Category Archives: Disinformation

Phone Call Records Appear to Cast Doubt on Ukrainian Claims of Russian Atrocities

Phone call records appear to cast doubt on Ukrainian claims of Russian atrocities

Ukrainian and Western media outlets have accused Russian troops of killing civilians in Bucha and other towns around Ukraine’s capital, Kiev in the past month. Excerpts of phone calls obtained by RT, however, appear to contradict some of the allegations and seem to paint a different picture of the situation on the ground.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed, on Thursday, that the situation in settlement of Borodyanka is “much more disastrous” than that reported in Bucha, about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles), to the southeast. Moscow has strongly denied the allegations and accused Ukraine, and its Western backers of trying to “frame” its personnel.

RT was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the recordings. In what appears to be an excerpt from a satellite phone call, an alleged reporter identified only as ‘Simon’ tells his colleagues he visited Borodyanka and found that “there’s no bodies in the streets at all,” contrary to what he was led to expect.

The town has been “shelled to pieces,” he outlines, “but there’s no evidence of any rights abuses here at all.” Simon claims that he and his crew interviewed multiple residents who said the Russian troops had been very friendly and gave them food and water and other supplies. “And we got quotes on camera for that,” he adds.

“I don’t know what the prosecutor was talking about, but we have seen nothing like that at all. It’s a completely different picture,” he continues, adding that a French journalist may have seen the body of someone killed by shelling, but “no executions.”

The alleged reporter ends the call by saying he was going back to Bucha, to “try and find some more evidence of extrajudicial killings there, but there’s no sign of any of that here.”

Ukraine accused Russia of murdering over 400 civilians in Bucha before retreating from the town near Kiev last week. The US and its allies have backed Kiev’s claims, citing them as reasons to impose more sanctions against Russia.

Moscow has categorically denied the accusations, saying that Russian troops pulled out of the town on March 30, and that claims of killings appeared only four days later – after Ukrainian security forces and TV cameras arrived in the town.

Another recording obtained by RT seems to depict a conversation between two Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) officials. The SBU is the local successor agency to the Soviet KGB.

They discuss the situation in Kukhari, a town about 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Bucha, and seem to contradict the prevailing media narrative coming from Kiev and the NATO capitals.

“From March 24 to April 3, after we pushed the ‘orcs’ away from here,” says a person only identified as Sergey Anatolyevich, speaking to someone named Lesogor and using a derogatory Ukrainian term for Russians. “After the unit that pushed them out moved on, the territorial defense came from Malin … and marauded during that time. Looted everything they could. Broke down doors, everything. Safes were opened, cars were stolen. They stuffed the cars with everything worth anything and took it away,” he adds.

“It turns out the ‘Moskals’ took nothing, but ours went in and looted everything,” Sergey Anatolyevich adds, using another derogatory term for Russians. Malin is a nearby town southwest of Kukhari, held by the Ukrainian military.

When Lesogor asks which unit was looting, Sergey Anatolyevich replies that no one really knows. “Some say Volhynian, others say someone else,” he says, referring to a region in western Ukraine.

Moscow attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to regularize the status of the regions within the Ukrainian state.

Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two regions by force.

The post Phone Call Records Appear to Cast Doubt on Ukrainian Claims of Russian Atrocities first appeared on Dissident Voice.

How US Intelligence Leaks to Media Backfired in Ukraine War?

In a bombshell NBC scoop published Wednesday, the authors of the report alleged that US spy agencies used deliberate and selective intelligence leaks to monopoly news outlets to mount an information warfare campaign against Russia during the latter’s month-long military offensive in Ukraine, despite being aware the intelligence wasn’t credible.

The US intelligence assessment that Russia was preparing to use chemical weapons in the Ukraine War, that was widely reported in the corporate media and confirmed by President Biden himself, was an unsubstantiated claim leaked to the press as a tit-for-tat response to the damning Russian allegation that Ukraine was pursuing an active biological weapons program, in collaboration with Washington, in scores of bio-labs discovered by Russian forces in Ukraine in early days of the military campaign.

The crux of the NBC report, however, isn’t what’s being disclosed but rather what’s still being withheld by the US intelligence community that the monopoly news outlets are not at liberty to report on.

Despite being aware of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s major unilateral concession to Kyiv, halting Russian offensive north of the capital and focusing on liberating Russian-majority Donbas in east Ukraine, practically spelling an end to Russia’s month-long offensive in Ukraine, US security officials are still deceptively asserting that Russia’s pullout from areas around Kyiv “wasn’t a retreat but a strategic redeployment” that signals a “significant assault on eastern and southern Ukraine,” one that US officials believe could be a “protracted and bloody fight.”

Regarding the malicious disinformation campaign mounted by Western media on behalf of NATO powers, the report notes: “The idea is to pre-empt and disrupt the Kremlin’s tactics, complicate its military campaign, undermine Moscow’s propaganda and prevent Russia from defining how the war is perceived in the world, said a Western government official familiar with the strategy.”

It has become clear now the “40-mile-long Trojan Horse” of battle tanks, armored vehicles and heavy artillery that descended from Belarus in the north and reached the outskirts of Kyiv in the early days of the war without encountering much resistance en route the capital was simply a power projection gambit astutely designed as a diversionary tactic by Russia’s military strategists in order to deter Ukraine from sending reinforcements to Donbas in east Ukraine where real battles for territory were actually fought and scramble to defend the embattled country’s capital instead.

But US security agencies insidiously kept feeding false information of impending fall of the Ukrainian capital to the monopoly media throughout Russia’s month-long military campaign in Ukraine. Only two conclusions could be drawn from this scaremongering tactic: either it was a massive intelligence failure and Western security agencies weren’t aware the “40-mile-long Trojan Horse” approaching the capital was a ruse; or the NATO’s spy agencies had credible intelligence since the beginning of Russia’s military campaign that real battles for territory would be fought in Donbas in east Ukraine and the feigned assault on the capital was simply a diversionary tactic but they exaggerated the threat in order to vilify Russia’s calculated military offensive in Ukraine, and win the war of narratives that “how the war is perceived across the world.”

Except in the early days of the military campaign when Russian airstrikes and long-range artillery shelling targeted military infrastructure in the outskirts of Kyiv to degrade the combat potential of Ukraine’s armed forces, the capital did not witness much action during the month-long offensive. Otherwise, with the tremendous firepower at its disposal, the world’s second most powerful military force had the demonstrable capability to reduce the whole city down to the ashes.

By mid-March, after the “40-mile-long” column of armored vehicles that created panic in the rank and file of Ukraine’s security forces and their international backers and that didn’t move an inch further after reaching the outskirts of Kyiv in the early days of the war, it became obvious even to the lay observers of the Ukraine War that it was evidently a diversionary tactic.

But Western security agencies and the corporate media kept propagating the myth that the purported assault on the Ukrainian capital was stalled by alleged “fierce Ukrainian resistance,” and if it were up to Russian forces, they would “ransack the capital Kyiv” and “overrun the whole territory” of the embattled country.

Even a week after the unilateral Russian peace initiative on March 25, scaling back its blitz north of the capital and focusing instead on liberating Russian-majority Donbas region in east Ukraine, a task that has already been accomplished in large measure, Western intelligence community and the monopoly media kept warning the gullible audience Russia’s pullout from areas around Kyiv “wasn’t a retreat but a strategic redeployment” and that Russian forces had withdrawn back into Belarus and Russia simply to “regroup, refit and resupply.”

Last week, US officials told reporters they had intelligence suggesting “Putin was being misled” by his own advisers, who were “afraid to tell him the truth.” “The degree to which Putin is isolated or relying on flawed information can’t be verified,” Paul Pillar, a retired career US intelligence officer, confided to NBC. “There’s no way you can prove or disprove that stuff,” he said.

Two US officials said the intelligence about whether “Putin’s inner circle was lying to him wasn’t conclusive” — based more on “analysis than hard evidence.” Multiple US officials acknowledged that the US had used “information as a weapon” even when “confidence in the accuracy of the information wasn’t high.” Sometimes it had used low-confidence intelligence for deterrent effect, as with chemical agents, and other times, as an official put it, the US was just “trying to get inside Putin’s head.”

While attempting to play mind games with Putin, the US intelligence community must’ve overlooked “an inconsequential detail” that before venturing into politics, Putin himself led the Cold War’s premier Russian intelligence agency, the KGB, for many years, and the puerile psyops orchestrated by the CIA and NSA were nothing more than child’s play for the seasoned Russian strongman.

Based on declassified intelligence, the New York Times reported last week: “The Russian military’s stumbles have eroded trust between Mr. Putin and his Ministry of Defense. While Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu had been considered one of the few advisers Mr. Putin confided in, the prosecution of the war in Ukraine has damaged the relationship. Mr. Putin has put two top intelligence officials under house arrest for providing poor intelligence ahead of the invasion, something that may have further contributed to the climate of fear.”

Other American officials, as reported in the mainstream media, had said that “Putin’s rigid isolation during the pandemic” and willingness to publicly “rebuke advisers who did not share his views” had created a degree of wariness, or even fear, in senior ranks of the Russian military. Officials believe that Putin had been getting “incomplete or overly optimistic reports” about the progress of Russian forces, “creating mistrust with his military advisers.”

The corporate media’s psychological warfare campaign, in collaboration with Western intelligence community, after the successful culmination of Russia’s month-long military offensive in Ukraine must have upset the Russian leader to the extent that instead of summarily sacking and court-martialing the military’s top brass, he has decided to celebrate May 9 as the Victory Day by announcing to organize a Russian Armed Forces parade in Moscow, and is reportedly considering rewarding battlefield commanders who valiantly fought in the Russo-Ukraine War with promotion in ranks and pecuniary benefits.

All the media hype in order to misguide gullible audiences following the stellar Russian victory in the Ukraine War aside, the fact remains it’s old wine in new bottles. The intelligence wasn’t declassified last week, it was declassified a month ago, but nobody paid much attention to the asinine assertion of an alleged rift between Putin and the Russian military leadership.

The Politico reported as early as March 8, in an article titled “Putin is angry,” that the US intelligence heads warned before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence during the panel’s annual hearing on worldwide threats that Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine was not going as planned and it could “double down” in Ukraine.

“Although it still remains unclear whether Russia will pursue a maximalist plan to capture all or most of Ukraine, Director National Intelligence Avril Haines said, such an effort would run up against what the U.S. intelligence community assesses is likely to be a persistent and significant insurgency by Ukrainian forces.”

Clearly, DNI Avril Haines spilled the secret before the House Select Committee on Intelligence that the US intelligence was in dark whether the Russian forces would overrun the whole of Ukraine, or the Russian blitz north of the capital was only a diversionary tactic meant for tying up Ukrainian forces in the north, while Russia concentrated its efforts in liberating Donbas in the east.

Echoing the “recently declassified intelligence” disclosed by NYT the preposterous claim that Putin’s rigid self-isolation during the COVID pandemic allegedly created a rift between him and Russia’s military leadership, the Politico report from a month ago presciently endorsed the inane intelligence assessment:

“William Burns, the CIA director, portrayed for lawmakers an isolated and indignant Russian president who is determined to dominate and control Ukraine to shape its orientation. Putin has been ‘stewing in a combustible combination of grievance and ambition for many years. That personal conviction matters more than ever,’ Burns said.

“Burns also described how Putin had created a system within the Kremlin in which his own circle of advisers is narrower and narrower — and sparser still because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In that hierarchy, Burns said, ‘it’s proven not career-enhancing for people to question or challenge his judgment.’”

The most notable success of the US information warfare campaign based on misleading declassified intelligence to media outlets, as claimed by the NBC report, may have been delaying the invasion itself by weeks or months, which officials believe they did with accurate predictions that Russia intended to attack, based on definitive intelligence. By the time Russia moved its troops in, “the West presented a unified front.”

“A former U.S. official said administration officials believe the strategy delayed Putin’s invasion from the first week of January to after the Olympics and that the delay bought the U.S. valuable time to get allies on the same page in terms of the level of the Russian threat and how to respond.”

Contradicting the NBC claim, however, The Intercept reported on March 11, citing “credible intelligence sources,” that despite staging a massive military buildup along Russia’s border with Ukraine for nearly a year, “Russian President Vladimir Putin did not make a final decision to invade until just before he launched the attack on February 24,” senior current and former US intelligence officials told the Intercept. “It wasn’t until February that the agency and the rest of the US intelligence community became convinced that Putin would invade,” the senior official added.

Last April, US intelligence first detected that “the Russian military was beginning to move large numbers of troops and equipment to the Ukrainian border.” Most of the Russian soldiers deployed to the border at that time were later “moved back to their bases,” but US intelligence determined that “some of the troops and materiel remained near the border.”

In June 2021, against the backdrop of rising tensions over Ukraine, Biden and Putin met at a summit in Geneva. The summer troop withdrawal brought a brief period of calm, but “the crisis began to build again in October and November,” when US intelligence watched as Russia once again “moved large numbers of troops back to its border with Ukraine.”

Extending the hand of friendship, Russia significantly drawdown its forces along the western border before the summit last June. Instead of returning the favor, however, the conceited leadership of supposedly world’s sole surviving super power turned down the hand of friendship and haughtily refused to concede reasonable security guarantees demanded by Russia at the summit that would certainly have averted the likelihood of the war.

After perusing such contradictory reports, citing “credible intelligence estimates,” it appears the US intelligence community has developed a novel espionage technique of playing both ends against the middle. The world’s leading US spy agencies seem to have this uncanny ability of predicting with absolute certainty that an event is as likely to happen as it is likely that it may not happen. And since the media watchdog has been tamed to the point where it dares not question the authority, therefore security agencies would get the credit whether or not they performed their duties diligently.

The post How US Intelligence Leaks to Media Backfired in Ukraine War? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Fabricating Putin Quotes and Banning Paraplegic Athletes to Undermine Russia

Mobilizing a population to vilify and hate a targeted enemy is a tactic that leaders have used since before the dawn of human history, and it is being used to demonize Russia and Vladimir Putin in the current conflict. If we want to join the march to war, we can join the hate fest.  But if we want a more objective and honest assessment of events, we must rely upon facts that our government and its cheer-leading mainstream media are not anxious for us to view.

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,  all things Russian are being punished. Russian athletes, including paraplegics, are barred from international sports competition. Century old Russian writers and musicians such as Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky are being removed from book shelves and concerts. Even Russian bred cats are not exempt.

If such actions are justified, why was there no such banning of US athletes, musicians or writers after the US invasion of Iraq?  Moreover, why are so few people outraged by the bombing and killing of 370,000 Yemeni people?  Why are so few people outraged as thousands of Afghans starve because the United States is seizing Afghanistan’s national assets which were in western banks?

Why Ukraine?

There has been massive and widespread publicity about Ukraine. It is a simple Hollywood script:  Ukraine is the angel, Russia is the devil, Zelensky is the hero and all good people will wear blue and yellow ribbons.

Maintaining this image requires propaganda to promote it, and censorship to prevent challengers debunking it.

This has required trashing some long held western traditions. By banning all Russian athletes from international competition, the International Olympic Committee and different athletic federations have violated the Olympic Charter which prohibits discrimination on the basis of nationality.

Censorship

The West prides itself on free speech yet censorship of alternative viewpoints is now widespread in Europe and North America.  Russia Today and other Russian media outlets are being blocked on the internet as well as cable TV.  Ironically,  numerous programs on RT were hosted by Americans, for example journalist Chris Hedges and comedian Lee Camp.  The US is silencing its own citizens.

Censorship or shadow banning is widespread on social media. On April 6, one of the best informed military analysts, Scott Ritter @realScottRitter, was suspended from Twitter. Why?  Because he  suggested that the victims of Bucha may have been murdered not by Russians, but rather by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and the US and UK may also be culpable.

The 2015 Netflix documentary titled “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” deals with the Maidan (Kiev central square) uprising of 2013-2014.  It ignores the most essential elements of the events: the management provided by the US  and the muscle provided by ultra-nationalists of the Right Sector and Azov Battalion. The attacks and killing of Ukrainian police are whitewashed away.

By contrast, the 2016 documentary “Ukraine on Fire provides the background and essential elements of the conflict.  It is not available on Netflix and was banned from distribution on YouTube for some time.

Most people in the West are unaware of the US involvement in the 2014 Kiev coup, subsequent US funding and training of ultra-nationalist and Neo Nazi battalions, and the eight year war in eastern Ukraine resulting in fourteen thousand deaths.

Sensational Accusations

Backed by US and UK intelligence agencies, Ukraine knows the importance of the information war. They make sensational accusations that receive uncritical media coverage. When the truth eventually comes out, it is ignored or buried on the back pages. Here are a few examples:

– In 2014,  eleven civilians were killed in eastern Ukraine when an apartment was hit in rebel held territory.  Ukraine tried to blame Russia even though no bombs were coming from Russia and the population is ethnically Russian.

– At the beginning of the current conflict, Ukrainian President Zelensky claimed that soldiers on Snake Island died heroically rather than surrender. Actually, all the soldiers surrendered.

– Ukraine and western media claim a maternity hospital in Mariupol was bombed by Russia. Evidence shows the hospital was taken over by Ukrainian military forces on March 7, two days before the bombing on March 9.

– The latest sensational accusations are regarding dead civilians in Bucha,  north of Kiev. Again, there is much contrary evidence. The Russian soldiers left Bucha on March 31, the mayor of Bucha announced the town liberated with no mention of atrocities on March 31, the Azov battalion entered Bucha on April 1,  the Ukrainian Defense Ministry published video of  “Russian” atrocities on April 3.

In most cases, western media does not probe the accusations or use simple logic to ask if they make sense.  However, in the case of Bucha story, the NY Times had to acknowledge they were “unable to independently verify the assertions by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.”

Self Censorship

In addition to actual censorship, there is widespread self-censorship. Instead of reading what the Russians are saying, western political “analysts” engage in outlandish amateur psychology and speculation. With no factual basis, they speculate about what Putin wants and his mental state.

This is convenient if one does not want to deal with the real issues and arguments.

Most western analysts and journalists are afraid or unwilling to read or listen to what the Russian leaders say. That is unfortunate because those speeches are more clear and direct than those from western politicians who rely on public relations, spin and platitudes.

Fabricating quotes

Ignorance of Russian foreign policy is such that Truthout online magazine recently published an article which contains a sensational but completely invented quote from Putin. It says,

Putin here is clear enough: “Ukraine has no national rights that Russians are bound to respect. Prepare for reunification, reabsorption, or some other euphemism for subaltern status with Mother Russia.”

Putin said no such thing and any moderately knowledgeable person would recognize this to be fake.

When I emailed the co-author, Carl Davidson, asking where the quotation came from, he admitted inventing it. This is significant because the statement goes to the core of what the conflict is about. Is Russia trying to absorb all of Ukraine? Do they intend to occupy Ukraine?  Anyone who reads the speeches of Putin and Lavrov, such as here, here and here,  knows they do not. Davidson’s fabricated quote suggests he has not read the speeches himself.

Ukraine in the Global Context

The article with the made-up quote contends that “Putin is part of a global right-wing authoritarian movements that seeks to ‘overthrow’ the 20th Century.” This analysis is close to that of the US Democratic Party, which sees the major global division being between “authoritarianism” vs “democracy”.

It is highly US-centered and partisan, with Putin somehow lumped with Trump. It  is also self-serving, with US Democrats as the embodiment of “democracy”.  It is completely contrary to a class analysis.

This faulty analysis has major contradictions. It is well known that Biden is unpopular. Biden’s latest approval rating is under 42%. It is less well known in the West that Putin is popular in Russia. Since the intervention in Ukraine his approval rating has increased to over 80%.

Also largely unknown in the West, most of the world does NOT support the Western analysis of the Ukraine conflict.  Countries representing 59% of the global population abstained or voted against the condemnation of Russia at the UN General Assembly. These countries tend to see US exceptionalism and economic-military domination as a key problem. They do not think it helpful to demonize Russia and they urge negotiations and quick resolution to the Ukraine war.

Cuba said:

History will hold the United States accountable for the consequences of an increasingly offensive military doctrine beyond NATO’s borders which threatens international peace, security and stability…. Russia has the right to defend itself.

South African President Ramaphosa blamed NATO saying:

The war could have been avoided if NATO had heeded warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less, instability in the region.

The Chinese representative said:

The final settlement of the Ukraine crisis requires abandoning the Cold War mentality, abandoning the logic of ensuring one’s own security at the expense of others’ security, and abandoning the approach of seeking regional security by expanding military bloc.

Many western anti-war movements are critical of Russia’s invasion. Others, such as the US Peace Council, see the US and NATO as largely responsible. However, they all see the necessity of pressing to stop the war before it gets worse.

In contrast, the western military-industrial-media complex is fueling the war with propaganda, censorship, banning, demonization and more weapons. It appears they do not want a resolution to the conflict. Just as they supported NATO pushing up against Russia, knowing that it risked provoking Russia to the point of retaliation, they seem to be pushing for a protracted bloody conflict in Ukraine, knowing that it risks global conflagration.  Yet they persist, while crying crocodile tears.

The post Fabricating Putin Quotes and Banning Paraplegic Athletes to Undermine Russia first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Censorship: Donbass Insider in the Crosshairs of Newsguard, an Agency Linked to the CIA, NATO and the White House

On 18 March 2022, I received a letter in my e-mail box from a certain Edward O’Reilly, an analyst for NewsGuard, a sort of international Decodex (which awards green or red stickers to news sites, i.e. justifies the censorship of such and such a site), linked to the CIA, NATO and the White House, concerning their analysis of the Donbass Insider site. After having sent them packing when they saw the obvious bias of this site, they insisted and sent me a week later a series of questions, which contradict each other, and written in such a way that one has the impression that the author is writing to a 10 year old girl. Since they are so keen to have me answer them, while giving themselves the right to publish only part of my answers in their analysis (as they indicate in their e-mail), I will do so publicly, so that all my readers can have the whole of the information, and not just the part that would suit NewsGuard.

NewsGuard, a site linked to the CIA, NATO and the White House.

Let’s start by analyzing who is behind NewsGuard, a site that claims to analyse and rate news sites according to nine criteria to determine whether or not they are reliable.

As with the French Decodex, there is a good old system of green or red dots, plus an orange one for satirical sites and a grey one for simple platforms that let anyone publish on them. One might think that such ratings are harmless, but this is not the case. For as we discover on their website, the aim of NewsGuard is to “give platforms and moderation teams the data and information to protect their users from online risks, and to control the spread of misinformation”.

Clearly, NewsGuard provides companies like Google, Facebook or Twitter with data to justify their censorship of bad media that misinform (or in fact that do not follow the Washington narrative, as we will see right away).

Indeed, when we look at the profile of the NewsGuard team, and especially of its advisory board, we immediately understand that there is a problem, a big problem even, in terms of impartiality and neutrality. Indeed, the NewsGuard advisory board includes :

– Don Baer, former White House communications director during the Clinton administration;

– Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education under the Obama administration;

– Retired General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA, and former director of the National Security Agency (NSA);

– Elise Jordan, former pen of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice;

– Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Secretary General of NATO;

– Tom Ridge, former first Secretary of State for Homeland Security in the George W. Bush administration;

– Gianni Riotta, editorial writer for La Stampa (you know the Italian newspaper that used a photo of the massacre of civilians in Donetsk by the Ukrainian army to illustrate an article on the situation in Kiev);

– Richard Stengel, former Under Secretary of State for Public Affairs in the Obama administration;

– Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, whose presence on this strongly biased committee (to put it mildly) indicates that the famous encyclopaedia is not neutral.

Add to this the fact that the “analyst” writing to me, Edward O’Reilly, is a former member of the US Marine Corps, and that Newsguard regularly cites Bellingcat (whose links to the British Foreign Office’s secret programmes have been proven) as a reliable source, and it soon becomes clear that this site is just another showcase for the US intelligence services, led by the CIA, the White House and NATO, to impose the US narrative.

Why does this site decide to attack Donbass Insider only now (we have been in existence since 2018 I remind you)? Well, simply because with the brutal heating up of the conflict in Donbass, then the launch of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, and following the violent censorship of international Russian media such as Sputnik or RT, our little website has seen its audience multiplied extremely significantly. Enough to attract the attention of NewsGuard. Clearly, Donbass Insider has reached a large enough audience to begin to panic Washington, and the site must be quickly discredited or even censored, to prevent its information from totally destroying the narrative about the situation in Ukraine.

When NewsGuard contradicts itself from one question to the next

So let’s move on to the questions Edward O’Reilly sent me, and the answers I have to give. I am publishing them here in the order in which they were sent to me, as you can see from the full screenshot of his e-mail, available here.

1. Your site does not indicate who owns it, which does not meet our criterion of providing information about the owner of the site. Can you explain this choice? Also, are you the owner of Donbass-Insider.com? If so, why not say so on the site?

Because if your criteria are justifiable for a news site working in a democratic country where there is peace, when you are working in a civil war zone (because that’s what the Donbass war is which has been going on since 2014), where one of the parties (Ukraine) spends its time imposing sanctions against any person or media giving information other than the official narrative, and where children and journalists can have their personal data published on a site of Ukrainian neo-Nazis (you know the ones that are not that dangerous according to NewsGuard) like Mirotvorets, so that they become a target, your criteria becomes a source of risk.

We are not going to put our team members in danger just to please you and tick the right box in your list of bogus criteria. I remind you that in Ukraine journalists like Oles Bouzina and Anatoli Chary have received death threats, and that Bouzina was murdered outside his home shortly after his personal data was published on Mirotvorets. People have been murdered or abducted in the DPR and LPR (Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics) by Ukrainian secret services (the same services you cite as a source later on). Do you really believe that the lives of our team members are worth less than your rating criteria? If you come to tell me that you don’t know about the existence of Mirotvorets, then how can you judge the veracity of information about Ukraine and the ongoing conflict if you don’t even know this simple fact?

I know very well what is behind your question about domain name ownership. You’re looking for someone to put on the sanctions list so you can do what you did with other news sites that had their .com domain names taken away. Save yourself the trouble, we’ve already anticipated this, censoring Donbass Insider won’t get you anything. Even when hackers working for the West (and therefore for your bosses) attacked our site, taking it down, our content continued to be available.

2. Your site also does not indicate who is responsible for the content (such as an editor-in-chief or a director of publication, for example), which does not meet our criterion in this respect. Do you have a comment on this? Are you responsible for the content of Donbass-Insider.com?

Because there is no editor-in-chief on our site, nor a director of publication. Each contributor is free to write his or her own articles without review or censorship.

3. We could not find any corrections published on your site. Have you corrected any articles, and if so, could you send me a recent example of a correction on the site? If not, can you explain why no corrections have been published recently?

Why are there no corrections on our site? Well, because unlike other media, we check the information as much as possible before publishing it, instead of quickly coming up with racy headlines or unsubstantiated rumors to create a buzz. Our articles are factual, sourced, and substantiated, which avoids the humiliating exercise of retraction or correction.

4. After analysis, we believe that your site does not meet our criterion of clearly distinguishing between news and opinion. Indeed, we have noticed that many news articles contain opinions. This is the case for the articles below.

a. The noose is tightening around the Ukrainian neo-Nazis entrenched in Mariupol, and the Western media is wallowing in abjection

b. Despite Russophobia in Ukraine, Russia continues to welcome Ukrainians with open arms

c. Ukraine goes into hysterics after Russia signs a gas supply contract with Hungary

After analysis you think… Well, we’re well on our way with that.. No details as to why these articles are opinions. Because in fact, if you look at the articles concerned, everything is sourced and based on facts. There is only one where I give my opinion at the very end, and that is my right. A journalist has the right to give his opinion, to comment on a piece of information, or to analyse a situation. A journalist is not just a copyist barely able to adapt Reuters or AFP dispatches.

Moreover, your demand to make a clear distinction between information and opinion is something that you brandish only when it suits you, and you sit on it at other times (we’ll come back to that later). Our readers know the difference between information and opinion. It’s nice that you care about them, but they are not mentally retarded or five-year-olds. They are adults and capable of reading and understanding what they read. They don’t need you to explain it to them. This mania for infantilising people by putting coloured stickers on sites like the school teacher in class is frankly revolting.

No, what bothers you is that I call a spade a spade. Abjection is a perfectly deserved term for the Western media denounced in the first article. I call Ukrainian neo-Nazis neo-Nazis and not nationalists, or whatever other euphemism. And Russophobia in Ukraine is more than proven (if you don’t see it, I think you need to change jobs).

The following question is very long and I will answer each sub-question individually.

5. We also believe that your site does not meet our criteria of not publishing false content, collecting and presenting information responsibly and not publishing misleading headlines. Indeed, we found many articles containing false information in their titles and texts:

a. For example, a March 2022 article entitled “Russia gets hold of documents on US biological laboratories in Ukraine” states that “for Kirillov, the haste with which Ukraine launched the destruction of all strains of pathogens in these US biological laboratories could indicate that they were working on strengthening the pathogenic properties of microbes there, which is a violation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. This would also explain why the US has set up these laboratories in Ukraine, instead of conducting such research on its own territory: to avoid being held accountable for what is happening there! And the ultimate proof that these US biological laboratories in Ukraine are hiding something was provided by Victoria Nuland, the US Secretary of State, herself during a Senate hearing!”

However, while the US has provided assistance to Ukrainian laboratories since 2005, and has contributed to the construction and modernisation of Ukrainian laboratories, the laboratories themselves are managed and mainly funded by the Ukrainian government. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) clarified the terms of this agreement in a May 2020 press release, in which it stated that ‘there are no foreign biological laboratories in Ukraine’.

Moreover, there is no evidence that these laboratories were working on strengthening the pathogenic properties of microbes. An April 2020 statement on the website of the US Embassy in Ukraine said that the joint projects in Ukrainian laboratories were aimed at “strengthening and securing pathogens and toxins of security concern in Ukrainian government facilities”.

Also, when Victoria Nuland referred to these laboratories, she was referring to Ukrainian “diagnostic and biodefense” laboratories, not to biological weapons facilities.

Can you explain why you chose to publish this article on your website?

Why did you publish it? Because what you claim as facts are not facts. Your sources are simple statements from the SBU and the US embassy. That is to say, the Ukrainian secret services whose use of torture in a systemic way since the Maïdan is proven, and who were caught with both hands in the pot of false information concerning MH17… And the other source is the American government, that is to say, a government that did not hesitate for a second to lie before the UN (!!!) to justify its illegal war against Iraq by brandishing stories of weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. Now that’s a reliable source…

For our part, we have published internal Ukrainian documents, not just statements, as evidence of US involvement in the work of the biological laboratories in Ukraine! Like these documents showing that in 2010, Viktor Yanukovych tried to regain control of these biological research laboratories, since contrary to what you claim, the management of what was happening in these laboratories was beyond the control of the Ukrainian authorities! And what was happening there was, I quote from an SBU report (since you seem to consider this source as reliable):

“… These actions of the US side are considered by national experts as the formation of their own database of pathogen strains that are stored at Ukrainian sites, their storage system, as well as the control and study by military doctors of the effectiveness of the use of particularly dangerous infection pathogens in specific regions of Ukraine to create or improve new types of selectively acting biological weapons (against a particular race, genotype, territory of birth or residence).”

More recent documents released by Russia show that these laboratories, based in Ukraine but funded and supervised by the US, were studying diseases that can be transmitted to humans by migratory birds or bats. And if these labs mentioned by Victoria Nuland were, as you claim, only “diagnostic and biodefense” labs, why worry that they might fall into Russian hands? If these labs were only doing what you say, then there is nothing dangerous there.

And just to rub salt in the wound of your arguments, the DailyMail (hardly a Kremlin-friendly media outlet) published an article stating, with sources (in this case, emails found in the famous laptop Joe Biden’s son left at the repair shop), that “Hunter Biden helped secure millions of dollars in funding for a US subcontractor in Ukraine specializing in researching deadly pathogens, according to laptop emails. Oops. I think you’re good to review the ratings of all the news sites that had reported on this, and swallow your certainties about what’s true or not.

b. In February 2022, Donbass Insider published a French translation of Vladimir Putin’s speech justifying his decision to recognize the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic. The speech was published in full, without comment or context in the news section of the site, and stated that “modern Ukraine was created entirely by Russia, or more precisely, by Bolshevik and communist Russia”. Putin also lamented that the communists had ‘given the republics the right to separate from the unified state without any conditions’ and added that ‘Ukraine has never had a stable tradition of a real state’.

Contrary to Putin’s claim that ‘the Bolsheviks invented Ukraine’ and that Ukraine ‘never had a stable tradition of a real state’, Ukraine fought for independence in 1918, a status that lasted only a few years. In 1921, the Russian Bolsheviks defeated the national government of Ukraine and established the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Ukraine spent the next 69 years as part of the Soviet Union.

As for the claim that a weakened Moscow “gave” Ukraine the right to become independent from the Soviet Union “without any conditions”, it was the Ukrainians who chose independence in a democratic referendum. In 1991, as the Soviet Union dissolved, 84% of eligible Ukrainian voters went to the polls and over 92% voted to leave the Soviet Union. Moscow even promised to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty on the condition that it gave up its nuclear weapons – a fact commemorated in 1994 in an agreement known as the Budapest Memorandum.

Can you explain why you chose to publish this speech on your website without commentary or context?

Why did you publish the translation of Vladimir Putin’s speech without commentary or context? Well, because it was to provide 100% pure information without any personal opinions, which should be fine with you since you criticized me in question 4 for mixing information and opinions. And when I provide an article that is pure information, in this case the complete translation into French of Vladimir Putin’s speech so that my readers can make up their own minds about the Russian President’s view of events by having the entire text in their own language, that doesn’t suit you either. You should know, guys, that either we are only allowed to provide pure and cold information, or we have to systematically make comments. But it can’t be both at the same time.

As for your arguments, Ukraine in its current borders is indeed a product of the USSR. The short-lived Ukrainian state that emerged after the 1917 revolution was not at all within the current borders of Ukraine, it was the USSR that gave it most of its territory. And three years of existence yes is not a “stable tradition of a real state”, don’t get me wrong.

Concerning the referendum held in Ukraine in 1991, this has nothing to do with the content of Vladimir Putin’s speech. He is talking about the Soviet constitution adopted in 1924, which allowed the republics the right to separate from the USSR unconditionally… You are mixing up everything.

Moreover, the nuclear weapons deployed in Ukraine did not belong to Ukraine, but to the USSR, as stated in the Lisbon Protocol, which predates the Budapest Memorandum (which was the result of Ukraine’s desire to monetise the application of what it had already signed in 1992). It was therefore normal for them to be sent back to Russia, which is the official successor state of the USSR. So this cannot be called a “condition”. Russia did not demand anything from independent Ukraine other than to return what belonged to it in order to comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

c. A June 2021 article entitled “Protassevich allegedly framed by his own side and handed over to Belarus to serve as a sacrificial victim” claims that the Belarusian authorities did not force the pilots of Ryanair flight 4978 to land in Minsk in order to detain Belarusian dissident journalist Roman Protasevich. The article says that “on May 23, 2021, at 12:25, while the Ryanair plane is still over the Volyn region of Ukraine, a first bomb threat e-mail arrives at Minsk airport” and that “after receiving the bomb threat e-mail, and despite its incongruities (such as the requests made) the airport authorities apply the international procedure foreseen in such cases and consider the threat to be real”.

In reality, the Ryanair plane was not diverted because of a bomb threat. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary called the hijacking a “case of state-sponsored hijacking” and confirmed to Politico in May 2021 that the Belarusian target was Roman Protasevich.

Can you explain why you chose to publish this article on your website?

I chose to publish it because the facts stated in the article, such as proof that the Belarusian airport did receive bomb threat emails, and that the authorities did not know Protassevich was on board until his “friends” were screaming all over the internet that he was there, are worth more than the opinion of the Ryanair CEO!!! Are you serious when you say you assess whether my article is telling the truth or not, simply based on the opinion of the airline CEO? My article contains all the evidence to back up what I said, but for you O’Leary’s opinion is worth more than facts? Is that your criteria for evaluating the information published by the sites you analyse? Your evaluation “criteria” are truly appalling in their partiality.

More generally, would you comment on your editorial process?

Yes, we report facts and testimonies from the field, and our articles are sourced and substantiated. We consider facts to be more valuable than the opinion or unproven statement of some official or CEO approved by your site. We have done this since the beginning of Donbass Insider, and we will continue to do so.

Christelle Néant

The post Censorship: Donbass Insider in the Crosshairs of Newsguard, an Agency Linked to the CIA, NATO and the White House first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Ukraine: War and the Challenge of Human Rights in the United States and Beyond

Images of burnt flesh from napalm bombs, wounded and dead soldiers, scenes of U.S. soldiers burning the simple huts of Vietnamese villages, eventually turned the public against the war in Vietnam and produced the dreaded affliction, from the ruling class point of view, known as the “Vietnam syndrome.” This collective Post Traumatic Stress Disorder made it impossible for the public to support any foreign military involvement for years.

It took the rulers almost three decades to finally cure the public of this affliction. But the rulers were careful.

The brutal reality of what the U.S. was doing in Afghanistan and Iraq was whitewashed. That is why the images now being brought to the public by the corporate media are so shocking. It has been more than two generations since the U.S. public was exposed to the horrific images of war.

In the 1960s the rulers inadvertently allowed themselves to be undermined by the new television technology that brought the awful reality of imperialist war into the homes of the public. Now, the ruling class operating through its corporate media propaganda arms has been effectively using Ukraine war propaganda, not to increase Anti-war sentiment but to stimulate support for more war!

Incredibly also, the propagandists are pushing a line that essentially says that in the name of “freedom” and supporting Ukraine, the U.S. public should shoulder the sacrifice of higher fuel and food prices. This is on top of the inflation that workers and consumers were already being subjected to coming out of the capitalist covid scandal that devastated millions of workers and the lower stratums of the petit bourgeoisie.

But the war, and now the unfair shouldering of all of the costs of the capitalist crisis of 2008 – 2009, and the impact of covid by the working classes in the U.S., amounts to a capitalist tax. It is levied by the oligarchy on workers to subsidize the defense of the interests of big capital and the conditions that have produced obscene profits, even in the midst of the covid crisis and now, the Ukraine war.

These policies are criminal. While the U.S. continues to pretend that it champions human rights around the world, the failure of the state to protect the fundamental human rights of the citizens and residents in the U.S. is obvious to all, but spoken about by the few, except the Chinese government.

For those who might think that the Chinese criticism of the U.S. is only being driven by politics, and it might be,  just a cursory, objective examination of the U.S. state policies over just the last few years reveals a shocking record of systematic human rights abuses that promise to become even more acute as a consequence of the manufactured U.S./NATO war in Ukraine.

The Ongoing Human Rights Crisis

The U.S. working class, and Black working class in particular, never recovered from the economic crisis of 2008 before it was once again ravaged in 2020 with the global capitalist crisis exacerbated by covid. On the heels of those two shocks, today millions of workers are experiencing a permanent state of precarity with evictions, the continued loss of medical coverage, unaffordable housing and food costs, and a capitalist-initiated inflation. The rulers are operating under the belief that with the daily bombardment of war images, U.S. workers and the poor will embrace rising costs of gas and even more increases in the cost of food.

Doesn’t the state have any responsibility to ensure that the economic human rights of the people are fulfilled? No, because liberal human rights practice separates fundamental human rights – such as the right to health, food, housing, education, a means to subsist at an acceptable level of material culture, leisure, and life-long social security – from democratic discourse on what constitutes the human rights responsibility of the state and the interests it must uphold in order to be legitimate.

The non-recognition of the indivisibility of human rights that values economic human rights to an equal level as civil and political rights, exposed the moral and political contradictions of the liberal human rights framework. The massive economic displacements with hunger, unemployment, and unnecessary deaths among the population in the United States, with a disproportionate rate of sickness and hospitalization among non-white workers and the poor in the U.S., were never condemned as violations of human rights.

War and Economic Deprivation the Systemic Contradictions of the Western colonial/capitalist Project

The war being waged against global humanity by the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination is a hybrid war that utilizes all the tools it has at its disposal – sanctions, mass incarceration, coups, drugs, disinformation, culture, subversion, murder, and direct military engagement to further white power. The Eurocentrism and “White Lives Matters More Movement” represented by the coverage of the war in Ukraine stripped away any pretense to the supposed liberal commitment to global humanity. The white-washing of the danger of the ultra-right and neo-Nazi elements in the Ukrainian military and state and the white ethno-nationalism that the conflict generated across the Western world demonstrated, once again, how “racialism” and the commitment to the fiction of white supremacy continues to trump class and class struggle and the ability to build a multi-national, class based anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist opposition in the North.

It is primarily workers from Russia, the Donbas and Ukraine who are dying. But as in the run-up to the first imperialist war in Europe, known as World War One, workers with the encouragement of their national bourgeoisie, are lining up behind their rulers to support the capitalist redivision taking place, a redivision that can only be completed by war as long as capitalism and capitalist competition continues. Yet, instead of “progressives and radicals” joining forces to resist the mobilization to war, they are finding creative ways to align themselves with the interests of their ruling classes in support of the colonial/capitalist project.

In the meantime, the people of Afghanistan are starving, with thousands of babies now dying of malnutrition because the U.S. stole their nation’s assets. Estimates suggest that unless reversed, more people there will die from U.S./EU imposed sanctions than died during the twenty year long war. And the impact of the war in Ukraine with the loss of wheat exports from Ukraine and Russia resulting not only in rising food prices globally but in some places like East Africa, resulting in death from famine.

In the U.S. where we witness the most abysmal record of covid failure on the planet, the virus will continue to ravage the population, with a disproportionate number who get sick and die being the poorest and those furthest from whiteness.

The lackeys of capital playing the role of democratic representatives claim that there is no money to bring a modicum of relief to workers represented in the mildly reformist package known as Build Back Better. Yet, the Brown University Costs of War Project estimates that the wars waged by the United States in this century have cost $8 trillion and counting, with another $8 trillion that will be spent over the next ten years on the military budget if costs remain constant from the $778 billion just allocated.

No rational human being desires war and conflict. The horrors of war that the public are finally being exposed to because it was brought to Europe again, the most violent continent on the planet, should call into question all of the brutal and unjustified wars that the U.S. and its flunky allies waged throughout the global South over the last seventy years. Unfortunately, because of the hierarchy of the value of human beings, the images of war in Ukraine are not translating into a rejection of war, but instead a rejection of war in Europe and on white Europeans.

This means that the wars will continue and we must fight, often alone, because as Bob Marley said in his song “War”:

Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
And another
Inferior
Is finally
And permanently
Discredited
And abandoned
Everywhere is war
Me say war

The post Ukraine: War and the Challenge of Human Rights in the United States and Beyond first appeared on Dissident Voice.

War Crimes, Mental Molestation and Language Rape

The incredible market for human slaughter called war existed thousands of years ago but it was a corner grocery store compared to the multi-trillion dollar moral sewer that represents modern mass murder. Part of what enables imperial and even lesser powers to slaughter at will is a rule book drawn up long ago when there might have been a possibility to just have military personnel chopping one another to bits while leaving the general populace out of the bloodletting. That certainly ended before the 20th century but what has transpired since then and up to the present is, to cite a couple of over-used therefore recognizable labels, a genocidal holocaust that has burned, bombed, shot, stabbed, smothered and shattered bodies, reducing humans to unrecognizable bloody pulp by the hundreds of millions.

The hideous reality of war and its public relations and adverting departments that allegedly inform us about it has people accepting its horror as some sort of natural occurrence like sunset, tides, weather, rather than seeing it as caused by ruling powers battling over their wealth struggles which reduce humanity to commit mass murder under the pretense of it being the natural order of things. Further, rules have been drawn by upper class educated folks with doctoral degrees legalizing mass murder who teach us just what is the proper way to bash in skulls, burn people to death and rape and murder in a supposedly civilized way.

The alleged morality of humans accepting one form of insanely hysterical murder as long as it adheres to a guidebook on the proper form of slaughter should make us all grateful there is no judgmental, vindictive old testament deity or we’d all have been destroyed after the second world war let alone after our profitable feasts of death since then when we’ve murdered even more.

This closely guarded secret that humanity suffers in wars but only when rationalizations of bloody filth called “war crimes” are committed is currently being used and abused in a form of language, thought and moral degeneracy that may finally end when human consciousness, especially American, rejects the degenerate advertising and public relations blitz posing as reporting to blame Russians for what is called by language perverts their “war crime” against the Ukrainian government. Said government is a product of a U.S. financed insurrection that dumped an elected president who favored Russia for a western political pimp favoring market forces, which include some modern Nazis.

While he has become a celebrity among morals free political employees of ruling power by informing everyone to send him weapons so that there can be more bloodshed of the loving, violence free western kind, the western world has increased military spending to record breaking figures. Our rulers, media employee shepherds, see to it that our population is reduced to sheep as much of the world is angrier than ever at the machinations of the warfare business though you’d never know it if all you had was the western media called a free press. They create mentally brutalized souls into paying hundreds of dollars for taco-pizza-burgers and calling it free food.

While Ukrainians have been dying by the thousands for the past eight years, subject to a US/NATO financed and controlled assault, Americans and the west have known absolutely nothing of what was going on and not until Russian retaliation have we heard repeated use of words like brutal, savage, slaughter and worse, to condemn what under normal American circumstances would be called a form of legal police action to purify the world and see to it that peace, love and tranquility would prevail as we slaughtered. Maybe after everyone was dead?

A nation that leads all others in conducting wars against weaker countries and murdering hundreds of thousands, at the least, and millions, at the worst, is not only bellowing murderous nonsense but manipulating good, well meaning people into swallowing editorial garbage that has some decent folks almost ready to pawn their pets to send money to suffering Ukrainians. Even worse, some perverted by venomous outpourings of what would be called vicious hate speech if conducted by anyone else, are ready to accept the potential of nuclear war in order to stop the horrible slaughter which mostly exists between the ears and comes out of the mouths of our thought police working overtime for our ruling powers.

A recent story headlined a murderous, bloody, brutal assault by Russians, which had killed two people at the time the story was filed. Sadly but horrendously over-stated in a nation which kills 4-5 Americans every hour in our private transport system of undeclared road wars to get us to work, shop, school, and conduct other freedom loving democratic economic action. This while the sanctions against Russia are causing serious economic pain the world over, including to Americans, while military spending and the mass murder business that is the backbone of our incredibly gross national product is growing faster and more dangerously and fossil fuel interests profit more than ever as environmental destruction proceeds at a more menacing pace.

This assault on reason, combined with the rape of language and the reduction of public consciousness to the level of a nation of insects, is really only an update of what has been going on for more than 100 years concerning Russia. The assault on that nation began in 1917 when the Russian revolution threatened capitalism, its global center then as now in the United States. America immediately invaded along with a group of its future lapdogs which eventually became NATO after the Second World War. The idea of a return to humanity’s roots by building a society based on communal cooperation rather than competitive actions which created wonderful benefits for some but only by reducing others to dreadful lives was too much for fanatics of the fundamentalist church of capital.

Our primitive communistic survival in the days before we destroyed hunter-gatherer people meant that when the hunt was successful, everyone ate meat and when it wasn’t, everyone ate what was gathered. This was thousands of years before vegan diets and anti-meat worship among good people who comfortably house 136 million pets in a nation where more than 500,000 humans are without shelter. The pet business was good for more than 104 billion in 2020, a mass of economic clout but still chump change compared to the 778 billion for war, which involves 750 American bases in 80 foreign countries for something calling itself “defense”. This protected folks like George Floyd from the brutal, savage, bloodthirsty fiend Putin, but was totally helpless to defend him from a few Americans with badges.

A communist ideal which held that a thousand people and a thousand loaves of bread should mean a loaf of bread for everyone sickened rich capitalists who insisted that some should get ten loaves each and the rest be damned, which is the gross foundation dressed in economic jargon that would make a house of prostitution a citadel of love. Capital said that just as sex workers made a decent living by using their private parts to make private profits for their pimps, workers of all kinds could live comfortably if they just did their jobs and didn’t ask any questions. Their media saw to it that unquestioners became everyday people.

The social seeds planted by people like Marx and Engels in the 19th century came to fruition early in the 20th in Russia, and the vicious assault on that nation began, then as now, from its headquarters in America. After 70 years of continuous physical and mental assault finally helped cause a breakdown of the Soviet Union and a return to capitalism, that was still not enough and the U.S. and its imperial lackeys kept up the war and its present experience which threatens the worst outcome for humanity. This will hopefully not only bring China and Russia closer but the people of the USA and global humanity together to transcend the danger by helping to end the degeneracy of warfare and create peace via the end of an imperial crusade to further enrich billionaires and their upper class servants while increasing mass poverty and the environmental threat to us all.

With daily by the minute assaults on consciousness reducing other wise good people to hateful idiocy demanding death for the savage Putin and evil Russians, there is glee among the perverted political economic leadership of the war business. They number a tiny group with power supposedly democratic while they brainwash people into believing autocracy – a term most hardly understand – is in charge everywhere but where it exists; in what we have been taught to believe is the free world. Benign (?) America billionaires become malevolently evil (ominous background music) Russian oligarchs, according to our mind shapers who neglect to point out they keep their wealth in the same banks – mostly American or at least using American dollars – to perform as charming space travelers or deranged killers, depending on national origin.

This perverse market freedom continues to mean imperial abuse by one nation, ours, while taxpayers absorb a debt of 30 trillion dollars paying for the empire which is bringing us all closer to a point at which we will have little time left as a human race. We need to begin acting like one very soon. That means far more than waving a Ukrainian flag and sending paychecks to the pimps of war, but no longer accepting their crimes against nature and beginning to act like what we are: a human race badly in need of global democracy to stop all wars, not just those we are told are the wrong way to butcher humans, and begin life. That calls for the end of the post World War II domination of the American empire and this present horror is hopefully a sign that it will be so. We need to turn off the anti-social media that insure further private profit and ultimate public loss and turn on humanity’s original instinct for cooperation. And hurry.

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President Joe Biden seeks to Destroy Russia and Punish the Russian People

Who, really, is the War Criminal?

So what does President Joe Biden want the sanctions imposed on Russia to do? Think back to the 1990s and what the US-NATO imposed no-fly zone and sanctions did to the people of Iraq?  The results were almost 1 million Iraqis dead, according to the website GlobalIssues.org.

Over at truthout.org, Jake Batinga reported that President Joe Biden strongly supported those sanctions as a US Senator and recently has turned a blind eye to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan:

Senator Biden strongly supported the sanctions and advocated for even more aggressive policies toward Iraq. Biden was not then, and is not now, known for his humanitarian impulses or dovish foreign policy stances.

Batinga also notes that:

More Afghans are poised to die from US sanctions over the next few months alone than have died at the hands of the Taliban and US military forces over the last 20 years combined — by a significant margin. Yet, as journalist Murtaza Hussain recently wrote, US establishment politicians and intellectuals who decried the humanitarian crisis during the fall of Kabul are seemingly unbothered by imminent mass starvation, imposed by us.

The Biden administration — which routinely laments human rights violations perpetrated by China, Iran, Russia, and other adversaries — is ignoring desperate pleas from humanitarian organizations and UN human rights bodies, choosing instead to maintain policies virtually guaranteed to cause mass starvation and death of civilians, especially children. Yet it is important to note, and remember, that as a matter of policy, this is not particularly new; the US has often imposed harsh economic sanctions, causing mass civilian death. A previous imposition of sanctions resulted in one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes, one largely forgotten in mainstream historical memory.

In 1990, the US imposed sanctions on Iraq through the UN following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. These sanctions continued for more than a decade after Iraq withdrew from Kuwait, and had horrific humanitarian consequences eerily similar to the imminent mass starvation of Afghan civilians. The sanctions regime against Iraq — which began under President George H.W. Bush but was primarily administered by President Bill Clinton’s administration — froze Iraq’s foreign assets, virtually banned trade, and sharply limited imports. These sanctions crashed the Iraqi economy and blocked the import of humanitarian supplies, medicine, food, and other basic necessities, killing scores of civilians.

BRIC’s Made of Straw

The BRIC nations, Brazil, Russia, India and China have been in the news lately and for good reason. There is talk, and talk is cheap, of course, of China and Russia creating an alternative payment system to the US dollar dominated international payments system SWIFT.

Already Russia has joined China’s Cross Border Interbank Payment System as an alternative to SWIFT, along with joining China’s UnionPay credit card system which serves as an alternative to Visa and Master Card who, along with dozens of other Western country businesses (Europe, USA plus Japan and South Korea), bolted Russia’s marketplace after its military operation got started in Ukraine in late February.

India apparently is trading with Russia in a rupee, ruble swap but that seems ad hoc, at best. And there is news of Saudi Arabia cutting a deal with China to use the yuan as an exchange currency. Brazil has enough internal problems to deal with: crime, disease, Amazon deforestation.

Chinese leaders must realize that if Russia falters in Ukraine which means it is unable to liberate the Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk, gain international recognition of Crimea—and maintain territorial gains made on the coast of the Black and Azov Seas—and/or President Putin is removed from office and Russia destabilizes, the United States will chop up Russia into separate republics, steal its resources and cancel the billions in deals signed with China for oil, gas, and grains

The United States will bring the NATO military alliance to China’s doorstep and likely put on show trials in the International Criminal Court arguing that Putin and his general staff are war criminals, which would be utter nonsense given US policies and actions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

China is trying to placate the US because it still fears US economic and military power. Its party officials probably figure that they can keep building up the People’s Liberation Army, Navy, Air Force and Strategic nuclear capability and when there is enough firepower, will be able to challenge US dominance in the Pacific. But how?

The PLA forces have no modern combat experience to speak of and their plan seems to be; well, no plan at all. They are faced with the combined forces of the USA that are building new aircraft carriers, submarines and long distance B-21 bombers, along with upgrading all three legs of its nuclear TRIAD.

Which brings us back to Russia and the economic support it needs so that Biden’s sanctions don’t end up killing a million Russians. Because that is what Biden intends and his track record on supporting sanctions is disturbingly clear. When China looks at what the USA-NATO have done to the Russian economy, they are looking at their own future.

Hypocrisy

Joe Scalice at the World Socialist Website notes the hypocrisy of the USA-NATO and the compliant MSM Western media:

The wars of aggression of Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump contained the accumulated evil of the torture in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the drone bombing of children at play, villages leveled by precision missiles and refugees drowned in the Mediterranean. Baghdad crumbled beneath the shock and awe of unstinting US bombing; Fallujah burned with white phosphorus.

The American mass media is complicit in these crimes. They never challenged the government’s assertions, but trumpeted its pretexts. They whipped up a war-frenzy in the public. Pundits who now denounce Putin were ferocious in demanding that the United States bomb civilians.

Thomas Friedman wrote in the New York Times in 1999 of the bombing of Serbia under Clinton, “It should be lights out in Belgrade: every power grid, water pipe, bridge, road and war-related factory has to be targeted… [W]e will set your country back by pulverizing you. You want 1950? We can do 1950. You want 1389? We can do 1389 too.” [Biden supported bombing Belgrade]

Biden labels Putin a war criminal in the midst of a new media hysteria. Never referring to the actions of the United States, never pausing for breath, the media pumps out the fuel for an ever-expanding war. Hubris and hypocrisy stamp every statement from Washington with an audacity perhaps unique in world history. Its hands bathed in blood up to the elbows, US empire gestures at its enemies and cries war crimes.

Tactics

Indeed, the media has capitulated to the war propaganda narrative of the Biden Administration. The US MSM relies almost exclusively on Ukrainian sources for its error filled reporting. If you are reading the New York Times or the Washington Post, you aren’t getting the full story. Pro-Russia sites like Southfront, Newsfront, War Gonzo and others tell a different story. For example, the Retroville Mall destruction on March 21 was reported in the West as a wanton and random attack on a shopping place. In fact, the below-building parking lot was home to Ukrainian military vehicles clearly shown by a set of photos that appeared on Newsfront. Residential buildings are clearly being used by the Ukrainian forces to hide their weapons or launch anti-tank attacks from apartment building roofs or top floor apartments. That’s a tactic that makes sense. The Russians know that.

You’ve got to look at all the news sources, even the ones you don’t want to view, in order to be informed about this conflict.

The post President Joe Biden seeks to Destroy Russia and Punish the Russian People first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Endless Wars and Failed States: The Tragedy of Neoliberalism

Then all cried with one accord,
‘Thou art King, and God and Lord;
Anarchy, to thee we bow,
Be thy name made holy now!’

— “The Mask of Anarchy,” Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1819

Following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the American ruling establishment embarked on a policy of backing radical anti-nation state ideologies (henceforth to be referred to as ANSIs) with the goal of dismantling national identities and leaving failed states in their wake. Only through acknowledging both the extraordinary dangers that this entails, and the fact that the process emanates from powerful transnational capitalist forces rather than from “the left” (which once referenced a Marxist or social democratic position), can the chaos within the West as well as US foreign policy in the post-Soviet era be understood.

If left unchecked, an ANSI will act as a cancer and metastasize, until the national identity it has infiltrated has reached the point of dissolution. Indeed, it will either eradicate or be eradicated; there is no other alternative. A curious phenomenon in the panoply of neoliberal barbarities is that those who reject extremism are inevitably labeled as extremists themselves. For instance, the American and Canadian truckers who are defending the informed consent ethic, the principle of bodily autonomy, and the Nuremberg Code, without which a democracy cannot survive, are guilty of “antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, homophobia, and transphobia,” to quote Canada’s puerile prime minister – i.e., it is they who are the extremists.

Serbs that endured over seventy days of NATO bombing, and who suffered genocidal attacks at the hands of Croatian neo-Ustasha soldiers and Kosovo Liberation Army terrorists were also “extremists;” their oppressors, “freedom fighters.”

Identity politics, a deranged yet powerful ANSI which has cataclysmically destabilized American society, and is likewise being used as a battering ram to turn much of the West into a Tower of Babel while dismantling the rule of law, is predicated on the notion that any opposition to unrestricted immigration and the jettisoning of the American canon is indicative of “white supremacy.” This zealotry has been taken to its inescapable conclusion in the New York City public schools, where non-native speakers of English are hanging from the chandeliers, and a curriculum which demonizes American letters, British literature, classics of Western Civilization, civics, and the history of Western art – the foundational pillars of our civilization – is hegemonic.

Not only has this brought about a collapse of the society, but those for whom this curriculum purports to help – Americans of color and immigrant youth – are rendered illiterate, both culturally and intellectually. What better time than the 21st century to use one’s knowledge of the Nuremberg Code, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, McCarthyism, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Great Depression, the Vietnam War (particularly prior to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan), and the role played by Ukrainian nationalists during the Second World War? The ignorance, alienation, tribalism, atomization, and dehumanization fomented by the multicultural society (essentially the inversion of white supremacy), has spawned a younger generation drowning in amnesia and amorality – a zombie class which is extremely amenable to brainwashing by the presstitutes.

Another example of an ANSI is the problem of Sunni fundamentalism in Syria, as Syria is comprised of not only Sunnis, but Alawites, Jews, Christians, Kurds, as well as other religious and ethnic minorities, all of which would be regarded as nonpersons by the jihadis should they sack Damascus. There are also considerable numbers of Sunnis in Syria that reject the radicalism of ISIS, Jaysh al-Islam, and Jabhat al-Nusra. In other words, the Syrian government had no choice but to outlaw these groups, as there is no way that they could peacefully coexist with a modern and secular Syrian state.

Multiple ANSIs were introduced into Iraq during the US military occupation. In commenting on the animus between the Baath Party and the Dawa Party, The Oklahoman writes:

The parties’ rivalry dates back more than four decades. The two groups have traditionally held opposing views on how Iraq should be run, with Dawa calling for an Islamic Shiite state, and the Baath party having a secular, pan-Arab ideology.

Unlike Iran, Iraq is not a predominantly Shiite state. Consequently, the rise of the Dawa Party, which was dominant in Iraq from 2003 to 2018, disenfranchised Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians, thereby facilitating Kurdish separatism as well as the birth of ISIS. In a similar vein, the rise of Hindu fundamentalism in India undermines a cohesive national identity and poses a threat to democratic institutions. Democracy demands freedom of speech, yet cannot become a synonym for dogmatism, sectarianism, and tribalism.

The Branch Covidian coup d’état has facilitated the emergence of a global cult which is anchored in a contempt for informed consent and which poses an existential threat to democracy. This contempt for the informed consent ethic is rooted in the notion that human beings are the property of the state, and that the state has a right to do whatever it wants to its subjects medically. Hence, this is a totalitarian position. Once a totalitarian position has been embraced, its acolytes invariably abandon the world of reason. This explains why you can send your indoctrinated relatives countless links to articles showing that masks and lockdowns don’t work, that the mRNA vaccines are dangerous and do not confer immunity, and that Covid can be treated with repurposed drugs, all to no avail. They have turned their backs, not only on democracy, but on logic, and are operating on a purely primordial emotion. Indeed, the irrationality of totalitarianism is tied to the fact that those who seek to destroy vital democratic pillars, such as the First Amendment and informed consent, are not only fighting to destroy the freedom of their adversaries but are fighting to destroy their own freedoms as well.

One might argue that the polarization that has ensued following the imposition of medical mandates was an unforeseen consequence of the Branch Covidian response, yet this phenomenon is fundamentally no different than inciting internecine strife within a country that has fallen into Washington’s crosshairs. Alas, it is another mechanism of the age-old divide and conquer strategy.

The Western elites’ post-Soviet love affair with smashing civilizations to the wall came to Ukraine in the winter of 2014, when the US-backed Maidan “Revolution of Dignity” saw the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych, which precipitated the disintegration of Ukraine’s constitutional order. In the Western part of the country there has long been a considerable amount of support for Ukrainian nationalism, whose disciples regard themselves as “Aryans” and who romanticize Stepan Bandera, a fanatical leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, rabid Russophobe and Nazi collaborator. This putsch allowed the heirs to the Ukrainian nationalists that collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War to seize power in Kiev. As there are millions of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in Ukraine, this could only lead to the country becoming a failed state.

Consider this extravaganza of ludicrousness: we have been told that truckers protesting medical mandates are “Nazis,” while the Western elites have been supporting a neo-Nazi government in Ukraine for eight years. No less galling, the Branch Covidian contempt for informed consent has its roots in the Nazi medical ethos.

On May 2, 2014, Banderite pogromists set fire to the Odessa Trade Union House, where locals who were protesting the nationalist coup were holed up, savagely beating and shooting those who attempted to escape. This incident, which led to the loss of over forty lives, was deeply symbolic of the new regime, its lawlessness and savagery, and its visceral hatred of Russians. In the West it would be unthinkable for there to be statues and monuments honoring prominent Nazis and Nazi collaborators. However, in Ukraine this is all too common. That Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk, and Zelensky have proven adroit in speaking in the language of neoliberalism fails to alter the fact that the real power in post-Maidan Ukraine lies unequivocally with the Banderites.

A recent Bloomberg article titled “Russian Fleet Approach has Ukraine’s Port City Odessa Bracing” embodies the pervasive ignorance of the Western media, as Odessa is a Russian speaking city whose civilian inhabitants would mostly be delighted should the Russian military turn up. Not to be outdone, the BBC laments the fact that the residents of Kiev have been forced to spend a couple of nights in basements and metro stations. Where have the BBC, CNN, The New York Times, The Guardian, and other esteemed institutes of skulduggery been when Donbass residents were forced by a genocidal NATO-backed regime to live in basements for eight years? Incredibly, the songs and music videos of the Russian singer Artem Grishanov offer better journalistic coverage of post-Maidan Ukraine than all the Pentagon storytellers put together (see here, here, here and here). Note the total absence of any context in the mass media’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: do we discuss the Invasion of Normandy in this way?

This coup, which brought a bloodthirsty ultranationalist cabal to power, proceeded to ban the formerly influential pro-Russian Party of Regions as well as the Communist Party, and has taken steps to undermine the language rights of Russian speakers. When the oblasts of Donetsk and Lugansk refused to recognize the new junta, the Ukrainian military, backed by neo-Nazi units such as the Azov Battalion and the Aidar Battalion, and supported by the no less loathsome Right Sector and Svoboda Party, placed the Donbass under a medieval siege, a siege that has caused terrible suffering, but was doomed to fail militarily due to the fact that Donetsk and Lugansk share a border with Russia. These paramilitary groups have committed crimes against humanity, operate with minimal oversight, and have, together with regular Ukrainian forces, long been attempting to “ethnically cleanse” the Donbass of its ethnically Russian inhabitants in the same way that the Croatian government of Franjo Tudjman forcibly expelled 200,000 Serbs from the Krajina region in 1995 (see here, here, and here). Many thousands of Donbass residents have lost their lives at the hands of these Western-backed gangs, which delight in shelling residential neighborhoods, and which have been green-lighted to commit atrocities with impunity. Videos of neo-Nazis boasting of how they are abusing and torturing captured Russian soldiers, and how they will hunt down and punish Ukrainians accepting Russian aid, is yet another sad reminder of who invariably benefits from US government largesse.

Putting Ukraine, a country that has long-standing cultural, linguistic, and civilizational ties to Russia that go back centuries in the hands of Ukrainian nationalists, has served to weaken Russia and transformed the country into a dangerous Western proxy. The mass media’s histrionics over the Russian military’s alleged targeting of residential neighborhoods is preposterous indeed, as this has long been an integral part of US imperial policy, as evidenced by relentless and indiscriminate US bombing campaigns conducted over Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Serbia, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Laos, and even when conducting air raids in the heart of Europe during the Second World War. Many Russians, in fact, have family in Ukraine – hence their genuine desire to not do this. Moreover, the Russian military has made a concerted effort to help civilians evacuate the war zone via humanitarian corridors, avenues of escape which have been repeatedly cut off by nationalists who have been accused by refugees of holding them hostage and even firing on those attempting to flee the fighting.

A substantial percentage of the Ukrainian population was hoodwinked into believing that for eight years they have been at war with Russia when they have been massacring their fellow countrymen in the Donbass. This underscores the mass hysteria that has gripped a vast swath of the country following the Maidan coup, and is indicative of how a mass psychosis can seize hold of a population once an ANSI has been imposed through the use of a hijacked media and education system.

Perhaps forgetting that Russia has nuclear weapons, Adam Kinzinger has called for a no-fly zone to be imposed over Ukraine, a country whose airspace is controlled by Russia. Elaborating on the there-is-no-difference-between-Russia-and-Somalia theme, Sean Hannity has called for drone strikes to be carried out against Russian military convoys, arguing that the Russians wouldn’t be able to figure out who did it; which leads one to wonder which country has more lunatics per capita: Ukraine or the United States? Perhaps Nietzsche was correct when he wrote in Beyond Good And Evil that “Madness is rare in individuals – but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.”

Following the onset of the Russian intervention, the freedom-loving government in Kiev opened the doors to its prisons, granting convicts an early release should they agree to fight “the Moskal.” Empowered by this maelstrom of anarchy, heavily armed bandits are free to join their Banderite brethren, embrace “democracy,” and terrorize the locals at will. Fittingly, the new draconian sanctions directed at Russia are being called “the Halting Enrichment of Russian Oligarchs and Industry Allies of Moscow’s Schemes to Leverage its Abject Villainy Abroad Act;” a strange name, yet one which happens to form the acronym HEROIAM SLAVA, a Ukrainian fascist greeting meaning “Glory to the Heroes,” and which is comparable to “Sieg Heil.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Russophobia in the US is starting to resemble the Russophobia in Ukraine itself, with Lindsey Graham openly calling for Putin to be assassinated (which doesn’t constitute “hate speech,” incidentally, according to Twitter).

The government in Kiev has recently spoken of reconsidering its commitments under the Budapest Memorandum and obtaining nuclear weapons, a threat that undoubtedly contributed to Moscow’s recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states. There has also been speculation that one of the objectives of the denazification campaign is the elimination of biowarfare labs, as the Russian government has been accusing the US of operating these facilities near its borders for quite some time (a claim not denied by Maidan architect Victoria Nuland). A false flag chemical weapons attack à la the White Helmets is a real and present danger.

The Kremlin has been trying for decades to have a respectful dialogue with the West about NATO’s relentless eastward expansion, and has repeatedly attempted to come to terms with its “Western partners” on establishing a new European security architecture which would take into account Moscow’s legitimate security concerns. The Kremlin’s attempts at getting Washington to cease its deliveries of arms to the murderers and sociopaths in Kiev, coupled with Putin’s tireless attempts at getting the Banderite regime to implement the Minsk agreements, have proven no less futile. Moscow will not permit the Banderite regime to obtain nuclear weapons, it will not permit the Donbass to be overrun, and it will not allow Ukraine to join NATO – each constitutes a non-negotiable red line.

In many ways it was inevitable that the Russian military would be sent into the Donbass, as the position of Donetsk and Lugansk has grown increasingly precarious due to the relentless influx of NATO weaponry, and they have been pleading with Moscow for protection ever since the commencement of hostilities. The decision to execute a reverse regime change operation is likely due to the Russian elite concluding that if they were to leave the Banderite junta in place, it would grow increasingly dangerous over time as its military capabilities expand exponentially – a kind of illiterate Russophobic Israel at one’s doorstep, if you will. If thousands of Americans were being killed and tortured at the hands of a tyrannical Moscow-backed puppet government in Mexico, would Washington have the patience to pursue diplomacy for the greater part of a decade?

The Russian military needs to get in and out of Kiev, a hornet’s nest of Banderivtsi, as efficiently as possible. The longer they remain, the greater the likelihood that the CIA will entrap them in an Afghan-style quagmire, as Western intelligence agencies are working around the clock to flood Ukraine with as many private military contractors, jihadis, and neo-Nazi volunteers as possible. Should Ukraine cease to exist, balkanization would certainly be preferable to the country being pulled inexorably into a never-ending vortex of violence as transpired in Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It is difficult to see how the country could be put back together, with one half comprised of Russophobes; and the other, of Russophiles.

The Western elites’ growing reliance on the use of ANSIs as a form of unconventional warfare threatens civilization both at home and abroad, and if directed at Russia or China, could unleash a nuclear war from which there would be no survivors. Since the inauguration of Bill Clinton, Washington has worked long and hard to smoke a hibernating bear out of its den. Through the resurrection of the ghost of Bandera, at long last, they have succeeded.

The post Endless Wars and Failed States: The Tragedy of Neoliberalism first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Business as Usual: Facebook, Russia, and Hate Speech

Seedy, compromised and creepy, the surveillance machine of Facebook, now operating under the broader fold of its parent company Meta Platforms, is currently giving out the very signals that it was condemned for doing before: encourage discussions on hating a group and certain figures, while spreading the bad word to everyone else to do so.

The Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin, and Russians in general emerge as the latest contenders, the comic strip villains who those in the broadly designated “West” can now take issue with. According to a Meta spokesperson, the Russian attack on Ukraine had made the company make temporary “allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’” Cryptically, the same spokesman goes on to say that, “We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.” Meta gives us no guidelines on what would constitute a “credible call”.

Twitter has also permitted posts openly advocating homicide and assassination. US Senator Lindsey Graham was caught up in the bloodlust of permissiveness, using the platform to ask whether Russia had its own Brutus. “Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military?” The only way to conclude the conflict was “for somebody in Russia to take this guy out.”

The cartoon villainy approach of the Meta group also has precedent. In July 2021, the policy on incitement and hate speech was eased with specific reference to Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei. The firm decided to permit posts featuring “death to Khamenei”, or videos of individuals chanting the phrase for a two-week window. Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai wrote pointedly at the time that this permission was “a bizarre choice that highlight’s Facebook’s power and often confusing content moderation rules.”

The Russia-Ukraine policy is only startling for being an open admission to a practice that Facebook has embraced for years. With the company’s astronomical growth, accusations about how it utilises hate speech and deceptive content have reached a crescendo without deep effect. Mock efforts have been taken to deal with them, never deviating from the firm’s market purpose.

An example of this zig-zag morality meet reputational damage was given in 2018. In August that year, the company employed 60 Burmese-language specialists to review posted and distributed content, with a promise to employ another 40 more by the end of the year. Product manager Sara Su called the violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar “horrific and we have been too slow to prevent misinformation on Facebook.”

A more accurate appraisal of the company’s conduct was revealed by an internal trove of documents showing how harms were closely monitored but algorithmically exacerbated. The documents, disclosed to the US Securities and Exchange Commission by whistleblower Frances Haugen, revealed a number of things, including the gulf between CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s public statements on improvements and the company’s own findings.

In testimony given to Congress in 2020, Zuckerberg claimed that 94 percent of hate speech was removed before a human agent reported it. The picture emerging from the internal documents showed that the company did quite the opposite: less than 5 percent of hate speech on the platform was actually removed.

Haugen summed up the approach in her opening statement to the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security in October last year. Conceding that social networks faced “complex and nuanced” problems in dealing with misinformation, counterespionage and democracy, she was blunt about the “choices being made inside Facebook”. They were “disastrous – for our children, for our public safety, for our privacy and for our democracy – and that is why we must demand Facebook makes changes.”

The platform has also been the target of legal suits for encouraging hate speech. In December, Rohingya refugees, having little time for the firm’s promises to turn a new leaf, instigated legal action in both the United States and the United Kingdom for $150 billion. The San Francisco lawsuit, filed by Edelson and Fields Law on behalf of an anonymous plaintiff, alleges that Facebook’s introduction in the country in 2011 encouraged “the dissemination of hateful messages, disinformation and incitement to violence” which led to genocide of the Rohingya.

The Ukraine War has revealed a familiar pattern. On February 26, 2022 Facebook initially announced that it had “established a special operations center staffed by experts from across the company, including native Russian and Ukraine speakers, who are monitoring the platform around the clock, allowing us to respond to issues in real time.” The company promised that it was “taking extensive steps to fight misinformation and implementing more transparency and restrictions around state-controlled media outlets.”

Then came the easing of policies on hate speech regarding Russian figures, with the predictable and, given the context, understandable reaction. The Russian embassy in Washington called the policy “aggressive and criminal […] leading to incitement and hatred and hostility”. It gave Moscow a good basis to claim that this was yet another feature of an “information war without rules”.

Disinformation experts adopt a bit of hair splitting in approving Meta’s approach. “The policy calls for violence against Russian soldiers,” insists the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab’s Emerson Brooking. “A call for violence here, by the way, is also a call for resistance because Ukrainians resist a violent invasion.”

This policy of intervening on the side of the Ukrainian cause to Russia’s detriment is encouraged by Meta’s President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg. In his March 11 statement, Clegg makes the case for selective violence even more pronounced. “I want to be crystal clear: our policies are focused on protecting people’s rights to speech as an expression of self-defense in reaction to a military invasion of their country.” Had standard content policies been followed, content “from ordinary Ukrainians expressing their resistance and fury at the invading military forces would have been removed.”

This immoderate stance does not have universal agreement. Media sociologist Jeremy Littau has made the pertinent observation that, “Facebook has rules, until it doesn’t.” It claims to be merely a platform above taking sides, “until it does.” To not permit hate speech except in designated cases against certain people of a certain country was “one hell of a can of worms.”

Meta’s latest move is disturbingly refreshing in calling out a policy that remains haphazard, selectively applied, but always driven by the firm’s own amoral calculus. The Ukraine conflict now gives the group a cover for practices that enfeeble and corrupt democracy while picking sides in war. The company is clearly not above encouraging posts advocating homicide and murder after testing the wind’s direction. With Russia being rapidly cancelled culturally, politically and economically throughout the fold of Western countries, Zuckerberg is bound to think he is onto a winner. At the very least, he has found a distracting alibi.

The post Business as Usual: Facebook, Russia, and Hate Speech first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Uyghur Podcast Brought to You by a CIA Torture Propagandist

On February 2nd, eagle-eyed pro-China activist Arnaud Bertrand revealed that WEghur Stories, a podcast “working to create a conversation within and about the global Uyghur diaspora” that has been aggressively promoted on Facebook and Spotify, is funded by Washington’s French diplomatic mission—and that John Bair, its co-creator, co-host and producer, is a former CIA operative.

Arnaud Bertrand (@RnaudBertrand) / Twitter
Arnaud Bertrand [Source: mobile.twitter.com]

No trace of Bair’s deep-state background can be detected from the podcast’s website, where he is merely referred to as a former “foreign policy analyst, political speechwriter, and narrative consultant.” However, his LinkedIn profile—which characterizes him as a “narrative development” specialist—reveals an eight-year stint with the Agency from 2004 to 2012, the first seven of which were spent as an intelligence officer.

Since then, he has enjoyed a colorful, diverse career in a number of fields, serving as ghostwriter for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and foreign policy and national security adviser to Pete Buttigieg’s in 2020, which overlapped with a three-and-a-half year spell at Threat Pattern LLC.

WEghur Stories | Podcast on Spotify
[Source: open.spotify.com]

The latter company uses CIA “intelligence and counterintelligence analysis techniques to protect corporate brands and assets.” Trade outlet Intelligence Online describes the firm as “a CIA and Wall Street alliance”—in March 2015, Michael Sulick, the Agency’s long-time Clandestine Service Director, joined as senior partner.

Michael Sulick - Wikipedia
Michael Sulick, the Agency’s long-time Clandestine Service Director. [Source: wikipedia.org]


Bair, moreover, sits on the board of Foreign Policy for America, a D.C.-based advocacy group founded in the weeks following the 2016 presidential election, “as a home for Americans who support principled American engagement in the world.” In other words, to shill for empire after the victory of Donald Trump, in the event his isolationist, anti-war rhetoric on the campaign trail turned out just to be hot air—which it did, of course.

Lately, he has worked as content director for Thresher, a company offering corporate clients a range of products combining “signal-rich proprietary data, AI-powered technology, and world-class expertise to help decision makers understand China.” Thresher claims to rely on “the best technology the world has to offer, incubated at Harvard and leveraging innovations from Silicon Valley.”

Deep-state liberal performing arts collective

Since January 2014 too, Bair has been part of The New Wild, “a multidisciplinary art lab that brings together artists, writers, scholars, and technologists in a rigorously collaborative environment to create large-scale theater, opera, and spectacles.”

It is as part of this group that Bair produces WEghur Stories, and wrote Tear a Root from the Earth, an elaborate musical about the legacy of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan that has been performed at theaters across America. Additionally, he served as communications director for Everybody Is Gone, an immersive “art installation and performance” seeking to provide “reparative spaces to the Uyghur community” and “counteract the Chinese government’s objectives.”

Little information on The New Wild can be derived from its website—there isn’t even a means of contacting the troupe—although its “collaborators” section is intriguing, for behind the handsome hipsteriffic headshots often lurk deep-state backgrounds.

For example, Jessica Batke, creator of Everybody Is Gone and Tear a Root from the Earth’s music director, was previously a foreign affairs research analyst at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

A person wearing glasses Description automatically generated with low confidence
Jessica Batke [Source: thenewwild.org]

She currently serves as senior editor of the opaquely funded ChinaFile, where she manages its China NGO Project, and has published numerous bizarre, scaremongering stories about Beijing subsequently picked up by the mainstream media.

In late January, for example, Batke authored a report framing as sinister a network of youth centers across China, at which attendees can, among other things, have their umbrellas repaired and watch showings of The Dark Knight for free. This while earning “points” for showing “respect for their elders and family, righteousness and trustworthiness, pleasure in helping others, hard work, and thrift in running their household affairs” that can be redeemed for essential products in supermarkets.

The Wall Street Journal was widely ridiculed for presenting this mundane youth engagement program as a malign, insidious Communist Party plot “to quietly [insert] itself into everyday life” in China.

Johnny Walsh, a cellist who co-authored Tear a Root from the Earth and composed its score, is a veteran U.S. foreign policy apparatchik currently occupying a senior post at intelligence cutout USAID, while Nicolas Benacerraf, director and scenographer, is an academic studying “advertising as a means of theatrical population control,” and its relevance to “political theater,” in his spare time.

New Wild founder Marina McClure—a theater director “who grew up internationally,” with an extensive dramatic résumé and virtually no social media presence—has since 2019 received grants from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the U.S. government’s regime-change arm, which financed the production of Everybody Is Gone.

Image of Marina McClure
Marina McClure [Source: willamette.edu]

The NED has since 2004 funded propaganda operations surrounding the purported Uyghur genocide to the tune of millions annually, bankrolling a nexus of advocacy groups, human rights NGOs and media operations to further the controversial narrative, among them right-wing, anti-communist separatists, in order to discredit and ostracize China.

All along, the U.S. has frequently clashed with Uyghur militants in Afghanistan.

It is surely no coincidence the NED wellspring began flowing the year after publication of The Xinjiang Problem, authored by Graham E. Fuller, former vice chair of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate and CIA station chief in Kabul, and academic S. Frederick Starr, a distinguished Eurasian fellow with the American Foreign Policy Council, a neoconservative Beltway think tank.

“It would be unrealistic to rule out categorically American willingness to play the ‘Uyghur card’ as a means of exerting pressure on China in the event of some future crisis or confrontation,” they wrote. “Many of China’s rivals have in the past pursued active policies in Xinjiang and exploited the Uyghur issue for their benefit…The possibility cannot be excluded from any survey of possible longer-range futures for the Xinjiang issue.”

Elsewhere in the text, the authors acknowledged that Uyghurs were in contact with Muslim groups outside Xinjiang, and “some of them have been radicalized into broader jihadist politics in the process, a handful were earlier involved in guerrilla or terrorist training in Afghanistan, and some are in touch with international Muslim mujahidin struggling for Muslim causes of independence worldwide.”

There is reason to believe the U.S. may be providing covert support to these same militants. In 1999, a CIA operative was recorded as saying:

The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Red Army. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia [emphasis added].

East, Turkestan, Islamic, Movement, Party, training
Purported members of the Uyghur-led East Turkestan Islamic Movement [ETIM] in training video. Inspired by the Taliban, the ETIM led a violent insurgency against the Chinese government from the late 1990s until 2017, according to Newsweek, “in a bloody bid to weaken China’s resolve in Xinjiang.” Ironically, for many years, the ETIM was on Washington’s terrorist list, and was targeted in airstrikes by the Pentagon in Afghanistan up until 2018. [Source: newsweek.com]

“We love the CIA,” Ben Affleck writes

Intriguingly, John Bair’s biography on The New Wild website notes that, after his lengthy run as an intelligence officer, he served in the CIA’s entertainment liaison office, which consults directly with TV, streaming and movie productions. Via this mechanism, Langley exerts enormous, insidious and little-known influence over a wide variety of popular culture, influencing scripts and narratives in its own malign interests.

During this time, the résumé notes, Bair served as consultant on several high-profile projects, including the 2012 movies Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. This is striking, for production of those films was heavily influenced by Langley, creating a truly extraordinary situation in which two pictures vying against each other for numerous industry awards that year were both effective CIA propaganda infomercials.

Argo tells the real-life tale of the CIA rescuing six American diplomats who evaded capture during the storming of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, via the cunning connivance of dispatching operatives to the Iranian capital under the guise of scouting for shooting locations for a sci-fi movie.

It was a story the Agency had wanted someone to adapt for the silver screen for some time—in December 2007, an essay by Tony Mendez, who led the daring operation, outlining the experience was published on a section of the CIA’s website which regularly suggests possible storylines writers and producers should pursue.

WarnerBros.com | Argo | Movies
[Source: warnerbros.com]

In Argo, Mendez was played by Ben Affleck, who also directed the movie. Email exchanges between the actor and CIA liaison office during the production process unearthed by academic Matt Alford speak to an extremely chummy and affectionate rapport, with actors and production staff receiving rare private tours of Langley, and being provided with exclusive archive photos. All Agency personnel identities are redacted in the emails, although there are many written by and mentioning names short enough to be “John Bair.”

“We would love, in brief, to film a quick bit walking through the lobby, something in the parking lot and a wide shot of the building as an establishing shot,” Affleck wrote to the CIA in one missive. “We love the Agency and this heroic action and we really want the process of bringing it to the big screen to be as real as possible.”

In return for its assistance, the CIA was provided with multiple drafts of the script—Langley was very taken with the writer’s efforts, with one entertainment liaison office representative commenting, “the Agency comes off looking very well, in my opinion, and the action of the movie is, for the most part, squarely rooted in the facts of the mission.”

Upon release though, Argo was widely criticized for its historical inaccuracies, such as determinedly diminishing Canada’s prominent role in the mission, falsely charging that the British embassy refused to help the diplomats, and fabricating whole-cloth a daring runway escape scene.

Neglecting to highlight how the CIA’s 1953 coup had helped destroy Iranian democracy and provoke the 1979 Islamic Revolution, it was also harshly condemned for universally depicting Iranians—with the exception of a single character—as rabid, aggressive, violent, moronic and possessed of surging anti-Western animus. This did not prevent the movie from securing three Academy Awards though, including Best Picture.

“Grossly inaccurate and misleading”

Zero Dark Thirty dramatizes the CIA’s decade-long worldwide manhunt for Osama bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks, culminating with the Navy SEAL team raid on his secret compound in Pakistan in May 2011.

The film generated even more controversy than Argo, due to its depiction of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and false implication that they were fundamental to locating the al-Qaeda chief, with even the CIA’s then-acting chief Michael Morrell expressing grave concern about this fundamental aspect of the narrative.

ZERO DARK THIRTY | Sony Pictures Entertainment
[Source: sonypictures.com]

A bipartisan group of senior U.S. senators—including notorious war hawk John McCain—were so outraged by it that they wrote a joint letter to Sony Pictures, Zero Dark Thirty’s distributor, slamming the movie as “grossly inaccurate and misleading,” and declaring the company had a “social and moral obligation” to make categorically clear torture played no role in bin Laden’s location.

The executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s torture program, declassified two years later, confirmed that “the vast majority of intelligence” which helped track down the al-Qaeda chief was not only “originally acquired from sources unrelated” to the program, but “the most accurate information acquired from a CIA detainee was provided prior [emphasis added] to the CIA subjecting the detainee to enhanced interrogation techniques.”

The enormous and unprecedented support provided to Zero Dark Thirty by not only the CIA but the Pentagon was well-publicized at the time of its release, although it would be some time before internal documents revealing in detail how its narrative was directly shaped by deep-state interests were declassified.

Among the tranche was an internal memo describing how the film’s writer consulted directly Agency representatives—which may well have included Bair—on the script over four separate conference calls. In turn, they dictated what should be changed or even removed from the screenplay, in order to protect Langley’s image.

For example, a spy “[firing] a celebratory burst of AK-47 gunfire into the air” at a party, and the use of a dog during an interrogation, were both cut, the latter because “such tactics would not be used by the Agency.”

Interestingly though, the filmmakers were moreover explicitly told to stick to torture techniques already in the public domain—suggesting they may have been made party to classified information, and the CIA did not want that leaking out.

Curiously, the aforementioned Senate report also reveals that the CIA had been planning to “publicly attribute” the operation to the success and efficacy of the torture program two months before its execution, with the Agency’s Office of Public Affairs specifically deployed for the purpose. After the raid, the CIA “engaged the media directly in order to defend and promote the program.” Was Zero Dark Thirty the product of this perverse propaganda push?

Whatever the truth of the matter, the relationship between the CIA and the filmmakers over the course of Zero Dark Thirty’s production was so concerningly intimate and intensive that it triggered three separate internal investigations, probing lavish gifts to Agency operatives, possible granting of classified material to the studio, and more generally the ways in which Langley engaged with the entertainment industry.

[Source: scribd.com]

A number of ethics violations were identified, and various processes reformed, but no one was prosecuted or fired.

Bair had left the CIA by the time of the film’s release, and long prior to the investigations being launched, after just one year in the liaison post. It is unclear if he was pushed in advance of potential censure, or left of his own accord, and it remains an open question what he was doing and where over the 18-month gap following his departure and next stated role on LinkedIn.

Still, it can only be considered utterly grotesque that an individual so intimately involved in the production of clandestine state propaganda demonizing the Islamic world and justifying the unspeakable criminal excesses of the War on Terror—to say nothing of whatever evils he himself may have perpetrated over his intelligence career during the same period –now plays the public role of a committed friend and humanitarian protector of Uyghur Muslims within and without China.

As the New Cold War grows hotter every day, we can expect its cultural component to become correspondingly turbocharged.

Theater-goers are an ideal target audience for anti-China propaganda—overwhelmingly liberal, educated, wealthy, and influential opinion formers, their support for or acquiescence to dangerously rising tensions with Beijing provides absolutely crucial grease for the imperial war machine’s ever-churning wheels.

Unlike Washington’s battle against Soviet Communism though, this time around the CIA does not have to rely on covertly co-opting academics, authors, creatives and musicians—there are clearly enough creatively minded veteran deep-state operatives out there who can be relied upon to faithfully execute the West’s informational assault on global perceptions regarding China in a variety of innovative ways.

  • First published at Covert Action Magazine.
  • The post The Uyghur Podcast Brought to You by a CIA Torture Propagandist first appeared on Dissident Voice.