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Accusing your enemy of that which you are guilty – The CIA and the “fake news” conspiracy.

“We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” – William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

In 1933, Joseph Goebbels, following closely the recommendations of Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, created some of the most effective propaganda the world has ever seen. Bernays’ prescription demanded the complete domination of communications media to stamp out any opposing view, the participation of artisans, celebrities, academic authorities and community leaders to influence popular opinion at a group level, and a Freudian appeal to base instincts – the need for food and shelter, community and leadership, and the influence of entertainment and fashion – to promote conformity among the German populace.

By now we are all familiar with the idea of German propaganda. In the West it is known by a more polite euphemism, public relations. PR is a lucrative business, with scores of non-government organisations competing for their share of generous funding. Once the province of legacy media such as Voice Of America, Radio Liberty, Radio Free Iraq, Radio Free Afghanistan, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Worldnet Television and Radio/TV Marti, today it comprises think tanks, print media, arts and entertainment, the humanitarian-industrial complex, as well as new technology platforms such as Google, Facebook and Wikipedia, and a plethora of so-called independent media outlets and ‘fact checking’ sites and apps.

The emergence of strategic communications as a soft power option combines psychological operations, propaganda and public affairs under a single umbrella. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), working in cooperation with George Soros’ False Flag Factories Open Societies, currently has a budget of US$40m to provide aid to so called ‘independent media organisations’ in 30 countries, including trouble spots such as Syria and Ukraine. The National Endowment for Democracy, set up by former CIA director William Casey under the Reagan Administration to help finance “perception management”, also receives tens of millions in federal funding, as do various “humanitarian NGOs” such as Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières, and AVAAZ, who control Syria’s White Helmets.

Douglas Valentine, author of The Phoenix Program describes the CIA as “the organized crime branch of the US government, [which] functions like the Mafia through its old boy network of complicit media hacks.” “When it comes to the CIA and the press,” he writes, “one hand washes the other. To have access to informed officials, reporters frequently suppress or distort stories. In return, CIA officials leak stories to reporters to whom they owe favors.”

Less talked about is the agency’s relationship with Madison Avenue and Hollywood. From Animal Farm to Three Days of the Condor, from the thinly veiled torture advertisement Zero Dark Thirty to glamorised fictions like JJ Abrams abysmal Alias, it has often sought to influence popular opinion and whitewash its own reputation through popular media. Orwell’s Ministry of Truth is all around us, even if most of us fail to see it in a present day context. For a better understanding of how we have been bamboozled however, we need only look into the recent past.

The Office of Strategic Services, forerunner to the CIA, was responsible for running psychological operations in the European theatre during WWII. Its network of journalists, editors, book publishers and stringers was carried over to the new agency under the oversight of Frank Wisner in 1948. The 1975 Church Committee congressional hearing revealed that the CIA maintained a network of several hundred individuals around the world who provided intelligence to the agency and sought to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda, while domestically it spent the equivalent of $1bn a year in today’s money in under-the-table bribes to major American news outlets to act as government gatekeepers. Chief among these were the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS, Newsweek, the New York Herald Tribune, and Time Magazine. In his autobiography, convicted Watergate co-conspirator and former CIA officer E Howard Hunt also identifies ABC, NBC, the Associated Press, UPI, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, and Scripps-Howard as key players.

The close relationship between the CIA and the news media is examined in detail in former Washington Post journalist Carl Bernstein’s 1977 Rolling Stone cover story entitled The CIA and the Media – How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up. Of particular interest is the close relationship between then NYT director Arthur Hays Sulzberger and CIA director Allen Dulles. While many of the CIA’s relationships with the press were informal, Sulzberger actually signed secrecy agreements with the agency. Given this history it is little wonder that there has never been an article in the Times questioning the Warren Report and clandestine operations such as Mockingbird, Gladio and Condor, or casting doubt on the official story of 9/11.

While maintaining the appearance of objectivity, news outlets such as Washington Post and the New York Times have been crucial in establishing consensus where military intervention has been desired. The Post was the first to report that Iraq was hiding WMD in 2002-2003, a claim which has since been revealed as a complete fabrication. The previous Iraq war as it happens was also based on a lie, specifically the testimony of a young woman who went only by the name Nayira, who claimed she had been a volunteer at Kuwait’s al-Adan hospital and had seen Iraqi troops pull babies from incubators, leaving them to die on the floor. It was later revealed that Nayira was the daughter of a Kuwaiti official who had been coached in her lines by New York PR firm Hill & Knowlton. Sadly, the story was swallowed hook line and sinker by the corporate press, resulting in the massacre of 130,000 retreating Iraqi soldiers by US and British forces on the infamous Highway of Death.

Recent history is full of examples of such official conspiracies, from the Gulf of Tonkin to the USS Liberty, from CIA black sites to mass surveillance. Indeed the very term “conspiracy theory” was first adopted by the CIA to discredit public skepticism around the obvious cover up of the Kennedy assassination by the Warren Commission. Today, as “official versions” lose traction with an increasingly cynical public, the intelligence community are becoming more desperate in their attempts to discredit truth seekers. Most recently, and quite ironically, any dissent from official US government positions as reported by its corporate media gatekeepers has been labelled as “fake news” or “weaponised information”.

Just as they did with the Warren Commission, the intelligence community are now using a pejorative label to discredit anyone who dares challenge their crimes and cover-ups. As part of a broader psychological operation aimed at silencing dissident voices, US Congress and the European Parliament are introducing bills to combat, among other things, “Russian propaganda”. At the same time newly formed anonymous group PropOrNot has recently published a McCarthyist black list of 200 ‘fake news’ websites including many well established and reputable journals such as WikiLeaks, CounterPunch, Truth-Out, Truth-dig, Consortium News, South Front, Black Agenda Report, Films For Action, New Eastern Outlook, Global Research and others. At a time when doublethink, cognitive dissonance, conformity, and groupthink have replaced healthy skepticism, this move toward internet censorship sets a dangerous and sinister precedent.

Despite almost complete control of mainstream media, evidence which disproves and discredits official conspiracies is plentiful. Anyone who has seen the Zapruda film knows that Kennedy was not shot from behind, disproving the lone gunman theory. And yet the crime was covered up in plain view, and those responsible never prosecuted. Similarly the collapse of WTC 7 into a pile of fine dust puts the lie to the argument that 9/11 was anything but a planned demolition using explosives. Despite the refusal of many to accept proven facts surrounding the events of 9/11, it is inarguable that these attacks were used as a pretext to launch a war which has upturned the Muslim world and justifiably set entire populations against the West; which has created more acts of terror than it ever purported to avenge; and from which nobody has benefited except arms manufacturers and oil companies.

And now the same intelligence community have the unmitigated gall to tell us that Vladimir Putin sought to influence the outcome of the US presidential election through a network of dissident news sites and that this has the potential to undermine faith in democracy in the West. If this claim is not ridiculous enough, we’re also invited to believe that Putin is actively promoting white supremacist neo-nazis in Hungary and France. Need we be reminded how well things worked out for Russia the last time white supremacists came to power in Europe?

So the agency which has a proven record of lying about just about everything now wants to censor our newsfeeds to keep us safe from false and misleading information. The hypocrisy is breathtaking. As best as one can make out, the authority to label as “fake news” anything which doesn’t fit the approved mainstream narrative seems to derive from the moral right to be obeyed – the “because I said so” argument, or the “argument from authority”. The whole thing would be hilarious if it wasn’t so dangerous. The argument from authority can be easily countered with sound reasoning based on agreed facts, but what happens in a post-fact internet space where truth is defined as anything which suits the purposes of US government, NATO and other Western interests, and everything else is picked up by our spam filters?

Obviously any determination as to what is fake or real must be based in methodology rather than ideology. The “because I said so” argument may work on small children, but it rather begs the question – official news channels are eminently qualified to report the news, in virtue of being official news channels! Fortunately it is possible to assess factual claims based on a number of criteria other than questioning the authority of the source (attacking the messenger.) Does it match with our own observations? Is it consistent with other known facts? Can it be independently verified? Is it simply an opinion or editorial piece masquerading as news? Arguments of the form “small government is good for the economy” are obviously not based in observable fact and therefore cannot be proven or disproven. Arguments such as “Regime barrel bombs kill dozens in Aleppo hospital strike”, on the other hand, are ‘factual’ claims which require serious interrogation and critical thinking, faculties which have fallen conspicuously out of fashion among modern consumers of mass media.

80 comments

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  1. mark delmege

    a bit off topic but it does follow on from your last para… when they say Governments don’t create jobs (as they often do) You should laff in their face. It is so obviously untrue.

  2. Max Gross

    One of the best pieces AIMN has published. Must read and circulate!

  3. kerri

    If 911 was set up to start the war on Iraq and Saddam Hussein, why was it blamed on Al Quadea?

  4. mark delmege

    Al qaeda was an American creation – they are useful proxies for whatever they want. Like IS they serve a purpose. The big bad bogey to scare you into doing (accepting) whatever they want. Its a tactic as old as empire itself.
    Its a lot like Pearl Harbor – they knew it was going to happen – in fact they wanted it – in fact it was a necessary psychological operation to get its citizens behind the war effort.
    Much like some of the terrorists bombings in Europe over the past 50 years. They are inside jobs. Note how they always seem to leave ID and get killed and they often take place before a major international get-together. Its a time honoured recipe. And it works – in part because of our lazy corrupt media and politicians who are all afraid to speak up (Greens Labor and Liberal) And just to ensure an operation goes according to plan there may be real professionals employed to ensure everything gets mopped up correctly.

  5. Kaye Lee

    You call questioning the credibility of the source “shooting the messenger”. I disagree. I would like to know the sources of the information you so certainly espouse to be true.

    Do you think Russia engages in misinformation and propaganda? Do you think the press in Russia, Iran and Syria have more freedom than the press in the US, Europe and the UK?

    Why are you so scared of George Soros?

    Why are Russia and Syria so scared of all human rights groups?

    Could it be that there is a deliberate campaign aimed at undermining trust in democratic institutions, weakening NATO, and shifting debates in Europe to benefit Russia?

    Why do you always tell only one side of the story?

    “One of their most popular tactics is to consistently, whenever they do something wrong — and they very often do — to point out that the others are just as bad,” de Jong said. “They know we tolerate dissenting voices, whereas they don’t, so they make ample use of this.”

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/11/23/the-eu-moves-to-counter-russian-disinformation-campaign-populism/

  6. mark delmege

    Your so called human rights groups are mostly front groups for empire. You only need to follow K Roths (Human Rights Watch) twitter feed or listen to his interviews to understand that he very firmly stands on one side of the fence. People like him are used in the western media because he and others like him reinforces the narrative of bad Russia good USA or Israel or whatever the latest operation promotes. AVAAZ White Helmets are just some of the outfits used for this purpose. Its why groups like them get banned in independent target countries.
    Give me millions (hundreds of millions) of dollars and technical experts and a few years on the ground and I reckon I could start an insurrection in Sydney or Melbourne. Give me guns and well trained thugs and I could use them in protest situations to disarm the cops and really get the police to come down hard on protesters that would make Kiev Maidan a happening reality. As they have done. Once things escalate there is no knowing how things will end up.
    There aren’t many true independent media outlets anymore. Even the Guardian slammed Merkel as irrelevant when she abstained from the UN resolution 1973 on Libya – no Fly Zone. And they have in general been fully behind the regime change event in Syria.
    As a matter of interest what do you know of the Russian media – beyond why you get from Western sources? Probably nothing is my guess. But the point is we get ‘western’ bias shoved down out throats every day and my local community TV station is going to stop broadcasting RTNews very soon cos they have had their funding cut. No surprises there. I regularly chase down ABC stories that I discover are total misrepresentations. You might argue it is social or cultural bias but I’d say its propaganda. Thats what I complain about and I imagine Sean is in the same boat. We might disagree on some matters but they are secondary.

    Having just had a quick look at Foreign Policy Magazine I wouldn’t take it as anything other than a pro-American mouthpiece.

  7. Roswell

    “The previous Iraq war as it happens was also based on a lie”

    I’m not with you, Sean. It was no lie that Iraq invaded Kuwait.

  8. Kaye Lee

    I know nothing about the site I linked to – it may well be very biased – but I only quoted one sentence from there which was a point I felt worth making.

    What do I know about Russian media? Probably as much as you do in that I read it at times and listen to it and follow links that people give to support their arguments.

    You assume I am pro-somebody – I am not. I am aware of, and do not support, the US intervention in so many countries, the grooming of locals to do their dirty work, the providing of arms to very dubious groups, often followed by turning on them.

    I understand the importance of holding them to account.

    Where we differ is I don’t automatically mistrust absolutely everything that the US funds and I don’t accept that Putin is an innocent victim of Western propaganda,

    I don’t accept the wild conspiracy theories that blame absolutely everything in the world on the US government though they certainly play a part in most of it one way or another. I do not think Jewish bankers are behind every plot though I do think global corporations are running most things. I particularly hate arms manufacturers of all stripes and the governments who profit from them – and that is EVERYONE who can – no scruples (with a couple of minor exceptions).

    I want balanced reporting, not one side’s unsubstantiated version that lays blame in one direction only, allowing other people to get away with murder – literally.

  9. James

    Wow @Kaye Lee, you just took a big dump on your own credibility;
    “You call questioning the credibility of the source “shooting the messenger”. I disagree. I would like to know the sources of the information you so certainly espouse to be true. – I know nothing about the site I linked to – it may well be very biased – but I only quoted one sentence from there which was a point I felt worth making.”

    I used to respect your opinion, not anymore.

    Pot meet kettle – black…

  10. mark delmege

    I want balanced reporting (whatever that means – and it shouldn’t mean merely A or B) – me too – but we don’t have it – and thats the problem.
    Foreign Policy will give an establishment viewpoint – I had a quick squizz at some of their articles – rubbish. In one they accuse the Ukraine govt of being the victims Yet I can show you videos of them shelling civilians this week.

  11. Roswell

    “I used to respect your opinion, not anymore”.

    What an odd statement. I assume you’ve been following Kaye Lee for a while then. Have you ever commented on any of her posts?

  12. Kaye Lee

    I included the link because I was quoting a sentence I thought pertinent and people should know where it comes from to help them judge the view being expressed.. The six sentences before that one were me asking questions. I do not know the site at all so accept that it may well be presenting a biased view as I agree most media does. I still think the question about exploiting dissenting voices is a valid one. I make no assurance about anything on that site – I don’t know it at all. My quoting the sentence/question was not meant as an endorsement of the source.

    mark, I absolutely agree there is no dichotomy here – good vs bad, right vs wrong – that is my point.

  13. Roswell

    I think you made that obvious, Kaye Lee. Some people just want any opportunity to have a go at you, even if it means clutching at straws.

  14. Robert G. Shaw

    Sean, a sensible article that unfortunately tells us nothing new. Calling attention to US imperialism – military and media – on a left blog site borders on the near lazy.
    Two of your claims did however catch my attention, one of which Kaye Lee has already unpacked, and I look forward to your response to that, and this particular line that bothered me very much. It seems to me to reduce your entire article to exactly the same charge you accuse others of,
    “but what happens in a post-fact internet space where truth is defined as anything which suits the purposes of US government, NATO and other Western interests….’.

    I absolutely agree with your claim that those prized commodities, ‘serious interrogation and critical thinking’ are lacking. It would seem to me that you too have fallen victim to that lack.
    Truth or facts are, and have always been, the playthings of vested interests, and these interests, West or East, Left or Right, are as ruthless and self centered as each other in their respective manipulations of those ‘truths’.

  15. LOVO

    I get the “Accuse your enemy of what your doin'” shyte…thats standard LNP crap…the rest is just your standard, oh it’s the World Bank, New World Order, it’s the Jew’s…it’the UN….it’s the Rothschild’s crap….spare me ffs…….. BUT the big question is why is this post on the AIMN ……..no really 😯

  16. Glenn K

    it still amazes me that intelligent people can still to this day defend the official explanation for 9/11. forget about the “who and why”, first answer the question “what”. “Who and Why” is the conspiracy discussion. “What” is the physics discussion…..and this is where it all gets so frightening once you satisfy yourself of the factual reality of what didn’t happen (ie. the official government and MSM narrative)

  17. Matters Not

    Yes I know, 9/11 didn’t happen. Planes didn’t fly into buildings. It was all photo shopped.

    Could someone prove me wrong? Because I believe.

  18. LOVO

    MN, I agree and say WHAT. Glen I was watch’n telly ‘that night’… I missed the first plane…. and, according to you, watched the photoshopped second plane…live (or so I thought it was ?) I could of sworn that what I was a watch’n was real…..mayhap they filmed it in the same hanger that they filmed the moon landing…jest a thought, mm.

  19. Matters Not

    LOVO. I wasn’t watching the TV that night – rather late here in BrisVegas – then I had a call from number one son who was in NY at the time and he alerted me to what was happening.. Watched the TV from then on. Saw replay after replay. In slow motion and all that

    At the time, I thought the planes crashing into buildings were for real. Now – not so sure. (FFS).

    As for the moon landings? Is there a moon? Or just a painted carpet in the sky?

  20. Kaye Lee

    Could somebody please tell me why you are so scared of George Soros?

  21. Terry2

    The ‘crooked Hillary’ campaign seems to have worked well for Trump – I recently quizzed a Trump supporter about these alleged crimes and all he could come up with was some vague reference to ’emails’ – but as soon as Trump won the Presidency, he promptly dropped all plans to have her investigated, prosecuted or jailed.

    On the other hand, Trump has made a $25 million out of court settlement to discharge fraud claims in respect of the so called Trump University which evidently was a public scam, ripping off students.

    He is also in the process of winding up the ‘Trump Foundation’ a supposed charity receiving donations – which are tax deductible – but not actually applying these funds to charitable pursuits : it was a money laundering scam and is being investigated the the New York Attorney General.

    False and misleading news is a growing problem and will feature prominently in our future elections : we had a taste of this when the Liberals reacted with shock and horror when Labor noted that the coalition were dismantling and privatising medicare. In fact, co-payments, an aspect of privatisation, have been achieved by the coalition by stealth. Not the $7 that Dutton tried to introduce in 2014 but far more than that as a result of the freeze on GP rebates, extended now to 2020.

  22. Möbius Ecko

    Terry2 Trump has opened a can of worms he won’t be able to put the lid back on.

    One is backing down on prosecuting Hilliary after so many voted for him to do exactly that, and another is distancing himself from the right wing extremists he courted during the campaign. A piece I read recently showed these groups have voiced that they won’t allow Trump to forget or marginalise them.

  23. Deanna Jones

    Thanks, Sean. What an excellent piece of writing.

  24. Roscoe

    I always find it quite a coincidence that little Johnny was in the right place at the right time to witness the beginning of the ‘war on terror’ with a hotel window to view the action from. ‘John Howard was in Washington on September 11, 2001 when the planes hit the Twin Towers. He saw the attack on the Pentagon from the window of the hotel where he held his press conference.’

  25. Roswell

    Then why didn’t the ‘man of steel’ stop it?

  26. Jexpat

    Möbius Ecko:

    Far from distancing hinself from far right extremists- he’s embraced them wholeheartedly, and is packing his administration with them from top to bottom.

    Unfortunately, the Clinton camp can’t complain about this- much less claim “I told you so,” because they chose to run an essentially issue-less campaign, focused on identity politics, the daily internet ‘outrage’ by Trump and full blown McCarthyism directed at anyone, left right and centre who were perceived by their group think gang to be in any way out of step with Hillary.

    Each time the campaign and its surrogates and supporters engaged in this behavior was a lost opportunity to hammer home real differences on issues that actually mattered to key constituencies, particularly in key electoral states- but also across the board in federal Senate and House races, state Senate and House races- and on progressive ballot measures, which should and would otherwise have passed.

  27. Harquebus

    Another good one Sean.
    I also am skeptical concerning WTC7.

    Here is the best documentary that I have seen concerning the JFK assassination. A former detective concludes that JFK was accidentally shot from behind by an inexperienced secret service agent who fell backwards as the motorcade accelerated after the shots fired by Oswald.

    JFK: The Smoking Gun 2013.(Documentary)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3t1vTM1sUM

    “Those who most loudly denounce Fake News are typically those most aggressively disseminating it.” — Glenn Greenwald

    “Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.” -– Claud Cockburn

    “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” — William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

  28. Davidbruce

    “… from which nobody has benefited except arms manufacturers and oil companies.” You forgot to mention the State of Israel.
    Judging by the comments, your article has flushed out some of those suffering Cognitive Dissonance!
    Saddam invaded Kuwait because the US advised him to do so. Kuwait was siphoning oil off the Iraq deposits. The US wanted Saddam’s Gold (about 2,000 metric tonnes – officially) Saddam dumped nuclear waste over the gold bars, so they will need about 200 years to deplete the radiation. Poor old Dubbya got beaten up for failing to deliver the gold.
    As for Soros (George Swartz), he was a Nazi collaborator who made reward money for dobbing in Jewish families. More recently he has manipulated currency markets in Britain, Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine and possibly others. He was stopped in Malaysia and Russia. Malaysia had some misfortune with their planes, and Russia has an arrest warrant out on Soros. He uses his foundations to start “Colour” revolutions to depose elected governments and has taken over from the Rockefellers in promoting the New World Order for humanity. He is probably a nice man to meet socially, but I would prefer to see him locked up.

  29. Möbius Ecko

    Jexpat I’m talking about right wing extremist groups like KKK and others, not far right Republicans and business leaders. There’s now a Guardian article on it and they ain’t happy with Trump at the moment.

  30. Jexpat

    @David Bruce:

    Soros was 7 years old when the Nazi’s moved into Czechoslovakia and Austria and 14 when Berlin fell. Rather a tender age to be a collaborator, don’t you think?”

    Also, as to Saddam’s “radioactive gold bars” the most stable of the gold radioisotopes has a half life of 186 days.

  31. Davidbruce

    Perhaps the word “snitch” would be more appropriate?
    Unfortunately, the radioactive waste didn’t include gold radioisotopes. The gold is buried under the radio active waste.

  32. Jexpet

    Möbius:

    Understood, but given that Trump’s nominee for US Attorney General (head of the US “Justice” Department) has been a vocal KKK supporter (and likely a former member) PLUS promises of White “Christian” fundamentalist Supreme Court appointees, I’m not sure what more they could reasonably expect to ask for.

  33. Jexpat

    Davidbruce:

    Some of the gold would be radioactive, but it’s only the waste that’s percieved to be the problem, the US has ample hazmat resources to deal with it.

    Especially if there’s an incentive like tons of gold underneath!

  34. Jexpat

    Apologies if this ends up as a double post, but the previous one appears not to have registered:

    Möbius:

    Understood, but given that Trump’s nominee for US Attorney General (head of the US “Justice” Department) has been a vocal KKK supporter (and likely a former member) AND he’s promised to appoint white “Christian” fundamentalists to the Supreme Court, I’m not sure what more they could reasonably expect to ask for.

  35. Robert G. Shaw

    @Jexpat,
    “and full blown McCarthyism directed at anyone, left right and centre who were perceived by their group think gang to be in any way out of step with Hillary”

    Said many times before, and worth repeating at every opportunity.
    Well done.

    Regarding your comments on Sessions, “has been a vocal KKK supporter”. My readings are quite different. Yes, there have been countless articles, exclusively Left, written on his allegedly atrocious race politics. Always wary of the single voice i found countless others telling another story. There were accounts, if memory serves, of his prosecution of KKK memebers, of attempts for school desegregation, he also intitated efforts to award congressional medals to Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, and he was the only Republican senator who voted for Eric Holder.

    My point is that perhaps of all the biases out there confirmation bias is the most insidious and dangerous.

  36. Jexpat

    Robert G. Shaw:

    The information posted about Alabama’s Jeff Sessions originates from testimony and material submitted on the record, under oath to the US Senate during confirmation hearings after he’d been nominated to the federal judiciary. His appointment was on this basis rejected.

    You can see a bit of it (there’s a lot more) mentioned here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/17/us/politics/specter-of-race-shadows-jeff-sessions-potential-trump-nominee-for-cabinet.html?_r=0

    As to Eric Holder, Session’s must have been prescient. Holder was perhaps the most cravenly corrupt and cowering Attorney General in at least the modern era.

    His actions and inactions at the Justice Department (wilfull refusal to prosecute banksters, fraudsters, torturers, corrupt public officials -and basically anyone in a position of power or authority -like rogue cops and departments) were a major contributor to the largest swing against any major political party- the 2010 Democrats, in US history.

    Mark: Do the arithmetic.

  37. mark delmege

    Sounds like Eric was doing his job – the job he was selected for.
    Jex….Mark: Do the arithmetic. meaning?
    (BTW I’m making no judgement except to say that I was working in a bank before my 15 birthday)

  38. Jexpat

    mark delmege wrote: “Sounds like Eric was doing his job – the job he was selected for.”

    Yep- but not the one envisioned by the coalitions and constituencies of voters in the wake of the worst and most widespread financial meltdown since the Great Depression.

    “I was working in a bank before my 15 birthday.”

    Hopefully it was as fruitful and pleasant (I mean no disrespect) as my work before my 15th birthday was on a rural property, complete with wee early morning ‘gardening’ and animal husbandry chores.

    Arithmetic was part and parcel to what we did, too- intergal even.

    What most of us wouldn’t think to do however, especially as we grew older and wiser, was to brand prepubescent to early adolescent kids as collaborators- and use that decades down the track as a cudgel for whatever agenda we might feel the need to push.

  39. Kaye Lee

    I jumped to 7:50 and listened. As Soros said, he was a 14 year old boy who was a spectator to events. That is a far cry from what you seem to be suggesting mark. Would you expect a 14 year old Jewish boy to have strong enough political views to stand up to Hitler?

  40. mark delmege

    of course at 15 (or 20) I said and did things I wouldn’t do now. But the point of linking the video was to see the context in which he said what he said. Which I thought was fair (respectful) to all. If you watched the video you would see that and more regarding his own value system. And if you noticed I didn’t make a judgement – however I would argue that kids of 15 today are probably more immature than they were in my or his day.
    BTW I am no fan of Soros. IMO he lights fires and walks away.

  41. mark delmege

    you are both jumping at shadows.

  42. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Thanks Sean Stinson again,

    for bringing us together in discussion in this geopolitical discussion.

    Whatever the CIA says, I say the opposite. That’s a good measure-stick which they are yet to prove me wrong.

    I only heard about the “fake news” phenomenon recently. Now I have, it seems to be cropping up everywhere.

    Pity, its raison d’etre and manipulators weren’t better exposed in good time before the DNC dumped Sanders for Clinton instead of America failing to dump Trump .

  43. Kaye Lee

    “Whatever the CIA says, I say the opposite.”…really? Without checking anything at all? That makes you a prime target for “fake news”.

    That is exactly the purpose of mis/disinformation – to undermine trust in the other side by infusing the propaganda with enough truth (or doubt) to make it seem plausible.

    I ask again, do you think both sides engage in misinformation?

    Do you think the press in Russia, Syria and Iran have more freedom than the press in Europe, the UK, the US and Australia?

  44. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Who says I haven’t checked already? But yes usually with regards to the CIA.

    However, I concede there are mysteries within mysteries within the political groups and their associates that I had not realised – in recent times – when it comes to any other super-powers and their interests.

    I am learning. So are you.

  45. Robert G. Shaw

    @Jexpat,
    the point I was making about Holder was that he was black and Sessions an alleged KKK member.
    As far as ‘prescient’ goes, are you suggesting that Sessions’ alleged perfidy preempted his alleged racism? It’s a fine thought, but in the end, who knows.
    The fact of Holder’s alleged corruption is neither here nor there as a response to Sessions’ unsuitability for office of AG.

    Yes, I am much jaundiced, that’s what happens to a Leftie who began his journey selling Socialist Worker on the streets of Newton in 1984.
    The best thing about it all were the live bands at the Sandringham, the girls, and the WRP Healy split of ’85.
    Heady days.

    @Jennifer,
    whatever you want to call it, ‘fake news’ or ‘post truth’, one thing is certain: it wasn’t invented in the pubs or at the BBQ’s, or in the conversations of ordinary people. It is the specific invention of those who felt cheated out of what they presumed was their birthright – the habit of talking down to people who saw things differently, most recently and specifically the Brexit and Trump voters. Because they couldn’t grasp the simple logic of voters actually voting according to their interests, hopes, desires, or whims, they decided to construct a term that effectively labeled any contrary opinion as ‘post truth’, that is a truth constructed of lies, half truths, emotion, deception, feelings, rumour, innuendo, and bias.
    It’s worked an absolute treat, knighted by the OED it now sits proud as a legitimized term of abuse. It’s like having license to call anyone who disagrees with your politics a ‘dumb bastard’; someone whose politics are of course informed by Trumpian shock jocks, whereas yours are of course informed by impeccable and credentialed sources.
    Needless to say the term was invented by the Left.

    @Kaye Lee,
    it seems that your excelllent and oft asked question continues to go unanswered by those who should be answering it.
    Allow me: No they do not. Anyone suggesting that they do is either being disingenuous or is so bound and blinded by their ideology that they can no longer distinguish fact from fiction.

  46. Kaye Lee

    JMS,

    I hope to always be learning. That is why I ask so many questions.

  47. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Robert G. Shaw,

    I was seduced by your explanation until the last line where you state, “Needless to say the term was invented by the Left.”

    Sorry for being feeble and blunt, but where do you sit on the political spectrum?

    KL,

    as it should be.

  48. Matters Not

    mark delmege re:

    And if you noticed I didn’t make a judgement

    Pardon? Mark by choosing to link to that video (and not others) is both a judgement and a ‘political’ act, given the context here. As to your motives, I am unsure what meaning to give. I thought Soros emerged with kudos. Answered the questions, and all that. His ‘value system’ as a mature adult seemed fine to me. Even admirable.

    Does Soros exploit the system? Absolutely yes. He unashamedly fesses up. But then again, every CEO is legally obliged to do the best for their shareholders. They have a fiduciary duty to do exactly that. Like others, Soros stresses he plays within the rules. As does the 679 (or 35.6 per cent) of international companies which pay no tax in Australia. Soros indicates that you have to change the ground rules and until you do, he and others, will continue down the legal, and highly profitable, path.

    The notion that, in a capitalist system, individuals and corporations should ignore their legal rights (and opportunities) and develop a ‘conscience’ is just a nonsense. More importantly, it’s not going to happen. They don’t employ ‘ethicists’ – they employ lawyers, because that’s where the ‘action’ is.

    Where in Australia, and elsewhere, is the political leadership that will change the ‘ground rules’ – proposals to legislate a legal framework that addresses the loopholes that Soros (and others) point out?

  49. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    By the way,

    nobody has bothered to answer my earlier question of why the ‘fake news’ exponents were not exposed before Sanders lost to Clinton who then lost to Humpty Dumpty?

  50. mark delmege

    matters – more shadows

  51. Jexpat

    Sorry Robert G. Shaw, but when we’re talking about individuals with records like Mr. Sessions has amassed, corruption often trumps racism- or misogyny and even, as we’ve seen, basic precepts of religious fundamentalism.

    There’s much more on the record from credible sources about Sessions and the rest of Trump’s cabinet nominees that would not only shock most reasonable folks consciences -but which we’ll all be able to see for ourselves in action over the next several years, alongside- and exacerbating our own, homegrown sorts.

    For example, wait’ll folks get a load of Steven Mnuchin. The fraudulent home foreclosure criminal that Eric Holder (and the Obama administration) let off, scot free, with his ill gotten gains largely intact.

  52. Robert G. Shaw

    @Jennifer,
    where do I sit?
    Somewhere between Karl and Groucho.

    Regarding that final line you found so disturbing – look around, you’ll find ample proof of a Leftist origin.

    @Jexpat,
    you’ll get no argument from me on the corruption of elected politicians and I’m certainly under no illusions as to the sideshow alley qualities of Trump’s Cabinet. I was speaking specifically to your post to Möbius where you mentioned only his ( Sessions) KKK connections.
    I responded to demonstrate that on that particular score there was a counter narrative available and thus tried to make the admittedly obvious point (as a continuation of my conversation with Sean’s articles) that it’s only when both narratives are in hand can one make some sort of judgement, however provisional.
    It’s the near blissful or utopian reliance on confirmation bias that I’m trying to unsettle.

    To your reference: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2016/12/trump_s_inexperience_and_a_squabbling_cabinet_could_leave_u_s_foreign_policy.html

    I thought over your quote for some time and realised that yes, I could match its profundity:
    “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”
    George W. Bush, Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

  53. Michael Taylor

    That Bush quote is one of my favourites.

  54. Michael Taylor

    And that one he came up with when he was asked about his computer skils. His response was that he’d learned how to use ‘the Google’.

  55. Jexpat

    Robert:

    Feng Menglong’s bit is thought by many to be the source of the apocryphal quote (or curse) “May you live in interesting times.”

    Bush (and Howard) certainly brought those. Trump, Abbott/Turnbull and in NSW, Bankster Baird will likely do us one ‘better’ in the coming years.

  56. David Bruce

    @ Kaye Lee:

    From the comments here and elsewhere on AIM, I get the impression that people are waking up to the fact that propaganda is now the norm. I read the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion some years ago and was particularly struck by the fact that it stated “we will teach them how to vote”. The recent Presidential election reminded me that a vote can be meaningless when either choice is toxic. With Killary we would have had world war III. With Trump we will have American Civil War II, courtesy of Mr Soros. Regardless of who won, the US is screwed.

  57. John

    “Regime barrel bombs kill dozens in Aleppo hospital strike”

    A few Questions;
    Why call a government that had open multi-party elections (including female candidates) at the beginning of the year (and won decisively), a regime?
    Why would the elected Syrian government bomb its own people when they need their support?
    Why would you drop bombs from helicopters by hand and risk small arms fire when you can use other means?
    Are these the hospitals Mark “the obfuscator” Toner lost his temper over when he couldn’t identify them to an RT reporter?
    Why repeat MSM “factual claims” when the information base from which to use serious interrogation and critical thinking are no longer available there?

    I suggest you look for the interviews with Assad and his (Sunni) wife on Youtube, or read Sydney Uni Prof Tim Anderson’s articles ie. A Tale Of Two Hospitals – Potentially Fabricated Bombing Incident VS Open Terrorist Targeting Of Facilities In Aleppo http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44590.htm
    or http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-liberation-of-aleppo-a-regional-turning-point-setback-for-us-led-aggression/5563957.

    Or this for background.
    https://gowans.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/the-revolutionary-distemper-in-syria-that-wasnt/

  58. Sean Stinson

    John, I suggest you read the article again.

  59. Robert G. Shaw

    @John,
    the Gowan link is a fine piece. The broad brush outlines of a core sectarian bloodbath ably abetted by external puppeteers is told with a sober and informed sensitivity. The fact that it’s referenced only increases my admiration. It did put a wry smile on my face however to see that the references were almost exclusively from the ‘dreaded’ heavyweights of US ‘imperialist propaganda’ – Time, NYT, Atlantic, Independent, Guardian. That smile and those ironies notwithstanding, and despite the presence of several rhetorical flourishes, factual omissions, and interpretative license (it’s doubtful any story can be told without the influence of some ideology) I still would not hesitate to recommend this article as a solid introduction to the tragedy of Syria.
    Thanks again for the link.

  60. Sean Stinson

    Michael, something happened to Bush between being Governor of Texas and POTUS.

    Some suspect it may have had something to do with cocaine.

    Here’s a side of him you don’t often see.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvknGT8W5jA

  61. Jexpat

    Hard to believe conspiarcy theorists are STILL latching onto the far right’s ginned up boogeyman, blaming Soros for ______(fill in the blank with anything under the sun).

    Every time someone does so they lose any and all credibility that they ight otherwose have had- while at the same time deonstrating the nature of the sources that they turrn to for ‘news.”

  62. Michael Taylor

    Sean, it’s possible he actually knew what he was talking about in the earlier clip. He certainly didn’t during his presidency. I’ve heard rumours that he has Lime Disease, so that could have been a factor.

  63. DavidBruce

    @Jexpat

    Maybe you are part of the pantomime or you have lost the plot? If funding from the Soros (Swartz) Foundations is used to transport and fund demonstrations in Ukraine and in USA, does that mean Soros is not involved personally?

  64. Jexpat

    David:

    I could easily ask the same question. The only people in the US who are obsessed with Soros the boogeyman are far right ideologues or Alex Jones chemtrail types.

    With regard to the former, Breatbart and Fox “news” types and so on, he’s most often brought up as a false equivalency ‘counter example’ to the legions of billionaires’ and corporate dark money that actually have and do fund everything from climate science denial, to environmental deregulation, privitisation of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to state and local judicial elections.

  65. mark delmege

    Jex have you forgotten all those on the left who don’t like his interferences in other countries political processes?

  66. DavidBruce

    I do not live in the USA. The fact that Soros (Swartz) provided funding for numerous “colour” revolutions seems to have been forgotten, ignored or forgiven! He has taken over from the Rockefellers and now set up and funded the EU Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Obviously, Soros believes these activities are of great benefit to humanity, but the forces backing Soros have a different agenda. His aviation interests involved in 9/11 seem to have been missed completely. Similarly with MH370, and I do not use any of the sources you mentioned.

  67. Matters Not

    Soros believes these activities are of great benefit to humanity

    So Soros acts with good, right and proper intent. That’s a plus. Even a recommendation.

    but the forces backing Soros have a different agenda.

    So his ‘good’ intent has been submerged by ‘forces’ with somewhat ‘impure’ motives. Gee that Soros is naïve. How was he so easily taken in by these ‘forces’?

  68. mark delmege

    funny how people rail against neoliberalism but like Soros. Do they not know?

  69. Kaye Lee

    Know what?

    “My success in the financial markets has given me a greater degree of independence than most other people,” Soros once wrote. “This allows me to take a stand on controversial issues: In fact, it obliges me to do so because others cannot.”

    Our Mission
    The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.

    We seek to strengthen the rule of law; respect for human rights, minorities, and a diversity of opinions; democratically elected governments; and a civil society that helps keep government power in check.

    We help to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights.

    We implement initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media.

    We build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information.

    Working in every part of the world, the Open Society Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.

    Our Values
    We believe in fundamental human rights, dignity, and the rule of law.

    We believe in a society where all people are free to participate fully in civic, economic, and cultural life.

    We believe in addressing inequalities that cut across multiple lines, including race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and citizenship.

    We believe in holding those in power accountable for their actions and in increasing the power of historically excluded groups.

    We believe in helping people and communities press for change on their own behalf.

    We believe in responding quickly and flexibly to the most critical threats to open society.

    We believe in taking on controversial issues and supporting bold, innovative solutions that address root causes and advance systemic change.

    We believe in encouraging critical debate and respecting diverse opinions.

  70. Sean Stinson

    FFS. Why do I even bother?

    What you are implying here is that Soros must be a good guy, because he says so.

    Again, show me an appeal to EVIDENCE, rather than AUTHORITY.

    Just saying something is so does not make it so.

  71. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    It would be interesting to ask the seemingly good guys like Soros, Melinda and Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, if they would support widespread socio-economic changes that could threaten their billions in the bank and their assets.

    If their answers were yes, I would be inclined to believe they do promote society reforms, which mean reforming the frameworks that have allowed filthy neoliberalism to pervade.

  72. Kaye Lee

    Very true.

    Soros admits to trying to influence world politics, media, human rights, business endeavours. He admits his ability to do so comes from his manipulation of financial markets.

    You may not agree with his methods (and I am not sure that I do), but you can read about what he funds on the websites. They are very open about what they are doing.

    What is your specific objection? That he interferes in politics in other countries?

  73. Kaye Lee

    JMS, they are giving away their billions. I don’t follow your comment?

  74. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    If so KL,

    they are to be highly commended for their integrity and commitment.

    If I were so extremely rich, I’m not sure how far I would be prepared to go to give away my wealth and privilege.

    I would like to think I would do so in increments that would help large segments of society but I suspect I would hold something back to protect my interests.

    Fair enough to some extent but I’m interested to know the ratios that such rich people are prepared to assist.

  75. DavidBruce

    Matters Not: You obviously ignore satire in these columns? Soros is on the record as an embezzler. Rockefeller, Carnegie and Gates, all have PC mission statements for their Foundations to attract the donors, sponsors and worthy causes. When Soros bet $10 billion against the UK Pound, he walked away with $11 billion. Gordon Brown called on the Commonwealth for help to shore up the UK Pound, and Peter Costello,, the Australian Treasurer at the time, sold 26 MT of certified 99.9% Australian Gold at rock bottom prices to help the old Mother Country. Nothing anyone says can convince me that George Soros (Swartz) is Santa Claus, Robin Hood, or God, just to mention a few of his favourite characters.

  76. Uta Hannemann

    “Need we be reminded how well things worked out for Russia the last time white supremacists came to power in Europe?”

    Exactly!

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