All posts filed under: Vaska

Fake news instead of real criticism

by Denis Churilov, Australia There are so many real things Trump should be criticised for, yet the mainstream media keeps making up stuff, producing fake stories and misreporting news about him. What for? Isn’t there already enough real material for the media to destroy him without repeatedly making fools out of themselves? The most recent case was last week, when major American news outlets (including ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBC News, as well as the Washington Post) reported that Trump called illegal immigrants “animals”, when in reality he was specifically referring to the members of MS-13, a criminal gang whose associates have been accused of beheading their victims. Don’t they understand that, by fixating on minor things, taking remarks out of context, misreporting and blatantly making up stories, they only de-legitimise the anti-Trump movement? Why do they have to lie? ***   Attempting to answer my own question, I would say that it has to do with the artificially “limited spectrum of acceptable opinion” described by Noam Chomsky in his 1998 book titled “A …

Spiez Laboratory, the Skripal Case, and the OPCW

The OPCW has, to date, made no comment and issued no rebuttal of Lavrov’s assertion concerning the full findings of Spiez Laboratory and the presence of BZ and its precursors in the March 23 blood samples taken from Sergei and Yulia Skripal. If Lavrov’s statement accurately reflects the actual findings of the Spiez Laboratory, and if the Skirpals were indeed given BZ in some form, this would account for both the state in which they were discovered on March 4, one of them unconscious and the other spaced out on a bench in Salisbury, and for the length of time Sergei and Yulia Skripal were comatose.

why we’re covering 9/11 fifteen years on

Fifteen years ago the idea of large scale false flags or government deceptions seemed absurd to all of us. But the unraveling of so many official narratives in recent years; the lies over WMDs, the lies over Ghouta, the lies over Libya and Ukraine, the repeat evidence for wholesale manipulation, if not fabrication, of events to promote war, means we don’t feel able to simply take the events of 9/11 on trust any more

Who’s Afraid of Sanders and Trump: Or, the Lies the New York Times Sells

by Vaska It looks like the economic and political group whose interests the New York Times serves is getting scared that Hillary Clinton, its candidate for US presidency, might not make it without more lies by mainstream media. As this singling out of them in a recent article by Gregg Easterbrook indicates — “Is American manufacturing in free fall, as Mr. Sanders and Mr. Trump assert?” — the people who pay Mr Easterbrrok’s salary and their friends see both Sanders and Trump as a threat to be defused by any means necessary (short of assassination, one hopes).   Hence the continuing attempts to discredit them; and hence, too, the litany of lies Jim Naureckas details in the article linked below.   We highlight his key findings here. Take some of Easterbrook’s major points: “Job growth has been strong for five years, with unemployment now below where it was for most of the 1990s, a period some extol as the ‘good old days.’” The broadest measure of employment is labor force participation—the number of people working or actively …

These videos were blocked on Facebook

by Vaska The content below was originally uploaded on Facebook by Anna Blond on April 20. On April 23, Facebook blocked her for two weeks while she was posting this material to groups. (She was posting only these two videos and nothing else when she got blocked). She posted on her wall: ”Facebook has just blocked me for 2 weeks: ‘You’re temporarily restricted from joining and posting to groups until 7 May at 10:02,” and my video which I was posting this morning was removed as it was uploaded to the group (Not to my page).” Anna Blond: This video with English Subtitles (translated by Inessa Sinchougova) contains 2 excerpts. The first one: Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister of Russia on January 18, 2012 at the meeting with Russian media chiefs was talking to Alexei Venediktov, an editor-in-chief and host at the Echo of Moscow radio station, president of the Echo TV Russia. These media outlets are pushing American interests in Russia. Note: at that time, Vladimir Putin was Prime Minister and Dmitry Medvedev was …

Stiglitz: Europe Can Do Better

by Vaska Here’s Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz on how Europe can return to a more sustainable economic path.  Stiglitz delivered this keynote speech at the European Dialogue 2016 conference  held in Brussels on April 14 and 15.  For Stiglitz’s speech, please click on the top-left three-bar icon on the YouTube video and scroll down to #3. The event was organized by the Hans Böckler Stiftung and the European Trade Union Institute.

VIDEO: Fighting TTIP, CETA and ISDS: Lessons from Canada

Three conclusions and a surmise: Pravda, Iran and the US Judiciary

by Vaska Scanning my Facebook this morning, I came across a startling Pravda item someone had shared on my wall.   The reaction I had on seeing the posted headline was immediate: “that’s it, Pravda’s making things up!  It’s a brazen propaganda organ, after all, as some of my acquaintances accuse it of being.”  To make sure I’d got this right at last, I went on the Internet to check if there might have been a speck of truth somewhere in the whole thing on which Pravda then based its outrageous piece… … only to find that Pravda’s report is entirely factual. Bloomberg, NewsMax, JewishPress, Singapore Business Times, and MINA have also  reported that a New York district court judge has ruled that Iran is to pay $10.5 billion in damages and compensation for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Pentagon: $7.5 billion to the estates and families of the victims, plus $3 billion to insurance companies including Chubb Ltd. for the property damage, business interruption and other claims they’ve paid out. …

Facebook Bans DONi Donbass News Agency site

by Vaska Facebook censored a popular, accredited and officially supported DONi Donbass International News Agency main Facebook site on Tuesday March 1.  The banning of DONi was done in the midst of a harsh escalation of the armed conflict in Donbass, and it happened just after the press conference which had been held in the Lugansk capital, where the opening of the new DONi Lugansk branch was announced by the Director and Chief-Editor Janus Putkonen.  Also Putkonen’s personal FB-account was frozen for the coming three days. FB closed the official DONi news page having accused DONi News Agency of breaking FB-rules and we are charged with “spreading hate speech”.  DONi Director’s personal FB-account was frozen under the same pretext. “I am amazed, I haven’t heard before about any official news agency site banned from Facebook”, said the Director of DONi News.”Was this done only because we keep widening our news coverage from Donbass?” “It’s clear that we haven’t broken any rules, so this means, that there are no rules left,” commented Janus Putkonen on Facebook’s …

Continuing CIF censorship in the service of propaganda

by Vaska Peter Schmidt, an old-time Guardian reader and CIF commentator, has sent us this glimpse of the continuing suppression of criticism and genuine investigative news reporting by the paper’s CIF moderators. On February 29 the Guardian carried the article “Life after Ukraine: the ‘invisible’ Russian fighters struggling to return to normal” — written by one Georgy Pereborshchikov for Meduza, part of the New East propaganda network Graun joined a couple of years ago. In a CIF thread to that article, Peter had come across the following sardonic comment by BMWAlbert, pointing to the links between the source the Guardian has chosen to use – the Latvian propaganda organ Meduza – and one of the most corrupt and now exiled Russian oligarchs, Khodorkovsky.  We are reprinting it here with a couple of adjacent comments as their placement will help show the subsequent erasure of BMWAlbert’s entry:   An hour after the comment was posted, Schmidt checked back on the thread to discover that CIF moderators had wiped it off the record. There is now no …

Leaked telephone transcripts show Turkey is helping ISIS in Syria

by Vaska Further proof of ties between the Turkish military and ISIS terrorists operating on the Syrian-Turkish border has been revealed in the Cumhuriyet newspaper, which published more transcripts of telephone calls between the jihadists and officers. The documents are said to come from an ongoing court case on Islamic State at the Ankara 3rd High Criminal Court. The investigation was reportedly prompted after six Turkish citizens reported to police that their relatives had joined the terrorists. At least 19 people came under surveillance as a result and prosecutors then charged 27 individuals. The daily published the first batch in December. The new transcripts published by the daily Monday are said to be conversations between Turkish officers and Mustafa Demir, a member of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) who is a leading figure on the Syrian-Turkish border. “The transcripts and the documents in the investigation revealed that Demir received money… from smugglers at the border and cooperated with the officers as far as [border] crossings are concerned,”Cumhuriyet said. In the first transcript, translated into English by Today’s Zaman, Demir is talking …

A New Movement or the Next Dud?

Starting last October, with the prospects of a true left coming to power in Greece itself crushed for now by the re-election of the Tsipras-led Syriza government, the former minister of finance has been announcing the formation of a pan-European left-wing movement, to be formally inaugurated this month. Varoufakis presents his project as offering a “third way” alternative to the present, undemocratic form of the European Union as well as to the increasingly attractive option of a return to the nation-state as the authoritative sovereign political actor.

A New Saudi War Crime in Yemen

by Vaska As FortRuss reported on January 6, the Saudi Air Force has bombed a centre for the blind in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, leaving at least 3 dead. The raid took place at night, while the residents of the centre were asleep.  Exact information on the number of casualties is still not available. “These blind children are made to be the target of airstrikes?  Where are the NGO’s?  Where is the UN?” [….]  It should be noted that Saudi Arabia have committed dozens of war crimes on the territory of Yemen. For example, only recently Saudi warplanes have attacked schools, hospitals, roads where there were no military targets, factory of Coca-Cola, a dairy farm, and 2 industrial enterprises. So far, there’s been a complete lack of reaction on the part of the EU, the individual European countries themselves, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, as well as international human rights organizations and the UN itself. Illustrations courtesy of FortRuss

Some questions for the Pentagon

by Vaska Pentagon’s most recent briefing and its figures on ISIL numbers in Iraq and Syria raise a lot of questions:  1.  Who is enabling the continuing influx of ISIL recruits into Syria and Iraq? 2.  Why is the US-coalition unable to stop this? 3.  Why, if the US coalition has been as successful as it claims in killing ISIL fighters, did Iraq invite Russia to help it deal with the terrorists? 4.  Which parts of Syria does the US-coalition claim to have liberated from Daesh? 5.  Which parts of Iraq does it claim to have done the same for? 6.  What numbers of ISIL fighters does the US-coalition estimate the Russian military have managed to eliminate in Syria? 7.  Which parts of Syria have been liberated from ISIL due to the work of the Russian military? Perhaps the MSM reporters who are given access to Pentagon briefings will remember to ask such questions in the future and inform us of the answers the US-led military coalition has to them.

Some questions for DemocracyNow!

by Vaska What’s going on at DemocracyNow! for Amy Goodman to be interviewing a Saudi crown prince on the subject of combatting Daesh?   A Saudi crown prince born in Amman, Jordan, who’s arguing that there’s no military solution to the problem of Daesh, to boot?   [Does the good prince perchance want us to negotiate with the heart-and-lung eating jihadis, i.e. de fact recognize their “Islamic State” in Syria?] Like anyone else who’s been paying attention to what’s been happening in Syria and the countries around it since 2011, Amy Goodman knows full well that the Saudis are the major financiers of Daesh/ISIL and that Jordan has been the chief training area for the so-called FSA. Throughout 2013 and 2014, fighters nominally identified as FSA members would, once trained by the US military advisors in Jordan, go back to Syria where they routinely defected to either Al Nusra or Daesh.  Knowing that, how can the doyenne of the alternate media in the USA permit herself to conduct a full interview with a Abdel Bari Atwan, a …

Iraq Rebuffs Washington, Rejecting US Ground Troops

by Vaska Baghdad has not asked — and does not need — United States ground troops to assist it in its fight against Islamic State in Iraq, Saad Haithi, spokesman for the Prime Minister Haider Abadi, said Wednesday. Two days ago, on October 27, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter had suggested that the Pentagon may now be considering ground attacks against ISIL in Iraq. “This is an Iraqi affair and the government did not ask the U.S. Department of Defense to be involved in direct operations,” Saad Hadithi told NBC News, adding that Baghdad has “enough soldiers on the ground.” In international law, as Hadithi pointed out, the United States is required to coordinate with Baghdad any military activity in the country, including the airstrikes the US and its coalition partners are currently conducting against ISIL targets on Iraqi soil. The rebuff from Baghdad comes as yet another humiliation for Washington, as it coincides with Jordan’s decision to co-operate with Russian air strikes in Syria directed at ISIL bases and weapons facilities there.

CIF Readers Demand Better Reporting on Corbyn

by Vaska In the past month and a half or so, both the Guardian and the Observer have come under sustained criticism for their extraordinarily hostile (as well as highly misleading) coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of the Labour Party. Last Sunday, in an attempt to defuse that criticism, Observer published Stephen Pritchard’s The readers’ editor on… the Observer and Jeremy Corbyn, which attempts to absolve the papers of biased, tendentious and indeed partisan reporting on Corbyn. Here’s Forthestate, the CIF participant who alerted us to the article and the readers’ reaction to it, quoting from Pritchard’s piece and then commenting on it: While broadly sympathetic to Labour, the Observer has never slavishly attached itself to any party or political philosophy. That isn’t the issue. I share the view of some readers that the paper and the media in general misread the depth of desire, particularly among young Labour voters, for the change that Jeremy Corbyn represents, but time (and the parliamentary Labour party) will tell if that flood of goodwill will be …

American Democracy and Its Opinion Shapers

by Vaska In “Pundits Thought Clinton Beat Sanders—but Did Viewers?” Gunar Olsen analyzes the mainstream and right-wing Internet-based media reporting on Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate in the US. Olsen focuses on the New York Times, America’s newspaper of record, National Journal, Slate, New Yorker, Forbes, and Red State (an online opinion platform which describes itself as “the Conservative Blog & Conservative News Source for Right of Center Activists”). Without exception, all of the media outlets whose reporting Olson reviews in his piece for FAIR concur in declaring Hillary Clinton as the clear winner of the debate. The problem with the view media “opinion shapers” have rushed to offer the American public is its remarkable disconnect from the way the voters themselves have judged the performance of the five participants, in particular that of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. As Olson points out, What the Times and these pundits failed to mention is the fact that every online poll we could find asking web visitors who won the debate cast Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as the …

US “Repeatedly and Precisely” Bombs Afghan Hospital

by Vaska Three days ago, during the night of October 2-3, and although it had the precise co-ordinates for the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, US-led NATO forces repeatedly bombed the medical facility bitself, leaving at least 22 people dead—12 staff members and 10 patients, including three children—and wounding 37 more. Ben Norton analyzes the US media reporting on this for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR): AFP, the first network to report the story, in the early hours of October 3, quoted NATO saying, “US forces conducted an air strike in Kunduz city…. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.” MSF promptly issued a statement (10/3/15), revealing that it had been “hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged.” In an update hours later, MSF said it “condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, which was full of staff and patients.” The humanitarian organization also indicated multiple times—and in bold capital letters—that “all parties to the conflict, …

A troll story in 4 screenshots

by Vaska Four days ago, on September 24, we published an item about the use of multiple identities on The Guardian‘s CIF pages by people presenting avidly pro-Western, and aggressively anti-Russian and anti-Syrian views. The irony of the situation, as we pointed out, is that the use of such multiple identities is being tolerated by a newspaper which, only 3 years ago, broke the news about the troll army the US had by then unleashed in cyberspace, and which has since then instituted a draconian policy of censorship of reader comments critical of the US and EU foreign policy in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, including Ukraine. One of our readers has now provided us with fresh evidence that The Guardian does more than merely tolerate a practice characteristic of Western government agents on the Internet. The screenshots below are taken from the article Putin says he can work with Obama despite trading barbs on Syria and ISIS. They show the moderators actively censor readers’ posts which point to the practice and to the …