All posts filed under: media watch

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Perfidious Albion…

by Andre Vltchek Here it goes again! The same old tired and predictable tune, the same recognizable chorus. Once again the world is told what to think and what to believe. The world is also given both rhythm and leitmotif, so the grotesque and crooked dance could begin. Who could resist, really? The lyrics of the tune are recited in perfect English, and with that air of moral and cultural superiority, which is supposed to disperse all doubts. On February 19, 2017, RT published the following: The Telegraph, as a favored mouthpiece for British intelligence service disinformation, is a part of psychological warfare operation against Russia, said independent journalist Martin Summers. Another accusation is being thrown at Russia as a British newspaper published a story about Moscow being allegedly behind a plot to kill Montenegro’s Prime Minister last October… According to the article, Russia wanted to overthrow the country’s government to stop them joining NATO. So now it is Montenegro. Yesterday it was Crimea, Donbas, and the US elections. Evil Russia again! Evil China, evil …

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Saving Syria’s Children – The Worst Case Of Fake News?

SEE ALSO How far will they go to propagandise for war? (14 August 2016) Hand in Hand for propaganda? (9 August 2016) VIDEO: Robert Stuart’s presentation on BBC’s “Saving Syria’s Children” (8 March 2016) More puzzles about BBC’s “Saving Syria’s Children” documentary (28 October 2015) In the age of media manipulation how much can we afford to take on trust? (22 September 2015) We’ve talked about this topic many times on OffG, but at a time when “fakenews” is a hashtag, it’s worth returning to this most egregious and worrying example of – at best – sloppy reporting, or – at worst – wholesale deception. What happened at the Urm al-Kubra school on August 26 2013? Was it a chemical attack, a napalm attack or some sort of drill/rehearsal that was passed off as a real event? If the latter then where did the deception originate? Were the BBC Panorama crew, present at the Atareb hospital to film the aftermath of the alleged atrocity heroes, dupes or wilful advocates for a lie? Was the fact …

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CNN using intentionally misleading headlines (again)

This is CNN’s latest article on the all ways Trump is allegedly linked to Russia, Russian spies and Vladimir Putin. Above, a screen-grab of their headline. It seems intercepted communications show that members of Trump’s campaign were “in contact” with Russian officials. This is shocking and treason and stuff, so the CNN brought in “intelligence experts” to analyse what all this could mean. It’s all very serious. Buried half-way through the story is this: Officials emphasized that communications between campaign staff and representatives of foreign governments are not unusual. “Not unusual”. So what it could mean…is nothing. So that’s that then.

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Amnesty International Admits Syrian “Saydnaya” Report Fabricated Entirely in UK

Amnesty International’s 48 page report titled, “Syria: Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison, Syria,” boasts bold claims. However, even at a cursory glance, before even reading the full body of the report, under a section titled, “Methodology,” Amnesty International admits it has no physical evidence whatsoever to substantiate what are admittedly only the testimony of alleged inmates and former workers at the prison, as well as figures within Syria’s opposition.

Activists gather at Portland International Airport to protest against President Donald Trump's executive action travel ban in Portland, Oregon, U.S. January 29, 2017.  REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

What’s the End Game: hype and hysteria surrounding the “Muslim Ban”

by Kit They’re calling it the “Muslim Ban”, that’s the headline attention-grabber. It has its own twitter hashtag too. Everyone, all around the progressive “free world” is coming together to denounce this barbarism with one voice. Actors are making speeches at the SAG awards, and earnest navel-gazing columnists are writing about how this travel ban clashes with “British values”. There’s a petition to ban Trump from entering the UK with over a million signatures already (only tree from the British Antarctic Territories this time). John Harris, in the Guardian, even manages to make this all about Brexit – how triggering Article 50 will push us closer to a Trump administration that is “ruining America’s reputation”. Not even Jeremy Corbyn was immune, his biggest weakness it seems, is that he cannot ever miss an oppurtunity to be “nice”. In a Guardian opinion piece, Jack Straw – a man currently under investigation for permitting the use of torture – is allowed valuable column inches to moralize. He quotes Dick Cheney on “American values”. He compares Donald Trump …

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Pannell Beaters…

by Mark Doran Various friends of mine — smart folks, every one of them! — are telling me that they expect Donald Trump to be ‘Grassy Knolled’ by elements of the US ‘deep state’ before he even graduates from ‘President-Elect’ to ‘President’ on 20 January. I myself don’t think that such an event is especially likely … as, to me, it appears far more probable that he and the people around him will be ‘disciplined’ by various powerful forces — not least those that act through state-corporate media — to the extent that his entire project simply mutates into another ‘cookie-cutter’ US administration dedicated to neo-imperial violence and corporate empowerment. The media-based ‘disciplining’ to which I refer actually has two aspects to it — and both of them can already be discerned without the slightest difficulty: first, there is the smacking; secondly, there is the silence. The ‘smacking’ is what you get when something you have done, or are merely said to have done, is used as something for which you can be hammered in …

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This week the issue is not Trump. It is ourselves.

by John Pilger On the day President Trump is inaugurated, thousands of writers in the United States will express their indignation. “In order for us to heal and move forward…”, say Writers Resist, “we wish to bypass direct political discourse, in favour of an inspired focus on the future, and how we, as writers, can be a unifying force for the protection of democracy.” And: “We urge local organizers and speakers to avoid using the names of politicians or adopting ‘anti’ language as the focus for their Writers Resist event. It’s important to ensure that nonprofit organizations, which are prohibited from political campaigning, will feel confident participating in and sponsoring these events.” Thus, real protest is to be avoided, for it is not tax exempt. Compare such drivel with the declarations of the Congress of American Writers, held at Carnegie Hall, New York, in 1935, and again two years later. They were electric events, with writers discussing how they could confront ominous events in Abyssinia, China and Spain. Telegrams from Thomas Mann, C Day Lewis, …

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CIA, FBI and NSA produce joint report, jointly prove nothing

by Ricardo Vaz, originally published at Invesig’Action The recent hysteria surrounding Russia’s alleged interference with the November presidential elections saw another episode after an intelligence report, jointly elaborated by the CIA, FBI and NSA, was released on Friday, January 6th. After weeks of bombshell headlines based on statements from anonymous intelligence officials, western media finally had an official intelligence report to support their bombshell headlines. Unsurprisingly, all headlines look very similar, with the Guardian even changing the title of their main story after realising it was not menacing enough. The problem is that, much like the old stories, the new ones do not contain any evidence to support the claims, because the report itself does not have anything in that regard. The report says that the “evidence” remains highly classified. These outlets are just being fed the same (non-)information in a new package, and reporting it as “remarkably blunt” (WaPo) and “damning and surprisingly detailed” (NYT) does not change the fact that there are no facts to back this thesis that there was a campaign …

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RT jubilant after US Intel report gives it tons of free publicity

 Russia Insider reports: So who is really working for the Kremlin here? Last Friday the US Intel Community published a report on Russia’s alleged (and unsubstantiated) interference in US elections and gave RT more free advertising than it could ever buy itself. Almost one third of the 25-page report talks about RT. Its TV hosts feature as prominently as alleged Russian hackers and spooks. And RT could not be happier about it, in fact they’re running victory laps. Its report on the CIA hatchet job proudly highlighted RT was a prime target with the headline “RT stars in ODNI report on ‘Russian activities and intentions’ in U.S. presidential election”. Its follow up rebuttal of the report took things to its logical conclusions and openly thanked the US Intel Community ending with the words: “Oh, and thanks for the free advertising, ODNI! Be sure to check out more of our coverage on the RT America YouTube page.” Question. How much would @RT_com have to pay for the kind of free advertising today's hopelessly crap CIA report is giving …

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Obama’s Sanctions against Moscow “Intended to Box In Donald Trump”: Evidence that Hacking of DNC Accusations are Fake

by Prof. Michael Chossudovsky at Global Research, Dec. 30 2016 President Obama in the course of his last few weeks in the White House has ordered several retaliatory actions against Russia, on the grounds that Moscow was in involved in the hacking of the Democratic Party National Committee (DNC) with a view to influencing the outcome of the US presidential elections in favor of Donald Trump. The sweeping measures taken by Obama on December 29 consist in imposing sanctions on Russia’s intelligence services as well as requiring the departure of 35 Russian diplomats “suspected of being spies” from the US as well the shut down of two Russian compounds in Maryland and New York. According to NBC, the December 29 sanctions on Russia constitute “an assertive act by President Obama to punish Russia before he leaves office.” The unspoken truth, however, is that the punishment was intended for Trump. Whereas the sanctions were directed against Russia, the ultimate intent was to undermine the legitimacy of president-elect Donald Trump and his foreign policy stance in relation to Moscow.  According …

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Greenwald: Guardian engaged in ‘journalistic fraud’ in Assange interview rewrite

Photo Oli Scarff/Getty Images RT reports: Journalist Glenn Greenwald has accused his former employer, The Guardian, of falsifying the words of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a report about the interview he gave to La Repubblica. Assange spoke to the Italian newspaper’s correspondent Stefania Maurizi last week when she visited him in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The interview was in English and a transcript of it is available on La Repubblica’s website. The Guardian’s report on the interview was published Saturday and contains two false statements about what Assange told the Italian newspaper, Greenwald says in a damning piece on The Intercept. The headline said Assange “gives guarded praise” to Donald Trump, while inside the article itself The Guardian cited the WikiLeaks founder as claiming that “there was no need for WikiLeaks to undertake a whistleblowing role in Russia because of the open and competitive debate.” Neither statement accurately represented what Assange actually said in the interview, Greenwald says. His comment on Trump said that the US president-elect was no “DC insider” and was bringing in …

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Journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates’ love letter to Barack Obama

by Niles Niemuth and David Walsh, via WSWS Ta-Nehisi Coates, national correspondent for the Atlantic, recently wrote a lengthy piece for that publication, “My President Was Black.” It is a love letter to Barack Obama. Coates is the author of Between the World and Me, which gained him the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Last year he received a “genius” grant, worth $625,000, from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. “My President Was Black” is a piece that takes sycophancy and prostration before authority to extraordinary new heights. The Atlantic—for many years the Atlantic Monthly—was founded in Boston in 1857 as a journal of cultural commentary. It was initially an organ of leading New England literary circles (James Russell Lowell, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, etc.), which at the time had some substance to them, including opposition to slavery. Presumably, even in its present state, the publication views itself as a commentator on and critic of the American cultural and political scene. But the Atlantic’s “national correspondent” openly expresses admiration and …

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British Govt-Funded Outlet Offered Journalist $17,000 a Month to Produce Propaganda for Syrian Rebels

by Rania Khalek, via AlterNet Emails reveal that a popular source for mainstream Western media is a U.K.-backed propaganda outlet. The Revolutionary Forces of Syria (RFS) media office, a major Syrian opposition media outfit and frequent source of information for Western media, is funded by the British government and is managed by Westerners operating out of Turkey, according to emails provided to AlterNet by a Middle East reporter RFS tried to recruit. The outlet stirred controversy this November when it released a video at the height of the Mannequin Challenge, a pop culture craze in which people compete for how long they can freeze in place on video.  The RFS video depicted a staged rescue by the White Helmets, the Western-funded rescue group that operates exclusively in rebel-held territory.  RFS quickly removed the video and issued an apology out of apparent concern that the staged rescue could raise questions about the authenticity of other videos by the White Helmets. Over the summer, the Middle East reporter, who asked not to be named, was contacted by an American acquaintance …

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The CIA’s Absence of Conviction

by Craig Murray I have watched incredulous as the CIA’s blatant lie has grown and grown as a media story – blatant because the CIA has made no attempt whatsoever to substantiate it. There is no Russian involvement in the leaks of emails showing Clinton’s corruption. Yes this rubbish has been the lead today in the Washington Post in the US and the Guardian here, and was the lead item on the BBC main news. I suspect it is leading the American broadcasts also. A little simple logic demolishes the CIA’s claims. The CIA claim they “know the individuals” involved. Yet under Obama the USA has been absolutely ruthless in its persecution of whistleblowers, and its pursuit of foreign hackers through extradition. We are supposed to believe that in the most vital instance imaginable, an attempt by a foreign power to destabilise a US election, even though the CIA knows who the individuals are, nobody is going to be arrested or extradited, or (if in Russia) made subject to yet more banking and other restrictions …

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A Tale of Two Aleppos

by Bill Purkayastha Going on CNN and other free and truth-telling Western media, you discover a horrifying Aleppo apocalypse, where the evil tyrant Assad is massacring untold thousands of civilians, with the help of even more evil Russian air strikes, which invariably hit hospitals, schools, and bakeries. You discover a city where people would rather die than give themselves up to the tender mercies of this regime, with its torture camps and jails, and where a tiny handful of brave rebels and White Helmets stand between them and annihilation. Going on the Russian paid fake news sites, like for example 21st Century Wire, The Duran, Al Masdar News or Moon of Alabama, strangely enough, you discover a different Aleppo altogether – one in which the “White Helmets” are fake propaganda, the rebels are actually headhunting jihadi terrorists who have been holding tens of thousands of civilians hostage, and where the legitimate government of Syria is liberating them with Russian military aid. You find an Aleppo where the people are grateful to the government forces for …

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Washington Post reporter spreads blacklist of independent journalist sites

by Pam Martens and Russ Martens, December 1, 2016, via Wall Street on Parade Craig Timberg, a Washington Post reporter with an interesting history (which we’ll get to shortly), doubled down last night with a new article suggesting that Congressional legislation may be coming to further crack down on independent journalists not properly adhering to the dogma of Washington.    Craig Timberg (right) of the Washington Post Interviews Google’s Eric Schmidt at the Koch Brothers’ Financed Cato Institute. Timberg has become the deserving piñata of writers like Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, Ben Norton and Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, Max Blumenthal of AlterNet, Robert Parry at Common Dreams and numerous other writers at alternative media. Timberg and the Washington Post, which is owned by the billionaire CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, are being stridently called out as McCarthyites for an article published on Thanksgiving Day that cited unnamed “experts” at a shadowy group called PropOrNot to smear 200 alternative media sites as tools of Russia. The blacklist included some of the most informed and …

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Spectator editor to RT: “We are in danger of being the boy who cried ‘Propaganda!’”

Screencap from the interview of The Spectator’s deputy editor, Freddie Gray, to RT […] Western mainstream media’s ‘McCarthian’ witch hunt for Russia’s influence on the media shuns objectivity in favor of hysteria – a dangerous reductionism that dumbs down the debate on information warfare, argues Spectator deputy editor Freddy Gray. There has recently been a proliferation of the ‘fake news’ narratives in the Western media, which shows no signs of dying down. The gist of these stories is essentially that false news stories have been planted by a foreign actor in order to influence the political affairs of another, and the consequent accusations asserting that the 2016 US presidential election was swayed in favor of Donald Trump by such alleged manipulation of the news by Russia has thrust the issue into the spotlight. A Washington Post article recently accused 200 US news sites of being “routine peddlers” of Russian propaganda. New Yorker magazine subsequently released an article entitled ‘The Propaganda about Russian Propaganda,’ which slammed the report as a total mess.Gray examines what this means for …

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U.S. ‘News’ Media & Intel Agencies Blame Moscow for Trump’s Election

by Eric Zuesse On November 30th, Buzzfeed bannered “Intel Officials Believe Russia Spreads Fake News”. Their ‘reporter’ (that is, stenographer of U.S. government propaganda) opened: US intelligence officials believe Russia helped disseminate fake and propagandized news as part of a broader effort to influence and undermine the presidential election, two US intelligence sources told BuzzFeed News. ‘They’re doing this continuously, that’s a known fact,’ one US intelligence official said, requesting anonymity to discuss the sensitive national security issue. ‘This is beyond propaganda, that’s my understanding,’ the second US intelligence official said. The official said they believed those efforts likely included the dissemination of completely fake news stories… One intelligence official said, ‘In the context, did Russia attempt to influence the US elections; the aperture is as wide as it can possibly be.’” Then, there was this: One of the intelligence officials who spoke to BuzzFeed News said the lack of clarity had proven to be a challenge in combating the propaganda efforts. ‘The real unanswered question is, why did they do it?’ the second US …

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Bait & Switch – Fake News, propornot, the Real Inform & Influence Operation

by GH Eliason A few days before the 2016 election I contacted several publishers and told them they were on a list to be dealt with/ taken down after what was supposed to be a Clinton victory. This effort was against news sites and websites that spoke or wrote against current US policies that Clinton supported. As I was writing this Glen Greenwald’s great article came out specifically about propornot. That plays a small part in this. Journalists that said or wrote anything damaging to the Clinton campaign or supported her opponents in any way were targeted. News sites and journalists that failed to criticize Vladimir Putin, or worse; they were sympathetic of this or that Russian or Syria policy at any time are on the lists. The implication isn’t that Hillary Clinton had anything to do with this. She didn’t, at least not directly. We’re going to take a clear look at this, who is behind it, and why. The political stakes and stakeholders go far beyond the presidency. It was about setting the …