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Fri, 13 Dec 2019
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The Art of Doublespeak: Bellingcat And Mind Control

TV hypnosis
In the 1920s, the influential American intellectual Walter Lippman argued that the average person was incapable of seeing or understanding the world clearly and needed to be guided by experts behind the social curtain. In a number of books he laid out the theoretical foundations for the practical work of Edward Bernays, who developed "public relations" (aka propaganda) to carry out this task for the ruling elites. Bernays had honed his skills while working as a propagandist for the United States during World War I, and after the war he set himself up as a public relations counselor in New York City.

There is a fascinating exchange at the beginning of Adam Curtis's documentary, The Century of Self, where Bernays, then nearly 100 years old but still very sharp, reveals his manipulative mindset and that of so many of those who have followed in his wake. He says the reason he couldn't call his new business "propaganda" was because the Germans had given propaganda a "bad name," and so he came up with the euphemism "public relations." He then adds that "if you could use it [i.e. propaganda] for war, you certainly could use it for peace." Of course, he never used PR for peace but just to manipulate public opinion (he helped engineer the CIA coup against the democratically elected Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954 with fake news broadcasts). He says "the Germans gave propaganda a bad name," not Bernays and the United States with their vast campaign of lies, mainly aimed at the American people to get their support for going to a war they opposed (think weapons of mass destruction). He sounds proud of his war propaganda work that resounded to his credit since it led to support for the "war to end all wars" and subsequently to a hit movie about WWI , Yankee Doodle Dandy, made in 1942 to promote another war, since the first one somehow didn't achieve its lofty goal.

As Bernays has said in his book Propaganda,
The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world today.

Comment: For more on the numerous ways in which imperial propaganda tool Bellingcat lies - and has actually gotten caught out on them, see:


Sinophobia: Washington's distrust of China has mutated into a hunt for spies among Chinese Americans

Wei Su security revoked sinophobia

Questions about Wei Su’s loyalty would propel a multiyear investigation prompting the U.S. DOD to revoke the top-secret security clearance he’d held for 24 years. He retired the next year: humiliated, angry, and, the Pentagon later admitted, completely innocent.
For days after his FBI interrogation, Wei Su wondered: Where had the microphone been?

The agents had played him a scratchy recording of a conversation he'd had with a friend at a restaurant in Eatontown, N.J. Both men found it strange when a pot of hot tea arrived at their table without their having ordered it, but only later did Su, an award-winning scientist for the U.S. Army's Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate, form a hypothesis. He thinks the teapot was bugged.

On the recording, Su says, he can be heard telling his friend in Chinese to always use English when they spoke on the phone, because the government was monitoring all his calls. He warned that "when you work with us, you need to be careful." Su says the FBI demanded to know if "us" was a reference to Chinese intelligence. No, he answered, "us" simply meant his employer, the U.S. Army.

Nevertheless, questions about Su's loyalty would propel a multiyear investigation that in 2016 prompted the U.S. Department of Defense to revoke the top-secret security clearance he'd held for 24 years. He retired the next year: humiliated, angry, and, the Pentagon later admitted, completely innocent.

The short, bespectacled scientist who loves to kayak, garden, and play the piano now divides his time between Maryland and Florida with his wife of 32 years, Elaine, a retired branch chief for a different Army communications lab. The government's case against him amounted to a tempest in a teapot, Su says, if not a listening device as well.

Comment: See also:


Page from Iraq playbook: US invokes WMDs to pile 'maximum pressure' sanctions on Iran

Iranian pro-government protesters
© Reuters / WANA / Nazanin Tabatabaee
Iranian pro-government protesters
With over a year of sanctions failing to force Tehran to bend the knee, Washington is now resorting to creatively invoking "weapons of mass destruction" - the very same pretext the US used for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

On Wednesday, the US Treasury Department expanded sanctions against Mahan Air, Iran's largest privately-owned airline, citing a 2005 executive order by then-President George W. Bush targeting "weapons of mass destruction proliferators and their supporters."

Mind you, nowhere in the sanctions announcement does Treasury say that Mahan actually transported WMDs. Instead, the airline is accused of flying personnel and weapons for Iran's "terrorist and militant groups" and thereby "directly contributing" to conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

Meanwhile, the US is sending weapons to "moderate" jihadist terrorists in Syria, and arming and refueling Saudi Arabian and allied forces that have been bombing Yemen to the stone age since 2015. This is never mentioned, of course. Nor is anyone allowed to sanction Washington for any of this, as sanctions only go in one direction.


DOJ chief Horowitz slams FBI for 'serious errors in Russiagate investigation

© Reuters/Erin Scott
Justice Department IG Michael Horowitz
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz blasted the FBI for "basic, fundamental, and serious errors" made in their initial Trump-Russia probe which he said amounted to a "failure" by the "entire chain of command."

Horowitz appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday to testify on the results of his 476-page report into the origins of the original FBI 'Crossfire Hurricane' investigation into the Trump campaign. In particular, the IG criticized the FBI for serious irregularities, inaccuracies and omissions in their FISA applications to obtain a warrant to monitor former campaign adviser, Carter Page.

One of the omissions in the FISA application against Page was relevant information that he had been an "operational contact" for another government agency between 2008 and 2013.

While his investigation determined that the FBI complied with policy when it launched the Trump-Russia investigation, it still highlighted "significant concerns" over how it was conducted and managed. Despite the serious inaccuracies, however, Horowitz said he found no "political bias or improper motivation" in the FBI's decision to launch the probe.

That is a conclusion disputed by Attorney General Bill Barr, who said Tuesday that the investigation was launched on a "completely bogus narrative" which was "fanned and hyped by an irresponsible press." Barr decried what he called "inexplicable" and "intolerable" behavior at the FBI.

Comment: The Federalist, 11/12/2019: CNN, MSNBC refused to air the IG's hearing live
CNN and MSNBC stopped following the IG hearing after about 30 minutes, and both refused to cover the opening statements by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. The decision does not align with the recent live hearing coverage standard both networks have held for the last few months, giving endless air time to the impeachment hearings lead by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, and Rep. Jerry Nadler.

Media personalities are noticing this unfair balance.

If the IG report proved that the FBI acted perfectly within its boundaries, as the mainstream media claim, then what's the harm in airing this footage? The truth is, the IG report revealed abuse of power at the highest levels of the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community. The truth does not fit the CNN and MSNBC agenda, and that is why they refuse to give a platform to it.


Congress approves budget for Trump's new Space Force, as the 6th branch of the military

© Bradscribe/WordPress.com/KJN
US Space Force is about to become a sixth branch of the military, courtesy of Congress going along with President Donald Trump's popular campaign promise even as Democrats try to impeach him from office.

Included in the 3,500-page National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2020 is the provision recognizing space as a warfighting domain and establishing the Space Force as a separate service branch. While it is a step up from the current Space Command, the USSF will still be embedded under the US Air Force, in an arrangement mirroring the relationship of the Marines and the Navy.

"Congress - don't delay this anymore! I will sign this historic defense legislation immediately!" Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

Snakes in Suits

US Senate: Proposed new bill to give State Dept. the right to call Russia a 'sponsor of terrorism'

© Reuters/Carlos Jasso
Capitol Hill, Washington DC
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved a bill asking the State Department to determine whether Russia falls under criteria of a state sponsor of terrorism, potentially opening a way [for] stricter sanctions.

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved a bill asking the State Department to determine whether Russia falls under criteria of a state sponsor of terrorism, potentially opening a way stricter sanctions. The pretentiously titled 'Stopping Malign Activities from Russian Terrorism (SMART) Act' could potentially bring the already strained relations between Moscow and Washington to a new low.

Introduced by Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) in April, it requires the Secretary of State to give "appropriate congressional committees" a straight answer on whether Russia could be designated a sponsor of terrorism. The bill also requires the State Department to determine and report to Congress whether the militia in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics in eastern Ukraine can be considered "foreign terrorist organizations." The report should be presented "no later than 90 days" after the proposed law comes into force, should it pass in both Senate and the House and be signed by the president.

Comment: The US Congress is truly made up of 'snakes in suits'!


FISA Report: Clinton meddled in 2016 election, who would have thought!

© newyorker.com
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
If Russia spending $100,000 on Facebook ads constitutes election interference, and Donald Trump asking Ukraine to investigate the Bidens is too - then Hillary Clinton takes the cake when it comes to influence campaigns designed to harm a political opponent.

Contained within Monday's FISA report by the DOJ Inspector General is the revelation that Fusion GPS, the firm paid by the Clinton campaign to produce the Steele dossier, "was paying Steele to discuss his reporting with the media." (P. 369 and elsewhere)
(h/t @wakeywakey16)

And when did Steele talk with the media (which got him fired as an FBI source)? September of 2016, roughly six weeks before the election.

Arrow Down

German FM: Berlin rejects extraterritorial sanctions against Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

© Nord Stream AG
Pipeline for Nord Stream
Berlin has reaffirmed its support for the Russia-led gas pipeline despite the threat of new US sanctions against European firms involved in the project. Nord Stream 2 will be completed, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

"European energy policy is decided in Europe, not the United States. We reject any outside interventions and extraterritorial sanctions," said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

The statement comes amid looming US sanctions against the project, that were recently added to US 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which is up for approval before Christmas. If approved by the US Congress, the act would allow the Trump administration to sanction companies involved in Russian gas pipeline projects.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who met with US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday, said "I assure you that neither Nord Stream 2 nor TurkStream will stop."

Comment: RFE/RL, 12/12/2019: Ukraine welcomes US sanctions on Nord Stream
"Ukraine is grateful for 337 votes to support sanctions related to #NordStream2 construction. This is a political project that undermines energy security of #Europe," the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tweeted.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk also welcomed the move as "good news." The sanctions should "dramatically complicate construction of the Russian pipe."

Kyiv has long protested the project and has lobbied Washington to pass the bill as the pipeline would deprive the country of more than $2 billion in transit fees. Ukraine also sees the pipeline as undermining existing economic sanctions imposed by the West to compel Russia to resolve a conflict in eastern Ukraine and end its occupation of Ukraine's Crimea region.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz, one of the co-sponsors of the bill, has said that only a few companies in the world have the technology to lay deep-sea pipelines and none of them are Russian, meaning the Kremlin could struggle to complete the project should the foreign companies obey the U.S. sanctions bill.


China claims it is in close communication with US on trade as fresh tariffs loom

Shipping bows
© finance.yahoo.com
China and the United States are in close communication on trade, its commerce ministry said on Thursday, declining to comment on possible retaliatory steps if Washington imposes more tariffs on Chinese goods this weekend.

The United States is due to impose tariffs on almost $160 billion of Chinese imports such as video game consoles, computer monitors and toys on Sunday. U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to meet top trade advisers on Thursday to discuss the move, sources told Reuters previously.

A decision to proceed with the levies could roil financial markets and scuttle U.S.-China talks to end the 17-month-long trade war between the world's two largest economies.

"The two sides' economic and trade teams are maintaining close communication," Gao Feng, spokesman at the Chinese commerce ministry, told reporters at a regular briefing.

Comment: Will it be compromise, cooperation and resolution? Or, more of the same!

Star of David

Israel: The Knesset dissolves, third election scheduled for March 2, 2020

© AFP/Gali Tibbon
Knesset, Israel
Israel is now heading for its third general election within a year - an unprecedented situation for the country.

The Israeli Parliament has adopted laws on dissolving the Knesset and holding early general election on 2 March 2020 in second and third readings, Haaretz newspaper reported on Thursday. The parliament has also voted to set the election date on 2 March instead of 10 March, when Israelis will be celebrating Purim.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who did not attend the first reading that took place on late Wednesday, took part in the second and third readings.

The Knesset of the 22nd convocation had been working for less than three months, thus setting an anti-record in Israeli history.