About that memo…

Suppose the RNC, and Trump’s campaign team, hired a former spook (or Secret Service agent) to contrive a dirty “dossier” on Hillary Clinton—a rehash of stuff on Whitewater, “bimbo eruptions,” Travelgate, Benghazi, Pizzagate, “the Clinton death list,” etc.—and that the FBI then used it to get a FISA warrant to spy on Huma Abedin, because of her apparent links to Saudi-backed Islamist terrorism: a warrant that the FBI secured by carefully neglecting to inform the court that that disgusting “dossier” was a stroke of campaign propaganda, conceived by Roger Stone, and paid for by the Republicans.

And then suppose that that whole sordid plot was detailed in a memo drafted by the staff of Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking (Democratic) member of the House Intelligence Committee; and that the Democrats on the committee noisily released the memo, calling for a full investigation of its evidence that the FBI misused the FISA warrant process to sink HILLARY’S campaign.

And in THAT case, of course, the DEMOCRATS would all be saying what the REPUBLICANS are saying now, and THEY’D be absolutely right; while the REPUBLICANS would be the ones insisting that that memo is (somehow) at once a “nothingburger” and an existential threat to the Republic—and THEY’D be absolutely WRONG.

All partisans are moral imbeciles.

Sad news—and a devastating take on where we are today—from the great Robert Parry

An Apology and Explanation

December 31, 2017

From Editor Robert Parry: For readers who have come to see Consortiumnews as a daily news source, I would like to extend my personal apology for our spotty production in recent days. On Christmas Eve, I suffered a stroke that has affected my eyesight (especially my reading and thus my writing) although apparently not much else. The doctors have also been working to figure out exactly what happened since I have never had high blood pressure, I never smoked, and my recent physical found nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps my personal slogan that “every day’s a work day” had something to do with this.

Perhaps, too, the unrelenting ugliness that has become Official Washington and national journalism was a factor. It seems that since I arrived in Washington in 1977 as a correspondent for The Associated Press, the nastiness of American democracy and journalism has gone from bad to worse. In some ways, the Republicans escalated the vicious propaganda warfare following Watergate, refusing to accept that Richard Nixon was guilty of some extraordinary malfeasance (including the 1968 sabotage of President Johnson’s Vietnam peace talks to gain an edge in the election and then the later political dirty tricks and cover-ups that came to include Watergate). Rather than accept the reality of Nixon’s guilt, many Republicans simply built up their capability to wage information warfare, including the creation of ideological news organizations to protect the party and its leaders from “another Watergate.”

So, when Democrat Bill Clinton defeated President George H.W. Bush in the 1992 election, the Republicans used their news media and their control of the special prosecutor apparatus (through Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Appeals Court Judge David Sentelle) to unleash a wave of investigations to challenge Clinton’s legitimacy, eventually uncovering his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The idea had developed that the way to defeat your political opponent was not just to make a better argument or rouse popular support but to dredge up some “crime” that could be pinned on him or her. The GOP success in damaging Bill Clinton made possible George W. Bush’s disputed “victory” in 2000 in which Bush took the presidency despite losing the popular vote and almost certainly losing the key state of Florida if all ballots legal under state law were counted. Increasingly, America – even at the apex of its uni-power status – was taking on the look of a banana republic except with much higher stakes for the world.

Though I don’t like the word “weaponized,” it began to apply to how “information” was used in America. The point of Consortiumnews, which I founded in 1995, was to use the new medium of the modern Internet to allow the old principles of journalism to have a new home, i.e., a place to pursue important facts and giving everyone a fair shake. But we were just a tiny pebble in the ocean. The trend of using journalism as just another front in no-holds-barred political warfare continued – with Democrats and liberals adapting to the successful techniques pioneered mostly by Republicans and by well-heeled conservatives.

Barack Obama’s election in 2008 was another turning point as Republicans again challenged his legitimacy with bogus claims about his “Kenyan birth,” a racist slur popularized by “reality” TV star Donald Trump. Facts and logic no longer mattered. It was a case of using whatever you had to diminish and destroy your opponent.

We saw similar patterns with the U.S. government’s propaganda agencies developing themes to demonize foreign adversaries and then to smear Americans who questioned the facts or challenged the exaggerations as “apologists.” This approach was embraced not only by Republicans (think of President George W. Bush distorting the reality in Iraq in 2003 to justify the invasion of that country under false pretenses) but also by Democrats who pushed dubious or downright false depictions of the conflict in Syria (including blaming the Syrian government for chemical weapons attacks despite strong evidence that the events were staged by Al Qaeda and other militants who had become the tip of the spear in the neocon/liberal interventionist goal of removing the Assad dynasty and installing a new regime more acceptable to the West and to Israel.

More and more I would encounter policymakers, activists and, yes, journalists who cared less about a careful evaluation of the facts and logic and more about achieving a pre-ordained geopolitical result – and this loss of objective standards reached deeply into the most prestigious halls of American media. This perversion of principles – twisting information to fit a desired conclusion – became the modus vivendi of American politics and journalism. And those of us who insisted on defending the journalistic principles of skepticism and evenhandedness were increasingly shunned by our colleagues, a hostility that first emerged on the Right and among neoconservatives but eventually sucked in the progressive world as well. Everything became “information warfare.”

snip>

What’s in today’s New York Times? “All the news that’s really not”

Here are the two TOP “international” stories in today’s NYTimes (1/6/18):

“Long Before Video, Japanese Fought Suicide in the ‘Sea of Trees'” (on the “bleak reputation” of Aokigahara Forest “as one of Japan’s top suicide destinations”).

“Would Bronte Mind if a Model Hosted Her Party?” (on the Bronte Society’s hiring “former model Lily Cole … as a creative partner for Emily Bronte’s 200th birthday party”).

And here are the last three pieces in that section of the paper:

“Scottish Soda Is Shedding Some Sugar, Irking Fans”

“French President Opens Year With Scolding for Journalists”

“Britain Considers a ‘Latte Levy’ to Try to Cut the Use of Coffee Cops”

The paper’s other international news includes one piece on Israel’s drift toward a 1-state solution; one on the growing Turkish opposition to Erdogan; one on the two Koreas’ “Agree[ment] to Begin High-Level Talks Next Week”; one on Catalonia (whose “Leaders, Despite Jail and Exile, Make Claims on Power”); one noting that “Peru’s Voters Remain Split As Ex-Leader [Fujimori] Is Released”; two short anti-Venezuelan items; “A Voracious Starfish Is Destroying the Great Barrier Reef” (18 short paragraphs at the bottom of p. A9); and, from the vast theater of the US “war on terror,” two articles—”U.S. Cuts Off Pakistan, Gambling in Afghan War” and (more obliquely) “American Held by U.S. Military in Iraq Tells A.C.L.U. He Wants to Sue.”

And finally, at the bottom of p. A7 (beside a larger ad for the New York Times Travel Show), there’s also “Russia and U.S. Joust at U.N. Over Iran Protests”—a headline that’s misleading, since what this piece reports is not a Cold-War-style “joust” between “Russia and U.S.,” but the US standing almost by itself in the Security Council, where a “mini-revolt” is “brewing” over the US line on Iran, with Russia, China, France and Sweden speaking out against the “‘instrumentalization’ of the protests ‘from the outside'” (quoting Francis Delattre, French ambassador to the UN).

Meanwhile, there is NOTHING in this paper on what’s happening IN Iran itself—and that’s just one of several weird lacunae in this day’s edition of “America’s Newspaper of Record.”

There’s also—and as usual—NOTHING on the genocidal war in Yemen: a horror that the Times itself has, several times (including a few days ago), described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. (This blackout extends throughout the Western press.)

And, as well, there’s NOTHING on the ever-tightening repression in Saudi Arabia, where the regime lately swept up over 337,000 people in a “crackdown on illegal foreigners” (as the Hindustan Times reported two days ago); and, moreover, NOTHING on Trump’s blithe boast that “We put our man on top” in Saudi Arabia—a boast reported (or alleged) in Michael Wolf’s new book, which the Times is very busily promoting. (This blackout extends throughout the Western press.)

And while the Times (along with Trump) keeps going on about the “political repression and public corruption” in Venezuela (to quote today’s paper), it says NOTHING on the mass uprising in Honduras, where a 19-year-old woman, searching for her brother at a protest, was shot dead by the military police (as reported by the Miami Herald). While this great nationwide assertion of democracy HAS been covered by outlets like TeleSur, America Magazine and the National Catholic Reporter, the Times (along with nearly all the other US “liberal media”) has simply blacked it out.

Thus those who read the New York Times, and think they’re getting “all the news that’s fit to print,” aren’t getting anything but fluff and (mainly) propaganda—and so it is with the Washington Post, CNN, NPR, CBS, MSNBC, and all the rest of them submerging us, day after day, in fluff and propaganda.

Seymour Hersh is scared to tell us what he knows about Seth Rich

The great investigative journalist has, in public, said two very different things about the Seth Rich mystery; and, when urged to fess up what he really knows about it (in a private conversation that, unbeknownst to him, was being recorded), said he certainly will not, because he lives in “the real world”—meaning that he knows better than to take so grave a risk.
This “real world” is one where US journalists had better stick the official line on story after story—a line that tends to be dictated by US intelligence —or else.

For more on this unfortunate reality, see this eye-opining piece that Paste ran not so long ago:

MCM  

Seymour Hersh Owes The World An Explanation For His Seth Rich Comments
by Caitlin Johnstone

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh has given two radically different accounts of how much he knows about the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich last year, and he owes the whole world a full clarification.

On Tuesday NPR released an exclusive report titled “Behind Fox News’ Baseless Seth Rich Story: The Untold Tale”. The centerpiece of the viral article is a legal complaint against Fox by one of its commentators, which contains among other things a very interesting quote by Hersh that the notoriously pro-establishment NPR conveniently omitted from its report. Luckily for us, the complaint is now publicly available, and the quote can be read by all:

55. During his conversation with Butowsky, Mr. Hersh claimed that he had received information from an “FBI report.” Mr. Hersh had not seen the report himself, but explained: “I have somebody on the inside who will go and read a file for me. And I know this person is unbelievably accurate and careful. He’s a very high level guy.”

56. According to Mr. Hersh, his source told him that the FBI report states that, shortly after Seth Rich’s murder, the D.C. police obtained a warrant to search his home. When they arrived at the home, the D.C. police found Seth Rich’s computer, but were unable to access it.The computer was then provided to the D.C. police Cyber Unit, who also were unable to access the computer. At that point, the D.C. police contacted the Cyber Unit at the FBI’s Washington D.C. field office. Again, according to the supposed FBI report, the Washington D.C. field office was able to get into the computer and found that in “late spring early summer [2016], [Seth Rich][made] contact with Wikileaks.” “They found what he had done. He had submitted a series of documents, of emails. Some juicy emails from the DNC.” Mr. Hersh told Butowsky that Seth Rich “offered a sample [to WikiLeaks][,] an extensive sample, you know I’m sure dozens, of emails, and said I want money.”

Wow.

NPR mentioned these massive allegations only briefly and in the abstract, without quoting any of it for mainstream American consumption. What it did do, however, is provide a quote of Hersh denying the whole thing when asked for comment:

In an interview this week, Hersh sounded unconvinced.

“I hear gossip,” Hersh tells NPR on Monday. “[Butowsky] took two and two and made 45 out of it.”

So there you go. Neither the plaintiff Rod Wheeler nor Ed Butowsky (the Republican surrogate named in the lawsuit) have the most sterling reputations at this point, and Sy Hersh himself denies the whole thing. It’d make perfect sense to dismiss this wacky conspiracy theory entirely, right?

Read More:

Google goes Chinese on 13 leftist (and quasi-leftist) websites

From Raju Das (via Bertell Ollman):

Technology has always been a tool in the hands of the capitalist class (even if it is not just that). The information technology is no exception.  

Many people rely on google searches to access information from progressive sources. Recent changes to Google’s algorithm have negatively impacted the volume of traffic to the progressive and Marxist websites. Google has said that its update of its search engine will block access to what it considers “offensive” sites, while working to surface more “authoritative content.”

The sites adversely affected, and the percent decline in the traffic during the three month period since May 2017, are as follows:

wsws.org fell by 67 percent

alternet.org fell by 63 percent

globalresearch.ca fell by 62 percent

consortiumnews.com fell by 47 percent

socialistworker.org fell by 47 percent

mediamatters.org fell by 42 percent

commondreams.org fell by 37 percent

internationalviewpoint.org fell by 36 percent

democracynow.org fell by 36 percent

wikileaks.org fell by 30 percent

truth-out.org fell by 25 percent

counterpunch.org fell by 21 percent

theintercept.com fell by 19 percent

 

source: wsws.org

Real reporter Sheryl Attkisson is suing Uncle Sam for “his” attack on her computer

NEW: Attkisson v. DOJ: The Computer Intrusion Lawsuit against the Federal Govt.

It “is not a mistake; it is not a random event; and it is not technically possible for these IP addresses to simply appear on her computer systems without activity by someone using them as part of the cyber-attack.” –David Scantling, cyber-security expert.

I’m frequently asked about the status of my lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice over the secret, unlawful intrusions into my computers, exposed in 2013. As my federal case moves slowly through court system, there is a new development: ongoing forensic work of my computer laptop system has revealed a second government Internet Protocol (IP) address used in the illegal cyber-attacks on my computer laptop system.

The IP addresses don’t belong there.

In a new affidavit filed in federal court last week, cyber-security expert David Scantling states, “[T]he presence of these USPS addresses on [Attkisson’s] computer is not a mistake; it is not a random event; and it is not technically possible for these IP addresses to simply appear on her computer systems without activity by someone using them as part of the cyber-attack.”

Scantling served as a contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and as a Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employee. He’s familiar with “Advanced Persistent Threat” (“APT”) cyber-attacks. In fact, he developed and deployed similar APT cyber-attacks against foreign government, commercial, insurgent and terrorist targets. He also developed and deployed cyber-security countermeasures in the private sector to defend against such attacks.

Above: Excerpt from new affidavit filed in Attkisson v. DOJ

Interestingly, both government IP addresses found embedded deep in my computer system trace to the U.S. Postal Service (U.S.P.S.), which has been known to cooperate with intelligence agencies on various levels. The U.S.P.S. refused to cooperate with me, prior to my lawsuit, after my forensics expert recovered evidence of an IP address mysteriously residing in my computer. At the time, an agency official dismissed the forensics evidence as some sort of unexplainable mistake, and refused to help us learn how its IP addresses are maintained and accessed so we could identify the perpetrators.

Tracing the evidence of the government-related intrusion to individual participants hasn’t been easy. The attackers attempted to erase their tracks once they were discovered. And neither the U.S.P.S. nor the Department of Justice (DOJ) are voluntarily cooperating. But experts familiar with the tools and tradecraft that are proprietary to government intelligence agencies have painstakingly recovered and pieced together compelling forensic proof as to attribution.

“There can be no reasonable question that an [Advanced Persistent Threat]-style cyber-attack was carried on Attkisson’s computer systems and Internet connection,” stated Scantling in an affidavit filed last week. “Specifically, the APT methods deployed against [Attkisson’s] computers and Internet connection…were sophisticated and of the type only available to government-type activities and operations.”

This latest information builds upon earlier forensic examinations already conducted by: a confidential government-linked source, an independent forensics specialist hired by CBS, and a forensics expert consulting on my lawsuit.

snip>

READ MORE:

Who disappeared this long-awaited book about the CIA’s control of Western journalists? (Three guesses…)

I’ve been waiting for my copy of this book since its official publication date in May— and now I know why.

MCM

English Translation of Udo Ulfkotte’s “Bought Journalists” Suppressed?
By James F. Tracy

The English translation of German journalist Udo Ulfkotte’s best-selling book, Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists) appears to have been suppressed throughout North America and Europe.  On May 15, 2017 Next Revelation Press, an imprint of US-Canadian-based publisher Tayen Lane, released the English version of Bought Journalists, under the title, Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News.

Tayen Lane has since removed any reference to the title from its website. Correspondingly Amazon.com indicates the title is “currently unavailable,” with opportunities to purchase from independent sellers offering used copies for no less than $1309.09. The book’s subject matter and unexplained disappearance from the marketplace suggest how powerful forces are seeking to prevent its circulation.

Gekaufte Journalisten was almost completely ignored by mainstream German news media following its release in 2014. “No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about [my] book,” Ulfkotte observed. “Otherwise he or she will be sacked. So we have a bestseller now that no German journalist is allowed to write or talk about.”{1]

Along these lines, publication of the English translation was repeatedly delayed. When this author contacted Ulfkotte in early December 2015 to inquire on the book’s pending translation, he responded,  “Please find the link to the English edition here,”

http://www.tayenlane.com/bought-journalists

The above address once providing the book’s description and anticipated publication date now leads to an empty page.[2] Tayen Lane has not responded to emails or telephone calls requesting an explanation for the title’s disappearance.

snip>

READ MORE: 

Hackers quickly demonstrate that “our” electoral democracy is nothing but a cybernetic fantasy.

This story comes from Lulu Friesdat, a (real) reporter who’s been digging into the corruption of our voting system nationwide.

She needs whatever help you might be able to provide, so she can keep on doing what she’s doing, entirely on her own:


Hello Friends,
This is my first report from the #DEFCON #VotingVillage. In some cases within minutes—and in other cases within a few hours—of the village doors’ opening, hackers in attendance said they had successfully penetrated some systems. The security investigators claimed to have breached or found major vulnerabilities in every voting system present.

Vegas is expensive. I also have other trips coming up and needed new camera equipment. Anything you can give to the GoFundMe account is greatly appreciated. I’m at over 25% of my goal, and the fund is trending! Very encouraging.
https://www.gofundme.com/election-integrity-work

Lulu

Watch: Hackers Demonstrate How to Crack Into Electronic Voting Machines in Minutes
Disturbing footage from the DEF CON 25 hacker convention.
By Lulu Friesdat / AlterNet

Who says America’s electronic voting machinery cannot be hacked?

One of the world’s largest and best-known hacker conventions, DEF CON, debuted an interactive “Voting Machine Hacker Village” this year at its annual gathering in Las Vegas. In some cases within minutes, and in other cases within a few hours, of the village doors’ opening, hackers in attendance said they had successfully breached some systems. The security investigators claimed to have found major vulnerabilities or claimed to have breached every voting machine and system present.

Members of the DEF CON hacking community said they took complete control of an e-poll book, a type of election equipment in use in dozens of states where voters arrive at precincts, sign in and receive their ballots. Other targets hackers claim had major security flaws include the Sequoia AVC Edge, currently in use in 13 states and the AccuVote TSX, in use in 19 states. (Those machine usages are according to Verified Voting, an election transparency advocacy group.)

The organizers of Voting Village emphasized that in the past, corporations had resisted acknowledging the security flaws surrounding computer systems. Since laws were passed requiring businesses to acknowledge security breaches, there has been a significant change in corporate security culture. DEF CON participants expressed the conviction that a similar trajectory is necessary for U.S. election officials.

snip>

READ MORE:

The awful truth obscured by “The White Helmets”

Here’s a devastating presentation by the excellent Vanessa Beeley, on the reality obscured completely by that little propaganda masterpiece.

Hollywood’s bestowal of an Oscar on that film is unforgivable. (What next? A posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award for Leni Riefenstahl?) We need a public drive imploring the Academy to take that Oscar back, and issue an apology for having so spectacularly blessed so gross a whitewash.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_wNFlLPPsjGZUd2SEJnRTFLWTg/view?usp=sharing