From Snowden To Russia-gate – The CIA And The Media

Jan Brady says Russia Russia Russia

The promotion of the alleged Russian election hacking in certain media may have grown from the successful attempts of U.S. intelligence services to limit the publication of the NSA files obtained by Edward Snowden.

In May 2013 Edward Snowden fled to Hongkong and handed internal documents from the National Security Agency (NSA) to four journalists, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Ewen MacAskill of the Guardian and separately to Barton Gellman who worked for the Washington Post. Some of those documents were published by Glenn Greenwald in the Guardian, others by Barton Gellman in the Washington Post. Several other international news site published additional material though the mass of NSA papers that Snowden allegedly acquired never saw public daylight.

In July 2013 the Guardian was forced by the British government to destroy its copy of the Snowden archive.

In August 2013 Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for some $250 million. In 2012 Bezos, the founder, largest share holder and CEO of Amazon, had already a cooperation with the CIA. Together they invested in a Canadian quantum computing company. In March 2013 Amazon signed a $600 million deal to provide computing services for the CIA.

In October 2013 Pierre Omidyar, the owner of Ebay, founded First Look Media and hired Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. The total planned investment was said to be $250 million. It took up to February 2014 until the new organization launched its first site, the Intercept. Only a few NSA stories appeared on it. The Intercept is a rather mediocre site. Its management is said to be chaotic. It publishes few stories of interests and one might ask if it ever was meant to be a serious outlet. Omidyar has worked, together with the U.S. government, to force regime change onto Ukraine. He had strong ties with the Obama administration.

Snowden had copies of some 20,000 to 58,000 NSA files. Only 1,182 have been published. Bezos and Omidyar obviously helped the NSA to keep more than 95% of the Snowden archive away from the public. The Snowden papers were practically privatized into trusted hands of Silicon Valley billionaires with ties to the various secret services and the Obama administration.

The motivation for the Bezos and Omidyar to do this is not clear. Bezos is estimated to own a shameful $90 billion. The Washington Post buy is chump-change for him. Omidyar has a net worth of some $9.3 billion. But the use of billionaires to mask what are in fact intelligence operations is not new. The Ford Foundation has for decades been a CIA front, George Soros’ Open Society foundation is one of the premier “regime change” operations, well versed in instigating “color revolutions”.

It would have been reasonable if the cooperation between those billionaires and the intelligence agencies had stopped after the NSA leaks were secured. But it seems that strong cooperation of the Bezos and Omidyar outlets with the CIA and others continue.

The Intercept burned a intelligence leaker, Realty Winner, who had trusted its journalists to keep her protected. It smeared the President of Syria as neo-nazi based on an (intentional?) mistranslation of one of his speeches. It additionally hired a Syrian supporter of the CIA’s “regime change by Jihadis” in Syria. Despite its pretense of “fearless, adversarial journalism” it hardly deviates from U.S. policies.

The Washington Post, which has a much bigger reach, is the prime outlet for “Russia-gate”, the false claims by parts of the U.S. intelligence community and the Clinton campaign, that Russia attempted to influence U.S. elections or even “colluded” with Trump.

Just today it provides two stories and one op-ed that lack any factual evidence for the anti-Russian claims made in them.

In Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options the writers insinuate that some anonymous writer who published a few pieces on Counterpunch and elsewhere was part of a Russian operation. They provide zero evidence to back that claim up. Whatever that writer wrote (see list at end) was run of the mill stuff that had little to do with the U.S. election. The piece then dives into various cyber-operations against Russia that the Obama and Trump administration have discussed.

second story in the paper today is based on “a classified GRU report obtained by The Washington Post.” It claims that the Russian military intelligence service GRU started a social media operation one day after the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was illegally removed from his office in a U.S. regime change operation. What the story lists as alleged GRU puppet postings reads like normal internet talk of people opposed to the fascist regime change in Kiev. The Washington Post leaves completely unexplained who handed it an alleged GRU report from 2014, who classified it and how, if at all, it verified its veracity. To me the piece and the assertions therein have a strong odor of bovine excrement.

An op-ed in the very same Washington Post has a similar smell. It is written by the intelligence flunkies Michael Morell and Mike Rogers. Morell had hoped to become CIA boss under a President Hillary Clinton. The op-ed (which includes a serious misunderstanding of “deterrence”) asserts that Russia never stopped its cyberattacks on the United States:

Russia’s information operations tactics since the election are more numerous than can be listed here. But to get a sense of the breadth of Russian activity, consider the messaging spread by Kremlin-oriented accounts on Twitter, which cybersecurity and disinformation experts have tracked as part of the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy.

The author link to this page which claims to list Twitter hashtags that are currently used by Russian influence agents. Apparently the top issue Russia’s influence agents currently promote is “#merrychristmas”.


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When the authors claim Russian operations are “more numerous than can be listed here” they practically admit that they have not even one  plausible operation they could cite. Its simply obfuscation to justify their call for more political and military measures against Russia. This again to distract from the real reasons Clinton lost the election and to introduce a new Cold War for the benefit of weapon producers and U.S. influence in Europe.

None of the Russia-gate stories so far has held up to scrutiny. There is no proof at all, nor reasonable evidence, that Russia interfered in elections in the U.S. or elsewhere. There is no evidence of “collusion” with the Trump campaign.

One of the most complete debunking of the false claims can be found in the recent London Review of BooksWhat We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about Russian HackingConsortium News has published many pieces on the issue as well as analyses and warnings of what may follow from it. Many other writers have caught up and debunk the various false claims. The Nation lists various cases of journalistic malpractice with regard to Russia-gate.

The people who promote the “Russian influence” nonsense are political operatives or hacks. Take for example Luke Harding of the Guardian who just published a book titled Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win. He was taken apart in a Real News interview (vid) about the book. The interviewer pointed out that there is absolutely no evidence in the book to support its claims. When asked for any proof for his assertion Harding defensively says that he is just “storytelling” – in other words: its fiction. Harding earlier wrote a book about Edward Snowden which was a similar sham. Julian Assange called it “a hack job in the purest sense of the term”. Harding is also known as plagiarizer. When he worked in Moscow he copied stories and passages from the now defunct Exile, run by Matt Taibbi and Mark Ames. The Guardian had to publish an apology.

The Mexican government controls the media by buying an immense amount of advertisement. It thus guarantees income as long as its political line is followed. The U.S. government has its own ways of controlling the media. In the 1950s to 1970s the CIA ran Operation Mockingbird which gave it control over much of the news and opinion output in U.S. media. During that time up to 400 main stream journalists were working for the CIA.

The method of control has likely changed. The handling of the Snowden affair lets one assume that the CIA induces billionaires to buy up media and to implement the CIA’s favored policies through them. We do not know what the billionaires get for their service. The CIA surely has many ways to let them gain information on their competition or to influence business regulations in foreign countries. One hand will wash the other.

James Clapper as Director of National Intelligence, John Brennan as CIA head and James Comey from the FBI “assessed” that Russia influenced the U.S. presidential election. Annex B of their report, which hardly any report bothered to mention, read:

Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation and precedents.

That sentence is the core of Russia-gate. There are lots of claims, assertions and judgments but no proof at all that any of the alleged Russian influence really happened.

It is probably due to the undue influence of the intelligence services that media have adopted that Annex B standard fro themselves. With regards to Russia (and other issues) assertions are now enough – there is no need to investigate, to find the truth or to verify claims.

How will that system work if an accident happens, some jet gets shot down and the issue escalates. Will there be any reporter left in the main stream media who is allowed to ask real questions?

Read More: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/12/washington-post-russia-sham.html

How Government Agents Troll Online to Divide and Confuse

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The real story of online deception isn’t about the Russians. Sure, the Russians certainly have their own programs to disrupt and steer online discourse. But how quickly the public has forgotten about the U.S. government’s own internet troll program.

Edward Snowden leaked documents used by the “Five Eyes” alliance of governments. The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia–basically Oceania from 1984–get together to spy on each other’s citizens. That’s how they cleverly get around laws against spying on their own citizens.

The leaked documents included a presentation about how government agents should disrupt online discourse.

There is a lot of overlap between these tactics, and often more than one are used simultaneously. For example, there has been a big push by the media to convince you that the end of net neutrality is a bad thing. They are masking the true nature of net neutrality–it really gives the government power to regulate aspects of the internet. And then they repackage net neutrality as necessary for freedom and open access to the internet.

When deploying government sponsored trolls online, the agents will mimic real commenters in order to sound more believable. They gain credibility since people are more likely to trust those they perceive as similar to them.

Sometimes government agents invent a crazy story and attribute it to a movement. This discredits the movement. Think Flat Earth Theory. Those primed to believe conspiracy theories get sucked in. Then all the true conspiracies are grouped in with the bogus one.

If a true conspiracy theory comes out, they invent 100 others to obscure the real one. In order for the truth to be lost among the falsities, they invent various levels of “conspiracy theories” from the slightly believable, to the absurd.

Hillary Clinton really is a corrupt psychopath. But she is not a shape-shifting reptilian alien.

From the evidence, it seems the United States government was in some way involved in the 2001 attacks on the twin towers. But did they use holograms of the planes, and fire a laser into the towers? Probably not.

The conspiracies become too unbelievable to some, and they throw the truth out with the government manufactured lies. For those that do believe the false details of a true conspiracy, they walk away with an inflated sense of how powerful and all knowing the government really is.

This also works to the government’s benefit. The over-the-top conspiracy theories become the decoy. They can then exploit those beliefs to create cognitive stress, which is another tactic of control.

Trump is the ultimate manifestation of their tactics to control attention. Trump is a big move which does a lot of masking the small moves. The media pays attention to his tweets, not his actions. When he does push for legislation, like a repeal of Obamacare, and it fails, attention drops because that seems to be the end of that.

And every time this happens, vigilance wanes. Another tweet, another legislative failure, another snub? We get it. But do we really get it?

Repetition. By now we are so used to misconduct by government officials, we just don’t pay attention anymore. Yet when the story about Pizzagate came to light, it was grouped in with conspiracy theories. No need to investigate. We were primed to put that story into the false category. But the new cue is sexual assault, and we are primed to believe any accusation, regardless of the evidence.

In efforts to demonize Bitcoin, many of these tactics are used. I’m not saying Bitcoin is beyond criticism. But I’ve seen commenters claim it was created by the CIA. That is just silly.

More likely, the government exploits the distrust libertarians tend to have in government in order to cast doubt on the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies. That means fewer people will adopt technology that has the potential to bring down the worldwide banking cartel and free people from the shackles of government monetary policy.

White Nationalists and AntiFa are right out of this playbook. Each exploits the beliefs of the “other side.” The left is primed to assume anyone who disagrees with them is secretly a racist white supremacist. And the right is primed to believe the left is full of violent fanatics who want to implement a communist coup.

To be sure, some of these people exist in the real world. So government agents seize on this and magnify it with their own agents. By doing this, they cause unsuspecting citizens to join the fray. Behavior is influenced by our peers. So the perception that something is widespread or normal makes people more likely to follow the crowd.

Notice how they mention Cialdini in there? Robert B. Cialdini wrote the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. I recommend reading it, not so that you can manipulate others, but so that you can prevent yourself from being manipulated.

He describes how to trigger shortcuts people use in their mental processes. For instance, a higher price usually means higher quality, so often people assume a higher priced item will be better made. But this works in many areas. People might assume a southern accent makes someone a racist, or USDA approval means healthy.

Cialdini also goes into how people are influenced by social proof, gift giving, making commitments, and a sense of inclusion. It is no surprise that the government would use these advertising and sales tactics to push their agenda online.

An Obama policy adviser, Cass Sunstein, wrote a paper in 2008 which suggests using these tactics.

Those who subscribe to conspiracy theories may create serious risks, including risks of violence, and the existence of such theories raises significant challenges for policy and law. The first challenge is to understand the mechanisms by which conspiracy theories prosper; the second challenge is to understand how such theories might be undermined… Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups.

Sunstein later went on to serve on the NSA review panel.

But finally, here’s the real head spinner.

The documents mention a Haversack Ruse. This ruse involves planting false information by making the enemy think you accidentally lost it. The target thinks they got their hands on your actual plans. But in reality, they acquired fake plans.

For instance, was Edward Snowden really a leaker, or was he told to drop all this “evidence” in order to distract from what is really happening?

In such a case, the intelligence officers would be laughing their asses off. They had the balls to put the Haversack reference into a fake document that was intentionally leaked as a ruse. This fits with the elite’s serial-killer-like tendency to leave hints of their true agenda in plain sight.

That means one of two things.

Either these documents are not part of a ruse and everything in them is true.

Or, these documents are part of a Haversack Ruse. But why would the government leak these damning documents which prove their lies and untrustworthiness?

Only if the truth is so much worse.