Softwar, Cyberwar, Education, Propaganda, S&T
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This page includes:
- Softwar, Propaganda, Information Operations (IO)
- Panama Papers
- ICT, Internet, websites, computerisation, social media
- ICT outsourcing/offshoring
- Cinema (because of link with computer animation); propaganda
- Cyberwar, Cyberespionage, Cyberactivism, cybercrime and hacking
- Surveillance, Snowden, NSA, WikiLeaks, whistleblower
- Mobile phones
- Education and educational institutions such as Pyongyang University of Science and Technology
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Facebook: The global censor
29 December 2018
The year 2018 has seen a vast intensification of internet censorship by Google, Facebook and Twitter, transforming them from tools for exchanging information and communicating around the world into massive censorship dragnets for policing what their users say, do and think.
In August 2017, the World Socialist Web Site published an open letter to Google charging that the company, in collusion with the US government, was working to shape political discourse by manipulating search results. The open letter warned that Google?s actions set a dangerous precedent for subverting constitutional protections of freedom of speech and demanded that the company cease what the WSWS called ?political blacklisting? of left-wing sites.
Sixteen months later, the central argument of the open letter?that Google and its peers are carrying out political censorship?is undeniable. The regime that Google pioneered through its search engine has been expanded to all major US social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
In a front-page article published Friday, titled ?How Facebook Controls What World Can Say,? the New York Times writes that Facebook?s actions ?make the company a far more powerful arbiter of global speech than has been publicly recognized or acknowledged by the company itself.?
Facebook has ?quietly become, with a speed that makes even employees uncomfortable, what is arguably one of the world?s most powerful political regulators,? the article states. ?Increasingly,? the Times concludes, ?the decisions on what posts should be barred amount to regulating political speech?and not just on the fringes.?
Video: Who Are the White Helmets? Fake News and Staged Rescues
Canada?s beloved ?humanitarian heroes?, the White Helmets.
By Mark Taliano
Global Research, December 26, 2018
Maxim Grigoriev of the ?Foundation for the Study of Democracy?, discussed this and other findings gleaned from interviews with numerous individuals, including former terrorists, in Syria, during a video-taped presentation entitled, ?Roundtable Discussion on the Middle East Issues: Activities of the White Helmets Organization in Syria? under UN auspices.
One interview subject, Omar Al-Mustafa ? who wanted to be a White Helmet but wasn?t accepted because he wasn?t al Nusra Front (al Qaeda) ? recounted the following:
?People evacuated by the White Helmets often did not come back alive. For example, a person receives a minor injury, is rescued, evacuated, and then brought back with their stomach cut open and with their internal organs missing. I heard that a little girl was injured. They took her to Turkey and brought back in three days, dead and with no internal organs. People were scared. When someone got injured, they were afraid to call the White Helmets and ask for help.?
Grigoriev?s findings, presented at the U.N, are consistent with previous on-the ground investigations. In October, 2017, locals told Prof. Tim Anderson that the building pictured below had been used for organ trafficking.
[White Helmets] [Nusra] [Organ trafficking]
Scores of Businesses Worldwide Fall Victim to N.Korean Cyber Attacks
By Cho Yi-jun
December 26, 2018 11:55
North Korea launched cyber attacks against scores of businesses around the world over the last two months, Voice of America reported Monday.
According to VOA, data from computer security company McAfee show that 87 companies in the U.S. and Europe became targets of cyber attacks believed to have originated in North Korea since late October.
Raj Samani at McAfee said, "It was an espionage campaign predominantly targeting, approximately... 87 organizations across the globe. What we identified were technical indicators. And those technical indicators seemed to have a correlation with campaigns that were associated with North Korea."
He said they were very similar to those of Lazarus, the North Korean-sponsored hacking team behind the "Wannacry" ransomware that struck around 300,000 computers in 150 countries in May 2017
McAfee said the latest cyber attacks were discovered early and did not cause any financial losses. But it warned that North Korean hacking techniques are becoming more sophisticated.
"You are actually seeing threat actors who are believed to be from nation states actually improving their ability and investing offensive tools," Samani said.
North Korean newspaper builds paywall for PDF files
Posted : 2018-12-25 15:33
Updated : 2018-12-25 16:00
A foreign correspondent reads North Korea's Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, on May 26 as he heads to Beijing after covering the demolition of Punggye-ri nuclear test site in North Hamgyong Province conducted on May 24. Yonhap
By Jung Da-min, Park Si-soo
A North Korean newspaper published by the ruling Workers' Party started charging for its PDF files, in an unprecedented free-to-paid service transition for a rare source of domestic-made political news of the reclusive state.
The Rodong Sinmun implemented the transition on Monday, said North Korea experts in South Korea and other countries.
As of Tuesday, an icon linked to daily-updated PDF versions of the Rodong Sinmun is nowhere to be found on its website. Instead the PDF files are being sold by Korea Media, a Tokyo-based pro-North media organization.
The intent behind the transition and price policy are not known yet.
"As far as I know, Rodong Sinmun officials discussed the transition for over a year to set the paper's position as a propaganda machine for the ruling party with a subscription fee," a North Korea expert said asking not to be identified.
The Rodong Sinmun has published a PDF-format newspaper primarily for overseas North Korean diplomats who are unable to read the printed version on the day of its publication. The files are in high demand among foreign scholars, journalists and government officials because they contain articles that aren't published by the online version of the paper.
Reading articles posted on the website is still free.
How Peter Jackson Made WWI Footage Seem Astonishingly New
The director restored archival combat film to pristine clarity for ?They Shall Not Grow Old.?
By Mekado Murphy
Dec. 16, 2018
As the director of elaborate fantasy epics like the ?Lord of the Rings? and ?Hobbit? trilogies, Peter Jackson has become known for meticulous attention to detail. Now he has put the same amount of care into making a documentary.
With ?They Shall Not Grow Old,? Jackson has applied new technology to century-old World War I footage to create a vivid, you-are-there feeling that puts real faces front and center and allows us to hear their stories in their own words.
The documentary, which will screen nationwide Dec. 17 and Dec. 27, concentrates on the experiences of British soldiers as revealed in footage from the archives of the Imperial War Museum.
Who Killed The Weekly Standard?
The bureaucratic mind has a temporary triumph.
By David Brooks
Dec. 15, 2018
Steve Hayes, editor in chief of The Weekly Standard, at his office in Washington.CreditLexey Swall for The New York Times
Steve Hayes, editor in chief of The Weekly Standard, at his office in Washington.CreditCreditLexey Swall for The New York Times
I?ve only been around Phil Anschutz a few times. My impressions on those occasions was that he was a run-of-the-mill arrogant billionaire. He was used to people courting him and he addressed them condescendingly from the lofty height of his own wealth.
I?ve never met Ryan McKibben, who runs part of Anschutz?s media group. But stories about him have circulated around Washington over the years. The stories suggest that he is an ordinary corporate bureaucrat ? with all the petty vanities and the lack of interest in ideas that go with the type.
This week, Anschutz and McKibbin murdered The Weekly Standard, the conservative opinion magazine that Anschutz owned. They didn?t merely close it because it was losing money. They seemed to have murdered it out of greed and vengeance.
John Podhoretz, one of the magazine?s founders, reports that they actively prevented potential buyers from coming in to take it over and keep it alive. They apparently wanted to hurt the employees and harvest the subscription list so they could make money off it. And Anschutz, being a professing Christian, decided to close the magazine at the height of the Christmas season, and so cause maximum pain to his former employees and their families.
[Weekly Standard] [Conservatives] [Oligarch] [Media]
The Guardian?s Vilification of Julian Assange
December 3, 2018
The Guardian did not make a mistake in vilifying Assange without a shred of evidence. It did what it is designed to do, says Jonathan Cook.
By Jonathan Cook
It is welcome that finally there has been a little pushback, including from leading journalists, to The Guardian?s long-running vilification of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks.
Reporter Luke Harding?s latest article, claiming that Donald Trump?s disgraced former campaign manager Paul Manafort secretly visited Assange in Ecuador?s embassy in London on three occasions, is so full of holes that even hardened opponents of Assange in the corporate media are struggling to stand by it.
Faced with the backlash, The Guardian quickly ? and very quietly ? rowed back its initial certainty that its story was based on verified facts. Instead, it amended the text, without acknowledging it had done so, to attribute the claims to unnamed, and uncheckable, ?sources?.
The propaganda function of the piece is patent. It is intended to provide evidence for long-standing allegations that Assange conspired with Trump, and Trump?s supposed backers in the Kremlin, to damage Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race.
The Guardian?s latest story provides a supposedly stronger foundation for an existing narrative: that Assange and Wikileaks knowingly published emails hacked by Russia from the Democratic party?s servers. In truth, there is no public evidence that the emails were hacked, or that Russia was involved. Central actors have suggested instead that the emails were leaked from within the Democratic party.
[Guardian] [Assange] [Russiagate]
The Guardian/Politico Psyop Against WikiLeaks
December 1, 2018
The claims made by Luke Harding and The Guardian that Assange met Manafort will never be proven true, and they know it. And we should never let them forget it, says Caitlin Johnstone.
By Caitlin Johnstone
For the first few hours after any new ?bombshell? Russia-gate story comes out, my social media notifications always light up with poorly written posts by liberal establishment loyalists saying things like ?HAHAHA @caitoz this proves you wrong now will you FINALLY stop denying Russian collusion???? Then, when people start actually analyzing that story and noting that it comes nowhere remotely close to proving that Donald Trump colluded with the Russian government to steal the 2016 election, those same people always forget to come back afterward and admit to me that they were wrong again.
This happens every single time, including this past Tuesday when The Guardian published a new ?bombshell? report saying that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had had secret meetings with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. When experts all across the political spectrum began pointing out that the story contained no evidence for its nonsensical claims and was entirely anonymously sourced, nobody ever came back and said ?Hey sorry for calling you a Russian propagandist, Caitlin; turns out that story wasn?t as fact-based as I?d thought!? When evidence for a single one of the article?s claims failed to turn up for a day, then two days, then three days, nobody came back and said ?Gosh Caitlin, I owe you an apology for mocking you and calling you Assange?s bitch; turns out WikiLeaks and Manafort are suing that publication and its claims remain completely unproven.?
[Russiagate] [Guardian] [Luke Harding]
Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy
Exclusive: Trump ally met WikiLeaks founder months before emails hacked by Russia were published
Luke Harding and Dan Collyns in Quito
Tue 27 Nov 2018 14.23 GMT
Last modified on Tue 27 Nov 2018 14.25 GMT
Donald Trump?s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump?s campaign, the Guardian has been told.
Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016 ? during the period when he was made a key figure in Trump?s push for the White House.
It is unclear why Manafort wanted to see Assange and what was discussed. But the last meeting is likely to come under scrutiny and could interest Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
A well-placed source has told the Guardian that Manafort went to see Assange around March 2016. Months later WikiLeaks released a stash of Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers.
Assange Never Met Manafort. Luke Harding and the Guardian Publish Still More Blatant MI6 Lies
27 Nov, 2018 by craig
The right wing Ecuadorean government of President Moreno continues to churn out its production line of fake documents regarding Julian Assange, and channel them straight to MI6 mouthpiece Luke Harding of the Guardian.
Amazingly, more Ecuadorean Government documents have just been discovered for the Guardian, this time spy agency reports detailing visits of Paul Manafort and unspecified ?Russians? to the Embassy. By a wonderful coincidence of timing, this is the day after Mueller announced that Manafort?s plea deal was over.
The problem with this latest fabrication is that Moreno had already released the visitor logs to the Mueller inquiry. Neither Manafort nor these ?Russians? are in the visitor logs.
This is impossible. The visitor logs were not kept by Wikileaks, but by the very strict Ecuadorean security. Nobody was ever admitted without being entered in the logs. The procedure was very thorough. To go in, you had to submit your passport (no other type of document was accepted). A copy of your passport was taken and the passport details entered into the log. Your passport, along with your mobile phone and any other electronic equipment, was retained until you left, along with your bag and coat. I feature in the logs every time I visited.
There were no exceptions. For an exception to be made for Manafort and the ?Russians? would have had to be a decision of the Government of Ecuador, not of Wikileaks, and that would be so exceptional the reason for it would surely have been noted in the now leaked supposed Ecuadorean ?intelligence report? of the visits. What possible motive would the Ecuadorean government have for facilitating secret unrecorded visits by Paul Manafort? Furthermore it is impossible that the intelligence agency ? who were in charge of the security ? would not know the identity of these alleged ?Russians?.
N.Korean Hackers Attack S.Korean Agencies
By Lim Kyeong-eop
November 30, 2018 13:40
Four North Korean hacking groups continue hacking attacks on South Korean companies, public corporations and financial institutions despite rapprochement between the two Koreas.
Global cybersecurity firm FireEye said the fingerprints of major North Korean hacking groups have been found in the network servers of major companies, and financial, government and public agencies in the South, the latest as recently as Nov. 8.
The groups are Lazarus, TEMP.Hermit, Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) 38, and APT 37. Each group performed a different mission using a different hacking program. Eric Hoh at FireEye's Asia Pacific division warned the attacks are becoming more sophisticated.
APT 37 has targeted the South Korean government and military, while APT 38 tried several times to steal money from South Korean banks from January until May and resumed activities early this month.
TEMP.Hermit spread malware in defense companies and energy agencies in the April-September period, while Lazarus focused on planting malware in major road and power generation agencies.
Several foreign hacking groups, including two from China, two from Russia and one from Iran are also active in South Korea. Chinese hacking groups dubbed Tonto Team and others have concentrated on attacking the South Korean government and public agencies.
FireEye is a California-based company that develops and provides cybersecurity programs for corporations and public agencies, including about half the companies on Forbes' Global 2000 list. It detected the latest attacks in the process of analyzing the networks of companies and agencies that use its programs.
[Canard] [Hacking] [Pushback]
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Time to ditch our dud NBN ? beaten by the ?All Blacks of Broadband?
Posted on 17 November 2018
The contrast could not be any starker. As warnings emerged that Australia?s telcos are seeing their profits squeezed by the end of NBN Co?s short-lived wholesale price discount (with the likelihood that retail prices will rise), across the ditch came word that New Zealanders are about so see their broadband speeds greatly increase while the price of connecting to the Internet comes down. How could this be?
Back in 2013 communications minister Malcolm Turnbull was ordered by prime minister Tony Abbott to ?destroy? the NBN. As Turnbull fatefully decided to abandon a 21st Century fibre-based rollout ? on flawed advice from a bunch of so-called mates ? over in New Zealand they kept deploying fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP).
NBN Co was forced to effectively spin its wheels for months on end, as it re-worked all its rollout plans in order to use Telstra?s ageing copper wires and run-down 25 year old Pay TV cables. Meanwhile, Chorus New Zealand was busily perfecting ways to reduce the cost of fibre installations. These days it costs Chorus around 50 percent per premises less than it did five years ago.
[Broadband] [Australia] [NZ]
Trump and Big Media: Clash or Collusion?
November 11, 2018
Now that the media is protesting the suspension of Jim Acosta?s credentials Sam Husseini asks why he and the other journalists didn?t intervene on his behalf when he was expelled from a news conference.
By Sam Husseini
Special to Consortium News
CNN?s Jim Acosta has had his White House press credentials suspended following a tense exchange with Trump on Wednesday. CNN, the White House Correspondents? Association and others have denounced the move.
CNN says it?s ?Facts First.? That?s about as believable as Trump?s claim of ?America First.? Some see aggressive journalism here. I see media logrolling, and ?frenemies? at play.
On a superficial level, I empathize with Acosta. At press conferences I try to ask tough questions. At State Department briefings, spokeswoman Heather Nauert has carefully avoided calling on me, especially after this exchange when she refused to say what State?s position was on torture and evaded criticizing Saudi Arabia and Israel.
I was suspended from the National Press Club for a time (the ethics committee eventually overturned it) after confronting a Saudi autocrat at the start of the Arab uprisings. And this summer I was forcibly ejected from the Trump-Putin news conference in Helsinki for nothing more than carrying a sign with the subject of my question ? a tactic I hoped would increase my chances of getting called on.
Acosta seems eager for solidarity just now.
The West is Failing Julian Assange
November 6, 2018
While the media focused on Julian Assange?s cat rather than his continuing arbitrary detention, evidence shows that Britain worked hard to force his extradition to Sweden where Assange feared he could then be turned over to the U.S., as Stefania Maurizi explains.
By Stefania Maurizi
Special to Consortium News
Let?s start with the cat. You never would have thought one of these beloved felines would play a crucial role in the Julian Assange case, would you? And yet look at the latest press coverage. The mainstream media?s headlines weren?t about a man who has been confined to a tiny building in the heart of Europe for the last six years with no end insight, they were about orders from Quito to feed his cat. There you have a man who is at serious risk of being arrested by the UK authorities, extradited to the U.S. and prosecuted for his publications. A man who has been cut off from any human contact, with the exception of his lawyers, and whose health is seriously declining due to prolonged confinement without even an hour outdoors. Considering this framework, wasn?t there anything more serious to cover than the cat?
Oceania is at War with Fascism
If you?re a critic of global capitalism (sometimes referred to as ?globalism?), I?ve got some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is, you?re not a ?peddler of Russian propaganda? anymore. The bad news is, you?re an anti-Semite.
You?re probably also a domestic terrorist, or an ?emboldener? of domestic terrorism, or at least some sort of terrorism-apologist. And not good old-fashioned Islamic terrorism like we used to get during the War on Terror, because that ended in the Summer of 2016, right around the time Trump won the nomination. No, the brand of terrorism you are probably emboldening by criticizing global capitalism is anti-Semitic, fascist terrorism ? the most terroristic form of terrorism there is!
Up until recently, you might have just been going about your normal business, criticizing global capitalism, completely unaware of your anti-Semitic, white supremacist terrorist activities, but from now on there will be no denying them. Your hate thoughts are right there for everyone to read.
Go back and check your Facebook posts and your Twitter feed. You?ll see what I mean. All those times when you impulsively lashed out against the global capitalist ruling classes, or globalism, or Obama, or Clinton, or the Wall Street banks, or, God help you, George Soros?well, you might as well have been tweeting blinking neon GIFs of dancing Swastikas or posting Adolf Hitler?s speeches with little throbbing hearts and smiley-face emoticons.
Hoaxers Slip Breastaurants and Dog-Park Sex Into Journals
By Jennifer Schuessler
Oct. 4, 2018
One paper, published in a journal called Sex Roles, said that the author had conducted a two-year study involving ?thematic analysis of table dialogue? to uncover the mystery of why heterosexual men like to eat at Hooters.
Another, from a journal of feminist geography, parsed ?human reactions to rape culture and queer performativity? at dog parks in Portland, Ore., while a third paper, published in a journal of feminist social work and titled ?Our Struggle Is My Struggle,? simply scattered some up-to-date jargon into passages lifted from Hitler?s ?Mein Kampf.?
Such offerings may or may not have raised eyebrows among the journals? limited readerships. But this week, they unleashed a cascade of mockery ? along with a torrent of debate about ethics of hoaxes, the state of peer review and the excesses of academia ? when they were revealed to be part of an elaborate prank aimed squarely at what the authors labeled ?grievance studies.?
6 million mobile phones in use in North Korea; each priced at $100-200
Posted : 2018-11-05 15:20
Updated : 2018-11-05 17:17
The number of mobile phones in use in North Korea is estimated at around 6 million, with each device selling for $100 to $200, South Korean Minister of Unification Cho Myoung-gyon said Monday.
Cho made the remark during a session of the National Assembly's Special Committee on Budget and Accounts, when Rep. Yoon Hu-duk of the ruling Democratic Party asked him to confirm whether an estimate of 6 million cell phone subscribers in the North was right or wrong.
The current population of North Korea is slightly over 25 million.
When Yoon asked if North Korean student subscribers can watch the videos of South Korean boy band BTS on YouTube, Cho responded, "The Internet is not open (to North Koreans). Their mobile phones have restrictions and operate like a local network. But we have heard that videos of (South Korean singers) are circulating among the North's youth."
The minister went on to say that mobile phones now in use in North Korea are considered below 3G and sell for $100 to $200 a unit. (Yonhap)
Sexual violence rampant in NK: report
Posted : 2018-11-01 17:16
Updated : 2018-11-01 20:23
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth holds the report "You Cry at Night but Don't Know Why: Sexual Violence against Women in North Korea" during a press conference in central Seoul, Thursday. / Yonhap
By Kim Jae-heun
A report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international nongovernmental organization, revealed Thursday that government officials committin sexual violence is rampant in North Korea.
The report, titled "You Cry at Night but Don't Know Why': Sexual Violence against Women in North Korea," contains interviews with 106 North Korean defectors conducted between January 2015 and July 2018. Fifty-seven of them have defected after Kim Jong-un rose to power in 2011.
According to the report, a large number of married women in North Korea had become exposed to sexual violence while working at marketplaces, where government officials exploit them sexually.
Twenty-one women said they have either been sexually harassed or assaulted by government officials.
According to one female defector, state regulators or security men would just tell women to follow them into an empty room or someplace else whenever they wanted. She said it happened so often that the officials did not think it was wrong and women became used to it.
[HRW] [Detente] [Pushback] [Sexual abuse] [IO]
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I suppose it was always just a matter of time until the global capitalist ruling classes and their mouthpieces in the corporate media combined their two main official narratives into a Ronco-type 2-in-1 kind of deal. That?s right, folks, your days of switching between the War on Terror official narrative and the Putin-Nazi official narrative are over, because now, for just $19.99, the Putin-Nazi-Terrorist-O-Matic? takes care of all your official narrative needs with just the press of one button!
Here?s how it works. First, you take your classic mentally-disturbed individual, someone like, say, John Hinkley, Jr., Mark David Chapman, or Travis Bickle, or a total wack job like Cesar Sayoc, and you paint whichever clearly psychotic crimes he?s committed as acts of ?terrorism.? Don?t worry about the definition of ?terrorism? or how it has become a virtually meaningless label the capitalist ruling classes and corporate media can slap onto anyone. Just keep saying ?terrorist,? ?terrorism,? and any other lexical derivatives of ?terror,? over and over, like some kind of mantra ? you know, like the Hare Krishnas do.
gab.com & the Great Purge on the Horizon
gab.com is an alternative social network, set up and launched in 2016. It?s founder, Andrew Torba, stated he wanted to create a home for free speech, and counter what he perceived as ?liberal bias? on other platforms, such as twitter and facebook.
Two days ago, their website was taken down. This was in response to being blocked by PayPal, and then having their server space taken away by their hosting service. gab?s founder posted this statement on their stripped-down website.
Why did this happen?
Because Robert Bowers, the alleged gunman at the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, had a gab account and posted some things about ?the jews? on it.
Is it right, or sensible to punish a platform for the (alleged) actions of ONE user out of 100,000s? And is that really what?s going on?
Robert Bowers also had a Twitter account. And a Facebook page. Neither of these platforms has faced punishment, or censure, from any quarter.
Cesar Sayoc ? the alleged MAGABomber ? also had a twitter account and allegedly sent threatening messages to some public figures on it. Again, Twitter has not been blocked by PayPal.
In fact, Twitter and Facebook ? though occasionally criticised for ?not doing enough to combat hate?, have never been blocked, or threatened in any way. Even though twitter hosted countless pro-ISIS accounts, regularly cited in the media.
So clearly, it can be reasoned, PayPal et al are not only responding to the alleged statements of Robert Bowers. There is a deeper agenda at work.
Your debt and mine to Julian Assange
In a recent post I referred to the vile treatment of a man who brought us irrefutible evidence, and in screeds, that the widely cherished notion of the West being democratic is a fat lie. True, some of us knew this already, but Wikileaks shocked even the most hardened critics of liberal democracy by the extent and unprecedentedly fine granularity of that evidence.
In view of its shabby betrayal of Julian Assange ? and the fact its readership demography maps closely onto that of my own site ? I, pace Media Lens, singled out the Guardian for particularly scathing treatment. Two examples were columnists Deborah Orr and Suzanne Moore. It should surprise no one that both are women. Though Assange?s character assassination has involved many a male journalist ? not least Russia Cold Warrior Luke Harding, whose uniquely personal betrayal of trust marked an all time journalistic low  ? shills and hacks who also happened to be female had a spearhead role to play, given the precise form the assassination assumed.
Here?s what computer nerds call a boolean question ? Julian Assange is or was wanted on charges of rape in Sweden: true or false?
Fret not (too much) if you wrongly answered ?true?. So did Orr, though unlike you she said it to tens of thousands of Guardianista who, whether or not they know it ? and usually they don?t ? form hazy but comprehensive worldviews on the back of such stuff. The ease, in our post Jimmy Savile, #MeToo world of smearing by allegations of sexual misconduct should frighten us all ? and I speak as a childrens? home survivor ? though many are so caught up in highly manipulated incandescence that this aspect eludes them.
Of course, the USA is not known for reciprocal loyalty ? ask Mrs Saddam. Cables show the US spying not just on Merkel?s Germany ? and every other of America?s ?allies? ? but on Britain too.
Facebook Censorship of Alternative Media ?Just the Beginning,? Warns Top Neocon Insider
October 24, 2018
At a Berlin security conference, hardline neocon Jamie Fly appeared to claim some credit for the recent coordinated purge of alternative media, report Max Blumenthal and Jeb Sprague.
By Max Blumenthal and Jeb Sprague
Gray Zone Project
This October, Facebook and Twitter deleted the accounts of hundreds of users, including many alternative media outlets maintained by American users. Among those wiped out in the coordinated purge were popular sites that scrutinized police brutality and U.S. interventionism, like The Free Thought Project, Anti-Media, and Cop Block, along with the pages of journalists like Rachel Blevins.
Facebook claimed that these pages had ?broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior.? However, sites like The Free Thought Project were verified by Facebook and widely recognized as legitimate sources of news and opinion. John Vibes, an independent reporter who contributed to Free Thought, accused Facebook of ?favoring mainstream sources and silencing alternative voices.?
In comments published here for the first time, a neoconservative Washington insider has apparently claimed a degree of credit for the recent purge ? and promised more takedowns in the near future.
?Russia, China, and other foreign states take advantage of our open political system,? remarked Jamie Fly, a senior fellow and director of the Asia program at the influential think tank the German Marshall Fund, which is funded by the U.S. government and NATO. ?They can invent stories that get repeated and spread through different sites. So we are just starting to push back. Just this last week Facebook began starting to take down sites. So this is just the beginning.?
Fly went on to complain that ?all you need is an email? to set up a Facebook or Twitter account, lamenting the sites? accessibility to members of the general public.
The Online Targeting Of Journalists With Anti-Semitic Intimidation
October 25, 2018
In this essay, Brittan Heller argues that an examination of online anti-Semitic attacks of journalists on Twitter, leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, was one of the first indicators of the deliberate targeting of minority groups on social media. Examining this incident, with the benefit of hindsight, provides insights into the nature, purpose, and intended impact of online troll storms, including: professionalized trolling, enmity toward the professional press, ?useful idiot?-based virality, and bridging online conduct and offline harms. Heller asserts that the incident should be instructive to decision-makers who aim to stem the tide of real-world violence, showing us what we can learn from the systematic online targeting of minority populations.
Brittan Heller is the director of technology and society for the Anti-Defamation League. She is an affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
[Anti-Semitism] [Social media] [US_election16]
HRW: Palestinian authorities committed abuses, torture
Palestinian governments, accused of systematic human rights violations, reject HRW report as 'biased' and 'inaccurate'.
by Ali Younes
13 hours ago
Hani al Masri, a Ramallah-based political analyst, said human rights violations and illegal arrests were common [File: Mohammed Ballas/Reuters]
more on Human Rights
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has condemned the "systematic arbitrary arrests and torture" carried out by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.
In a report published on Tuesday, the international rights group demanded the Palestinian governments hold those responsible to account and also called on donors to the Palestinian authorities to suspend aid to the agencies implicated in abuses until action is taken.
[HRW] [IO] [Victim]
Guardian Watch ? Freedland Remembers Yemen is a Thing
?Sometimes you need an acquaintance to go missing before you realise that children being blown to pieces is a bad thing,? ? Jonathan Freedland (Well, not really, but almost).
Jonathan Freedland has weighed in on the Khashoggi case. He?s outraged, of course. Because they all are. Every single voice in the mainstream world has suddenly realised just how appalled they are that Saudi Arabia does bad things.
They weren?t appalled a few weeks ago, when the Saudis blew up a bus full of school children.
But they are appalled now, because Mike Pompeo was told by the Turkish government, who were told by the Turkish secret service, that a reporter who may or may not be dead, might have been killed by a super-secret Saudi Arabian hit squad (who then died in a car accident). There are video and audio recordings to prove all of this but we?re not allowed to see them yet.
Freedland recounts these alleged gory details with po-faced prurience. Apparently, they might have used a chainsaw. But that?s not really what his article is about ? his article is about attempting to claw back some credibility in the face of (perfectly justified) accusations of massive hypocrisy, and deeper questions about the motivations of the media and the agenda of the Deep State.
You see, Yemen is a thing.
It?s the poorest country in the Middle-East and it?s being systematically destroyed by its vastly richer neighbours, with the full backing and cooperation of NATO. In fact, we?re making a fortune out of it. Bombs are expensive, the Saudis need a lot of them, and you can only use them once. Ker-ching.
Domestically, Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy with a laughable track-record when it comes to human rights. This has been known for decades, it is talked about a lot. Barely a week goes by without some author, somewhere in the alternate media, writing up a story about the crimes of the House of Saud ? either international or domestic. So why are we just now hearing about them in the mainstream?
When he was selling wars in Libya and Syria, did Freedland ever once suggest the ?humanitarian bombing? of Riyadh?
Did he object to his paper selling ad space to promote the Muhammed bin Salman, ?the great reformer??
Did he boycott events or protest arms deals or in any way speak out?
Did he devote even a single one his columns to the war in Yemen?
People all over the world are asking: ?Why are the Saudis suddenly the bad guys? Why can?t Jamal Khashoggi be brushed under the carpet as if he?s nothing but a burning bus full of children or a napalm-strewn wedding reception??
It?s a question no one in the media has an answer for. They are aware of the contradiction though, and they are busily trying to get around it.
[Khashoggi] [Hypocrisy] [Yemen] [Saudi Arabia]
Khashoggi: a danse macabre & the New RealityTM
The New Reality and its merry jig
The Khashoggi incident continues to roll out in screaming headlines. The ?confession? that the journalist died in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is the latest twist, an indicator of the struggle to control narrative.
The manufactured crisis is being used not solely to demonise NATO?s erstwhile best buds, the house of Saud, but also to further isolate and discredit Trump in nice time for the November elections. Trump is currently being bashed by the Dems for doing what they and everyone else was doing a few weeks ago ? viz cozying up to the mass-murderers and selling them weapons.
With shameless opportunism the same people who ignored the slaughter in Yemen as recently as a week ago are now appalled by it. Aware that the speed of the change might make them look like the sold-out moral blanks they actually are, Jonathan Freedland and Max Fisher (amongst others) are inventing vomit-inducing excuses for why they just hadn?t got round to noticing the dead children until the deep state told them to care.
Taiwan, US stage GCTF workshop on combating disinformation campaigns
Publication Date: October 18, 2018 |
MOFA Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu (fifth left) is joined by Legislative Yuan President Su Jia-chyuan (fourth left), Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang (second right), U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Scott Busby (second left) and AIT Director Brent Christensen (third left) in opening the GCTF International Workshop on Defending Democracy through Media Literacy Oct. 18 in Taipei City. (Staff photo/Chin Hung-hao)
The International Workshop on Defending Democracy through Media Literacy got underway Oct. 18 in Taipei City, demonstrating the commitment of Taiwan and the U.S. to helping freedom-loving nations in the Indo-Pacific mitigate the impact of disinformation campaigns.
Jointly organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, American Institute in Taiwan and Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, the two-day event is a key initiative under the Taiwan-U.S. Global Cooperation Training Framework.
According to organizers, the workshop is attended by experts, officials and media representatives from 12 countries and territories. These include MOFA Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu, Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Scott Busby and AIT Director Brent Christensen.
[Propaganda] [US Taiwan]
Conservatives mount a whisper campaign smearing Khashoggi in defense of Trump
Donald Trump's shifting rhetoric on Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance
President Trump said there will be "severe punishment" if journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed, but has yet to define what that punishment will be. (JM Rieger/The Washington Post)
By Robert Costa and
October 19 at 12:49 PM
Hard-line Republicans and conservative commentators are mounting a whispering campaign against Jamal Khashoggi that is designed to protect President Trump from criticism of his handling of the dissident journalist?s alleged murder by operatives of Saudi Arabia ? and support Trump?s continued aversion to a forceful response to the oil-rich desert kingdom.
In recent days, a cadre of conservative House Republicans allied with Trump has been privately exchanging articles from right-wing outlets that fuel suspicion of Khashoggi, highlighting his association with the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth and raising conspiratorial questions about his work decades ago as an embedded reporter covering Osama bin Laden, according to four GOP officials involved in the discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly.
[Khashoggi] [Muslim Brotherhood] [Osama bin Laden]
CNN: ?Twitter has suspended accounts? that ?appear? to smear Khashoggi
Further indication of the alleged murder of Khashoggi being a narrative issued from high levels in the power structure is rolling out all the time. But this is a significant little pointer:
Twitter has suspended accounts that appeared to be setting out to smear missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi https://t.co/WaWv8GmkUA
? CNN (@CNN) October 19, 2018
The Khashoggi murder narrative, true or false, is being protected and promoted aggressively by the mainstream media. I don?t think this is simply because the press are mad about the attack on ?one of their own? or because the scandal is just too big to ignore. In fact I think these frequently-repeated claims are based on a fundamental and dangerous misapprehension about the relationship between the media and its masters and how narratives are currently produced.
Whatever happens with the Khashoggi story we need to keep talking about these misapprehensions because they fatally undermine people?s ability to grasp the reality of our current situation. I guess I?ll be returning to it in the future.
[Khashoggi] [Media] [Censorship]
Jamal Khashoggi: or why you don?t trust the MSM even if they say what you want to hear
(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
The alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is a mass media rollout, every bit as sparsely verified and every bit as questionable as the official Skripal narrative, but this fact is being overlooked due to the cognitive dissonance involved in who is being blamed.
What we are seeing in the mainstream media at the moment is a narrative-shift worthy of Minitrue. We are currently being told the equivalent of ?Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia?. The Saudis in general, and Muhammad bin Salman in particular, all previous ?good guys? in the MSM pantheon, are being apparently re-branded as baddies with all the cartoonish excess normally reserved for Russia/Putin and Syria/Assad.
Loyal Citizens of Pyongyang in Seoul
Oct 18, 2018
A new documentary by UCLA undergraduate student David Yun challenges the dominant narrative on North Korea?s ?defectors.? Based on interviews with a human rights attorney and North Koreans living in Seoul, this short film interrogates the reliability of defector testimony as accurate depictions of life in North Korea.
[Defector industry][Propaganda] [NIS] [Think tanks]
Chemical weapons in Syria? BBC Panorama relies on questionable evidence
originally from Tim Hayward?s blog
This is a press release issued by the Global Network for Syria (Corresponding author Baroness Cox (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A joint investigation by BBC Panorama and BBC Arabic claimed to show how chemical weapons have been used by the Syrian Government as part of a deliberate military strategy. Yet there are serious concerns over the investigation?s reliance on ?broadly impartial? sources ? who are not named ? and consequently the reliability of the report?s findings.
The Panorama programme is called ?Syria?s Chemical War? and was first broadcast on Monday 15 October on BBC One at 20:30.
Members of the Global Network for Syria have issued the following response:
Yesterday?s BBC Panorama programme was notable for its omissions. It was not clear, for example, whether evidence backing the claims of 106 uses of chemical weapons came from Syrian rebel sources. Given that sources are not named, the BBC may be relying on evidence from groups that are widely regarded as favourable to the opposition, such as the White Helmets, the Syrian American Medical Society, or the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations.
?The investigation ignored the interim findings of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on the Douma incident, which contradict the BBC?s conclusions. The OPCW found no evidence of the use of prohibited weapons in Douma and did not rule out that chlorine cylinders found at the site may have been planted.
?The programme showed former OPCW staff saying that not all of Asad?s stocks destroyed under OPCW supervision were necessarily accounted for. It neglected to point out, however, that the OPCW reported in 2014 that it had been unable to visit two sites where chemical weapons were stored and that both these sites were in rebel-held territory deemed unsafe for inspectors to visit.
Facebook Censorship and the Atlantic Council
By Jonathan Sigrist
Global Research, October 14, 2018
Yesterday we witnessed one of the greatest Facebook account and page purges since its formation over a decade ago. In total, 559 pages and 251 personal accounts were instantly removed from the platform, for having ?consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior? according to Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook?s Head of Cybersecurity and former White House National Security Council Director of Cybersecurity Policy under Obama. This is but one of similar yet smaller purges that have been unfolding in front of our eyes over the last year, all in the name of fighting ?fake news? and so called ?Russian propaganda?.
What very few people know though, is that about 5 months ago, Facebook announced that is was officially partnering with the Atlantic Council in the form of an ?election partnership [?] to prevent [their] service from being abused during elections.? Indeed, the US midterm elections are only a couple of weeks away, so the Atlantic Council and its Digital Forensic Research Lab are now going at it with full force, closing facebook accounts left and right that they personally deem could be fake accounts, or accounts spreading misinformation, based on very shady criterias.
One doesn?t need to look far to understand who the Atlantic Council are and what they stand for : it is a think tank essentially funded by NATO, weapons manufacturers, Middle-Eastern oil-state monarchies, billionaires and different branches of the US military. In short, it has been described as being nothing less than NATO?s unofficial propaganda wing.
[Censorship] [Facebook] [Atlantic Council]
The Battle for Our Minds
September 25, 2018
There are battlefields in Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, and elsewhere, but given the state of corporate media, perhaps the most consequential battle now being fought is for our minds, says Patrick Lawrence.
By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News
After reading The New York Times piece ?The Plot to Subvert an Election? I put the paper down with a single question.
Why, after two years of allegations, indictments, and claims to proof of this, that, and the other did the newspaper of record?well, once the newspaper of record?see any need to publish such a piece? My answer is simple: The orthodox account of Russia-gate has not taken hold: It has failed in its effort to establish a consensus of certainty among Americans. My conclusion matches this observation: The orthodox narrative is never going to achieve this objective. There are too many holes in it.
?The information age is actually a media age,? John Pilger, the noted British?Australian journalist, remarked during a symposium four years ago, when the Ukraine crisis was at its peak. ?We have war by media; censorship by media; demonology by media; retribution by media; diversion by media?a surreal assembly line of obedient clich?s and false assumptions.? Pilger revisited the theme in a piece last week on Consortium News, arguing that once-tolerated, dissenting opinion has in recent years ?regressed into a metaphoric underground.?
There are battlefields in Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, and elsewhere, but perhaps the most consequential battle now being fought is for our minds.
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Craig Murray: the Guardian tells ?deliberate lies? about Assange and alleged Russia ties
Craig Murray?s allegations about the extent of the selectivity and frank dishonesty underpinning the Guardian?s recent ?reveal? regarding Julian Assange and his alleged (and seemingly entirely invented) bid to ?escape? to Russia, should shock us all. Even those of us all too familiar with the Graun?s decline, and with self-styled journalist Luke Harding?s previous collisions with basic ethics and confused relationship with veridical reality.
For those not familiar with the story, here?s a quick recap.
On Friday September 21 the Guardian published a piece titled ?Revealed: Russia?s secret plan to help Assange escape from UK?. It was authored by Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Dan Collyns and our very own pulp plagiarist Luke Harding. Even without Murray?s subsequent revelations, there was a lot to be concerned about both in the headline and the article itself.
The headline worryingly invoked the idea both that Assange was effectively a prisoner of the UK (which the UK government has always denied), and that, as far as the Guardian was concerned, this was actually fine, and the only real problem might be Russia?s alleged plan to ?help him escape.? This is worrying because it betrays the depth of estrangement from basic ideas of ethics, legality and morality that the current Russia-hysteria embodies. The headline has been composed by people who think anything Russia does and anyone Russia associates with is so automatically evil that merely invoking the name renders all ethical/legal/moral questions nul.[Russia confrontation] [Guardian] [Disinformation] [Assange]
Extraordinary and Deliberate Lies from the Guardian
23 Sep, 2018 in Uncategorized by craig
UPDATE One reason I was so stunned at the Guardian?s publication of these lies is that I had gone direct from the Ecuadorean Embassy to the Guardian building in Kings Cross to give an in-depth but off the record briefing to Euan MacAskill, perhaps their last journalist of real integrity, on the strategy for Julian. I told Euan that Russia was ruled out. I did not mention this yesterday as I greatly respect Euan and wanted to speak to him first. But on phoning the Guardian I find that Euan ?retired? the day the lying article was published. That seems a very large coincidence.
I am just back from a family funeral ? one of a succession ? and a combination of circumstances had left me feeling pretty down lately, and not blogging much. But I have to drag myself to the keyboard to denounce a quite extraordinary set of deliberate lies published in the Guardian about a Russian plot to spring Julian Assange last December.
I was closely involved with Julian and with Fidel Narvaez of the Ecuadorean Embassy at the end of last year in discussing possible future destinations for Julian. It is not only the case that Russia did not figure in those plans, it is a fact that Julian directly ruled out the possibility of going to Russia as undesirable. Fidel Narvaez told the Guardian that there was no truth in their story, but the Guardian has instead chosen to run with ?four anonymous sources? ? about which sources it tells you no more than that.
I have no idea who the Guardian?s ?anonymous sources? are, but I know 100% for certain that the entire story of a Russian plot to extract Julian from the Embassy last Christmas Eve is a complete and utter fabrication. I strongly suspect that, as usual, MI6 tool Luke Harding?s ?anonymous sources? are in fact the UK security services, and this piece is entirely black propaganda produced by MI6.
It is very serious indeed when a newspaper like the Guardian prints a tissue of deliberate lies in order to spread fake news on behalf of the security services. I cannot find words eloquent enough to express the depth of my contempt for Harding and Katherine Viner, who have betrayed completely the values of journalism. The aim of the piece is evidently to add a further layer to the fake news of Wikileaks? (non-existent) relationship to Russia as part of the ?Hillary didn?t really lose? narrative. I am, frankly, rather shocked.
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
by John Kendall Hawkins
Looking back, it?s almost as if President Dwight D. Eisenhower were trying to warn the American public, in his Farewell speech of 1961, of mad doctors at work in the labs of our exceptional democracy ? what we?ve come to call the Deep State. Said Ike: ?We should take nothing for granted: Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.?
Then, in the fall of 1963, came the Big Bang of Dallas, re-constellating the bright and shiny firmament of the American Dream. All we Americans who came of age in the Sixties know that the afterglow of the Baby Boomer years came to a shocking end the day John F. Kennedy was blasted onto Abraham Zapruder?s 8MM movie camera. Good night, Camelot. It was as if from that moment on, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, ?the broken mirror of innocence? could be seen in each and every face.
First They Came for Alex Jones, Then for Russian Cable News RT and Syrian TV. Going to War with Russia, Syria, Iran?
By Ann Garrison
Global Research, September 13, 2018
Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.
Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibibi calls Alex Jones ?the media equivalent of a trench-coated stalker who jumps out from behind a mailbox and starts whacking it in an intersection.? Good description but he rightly warned that ?Censorship Does Not End We.?
Shortly after Alex Jones was kicked off Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, New York City residents let me know via email and Twitter that the Russian cable news outlet RT was gone in their area. They all reported the screen message, ?Programming on this network is no longer available.? One said that he had called Spectrum customer service, where a representative confirmed that RT was no longer available, but with no further information. He complained and the rep said she?d pass it upstairs.
The RT website confirmed that Charter Spectrum covers the entire NYC area and northern New Jersey. ( Actually, their website still says Time Warner, although Time Warner has been subsumed by Charter Spectrum.)
I submitted a press inquiry as to whether or not RT is still available to Charter Spectrum subscribers in Los Angeles, but had not received a response as of September 11, aka 09/11. I couldn?t help noting that I found myself reporting this on the 17th anniversary of the day that hijacked planes crashed into NYC?s Twin Towers and the Pentagon, creating an excuse for mass surveillance, the legalization of domestic psyops, and every US war since, whatever your theory as to what really happened. Trump and his administration now waffle about whether they?re fighting Syria, Russia, or terrorists, but Russia is clearly the ascendant bogeyman.
RT was taken off cable in Washington, DC on April 1st, though the Kremlin had said the move looked ?illegal and discriminatory? according to US law. At the same time Bloomberg News reported the decision and the legal complexity facing cable companies who want to drop RT. That report began by citing US intelligence agencies who describe RT ?as part of Moscow?s ?state-run propaganda machine.??
[Censorship] [RT] [SANA] [Syria]
Staged Filming of False Flag 'Chemical Attacks' Has Begun in Idlib: Russian MoD
by Tyler Durden
Tue, 09/11/2018 - 14:11
Russian state media channels, in a near simultaneous blitz of information, have issued breaking alerts this morning that anti-Assad insurgents in Idlib have begun filming "fake footage of chemical attacks" based on Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) statements. The Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation says the "fake footage of chemical attacks" is expected to be delivered to various TV channels and Western journalists before the end of the day Tuesday.
Russia's Sputnik News indicates based on official Moscow sources:
According to the information received from inhabitants of Idlib province, militants are now filming a staged provocation in the city of Jisr al-Shugur, where "chemical weapons" are depicted as being used by the Syrian army against civilians. The film crews of several Middle Eastern TV channels arrived in Jisr al-Shugur in the morning, as well as the regional affiliate of one of the main American television news networks", the Reconciliation Center said.
Idlib residents have begun donning 'protective gear' according to an Al-Jazeera report. Image source: Reuters
Jisr al-Shugur is a key al-Qaeda held town in Idlib Province, specifically under the control of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Nusrah Front, or al-Qaeda). There have been international journalists inside Jisr al-Shugur over the past weeks.
Official Russian military sources also say two containers of a chlorine-based toxic substance have been brought to Jisr al-Shugur; however, the sources did not cite any specific intelligence or provide evidence to back the claim.
The Russian MoD described, per Sputnik:
The plot envisages staged scenes showing 'activists' of the Civil Defence ("White Helmets") 'helping' the residents of Jisr al-Shughur after the Syrian army allegedly used the so-called barrel bombs with poisonous substances," the center said.
Meanwhile Russian channel RT also featured the charges in breaking news, describing:
Several Middle East TV channels and a local branch of a leading US news channel have been sent to the city of Jisr al-Shughur in Syria?s Idlib governorate to produce the footage needed for the provocation.
This comes the same morning as a new Wall Street Journal report confirms that the White House is now in direct talks with the U.K. and France over plans for a possible third round of coordinated strikes on Syria should the Syrian Army use chemical weapons during its Idlib assault.
Speaking to reporters after a major speech on Monday, US national security advisor John Bolton slammed Moscow's allegations of an impending staged "chemical provocation," saying ?That has to be, in the history of propaganda in the 20th and 21st centuries, one of the most outrageous claims that I can think of,? according to the WSJ.
[cbw] [False flag] [Idlib] [IO]
A Security Expert Tied to WikiLeaks Vanishes, and the Internet Is Abuzz
By Henrik Pryser Libell
Sept. 7, 2018
OSLO ? In a remote Norwegian town north of the Arctic Circle, a cybersecurity expert with ties to WikiLeaks checked out of a hotel, dressed in khaki hiking gear and carrying heavy baggage.
That was on Aug. 20. No one has reported seeing him since.
The disappearance of Arjen Kamphuis, 46, has so far flummoxed a widening police investigation that has chased stray clues and false leads in Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Norwegian police have released statements saying that they have no idea whether he was a victim of foul play, but that they ?are open to all possibilities.?
The uncertainty, and Mr. Kamphuis?s links to WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization that has run afoul of governments and other powerful interests, has the internet buzzing with conspiracy theories. Some suggest a kidnapping ? or worse ? involving Russia, the C.I.A., MI6, Islamists or the Clintons, while others ask if he intended to disappear, possibly on some secret assignment for WikiLeaks.
Google and Apple?s Systems to Track you in Person: What the Media Isn?t Telling You
by Michael Kwet
September 6, 2018
Google is in the news (again) for creepy surveillance practices. Google, AP reported, is tracking your physical whereabouts even after you tell them to shut Location History off. Now Bloomberg reports they bought data about Mastercard transactions to link online ads with in-store purchases. These make for interesting stories, but the real story, not being discussed, is the online-physical advertising systems engineered by Google and Apple.
Over the last few years, there?s been a quiet revolution in retail marketing empowering advertisers to track consumers in physical space. Retailers have realized that, contrary to popular misconceptions, most retail purchases are still made in brick-and-mortar stores? not the online world of Amazon and Walmart. The capacity to track each of us in the physical world offers an untapped market for high-tech advertising. Google previously called this the Physical Web, a new Internet of Things frontier that melds the online and offline worlds into one.
[Surveillance] [Advertising] [Capitalism] [Google] [Apple]
N.Korean Scientists Publish IT Paper in S.Korean Journal
September 05, 2018 10:54
North Korean scientists have published a computer system research paper in a South Korean journal, a first time for North Korean scholars.
The August issue of the English-language journal Transactions on Internet and Information System of the Korean Society for Internet Information carries the paper by six North Korean authors led by Prof. Ri Il-nam of Kim Il-sung University and Prof. Choe Song-il of Huichon University of Technology.
Titled "Improved Hybrid Symbiotic Organism Search Task-Scheduling Algorithm for Cloud Computing," it discusses how to increase the speed of performance of cloud technology to store files.
The North Koreans agreed to publish the paper here in an e-mail in April. They sent the paper on July 4 after overseas peer review and editing.
The KSII notified the Unification Ministry of the plan since the law requires all contacts to be reported.
In the e-mail, the North Korean scientists also expressed hope of future joint research in the field.
North Korea operates a dedicated army of hackers who have repeatedly attacked South Korean and other international websites.
Can You Spot the Deceptive Facebook Post?
By Keith Collins and Sheera Frenkel
Sept. 4, 2018
Facebook, Twitter and Google executives have been invited to testify in Washington on Wednesday about foreign influence campaigns and disinformation online ahead of the midterm elections in November.
The problem has been far reaching. Over the summer, Facebook announced the discovery of hundreds of fake pages and user accounts on its site. Some pages appeared to specifically target Americans with divisive messages, using the same tactics that Russian operatives did to influence voters during the 2016 presidential campaigns.
The latest influence campaigns also imitated posts by legitimate pages and groups on Facebook that advocate political beliefs, making it difficult to tell what was a genuine post and what was not. Let?s compare some to see if you can tell the difference. Spoiler: It isn?t easy.
Skripals ? When the BBC Hide the Truth
By Craig Murray
August 28, 2018 "Information Clearing House" - On 8 July 2018 a lady named Kirsty Eccles asked what, in its enormous ramifications, historians may one day see as the most important Freedom of Information request ever made. The rest of this post requires extremely close and careful reading, and some thought, for you to understand that claim.
Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,
1: Why did BBC Newsnight correspondent Mark Urban keep secret from the licence payers that he had been having meetings with Sergei Skripal only last summer.
2: When did the BBC know this?
3: Please provide me with copies of all correspondence between yourselves and Mark Urban on the subject of Sergei Skripal.
The ramifications of this little request are enormous as they cut right to the heart of the ramping up of the new Cold War, of the BBC?s propaganda collusion with the security services to that end, and of the concoction of fraudulent evidence in the Steele ?dirty dossier?. This also of course casts a strong light on more plausible motives for an attack on the Skripals.
Which is why the BBC point blank refused to answer Kirsty?s request, stating that it was subject to the Freedom of Information exemption for ?Journalism?.
[Skripal] [BBC] [Media]
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FBI pushes back on unfounded Trump claim that China hacked Hillary Clinton?s email
President Trump in the Oval Office on Tuesday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
By John Wagner
August 29 at 4:09 PM
The FBI on Wednesday pushed back on an unfounded claim by President Trump that Hillary Clinton?s emails were hacked by China, saying it had found no evidence that the private servers she used while secretary of state had been compromised.
Trump asserted early Wednesday, without citing evidence, that China had hacked Clinton?s emails, and he said the Justice Department and the FBI risked losing their credibility if they did not look into the matter further.
Writing on Twitter, Trump alleged that many of the emails that were purportedly hacked contained classified information and called it ?a very big story.?
?Hillary Clinton?s Emails, many of which are Classified Information, got hacked by China. Next move better be by the FBI & DOJ or, after all of their other missteps .?.?. their credibility will be forever gone!? Trump wrote in a tweet posted shortly after midnight.
[China confrontation] [Hillary Clinton] [Hacking] [Trump]
Veteran Left-Wing Journalist And Peace Activist Uri Avnery Dies At 94
AUGUST 20, 2018
Uri Avnery, one of Israel?s most prominent journalists and a seminal peace activist who was among the first Israelis to advocate for a sovereign Palestinian state, died in Tel Aviv on Monday morning. He was 94 years old.
[Israel] [Palestine] [Protest]
North Korea agrees to ICAO inspections, Kyodo News reports
Posted on : Aug.20,2018 17:32 KST Modified on : Aug.20,2018 17:32 KST
Inspection would require North Korea to refrain from unannounced missile launches
North Korea conducts a test launch of its international continental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-15 on Nov. 29, 2017.
North Korea has agreed to accept inspections from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) over the issue of its unannounced ballistic missile launches, the Kyodo News reported on Aug. 19. The ICAO is currently coordinating with North Korea to dispatch staff members next year to conduct the inspections, according to the report.
The ICAO intends to check on the actions that North Korea has taken in order to comply with its declaration to refrain from unannounced missile launches, the report stated. The last time that North Korea gave advance notice to the ICAO regarding ballistic missile launches was in February 2016 with the launch of the Kwangmyongsong-4.
The ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations headquartered in Montreal, Canada, and has 192 member nations, including North Korea.
[Missile test] [Satellite] [Media]
?Be careful about what you believe? ? Ken Livingstone on US, UK media bias & lies
Ken Livingstone is an English politician, he served as the Mayor of London between 2000 and 2008. He is also a former MP and a former member of the Labour Party.
Published time: 20 Aug, 2018 14:32
Edited time: 21 Aug, 2018 09:55
Today it seems like we are in another Cold War. It was breathtaking to watch our PM Theresa May immediately blaming Russia for the poisoning of the Skripals before the police had conducted their investigation into the evidence.
Growing up after the Second World War our news was dominated by the threat from the Soviet Union, but when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 I don?t think anyone could have guessed that just over two decades later we would be once again talking about the threat from Russia. Anyone who only gets their news from the British or American media is kept in ignorance of the truth; the endless accusations about the Skirpal poisoning or the conflict over Crimea is presented in a completely biased way in which most of the facts are ignored. But there is nothing new about this: dishonest reporting and lies dominated the whole of the Cold War in the days of the Soviet Union.
Although President John Kennedy in the United States started out with quite a right-wing agenda with one of his 1960 election promises being to close the missile gap with the Soviet Union, he rapidly changed and began to throw the weight of his administration behind the struggle to end racism in America?s deep south. Also, if he hadn?t been assassinated, he was planning to withdraw American troops from Vietnam if he had been re-elected in 1964 because he realized a full-scale war in Vietnam would be a disaster.
August 16, 2018
Hundreds of mainstream newspapers on Thursday have coordinated editorials against Trump?s attacks on the press, but as Sam Husseini explains, the major media need to do some soul-searching itself.
By Sam Husseini
Today, hundreds of newspapers, at the initiative of The Boston Globe, are purporting to stand up for a free press against Trump?s rhetoric.
Today also marks exactly one month since I was dragged out of the July 16 Trump-Putin news conference in Helsinki and locked up until the middle of the night.
As laid in my cell, I chuckled at the notion that the city was full of billboards proclaiming Finland was the ?land of free press?.
So, I?ve grown an especially high sensitivity to both goonish behavior toward journalists trying to ask tough questions ? and to those professing they are defending a free press when they are actually engaging in a marketing exercise.
As some have noted, the editorials today will likely help Trump whip up support among his base against a monolithic media. But, just as clearly, the establishment media can draw attention away from their own failures, corruptions and falsehoods simply by focusing on Trump?s.
Big media outlets need not actually report news that affects your life and point to serious solutions for social ills. They can just bad mouth Trump. And Trump need not deliver on campaign promises that tapped into populist and isolationist tendencies in the U.S. public that have grown in reaction to years of elite rule. He need only deride the major media.
They are at worst frenemies. More likely, at times, Trump and the establishment media log roll with each other. The major media built up Trump. Trump?s attacks effectively elevate a select few media celebrities.
My case is a small but telling one. Major media outlets were more likely to disinform about the manhandling I received in my attempt to ask about U.S., Russian and Israeli nuclear threats to humanity ? I?ll soon give a detailed rebuttal to the torrent of falsehoods, some of which I?ve already noted on social media ? than to crusade against it.
Husseini: Dragged out for wanting to ask a question.
Other obvious cases: None of the newspaper editorials I?ve seen published today mention the likely prosecution of Wikileaks. If there were solidarity among media, the prospect of Julian Assange being imprisoned for publishing U.S. government documents should be front and center today.
Neither did I see a mention of RT or, as of this week, Al Jazeera, being compelled to register as foreign agents. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert has openly refused to take questions from reporters working for Russian outlets. Virtual silence ? in part because Russia is widely depicted as the great enemy, letting U.S. government policy around the world off the hook.
Whither Political Science?: Not dead but on life support ? a response to Roger Scott.
11 August 2018
In a recent post Roger Scott asks an appropriate question but it?s anachronistic ? like asking why doesn?t Elvis do live concert anymore? Political Science was always a bastard, left-handed, red-haired child of the turn to scientism by the social sciences in the late 19th Century and it never recovered, thanks to the domination of successive generations of third-rate positivists deriving chimerical insights from mathematics ill-suited to a decent understanding of their subject matter.
Roger Scott begins his inquiry following the recent 25th World Congress of Political Science organised by the International Political Studies Association (IPSA) and the Australian Political Studies Association and attracting 1200+ papers. It?s a reasonable sample, and IPSA certainly provides an extraordinary range of themes ? but nothing like, for example, the International Studies Association annual convention which now draws some 5,500 papers presented over four days. I mention this because, as a contributor to them for over thirty years, and freely acknowledging that there are close relationships between International Relations and Political Science, it informs as well as complements the following response
Scott, rightly in my view, is concerned that Political Science is disconnected from the wider community (both in Australia and elsewhere), that the public (taxpayers, students and employers) may not be getting value for the money they have invested in Political Science, and that Political Scientists are ?becoming too self-centred for their own good, chasing their preferred research and teaching interests without seeking to shape these interests to have an impact on the wider society.?
He is also sensitive to the deleterious consequences of the ?measurement regime? of academic performance, the emergence of the ?entrepreneurial academic,? positivist methodology and increasing use of quantitative methods as criteria for knowledge-validation and a mark of scientificity,? and corporatisation.
On reading his post I had two immediate reactions; the first was a question: ?Roger, where have you been all these years?? The second, and related to this question, was that the post itself is just a collection of notes to a long-overdue Coroner?s Report, and even then an incomplete account, an avoidance of a death already evident. It avoids asking and then defining the deeper, pathological conditions which contributed to the death, and specifically, their political character.
In A Corporatist System Of Government, Corporate Censorship Is State Censorship
August 10, 2018
In a corporatist system of government, wherein there is no meaningful separation between corporate power and state power, corporate censorship is state censorship, argues Caitlin Johnstone in this commentary.
By Caitlin Johnstone
Last year, representatives of Facebook, Twitter, and Google were instructed on the US Senate floor that it is their responsibility to ?quell information rebellions? and adopt a ?mission statement? expressing their commitment to ?prevent the fomenting of discord.?
?Civil wars don?t start with gunshots, they start with words,? the representatives were told. ?America?s war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America.?
Yes, this really happened.
Today Twitter has silenced three important anti-war voices on its platform: it has suspended Daniel McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute, suspended Scott Horton of the Scott Horton Show, and completely removed the account of prominent Antiwar.com writer Peter Van Buren.
I?m about to talk about the censorship of Alex Jones and Infowars now, so let me get the ?blah blah I don?t like Alex Jones? thing out of the way so that my social media notifications aren?t inundated with people saying ?Caitlin didn?t say the ?blah blah I don?t like Alex Jones? thing!? I shouldn?t have to, because this isn?t actually about Alex Jones, but here it is:
I don?t like Alex Jones. He?s made millions saying the things disgruntled right-wingers want to hear instead of telling the truth; he throws in disinfo with his info, which is the same as lying all the time. He?s made countless false predictions and his sudden sycophantic support for a US president has helped lull the populist right into complacency when they should be holding Trump to his non-interventionist campaign pledges, making him even more worthless than he was prior to 2016.
But this isn?t about defending Alex Jones. He just happens to be the thinnest edge of the wedge.
Infowars has been censored from Facebook, Youtube (which is part of Google), Apple, Spotify, and now even Pinterest, all within hours of each other. This happens to have occurred at the same time Infowars was circulating a petition with tens of thousands of signatures calling on President Trump to pardon WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, who poses a much greater threat to establishment narratives than Alex Jones ever has. Assange?s mother also reports that this mass removal of Infowars? audience occurred less than 48 hours after she was approached to do an interview by an Infowars producer.
VIPS Asks Twitter to Restore Van Buren?s Account
August 7, 2018
The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity in a memo to the Twitter board of directors questions its decision to suspend the account of one of its members without due process.
August 8, 2018
TO: Twitter Board of Directors
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Suspension of VIPS Associate Peter Van Buren?s Twitter Account
We at Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) are greatly disturbed by the recent decision of your management to permanently suspend the Twitter account @WeMeantWell of our colleague Peter Van Buren. Peter is a highly respected former Foreign Service Officer possessing impeccable credentials for critiquing current developments that might lead to a new war in Eastern Europe or Asia, something which we Americans presumably all would like to avoid.
In 2011 our colleague Peter published a book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, about the poor decision- making by both civilians and military that led to the disastrous occupation and faux-democracy development in Iraq. It is Peter?s concern that our country may well be proceeding down that same path again ? possibly with Iran, Syria and other countries in the Middle East region.
Pilger Excoriates Media on Assange Silence
August 7, 2018
Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and investigative reporter John Pilger takes the gloves off on the continuing attempts to upend WikiLeaks and arrest its founding publisher, Julian Assange, in this interview with Dennis Bernstein and Randy Credico.
Pilger talks about Assange?s deteriorating health and the physical dangers he faces during this period of virtual isolation. Pilger also excoriates the western media for their silence and pro-government stand on the marginalizing and potential prosecution of Assange, even after they collaborated with WikiLeaks and major high-profile breaking stories. The interview is part of a continuing national radio series?Assange: Countdown to Freedom. Pilger was interviewed on August 3rd, 2018.
By Dennis J. Bernstein and Randy Credico
DB: John, what is the latest we know about how Julian Assange is being treated and his current state?
John Pilger: His state of health is just about the same, as I understand it. He needs medical attention, the kind of treatment you get only in a hospital. But it has been made clear to him that if he attempts to go to a hospital he will not be given free passage and he will be arrested. Since he was arrested in 2010, Assange has not been charged with a single crime. His treatment amounts to the most unprecedented persecution. Julian could leave the embassy if his own government, the government of his homeland, Australia, applied legitimate diplomatic pressure on behalf of its citizen. We must ask ourselves why this hasn?t happened.
My own feeling is that there is a great deal of collusion between the Australian, the British and the US governments?meant to close down WikiLeaks completely and/or deliver Julian Assange to the Americans. Recently the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, traveled with senior officials to London and to Washington and raised the whole matter of Julian. But they raised it in a way that didn?t support the idea that a government should represent its citizens. These people listened to the more powerful governments. In Washington they met Mr. Pompeo, who refused to discuss Assange altogether. I think there is collusion which amounts to an attempt to try to do a deal with Assange whereby he might be allowed free passage of return to Australia if he shuts down WikiLeaks. I think that is very, very likely.
As I understand Julian, this is something he would not even contemplate. But that might be one of the so-called ?wretched deals? that are being offered Assange. Some very strange things are being said by senior members of these two governments. The new foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, Jeremy Hunt, said sarcastically that the British police would offer Julian ?a warm welcome? when he came out, when he would face serious charges. There are no serious charges. He hasn?t been charged with anything.
Was Hunt referring to a deal which has already been done with the United States on extradition? I don?t know. But this is the milieu of machination around someone who has the right of natural justice concerning his freedom. Putting aside freedom of speech, the persecution of this man has been something that should horrify all free-thinking people. If it doesn?t horrify us, then we have surrendered something very valuable.
DB: Among those who should be especially horrified are those of us in the journalistic community. John, I would like you to explain once again why Julian Assange is such a significant journalist, why so many journalistic institutions have collaborated with him based on the information he provided. We are talking about a publisher and reporter who has changed history.
[Assange] [WikiLeaks] [Whistleblower] [Media]
VIPS Plead for Humanitarian Asylum for Julian Assange
August 6, 2018
Memorandum for: The US Embassies of Ecuador and the United Kingdom, and the U.S. State Department
From: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Subject: Humanitarian Asylum for Julian Assange
For six years, WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange has been effectively imprisoned without charges at Ecuador?s London embassy. In that time, two international courts and dozens of respected legal and human rights organizations have decried actions of the UK, US and Swedish governments that confine the journalist in what now amounts to torturous isolation, deprived of space, sunlight, visitors, communication with the outside and necessary medical care.
The catalyst was an arcane effort by the Swedish government to extradite Assange for questioning about claims of sexual improprieties.1 The UK government subsequently arrested Assange and released him on bail.2 Ecuador granted Assange asylum at its embassy based on concerns he could be extradited to the US where he would not receive a fair trial and could receive a death sentence.3 (Former Obama DOJ spokesperson Matthew Miller has acknowledged that US officials intended to arrest Julian Assange but decided against it because of the expected impacts on press freedom.)4
The UK government threatens to arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy for ?not surrendering at bail? and refuses to rule out extradition to the US.5 Under a new president, Ecuador has cut off Assange?s communications with the outside world.
QAnon: Meet a real-life believer in the online, pro-Trump conspiracy theory that?s bursting into view
Paul Burton, left, who is a believer in the QAnon conspiracy theory, with his father, Tom Burton. (Provided by Paul Burton)
by Isaac Stanley-Becker August 3 Email the author
After I wrote about QAnon, an online conspiracy theory that leaped on Tuesday from the far reaches of the Internet to the audience at President Trump?s rally in Tampa, an email arrived in my inbox from a man named Paul Burton.
He described a colleague and me as ?Bezos? boys,? referring to Jeffrey P. Bezos, the owner of The Washington Post, and asked, ?How?s your fishbowl?? meaning, I presumed, a place open to public view and subject to critique. ?LOL!? he added.
I responded, asking if he would be interested in speaking with me about his belief in QAnon. Much about the philosophy remains mysterious, even contradictory. But the central idea, which has no basis in observable reality, is that ?Q? is the government insider, or cadre of insiders, leaving clues on digital message boards about a countercoup underway to vanquish deep-state saboteurs and their ring of elite allies, including Hillary Clinton and George Soros. (You can read more about the origins and meaning of QAnon here and here.)
[Alienation] [Media] [Propaganda] [QAnon]
31 July 2018
Dark money is undermining our democracies, and it?s never darker than when channelled through lobby groups masquerading as think tanks.
(We could readily substitute the Institute of Economic Affairs in the UK for the sham ?think tank? in Australia the Institute for Public Affairs?John Menadue)
A mere two millennia after Roman politicians paid mobs to riot on their behalf, we are beginning to understand the role of dark money in politics, and its perennial threat to democracy. Dark money is cash whose source is not made public, that is spent to change political outcomes.
[Think tanks] [Plutocracy] [Corporate power]
The Guardian on Nicaragua ? An Open Letter
Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance
The Guardian has been one of the most inaccurate outlets for reporting what is occurring in Nicaragua. What is happening is a US regime change operation, working with oligarchs and big business interests in Nicaragua and supported by the Catholic Church, a long-time ally of Nicaraguan oligarchs. The US operates by spending tens of millions annually over many years to create an NGO complex that dominates Nicaraguan human rights groups, environmental, women?s groups and others. They have also given aide to a small minority of right-wing youth with tens of thousands of dollars and training.
Some of these youth also made a trip to Washington, DC sponsored by Freedom House, long noted for its ties to the CIA, where they met with extremist, Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Just yesterday, Rubio threatened war in Nicaragua claiming it was in the national security interests of the United States because the conflict would result in mass migration and drug trafficking into the US. He seems willing to make anything up to achieve regime change.
Here are three articles with lots of links that provide information on what is really occurring in Nicaragua. They analyze the political context, the alliances working with the US on regime change and the economic realities in Nicaragua:
[Nicaragua] [Imperialism] [Media]
Virginia State Senator in Rare Support by Politician for Assange
July 31, 2018
Julian Assange?s lawyers fear his extradition to the U.S. where they believe a sealed indictment in Virginia is awaiting him. In a rare move by a U.S. politician, a state senator in Virginia has come out in support of Assange.
By State Senator Richard Black
As a military officer, I was trained to strictly observe security protocols. So when I first heard of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, I was instinctively critical. But upon reading his released documents, I saw how Julian gave people accurate insights into the inner workings of their own government.
Government ?of the People? cannot flourish beneath a suffocating cloak of secrecy. And secrecy is often aimed, not at protecting us from enemies abroad, but at deceiving us about the dark machinations of our own government. The most consequential secrets are those used to conceal steps taken to establish predicates for future wars?unwarranted conflicts that seem to roll off an endless assembly line. No-fly zones, bombings, sanctions, false flags, blockades, mercenaries, bloodthirsty terrorists have all become stock in trade. Sanctions destabilize our targets through hunger and suffering. We terrorize and blow body parts into the streets like calling cards. Regime change is the end game; coups and assassinations are fair play.
Before Assange, those who ?broke the code? and detected the Deep State?s patterns of misbehavior were labeled ?conspiracy theorists? or worse. But with the advent of WikiLeaks, original, unchallenged source documents have proven our arguments, and revealed the truth to citizens...
Republican Senator Richard H. Black represents the 13th district of Virginia, encompassing parts of both Loudoun and Prince Williams Counties in northern Virginia.
[Assange] [WikiLeaks] [Deep State]
Huawei Gains on Samsung in World Smartphone Market
By Kang Dong-cheol
August 02, 2018 12:58
China's Huawei has overtaken Apple to become the world's No. 2 smartphone maker after Samsung and is gaining fast on its Korean rival, which is now just 4.9 percentage points ahead.
Market researcher Strategy Analytics on Tuesday said Huawei accounted for 15.5 percent of global smartphone sales in the second quarter, after Samsung's 20.4 percent but ahead of Apple's 11.8 percent.
Among the world's top five smartphone makers, Samsung was the only one to suffer a sharp drop in sales. Apple fell to third place but sold 300,000 more phones than the same period last year, while Xiaomi and OPPO came fourth and fifth with 9.1 and 8.6 percent.
[Smartphone] [China competition]
North Korea launches new IPTV service 'Nuri'
Posted : 2018-07-31 10:41
Updated : 2018-07-31 15:31
Scientists at Kim Il Sung University look at a TV screen. From DPRK Today
By Jung Da-min
A new IPTV service network named Nuri has been launched by scientists recently at Kim Il Sung University, North Korea's party mouthpiece Rodong Sinmun reported Monday.
According to the newspaper, the new service reaches to areas where television signals are weak, making it difficult to watch wireless TV.
Organizations that seek to use high-quality multimedia service through computer networks as well as those that seek to establish new wired TV networks or surveillance systems can also use the new IPTV service, it added.
Compared with conventional cable TV networks in the past, installation costs for the new service are very low, the report said.
Users can easily use its cable TV service, surveillance system, lecture system, video conference system and multimedia on-demand service.
The IPTV set is consisted of transmitter, receiver and multimedia programs.
Nuri ensures high picture and sound quality without any signal attenuation or noise regardless of distance, the report said.
It also offers thorough security through subscriber authentication and encryption of multimedia data.
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The Gray Lady Thinks Twice About Assange?s Prosecution
July 25, 2018
Though The New York Times itself has not reported it, it?s No. 2 lawyer told a group of judges that the prosecution of Julian Assange could have dire consequences for the Times itself, explains Ray McGovern.
By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News
Well, lordy be. A lawyer for The New York Times has figured out that prosecuting WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange might gore the ox of The Gray Lady herself.
The Times?s deputy general counsel, David McCraw, told a group of judges on the West Coast on Tuesday that such prosecution would be a gut punch to free speech, according to Maria Dinzeo, writing for the Courthouse News Service.
Curiously, as of this writing, McCraw?s words have found no mention in the Times itself. In recent years, the newspaper has shown a marked proclivity to avoid printing anything that might risk its front row seat at the government trough.
Stating the obvious, McCraw noted that the ?prosecution of him [Assange] would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers ? he?s sort of in a classic publisher?s position and I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.?
That?s because, for one thing, the Times itself published many stories based on classified information revealed by WikiLeaks and other sources. The paper decisively turned against Assange once WikiLeaks published the DNC and Podesta emails.
[Assange] [WikiLeaks] [Free speech] [NYT]
America?s Reporter: the Hersh Method
by Vijay Prashad
July 23, 2018
Photo by Institute for Policy Studies | CC BY 2.0
If Seymour Hersh had only broken the story of the massacre of unarmed civilians at My Lai in Vietnam by the United States Army in 1968, it would have been enough to make a career. But that was only one story in a range of stories that this feisty and independent journalist has broken over the course of his long career. He was the one who pointed his finger at a host of stories, including the U.S. programmes for chemical and biological weapons, the Israeli nuclear bomb and the shenanigans of the Nixon White House regarding Vietnam and Watergate. Recently, it was Hersh who wrote important stories on the death of Osama bin Laden and on allegations of the use of chemical weapons in the war in Syria. Each of his stories is received as a bombshell, largely because the story is likely to be a bombshell.
Over his long career, Hersh has worked for major U.S. publications such as The New York Times and for smaller outlets such as the Dispatch News Service. He did not care where he wrote as long as he could report with freedom and write with his usual bluntness. It was not prestige that Hersh was after, but the story. This is clear across his fascinating autobiography?Reporter: A Memoir (2018). Winning the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the U.S. atrocities in My Lai did not stir him. It simply meant that he had done the right thing. It did not inflate his personality or make him eager for more establishment accolades. He won the Pulitzer Prize because he deserved it. If he wrote another story that deserved a prize, well, then he would get it. There was no need to write for the prize. To learn to write for the prize puts the reporter in the camp of the establishment. Hersh would have none of that.
?Democratic Institutions?? ? 10 Lessons from history that will destroy your trust in the CIA
Did everyone urging us to trust the CIA forget this happened? Or do they just want us to?
In the hysterical wake of the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki, President Donald Trump was roundly criticised in the media for taking the side of a ?hostile state? over his own intelligence agencies. The Guardian referred to Mueller as a ?heroic marine? who Trump disbelieved in favour of a ?Russian dictator?.
In the past, when Trump has criticised the FBI, CIA or NSA he has been accused of ?undermining faith in our institutions?. He?s been blamed for a collapse of trust in the government. But was this trust ever earned?
At every corner, we are urged to simply believe what we are told. Whether it is about believing Porton Down and MI6 about ?novichok?, or believing the White Helmets about Sarin, or believing the FBI about ?collusion?, we are present with no facts, just assertions from authority. Those who question those assertions are deemed ?bots? at best or ?traitors? at worst.
Well here, fellow traitors, are the Top Ten reasons to question anything and everything the CIA ? or any intelligence agency ? has ever told you.
Inside WikiLeaks: Working with the Publisher that Changed the World
July 19, 2018
Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi has worked with WikiLeaks for nine years on the Podesta emails and other revelations. Here?s an insider?s view of the publisher that has incensed rulers around the world, desperate to hide their corruption.
By Stefania Maurizi
Special to Consortium News
Silenced and cut off from the outside world, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the last six years with no access to sunlight, fresh air, or proper medical treatment. Furthermore, last March President Lenin Moreno?s Ecuadorian government cut his access to the internet, phone calls and even visitors and journalists. For a man who has already been confined to the embassy for so long, these restrictions are particularly harsh.
I began working as one of WikiLeaks? media partners in 2009, before Assange and WikiLeaks published such bombshells as the ?Collateral Murder? video. Over the last nine years, I have partnered with WikiLeaks on behalf of my newspaper, the Italian daily La Repubblica to work on the Podesta emails and many of its other secret files, except for those that WikiLeaks released without media partners: the DNC emails, the Saudi Cables, Turkey?s ruling party emails, the Hacking Team documents, the Collateral Murder video and the Brennan emails.
Like its work or not, WikiLeaks is an independent media organization that doesn?t have to rely on traditional media to publish its scoops. Indeed it was founded to bypass the legal qualms traditional media may have about publishing classified information.
With its 5.5 million followers on Twitter, WikiLeaks has a huge social media presence that gives its work immediate impact. But WikiLeaks has published most of its revelations in collaboration with a number of media partners.
For instance, I was a partner in the publication of the emails of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton?s 2016 campaign manager, which were published by WikiLeaks shortly after the infamous Access Hollywood video revealed candidate Donald Trump making rude remarks about women.
Modern slavery most prevalent in North Korea
Posted : 2018-07-20 09:19
Updated : 2018-07-20 09:19
North Korea and Eritrea have the world's highest rates of modern slavery, said a global survey on Thursday that highlighted how conflict and government repression are the main drivers of a crime estimated to affect more than 40 million people worldwide.
The Central African nation of Burundi also has a high prevalence of slavery, according to the 2018 Global Slavery Index published by the human rights group Walk Free Foundation.
"Each of these three countries has state-sponsored forced labor, where their government puts its own people to work for its own benefit," said Fiona David, research chair of Minderoo Foundation, which led the data collection.
[Labour] [Slavery] [Propaganda] [Foundation]
What is the Real Agenda Behind the Great ?Twitter Purge??
On July 12th, Twitter launched their announced ?purge?. Stripping roughly six percent of all the followers on the platform. Barack Obama lost millions, so did Katy Perry.
The stated aim of the exercise was to increase ?accuracy? of follower counts, thereby making them more ?meaningful?. This was announced in Twitter?s official explanation on July 11th, the day before the ?purge?:
Twitter?s official tweets, explaining the alleged reason for the purge.
Twitter has claimed the power to simply force people to stop following certain accounts ? they claim to only target ?locked? accounts (this isn?t actually true, as we?ll see later), but even if it were?the grounds for ?locking? an account are purely subjective.
?Unusual activity? is the cited as the reason accounts are locked, and ?unusual activity? can mean whatever they want it to mean.
Whether or not YOU are considered a real person is now entirely up to people who have never met you, judging whether or not your behaviour is ?unusual?.
We know, from previous experience, how well this works, considering provably real people such as Ian56 and PartisanGirl were listed as ?bots? simply because of the opinions they held. This wasn?t an accident, of course, but even if it were it completely undermines the idea Twitter has any idea who is real and who is not, and totally shuts down the argument they should be allowed to judge whose behaviour is ?usual? or otherwise.
Essentially, twitter have granted themselves the power to forcibly prevent people seeing certain news, facts or opinions on their platform. This is the antithesis of free speech.
Twitter claimed these measures were put in place to shut down ?bots?, reduce ?paid followers? and take out ?fake accounts?, but does this explanation hold water? Not really.
We at OffGuardian lost 1580 twitter followers during the great purge ? over 15% of our total, and certainly more than the ?four or fewer? or ?roughly 6%? suggested by Twitter?s pre-emptive explanation.
They weren?t paid followers, they weren?t fake accounts and obviously 1/6th of our followers aren?t bots. But that?s not the important point ? the important point is that they are all still there and all still following other people.
Ray McGovern: Strzok Hoisted on His Own Petard
July 13, 2018
COMMENTARY: FBI agent Peter Strzok may be soon ?thrown under the bus? in the ongoing investigation into Clinton?s emails and his alleged role in the Russia-gate investigation, comments Ray McGovern.
By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News
If FBI agent Peter Strzok were not so glib, it would have been easier to feel some sympathy for him during his tough grilling at the House oversight hearing on Thursday, even though his wounds are self-inflicted. The wounds, of course, ooze from the content of his own text message exchange with his lover and alleged co-conspirator, Lisa Page.
Strzok was a top FBI counterintelligence official and Page an attorney working for then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The Attorney General fired McCabe in March and DOJ has criminally referred McCabe to federal prosecutors for lying to Justice Department investigators.
On Thursday members of the House Judiciary and Oversight/Government Reform Committees questioned Strzok for eight hours on how he led the investigations of Hillary Clinton?s unauthorized emails and Donald Trump?s campaign?s ties with Russia, if any.
Strzok did his best to be sincerely slick. Even so, he seemed to feel beleaguered ? even ambushed ? by the questions of Republicans using his own words against him. ?Disingenuous? is the word a Republican Congresswoman used to describe his performance. Nonetheless, he won consistent plaudits from the Democrats. He showed zero regret for the predicament he put himself into, except for regret at his royal screw-up in thinking he and Lisa could ?talk about Hillary? (see below) on their FBI cellphones and no one would ever know. One wag has suggested that Strzok may have been surreptitiously texting, when he should have been listening to the briefing on ?Cellphone Security 101.?
In any case, the chickens have now come home to roost. Most of those chickens, and Strzok?s predicament in general, are demonstrably the result of his own incompetence. Indeed, Strzok seems the very embodiment of the ?Peter Principle.? FBI agents down the line ? that is, the non-peter-principle people ? are painfully aware of this, and resent the discredit that Strzok and his bosses have brought on the Bureau. Many are reportedly lining up to testify against what has been going on at the top.
It is always necessary at this point to note that the heads of the FBI, CIA, NSA and even the Department of Justice were operating, as former FBI Director James Comey later put it, in an environment ?where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump.? Most of them expected to be able to stay in their key positions and were confident they would receive plaudits ? not indictments ? for the liberties that they, the most senior U.S. law enforcement officials, took with the law. In other words, once the reality that Mrs. Clinton was seen by virtually everyone to be a shoo-in is taken into account, the mind boggles a lot less.
[Hillary Clinton] [Emails] [FBI]
FBI Chief Mueller Drops Indictments against Russia Intel Ops. as Deep State Panics Over Trump-Putin Summit
By Helen Buyniski
Global Research, July 15, 2018
Note to readers: please click the share buttons above
On the eve of Trump?s historic meeting with Vladimir Putin ? with Russia-US relations at their worst since the fall of the USSR ? Grand Inquisitor Robert Mueller handed down 12 indictments of Russian military intelligence operatives accused of participating in the 2016 hacks of the DNC, DCC and Clinton presidential campaign. This is it, we?re supposed to think. The proof we?ve all been waiting for ? that Russia hacked the election. It?s not quite the holy grail of Collusion, but it?s red meat to the starving faithful. It is now the skeptics? turn to wipe the egg off our faces.
US courts will indict a ham sandwich, goes the proverb. Mueller indicted 13 Russians linked to the ?troll farm? Internet Research Agency in February, hoping that they wouldn?t bother to appear in court, not being bound by US law or having anything to gain by participating in his show trial. But a few sent their lawyers and demanded discovery, which would have forced Mueller to reveal the evidence he had against them. Finding his own indictments riddled with errors ? one of the companies named didn?t even exist at the time of the election ? Mueller quietly backpedaled. Score one for the Russians.
But this time he has evidence, right? Surely he wouldn?t make that mistake again. And this time it?s Russian military operatives, not some two-bit troll-farmers! The indictment accuses them of spear-phishing Democratic staffers and using those login credentials to access the party?s servers, stealing the famous documents and leaking them to the public through Wikileaks and DCLeaks (though they seem unsure whether DCLeaks is a person or a website). Isn?t this what we?ve all been waiting for?
Perhaps it would be, if the FBI had actually encountered the servers firsthand
[FBI] [Mueller] [US_election16] [DNC] [Crowd Strike] [Russiagate]
Holland spearheads European 'blockchain revolution'
Posted : 2018-07-08 13:16
Updated : 2018-07-09 14:27
This is the first in a three-part series on European countries seeking socio-economic innovation with blockchain technology. ? ED.
By Park Si-soo
AMSTERDAM/HAGUE ? The Netherlands is flexing its bureaucratic muscles to renovate a range of public services with blockchain, a decentralized digital ledger technology, which also constitutes an underlying algorithm of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Major government agencies here, including the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Ministry of Justice and Security, have launched dozens of pilot projects with private enterprises and universities to test how much blockchain can build trust and transparency of public services without traditional centralized data collectors and managers.
Building a manipulation-proof digital identity is one of the core projects. Other ongoing projects include establishing a blockchain network ensuring trusted transaction of subsidies, real estate registry and trans-border transport of toxic waste, to name a few.
Lying by Omission: Mainstream Media?s Distortion of the OPCW Report on Douma
Within hours of the release of the Organisation of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons report from their fact-finding mission (FFM), when they investigated the Syrian Arab Army?s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians in the Douma stronghold, mainstream media already hopped on their sensationalist train of deception.
The Passing of Domenico Losurdo
1 July, 2018
On 28 June, 2018, Domenico Losurdo passed away after a brief period of brain cancer. He was only 76 and his death is a shock to many who have come to appreciate his work and his person. An official announcement from the secretary of the Communist Party of Italy (PCI) can be found here (see also here). Indeed, Losurdo enthusiastically joined the re-established the PCI, after it had been dissolved back in 1991.
Many are the dimensions of his contribution to a Marxist philosophy and history, with the best outline of his core positions provided in an article by Stefano Azzar? (he has also published a book building upon Losurdo?s work). I do not wish to cover all of these issues here, but rather focus on the significant contribution Losurdo had made to my thoughts. I do this not in terms of a self-serving enterprise, but as a recognition of the insights of which he was capable.
The first book of his I read was Stalin: The History and Critique of a Black Legend. Initially published in Italian in 2008, it has been translated into German, Spanish and French (not English ? I will return to this anomaly). I read the French translation and it was a stunning experience. Here was the account of how Stalin?s reception moved from widespread appreciation of the practical and theoretical contribution he had made to the construction of socialism, to one of systematic demonization. Given the framework in which many perceive Stalin today, the book may initially seem like a one-sided effort in praise of Stalin. It is far from such a work, for it is no air-brushed account. Instead, it makes a careful and balanced assessment of not merely mistakes made on the way but more the significant achievements ? which are so often just forgotten or dismissed.
But let me come back to the lack of an English translation of the Stalin book. Some works have indeed been translated, on Hegel, Heidegger, liberalism, class struggle, non-violence and war and revolution. They have been well-received, with their careful research and withering criticisms. But when a petition was launched to request one or two of the major left-wing publishers to produce an English version, it was met with the comment that it would ?tarnish? Losurdo?s reputation. So a sanitised version of Losurdo is fine, suitable for a curiously imperialist version of ?Western? Marxism, but one that actually represents his work is not. Indeed, by the time of his death he had published scores of books in Italian, of which only a handful have made their way into English. The time will come when most of his material is indeed available to a wider audience in what has become ? for a time and for specific historical reasons ? the lingua franca. Then perhaps his full impact will be felt, shaking up many ?orthodoxies?.
However, the major insights for me have come from his observations on China. I do not mean the tendency in some quarters to focus on Mao Zedong as the last true Chinese communist (you can find this still today among some ?Maoists? or maopai as the Chinese call them, with a distinctly negative tone). No, I mean his deep appreciation and understanding of Deng Xiaoping and the ?reform and opening up? ? now celebrating forty years.
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Times Headline: Fears Over Prospect of Peace
OffGuardian was founded on the idea that he media should be held to account, corrected, fact-checked and interpreted. A lot of the time that?s job that needs to be done.
But sometimes it?s not. Sometimes you just let them talk and their own words condemn them.
This is one of those times.
The Times is scare-mongering about peace.
Nothing more need be said.
[Russia confrontation] [Media] [Peace]
Cybersecurity: The China Problem
By Robert Potter
Robert Potter (email@example.com) is a Pacific Forum young leader, cyber security fellow at the Centre for Rule-Making Strategies in Tokyo, the general manager of WYWM Cyber, and a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland.
As China rolls out its 2016 cyber security law, its drive to develop national cyberspace sovereignty continues. China?s law outlines a rules-based view of privacy and emphasizes critical infrastructure and domestic collection of citizen data. With the second largest economy in the world and the largest number of internet users, China has a tough task attempting to establish a national framework for cyber security while fostering an innovative technology sector. China is now a rule maker in cyberspace and home to a number of very large and highly capable technology companies. However, China?s lofty goals in cyberspace and innovation are undercut by its behavior in other countries.
The difference in views between the United States and China on cyber security are both broad and deep, often diverging at the ideological level. For the US and other like-minded countries, the internet should be an open, secure platform. China seeks to control narratives that relate to itself. While the US and China have signed agreements on cyber security, their normative preferences diverge sharply. Beijing continues to define cyber security through a lens of national sovereignty and in a manner that is at odds with the notion of an open and accessible internet.
[China confrontation] [Cybersecurity]
How US evangelical organizations deploy ?human rights? and ?development?
Kevin Crow 26 June 2018
Armed with the surety of belief in the ?responsibility to act? and international legal tools ? US- or UN-funded Christian civil society organizations have used international law to further their goals internationally.
The openMovements series invites leading social scientists to share their research results and perspectives on contemporary social struggles.
lead Charles Habib Malik, a key evangelising figure in the intellectual debate that defined the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).When President Truman introduced Point Four ?development? in his 1949 Inaugural Speech, he spawned an American globalist mission with moral and economic dimensions. Point Four believed in an American exceptionalism that linked the idea of ?development? to the salvationist ideals codified in the budding Universal Declaration of Human Rights, though it would be a decade or two before either ?human rights? or ?development? really gained steam as a globalist mission.
Whatever the motive behind his speech, Truman and the US government?s declared belief in the ?good? of this mission and belief that international law should be used to accomplish it ? although appealing as a ?self-evident good? ? had little theoretical or empirical justification. It was simply something that Truman presented as the right thing to do, and as early as 1955, African and South Asian countries were on board with the ?development? part of that equation, as indicated by the documents that emerged from the Bandung Conference.
President Sukarno Opening Speech at the Bandung Conference, 1955, Indonesia. YouTube.However, ?development? amongst the ?developing? carried different implications than it did amongst the ?developed?. For example, in accepting some of the budding globalist doctrines of the west, the Bandung Communiqu? repeatedly emphasized this significant caveat: while Bandung?s participants accepted capitalism and globalization as tools through which so-called ?developing? countries could better their economic situation relative to western states, western states were not to dictate the terms of how that ?development? occurred. Such an approach, to Bandung?s participants, would reek too strongly of colonialism, whose grips even in 1955 had not completely receded from either the African or Asian continents.
[Human rights industry] [Softpower] [UNUS] [Christian fundamentalists]
A Reporter?s Reporter: a Conversation With Seymour Hersh
by Daniel Falcone
June 25, 2018
Seymour Hersh on Democracy Now!
Seymour Hersh states that the ?deadliest words? in US media today are, ?I think.? With media cycles constantly fluctuating and changing format and delivery based on website clicks it?s hard to keep up and find good reporting. For example, Hersh points to a lack of coverage or deep analysis regarding the war in Yemen and Trump?s removal of Sudan from the travel ban list, as crucial stories in need of further investigating.
Hersh also refers to America?s ?continuing special force operations and the never ending political divides? across several continents that don?t get enough play because of our current state of news coverage. Aside from ?today?s newspapers that cannot afford to keep correspondents in the field,? for Hersh, the news of today seems ?unstructured and chaotic,? and is pieced together much like the country as ?partisan and strident.?
The Parallel Universe of BBC Panorama
Updated 23/6/18, to correct the air date of Saving Syria?s Children
The BBC flag-ship documentary series ?Panorama? has long been a stalwart of state-funded television propaganda. They can always be relied upon to tell us what we?re supposed to think. In August 2013, on the very day of the Commons vote on military intervention in Syria, BBC News at 10 aired some dishonest footage from ?Panorama: Saving Syria?s Children?. The full docoumentary, a shambolic piece fiction designed to outrage the public into supporting war, was aired just a month later.
Robert Stuart has done truly exceptional work in deconstructing the fakery and propaganda on which the BBC sees fit to spend taxpayer?s money.
In just the last year they?ve had two documentaries about North Korea being evil (?North Korea?s Secret Slave Camps? and ?North Korea?s Nuclear Trump Card?).
And it?s not just foreign ?enemies? that end up in Panorama?s crosshairs either ? it?s also domestic ones.
In 2015, just a few days before Jeremy Corbyn?s first Labour leadership victory, the BBC aired ?Panorama: Jeremy Corbyn ? Labour?s Earthquake?, a documentary which prompted Corbyn?s team to file an official complaint, labelling it a ?hatchet job?.
Then in 2016, on the eve of Corbyns second (larger) Labour leadership victory, the BBC aired ?Panorama: Labour ? Is the Party over??, a documentary full of doom and gloom, featuring anecdotes about abuse, and various (predictable) Blairite MPs bemoaning the ?unelectability? of their leader.
In the 2017 General Election, Jeremy Corbyn?s resurgent Labour defied the polls, the pundits and the BBC to knock-off the Tory majority and come within 2% of winning. Could the BBC?s, and Panorama?s, relentlessly negative slanted coverage be responsible for keeping Corbyn out of No.10? It would be foolish to deny the possibility.
And there, neatly demonstrated in those three paragraphs, you see the value and purpose of state-sponsored propaganda. Panorama is the spirit of the BBC, a pretense of faux objectivity, shrouded in cuddly familiarity, employed exclusively and decisively against anything the establishment sees as a threat.
All Facts Are Not Equal: Inside Claud Cockburn?s MI5 File
by Patrick Cockburn
My late friend Christopher Hitchens once told me that his American friends often expressed surprise at the number of articles and books he was able to produce. He said that there was a simple reason for his high productivity, which was: ?I never watch television.?
He was definitely telling the truth about this, since the only television in his apartment in Washington was in the spare bedroom where I was staying and it did not work.
Christopher was right to believe that time spent watching television was time largely wasted, or could be spent more usefully in some other activity. Television supplies less information, and at a slower speed, than newspapers, books or radio.
The internet is more efficient, speedy and weakens state and elite monopolies over news and knowledge. Misused it may be to spread misinformation and propaganda, but the internet remains the most democratic instrument of communication to emerge since the invention of printing.
The strength of the internet is that it supplies infinite quantities of information. But this is also its weakness, because this great torrent of data makes it difficult to distinguish facts that are significant from those that are trivial or meaningless. Emails, for instance, make it easy to communicate information in any quantity, but are less good at promoting discussion and explanation.
[Surveillance] [MI5] [Data mining]
The Eerie Silence Surrounding the Assange Case
June 9, 2018
Julian Assange remains cut off from the world in Ecuador?s London embassy, shut off from friends, relatives and thousands of supporters, leaving him unable to do his crucial work, as John Pilger discusses with Dennis J. Bernstein.
By Dennis J Bernstein
In a recent communication between Randy Credico, an Assange supporter, comic and radio producer, and Adam Schiff, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, Assange?s fear of arrest and extradition to the US was confirmed by the leader of the Russia-gate frenzy.
Credico received the following response from Schiff after meeting the the Congressman?s staff, in which Credico was trying to connect Assange with Schiff: ?Our committee would be willing to interview Assange when he is in U.S. Custody and not before.?
Dennis Bernstein spoke with John Pilger, a close friend and supporter of Assange on May 29. The interview began with the statement Bernstein delivered for Pilger at the Left Forum last weekend in New York on a panel devoted to Assange entitled, ?Russia-gate and WikiLeaks?.
?There is a silence among many who call themselves left. The silence is Julian Assange. As every false accusation has fallen away, every bogus smear shown to be the work of political enemies, Julian stands vindicated as one who has exposed a system that threatens humanity. The Collateral Damage video, the war logs of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Cablegate revelations, the Venezuela revelations, the Podesta email revelations ? these are just a few of the storms of raw truth that have blown through the capitals of rapacious power. The fakery of Russia-gate, the collusion of a corrupt media and the shame of a legal system that pursues truth-tellers have not been able to hold back the raw truth of WikiLeaks revelations. They have not won, not yet, and they have not destroyed the man. Only the silence of good people will allow them to win. Julian Assange has never been more isolated. He needs your support and your voice. Now more than ever is the time to demand justice and free speech for Julian. Thank you.?
Dennis Bernstein: We continue our discussion of the case of Julian Assange, now in the Ecuadorian embassy in Great Britain. John Pilger, it is great to talk to you again. But it is a profound tragedy, John, the way they are treating Julian Assange, this prolific journalist and publisher who so many other journalists have depended on in the past. He has been totally left out in the cold to fend for himself.
John Pilger: I have never known anything like it. There is a kind of eerie silence around the Julian Assange case. Julian has been vindicated in every possible way and yet he is isolated as few people are these days. He is cut off from the very tools of his trade, visitors aren?t allowed. I was in London recently and I couldn?t see him, although I spoke to people who had seen him. Rafael Correa, the former president of Ecuador, said recently that he regarded what they are doing to Julian now as torture. It was Correa?s government that gave Julian political refuge, which has been betrayed now by his successor, the government led by Lenin Moreno, which is back to sucking up to the United States in the time-honored way, with Julian as the pawn and victim.
[Assange] [WikiLeaks] [Whistleblower]
Hands off my data! 15 default privacy settings you should change right now
Say no to defaults. A clickable guide to fixing the complicated privacy settings from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple.
by Geoffrey A. Fowler June 1 at 12:59 PM Email the author
Don't use default privacy settings on sites and devices
The Post's Geoffrey A. Fowler explains all the things companies can get if you use their default privacy settings. How to change them: wapo.st/SayNoToDefaults (Jhaan Elker, David Jorgenson, Geoffrey Fowler/The Washington Post)
On the Internet, the devil?s in the defaults.
You?re not reading all those updated data policies flooding your inbox. You probably haven?t even looked for your privacy settings. And that?s exactly what Facebook, Google and other tech giants are counting on.
They tout we?re ?in control? of our personal data, but know most of us won?t change the settings that let them grab it like cash in a game show wind machine. Call it the Rule of Defaults: 95 percent of people are too busy, or too confused, to change a darn thing.
Give me 15 minutes, and I can help you join the 5 percent who are actually in control. I dug through the privacy settings for the five biggest consumer tech companies and picked a few of the most egregious defaults you should consider changing. These links will take you directly to what to tap, click and toggle for Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple.
Some of their defaults are just bonkers. Google has been saving a map of everywhere you go, if you turned on its Assistant when you set up an Android phone. Amazon makes your wish list public ? and keeps recordings of all your conversations with Alexa. Facebook exposes to the public your friends list and all the pages you follow, and it lets marketers use your name in their Facebook ads. By default, Microsoft?s Cortana in Windows 10 gobbles up ? pretty much your entire digital life.
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?Russia with Simon Reeve? ? BBC Propaganda vs Reality
Independent filmmaker Graham Phillips takes a close look at the BBC program ?Russia with Simon Reeve?, revealing the degree of bias ? and worse ? beneath its benignly smiling exterior.
[Russia confrontation] [BBC] [Propaganda]
North Korea traced defectors with malware-infected Android apps: McAfee
Posted : 2018-05-21 15:48
Updated : 2018-05-21 15:48
By Park Si-soo
North Korean hackers traced defectors with three malware-infected Android apps, U.S. cyber security company McAfee claims.
The apps were uploaded to the Google Play Store between January and March. The first app was Food Ingredients Info, which offered information on food, true to its name. The second and third apps were FastAppLock and Fast AppLock Free, which functioned as security tools.
The apps were also promoted on Facebook, coaxing "targets" to install seemingly innocent apps from the Google Play Store.
The apps have since been removed from the store. About 100 people downloaded them before the malware was detected.
McAfee said that once installed, the apps used Dropbox and Yandex to upload data and issue commands. Their developers ? presumed to be North Korean hackers collectively named Sun Team ? were able to steal users' personal data, with which they could trace and blackmail them.
The hacking team is said to be behind the WannaCry ransomware last year.
[Canard] [Malware] [Bizarre]
Microsoft makes inroads with U.S. spy agencies as tech giants face off over cloud contract
by Aaron Gregg May 20 at 12:08 PM Email the author
Microsoft has secured a potentially lucrative agreement that makes the full suite of the tech giant?s cloud-computing platform available to 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, executives said recently, moving agencies? computer systems onto Office 365 applications and adding certain cloud-based applications not previously available to them.
The agreement could strengthen Microsoft?s prospects for winning government business at a time when it is locked in competition with some of the world?s biggest tech companies for a Pentagon cloud-computing contract that is expected to be worth billions.
For years, Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon.com that provides cloud computing for businesses and government agencies, has been the primary provider of cloud services to U.S. intelligence agencies, thanks to a $600 million contract with the CIA. (Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos also owns The Washington Post.)
That remains the case after the recent agreement. Still, executives from Microsoft framed the contract agreement as an ?awakening.?
?This is a huge win from a Microsoft perspective,? said Dana Barnes, vice president of the company?s joint and defense agencies business unit. ?It?s kind of an awakening as far as the intelligence community is concerned that you can?t be a one-cloud community.?
The update came as part of a routine contract renewal between the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and computer provider Dell, which subcontracts government work to Microsoft. Microsoft has for years provided basic computer programs to the intelligence community under contract with Dell, some of which make use of cloud-based technology. But U.S. intelligence officials have not previously had access to the full suite of Microsoft Azure Government cloud services.
A release published by the company said the cloud stores government data itself in eight geographically distributed data center regions that include no commercial data. Barnes also said the platform has been designed to support different levels of classified data, echoing a cloud storage service released by Amazon last year that is meant to serve a similar purpose.
I was chief of disguise at CIA. ?The Americans? got a lot right.
The show, nearing its finale, counts Gina Haspel among its fans
by Jonna Hiestand Mendez May 16
Jonna Hiestand Mendez worked in the CIA's Office of Technical Service for 27 years, retiring as chief of disguise. She is a founding board member of the International Spy Museum, and with her husband, Antonio J. Mendez, is author of the forthcoming book "Moscow Rules."
Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell as spies in disguise in ?The Americans.? (Eric Liebowitz/FX)
After 27 years in the CIA working on operational assignments around the world, I am somewhat numbed to the fictional espionage that engulfs us ? the books and movies and TV shows that always get it wrong. That?s why I have largely shunned the genre, barely noting the reviews of the latest creations that celebrate the life of an intelligence officer. ?Homeland?? No. The Bourne movies? No. ?Alias?? God, no! It?s the main reason I work as an adviser and speaker at the Spy Museum in Washington: to present an informed but still entertaining picture of the work of a spy.
But then came ?The Americans,? the FX TV series set to finish its sixth and final season to near-unanimous critical acclaim. It proved to be the outlier in my perception ? and I wasn?t surprised when The Washington Post reported that Gina Haspel, the career CIA officer nominated to direct the agency, is a fan of the show. I was late to ?The Americans? and had some catching up to do initially. But from the first spectacular episode, I was hooked, because the setup resonated. The show centered on a modern American family of spies with children and a suburban lifestyle. That had once been my life. But wait. These spies were not American at all. They were faux Americans ? Russians, in fact ? something I also knew a little about. There had once been Soviet sleeper agents posing as Americans.
[Russia Confrontation] [CIA] [Espionage] [Hollywood] [Diaspora]
The Wrong Story
Palestine, Israel, and the Media
?In the face of all of the trash that continues to pass for news and analysis of the Palestine-Israel conflict, Shupak deserves immense praise for working to set the record straight.?
?Middle East Eye
The Wrong Story lays bare the flaws in the way large media organizations present the Palestine?Israel issue. It points out major fallacies in the fundamental conceptions that underpin their coverage, namely that Palestinians and Israelis are both victims to comparable extents and are equally responsible for the failure to find a solution; that the problem is ?extremists,? often religiously-motivated ones, who need to be sidelined in favour of ?moderates?; and that Israel?s uses of force are typically justifiable acts of self-defense.
Weaving together the existing literature with new insights, Shupak offers an up-to-date and tightly focused guide that exposes the distorted way these issues are presented and why each is misguided.
[Israel] [Palestine] [Media] [False balance] [Victim] [Propaganda]
Wikipedia disappears article on ?Philip Cross? & life-bans author
Wkipedia contributor ?Mojito Paraiso? recently tried the experiment of creating an entry for ?Philip Cross? the apparently pseudonymous editor/contributor who has been a persistent defamer/disinfo source, making rapid-fire and negative editing of the Wikipedia entries for many alt-media and ?pro-Russia? journalists and commentators.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the article was disappeared very rapidly. And in what looks a lot like overkill, Mojito_Paraiso was then banned from editing in perpetuity. Apparently defaming John Pilger, George Galloway, Media Lens etc is acceptable Wikiconduct, but drawing attention to the persona responsible is a banning offence
U.S. identifies suspect in major leak of CIA hacking tools
by Shane Harris May 15 at 2:58 PM
The U.S. government has identified a suspect in the leak last year of a large portion of the CIA?s computer hacking arsenal, the cyber-tools the agency had used to conduct espionage operations overseas, according to interviews and public documents.
But despite months of investigation, prosecutors have been unable to bring charges against the man, who is a former CIA employee being held in a Manhattan jail on unrelated charges.
Joshua Adam Schulte, who worked for a CIA group that designs computer code to spy on foreign adversaries, is believed to have provided the agency?s top-secret information to WikiLeaks, federal prosecutors acknowledged in a hearing in January. The anti-secrecy group published the code under the label ?Vault 7? in March 2017. It was one of the most significant and potentially damaging leaks in the CIA?s history, exposing secret cyberweapons and spying techniques that might be used against the United States, according to current and former intelligence officials.
Schulte?s connection to the leak investigation has not been previously reported.
[WikiLeaks] [CIA] [Hacking] [Vault7] [Whistleblower] [Cyberwar]
?Russian Talking Points? Look An Awful Lot Like Well-Documented Facts
May 2, 2018 ? 70 Comments
Taking positions critical of U.S. foreign policy long antecedes RT but to protect themselves from legitimate criticism Western elites brand you a Moscow mouthpiece, argues Caitlin Johnstone.
By Caitlin Johnstone
Things aren?t looking great for the Democratic establishment, which recently admitted that it stacks its primaries against progressive candidates and is currently engaged in a desperate, Hail Mary lawsuit against WikiLeaks for its factual publications about the party. So of course you know what that means.
That?s right! It?s time for Democratic pundits to begin down-punching Jill Stein.
?Jill Stein is on @NewDay right now repeating Russian talking points on its interference in the 2016 election and on US foreign policy,? tweeted CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto today, without shame or self-reflection.
Sciutto was referring to comments Stein made on a CNN interview Tuesday about America?s undeniable, entirely factual and well-documented history of meddling in other countries? elections, including a citation of an ex-CIA director?s recent admission that the US has interfered in foreign electoral processes and continues to do so to this day.
That?s what constitutes a ?Russian talking point? these days: raw, easily verifiable facts.
[Russia confrontation] [Censorship] [Media]
Media on Trial event banned
Media on Trial has released the following statement:
Today, on World Press Freedom Day, Leeds City Museum, a city council owned and operated venue, cancelled the Media on Trial?s booking for the event we had planned for 27 May.
The fact that the event was cancelled is perhaps bad enough. What became clear as the day has progressed, though, is that Leeds City Museum appear to have informed the press and media of the cancellation before they informed Media on Trial organisers. Indeed they waited for the Media on Trial representative to arrive at the venue for a planned meeting following a four hour train journey before giving us the news.
They seem to have taken this decision on the basis of misinformed assumptions about the content of the event, and offered no right of reply to Media on Trial.
Leeds City Museum has cancelled an event that threatened mainstream media and UK Government narratives that have enabled another regime change war to be waged against Syria, financed by British taxpayers contributions.
The cancellation of the event denies public consensus a platform to express its profound dissatisfaction with the systematic disinformation campaign run by a British media that protects power from truth, rather than holding truth to power.
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Beware of White Helmets Bearing News
April 21, 2018
The celebrated White Helmets of Oscar fame appeared to have made their own feature film in Duma on the night of the alleged chemical attack, as Ann Wright explains.
By Ann Wright Special to Consortium News
At the center of the controversy over an alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Duma on April 7 are the White Helmets, a self-described rescue operation about whom an Oscar-winning documentary was made.
Reporter and author Max Blumenthal has tracked the role of the White Helmets in the Syrian conflict. He reported that the White Helmets were created in Turkey by James Le Mesurier, a former British MI5 agent. The group has received at least $55 million from the British Foreign Office and $23 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development as well as millions from the Kingdom of Qatar, which has backed a variety of extremist groups in Syria including Al Qaeda.
[White Helmets] [Douma] [IO]
The Guardian, ?Russian bots? and the dehumanisation of dissent
Heather Stewart, The Guardian?s chief stenographer political editor, has copied and pasted a press release written a new article all about ?Russian bots?. The trouble is she doesn?t seem to know what either of these words actually means.
The article ? headlined ?Russia spread fake news via Twitter bots after Salisbury poisoning ? analysis? ? is a direct lie from the outset, as it offers absolutely no ?analysis?.
Instead she does this:
Russia used trolls and bots to unleash disinformation on to social media in the wake of the Salisbury poisoning, according to fresh Whitehall analysis. Government sources said experts had uncovered an increase of up to 4,000% in the spread of propaganda from Russia-based accounts since the attack,? many of which were identifiable as automated bots.
She simply directly quotes Whitehall via anonymous ?sources?. Does she interrogate the veracity of these claims? No. Does she offer evidence to support them? Of course not. Does she question the agenda behind them? I doubt she even remembers how.
Ctrl-C, ctrl-V. It must be true the government says so.
This is modern media in a nutshell. This new take on the meaning of ?journalism? has hurt the world in general and press in the specific. Refusal to abide by its rules has pushed important voices out of the mainstream ? the careers of many decent people of principle ? John Pilger and Seymour Hersh for example ? are forced out into alternate sources.
Kowtowing to the government line has its own cost though ? the unquestioning acceptance of government authority has a price ? and very often it?s looking incredibly foolish.
Heather seems happy to pay this price.
She cites only two examples of ?Russian bots? in her article, a revelation tainted only by the fact that neither of them are Russian and neither of them are bots.
Now, before we refute the specifics Ms Stewart?s bizarre claims, let?s take a look at the definition of a bot, from wikipedia:
An Internet Bot, also known as web robot, WWW robot or simply bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks (scripts) over the Internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone.
Simply put ? bots are automated, internet based software programs that do simple repetitive tasks faster and more efficiently than humans. It?s not a difficult concept.
Spamming ads? Bots.
Automatic likes/retweets? Bots.
Writing tweets that reflect complex political realities? NOT bots.
Heather clearly doesn?t know exactly what a ?bot? is, and perhaps even worse, can?t even be bothered to do some incredibly easy research to familiarise herself with the term. The government says so, so it must be true. Copy. Paste.
So, who are these non-bots, you ask? Well?apparently there?s millions of them, but Heather only mentions two:
One bot, @Ian56789, was sending 100 posts a day during a 12-day period from 7 April, and reached 23 million users, before the account was suspended. It focused on claims that the chemical weapons attack on Douma had been falsified, using the hashtag #falseflag. Another, @Partisangirl, reached 61 million users with 2,300 posts over the same 12-day period.
Now, anybody who follows alt-news sites on twitter ? or who pays attention to the Syria situation ? is probably more than familiar with these two names.
Ian56789 is not a bot. Anybody who follows him can see that. Is he Russian? There?s nothing to indicate that, he claims to be a Brit living in the US, and his English is perfect. Take a look at this completely randomly chosen tweet as an example:
[Guardian] [Russia confrontation] [bots]
BBC Puts Spotlight on N.Korean Slave Labor Abroad
April 18, 2018 11:41
The BBC on Monday aired a special report on North Korean laborers forced into indentured servitude in foreign countries to earn hard currency for their regime.
The "Panorama" documentary series carried a 30-minute episode on North Korean laborers in China, Poland and Russia under the title "North Korea's Secret Slave Gangs."
"You're treated like a dog here," one North Korean worker at a construction site in Vladivostok said. "You have to eat trash, you have to give up being a human being."
Laborers must hand over most of their earnings to the regime through a supervisor known as a "captain." "Some call it 'party duty.' Others call it 'revolutionary duty.' Those who can't pay it cannot stay here," the worker said.
North Korean workers at a construction site in Vladivostok in Russia in this video grab from a BBC documentary
In Poland, some 800 North Koreans work as welders or odd-job laborers at shipyards. A North Korean supervisor at a Polish shipyard in Szczecin said, "When there are deadlines, we work without breaks."
Accommodation is built right beside the construction site, so that workers do not have to commute a long distance, another supervisor said.
"If this money had been used for peaceful economic development, the economy would be in a much better place," said Thae Yong-ho, the former No. 2 man in the North Korean Embassy in London and now a vocal critic of the regime. "So where did all that money go? Well, it financed the private luxury of the Kim family, the nuclear program and the army. That's a fact."
According to a UN special report in 2016, about 100,000 North Korean slave laborers are working overseas. The UN Security Council adopted a resolution last December obligating countries to send them back to North Korea within two years.
[Overseas labour] [slave labour] [BBC] [Propaganda]
How Can We Know If a Chemical Weapons Attack Took Place in Syria?
by Patrick Cockburn
April 12, 2018
Every atrocity in the Syrian civil war provokes a furious row about whether it happened and, if so, who was responsible for carrying it out. The merciless brutality of all sides combines with partisan reporting and lack of access for independent investigators to make it possible for doubts to be generated about even the most blatant war crime. One good rule is that participants in the war are often accurate about the crimes of their opponents while they invariably lie or are silent about their own.
This rule appears to hold good in the case of the poison gas attack on the city of Douma on 7 April, which killed at least 34 people and possibly twice as many. The Russian military claim that the attack was faked by pro-opposition activists and that samples taken from the site of where the civilians died were not toxic. The Syrian government issues blanket denials when accused of using poison gas.
[cbw] [False flag] [Media] [Evidence]
Google most used search engine in North Korea: data
Posted : 2018-04-03 14:05
Updated : 2018-04-03 16:54
Google is the most used Internet search engine in North Korea, with usage of software systems designed to search for information on the World Wide Web being very much limited in the country, Radio Free Asia reported Tuesday.
Citing statistics from the Irish web analytics company StatCounter, the U.S.-funded broadcaster said the U.S. search engine topped the list of search engines used in the North from March last year to March this year with an overwhelming 92.44 percent utilization.
A Chinese search engine, Baidu, came next with 2.2 percent, followed by the United States' Bing with 1.7 percent and the Russian Yandex Ru with 1.61 percent.
The statistics are based on data provided to StatCounter by the search engine companies, the RFA said.
The report said Google has retained its position as the most used search engine in the North, but experts have pointed out that those who use Google or other search engines are very much limited. They included North Korean leader Kim Jon-un, his family and confidantes or those who are involved in inter-Korean affairs and international business. (Yonhap)
[Search engines] [Google]
14 Million Visitors to U.S. Face Social Media Screening
By Sewell Chan
March 30, 2018
Nearly all applicants for a visa to enter the United States ? an estimated 14.7 million people a year ? will be asked to submit their social media user names for the past five years, under proposed rules that the State Department issued on Friday.
Last September, the Trump administration announced that applicants for immigrant visas would be asked for social media data, a plan that would affect 710,000 people or so a year. The new proposal would vastly expand that order to cover some 14 million people each year who apply for nonimmigrant visas.
The proposal covers 20 social media platforms. Most of them are based in the United States: Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Myspace, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine and YouTube. But several are based overseas: the Chinese sites Douban, QQ, Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo and Youku; the Russian social network VK; Twoo, which was created in Belgium; and Ask.fm, a question-and-answer platform based in Latvia.
During his campaign, President Trump promised ?extreme vetting? of people seeking to enter the United States, and last March the State Department directed consular officers worldwide to step up scrutiny of visa applicants.
But the new proposal would add a tangible new requirement for millions of people who apply to visit the United States for business or pleasure, including citizens of such countries as Brazil, China, India and Mexico.
Citizens of roughly 40 countries to which the United States ordinarily grants visa-free travel will not be affected by the requirement. Those countries include major allies like Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and South Korea.
[Surveillance] [Discrimination] [Social media]
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Facebook, longtime friend of data brokers, becomes their stiffest competition
by Drew Harwell March 29 at 3:32 PM Email the author
Is privacy dead? What happens to your data and why it matters.
Facebook and other social media sites are facing scrutiny over their privacy settings. Here's how you can keep your data private and why you should care. (Elyse Samuels, John Parks/The Washington Post)
Facebook was for years a best friend to the data brokers who make hundreds of millions of dollars a year gathering and selling Americans' personal information. Now, the world's largest social network is souring that relationship ? a sign that the company believes it has overshadowed their data-gathering machine.
Facebook said late Wednesday that it would stop data brokers from helping advertisers target people with ads, severing one of the key methods marketers used to link users' Facebook data about their friends and lifestyle with their offline data about their families, finances and health.
The data brokers have for years served a silent but critical role in directing users' attention to Facebook's ads. They also, critics say, stealthily contributed to the seemingly all-knowing creepiness of users seeing ads for things they never mentioned on their Facebook pages. A marketer who wanted to target new mothers, for instance, could use the data brokers' information to send Facebook ads to all women who bought baby formula with a store rewards card.
[Facebook] [Data mining] [Advertising] [Privacy]
Tesla Looked Like the Future. Now Some Ask if It Has One.
By Neal E. Boudette
March 29, 2018
Just a year ago, Tesla looked like a rising force destined to revolutionize the auto industry.
Its battery-powered Model S sedan was the rage among luxury-car buyers. Its Autopilot system seemed far ahead of its competitors in self-driving technology. Its chief executive, Elon Musk, was promising that the more affordable Model 3 would soon roll off its assembly line and bring emission-free driving to the masses.
Wall Street was enraptured. Tesla?s market value rose to surpass that of either General Motors or Ford, car companies with a century of experience.
What a rough ride it?s been since then.
N.Korea Hacked S.Korean Weather Service Ahead of Cheonan Sinking
By Lee Yong-soo
March 23, 2018 13:38
North Korea's General Bureau of Reconnaissance repeatedly collected information from South Korea's weather agency before the North torpedoed the Navy corvette Cheonan in March 2010.
A Unification Ministry report from 2011 revealed Thursday said hackers from the bureau accessed the website of the Korea Meteorological Administration about 300 times the previous year to browse satellite photos and thermal images, apparently to assist them in planning the attack.
An official involved in compiling the report said it was drawn up based on the data provided by the National Intelligence Service. "The time period of North's constant accessing of the website was just before the attack on the Cheonan," he said. "The hackers routed IP addresses through countries in Africa and Central America to bypass security firewalls."
The bureau's hackers have been responsible for a string of cyber attacks and wiretapping of communication networks.
On this occasion, they seemed to be gathering data about the tidal currents, speeds and directions of flow around Baeknyeong Island from the KMA website the better to plan the attack.
[Cheonan] [Hacking] [Canard]
What Did Cambridge Analytica Really Do for Trump's Campaign?
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images
News that Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix approached Wikileaks founder Julian Assange last year to exploit Hillary Clinton?s private emails has amplified questions about Cambridge's role in President Trump's 2016 campaign.
Shortly after The Daily Beast reported Nix?s contact with Assange Wednesday, the Trump campaign?s executive director sought to downplay Cambridge's role. Michael Glassner said in a statement that the Republican National Committee was the campaign?s primary source of voter data. ?Any claims that voter data from any other source played a key role in the victory are false,? Michael Glassner wrote. The statement did not respond to reporting in WIRED and elsewhere revealing a close relationship between the Trump campaign and Cambridge staffers. Cambridge did not respond to WIRED's request for comment.
So, what gives? Such he-said-she-said battles are usually better left to Beltway happy hours. But as Congress and special investigator Robert Mueller turn their spotlights on Cambridge Analytica in their probes into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, it?s essential to get the facts straight about what the firm did?and didn?t?do for the Trump campaign.
Here?s what we know.
[US_election16] [Cambridge Analytica] [Data mining] [Social media]
Negotiations With North Korea May Have Cyber Consequences
By: Adam Meyers
March 13, 2018
As unprecedented talks between the US and North Korean leaders promise to unfold in the next few months, the US has said it will continue to apply pressure on the North Korean regime to ensure favorable odds at the negotiating table. While the North Koreans have reportedly agreed to a moratorium on missile and nuclear tests during inter-Korean and US-DPRK talks, they are likely to see clandestine offensive cyber operations as a potential response to continued debilitating sanctions, as well as for further intelligence gathering. Given the North?s capabilities and past targets, future offensive cyber campaigns are likely to focus on western financial, media, and government sector targets, including the defense industrial base.
[Cyberwar] [Evidence] [Hysteria]
Reality Check: The Guardian Restarts Push for Regime Change in Russia
Mark Rice-Oxley, Guardian columnist and the first in line to fight in WWIII.
The alleged poisoning of ex-MI6 agent Sergei Skripal has caused the Russophobic MSM to go into overdrive. Nowhere is the desperation with which the Skripal case has been seized more obvious than the Guardian. Luke Harding is spluttering incoherently about a weapons lab that might not even exist anymore. Simon Jenkins gamely takes up his position as the only rational person left at the Guardian, before being heckled in the comments and dismissed as a contrarian by Michael White on twitter. More and more the media are becoming a home for dangerous, aggressive, confrontational rhetoric that has no place in sensible, adult newspapers.
For example, Mark Rice-Oxley?s column in today?s Guardian:
Oh, Russia! Even before we point fingers over poison and speculate about secret agents and spy swaps and pub food in Salisbury, one thing has become clear: Russia appears lost, a global menace, a moral vacuum, a far greater threat than it ever was during the cold war.
Read this. It?s from a respected ?unbiased?, liberal news outlet. It is the worst, most partisan political language I have ever heard, more heated and emotionally charged than even the most fraught moments of the Cold War. It is dangerous to the whole planet, and has no place in our media.
[Russia confrontation] [Media]
?We hates Putin?we hates him forever??: the Guardian?s fresh ravings on Russia reflects West?s tipping point into new levels of dangerous insanity
There is ample evidence that the Guardian is now, following the re-shaping of its financing and management, reinvented as the paper of record for the UK/US intel agencies, which in turn currently harbour some of the most extreme anti-Russian pro-war ideologues in the business. As such its editorial policy gives us an insight into exactly who is currently getting most leverage in policy-making. When they go relatively soft on Russia you know the voices of sanity are making headway. When they begin ranting about Putin you know the lunatics have grabbed the steering wheel again and we?re heading back towards the cliff edge.
Currently the Guardian?s editorial style isn?t so much ranting as it is writhing on the ground screaming ?Putin?curse him?and crush him?we hates him forever??.
Since the still unexplained and increasingly odd Skripal ?poisoning? hit the headlines, there has been at least one hysterical anti-Russian piece published every day over at Graun HQ. And if we thought previous bias and inaccuracy was deplorable, the journalistic standard displayed in these recent examples has become debased and frankly terrifying.
Terrifying because it shows that zealotry and pure xenophobia are driving out every other consideration. These articles are barely coherent any more. They are clearly written by people who have lost even the ambition toward perspective. They are little more than distilled Hate. Hate for an individual, hate for a culture, hate for an entire nation, hate that doesn?t even try to pretend it has higher motives than hate itself any more.
[Russia confrontation] [Media] [Guardian]
The Skripal Case: an open thread
The reality behind the alleged poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter remains murky and apparently contradictory. Six days in to the investigation and little more is known beyond the original announcements made mere hours after the supposed discovery of the crime. Questions proliferate and answers are few.
Gaslighting about the realities of ?state-sponsored murder?
Theresa May has just semi-officially pronounced the Skripal case a Russian state-sponsored hit. No evidence was presented for this conclusion of course, but we are getting used to that now. Belief is the new evidence. And in this case we do seem to have belief in large quantities.
Russia now effectively is being called upon to prove its innocence by tomorrow (Tuesday) or face Theresa?s wrath.
We?ll see how that goes over.
Of course there?s the immensely handy fact the ?nerve agent? allegedly used is ?Russian? too. Novichok no less, a Soviet-era toxin from the 1980s, described on Wikipedia as ?the most deadly nerve toxin ever made.?
Though it wasn?t only produced in Russia, but in Uzbekistan.
And by the way the US has been ?helping? Uzbekistan clean up its chemical weapons sites since 1991.
And of course Russia had destroyed all its chemical weapon stockpiles by 2017.
But the US still hasn?t (see MoA link above).
Still, so, as far as the state machine is concerned the alleged use of Novichok about clinches it for Putin. He dunnit. Verdict pronounced, let?s hurry on to the sentencing. What will it be? More sanctions? A Skripal Act to rival Magnitsky?s? Moving UK troops closer to Russia?s borders? Driving Russian money out of London? Messing with the World Cup?
While the UK establishment shoots its wad fantasising about all these glorious possibilities, let?s take a quick reality check.
Russia has absolutely nothing to gain from initiating the poisoning of Skripal, and even less to gain from leaving a calling card made of Novichok.
This filmmaker was stabbed on a dark Istanbul street. Was he set up by a murderous dictator or did he stage it like a Hollywood thriller?
By Justin Jouvenal March 8 Email the author
Muhammad Bayazid, 34, and his wife, Samah Safi Bayazid, 28, at their home on Oct. 20, 2017, in Northern Virginia. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)
The Syrian filmmaker said he endured torture, survived a massacre and fled two countries while planning a feature film he hoped would be the ?Schindler?s List? of his homeland?s grinding war. Now, he was getting his break.
Muhammad Bayazid, 35, said he and a cinematographer pulled their car up to the rendezvous point on a dark street in Istanbul on an October night. It was here they were to meet a businessman, who said he wanted to fund ?The Tunnel.?
?Mr. Muhammad,? a man in Syrian-accented Arabic said as he stepped out of the darkness with a cellphone, Bayazid said. The director, who is well known in the Middle East and lives in Northern Virginia, after being granted asylum in the United States, reached for it.
Suddenly, a knife slashed through the open passenger?s side window and sunk into Bayazid?s shoulder, he said. As the man pulled back and readied a second blow, the cinematographer jammed on the gas and headed to a hospital.
From his bed there, Bayazid and his family described an attack they said must have been orchestrated by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad or his backers. The director?s story, though, soon came into question.
[False flag] [Syria] [Media]
'Follow Your Bliss' - The Tweet That Brought Corporate Journalism To The Brink Of A Nervous Breakthrough
07 March 2018
'I have tried trade, but I found that it would take ten years to get under way in that, and that then I should probably be on my way to the devil.'
Noam Chomsky once emailed us:
'Am really impressed with what you are doing, though it's like trying to move a ten-ton truck with a toothpick. They're not going to allow themselves to be exposed.' (Chomsky, email to Media Lens, September 14, 2005)
These were kind words from Chomsky. But in fact, 'they' - corporate journalists - often do an excellent job of exposing themselves.
Consider that, last week, one of us happened to notice this on Twitter:
'Under 27? Want to spend a year writing about politics for The Observer, @NewStatesman and @thetimes? Anthony Howard Award 2018 is now open: http://anthonyhowardaward.org.uk . It gave @LOS_Fisher @ashcowburn @patrickkmaguire @Dulcie_Lee and me our starts in Westminster. Apply!'
'Forget it. Don't write for the "mainstream". Don't write for money. Don't write for prestige. Just "follow your bliss" by writing what you absolutely love to write to inspire and enlighten other people. Write what seems interesting, important and true, and give it away for free.'
The tweet quickly picked up 15 retweets and 40 likes. At first, nobody expressed strong feelings about it. But then, a clutch of corporate journalists and writers decided to scandalise what we had sent, generating a kind of 'mainstream' feeding frenzy. Emma Kennedy, actress, author of ten books, tweeted graciously:
'This is total bollocks. If you want to be a writer know this: you have a value and you ALWAYS deserve to be paid. Go fuck yourself Media Lens.'
Mark Galeotti?s response to Putin?s plea for reason: lies & penis jokes
The Guardian produced two responses to Putin?s speech of March 1, in which he both unveiled far-reaching new Russia weapons systems and used this as a platform to (once again) plead for an end to Western warmongering. Both of them display both the intellectual/educational/ethical impoverishment of the authors (an impoverishment that is now systematic in corporate media), but also the completely delusional world they inhabit. Today we take a look at Mark Galeotti?s Putin?s new arms race is all about his need to be taken seriously.
The Guardian?s caption for this image reads: ?Putin was not so much seeking to start a new arms race abroad, as trying to keep alive an old myth at home.? Photograph: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP
Mark Galeotti, who is apparently (believe it or not) ?senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations Prague and head of its Centre for European Security? went full idiot in the Guardian yesterday with a short piece entitled Putin?s new arms race is all about his need to be taken seriously.
The mere fact the title carries with it the implication that we don?t need to take the elected president of the largest country in the world with enough nuclear weapons to eradicate all life in earth ?seriously? is enough to tell us all about the level of Mark?s contact with veridical reality. He clearly lives in that well-populated Washington/Langley logic-free dream zone where Russia is both a dangerous rogue state with enough reach to ?hack? the US election and ?attack? America, and a silly little rusty nowhere country to be mocked and patronised into oblivion.
In this piece Mark?s taking the ?Nowheresville? tack with added and cringeworthy willy jokes.
He tells us the weapons Putin talked about might sound ?terrifying? but that?s ok because they probably won?t work (you know, much like the F-35), and anyhow, the animations in the presentation were ?clunky?, and gee gosh, it?s all so frickin funny. Except (abrupt change of take in para 4) it is actually quite a ?serious? shopping list that (no discernible irony) ?go[es] against the letter or spirit of arms control treaties?. But then, just as abruptly, (para 5) it?s funny again, because?
It is easy to wonder, with a snigger, quite for what Putin is (over)compensating.
In case his sledgehammer wit is too subtle for you, Mark means Putin has a small penis. Yes, apparently he really thinks this comment says more about Putin?s manhood than about Mark Galeotti and his imbecilic reductionism.
But Mark doesn?t just use denial and penis jokes to make his case ? he also lies. He describes the president whose government managed to reduce poverty by 75% in 14 years, raise the birth rate, rebuild industries and increase national incomes as a ?failure? as a ?nation-builder.? He calls the man with a 60-80% approval rating a ?failure? as a statesman, and the man who has averted world war at least once during is years in office, a ?failure? as a ?peacemaker.? Because, of course, in Mark?s dream zone reality consists of whatever you choose to say is true.
[Russia confrontation] [Media] [Putin address180301]
Colonizing the Western Mind
by Jason Hirthler
March 2, 2018
In Christopher Nolan?s captivating and visually dazzling film Inception, a practitioner of psychic corporate espionage must plant and idea inside a CEO?s head. The process is called inception, and it represents the frontier of corporate influence, in which mind spies no longer just ?extract? ideas from the dreams of others, but seed useful ideas in a target?s subconscious. Inception is a well-crafted piece of futuristic sci-fi drama, but some of the ideas it imparts are already deeply embedded in the American subconscious. The notion of inception, of hatching an idea in the mind of a man or woman without his or her knowledge, is the kernel of propaganda, a black art practiced in the States since the First World War. Today we live beneath an invisible cultural hegemony, a set of ideas implanted in the mass mind by the U.S. state and its corporate media over decades. Invisibility seems to happen when something is either obscure or ubiquitous. In a propaganda system, an overarching objective is to render the messaging invisible by universalizing it within the culture. Difference is known by contrast. If there are no contrasting views in your field of vision, it?s easier to accept the ubiquitous explanation. The good news is that the ideology is well-known to some who have, for one lucky reason or another, found themselves outside the hegemonic field and are thus able to contrast the dominant worldview with alternative opinions. On the left, the ruling ideology might be described as neoliberalism, a particularly vicious form of imperial capitalism that, as would be expected, is camouflaged in the lineaments of humanitarian aid and succor.
In a short span of time in the 1970s, dozens of think tanks were established across the western world and billions of dollars were spent proselytizing the tenets of the Powell Memo in 1971, which galvanized a counter-revolution to the liberal upswing of the Sixties. The neoliberal economic model of deregulation, downsizing, and privatization was preached by the Reagan-Thatcher junta, liberalized by the Clinton regime, temporarily given a bad name by the unhinged Bush administration, and saved by telegenic restoration of the Obama years. The ideology that underlay the model saturated academia, notably at the University of Chicago, and the mainstream media, principally at The New York Times. Since then it has trickled down to the general populace, to whom it now feels second nature. Today think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, the Brookings Institute, Stratfor, Cato Institute, American Enterprise Institute, Council on Foreign Relations, Carnegie Endowment, the Open Society Foundation, and the Atlantic Council, among many others, funnel millions of dollars in donations into cementing neoliberal attitudes in the American mind.
The Authoritarians Who Silence Syria Questions
by Jonathan Cook
February 28, 2018
Photo by watchsmart | CC BY 2.0
I am loath to draw more attention to the kind of idiocy that passes for informed comment nowadays from academics and mainstream journalists. Recently I lambasted Prof Richard Carver for his arguments against BDS that should have gained him an F for logic in any high school exam.
Now we have to endure Brian Whitaker, the Guardian?s former Middle East editor, using every ploy in the misdirection and circular logic playbook to discredit those who commit thought crimes on Syria, by raising questions both about what is really happening there and about whether we can trust the corporate media consensus banging the regime-change drum.
Whitaker?s arguments and assumptions may be preposterous but sadly, like Carver?s, they are to be found everywhere in the mainstream ? they have become so commonplace through repetition that they have gained a kind of implicit credibility. So let?s unpack what Whitaker and his ilk are claiming.
Whitaker?s latest outburst is directed against the impudence of a handful of British academics, including experts in the study of propaganda, in setting up a panel ? the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media ? to ?provide a source of reliable, informed and timely analysis for journalists, publics and policymakers? on Syria. The researchers include Tim Hayward of Edinburgh University and Piers Robinson of Sheffield University.
Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media
This working group aims to facilitate research and debate with respect to the 2011-present war in Syria and the role of both media and propaganda. In all wars, truth and reality are profoundly contested whilst media frequently struggle to maintain independence and autonomy in the face of propaganda strategies pursued by combatants and participants, both internal and external. The war in Syria is no exception. At present there exists an urgent need for rigorous academic analysis of media reporting of this war, the role that propaganda has played in terms of shaping perceptions of the conflict and how these relate to broader geo-strategic process within the ME region and beyond.
With these needs in mind, this working group has been established in order to encourage networking amongst academics as well as the development of conference papers and panels, articles and research monographs, and the development of research funding bids. We also aim to provide a source of reliable, informed and timely analysis for journalists, publics and policymakers.
Louis Allday (PhD candidate, SOAS University of London)
Professor Emeritus Oliver Boyd-Barrett (Bowling Green State University, United States of America)
Professor Tim Hayward (University of Edinburgh)
Divya Jha (PhD candidate, Communication, Media and Journalism research group, University of Sheffield)
Jake Mason (PhD candidate, Communication, Media and Journalism research group, University of Sheffield)
Dr Tara McCormack (University of Leicester)
Professor Paul McKeigue (University of Edinburgh)
Professor Piers Robinson (University of Sheffield) Working Group Convenor
Dr Florian Zollmann (Newcastle University)
[Syria] [Media] [Propaganda]
WATCH: Reality Check: No Sarin Gas Used by Assad in Syria?
Ben Swann looks at some of the less well known facts about the alleged sarin gas attacks
[Syria] [cbw] [Sarin] [Evidence] [False flag]
Here?s How Syrian ?Rebels? Manipulate Information From East Ghouta
By Roberto Vivaldelli
Global Research, February 27, 2018
Region: Middle East & North Africa
Theme: Media Disinformation, Terrorism, US NATO War Agenda
In-depth Report: SYRIA
In the Eastern Ghouta in Syria, a war is fought every day without the exclusion of blows: it is the war of information and propaganda, which is consumed by tweets and photographic material on social networks. Objective: to bring public opinion to its own side, at any cost and by any means. The sources that much of the Western information has used to describe what has been happening in recent weeks are the same as those of the 2016 Battle of Aleppo: the Syrian Human Rights Observatory guided by the dissident Rami Abdel Rahman based in London, the controversial White Helmets, the notorious humanitarian NGO founded by James Le Mesurier and, above all, a dense network of ?activists? and ?reporter? who declare themselves independent.
What we have undertaken is a journey into this conflict, where children become an extraordinary propaganda tool, able to leverage the emotional side: after all, with the advent of the internet and the new social media, indignation has become a formidable tool and to be effective it must be channeled in a precise and well-determined direction ? in this case aimed at demonstrating that ?Assad bombards and kills his own people? and to discredit the allies Russia and Iran.
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Lewis Carroll?s White Queen would have a career in the media today
Alice and the White Queen, drawn by John Tenniel
?I can?t believe that!? said Alice.
?Can?t you?? the Queen said in a pitying tone. ?Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.?
Alice laughed. ?There?s no use trying,? she said: ?one can?t believe impossible things.?
?I daresay you haven?t had much practice,? said the Queen. ?When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I?ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.?
Lewi Carroll ? Alice Through the Looking-Glass
Lewis Carroll invented the White Queen as an absurdist emblem of a refusal to deal. But now that deluded lady would slot right in at the BBC, CNN, Guardian et al. In fact to live in the mainstream western culture of today we need to be able to believe a lot more than six impossible things before breakfast. We need to plug into an entire matrix of the unreal, never happened, never could happen and purely ridiculous.
There is now almost no point of contact between the world described in daily mainstream news and social commentary and the actual veridical experiential world in which real people really live. The most basic ?facts? upon which they operate are almost completely false. They produce hours and hours of comment and analysis based on events that never occurred, words that were never said, a history that doesn?t exist. It?s not about explaining reality any more, it?s about making it up.
Kim Dotcom: "Let Me Assure You, The DNC Hack Wasn?t Even A Hack"
by Tyler Durden
Tue, 02/20/2018 - 03:51
Kim Dotcom has once again chimed in on the DNC hack, following a Sunday morning tweet from President Trump clarifying his previous comments on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said ?it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.? The Russian ?hoax? was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia - it never did!
? Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018
In response, Dotcom tweeted "Let me assure you, the DNC hack wasn't even a hack. It was an insider with a memory stick. I know this because I know who did it and why," adding "Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. 360 pounds!" alluding of course to Trump's "400 pound genius" comment.
Let me assure you, the DNC hack wasn?t even a hack. It was an insider with a memory stick. I know this because I know who did it and why. Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. 360 pounds!https://t.co/AGRO0sFx7s https://t.co/epXtv0t1uN
? Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) February 18, 2018
Dotcom's assertion is backed up by an analysis done last year by a researcher who goes by the name Forensicator, who determined that the DNC files were copied at 22.6 MB/s - a speed virtually impossible to achieve from halfway around the world, much less over a local network - yet a speed typical of file transfers to a memory stick.
The local transfer theory of course blows the Russian hacking narrative out of the water, lending credibility to the theory that the DNC "hack" was in fact an inside job, potentially implicating late DNC IT staffer, Seth Rich.
[DNC] [Leak] [US_election16] [Seth Rich]
U.S. 'Mulling Cyber Strike Against N.Korea'
By Cho Yi-jun
February 19, 2018 09:28
Despite talk of a "bloody nose" strike against North Korea in Washington, the initial round of warfare could be waged in cyberspace, according to Foreign Policy magazine.
"The first shot will be cyber," it quoted a former U.S. intelligence official as predicting. Quoting six former and incumbent U.S. intelligence officials, the magazine wrote, "The U.S. government for the past six months has covertly begun laying the groundwork for possible cyberattacks on North Korea in countries including South Korea and Japan."
"This process involves installing fiber cables as bridges into the region and setting up remote bases and listening posts, where hackers may attempt to gain access to a North Korean Internet that's largely walled off from external connections," it added.
[US NK policy] [Cyberwar]
N.Korea Behind Massive Bitcoin Heists
By Choi Yeon-jin
February 06, 2018 10:23
North Korean hackers are believed to be responsible for stealing tens of billions of won worth of cryptocurrency from a South Korean exchange last year (US$1=W1,091).
The National Intelligence Service on Monday told the National Assembly's Intelligence Committee that the North is also believed to be behind the recent theft of US$532 million worth of cryptocurrency from Japan's Coincheck exchange, one of the biggest cyberheists to date.
Coincheck president Koichiro Wada (left) and COO Yusuke Otsuka bow in apology at a press conference in Tokyo on Jan. 26. /AP-Yonhap
The NIS was confirming international suspicions that North Korea is using Bitcoin to get its hands on hard currency amid international sanctions aimed at strangling off its cash flow.
It said North Korean hackers obtained the passwords and trading records of cryptocurrency investors last year and hacked the computer systems of the cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea with malicious codes concealed in bogus job application forms.
They were able to bypass a vaccine developed by a prominent South Korean software company. The NIS said the exchange lost around W26 billion in that attack.
"North Korean hackers continue to launch attacks by sending e-mails to South Korean intelligence institutions, defense product manufacturers and civic groups helping North Korean defectors," a lawmaker on the committee quoted an NIS official as saying.
This Mutant Crayfish Clones Itself, and It?s Taking Over Europe
The marbled crayfish is a mutant species that clones itself, scientists report. The population is exploding in Europe, but the species appears to have originated only about 25 years ago.CreditRanja Andriantsoa
By Carl Zimmer
Feb. 5, 2018
Frank Lyko, a biologist at the German Cancer Research Center, studies the six-inch-long marbled crayfish. Finding specimens is easy: Dr. Lyko can buy the crayfish at pet stores in Germany, or he can head with colleagues to a nearby lake.
Wait till dark, switch on head lamps, and wander into the shallows. The marbled crayfish will emerge from hiding and begin swarming around your ankles.
?It?s extremely impressive,? said Dr. Lyko. ?Three of us once caught 150 animals within one hour, just with our hands.?
Over the past five years, Dr. Lyko and his colleagues have sequenced the genomes of marbled crayfish. In a study published on Monday, the researchers demonstrate that the marble crayfish, while common, is one of the most remarkable species known to science.
Champions Of Democracy - From Fake News To Imposed Insanity
1 February 2018
Open a corporate media website on any given day and you will find someone, somewhere blaming social media for something. No claim is too absurd.
Last week, journalist Sean Williams, who writes for the New Yorker, New Republic and Wired, tweeted us in a state of high anxiety:
'I just want you to know you're ruining the national dialogue and pushing more people towards right wing populism. Really.'
Quite a claim for a project that began in Southampton's Giddy Bridge public house over a pint and a packet of cheese & onion. We replied:
'Two guys with no resources, relying solely on donations, critiquing global, multi-billion-dollar media corporations? That's crazy. All our support is on the left - people like John Pilger, Noam Chomsky and Jonathan Cook, who reject that idea completely.'
Beyond even ruining 'the national dialogue', social media are of course blamed for a tsunami of 'fake news' undermining democracy at every level. The irony of the fake news claim is that the corporate media's refusal to analyse, or even mention, its own record of spreading fake news is a prime example of how it functions as a system, not merely of deception, but of imposed insanity.
Consider the work of Andrew Rawnsley of the Observer, garlanded with British Press Awards Young Journalist of the Year (1987); What The Papers Say Columnist of the Year (2000); Channel 4 Political Awards Book of the Year (2001); Channel 4 Political Awards Journalist of the Year (2003); House Magazine Awards Commentator of the Year (2008); Chair's Choice Award at the Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards (2015).
Lamenting Trump, Rawnsley wrote in the Observer last month:
'The United States has shrunk from its traditional role as exemplar of democracy and global champion of it.'
Rawnsley, of course, has been a high-profile political commentator throughout the period when Iraq, Libya and Syria have been 'championed' by the West. Regime change was ordered in Syria after the 'exemplar of democracy' had brought ungovernable chaos to Libya, which was ordered after regime change had brought ungovernable chaos to Iraq.
The fact that regime change has been attempted again in Syria, even after these twin calamities, says much about the brutality of Western power. Indeed it suggests that social collapse removing organised opposition to US machinations in the region is a deeper aim beyond even regime change.
Rawnsley is notable among political commentators for being laughably wrong when laughing at others for being laughably wrong. He wrote in April 2003:
'The war in Iraq would undo Tony Blair, they cried. It would be his Suez on the Tigris, they said. Wrong. It would be Vietnam crossed with Stalingrad. Wrong. To win the war, the Anglo-American forces could only prevail by inflicting casualties numbered in their hundreds of thousands. The more extravagantly doom-laden predictions had the deaths in millions. Wrong.' (Rawnsley, 'The voices of doom were so wrong,' The Observer, April 13, 2003)
[Media] [Imperialism] [Guardian]
Robert Parry?s Legacy and the Future of Consortiumnews
January 28, 2018
Robert Parry, editor and publisher of Consortiumnews.com, died peacefully Saturday evening. In this tribute, his son Nat Parry describes Robert?s unwavering commitment to independent journalism.
Robert Parry, 1949-2018
By Nat Parry
It is with a heavy heart that we inform Consortiumnews readers that Editor Robert Parry has passed away. As regular readers know, Robert (or Bob, as he was known to friends and family) suffered a stroke in December, which ? despite his own speculation that it may have been brought on by the stress of covering Washington politics ? was the result of undiagnosed pancreatic cancer that he had been unknowingly living with for the past 4-5 years.
He unfortunately suffered two more debilitating strokes in recent weeks and after the last one, was moved to hospice care on Tuesday. He passed away peacefully Saturday evening. He was 68.
[Media] [Robert Parry]
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Video: Hollywood?s Pro-Soviet Propaganda vs. The ?Russia Probe?
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research 28 May 2017
This title might surprise you.
But at the height of the Second World War, America and the Soviet Union were allies.
And Hollywood as of June 1941 was involved in producing a very different type of war film.
The United States? attitude towards the Soviet Union shifted on 22nd of june 1941, when Hitler began sending his Panzers towards Moscow, and after December ?41 the alliance between the two opposite systems was a necessity. So, the American?s perceptions of the Soviet Union had to be shaped overnight so that FDR could receive popular support for entering the war on the Soviet Union?s side. The responsibility for such a task was put on the back of the oWI (office of War Information). Understanding the relationship between this agency and Hollywood can help shed light the objectives of pro-Soviet films released between 1942 and 1945. (Andrei Cojoc)
North Star 1943, starring Anne Baxter, Walter Houston, Dana Andrews and Walter Brennan.
According to Andrei Cojoc, ?The highlight of the movie is the resistance fight of the heroic villagers, portrayed by an all American cast?.
The movie was decidedly pro-Soviet, pro-Communist describing Nazi repression in rural Ukraine. A variation of ?The International? was used as background music: ?Comrades our people are at war? The Germans are 50 miles away.?
There was no ?Russia Probe? in 1943. ?I am a guerrilla fighter of the Soviet Union?.
The Soviet people were described as freedom fighters. ?It is our land, we swear to give our lives??
Hollywood was recounting the courageous battle of villagers against Nazi Germany with the support of the Red Army and how the heroic Soviet peasantry was resisting Nazi occupation.
Every major studio (except Paramount) submitted its share of pro-Soviet movies: Samuel Goldwin?s North Star (1943), MGM?s Song of Russia (1943), United Artist?s Three Russian Girls (1943), Warner?s Mission to Moscow (1943), RKo?s Days of Glory (1944), Columbia?s Boy from Stalingrad (1943) and Counter Attack (1945). The three most important pillars of pro-Soviet propaganda emerged in 1943: The North Star, Song of Russia and Mission to Moscow. (Ibid)
Produced by Samuel Goldwyn, the Screenplay was written by Lillian Hellman. The concluding words of Marina (Ann Baxter) shed a light of hope:
?We will make this the last war, We will make a Free World for All Men. The Earth belongs to us, the people, if we fight for it and we will fight for it?? (1.44')
[Propaganda] [WWII] [US Russia] [US global strategy]
Kim Jong Un Inspects State Academy of Sciences
Respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un gave field guidance to the State Academy of Sciences.
The Supreme Leader, accompanied by officials, made a bow before the statues of President Kim Il Sung and leader
Kim Jong Il at the academy.
He went round the newly remodeled revolutionary museum there.
Watching with keen interest the valuable historic data and relics, he said that the academy, founded in December 1952 on the initiative of Kim Il Sung, could advance along the road of glorious development under the care of Kim Il Sung and
Kim Jong Il.
He underscored the need to do well the ideological education through the revolutionary museum so as to let all scientists bear in mind the unshakable faith that science knows no frontiers but they have the base of science and the precious socialist country which they should serve with science and that they will engage themselves in science only under the red flag of the Workers' Party of Korea and thus make them glorify the noble ideas of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il with great successes in scientific researches.
He looked round the Exhibition of Scientific Research Successes.
Noting that the exhibition was remodeled well and a great deal of scientific research achievements and exhibits are on display, he said that fruits of our scientists' brains are very admirable and this place is a treasure house of self-reliance and self-development and the academy is the birthplace of self-reliance and self-development.
Though they are hard pressed for everything under the difficult conditions, our scientists do a great work in the struggle for developing the national economy and improving the people's standard of living, he said. He sent his warm greetings to all the scientists and technicians across the country and bestowed great favors on the academy with special bonus.
Ecuador Gives Assange Citizenship, Worsening Standoff With Britain
By Maggy Ayala and Steven Erlanger
Jan. 11, 2018
QUITO, Ecuador ? Ecuador announced on Thursday that it had granted citizenship to Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks co-founder who has been living in a tiny room in the South American country?s London embassy since seeking political asylum in 2012.
It was an extraordinary development in the prolonged diplomatic standoff, and came only hours after Britain said it had rejected a request by Ecuador to grant Mr. Assange diplomatic immunity so he could leave the embassy.
?Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice,? Britain?s Foreign Office said in a statement, adding that Britain was not in talks with Ecuador about the matter.
On Wednesday, Mr. Assange hinted that something was afoot when he tweeted a picture of himself wearing a yellow Ecuadorean soccer jersey.
Mr. Assange sought refuge in the embassy in June 2012 after Sweden sought to have him arrested in connection with allegations of rape and assault in that country. Sweden is no longer seeking his extradition, but Mr. Assange has refused to leave. He says he fears Britain would extradite him to the United States to face charges relating to his involvement in multiple releases of documents ? including the 2010 publication of leaked State Department diplomatic cables ? that American officials say have damaged national security.
[Assange] [Whistleblower] [Ecuador]
US/Israeli/Saudi ?Behavior? Problems
July 15, 2015
Exclusive: In Official Washington?s latest detour from the real world, top pundits are depicting Iran as the chief troublemaker in the Mideast and saying the nuclear deal should hinge on Iranian ?behavior.? But the real ?behavior? problems come from Israel, Saudi Arabia and the U.S., writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
There is a madness in how the mainstream U.S. media presents the world to the American people, a delusional perspective that arguably creates an existential threat to humanity?s survival. We have seen this pattern in the biased depiction of the Ukraine crisis and now in how Official Washington is framing the debate over the Iranian nuclear agreement.
In this American land of make-believe, Iran is assailed as the chief instigator of instability in the Middle East. Yet, any sane and informed person would dispute that assessment, noting the far greater contributions made by Israel, Saudi Arabia and, indeed, the United States.
Israel?s belligerence, including frequently attacking its Arab neighbors and brutally repressing the Palestinians, has roiled the region for almost 70 years. Not to mention that Israel is a rogue nuclear state that has been hiding a sophisticated atomic-bomb arsenal.
An objective observer also would note that Saudi Arabia has been investing its oil wealth for generations to advance the fundamentalist Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam, which has inspired terrorist groups from Al Qaeda to the Islamic State. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were identified as Saudis and the U.S. government is still concealing those 28 pages of the congressional 9/11 inquiry regarding Saudi financing of Al Qaeda terrorists.
The Saudis also have participated directly and indirectly in regional wars, including encouragement of Iraq?s invasion of Iran in 1980, support for Al Qaeda-affiliate Nusra Front?s subversion of Syria, and the current Saudi bombardment of Yemen, killing hundreds of civilians, touching off a humanitarian crisis and helping Al Qaeda?s Yemeni affiliate expand its territory.
[Media] [Iran confrontation] [Saudi Arabia] [US Middle East Strategy] [Israel]
English Translation of Udo Ulfkotte?s ?Bought Journalists? Suppressed?
by James Tracy
The English translation of German journalist Udo Ulfkotte?s best-selling book, Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists) appears to have been suppressed throughout North America and Europe.
cover of the English language edition of Udo Ulfkotte?s book
On May 15, 2017 Next Revelation Press, an imprint of US-Canadian-based publisher Tayen Lane, released the English version of Bought Journalists, under the title, Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News.
Tayen Lane has since removed any reference to the title from its website. Correspondingly Amazon.com indicates the title is ?currently unavailable,? with opportunities to purchase from independent sellers offering used copies for no less than $1309.09.[note from OffG- we also checked on Amazon UK, as of January 7 2018 the book is unavailable there too]
The book?s subject matter and unexplained disappearance from the marketplace suggest how powerful forces are seeking to prevent its circulation.
Gekaufte Journalisten was almost completely ignored by mainstream German news media following its release in 2014. ?No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about [my] book,? Ulfkotte observed:
[CIA] [Censorship] [Media]
How the Mainstream Media Whitewashed Al-Qaeda and the White Helmets in Syria
By Eva Bartlett
Global Research, January 06, 2018
On December 18, 2017, The Guardian issued a shoddily-penned hatchet piece against British journalist Vanessa Beeley, Patrick Henningsen and his independent website 21st Century Wire, Australian professor and author Tim Anderson, and myself.
Many insightful writers have since deconstructed the lies and omissions of the article, which I will link to at the bottom of my own.
Judging by the scathing comments on The Guardian?s Facebook post, the general public didn?t buy it either. The Guardian, like Channel 4 News and Snopes, whitewashes terrorism in Syria, employs non-sequitur arguments, promotes war propaganda, and simply gets the facts wrong:
[White Helmets] [Propaganda] [Media]
Ghosts in the Propaganda Machine
January 5, 2018
by Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
S. Mangal?s social media profile and author photo.
?When I use a word,? Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ?it means just what I choose it to mean?neither more nor less.?
?The question is,? said Alice, ?whether you can make words mean so many different things.?
?The question is,? said Humpty Dumpty, ?which is to be master?that?s all.?
? Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
Is this what online journalism looks like in the era of Russiagate fever? A fake writer (read Alice Donovan) catfishes CounterPunch and a dozen other online websites. A handful of her articles are published over a two-year period. The FBI is tracking her and believes this writer, whoever is behind the moniker, has some ties to Russia. What kind of ties and how deep do they go? We aren?t sure. No evidence is presented, perhaps because there isn?t much, or perhaps because the NSA and the FBI are also spying on actual journalists and editors right along with the alleged imposters. The Washington Post calls for a quote on the FBI?s allegation and runs an article a month later on Kremlin operatives ?burning across the internet?.
More panic ensues.
But only one troll was named in the Washington Post piece, Alice Donovan ? our suspected interloper. Prior to the Post?s article, we found out Donovan likely was not who she claimed to be and was a plagiarist to boot. We apologized for our screw-up and issued a lengthy investigation into the whole Donovan ordeal and the challenges of vetting writers in the fast-paced world of cyber-journalism. The story ends there, or does it?
For the record, what you are about to read isn?t typical fare here at CounterPunch. We aren?t in the business of investigating the legitimacy of other independent media outlets, their editors, their contributors or even their motives. In the muddy trenches of online journalism, we often find sympathy and camaraderie with others trudging the same difficult terrain. We strongly believe in the tenets of a free and unfettered press. We?d much rather save our energy to cover the issues we face day in and day out; environmental degradation, corporate and political corruption, war, abuses of power and all those brave souls fighting back. Even so, for better or worse, we are still journalists, and when a story begins to reveal itself, we have no choice but to dig deeper and follow the trail where it leads us.
In our quest to unravel the identity of the now infamous Alice Donovan, we realized she wasn?t only a fraud, she was also a quack journalist. Many of Donovan?s stories were in part plagiarized, none more flagrantly than an article titled ?US-led Coalition Airstrike On Assad?s Forces Was Not Accidental.? It took a few quick searches to uncover the original source of the piece, which was ripped off entirely from a writer named Sophie Mangal, whose article by the same title was published at The International Reporter on the exact same day Donovan submitted the piece to CounterPunch under her own byline.
We were slightly familiar with Mangal, who claimed to be an ?investigative correspondent? and editor at an obscure site called Inside Syria Media Center (ISMC), which publishes both in Arabic and English. Mangal occasionally goes by Sophie with an ?e?, yet her Medium author page lists her name as ?Sophia?, and at ISMC, often simply ?S. Mangal?.
[Syria] [Propaganda] [Liberal] [Troll] [Alice Donovan]
Russia or Corporate Tax Cuts: Which Would Comcast Rather MSNBC Cover?
Russia or Corporate Tax Cuts: Which Would Comcast Rather MSNBC Cover?
Chris Hayes: Trump and the Russians
Chris Hayes starting his MSNBC show, as he usually does, with Trump and the Russians.
At the beginning of December, liberal TV hosts Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow?the anchors of MSNBC?s primetime schedule?were confronted with ever-escalating breaking news. In the span of a week, from December 1 through December 7, President Donald Trump shrank two national monuments, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saw his travel ban upheld by the Supreme Court and possibly began to create his own spy network. Meanwhile, the Senate passed a tax ?reform? bill that would radically restructure the US economy at the expense of poor and middle-class Americans, and climate change-fueled wildfires devastated Southern California.
Yet on the days their shows aired during those seven days?the weekdays, December 1 and 4?7?both Hayes and Maddow bypassed all these stories to lead with minutiae from the ongoing Russia investigation that has consumed MSNBC?s coverage like no other news event since the beginning of the Trump presidency. Topical news of the day, whether on legislation or natural disasters, took a backseat. The Comcast-owned network?s two most popular personalities used their position to focus endlessly on speculative coverage of Russia?s role in the 2016 election?devoting the bulk of each show?s 15-minutes opening segment to the story, at a minimum.
Social Media Madness: the Russia Canard
by Norman Solomon
For several months we?ve been hearing a crescendo of outcries that Russia used social media to sway the 2016 presidential election. The claim has now been debunked by an unlikely source ? one of the most Russiagate-frenzied big media outlets in the United States, the Washington Post.
Far away from the media echo chamber, the Post news story is headlined: ?There?s Still Little Evidence That Russia?s 2016 Social Media Efforts Did Much of Anything.?
The article focuses on ?what we actually know about the Russian activity on Facebook and Twitter: It was often modest, heavily dissociated from the campaign itself and minute in the context of election social media efforts.?
In fact, the ballyhooed Facebook ads were notably not targeted to be seen in swing states, the piece by Post journalist Philip Bump reports. As for the much-hyped tweets, they were smaller than miniscule in quantity compared to overall election-related tweets.
But don?t expect the fervent canard about Russian manipulation of social media to fade away anytime soon. At this point, the Russiagate atmosphere has become so toxic ? with incessant propaganda, credulity, fear-laced conformity and partisan opportunism ? that basic logic often disintegrates.
Powerful yet addicted to power: Why the New York Times is in the hot seat so often
By Margaret Sullivan Media Columnist January 3 at 11:26 AM
When most newspapers get a new publisher, few people know or care. It gets a shrug, except by those directly affected.
But when Arthur G. Sulzberger took over this week as the top boss at the New York Times, even President Trump took notice, blurting out a tweet that managed to be simultaneously insulting, congratulatory and divisive. (?The Failing New York Times has a new publisher, A.G. Sulzberger. Congratulations! Here is a last chance for the Times to fulfill the vision of its Founder, Adolph Ochs, ?to give the news impartially, without fear or FAVOR, regardless of party, sect, or interests involved.???)
[New York Times] [Media]
The WannaCry Cyberattack: What the Evidence Says and Why the Trump Administration Blames North Korea
by Gregory Elich
On December 19, in a Wall Street Journal editorial that drew much attention, Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert asserted that North Korea was ?directly responsible? for the WannaCry cyberattack that struck more than 300,000 computers worldwide. The virus encrypted files on infected computers and demanded payment in return for supposedly providing a decryption key to allow users to regain access to locked files. Bossert charged that North Korea was ?using cyberattacks to fund its reckless behavior and cause disruption across the world.? 
At a press conference on the same day, Bossert announced that the attribution was made ?with evidence,? and that WannaCry ?was directed by the government of North Korea,? and carried out by ?actors on their behalf, intermediaries.?  The evidence that led the U.S. to that conclusion? Bossert was not saying, perhaps recalling the ridicule that greeted the FBI and Department of Homeland Security?s misbegotten report on the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.
The centerpiece of the claim of North Korean culpability is the similarity in code between the Contopee malware, which opens backdoor access to an infected computer, and code in an early variant of WannaCry. 
Contopee has been linked to the Lazarus group, a cybercrime organization that some believe launched the Sony hack, based on the software tools used in that attack. Since North Korea is widely considered to be behind the cyberattack on Sony, at first glance that would appear to seal the argument.
It is a logical argument, but is it founded on valid premises?
[WannaCry] [Attribution] [Evidence] [NK bashing]
The word of the day is?
by Mark Doran
If there?s one thing that the West?s state-corporate media loves to report, it?s public protest in a non-compliant country ? people demonstrating against some government that has refused to roll over in the face of US aggression and greed.
If you?re in the habit of examining these media reports, you?ll often find that there?s a particular word which gets used a lot.
Here are a few highly topical examples; see if you can work out which word it is?
Iranians protesting the country?s strained economy gathered in Tehran and another major city on Friday, for the second day of spontaneous, unsanctioned demonstrations [?]
(US, Associated Press, via Washington Post, 29 Dec 2017)
A wave of spontaneous protests over Iran?s weak economy swept into Tehran on Saturday, with college students and others chanting against the government?
(UK, Associated Press, via Mail Online, 30 Dec 2017)
Unauthorized, spontaneous protests engulfed Iran?s major cities for a third straight day on Saturday as what started out as demonstrations over rising prices seem to have taken a decidedly anti-government tone.
(Slate.com, 30 Dec 2017)
Pro-government Iranians rallied in Tehran Saturday following spontaneous angry protests in the capital and other major cities.
(US, Fox News with Associated Press, 30 Dec 2017)
A relatively small protest on Thursday in Mashhad, Iran?s second largest city . . . unexpectedly gave impetus to a wave of spontaneous protests spreading across provinces.
(UK, Guardian, 31 Dec 2017)
Protests seem to be spontaneous and lack a clear leader.
(Australia, ABC Radio Australia, 1 Jan 2018)
Yes: the Word of the Day is spontaneous.
As far as our state-corporate media and its ubiquitous anti-journalism are concerned, this is one of the most fascinating adjectives we see. Let?s take a moment to examine its use?
For a start, how would anyone really know ? and so quickly, too! ? that these foreign protests, these far-away demonstrations were all ?spontaneous?? Are thousands of protestors across Iran currently in touch with hundreds of Western journalists ? and constantly insisting on the utter spontaneity of everything they do?
No, they aren?t. And even if they were, why would anyone with any sense believe they were telling the truth?
The reality is, of course, that ?spontaneous? is a propaganda word, purely manipulative. It?s there to achieve three different but related aims ? every one of which serves the imperialist agendas of the Western elites.
[Iran confrontation] [Protest] [Media] [Subversion]
Facebook Says It Is Deleting Accounts at the Direction of the U.S. and Israeli Governments
December 31 2017, 3:15 a.m.
In September of last year, we noted that Facebook representatives were meeting with the Israeli government to determine which Facebook accounts of Palestinians should be deleted on the ground that they constituted ?incitement.? The meetings ? called for and presided over by one of the most extremist and authoritarian Israeli officials, pro-settlement Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked ? came after Israel threatened Facebook that its failure to voluntarily comply with Israeli deletion orders would result in the enactment of laws requiring Facebook to do so, upon pain of being severely fined or even blocked in the country.
The predictable results of those meetings are now clear and well-documented. Ever since, Facebook has been on a censorship rampage against Palestinian activists who protest the decades-long, illegal Israeli occupation, all directed and determined by Israeli officials. Indeed, Israeli officials have been publicly boasting about how obedient Facebook is when it comes to Israeli censorship orders:
Shortly after news broke earlier this month of the agreement between the Israeli government and Facebook, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said Tel Aviv had submitted 158 requests to the social media giant over the previous four months asking it to remove content it deemed ?incitement.? She said Facebook had granted 95 percent of the requests.
She?s right. The submission to Israeli dictates is hard to overstate: As the New York Times put it in December of last year, ?Israeli security agencies monitor Facebook and send the company posts they consider incitement. Facebook has responded by removing most of them.?
What makes this censorship particularly consequential is that ?96 percent of Palestinians said their primary use of Facebook was for following news.? That means that Israeli officials have virtually unfettered control over a key communications forum of Palestinians.
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