Russia-gate: nächster Artikel, der die Interessen der US-Akteure aufzeigt

Authored by Robert Parry via ConsortiumNews.com,

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

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!

Of course, any Americans living in “battleground states” could tell you that they are inundated with all kinds of election-related “junk,” including negative TV advertising, nasty radio messages, alarmist emails and annoying robo-calls at dinner time. That’s why they’re called “battleground states,” Sherlock.

But what’s particularly offensive about this “study” is that it implies that the powers-that-be must do more to eliminate what these “experts” deem “propaganda” and “junk news.” If you read deeper into the story, you discover that the researchers applied a very subjective definition of what constitutes “junk news,” i.e., information that the researchers don’t like even if it is truthful and newsworthy.

The Post article by Craig Timberg, who apparently is using Russia-gate to work himself off the business pages and onto the national staff, states that “The researchers defined junk news as ‘propaganda and ideologically extreme, hyperpartisan, or conspiratorial political news and information.’

“The researchers also categorized reports from Russia and ones from WikiLeaks – which published embarrassing posts about Democrat Hillary Clinton based on a hack of her campaign chairman’s emails – as ‘polarizing political content’ for the purpose of the analysis.”

So, this “study” lumped together “junk news” with accurate and newsworthy information, i.e., WikiLeaks’ disclosure of genuine emails that contained such valid news as the contents of Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street banks (which she was trying to hide from voters) as well as evidence of the unethical tactics used by the Democratic National Committee to sabotage Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign.

Also dumped into the researchers’ bin of vile “disinformation” were “reports from Russia,” as if everything that comes out of Russia is, ipso facto, “junk news.”

And, what, pray tell, is “conspiratorial political news”? I would argue that the past year of evidence-lite allegations about “Russian meddling” in the U.S. election accompanied by unsupported suspicions about “collusion” with the Trump campaign would constitute “conspiratorial political news.” Indeed, I would say that this Oxford “research” constitutes “conspiratorial political news” and that Timberg’s article qualifies as “junk news.”

Predictable Outcome

Given the built-in ideological bias of this “research,” it probably won’t surprise you that the report’s author, Philip N. Howard, concludes that “junk news originates from three main sources that the Oxford group has been tracking: Russian operatives, Trump supporters and activists part of the alt-right,” according to the Post.

I suppose that since part of the “methodology” was to define “reports from Russia” as “junk news,” the appearance of “Russian operatives” shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but the whole process reeks of political bias.

Further skewing the results, the report separated out information from “professional news organizations [and] political parties” from “some ‘junk news’ source,” according to the Post. In other words, the “researchers” believe that “professional news organizations” are inherently reliable and that outside-the-mainstream news is “junk” – despite the MSM’s long record of getting major stories wrong.

The real “junk” is this sort of academic or NGO research that starts with a conclusion and packs a “study” in such a way as to guarantee the preordained conclusion. Or as the old saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.”

Yet, it’s also clear that if you generate “research” that feeds the hungry beast of Russia-gate, you will find eager patrons doling out dollars and a very receptive audience in the mainstream media.

In a place like Washington, there are scores if not hundreds of reports generated every day and only a tiny fraction get the attention of the Times, Post, CNN, etc., let alone result in published articles. But “studies” that reinforce today’s anti-Russia narrative are sure winners.

So, if you’re setting up a new NGO or you’re an obscure academic angling for a lucrative government grant as well as some flattering coverage in the MSM, the smart play is to join the new gold rush in decrying “Russian propaganda.”

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Überblick zum russischen „Hack“ der US-Wahlen – Spoiler – die bisherigen Beweise sind allesamt nichtig

Schöner Artikel, der die Hysterie über den russischen Einfluss auf die US-Wahlen auseinander nimmt und zeigt, dass an den bisherigen Anschuldigungen und Beweisen nichts dran ist.

Es gibt die Aussage, dass Nach der Wahlniederlage die beiden Wahlkampfleiter von Clinton, Mook und Podesta, übereinkamen, als Defensivstrategie die These des Hacks der Wahlen durch Russland zu propagieren und damit Trump zu schaden und von der verlochten 1 Mia Dollar an Wahlkampfgeldern abzulenken. Clinton selbst gibt in ihrem Buch What Happened, zig Gründe an, die alle nicht mit ihr zu tun haben. Von den Russen, über Emails, Republikaner, Comey, FBI, Medien, Chauvinisten, Bernie Bros, Sozialisten, Trolls etc. bis zu Frauen, die es nicht gewagt hätten, ihren Männern zu widersprechen und deshalb Trump wählten.

Den Einfluss, den Israel, Saudi-Arabien in der US-Politik und bei Wahlen haben (Trump besuchte bei seinem ersten Auslandsbesuch die Saudis, alle Kandidaten (Demokraten (ausser Bernie Sanders) und Republikaner sprach vor der Israel Lobby AIPAC, das US Parlament liud sogar den israelischen Präsident Netanjahu für eine Rede im US Parlament ein, ohne das dies mit dem US Aussenministerium abgestimmt oder bewilligt war) =>

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/29/russia-gates-shaky-foundation/

Russia-gate’s Shaky Foundation

Special Report: The Russia-gate hysteria now routinely includes rhetoric about the U.S. being at “war” with nuclear-armed Russia, but the shaky factual foundation continues to show more cracks, as historian Daniel Herman describes.

By Daniel Herman

Anyone who watches the news knows that Russian hackers gave Democratic National Committee documents to WikiLeaks and hacked voter databases in 21 states. Prominent Democrats call these shenanigans “a political Pearl Harbor.”

On the blog Daily Kos, one contributor cries “we were robbed!” (arguing that somehow Russian meddling gave Trump a victory in North Carolina, where his margin was 180,000, and where no evidence whatsoever indicates a successful hack of voter databases).

In a new video propamentary, er, docuganda, or something like that, Morgan Freeman declares “we have been attacked. We are at war. This is no movie script.”

Before we hop on the Morgan Freeman train, we might want to consider some history. In 1898, the American press — taking the word of naval investigators — reported that a Spanish mine had destroyed the battleship, U.S.S. Maine. Leading newspapers promptly called for war, and the U.S. government obliged.

Finally, the U.S. became an imperial power with the acquisition of Cuba and the Philippines and a few other odds and ends, at the bargain cost of 2,500 American soldiers dead, plus another 4,000 lost in the Filipino rebellion that followed, not to mention the lives of tens of thousands of Filipino opposition fighters. Only later did it come to light that the Maine was destroyed by a boiler explosion.

In 1915, leading newspapers again whipped up the American public by announcing that a German submarine had sunk the unarmed passenger ship, Lusitania. Two years later — and in part due to lingering outrage over the Lusitania — the U.S. went to war, this time costing 116,000 American lives and over 200,000 wounded, not to mention creating a patriotic frenzy at home that led to beatings, lynchings, and attacks on civil liberties. Decades later, divers proved that the Lusitania was carrying arms to Britain — contrary to government assurances — thus violating international law. German naval intelligence had proved correct.

In 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy claimed he had a list of men in the State Department who were communists. A credulous press played up his accusations, despite the fact that the numbers on his supposed list kept shifting. McCarthy and his allies in Congress recklessly charged Americans in Hollywood and in government with being either communists or “fellow travelers,” often ruining their careers.

Congress meanwhile passed the McCarran Internal Security Act, which required suspected “subversives” to register with the government. It also permitted the government to round up and hold those same suspected “subversives” on the order of the President.  McCarthy, of course, had no real list, and finally ruined his own reputation by accusing Army brass of communist sympathies. McCarthy’s many allies, however, paid no penalty for overreach.

Fake Intelligence

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson announced that the North Vietnamese had attempted a second torpedo attack on an American destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin, then used the incident to get Congress to give him the power to make war.

Thanks to the press endorsing the war effort and cheerleading on the nightly news (at least until the Tet Offensive four years later), the Vietnam War led to 58,000 American deaths and over a million war deaths altogether. Covert U.S. forces, meanwhile, kick-started a civil war in Cambodia that ended in genocide after the Khmer Rouge took power. Cambodia lost over half of its population of 7 million between 1970 and 1980.

It later became clear that there had been no second attack on the destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin; its crew had misread radar signals.

In 2002, U.S. intelligence, via George W. Bush’s administration, told the American public that Iraq had a hand in planning the 9/11 attacks and, moreover, that Iraq secretly maintained an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction that might be shared with Al Qaeda. Both claims were utterly false, yet the American press — particularly the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN — led Americans to believe they were true. Far from questioning authority, the press became its servant. The result: 4,500 American war deaths; at least 110,000 Iraqi deaths (some estimates put the figure at over a million); and a destabilized Middle East, wherein both Iran and ISIS (who are bitter enemies) were empowered. In all likelihood, moreover, there would have been no Syrian war had there been no Iraq War.

When the American press and American political leaders loudly accuse another country of “an act of war,” in short, the American public needs to be on the alert. Rather than marginalizing and belittling skeptics, the press and public should give them a fair hearing. Far better to have a spirited debate now than to come to the realization in the future that groupthink created catastrophe.

Hack or Leak? It’s Worth Asking

With all that history in mind, we should be grateful that William Binney, the National Security Agency’s former technical director, is shouting with everything he can muster that the U.S. intelligence community has no solid evidence that Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee. The NSA, he says, would have a record of any overseas exfiltration and could release that data without danger to national security; yet the NSA hasn’t. Though Binney left the NSA 16 years ago, he should know: he created the powerful cyber-vacuum that the NSA still uses.

Binney’s organization, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), has produced a report in which they argue that forensic evidence from documents produced by Guccifer 2.0 (G2) suggests — strongly — that G2 was a hoaxer. Skip Folden, a VIPS associate and a former elite tech executive with IBM, has issued his own report that buttresses the VIPS report. Adam Carter (a pseudonymous investigator) and Forensicator (another pseudonymous investigator) have also buttressed the VIPS Report, as have cybersecurity expert Jeffrey Carr and former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter (Ritter disagrees with VIPS in part but not on the basic charge of insufficient evidence).

To the extent they mention the skeptics, American journalists dismiss them as fringe. Yet the skeptics deserve a hearing. Among the important points they make is that U.S. intelligence has only identified the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups (APT 28 and 29 to be precise) associated with the hacking, and not the hackers themselves. An APT is a set of common parameters — tools, modes of operation, target patterns — used by hackers. But how certain are our intelligence agencies that Russians stand behind APT 28/29?

It happens that Dimitri Alperovitch of CrowdStrike — the cybersecurity entity that analyzed DNC servers — was asked that question in June 2016. His answer: “medium-level of confidence that FancyBear is [Russian intelligence agency] GRU… low-level of confidence that CozyBear is [Russian intelligence agency] FSB.”

Skip Folden suggests that Alperovitch’s estimates equal a 37-38 percent probability that Russian intelligence stands behind APT 28/29. It’s not clear how Folden came up with that figure. We should note here that Alperovitch subsequently raised his confidence levels to “high,” but then had to reduce them again in March 2017 after realizing that his new assessment was based on phony data published by a Russian blogger. Meanwhile, in January, Director of National of Intelligence James Clapper’s hand-picked team had used Alperovitch’s “high confidence” assessment of Russian hacking of the DNC, which every major network reported dutifully without so much as a blink.

It’s hard to say what additional evidence the NSA/CIA team might have had — or whether there was any — though there are rumors that a Kremlin mole working for Latvia confirmed that Putin ordered his cyber-warriors into action. The NSA, however, didn’t consider the source fully trustworthy (remember Curveball, the wonderful gift of German intelligence?), hence it committed itself to only “moderate confidence” even as the CIA stated “high confidence.” At any rate, the January report lacked both solid technical evidence and more traditional evidence confirming Russian hacking.

Not Making Sense

Several other oddities stand out: first, why would G2 announce himself two days after the DNC reported being hacked, brag he was the hacker, and add that he had given his material to WikiLeaks? WikiLeaks exists for one reason: to give whistleblowers deniability. Normally, people don’t give material to WikiLeaks and then brag about it publicly.

Least of all would Russian intelligence do such a thing, assuming — as some allege — that they routinely use WikiLeaks to disseminate hacked data. Why would Russia implicate its proxy? Why, indeed, would Russia not only cast aspersions on Julian Assange’s honesty, but also cast doubt on the authenticity of the DNC data, given that intelligence services are known to doctor hacked documents? Why, moreover, would G2 give information to WikiLeaks in the first place, given that he had the ability to curate it and disseminate it on his own, as he showed by distributing “choice” (but actually innocuous) data to journalists?

Then there’s the forensic evidence, which shows that (1) G2 put DNC documents into a Russian template; and (2) G2 made those changes on the computer in an East Coast U.S. time zone. Plus, linguistic evidence suggests that G2 showed none of the typical speech idiosyncrasies of a native Russian speaker.

Metadata can be fudged, so it’s possible that (1) and (2) don’t matter. If that is the case, however, one must explain why G2 would drop deliberate clues indicating that he’s Russian — including leaving the name of the founder of the Soviet secret police in one document, along with Cyrillic error messages in another — while also dropping deliberate clues indicating he’s an American leaker. Tricky indeed.

Then there’s another important piece of forensic evidence: the transfer speed, which corresponds to the speed of a download to a local thumb drive rather than to an overseas exfiltration. Critics — including a few VIPS dissenters — promptly insisted that the VIPS report was wrong to assume that such speeds could not be attained in an overseas exfiltration in 2016. Signers of the original VIPS report, however, subsequently conducted multiple experiments to prove or disprove that hypothesis; not once did they achieve a transfer speed anywhere close to that indicated in the DNC metadata.

Critics have also argued that the DNC documents transfer speed may refer to a download to a thumb drive after the initial hack, yet the download would nevertheless have had to have been done on the East Coast of the U.S., since transfer speed metadata correlate to time stamp data. Why would a hacker exfiltrate data to Romania or Russia, then return to the U.S. to download the material to a thumb drive?

Inconsistencies and Uncertainties

The above inconsistencies, I should add, apply to the DNC data, not the Podesta emails. No one, so far as I know, has cast doubt on the theory that the Podesta emails were phished via APT 28. Still, the same rules of caution apply. As Alperovitch himself testified in June 2016, APT 28 does not necessarily prove Russia involvement, and even if it did, no one has proven that Russians gave the Podesta emails to WikiLeaks. There are many other possibilities.

The Wall Street Journal, for instance, reported that Republican operatives were desperately reaching out to the hacking community to locate Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 missing emails. They made contact with several hacking groups including some that claimed to have the emails and even sent samples. The Republicans told the hackers to turn over the emails to WikiLeaks, but — supposedly — offered no payment. It’s not inconceivable, however, that the same Republican dirt-diggers — or others — indeed did pay hackers to turn over materials to WikiLeaks. Even if that occurred, however, the hackers might well have been non-state actors who occasionally work with Russian intelligence, but who otherwise work independently (more on that later), and who were not under orders from Putin. Or, they may have been hackers who have no connection to Russia whatsoever.

Regarding Roger Stone’s infamous remark that “it will soon be Podesta’s time in the barrel,” which has been cited as proof that Stone had foreknowledge of WikiLeaks’ publication of Podesta’s emails, Stone explained on Tuesday that he was referring to his own research on Podesta’s consulting work for foreign governments in the context of similar complaints being lodged against Stone’s friend and Trump’s erstwhile campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Questioning the Investigation

There are worrisome implications here. First, if we are “at war with Russia”; if the hacking was “the crime of the century”; if it’s “bigger than Watergate”; why didn’t the FBI examine the DNC server, given that James Comey admitted that was “best practice”? Why did he rely on CrowdStrike’s analysis, especially given CrowdStrike’s strong ties to the Atlantic Council (created solely to support NATO and heavily funded by foreign entities) and CrowdStrike’s grossly mistaken charges of Russian hacking in other contexts?

Second, why has there been no comprehensive or coordinated Intelligence Community Assessment or a full-scale National Intelligence Estimate — weighing evidence of Russian culpability against contrary theories — by the U.S. intelligence community, given that it has known about alleged Russian election hacking of both the DNC and state voter databases for well over a year?

What we got in January was a hurried intelligence assessment put together by a “hand-picked” team from three agencies, not a consensus of “17 agencies,” as the U.S. press wrongly blared for months. If Russia had committed an “act of war,” then surely President Obama would have ordered the fullest assessment of intelligence that the U.S. is capable of producing; yet he didn’t.

Third, why would Putin order an enormous campaign against Hillary Clinton, knowing that she would very likely win anyway (and did win the popular vote). Would Putin risk the likelihood of President Hillary Clinton finding out about his shenanigans? What implications would that have for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act, for additional sanctions, for Syria, for Ukraine, for NATO funding, for the possibility of renewed Cold War? Perhaps — as James Comey contends — Putin hated Clinton so much that he was willing to play “Russian roulette.” Yet one wonders.

Has the Press Fed Hysteria?

Why, moreover, has the U.S. press barely mentioned the fact that U.S. intelligence services — and the press itself — wrongly accused Russia of the Macron hack? France’s head of cyber intelligence, after finding no evidence of Russian hacking, said this: “Why did [NSA Director Michael] Rogers say that, like that, at that time? It really surprised me. It really surprised my European allies. And to be totally frank, when I spoke about it to my NSA counterparts and asked why did he say that, they didn’t really know how to reply either.”

Think about those words for a moment; they were not meant to be diplomatic. They were unabashedly chastening.

Why, too, has the U.S. press barely mentioned the fact that German intelligence, after a months-long investigation, found no Russian meddling in its recent election (and moreover, found that the supposed Russian hack of the Bundestag in 2015 was likely a leak after all), despite U.S. intelligence agencies’ insistence that Germany was Russia’s next target?

Why do we not hear that Britain found no evidence of Russian efforts to influence Brexit, despite allegations to that effect? Why has the U.S. press wrongly reported a Russian hack of a Vermont utility; a Russian hack of an Illinois water pump; a Russian hack of north Texas voter rolls; a Russian hack of Qatari news media? Add to those examples the latest round of debunkings: there was no Russian attempt to hack Wisconsin voter rolls, nor any Russian attempt to hack California’s. Despite all the debunked stories, the U.S. press eagerly reports new Russia-done-it stories every time some anonymous source breathes a leak.

Here’s a test you can do at home:  Type “Germany Russia hacking” into your search engine and see what comes up. Then type “Brexit Russia hacking.” Then try “France Russia hacking.” You’ll get an absolute barrage of stories — hundreds of links — that melodramatically attest to Russian hacking and/or meddling in all three situations, but you’ll struggle mightily to find stories refuting those charges.

One can readily see why some curious soul sitting at home who takes it upon himself to do a little internet research would come away utterly convinced of Russian perfidy. Google here becomes an instrument not of truth-finding, but of algorithmic fake news.

Why, too, did former Assistant Secretary of Department of Homeland Security for Cybersecurity, Andy Ozment, insist in September 2016 that hacking attempts on voter rolls were not of Russian origin, but rather were criminal attempts to steal identification data for sale on the dark net? Why did DHS say as late as October that they lacked evidence to blame Russians? Were they simply protecting the nation against mass hysteria that could cast doubt on the presidential vote?

And yet the basic evidence pattern for attributing the attempted hacks to Russia (or anyone else) hasn’t changed; it’s not as if some new damning piece of evidence emerged after September. Even Reality Winner’s leaked NSA document from June 2017 notes uncertainty about the identity of the hackers. If one looks at the leaked chart showing details of the flow of hacked information, one notes that the final arrow on the left pointing to Russian intelligence (GRU) is marked “probably.” Click here and scroll down to see the blown-up chart.

Incidentally, if you think the case of Reality Winner is a bit suspect — i.e., a cleverish ruse to undermine The Intercept (publisher of the “Winner leak”) and puff up the Russia hysteria — you might want to check out this story. I withhold judgment, personally.

What I Am Arguing

Am I implicating Obama in a conspiracy? No way. Am I suggesting that G2 was a DNC actor seeking to blame Russia for a damaging insider leak to Assange? Not necessarily, but not “not necessarily,” either. There is reason for suspicion at least.

Am I suggesting that U.S. intelligence agencies are lying in order to protect massive U.S. funding for NATO and to force Russia to loosen its ties to Iran and Syria, not to mention lay off Ukraine? No, I am not suggesting any deliberate lie, though yes, wishes can father thoughts. Certainly Trump’s campaign talk of defunding NATO, friendship with Russia, and leaving Syria to Assad ruffled feathers in the intelligence community.

I am far from being a cyber-security expert, let alone knowledgeable about IT, so I write all this in modesty. And yet I find myself agreeing with experts who say that APT associations are not grounds for “high confidence” intelligence assessments, and that the American public deserves to see strong evidence not just of hacking — but of actual Russian hacking — given the magnitude of the issue.

I also find myself agreeing with cyber-security experts who tell us that U.S. intelligence agencies — as well as private cyber-security firms like CrowdStrike — tend to build the evidence around hypotheses, rather than letting the evidence lead to its own conclusions.

I don’t think there’s a conspiracy; I think there’s bias, groupthink, and boss-pleasing — in both the press and the intelligence agencies — just as there was in the Iraq WMD fiasco.

As Folden points out, there are numerous international crime organizations (an $800 billion industry last year) that might well stand behind APT 28/29. Given the sloppiness of the DNC and Podesta hacks (assuming they were hacks), what’s probable is that Russia isn’t doing the work directly, but might be paying a third party that sells its wares to bidders. Or, perhaps Russia isn’t involved.

As Folden notes, numerous states and international crime organizations have strong economic and/or strategic interests in both internal U.S. campaign information and in U.S. elections outcomes. The same observation goes for allegations of hacked voter databases. Any number of entities have both the wherewithal to employ APT 28/29 and an economic interest in harvesting voter identification data.

We should pause to note here that almost all the state database attacks were just that — attacks — not breaches. Unsuccessful attacks cannot be traced to APT groups, only to IP addresses, which are highly unreliable evidence. What few confirmed breaches there were (e.g., Illinois), moreover, did not change election results, and — as with the alleged DNC hack — can only be traced to APTs, not to actual hackers.

Here’s an aside just for fun: why would Russian hackers imagine for a second they could turn Illinois into a Trump state? Clinton won that state by a million votes. Sure, one can understand why Russians might want to meddle with voter roles in a swing state, but Illinois? More likely the hackers were criminals seeking voter identification info, which is precisely why they downloaded 90,000 registration records. The FBI absurdly claimed that Russians needed all those records to figure out precisely how Illinois voter registration works, thus to improve their dirty work. Really? They needed 90,000 records for that?

Pressuring Facebook

Of course, if the voter database attacks turn out to be no-big-deal, the press still will find some new way to exploit the Russia hysteria. The Washington Post and the New York Times — along with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees — are now investigating Russian attempts to use Facebook ads and posts to help Trump win the election. Facebook — thanks to subpoenas from Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and pressure from congressional Democrats — has turned up $100,000 of suspicious ad buys from phony accounts.

Think of that for a moment: Russians (supposedly) mustered fully $100,000 for ads in a presidential campaign that cost $2.4 billion. Talk about bang for your buck! The current allegation is that over the past three years, a few hundred Russian trolls armed with $100,000 and 470 Facebook accounts (compared to Facebook’s $27 billion in annual revenue and 2 billion monthly users) deployed issues ads (not primarily attack ads against specific candidates) to out-brigade millions of ordinary Americans who posted campaign pieces on Facebook every day, not to mention Clinton’s public relations army.

Poor David Brock paid a million dollars for his own pro-Clinton troll brigade, but they were children compared to these nefarious Russians. It’s a feat right up there with Xenophon’s Anabasis … a tiny force of foreigners, slashing their way through the Persian hordes! Someone get an epic poet!

Of course Sen. Mark Warner, a hawkish vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, informs us that the $100,000 is just the “tip of the iceberg.” Who knows, maybe the Russians spent $200,000.

Even if these propaganda charges turn out to be 100 percent true — and even if the Russians were clever enough to target voters in the Upper Midwest — it is highly unlikely that they had more influence on the election than a host of other factors, ranging from Clinton’s bad campaign decisions to emailgate to anti-establishment fervor to Trump’s 4-Chan volunteers (did he really need several hundred Russians? Surely he had plenty of home-grown trolls).

Silencing Dissent

So, maybe the Russians did play some small role on Facebook — though I suspect this suspicion, too, will be challenged — but should we therefore conclude that we’re at war, as Morgan Freeman declares? Should we demand that Facebook and Google continue to rework algorithms to shut down posts or ads deemed pro-Russian? Doesn’t that remind anyone of the anti-German hysteria — and censorship — during World War I?

Should we demand, moreover, that the tiny Russian-owned media outlet RT register as a foreign agent — as the Atlantic Council has insisted, and as the Justice Department is now demanding — but not require the same of the BBC and CBC, which are financed by the British and Canadian governments respectively?

What about the Atlantic Council itself, which, receives much of its funding from foreign nations that seek to strengthen NATO? Should the Atlantic Council be required to register as a foreign agent? Does anyone seriously think the Atlantic Council doesn’t propagandize for NATO and for hawkish policies more generally? Or what about the hawkish Brookings Institution, or a host of other think tanks that welcome money from foreign powers?

The unspoken assumption here is that only Russia propagandizes; no other nation is so shifty. Surely Saudi Arabia wouldn’t do such a thing, nor Israel, nor Ukraine, nor countless other nations that seek to influence American policy. After all, they have their paid lobbyists and press buddies working for them every day; they don’t need several hundred trolls.

Let’s be honest, we live in a world in which foreign powers seek to influence American public opinion, just as we seek to influence public opinion in other nations. Which brings to mind a bill that President Obama signed in December, at the outset of the Russia hysteria: “The Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act,” which created the State Department’s “Global Engagement Center,” which seeks to “recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United Sates national security interests.”

The act also offers grants to organizations (think news agencies and research groups) that promise to “counter efforts by foreign entities to use disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability” of the U.S. and allied nations. (Shout out to Rob Reiner; did you apply for one of those grants? Might be a good opportunity for you.)

Does no one see a problem with this?  What exactly is foreign propaganda? Is it RT’s occasional charges that the U.S. press treats Trump unfairly? Is it RT’s penchant for left-wing, anti-establishment commentary, e.g., Chris Hedges, Thom Hartmann, and Lee Camp? Our intelligence elites certainly think so, judging from the seven pages they dedicated to RT’s supposed rascally programming in the January intelligence assessment.

And what exactly will it mean to “counter … foreign … disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda”? Will it mean countering any news or commentary deemed anti-NATO or pro-Russian? Any news or commentary deemed pro-Iranian? How exactly will our government define “foreign propaganda”? How, moreover, will it define “national security”? What lengths will it take to deny the American public — not to mention foreigners — access to legitimate opinions?

Alien and Sedition Acts

Perhaps the real analogue here isn’t World War I after all, but the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Of course it wasn’t Russians that President John Adams worried about; it was hot-blooded Irish radicals and French émigrés with their revolutionary idealism, which was ostensibly corrupting the nation. Ordinary Americans were suddenly refusing to vote for their Federalist political betters, and those betters determined to make them pay. Far better to jail Jeffersonian editors and drive out foreigners than to let them endanger America’s “national security.”

We are forsooth reliving the age of Hamilton, I fear, when political elites dance to Wall Street theatricals about anti-democrats while feeling virtuous about opposing “deplorables.” Just don’t expect them to care about free speech. Thanks to our government’s push against so-called fake news, both Google and Facebook have already altered algorithms to such an extent that they have pushed down readership for one old and revered progressive venue, AlterNet, by fully 40 percent (other progressive venues have seen similar declines), thus starving them for ad revenue. Meanwhile neoconservative researchers are trumpeting inch-deep investigations into supposed Russian propagandizing that — thanks to vast funding — may get churned out for years to come.

Let’s not kid ourselves; this project isn’t about shutting down “fake news.” From the moment the Washington Post ran its infamous PropOrNot story in November 2016, the message has been clear: the real threat isn’t Russians, it’s any media outlet that fuels anti-establishment politics.

The Universality of Hacking 

All that said, it is still very possible that CrowdStrike and the intelligence community are correct to attribute at least some DNC exfiltration of data to Russians or to loose-leashed teams working as subcontractors, or, alternatively, criminal organizations that sometimes answer to Russia. The one thing that the skeptics (of whom I am obviously one) have not answered is why the CrowdStrike investigation found uniquely modified X-TUNNEL source code in DNC servers, which would seem to have been created for this particular hack.

Since I don’t have years to become a cyber-security expert, I’ll leave the technical experts to further argue that question. However, I am left to wonder whether X-TUNNEL indeed betrays a Russian hack of at least some DNC emails, but that another party altogether — a leaker — was nevertheless responsible for handing the full complement of DNC documents to Wikileaks.

None of the skeptics are claiming that the Russians for certain didn’t hack the DNC (which wouldn’t be that surprising, really; we probably hack their political entities, too). The skeptics are only claiming that G2 was an insider who downloaded documents onto a thumb drive. Both claims can be true.

I’ll add — just to be clear — that I am quite certain that the U.S. intelligence community is correct that the Russian government is engaged in broad hacking attempts aimed at targets all over the world, many of them associated with APT 28/29. But that doesn’t mean they carried out the particular hacks at issue here (or, at least, it doesn’t mean that Russian state actors were behind the WikiLeaks releases, or the attacks on state databases).

And it certainly doesn’t mean — contrary to what over-wrought bloggers claim — that Russians changed 2016 vote tallies. The answer isn’t to shout “war” and create hysteria; the answer is to secure U.S. infrastructure.

I’ll also add that even “high confidence” that Russia hacked the DNC, Podesta, and/or state databases is insufficient grounds for aggressive policy — e.g., harsh sanctions and diplomatic ejections, not to mention military action — let alone grounds for announcing “we are at war.” Suppose for the sake of argument that “high confidence” is 75 percent probability. Would we convict an accused murderer on 75 percent probability?

If we did that — and if the accused were then put to death — we would be knowingly killing 25 innocents out of every 100 we adjudge. The same logic should apply to foreign policy. We should not be taking punitive measures unless we can assess culpability with greater certitude, else we risk harming millions of people who had no role in the original crime.

Where We Stand

It seems to me that we are in uncharted waters. Not everyone can be a cyber-security expert; we must trust those who are. And yet in doing so, we put enormous powers into the hands of unelected technocrats with their own biases and agendas. As others have noted, moreover, the cyber-war community is at odds with the cyber-security community.

On the one hand, intelligence operatives are constantly developing new tools to exploit cyber vulnerabilities of other nations and criminal actors. On the other hand, cyber-security people (e.g., DHS) seek to patch those same vulnerabilities to protect U.S. infrastructure. The problem is that the people who know how to exploit the vulnerabilities don’t want to report those vulnerabilities because it means years of work down the drain. Why make your tools obsolete?

We need to resolve these contradictions in favor of security, not cyberwar.

I cannot say this loudly enough. This whole episode isn’t just about Hillary Clinton losing the election, or Russian hacking of the DNC, or Deep State bias and boss-pleasing. The upshot is that we are entering a cyber-arms race that is going to become ever more byzantine, hidden, and dangerous to democracy, not just because elections can be stolen, but because in guarding against that, we are handing over power to unelected technocrats and shutting down dissenting speech. We are entering a new era; this won’t be the last time that hacking enters political discourse.

We might already be in the midst of a cyber Cold War, though the American public has no idea — flat zero — what sort of offensive gamesmanship our own cyber-warriors are engaging in. (One interesting theory: The Russians deliberately implicated themselves in the DNC hack in order to send a warning to U.S. cyber-warriors: we can play dirty, too).

Presumably not even our cyber-security experts at the DHS and FBI know what the CIA and NSA’s cyber-warriors are up to. Thus Russian hacking becomes “Pearl Harbor” rather than an unsurprising reciprocal response. Both the State Department and the CIA, after all, have been in the foreign propaganda business for decades; the American public, however, has not the vaguest idea of what they do.

We might also be on the brink of something else nightmarish: an international cyber-war with multiple parties participating — attacking one another while no-one-knows-who-did-what.

The intelligence community’s whispered “trust us, we’re the experts” simply isn’t good enough. If we don’t demand hard evidence, then we’re following the same path we took in 1898, 1915, 1950, 1964, and 2003. Let’s not go there.

Daniel Herman is Professor of History at Central Washington University. He specializes in American cultural history and the American West.

Als Reaktion auf Artikel zu Liberalismus: Was nicht ins eigene Weltbild passt, wird ignoriert.

Eric ZUESSE | 23.09.2017 | OPINION

People Ignore Facts That Contradict Their False Beliefs

The more people there are who ignore facts that contradict their beliefs, the likelier a dictatorship will emerge within a given country. Here is how aristocracies, throughout the Ages, have controlled the masses, by taking advantage of this widespread tendency people have, to ignore contrary facts:

What social scientists call “confirmation bias” and have repeatedly found to be rampant,* is causing the public to be easily manipulated, and has thus destroyed democracy by replacing news-reporting, by propaganda — ‘news‘ that’s false — in a culture where lies which pump the agendas of the powerful (including lies pumped by the billionaire owners of top ‘news’media and of the media they own) are almost never punished (and are often not even denied to be true). Thus, lies by those powerful liars almost always succeed at enslaving the minds of the millions, to believe what the top economic-and-power class want those millions of people to believe — no matter how false it might happen actually to be.

Recently, a particularly stark example of this came to my attention. On 15 September 2017, an article that I wrote for the Strategic Culture Foundation, and which was titled by a true statement that I had only recently discovered to be true, was republished at a news-site that I consider one of the best around, “Signs of the Times” or “SOTT” for short, and a reader-comment there, simply rejected that title-statement and the entire article, because it contradicted what the person believes. This commenter entirely ignored the evidence that I had provided in the article, which proved the statement to be true.

No matter how irrefutable the evidence is, most people reject anything which contradicts their deeply entrenched false beliefs, and this reader-comment crystallized for me, this phenomenon of “confirmation bias” — the phenomenon of ignoring evidence that contradicts what one believes.

The article was titled “Liberalism doesn’t respect a nation’s sovereignty.” I never knew that fact until I researched it, but I found, after looking through (and my article quoting key documents from) the history of the matter, that it’s actually the case: that liberalism (as it’s understood and defined by the scholars of the subject, and as it’s based upon the key formative documents of the historical tradition, “liberalism”) rejects a nation’s sovereignty. This fact shocked me to discover; so, I wrote an article documenting it, and SCF accepted it, and it then became republished at a few other sites, including SOTT.

The reader-comment at SOTT which for me personified confirmation-bias, was (in its entirety): “This is a rather new twist blaming liberals for invading countries. I’ve always associated liberalism with the left wing and democratic, progressive politics. I’ve always associated conservatism with the right wing, big business, militarism and invading other countries. Trying to move the goal posts, are we?”

That person never clicked onto my article’s links documenting the case, nor even read the quotations given in the article itself from John Locke and from Adam Smith, who were key founders of “liberalism” as that tradition has come down to us. He instead ignored all of that evidence, and stated — entirely without evidence of any sort — that I (and SOTT, and SCF, for publishing it) were “Trying to move the goal posts.”

I (a Bernie Sanders voter, and a lifelong progressive and opponent of conservatism) am “Trying to move the goal posts” — how? By pointing out the manufactured phoniness of ‘liberalism’? By pointing out a key way in which liberalism was designed by its aristocratic sponsors (in this case by the aristocrats who sponsored Locke and Smith), to be an ideology that would encourage conquest, empire, and discourage democracy (which is based upon the sanctity of national sovereignty — based upon the lack of imposition of government by or on behalf of anyone who isn’t a resident on the land). Liberalism, I show there, was designed for Empire, not for democracy. That reader simply refused to consider the evidence.

People who insist upon deceiving themselves disgust me. Anyone who blocks out the key relevant facts and persists in believing the lies they were raised with, or became fooled into believing, doesn’t harm only themselves by the lies they believe; they vote on the basis of the lies they believe, and thus these people who refuse to be open-minded destroy democracy, and invite control of the nation by the aristocracy (who sponsor the proponents of those lies). People who refuse to question their own beliefs, become increasingly putrid pools of their own false beliefs, which have been created and nurtured and sustained and become larger and larger pools of lies, by constant repetition from the media and lobbyists of the rich and powerful, so as to enable the exploiters to enslave the masses, via those constantly repeated and embellished lies.

Such self-‘justifying’ fools, who refuse to clean-up their conceptual pool that’s been increasingly polluted by lies, are enemies of democracy, no matter how much they may consider themselves to be ‘liberals’. They don’t even know the reality of what liberalism is. One thing that it definitely is not (as my article documented) is progressivism (which is utterly opposed to foreign conquest and to the entire imperial project of imposed rule, regardless whether by outright invasions or else by coups).

Thus, we have two dominant ideologies against progressivism: One is conservatism, which everyone recognizes to be against progressivism and for Empire and constant conquest, profitable war for the arms-merchants and for the ‘news’media owners who also benefit from stirring up invasion-fever, not only like William Randolph Hearst did but today like they all do. The other is liberalism, which hides that it’s actually conservative — hides this, by being ever-so-sweet toward certain ethnicities or other groups that are being oppressed domestically, and by vociferously condemning conservatives for what is actually nothing more than the blatancy of conservatism’s favoritism toward the aristocracy.

An authentic democracy cannot be based upon a “demos” (a public) that is overwhelmingly composed of suckers — manipulated fools. Only by means of the tiny aristocracy plus the huge mass of their suckers, does a democracy degenerate into a fascism. (For example, something like this can be supported overwhelmingly by the political Party that dominates the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, state capitals, state legislatures, and runs the U.S. White House, in this ‘democratic’ nation — ‘democratic’ according to the propaganda; but if this were really a democracy, then none of those politicians would be able to win public office.)

* A well-established central finding of psychological research, concerning “confirmation bias” or “motivated reasoning” (which are two phrases referring to people’s tendency to believe whatever they want to believe, regardless of any contrary facts), is that individuals evaluate whatever they read or hear according to their pre-existing ideas about the given subject. Specifically, psychologists have found that people tend to pay attention to whatever confirms their existing ideas, and tend to ignore whatever contradicts those pre-established beliefs.

For examples, the following studies are available online:

“Motivated Skepticism in the Evaluation of Political Beliefs,” in the July 2006 American Journal of Political Science, reported: “We find a confirmation bias – the seeking out of confirmatory evidence – when [people] are free to self-select the source of arguments they read. Both the confirmation and disconfirmation biases lead to attitude polarization … especially among those with the strongest priors [prior beliefs] and highest level of political sophistication [the highest degree of exposure to, and involvement in, the given subject-matter that the study was dealing with].” Prejudices were stronger among supposed experts than among non-“experts”: The more indoctrinated a person was, the more prejudiced. “People actively denigrate the information with which they disagree, while accepting compatible information almost at face value.” Moreover, “Those with weak and uninformed attitudes show less bias” (and this is actually one reason why the best jurors at trials are generally people who are not personally or professionally involved in any aspect of the given case – they are “non-experts”).

Sharon Begley’s article in the 25 August 2009 Newsweek titled “Lies of Mass Destruction: The same skewed thinking that supports a Saddam-9/11 link explains the power of health-care myths [such as that Obama’s health plan had ‘death panels’]” summarized the study in the May 2009 Sociological Inquiry, “‘There Must Be a Reason’: Osama, Saddam, and Inferred Justification,” which had surveyed, during October 2004, 49 conservative Republicans who admitted they believed that Saddam Hussein had caused the 9/11 attacks. This study found that 48 of these 49 extreme conservatives were utterly impervious to the overwhelming factual evidence which was provided to them by the presenters that contradicted this false belief they held.

A study concerning not political conservatism but merely resistance to new technologies is James N. Druckman’s “Framing, Motivated Reasoning, and Opinions about Emergent Technologies,” which was presented at a technological conference in 2009. He reported that, “factual information … is perceived in biased ways … (e.g., there is motivated reasoning).” “Facts have limited impact on initial opinions.” Moreover, “Individuals do not privilege the facts. … Individuals process new factual information in a biased manner. … Specifically, they view information consistent with their prior opinions as relatively stronger, and they view neutral facts as consistent with their existing” views.

“Motivated Reasoning With Stereotypes,” in the January 1999 Psychological Inquiry, found that, “When an applicable stereotype supports their desired impression of an individual, motivation can lead people to activate this stereotype, if they have not already activated it. … People pick and choose among the many stereotypes applicable to an individual, activating those that support their desired impression of this individual and inhibiting those that interfere with it.” Similarly, another research report, “The Undeserving Rich: ‘Moral Values’ and the White Working Class,” in the June 2009 Sociological Forum, found that John Kerry had probably lost the 2004 U.S. Presidential election to George W. Bush at least partly because white working class voters overwhelmingly believed that Bush was like themselves because he behaved like themselves, and that Kerry was not like themselves because his manner seemed “snooty.”

Liberalismus

https://www.sott.net/article/362161-Liberalism-doesnt-respect-a-nations-sovereignty

Puppet Masters

Cupcake Pink

Liberalism doesn’t respect a nation’s sovereignty

When the United States and some of its allies in 2003 invaded and destroyed Iraq on false pretenses – and without Iraq having ever invaded (much less destroyed) any of the invading countries – this was actually within the scope of the invaders being liberal countries, because a nation’s sovereignty isn’t at all respected in traditional liberal thought. This also is the reason why some of the same nations invaded and destroyed Libya in 2011, and Syria since 2012. Neither of those two invaded countries had ever invaded – much less destroyed – any of their invaders; but, in all of these cases, such invasions were accepted by the populace within each of the invading countries, all of which invading countries considered themselves to be liberal nations. Why do liberals (and not only conservatives) so routinely accept barbaric aggressions by their own country? Here is the reason (and it needs to be read slowly and carefully, in order to become understood, because what follows is densely packed with meaning; the subject here is sufficiently deep to reach the core of things, like drilling through hard rock – it’s necessarily slow going):

A nation’s sovereignty means that the residents in a land possess the ultimate authority over that land, regardless of what its ‚owner‘ might happen to be: a foreign king, an international corporation, or even a domestic person who is one of the people who live there. Consequently, whereas an authentic revolution by the residents within a country, to overthrow and replace their government – or else a vote to secede – is acceptable in the concept of national sovereignty (and is recognized as „the right of self-determination“), no foreign invasion is (and this includes any internal invasion to defeat a secession), unless the invasion is authentically a response to a real and present danger of, or else in direct response to, an invasion by the country (or region) that’s being invaded. This is the concept of national sovereignty: the residents rule – no foreigner does. However, the concept of national sovereignty is fundamentally alien to liberals.

Liberalism is instead dominated by the concept of the individual’s right to property, which is the fundamental right in liberalism, upon which all other rights are (in traditional liberalism) based.

As one summary of John Locke’s political theory put this most clearly:

„The theory of property was understood to be central to the structure of Locke’s argument in the Second Treatise in that it serves as an explanation for the existence of government and a criterion for evaluating the performance of government. Locke’s individualist, private property stance was not always admired or believed to be without flaw, but criticism was leveled within the context of Locke’s claim to a place as a liberal philosopher.“

However, Adam Smith, writing in Locke’s tradition 87 years later, provided a clearer case than anyone up till his time, for the right to property being the fundamental right, the right which governments are instituted specifically in order to advance and to protect; and, so, here that basic statement is, in The Wealth of Nations, Book V, Ch. 1, Part 2:

… Wherever there is a great property, there is great inequality.

For one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many. The affluence of the rich excites the indignation of the poor, who are often both driven by want, and prompted by envy to invade his possessions. It is only under the shelter of the civil magistrate, that the owner of that valuable property, which is acquired by the labour of many years, or perhaps of many successive generations, can sleep a single night in security. He is at all times surrounded by unknown enemies, whom, though he never provoked, he can never appease, and from whose injustice he can be protected only by the powerful arm of the civil magistrate, continually held up to chastise it. The acquisition of valuable and extensive property, therefore, necessarily requires the establishment of civil government. …

The causes or circumstances which naturally introduce subordination, or which naturally and antecedent to any civil institution, give some men some superiority over the greater part of their brethren, seem to be four in number.

The first of those causes or circumstances, is the superiority of personal qualifications, of strength, beauty, and agility of body; of wisdom and virtue; of prudence, justice, fortitude, and moderation of mind. …

The second of those causes or circumstances, is the superiority of age. …

The third of those causes or circumstances, is the superiority of fortune, the authority of riches …

The fourth of those causes or circumstances, is the superiority of birth. Superiority of birth supposes an ancient superiority of fortune in the family of the person who claims it. …

In liberalism, a person’s „superiority“ or „inferiority“ is measured by the amount of wealth he or she „owns.“ (Otherwise called „net worth.“) This is the professional economist’s belief in the inevitable rightness of „the free market“: an economist, by his/her being a professional who is devoted to that theory, is committed to this type of hierarchy or inequality – the belief that the more property one owns, the better that person is; and, so, the less that one owns, the worse he or she is.

Precisely how this system contrasts in any fundamental way with conservatism is not clear (and liberals especially don’t discuss it), but Smith’s central case was actually against mercantilism, which, in recent times, is part of nationalism – mercantilism is the argument for any nation to apply tariffs and other protectionist measures in order to block foreigners from „grabbing“ business away from the residents (the subjects to the local sovereign) within the given nation. Adam Smith’s argument was against sovereignty, not in support of it. Property-rights and property-obligations – obedience to, and governmental protections of, these rights and obligations – are at the very foundation of liberalism, whatever one might happen to consider either „liberalism“ or „conservatism“ to mean.

Progressivism means something totally different than either liberalism or conservatism: it is the belief not in „natural law“ nor in any „God’s Law,“ but instead in natural worth: Worth inheres in any sentient being, because it is sentient and can therefore experience joy (positive) and/or misery (negative). No sentient being can be property – it can only be an owner. It can be conquered, but it can’t be owned. It can be a dependent, but it isn’t itself owned, not by anybody but itself. By extension, this applies to the residents on any particular land; and, since they and they alone own themselves, they collectively are the sovereigns over that land; they alone possess the natural right to rule there. In the view of a progressive person, consciousness (especially the polarity between joy and misery) is the actual basis of worth; property isn’t. Materialism is no longer the basis in the realm of values, but „spirit“ (consciousness) is that. The goal is societal well-being, not merely personal wealth. In a progressive light, invasions are evil (because negative, misery-inducing). But, in a liberal light, they aren’t evil, and they can even turn out to be good, if the result is ’success‘: „victory.“ (Consequently, empires are acceptable to liberals.)

Consequently (for recent examples), no progressive supported nor endorsed the invasion of Iraq in 2003, nor the invasion of Libya in 2011, nor the invasion of Syria since 2012. (And, to call that invasion of Syria, by tens of thousands of foreign jihadists who were paid by Saudi Arabia and armed by the United States, a ‚civil war‘, as is commonly done, is simply a lie, just as bad as the lie that Saddam Hussein was hiding WMD in 2002.)

This is the concept of national sovereignty. It isn’t an economic concept; it isn’t a philosophical concept, it is instead a statement about sentience and what sentience entails; it is a scientific concept, and it is the very foundation of any progressive (i.e., science-based) political theory.

This concept, national sovereignty and all the rest of progressivism, does not preclude some type of world government gradually emerging, so long as that occurs 100% by means of democratic processes, and respects the national sovereignty of each and every one of the participating nations, and so long as all nations are honestly welcomed to join, on the same basis as the existing member-nations did. Only in this way, and by democratic process from the bottom to the top, would it even be possible for a world government to develop as being a force for peace in the world, instead of as a force for some type of international dictatorship (and thus as a force for even more war).

So: whereas liberals don’t respect a nation’s sovereignty, progressives do – it’s a basic part of progressivism.

Propaganda: Ich baue mir (m)einen Feind – Der „Westen“ vs. Russland

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/09/how-natos-russia-scare-increases-defense-waste.html#more

NATO’s Fakenews Russia Scare Increases Defense Waste

The military of the Russian Federation is organized in four districts – west, central, east and south. Each year one of the districts will stage a division size maneuver. 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers leave their quarters to move against imaginary adversaries. Their training is complemented by various military and civilian staffs exercises. The active part of the medium-size maneuver takes about a week and includes some live firing.

This year, like in 2009 and 2013, the turn was on the western military district to run its quadrennial exercise. It included, as is usual in the western district, units from and within Russia’s ally Belarus. The name of this regular training event is simply „West“, Zapad in Russian. Zapad-2017 was publicly announced and foreign military observers were invited to watch it.

NATO and its associated media used the occasion to launch a gigantic fear- and warmongering campaign against the Russian Federation. Over months hundreds of news pieces were weaved around dark murmurs from various NATO officials and „experts“. Examples:

The Zapad 2017 maneuvers ended yesterday. They were exactly what Russia and Belarus had announced – a regular, medium-size training event with no special intent or effect.

NATO and its various spokesperson had done what they like to accuse Russia of. They created fakenews about the maneuver based on nothing but hot air:

Zapad-2017 concluded earlier this week, by which time it had seriously fizzled out, in Western media terms at least.

And the Russians are enjoying a rare last laugh. They point out, with some justification, that their numbers were accurate, there was no dissembling, international borders were respected. All the Russian troops introduced into neighbouring Belarus for the exercise are going home, too. After all the Western accusations that Russia has been waging an information war with the help of “fake news”, who is disseminating “fake news” now, they ask. Is this not further evidence that Western opinion formers are stuck in the rut of Cold War stereotypes? They have a point.

The Western „opinion formers“ have, of course, reason to hype everything their selected boogeyman does. That reason is greed. This year nearly all NATO countries increased their military budgets. The U.S. Senate passed a record $700 billion trough for the Pentagon with 89 to 8 votes. The more than 10% budget increase was even higher that what President Trump had requested. It broke all earlier commitments:

The $700 billion is $91 billion beyond the spending caps outlined in the 2011 Budget Control Act, which demanded a „sequestration“ of military spending in order to rein in federal costs.

There was no public outrage over this increase. Meanwhile Russia cut its 2018 defense budget by 25.5% down to a total of some $48 billion.

There is obviously little fear in Russia that the U.S. budget increase will effect U.S. military capabilities. The Russians are right. Most of the Pentagon budget goes to waste. The military as well as the politicians know this well. From a recent NYT piece about options against North Korean missiles:

Intercepting a warhead using missile defenses runs other dangers, White House officials have been told. If the American antimissile systems missed — against a single warhead, which should be the simplest target — it would undercut confidence in an infrastructure the United States has spent $300 billion to build over the past four decades.“

Missile defense is nonsense. Its principle is to hit one bullet with another bullet at several times the speed of sound and at distances of hundreds of miles. That is nearly impossible to do. Even the staged missile defense tests fail and the system as a whole does not work. The U.S. military is too afraid to use its $300 billion missile defense boondoggle because that would prove that it is one gigantic scam.

That does not restrain the politicians from adding money to it:

[The new budget] does authorize an additional $8.5 billion for the Missile Defense Agency to strengthen homeland, regional and space missile defense. That authorization is $630 million above the Trump administration’s request.

The fakenews warmongering by NATO and western politicians about the Zapad maneuver helped to convince the sheeple that additional welfare projects for the owners of the military-industrial complex are necessary and justified.

Meanwhile health care for all, which would cost much less than missile defense, is too expensive to pass.

Posted by b on September 23, 2017 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

Zur Erinnerung: Russland hat DNC nicht gehackt, das ist aus den Analysedaten beweisbar

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

Politico reports Russia probes kick into high gear. CNN says Intensifying Russia probes could pit Hill against Mueller. Esquire says All These Trump Associates Will Testify About Russia This Fall.

There is only one angle in the Russia story worth investigating: Hillary’s role, the CIA’s role, and the FBI’s role in the Russia blame game.

Let’s kick off that discussion with a detailed look at the alleged Russia hack of the DNC servers.

 

Former NSA experts say it wasn’t a hack at all, but an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. Timestamp analysis proves that it’s impossible for Russia or anyone else to have externally hacked the DNC computers.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense understood that Russia was not behind the scandal. We now have proof.

The Nation headline story from August 9, New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack does not do justice to the significance and gravity of the real story, but the article presents the case nicely.

It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised—a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.

 

All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.

 

All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.

 

Lost in a year that often appeared to veer into our peculiarly American kind of hysteria is the absence of any credible evidence of what happened last year and who was responsible for it.

 

We come now to a moment of great gravity. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year.

 

Two, houses built on sand and made of cards are bound to collapse, and there can be no surprise that the one resting atop the “hack theory,” as we can call the prevailing wisdom on the DNC events, appears to be in the process of doing so.

 

Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations wherein each could build on the work of others. In this a small, new website called http://www.disobedientmedia.com proved an important catalyst. Two independent researchers selected it, Snowden-like, as the medium through which to disclose their findings. One of these is known as Forensicator and the other as Adam Carter. On July 9, Adam Carter sent Elizabeth Vos, a co-founder of Disobedient Media, a paper by the Forensicator that split the DNC case open like a coconut.

 

Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public in the paper dated July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate—the time a remote hack would require. The metadata established several facts in this regard with granular precision: On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second.

 

These statistics are matters of record and essential to disproving the hack theory. No Internet service provider, such as a hacker would have had to use in mid-2016, was capable of downloading data at this speed. Compounding this contradiction, Guccifer claimed to have run his hack from Romania, which, for numerous reasons technically called delivery overheads, would slow down the speed of a hack even further from maximum achievable speeds.

 

What is the maximum achievable speed? Forensicator recently ran a test download of a comparable data volume (and using a server speed not available in 2016) 40 miles from his computer via a server 20 miles away and came up with a speed of 11.8 megabytes per second—half what the DNC operation would need were it a hack. Other investigators have built on this finding. Folden and Edward Loomis say a survey published August 3, 2016, by http://www.speedtest.net/reports is highly reliable and use it as their thumbnail index. It indicated that the highest average ISP speeds of first-half 2016 were achieved by Xfinity and Cox Communications. These speeds averaged 15.6 megabytes per second and 14.7 megabytes per second, respectively.

 

“A speed of 22.7 megabytes is simply unobtainable, especially if we are talking about a transoceanic data transfer,” Folden said. “Based on the data we now have, what we’ve been calling a hack is impossible.”

 

The stamps recording the download indicate that it occurred in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone at approximately 6:45 pm. This confirms that the person entering the DNC system was working somewhere on the East Coast of the United States.

 

In addition, there is the adulteration of the documents Guccifer 2.0 posted on June 15, when he made his first appearance. This came to light when researchers penetrated what Folden calls Guccifer’s top layer of metadata and analyzed what was in the layers beneath. They found that the first five files Guccifer made public had each been run, via ordinary cut-and-paste, through a single template that effectively immersed them in what could plausibly be cast as Russian fingerprints. They were not: The Russian markings were artificially inserted prior to posting. “It’s clear,” another forensics investigator self-identified as HET, wrote in a report on this question, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.”

Timeline

  • On June 12 last year, Julian Assange announced that WikiLeaks had and would publish documents pertinent to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
  • On June 14, CrowdStrike, a cyber-security firm hired by the DNC, announced, without providing evidence, that it had found malware on DNC servers and had evidence that Russians were responsible for planting it.
  • On June 15, Guccifer 2.0 first appeared, took responsibility for the “hack” reported on June 14 and claimed to be a WikiLeaks source. It then posted the adulterated documents just described.
  • On July 5, Guccifer again claimed he had remotely hacked DNC servers, and the operation was instantly described as another intrusion attributable to Russia. Virtually no media questioned this account.

The Washington Post, CNN, and nearly every mainstream media outlet published the “Russia did it” story with no proof or even plausibility.

James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, admitted in May that “hand-picked” analysts from three agencies posted an Intelligence Community Assessment that they had “high confidence” Russia was behind this.

The Nation notes “The FBI has never examined the DNC’s computer servers—an omission that is beyond preposterous.”

Instead of examining the DNC servers, the FBI relied on the reports produced by Crowdstrike.  The co-founder and chief technology officer of Crowdstrike, Dmitri Alperovitch, is on the record as vigorously anti-Russian. Crowstrike was also under the employment of the DNC.

Investigating the Wrong Target

Trump should not be the one who is under investigation.

I suggest starting with Hillary. Then there are questions about the FBI taking the word of Crowdstrike, a group employed by the DNC with a goal of taking down Trump.

And what’s with this “high confidence” BS from James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence?

There is plenty to investigate here. But instead of investigating the real story, probes are hell bent on proving pig fly.

Die UNO und der Koreakrieg

Facts of the Korean War: UN Security Council, Instrument of US led Wars, Blatantly Biased Against North Korea

Resolution 2371 Inflicts Economic Torture upon DPRK. Security Council Resolution 2371 Defies All Logic: Prohibits Sale of Fish to Prevent Development of Nuclear Weapons by the DPRK!

Recapitulation of the Facts of the Korean War

November 7, 1950:  “Just when there was a lull in the fighting and it looked as if peace were possible, MacArthur staged a gigantic and murderous raid directly across from the Chinese frontier, destroying most of a city in an area where bombings had been forbidden to prevent border violations.” “There were reports,” The New York Times said October 15, that General MacArthur had ordered the first bombings of North Korean cities without authorization from Washington.” “General Stratemeyer, commander of the Far East Air Forces described the attack:  ‘when fighter planes swept the area with machine guns, rockets, jellied gasoline bombs.

They were followed by ten of the superforts which dropped 1,000-pound high explosive bombs on railroad and highway bridges across the Yalu River and on the bridge approaches. After this, ‘the remaining planes used incendiaries exclusively on a two and a one-half mile built-up area along the southeast bank of the Yalu.’  The Air Force claimed that ninety percent of the city had been destroyed….There is an indifference to human suffering to be read between those lines which makes me as an American deeply ashamed of what was done that day at Sinuiju…

The mass bombing raid on Sinuiju November 8 was the beginning of a race between peace and provocation.  A terrible retribution threatened the peoples of the Western world who so feebly permitted such acts to be done in their name.  For it was by such means that the pyromaniacs hoped to set the world on fire.’” I.F. Stone, “The Hidden History of the Korean War, 1952, pages 178-179

Introduction. The Betrayal of the Founder of the United Nations, United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

FDR 1944 Color Portrait.tif

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

All United Nations Security Council actions against North Korea are based upon an illegal and ruthless betrayal of the intent of United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the founder of the United Nations, the cherished organization which he established to preserve world peace. Perhaps the most scandalous betrayal of President Roosevelt has been  the  endorsement, by the United Nations Security Council, on June 27, 1950, of the attack on North Korea, in cynical and vicious violation of Roosevelt’s trust. This is the historic context of current United Nations venal and biased actions against North Korea. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in conceiving the United Nations, demanded that all Security Council resolutions be adopted by consensus, and only by consensus. President Roosevelt declared it categorically imperative that both the United States and the Soviet Union be in agreement in order for any United Nations action to be legitimate. As detailed in his letter to the Security Council of July 13, 1950, Soviet Deputy-Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko exposed the fact that “the Security Council, by its decision of 27 June, 1950 violated this most important principle of the United Nations organization.”

The consequence of this illegal resolution of June 27, 1950, and subsequent resolutions concerning North Korea  were an attempted racist genocide of the North Korean people, and brought the world to the brink of World War III.

Part I. The History, 1950-1953

July 13, 1950, Letter from Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko to United Nations Secretary-General, Trygve Lie:

“The illegal resolution of 27 June, 1950, adopted by the Security Council under pressure from the United States Government, shows that the Security Council is acting not as a body which is charged with the main responsibility for the maintenance of peace, but as a tool utilized by ruling circles of the United States for the unleashing of war. This resolution of the Security Council constitutes a hostile act against peace. If the Security Council valued the cause of peace, it should have attempted to reconcile the fighting sides in Korea before it adopted such a scandalous resolution. Only the Security Council and the United Nations Secretary-General could have done this. However, they did not make such an attempt, evidently knowing that such peaceful action contradicts the aggressors’ plans. It is impossible not to note the unseemly role played in that whole affair by the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Trygve Lie. Being under the obligation, by virtue of his position, to observe the exact fulfillment of the United Nations Charter, the Secretary-General, during discussion of the Korean question in the Security Council, far from fulfilling his direct duties, on the contrary obsequiously helped a gross violation of the Charter on the part of the United States government and other members of the Security Council. Thereby the Secretary-General showed that he is concerned not so much with strengthening the United Nations Organization and with promoting peace, as with how to help the United States’ ruling circles to carry out their aggressive plans with regard to Korea.”

U.S. Air Force attacking railroads south of Wonsan on the eastern coast of North Korea (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Criminally Ignored in this Security Council “consideration” of the crisis in Korea is the letter dated 7 December 1950, from North Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pak Hen En, at Sinuiju, Korea, to the Security Council, describing the monstrous military slaughter to which the North Korean people were being subjected, and which was previously acknowledged by General Stratemeyer.

“They are waging war not only against armed forces but above all and chiefly against the civilian population. With the methodicalness of civilized barbarians, the American armed forces, bombing from the air, from the sea and by other means, have destroyed all the big industrial enterprises in Korea and a majority of the medium-sized and smaller enterprises, wiped small and large towns from the face of the earth, destroyed villages, and now that winter is coming on they have begun the systematic destruction of the remaining settlements. American aircraft carry out over a thousand sorties daily to bomb Korean towns and villages. Using scorched-earth tactics, the American air force drops on towns and villages in which there are no military targets of any kind an enormous quantity of incendiary and high-explosive bombs, destroying houses and private property of peaceful inhabitants, leaving millions of persons homeless and destitute. The systematic bombing of the remaining inhabited places became especially intense in the second half of October. American aircraft bombed and destroyed the towns of Sunchon, Kyachen, Gudyan, Hichen, Denchen and Koin. In November American aircraft systematically bombed and practically completely destroyed the towns of Kanggye, Sinuiju, Yideyu, Senchen, Gusen, Tmichen, Cholsan, Buktin, Kosan, Manpo, Tyungandin, Hweren and others. In the town of Kanggye out of 8,000 buildings less than 500 remain; in Sinuiju out of 12,000 buildings about 1,000 remain, in Chinnampo out of 1,500 buildings about 200 houses remain….The American interventionists are prepared to destroy every living thing, to turn Korea into a desert in order to carry out their rapacious plans for the enslavement of the Korean people.  ….The American imperialists have issued a tacit ultimatum to the Korean people, either submit to the domination of American imperialism or we will destroy every living thing in your country.”

U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk said that the United States bombed “everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another.” After running low on urban targets, U.S. bombers destroyed hydroelectric and irrigation dams in the later stages of the war, flooding farmland and destroying crops, and, of course, starving and drowning vast numbers of  North Koreans.

Part II. The Current Crisis

Today, 67 years later, no peace treaty  between the US and North Korea has been signed. Various factions of the US military are now calling for “preventive war” against North Korea. North Korea is desperately attempting to protect itself from a repetition of the devastation and slaughter of the first war against the DPRK.

At the UN Security Council meeting on August 5, 2017, Chinese Ambassador Liu called for:

“the establishment of a peace mechanism based on the suspension for suspension initiative, which calls for the DPRK to suspend its nuclear and missile activities, and for the United States and the Republic of Korea to suspend their large-scale military exercises….Beefing up military deployment on the peninsula is not in the interest of realizing denuclearization there or of maintaining regional peace and stability.”

At the same Security Council meeting, Russian Ambassador Nebenzia stated:

“All must understand that progress towards the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula will be difficult so long as the DPRK perceives a direct threat to its own security. For that is how the North Koreans view the build-up in military activity in the region, which takes on the forms of frequent wide-ranging exercises and manoeuvres by the United States and allies as they deploy strategic bombers, naval forces and aircraft carriers to the region….We hope that the assurances provided by the Secretary of State of the United States were sincere, and that the United States is not seeking to dismantle the existing situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or to forcibly unite the peninsula or intervene militarily in the country….Sanctions must not be used for the economic asphyxiation of the DPRK or to deliberately worsen the humanitarian situation.  …Such sanctions may lead to the significant deterioration of the living conditions of the North Korean people –incidentally, as the United Nations humanitarian agencies are warning about.”

Resolution 2371, adopted at this meeting, can only be described as deliberate sadistic action by the drafters of the Resolution.

Resolution 2371 States:

“10. Decides that the DPRK shall not supply, sell or transfer, directly or indirectly, from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessel or aircraft, seafood (including fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic invertebrates in all forms), and that all States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from the DPRK by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, whether or not originating in the territory of the DPRK, and further decides that for sales and transactions of seafood (including fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic invertebrates in all forms) for which written contracts have been finalized prior to the adoption of this resolution, all States may allow those shipments to be imported into their  territories up to 30 days from the date of adoption of this resolution with notification provided to the Committee containing details on those imports by no later than 45 days after the date of adoption of this resolution.”

On August 18, the Associated Press in Beijing reported:

“Furious Chinese businesspeople said Friday that Beijing’s decision to enforce U.N. sanctions on North Korean seafood imports would hobble the economy of an entire northeastern city in China, sparking a rare public protest earlier this week after the surprise move suddenly choked off border trade. Anger swept the city of Hunchin, home to hundreds of seafood processing plants, after Beijing began refusing entry Tuesday to trucks carrying tons of North Korean seafood.”

Current relentless provocations of the DPRK seem designed and determined to infuriate North Korea, and seem intent upon the perpetuation of hostilities, a pattern alarmingly reminiscent of the first Korean War, endorsed, with dubious legality, by the United Nations.

On August 16, the UN Secretary-General held a stake-out with the UN press, and began by saying that more than three million people were killed in Korea, “with a civilian death rate higher than World War II. The Korean peninsula was left in ruins.” The Reuters correspondent asked :

“Ahead of the joint military exercises next week between the US and South Korea, which North Korea tends to see as an escalation of tensions, what’s your message to the North Korean leader and to President Trump ahead of those exercises?”

The Reuters correspondent phrased the question in a balanced way, which would have given the Secretary-General an opportunity for a balanced, impartial answer. Surprisingly, the Secretary-General failed to call on all parties to respect the need for de-escalation, and instead, he replied with a one-sided attribution of blame, and he stated, erroneously:

“everything started with the build-up of a potential nuclear capacity and of a number of missiles to be able to deliver that capacity.”

His accusation that North Korea was responsible for the perilous situation on the Korean peninsula is a distortion of the facts. Is he unaware of the statement by North Korean Ambassador Pak to the Security Council on October 14, 2006:

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has clarified more than once that it would feel no need to possess even a single nuclear weapon once it was no longer exposed to the United States’ threat and after that country had dropped its hostile policy towards the DPRK and confidence had been built between the two countries.”

The first of two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors is launched during a successful intercept test - US Army.jpg

The first of two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors is launched during a successful intercept test. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Secretary-General’s reply to Reuters would have satisfied the US, the UK and France, but he was clearly ignoring the explicit statements by China and Russia, both of whom place equal, if not greater responsibility for this crisis upon the United States-Republic of Korea perpetual military provocations, exacerbating tensions on the peninsula, and perpetuating the state of alarm which has necessitated North Korea arming itself by all necessary means, to prevent the repetition of the horror inflicted upon it by the US, with the blessing of the UN between 1950-1953. The Secretary–General did not address the menace of the THAAD missiles which the United States has placed in South Korea, and which both Russia and China have stated, repeatedly, present an existential threat to their own survival, and which potentially destabilize the entire Eurasian continent.

For the past decades, the DPRK has repeatedly requested the Security Council to convene, on an emergency basis, meetings todiscuss  and halt the provocative US-ROK military maneuvers. All urgent requests by the DPRK have been denied by the Security Council, which holds emergency meetings called by the US so frequently that the Security Council schedule appears to be determined by the US. Although, on August 16, 2017, the Reuters correspondent provided the opportunity for the UN Secretary-General to appropriately show at least token acknowledgement and respect for the agonies of the North Korean people, who are continually terrorized by these US-ROK manoeuvers, he  failed to acknowledge the destructive and  provocative character of the US-ROK military manoeuvers, thereby tacitly endorsing these dangerous, chronic threats to the survival of North Korea.

And inevitably, under these circumstances, as the Chinese-Russian call for “suspension for suspension” is ignored with impunity by the US-ROK, and, indeed, by the Secretary-General, himself, and since, on August 21 the US-ROK, with impunity, held their military exercises, often provocatively entitled “Decapitation of Head of State,” and “Invasion of Pyongyang,” North Korea, understandably, subsequently, (and it must be emphasized, subsequently),  on August 28 launched another ballistic missile, provoked by the recalcitrant US-ROK military exercises which had instigated this vicious spiral.

Predictably, in its servile fashion, the Security Council, which failed to hold an emergency meeting condemning the US-ROK military provocations, in its melodramatic and bellicose fashion held an emergency meeting at 8PM on August 29, “condemning the August 28 ballistic missile launch by the DPRK.” Yet, in a curiously revealing, and certainly unintended way, the Security Council confessed its barbaric cruelty toward North Korea by listing its barbaric sanction resolutions, a lengthy list of torture: Resolution 1675 (2006, 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013) 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016) 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017).  In effect, when the UN Security Council is brought before the bar of history, and condemned for crimes against humanity, it will have made the investigators’ work easier by so neatly listing its attempts to strangle the life out of the North Korean people. This most recent resolution exposes the sadistic and malicious intent of these resolutions, as fish have nothing to do with construction of nuclear weapons, and the prohibition of sale of fish, one of the indispensable sources of income for the innocent people of North Korea, is one of the cruelties intended to starve the Korean people, and break their spirit. For their courage and integrity shames and condemns the opportunism, greed and psychopathology that defines the behavior of their tormenters.

Carla Stea is Global Research’s correspondent at United Nations Headquarters, New York, N.Y.