog-posts that documented their former position.

For a further discussion of the turncoats self-serving exculpation in the Moderate Rebel (what a stupid name) podcast see this partial transcript by Red Kahina and these threads (also 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) by her as well as this one by Nyusha.

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/05/b ... aniel.html
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:44 pm

CIA Blames Its Proxy For Its Raid On North Korea's Embassy In Spain
The CIA is the main suspect in the military style raid on the North Korean embassy in Madrid. It now launched a somewhat hapless effort to deflect from it. The Spanish report in which Spanish government sources accuse the CIA said:

At least two of the 10 assailants who broke into the embassy and interrogated diplomatic staff have been identified and have connections to the US intelligence agency. The CIA has denied any involvement but government sources say their response was “unconvincing.”
That the CIA is the main suspect in the assault was reported on Wednesday in the Spanish mainstream paper El Pais. The paper made the extra effort to publish an abbreviated English language version. It was widely picked up by other international outlets. Some of the assailants were Asian and spoke Korean language. They were probably from the South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS), a subsidiary of the CIA know for its extremely hawkish politics. It often rigs elections in South Korea in support of hawkish conservatives candidates.

Attacking a foreign embassy in a third country is far out of bounce of international law and diplomatic decency. After the El Pais report something had to be done to direct the attention away from the CIA and to find some other culprit.

A story was thought up and pushed to the favorite CIA outlet, the Washington Post. It wasn't the CIA which did it, writes the Post's national security reporter, it was a CIA controlled 'regime change' organization.

A shadowy group trying to overthrow Kim Jong Un raided a North Korean embassy in broad daylight

In broad daylight, masked assailants infiltrated North Korea’s embassy in Madrid, restrained the staff with rope, stole computers and mobile phones, and fled the scene in two luxury vehicles.
The group behind the late February operation is known as Cheollima Civil Defense, a secretive dissident organization committed to overthrowing the Kim dynasty, people familiar with the planning and execution of the mission told The Washington Post.
...
People familiar with the incident say the group did not act in coordination with any governments. U.S. intelligence agencies would have been especially reluctant to do so given the sensitive timing and brazen nature of the mission. But the raid represents the most ambitious operation to date for an obscure organization that seeks to undermine the North Korean regime and encourage mass defections, they say.

The CIA agents, led by torture queen Gina Haspel, are snowflakes who would never break the law or cause some international outrage. It must have been some independent group:

“This group is the first known resistance movement against North Korea, which makes its activities very newsworthy,” said Sung-Yoon Lee, a North Korea expert at Tufts University.
The identity of the assailants is a particularly sensitive topic given the delicate nature of Trump and Kim’s relationship.
...
Any hint of U.S. involvement in an assault on a diplomatic compound could have derailed the talks, a prospect the CIA would likely be mindful of.

Derailing the talks was (and is) exactly what Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton wanted to do. We know that because the Post reported it on February 20, two days before the raid on the embassy and seven days before the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi:

Last month, in a lengthy speech at Stanford University, [Trump's special envoy Stephen E.] Biegun set out his vision for North Korea to dismantle its plutonium and uranium enrichment facilities in exchange for “corresponding measures” by the United States.
Hawks such as Bolton have fiercely opposed this “step-by-step” process in favor of maintaining maximum pressure through economic sanctions that would, in theory, force a better deal by eroding North Korea’s resolve.

Tasking the CIA to raid a North Korean embassy to spoil the talks is exactly a thing John Bolton would do. The Post's shameful attempt to make believe otherwise is laughable:

“Infiltrating a North Korean embassy days before the nuclear summit would throw that all into jeopardy,” said Sue Mi Terry, a former Korea analyst at the CIA. “This is not something the CIA would undertake.”
The agency declined to comment.

We can of course fully believe the 'former' CIA analyst's assertion that the CIA would never do such a thing. Aside from Bolton's urge to sabotage the negotiations it would have had no motive. Except, of course, it would have had many:

Experts say the computers and phones seized in the raid amount to a treasure trove of information that foreign intelligence agencies are likely to seek out from the group.
In 2017 Spain asked the North Korean ambassador Kim Hyok Chol to leave. He is now the leader of the negotiations with the United States. To know everything about him is important. He may even be susceptible to blackmail:

The assailants also possess a video recording they took during the raid, which they could release anytime, said one person who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive and illegal operation.
The Spanish language version of the El Pais report had a side box that might explain the possible content of a video (machine translated):

One of the darkest aspects of the assault on the North Korean Embassy in Madrid is the interrogation to which the head of the command, who called himself The Entrepreneur, subjected the charge of business, leading the diplomatic delegation since the ambassador was expelled. The head of the commando separated the diplomat from the rest of the hostages and locked himself alone with him. It is not known what he intended, but the current head of the Pyongyang delegation in Madrid probably knows a lot about Kim Hyok Chol, head of the North Korean delegation in the nuclear negotiations before the US, with whom he coincided when the latter was ambassador in Madrid, between 2014 and 2017.
Mentioning a video recording taken during the raid is supposed to sow 'fear and doubt' in and about the North Korean negotiator.

The new Washington Post/CIA story goes on to describe the 'regime change' organization that is supposed to divert from the direct CIA involvement in the raid:

The Cheollima group, which also goes by the name Free Joseon, came to prominence in 2017 after it successfully evacuated the nephew of Kim Jong Un from Macau when potential threats to his life surfaced. The nephew was the son of Kim Jong Nam, the North Korean leader’s exiled half brother who was assassinated in a nerve-gas attack in a Malaysian airport in 2017.
...
For safety reasons, the leader of the group does not disclose his name, and his identity is known only to a small group of people.
Cheollima is the name of a mythical horse in Chinese and Korean folklore. The Joseon dynasty ruled Korea from 1392 to 1897. It went down when Japan tried to gain control of the country which it achieved a few years later.

Kim Jong Nam was killed on February 13, 2017. In a redacted video his son Kim Han-sol thanks the people who picked him up. (They might want to use him as a future replacement for Kim Jong-un.) The video was recorded on February 15 2017 ("my father was killed two days ago"). It was published on March 7 2017 on a Cheollima channel on Youtube created on March 4 2017. The Cheollima website domain the group uses was anonymously registered in March 2017. It was updated on November 29 2018 shortly after the South Korean NIS received new orders from its headquarter in Washington DC.

Cheollima/Free Joseon also seeks defectors from North Korea. On February 28 2019 (not "in March" as the Post claims), the very same day the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi failed, Cheollima published a manifest that clearly aims at 'regime change' in North Korea:

WE DECLARE ON THIS DAY the establishment of Free Joseon, a provisional government preparing the foundations for a future nation built upon respect for principles of human rights and humanitarianism, holding sacred a manifest dignity for every woman, man, and child.
We declare this entity the sole legitimate representative of the Korean people of the north.

The U.S. driven 'regime change' attempt in Venezuela also has a figure that claims to be the "sole legitimate representative" while having zero power in that country.

The English version of the manifest reads like it was written by someone who is a native English speaker or at least studied English literature:

Joseon must and shall be free. Arise! Arise, ye who refuse to be slaves!
We reject the chains of our historic unrequited grief, declare henceforth a new era in our history, and prepare the way for a New Joseon. We therefore proclaim the birth of our revolution and our intentions towards building a more just and equal society, as truest expressions of the shared affections of our people.

A report on the manifest launch in the British Sun remarks:

The Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD) organisation has declared itself as a shadow government which is working to overthrow the regime.
...
Not a lot is known about the CCD but some people believe it is linked to South Korea’s spy agency.
The White Helmets, the MI-6 organization for 'regime change' in Syria, has the website domain "www.syriacivildefense.org". Cheollima's website domain is "www.cheollimacivildefense.org". The logos of the two organization are also somewhat similar.

Image


Is there a corporate design/marketing company specialized in promoting spy service cutouts for 'regime change'?

The 'former' CIA analyst in the Post piece 'predicts' that there will be more 'embassy raid' operations:

“In its messaging, the group said they have formed a provisional government to replace the regime in Pyongyang,” said Terry, who is a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “They have now shown the seriousness of their intent and some capabilities to carry out operations. We will see in the coming months the extent of their capabilities.”
While the CIA makes a hapless attempt to cover its traces in Madrid, North Korea continues to follow its game plan for the next round of negotiations. It prepares the public for a U.S. failure:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will soon decide whether to continue diplomatic talks and maintain his moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests, a senior North Korean official said Friday, adding that the U.S. threw away a golden opportunity at the recent summit between their leaders.
...
She said Pyongyang now has no intention of compromising or continuing talks unless the United States takes measures that are commensurate to the changes it has taken — such as the 15-month moratorium on launches and tests — and changes its “political calculation.”
The North Korean statement blames Bolton and Secretary of State Pompeo for the failure of the negotiations while it empathizes a special relation between Kim and Trump.

The signaled satellite launch by North Korea will proceed. It will push the Trump administration back to the starting point of its efforts to 'denuclearize' North Korea.

The difference now is that North Korea has earned good will in China and Russia. It showed its willingness to negotiate and stuck to its commitments made in the Joint Declaration in Singapore while the U.S. obviously refused to fulfill its parts. China and Russia already gave North Korea some unofficial 'sanction relief'. They are unlike to again support the failed 'maximum pressure' approach the Trump administrations once set out with.

The hapless CIA nonsense will not change those facts.

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/03/c ... spain.html
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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