Censorship, fake news, perception management

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:50 pm

The New York Times attacks Russia to prevent the end of the war in Afghanistan
Mission Truth

Jul 1 · 4 min red

Donald Trump and Afganistán. Photo: Reuters

On June 27, The New York Times (NYT) published an article claiming that Russia offered rewards to supporters of the Taliban group in Afghanistan for every attack on the US occupation forces, and that as a result of it Several US military personnel had been killed.
According to the newspaper, the information reached President Donald Trump in March from the hands of the American intelligence agencies, and even the White House was considering options for an official response to the alleged actions of the Kremlin.
The article shows no evidence or reliable sources to prove its claim. On the contrary, to support the "finding" that anonymous representatives of the intelligence of the United States would have leaked, they only rely on quotes from anonymous sources. It is nothing more than a propaganda operation to prevent the US from leaving Afghanistan and ending the war.
Apparently, intelligence agencies discovered Russia's "pact" with the Taliban on the basis of interrogations of captured witnesses. In the text, the NYT does not elaborate on how the alleged conspiracy was funded.
The NYT's unverified story was replicated by the Wall Street Journal , the Washington Post , CNN , among other establishment media. The focus has been on whether Trump knew about Russia's alleged payments to the Taliban to "kill US troops," and why the White House had not resolved any more sanctions on Moscow to punish him.
It is a recurring practice. At other times , the western media apparatus has validated and promoted false stories with the aim of promoting the agendas of their owners in different geographical points, encouraging wars, coups, and regime changes.
In this case, the story is part of the anti-Russian hysteria that the Liberal Democrats, and some Republicans, have unleashed, among other things, to hit harder the chances of reelection of the White House chief and his plan to remove troops from Afghanistan.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and candidate Joe Biden attacked Trump for not being belligerent enough. Biden, for example, claimed that "he did not sanction or impose any type of consequences on Russia for this atrocious violation of international law."
Responses to the report
In a statement, the Taliban questioned the NYT publication, arguing that inaccurate information has been distributed to create inconvenience to the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
"This crude machinery illustrates the low level of brainpower of American intelligence propagandists, who instead of inventing something more plausible have to do this nonsense," said the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Photo: AFP

The Trump administration denied that the president or vice president was aware of the intelligence agency report, denouncing the core rationale for the NYT "report."
The Pentagon itself said that it had "no supporting fact to recognize as reliable the recent allegations contained in public sources." This was stated by the official spokesperson for the institution, Jonathan Hoffman.
It is not Russia that funds terrorist groups
More than just sabotaging Trump's candidacy, the agreed campaign between international media focuses on foreign policy, seeking to dynamite any dialogue that makes it lose dominance of strategic territories to the US, and instead, strengthen countries of the emerging bloc .
The US military and intelligence agencies are in the process of highly volatile talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, mediated by the Russians, after more than 18 years of armed conflict generated by Washington in the Middle East.
At the end of February, a peace agreement was signed in Doha (Qatar), attended by the US special representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, the deputy leader of the "Taliban" movement, Abdul Ghani Baradar, the secretary of the State Department, Mike Pompeo, and Russia's diplomatic envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov. Under the agreement, the United States must reduce its military troops in the country within 14 months.

After several rounds of negotiations, the US and the Taliban negotiating group reached an agreement in Doha. Photo: AFP

It is also not surprising that the NYT's anti-Russian propaganda comes to the fore when the Russian and United States delegations are re-establishing contact to extend the Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty (START III) , currently the only nuclear weapons treaty held by both. military powers, which expires on February 5, 2021.
The uproar with Russia gives to extend the glance until Syria, terrain in which the United States has failed miserably.
Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, a highly influential think tank in the US, shows it in a tweet where he places the link to the NYT article: “A proportionate response (from Washington) would increase the costs for Russia of its military presence in Ukraine and Syria and, using sanctions and cybernetics, challenge Putin at home. ”
The move that leads the Democratic wing of the US political forces, in addition to being woven with mediocre fundamentals, can be reversed and hit the already discredited image of the United States as a whole.
If you dig deeper into the story, instead of tales of Russian conspiracies with terrorists, the deals between the US security forces and the Taliban, the supply of weapons to that organization and other forms of financing may come to light .
Democrats don't seem to notice that detail.

https://medium.com/@misionverdad2012/el ... 65465f9f76

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Again the agendas of the imperial bureaucracy and Democratic partisan politics coincide. This scenario as weak as the last, but Trump is weaker too. It is beyond comprehension that anyone can attach even a smidgeon of 'progressive'to this party which fights harder for eternal war than it ever fought for peace.
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:55 pm

Scott Ritter


“The Russians were suddenly imbued with near super-human capability, up to and including the ability to steal an American presidential election.”

By 2016, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Nicholson, wanted to see Russians undermining U.S. policy objectives in Afghanistan. The poisonous culture that existed inside CENTCOM’s intelligence enterprise was only too happy to comply.

The corruption of intelligence at “ground zero” ended up corrupting the entire U.S. intelligence community, especially when there was a systemic desire to transfer blame for the failure of U.S. policy in Afghanistan anywhere other than where it belonged—squarely on the shoulders of U.S. policy makers and the military that did their bidding.

And there was a beefed-up Russia/Eurasia intelligence apparatus looking for opportunities to foist blame on Russia. Blaming Russia for U.S. policy failure in Afghanistan became the law of the land.

The consequences of this political and cognitive bias is subtle, but apparent to those who know what to look for, and are willing to take the time to look.

Following the leak to The New York Times about the Russian “bounty” intelligence, members of Congress demanded answers about the White House’s claim that the information published by the Times (and mimicked by other mainstream media outlets) was “unverified.”

Rep. Jim Banks, who sits on the Armed Services Committee as one of eight Republican lawmakers briefed by the White House on the substance of the intelligence regarding the alleged Russian “bounties”, tweeted shortly after the meeting ended that, “Having served in Afghanistan during the time the alleged bounties were placed, no one is angrier about this than me.”

Bank’s biography notes that, “In 2014 and 2015, he took a leave of absence from the Indiana State Senate to deploy to Afghanistan during Operations Enduring Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel.”

Banks’ timeline mirrors that offered by a former senior Taliban leader, Mullah Manan Niazi, who told U.S. reporters who interviewed him after the Russian “bounty” story broke that “the Taliban have been paid by Russian intelligence for attacks on U.S. forces—and on ISIS forces—in Afghanistan from 2014 up to the present.”

Niazi has emerged a key figure behind the crafting of the “bounty” narrative, and yet his voice is absent from The New York Times reporting, for good reason—Niazi is a shady character whose acknowledged ties to both the Afghan Intelligence Service (NDS) and the CIA undermine his credibility as a viable source of information.

Officials, speaking anonymously to the media, have stated that “the bounty hunting story was ‘well-known’ among the intelligence community in Afghanistan, including the CIA’s chief of station and other top officials there, like the military commandos hunting the Taliban. The information was distributed in intelligence reports and highlighted in some of them.”

If this is true, and some of this information found its way into the intelligence report referred to by Rep. Banks, then the U.S. intelligence community has been selling the notion of a Russian bounty on U.S. troops since at least 2015—coincidentally, the same time Russia started siding with the Taliban against IS-K.

Seen in this light, claims that Bolton briefed President Trump on the “bounty” story in March of 2019—nearly a full year before the PDB on it was delivered to the White House—don’t seem too far-fetched, except for one small detail: what was the basis of Bolton’s briefing? What intelligence product had been generated at that time which rose to a level sufficient enough to warrant being briefed to the president of the United States by his national security advisor?

The answer is, of course—none. There was nothing; if there was, we would be reading about it with enough corroboration to warrant a White House denial. All we have is a story, a rumor, speculation, a “legend” promoted by CIA-funded Taliban turncoats that had seeped itself into the folklore of Afghanistan enough to be assimilated by other Afghans who, once detained and interrogated by the NDS and CIA, repeated the “legend” with sufficient ardor to be included, without question, in the intelligence collection report that actually did make into a PDB—on Feb. 27, 2020.

“Blaming Russia for U.S. policy failure in Afghanistan became the law of the land.”

There is another aspect of this narrative that fails completely, namely the basic comprehension of what exactly constitutes a “bounty.”

“Afghan officials said prizes of as much as $100,000 per killed soldier were offered for American and coalition targets,” the Times reported. And yet, when Rukmini Callimachi, a member of the reporting team breaking the story, appeared on MSNBC to elaborate further, she noted that “the funds were being sent from Russia regardless of whether the Taliban followed through with killing soldiers or not. There was no report back to the GRU about casualties. The money continued to flow.”

There is just one problem—that’s not how bounties work. Bounties are the quintessential quid pro quo arrangement—a reward for a service tendered. Do the job, collect the reward. Fail to deliver—there is no reward. The idea that the Russian GRU set up a cash pipeline to the Taliban that was not, in fact, contingent on the killing of U.S. and coalition troops, is the antithesis of a bounty system. It sounds more like financial aid, which it was—and is. Any assessment that lacked this observation is simply a product of bad intelligence.

The Timing

U.S. 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit after seizing a Taliban forward-operating base Nov. 25, 2001, shortly after U.S. invasion. (Sergeant Joseph R. Chenelly, U.S. Marine Corps)
Whoever leaked the Russian “bounty” story to The New York Times knew that, over time, the basics of the story would not be able to stand up under close scrutiny—there were simply too many holes in the underlying logic, and once the totality of the intelligence leaked out (which, by Friday seemed to be the case), the White House would take control of the narrative.

The timing of the leak hints at its true objective. The main thrust of the story was that the president had been briefed on a threat to U.S. forces in the form of a Russian “bounty,” payable to the Taliban, and yet opted to do nothing. On its own, this story would eventually die out of its own volition.

On June 18, the U.S. fulfilled its obligation under the peace agreement to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan to 8,600 by July 2020. By June 26, the Trump administration was close to finalizing a decision to withdraw more than 4,000 troops from Afghanistan by the fall, a move which would reduce the number of troops from 8,600 to 4,500 and thus pave the way for the complete withdrawal from U.S. forces from Afghanistan by mid-2021.

Both of these measures were unpopular with a military establishment that had been deluding itself for two decades that it could prevail in the Afghan conflict. Moreover, once the troop level had drop to 4,500, there was no turning back—the total withdrawal of all forces was inevitable, because at that level the U.S. would be unable to defend itself, let alone conduct any sort of meaningful combat operations in support of the Afghan government.

It was at this time that the leaker chose to release his or her information to The New York Times, perfectly timed to create a political furor intended not only to embarrass the president, but more critically, to mobilize Congressional pushback against the Afghan withdrawal.

A meeting of the House Armed Services Committee in March. (U.S. Air Force/Wayne Clark)

On Thursday, the House Armed Services Committee voted on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which required the Trump administration to issue several certifications before U.S. forces could be further reduced in Afghanistan, including an assessment of whether any “state actors have provided any incentives to the Taliban, their affiliates, or other foreign terrorist organizations for attacks against United States, coalition, or Afghan security forces or civilians in Afghanistan in the last two years, including the details of any attacks believed to have been connected with such incentives”—a direct reference to the Russian “bounty” leak.

The amendment passed 45-11.

This, more than anything else, seems to have been the objective of the leak. The irony of Congress passing legislation designed to prolong the American war in Afghanistan in the name of protecting American troops deployed to Afghanistan should be apparent to all.

https://orinocotribune.com/bountygate-s ... ghanistan/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Jul 11, 2020 2:15 pm

The never-ending, lucrative search for a Cuban Euromaidan
This July 1, popular streets corners in Havana and provincial capitals, were to have been the scene of protests against police violence, orchestrated by paid counterrevolutionaries, who once again received no response whatsoever from the Cuban people

Author: Iroel Sánchez | internet@granma.cu

july 6, 2020 12:07:54

This is a demonstration. This is a strong police presence. Photo: Composition by Javier Gómez

This is not a déjà vu, it is the obstinate search for a Cuban Maidán, which never tires of failure.

On December 30, 2014, the international corporate media came to cover what would be an "open microphone" allowing the censored Cuban people to express in the Plaza de la Revolución all that, according to the conveners, they had not been able to say aloud in more than 50 years. The call - disguised as an artistic performance - was launched from Miami, that paradise of freedom of expression, where raising a dissident voice when it comes to Cuba can mean, at best, unemployment, while finding ways to communicate from outside the dominant ruling class is practically impossible. The objective was obvious: to create an incident that would derail the process of normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, announced just two weeks before.

Cuban authorities prevented the arrival to the Plaza of a small group, who, financed from abroad, intended to turn the political and administrative center of the Cuban capital into a tropical Maidán, while the fact that the island’s population, allegedly eager to finally express themselves freely, did not flock massively to the Plaza was explained by the media as a consequence of "fear of repression" and the limited access to the Internet in Cuba at that time, although over previous days cell phone users on the island were bombarded with text messages from the U.S. announcing the event.

Almost six years later, the alliance between the ultra-right wing in Miami and the Trump administration has clouded memories hope for normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba. The economic blockade Washington imposes on the island has reached new heights and the same forces dream that the effects of a blockade intensified with more than 80 anti-Cuban actions by the current administration, combined with the harsh economic blow dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic, will facilitate what they could not achieve in December 2014. As the blockade’s tightening screws have almost lost their thread, new economic sanctions must be justified by “the regime’s repression" and pressure exerted to weaken Cuba’s relations with Europe and other Western nations.

For the haters, anything goes. Those who attempt to equate a regrettable but exceptional incident in Cuba with systemic and daily violence in the United States have no scruples. Perhaps they believe that a non-conformist and critical people like Cuba’s, with an acute political culture, will allow ourselves to be swayed by a crude manipulation financed from the North.

This July 1, the popular corner of 23rd and L in the Havana neighborhood of Vedado, and other busy sites in the national and provincial capitals, were to have been the scene of a protest against police violence in Cuba, called by the same individuals who failed on December 30, 2014. The "regime's troops" were already advancing on the capital to repress the protests, as evidenced by a photo published on one of the “free” press sites. But oh, the license plates on jeeps driven by the repressive forces appearing in the post - with their tops down and no weapons or facemasks in sight - expired years ago, while the background was that of Santiago de Cuba, not Havana, and the buildings visible in the image no longer even exist. The troops, yes, were moving, but only in a time machine and on the Internet highway.

“Once again, more of the same, linking anyone protesting in Cuba with the U. S. government," someone might say. But check the Twitter accounts of the embassy’s chargé d'affaires in Havana, the OAS Secretary General, Cuban-American Congressmen pushing for new sanctions against Cuba, or the website of the government's Radio-Television Martí and the "independent" media, financed by the sponsor of “colorful” revolutions and financier of the Ukrainian Maidan, George Soros, and the National Endowment for Democracy -which even The New York Times recognizes as a screen for the CIA - to see who is behind this call, amplified by media such as the BBC, which in spite of being a British public press outlet ignored Cuba’s humanitarian rescue of hundreds of citizens of that country onboard a cruise ship, in danger of becoming a floating morgue. This is the same source that contributed months ago to the history of yellow journalism by telling the world that an armored car security guard was a regular police officer controlling lines on the island with a high caliber rifle.

In Cuba, without a doubt, channels of communication need to be expanded, representative bodies and spaces for political participation to be perfected, and mechanisms of transparency, accountability and popular control to be improved. I am not saying anything new; the Cuban government has recognized this and this reality is reflected in the spirit of the new Constitution, which was overwhelmingly approved by popular referendum. But this path is heading in the opposite direction, away from the power of money in politics and the acceptance of U.S. interference, which are common currency in capitalist democracies. There is consensus among Cubans that those who serve a foreign agenda of regime change, and are paid to do so, lack legitimacy.

There is no historical basis to say that Cubans are afraid to overthrow their government , when you are talking about a people who, at the end of the 19th century, raised machetes against modern rifles to win independence, and in the 20th century, overthrew two dictators supported by Washington, and went to Africa to defeat apartheid South Africa, which was armed with nuclear weapons. At a time when the United States said there was a democratic government in Cuba, those opposed it defied the police, who tortured and murdered citizens, and dared to struggle in the streets despite gunshots, beatings and water cannons. Thousands of deaths attest to this fact.

Now that the United States claims that there is a dictatorship here, those who, with the support of our northern neighbor, claim to oppose such tyranny, insist that the police do not allow demonstrations, but not a single one of them is willing to do what those who, without asking permission, confronted the “democracy” that tortured and killed thousands, supported by the country that claims to defend freedom of expression and information in Cuba, but viciously persecutes those who exercise it, if it cannot silence them. Julian Assange and Edward Snowden can testify to this.

Despite the fact that there are more than seven million Cubans connected to the Internet, bombarded everyday with propaganda manufactured in fourth-generation psychological warfare laboratories - on the U. S. government payroll - this call for protest went nowhere. On July 1, in the rain, the island’s streets were filled to receive members of the Henry Reeve Contingent returning home after battling COVID-19 and saving lives in the Principality of Andorra.

http://en.granma.cu/cuba/2020-07-06/the ... euromaidan
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Jul 25, 2020 11:08 am

U.S. - China Spat Over Quarantine And Consulates Continues

The U.S. closed down the Chinese consulate in Houston in revenge for Chinese demands that diplomats coming from abroad to China undergo Covid-19 testing and quarantine. No U.S. media I have read has yet confirmed that fact which Moon of Alabama was first to report:

The unmentioned reason for the State Department's move is a squabble over virus testing and quarantining of U.S. diplomats who are supposed to return to China.
The squabble continues. The U.S. diplomats have not returned and the consulate in Wuhan has still not reopened. The U.S. order to close the Chinese consulate in Houston is obviously an attempt to press China into lifting its testing and quarantine demands for U.S. diplomats.
The Global Times, China's flagship English language media, has asked two experts. Both confirmed our reporting:

Wu Xinbo, dean of the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University:
According to my understanding, it is a move to pressure Beijing to get more US diplomats back to their posts in China. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, the US had hurriedly evacuated quite a number of American diplomats and citizens from China. Now Washington believes it is time for them to continue their China mission. Yet negotiations on their return did not go quite smoothly. ...

Wei Zongyou, a professor at the Center for American Studies, Fudan University

It has been quite some time that China and the US have remained locked in negotiations over conditions for the return to China of US diplomats and their family members. The harsh requirement for the closing of the Chinese Consulate General in Houston can be regarded as the US retaliation over this dispute. ...

The U.S. media still behave as if they have not noticed the unreasonable demand of Cootiestan's State Department. China would risk another Covid-19 outbreak if it were to exempt newly arriving diplomats from testing and quarantine.

China responded to the U.S. order to close its consulate in Houston with a mirror order to shut down the U.S. consulate in Chengdu. But notice how different the purposes of those outlets gets described:

As the United States lashed out against the “new tyranny” of China, Beijing on Friday ordered the closure of the American consulate in Chengdu, a retaliatory move that threatens to drive the two powers into an even deeper divide.
Beijing blamed the Trump administration for the deterioration in relations, calling its own action justified after Washington told China this week to shutter its consulate in Houston and accused its diplomats of acting illegally.
[T]he Trump administration has said the closure of the Houston consulate was necessary because it had become a hub of illegal spying and influence operations, allegations that Chinese officials have denied.
[T]he closure of the consulate in Chengdu, in Sichuan Province, the westernmost of the five American consulates in mainland China, deprives the United States in a city that is a hub for China’s commercial expansion across Central Asia. Chengdu is also its most valuable diplomatic outpost for gathering information on Xinjiang and Tibet, the two sometimes-restive regions in China’s far west.

Both regions have been the locations for wide-ranging security crackdowns that have drawn international criticism as abuses of human rights.

The Chinese consulate in Houston is accused, without any evidence, of being a "hub of illegal spying and influence operations". The U.S. consulate in Chengdu is, according to the New York Times, involved in "gathering information on Xinjiang and Tibet" and also used for the fake "human rights" campaigns against China - i.e. CIA information operations. Why is the chosen depiction so different?

As U.S. has many more diplomats in China than China has in the U.S. We can therefore be sure that the U.S. has more agents doing their nefarious stuff in China than Chinese agents are doing in Washington, Houston and elsewhere.

Some U.S. diplomats who had evacuated in January and February are now returning to China:

Washington and Beijing have been negotiating for weeks over the terms of how to send U.S. diplomats back amid disagreement over COVID-19 testing and quarantine procedures, as well as frequency of flights and how many each can carry.
There is no word yet how the testing and quarantining of these diplomats will be handled. I find it likely that China has stuck to its demands and that the U.S. conceded on the issue. That would of course be another issue the media would not want you to know.

Posted by b on July 24, 2020 at 18:17 UTC | Permalink

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/07/u ... l#comments

bolding added
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:59 pm



by John Helmer, Moscow

Austria officially confirmed this week that the British Government’s allegation that Novichok, a Russian chemical warfare agent, was used in England by GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, in March 2018, was a British invention.

Investigations in Vienna by four Austrian government ministries, the BVT intelligence agency, and by Austrian prosecutors have revealed that secret OPCW reports on the blood testing of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, copies of which were transferred to the Austrian government, did not reveal a Russian-made nerve agent.

Two reports, published in Vienna this week by the OE media group and reporter Isabelle Daniel, reveal that the Financial Times publication of the cover-page of one of the OPCW reports exposed a barcode identifying the source of the leaked documents was the Austrian government. The Austrian Foreign Ministry and the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz und Terrorismusbekämpfung (BVT), the domestic intelligence agency equivalent to MI5 or FBI, have corroborated the authenticity of the documents.

The Austrian disclosures also reveal that in London the Financial Times editor, Roula Khalaf, four of the newspaper’s reporters, and the management of the Japanese-owned company have fabricated a false and misleading version of the OPCW evidence and have covered up British government lying on the Skripal blood testing and the Novichok evidence.

On Wednesday afternoon this week, OE24, a news portal of the OE media group in Vienna, broke the first story (lead image, right) that the barcode found on the OPCW document photograph published in London had been traced to several Austrian state ministries. The next day, OE political editor Isabelle Daniel reported the Austrian Foreign, Defence and Economics Ministries had received copies of the barcoded OPCW dossier, and that the Justice Ministry and prosecutors were investigating “potential moles”.

Daniel also quoted a Foreign Ministry source as saying its copy of the documents had been securely stored in its disarmament department safe, and that there were “no tips” the leak had come from there. Daniel also quoted a BVT spokesman as confirming the authenticity of the OPCW file had been verified. “We have checked it recently. Officially it has not come to us.”

Left: Isabelle Daniel of OE, Vienna. Right, Roula Khalaf Razzouk, editor of the Financial Times since her recent appointment by the Nikkei group, the newspaper’s owner. Her full name and concealment of her Lebanese political and business interests can be followed here. The names of the four Financial Times reporters who have participated in the misrepresentation and cover-up are Paul Murphy, investigations editor; Dan McCrum, a reporter; Helen Warrell, NATO correspondent; and Max Seddon of the Moscow bureau.

The leak had been an “explosive secret betrayal” and a criminal investigation was under way, OE24 reported. OE is a privately owned Austrian media group, based in Vienna. It publishes a newspaper, the news portal OE.at, radio and television.

The Financial Times report first exposing the OPCW documents appeared on July 9. Details of how the newspaper fabricated the interpretation the OPCW had corroborated Russian involvement in the Novichok attack can be read here. For the full Skripal story, read the book.

At an OPCW Executive Council meeting on April 14, 2018, five weeks after the Skripal attack, the British Government confirmed that a few days earlier “all States parties” had received copies of the OPCW dossier. This included Austria, as the Viennese sources now acknowledge.

Source: https://www.opcw.org/

“The OPCW responded promptly to our request to send their experts to the United Kingdom,” declared Peter Wilson, the British representative to the OPCW on April 14, 2018. “They conducted a highly professional mission. The OPCW’s designated laboratories have also responded professionally and promptly. What the Director-General said was really important on this, and the Technical Secretariat’s presentation shows how professional that work was. The report the Technical Secretariat presented to us on 11 April was thorough and methodical. The Technical Secretariat responded quickly to our request to share that report with all States Parties. All have had the chance to see the quality of that work.”

Wilson went on to say: “As you know, on 4 March Yulia and Sergei Skripal were poisoned in Salisbury, the United Kingdom, with a chemical weapon, which United Kingdom experts established to be a Novichok. OPCW has now clearly verified those findings.”

The Austrian copy of the OPCW file now confirms this was a misrepresentation of the chemical formula and other evidence the OPCW had gathered.

Wilson went on to conclude: “the identification of the nerve agent used is an essential piece of technical evidence in our investigation, neither DSTL’s [Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down] analysis, nor the OPCW’s report, identifies the country or laboratory of origin of the agent used in this attack. So let me also set out the wider picture, which leads the United Kingdom to assess that there is no plausible alternative explanation for what happened in Salisbury than Russian State responsibility. We believe that only the Russian Federation had the technical means, operational experience, and the motive to target the Skripals.”

The first qualifying sentence was the British truth; the conclusion was the British lie. The Austrian evidence now verifies there was no evidence of a Russian source in the blood and other test samples; no evidence of Novichok; and no evidence to corroborate the British allegations of a Russian chemical warfare attack.

In its report, the Financial Times displayed a partial photograph of the cover-page of one of the OPCW documents in its possession (lead image, left). A classification stamp appears to be showing through the title page, but no barcode is visible. The London newspaper appears to have cropped the published picture so as to hide the barcode. That concealment — proof of the Austrian source – allowed the newspaper reporters to claim the source of the document was unknown, probably Russian, as the headline implied: “Wirecard executive Jan Marsalek touted Russian nerve gas documents.”

A British military source was reported as claiming “the documents were ‘unlikely’ to have come from OPCW member states in western Europe or the US.” Khalaf and her reporters added: “The OPCW, which is based in The Hague, said this week that it was investigating the matter, but declined further comment. The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.” With the barcode in their possession but hidden, they knew they were publishing a combination of disinformation and lies.

The disclosure of the barcode to the Austrians appears to have followed after they had requested it from Khalaf. She checked with her superiors in the newspaper management before handing it over. They believed they were doing so in secret.

It is not known if Motohiro Matsumoto (right), the Nikkei executive responsible for the London publishing company, was alerted and gave his authorization; he refuses to answer questions. Matsumoto, one of the five directors of Financial Times Ltd., is the general manager of Nikkei’s global business division. He takes
his running orders from Nikkei’s chairman and a long-time media executive, Tsuneo Kita. Matsumoto replaced Hirotomo Nomura at the head of the Financial Times on March 25, 2020. When Nikkei bought the newspaper from Pearson Plc in 2015, Nikkei became its sole proprietor.

The Austrian press has yet to report how the barcode was obtained from the newspaper. Because the BVT and state prosecutors in Vienna are involved in their search for the “moles”, it is likely they contacted their counterparts at MI5 and the Home Office, and that the newspaper agreed to hand over its copy of the OPCW file to the latter. The collaboration of the journalists with the secret services to falsify evidence against Moscow in the Novichok story remains a sensitive secret.

Source: https://m.oe24.at/

Khalaf has refused repeated requests for comment. Max Seddon, the newspaper’s Moscow reporter, was also asked for additional information about the photograph of the cover-page. He will not answer.

http://johnhelmer.net/austria-confirms- ... -cover-up/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:43 pm

'Western' Media Falsely Claim That Russia's Covid-19 Vaccine Is Ready To Go

After President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia's Covid-19 vaccine candidate had gained an approval from its regulator, 'western' media went into a anti-Russian frenzy to sow dear and doubt about it.

Russia coronavirus vaccine approved, Vladimir Putin says. But questions over its safety remain
We have no idea if the Russian Covid vaccine is safe or effective
Russia's coronavirus vaccine rush has 'high risk' of backfiring: CSIS
German health minister says he's sceptical about Russian COVID-19 vaccine
Russia Approves Coronavirus Vaccine Before Completing Tests
'Reckless and foolish': Why Russia's vaccine has experts alarmed
Russia claims a win in the vaccine race. But would you take a vaccine from Vladimir Putin?
Russia Coronavirus Vaccine, Given to Putin's Daughter, Not on WHO List of 6 Candidates in Phase 3 Trials
Fauci says he 'seriously doubts' that Russia has developed a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine after Putin approved of the world's first vaccine
All the above, just as this one, are based on a willful misinterpretation of the Russian announcement:

Russia has become the first country in the world to approve a vaccine for the coronavirus, President Vladimir V. Putin announced on Tuesday, though global health authorities say the vaccine has yet to complete critical, late-stage clinical trials to determine its safety and effectiveness.
Mr. Putin, who told a cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning that the vaccine “works effectively enough,” said that his own daughter had taken it. And in a congratulatory note to the nation, he thanked the scientists who developed the vaccine for “this first, very important step for our country, and generally for the whole world.”
By skipping large-scale clinical trials, the Russian dash for a vaccine has raised widespread concern that it is circumventing vital steps — and potentially endangering people — in order to score global propaganda points.

Russia has not approved a vaccine against Covid-19 and it is not skipping large-scale clinical trials.

The Russia regulator gave a preliminary approval for a vaccine candidate to start the large-scale clinical trial. This is similar to an emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Science Magazine is one of the few media who got it right:

In a startling and confusing move, Russia claimed today it had approved the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine, as the nation’s Ministry of Health issued what’s called a registration certificate for a vaccine candidate that has been tested in just 76 people. The certificate allows the vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, to be given to “a small number of citizens from vulnerable groups,” including medical staff and the elderly, a Ministry of Health spokesperson tells ScienceInsider. But the certificate stipulates that the vaccine cannot be used widely until 1 January 2021, presumably after larger clinical trials have been completed.
A website for Sputnik V says a phase III efficacy trial involving more than 2000 people will begin on 12 August in Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Mexico. Mass production of the vaccine is slated to begin in September.
The Russian vaccine candidate is based on two variants of the human adenovirus which can cause the common cold. These virus have also been used in other reliable vaccines. There genes have been modified to create the spike protein that allows SARS-CoV-2 to enter human cells. When the modified adenovirus is applied it induces human cells to create the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. That then sets off the immune system which will develop specific anti-bodies (IdG) and memory cells (T-cells) against the spike protein. Should the immunized person later get infected with SARS-CoV-2 its immune system will be ready to defeat the virus.


The Russian vaccine candidate is administered in two shots. The primary one is based on a modified adenovirus-26. A secondary shot, three weeks later, is based on a modified adenovirus-5. Two different types of the virus are used because some people are already immune against some of its variants. The second shot is supposed to boost the immune response.

Science Magazine notes that there is some concern about the efficiency of the second shot:

Some vaccine experts have raised concerns about COVID-19 vaccines that use adenovirus 5 in this way. In 2007, researchers stopped an HIV vaccine trial that used adenovirus 5 to shuttle in the gene for the surface protein of that virus after they found that it increased the likelihood of its transmission.
Several of the other vaccines candidates that are currently undergoing testing also rely on a modified adenovirus. The vaccine candidate developed by the British Jenner Institute in Oxford together with AstraZeneca uses one that usually infects chimpanzees.

The Russian vaccine candidate will, like all others, have to go through the now announced third trial phase before it will get any general approval.

There is no excuse for the media to wrongly claim that Russia has approved a ready to go vaccine. The Sputnik Vaccine website explains in seven languages that the third trial phase of the clinical trials is still to come.

Posted by b on August 12, 2020 at 9:16 UTC | Permalink

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/08/w ... .html#more

The 2 stage nature of this vaccine also puts the lie to claims that those 'evil commies' are hacking US research, a different approach.

For myself, I will not trust the winner of the vaccine race unless it is China or Cuba and if otherwise would probably, if able, reserve judgement for several months to see how it goes. Concerning Russia, on one hand one must respect the legacy of Soviet science, though I am unclear on how much that still applies. On the other hand Russia is not only capitalist but at a stage of capitalist development in some ways similar to the 'Robber-baron' era in the US, reckless and ruthless(as compared to 'more developed' capitalists who are a little more careful of appearances and ruthless...). If a US vaccine pops outta the blue in the next 90 days I want the prez to try it first.
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Aug 22, 2020 1:21 pm


Youtube Erased 3 “Venezolana de Television” Channels – More Than 68 Thousand Videos Deleted (US Sanctions)
August 21, 2020

The Venezuelan state television channel, Venezolana de Television (VTV), on Thursday denounced the cancellation of its three YouTube channels, simultaneously and without clear explanations about the reason for this action. “There we loaded not only the live broadcasts, but the complete programs,” the channel’s presenter, Barry Cartaya said. In total, more than 68,000 videos that had been there since 2011 were removed and are now not accsible. The television station opened a new channel while other options are studied. This occurs simultaneously with the elimination of the YouTube channels of the Cuban TS show “Mesa Redonda” and the television station Cubavisión Internacional.

When trying to access the VTV channels, the message appears: “This account was terminated due to a violation of the YouTube Terms of Service.” In other cases: “This page isn’t available. Sorry about that. Try searching for something else.” (This page is not available. We’re sorry. Please try searching for something else.)

According to a statement published by the VTV website this Friday, the action involved the elimination of YouTube and Google accounts used by the TV station for their regular operation, and “represents for the State channel a loss of years of work, with videos that collected the history of the action of the government of the Bolivarian Revolution and the informative history of the Venezuelan people.”

The text indicates that YouTube, a company owned by Google, “canceled the official accounts of Venezolana de Televisión (VTV) without prior notice and only by sending an email in which they alluded to having received a complaint without explaining the reasons and without referencing the policy violation.

The message received informed them that the Gmail account used to manage the account has been disabled, “and cannot be restored because it violates export laws. If you have questions, we recommend that you hire the services of a lawyer.”


When reviewing the Google documentation, you can find pages that refer to problems with “export laws” refer to restrictions on “embargoed countries” which would imply that it is a measure due to the sanctions that the US government impose against Venezuela and Venezuelans, and that “forces” companies like Google to apply them against the Venezuelan people as a form of pressure to try to force the end of the government of Nicolás Maduro.

The fact that the three accounts were closed simultaneously, without specifying which conditions of service were violated or the violations allegedly committed, seems to support this theory.

The television station had three YouTube channels:

Multimedio VTV presented the news coverage made by its journalists and correspondents throughout the country. It was opened in February 2011 and had 58,589 uploaded videos and 314,000 subscribers, according to the SocialBlade website, which offers automated statistics from numerous YouTube channels. The videos of Multimedio VTV reached 126 million reproductions and it is the 33rd channel in Venezuela by number of users. As VTV explained in a statement, this account uploaded “information capsules of the work carried out by the reporters of Venezolana de Televisión, as well as the exclusive transmissions that come out through the VTV screens”, so “it was impossible” that the penalty was due to copyright issues.
VTV Full Programs was another channel on which TV shows were uploaded, such as Dossier (hosted by internationalist Walter Martínez), La Hojilla (hosted by Mario Silva), Zurda Konducta or 360 °, as well as presidential and cabinet meetings. According to SocialBlade, it was created in August 2014, it had 10,375 videos, 87 thousand subscribers and 15 million views. According to the statement issued by VTV, the videos uploaded to this account “were edited to erase any sensitive content that might be considered a violation of copyright policies, such as music videos, material from other media, etc.”
VTV Live Signal was the channel on which the TV channel’s live signal was available for their followers worldwide.
These are screenshots from SocialBlade offering statistics from both channels.


VTV reported that it will appeal the decision to YouTube. At the moment, the journalist and university professor Angel W. Muñóz reported that VTV opened a new channel on YouTube: it can be accessed by clicking here .

Youtube is the world’s leading video service. It was founded in 2005 and then acquired in 2006 by the transnational Google. It is considered the second most popular website on the Internet.


The three strikes system was not respected
Although it is true that YouTube cancels or blocks those accounts that violate its terms and conditions (particularly issues such as copyrights on videos and audios belonging to third parties), the company keeps a “three strikes” rule, that is: to proceed to the definitive closure of the channel, three serious offenses have to be committed in a period of 90 days. When these offenses occur, YouTube explains in detail to the offender what the video was that violated the rules, who the person or company was that made the claim and even gives the opportunity to appeal.

It is important to note that, according to official YouTube documentation, this punishment system is progressive: when the first offense is committed, the channel is “punished” for a week, banning it from uploading videos, live broadcasts or stories. The channel’s videos can be accessed by users. When the second offense is committed in 90 days, the channel is punished for two weeks, and upon the third offense, “we will permanently remove your channel from YouTube,” the documentation says.

We were informed that this progression in punishments was not fulfilled with the VTV YouTube channels, because at no time were they informed of having committed a first or second offense, nor was the measure applied to prevent them from uploading videos for one or two weeks. VTV uploads dozens of videos a day, of the news and television programs broadcast, for which these punishments, if applied, would have been easily noticed by VTV users and journalists from other media (including Alba Ciudad), who resort to to these materials to do its work.

Youtube went straight to the elimination of the channel, and not just one, but three channels simultaneously and on the same day.

Two Cuban television channels were also closed
On the other hand, the CubaDebate website also denounced the closure this Thursday of two important Cuban channels on YouTube: that of the outstanding informative and debate TV show “Mesa Redonda” on Cuban Television, and the Cubavisión Internacional channel. In both cases, all its contents were also removed.

According to SocialBlade, the Mesa Redonda channel, created in December 2009, had 19,700 subscribers, had uploaded 2,988 videos and had 2,717,131 views.
The Cubavisión Internacional channel, which was created in January 2014, had 8,200 subscribers, 741 videos, and 268,000 views.


In the case of Cubavisión Internacional, its Google account was also suppressed, receiving a message similar to that of Venezolana de Televisión, stating that “it cannot be restored because it violates export laws.” They add that “if you have questions, we recommend that you hire the services of a lawyer.”

This was the message sent by Google announcing the cancellation of the account associated with its YouTube channel.

CubaDebate points out that, when looking for what it means to violate export laws in Google’s helpdesk, they refer to restrictions on “embargoed countries,” which makes them conclude that it is the US blockade against Cuba. This page says that the closure of its channels occurs at moments of informative interest in Cuba, shortly before the Cuban Covid-19 vaccine candidate “Soberana 01” was discussed in that space.

Mesa Redonda recommends accessing all live broadcasts and other materials on its Facebook page, and new streaming broadcasts will be made through the Cubadebate channel on YouTube.

Featured image: Referential image.

(Alba Ciudad)

Translation: OT/JRE/EF

https://orinocotribune.com/youtube-eras ... sanctions/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Sep 05, 2020 5:20 pm


Cuban Chancellor Bruno Rodriguez Denounces Media Blackout on Cuba’s Contributions in the Fight Against Covid-19
September 5, 2020

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez, today denounced the silence of the international media about the contributions of his country’s scientists to the fight against Covid-19.

In his Twitter account, the Chancellor stressed that, even when the island’s men and women of science “share their progress with the world, show protocols against the pandemic and the results of their own vaccine candidate,” little media coverage reflects those achievements, he said to Prensa Latina.

“The Cuba agenda is partial,” added the head of the Caribbean nation’s diplomacy, and he also pointed out that ignoring or censoring Cuban successes is part of the media blockade that is being imposed on the island.

The largest of the Antilles, in this period of confrontation with the pandemic, created a pulmonary ventilator, incorporated drugs such as Jusvinza (CIGB 258) and Itolizumab to therapeutic protocols for Covid-19 patients, with good results, and also has a vaccine candidate in clinical trials, named Sovereign 01.

The latter achievement, however, was tempered by the closure of the Google accounts of the Tv show “La Mesa Redonda” and the Cubavisión Internacional channel, including their profiles on YouTube, where the explanations of the scientists would be posted.

Recently, directors of the Finlay Vaccine Institute, the center developing Soberana 01, presented the progress of this proposal to the World and Pan-American Health Organization (WHO / PAHO).

Cuban specialists have also shared their knowledge and results, via videoconference, with health personnel from Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Oceania.

The day before, President Miguel Díaz-Canel held a meeting with experts and scientists involved in confronting the pandemic, which he classified as useful and essential for decision-making.

According to the website of the Cuban Presidency, this is the president’s 23rd exchange with the specialists, in which the treatment protocols, the creation of their own diagnostic equipment and materials, as well as the prognoses in the evolution of the disease have been evaluated.

Featured image: file photo, courtesy of Directorio Cubano.

(Ultimas Noticias)

Translation: OT/JRE/EF

https://orinocotribune.com/cuban-chance ... -covid-19/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:02 pm


U.S. Govt-Linked PR Firm Ran Fake News Networks for Right-Wing Latin American Regimes
September 8, 2020
By Ben Norton- Sep 6, 2020

A Washington, DC-based PR firm linked to the US government and Democratic Party, CLS Strategies, ran a fake news network on Facebook and Instagram, spreading propaganda for Bolivia’s coup regime and the right-wing opposition in Venezuela and Mexico.

Amajor US PR firm located just a few blocks from the White House has been caught running an industrial grade propaganda operation on social media. The information warfare blitzkrieg relied on fake accounts and pages to spread disinformation on behalf of right-wing, US-backed governments in Latin America, while deploying covert propaganda to destabilize the leftist governments in Venezuela and Mexico.

The company behind the campaign, CLS Strategies, signed a contract to represent Bolivia’s far-right junta and provide “strategic communications counsel” in the lead-up to that country’s ostensible election. After coming to power through a US-backed military coup in November 2019, the Bolivian regime has delayed the election numerous times on specious grounds.

CLS Strategies also used its network of fake accounts and pages to push propaganda on behalf of Venezuela’s right-wing opposition and the US-backed parallel coup regime of Juan Guaidó.

Some of the CLS-run Facebook and Instagram profiles even posed as disgruntled Venezuelan soldiers, and called on members of the armed forces to rebel against their socialist government. Other pages claimed to be run by disaffected former supporters of leftist leaders like Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales.

The DC-based company similarly filled social media with disinformation demonizing Mexico’s left-wing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and his party Morena, who have been under increasing attack by right-wing oligarch forces.

On Facebook, the PR firm spent a staggering $3.6 million on ads to promote this propaganda.

CLS Strategies has close links to the US government. The firm employs former government officials like Mark Feierstein, who oversaw Latin America policy for the Obama White House. Feierstein also served as coordinator of Latin America activities for the US Agency for International Development (USAID), a regime-change arm that has been used as a front for covert CIA operations and spearheaded the Trump administration’s coup attempts in Venezuela.

Another CLS senior advisor, David Romley, worked as a Pentagon spokesman, press attaché to the secretary of defense, and public affairs officer for the US Marine Corps. Before moving to CLS, Romley also served as vice president for communications at the German Marshall Fund, a prominent Cold War-era think tank funded by the US government and NATO that has been integral in pushing the new cold war on Russia and China.

A co-founder of CLS, Peter Schechter, was also the founding director of the Latin America center at the major Washington think tank the Atlantic Council, which is funded by the US and UK governments and European Union and acts as a de facto organ of the NATO military alliance.

Grayzone contributor Alex Rubinstein exposed Schechter’s unsavory career as a Washington insider, revealing how CLS Strategies has worked on behalf of numerous right-wing Latin America leaders whose neoliberal policies spawned migration crises. As Rubinstein reported, Schechter opened a progressive “Resistance”-themed restaurant in downtown Washington, DC called Immigrant Food, forging partnerships with immigrant rights NGOs.

Schechter’s former clients at CLS include the Colombian ex-President Álvaro Uribe, who oversaw death squad massacres and is being investigated by his country’s supreme court for involvement in crimes against humanity, along with Mexico’s ex-President Enrique Peña Nieto, who is connected to drug cartels and major corruption scandals.

A decade before it was hired by Bolivia’s coup regime, CLS Strategies signed a contract to represent another conservative dictatorial regime, this time in Honduras, after it took power in a US government-backed military coup in 2009.

On its website, CLS boasts of having lobbied for more than a dozen foreign governments and having “managed campaigns and advised public officials on six continents.”

According to the PR firm’s own public listings, as well as Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filings reviewed by The Grayzone, CLS Strategies has worked for right-wing political forces from Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Honduras, Kenya, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, and Venezuela, as well as the World Bank and large corporations.

Another CLS Strategies partner, Juan Cortiñas, boasted on the firm’s website that he has represented top right-wing leaders and major corporations in Latin America, including the Venezuelan opposition.

Since the fake news ring was exposed, however, CLS Strategies has edited its website to scrub some of these compromising materials, removing the bios of associates like Feierstein and Cortiñas.

This controversy underscores how US PR firms, elite Washington insiders, and foreign opposition groups work in tandem to promote right-wing regimes in Latin America while astroturfing opposition to democratically elected left-wing governments.

Given the extensive links CLS has to the Democratic Party, this scheme also highlights the bipartisan consensus around regime change and support for corrupt neoliberal leaders linked to death squads and drug trafficking.

Further, the scandal shows how foreign policy apparatchiks in Washington do exactly what they accuse Russia of doing: meddle in foreign elections to try to install their preferred candidates in power.

Facebook deletes CLS Strategies fake news ring

The Grayzone has reported on social media corporations’ US government-backed censorship of independent media outlets and voices critical of US foreign policy. Virtually all of Facebook’s purges of alleged fake accounts have targeted foreign governments and firms in other countries. The CLS Strategies fake news ring is apparently the first time Facebook has ever taken down a US-based operation.

Facebook published a press release on September 1 acknowledging that it had removed a network of 55 fake accounts and 42 pages, along with 36 Instagram profiles, “for violating our policy against​​ foreign interference​, which is​​ coordinated inauthentic behavior​ on behalf of a foreign entity.”

An accompanying report (PDF) released by Facebook acknowledged that these fake accounts portrayed themselves “as independent news entities, civic organizations and political fan Pages,” while some “posed as locals in countries they targeted” and “impersonated political parties.”

The social media giant said the network “posted content in support of the political opposition in Venezuela and the interim government in Bolivia, and criticism of Morena, a political party in Mexico.” It identified the network as being connected to the PR firm CLS Strategies.

Facebook shared the information about this fake news ring with Stanford University’s Internet Observatory, which analyzed the materials and published a report on September 4 (PDF), showing how CLS Strategies created 17 Facebook pages to promote the Venezuelan opposition, along with 11 for the Bolivian coup regime.

A total of 509,000 unique accounts followed one or more of these propaganda pages on Facebook. Some pages were huge, with as many as 163,000 followers, while others had very few subscribers.

The Bolivia pages spread Spanish-language propaganda promoting coup leader Jeanine Áñez, a right-wing extremist from a fringe party that got just 4 percent of the vote in the November election but who was recognized by the United States as the country’s supposed interim president.

The Stanford report noted that the “Venezuela-focused assets supported and promoted Venezuelan opposition leaders but changed in tone in 2020, reflecting factional divides in the opposition and a turn away from opposition president Juan Guaidó.”

Most of these propaganda pages were run out of the United States, although some operatives in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru were involved.


https://orinocotribune.com/u-s-govt-lin ... n-regimes/

Given the kerfuffle over 'Russian interference' this is particularly savory.
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:33 am

Fake News About Iran, Russia, China Is U.S. Journalism's Daily Bread
Every few days U.S. 'intelligence' and 'officials' produce fake claims about this or that 'hostile' country. U.S. media continue to reproduce those claims even if they bare any logic and do not make any sense.

On June 27 the New York Times and the Washington Post published fake news about alleged Russian payments to the Taliban for killing U.S. troops.

The stories ran on the outlets' front pages.

Two week later the story was shown to have no basis:

[T]hat the story was obviously bullshit did not prevent Democrats in Congress, including 'Russiagate' swindler Adam Schiff, to bluster about it and to call for immediate briefings and new sanctions on Russia.

Just a day after it was published the main accusation, that Trump was briefed on the 'intelligence' died. The Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Advisor and the CIA publicly rejected the claim. Then the rest of the story started to crumble. On June 2, just one week after it was launched, the story was declared dead.
The NYT buried the above quoted dead corpse of the original story page A-19.

Despite that the Democrats continued to use the fake story for attacks on Donald Trump.

Yesterday the commander of the U.S. forces in the Middle East drove a stake though the heart of the dead corpse of the original story:

Two months after top Pentagon officials vowed to get to the bottom of whether the Russian government bribed the Taliban to kill American service members, the commander of troops in the region says a detailed review of all available intelligence has not been able to corroborate the existence of such a program.
"It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me," Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, told NBC News. McKenzie oversees U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

But as one fake news zombie finally dies others get resurrected. Politico's 'intelligence' stenographer Natasha Bertrand produced this nonsensical claim:

The Iranian government is weighing an assassination attempt against the American ambassador to South Africa, U.S. intelligence reports say, according to a U.S. government official familiar with the issue and another official who has seen the intelligence.
News of the plot comes as Iran continues to seek ways to retaliate for President Donald Trump’s decision to kill a powerful Iranian general earlier this year, the officials said. If carried out, it could dramatically ratchet up already serious tensions between the U.S. and Iran and create enormous pressure on Trump to strike back — possibly in the middle of a tense election season.

U.S. officials have been aware of a general threat against the ambassador, Lana Marks, since the spring, the officials said. But the intelligence about the threat to the ambassador has become more specific in recent weeks. The Iranian Embassy in Pretoria is involved in the plot, the U.S. government official said.

Ambassador Lana Marks is known for selling overpriced handbags and for her donations to Trump's campaign. To Iran she has zero political or symbolic value. There is no way Iran would ever think about an attack on such a target. Accordingly the South African intelligence services do not believe that there is such a threat:

South African Minister of State Security Ayanda Dlodlo said the matter was “receiving the necessary attention” and that the State Security Agency (SSA) was “interacting with all relevant partners both in the country and abroad, to ensure that no harm will be suffered by the US Ambassador, including any other Diplomatic Officials inside the borders of our country.”
However, an informed intelligence source told Daily Maverick that although the “matter has been taken seriously… as we approach all such threats, specifically, there appears to be, from our perspective, no discernible threat. Least of all from the source that it purports to emanate from.

There was “no evidence or indicator”, the source said, so the plot was “not likely to be real”. The “associations made are not sustainable on any level but all precautions will be put in place”.

The source suggested this was an instance of the “tail wagging the dog”, of the Trump administration wielding a “weapon of mass distraction” to divert attention from its failures in the election campaign running up to President Donald Trump’s re-election bid on November 3.

The spokesperson for the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs, Saeed Khatibzadeh, strongly denied the allegation in the Politico report which he called “hackneyed and worn-out… anti-Iran propaganda”.

In January the U.S. assassinated the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Soleimani led the external campaigns of the Iranian Quds Forces. He was the one who orchestrated the campaign that defeated the Islamic State. His mythic-symbolic position for Iran and the resistance in the Middle East is beyond that of any U.S. figure.

There is simply no one in the U.S. military or political hierarchy who could be seen as his equal. Iran has therefore announced that it will take other ways to revenge the assassination of Soleimani.

As an immediate response to the assassination of Soleimani Iran had launched a precise missile attack against two U.S. bases in Iraq. It has also announced that it will make sure that the U.S. military will have to leave the Middle East. That program is in full swing now as U.S. bases in Iraq are again coming under daily missile attacks:

More than eight months after a barrage of rockets killed an American contractor and wounded four American service members in Kirkuk, Iraq, militia groups continue to target U.S. military bases in that country, and the frequency of those attacks has increased.
"We have had more indirect fire attacks around and against our bases the first half of this year than we did the first half of last year," Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, said. "Those attacks have been higher."
McKenzie's comments came just hours after he announced the United States would be cutting its footprint in Iraq by almost half by the end of September, with about 2,200 troops leaving the country.

Just hours agon two Katyusha rockets were fired against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone. Two British/U.S.convoys also came under attack. U.S. air defense took the missiles down but its anti-missile fire is only further disgruntling the Iraqi population.

These attacks are still limited and designed to not cause any significant casualties. But they will continue to increase over time until the last U.S. soldier is withdrawn from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other Middle East countries. That, and only that, is the punishment Iran promised as revenge for Soleimani's death.

The alleged Iranian thread against the U.S. ambassador to South Africa is just another fake news propaganda story. It is useful only for lame blustering:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 3:04 UTC · Sep 15, 2020
According to press reports, Iran may be planning an assassination, or other attack, against the United States in retaliation for the killing of terrorist leader Soleimani, which was carried out for his planning a future attack, murdering U.S. Troops, and the death & suffering...
...caused over so many years. Any attack by Iran, in any form, against the United States will be met with an attack on Iran that will be 1,000 times greater in magnitude!

The danger of such fake stories about Russia or Iran is that they might be used to justify a response in the case of a false flag attack on the alleged targets.

Should something inconvenient happen to Ambassador Lana Marks the Trump administration could use the fake story as an excuse to respond with a limited attack on Iran.

It is well known by now that U.S. President Donald Trump is lying about every time he opens his mouth. Why do U.S. journalists presume that the agencies and anonymous officials who work under him are more truthful in their utterings than the man himself is hard to understand. Why do they swallow their bullshit?

Posted by b on September 15, 2020 at 11:50 UTC | Permalink

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/09/f ... .html#more

Going to war is a time honored expediency for a government in a jam but the particular criteria the prez requires: that there be no US casualties and it be completely successful and 'photogenic' is a tough bill for the Pentagon to fill in theses days when it is increasingly apparent that it is a paper tiger. This is not to say the the US is incapable of causing horrible destruction but rather that it cannot achieve policy goals thru military action on any scale larger than Grenada. Thus the reliance on color revolutions and sanctions in recent decades.
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