This is how the SPLC scares old lady liberals into paying them money… by spreading their own lies, characterizing anyone who disagrees with them as “far-right” and “hate groups.”
“The Hate Tracker detects trends in a community of far-right Twitter users identified and reviewed by SPLC analysts. This view shows what the far-right is talking about today at 30 minute intervals. Click on a hashtag to view further details. Hashtag activity is ranked by distance from the mean using a z-score.”
Trust the paid “experts” to tell you what the most hateful people are saying, just don’t ask them to show you how they arrived at this list.
From today’s list of hateful topics:
– Illegal Immigration… (because if you think immigration should follow the laws and constitution, you’re spreading hate.
– Voter Fraud… (because if you care who legally votes in elections you’re hateful.)
– the Great Awakening… (because if you realize that the government and media are lying, you’re hate.)
– Patriot… (because only hateful people would care about patriotism.)
– Telford… (because if you’re concerned about a decades-long cover-up of child sexual abuse and murder in the highest ranks of the police and government, you’re a hate monger.
– Q Anon… (because if you have ever been on a Chan and follow the Q Anon drops, you must be into hate.)
Exclusive: Arriving behind the anti-Trump “resistance” and the Russia-gate “scandal” is a troubling readiness to silence dissent in the U.S., shutting down information that challenges Official Narratives, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
A stark difference between today’s Washington and when I was here as a young Associated Press correspondent in the late 1970s and the early 1980s is that then – even as the old Cold War was heating up around the election of Ronald Reagan – there were prominent mainstream journalists who looked askance at the excessive demonization of the Soviet Union and doubted wild claims about the dire threats to U.S. national security from Nicaragua and Grenada.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin wall, Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo by Robert Parry)
Perhaps the Vietnam War was still fresh enough in people’s minds that senior editors and national reporters understood the dangers of mindless groupthink inside Official Washington, as well as the importance of healthy skepticism toward official pronouncements from the U.S. intelligence community.
Today, however, I cannot think of a single prominent figure in the mainstream news media who questions any claim – no matter how unlikely or absurd – that vilifies Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country. It is all Russia-bashing all the time.
And, behind this disturbing anti-Russian uniformity are increasing assaults against independent and dissident journalists and news outlets outside the mainstream. We’re not just entering a New Cold War and a New McCarthyism; we’re also getting a heavy dose of old-style Orwellianism.
Sometimes you see this in individual acts like HuffingtonPost taking down a well-reported story by journalist Joe Lauria because he dared to point out that Democratic money financed the two initial elements of what’s now known as Russia-gate: the forensic examination of computers at the Democratic National Committee and the opposition research on Donald Trump conducted by ex-British spy Christopher Steele.
HuffingtonPost never contacted Lauria before or after its decision to retract the story, despite a request from him for the reasons why. HuffPost editors told a BuzzFeed reporter that they were responding to reader complaints that the article was filled with factual errors but none have ever been spelled out, leaving little doubt that Lauria’s real “error” was in defying the Russia-gate groupthink of the anti-Trump Resistance. [A version of Lauria’s story appeared at Consortiumnews.com before Lauria posted it at HuffPost. If you want to sign a petition calling on HuffPost to restore Lauria’s article, click here.]
Other times, the expanding American censorship is driven by U.S. government agencies, such as the Justice Department’s demand that the Russian news outlet, RT, register under the restrictive Foreign Agent Registration Act, which requires such prompt, frequent and detailed disclosures of supposed “propaganda” that it could make it impossible for RT to continue to function in the United States.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)
This attack on RT was rationalized by the Jan. 6 “Intelligence Community Assessment” that was, in reality, prepared by a handful of “hand-picked” analysts from the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency. Their report included a seven-page addendum from 2012 accusing RT of spreading Russian propaganda – and apparently this Jan. 6 report must now be accepted as gospel truth, no questions permitted.
However, if any real journalist actually read the Jan. 6 report, he or she would have discovered that RT’s sinister assault on American democracy included such offenses as holding a debate among third-party candidates who were excluded from the Republican-Democratic debates in 2012. Yes, allowing Libertarians and Greens to express their points of view is a grave danger to American democracy.
Other RT “propaganda” included reporting on the Occupy Wall Street protests and examining the environmental dangers from “fracking,” issues that also have been widely covered by the domestic American media. Apparently, whenever RT covers a newsworthy event – even if others have too – that constitutes “propaganda,” which must be throttled to protect the American people from the danger of seeing it.
If you bother to study the Jan. 6 report’s addendum, it is hard not to conclude that these “hand-picked” analysts were either stark-raving mad or madly anti-Russian. Yet, this “Intelligence Community Assessment” is now beyond questioning unless you want to be labeled a “Kremlin stooge” or “Putin’s useful idiot.” [An earlier State Department attack on RT was equally ridiculous or demonstrably false.]
And, by the way, it was President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who testified under oath that the analysts from the three agencies were “hand-picked.” That means that they were analysts personally selected by Obama’s intelligence chiefs from three agencies – not “all 17” as the American public was told over and over again – and thus were not even a full representation of analysts from those three agencies. Yet, this subset of a subset is routinely described as “the U.S. intelligence community,” even after major news outlets finally had to retract their “all 17” canard.
So, the myth of the intelligence community’s consensus lives on. For instance, in an upbeat article on Tuesday about the U.S. government’s coercing RT into registering as a foreign agent, Washington Post reporters Devlin Barrett and David Filipov wrote, “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the network and website push relentlessly anti-American propaganda at the behest of the Russian government.”
In the old days, even during the old Cold War and President Reagan’s ranting about “the Evil Empire,” some of us would have actually examined the Jan. 6 report’s case against RT and noted the absurdity of these claims about “relentlessly anti-American propaganda.” Whether you want to hear the views of the Greens and Libertarians or not – or whether you like “fracking” and hate Occupy Wall Street – the opportunity to hear this information doesn’t constitute “relentlessly anti-American propaganda.”
The U.S. government’s real beef with RT seems to be that it allows on air some Americans who have been blacklisted from the mainstream media – including highly credentialed former U.S. intelligence analysts and well-informed American journalists – because they have challenged various Official Narratives.
In other words, Americans are not supposed to hear the other side of the story on important international conflicts, such as the proxy war in Syria or the civil war in Ukraine or Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians. Only the State Department’s versions of those events are permitted even when those versions are themselves propagandistic if not outright false.
Also off limits is any thoughtful critique of that Jan. 6 report – or apparently even Clapper’s characterization of it as a product of “hand-picked” analysts from only three agencies. You’re not supposed to ask why other U.S. intelligence agencies with deep knowledge about Russia were excluded and why even other analysts from the three involved agencies were shut out.
No, you must always think of the Jan. 6 report as the “consensus” assessment from the entire “U.S. intelligence community.” And you must accept it as flat fact – as it now is treated by The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other mainstream news outlets. You shouldn’t even notice that the Jan. 6 report itself doesn’t claim that Russian election meddling was a fact. The report explains, that “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.”
But even quoting from the Jan. 6 report might make an American reporter some kind of traitorous “Russian mole” whose journalism must be purged from “responsible” media and who should be forced to wear the journalistic equivalent of a yellow star.
The Anti-Trump/Russia Hysteria
Of course, much of this anti-Russian hysteria comes from the year-long fury about the shocking election of Donald Trump. From the first moments of stunned disbelief over Hillary Clinton’s defeat, the narrative was put in motion to blame Trump’s victory not on Clinton and her wretched campaign but on Russia. That also was viewed as a possible way of reversing the election’s outcome and removing Trump from office.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)
The major U.S. news media quite openly moved to the forefront of the Resistance. The Washington Post adopted the melodramatic and hypocritical slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” as it unleashed its journalists to trumpet the narrative of some disloyal Americans spreading Russian propaganda. Darkness presumably was a fine place to stick people who questioned the Resistance’s Russia-gate narrative.
An early shot in this war against dissenting information was fired last Thanksgiving Day when the Post published a front-page article citing an anonymous group called PropOrNot smearing 200 Internet news sites for allegedly disseminating Russian propaganda. The list included some of the most important sources of independent journalism, including Consortiumnews.com, apparently for the crime of questioning some of the State Department’s narratives on international conflicts, particularly Syria and Ukraine.
Then, with the anti-Russia hysteria building and the censorship ball rolling, Congress last December approved $160 million for think tanks and other non-governmental organizations to combat Russian propaganda. Soon, reports and studies were flying off the shelves detecting a Russian behind every article, tweet and posting that didn’t toe the State Department’s line.
The New York Times and other leading news organizations have even cheered plans for Google, Facebook and other technology companies to deploy algorithms that can hunt down, marginalize or eliminate information that establishment media deems “fake” or “propaganda.” Already Google has put together a First Draft coalition, consisting of mainstream media and establishment-approved Web sites to decide what information makes the cut and what doesn’t.
Among these arbiters of truth is the fact-check organization PolitiFact, which judged the falsehood about “all 17 intelligence agencies” signing off on the Russian “hacking” claim to be “true.” Even though the claim was never true and is now clearly established as false, PolitiFact continues to assert that this lie is the truth, apparently filled with the hubris that comes with its power over determining what is true and what is false.
But what is perhaps most troubling to me about these developments is the silence of many civil liberties advocates, liberal politicians and defenders of press freedom who might have been counted on in earlier days to object to this censorship and blackballing.
It appears that the ends of taking down Donald Trump and demonizing Vladimir Putin justify whatever means, no matter the existential danger of nuclear war with Russia or the McCarthyistic (even Orwellian) threats to freedom of speech, press and thought.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
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!
One of the most favored propaganda tactics of establishment elites and the useful idiots they employ in Marxist and cultural-Marxist circles is to relabel or redefine an opponent before they can solidly define themselves. In other words, elites and Marxists will seek to “brand” you (just as corporations use branding) in the minds of the masses so that they can take away your ability to define yourself as anything else.
Think of it this way: Say you want to launch an organization called “Movement Blue,” and you and others have gone through great struggle to grow this organization from the ground up. However, just as your movement is about to achieve widespread recognition, someone else comes along, someone with extensive capital and media influence, and they saturate every outlet with the narrative that your movement is actually more like “Movement Red,” and that Movement Red is a terrible, no-good, bad idea. They do such a good job, in fact, that millions and millions of people start calling you “Movement Red” without even knowing why, and they begin to believe all the negative associations that this label entails.
Through the art of negative branding, your enemy has stolen your most precious asset — the ability to present yourself to the public as you really are.
Negative branding is a form of psychological inoculation. It is designed to close people’s minds to particular ideas before they actually hear those ideas presented by a true proponent of the ideas. But beyond that, negative branding can also be used to trick groups and movements into abandoning their original identity.
For example, the concept of economic freedom for individuals –the freedom from overt government interference or government favoritism for certain people over others, the freedom to compete with ideas and ingenuity to build a better business and a better product, the freedom to retain the fruits of one’s labor — used to be widely referred to as “free markets”, as defined by Adam Smith. The very basis of free market philosophy was to remove obstruction and economic oppression from the common man in order to inspire a renaissance in innovation and prosperity. The problem is, you rarely hear anyone but libertarians talk about traditional “free markets” anymore.
Though Karl Marx did not coin the term “capitalism,” he and his followers (and editors) are indeed guilty of the pejorative version now used. It has always been Marxist propagandists who have sought to redefine the idea of “free markets” in a negative way, and the use of the term capitalism is how they did it. They have been so effective in their efforts that today even some free market proponents instead refer to themselves as “capitalists.”
While “free markets” denote freedom of the common man to pursue a better life through productivity and intelligence and merit, “capitalism” denotes a monstrous and blind pursuit of wealth and power without moral regard. One gives the impression of fairness, the other gives the impression of tyranny.
George Soros is a menace to the free world and stands in the way of making America great again. He is guilty of the following crimes:
1) Financially supports open sedition in major American cities resulting in millions of dollars of property damage as well as loss of life.
2) Attempts to manipulate democratic elections by donating millions of dollars to his preferred candidates.
3) Seeks to curtail American sovereignty. In his own words: “The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States … Changing [the] attitude and policies of the United States remains my top priority.”
4) Is a currency manipulator. Soros initiated a British financial crisis by dumping 10 billion sterling, forcing the devaluation of the currency and gaining a billion-dollar profit.
It doesn’t take much of a trigger to push extremely large crowds of very angry protesters into committing acts of rioting and violence. And rioting and violence can ultimately lead to widespread civil unrest and calls for “revolution”. The election of Donald Trump was perhaps the single most galvanizing moment for the radical left in modern American history, and we have already seen that a single move by Trump can literally cause protests to erupt from coast to coast within 48 hours.
With Super Bowl Sunday nearly upon us, we’re once again hearing about all the high-priced television ads scheduled for the event that will amuse and influence us while convincing us to buy the advertisers’ products.