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The Guardian, “Russian bots” and the dehumanisation of dissent

by Kit

Still from I, Robot What Heather Stewart imagines twitter is like.

Heather Stewart, The Guardian’s chief stenographer political editor, has copied and pasted a press release written a new article all about “Russian bots”. The trouble is she doesn’t seem to know what either of these words actually means.

The article – headlined “Russia spread fake news via Twitter bots after Salisbury poisoning – analysis” – is a direct lie from the outset, as it offers absolutely no “analysis”.

Instead she does this:

Russia used trolls and bots to unleash disinformation on to social media in the wake of the Salisbury poisoning, according to fresh Whitehall analysis. Government sources said experts had uncovered an increase of up to 4,000% in the spread of propaganda from Russia-based accounts since the attack,– many of which were identifiable as automated bots.

She simply directly quotes Whitehall via anonymous “sources”. Does she interrogate the veracity of these claims? No. Does she offer evidence to support them? Of course not. Does she question the agenda behind them? I doubt she even remembers how.

Ctrl-C, ctrl-V. It must be true the government says so.

This is modern media in a nutshell. This new take on the meaning of “journalism” has hurt the world in general and press in the specific. Refusal to abide by its rules has pushed important voices out of the mainstream – the careers of many decent people of principle – John Pilger and Seymour Hersh for example – are forced out into alternate sources.

Kowtowing to the government line has its own cost though – the unquestioning acceptance of government authority has a price – and very often it’s looking incredibly foolish.

Heather seems happy to pay this price.

She cites only two examples of “Russian bots” in her article, a revelation tainted only by the fact that neither of them are Russian and neither of them are bots.

Now, before we refute the specifics Ms Stewart’s bizarre claims, let’s take a look at the definition of a bot, from wikipedia:

An Internet Bot, also known as web robot, WWW robot or simply bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks (scripts) over the Internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone.

Simply put – bots are automated, internet based software programs that do simple repetitive tasks faster and more efficiently than humans. It’s not a difficult concept.

Spamming ads? Bots.
Automatic likes/retweets? Bots.
Writing tweets that reflect complex political realities? NOT bots.

Heather clearly doesn’t know exactly what a “bot” is, and perhaps even worse, can’t even be bothered to do some incredibly easy research to familiarise herself with the term. The government says so, so it must be true. Copy. Paste.

So, who are these non-bots, you ask? Well…apparently there’s millions of them, but Heather only mentions two:

One bot, @Ian56789, was sending 100 posts a day during a 12-day period from 7 April, and reached 23 million users, before the account was suspended. It focused on claims that the chemical weapons attack on Douma had been falsified, using the hashtag #falseflag. Another, @Partisangirl, reached 61 million users with 2,300 posts over the same 12-day period.

Now, anybody who follows alt-news sites on twitter – or who pays attention to the Syria situation – is probably more than familiar with these two names.

Ian56789 is not a bot. Anybody who follows him can see that. Is he Russian? There’s nothing to indicate that, he claims to be a Brit living in the US, and his English is perfect. Take a look at this completely randomly chosen tweet as an example:

There is nothing whatsoever to indicate he is “Russian”…except his opinions. Still, his account was suspended, because saying the wrong things has you branded an enemy in the land of the free. Thankfully he has since been reinstated.

However that pales in comparison to the absurdity of listing Partisangirl as a “Russian bot”. Partisangirl – or Maram Susli – is a real person. There can be no disagreement on that front. She gives interviews, she makes videos, there are hundreds of photographs of her. Only slightly less ridiculous than the idea she’s a “bot”, is the idea she’s “Russian”. She’s Syrian-Australian woman. She has a Syrian name, and a Syrian flag in her bio and talks – almost exclusively – about Syria.

Disregarding these established facts is bizarre, dishonest and incredibly insulting.

So why label these people “Russian” – when they’re probably not – and “bots”, when that’s patently absurd? Is it simply ignorance? Perhaps.

But in this age of focus groups and media relations and public image, words and language are carefully chosen. Is it not more likely that this is a buzz-phrase selected to make a point? It at once dehumanizes dissent and makes breaking the consensus a partisan act, rather than a rational one.

An angry citizen is awake, alert and thinking. Much, MUCH more of a threat than a “Russian bot”. A being with no humanity, no objectivity, who is aligned with our “enemy”. It’s the othering of unacceptable opinions. It’s simple, dishonest, and dangerous.

…and people like Heather do it without a second thought. Copy, paste, repeat.

It must be right, the government says so.

In that way it is the ultimate irony, people who have thrown away their individuality and sacrificed their analytical mind to the government backed “truth”, labelling those who disagree as “bots”. There’s only one party in this situation who “performs simple repetitive tasks” to order, there’s only one group of people who automatically believe their programming and follow it without question. There’s only one automaton here.

If anyone is a “bot”…it’s them, not us.


  1. mikael says

    Hehe, long time no see.

    So, back to the jungle again.
    Russian bots, I think they mean an Web Bot, like the one Hasbaratnjiks use, and been known to others for years, even I could use one, but dont bother, its like this, writen The Iranian peoples republic and/or Hamas, the Palestinians peoples liberation org. some times in an comment, since if its in an articel, they usually repeat it , lets say, 5-7 times, and that is what the Bot searches for, etc, etc.
    Go to RT and watch. any aritcle with ISISrael or Palestina is packed with Hsbaratjniks, etc, to “freinds of ISISrael”.

    And then what the f…. are we talking about, huh, Brits, whitehall, muhahaha, the acid house of the year, do notice that The Duran, what so called Sober people can do, hurmf, they bllew them self, like others.
    The facts, witch they dont even bother to point to or enlighten us where to be more spesific, what.
    The second issue iis what did you serve us, when some of us knows,, and I know others do, incl Military rats.
    Every single one of the knew this was bullshit, weapons grade what, socks, huh, like CNN sniffing/snorting Sarin and stil is standing, its an bloody miracle, isnt it, like the Shitpals freak show.
    Thats what I saw, like the time before, when OPCW concluded the use of Sarin when they never was there to do anything in the f…. first place, Brits, even the Mad Dog admitted it later, not an single trace of anything what so ever.
    Even Chlorie is an nasty substance, and so far I havent seen anything, for years, I have to go back the the Iraqui wars, to actually see Gas been used, and so on.
    Just ask Trumpstein the Insane, our very own Agent Orange.

    So, Brits, curious, whom are we, I dont have an twitter, nor Suckerberhs inyourFacebook, but uses Goolag from time to time, I must admitt.
    Yeah, if you ask me, I say I am an Norwegian, if an Norwegia ask me, I am an Finnmarking, the equall to be Scotish in England, if an Finn ask me, I am an Skolt, and I know you lost me there, because you know nothing.
    WE where an nation before you all, untill Sovjet kicked us out, and Norwegians crushed us completely, and now Finland is going to do the same, with the fake Sami, the indiginous shit heads humpin reain dears on the plains.
    We have 10 000 years old house fundaments, graves older then most, 7000-8000 years ago, in our land, whats know Russia, Finland and Norway.

    So yeah, I dont conider my self been Russian, but thats the name of the place now, and I can live with that, what I dont like iis the Lies, forgerys and stealing of our History, manly done by the Norwegian Gov. thru Instites, and the Sami scam people, and it started in the 80s, and they use the same democraphic tricks as the ISISraelis Khazars are using, thats why I know their game, back and forth, and I have written for the Palestinians rightfull fight for decades.
    Thats why I am cencured, I had to punch hard and reletlessly, but now, this is the last stand, hehe, OffG.
    I am kicked out everywhere.

    I am nothing but an patriot.

    May the lord have mercy upon you all, at least you have saved your soul.


      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        The Khazars converted en masse, as Koestler wrote concerning ‘The Thirteenth Tribe’ decades ago, and as Shlomo Sand shewed in his ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’. Judaism has been actively proselytising at times in its long history and numerous groups and individuals have converted in the past. The attempt to deny this reality seems to be part of the propaganda effort to justify Zionism’s colonisation of Palestine and expulsion, murder and repression of the Indigenous people, who descend, among many other groups, from Jews who remained after the Roman expulsions, and later converted to Christianity and Islam.

        • Both Koestler and Shlomo Sand have zero credibility.

          That is pure fiction, it never happened, there is not a shred of evidence to back that myth. The Khazars were a collection of different ethic groups, including Greeks, Slavs, Circassians, and they never converted to Judaism. Never.

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says

            Shlomo Sands is a very eminent Israeli historian, whose work is extensively foot-noted, and concurs with the finding of numerous other Israeli historians. Koestler was a famous writer. You, in contrast, are, apparently, a nonentity hasbara decepto-con.

            • https://imageshack.com/a/img922/7592/yJB4oG.gif

              Not really, and one can add as many footnotes to fiction as one likes.

              As for calling me a “nonentity hasbara decepto-con”, that is totally insulting and unworthy of you. I am a stickler for facts, you ascribe to a myth beloved by the KKK and neo-Nazis.

              For your information, I am not Jewish at all.

      • mark says

        Why? Their homeland is Khazaria, not Palestine.
        The present day Palestinians are the descendants of the ancient Jews of Palestine.

    • Yoyoyo, I needed a serious laugh, Brud , Blagoderia mnongo >> worse/better still, (stone cold sober), I think i understood just about every word & abstract tangent , you were trying to express, even if you’ve been attacked with MDMA or MGNA ? The latter being apparently more Hallucinogenic than Hoffman’s best quality LSD (which helped him live to the ripe ole’ age of 102, so no worries 😉 , just saying .. there’s hope for the Skri-Pals, yet ..

      Съединението Прави Силата
      Душа и Мир

      One question: Skolt ?? would that be a Danish Viking toasting some legacy of yer’ family DNA that got left behind under some lassies’ kilt , after a windy day & much whiskey in Scotland, that mingled your widespread northern hemisphere heritage with Celtic blood lines, in your distant family tree, at some point in history ? 🙂 coz’ you were right :-
      “and I know you lost me there, because you know nothing.”

      “The essence of wisdom is to know ..
      that you know nothing ..” said Socrates
      (whilst he was kickin’ balls stunningly @soccer for Brazil 🙂 )

      Jivi Strav 😉 roots Skol or Sköll ??
      Apologies – for my Kon-fusion 🙂 always learning & laffin’ @d’WildSide
      “it’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonda’, how I keep from goin’ under, Huh..? huh huh huh
      huh huh ” ? Nostrave – Grandmaster Mad-Mik – Skolt ??
      (WTF – head scratchin’ ? 🙂 )

  2. reinertorheit says

    “These are not the bots you’re looking for”

    • reinertorheit says

      “A 4000% increase”.

      Sorry, this is just factless bollocks from a British Home Secretary whose credentials are in tatters, whose word cannot be believed, and for whom lies and bluster are as habitual as breathing is for the rest of us.

    • Jim Scott says

      Isn’t there an old saying that suits Heather Stewart. She wouldn’t know her bot from her elbow.

  3. Paolo says

    The Guardian has ceased to exist. It was fully absorbed about 4 years ago.

    • Manda says

      In my opinion the Guardian is the ‘liberal, pseudo left’ guardian of western/British imperialism/exceptionalism and its modern heinous variant, ‘liberal interventionism’.

  4. George says

    The internet has scared the hell out of our lords and masters and now they are trying to control it and transform the world’s media back into a model of what it used to be i.e. with just a few channels providing the “news”.

    • These people don’t even know what a bot is, they are totally ridiculous! A bot is not a living person!

      An Internet Bot, also known as web robot, WWW robot or simply bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks (scripts) over the Internet.[1] Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone. The largest use of bots is in web spidering (web crawler), in which an automated script fetches, analyzes and files information from web servers at many times the speed of a human. More than half of all web traffic is made up of bots.[2]


      “What is a bot? Here’s everything you need to know Computer programs that talk like humans, aka bots, are the future. Let’s explore what they are and what they can do.”


      • Manda says

        I laughed when I saw the clip of a Sky host talking to what they argued was a bot… the troubling fact is too many are taken in and the ridiculousness of the farcical situation passes them by.

        • tecumseh remembers says

          Bot is the Game – for players it is a Lose – Lose Situation…as only it’s makers benefit – they who work as one – to divide the people, to entice new blood for their ranks – remember who you are supporting – of either side – why would you trust them ?

  5. tecumseh remembers says

    information is corrupted to suit the corrupt…for this to go unnoticed – the people must be corrupted – themselves becoming the vehicles of perversion. The Russian Bot is working – as all information is error play manipulation – there is no truth – all is them – to side is to connect with the Lie and become it.

  6. Clearly the Govichok news-agent seems to have infected all those at the Guardian and now seems to be working just fine. Since the spooks visit to the Guardian where they Grauners were supervised while they smashed their hard drives, it must have then been smeared on all their keyboards and door knobs.

    There is there is only one known antidote for this totalitarian state created substance and that is to think for yourself. You do this by refuse to accept at face value anything a government tells you…

  7. Too tired to read it all and to comment, but I am subbing so that I will receive notifications.

  8. Vlad the Inhaler says

    As soon as the headlines the other day were declaring that we should expect a cyber attack by the Russians in retaliation for recent events I knew we should expect some major cyber false flag most likely originating in the US – CIA or military intelligence or our own GCHQ/MI5. If simply trying to suggest that all of us who call BS on the make believe and propaganda in the mainstream media are paid Russian trolls or bots is it, ie we are the cyber attack, all I can say is pass the vodka!

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      The West, the Anglosphere in particular, is very nearly reaching the point of a full Orwellian dispensation. The pathopsychology required to exterminate or repress the ‘enemy within’ is clearly abundant among Imperial droogs, particularly the Zionists, the repressive, punitive and brutish drives of those creatures having been and still being honed by decades of barbaric repression of the Palestinian untermenschen. Any ‘Thought Criminals’ and Badthinkers will soon find themselves treated as the Palestinians have been for decades, very probably because they will be defined as being guilty, by mere denunciation, of ‘antisemitism’, the new Supreme Crime.

  9. Things are getting more weird every day. When US sponsored journalists parrot US lies
    & http://washingtonsblog.com/2014/10/leading-german-journalist-admits-cia-bribed-leaders-western-press.html
    or Israel sponsored Hasbara parrots tweet or gruntle
    they´re called “voices of freedom and Democracy”, when People confront the imperial lies, they´re dubbed “Russian Bots”. To hell with that nonsense!
    Weekend regards

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Israel is the dead heart of this growing fascism, Zionism being a sort of fascism or even Nazism for Jews, and being driven (more so than ever at present) by an amalgam of Talmudic, settler European and Nazi Judeocide induced hatreds of the other (including ‘self-hating Jews’, not proper Likudnik racists, who are foully abused as ‘kapos’ and other epithets)hatreds happily applied to anyone who does not bow down, grovel and take the cheques from the Zionazi elect. The Zionist absolutism, where its victims and critics are given NO respect as human beings, NO respite from brutal repression, and NO means by which, in the case of the Palestinians, to ever escape brutal barbarity, has been projected onto Western elites by the simple means of buying them up then demanding total and unquestioning obeisance to Zionism. The filthy, evil and utterly fraudulent campaign, prosecuted with ferocious zealotry, to destroy Corbyn and UK Labour under completely fraudulent charges of ‘antisemitism’ is proof irrefutable of this poison working its debilitating, then fatal, effect on UK politics and society.

      • milosevic says

        Israel is the dead heart of this growing fascism, Zionism being a sort of fascism or even Nazism for Jews, and being driven by an amalgam of Talmudic, settler European and Nazi Judeocide induced hatreds of the other

        Consider the possibility that the causality is actually the other way around, and that zionism is merely the current expression of a rather lengthy cultural history, as suggested by the obvious relevance of the adjective “Talmudic”.


        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          Zionism is pretty clearly Talmudic in its basic relationship to the Jews and to the goyim. The close relationship between the more openly fascistic Zionism of the Jabotinsky tendency, as exemplified by Netanyahu, who, I would assert, plainly holds all goyim in total contempt, and the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox inside Israel, who control religious affairs in Israel, and who are vital cogs in any hard Right regimes, and are people who openly promulgate doctrines that see all goyim as lesser beings in comparison to Jews, tells you all you need to know about Israel’s real nature, and where it is heading.
          And even the slightly less openly racist and xenophobic Israeli Labour Party has had exactly the same attitude to the Palestinians as the Begins and Sharons, only thinly disguised behind a propaganda veneer to fool the world that Israel is not monolithic is its supremacist and racist nature. Of course these are just the power elites, but Israeli society has itself headed ever further to the racist and aggressive extreme over the years, and the ranks of non-racist and morally sane Israelis have dwindled over time, which itself is a very great tragedy indeed.

      • Istvan Sollihull says

        Mulga Mumblebrain : In particular, I like the last sentence of your ( april 21st) post : SPOT ON .

  10. Kaiama says

    It’s about collecting the money without paying too much attention to the message. The recent hacking article was another example of complete shite but luckily comments were opened in order to impart a sense of perspective and a bit of fun.

  11. reinertorheit says

    “Those who are not with us, are against us”
    [President George W Bush]

  12. robjira says

    “If comrade Napoleon says so, it must be true.”
    “Boxer, get out of there! They’re taking you to the knacker!”

  13. Willem says

    They (at the Guardian and similar ‘news’ papers) do it because it is so much easier to speak untruth than truth. It also pays better to speak untruth than truth, and speaking untruth is (nearly) the only way to get things published in their papers. And since it is publish or perish for those who write for a ‘news’ paper, they have to publish untruths (or perish).

    I tried for a year (in 2015), as part of a small uncontrolled experiment, to speak truth to the untruth tellers of Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant; i.e. every week I sent one letter to de Volkskrant replying to one news article that was published in De Volkskrant. Rarely I received a reply. The only time they placed a letter of mine in their paper was when I, for once, agreed with what they wrote.

    So I concluded at the end of 2015 that my experiment showed that it is a hopeless task to try to speak truth to untruth tellers (and I felt a lot better when I finally gave up the hope that when one speaks truth to untruth tellers, that untruth tellers would start to speak the truth).

    Now I only read ‘news’ papers by first putting them through a filter, a filter that accepts that ‘news’ papers publish untruths that are almost always the exact negative of truths, only the weather forecast and some results of sport events excepted.

    • Captain Kemlo says

      I think it’s a little worse than publish or perish: some of these people actually believe the nonsense they’re writing. Let’s face it, they live and work among like-minded people. It’s the same words/beliefs they hear repeated day in and day out, year after year. But what is unforgivable is simply their stupidity. And that level of ignorance is hard to forgive.

      You’d think, given they call themselves ‘journalists’, that one of the basic tenets of the game would be to ‘question more’. Be sceptical, even investigate if you’re unsure. But that rarely happens – they appear to run on automatic pilot. The very ‘bots’ they write about.

      Frankly, they’re the scum of the earth.

  14. It’s so obvious the western rulers and its soft power tools(media) are feeling the heat concerning alternative media and commentators otherwise they’d just ignore them. Curiously the more they highlight these ‘Russian bots’ etc the more they expose themselves and their hypocrisy and lying ways. Keep chipping away.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Twenty-five years ago Chomsky and Herman outlined how the Western ‘Free Press’ was simply a propaganda system for its owners, the rich capitalist parasites who totally control Western politics, business and all the brainwashing systems ie fakestream media, PR, think-tanks, advertising, ‘entertainment’ etc. Even then they drew on observations made for decades, and were simply stating the ‘bleedin’ obvious’.
      In the years since, as Free Market capitalism has commenced to crumble under its innate moral, intellectual and spiritual malevolence, as Russia and China have begun to refuse to grovel before the Western ‘Gods Upon the Earth’, and as the ecological Holocaust has grown ever nearer and more comprehensively omnicidal, the Western psychopathic elite have tightened their ideological grip on their indoctrination system. You can see the process in its foulest excess in both the Murdoch cancer, where ideological fanaticism and raw and vicious hatred of numerous ‘enemies’ of Murdoch and his ilk eg workers, unions, environmentalists, the poor, welfare recipients, teachers, Australian Aborigines, Moslems, refugees, the Palestinians etc has grown ever more virulent, but from a high base of detestation and malice, and in the stinking and decaying zombie corpse that once was the UK ‘Guardian’, now a filthy sewer of lies, hate-mongering and monumental hypocrisy in the service of the Washington/Tel Aviv/London ‘Axis of Real Evil’. The Western fakestream media has become a real cancer on the societies in infests.

    • Old Pepper says

      Congratulations. We now live in a new reality. If earlier news reflected real events, now TV fakes create reality. George Orwell envy nervously smokes on the sidelines. If the employees of the Ministry of Truth had to rework the archival materials into a new reality after the fact, formulated according to the instructions of the Big Brother, now fake reality is created in advance by order of the rulers.

  15. It was either Monday or Tuesday’s Times ran an article about the sudden proliferation of Russia based ‘trolls’…they don’t want to acknowledge that it accords with increasing cynicism amongst the home public. But what amused me was that they highlighted one example of an ‘obvious’ paid troll who had posted regularly expressing scepticism about the Establishment’s Salisbury narrative and then – and this was the clincher that they were a troll – they turned their attention to suggesting that the Douma incident was a false flag. I wonder how long it will be before I and others of similar mind are forcibly deported to Russia! The way things are at the moment I’m not sure I would object.

    • Captain Kemlo says

      Look on the bright side, if you were ever deported (“Just put on a Russian accent!”) you’d be in line for a bit of compo (cf Windrush).

    • reinertorheit says

      For the Times, “Russia-based trolls” = actually anyoone on the WWW who wrote to express an opinion which didn’t chime 100% with Boris Johnson’s.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      They’ll probably just lock you up in a version of Gaza (Bexhill perhaps, but remember to bring your batter pudding ovens)where you will be periodically bombed to teach you respect, and in homage to their Zionist idols.

  16. MichaelK says

    When a once powerful country or empire is in terminal decline, like the UK. The irony that it’s now become a colony of the United States. It’s normal for the ruling elite to retreat into state of mind that’s increasingly detached from reality, a kind of virtual Versailles. Once respected and feared, they begin to adopt attitudes, thoughts and language, that makes them look and sound… ridiculous on a whole spectrum of subjects. This is what’s happening at the Guardian. The total degeneration of the liberal elite. An elite whose time and ideas have come and gone, and this has led them towards both idiocy and totalitarianism in a vain attempt to reverse this process.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      In fact the UK, and the USA, and France, Germany etc are colonies of Israel, a situation without precedent in history, I would say, and one that cannot end well.

  17. bevin says

    I note that, here at least The Duran website is now offline. In the past couple of weeks almost all websites attempting to publicise the obvious answers to imperialist questions have been under attack with several of them-NEO notably- being knocked off line.
    In the information war democrats are the enemy.

  18. JMN says

    I was called a bot because I questioned that ridiculous Pokemon story everyone was freaking over. I was bullied on line by a few Americans and all it did was make me realize how insane the world is. To beat down a fellow human over asking a question regarding a silly Pokemon conspiracy story. It’s nasty in twitter town. Keep on fighting the good fight. The world sorely needs media warriors and truth speakers.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      CO2 has a deranging effect, starting from concentrations around 400 ppm. Current atmospheric levels are 410 ppm, but in cities they can be rather higher. The effect is even worse inside buildings, particularly if poorly ventilated. Add the effect of say 500-1000 ppm, to the metabolic derangement, a sort of diabetes of the brain, caused by morbid obesity and junk-food diet, plus all the other environmental and psychological poisons attacking Western ‘minds’ and you get societies like the USA, UK and all the other glorious ‘Western liberal’ Nirvanas.

      • Jim Scott says

        But but but your speaking of the elites, the chosen ones and exceptional Americans whose word transcends truth and proof. Have you no respect. Go straight to the nearest room corner, stare at the wall and while tugging your forelock repeat the following mantras ” I will not think “, ” I will comply”. “I do not matter”.

  19. Paul 3 says

    All is permitted to our Orwellian press–it appears that they have all received the memo, as to the New Order and their role in it. “There’s an information war going on.” And from this bully pulpit they feel entitled to lecture senior representatives of the UK army and navy on how to protect national security?

  20. avenir says

    About three weeks ago I had an interesting encounter with someone on twitter, I’d been replying to a Guardian article about Syria by reposting an article by Craig Murray and this chap decided I was gullible, spreading Russian propaganda and damaging demcrocracy by reposting stuff from a known conspiracy theorist. Oh and all leftists (interesting turn of phrase) are gullible.

    Wow bot bingo, I’m surprised he didn’t call me a putin bot. But I surmise from this and other incidences that there is a concerted effort to shut down independent thought on social media and the kind of authoritian mind set that demands conformity of thought and deed is becoming very prevalent.

    We live in dangerous times and could get very much worse if authoritarians completely take over all the organs of state. The incompetence and distrust of the May Government may very well force her to shut down any semblance of democracy if she wants to stay in power, perhaps she’ll attempt to remodel Britain using the Franco government of the 60s as a template.

    I’m sure others here have noticed this too and had similar experiences.

    • “I’m sure others here have noticed this too and had similar experiences.”

      Don’t get me started.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Before 1973, the Chileans thought that they, too,lived in a lovely ‘democracy’.

  21. “Help, help!”; “We are under cyberattack”; “Who can protect me?”; “Theresa, Theresa”; “Who can I rely on for objective truth?”; “Oh, Oliver, Oliver!”.

    Just caught Oliver Kamm on this very subject on simulated Sky world. Blah, blah, blah, objective reality, blah, blah, factual analysis, blah, conspiracy theories, 9/11, genocide denial, all we have in civil society is our integrity …

    …this site has had both trolls and bots with more journalistic integrity than NATO apologist and no war crime too big to spin propaganda meister Oliver Kamm. Its people like him that have prolonged the war in Syria at an untold human cost. But whatever that cost: it is on the conscience of automated response algorithmic post-truth random views generator like him.

    • Jim Scott says

      Actually Big B people like him have caused the war in my opinion. They make illegal state violence possible. To such people it is OK to use violence and war to improve our economic well being. I use the word “our” to describe our economic elites.
      It is most interesting to me that little facts like the genocidal wars they are supporting are war crimes whether they are using “Unconventional War” tactics or direct violence like the recent missile attacks on Syria.
      They are still illegal and a war crime despite professing love and affection for the people they are bombing and whose nation they are destroying.
      I just wish they had the same desire to protect democracy in Western countries as they profess for the countries they hand over to violent religous fanatics like those now controlling thought, race, and life itself in Libya, their crowning and defining achievement.

    • Istvan Sollihull says

      BigB [ >re yr april 20th post]
      yes, that is to me the ghastly tragedy about to be inflicted on Syria: US backed Saudis+ allies escalate the Syrian conflict WHICH COULD NOW BE WINDING DOWN. It is an absolutely horrific prospect – look at Yemen . . . .

  22. P.E. Ace says

    The context for the Russia bashing is the ‘liberal’ elite’s disgust at Trump’s win and the vote for Brexit. The message is that without Russia they wouldn’t have happened. (BTW, ‘liberals’ have become warmongers)

    The reward for journalists pushing this narrative and the (half) lies is threefold. First, they get invited for well-paid moderator stints at the numerous security and intelligence forums, which are heavily-sponsored by the military-industrial complex (Amazon is a big sponsor of the Aspen Foundation). Second, these journalists might get jobs on the other side. Third, their kids get work placements and jobs in government, NGO’s and companies where the liberal warmongering elite pull the strings.

    As journalist who is not toeing the line, you are guaranteed that you have hit your glass ceiling in organisations such as CNN, MSNBC, WaPO, NY Times and Guardian. Even at Sky now, because Murdoch want to offload it to Trump-hating Disney.

      • A. J. B says

        There must be something to learn from the German education system.

        • Jim Scott says

          I have learnt that I can’t read German writing.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Neo-feudalism cannot proceed to its Nirvana of total elite rule over a planet rid of its ‘useless eaters’, where plutocrats gambol in the sun-lit uplands of The Singularity, living forever in one new carcass after another, or ‘upgraded’ to a virtual Elysian Field, guarded by killer apps, if the serfs revolt. The signs of insubordination, Thought Crime and Badthink are proliferating, and the psychopaths who rise to the top, like fatty turds in a cess-pool, won’t tolerate that. It’ll get much, much, worse than this.

  23. Shaming Bots?

    Just how do you think a Bot “feels” when it is compared to a “real” human?

    And yet it is done all the time!

    They NEVER get a coffee, tea, or restroom break.

    They never get time around the water cooler.

    No! It is work, work, work for a Bot.

    Think of THAT next time you start shaming Bots!

    AND OMG …….. if they are RUSSIAN!

    • It’s not so bad in St. Petersburg. We have windows and a decent canteen. But the Moscow detail have to work in a basement and Peskov is dropping in every half hour to make sure no one is slacking.

  24. 0use4msm says

    The term “troll farm” indicates that the corporate media doesn’t even know the difference between an Internet troll and a sock puppet. How clueless can they get?

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      You don’t get far in the Murdoch apparatus if you display intelligence,knowledge and the ability to discern right from wrong in moral terms. If, however, you know how to obey orders…

  25. Kathy says

    I think the phrase copy, paste. repeat sums it all up really. This is fast becoming the auto setting for a compliant population and pretty much how the well behaved and complacent good citizens have become. No dissent, no critical thought, no questions asked of the mighty ones who own them now. Debt ridden and addled on falsified narratives, Hollywood dross, celebrity glamoury, excessive useage of poison products and over fixation of external appearances. Even offering their whole lives up for scrutiny with out any concept of loosing privacy or how it may be used against them. Everything dumbed down to brain dead level of inane and puerile sound bite culture. Do not use your brain. Do not question your handlers Just comply and keep taking the tablets. How long will it take to condemn all free thinkers to a bot status and once so dehumanized in the eyes of the automaton population convince them of the need to lock us all away in a safe place for our own safety of course. See you all in the wilderness folks.

    edited by admin to correct typo

  26. stevehayes13 says

    The political media elite have decided that “we are in an information war with Russia” – that’s a quote from Annita McVeigh who was interviewing Admiral West. She was reprimanding him for giving aid and comfort to the enemy by expressing doubt about the official chemical weapons attack by Assad narrative. There’s a link to the interview here: http://viewsandstories.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/bbc-asserts-it-is-propaganda.html

    Perhaps the Guardian will reclassify the admiral as a Russian bot.

    • I didn’t see it myself but I gather that Anna Botting on the Sky paper review the other night had to contend with a studio paper reviewer who dared to suggest that the Govt might have been better advised to wait for evidence before becoming trigger happy in Syria. Apparently Botting was literally red in the face and trembling with anger at the suggestion as she spat venom at the contributor.

    • Anita mcveigh is a talentless gobshite. She plied her trade in the north of Ireland and was normally tasked with local news reports about a lost dog, a tree falling or some other boring headline. Obviously she’s hit the big time now and jumped on to the casting couch.

    • Old Pepper says

      It’s very strange, that Annita McVeigh didn’t recognize Russian bot in Admiral West.
      We saw many cases when TV host interrupted current program if the interviewed person expressed the opinion, which is not consistent with the attitudes of the owners of the channel.
      Today if you are not agree with government opinion, your name is Russian bot.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      McVeigh’s ‘We’ is the crux of the matter.

  27. I am wondering if anybody has any sense as to the proportion of corporate journalists who really believe that what they say and write is true, and the proportion who know that what they say and write is false–indeed at times self-contradictory.

    These two types are the idealized extremities of a more complex continuum, granted. But nonetheless I do feel that some, perhaps most, corporate journalists are simply stupid, not malevolent. And I get the sense that others–how many I am not sure, perhaps not more than 10%–know exactly what they are doing.

    There is an incentive to remain culpably stupid in the profession of course. Not to question the copy your editors give you is the way to promotions and wealth, and most would prefer not to think too much about what copy is given them, because to do so immediately leads to an ethical quandary: do I rock the boat and risk career termination, or do I self-consciously affirm that which I have good reason to think is false for the sake of money and prestige. Most human beings would prefer not to have to face this dilemma, and so most journalists remain stupid by choice in order to avoid it.

    But to be stupid in this sense is to be weak, not malicious. So what do others think? What percentage of corporate journalists are culpably stupid (because weak) and what percentage are knowingly malicious?

    • stevehayes13 says

      What you are characterising as stupid is actually wilful blindness, and such ignorance is not accepted as a legal defence, and propagandising for war, as established by the Nuremberg Tribunal, is a crime against humanity.

      • Yes. I agree with you. But it is one thing to determine the question of criminal culpability under law, and another to understand the psychological motivations of the lawbreaker. Because I don’t foresee Nuremberg trials for British and American journalists happening in the near future, I think it is important to understand this enemy, who shall have to be defeated in other ways.

        • Brutally Remastered says

          I would not be so sure about this. Recent “events” have been very obviously shoddy and ill -prepared which implies that those that entertain such nefarious and traitorous acts are become rather over-burdened.
          Who is to say this will not continue and in fact become more extreme, to a point where Western citizens really pay the price (as in Gladio B-Bologna, 9/11) to a degree that becomes untenable to the public?

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says

            Most of the presstitutes I see on TV here in Austfailure, or hear on the radio, are ignorant, arrogant, dullards, who know that Thoughtcrime brings career termination. The ones I see periodically in print in the Murdoch rags, are clearly insane and, in many cases, I suspect, truly diabolical. A perusal of the Australian in a cafe the other day, and its op-ed pages in particular was n exercise in laughing out loud at the imbecility, and gagging at the sulphurous stench of raw hatred. Nothing much has changed in twenty years there.

      • That needs to be said and the perpetrators need to be aware of it.

        If ignorance is admissible as a defence, they will all plead it without exception.

        • Fair point. Before it becomes a concrete possibility, though, we will have to discover the political will to bring justice to the primary conspirators and war criminals: Bush, Blair, and the like. Is it possible to recapture one’s own democracy in the militarized surveillance state?

    • Baron says

      With few exceptions, most journalists are malevolent, one cannot be anything else if one wants to earn a living in a society in which the top layer engineers a poisoning of a citizen of another country. It’s either that i.e. malevolence in an office reasonably well paid with pension attached or a shovel. No brainer really.

      • Yossi says

        I’m not sure that they are malevolent. I agree with Chomsky in his interview with Marr. They are employed by and gravitate upwards within the organisation because they share its values and go along with the agenda. They really do believe the bullshit. If they dissented they would not have got where they are.

        • Kathy says

          It is sad that when push comes to shove a lot of people will take the Kings shilling over integrity. That nice house good car and comfort seem to work on way to many folks. I have known good people who have folded after time out in the starved wilderness. I have gone past felling angry at their loss of integrity and their selling out. I now just feel sad that another voice has been lost to the State story telling and sad for them as it must really take some loss of self to be able to know what you do. I just hope that one day the ones who know the lies they spin will find their soul again.

          • Kathy says

            Whoops sorry folks should read feeling sorry apologies.

            • Kathy says

              not again must be my brain melting today please read feeling angry not as above. thanks.

              • Hugh O'Neill says

                Kathy. Your brain is probably melting because the bot circuity for your model is under recall. Peskov will have you sorted very soon 🙂 This discussion thus far has been fascinating and it would require a learned debate between between psychologists and philosophers to discern the complex Human Factors at play: Fools or Knaves? Forks or knives? Horns of a dilemma & Doublethink. Cognitive dissonance. Whoops, my own bot-circuitry is overheating now!

        • Hugh O'Neill says

          Chomsky is the perfect example of malicious disinformation disseminator. The Litmus test for me is the JFK assassination. Chomsky’s response is who cares who killed Kennedy? Well Chomsky, I care. “Any fool know” that the CIA were the perps and that LHO was just the patsy he claimed to be. Chomsky thereby contends that it is both OK for the CIA to assassinate POTUS and then to conceal their part forever after. Might there have been any reason for the “Intelligence Services” to kill not just JFK but Patrice Lumumba, Dag Hammarskjold, MLK, RFK? Who exactly do “Intelligence Services” serve? What is Chomsky’s role?

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says

            I find Chomsky’s dismissal of the evidence of the CIA, Joint Chiefs, Mafia and Rightwing plutocrats’ responsibility for the JFK hit bewildering, but he has been right 99% of the time, so I ignore it. I think I understand his equally obtuse attitude to 9/11, too. If the plain truth of 9/11, that it was a joint venture by MOSSAD, the IDF, American sayanim and Sabbat Goyim inside the US elite, ever came out, if would be a strategic catastrophe of unparalleled danger. The USA is unbreakably tied to Israel. Any attempt to punish Israel in any way for 9/11 would bring a shit-storm of hideous repercussions for all concerned-Israelis, Americans, American Jews, Israel’s neighbours and the whole world. Israeli elites have long declared that they are willing to ‘..take the world down with us’, if they feel sufficiently threatened, and they have the nukes (through a ‘nuclear winter’) and the bio-weapons to do it. I think Chomsky probably feels this way-I cannot believe that he really accepts the ‘al-Qaeda did it’ laugh.

            • 9/11 is the countervailing, all-singing and all-dancing litmus test by which we may identify Chomsky as a gatekeeper, and Snowden and Assange as limited hangouts.
              Simplistic? I don’t think so. Cass Sunstein was generous enough to tell us all how and why they’re f******* us.

              • Mulga Mumblebrain says

                If Chomsky is correct >90% of the time, as I believe he has been, and has led the way for decades in exposing Imperial crimes, how can he be a ‘gate-keeper’. It does NOT compute.

                • HIs obfuscations and evasions vis a vis 9/11 compute even less.

                  Let’s face it, his frequently unerring exposure of US foreign policy hasn’t deflected US foreign policy from its course one single iota.

                  Exposing 9/11 would bring the whole corrupt house of cards down, however, right into its own footprint and at freefall speed. There’s a very good reason why Chumpsky, Snowden and Assange either perpetuate the narrative or simply avoid discussion of it. Frankly, it’s the height of naïveté to think otherwise.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          Fair enough, Yossi, but if ‘the agenda’ is plainly malevolent, are they not either willing accomplices to malevolence, or so morally insane that they simply do not care?

    • In Germany, there’s Ken Jebsen. He was a mass-media journalist and rising star who quit in protest at all the lies and propaganda to go independent over YouTube and lately with a news-portal website, all crowd-sourced and independently funded. His readership/viewership stats are in the hundreds of thousands. The model he has used is surely an important plank in how we transcend the tyranny of entrenched elitism. There need to be viable and ‘sexy’ career alternatives for the less charismatic, less courageous yet otherwise capable journalists to choose.

      However, no evolution of this kind, where a very powerful and essentially psychopathic elite is threatened with extinction, is guaranteed to succeed. And if it does succeed, I’m sure the cost will be high. Despite these inescapable risks, making the attempt is vastly superior to doing nothing. Sites like OffGuardian need our financial, moral and any other support we can give.

      Sadly, I am between jobs and thus without income. When I am back in work, I will be sending as much of my spare cash in this sort of direction as I can.

    • Carey says

      To be required, like Alice, to believe six impossible things before breakfast, and to daily try to sell that tripe to the Many,
      must be a confusing way to live for those in Our Corporate Media. Big no fun, but the compensation is good, I guess.

  28. kweladave says

    Excellent article – how about a ‘slur’ list – bot, russian-bot, putin-bot, commie, hard-left, apologist

    Just slightly off topic but GREAT on-the-ground in Douma coverage from an American journalist via OAN (One American News Network) – a cable tv company. If you’re in the USA might be worth supporting.

  29. The newspaper man looks to the politician for news. And by his power of giving or withholding information the politician can often effectively censor political news. But being dependent, every day of the year and for year after year, upon certain politicians for news, the newspaper reporters are obliged to work in harmony with their news sources. The political leader must be a creator of circum- stances….

    Edward Bernays, Propaganda (1928)

    • Cicatriz says

      You can add Far Right, Nazi and Fascist to the list. Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg was recently accused of being a supporter of the above because those groups (at least in part) are also opposed to Syrian intervention by Buzzfeed.

      Guilt by association, Ad hominems etc. They really don’t have a lot left.

  30. bevin says

    Of course The Guardian’s reply will be to categorise you as a Russian bot and that, to the despair of philosophy, will be the end of the discussion.
    It takes a long time and an awful lot of idlkeness and stupidity to erode the credibility built up over almost 200 years, but, thanks to the likes of Heather Stewart, Simon Tisdall, Jon Freedland and all, the job is almost done.
    The Guardian is losing readers so fast that the government has had to buy it up.

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