Softwar, Cyberwar, Education, Propaganda, S&T
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This page includes:
- Softwar, Propaganda, Information Operations (IO) and false flag operations
- 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, whistleblowers, censorship
- Mobile phones
- Education and educational institutions such as Pyongyang University of Science and Technology
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The Censorship of Social Media: A Facebook Experience
A quick Google search of ?social media fake news? brought up thousands of hits, and, as I expected, they seemed to be dated from 2016 to today. I recalled that the propaganda blitz started around the 2016 election, and my search confirmed that recollection.
Ironically, a Google search with those words will likely not be censored by Google, since the ruling Establishment is solidly behind the project to convince people that they should distrust and abandon social media, and return to the comforting fold of the legacy media, now self-proclaimed the ?legitimate media?.
More aptly named the imperial media, it beams the message of the ruling elites vertically, top down, into each house or car. The citizens receive the message passively, and have no way to catch errors, or share their skepticism or opinions with others.
90% of the ?legitimate media?, TV, radio, magazines, web news and newspapers are owned by 5 mega-corporations, so you know they must be trustworthy, right?
Starting in 2016, the alarm bells of ?too much Wild West freedom? have been rung in almost every one of those 90% outlets, as well as by major politicians, including Congress, President Obama and would-be president, Hilary Clinton, (who spends a great deal of time bitterly making lists of those who she believes caused her failure).
In the spring of 2017, many alternative news websites began noticing that their reader numbers were falling precipitously. Google had agreed to set up protocols to steer people away from those websites, in the name of countering ?fake news?. A list drawn up by a sketchy group called PropOrNot was relied upon, although many of the best news sites on the internet were included, some founded by ex-journalists, including prize winning journalists, who had been fired from the ?legitimate media? for failing to follow the imperial script
[Social media] [Censorship]
Hollywood, Cinema, Pornography & Propaganda
by Nicky Reid
June 11, 2019
It?s often said that there is a fine line between art and pornography, and this is true, but few people take the time to seriously contemplate where that line is. As a fan of both art and pornography, not to mention sociology, I have probably spent too much time on the subject. Most people view the dividing line between these two mediums to be the actions of its subjects, to put it bluntly, people fucking. But some of my favorite art films include graphic scenes of passionate and unsimulated coitus. And some of my favorite genres of pornography involve acts that many wouldn?t even consider to be sexual. No, the line between art and pornography is not defined by its subject matter but rather by its intent. The intent of art is to provoke and engage the audience intellectually. The intent of pornography is to indulge and engage the audience reactively.
Unlike far too many other feminists, I have no problem with pornography in and of itself, particularly if it involves Asian lesbians with small feet and plenty of rope, but there are forms of pornography that have nothing to do with natural human sexuality in all its perverted diversity. Propaganda would probably be my least favorite genre of pornography and this hardcore smut plays on cable news 24/7 when any child could be flipping through the channels.
Most cyber attacks on China originate from U.S.: report
Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-10 20:32:47|Editor: mingmei
BEIJING, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Most of the cyber attacks targeting Chinese networks in 2018 have originated from the United States, according to an annual report released by China's National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team (CNCERT) on Monday.
In terms of Trojan and botnet activities, CNCERT found that 3.34 million computers on the Chinese mainland were controlled by more than 14,000 Trojan or botnet command and control servers (C&C servers) in the United States in 2018, up 90.8 percent from the C&C server number in 2017.
It also reported that 3,325 IP addresses in the United States, up 43 percent from 2017, planted Trojans in 3,607 websites on the Chinese mainland.
In the above two categories, the United States topped the list of overseas sources of cyber attacks targeting computers and websites on the Chinese mainland, according to the organization.
Established in 2002, the CNCERT is a non-governmental organization of network security technical coordination.
[China confrontation] [Cyberwar] [Hacking]
BIAS: A CBS Insider Exposes How the media Distort the News By Bernard Goldberg (Regnery)
June 8, 2019
BIAS: A CBS Insider Exposes How the media Distort the News / By Bernard Goldberg (Regnery)
Reviewed by Danny Schechter ? This is a repost from our classical archives. (First published on Jan. 21, 2003)
Bias is a hot-button word. In veteran TV reporter Bernard Goldberg?s hands, it is a cudgel, a weapon to strike out at the people at CBS News who rejected him after a lifetime of service, and more broadly, to advance an ideological agenda dressed up in the appealing clothing of media criticism. A New York Times #1 best seller, ?Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News? is published by Regnery, a long-time home for right-wing polemicists and propagandizers.[*]
His expos? is of interest as a specimen in the larger political wars being fought in the media worldwide. To him, distortion is, it seems, any perspective not certified by the conservative policy pushers at the Heritage Foundation. I am not going to go point-by-point through the text ? this is not a review but a response.
The final punishment of Julian Assange
. (Counterpunch 3.6.2019)
Posted on 7 June 2019
Shame and the fear of accountability for what has been done by our ?security? authorities, not the law-breaking of leakers, is what this is all about.
I?m getting a bit tired of the US Espionage Act. For that matter, I?ve been pretty weary of the Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning saga for a long time. No one wants to talk about their personalities because no one seems to like them very much ? even those who have benefited journalistically from their revelations.
From the start, I?ve been worried about the effect of Wikileaks, not on the brutal western governments whose activities it has disclosed in shocking detail (especially in the Middle East) but on the practice of journalism. When we scribes were served up this Wikileaks pottage, we jumped in, paddled around and splashed the walls of reporting with our cries of horror. And we forgot that real investigative journalism was about the dogged pursuit of truth through one?s own sources rather than upsetting a bowl of secrets in front of readers, secrets which Assange and co ? rather than us ? had chosen to make public.
Why was it, I do recall asking myself almost 10 years ago, that we could read the indiscretions of so many Arabs or Americans but so few Israelis? Just who was mixing the soup we were supposed to eat? What had been left out of the gruel?
New ?Call Of Duty? Encourages Support For The White Helmets
June 5, 2019
The official trailer for the latest Call of Duty was released a few days ago, and it features the Syria narrative management operation known as the White Helmets depicted in heroic roles. Characters wearing the organization?s signature headgear are seen clearing rubble in part of the trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
To give you an idea how popular the CoD franchise is, as of this writing the official Youtube version of the trailer has 27 million views.
To be clear, the characters in the game are most certainly intended to resemble the White Helmets of Syria, and their presence there is most certainly intended to increase support for and interest in that group. How do I know? Its game writer has explicitly said so.
[Propaganda] [Computer games] [White Helmets]
More Police Raids as War on Journalism Escalates Worldwide
June 5, 2019
A centrally-planned conspiracy in not necessarily behind this trend, writes Caitlin Johnstone. It may simply be the reflex of an ailing empire.
By Caitlin Johnstone
The Australian Federal Police have conducted two raids on journalists and seized documents in purportedly unrelated incidents in the span of just two days.
Yesterday, the AFP raided the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst, seeking information related to her investigative report last year that exposed Australia?s discussions of giving itself unprecedented powers to spy on its own citizens. Today, they raided the Sydney headquarters of the Australian Broadcasting Corp, seizing information related to a 2017 investigative report on possible war crimes committed by Australian forces in Afghanistan.
In a third, also ostensibly unrelated incident, another Australian reporter disclosed that the Department of Home Affairs has initiated an investigation of his reporting on a story about asylum seeker boats which could lead to an AFP criminal case, saying he?s being pressured to disclose his source.
AFP: I?m still staggered by the power of this warrant. It allows the AFP to ?add, copy, delete or alter? material in the ABC?s computers. All Australians, please think about that: as of this moment, the AFP has the power to delete material in the ABC?s computers. Australia 2019.
? John Lyons (@TheLyonsDen) June 5, 2019
?Why has AFP suddenly decided to carry out these two raids after the election?? tweeted Australian Sky News political editor David Speers during the Sydney raid. ?Did new evidence really just emerge in both the Annika Smethurst and ABC stories?!?
[Australia] [Censorship] [Assange] [First Amendment]
UN Report: Many North Koreans Paying Bribes Just to Survive
May 30, 2019
A United Nations report says many North Koreans are forced to pay bribes to receive food and other necessities of life.
The U.N. Human Rights office published the report this week. It was based on discussions with more than 200 North Korean ?escapees? who fled their homeland.
The report said North Korea?s economy has long been failing and that the government is unable to provide its citizens with ?life?s basic necessities.?
Michelle Bachelet is the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. In a statement, she said the U.N. believes people in all countries of the world should be given ?rights to food, health, shelter, work and freedom of movement.?
FILE - South Korean protesters and North Korean defectors attend a rally urging the United States to discuss North Korean human rights issue in an upcoming meeting between Trump and Kim.
FILE - South Korean protesters and North Korean defectors attend a rally urging the United States to discuss North Korean human rights issue in an upcoming meeting between Trump and Kim.
In North Korea, however, such rights ?depend primarily on the ability of individuals to bribe state officials,? Bachelet said.
?Since the economic collapse of the 1990s, (North Koreans) have been unable to survive through a state-led model of centralized economic planning and distribution,? the U.N. said in a statement.
This situation has forced North Koreans to seek out activities outside the country?s official economic system to survive, the report said. It added that seeking out such activities to get food and other necessities has become an important part of survival.
However, citizens who take part in this kind of economic activity risk being arrested and detained, the report noted.
U.N. officials estimated earlier this month that about 10 million North Koreans are experiencing severe food shortages and lack safe drinking water. The 2018 Global Hunger Index called North Korea?s hunger situation ?serious? and ?bordering on alarming.?
Experts say further cuts to already low government food rations are expected, following the worst harvest in 10 years.
North Korean officials rejected the U.N. report. The country?s U.N. office in Switzerland said in a statement, ?Such reports are nothing more than fabrication.?
North Korea has blamed its economic problems and humanitarian situation on economic restrictions the U.N. has placed on the country. The restrictions were put in place to punish North Korea for its nuclear and missile development programs. The new U.N. report accuses the North Korean government of increasing military funding while carrying out ?economic mismanagement? in other areas.
Michelle Bachelet said she is concerned that the North Korean nuclear issue is continuing to limit the attention on ?the terrible state of human rights for many millions of North Koreans.?
I?m Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on a story from Reuters and the United Nations report. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
[Propaganda] [Sanctions effect] [Corruption] [UNUS]
May Plot? Did U.S. Concerns Over Huawei Hasten Theresa May?s Departure?
by T.J. Coles
May 31, 2019
Britain?s PM Theresa May spent the last two years fighting off numerous Brexit-related coup attempts from within her Conservative (Tory) party. But the sudden announcement of her departure came just two weeks after US officials cautioned May not to award contracts to China?s Huawei. Was this May?s Gough Whitlam moment?
GOUGH WHITLAM AND THE FIVE EYES
In 1946, Britain and America signed the UKUSA Agreement. Australia, Canada and New Zealand soon joined. The Agreement and its updates oblige signatories to collect, analyze and share all communications traffic. The so-called Five Eyes Alliance is essential for US global dominance. The ?eyes? of Australia and New Zealand spy on communications in Asia. Britain spies on Europe and western Russian. Canada spies on northern Russia. The radar systems guide US and Alliance intercontinental ballistic and other missiles. They watch for enemy launches. They probe the personal and business communications of citizens and corporations.
In 1950s-70s? Australia, the CIA infiltrated unions, networked with rising stars like the country?s future-Governor General, Sir John Kerr and advocated for politicians including Bob Hawke and Malcolm Fraser. Labour PM, Gough Whitlam, came to power in Australia in 1972. Within three years, he had been ousted. Whitlam threatened to expose the US Five Eyes bases in Australia, as well as investigate the US role in financing his political enemies.
[Five Eyes] [Whitlam] [Theresa May] [Intelligence] [US dominance]
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Robert Stuart vs the BBC One Man?s Quest to Expose a Fake BBC Video about Syria
Susan Dirgham and Rick Sterling
It?s a David vs Goliath story. A former local newspaper reporter, Robert Stuart, is taking on the British Broadcasting Corporation. Stuart believes that a sensational video story about an alleged atrocity in Syria ?was largely, if not entirely, staged.?
The BBC would like it all to just go away. But like David, Stuart will not back down or let it go. It has been proposed that the BBC could settle the issue by releasing the raw footage from the event, but they refuse to do this. Why?
The Controversial Video
The video report in controversy is ?Saving Syria?s Children?. Scenes from it were first broadcast as a BBC news report on August 29, 2013 and again as a BBC Panorama special in September. ?Saving Syria?s Children? was produced by BBC reporter Ian Pannell with Darren Conway as camera operator and director.
[Syria] [Propaganda] [BBC]
The Western Media is Key to Syria Deceptions, Al Qaeda Propaganda
By Jonathan Cook
Global Research, May 27, 2019
25 May 2019
By any reckoning, the claim made this week by al-Qaeda-linked fighters that they were targeted with chemical weapons by the Syrian government in Idlib province ? their final holdout in Syria ? should have been treated by the western media with a high degree of scepticism.
That the US and other western governments enthusiastically picked up those claims should not have made them any more credible.
Scepticism was all the more warranted from the media given that no physical evidence has yet been produced to corroborate the jihadists? claims. And the media should have been warier still given that the Syrian government was already poised to defeat these al-Qaeda groups without resort to chemical weapons ? and without provoking the predictable ire (yet again) of the west.
But most of all scepticism was required because these latest claims arrive just as we have learnt that the last supposed major chemical attack ? which took place in April 2018 and was, as ever, blamed by all western sources on Syria?s president, Bashar Assad ? was very possibly staged, a false-flag operation by those very al-Qaeda groups now claiming the Syrian government has attacked them once again.
Addicted to incompetence
Most astounding in this week?s coverage of the claims made by al-Qaeda groups is the fact that the western media continues to refuse to learn any lessons, develop any critical distance from the sources it relies on, even as those sources are shown to have repeatedly deceived it.
This was true after the failure to find WMD in Iraq, and it is now even more true after the the international community?s monitoring body on chemical weapons, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), was exposed this month as deeply dishonest.
[Media] [Syria] [cbw] [Jihadists] [False flag] [OPCW]
Accusations of Chemical Weapons Use by the Syrian Army Nullified by Fact-Checking
By Ahmad Al Khaled
Global Research, May 26, 2019
Syrian government forces allegedly committed yet another chemical attack, local opposition affiliated media reported last Sunday.
Despite the seriousness of the accusations the reports did not provide any details. Nothing was certain except for the location of the incident ? the village of Kabani that is perched on a commanding height on the border between Lattakia and Hama, two northwestern Syrian province. After a while the media claimed there were casualties ? four people, including an information activist ? who exhibited symptoms of exposure to a chemical agent and were delivered to a field hospital in the opposition-controlled Idlib province.
The accusations against the Syrian army were not backed by documentary evidence. No pictures or videos depicting the incident or the victims could be found online. The reports also did not clarify what the victims were doing in Kabani, that had been long abandoned by the residents due to heavy clashes between the Syrian troops and the opposition factions.
Despite the evident lack of details only a couple of days later the Western states blamed the Syrian government for the use of chemical weapons. The US State Department claimed it ?detected signs? that Damascus may be renewing its use of chemical weapons. This stance was shared by Britain?s Theresa May who promised to respond ?appropriately? if the allegations were confirmed. In turn, the French Foreign Ministry published a statement calling for ?punishment? for those who carry out chemical attacks.
On a side note, US Special Envoy for Syria James F. Jeffrey acknowledged that the US has no evidence of the Syrian army using chemical weapons. The Pentagon has also distanced itself from the State Department?s strong statement, cautiously stating that the military were ?reviewing the situation.?
Pentagon?s cautiousness, as it turned out, was justified. Two days after the alleged attack, the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, declared the reports about the use of chemical weapons fake.
According to the monitor that gathers information from a large net of ground sources in Syria, the reports of chemical weapons being used were originally spread by members of the Turkistan Islamic Party, a radical armed group allied with Al Qaeda?s affiliates in Syria of Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS). The Syrian Observatory revealed that four fighters of the group who were hiding in a trench or a cave came under intense shelling by the Syrian troops and suffocated due to a cloud of dust caused by the incoming shells. One of the fighters, who had asthma, suffered more than the others. All four were evacuated to a field hospital and filmed, with the video sent to the Turkish authorities and the organizations supported by the US and other Western states, the monitor reported.
The Observatory?s report casts serious doubt on the credibility of the media that accused the Syrian troops of using chemical weapons. Even a brief analysis allows to spot the exact moment when the information begins to undergo an intentional alteration.
[Syria] [cbw] [False flag] [Disinformation]
Professional Assange Smearers Finally Realize His Fate Is Tied To Theirs
May 25, 2019
Rachel effing Maddow, the Queen Mother of all tinfoil pussyhat-wearing Russiagate insanity is suddenly supporting Julian Assange after his Espionage Act indictment, as Caitlin Johnstone explains.
By Caitlin Johnstone
Rachel Maddow has aired a segment condemning the new indictment against Julian Assange for 17 alleged violations of the Espionage Act.
Yes, that Rachel Maddow.
MSNBC?s top host began the segment after it was introduced by Chris Hayes, agreeing with her colleague that it?s surprising that more news outlets aren?t giving this story more ?wall to wall? coverage, given its immense significance. She recapped Assange?s various legal struggles up until this point, then accurately described Assange?s new Espionage Act charges for publishing secret documents.
?And these new charges are not about stealing classified information or outsmarting computer systems in order to illegally obtain classified information,? Maddow said. ?It?s not about that. These new charges are trying to prosecute Assange for publishing that stolen, secret material which was obtained by somebody else. And that is a whole different kettle of fish then what he was initially charged with.?
?By charging Assange for publishing that stuff that was taken by Manning, by issuing these charges today, the Justice Department has just done something you might have otherwise thought was impossible,? Maddow added after explaining the unprecedented nature of this case.
?The Justice Department today, the Trump administration today, just put every journalistic institution in this country on Julian Assange?s side of the ledger. On his side of the fight. Which, I know, is unimaginable. But that is because the government is now trying to assert this brand new right to criminally prosecute people for publishing secret stuff, and newspapers and magazines and investigative journalists and all sorts of different entities publish secret stuff all the time. That is the bread and butter of what we do.?
[Assange] [Hypocrisy] [Media] [First Amendment]
Now, the Swedish Arrest Warrant for Assange
May 22, 2019
By Craig Murray
In Sweden, prosecutors have applied to the Swedish courts to issue a warrant for Julian Assange?s arrest. There is a tremendous back story to that simple statement.
The European arrest warrant must be issued from one country to another by a judicial authority. The original Swedish request for Assange?s extradition was not issued by any court, but simply by the prosecutor. This was particularly strange, as the chief prosecutor of Stockholm had initially closed the case after deciding there was no case to answer, and then another, highly politically motivated, prosecutor had reopened the case and issued a European arrest warrant, without going to any judge for confirmation.
Assange?s initial appeal up to the U.K. Supreme Court was in large part based on the fact that the warrant did not come from a judge but from a prosecutor, and that was not a judicial authority. I have no doubt that, if any other person in the U.K. had been the accused, the British courts would not have accepted the warrant from a prosecutor. The incredible and open bias of the courts against Assange has been evident since day 1.
[Assange] [Whistleblower] [WikiLeaks]
Left Book Club
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Become a member and we will send you the best books on radical and progressive politics, direct to your door. By reading and sharing ideas together, we can transform society.
The Left Book Club was originally founded in 1936, to popularise ideas from the left and counter the rise of fascism. Join us today.
N.Korean Girls 'Sold into Sex Trade' in China
By Kim Myong-song
May 21, 2019 11:07
Chinese Triads trafficking North Korean girls and women are forcing girls as young as nine to perform cybersex to a paying global audience, a British NGO claimed in a report Monday.
Korea Future Initiative, a U.K.-registered nonprofit organization, investigated sexual abuse against North Korean women and girls in China and found that they are often subject to prostitution, cybersex trafficking and forced marriage.
"Pushed from their homeland by a patriarchal regime that survives through the imposition of tyranny, poverty and oppression, North Korean women and girls are passed through the hands of traffickers, brokers and criminal organizations," the report says.
It adds that a "complex and interconnected network of criminality" makes an estimated US$105 million a year from "the sale of female North Korean bodies."
KFI attempts to rescue North Korean refugees in danger and issuing reports on human rights violations. It said the report was compiled after long-term contacts with victims who are still living in China or have fled to South Korea.
It claims that some 60 percent of female North Korean defectors in China are trafficked and about a half of them are sold into prostitution, more than 30 percent are forced to marry Chinese men, and 15 percent work for online brothels.
Yoon Hee-soon, the report's author, said that prostitution has overtaken forced marriage as a "primary pathway" into the sex trade, while cybersex trafficking is a "small, rudimentary but expanding component."
Meanwhile, the North Korean regime has ordered citizens to prepare "combat backpacks" for an emergency, Radio Free Asia on Monday quoted a source in North Pyongan Province as saying.
It urged them to prepare three days' supply of food, shoes, gloves, a flashlight, and a facial mask.
[Victim] [Sanctions effect] [Prostitution] [NGO] [IO] [Agency]
Korea's No.1 newspaper accused of inventing experts' quotes
Posted : 2019-05-21 13:35
Updated : 2019-05-21 13:35
Chosun Ilbo removed the articles at the center of the dispute. Korea Times file
By Park Si-soo
South Korea's highest-circulating newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, is suspected of inventing the quotes of experts for three articles attacking a polling agency, which it claimed was "untrustworthy" because it is friendly to the ruling party.
Chosun removed the articles published on May 16 and 17 after the experts said they had never talked with the paper's reporters. But Realmeter, the agency, has declared no mercy for "fake interviews and unfair reporting," pledging legal action against the newspaper and the articles' writers.
Realmeter CEO Lee Taek-soo said the articles had "seriously tarnished" the agency's reputation.
On the left are three controversial articles from Chosun Ilbo. On the right is survey expert Bae Jong-chan's text message denying contact with Chosun reporters. Courtesy of Lee Taek-soo
The conservative daily has been at odds with liberal President Moon Jae-in and the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) on many fronts, especially North Korea and economic policies. The conflict deepened after Moon ordered the reopening early this year of some cold cases, including a sex/corruption scandal involving Chosun's top executives.
The articles were published after Realmeter released the approval ratings of political parties for the third week of May. In the report, Realmeter said the ruling party was 13.1 percentage points ahead of the main opposition conservative Liberal Korea Party (LKP). A week earlier, the gap was 1.6 percentage points.
Chosun claimed the rapid gap extension was unrealistic. In the articles, the daily quoted media and survey experts as saying Realmeter "could have adjusted its opinion collecting method in a way producing results favorable to the ruling party."
"I've never talked this way," said Bae Jong-chan, one of the quoted experts. "Above all, I've never talked (on the issue) with Chosun reporters."
Chosun has not commented.
[Media] [Chosun Ilbo] [Disinformation]
The OPCW, Douma & The Skripals
In view of the latest revelations from the leaked report, which seem to prove that at least some elements of the Douma ?chemical attack? were entirely staged, we want to take look back at the chaotic events of Spring 2018.
What was the agenda behind the Douma false flag?
Why was the US response seemingly token and ineffective?
Why was the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson fired?
What agenda tied the Skripal case to the Douma attack?
[Skripal] [Douma] [False flag]
Are Syrian ?Rebels? Planning New False-flag Chemical Attack?
Members of armed opposition groups are preparing to accuse Syrian and Russian military of using chemical weapons in Idlib to hamper an offensive carried out by the Syrian army, SMM Syria has learned from sources in the province.
With this setup the opposition intends to increase international pressure on the Syrian authorities and Latakial the government?s offensive in the provinces of Hama and Lattakia on the borders with Idlib, where the Syrian troops have forced the militants withdraw from a number of areas.
In Hama, since May 8th the Syrian army units have captured Kafr Nabudah, Qalaat Al Madiq, Shaykh Idris, Al Huwayz and the adjacent areas. The ground offensive was preceded by air strikes by Syrian and Russian jets that targeted positions of the armed groups near the aforementioned settlements in addition to suburbs of Khan Shaykhun and Kafr Nabl towns May 5th, 6th and 7th.
At the same time, offensive action in Lattakia met fierce resistance of the militants entrenched in Kabani village who repelled every attempt to advance of the government forces.
The main force confronting the Syrian army is Al-Qaeda?s affiliate Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (formerly Jabhat Al Nusra). Over the past few years HTS managed to establish dominance over the major part of Idlib province and the neighboring areas of Hama, Lattakia and Aleppo.
[Idlib] [Syria] [cbw] [False flag] [Prediction]
UPDATE: OPCW Confirm Leaked Report is Genuine
The leaked OPCW report appears to have been confirmed genuine.
The report, titled ?Engineering Assessment of Two Cylinders Observed at Douma Incident?, came to public prominence a few days ago after The Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media released their analysis of the text.
Since then it has gotten a lot of play all across the alternate media (you can read our original report here, but there were many others too).
It has received virtually zero coverage in the mainstream media, of course. And that doesn?t appear likely to change any time soon.
The report spells out, in unambiguous language, that the two chlorine gas canisters were likely planted, rather than dropped from a helicopter.
In summary, observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest that there is a higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being dropped.?
This finding adds to the pile of evidence which makes it appear very likely the whole event was staged.
The only question was whether or not the document could be confirmed genuine. And now it has been.
Peter Hitchens, for a long time the only mainstream voice to express any doubts about the ?official narrative? on Douma, wrote to the OPCW to ask about the leaked report.
He wrote a column about it. We suggest you read it, but the most important passage, taken directly from an OPCW statement, is this:
Pursuant to its established policies and practices, the OPCW Technical Secretariat is conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised release of the document in question.
Note the language. Nowhere is it disputing either the findings of the document, nor the veracity. Instead, they are ?conducting an investigation? into its ?unauthorised release?.
That is as close to an admission as makes no difference. For now, we can safely conclude the document is real, and the findings genuine.
That means, not only that the Douma ?chemical attack? was likely staged, but that the OPCW knew this and chose to cover it up.
A very distressing series of events, and one that could easily have lead to an all-out war between Syria, Russia and NATO.
We welcome the OPCW?s admission that this document is genuine. However, we would suggest the question is not ?How was it leaked??, but rather ?Why was it suppressed in the first place??
[Douma] [False flag] [cbw] [OPCW] [Whistleblower]
The Hospital They Didn?t Bomb
When I first set eyes on Douma Hospital a year ago today, it came as something of a surprise. As the scene of the notorious alleged chemical weapons attack only a month earlier, I was already quite familiar with its emergency ward, shown in ?activist videos? around the world.
Viewers of Russian and alternative media also got to see more of the same ward when their reporters visited it soon afterward in search of some verification of the claims before they led to the US-led missile strikes on Damascus of April 14th.
The emergency ward looked like so many others that we?ve seen pictured over the last seven years in those videos ?that can?t be independently verified? and ? for all we would know ? mightn?t even be in Syria, and mightn?t even be in hospitals.
Well, maybe Douma hospital is different because you just can?t miss it ? as is clear from my photo! Somehow this public hospital, serving the local community with free healthcare for many years, remained in operation throughout the occupation of Douma by the violent extremists of Jaish al Islam ? who were described to James Harkin of the Intercept by local residents as ?ruling with an iron fist?. More to the point, the hospital building evidently didn?t come under attack from the Syrian air-force, despite its terrorist occupiers.
Harkin visited Douma looking for evidence to support ? or counter ? the chemical weapons claims some months after the event, and released a comprehensive analysis of his observations with other analysts in February this year.
His report, and the slickly produced video accompanying it, appeared to pre-empt the final release of the OPCW?s report from their Fact Finding Mission to Douma, conducted in late April 2018. Most significantly the authors of the Intercept?s report concluded that the video scenes taken in Douma hospital?s emergency ward were ?likely staged?, but they nevertheless echoed the public conclusions of the OPCW that two chlorine cylinders had been dropped on nearby apartments and killed 35 people.
Both the Intercept?s conclusions and those of the OPCW leadership have now been shown to be not just mistaken but criminal fabrications, following information from the OPCW itself, and analysis from the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media. The details of the engineering assessments of experts from the OPCW who visited the site showed quite unambiguously that it was not just the hospital scenes that were ?staged?, but that the Chlorine gas cylinders could not have fallen from the sky, dropped by the Syrian air force. As they described it:
?the dimensions, characteristics and appearance of the cylinders and the surrounding scene of the incidents, were inconsistent with what would have been expected in the case of either cylinder having been delivered from an aircraft. In each case the alternative hypothesis produced the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene.?
The ?alternative hypothesis? being that the cylinders were moved into their respective positions manually ? ?staged? in other words. The Working Group has drawn the many conclusions that follow from this piece of simple scientific analysis, and very serious consequences must follow for those organizations and governments who collaborated on this massive deception and the war crimes that accompanied it.
That is not the immediate focus of my article, however, which remains on the ?unmissable? Douma Central Hospital that wasn?t bombed, and the elaborate campaign of disinformation and lies that has surrounded it
May 16, 2019
So, the election-meddling Putin-Nazi disinformationists are at it again! Oh yes, while Americans have been distracted by Russiagate, Obstructiongate, Redactiongate, or whatever it?s being called at this point, here in Europe, we are purportedly being bombarded with Russian ?disinformation? aimed at fomenting confusion and chaos in advance of the upcoming EU elections, which are due to take place in less than two weeks.
The New York Times reports that an entire ?constellation? of social media accounts ?linked to Russia and far-right groups? is disseminating extremist ?disinformation,? ?encouraging discord,? and ?amplifying distrust in the centrist parties that have governed for decades.? These accounts share some of the same ?digital fingerprints,? and are engaging in ?tactics? similar to the ?tactics used in previous Russian attacks,? notably the Kremlin?s notorious mass-brainwashing of millions of defenseless African Americans with those deceptive anti-masturbation memes during the 2016 elections.
[Russia confrontation] [Propaganda]
Eric Talmadge, AP's North Korea bureau chief, dead at 57
Eric Talmadge, AP?s North Korea bureau chief, dead at 57
By FOSTER KLUG2 hours ago
1 of 6
This Monday, May 9, 2016 photo shows The Associated Press' North Korea Bureau Chief Eric Talmadge in front of the April 25 House of Culture where the party congress is held in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. Talmadge, who tenaciously chronicled life and politics in North Korea, one of the world?s least-understood nations, died after suffering a heart attack in Japan. He was 57. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) ? Eric Talmadge, who as North Korea bureau chief for The Associated Press tenaciously chronicled life and politics in one of the world?s least-understood nations, has died. He was 57.
Talmadge died this week in Japan after suffering a heart attack while running.
Leaked Document Pokes More Holes in Establishment Syria Narrative
May 15, 2019
Caitlin Johnstone looks at the latest revelation about a chemical attack in Douma last April that was pinned on Damascus.
?It is hard to overstate the significance of this revelation,? tweets former British MP George Galloway of a new report by the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media (WGSPM). ?The war-machine has now been caught red-handed in a staged chemical weapons attack for the purposes of deceiving our democracies into what could have turned into a full-scale war amongst the great-powers.?
?An important #Douma #Syria ?Assad chemical weapon attack? development and yet more evidence to suggest the ?attack? was staged, as it?s now revealed that @OPCW suppressed expert engineers report that found the cylinders were likely not dropped from the air,? tweets former Scotland Yard detective and counterterrorism intelligence officer Charles Shoebridge.
[Douma] [cbw][False flag] [OPCW] [Evidence]
?Saving Syria?s Children?: Response to the HuffPo
Corrections and clarifications to ?Keith Allen Thinks The BBC May Have Faked ?Apocalyptic? Attack In Syria?
News and opinion website The Huffington Post has written about my campaign to crowdfund a documentary about the 2013 BBC Panorama programme Saving Syria?s Children.
Keith Allen Thinks The BBC May Have Faked ?Apocalyptic? Attack In Syria was published on May 4th 2019. Some notes in response follow.
[Syria] [False flag] [BBC] [Propaganda]
The War on Social Media Facebook was the Deep State?s baby, why have they turned on it?
For a long time now, bubbling away on the mainstream media?s back-boiler, there?s been an on-going campaign to attack and undermine social media. It is multi-faceted, and unfocused, but constant. Seldom does a day go by, and never a week, that a story calling for limitation, regulation or outright banning of certain social media networks is called for.
In a perfect example of what I?m talking about, I just went to The Guardian to find a story they published criticising social media two days ago?and then found new story on the same topic published yesterday.
For months, years, we?ve been told how dangerous, immoral, out-of-control corrupt and just plain evil social media has become.
The anti-social media campaign first came into view in the UK, immediately after Jeremy Corbyn won his first Labour leadership election 2015. Just two months later Yvette Cooper MP, who lost to Corbyn (humiliatingly badly), launched her ?Reclaim the Web? campaign to ?stamp out? abuse of women on the internet.
This can be plainly seen as a direct response to Corbyn, who won the leadership in large part due to his followers swamping social media. Momentum, and others on the left, were vilified as misogynistic bullies, and social media were called on to ?regulate? the alleged ?bullying? of MPs.
The campaign tied in with The Guardian?s ?web we want? section, a long-running series of articles about how we need to shut down the internet to protect free speech. It fizzled completely (hopefully at least partly due to our response section, The Web THEY Want), but its slowburn successor is still going.
There are many recent examples.
[Social media] [Censorship]
Whom Not To Trust - U.S. Government Indicts Another Intercept Source
Another source that provided government secrets to The Intercept has been uncovered and indicted by the U.S. government.
The Intercept was created to privatize the National Security Agency documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The online magazine is financed by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of Ebay, who's is known for many shady connection to Obama administration and for promoting various regime change efforts.
[The Intercept] [Whistleblower]
Gunmen kill female ex-Afghan journalist in Kabul
Gunmen shot dead a former television journalist and adviser to the Afghan parliament in Kabul on Saturday, underlining threats to women and drawing widespread condemnation.
Mina Mangal, who used to report for prominent TV station Ariana News, was killed by two unidentified men on a motorbike close to her home in eastern Kabul, police spokesman Basir Mujahid said. She had been on her way to work as an adviser to the parliament?s cultural affairs commission.
There was no immediate word on the motive for the attack, but another Kabul police spokesman, Ferdous Farahmarz, said the cause may have been a family dispute.
U.S. Charges Former Intelligence Analyst With Leaking Classified Data To Reporter
May 9, 201911:31 AM ET
The indictment against Daniel Hale includes a chart of secret and top secret documents that he acquired and printed.
Federal agents have arrested a former intelligence analyst and charged him with giving classified information to a reporter. The Justice Department says Daniel Everette Hale, 31, of Nashville, Tenn., used his top-secret computer to print out dozens of documents related to counterterrorism operations while working as a contractor for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or NGA.
The instances in question occurred nearly five years ago, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday. Hale first met the reporter in question in April 2013, when he was still in the U.S. Air Force and working for the National Security Agency, according to the court documents. He began sharing information the next year, when he had left the military and was working for defense contractor Leidos at the NGA.
The Justice Department said in a statement that Hale met with the reporter "on multiple occasions, and, at times, communicated with the reporter via an encrypted messaging platform."
Starting in February 2014, according to the department, Hale printed six classified documents that were later published by the reporter's news outlet.
Sloppy Journalism: CNN Falsely Claims Venezuela?s Guaido Was Elected President in January
There was no election in January
By Jason Ditz
Global Research, May 07, 2019
Continuing to try to advance the US narrative that Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is the ?duly elected? president, CNN went to the trouble on Sunday afternoon of inventing an entire election to base this around.
In the CNN report, they declared ?pressure is mounting on Maduro to step down, following elections in January in which voters chose opposition leader Juan Guaido over him for president.? There was no election in January.
In reality, Venezuela?s presidential election was held on May 20, 2018. The opposition boycotted the vote, Maduro won with 67.8% of the vote, while Guaido did not participate at all.
Indeed, the only time Juan Guaido participated in a presidential vote of any kind was the 2012 Democratic Unity Roundtable?s presidential primary, which he lost. Guaido?s first claim to the presidency came in January of 2019, when he unilaterally declared himself ?acting president.?
Yet the Trump Administration not only endorsed Guaido as president at this time, they?ve begun referring to him as the ?duly elected? president despite such an election never taking place. US media outlets have parroted that claim, but CNN took it a step farther to invent the election too.
The CNN article was written by two senior writers, and had four others contribute to it. It is hard to imagine that none of them caught this false claim of a January vote. Yet the article remained unchanged throughout Sunday and overnight, and it was only some time on Monday that it was finally revised to say that Guaido had ?declared himself interim president.?
[Guaid?] [Media] [Venezuela]
National Security Letters
Since the first national security letter (NSL) statute was passed in 1986 and then dramatically expanded under the USA PATRIOT Act, the FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of such letters seeking the private telecommunications and financial records of Americans without any prior approval from courts. In addition to this immense investigatory power, NSL statutes also permit the FBI to unilaterally gag recipients and prevent them from criticizing such actions publicly. This combination of powers ? to investigate and to silence ? has coalesced to permit the FBI to wield enormous power and to operate without meaningful checks, far from the watchful eyes of the judicial branch. Not surprisingly, this lack of checks has contributed to a dramatic expansion in the use of these tools across the country. Indeed, for the period between 2003 and 2006 alone, almost 200,000 requests for private customer information were sought pursuant to various NSL statutes.
Assange to Extradition Court: ?I Won?t Surrender to the US for Doing Journalism?
May 2, 2019
The WikiLeaks founder appeared via video link in Westminster Magistrates Court for the first hearing in what could be a lengthy process in the US request for extradition.
By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
Julian Assange had his first day in court on Thursday in his fight against extradition to the United States in an historic press freedom case that could have a profound impact on the future of journalism.
Dressed in jeans, a dark jacket and a T-shirt, Assange appeared on a video screen inside a cramped courtroom in Westminster Magistrates Court in London. ?I won?t surrender to the U.S. for doing journalism that has won many awards and protected lives,? Assange told the court, according to a tweet from a USA Today correspondent.
Assange was arrested on April 11 after Ecuador lifted his political asylum at its embassy in London where Assange had lived since June 2012. On that day the U.S. unsealed an indictment against the publisher for conspiring with WikiLeaks? source Chelsea Manning to crack a password needed to hide Manning?s identity. Protecting a source is a routine part of investigative journalism.
The U.S. also filed a request that day to the British government to extradite Assange to face the charges, which carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Thursday was Assange?s first appearance in the extradition case before Judge Michael Snow.
Moon admin. teams up with Samsung in system semiconductors
Posted on : May.1,2019 18:50 KST Modified on : May.1,2019 18:50 KST
Observers express concern about reverting to chaebl-centered growth strategy
South Korean President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong at a production plant in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, on Apr. 30. (Blue House photo pool)
The Moon Jae-in administration is teaming up with Samsung. In his first visit to a domestic Samsung Electronics factory since taking office, South Korean President Moon joined Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong in declaring system semiconductors as a driving force for economic growth. Observers are viewing the move as the Moon administration?s full-scale return to a chaebol-centered growth strategy following its recent shift in focus from income-driven to innovation-based growth.
[Moon Jae-in] [Economic policy]
So Where is the Swedish Warrant?
April 30, 2019
If the Swedish allegations against Julian Assange were genuine and not simply a ruse to arrest him for extradition to the United States, where is the arrest warrant now from Sweden and what are the charges? Only the more minor allegation has passed the statute of limitations deadline. The major allegation, equivalent to rape, is still well within limits. Sweden has had seven years to complete the investigation and prepare the case. It is over two years since they interviewed Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy. They have had years and years to collect all the evidence and prepare the charges.
So where, Swedish prosecutors, are your charges? Where is your arrest warrant?
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Russia Catches Reuters in Cahoots With Pentagon to Peddle Venezuela Disinfo - Launches Criminal Proceedings
It is no secret that Reuters acts as an infowar arm of the Pentagon. This was demonstrated time and again in their disgraceful lying about the Ukraine conflict in 2014-15, the 2008 war with Georgia, and much else. Russia caught them red-handed this time, and is putting them in legal jeopardy.
John Helmer 10 hours ago | 1140 words 2,177 56
MORE: Media Criticism Stay classy MSM
The Reuters news agency has published a retraction of an ?exclusive? report on operations between the Venezuelan and Russian state oil companies, PDVSA and Rosneft, after disavowing the US-supplied source. Reuters has also acted after Rosneft applied for a criminal investigation of the media company?s operations in Russia by Moscow prosecutors.
The acknowledgment of misreporting has exposed evidence that Reuters? reporters and bureaux in Caracas, Venezuela, Mexico City, Houston, London and Washington are routinely relaying disinformation supplied by US Government agents in their attempt to damage Venezuelan, Russian, Indian and Chinese operations in the international oil market.
According to a publication by Reuters issued on Tuesday, April 23 ? but made to appear to have been published on April 18 ? the news agency has admitted it ?could not determine? its earlier allegation that a ?scheme uncovered by Reuters? was true. The new Reuters claim also disavows the charge that Rosneft was acting illegally with Petr?leos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) to bust US sanctions imposed on the Venezuelan company in January; and on Evrofinance Mosnarbank, a state bank, sanctioned on March 11.
Now, Reuters says, ?experts see no violation of sanctions.? The ?scheme uncovered by Reuters? reported on April 18 has been reprinted this week as a ?new approach described to Reuters.?
[Media] [Reuters] [Information war] [Russia confrontation] [Venezuela]
Washington?s Biggest Fairy Tale: ?Truth Will Out?
by James Bovard
April 17, 2019
The arrest of Julian Assange has produced rapturous cheering from the American political elite. Hillary Clinton declared that Assange ?must answer for what he has done.? Unfortunately, Assange?s arrest will do nothing to prevent the vast majority of conniving politicians and bureaucrats from paying no price for deceiving the American public.
?Truth will out? is a phrase that is routinely recited to keep Americans paying and obeying. Politicians and editorial writers toss this phrase out to simmer down any fears that the government might be conspiring against the people. Actually, ?truth will out? is the biggest fairy tale in Washington.
The phrase ?truth will out? is first recorded in Shakespeare?s Merchant of Venice. Often in Shakespeare?s plays, truths come out only after almost everyone has been conned, stabbed, or screwed. It?s not much better nowadays.
When it comes to politics, ?truth will out? should be confined to sarcasm and satire, not to serious pontificating.
[Deception] [Coverup] [Propaganda] [Wishful thinking]
Tulsi Gabbard on Assange
Jimmy Dore show
[Assange] [Whistleblower] [WikiLeaks]
7 Years of Lies About Assange Won?t Stop Now
April 12, 2019
One of the few towering figures of our time was reduced to nothing more than a sex pest and scruffy bail-skipper, writes Jonathan Cook.
By Jonathan Cook
For seven years, from the moment Julian Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, they have been telling us we were wrong, that we were paranoid conspiracy theorists. We were told there was no real threat of Assange?s extradition to the United States, that it was all in our fevered imaginations.
For seven years, we have had to listen to a chorus of journalists, politicians and ?experts? telling us that Assange was nothing more than a fugitive from justice, and that the British and Swedish legal systems could be relied on to handle his case in full accordance with the law. Barely a ?mainstream? voice was raised in his defense in all that time.
From the moment he sought asylum, Assange was cast as an outlaw. His work as the founder of Wikileaks ? a digital platform that for the first time in history gave ordinary people a glimpse into the darkest recesses of the most secure vaults in the deepest of Deep States ? was erased from the record.
Assange was reduced from one of the few towering figures of our time ? a man who will have a central place in history books, if we as a species live long enough to write those books ? to nothing more than a sex pest, and a scruffy bail-skipper.
Julian Assange, in or before 2006. (Martina Haris via Wikimedia Commons)
[Assange] [WikiLeaks] [Media]
Discuss: Julian Assange Arrested
This morning, officers of the Metropolitan police were invited into the Ecuadorian embassy by President Lenin Moreno. They proceeded to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and literally drag him out of the building.
Assange arrest video:
?The UK must resist this attempt by the Trump administration?https://t.co/fq1JGfw40u
? WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 11, 2019
The important facts of the case are as follows:
Julian Assange is not wanted for ANY CRIME, except skipping his bail. This carries a maximum sentence of 6 months under UK Law.
The Swedish authorities have dropped all their investigations of him for sexual assault. Read more on that here.
Assange has said, many times, that above all else he is avoiding being extradited to the US. US officials have, in the past, referenced the idea of assassinating him, and their intelligence services are known to use ?enhanced interrogation? techniques (aka torture).
The UN has found, multiple times, that Assange?s detention was inhumane and illegal under international law.
Spanish Police Probe Extortion Scheme Involving Surveillance on Assange
April 10, 2019
UPDATED: Suspects are being investigated in Spain for having tried to extort ?3 million from WikiLeaks in exchange for a huge cache of documents and surveillance videos of Assange inside Ecuador?s London embassy, including with his doctors and lawyers.
By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
A Spanish judge is investigating an alleged extortion scheme in which suspects in Madrid offered video and audio surveillance to the editor of WikiLeaks in exchange for ?3 million, WikiLeaks said on Wednesday.
The surveillance was taken over the past year inside the Ecuador embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has legally been granted political asylum since 2012, said Kristinn Hrafnsson, the WikiLeaks editor, at a press conference in the British capital. Included in the ?trove? of material was a copy of a legal document regarding Assange?s defense strategy that was briefly left behind in a conference room in the embassy, Hrafnsson said.
?It is a grave and serious concern when legal meetings are being spied upon and legal documents are stolen,? he said. ?That is something that not even prisoners have to endure.?
Assange was also filmed being examined by his doctor in the embassy, Hrafnsson said. ?Nobody expected that this was recorded and stored and found its way to some dubious individuals in Spain,? he said.
Fidel Narv?ez, Kristinn Hrafnsson and Jennifer Robinson at Wednesday?s press conference. (Ruptly/YouTube screenshot.)
Jennifer Robinson, Assange?s lawyer, called it a breach of attorney-client privilege. ?The documents you have seen [presented at the press conference] demonstrates just how much surveillance he has been under and it is a breach of confidence for us, his lawyers, and his doctors to provide medical care in the embassy,? Robinson said. ?This is a severe breach of attorney-client privilege and fundamentally undermines our ability to defend and provide defense to Julian Assange.?
Hrafnsson communicated with the alleged extortioners and was given samples of what they possessed, the WikiLeaks editor said. He then traveled to Spain and secretly videotaped a meeting with ?four individuals? in which Hrafnsson learned the extent of the material that they possessed. They told them him that ?3 million was ?a good deal? as they had had offers of ?9 million for the material. Hrafnsson then went to the Spanish police who opened an investigation. He said he knew the identity of one of the four who had a prior conviction on similar charges and was seen as the ?ringleader.?
[Assange] [Ecuador] [WikiLeaks]
On the Pavement with Wikileaks
April 8, 2019
When Julian Assange does leave the embassy, it will be important to try to focus a hostile media on why it is Assange is actually wanted for extradition, Craig Murray comments.
By Craig Murray
Entirely unexpectedly, I have been down in London this last three days outside and around the Ecuadorean Embassy, following WikiLeaks? announcement that their sources indicate Julian might be expelled within hours or days. Plainly Julian?s position within the Embassy has deteriorated fundamentally, to the extent he is now treated openly as a closely guarded prisoner. I still have not myself been granted permission to visit him and he is now very isolated.
Nothing has happened so far this weekend, though I stated from the start that if the police were going to move in, the most likely time would be 4am on Monday morning. There is a thought that the massive media presence occasioned by WikiLeaks? announcement may have succeeded in deterring President Lenin Moreno from the expulsion. Let us hope that will prove the case.
JUST NOW: Heavily armed UK diplomatic police question driver of "free speech" truck outside of Ecuadorian embassy in London pic.twitter.com/tJan24DlbW
? WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 5, 2019
I am very exhausted, having been more or less on 24 hour watch for three days. It was also somewhat difficult to tell Nadira her birthday celebration had shifted without notice from a restaurant in Edinburgh to a wet pavement in London. But I was very pleased to have a very fruitful in depth conversation with Kristin Hrafnsson, editor in chief of Wikileaks. Our thoughts ran along these lines, and as this does not involve secrets but rather media handling, I see no harm in sharing these thoughts with you.
When Julian does leave the Embassy, whatever the circumstances in which he does that, it will be for a day or two the largest media story in the world and undoubtedly will lead all the news bulletins across every major country. The odds are that he will be leaving and facing a fight against extradition to the United States, on charges arising from the Chelsea Manning releases which revealed a huge amount about U.S. war crimes and other illegal acts.
It will be very important to try to focus a hostile media on why it is Julian is actually wanted for extradition. Not for the non-existent collusion with Russia to assist Trump, which is an entirely fake narrative. Not for meetings with Paul Manafort which never happened. Not for the allegations in Sweden which fell apart immediately they were subject to rational scrutiny. And not for any nonsense about whether he hacked the communications in the Embassy or cleaned up the cat litter.
This is not going to be an easy task because pretty well all of the Western media is going to want to focus on these false anti-Assange narratives, and they will be determined to give as little attention as possible to the fact he is a publisher facing trial for publishing leaked state documents which revealed state wrongdoing.
It is a classic and fundamental issue of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Drawing together a team that can get this message across in such MSM windows as are afforded, as well as through social media, is an important task. The team needs to be in readiness and to be backed by a suitable support infrastructure that can be dusted off and sprung into action. The public framing of Julian?s position will undoubtedly impact on the final outcome; that is why the MSM have put in such a consistent effort to demonise one of the most interesting figures and original thinkers of our time.
If the balloon really had gone up this weekend, we would have been woefully unprepared to deal with the task of explaining the true story. If nothing else, this weekend?s alarm has been very helpful in concentrating minds on the size of the task.
[Assange] [Whistleblower] [Repression] [Wikileaks]
5G Stunt Is Symbolic of This Gov't Folly
April 05, 2019 13:49
Korea by some reckoning became the first country in the world to offer commercial 5G mobile phone services on Wednesday night. The service was scheduled to start at midnight on Friday, but the government abruptly pushed it forward after a tipoff that Verizon of the U.S. was going to steal a march on Korea and bring its own launch forward by a week. But all the escapade has exposed is the folly of the current government.
SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus had originally planned to roll out commercial 5G services in late March. But at the time the government put the brakes on them because it felt their service charges were too high. In other words, government meddling first slowed the process down and then frantically speeded it up, like a slapstick film.
5G mobile connections are supposed to be 20 times faster than 4G services and will constitute a main artery for future technology. They are essential for self-driving cars and smart factories, cities and healthcare. Countries that really gain an early edge in 5G technologies could become the leaders of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Korea got a head start in the headlines by connecting a handful of celebrities this week, but in reality the U.S. and China are already far ahead because they are building proper networks for all and have more technology.
According to a U.S. report, Korea did rank first along with China last year in terms of 5G competitiveness but fell to third place this year. Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese companies now hold the bulk of core 5G-related patents.
[5G] [China competition]
Venezuela Coverage Takes Us Back to Golden Age of Lying About Latin America
by Mark Cook ? March 1, 2019
Largely unreported in the mainstream press, thousands march in Caracas. (February 2, 2019)
While sitting in my apartment in Caracas, Venezuela, and reading the online edition of Time magazine (5/19/16), I noticed a report asserting that there was not even something as basic as aspirin to be found anywhere in Venezuela: ?Basic medicines like aspirin are nowhere to be found.?
I walked out of the apartment to the nearest pharmacy, four blocks away, where I found plenty of aspirin, as well as acetaminophen (generic Tylenol) and ibuprofen (generic Advil), in a well-stocked pharmacy with a knowledgeable professional staff that would be the envy of any US drugstore.
A few days after the Time story, CNBC (6/22/16) carried a claim that there was no acetaminophen to be found anywhere, either: ?Basic things like Tylenol aren?t even available.? That must have taken the Pfizer Corporation by surprise, since it was their Venezuelan subsidiary, Pfizer Venezuela SA, which produced the acetaminophen I purchased. (Neither Time writer Ian Bremer nor CNBC commentator Richard Washington was in Venezuela, and there was no evidence offered that either of them had ever been there.)
I purchased all three products, plus cough syrup and other over-the-counter medications, because I doubted that anyone in the United States would believe me if I couldn?t produce the medications in their packages.
[Venezuela] [Propaganda] [Sanctions] [Covert]
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The game is up: you cannot install and run 5G without Huawei
20 March, 2019 by stalinsmoustache,
For some time now, Huawei has been quietly confident that no-one else has the ability to install and deploy 5G technologies without involving Huawei itself.
Now the new figures are out from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). In 2018, Huawei?s had 5,405 PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) applications, which ? as Francis Gurry, the director of WIPO observed ? is ?an all-time record by anyone.? By comparison, the runner-up was Mitsubishi, in Japan, with 2,812.
And the vast majority of Huawei?s patents relate to 5G, to which the company has been devoting world-leading investment in research and development, backed strongly by the Chinese government.
[Huawei] [5G] [China competition] [Patents] [Decline]
U.S. Warns of N.Korean Cyber Warfare
By Jo Jae-hee
March 20, 2019 12:21
The U.S. has issued a warning against North Korean cyber crimes and promised a firm response.
"In the past two years we witness North Korea's 'Wanna Cry' ransomware spread to more than 150 countries, holding healthcare systems hostage and bringing factories to a halt," U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen told a security forum at George Washington University on Monday.
Ransomware is a hacking scheme designed to extort money from victims after malware is planted in their computer system and encrypts key files to make them inaccessible. But even if gullible victims pay up, typically in Bitcoin, their computers are never unlocked again.
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen speaks at a security forum at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. on Monday. /AP
The Wanna Cry ransomware caused an estimated US$570 million worth of damage throughout the world, paralyzing the healthcare system in the U.K. and destroying the computer systems of French automaker Renault and the Russian Interior Ministry starting in May 2017.
The attack contaminated about 300,000 computers in 150 countries.
"On top of my list of threats that many of you can guess the word cyber is circled, highlighted and underlined," Nielsen said. "And no matter what malware you develop, I promise you, the engines of our democracy are far stronger and far more resilient than any code you can write."
"Let me just send one last message to our cyber adversaries," she added. "You cannot hide behind your keyboards and computer screens, we are watching you."
North Korean hacking groups like Lazarus and APT38 have also caused damage to financial institutions, NGOs and businesses around the world.
[Cyberwar] [Hacking] [WannaCry] [Canard] [Pushback]
The guilty silence over the jailing of Chelsea Manning
By Andre Damon ? 18 March 2019
It has been ten days since a federal judge imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning for refusing to testify before the secret grand jury in Virginia, which is preparing an indictment against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.
After running perfunctory news reports of Manning?s jailing, no major US newspapers have published any follow-up reporting on the imprisonment of the United States? most famous whistleblower and political prisoner.
None of the dozens of professional moralists employed by the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal who make it their business to publicize ?human rights? violations to promote US imperialist interests have written a single column protesting the imprisonment of Manning.
These newspapers regularly report on the alleged imprisonment and mistreatment of journalists, whistleblowers and dissidents at the hands of the United States? geopolitical rivals Russia and China. But when it comes to the jailing of a courageous whistleblower in the United States, they are silent.
The Democratic Party has likewise said nothing. There has been no protest from any significant Democratic politician, including from the party?s so-called ?progressive? wing. Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have not spoken in Manning?s defense. Phone calls and emails by the WSWS asking for clarification to the offices of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez were not returned.
[Chelsea Manning] [Whistleblower] [Double standards] [Political Prisoners] [Media]
Colbert Smears Tulsi Gabbard To Her Face While Telling Zero Jokes
Hawaii Congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard recently appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where instead of the light, jokey banter about politics and who she is as a person that Democratic presidential candidates normally encounter on late night comedy programs, the show?s host solemnly ran down a list of textbook beltway smears against Gabbard and made her defend them in front of his audience.
Normally when a Democratic Party-aligned politician appears on such a show, you can expect jokes about how stupid Trump is and how badly they?re going to beat the Republicans, how they?re going to help ordinary Americans, and maybe some friendly back-and-forth about where they grew up or something. Colbert had no time to waste on such things, however, because this was not an interview with a normal Democratic Party-aligned politician: this was a politician who has been loudly and consistently criticizing US foreign policy.
After briefly asking his guest who she is and why she?s running for president, Colbert jumped right into it by immediately bringing up Syria and Assad, the primary line of attack employed against Gabbard by establishment propagandists in American mainstream media.
Colbert: Do you think the Iraq war was worth it?
Colbert: Do you think that our involvement in Syria has been worth it?
Colbert: Do you think that ISIS could have been defeated without our involvement and without our support of the local troops there?
Gabbard: There are two things we need to address in Syria. One is a regime change war that was first launched by the United States in 2011, covertly, led by the CIA. That is a regime change war that has continued over the years, that has increased the suffering of the Syrian people, and strengthened groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS, because the CIA was using American taxpayer dollars to provide arms and training and equipment to these terrorist groups to get them to overthrow the government. So that is a regime change war that we should not have been engaging.
This interview was easily Colbert?s most blatant establishment rim job I?ve ever seen, surpassing even the time he corrected his own audience when they cheered at James Comey?s firing to explain to them that Comey is a good guy now and they?re meant to like him. Colbert?s show is blatant propaganda for human livestock, and the fact that this is what American ?comedy? shows look like now is nauseating.
Colbert: So, but if it is someone like Bashar al-Assad, who gasses his own people, or who engages in war crimes against his own people, should the United States not be involved?
[Media] [Gabbard] [Imperialism]
Desperate Venezuelans swarm sewage drains in search of water
Brian Ellsworth, Vivian Sequera
As Venezuela?s five-day power blackout left homes without water, Lilibeth Tejedor found herself looking for it on Monday in the last place she would have imagined - a drain pipe feeding into a river carrying sewage through the capital, Caracas.
People collect water released through a sewage drain that feeds into the Guaire River, which carries most of the city's wastewater, in Caracas, Venezuela March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Tejedor, 28, joined dozens of people who had flocked to the Guaire river, which snakes along the bottom of a sharp ravine alongside Caracas? main highway, to fill up a four-gallon (15 liter) plastic container.
Unlike the fetid liquid flowing through the Guaire river, the water emerging from the pipe was at least clear. Those who gathered to collect it said the water had been released by local authorities from reservoirs.
They added, however, that it was being carried through unsanitary pipes and should only be used to flush toilets or scrub floors.
?I?ve never even seen this before. It?s horrible, horrible,? said Tejedor, preparing to carry the container on a small hand cart back to her home in the neighborhood of San Agustin.
Tejedor, who works at a computer technology store, has a two-year-old daughter and takes care of two nieces.
?The ones that are most affected are the children, because how do you tell a child that there?s no water?? she said.
The lack of water has become one of the most excruciating side effects of the nationwide blackout that the government of President Nicolas Maduro has blamed on U.S.-backed sabotage but his critics call the product of corruption and incompetence.
[Venezuela] [Covert] [Mismanagement] [Cyberwar]
Trump once again requests deep cuts in U.S. science spending
By Science News Staff
Mar. 11, 2019 , 12:15 PM
For the third year in a row, President Donald Trump?s administration has unveiled a budget request to Congress that calls for deep spending cuts at many federal science agencies, including a 15% cut for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a 12% cut for the National Science Foundation (NSF), while providing hefty increases for the military.
But the $4.7 trillion request for the 2020 fiscal year that begins 1 October, released today, is already drawing bipartisan pushback from lawmakers in Congress and?as with past Trump administration requests?many of the cuts are unlikely to be enacted into law.
[Trump] [S&T] [Incompetence] [Decline]
Will national security concerns end the globalisation of technology?
7 March 2019
Author: Mark Gregory, RMIT University
Technology is a key battlefield according to recent Five Eyes? moves to limit China?s foreign technology acquisition and expansion activities. The goal is to restrict the use of telecommunications equipment and systems provided by vendors residing in non-democratic nations such as China that might be subject to government instructions to participate in espionage or intellectual property theft.
A man visits the Huawei Cyber Security Transparency Centre in Brussels, Belgium, 5 March 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Yves Herman).
After decades of promoting peace through economic cooperation with non-democratic countries, this change of direction is partly due to an exponential increase in what a nation?s security services can achieve globally by harnessing telecommunications and technology.
On 28 January 2019 it was announced that two indictments were returned by US courts alleging a total of 23 crimes were committed by Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, its affiliates and its CFO Meng Wanzhou. Meng was recently detained in Canada pending an extradition request by the United States.
The charges include wire fraud, conspiracy, violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and stealing trade secrets from German-owned telecommunications company T-Mobile. Meng is accused of misleading US banks about business deals in Iran and is now before a Canadian court. Huawei and Meng deny any wrongdoing.
The actions against Huawei by US authorities appear to be part of the Trump administration?s strategy to tackle the trade imbalance with China and the forced intellectual property transfer regime for companies doing business or manufacturing in China. They also target industrial policy supporting homegrown competitors that is unfair to non-Chinese competitors.
[China confrontation] [Huawei] [Imperial dilemma]
Russia Internet Protests - These Crowd Estimates Are Propaganda
The Russian parliament is currently discussing a new law that will establish an autonomous internet in Russia. The network will no longer depend on servers and services hosted in other countries.
The U.S. dislikes that as shutting down Russia's internet by manipulating servers in the U.S. will no longer be an option. Spying on Russian internet traffic will also become more difficult.
[cybersecurity] [Media] [Propaganda]
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Counterpunch Shadowboxes and Loses
In a fair boxing match, opponents enter the ring with similarly padded gloves and battle under the bright lights for the world to see. There are, of course, cases where one fighter cheats, as in the infamous case in 1983 when Luis Resto wore weakly padded gloves and hand wraps hardened with plaster to make them rock solid. His opponent, Billy Collins, an up-and-coming boxer from Tennessee with a 14-0 record, was permanently and very seriously injured in the fight at Madison Square Garden. His eyes were battered shut and his vision damaged. He never fought again and died depressed the following year at age twenty-two.
In the fight for truth in the public arena, similar subterfuges occur.
To battle honestly in the open forum, to argue to and fro squarely, is often prevented in advance by eliminating an opponent?s voice from the debate. This is the typical method used by the corporate mass media that stack the deck with sycophants and refuse dissidents a place to voice their ideas.
Then there is the masquerade of fighting an opponent who is really a collaborator and benefactor, whose punches one counters in a game of shadow boxing meant to convince the audience that the fight is real and you are on their side. Some alternative media use this technique because they are gatekeepers for the power elite.
Sometimes this ruse is so blatant that the fix becomes transparent because the smart-asses who play this game screw up, yet they still expect their real opponents to shut up and walk away because their fixer?s mantra is ?Never apologize, never explain.? It has always been the code of the rich and powerful.
Some are brawlers, however, and fight back against this bullshit.
The well-known leftist website Counterpunch is an example of the ?never apologize, never explain? school. A number of writers and journalists who have published many pieces at Counterpunch have been banned from this site in recent years without an explanation, Andre Vltchek and C.J. Hopkins being two who crossed an invisible boundary the Shadow had drawn and were never again published by Counterpunch. Others, smelling an odd odor, have walked away. The numbers are growing.
I?ve recently seen Counterpunch shadowbox and the Shadow won.
Glenn Greenwald: As Bezos Protests Invasion of His Privacy, Amazon Builds Global Surveillance State
February 11, 2019
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is publicly accusing the owner of the National Enquirer of ?extortion and blackmail,? weeks after the paper revealed details about his extramarital affair. Bezos had recently hired a private investigator to determine how the tabloid newspaper obtained private text messages between him and his lover, and whether the paper?s actions were politically motivated. The National Enquirer?s parent company, American Media, Inc., responded to Bezos?s investigation by threatening to publish revealing photos of Bezos if he did not agree to publicly state that the Enquirer?s coverage was not politically motivated or influenced by political forces. We speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald about the dispute and Amazon?s role in building the surveillance state.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: We begin today?s show looking at the ongoing fight between the world?s richest man and the National Enquirer. Last week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos publicly accused the owner of the tabloid newspaper of ?extortion and blackmail,? weeks after the paper revealed details about his extramarital affair. Bezos had recently hired a private investigator to determine how the tabloid newspaper, the National Enquirer, obtained private text messages between him and his lover, and whether the paper?s actions were politically motivated. The National Enquirer's parent company, American Media, Inc., responded to Bezos's investigation by threatening to publish revealing photos of Bezos if he did not agree to publicly state that the National Enquirer?s coverage is not politically motivated or influenced by political forces.
[Bezos] [Amazon] [Surveillance] [AI]
N.Korea 'Plants Virus in S.Korean Bus Apps'
By Kim Bong-kee
February 11, 2019 11:49
A virus suspected of having been planted by North Korean hackers has been found in some smartphone bus navigation apps in South Korea.
Computer security firm McAfee said Sunday that it discovered malicious codes in four Android bus navigation apps for Daegu, Gwangju, Jeonju and Changwon. McAfee said the malicious codes were designed to siphon information to a server operated by hackers and added that they went beyond mere phishing and were targeted to steal military and political information.
The Android apps have been available on Google Play since 2013, and the malicious codes were planted during regular updates since Aug. 9 last year. They have now all been patched.
McAfee did not pinpoint North Korea as the source of the cyber attacks, but South Korean cyber security experts said the 42 keywords implanted in them -- like "defense," "tank," "National Intelligence Service," "North Korea" and "Moon Jae-in" -- point to North Korea.
Last month, reporters covering the Unification Ministry received suspicious e-mails containing malicious codes, raising suspicions that the North was behind the attempts. Around 200 North Korean hacker groups are believed to be operating overseas.
The Unseen Robert Frank: Outtakes From ?The Americans?
Thousands of Robert Frank?s unpublished photographs taken during and after his journeys that led to ?The Americans? have never been seen before by wide audiences.
By Jordan G. Teicher
Feb. 4, 2019
In his introduction to Robert Frank?s seminal photo book, ?The Americans,? Jack Kerouac claimed the photographer had captured ?scenes that have never been seen before on film.?
He was referring not to particular people, places or objects but to ?the humor, the sadness, the EVERYTHING-ness and American-ness? Mr. Frank documented as he traveled the country on a Guggenheim Fellowship beginning in 1955. At a time when mainstream publications tended to favor a rosy view of American life, Mr. Frank presented a comparatively stark vision that also challenged the aesthetics of popular photography.
The CIA Then and Now: Old Wine in New Bottles
The Nazis had a name for their propaganda and mind-control operations: weltanschauungskrieg ? ?world view warfare.? As good students, they had learned many tricks of the trade from their American teachers, including Sigmund Freud?s nephew, Edward Bernays, who had honed his propagandistic skills for the United States during World War I and had subsequently started the public relations industry in New York City, an industry whose raison d??tre from the start was to serve the interests of the elites in manipulating the public mind.
In 1941, U.S. Intelligence translated weltanschauungskrieg as ?psychological warfare,? a phrase that fails to grasp the full dimensions of the growing power and penetration of U.S. propaganda, then and now.
Of course, the American propaganda apparatus was just then getting started on an enterprise that has become the epitome of successful world view warfare programs, a colossal beast whose tentacles have spread to every corner of the globe and whose fabrications have nestled deep within the psyches of many hundreds of millions of Americans and people around the world.
[CIA] [IO] [Propaganda]
?New Knowledge? and the same old same old
Jonathon Morgan, CEO of New Knowledge and former State Department employee.
Most of us in the UK-based alternate media are familiar with the Integrity Initiative by now. A disinformation campaign funded by the foreign office through the (very dodgy sounding) Institute for Statecraft. Their job was to smear people opposing Theresa May?s government ? be they foreign or domestic. The scale of the scandal hasn?t been appreciated by the public, thanks to the muteness of the mainstream media, but the foreign office using public money to have the intelligence agencies smear the opposition should be enough to bring down any government.
Thanks to some excellent work by people in the alternate media and some MPs, the Integrity Initiative?s website is currently empty ?pending an investigation of data theft?. More honestly, it had become an embarrassment. They will likely disappear and then relaunch under a new name, and may indeed have already done so. For now, the Integrity Initiative is done.
Less well-known in this country is New Knowledge, a direct US-based parallel of the Integrity Initiative. They?ve been conducting ?counter-propaganda? and ?social media experiments? in the US since 2015, but only just hit the headlines.
Who are ?New Knowledge??
A good question ? we don?t really know. Their website claims to have ?thousands of volunteers?. This may or may not be true ? we only have three named people:
?but what a three they are. Jonathon Morgan, formerly of the State Department and Brookings Institute. Ryan Fox, formerly of military intelligence. Renee DiResta, formerly of Wall Street.
The State Department, military intelligence and Wall Street. The unholy trinity.
Obviously, some questions present themselves. Primarily, can we really trust all those
The Intelligent use of Intelligence
Posted on 1 February 2019
The United States Intelligence Community presents an annual assessment of national security threats to Congress. President Trump and the US Intelligence agencies are at odds over the 2019 Report. Putting aside Trump?s simplistic and intuitive understanding and his disregard for any evidence that contradicts his preconceptions, the enthusiasm with which Trump?s antagonists have grasped the agencies? judgements also raises an important question about the value and use of intelligence product.
Trump?s telling the US intelligence chiefs to ?go back to school? stirred a recollection from my brief time in the intelligence world. Fresh to government and the Defence Intelligence Organisation in 1986 I was tasked with covering Vietnam. At one Director?s briefing I reported cautiously on the prospects of some reforms coming out of 6th National Congress. Immediately following the briefing, I was hauled into the Military Deputy Director?s Office and informed that the Vietnamese ?live in caves and eat rats?. I was instructed not to brief positively again on the Vietnamese Communists changing stripes.
[Intelligence Community] [cbw] [Stupidity]
N.Korea Runs 200 Hacker Groups Overseas
By Kim Myong-song
January 30, 2019 12:25
About 200 North Korean hacker groups are working overseas to earn hard currency and gather information by selling malware built by a global app developer, a source said Tuesday.
Their main customers are dealers in the West, including the U.S. and Canada. "North Korean hacker groups in China, Russia and Southeast Asia are taking orders from dealers in the U.S., Canada, Switzerland, and Sweden through a site (www.freelancer.com) to build software and plant malware in it," a source said Tuesday. "This is called 'Operation Trojan Horse.'"
They are believed to hack into foreign companies' systems using the malware to collect information and steal money. "There are currently about 200 North Korean hacker groups overseas, each of which is sending US$400,000 to $1 million to Pyongyang annually," the source said.
Each group consists of about five to 10 hackers working behind front companies camouflaged as trading firms set up by locals in the countries where they operate.
The source said the hackers are employed by the North's General Reconnaissance Bureau, the top spy agency, and at first specialized in cyber warfare like distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. But more recently they have focused on earning hard currency by hacking as the regime runs out of cash amid international sanctions.
Ryu Dong-ryeol of the Korea Institute of Liberal Democracy said they earn up to 1 trillion won a year and are also active in South Korea.
Voice of America said on Tuesday said the U.S. Congress is seeking various ways to guard against cyber attacks from North Korea.
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Silence of the Lambs: The Case of Marzieh Hashemi
by Rannie Amiri
January 25, 2019
In the wake of the outcry after the abduction and murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi?in a foreign country and under the directive of a rogue Crown Prince?one would think the threshold to condemn the detention of an American journalist in the United States without charge or trial would be quite low. Unfortunately, it has proven to be nearly insurmountable.
Marzieh Hashemi, a US citizen and anchorwoman of Iran?s English-language news station, PressTV, had been held under these circumstances for 10 days beginning shortly after her arrival to St. Louis Lambert International AirportJan. 12 to work on a documentary on the Black Lives Matter movement. She was finally released, again without charge, on Wed Jan. 23.
Hashemi was purportedly an alleged material witness in an as-yet unspecified investigation. She was forced to remove her headscarf and offered pork to eat, both against the tenets of her religion, before being transferred to Washington, D.C. to an unknown location.
As such, the muted response of those organizations whose primary purpose is to stand for press freedoms and human rights and against religious intolerance was rather remarkable.
The Committee to Protect Journalists ?expressed concern? in their statementon the situation but simultaneously found it necessary to add that, ?Iran routinely jails journalists? as if to provide pretext for the US to do likewise.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the self-proclaimed largest US Muslim civil rights advocacy organization, called onthe Department of Justice to merely ?explain? why an American citizen living in Iran was deprived of her religious and due process rights. Indeed, CAIR?s national executive director politely asked law enforcement officials to just ?clarify? the matter.
The incarceration of Hashemi was nowhere to be found on the Reporters Without Borders action page. Even the American Civil Liberties Union was seemingly mum on the case despite its salient ?No Charges? No Trials? No Justice? articleon Indefinite Detention.
[Iran confrontation] [Marzieh Hashemi] [Censorship] [Hypocrisy] [Media]
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
by Robert Fisk
January 14, 2019
I hate television ?experts?, the infamous ?analysts? who know all ? and support all ? about the military, the televisual ex-generals with vain presidential ambitions and the infamous American ?think tank? personnel whose right-wing, pro-Israeli beliefs are carefully shielded from viewers by the US networks who employ them. I always characterise the antiseptic and pseudo-academic institutions to which they belong as the ?Institute for Preposterous Affairs?.
The Fisk ?IPA? contains hundreds of robotic folk who will churn out claptrap about ?key players?, ?stakeholders? and ?moderate allies? and, of course, ?world terror?. They turn up on CNN, Fox and Russia Today. And, of course, the BBC.
But William Arkin was always a bit different. This ex-US marine intelligence author of ground-breaking work on secret CIA ?black sites? and equally secret US weapons dumps (nuclear and non-nuclear) has a respectful audience at both Harvard and Maxwell US Air Force Base. And when he quits, I take notice.
Here?s a guy the Reagan administration wanted to send to prison for revealing the location of US and Soviet nuclear weapons, and who ? in his own words ? ?had to fight editors who couldn?t believe that there would be a war in Iraq?. He?s just resigned his job as a talking head. Goodbye NBC News. That?s what I call a real story.
And here?s what Arkin told his colleagues about the American military when he left NBC last week. ?There is not a soul in Washington,? he wrote to them, ?who can say that they have won or stopped any conflict. And though there might be the beloved perfumed princes in the form of the [David] Petraeuses and Wes Clarks, or the so-called warrior monks like James Mattis and HR McMaster, we?ve had more than a generation of national security leaders who have sadly and fraudulently done little of consequence.
[US military] [Media]
For Hollywood, ?Vice? Is Remarkably Astute About Politics
January 10, 2019
Adam McKay?s movie may be flawed, but it?s still must-see for his depiction of how Cheney amassed power by exploiting Watergate, an inexperienced president and 9/11, writes James DiEugenio.
By James DiEugenio
Special to Consortium News
In 2015, director Adam McKay did something unusual in Hollywood. He made a good film out of a good book. In fact, one could argue that McKay?s movie ?The Big Short? is even better than Michael Lewis? book. It is funnier, has a faster pace and is much more innovative stylistically.
McKay has now done something even more unusual for Hollywood. He has made a good film about an unattractive and unlikeable character, former Vice-President Dick Cheney. Appropriately, the film is called ?Vice.? I am going to say some critical things about ?Vice.? But let me start by recommending that everyone who reads this website see this film. It?s not often that Hollywood produces a film this honest, ambitious and intelligent about the contemporary American political scene.
Covert British Military-Smear Machine Moving into US
January 10, 2019
After mobilizing a disinformation campaign across Europe, documents show that the Integrity Initiative is now infiltrating the U.S., report Max Blumenthal and Mark Ames.
By Max Blumenthal and Mark Ames
A bombshell domestic spy scandal has been unfolding in Britain, after hacked internal communications exposed a covert U.K. state military-intelligence psychological warfare operation targeting its own citizens and political figures in allied NATO countries under the cover of fighting ?Russian disinformation.?
The leaked documents revealed a secret network of spies, prominent journalists and think-tanks colluding under the umbrella of a group called ?Integrity Initiative? to shape domestic opinion?and to smear political opponents of the right-wing Tory government, including the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbin.
Until now, this Integrity Initiative domestic spy scandal has been ignored in the American media, perhaps because it has mostly involved British names. But it is clear that the influence operation has already been activated in the U.S.. Hacked documents reveal that the Integrity Initiative is cultivating powerful allies inside the State Department, top D.C. think tanks, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, where it has gained access to Katharine Gorka and her husband, the fascist-linked cable news pundit Sebastian Gorka.
The Integrity Initiative has spelled out plans to expand its network across the U.S., meddling in American politics and recruiting ?a new generation of Russia watchers? behind the false guise of a non-partisan charity. Moreover, the group has hired one of the most notorious American ?perception management? specialists, John Rendon, to train its clusters of pundits and cultivate relationships with the media.
[Integrity Initiative] [Russia confrontation] [Front] [Propaganda]
The chilling manipulations of the Institute for Statecraft are straight out of the cold war playbook
As the prospect of a socialist government is now a real possibility, it seems that vested interests will stoop to all manner of dirty tricks and smears to prevent that eventuality, says CHRIS WILLIAMSON
OVER the past couple of months, I have been investigating the activities of the Institute for Statecraft and its so-called ?Integrity Initiative,? after some of its dubious actions were highlighted in recently published hacked documents.
They have registered premises just outside the Scottish village of Auchtermuchty and an office suite in an exclusive location near Temple Station in central London.
In response to one of my parliamentary questions on December 3, Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan said: ?The Institute for Statecraft is an independent Scottish charitable body whose work seeks to improve governance and enhance national security. They launched the Integrity Initiative in 2015 to defend democracy against disinformation.?
The problem is that this ?charitable body? hasn?t confined itself to that and has strayed into smearing Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.
[Integrity Initiative] [Russia confrontation] [Front] [Propaganda] [Corbyn]
How a NeoCon-Backed ?Fact Checker? Plans to Wage War on Independent Media
As Newsguard?s project advances, it will soon become almost impossible to avoid this neocon-approved news site?s ranking systems on any technological device sold in the United States.
by Whitney Webb
January 09th, 2019
By Whitney Webb Whitney Webb @_whitneywebb
MINNEAPOLIS ? Soon after the social media ?purge? of independent media sites and pages this past October, a top neoconservative insider ? Jamie Fly ? was caught stating that the mass deletion of anti-establishment and anti-war pages on Facebook and Twitter was ?just the beginning? of a concerted effort by the U.S. government and powerful corporations to silence online dissent within the United States and beyond.
While a few, relatively uneventful months in the online news sphere have come and gone since Fly made this ominous warning, it appears that the neoconservatives and other standard bearers of the military-industrial complex and the U.S. oligarchy are now poised to let loose their latest digital offensive against independent media outlets that seek to expose wrongdoing in both the private and public sectors.
As MintPress News Editor-in-Chief Mnar Muhawesh recently wrote, MintPress was informed that it was under review by an organization called Newsguard Technologies, which described itself to MintPress as simply a ?news rating agency? and asked Muhawesh to comment on a series of allegations, several of which were blatantly untrue. However, further examination of this organization reveals that it is funded by and deeply connected to the U.S. government, neo-conservatives, and powerful monied interests, all of whom have been working overtime since the 2016 election to silence dissent to American forever-wars and corporate-led oligarchy.
Dad?s Army?s cover blown
A formidable and secret UK government-funded anti-Russian StratCom (strategic communication) enterprise, its cover having recently been embarrassingly blown, now presents itself as a bumbling Dad?s Army outfit. But don?t be fooled: this pussycat is a tiger.
This published-sources-based story has been around for a few weeks but has so far gone completely unreported in Australian media: which is odd, because it is in my opinion quite an important foreign affairs story for Australia.
A lengthy set of files, made up of downloaded (or hacked) Integrity Initiative and Institute for Statecraft papers, was published online in late November by British contrarian writer Tim Hayward, as a ?working file in progress?, under the title ?Briefing note on the Integrity Initiative?, with authors Paul McKeigue, David Miller, Jake Mason, and Piers Robinson (who call themselves the ?Working Group on Syria Propaganda and Media?). The URL is here.
The authors introduce their set of papers as follows:
A close examination of past and present posts held by individuals associated with the Integrity Initiative indicates that [TK- British] specialists in military intelligence and other senior military personnel with responsibility for StratCom (strategic communication) operations are closely involved in the programme.
The activities of the Integrity Initiative include:
[Front] [Russia confrontation] [Integrity Initiative]
Social Media Storms And Nuclear Early Warning Systems: A Deep Dive And Speed Scenarios Workshop Report
Nautilus Institute, Technology For Global Security, Preventive Defense Project
January 8, 2019
This workshop concluded that: ?[I]ndividuals, organizations, and even states may start to use social media to try to provoke nuclear attacks against their adversaries; or for other political-ideological or religious reasons; that they will be effective in terms of reaching some highly influential people as well as large numbers of people; and included in these two types of readers are likely to be some people making nuclear early warning assessments, and nuclear command decisions? and: ?The workshop participants were convinced that social media platforms and social media users can shift the center of gravity away from the current, celebrity-driven and conflict-amplifying social media conflict amplifying dynamic that degrades the quality of much information and towards more reliable, authenticated information while preserving the ability of users to free speech and near-instantaneous networking.
This report was prepared by staff of Nautilus Institute, Preventive Defense Project Stanford University, and Technology for Global Security with assistance from N Square Collaborative. It is the report of the October 20, 2018 workshop on Social Media Storms and Nuclear Early Warning Systems. The workshop was co-sponsored by the Nautilus Institute, the Preventive Defense Project?Stanford University, and Technology for Global Security, and was funded by the MacArthur Foundation. This paper is published simultaneously here by Technology for Global Security.
[Social media] [Nuclear war]
The investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, in his memoir ?Reporter,? describes a moment when as a young reporter he overheard a Chicago cop admit to murdering an African-American man. The murdered man had been falsely described by police as a robbery suspect who had been shot while trying to avoid arrest. Hersh frantically called his editor to ask what to do.
?The editor urged me to do nothing,? he writes. ?It would be my word versus that of all the cops involved, and all would accuse me of lying. The message was clear: I did not have a story. But of course I did.? He describes himself as ?full of despair at my weakness and the weakness of a profession that dealt so easily with compromise and self-censorship.?
Hersh, the greatest investigative reporter of his generation, uncovered the U.S. military?s chemical weapons program, which used thousands of soldiers and volunteers, including pacifists from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as unwitting human guinea pigs to measure the impact of biological agents including tularemia, yellow fever, Rift Valley fever and the plague. He broke the story of the My Lai massacre.
[Seymour Hersh] [Media]
OffG in the New Year
The two faces of Janus, looking back to the past and forward to the futue.
And so the year ends. 2018 is a closed book. The final sentence dotted, a new chapter started. It was a bleak year, politically, for many of us ? but not entirely without hope.
We enter 2019 with the US announcing they are pulling out of Syria and Afghanistan ? if this comes to fruition, then the Syrian people deserve the world?s respect for a hard-fought victory. Though Western media will never cover it, or admit it, the Syrian government ? with their Russian and Iranian allies ? have done not only Syria, but the entire world, a major service in preventing the creation of a second Libya.
In the UK the Tory party still limps along in ?power?, for want of a better word. But Jeremy Corbyn?s Labour party are ahead in the polls, and there is every reason to think a new election will be called sometime this year. If that election is fair, Corbyn will win?and we may see some real positive changes in the way the UK is run.
Elsewhere, Ukraine?s government remains a hot-bed of neo-fascism, being enabled by their American sponsors ? a dangerous situation that could boil over at any moment. Austerity continues to kill and impoverish millions across the world, especially in the EU. The absurd ?RussiaGate? investigations being carried out by Robert Mueller are birthing a climate of hysterical Russophobia that could easily spiral out of control. Neo-McCarthyism in action. Silicon Valley corporate giants still wield enormous power online, seeking to stifle debate and censor free speech. We are under no illusions, this website ? and dozens of others like it ? live under a constant threat of being shut down.
UN Panel Details White Helmets? Staged Chemical Attacks, Organ Thief; MSM Silent
An utterly cynical anglo-american propaganda project from the start, the White Helmets, hailed as heroes by the presstitutes, were in reality key actors in the West?s numerous false flags against Syria?s legitimate government.
Utter silence. That is the sound of Western corporate media days after a more than one-hour-long panel on the White Helmets at the United Nations on December 20.
Journalists were present, so the silence isn?t due to lack of access. And in any case it was live streamed on the UNTV channel, and remains available on Youtube for keen observers to watch.
More likely, the silence is due to the irrefutable documentation presented on the faux-rescue group?s involvement in criminal activities, which include organ theft, working with terrorists ? including as snipers ? staging fake rescues, thieving from civilians, and other non-rescuer behaviour.
?Organ traders, terrorists & looters?: Evidence against Syrian White Helmets presented at UN
On the panel was one of corporate media?s favourite targets to smear, British journalist Vanessa Beeley, who gave a fact-based lecture on her years of research into the founding, funding and nefarious activities of the White Helmets, research which includes numerous visits to White Helmets centers, countless testimonies from Syrian civilians, and even an interview with a White Helmets leader in Dara?a al-Balad, Syria.
Maxim Grigoriev, the director of the Foundation for the Study of Democracy (a member of the UN?s Global Counter-Terrorism Research Network) spoke at length, detailing some of the over 100 eyewitnesses his foundation has conducted interviews with.
These include over 40 White Helmets members, 15 former terrorists, 50 people from areas where terrorists and WH operated, with another over 500 interviewed by survey in Aleppo and Daraa.
Among testimonies presented by Grigoriev were numerous accounts of the White Helmets? involvement in organ theft.
[White Helmets] [Organ trafficking] [Media]
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