Virtually the entire media complex megaphoned a 2017 report by Soros-backed news outlet ProPublica, and to a lesser extent a similar report in the New York Times, claiming that Trump’s new pick to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, oversaw a “clandestine base” in Thailand where she participated in, and mocked the torture of suspected al-Qaida leader Abu Zubaydah.
The claims were retracted by ProPublica in an embarrassing correction.
On Feb. 22, 2017, ProPublica published a story that inaccurately described Gina Haspel’s role in the treatment of Abu Zubaydah, a suspected al-Qaida leader who was imprisoned by the CIA at a secret “black site” in Thailand in 2002.
The story said that Haspel, a career CIA officer who President Trump has nominated to be the next director of central intelligence, oversaw the clandestine base where Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding and other coercive interrogation methods that are widely seen as torture. The story also said she mocked the prisoner’s suffering in a private conversation. Neither of these assertions is correct and we retract them. It is now clear that Haspel did not take charge of the base until after the interrogation of Zubaydah ended.
Of note, the ProPublica article was published right after the Trump administration promoted Haspel to the CIA’s #2 job in early February, 2017 in what appears to be nothing more than a political hit piece.
ProPublica’s conclusion was drawn from “declassified agency cables” and CIA-reviewed books which referred to Haspel “chief of base.” The name of the official was redacted, as well as an online post from former CIA counterterrorism officer, John Kiriakous, who wrote “It was Haspel who oversaw the staff” at the Thai prison.
That’s it. Redacted cables and a book which did not state the name of the base chief, and an online post by a CIA counterterrorism officer saying it was Haspel is all it took to smear a woman placed in a top position within the CIA – weeks after the Trump administration gave the 30-year veteran the promotion.
The first clue that something was off in the report was the CIA’s statement to ProPublica for the original 2017 report in which an agency spokesperson said “Nearly every piece of the reporting that you are seeking comment on is incorrect in whole or in part.”
While Haspel – according to former colleagues, did run the Thai base – the New York Times published a recent piece placing her arrival in late 2002, after the waterboarding of Zubaydah.
And while the MSM glazed over the fact that Trump appointed the CIA’s first female director this week, the media ran with the torture narrative – hard. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) even demanded that the CIA declassify documents detailing Haspel’s ties to the torture program.
Abu Zubaydah’s lawyer, Joseph Margulies, penned an angry op-ed in TIME. “In short, all we know for sure is that Haspel was in charge of a site where torture took place,” Marguiles wrote. “And make no mistake: it was torture.”
The narrative is already out there. I doubt that MSNBC and CNN are going to go back and dedicate hours of time to undo the damage that you did. Almost like this was planned and intentional. https://t.co/JRiQUKlsy0
James Mitchell, the psychologist and CIA contractor who helped to direct the waterboarding of both suspects, said in a broadcast interview on March 14 that Haspel was not the “chief of base” whom he described in his book as making fun of Zubaydah’s suffering.
“That chief of base was not Gina,” Mitchell told Fox Business News. “She’s not the COB I was talking about.”
Mitchell’s book, “Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America,” referred to the chief of base in Thailand as both “he” and “she.”
We erroneously assumed that this was an effort by Mitchell or the agency to conceal the gender of the single official involved; it is now clear that Mitchell was referring to two different people.
So in an effort to smear a Trump appointee that the MSM would be fawning over if Obama had appointed the first woman to lead the CIA, the entire mainstream media complex and Dianne Feinstein relied on a report from a Soros-backed news outlet and the New York Times, which both published hit pieces right after the Trump administration promoted her the first time, and were both wrong.
That said, the correction doesn’t completely excuse Haspel from her involvement in the program, as she still reportedly ran the base at which “enhanced interrogations” occurred, and advised her boss to shred 92 tapes of Zubaydah’s waterboarding, which he did. It also doesn’t take away from arguments against enhanced interrogations in general.
The CIA’s office of public affairs, meanwhile, praised Haspel’s service.
Dean Boyd, director of the CIA’s office of public affairs, praised Haspel’s 30 years of public service and said Thursday in a statement that her qualifications and capabilities would be evident in the hearing process.
“It is important to note that she has spent nearly her entire CIA career undercover,” Boyd said. “Much of what is in the public domain about her is inaccurate. We are pleased that ProPublica is willing to acknowledge its mistakes and correct the record regarding its claims about Ms. Haspel.”
In the wake of new reports about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. having inappropriate contact with women and children, as well as a resurgence of videos and images of his conduct, Nicole Perlroth of The New York Times is calling on Twitter to “handle,” or censor, the content.
Perlroth, a cyber security reporter, tweeted the plea to her nearly 24,000 followers on Tuesday — to a less-than-warm reception. The tweet was retweeted only 16 times, while it received nearly 700 comments — most of which condemned her desire for censorship.
“In the past 24 hours, a new alt-right fake news meme had emerged of Biden as a predator. How will @twitter handle?” Perlroth asked, quoting an in-depth thread from Richard Armande Mills featuring photos and videos of Biden’s behavior. The images contained within the thread were not doctored or altered.
The Tweet followed the release of my report on allegations from a Secret Service agent who had worked within the Biden residence at Washington’s Naval Observatory, the official home of the vice president.
The agent compared the former Veep to Harvey Weinstein and alleged that the situation was so dire that an annual holiday party at the residence for Secret Service agents and members of the Navy had to be canceled over concerns about his behavior towards women and teenage girls.
Biden’s inappropriate touching has long been criticized, even by publications on the left, with The Washington Post referring to him as “Creepy Uncle Joe.”
In this clip, former Vice President Biden uses a candid moment to fondle the chest area of a little girl — in front of her entire family. Her visible discomfort is extremely obvious. pic.twitter.com/PXZx68KEGe
In this clip, Biden swears-in (R) Senator Jim Risch. During photographs, Biden touches Risch’s daughter, specifically asking to take a photo alone with her. You can hear Risch say “Dad’s going to stand pretty close.” (I wonder why?) Biden even jokes and says, “If I was young…” pic.twitter.com/LLqJ4guU0q
In this clip at another swearing-in ceremony, former VP Biden starts strangely sniffing the hair of a very young girl (he just met) repeatedly, also kissing on her. This man clearly has no boundaries. pic.twitter.com/MxYxEJVDRR
The footage from former Senator Kelly Ayotte’s swearing-in was one of the most awkward encounters. I’ve broken it into 2 parts. In this clip, Ayotte’s daughter Billy impatiently enters the staging area ahead of schedule. Former VP Biden notices.
After strangely asking 6 y.o. Billy if she was 17, telling her she can do “whatever she wants,” former VP Biden proceeds to have an awkward exchange with Kelly, stroking Billy to the point it almost seems Kelly asks her son about the “cameras” intentionally.
Perlroth’s strange request for censorship also came at a time where Democrats appear to be testing the waters for a Biden presidential campaign in 2020.
According to a new poll that is being broadcast across every mainstream publication, after he told reporters on Monday that he was “not closing the door” on a run.
The Politico/Morning Consult poll found that Biden currently holds an 11 percent edge on President Donald J. Trump in a hypothetical matchup, with 46 percent stating that they would vote for the former Veep.
Special Report: As the U.S. government doles out tens of millions of dollars to “combat Russian propaganda,” one result is a slew of new “studies” by “scholars” and “researchers” auditioning for the loot, reports Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
The “Field of Dreams” slogan for America’s NGOs should be: “If you pay for it, we will come.” And right now, tens of millions of dollars are flowing to non-governmental organizations if they will buttress the thesis of Russian “meddling” in the U.S. democratic process no matter how sloppy the “research” or how absurd the “findings.”
And, if you think the pillars of the U.S. mainstream media – The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN and others – will apply some quality controls, you haven’t been paying attention for the past year or so. The MSM is just as unethical as the NGOs are.
So, we are now in a phase of Russia-gate in which NGO “scholars” produce deeply biased reports and their nonsense is treated as front-page news and items for serious discussion across the MSM.
Yet, there’s even an implicit confession about how pathetic some of this “scholarship” is in the hazy phrasing that gets applied to the “findings,” although the weasel words will slip past most unsuspecting Americans and will be dropped for more definitive language when the narrative is summarized in the next day’s newspaper or in a cable-news “crawl.”
For example, a Times front-page story on Thursday reported that “a network of Twitter accounts suspected of links to Russia seized on both sides of the [NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem] issue with hashtags, such as #boycottnfl, #standforouranthem and #takeaknee.”
The story, which fits neatly into the current U.S. propaganda meme that the Russian government somehow is undermining American democracy by stirring up dissent inside the U.S., quickly spread to other news outlets and became the latest “proof” of a Russian “war” against America.
However, before we empty the nuclear silos and exterminate life on the planet, we might take a second to look at the Times phrasing: “a network of Twitter accounts suspected of links to Russia.”
The vague wording doesn’t even say the Russian government was involved but rather presents an unsupported claim that some Twitter accounts are “suspected” of being part of some “network” and that this “network” may have some ill-defined connection – or “links” – to “Russia,” a country of 144 million people.
‘Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon’
It’s like the old game of “six degrees of separation” from Kevin Bacon. Yes, perhaps we are all “linked” to Kevin Bacon somehow but that doesn’t prove that we know Kevin Bacon or are part of a Kevin Bacon “network” that is executing a grand conspiracy to sow discontent by taking opposite sides of issues and then tweeting.
Yet that is the underlying absurdity of the Times article by Daisuke Wakabayashi and Scott Shane. Still, as silly as the article may be that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. The Times’ high-profile treatment of these gauzy allegations represents a grave danger to the world by fueling a growing hysteria inside the United States about being “at war” with nuclear-armed Russia. At some point, someone might begin to take this alarmist rhetoric seriously.
Yes, I understand that lots of people hate President Trump and see Russia-gate as the golden ticket to his impeachment. But that doesn’t justify making serious allegations with next to no proof, especially when the outcome could be thermonuclear war.
However, with all those millions of dollars sloshing around the NGO world and Western academia – all looking for some “study” to fund that makes Russia look bad – you are sure to get plenty of takers. And, we should now expect that new “findings” like these will fill in for the so-far evidence-free suspicions about Russia and Trump colluding to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton.
If you read more deeply into the Times story, you get a taste of where Russia-gate is headed next and a clue as to who is behind it:
“Since last month, researchers at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan initiative of the German Marshall Fund, a public policy research group in Washington, have been publicly tracking 600 Twitter accounts — human users and suspected bots alike — they have linked to Russian influence operations. Those were the accounts pushing the opposing messages on the N.F.L. and the national anthem.
“Of 80 news stories promoted last week by those accounts, more than 25 percent ‘had a primary theme of anti-Americanism,’ the researchers found. About 15 percent were critical of Hillary Clinton, falsely accusing her of funding left-wing antifa — short for anti-fascist — protesters, tying her to the lethal terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 and discussing her daughter Chelsea’s use of Twitter. Eleven percent focused on wiretapping in the federal investigation into Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, with most of them treated the news as a vindication for President Trump’s earlier wiretapping claims.”
The Neocons, Again!
So, let’s stop and unpack this Times’ reporting. First, this Alliance for Securing Democracy is not some neutral truth-seeking organization but a neoconservative-dominated outfit that includes on its advisory board such neocon luminaries as Mike Chertoff, Bill Kristol and former Freedom House president David Kramer along with other anti-Russia hardliners such as former deputy CIA director Michael Morell and former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers.
How many of these guys, do you think, were assuring us that Iraq was hiding WMDs back in 2003?
This group clearly has an ax to grind, a record of deception, and plenty of patrons in the Military-Industrial Complex who stand to make billions of dollars from the New Cold War.
The neocons also have been targeting Russia for regime change for years because they see Russian President Vladimir Putin as the chief obstacle to their goal of helping Israel achieve its desire for “regime change” in Syria and a chance to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran. Russia-gate has served the neocons well as a very convenient way to pull Democrats, liberals and even progressives into the neocon agenda because Russia-gate is sold as a powerful weapon for the anti-Trump Resistance.
The Times article also might have mentioned that Twitter has 974 million accounts. So, this alarm over 600 accounts is a bit disproportionate for a front-page story in the Times, don’t you think?
And, there’s the definitional problem of what constitutes “anti-Americanism” in a news article. And what does it mean to be “linked to Russian influence operations”? Does that include Americans who may not march in lockstep to the one-sided State Department narratives on the crises in Ukraine and Syria? Any deviation from Official Washington’s groupthink makes you a “Moscow stooge.”
And, is it a crime to be “critical” of Hillary Clinton or to note that the U.S. mainstream media was dismissive of Trump’s claims about being wiretapped only for us to find out later that the FBI apparently was wiretapping his campaign manager?
However, such questions aren’t going to be asked amid what has become a massive Russia-gate groupthink, dominating not just Official Washington, but across much of America’s political landscape and throughout the European Union.
Why the Bias?
Beyond the obvious political motivations for this bias, we also have had the introduction of vast sums of money pouring in from the U.S. government, NATO and European institutions to support the business of “combatting Russian propaganda.”
For example, last December, President Obama signed into law a $160 million funding mechanism entitled the “Combating Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act.” But that amounts to only a drop in the bucket considering already existing Western propaganda projects targeting Russia.
So, a scramble is on to develop seemingly academic models to “prove” what Western authorities want proven: that Russia is at fault for pretty much every bad thing that happens in the world, particularly the alienation of many working-class people from the Washington-Brussels elites.
The truth cannot be that establishment policies have led to massive income inequality and left the working class struggling to survive and thus are to blame for ugly political manifestations – from Trump to Brexit to the surprising support for Germany’s far-right AfD party. No, it must be Russia! Russia! Russia! And there’s a lot of money on the bed to prove that point.
There’s also the fact that the major Western news media is deeply invested in bashing Russia as well as in the related contempt for Trump and his followers. Those twin prejudices have annihilated all professional standards that would normally be applied to news judgments regarding these flawed “studies.”
On Thursday, The Washington Post ran its own banner-headlined story drawn from the same loose accusations made by that neocon-led Alliance for Securing Democracy, but instead the Post sourced the claims to Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma. The headline read: “Russian trolls are stoking NFL controversy, senator says.”
The “evidence” cited by Lankford’s office was one “Twitter account calling itself Boston Antifa that gives its geolocation as Vladivostok, Russia,” the Post reported.
By Thursday, Twitter had suspended the Boston Antifa account, so I couldn’t send it a question, but earlier this month, Dan Glaun, a reporter for Masslive.com, reported that the people behind Boston Antifa were “a pair of anti-leftist pranksters from Oregon who started Boston Antifa as a parody of actual anti-fascist groups.”
In an email to me on Thursday, Glaun cited an interview that the Boston Antifa pranksters had done with right-wing radio talk show host Gavin McInnes last April.
And, by the way, there are apps that let you manipulate your geolocation data on Twitter. Or, you can choose to believe that the highly professional Russian intelligence agencies didn’t notice that they were telegraphing their location as Vladivostok.
Mindless Russia Bashing
Another example of this mindless Russia bashing appeared just below the Post’s story on Lankford’s remarks. The Post sidebar cited a “study” from researchers at Oxford University’s Project on Computational Propaganda asserting that “junk news” on Twitter “flowed more heavily in a dozen [U.S.] battleground states than in the nation overall in the days immediately before and after the 2016 presidential election, suggesting that a coordinated effort targeted the most pivotal voters.” Cue the spooky Boris and Natasha music!
After Donald Trump went public with accusations of politically-motivated wiretapping by the previous administration, The New York Times tries to erase evidence of their own reporting using those same classified wiretaps.
The January 20th print version of the article headline says, “Wiretapped Data Used In Inquiry Of Trump Aides.”
After Trump’s tweet dump on March 5th, the online version of the same article’s headline now contains no mention of wiretapping.
Race–baiting: “the unfair use of statements about race to try to influence the actions or attitudes of a particular group of people.”
This is typical of the New York Times’ race baiting.
After the author goes “slumming it” undercover at a rural Michigan Walmart she concludes that the white, working poor voted for Trump because of resentment at the loss of their white privilege.
I wonder if she had moonlighted at a majority black or South Asian-staffed Walmart in suburban Maryland, Virginia or Pennsylvania her conclusions would have been different.
By focusing on just the white working poor, the author’s goal is to increase racial divisions in the working class, to divide them and distract from the political and media establishments’ roles in turning our country into a 3rd world, banana republic for corporate exploitation.
Is she trying to imply that if they just hadn’t been so blinded by their own racist reactions to globalist Darwinism, they would have voted for Hillary Clinton?
The author doesn’t explain how these race-blind 2008 voters, that helped elect Obama, are white supremacists 8 years later.
She also doesn’t take into account that they might not have voted for Hillary for many non-racist reasons, including how Hillary’s husband passed NAFTA, and after 8 years in office her would-be White House predecessor doubled the national debt (to “bail-out” banks) and created less than 3% growth with 95% of new jobs being part-time, temp or contract.
The Washington Post works hard to distract from the fact that the American Dream has faded for the entire working class, not just a particular race, and that fading was designed to benefit global corporations and the oligarchs that own them.
White Resentment on the Night Shift at Walmart
By TRACIE McMILLAN
“Seven years ago, I joined the night shift at a Walmart in rural Michigan. For $8.10 an hour, I spent four or five nights a week filling shelves with the flour and sugar and marshmallow fluff that residents of the local county, which in 2008 voted for Barack Obama, needed to get through the holidays. Four years ago, the county went with President Obama a second time, though by a thinner margin. But this past November, the county, like the state, turned red.”
Is it possible that there’s a substantial portion of the population not being portrayed in the media that see things differently?
This is a highlight from Shia Labeouf’s HWNDU project.
Warning: Bad language, offensive words, and non-leftist political views.
“I have a message for Chelsea Handler, you dirty drunken whore (she’s the TV host who said Melania Trump could “barely speak English”). “How dare you insult our First Lady? She doesn’t speak English? Huh? She speaks five languages, you drunken whore b*tch. I’m calling you out.”
“And Madonna you’re a whore, you think you were gonna suck d*ck for Clinton? You should be in jail for threatening to blow up the White House, you stupid b*tch.”
“And George Clooney, oh Mr. tolerant – when they said they were sending Syrian refugees to your place in Italy, to your neighborhood, you had a sh*t fit. Why not open your door and let them in, bro?”
“And too bad Shia you didn’t go to central booking last night to get your butt cheeks divided, you wanna talk about being divided?”
(“I wrote that joke”, his friend chimes in).
“Robert DeNiro – you play a mobster Robert DeNiro – you ain’t no mobster – you’re a herb bro (a herb is a bullsh*tter). You wanted to fight Trump, bro? Punch him in the face? Trump will beat your ass, boy.”
“And all you people who don’t know, George Soros is financing all these protests, he’s a traitor, he’s public enemy number one, that guy destroyed economies, he has caused most of the poverty in the world.”
“Oh and for all the Jewish people, because I’m half Jewish by the way, you know George Soros turned over so many Jews to the Nazis, he betrayed his own people – a couple of thousand Jews died because of him, do you know that Shia LeBeouf – aren’t you Jewish? George Soros turned over Jews to the Nazis, bro – and you people are supporting him?”
Special forces operations like the one in Yemen are nothing new. America’s elite troops have found themselves on the frontlines constantly since 9/11, conducting operations everywhere from the dusty back alleys of North Africa to the snow-capped mountains of Afghanistan.
National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was fired by Trump. Flynn was caught discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador even before Trump took office.
Sounds bad, right?
But Bloomberg columnist Eli Lake – the former senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast, who covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI – notes:
One White House official with knowledge of the conversations told me that the Russian ambassador raised the sanctionsto Flynn and that Flynn responded that the Trump team would be taking office in a few weeks and would review Russia policy and sanctions. That’s neither illegal nor improper.
If true, then all that happened is that the Russian ambassador asked about sanctions, and Flynn responded that he couldn’t say anything until he got marching orders from the Trump administration after it took the helm.
The bottom line here is that the only incremental news is that Manafort knowingly or unknowingly came into contact with Russian intelligence officials during his business dealings but no election-collusion was discovered.
Once again, reading beyond the headline reveals this is just another bold-faced attempt by the former establishment to undermine and discredit the Trump administration.
The establishment takes advantage of the fact that most people only read headlines and listen to sound bites but anyone reading deeper into this will see that they’ve made no solid accusations and have little proof, if any, of actual lawbreaking or collusion.
Once again, just like with the previous attempts, you’ll see that they don’t go to a full investigation because that would reveal the accusation are baseless.
NYTimes Reports Trump Aides’ “Repeated Contact” With Russian Intel Officials, Admits No Collusion Discovered | Zero Hedge
The New York Times appears to be resurrecting an old story with a new angle to keep the ‘blame the Russians’ narrative alive. Following FISA court approval (to spy on Trump’s campaign), intercepted calls reportedly show “repeated contact” between Trump advisor Paul Manafort and senior Russian intelligence officials… but reveal no collusion.
Intercepted phone calls and phone records show that several aides and allies to President Trump’s campaign were in repeated contact with senior Russian intelligence officials, according to the New York Times. As The Hill explains,
Current and former officials that spoke with the Times would not give many details, and it’s not clear exactly who, both from the U.S. and Russia, were part of the conversations or what they talked about, including if discussions centered on Trump himself.
Officials told the publication that they have seen no evidence of collusion in regards to hacking or the election.
Three of the four current and former officials who spoke with the Times said the contacts were discovered during the same time that U.S. intelligence agencies were investigating Russia’s extensive hacking campaign, later determined to be aimed at helping Trump win the White House.
The Times’ sources said Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was picked up on the calls. Manafort left the campaign after several months as reports swirled about his business ties in Russia and the Ukraine.
The officials would not name any other Trump aides or supporters captured in the conversations.
Manafort, who has not been charged with any crimes, exclaims To Britain’s Telegraph that “this is absurb,”
“I have no idea what this is referring to. I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.”
Mr. Manafort added, “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.’”
Several of Mr. Trump’s associates, like Mr. Manafort, have done business in Russia, and it is not unusual for American businessmen to come in contact with foreign intelligence officials, sometimes unwittingly, in countries like Russia and Ukraine, where the spy services are deeply embedded in society. Law enforcement officials did not say to what extent the contacts may have been about business.
Finally, buried deep in The New York Times’ story – which is sure to run the narrative during tomorrow’s media cycle (and already is a hot topic of conjecture on CNN) – the author admits, rather sheepishly that…
The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.
The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.
Which confirms what The FBI said back in November. * * * The bottom line here is that the only incremental news is that Manafort knowingly or unknowingly came into contact with Russian intelligence officials during his business dealings but no election-collusion was discovered. We leave it to Ari Fleischer to sum it all up perfectly…
In the latest from the front lines of the establishment’s war against free speech and culture, a mainstream YouTuber gets woke after accidentally going against their social programming agenda.
The cultural Marxism of the dying establishment and their dinosaur pravda will go to any length to label dissenters as racists and Nazis, even if everyone can see with their own eyes that it is ridiculous satire.
Every time the dinosaur media cooks up some false impression that is instantly recognizable to internet denizens, as false, they dig their own fake news grave deeper.
In return they get trolled by an irreverent troll culture that does not care about their fake morals, and the trolls up the ante every time.
Is the media and establishment so brain dead that they create and build up their own worst enemies? (which is exactly what happened with Donald Trump) Or is this an orchestrated attempt by a few controlling interests to build up and supply both sides of a war?
Just like WW1 and every conflict since, are we seeing the masters of Wall Street simply play their old games of manipulating and funding both sides of a conflict?