Censorship, fake news, perception management

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Jul 17, 2021 11:26 am

Cuban-Americans demonstrate in favor of the coup in Cuba in Miami with "Homeland and Life" posters (Photo: EFE)
"PATRIA Y VIDA" OR THE SOUNDTRACK OF THE NOT SO SOFT COUP IN CUBA
16 Jul 2021 , 1:53 pm .

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Cuban-Americans demonstrate in favor of the coup in Cuba in Miami with "Homeland and Life" posters (Photo: EFE)

The best way to propagandize is to not appear to be propagandizing.

Richard Crossman

In this new phase of the attack against Cuba, with an American footprint, the facade of social revolt is used with symbols and songs of the anti-Castro cultural imaginary, on the island and in Miami especially, with the San Isidro Movement (MSI) acting as operators politicians and street activists.

Last year, this investigative trench carried out an X-ray of those involved and the characteristics of the MSI, with evidence of being an instrument in the plans for a (not so) soft coup against the Cuban government.

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The nucleus of this destabilization network is of a cultural nature, for this reason at the beginning of this year the song " Patria y Vida " is once again armed as a resource in order to nurture the breeding ground of the coup that is currently being imposed in Cuba. giving more than slogans to the manifestations of color.

One wonders, who is behind this musical production?

THE PRODUCTION

Historian Shellie Clark conducted research on the use of music in times of the Cold War. There he explains that "music became a weapon in the cultural cold war, and government officials carefully studied musicians, styles, and content before being selected to represent the United States as cultural ambassadors."

This strategy corresponds to soft power , which uses cultural influence to promote ideologies or manage destabilization in nations and groups according to the interests of those who lead it.

That the MSI proclaims the song "Patria y Vida" as an anthem is no coincidence, I try to undermine with one of its instruments that they apply as a superficial antagonism to Commander Fidel Castro's brand new slogan of "Patria o Muerte", as they well express it the song.

Posters, messages and labels on social networks can be read with the slogan "Homeland and Life", replicating itself as an asymmetric cultural resource of the current phase of US aggression against the island.

Yotuel Romero, a former member of the band Orishas, ​​is the composer of "Patria y Vida", a modification of another 2020 song by the Orishas and Yotuel's wife, the Spanish Beatriz Luengo, entitled " Ojalá pasa ". That year, Yotuel repeatedly denounced the alleged censorship of that song, without naming that it was the product of blatant plagiarism.

The plagiarism was due to the fact that this group took a textual fragment of the iconic piece by Silvio Rodríguez from 1969, " Ojalá ". The Cuban troubadour assured that this group never asked him for authorization to make use of this topic: " What do I think about this flagrant violation of my rights as the author of 'Ojalá', something notorious for 50 years? It seems to me a regrettable act of parasitism. " Rodríguez emphasized .

More Cuban artists participated in the production of the song, such as Descemer Bueno, the group Gente de Zona and others. Likewise, through social networks, different artists from Miami have echoed anti-Castro musical productions, bringing them up to this coup escalation, in a predictable way.

Yotuel, as a political operator from the entertainment front, has his own record label, so he knows the rules of the music industry very well, therefore the maneuver with the plagiarism facade was calculated to use one of the emblematic songs at the time of the Cuban revolution as a method of dragging on what was about to happen in November 2020. Months later, Orishas and Luengo wrote another song, " Ámame Como Soy Yo ", both to cover the plagiarism made and to continue penetrating the imagination political.

Regarding the direction of the video "Patria y Vida", the Cuban Asiel Babastro, director of the music video " Flights " of the singers Jenny Díaz-Canel Villanueva and Miguel Díaz-Canel Villanueva, sons of Cuban President Miguel Díaz, was in charge. Canel.

Babastro studied at the University of the Arts and at the International School of Cinema and Television, both instances of studies founded in the 70s and 80s by President Fidel Castro with the aim of imparting free artistic studies to the young people of Cuba and the world.

Since 2020, Babastro resides in Miami, and from there he turned to the Mayan discourse against the Cuban government, removing from his discursive line everything related to the blockade imposed by the United States for decades on the island. As well as Yotuel, who until now has not kept a record of any musical work denouncing the US blockade against Cuba.


It should be noted that Yotuel, taking advantage of the political springboard, announced a tour in Miami for the month of August, amid the demand for more than a million dollars from his former colleagues from the Orishas group, Hiram Riverí Medina (El Ruzzo) and Roldán González Rivero. The artists' manager, José María Canal, claimed that "the first thing we are going to do is close the contracts with Yotuel because they are flawed."

AMERICA IN THE MUSIC BOX

The message at the end of the year 2020 is remembered, after the events of San Isidro, from the United States Charge d'Affaires in Havana, Timothy Zúñiga-Brown, who affirmed with a passive aggressive speech that the future of Cuba would be favorable, arguing that "Cubans will fully enjoy all their rights such as the shared rights of Human Rights and democracy."

Zúñiga-Brown was summoned by the Cuban Foreign Ministry for his support of the San Isidro Movement, demonstrating how involved they are in the coup attempts in Cuba. The Cuban Foreign Ministry pointed out that the diplomat was in San Isidro, where his Embassy knew that an event of political and social provocation was taking place.

Financing or logistical support is not frontal for this type of anti-government actions, which is why the United States uses transmission belts with civic facades and opts to use its executing arms as NGOs or foundations connected with USAID or NED .

The American escalation to Cuba through this cultural franchise has not just been created, it has been forging decades. Barack Obama's approach to Cuba, prior to saying goodbye to the Oval Office, was not his final move; rather, it was the beginning of a new strategy in the historic onslaught against the island from the cultural front and street activism.

With the attacks of the blockade against Cuba plus the impacts of the pandemic on the population, the new US administration, Obama's pupils, take advantage of the stage to exhaust the population and catalyze the coup of color in the largest of the Antilles.

https://misionverdad.com/globalistan/pa ... do-en-cuba

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Mon Jul 19, 2021 1:30 pm

WSJ Likes ‘More Money in Taxpayers’ Hands’—Only When They’re Wealthy Hands
ELIAS KHOURY

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WSJ: Two Wins for Tax Cutting in Ohio
The Wall Street Journal (7/5/21) was thrilled by an Ohio tax cut that mainly benefited the wealthy…

When Ohio’s Gov. Mike DeWine signed a tax cut into law on July 1, the Wall Street Journal editorial board (7/5/21) was thrilled. It praised the Republican governor, saying he “lower[ed] income-tax rates for all Ohio taxpayers.”

While this is technically true, it’s also misleading. Average Ohioans get virtually nothing from the tax cut. The Dayton Daily News (7/4/21) thus advised its readers not to get too excited:

Hold off on popping open some fancy champagne—the money you save might not be enough to buy the bottle. The savings for a taxpayer with a taxable income of $50,000 a year is estimated at $34.

Compare that to the windfall to be enjoyed by Ohio’s wealthiest. The average member of Ohio’s 1% makes $1.45 million annually, and will receive a tax cut of $5,400. The top 5% get 58% of the benefits, and the bottom 80% receive an average cut of just $43. Unsurprisingly, the Wall Street Journal editorial board omits these crucial facts from their analysis, defending the tax cuts on the grounds that they will “leav[e] more money in taxpayers’ hands.”
WSJ: Didn't States Say They Were Broke?
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…but New Jersey tax rebates targeted to the poor and middle class are “sending checks to buy votes” (Wall Street Journal, 6/30/21).
If that’s the case, then the editorial board should also love what Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is doing in New Jersey: His most recent budget includes $500 tax rebates for parents making under $150,000. You might call that “leaving more money in taxpayers’ hands,” and assume the editorial board would be in favor. But you would be wrong.

Instead, the board (6/30/21) smeared the rebates and other social-welfare spending as an attempt to “buy votes.” But New Jersey is a deeply blue state where Murphy won his last election by more than 14 percentage points. The next general election is this November—a race rated “Solid D” by the Cook Political Report. Polls show Murphy heavily leading his Republican opponent, Jack Ciatterelli, in a state Joe Biden carried by 16 points. In short, Democrats don’t need to “buy” votes in New Jersey. They already have plenty.

More important, though, is the framing. When government helps the working and middle class, it’s tantamount to corruption. Buying votes, after all, would be blatant electoral fraud. But when bought-and-paid-for politicians enact big giveaways to the ultrawealthy, the Wall Street Journal applauds them and considers their actions exemplary. It’s clear where their sympathies lie: not with all taxpayers, or even the majority of them—just a select few.

https://fair.org/home/wsj-likes-more-mo ... thy-hands/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Jul 24, 2021 2:46 pm

“We’ve Got to Fight Disinformation,” Says Empire Made Entirely of Disinformation
July 23, 2021
By Caitlin Johnstone – Jul 19, 2021

The weirdest thing about the Biden administration tasking itself with the censorship of “disinformation” on social media is that the United States is the hub of a globe-spanning empire that is built upon a foundation of disinformation, maintained by disinformation, and facilitated by disinformation.

If the propaganda engine of the US-centralized empire ceased actively deceiving the public about the world, it would collapse immediately. There would be mass unrest at home and abroad, status quo politics would be abandoned, alliances and coalitions would crumble, leaders official and unofficial would be ousted, and US unipolar hegemony would end.

The only thing keeping this from happening is the vast amounts of wealth and energy which are poured into continuously deceiving the people of America and its allies about what’s really going on in their nations and political systems, and in the world as a whole.

Getting people believing they live in separate, sovereign nations which function independently from one another, instead of member states within a single undeclared empire which moves as one unit on the international stage.

Getting people believing they control the fate of their nation via the democratic process, when in reality all large-scale politics are scripted puppet shows controlled by a plutocratic class who owns both the politicians and the media outlets which report on them.

Getting people believing they are part of a virtuous rules-based international order which opposes totalitarian regimes to spread freedom and democracy, instead of a tyrannical empire that works to destroy any nation which disobeys its dictates.

And above all, manufacturing the illusion that the oppressive, exploitative imperialist status quo is normal.

It’s not the big, famous lies like those which preceded the invasion of Iraq that make up the bulk of the adhesive holding the empire together, it’s the small, mundane lies we’re fed every single day by the plutocratic media. The ones which distort our worldview by half-truths, spins and omissions designed to normalize a status quo of murder, theft and ecocide.

This normalization happens in the way pundits and politicians treat any attempt to end wars or redress income inequality as freakish extremism and unrealistic fantasy, when in reality it’s the most sane and normal thing in the world and the only thing unrealistic about it is the fact that attempts to advance those agendas are always sabotaged by those same pundits and politicians

The normalization also happens in the way endless wars, starvation deaths by US sanctions, the looming threat of total extinction via climate collapse or nuclear war, rapidly exacerbating income inequality and increasing tyranny at home and abroad are not treated as newsworthy stories, while celebrity gossip and partisan bickering between AOC and Marjorie Taylor Greene makes headline news. Every day the news media fail to report on the greatest horrors that the empire has unleashed on our world while focusing on vapid trivialities, they help normalize the horrors.

If the mass media actually existed to share important information about the world, the US-backed genocide in Yemen would be front-page news every day instead of something which gets a marginal mention once every few weeks. Every day it isn’t, this outrageous abuse is normalized.

If the mass media actually existed to share important information about the world, the fact that Americans are getting poorer and poorer while billionaires multiply their wealth during the pandemic would be brought front and center to everyone’s attention. Every day it isn’t, this outrageous abuse is normalized.

If the mass media actually existed to share important information about the world, the fact that the US military just spent trillions of dollars on a decades-long occupation of Afghanistan that accomplished nothing besides making horrible people rich would have been a national scandal. Every day it isn’t, this outrageous abuse is normalized.

But the mass media do not exist to share important information about the world. They exist to share important disinformation about the world. If they did not do this, the same US empire which is decrying the spread of disinformation today would collapse into its own footprint.

The US empire is without exception the single most corrupt and destructive force on this planet, and it’s not even close. It is the very last institution on earth that should be in charge of deciding what online content is true and what is “disinformation”. Absolute dead last, without exaggeration.

Depraved institutions which lie constantly and have killed millions and displaced tens of millions just since the turn of this century should not be the Ministry of Truth for the world’s online communication systems. This should be extremely obvious to everyone.

https://orinocotribune.com/weve-got-to- ... formation/

While I disagree that removing the illusion will collapse the empire, there's always force, it would certainly be crippling and a properly informed populace would spell the beginning of the end.

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

In a closely related story:

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United States has a Widespread Illiteracy Problem
July 23, 2021

In the richest country on Earth, according to GDP terms, more than half of the adults in the United States lack literacy proficiency.

According to the US Department of Education, 54% of US adults between 16 and 74 years old (about 130 million people) lack basic reading comprehension skills, ranking below the equivalent of a sixth-grade level.

To put it in another perspective, there are 130 million adults who cannot understand texts that are appropriate for eleven or twelve-year olds.

The Barbara Bush Foundation and the Gallup Foundation published the data in a study that describes the enormous economic impacts of illiteracy and the benefits of eradicating illiteracy at the national level.

Although it may seem obvious, research indicates a strong correlation between the literacy of the US population and annual income. The groups with the lowest levels of reading comprehension are also in the lowest socioeconomic groups.

The president and CEO of the Barbara Bush Foundation, British A. Robinson, said low literacy is a crisis that is “largely ignored” in the North American country. She added that there is hardly any research on this problem, and there are not enough funds to deal with it even though the problem is easily fixable with real political will.

https://orinocotribune.com/united-state ... y-problem/

Reading comprehension has become optional for many, many Amerikans. A fine gift for the ruling class as they control what you are able to view on screen of whatever nature, cause they own it. Imagery connects with emotion in ways that can supersede intellectual analysis. "Seeing is believing" is the default setting for a lineage in which color, motion and depth perception are paramount . And this is no ham-handed Orwellian machination of 'Big Brother' (OK, there is some of that...) but largely the functioning of capitalist society expressing it's ruling ideas through education, entertainment, advertising. Information must entertain to hold attention. The words and acts of politicians and government only confirm what the unsuspecting victim already 'knows' by other means. This applies to the full spectrum of bourgeois society.

So, short of taking control of the video media(radio is comparatively 'weak' in this regard) our side must somehow inform the people, both the hopeful and unpleasant. I am sure that anything remotely contradictory to the status quo on screens will be purged sooner rather than later. I've long advocated, only half kidding, dusting off them old mimeograph machines for our purposes but home computers, totally detached from the internets and hooked up to some decent office printers might do the trick.
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed Jul 28, 2021 1:36 pm

As US Broils and Europe Floods, Media Dismiss EU Climate Plan as ‘Ambitious’
OLIVIA RIGGIO

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When detailing catastrophic weather events, prominent corporate news outlets show less reluctance than in the past (FAIR.org, 9/22/20, 4/22/21) to prominently pointing out that these events are caused by human-driven climate change. But when humans seek to take aggressive action against this aggressive reality, reporters frame those goals as lofty and unlikely to succeed.

Admitting the human cause
NYT: Like in ‘Postapocalyptic Movies’: Heat Wave Killed Marine Wildlife en Masse
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A New York Times article (7/9/21) on a mass die-off of sea life ends with a scientist’s exhortation that “we need to keep trying.” But keep trying to do what?
A recent New York Times article (7/9/21) describes a sickening scene in the wake of the Pacific Northwest’s heat wave:

Dead mussels and clams coated rocks in the Pacific Northwest, their shells gaping open as if they’d been boiled. Sea stars were baked to death. Sockeye salmon swam sluggishly in an overheated Washington river, prompting wildlife officials to truck them to cooler areas.

Scenes like this, the article points out, will become more frequent and intense as climate change progresses and creates domino effects up the food chain:

Such extreme weather conditions will become more frequent and intense, scientists say, as climate change, driven by humans burning fossil fuels, wreaks havoc on animals and humans alike.

Hellish landscapes
The Times also dedicated an entire section online to the North American heatwave, with stories depicting hellish landscapes of forest fires, droughts and heat-related deaths. It stressed that scientists have attributed these disasters to climate change:

Heat, drought and fire are connected, and because human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases have raised baseline temperatures nearly two degrees Fahrenheit on average since 1900, heat waves, including those in the West, are becoming hotter and more frequent.

Across the Atlantic in Western Europe, otherworldly images showed freakish floods destroying towns and causing death tolls well into the hundreds. “Flood Deaths Are Rising in Germany and Officials Blame Climate Change,” NPR.org (7/16/21) reported. The New York Times’ headline (7/16/21) read, “Europe Flooding Deaths Pass 125, and Scientists See Fingerprints of Climate Change.” “European Officials Say ‘Climate Change Has Arrived’ as Deadly Floods Engulf Entire Towns,” CNN.com (7/16/21) announced.

Who exactly are we talking about?
Nation: Why Are ‘The New York Times’ and ‘The Washington Post’ Producing Ads for Big Oil?
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The Nation (4/22/19) reported that companies who purchase deceptive “native” advertising “end up exercising influence over news organizations’ internal decisions and public product.”
But as FAIR (7/2/21) has pointed out, exactly which humans are most responsible for climate change—like fossil fuel executives—matters. All of the above pieces—except the Times’ July 9 article on marine life—fail to specifically mention human’s burning of fossil fuels as the root cause of global warming.

Many corporate outlets have an interest in not rocking the fossil fuel boat too much. Billionaire Robert Denham serves on boards of both Chevron and the New York Times board, and attorney Ted Boutrous Jr. is a lawyer for both companies (FAIR.org, 7/2/21). The Times, Washington Post and Politico have also run hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of greenwashing propaganda from Exxon, Shell and Chevron—ads designed to look like news articles (The Nation, 4/22/19).

Though reports increasingly acknowledge climate change’s effect on extreme weather, that still doesn’t always happen. In a New York Times story (6/29/21) on the Pacific Northwest’s “Heat Dome,” the paper described an apocalyptic scene, but insisted that “tying a single heat wave to climate change requires extensive attribution analysis”—as if some weather happens independently of the climate (FAIR.org, 7/2/12).

Softening the blow of devastating weather events means not only deflecting blame, but also using euphemisms. Bloomberg’s coverage (7/16/21) of Europe’s floods also correctly attributes them to climate change, but the story is listed under its section “Climate Adaptation,” as if to suggest humans should “adapt” to these catastrophes (perhaps by growing gills?), and accept them as the status quo, instead of trying to take action to prevent them.

‘Ambitious blueprint’
And when it comes to talking about what can actually be done about climate disruption, corporate media are remarkably cagey—seemingly more comfortable mourning the planet and maintaining the fatalistic status quo than with promoting solutions (FAIR.org, 3/1/20, 1/31/20).

Take the European Union revealing its “Fit for 55” plan (also known as the European Green New Deal) to cut its carbon emissions by 55% of their 1990 levels by 2030, which came just days before three of its countries were submerged meters-deep in floodwater.

In the New York Times (7/14/21), “Fit for 55” was an “ambitious blueprint,” even as swelling rivers took hundreds of lives in Western Europe (7/16/21). The article focused mainly on the political and trade implications of Europe’s Green New Deal, and does not look at its actual environmental impacts. The piece mentions only in passing that “some environmentalists criticized” the plan, linking a tweet from youth activist Greta Thunberg:

So it’s official. Unless the EU tear up their new #Fitfor55 package, the world will not stand a chance of staying below 1,5°C of global heating. That’s not an opinion, once you include the full picture it’s a scientific fact.
#MindTheGap between words and action.
12:53 PM · Jul 14, 2021


CNN: EU unveils ambitious climate package as it cools on fossil fuels
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CNN (7/14/21) called the EU proposal “bold,” even while reporting that “climate activists have criticized the 55% target for not being strong enough…to stave off more severe impacts of climate change.”
CNN (7/14/21) and NPR (7/14/21) also used “ambitious” to describe the plan, contradicting themselves when they also briefly mentioned that some scientists are criticizing it for not being ambitious enough.

Is a plan really “ambitious” if achieving it is an existential necessity, and still may not be enough to combat climate change’s already-devastating effects? Sure, Europe’s climate plan is “ambitious” by the rest of the world’s standards, but that’s a high jump over a low hurdle. The EU is the third-largest greenhouse-emitter in the world, behind China and the United States. Calling the EU’s plan “ambitious” serves to maintain the status quo of “climate adaptation” amid destruction, instead of taking action to prevent that destruction from becoming any worse.

Necessary doesn’t mean easy

“Becoming any worse” is the operative phrase here. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s models indicate that even if we achieve the goal of reaching zero carbon emissions by 2050, we’d still need to draw carbon out of the atmosphere in order to prevent warming past the Paris Agreement’s 1.5° Celsius cap (EcoWatch, 11/13/20). The journal Nature (7/14/21; NPR, 7/15/21) recently published a study that revealed parts of the Amazon Rainforest now emit more carbon than they absorb.

Saying that the EU’s plan is necessary doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult to achieve. Its proposals to tax certain imports from countries with weaker environmental rules, raise the price of fossil fuels and eliminate the sale of gas- and diesel-powered cars by 2035 will surely cause trade disputes.

But saying it is “ambitious” implies it is an impressive, but unnecessary, over-achievement.

Launching a commercial space-flight industry? That’s “ambitious.” Steeply reducing carbon emissions to avoid further human-caused catastrophe, while streets flood, fires burn, people die of heat stroke and rotting animals wash up on shores isn’t a nice-to-have. It’s the only way forward, unless, of course, we settle for Bloomberg’s “climate adaptation.”

https://fair.org/home/as-us-broils-and- ... ambitious/

***************** A few notes from today:

*click en.granma.cu = This site can’t be reached

*click on story at https://www.telesurenglish.net/, "Gallup: Most Afro-Americans Suffer Unfair Treatment in the US" = about:blank#blocked

and so it goes...
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Jul 31, 2021 1:04 pm

Lost In Translations - The Dangers Of Being Misled By Them
Translation errors can seriously affect the relations between hostile nation states.

One prominent example is the 'Gerasimov Doctrine'. It was alleged to be a Russian strategy of hybrid war, the use of subversion to complement military force. The concept, it was claimed, had been introduced in a 2013 speech by the Russian Chief of the General Staff General Valery Gerasimov’s.

The claim was first made in a July 2014 blog post headlined The ‘Gerasimov Doctrine’ and Russian Non-Linear War by Russia 'expert' Mark Galeotti. Galeotti had used a misleading translation of Gerasimov's speech provided by the U.S. government funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He asserted that Russia had a strategy of 'hybrid wars', combining secret and open civil, economic and military operations against an enemy.

Russia however did not have such a strategy. Gerasimov in his speech was in fact describing the U.S. way of waging 'hybrid wars' like, for example, the one against Syria.

But once Galeotti had published his misleading idea, dozens of papers and opinion pieces were written about the dangerous 'Gerasimov Doctrine' - all to underline the nonsense claim of a 'Russian threat'.

Various scholars and journalists had immediately pointed out that the assertion was wrong. There was no such Russian doctrine. It still took the author of the original false claim nearly four years to finally retracted his nonsense:

I’m Sorry for Creating the ‘Gerasimov Doctrine’
I was the first to write about Russia’s infamous high-tech military strategy. One small problem: it doesn't exist.

Today Moon of Alabama reader Bernd Neuner pointed to another mistranslation and the bad effects emerging from it (edited for readability):
Bernd Neuner @Bernd__Neuner - 9:09 UTC · Jul 30, 2021
On widespread #Sinophobia

I recently attended a seminar on doing business in #China, hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce. During the presentation of a lady representing German Trade & Invest, I was surprised to learn the President Xi Jinping allegedly had given a speech announcing his intention to "...form powerful countermeasures and deterrent capabilities based on artificially cutting off supply to foreigners."

Since the presenter mentioned the speech had been published in Quishi, the official publication of the #CCP, I started looking for the original of the speech. It did not take long, and my suspicions were confirmed. What Xi Jinping really had said was the following: "...forming a powerful countermeasure and deterrent capability against foreigners who would artificially cut off supply [to China]".

I contacted the presenter and voiced my doubts regarding the quotes she used. She was very helpful and said she had received them from a colleague in Hamburg. I got in touch with him, and upon taking a closer look he confirmed the benign interpretation above. It seems the malicious version stems from the initial translation published by the US think tank CSET, latter corrected due to feedback from the audience:

cset.georgetown.edu/wp-content/upl... (footnote 3, p.3)

The damage is done - how many people in positions of influence are now convinced that China aims at disrupting the supply chains of "the free world"?
A few hours after Bernd Neuner's tweets I stumbled over the same error made by a different person.

I was reading a piece by Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism about the new trend towards industrial policies:

Industrial Policy Coming Into Vogue After China Cleans US Clock by Using It

Yves quotes from a paywalled Wall Street Journal piece about the return of industrial policy:

China, though, never retreated [from industrial policy]. Even after it introduced market reforms in 1979 and accelerated them after 1992, the state continued to guide economic development through ownership of enterprises and control over credit, government purchases, tax preferences, land and foreign investment. Since 2006 the ruling Communist Party has put priority on catching up to the West technologically.
Previously called “Made in China 2025,” this endeavor was renamed “dual circulation” last year. In a speech, President Xi Jinping said the goal was to eliminate China’s dependence on other countries while increasing their dependence on China. It could then threaten to cut off foreign customers to deter aggression, he said.


It seems that Greg Ip, the WSJ author, has fallen for the same mistranslation as the lecturer at Bernd Neuner's local Chamber of Commerce. This again demonstrates the danger of relying on translations without verifying them against the original text.

For the record:

Here is Xi's original April 2020 speech (archived copy) published in Quishi in November 2020.http://www.qstheory.cn/dukan/qs/2020-10 ... 680390.htm
Here is the translation of that speech by the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University as it was first published on November 10 2020. https://cset.georgetown.edu/

The relevant part of Xi's speech is about lessons from China's shutdown in the early months of the Covid pandemic. Xi's first point is that China must increase internal consumption to buffer against the expected losses in exports. The second point is about the security of supply chains even under extreme situations:

Production chains (产业链) and supply chains cannot come uncoupled at critical times. This is an important characteristic that all large economies must possess. The current epidemic is a stress test under actual combat conditions.
...
In order to safeguard China's industrial security and national security, we must focus on building production chains and supply chains that are independently controllable (自主可控), secure and reliable, and strive for important products and supply channels to all have at least one alternative source, forming the necessary industrial backup system.
The entire country is now getting back to work and resuming production. We should not and cannot simply repeat past patterns. Rather, we must work hard to refashion them into new production chains, and increase the levels of S&T innovation and import substitution across the board. This is an important focus for deepening supply-side structural reform, and is key for high-quality development. First, we must build on our advantages, solidify and increase the leading international positions of strong industries, and forge some "assassin's mace"​2 technologies. We must sustain and enhance our superiority across the entire production chain in sectors such as high-speed rail, electric power equipment, new energy, and communications equipment, and improve industrial quality; and we must tighten international production chains' dependence on China, forming powerful countermeasures and deterrent capabilities based on artificially cutting off supply to foreigners. Second, we must make up for our shortcomings. That is, in sectors and segments related to national security, we must build a domestic supply system that is independently controllable and secure and reliable, so that self-circulation (自我循环) can be accomplished at critical moments, and ensure that the economy operates normally in extreme situations.

That translation was corrected on November 16 2020. The highlighted part, which establishes China as aggressor, is now defensive:

...; and we must tighten international production chains' dependence on China, forming a powerful countermeasure and deterrent capability against foreigners who would artificially cut off supply [to China]3.
Footnote 3 explains the change:

Translator's note: The translation of the final portion of this sentence ("...forming a powerful countermeasure and deterrent capability against foreigners who would artificially cut off supply [to China]") is a correction issued on November 16, 2020. As astute readers pointed out, the Chinese text here (形成对外方人为断供的强有力反制和威胁能力) strongly implies that China's "countermeasure" and "deterrent" is aimed at foreign countries considering halting their exports to China of strategically significant goods. These countries will decide against such moves, Xi argues, because China's presumed countermeasures would in turn deprive these countries of vital Chinese imports. CSET's original translation of this line, published on November 10, 2020, read: "...forming powerful countermeasures and deterrent capabilities based on artificially cutting off supply to foreigners." This is misleading, as it implies that China would be the one to take the offensive in a trade war. The language in Xi's speech suggests a more defensive, deterrent posture on the part of China.
Those who have read the CSET translation from November 10 but never read the corrected version from November 16 will have the misleading impression that China wants to use supply chains that originate in China in aggressive ways against other countries. That is however not the case. China wants a create a situation comparable to the concept of Mutual Assured Destruction as it exists in the field of strategic nuclear weapons. "If you cut my supply chains I will cut yours." It is a reasonable and strong deterrence strategy.

The issue of errors in translations, innocent as well as intentionally misleading ones, may soon become an even bigger issue. The U.S. Congress is providing money to produce many more of them:

The House bill introduced by Democratic Representatives Joaquin Castro and Bill Keating and Republicans Mike Gallagher and Brian Fitzpatrick would provide for the establishment of a federally funded Open Translation and Analysis Center (OTAC) focused on China.
It would be based on the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), which provided translation and analysis of Soviet bloc and other foreign government media during the Cold War.
The bill calls for funding of $80 million for fiscal 2022 and that same amount annually for each fiscal year through 2026 as well as "such sums as may be necessary for each fiscal year thereafter."
...
Referring to the acronyms of the People's Republic of China and its ruling Communist Party and armed forces, the aide said OTAC would "systematically translate PRC/CCP/PLA speeches, documents, reports, strategies, news articles, commentaries, journal articles, procurement contracts into English and publish them freely online."
...
Castro said that for the United States "to effectively both compete and cooperate with" countries like China and Russia it needed a better understanding of them.
"A nuanced understanding of foreign countries is impossible without reading how they communicate in their own languages," he told Reuters.

I fully agree with Castro's last sentence. But I for one, unlike Marc Galeotti, will not trust U.S. funded translations of foreign text.

It will always be necessary to independently verify them.

Posted by b on July 30, 2021 at 16:52 UTC | Permalink

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Tue Aug 03, 2021 1:41 pm

DISMANTLING SOME CASES OF THE INFORMATION WAR AGAINST CUBA
2 Aug 2021 , 9:07 pm .

Image
Fake news has been a weapon to magnify recent protests in Cuba (Photo: María Alejandra Cardona / Reuters)

With the increase in the flow of information on social networks and through the media, journalists and correspondents, the circulation of false news for political purposes increases, if we take into account everything that is published and shared about Cuba.

The anti-Cuban information war has not ceased since the Revolution took over the reins of the island in 1959, trying all possible means to overthrow it without success -including a blockade and embargo that has already lasted for more than half a decade-, but with the rise of the digital world came the ability to amplify media attacks on multiple 2.0 platforms, bringing with it an arsenal of fake news that shoots every day against the largest of the Antilles.

From a work done by Kaspersky and CORPA last year, we know that 70% of Latin Americans do not know how to detect or are not sure whether they recognize a false news item from a real one on the Internet and affirm that they are harmful or could be so. For this reason, a considerable number of digital spaces have emerged that are dedicated to catching fake news , including the Red Verdad website that systematically verifies and dismantles them in real time.

From there we draw the following examples of informational attacks with the ultimate purpose of creating propaganda and accumulating (false) elements that could harm the international image of Cuba and thus justify sanctioning or other aggressions by the United States and its closest partners in its anti-Castro policy. They are reports or montages around the latest events related to the island that give an account of the type of offensive that the empire and its tentacles are carrying out.

MANIPULATED IMAGES

During the day of July 11 in some Cuban cities there were small and medium demonstrations calling for a "humanitarian intervention" in Cuba , a call to the United States and the aforementioned "international community" in a supposed collapse of the health and economic crisis it is experiencing. the island due to the pandemic, which has aggravated the impacts of the economic, financial and commercial war that Washington is carrying out.

That day, social networks were filled with images that, verified, referred to protests and demonstrations in other countries or on the island itself, but in support of the Revolution. Like this one, a viralized image with the assertion that it was a demonstration against the government in Havana, when it was really a pro-independence rally on the day of the Catalonia Day, taken in 2016. It is a hoax .

Image

This image was viralized on multiple social networks (Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp) as if it were really from Cuba, even though there are Catalan flags clearly waving in various parts of the demonstration and this automatically denotes the falsehood that is being normalized.

The manipulation of audiovisual images is also part of the repertoire. In this case , the Spanish El País gathers images of the clashes between the Cuban police forces, who do not carry firearms, and pro-American protesters superimposing shots, creating false camera movements and recreating a scenario that never existed. The Madrid production tries to impose a non-existent scenario to validate the thesis of the "communist dictatorship" that has dominated the western region for decades in the eternal dispute of the mind as a battlefield.


Audiovisual manipulation has become so sophisticated to create fake images that look real, that many journalists do not have advanced fact-checking tools, or even a methodology for disassembling manufactured videos and audios. The most unsuspecting do not have a way to counteract this threat while the corporate media and accounts with a certain influence 2.0 filter the products to be consumed by millions of Internet users to the digital world at their convenience.

PARALLEL REALITY 2.0

It is known that the Covid-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc in all corners of the world, and Cuba is no exception, even though its health and scientific system is exceptional (worth the redundancy). The crisis generated by the blockade and the coronavirus has created an ideal scenario for the attempted coup of color that we have been witnessing live and direct in July, which is why the call for a "humanitarian invasion" was raised with enthusiasm in the small street demonstrations and, above all, Miami.

The narrative that the Cuban population is dying in slow motion during the current pandemic is growing more and more, and was an argumentative incentive for USAID operators in Cuba , disseminating through different media such as Cubita Now, Periódico Cubano, UniVista TV, etc., that in the municipality of Ciego de Ávila there are common graves where the bodies of dozens of Cubans are deposited.

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Directors of the Community Services in Ciego de Ávila denied this false news that they try to legitimize from Miami (Photo: Red Verdad)

The false version was denied by the municipal authorities, but accepting that an expansion of the cemetery of the place is in fact in process due to the fatal consequences of the covid. This is very contrary to the formation of mass graves.

Similarly, contrary to Marco Rubio's discursive line, it cannot be said that Cuba is among the countries with the highest mortality from covid, as the Ciber Cuba website says , false news that can be corroborated by Worldometers , an interactive tool that carries the statistical count of the pandemic and its human consequences worldwide and by country, which places the island in 119th place out of 222 countries.

Image
Cuba has 232 deaths per million inhabitants from the covid (Photo: Red Verdad)

With the spread of the aforementioned fakes news, it is intended to build a parallel reality of an apocalyptic character that will install in the global imagination that the Cuban situation cannot be solved by the government of Miguel Díaz-Canel, directing the possibilities of "salvation" towards the promoters of regime change in Miami and Washington.

Likewise, the cover-up of terrorist actions against Cuba, be they of a violent or economic-financial-commercial nature, is also an option for the creators and disseminators of narrative and media hoaxes.

TERRORIST COMPLICITY

Last Monday, July 26, during the Day of National Rebellion, there was a terrorist attack against the Cuban embassy in Paris, France. Three Molotov cocktails were thrown towards the headquarters, of which two reached the outer perimeter of the embassy and one did not enter.

As a result, there was a fire that was put out by officials of the diplomatic mission. The Cuban embassy reported that the police and firefighters came to the scene.

He also affirmed that "Cuban diplomatic personnel were not injured, but material damage was noted" and added that "terrorist acts like this are promoted by the campaigns of the United States government against our country, inciting actions of use of violence. ".


Although there is physical evidence of the act, the reactions of the Cuban counterrevolutionary media such as 14 and a half and Cubita Now consisted in denying that there was a terrorist attack on an official diplomatic facility, typified by international law , and what else Well, it was a "self-harm", and even other media such as DiarioDeCuba dare to affirm that there was an "act of protest."

It is about sowing doubts without any proof about the authorship of the attack against the Cuban Embassy in Paris, at the same time that they denote an explicit complicity between the pro-American Cuban media and the terrorist tactics of the Mayan elite. Meanwhile, the Cuban Foreign Ministry has presented graphic evidence, the French government has reinforced security and has already initiated an investigation .

Hence the importance of discerning what is true from what is false in the ongoing information war against Cuba, because after a judgment is made after the consumption of news and analysis, one or another version of the events is usually taken sides. And anti-Cuban terrorism has always sought to assassinate not only human lives, but also the truth.

https://misionverdad.com/globalistan/de ... ontra-cuba

Google Translator

Of course most Yankees wouldn't know a Catalan flag from jack so it was a good bet for the imperialist lackeys. First impressions are everything in the screen game.
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Mon Aug 16, 2021 12:53 pm

Image

Citing Corrupt Think Tanks for News Reports is Blatant Propaganda
August 15, 2021
By Caitlin Johnstone – Aug 13, 2021

One of the weirdest things about the mass media propaganda which manipulates the way people think, act and vote to maintain the status quo is the fact that mainstream news outlets routinely cite the employees of think tanks that are sponsored by war profiteers and government powers as expert sources for their reports. And they just get away with it.

To pick one of nearly infinite possible examples, here in Australia the Murdoch press are currently citing a report generated through the funding of governments and weapons manufacturers to whip up public hysteria about the ridiculous fantasy that China might attack us. The most egregious of these is a write-up from Sky News whose headline reads, “Lowy Institute report: China possesses ability to ‘strike Australia’ with long-range missiles, bombers.”

On social media Sky News is sharing this story with the even more incendiary caption “China now has the military arsenal to pose the greatest threat to the Australian mainland since World War II, experts warn.”


The “experts” in question are the Lowy Institute, named after its billionaire founder, which is funded by multiple branches of the Australian government including ASIO and the Department of Defence, by major financial institutions, and by weapons manufacturers like Boeing. The author of the Lowy Institute report these stories are citing is Thomas Shugart, himself an employee of the notorious Center for a New American Security, a Biden administration-aligned warmongering think tank that receives funding from top war profiteers Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon, as well as the US State Department and numerous other governments.

So in summary, government agencies and war profiteers paid for a report which manufactures consent for their agendas among policymakers and the public, and mass media institutions passed this off as “news.”

And this is exactly what these think tanks exist to do: cook up narratives which benefit their immensely powerful and unfathomably psychopathic sponsors, and insert those narratives at key points of influence.

“Think tank” is a good and accurate label, not because a great deal of thought happens in them, but because they’re dedicated to controlling what people think, and because they are artificial enclosures for slimy creatures. Their job, generally speaking, is to concoct and market reasons why it would be good and smart to do something evil and stupid.


And it works. Because of the efforts of warmonger-funded think tanks like the Lowy Institute, Center for a New American Security, and the profoundly odious Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), more and more Australian brains are being turned into soup by ridiculous propaganda narratives about China posing a meaningful threat to them. As The Conversation highlighted last month, a poll conducted by that same Lowy Institute claims that “only 16% of surveyed Australians [express] trust in China compared with 52% just three years ago,” that a “similar number of Australians think China will launch an armed attack on Australia (42%) as on Taiwan (49%),” and that “more Australians (13%) than Taiwanese (4%) think a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is likely sometime soon.”

You can understand why the Lowy Institute would want to show off numbers like that to potential sponsors, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are entirely accurate; I’ve started conversations with complete strangers here in Victoria recently and seen them start babbling about how awful China is within a few minutes, completely out of the blue. It’s like watching a zombie outbreak in real time.

And this is of course entirely by design. Because of its useful geostrategic location in relation to China, Australia has been turned into a functional US military/intelligence asset so crucial that multiple coups have been instituted here to ensure we remain aligned with the Pentagon against Beijing. You can’t have the locals meddling with the gears of your war machine with pesky little nuisances like the democratic process, so you’ve got to keep them aggressively propagandized.

This is why our consciousness is continually pummelled with think tank-manufactured narratives about China. See an attention-grabbing headline about the big scary Chinese boogeyman and it will almost always be authored by a sleazy think tank denizen or be based on the work of one. A few weeks ago 60 Minutes Australia ran an unbelievably hysterical segment branding New Zealand “New Xi-Land” because its government didn’t perfectly align with Washington on one particular aspect of its cold war agenda, and it featured an interview with an Australian Strategic Policy Institute spinmeister as well as the actual ASPI office.



The Australian Strategic Policy Institute is cited by mass media outlets around the world and is funded by, you guessed it, governments and war profiteers. According to APAC News’ Marcus Reubenstein, ASPI is funded by all the usual weapons manufacturers, by the US State Department and other governments.

“ASPI has received funding from the governments of Britain, Japan and Taiwan as well as NATO,” Reubenstein writes. “Among its corporate supporters are global weapons makers Thales, BAE Systems, Raytheon, SAAB, Northrop Grumman, MDBA Missile Systems and Naval Group. Yet their contribution of over $330,000 last year is dwarfed by that of a handful of government departments and agencies.”

Media citation of warmonger-funded think tanks is common throughout the western world. Government-sponsored imperialist spin factories like Bellingcat are routinely cited by the mainstream media, and those citations are leant credibility by the fawning puff pieces which those media institutions regularly churn out about the propaganda firm.


I just grabbed a New York Times article at random about the events transpiring in Afghanistan and found its author citing the chief executive of the Center for a New American Security arguing against the Biden administration’s troop withdrawal, as well as a Center for American Progress employee arguing that the Taliban takeover could cause a PR nightmare. Center for American Progress is also partly funded by the war industry.

The fact that disguising statements by propagandists who are sponsored by governments and war profiteers is journalistic malpractice should be obvious to everyone in the world, and if media and education systems were doing their jobs instead of indoctrinating society into accepting the status quo, it would be. But propaganda only works if you don’t realize you’re being propagandized, and keeping people from realizing this is itself a part of the propaganda.

Make a fortune killing people and selling their bodies and you’d be remembered as the century’s worst monster. Make the same fortune selling the weapons used to kill the same number of people in wars you propagandized into existence and you’re a respected job creator.

Absolutely appalling.



Featured image: The think tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute, funded by the military-industrial complex, is urging for a war against China. Photo: Screenshot from a 60 Minutes episode.

(Substack)

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Tue Aug 24, 2021 1:13 pm

As Kabul Is Retaken, Papers Look Back in Erasure
GREGORY SHUPAK


Corporate media coverage of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the collapse of the country’s US-backed government has offered audiences more mystification than illumination. I looked at editorials in five major US dailies following the Taliban’s retaking of Kabul: the Boston Globe, LA Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. The editorial boards of these papers consistently trivialized South Asian lives, erased US responsibility for lethal violence, and made untenable assertions about Washington’s supposedly righteous motives in the war.

Uncounted civilian cost
NYT: The Tragedy of Afghanistan
Image
The New York Times (8/15/21) ran the next best thing to a photo of a helicopter taking off from the Kabul embassy roof: a photo of a helicopter flying over the embassy roof.
The editorials evince a callous indifference to the toll of the war on civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the war has also been fought. The New York Times (8/15/21) referred to “at least 2,448 American service members’ lives lost in Afghanistan,” and to “Afghan casualties so huge—60,000 killed since 2001, by one estimate—that the government kept them a secret.” The link makes clear that the authors are talking about deaths among Afghan police and soldiers. Yet, as of April, more than 71,000 civilians—over 47,000 Afghans and more than 24,000 Pakistanis—have been directly killed in the US-initiated war.

The Boston Globe’s piece (8/16/21) described “two decades of the United States propping up Afghan forces to keep the Taliban at bay at the cost of more than $2 trillion and more than 2,400 lost military service members.” Tens of thousands of dead Afghan and Pakistani civilians evidently aren’t significant enough to factor into “the cost” of the war.

“The war in Afghanistan took the lives of more than 2,400 American troops,” said the Los Angeles Times editorial (8/16/21), which went on to add, “For decades to come, America will be paying the medical bills of veterans suffering from the emotional and physical toll of their trauma and injuries.” The authors ignored dead, wounded and psychologically scarred South Asian civilians, though the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) logged 3,524 civilian injuries in the first half of 2021 alone, and 5,785 in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal (8/15/21, 8/16/21), meanwhile, didn’t mention any deaths that took place during the war.

“Some 66,000 Afghan fighters have given their lives in this war during the past 20 years, alongside 2,448 US service members,” the Washington Post (8/16/21) pointed out, declining to spare a word for noncombatants. US troops, the article assured readers, “endured very modest casualties, since 2014,” without noting that the US inflicted a great many on Afghan civilians in that period: For instance, a 2019 Human Rights Watch report noted that, in the first six months of that year, the US and its partners in what was then the Afghan government killed more civilians than the Taliban did.

Forever war > withdrawal
WaPo: The debacle in Afghanistan is the worst kind: Avoidable
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The “Afghan debacle” was “avoidable,” the Washington Post (8/16/21) argued, if only Biden had been willing to commit to an indefinite military occupation.
Two of the editorials were clear that they would prefer continuous US war against Afghanistan to withdrawal. The Washington Post (8/16/21) claimed that

a small US and allied military presence—capable of working with Afghan forces to deny power to the Taliban and its Al Qaeda terrorist allies, while diplomats and nongovernmental organizations nurtured a fledgling civil society—not only would have been affordable, but also could have paid for itself in US security and global credibility.

Costs such as the harm the “US and allied military presence” does to Afghans did not enter into the Post’s accounting for “affordability.” No explanation is offered as to why Afghans should endure the lack of “security” entailed in “US and allied” bombs falling on their heads. Nor did the authors clarify why the US’s “global credibility” is a higher priority than, say, stopping the US from killing Afghan children, as it did last October.

The Wall Street Journal (8/15/21) professed concern for the “thousands of translators, their families, and other officials who are in peril from Taliban rule and didn’t get out in time,” and said that what it sees as the impending “murder of these innocents” will be a “stain on the Biden presidency.” Yet the authors argued that the US should continue bombing Afghanistan indefinitely, asserting that

Afghans were willing to fight and take casualties with the support of the US and its NATO allies, especially airpower. A few thousand troops and contractors could have done the job and prevented this rout.

Over the course of the war, that airpower tended to mean the mass death of Afghan civilians: In 2019, for example, US airstrikes killed 546 of them (Washington Post, 9/4/21). In advocating the continued American bombing of Afghanistan to stop the “murder of these innocents,” the authors are calling for the “murder of…innocents,” just by the US rather than the Taliban.

The ‘American dream’
LAT: The Afghan government’s collapse is tragic. It was also inevitable
Image
The Los Angeles Times (8/16/21) praised the US’s “noble hopes to build a multiparty democracy,” insisting that “the people of Afghanistan were failed by their leaders.”
The New York Times’ editorial board (8/15/21) gushed about the purity of US values, saying that the Taliban’s return to power is

unutterably tragic. Tragic because the American dream of being the “indispensable nation” in shaping a world where the values of civil rights, women’s empowerment and religious tolerance rule proved to be just that: a dream.

The editors did nothing to explain how they square their view that the US’s “dream” entails worldwide “civil rights” and “women’s empowerment” with the US’s carrying out torture in Afghanistan or its propensity for killing Afghan women (Guardian, 7/11/08).

The board went on:

How [the war] evolved into a two-decade nation-building project in which as many as 140,000 troops under American command were deployed at one time is a story of mission creep and hubris, but also of the enduring American faith in the values of freedom and democracy.

That faith in “freedom” was manifest by such practices as training warlords who killed and abused civilians, and propping up an Afghan state that included officials who sexually assaulted children—actions that US troops were told to ignore, as the New York Times (9/21/15) itself reported.

Similarly, the Los Angeles Times (8/16/21) claimed that

the US and its Western allies had noble hopes to build a multiparty democracy—with respect for the rights of women and minorities, an independent judiciary and a new constitution—but nation-building was not an appropriate goal.

It’s anyone’s guess how the paper reconciles the US and its partners’ “noble hopes” for such things as “respect for the rights of women” with the US working with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to finance and arm extremely conservative forces in Afghanistan, so as to undermine progressives in the country while strengthening reactionary elements, a history (described in Robert Dreyfuss’ book Devil’s Game) that all of the editorials obscure.

Swallowing official justifications
WSJ: Biden’s Afghanistan Surrender
Image
The Wall Street Journal (8/15/21) argued that Mr. Trump’s withdrawal deadline was a mistake, but Mr. Biden could have maneuvered around it”—meaning he could have ignored it.
Indeed, the editorials suffered from a basic failure to question the official justifications offered for the war and occupation. The New York Times editorial board (8/15/21) wrote that

the war in Afghanistan began in response by the United States and its NATO allies to the attacks of September 11, 2001, as an operation to deny Al Qaeda sanctuary in a country run by the Taliban.

There’s no place in that narrative for the fact that eight days into the war, in October 2001, the Taliban offered to discuss turning over Osama Bin Laden (Guardian, 10/14/01). The Journal characterized the Taliban as “the jihadists the US toppled 20 years ago for sheltering Osama bin Laden.” But it was in mid-November 2001 (Guardian, 11/17/01) that the US toppled the Taliban, a month after they had said they were willing to talk about extraditing bin Laden.

In the same vein, the Los Angeles Times editorial (8/16/21) said that

after the US ousted the Taliban—which had hosted the Al Qaeda terrorist network and refused to turn over terrorists such as Osama bin Laden — the George W. Bush administration expanded the goals of the mission in ways that in hindsight were never realistic.

This phrasing implies that the US overthrew the Taliban because they “refused to turn over terrorists such as Osama bin Laden.” However, in addition to the Taliban signaling that it could be open to extraditing the Al Qaeda leader in October 2001, according to a former head of Saudi intelligence (LA Times, 11/4/01), the Taliban said in 1998 that it would hand over bin Laden to Saudi Arabia, the US’s close ally; the Saudi intelligence official says that the Taliban backed off after the US fired cruise missiles at an apparent bin Laden camp in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, following attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania attributed to Al Qaeda.

The outlets thus failed to inform their readers that, had the US pursued negotiations for bin Laden’s extradition, Afghans may have been spared 20 years of devastating war. That US planners might have drawn up their Afghanistan policies with a view to the country’s vast resource wealth and strategic position—and there’s evidence that they did (In These Times, 8/1/18)—is not a perspective that the editorials opted to share with their readers. Neither is the idea that the US doesn’t have the right to decide who governs other countries.

Engineering forgetfulness about America’s Afghan war, if left unchallenged, will make it easier to wage the next one.

https://fair.org/home/as-kabul-is-retak ... n-erasure/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Aug 28, 2021 2:02 pm

Corporate Media Politicize WHO Investigation on Covid Origins to Vilify China
JOSHUA CHO

Image
New York Times depiction of an elderly man dead of unknown causes in Wuhan, China. photo: Hector Retamal/Agence France-Presse
Politico: POLITICO-Harvard poll: Most Americans believe Covid leaked from lab
Image
Politico (7/9/21) reports that “what was once a fringe belief held mainly among some on the political right has become accepted by most Republicans, as well as most Democrats, amid heightened scrutiny of the lab leak theory.” Yet “scrutiny” is exactly what the lab leak theory isn’t getting.
FAIR (10/6/20, 6/28/21) has previously critiqued Western news media’s credulous coverage of evidence-free “lab leak” speculations. One key factor in spreading suspicion that the coronavirus might have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is media’s early and ongoing politicization of the World Health Organization’s investigation into the pandemic’s origins. Much of this politicization weaponizes Orientalist tropes about China being especially, perhaps genetically, untrustworthy—the sort of people who would unleash Covid-19 on the world.

While no new evidence has emerged suggesting that the virus emerged from the WIV, many more Americans now believe it did. A Politico/Harvard poll in July, following an increase of uncritical Western media coverage on the lab leak theory, found that 52% of US adults now believe Covid-19 leaked from a lab, up from 29% in March 2020. This is contrary to the assessment of most scientists, who believe, based on available evidence, that a natural origin for the virus is more likely.

At the center of the search for the virus’s origins is the WHO. Its initial investigation, which ended in February 2021, concluded that the lab leak hypothesis was “extremely unlikely.” Shortly afterwards, however, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that although the lab leak theory is the least likely cause of the pandemic, it nevertheless “requires further investigation,” and that “all hypotheses remain on the table” (BBC, 3/31/21). The WHO is now calling for WIV laboratory audits and access to raw data from China, with Tedros claiming that attempts to rule out the lab leak theory were “premature” (France24, 7/16/21, 7/16/21).

In a rejection of WHO requests for greater “transparency” and “access” in its proposed plan for the second phase of the origins investigation, the Chinese government reemphasized its preference that the second phase of the WHO investigation focus on further research around possible pre-Wuhan Covid cases globally.

Was China ‘stalling’ investigation?
WSJ: On the Ground in Wuhan, Signs of China Stalling Probe of Coronavirus Origins
Image
“China has frustrated efforts by foreign officials and researchers to join the hunt” for the origins of the virus that causes Covid-19, the Wall Street Journal (5/12/20) reported.
Early news reports about potential WHO investigations into pandemic origins portrayed China as “stalling” an international probe, and failed to give context for Beijing’s initial rejection of requests for an investigation.

Under the headline “On the Ground in Wuhan, Signs of China Stalling Probe of Coronavirus Origins” (5/12/20), the Wall Street Journal reported that Beijing was “stalling international efforts to find the source of the virus.” It mentioned that this was occurring “amid an escalating US push to blame China for the pandemic”—”amid” rather than “because of,” as though this might be mere coincidence.

The Journal claimed that the “lack of transparency and international involvement in the search has left room for speculation and blame,” even though Chinese officials have repeatedly explained that the blame game and politicized speculation were why it resisted further transparency and international involvement. The Journal did note:

China isn’t the first country to resist an international investigation of a health crisis on its territory, and its early focus on controlling the virus is understandable, health experts said.
Bloomberg: China Is Making It Harder to Solve the Mystery of How Covid Began
Image
Bloomberg (12/30/20) reported that “the country the novel coronavirus hit first — the place many blame for unleashing the disease on an under-prepared world — now has little incentive to help find the true origin of the greatest public health emergency in a century.”
Bloomberg’s report “China Is Making It Harder to Solve the Mystery of How Covid Began” (12/30/20) presented China as a selfish country uninterested in tracing pandemic origins, attempting to silence and punish countries like Australia for merely calling for an independent investigation:

Where the pathogen first emerged and how it transmitted to humans is a stubborn mystery, one that’s becoming more elusive with each passing month. Before the initial cluster among stall-holders at a produce market in central China, the trail largely goes cold, and the country the novel coronavirus hit first — the place many blame for unleashing the disease on an under-prepared world — now has little incentive to help find the true origin of the greatest public health emergency in a century….

China has ignored appeals for an independent investigation into the virus’s origin, hammering Australia with trade restrictions after it called for one. It’s also stalled efforts by the World Health Organization to get top infectious diseases experts into Wuhan this year.

A Washington Post editorial, “We’re Still Missing the Origin Story of This Pandemic. China Is Sitting on the Answers” (2/5/21), laid out many of the frequent suspicions, questions and demands the US government, and much of US media, have towards China:

What is China trying to hide about the origins of the pandemic—and why?

If the WIV had no role in sparking the outbreak, it should be relatively straightforward for Dr. Shi [Zhengli] to safely open up the databases to scientists so they can properly understand the evolutionary origins of SARS-CoV-2. The institute should provide all records regarding bat samples, viruses and sequences, with verified information provenance, and eventually, it should be disclosed to all.

‘Weapons inspector’ powers
ABC: Australia started a fight with China over an investigation into COVID-19 — did it go too hard?
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Australia’s ABC (5/20/20) reported that “the Chinese Government was—predictably—incensed” when the Australian prime minister demanded “tough new ‘weapons inspector’ powers to investigate what caused the outbreak.”
However, the innocent-sounding Australian request for an independent investigation was actually a startling call for giving the WHO, or another international body, “powers equivalent to those of a weapons inspector” to investigate the outbreak (Australia Broadcasting Corporation, 4/22/20, 5/20/20). By invoking such inflammatory rhetoric, Prime Minister Scott Morrison unavoidably brought to mind familiar stories like the invasion of Iraq, launched on the basis of false US/UK accusations that it possessed weapons of mass destruction, even after weapons inspectors found no evidence of any (Los Angeles Times, 10/23/02; FAIR.org, 3/19/07; Extra!, 4/06).

This was occurring as the Trump administration was hyping up its propaganda campaign to blame and punish China for the pandemic, in efforts to sue Beijing for damages and reparations (New York Times, 5/3/20). It’s no wonder the Chinese government viewed Morrison’s statements as a political accusation, rather than a good-faith scientific effort to trace the pandemic’s origins.

Australia’s ABC (5/20/20) noted that China declared that it was always willing to agree to a “scientific investigation.” This seems to be corroborated by China’s agreement on May 18, 2021, to an investigation at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, as soon as the hostile rhetoric was toned down, and when certain compromises (such as not granting the WHO new “weapons inspector” powers) were made on the WHA’s motion. Some compromises included assurances that China won’t be expected to take blame for the pandemic, along with the investigation not operating under a presumption of guilt, and occurring after the pandemic is brought under control (Business Insider, 5/19/20).

WHO manipulation conspiracy theories
NYT: In Hunt for Virus Source, W.H.O. Let China Take Charge
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The New York Times (11/2/20) accused WHO of “bending to China’s might” because it “heaped praise on the Chinese government”—as though containing the outbreak within three months of the disease’s discovery were not a spectacular achievement.
The WHO’s credibility has also been subject to both US government and media politicization. As part of its China-blaming propaganda, the Trump administration pushed a baseless conspiracy theory that the WHO was under the corrupting influence of Chinese money, simply because the organization delivered conclusions Trump disliked. Some US media outlets helped lend legitimacy to Trump’s claims, as he used them to justify suspending US support for the organization (FAIR.org, 6/21/20).

The New York Times report, “In Hunt for Virus Source, WHO Let China Take Charge” (11/2/20), continued that media habit even months later. As evidence, the paper pointed to the WHO praising China’s undeniably excellent pandemic response—as judged by multiple independent science journals—while refusing to applaud the Trump administration’s objectively horrible performance:

The WHO’s staunchest defenders note that, by the nature of its constitution, it is beholden to the countries that finance it. And it is hardly the only international body bending to China’s might. But even many of its supporters have been frustrated by the organization’s secrecy, its public praise for China and its quiet concessions.

The Times insinuated that the WHO was being manipulated by Chinese money, even though the US is the organization’s largest donor, contributing more than 10 times ($893 million) as much as China ($86 million) before the Trump administration vindictively suspended funding last April. In fact, some scientists argue that WHO Director General Tedros has “capitulated” to the “enormous pressure” of the “barrage of political and media commentary,” and is unduly influenced by the US (Science, 7/17/21). Yet questions about the WHO’s credibility only seem to travel in one direction in US media, with suspicions being raised only when the organization distances itself from the lab leak theory.

The Times attributed China’s delay to some innate or exceptional Chinese preference for secrecy and authoritarianism, claiming China’s “authoritarian leaders want to constrain” the WHO, and have “impeded” the effort for an independent investigation because they’re “notoriously allergic to outside scrutiny.” The Times resorted to these thought-terminating stereotypes as explanations for the months-long delay—omitting any mention of Australia’s provocative call for new “weapons inspector” powers to investigate China, or of other countries who also sensibly prioritized containing the pandemic within their borders before investigating pandemic origins. The Times‘ insinuations survived the paper’s admission that the probe was delayed due to the Trump administration’s illegal withdrawal from the WHO:

No date has been set for a visit, though diplomats say China and the health organization appear eager to pause until after the American election. Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, has said he will keep the US in the organization if he wins.

Sham investigation or sound science?

It’s true that the first phase of investigation into Covid’s origins wasn’t conducted with maximum possible transparency. The Wall Street Journal (2/12/21, 5/23/21) has reported that WHO investigators were denied raw data, or original safety logs and lab records, on the WIV’s extensive work with bat coronaviruses, or to a Wuhan blood bank to test samples from before December 2019 for Covid-19 antibodies. They were, however, provided extensive summaries and analyses of that data by Chinese scientists and officials.

But corporate media coverage of the investigation implied that the results were suspect, simply because its parameters were set by the Chinese government in cooperation with the WHO, or because WHO investigators didn’t receive unfettered access to all information they wanted in Wuhan.
NY Post: WHO’s COVID ‘investigation’ was dishonest Chinese propaganda
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The New York Post‘s Miranda Devine (2/10/21) responded to WHO’s finding that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely” by saying, “Maybe a spaceship from Mars dropped off the coronavirus in Wuhan.”
A New York Post op-ed (2/10/21) by Miranda Devine argued:

WHO conducted a fake investigation from the start, with a team of experts vetted by Beijing and a pre-planned conclusion designed to take the heat off China.

Any report produced by them is a waste of time. It is Chinese Communist Party propaganda that only exposes how fatally compromised by China WHO has become.


A Wall Street Journal op-ed, “The World Needs a Real Investigation Into the Origins of Covid-19” (1/15/21), implied that the probe was a sham because it was not investigating the lab leak scenario seriously enough, instead focusing on a natural origin—as though not treating both with equal gravity was ridiculous rather than based on scientific rationale:

The world needs an inquiry that considers not just natural origins but the possibility that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, escaped from a laboratory. The WHO team, however, plans to build on reports by Chinese scientists rather than mount an independent investigation….

The WHO team includes experts who traced the origins of Ebola and MERS outbreaks, but critics are concerned that it doesn’t have the expertise for an investigation that would examine possible lab origins.


A peer-reviewed pre-proof by over 20 of the world’s eminent virologists noted that “all previous human coronaviruses have zoonotic origins, as have the vast majority of human viruses,” and that aside from the 1977 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic that likely originated from a large-scale vaccine trial, “No epidemic has been caused by the escape of a novel virus and there is no data to suggest that the WIV—or any other laboratory—was working on SARS-CoV-2, or any virus close enough to be the progenitor, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.” It also noted:

Known laboratory outbreaks have been traced to both workplace and family contacts of index cases and to the laboratory of origin. Despite extensive contact tracing of early cases during the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been no reported cases related to any laboratory staff at the WIV and all staff in the laboratory of Dr. Shi Zhengli were reported to be seronegative for SARS-CoV-2 when tested in March 2020.

Whose burden of proof?
NYT: A Top Virologist in China, at Center of a Pandemic Storm, Speaks Out
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The New York Times (6/14/21) casts doubt on the assurances of Dr. Shi Zhengli because of “China’s habitual secrecy.” The fact that the US government keeps many secrets—including ones related to biological research—doesn’t move the Times to be similarly mistrustful of any scientist with a US nationality.
The New York Times’ “A Top Virologist in China, at Center of a Pandemic Storm, Speaks Out” (6/14/21) made it clear that a major component of the lab leak speculations depends on rejecting the credibility of Chinese scientists at the WIV. They described Shi Zhengli as “the key to whether the world will ever learn if the virus behind the devastating Covid-19 pandemic escaped from a Chinese lab.” She finds herself, according to the Times, in the predicament of having to defend the “reputation of her lab and, by extension, that of her country.”

The Times blamed “China’s refusal to allow an independent investigation into her lab, or to share data on its research,” for making it “difficult to validate Dr. Shi’s claims,” which “has only fueled nagging suspicions about how the pandemic could have taken hold in the same city that hosts an institute known for its work on bat coronaviruses.” But the Times did not question whether lab leak proponents had provided enough evidence to justify such “nagging suspicions.”

The Times noted Shi’s frustration at the burden of proof being placed on her to prove a negative, rather than on WIV accusers to provide evidence of a lab leak:

“How on earth can I offer up evidence for something where there is no evidence?” she said, her voice rising in anger during the brief, unscheduled conversation. “I don’t know how the world has come to this, constantly pouring filth on an innocent scientist,” she wrote in a text message.

Yet when media outlets omit plausible rationales for China resisting further cooperation with an international investigation, it becomes easier for their audiences to leap to the conclusion that China must be hiding evidence of a lab leak.

Typical national security concerns
WaPo: Wuhan lab’s classified work complicates search for pandemic’s origins
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This Washington Post (6/22/21) article makes clear that the WIV’s security “precautions don’t mean the lab has anything to do with the virus’s origin, or that there’s anything nefarious about its classified projects.”
In fact, it’s doubtful that any country would grant unrestricted access to the data from one of its top biolabs on the basis of the coincidence that the lab was located near where a pathogen was first detected. Such proximity is actually not strong evidence at all, considering that virology labs tend to specialize in the viruses found naturally around them. It seems especially unlikely other nations would grant unfettered access to a facility with a BSL-4 laboratory, since such facilities operate with heightened secrecy due to the national security risks of the dangerous pathogens they research, as the Washington Post (6/22/21) reported:

The events have shined a light on a research niche that—in China, the United States and elsewhere — operates with heightened secrecy because of the national security risks of handling deadly pathogens….

The precautions don’t mean the lab has anything to do with the virus’s origin, or that there’s anything nefarious about its classified projects. The United States also conducts classified pathogen research, and requires employees of high-containment labs to pass background checks.

The Post‘s Eva Dou cited virologist Angela Rasmussen explaining:

If the pandemic had started in the DC area, you can count on the fact that the US government would not allow an unfettered “independent” investigation to occur for the exact same reasons: It is a major longer-term security risk that can’t be fully mitigated…. It does not indicate the need to cover anything up, beyond not letting potential adversarial powers have carte blanche access to secure government facilities.

The US is not alone in politicizing the pandemic; China is also guilty of irresponsibly spreading conspiracy theories regarding the Fort Detrick laboratory in Maryland researching dangerous pathogens being the origin of the pandemic. Chinese media often cite the Maryland lab’s shutdown over safety concerns in the summer of 2019, and the coincidence of reports of a mysterious respiratory illness circulating in northern Virginia around the same time—before the coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan—as well as the US military’s presence in Wuhan during October 2019 for its military games (Global Times, 6/28/21).

The US response has been to reject any international investigation for the exact same reasons China gives for denying further WIV inspection. But when they come from the US, they are reported without any objections from outlets like the Journal:

Most scientists say they have seen nothing to corroborate the idea that the virus came from a US military lab, and the White House has said there are no credible reasons to investigate it.

Lack of incentive for access
Nature: After the WHO report: what’s next in the search for COVID’s origins
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Would “other highly industrialized countries” allow the kind of access demanded of China? Nature (6/5/20) “ I am not sure they would,” epidemiologist David Heymann told Nature (6/5/20).
This is why epidemiologists like Dr. David Heymann (Nature, 4/1/21) have said that the fact China would allow an investigation at all is unusual, and possibly a sign of greater transparency from China than other developed countries, since he is “not sure” whether “other highly industrialized countries” would do the same. Frank Hamill (Nature, 6/5/20)—who previously managed a BSL-4 lab in the US—stated that it would be a “bit hypocritical” to “ask the Wuhan institute to open up its files and let people starting poking around,” given that (as Nature put it) “US biosecurity laboratories are far from fully transparent about their own research.”

Dr. David Gorski, managing editor of Science-Based Medicine (5/31/21), asked:

What country would welcome investigators with open arms into one of their major research institutions to look for evidence that its scientists had screwed up and caused a major disaster? Even if a government were confident that no such error had occurred, it might not be too thrilled with such an investigation, particularly when it’s coupled with what can only be called accusations of wrongdoing and being instigated by people hostile to you. That the Chinese are testy and unenthusiastic about cooperating is not a strong argument in favor of a lab leak. Sure, it could be a sign of a coverup, but it could also just be a normal reaction to accusations.

Foreign Policy’s deputy editor James Palmer (6/9/21) offered yet another plausible reason:

Nor is there any domestic public demand to cooperate on an investigation. Consider how the accusations over a supposed lab leak look from the perspective of ordinary Chinese people. Doctors and scientists who worked on coronaviruses are being painted as co-conspirators in the outbreak. And a country that utterly botched its pandemic response and that often refuses to participate in international accountability itself is making accusations against one that succeeded—driven in part by the politicians involved in that failure.

Yet another reason why China wouldn’t agree to further investigation—even if they’re confident no lab leak occurred—is that an investigation is only politically worthwhile when exoneration is a realistic possibility, but many virologists admit that a lab leak “may be near impossible to falsify” anyway, due to the inherent difficulties of proving a negative.

Australian journalist Caitlin Johnstone (6/8/21) also argued that China has no incentive to open itself up to more opportunities for bad press when Western media would follow the US’s lead in taking every opening to produce their desired anti-China narrative:

Beijing would be absolutely insane to open its doors to such an investigation, because it would have no way of preventing the US and its lackeys from manipulating the results and producing a narrative which fully incriminates the Chinese government while leaving Washington innocent.

Are her remarks hyperbolic?

Distorting China’s cooperation
NYT: On W.H.O. Trip, China Refused to Hand Over Important Data
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Two scientists complained that their views were misrepresented in this New York Times article (2/12/21), with one saying, “Our quotes are intendedly twisted, casting shadows over important scientific work.”
While it’s true China hasn’t shown maximal transparency in the way the US demands (and would itself never grant to others), it’s also true that Orientalist narratives of Chinese secrecy and duplicity seem to be predetermined and unfalsifiable narratives for Western media, as is typical of coverage on countries Washington declares to be its Official Enemies.

For instance, the New York Times’ report “On WHO Trip, China Refused to Hand Over Important Data” (2/12/21) was called out for distorting and misrepresenting quotes given by the WHO team members, like Peter Daszak of the EcoHealth Alliance and Danish epidemiologist Thea Kølsen Fischer (MintPress News, 2/15/21). The Times claimed that the scientists said that “China’s continued resistance to revealing information about the early days of the coronavirus outbreak” made it “difficult for them to uncover important clues that could help stop future outbreaks of such dangerous diseases.”

Daszak tweeted in response to the article:

This was NOT my experience on @WHO mission. As lead of animal/environment working group I found trust & openness w/ my China counterparts. We DID get access to critical new data throughout. We DID increase our understanding of likely spillover pathways.

Fischer also tweeted:

This was NOT my experience either on the epidemiological side. We DID build up a good relationship in the Chinese/international epidemiology team! Allowing for heated arguments reflects a deep level of engagement in the room. Our quotes are intendedly twisted, casting shadows over important scientific work.

The Times report is especially suspect for insisting on the narrative of Chinese uncooperativeness, as it came less than a week after an Associated Press (2/7/21) interview with Daszak in which he testified that the Chinese side “granted full access to all sites and personnel they requested—a level of openness that even he hadn’t expected.”

Rejecting Sinophobic premises

FAIR has documented how US media have politicized the pandemic from the beginning, prioritizing condemnation of China’s political system, scapegoating China for the US’s disastrous handling of the pandemic (3/24/20) and alleging Chinese dishonesty without evidence (4/2/20)—all of which has stoked a surge in anti-Asian racism (3/6/20).

Media constantly repeat the repeatedly debunked myth of China punishing “whistleblower doctors” like Dr. Li Wenliang, and other falsehoods like the Chinese government denying that there was any human-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2 before January 20, 2020, or needlessly delaying the release of the SARS-CoV-2 genome (FAIR.org, 10/14/20; CGTN, 4/23/20, 8/22/20).

I also pointed out (FAIR.org, 1/20/21) that Dr. Zhang Jixian, the first doctor to report SARS-CoV-2 to health authorities, was rewarded for coming forward. US corporate media outlets, however, generally omit her contribution to the world’s discovery of the virus, which would greatly complicate the narrative of a Chinese “coverup.”
The Groupthink That Produced the Lab-Leak Failure Should Scare Liberals
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The “lab-leak failure” that New York‘s Jonathan Chait (6/3/21) refers to is corporate media’s initial “failure” to give sufficient credence to an evidence-free conspiracy theory.
This China-vilifying pandemic coverage unsurprisingly extends to the search for the virus’s origins. Although the lab leak hypothesis is often presented by its proponents as a solely scientific inquiry that has been unfairly dismissed for political reasons, in a seemingly innocuous “just-asking-questions” fashion (Salon, 4/24/20; New York, 1/4/21, 6/3/21), this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The lab leak hypothesis is, in fact, a literal conspiracy theory that is gaining traction due to constant media innuendo.

WIV’s Shi Zhengli has testified that her laboratory never had SARS-CoV-2 prior to first receiving patient samples on December 30, 2019, after the virus was first reported by Dr. Zhang Jixian to health authorities on December 27, 2019 (Scientific American, 6/1/20). Early speculations led Shi to declare, “I swear with my life, [the virus] has nothing to do with the lab.”

Shi also affirmed that the WIV has only isolated and grown in culture three bat coronaviruses related to any that infect humans, and these are related to SARS-CoV, not SARS-CoV-2. She says she was never ordered to destroy any viruses after the outbreak surfaced, and that there had been “no pathogen leaks or personnel infection accidents” at the WIV to date (Science, 7/24/20). Shi insists that she would welcome “any kind of visit” to rule out the lab leak theory, claiming she has “nothing to fear,” because she’s confident that she “did nothing wrong.”

If Shi’s testimony is true, the Wuhan lab leak theory cannot be correct, since possessing SARS-CoV-2 in the laboratory prior to the outbreak is a necessary precondition for a lab leak. This is also why any version of the lab leak theory is literally alleging a conspiracy of Chinese scientists lying about their work—along with foreign scientists and officials familiar with their research—in concert with the Chinese government.

Of course, rejecting Sinophobic premises that Chinese people are exceptionally deceptive doesn’t imply the opposite conclusion that Chinese people are incredibly trustworthy; it simply means that the burden of proof is on those alleging Chinese deceit, as it should be for anyone else. Presuming without evidence that WIV scientists are guilty of lying is based on centuries-old Yellow Peril propaganda portraying China as inherently dishonest, coming from a country with a long history of hatred towards Chinese people.

Evidence of actual coverup

But perhaps the biggest irony is that there is evidence of lying by Chinese officials. It’s just that the lying points in the opposite direction of a laboratory origin for SARS-CoV-2.

Since the pandemic began, the Chinese government claimed that the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market vendors, once suspected to be at the origin of the outbreak, never sold any illegal wildlife. Yet it’s been proven that vendors at the markets linked to some of the earliest Covid-19 cases were illegally selling a range of wildlife in unsanitary conditions, from which the coronavirus may have spread (Bloomberg, 6/7/21). Perhaps the most interesting part of these revelations is that the evidence came from Chinese researchers, from the China West Normal University in Nanchong, who exposed their government’s lies (Nature, 6/7/21).

US corporate media initially used the Huanan Market origin theory to propagate misleading conflations between wildlife markets and “wet markets,” and perpetuated racist stereotypes of Chinese people’s eating habits being especially unsanitary, but the theory was abandoned because the earliest known cases weren’t linked to the market (FAIR.org, 5/7/20). However, recent evidence that illegal wildlife was being sold at the Huanan Market has caused some scientists to believe a zoonotic origin is even more likely than before, and to give the possibility of a Huanan Market origin a second look.
NPR: Mapping COVID-19’s Early Spread In Wuhan, China
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NPR (7/19/21) pointed out that early cases of Covid-19 detected in Wuhan clustered around the market, not around the lab.
Evolutionary biologist Michael Worobey—who signed the open letter calling for a more serious investigation of the WIV—stated “transmission by another species, without a lab escape, is the most likely scenario by a long shot” (NPR, 7/19/21). Worobey even suspects the spillover began at the Huanan Market, though the WHO team concluded it was “more of an amplifying event, rather than necessarily a true ground zero.”

Scientists who mapped out the locations of the earliest Covid cases in Wuhan showed why believing the WIV to be the source of SARS-CoV-2, simply because the virus was first detected in Wuhan, is simplistic. They found that most of the earliest documented cases and excess pneumonia deaths were clustered around the Huanan Market—with “no epidemiological link to any other locality in Wuhan”—with SARS-CoV-2 detected in environmental samples “primarily in the western section that traded in wildlife and domestic animal products.”

Despite concerns about Daszak’s presence on the WHO team, due to his own organization having worked closely with the WIV, he stated, “Don’t think for a minute” the Chinese government “is happy when we repeatedly state that this likely came out of industrial-scale wildlife farming employing 14 million people” (NPR, 3/15/21). Rasmussen, who was not on the WHO team, concurred with Daszak:

The Chinese government has a big incentive to keep this quiet. This is exactly how SARS spilled over. It looks very bad and draws a lot of negative attention to the wildlife trade that the same thing could have happened again.

Resisting bad faith investigations

Despite all the available scientific evidence pointing in favor of a zoonotic origin—and none for a laboratory origin—the Biden administration directed intelligence agencies (not public health experts) to hunt for incriminating documentary evidence showing that Chinese officials were aware of and lied about the virus leaking from the WIV. On August 24, the director of national intelligence presented what the New York Times (8/24/21) described as an “inconclusive initial report” to Biden. But employing the tools of intelligence rather than epidemiology to the questions indicates that the US is promoting lab leak speculations and demanding a political investigation in bad faith. This is especially troubling, considering that 83% of Americans support taking action against China if US intelligence agencies (not the WHO, or scientists capable of conducting a scientific investigation) “reveal” evidence SARS-CoV-2 leaked from the WIV.

It’s true that an apolitical scientific investigation independently checking Chinese claims about the WIV would be ideal, but we should focus on the available evidence, instead of letting the Biden administration falsely present the possibility of SARS-CoV-2 originating in the Wuhan Institute of Virology being “at least as credible as the possibility that it emerged naturally in the wild” (CNN, 7/16/21). A conspiracy to hide a lab leak is a logical possibility, but it’s a near certainty that an Orientalist media would use tropes of an untrustworthy China to turn lack of evidence for a lab leak into evidence of a coverup, with potential results somewhere between distracting and disastrous.

Research assistance: FY Sun

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Sep 11, 2021 1:38 pm

‘Where Are the Threads Dropped With the Criminal Investigation of the Sackler Family?’
CounterSpin interview with Rick Claypool on OxyContin immunity
JANINE JACKSON

Janine Jackson interviewed Public Citizen’s Rick Claypool about OxyContin immunity for the September 3, 2021, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.


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Purdue heir David Sackler and wife Joss depicted in Vanity Fair (6/19/19)
Janine Jackson: It’s hard to think of a better illustration of the cynicism of “justice” under corporate capitalism than the September 1 ruling that absolves the billionaire owners of a drug company that spent years aggressively marketing a painkiller, misrepresenting its addictive properties, because that same company promises to throw some money at the devastating public health crisis that resulted. But that’s where we’re at with the approval of the bankruptcy organization plan from Purdue Pharma, controlled by the Sackler family, whose heavily-pushed drug OxyContin has contributed materially to the devastation of lives and communities across the country.

Judge Robert Drain of the US Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, New York, seemed to take no joy in the ruling; he called it “bitter”—which should raise questions about how much practical anger should be directed at the particular venality of the Sackler family, vis a vis the systemic problems they are able to exploit.

We’re joined now by Rick Claypool, a research director focused on corporate crime and wrongdoing at Public Citizen. He joins us now by phone from Rhode Island. Welcome to CounterSpin, Rick Claypool.

Rick Claypool: Thank you, Janine. Thanks for having me.

JJ: I have to start by saying there’s no way we can cover all of the important ground here: The way the Sackler family played cultural currency, the PR employment of actual pain victims, the profit hiding…. Books have been and will be written on this.

But let’s just stay in the moment. What does this bankruptcy ruling do? What’s the impact?

RC: It does a number of things. While the main thrust of it is that it’s ending Purdue Pharma, as the for-profit company that it had been, and turns it into this public benefit company, and is turning over billions in funds towards helping essentially clean up the mess that Purdue Pharma, and the Sackler family who owned and managed it for decades, has created.

The bitter part of it is that it immunizes the family members from future liability for wrongdoing related to the business. So Purdue Pharma, the business, is the reason they are billionaires in the first place. And they’re going to walk away from this billionaires.

And so, if the standard of justice is accountability, deterrence of wrongdoing, equal treatment justice, right? I mean, right now, there are 450,000 individuals on any given day serving time in the US for nonviolent drug crimes, right? Some subset of that nearly half million people started out being addicted to OxyContin, and things went downhill for them from there. The book was thrown at them. And here you have one of the wealthiest families in the world, walking away with tarnished reputations and their billions. And it couldn’t be a more unjust outcome.

JJ: And you aren’t alone in thinking that. And my understanding from press coverage is that it’s not over ‘til it’s over. And that states, for example—and maybe their reasons have to do with being saddled with a lot of healthcare costs of the opioid epidemic—but still, folks are trying to push back on this ruling. Do you see that as meaningful? Or what do you see might happen?

RC: My focus, and what I spend all my time thinking about, is corporate crime in the literal sense. So this is a civil settlement. What I’m keeping an eye out for is subsequent criminal accountability. Department of Justice made a civil settlement with the Sacklers, and also settled its criminal charges, three felonies, against Purdue Pharma itself, back in November. But it explicitly says that that settlement does not release them from future criminal accountability.

So we are calling on the Justice Department to pick up those threads of that investigation, and to continue it. And if any crimes are found from the facts of the investigation, then members of the Sackler family should be indicted.

JJ: I’d like to ask you, finally, what would you like to see more of, or less of, in terms of media coverage? ‘Cause we’re going to see media coverage. What would you like to see more or less of, in terms of that coverage?

RC: I want to go back to something you said about the coverage of Purdue, quickly. And just that it is true that this case in particular had been covered better than most corporate crime cases have. I don’t know if it’s just the sheer egregiousness of it, or the actual family members—they seem indifferent, and have no sort of remorse; they’re continuing to insist that they did nothing wrong, and that there’s nothing they would have done differently. Just absolutely ghoulish.

It’s also worth noting that this is a private company. So the only individuals with anything at stake with the company were the Sacklers themselves, right? It is certainly the case that in corporate crime coverage, most of the time when the company commits crimes, it’s sort of reported as if it’s bad news that they got caught on the business pages.

JJ: Right.

RC: And the frame is far too often about how the company will fare. And, of course, we’re not talking about public companies, where there are more investors, and also any members of the corporate media just have more at stake in the fate in how those companies’ stakes rise and fall.

Here, you see a company where it’s almost being treated that those connections aren’t there. So I think that’s interesting. I think it’s still right that it still obscures the deeper systemic issues of corporate crime and wrongdoing, and how capitalist greed fuels and can encourage this kind of recklessness and risk taking that gambled with thousands of peoples’ lives, in a way that’s just impossible to really comprehend.

And if you think about that, and you think about how the outcome of this case, if they walk away from it, and at the same time, there are physicians who were overprescribing opioids, right, in a number of jurisdictions, who either have been indicted or were convicted for charges including manslaughter—

JJ: Right.

RC: —when their patients died. It boggles the mind.

JJ: The sense is that somehow justice doesn’t have the tools to address the folks who are higher up in the stream, in terms of promoting something like OxyContin.

RC: That’s right. And it’s also, and I’m sure you’ve seen it in the coverage of the revolving door issues, where some of the highest-ranking prosecutors historically, for one of the most powerful districts, right, the Southern District of New York, and well, let’s see, who are some prosecutors who have worked for the Sacklers and Purdue Pharma? Former prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, Rudy Giuliani and Mary Jo White.

It’s hard to think that there aren’t many instances of those prosecutors. when they’re working for the Justice Department, when they’re working for the public, do they see the corporate representatives that are on the other side, are they adversaries or are they peers, right? And what does that mean for how it ultimately gets worked out?

JJ: Exactly. Well, just if there were a question that you would ask a reporter who was coming to this story on this bankruptcy filing, a question that you would ask them to pursue, what would that be?

RC: I would ask them to pursue the question of where are the threads dropped with the criminal investigation with the Sackler family,? The Justice Department prosecuted the company and made a settlement, civil settlement, with the owners, made it clear that the settlement did not release them from criminal liability—but where is that?

I’ve seen anecdotal mentions that people don’t think that they will be criminally charged. Why? What happened there? Who made those decisions? Was it for lack of evidence? Was it because, as we have seen in multiple other instances in the Trump Justice Department, higher-ups intervened in the cases of career prosecutors to reduce charges against corporate offenders?

JJ: We’ve been speaking with Rick Claypool, research director at Public Citizen. They’re online at Citizen.org. Thank you so much, Rick Claypool, for joining us this week on CounterSpin.

RC: Thanks, Janine. It was a pleasure.

https://fair.org/home/where-are-the-thr ... er-family/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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