Zensur 3.0 auf Twitter offiziell bestätigt und durch viele Erfahrungen und Screenshoots belegt

 

Du darfst alles sagen und schreiben, nur hört dich niemand und Retweets werde gelöscht/annulliert => shadow banning

Dabei kennt die USA eine umfassende Redefreiheit gegenüber etwa Europa und trotzdem werden politisch missliebige Themen via Shadow Banning ausgesperrt. Kurz und gut => Private Firma zensiert ihre „Kunden“, die davon aber offiziell nichts mitbekommen.

 

 

In the latest of a series of undercover operations targeting the mainstream media and now Social Media, James O’Keefe of Project Veritas has just dropped a new undercover video which reveals Twitter „shadow banning“ and creating algorithms that censor certain ideas.

The first clip features a former Twitter software engineer who explains how/why Twitter „shadow bans“ certain users:

Abhinav Vadrevu„One strategy is to shadow ban so you have ultimate control. The idea of a shadow ban is that you ban someone but they don’t know they’ve been banned, because they keep posting but no one sees their content.“

„So they just think that no one is engaging with their content, when in reality, no one is seeing it. I don’t know if Twitter does this anymore.“

Meanwhile, Olinda Hassan, a Policy Manager for Twitter’s Trust and Safety team explains on December 15th, 2017 at a Twitter holiday party that the development of a system of “down ranking” “shitty people” is in the works:

“Yeah. That’s something we’re working on. It’s something we’re working on. We’re trying to get the shitty people to not show up. It’s a product thing we’re working on right now.”

In the full video (see below) Twitter Content Review Agent Mo Nora explains that Twitter doesn’t have an official written policy that targets conservative speech, but rather they were following „unwritten rules from the top“:

“A lot of unwritten rules, and being that we’re in San Francisco, we’re in California, very liberal, a very blue state. You had to be… I mean as a company you can’t really say it because it would make you look bad, but behind closed doors are lots of rules.”

“There was, I would say… Twitter was probably about 90% Anti-Trump, maybe 99% Anti-Trump.”

Meanwhile, Pranay Singh reveals again just how creepy Twitter can be by digging into your profile and conversation history to determine whether or not you’re a „redneck“ and therefore worthy of being banned:

“Yeah you look for Trump, or America, and you have like five thousand keywords to describe a redneck. Then you look and parse all the messages, all the pictures, and then you look for stuff that matches that stuff.”

When asked if the majority of the algorithms are targeted against conservative or liberal users of Twitter, Singh said, “I would say majority of it are for Republicans.”

Twitter has been long accused of shadow banning and manipulating various metrics of user accounts. As Paul Joseph Watson of InfoWars reported in August, 2016, Twitter was accused of suppressing tweets from then-candidate Trump in the home stretch of the US election, which some have construed as interfering:

Twitter is provably censoring Donald Trump in order to prevent him raising money for his presidential campaign.

A tweet sent out by Trump yesterday to promote his #MillionDollarMatch donation drive does not appear on Trump’s profile page nor did it appear on the feed of anyone following him.

You can check for yourself. Here is the tweet sent out by Trump yesterday and here is his main profile page – which doesn’t show the tweet. The tweet has been buried as if it never existed.

 

 

Trump tweet in which he declared that “the establishment and special interests are absolutely killing our country” was also shadow banned by Twitter back in April.

While Twitter is censoring Trump, it has repeatedly been accused of gaming its algorithms in support of Hillary. Back in February, users were irate after the social media giant appeared to censor the anti-Hillary hashtag #WhichHillary after it started trending.

Then in October, 2016, Dilbert creator Scott Adams was „shadowbanned“ by  Twitter, which he noted on his blog:

This weekend I got “shadowbanned” on Twitter. It lasted until my followers noticed and protested. Shadowbanning prevents my followers from seeing my tweets and replies, but in a way that is not obvious until you do some digging.

Why did I get shadowbanned?

Beats me.

But it was probably because I asked people to tweet me examples of Clinton supporters being violent against peaceful Trump supporters in public. I got a lot of them. It was chilling.

Late last week my Twitter feed was invaded by an army of Clinton trolls (it’s a real thing) leaving sarcastic insults and not much else on my feed. There was an obvious similarity to them, meaning it was organized.

At around the same time, a bottom-feeder at Slate wrote a hit piece on me that had nothing to do with anything. Except obviously it was politically motivated. It was so lame that I retweeted it myself. The timing of the hit piece might be a coincidence, but I stopped believing in coincidences this year.

And in March of 2017, Twitter was caught by Ed Dowd – a politically active former BlackRock money manager who noted in early February that Twitter was both „un-retweeting“ several of his politically charged posts.

In one instance, Dowd made a decidedly subversive tweet pointing out that the NSA and CIA are „wiretapping“ the entire country via continuously archived data collection – a story which Wired magazine broke in 2006 and gained tremendous clarity through the acts of whistleblower Edward Snowden.

When Mr. Dowd checked his twitter feed hours after sending the tweet, he saw that it had accumulated 13 Retweets and 38 Likes. Given the subject matter, he decided to take a screenshot. Lo and behold, upon reloading the tweet five minutes later, Dowd discovered that 11 retweets had mysteriously vanished.

as

Another phenomenon Dowd noticed was that while he would gain followers throughout the day, there was a reliable „purge“ of followers in the dead of night, all around the same time. He began keeping track, and though it wasn’t happening every night, it penciled out to around half a percent of his followers each time it happened, effectively capping his audience. Ed had questions; why was it almost always the same number of people? Who un-follows someone in the middle of the night? Considering most of Dowd’s followers are in North America, the un-followers were likely asleep when it was happening. The logical conclusion was that Twitter had been actively pruning Ed’s audience to limit his growth on the platform.

This isn’t the first time Twitter has throttled, censored, or banned conservatives who speak their mind. Documentarian, author, and noted Trump supporter Mike Cernovich (@cernovich) tweeted about his own fan base evaporating around the same time as Dowd began experiencing the un-follows:

Of course, only time will tell if Twitter will take steps to ban political targeting in light of these new embarrassing revelations from Project Veritas…we have our doubts.

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Eine US-Soldatenstimme zum „ewigen“ Krieg

LDieser Bericht lässt sich gut neben die Zeugenaussagen von soldaten aus dem Grabenkrieg im 1. Weltkrieg stellen. Die Sinnlosigkeit des Kampfes und die Verschwendung von Leben sind darin zentral.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/officers-path-dissent/

An Officer’s Path to Dissent

Maj. Danny Sjursen gathering coordinates to set up an airstrike while under fire during a patrol in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province. (Danny Sjursen)

For a while there, I was a real star. High up in my class at West Point, tough combat deployments in two wars, a slew of glowing evaluations, even a teaching assignment back at the military academy. I inhabited a universe most only dream of: praised, patted and highly respected by everyone in my life system and viewed as a brave American soldier. It’s a safe, sensible spot. For most, that’s enough. Too bad it was all bunk. Absurdity incarnate.

The truth is, I fought for next to nothing, for a country that, in recent conflicts, has made the world a deadlier, more chaotic place. Even back in 2011—or even 2006, for that matter—I was just smart and just sensitive enough to know that, to feel it viscerally.

Still, the decision to publicly dissent is a tough one. It’s by no means easy. Easy would be to go on playing hero and accepting adulation while staying between the lines. Play it safe, stick to your own, make everyone proud. That’s easy, intellectually immature—the new American way.

When you take the journey of dissent, you lose friends, alienate family, confuse confidants and become a lonely voice in your professional world. I’ve spent years sitting in military classrooms from West Point to Fort Knox to Fort Leavenworth as the odd man, the outlier, the confusing character in the corner. It’s like leaving the church, becoming an atheist, all while still living in the monastery. Still, the truth is that the military is more accommodating than one might suspect. I wrote a critical book, published some skeptical articles, but it’s not as though anyone ever outright threatened me. The pressure is different, more subtle: veiled warnings from superiors, cautious advice from mentors.

I waited too long. I admit as much. Maybe I needed a decade to stew, or perhaps my brief sojourn in civilian graduate school shook something loose. Nonetheless, a few years back, the emotional weight was unbearable and out poured the dissenting waves.

Looking back, I can just about see my own path—what I saw, how it felt—and trace the guideposts and way points on the road to a spiritual and intellectual rebirth. The images flicker, mental fragments that explain my wayward trek to dissension.

In Baghdad, I saw chaos unleashed, watched a sectarian civil war unfold, witnessed the strife our ill-advised, unprepared invasion unleashed. We were terrified voyeurs to the tragedy playing out before us. Militias left gruesome bodies in the streets for us to find. The Sunnis cut off heads, the Shiites preferred power drills to the temples and joints. Both sides attacked us. Through it all, locals treated us to stories of how matters had been better under the secular brutality of Saddam Hussein.

Then there were the patrols. So many patrols. They were mostly useless, of course. Show presence, provide security, don’t get blown up. Then our kids started getting hit. It comes in flashes. Scrubbing your sergeant’s blood out of the Humvee so you can patrol the next morning. Cleaning up another soldier’s skull, fatally penetrated by a copper slug, his face frozen in a look of terror, trash from the filthy east Baghdad street beside his cheek.

The aftermath of car bombs in the marketplace. The haze of smoke and stench of burning flesh. Ordinary Iraqis: the usual victims.

Leaving the war zone. Back home. Alcohol. My driver’s suicide, hanging from a belt in his closet.

Time passes, another mate dead—overdose, prescription pills. Dead kids, my boys, and the wives and mothers I did not have the courage to face for years.

Nothing improved. Not really. The end state was Islamic State, fracture, more death, Trump, a new American crusade on the Euphrates.

Next was Afghanistan, the unwinnable war. The 13th-century irrigation system. Realizing the locals don’t want to live in our image, don’t yearn to be Americans. Knowing most villagers—at least down south—generally agreed with the basic contours of the Taliban agenda. “Allied” sheikhs and “friendly” Afghan government officials who grew the illegal poppy our patrols slogged through. Obtuse American colonels who wanted to wall off or barb-wire Afghan villages as if we were in Baghdad, South Africa or worse.

Discerning, eventually, as I sat on the sandbags of my small outpost—the Alamo of Kandahar province—that we only really held the ground we stood on. Nothing else. Turning down invitations from Afghan “partners” to attend their regular hash-smoking buggery parties. Explaining to U.S.-trained Afghan officers—outsiders from the north who didn’t even speak the local language—that they must stop torturing their own deserters. Appearances and all.

Watching young men lose limbs and lose lives to pad the resumes of aggressive majors who want to be colonels and colonels who want to be generals. Some could hardly spell “Afghanistan.” Still, they mostly succeeded in promotion. Maybe they’ll run the next war.

Seventeen years, thousands of Americans still there, and the Taliban control more of the country than at any time since Uncle Sam’s invasion. We may never leave.

Through it all was the guiding question: Has anything I’ve done—or we’ve done—made Americans’ lives any better? More importantly, has it measurably improved the world? What if we’ve made it worse?

On a day in Afghanistan in 2011, I realized everything I was doing, and the only thing I still cared about was damage control, protecting our troops from needless death. I basically was phoning it in and should have known it was time to quit, lest I lose more of my soul. Even so, the easy path beckoned.

Of course, I’d tried to convince myself, as so many do, that staying in the military is courageous, that it’s possible to change the system from the inside, and that good people, critical thinkers, need to stay the course rather than jump ship. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s fantasy. Who knows?

This business damages you, takes something from you, a permanent loss. It affects everyone differently. Probably, I’m a distant outlier.

Anyway, nowadays my heart is with the Rohingya in Myanmar, Palestinians in Gaza, places, oftentimes, where I’ve never even been, people I’ve never met. It’s a sad world once you’re that inside yourself.

Still, life trudges along. My wife shops for paint colors for our new house, engages with the kids, lives in the moment. I struggle with such practicalities, because, in so many ways, I’m not here. Not most of me. I’m in Baghdad, staring in wonder at the aftermath of a truck bomb. In Afghanistan, delivering a memorial address for one of my dead troopers, a kid, to be honest, that I hardly knew.

I’ll likely die a sad man. This much I know.

But for now, I can give voice to a different path, a nobler cause, a chance, at least a chance, of common sense, sober strategy and, just maybe, a semblance of peace—something a whole generation has never known. In my own minuscule way, I’ll try.

We, the few of us who care to question, owe at least that much.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

Maj. Danny Sjursen
Maj. Danny Sjursen is a U.S. Army officer and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan…

CIA – DOJ Verschwörung gegen Trump

30. Dez. 2017

1) Um Maggie, [ ] hate to undercut your *explosive story* on origin of Russia Probe. But George Papadopoulos talking in May 2016, is likely about this *open and public information* from April 2016.

2.) Additionally, worth noting is nowhere in the Joint Analysis Report [Comey, Brennan and Clapper construct] is anything about George Papadopoulos even hinted or alluded to.

3.) [ ] ABC in Australia is reporting it was Alexander Downer (Australian High Commissioner to UK) who then let counterparts in US know that George Papadopolous was talking about the Sidney Blumental hack via Clinton Emails.

4.) The is also nonsense based on common sense. Papadopoulos was so important that: July 15th 2016 Comey opens counterintel investigation into Russian collusion. January 15th 2017 FBI visits Papadopoulos for first time. FBI waited for six months to talk to him?

5. If George Papadopoulos was so important to the FBI “investigation” why did all “intelligence” agencies released their final JAR report without ever speaking to him? Not even once?

6. No what you have in your article is a well constructed and brutally familiar pattern of what journalism looks like when the IC use reporters to cover their tracks and create a justification based on a false premise.

7. The Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson, Mary Jacoby, Nellie Ohr etc. and subsequent Christopher Steele origin of the FISA application source material is a risk to the former leadership within the DOJ National Security Division and FBI Counterintelligence Division.

8. That’s why both FBI and DOJ sides of this intelligence operation need to create a false origin. The actual FISA application content is a much more explosive risk. Use your common sense logic hat and see when you are being played.

9. USE COMMON SENSE: If a Papadopolous conversation in May 2016 was the origin, the source material, of the FBI counterintelligence operation, then why were they denied a FISA application in June/July 2016 ?

10. The wife of Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS), Mary B. Jacoby, with years of Russia-angled reporting –including Donald Trump– visits the White House on April 19th 2016.

11. Mary B Jacoby is a deep part of Clinton’s political camp going all the way back to the Rose Law Firm. You know that because you know her. After the April 19, 2016, WH visit, the DNC and Clinton campaign hire Mary and Glenn (Fusion GPS) for the „trump project“.

12. Immediately after Fusion was paid, Glenn Simpson and Mary Jacoby (Fusion GPS Patriarchs), hire Nellie Ohr.

13. As you know, Nellie Ohr is the wife of DOJ Deputy Bruce Ohr. The same Bruce Ohr who was demoted for meeting with Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele, along with FBI agent Peter Strzok, w/out telling DOJ leadership.

14. Again, you know this stuff. Nellie Ohr, Bruce Ohr and Glenn Simpson have known each other for years; and have worked on CIA *open source* projects together for a long time.

15 As you know all of these people are SME’s on everything Russia and everything Russia intelligence. It is all of this activity in April and May, not innocuous George Papadopolous reading newspapers, that assembled data and eventually led to the „Russia Probe“.

16. on June 24th 2017 Mary Jacoby even publicly stated on her facebook that her work with Glenn is what specifically led to the FBI beginning the „Russia Probe“.

17. After the initial July 2016 FISA Court denial, the FBI and DOJ team leaned heavily on the external team of Jacoby, Simpson, Ohr, Steele etc. who created the „dossier“ that enhanced the application that gained the FISA warrant in Oct.

18. as you know, because of the legal framework around them, FISA warrants can be applied retroactively. Wiretaping and monitoring can technically begin while evidence is gathered to justify a DOJ-NSD warrant application later.

19. Which is exactly what former DOJ Attorney General John P. Carlin, National Security Division head, admitted to the FISA Court (October 2016) right before he quit his job.

20. So the question I have for you is: Did you write that nonsense about George Papadopolous because the IC (FBI/DOJ) tricked you into it?….. OR were you a willing participant in helping transmit political disinformation in an effort to help them cover their tracks?

21. Happy New Year !!

Wie die Allerreichsten den Rest der Bevölkerung ausnehmen am Bsp der USA

Der Artikel behandelt die USA, aber dieses System der Bereicherung dürfte mutatis mutandis auch auf andere Länder übertragbar sein.

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The first time when it became clear to me that I live in a dictatorship was in 2014 when reading, prior to its publication, the landmark (and still the only) scientific empirical study to address the question as to whether or not the United States federal Government is, authentically, a democracy — or, whether, alternatively, it’s instead more of a dictatorship, than a democracy.

This study documented conclusively that America’s Government is the latter.

So, on 14 April 2014, I headlined “US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy, Says Scientific Study”. Subsequently, my editor linked it to the published article at the Journal where the study was published, Perspectives on Politics, from the American Political Science Association, and the full study can be read there.

On 30 April 2014, was posted at youtube the video that remains, to this day, the best and clearest ordinary-language summary of what that badly-written academic study proved. See its explanation here:

That summary’s title is also better than the title of my article was; this excellent video headlines “Corruption is Legal in America”, which is another accurate conclusion from that study. Every American citizen should know what this 6-minute video says and shows from the academic study, because it explains how the super-rich, as a class, steal from everyone else (everyone who isn’t super-rich): They do it through corruption.

Then, that same person who created the video did another presentation of it, but this time with text accompanying the video, and this article was titled „One graph shows how the rich control American politics”, and it indeed showed how. The super-rich carry out their control via corruption, which is legal in America and which can be done vastly more by rich people than by poor people — poor people simply can’t buy the Government, and any who would even attempt to do so would be using only the illegal means, which the US Supreme Court says constitutes the only illegal means, and that’s blatant bribery, which is lower-class corruption, not the far more lucrative type of corruption that super-wealthy individuals have access to. Only the forms of corruption which are available only to the super-rich are legal in America. That’s the reason why the super-rich keep getting still-richer, while the rest of the population are lucky if they don’t become poorer.

On 28 July 2015, former US President Jimmy Carter was frank about this situation; as a caller at a progressive radio show, he said this about America’s soaring top-level corruption:

It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and US Senators and congress members. So, now we’ve just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over. …

 

At the present time the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell.“

Three days later, Huffington Post published my article about that statement, which was headlined “Jimmy Carter Is Correct That the US Is No Longer a Democracy,” and it had over 60,000 likes on Facebook (here the article is shown a bit earlier, when it had 56,000) but HuffPo reduced that number down to its currently shown number, 18,000; and this article turned out to have been the last submission of the 100+ that they accepted from me. They’ve rejected all of my submissions after it. No explanation was ever given, and I never heard anything from them again.

The scientific article about America’s Government had reviewed 1,779 pieces of proposed legislation during the period from 1981 to 2002, and it found that only what the super-rich wanted to become law did become law: “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy,” they said. That’s certainly not a democracy.

There has been speculation as to how far back historically America’s government-by-the-aristocracy (or, simply, America’s being an aristocracy — a rule over the public by the few super-rich, an “oligarchy”) has been in effect. Prior to Ronald Reagan’s Presidency, going back to the time when FDR died in office in 1945 as the President, the distribution of income and of wealth was much more equal in America than it started to become as soon as Reagan entered the White House and began the subsequent dominance of supply-side economics, which is based upon the supply-push belief that wealth trickles down from the few rich, instead of (as FDR believed) in a demand-pull way, that it percolates up from the many poor. FDR believed that what drives an economy is needs, not the products and services to fill needs. Reagan believed in the opposite, Say’s law, which says that whatever is produced will fill needs (or at least desires) — that production is what drives an economy, and that needs (and desires) just take care of themselves. So, FDR focused on “the common man” and especially the poor, but Reagan focused on “entrepreneurs” or the owners of businesses. (The middle class isn’t an issue here, but is simply the richer portion of the poor. Historically that has been the case. For example, America’s middle class has declined while the poor have mushroomed, but the top 5% are getting all of the gains; and most of that is going to the top 1% or even less. So: “poor” here includes the middle-class; and, to refer to “middle-class America” is now like referring to a dying breed — but it’s a breed of poor, not of rich.)

However, the extreme corruption at the top in this country is showing up more sharply than ever in recently declassified US Government documents about the JFK assassination — showing up as having begun much earlier than had generally been suspected, begun at least by the time when President Kennedy came into office on 20 January 1961. Kennedy found himself surrounded by the military-industrial complex that his predecessor, Eisenhower, had cultivated while he was in the White House and that “Ike” hypocritically warned the American public against, on his way out of office, only on 17 January 1961 — three days before Kennedy’s inauguration. Some of these corrupt people were ones whom Kennedy himself had brought in. Not all of them were Ike’s holdovers. But Kennedy was apparently shocked, nonetheless.

The beginnings of this profound corruption might be traced still farther back to moles in the Government (such as the Dulles brothers, Averell Harriman and Prescott Bush) who had built their careers after World War I by means of plying and mastering the revolving door between the Government’s foreign-policy Establishment and Wall Street.

Starting at the very end of WW II, in 1945, agents of these moles ended FDR’s Office of Strategic Services and started Truman’s CIA. Right from the get-go, the CIA was deeply corrupt, as the following 2.5-hour BBC documentary from 1992 makes clear:

Operation Gladio – Full 1992 documentary BBC

It documents from testimony of former CIA operatives in Europe, that the CIA had been hiring European aristocrats and committed fascists and even ‘former’ Nazis, to set up terrorist incidents in Europe rigged so as to be blamed by the public against communists and against any entities that were favorable in any way toward the Soviet Union. Numberless Europeans were injured and killed in terrorist incidents that were set up by the CIA to be, basically, anti-communist propaganda. This CIA operation was called “Gladio,” and it continues to this day, even though communism itself is gone.

Subsequently, a video was done that’s far briefer, 50 minutes, and which starts with interviews of some of the survivors of these CIA-NATO operations, so that it’s far more from the victims’ perspective than was the BBC’s lengthier documentary:

NATO’s Secret Armies (2009)

When Kennedy became President, he found himself surrounded by advisors who were urging him such as, on 22 March 1962, John Kennedy’s own brother and US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy did, when RFK held a meeting to discuss “the possibility of US manufacture or acquisition of Soviet aircraft” because:

“There is a possibility that such aircraft could be used in a deception operation designed to confuse enemy planes in the air, to launch a surprise attack against enemy installations or in a provocation operation in which Soviet aircraft would appear to attack US or friendly installations in order to provide an excuse for US intervention. If the planes were to be used in such covert operations, it would seem preferable to manufacture them in the United States.”

And, also like this (on 12 April 1962, from a Major General and CIA officer — see it on page 16):

“We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington. The terror campaign could be pointed at Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans en route to Florida (real or simulated). We could foster attempts on lives of Cuban refugees in the United States even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized. Exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots, the arrest of a Cuban agent and the release of prepared documents substantiating Cuban involvement also would be helpful in projecting the idea of an irresponsible government.”

Even JFK’s own brother RFK, and Secretary of ‘Defense’ Robert McNamara, and Secretary of State Dean Rusk — plus lots of holdovers from the Eisenhower Administration — thought that this sort of thing would be worth the President of the United States considering. Fortunately, JFK didn’t.

Michael Ellison had gotten to see a bit of the 12 April 1962 document decades earlier and he reported it on 2 May 2001 in Britain’s Guardian under the headline “Memos disclose US cold-war plot to frame Castro”. Ellison wrote that “The idea was an element in a wider scheme that ‘may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the US government’, asserts James Bamford.” Since Bamford is perhaps the world’s leading journalist and historian who has written about the NSA (books such as his 1983 The Puzzle Palace), for even him to have expressed surprise in 2001 that the US Government, at its top level, was predominantly staffed by people who were racking their brains to figure out ways to fake Soviet terrorism and attacks so as for the US and NATO to have a pretext to invade the Soviet Union, indicates how much more cynical we all have become after George W. Bush’s lies about ‘Saddam’s WMD’ as pretexts for the US and its collaborators to invade and destroy Iraq in 2003. Not only was John Kennedy surprised to discover it in 1962, but James Bamford was surprised to discover it even as late as 2001. Bamford in 2001 might not have said what he said there if he had seen that 1992 BBC documentary, which showed that the top level of the CIA had been like this from the time when the CIA started in 1947. But with so much history behind us now and which had still been classified information, and thus non-public, until 2001 when Bamford said that the 12 April 1962 document described “may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the US Government,” we today are hardly surprised at all to discover it.

The corruption at the top of the US Government has long since overflowed its banks, out into the public’s consciousness. Not all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can put the myth of US Government decency together again.

So sehen mutmassliche britische Spione aus…

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/taxi-driver-arrested-rape-murder-british-diplomat-lebanon?page=1

Taxi Driver Arrested In Rape, Murder Of British Diplomat In Lebanon

Lebanese police arrested a taxi driver in a 3am pre-dawn raid in connection with the rape and murder of British diplomat, Rebecca Dykes, who was found Saturday morning in a ditch beside a mountain highway in the outskirts of the Lebanese capital, Beirut.


Rebecca Dykes (family handout)

Sources tell The Times that the taxi driver’s first name is Tarek and his initials are TH, while CNN reports Lebanese police have determined that Dykes was sexually assaulted and strangled with a rope, before being found with the suspect’s bodily fluids allegedly on her body.

The suspect has reportedly confessed to killing Dykes, and that the murder was a „criminal act“ and not politically motivated. The information branch of Lebanon’s internal security forces, the intelligence department of the police, is conducting the investigation.


(Twitter)

Dykes, who is believed to have been 30, was last seen Friday night around midnight leaving a bar named „Demo“ near central Beirut’s Gemmayze district, a popular spot for nightlife.

British Ambassador to Lebanon, Hugo Shorter, tweeted „The whole embassy is deeply shocked, saddened by this news. My thoughts are with Becky’s family, friends and colleagues for their tragic loss.

A family spokesman said We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Rebecca. We are doing all we can to understand what happened. We request that the media respect our privacy as we come together as a family at this very difficult time.

According to her LinkedIn page, Dykes worked as a program and policy manager with the Department for International Development (DfID), as well as serving as a policy manager with the Libya team at the Foreign Office. Prior to that, she worked with the Foreign Office as an Iraq research analyst.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: Following the death of a British woman in Beirut, we are providing support to the family. We remain in close contact with local authorities. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.

Ms Dykes was a graduate of the University of Manchester graduate, and held a masters in International Security and Global Governance from Birkbeck, University of London.

 

 

TheAnswerIs42's picture

She was probably a MI6 case officer.

Background fits that bill…

That’s why they scooped up the taxi driver so quickly.

There is more to this than meets the eye.

 

 

OverTheHedge's picture

We should have more sympathy for the taxi driver – probably wrong place, wrong time, and still wondering who the hell he was supposed to have raped, and when. Full confession by morning, I expect, whether he makes one or not. Probably a Syrian/Palestinian refugee, and therefore expendable.

But I’m just cynical.

 

Socratic Dog's picture

You’ve read your Le Carre.

DNA „on“ her body.  Not „in“.  Kind-hearted rapist /murderer pulls out on the vinegar stroke?  Just good manners

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Cold War Number One: 70 Years of Daily National Stupidity; Cold War Number Two: Still in Its Youth, But Just as Stupid

“He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.”

– President Trump, re Vladimir Putin after their meeting in Vietnam.

Putin later added that he knew “absolutely nothing” about Russian contacts with Trump campaign officials. “They can do what they want, looking for some sensation. But there are no sensations.”

Numerous US intelligence agencies have said otherwise. Former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, responded to Trump’s remarks by declaring: “The president was given clear and indisputable evidence that Russia interfered in the election.”

As we’ll see below, there isn’t too much of the “clear and indisputable” stuff. And this of course is the same James Clapper who made an admittedly false statement to Congress in March 2013, when he responded, “No, sir” and “not wittingly” to a question about whether the National Security Agency was collecting “any type of data at all” on millions of Americans. Lies don’t usually come in any size larger than that.

Virtually every member of Congress who has publicly stated a position on the issue has criticized Russia for interfering in the 2016 American presidential election. And it would be very difficult to find a member of the mainstream media which has questioned this thesis.

What is the poor consumer of news to make of these gross contradictions? Here are some things to keep in mind:

How do we know that the tweets and advertisements “sent by Russians” -– those presented as attempts to sway the vote -– were actually sent by Russians? The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), composed of National Security Agency and CIA veterans, recently declared that the CIA knows how to disguise the origin of emails and tweets. The Washington Post has as well reported that Twitter “makes it easy for users to hide their true identities.”   Even if these communications were actually sent from Russia, how do we know that they came from the Russian government, and not from any of the other 144.3 million residents of Russia?

Even if they were sent by the Russian government, we have to ask: Why would they do that? Do the Russians think the United States is a Third World, under-developed, backward Banana Republic easily influenced and moved by a bunch of simple condemnations of the plight of blacks in America and the Clinton “dynasty”? Or clichéd statements about other controversial issues, such as gun rights and immigration? If so, many Democratic and Republican officials would love to know the secret of the Russians’ method. Consider also that Facebook has stated that 90 percent of the alleged-Russian-bought content that ran on its network did not even mention Trump or Clinton.

On top of all this is the complete absence of even the charge, much less with any supporting evidence, of Russian interference in the actual voting or counting of votes.

After his remark suggesting he believed Putin’s assertion that there had been no Russian meddling in the election, Trump – of course, as usual – attempted to backtrack and distant himself from his words after drawing criticism at home; while James Clapper declared: “The fact the president of the United States would take Putin at his word over that of the intelligence community is quite simply unconscionable.”

Given Clapper’s large-size lie referred to above, can Trump be faulted for being skeptical of the intelligence community’s Holy Writ? Purposeful lies of the intelligence community during the first Cold War were legendary, many hailed as brilliant tactics when later revealed. The CIA, for example, had phoney articles and editorials planted in foreign newspapers (real Fake News), made sex films of target subjects caught in flagrante delicto who had been lured to Agency safe houses by female agents, had Communist embassy personnel expelled because of phoney CIA documents, and much more.

The Post recently published an article entitled “How did Russian trolls get into your Facebook feed? Silicon Valley made it easy.” In the midst of this “exposé,” The Post stated: “There’s no way to tell if you personally saw a Russian post or tweet.”   So … Do the Cold Warriors have a case to make or do they not? Or do they just want us to remember that the Russkis are bad? So it goes.

An organization in Czechoslovakia with the self-appointed name of European Values has produced a lengthy report entitled “The Kremlin’s Platform for ‘Useful Idiots’ in the West: An Overview of RT’s Editorial Strategy and Evidence of Impact”. It includes a long list of people who have appeared on the Russian-owned TV station RT (formerly Russia Today), which can be seen in the US, the UK and other countries. Those who’ve been guests on RT are the “idiots” useful to Moscow. (The list is not complete. I’ve been on RT about five times, but I’m not listed. Where is my Idiot Badge?)

RT’s YouTube channel has more than two million followers and claims to be the “most-watched news network” on the video site. Its Facebook page has more than 4 million likes and followers. Can this explain why the powers-that-be forget about a thing called freedom-of-speech and treat the station like an enemy? The US government recently forced RT America to register as a foreign agent and has cut off the station’s Congressional press credentials.

The Cold War strategist, George Kennan, wrote prophetically:

“Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”

Writer John Wight has described the new Cold War as being “in response to Russia’s recovery from the demise of the Soviet Union and the failed attempt to turn the country into a wholly owned subsidiary of Washington via the imposition of free market economic shock treatment thereafter.”

So let’s see what other brilliance the New Cold War brings us. … Ah yes, another headline in the Post (November 18, 2017): “British alarm rising over possible Russian meddling in Brexit”. Of course, why else would the British people have voted to leave the European Union? But wait a moment, again, one of the British researchers behind the report “said that the accounts they analyzed – which claimed Russian as their language when they were set up but tweeted in English – posted a mixture of pro-‘leave’ and pro-‘remain’ messages regarding Brexit. Commentators have said that the goal may simply have been to sow discord and division in society.”

Was there ever a time when the Post would have been embarrassed to be so openly, amateurishly biased about Russia? Perhaps during the few years between the two Cold Wars.

In case you don’t remember how stupid Cold War Number One was …

+ 1948: ThePittsburgh Press published the names, addresses, and places of employment of about 1,000 citizens who had signed presidential-nominating petitions for former Vice President Henry Wallace, running under the Progressive Party. This, and a number of other lists of “communists”, published in the mainstream media, resulted in people losing their jobs, being expelled from unions, having their children abused, being denied state welfare benefits, and suffering various other punishments.

+ Around 1950: The House Committee on Un-American Activities published a pamphlet, “100 Things You Should Know About Communism in the U.S.A.” This included information about what a communist takeover of the United States would mean:

Q: What would happen to my insurance?

A: It would go to the Communists.

Q: Would communism give me something better than I have now?

A: Not unless you are in a penitentiary serving a life sentence at hard labor.

+ 1950s: Mrs. Ada White, member of the Indiana State Textbook Commission, believed that Robin Hood was a Communist and urged that books that told the Robin Hood story be banned from Indiana schools.

+ As evidence that anti-communist mania was not limited to the lunatic fringe or conservative newspaper publishers, here is Clark Kerr, president of the University of California at Berkeley in a 1959 speech: “Perhaps 2 or even 20 million people have been killed in China by the new [communist] regime.” One person wrote to Kerr: “I am wondering how you would judge a person who estimates the age of a passerby on the street as being ‘perhaps 2 or even 20 years old.’ Or what would you think of a physician who tells you to take ‘perhaps 2 or even twenty teaspoonsful of a remedy’?”

+ Throughout the cold war, traffic in phoney Lenin quotes was brisk, each one passed around from one publication or speaker to another for years. Here’s U. S. News and World Report in 1958 demonstrating communist duplicity by quoting Lenin: “Promises are like pie crusts, made to be broken.” Secretary of State John Foster Dulles used it in a speech shortly afterward, one of many to do so during the cold war. Lenin actually did use a very similar line, but he explicitly stated that he was quoting an English proverb (it comes from Jonathan Swift) and his purpose was to show the unreliability of the bourgeoisie, not of communists.

“First we will take Eastern Europe, then the masses of Asia, then we will encircle the United States, which will be the last bastion of capitalism. We will not have to attack. It will fall like an overripe fruit into our hands.” This Lenin “quotation” had the usual wide circulation, even winding up in the Congressional Record in 1962. This was not simply a careless attribution; this was an out-and-out fabrication; an extensive search, including by the Library of Congress and the United States Information Agency failed to find its origin.

+ A favorite theme of the anti-communists was that a principal force behind drug trafficking was a communist plot to demoralize the United States. Here’s a small sample:

Don Keller, District Attorney for San Diego County, California in 1953: “We know that more heroin is being produced south of the border than ever before and we are beginning to hear stories of financial backing by big shot Communists operating out of Mexico City.”

Henry Giordano, Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1964, interviewed in the American Legion Magazine: Interviewer: “I’ve been told that the communists are trying to flood our country with narcotics to weaken our moral and physical stamina. Is that true?”

Giordano: “As far as the drugs are concerned, it’s true. There’s a terrific flow of drugs coming out of Yunnan Province of China. … There’s no question that in that particular area this is the aim of the Red Chinese. It should be apparent that if you could addict a population you would degrade a nation’s moral fiber.”

Fulton Lewis, Jr., prominent conservative radio broadcaster and newspaper columnist, 1965: “Narcotics of Cuban origin – marijuana, cocaine, opium, and heroin – are now peddled in big cities and tiny hamlets throughout this country. Several Cubans arrested by the Los Angeles police have boasted they are communists.”

We were also told that along with drugs another tool of the commies to undermine America’s spirit was fluoridation of the water.

+ Mickey Spillane was one of the most successful writers of the 1950s, selling millions of his anti-communist thriller mysteries. Here is his hero, Mike Hammer, in “One Lonely Night”, boasting of his delight in the grisly murders he commits, all in the name of destroying a communist plot to steal atomic secrets. After a night of carnage, the triumphant Hammer gloats, “I shot them in cold blood and enjoyed every minute of it. I pumped slugs into the nastiest bunch of bastards you ever saw. … They were Commies. … Pretty soon what’s left of Russia and the slime that breeds there won’t be worth mentioning and I’m glad because I had a part in the killing. God, but it was fun!”

+ 1952: A campaign against the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) because it was tainted with “atheism and communism”, and was “subversive” because it preached internationalism. Any attempt to introduce an international point of view in the schools was seen as undermining patriotism and loyalty to the United States. A bill in the US Senate, clearly aimed at UNESCO, called for a ban on the funding of “any international agency that directly or indirectly promoted one-world government or world citizenship.” There was also opposition to UNESCO’s association with the UN Declaration of Human Rights on the grounds that it was trying to replace the American Bill of Rights with a less liberty-giving covenant of human rights.

+ 1955: A US Army 6-page pamphlet, “How to Spot a Communist”, informed us that a communist could be spotted by his predisposition to discuss civil rights, racial and religious discrimination, the immigration laws, anti-subversive legislation, curbs on unions, and peace. Good Americans were advised to keep their ears stretched for such give-away terms as “chauvinism”, “book-burning”, “colonialism”, “demagogy”, “witch hunt”, “reactionary”, “progressive”, and “exploitation”. Another “distinguishing mark” of “Communist language” was a “preference for long sentences.” After some ridicule, the Army rescinded the pamphlet.

+ 1958: The noted sportscaster Bill Stern (one of the heroes of my innocent youth) observed on the radio that the lack of interest in “big time” football at New York University, City College of New York, Chicago, and Harvard “is due to the widespread acceptance of Communism at the universities.”

+ 1960: US General Thomas Power speaking about nuclear war or a first strike by the US: “The whole idea is tokill the bastards! At the end of the war, if there are two Americans and one Russian, we win!” The response from one of those present was: “Well, you’d better make sure that they’re a man and a woman.”

+ 1966: The Boys Club of America is of course wholesome and patriotic. Imagine their horror when they were confused with the Dubois Clubs. (W.E.B. Du Bois had been a very prominent civil rights activist.) When the Justice Department required the DuBois Clubs to register as a Communist front group, good loyal Americans knew what to do. They called up the Boys Club to announce that they would no longer contribute any money, or to threaten violence against them; and sure enough an explosion damaged the national headquarters of the youth group in San Francisco. Then former Vice President Richard Nixon, who was national board chairman of the Boys Club, declared: “This is an almost classic example of Communist deception and duplicity. The ‘DuBois Clubs’ are not unaware of the confusion they are causing among our supporters and among many other good citizens.”

+ 1966: “Rhythm, Riots and Revolution: An Analysis of the Communist Use of Music, The Communist Master Music Plan”, by David A. Noebel, published by Christian Crusade Publications, (expanded version of 1965 pamphlet: “Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles”). Some chapters: Communist Use of Mind Warfare … Nature of Red Record Companies … Destructive Nature of Beatle Music … Communist Subversion of Folk Music … Folk Music and the Negro Revolution … Folk Music and the College Revolution

+ 1968: William Calley, US Army Lieutenant, charged with overseeing the massacre of more than 100 Vietnamese civilians in My Lai in 1968, said some years later: “In all my years in the Army I was never taught that communists were human beings. We were there to kill ideology carried by – I don’t know – pawns, blobs, pieces of flesh. I was there to destroy communism. We never conceived of old people, men, women, children, babies.”

+ 1977: Scientists theorized that the earth’s protective ozone layer was being damaged by synthetic chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons. The manufacturers and users of CFCs were not happy. They made life difficult for the lead scientist. The president of one aerosol manufacturing firm suggested that criticism of CFCs was “orchestrated by the Ministry of Disinformation of the KGB.”

+ 1978: Life inside a California youth camp of the ultra anti-communist John Birch Society: Five hours each day of lectures on communism, Americanism and “The Conspiracy”; campers learned that the Soviet government had created a famine and spread a virus to kill a large number of citizens and make the rest of them more manageable; the famine led starving adults to eat their children; communist guerrillas in Southeast Asia jammed chopsticks into children’s ears, piercing their eardrums; American movies are all under the control of the Communists; the theme is always that capitalism is no better than communism; you can’t find a dictionary now that isn’t under communist influence; the communists are also taking over the Bibles.

+ The Reagan administration declared that the Russians were spraying toxic chemicals over Laos, Cambodia and Afghanistan – the so-called “yellow rain” – and had caused more than ten thousand deaths by 1982 alone, (including, in Afghanistan, 3,042 deaths attributed to 47 separate incidents between the summer of 1979 and the summer of 1981, so precise was the information). Secretary of State Alexander Haig was a prime dispenser of such stories, and President Reagan himself denounced the Soviet Union thusly more than 15 times in documents and speeches. The “yellow rain”, it turned out, was pollen-laden feces dropped by huge swarms of honeybees flying far overhead.

+ 1982: In commenting about sexual harassment in the Army, General John Crosby stated that the Army doesn’t care about soldiers’ social lives – “The basic purpose of the United States Army is to kill Russians,” he said.

+ 1983: The US invasion of Grenada, the home of the Cuban ambassador is damaged and looted by American soldiers; on one wall is written “AA”, symbol of the 82nd Airborne Division; beside it the message: “Eat shit, commie faggot.” … “I want to fuck communism out of this little island,” says a marine, “and fuck it right back to Moscow.”

+ 1984: During a sound check just before his weekly broadcast, President Reagan spoke these words into the microphone: “My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you I have signed legislation to outlaw Russia, forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” His words were picked up by at least two radio networks.

+ 1985: October 29 BBC interview with Ronald Reagan: asked about the differences he saw between the US and Russia, the president replied: “I’m no linguist, but I’ve been told that in the Russian language there isn’t even a word for freedom.” (The word is “svoboda”.)

+ 1986: Soviet artists and cultural officials criticized Rambo-like American films as an expression of “anti-Russian phobia even more pathological than in the days of McCarthyism”. Russian film-maker Stanislav Rostofsky claimed that on one visit to an American school “a young girl trembled with fury when she heard I was from the Soviet Union, and said she hated Russians.”

+ 1986: Roy Cohn, who achieved considerable fame and notoriety in the 1950s as an assistant to the communist-witch-hunting Senator Joseph McCarthy, died, reportedly of AIDS. Cohn, though homosexual, had denied that he was and had denounced such rumors as communist smears.

+1986: After American journalist Nicholas Daniloff was arrested in Moscow for “spying” and held in custody for two weeks, New York Mayor Edward Koch sent a group of 10 visiting Soviet students storming out of City Hall in fury. “The Soviet government is the pits,” said Koch, visibly shocking the students, ranging in age from 10 to 18 years. One 14-year-old student was so outraged he declared: “I don’t want to stay in this house. I want to go to the bus and go far away from this place. The mayor is very rude. We never had a worse welcome anywhere.” As matters turned out, it appeared that Daniloff had not been completely pure when it came to his news gathering.

+ 1989: After the infamous Chinese crackdown on dissenters in Tiananmen Square in June, the US news media was replete with reports that the governments of Nicaragua, Vietnam and Cuba had expressed their support of the Chinese leadership. Said the Wall Street Journal: “Nicaragua, with Cuba and Vietnam, constituted the only countries in the world to approve the Chinese Communists’ slaughter of the students in Tiananmen Square.” But it was all someone’s fabrication; no such support had been expressed by any of the three governments. At that time, as now, there were few, if any, organizations other than the CIA which could manipulate major Western media in such a manner.

NOTE: It should be remembered that the worst consequences of anti-communism were not those discussed above. The worst consequences, the ultra-criminal consequences, were the abominable death, destruction, and violation of human rights that we know under various names: Vietnam, Chile, Korea, Guatemala, Cambodia, Indonesia, Brazil, Greece, Afghanistan, El Salvador, and many others.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. Darum bekommt das US-Militär ein immer grösseres Budget

Obwohl die Amerikaner kriegsmüde sind und eigentlich keinen Krieg wollen, sind sie doch dafür, dass das Militär ein grösseres Budget bekommt. Und wenn man die Verteilung des Militärs und der Firmen, die für das Militär produzieren, anschaut, dann fällt auf, dass das Militär und die Waffenfirmen zu den Top Arbeitgebern in jedem Bundesstaat zählen.

Das bedeutet nichts Anderes, als dass ohne einen Krieg, der die Produktion rechtfertigen würde, das Ganze ein riesiger Umverteilungsprozess von Steuergeldern ist und die Militärs einfach gut bezahlte „Sozialhilfeempfänger“ sind.

Für die Amerikaner, die den Kommunismus und Sozailismus in der Wirtschaft so verabscheuen, eigentlich eine Horrorvorstellung, doch man kann es überspitzt als Beschäftigungstherapie und als Staatswirtschaft bezeichnen.

Das gilt sogar für die ausländischen Kunden der Waffen, die von den USA als Verbündete grosszügige Hilfen bekommen, die dann jedoch nur in amerikanische Rüstungsprodukte investiert werden dürfen. => Da zahlt also der US-Steuerzahler die eigenen Rüstungsfirmen für die Waffenproduktion für das Ausland.

 

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/01/americas-military-industrial-addiction/

 

Polls show that Americans are tired of endless wars in faraway lands, but many cheer President Trump’s showering money on the Pentagon and its contractors, a paradox that President Eisenhower foresaw…

The Military-Industrial Complex has loomed over America ever since President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of its growing influence during his prescient farewell address on Jan. 17, 1961. The Vietnam War followed shortly thereafter, and its bloody consequences cemented the image of the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC) as a faceless cadre of profit-seeking warmongers who’ve wrested control of the foreign policy. That was certainly borne out by the war’s utter senselessness … and by tales of profiteering by well-connected contractors like Brown & Root.

Over five decades, four major wars and a dozen-odd interventions later, we often talk about the Military-Industrial Complex as if we’re referring to a nefarious, flag-draped Death Star floating just beyond the reach of helpless Americans who’d generally prefer that war was not, as the great Gen. Smedley Darlington Butler aptly put it, little more than a money-making “racket.”

The feeling of powerlessness that the MIC engenders in “average Americans” makes a lot of sense if you just follow the money coming out of Capitol Hill. The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) tabulated all “defense-related spending” for both 2017 and 2018, and it hit nearly $1.1 trillion for each of the two years. The “defense-related” part is important because the annual National Defense Authorization Act, a.k.a. the defense budget, doesn’t fully account for all the various forms of national security spending that gets peppered around a half-dozen agencies.

It’s a phenomenon that noted Pentagon watchdog William Hartung has tracked for years. He recently dissected it into “no less than 10 categories of national security spending.” Amazingly only one of those is the actual Pentagon budget. The others include spending on wars, on homeland security, on military aid, on intelligence, on nukes, on recruitment, on veterans, on interest payments and on “other defense” — which includes “a number of flows of defense-related funding that go to agencies other than the Pentagon.”

Perhaps most amazingly, Hartung noted in TomDisptach that the inflation-adjusted “base” defense budgets of the last couple years is “higher than at the height of President Ronald Reagan’s massive buildup of the 1980s and is now nearing the post-World War II funding peak.” And that’s just the “base” budget, meaning the roughly $600 billion “defense-only” portion of the overall package. Like POGO, Hartung puts an annual price tag of nearly $1.1 trillion on the whole enchilada of military-related spending.

The MIC’s ‘Swamp Creatures’

To secure their share of this grandiloquent banquet, the defense industry’s lobbyists stampede Capitol Hill like well-heeled wildebeest, each jockeying for a plum position at the trough. This year, a robust collection of 208 defense companies spent $93,937,493 to deploy 728 “reported” lobbyists (apparently some go unreported) to feed this year’s trumped-up, $700 billion defense-only budget, according to OpenSecrets.org. Last year they spent $128,845,198 to secure their profitable pieces of the government pie.

And this reliable yearly harvest, along with the revolving doors connecting defense contractors with Capitol Hill, K Street and the Pentagon, is why so many critics blame the masters of war behind the MIC for turning war into a cash machine.

But the cash machine is not confined to the Beltway. There are ATM branches around the country. Much in the way it lavishes Congress with lobbying largesse, the defense industry works hand-in-glove with the Pentagon to spread the appropriations around the nation. This “spread the wealth” strategy may be equally as important as the “inside the Beltway” lobbying that garners so much of our attention and disdain.

Just go to U.S. Department of Defense’s contract announcement webpage on any weekday to get a good sense of the “contracts valued at $7 million or more” that are “announced each business day at 5 p.m.” A recent survey of these “awards” found the usual suspects like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. The MIC was well-represented. But many millions of dollars were also “won” by companies most Americans have never heard of … like this sampling from one day at the end of October:

  • Longbow LLC, Orlando Florida, got $183,474,414 for radar electronic units with the stipulation that work will be performed in Orlando, Florida.
  • Gradkell Systems Inc., Huntsville, Alabama, got $75,000,000 for systems operations and maintenance at Fort Belvoir, Virginia
  • Dawson Federal Inc., San Antonio, Texas; and A&H-Ambica JV LLC, Livonia, Michigan; and Frontier Services Inc., Kansas City, Missouri, will share a $45,000,000 for repair and alternations for land ports of entry in North Dakota and Minnesota.
  • TRAX International Corp., Las Vegas, Nevada, got a $9,203,652 contract modification for non-personal test support services that will be performed in Yuma, Arizona, and Fort Greely, Alaska,
  • Railroad Construction Co. Inc., Paterson, New Jersey, got a $9,344,963 contract modification for base operations support services to be performed in Colts Neck, New Jersey.
  • Belleville Shoe Co., Belleville, Illinois, got $63,973,889 for hot-weather combat boots that will be made in Illinois.
  • American Apparel Inc., Selma, Alabama, got $48,411,186 for combat utility uniforms that will be made in Alabama.
  • National Industries for the Blind, Alexandria, Virginia, got a $12,884,595 contract modification to make and advanced combat helmet pad suspension system. The “locations of performance” are Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Sharing the Largesse

Clearly, the DoD is large enough, and smart enough, to award contracts to companies throughout the 50 states. Yes, it is a function of the sheer size or, more forebodingly, the utter “pervasiveness” of the military in American life. But it is also a strategy. And it’s a tactic readily apparent in a contract recently awarded to Raytheon.

On Oct. 31, 2017, they got a $29,455,672 contract modification for missions systems equipment; computing environment hardware; and software research, test and development. The modification stipulates that the work will spread around the country to “Portsmouth, Rhode Island (46 percent); Tewksbury, Massachusetts (36 percent); Marlboro, Massachusetts (6 percent); Port Hueneme, California (5 percent); San Diego, California (4 percent); and Bath, Maine (3 percent).”

Frankly, it’s a brilliant move that began in the Cold War. The more Congressional districts that got defense dollars, the more votes the defense budget was likely to receive on Capitol Hill. Over time, it evolved into its own underlying rationale for the budget.

As veteran journalist William Greider wrote in the Aug. 16, 1984 issue of Rolling Stone, “The entire political system, including liberals as well as conservatives, is held hostage by the politics of defense spending. Even the most well intentioned are captive to it. And this is a fundamental reason why the Pentagon budget is irrationally bloated and why America is mobilizing for war in a time of peace.”

The peace-time mobilization Greider referred to was the Reagan build-up that, as William Hartung noted, is currently being surpassed by America’s “War on Terror” binge. Then, as now … the US was at peace at home, meddling around the world and running up a huge bill in the process. And then, as now … the spending seems unstoppable.

And as an unnamed “arms-control lobbyist” told Grieder, “It’s a fact of life. I don’t see how you can ask members of Congress to vote against their own districts. If I were a member of Congress, I might vote that way, too.”

Essentially, members of Congress act as secondary lobbyists for the defense industry by making sure their constituents have a vested interest in seeing the defense budget is both robust and untouchable. But they are not alone. Because the states also reap what the Pentagon sows … and, in the wake of the massive post-9/11 splurge, they’ve begun quantifying the impact of defense spending on their economies. It helps them make their specific case for keeping the spigot open.

Enter the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which notes, or touts, that the Department of Defense (DoD) “operates more than 420 military installations in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.” Additionally, the NCSL is understandably impressed by a DoD analysis that found the department’s “$408 billion on payroll and contracts in Fiscal Year 2015” translated into “approximately 2.3 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).”

And they’ve become a clearinghouse for state governments’ economic impact studies of defense spending. Here’s a sampling of recent data compiled on the NSCL website:

  • In 2015, for example, military installations in North Carolinasupported 578,000 jobs, $34 billion in personal income and $66 billion in gross state product. This amounts to roughly 10 percent of the state’s overall economy.
  • In 2014, Coloradolawmakers appropriated $300,000 in state funds to examine the comprehensive value of military activities across the state’s seven major installations. The state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs released its study in May 2015, reporting a total economic impact of $27 billion.
  • Kentuckyhas also taken steps to measure military activity, releasing its fifth study in June 2016. The military spent approximately $12 billion in Kentucky during 2014-15. With 38,700 active duty and civilian employees, military employment exceeds the next largest state employer by more than 21,000 jobs.
  • In Michigan, for example, defense spending in Fiscal Year 2014 supported 105,000 jobs, added more than $9 billion in gross state product and created nearly $10 billion in personal income. A 2016 study sponsored by the Michigan Defense Center presents a statewide strategy to preserve Army and Air National Guard facilities following a future Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round as well as to attract new missions. 

Electoral Impact

But that’s not all. According to the DoD study cited above, the biggest recipients of DoD dollars are (in order): Virginia, California, Texas, Maryland and Florida. And among the top 18 host states for military bases, electorally important states like California, Florida and Texas lead the nation.

And that’s the real rub … this has an electoral impact. Because the constituency for defense spending isn’t just the 1 percent percent of Americans who actively serve in the military or 7 percent of Americans who’ve served sometime in their lives, but it is also the millions of Americans who directly or indirectly make a living off of the “defense-related” largesse that passes through the Pentagon like grass through a goose.

It’s a dirty little secret that Donald Trump exploited throughout the 2016 presidential campaign. Somehow, he was able to criticize wasting money on foreign wars and the neoconservative interventionism of the Bushes, the neoliberal interventionism of Hillary Clinton, and, at the same time, moan endlessly about the “depleted” military despite “years of record-high spending.” He went on to promise a massive increase in the defense budget, a massive increase in naval construction and a huge nuclear arsenal.

And, much to the approval of many Americans, he’s delivered. A Morning Consult/Politico poll showed increased defense spending was the most popular among a variety of spending priorities presented to voters … even as voters express trepidation about the coming of another war. A pair of NBC News/Survey Monkey polls found that 76 percent of Americans are “worried” the United States “will become engaged in a major war in the next four years” and only 25 percent want America to become “more active” in world affairs.

More to the point, only 20 percent of Americans wanted to increase the troop level in Afghanistan after Trump’s stay-the-course speech in August, but Gallup’s three decade-long tracking poll found that the belief the U.S. spends “too little” on defense is at its highest point (37 percent) since it spiked after 9/11 (41 percent). The previous highpoint was 51 percent in 1981 when Ronald Reagan was elected in no small part on the promise of a major build-up.

So, if Americans generally don’t support wars or engagement in the world, why do they seem to reflexively support massive military budgets?

Frankly, look no further than Trump’s mantra of “jobs, jobs, jobs.” He says it when he lords over the sale of weapon systems to foreign powers or he visits a naval shipyard or goes to one of his post-election rallies to proclaim to “We’re building up our military like never before.” Frankly, he’s giving the people what they want. Although they may be war-weary, they’ve not tired of the dispersal system that Greider wrote about during Reagan’s big spree.

Ultimately, it means that the dreaded Military-Industrial Complex isn’t just a shadowy cabal manipulating policies against the will of the American people. Nor is the “racket” exclusive to an elite group of Deep State swamp things. Instead, the military and the vast economic network it feeds presents a far more “complex” issue that involves millions of self-interested Americans in much the way Eisenhower predicted, but few are willing to truly forsake.

Wie gut ist das US Abwehrsystem gegen Langstreckenraketen? => Spoiler: sehr schlecht

http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2017/09/no-we-cannot-shoot-down-north-koreas-missiles/141070

It’s time national leaders speak realistically about missile defense.

The number one reason we don’t shoot down North Korea’s missiles is that we cannot.

Officials like to reassure their publics about our defense to these missiles. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told his nation after last week’s test, “We didn’t intercept it because no damage to Japanese territory was expected.”

That is half true. The missile did not pose a serious threat. It flew over the Japanese island of Hokkaido, landing 3700 km (2300 miles) from its launch point near North Korea’s capital of Pyongyang.

The key word here is “over.” Like way over. Like 770 kilometers (475 miles) over Japan at the apogee of its flight path. Neither Japan nor the United States could have intercepted the missile. None of the theater ballistic missile defense weapons in existence can reach that high. It is hundreds of kilometers too high for the Aegis interceptors deployed on Navy ships off Japan. Even higher for the THAAD systems in South Korea and Guam. Way too high for the Patriot systems in Japan, which engage largely within the atmosphere.

All of these are basically designed to hit a missile in the post-mid-course or terminal phase, when it is on its way down, coming more or less straight at the defending system. Patriot is meant to protect relatively small areas such as ports or air bases; THAAD defends a larger area; the advanced Aegis system theoretically could defend thousands of square kilometers.

But could we intercept before the missile climbed that high? There is almost no chance of hitting a North Korean missile on its way up unless an Aegis ship was deployed very close to the launch point, perhaps in North Korean waters. Even then, it would have to chase the missile, a race it is unlikely to win. In the only one or two minutes of warning time any system would have, the probability of a successful engagement drops close to zero.

“When over Japan, they are too high to reach,” tweeted astronomer Jonathan McDowell, in between tracking the end of the Cassini mission. “You’d have to put the Aegis right off NK coast to have a chance.”

“It’s actually virtually impossible to shoot down a missile on the way up,” adds Gerry Doyle, deputy business editor for Asia at The New York Times.Midcourse or terminal are the only places you have a shot.” That would mean for a test missile shot towards Guam, THAAD would have a chance to engage, though it has only been tested once against a missile of this range. For the test flights over Japan that would mean the only engagements possible are to the east of Japan, when the missile was on its way down. But there is little reason and huge logistical difficulties in having U.S. Aegis destroyers and cruisers loiter in the ocean there, waiting for a possible test launch.

Related: Why Didn’t the US Shoot Down That North Korean Missile?
Related: The Technology Race to Build — or Stop — North Korea’s Nuclear Missiles

Trying to use missiles from Aegis ships “would be a highly demanding task and entail a significant amount of guesswork, as the ships would have to be in the right place at the right time to stop a test at sea,” explains Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Association. And that is if the systems worked as advertised. None of the theater systems have been tested under the stressful conditions of a real-world exchange. THAAD, Patriot and especially Aegis, have done fairly well in tests, but these have been tests designed for success, simplified, carefully staged and using mostly short-range targets. Aegis has only been tested once against an intermediate-range target says Reif, one of the leading experts on U.S. missile defense programs.

What about our long-range defenses, the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense, or GMD, interceptors based in Alaska and California? There the test record is even worse. Even under ideal conditions, where the defenders knew the time, direction and trajectory of the test target and all the details of its shape, temperature, etc., this system has only hit its target half of the time.

“The success rate of the GMD systems in flight intercept tests has been dismal,” says former director of operational testing for the Pentagon, Philip Coyle. Our chances of intercepting a threat missile, even under ideal conditions, are basically “at least as good as a coin toss,” says the former head of the Missile Defense Agency, retired Lt. Gen. Trey Obering.

Yet, reporters routinely use words like “shield” and “dome” to describe our supposed capability, giving us a false sense of security. Officials make the matter worse with exaggerated, if carefully constructed, claims. “The United States military can defend against a limited North Korea attack on Seoul, Japan and the United States,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Joseph Dunford at the annual Aspen Security Forum in July.

Is this true? It depends what you mean by the word “limited.”

If North Korea cooperated and shot their new intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-14, at the United States with adequate warning so that we could prepare, and if the warhead looked pretty much like we expect it to look, and if they only shot one, and if they did not try to spoof the defense with decoys that looked like the warhead, or block the defense with low-power jammers, or hide the warhead in a cloud of chaff, or blind the defense by attacking the vulnerable radars, then, maybe this is true. The United States might have a 50-50 chance of hitting such a missile. If we had time to fire four or five interceptors, then the odds could go up.

But North Korea is unlikely to cooperate. It will do everything possible to suppress the defenses. The 1999 National Intelligence Estimate of the Ballistic Threat to the United States noted that any country capable of testing a long-range ballistic missile would “rely initially on readily available technology – including separating RVs [reentry vehicles], spin-stabilized RVs, RV reorientation, radar absorbing material, booster fragmentation, low-power jammers, chaff, and simple (balloon) decoys – to develop penetration aids and countermeasures.”

Our anti-missile systems have never been realistically tested against any of these simple countermeasures. This is one reason that the Pentagon’s current director of operational testing is much more cautious in his assessments than missile defense program officials. “GMD has demonstrate a limited capability to defend the U.S. Homeland from small numbers of simple intermediate-range or intercontinental ballistic missile threats launched from North Korea or Iran,” he reports. Moreover, it is impossible, he says, to “quantitatively assess GMD performance due to lack of ground tests” and “the reliability and availability of the operational GBI’s [Ground-Based Interceptors] is low, and the MDA continues to discover new failure modes during testing.”

Yet, we have spent $40 billion on the GMD system and over $320 billion on scores of missile defense systems over the past few decades. You have to wonder exactly what these tests are for: give the troops the protection they need or give the contractors the next program payment?

There is no need to rely on the word of missile defense boosters, or, for that matter, trust the analysis of jaded missile defense critics. We could stop testing for success and begin testing for actual performance, with “red team – blue team” tests, for example, to simulate a determined foe. We could also order an objective scientific assessment. For example, the American Physical Society could conduct a thorough examination of the feasibility and capability of kinetic missile defense weapons, just as they did for directed-energy weapons in 1987. That study popped the balloon of false claims about these weapons, the original basis for the “Star Wars” program begun by the Reagan administration, concluding that it would be decades before we would know if such weapons were even feasible.

North Korea’s ballistic missile threat is real. We need to know if our missile defenses are for real.

UPDATE: The comment from retired Lt. Gen. Trey Obering has been expanded to more accurately reflect his belief that missile defense interceptors could defend against a missile attack on the United States.

Social Media als Mittel für Psyops

Gute Artikel, welcher die Form von öffentlicher Beeinflussung durch Medien erklärt und aufzeigt, wie Russland ohne nachhaltige Beweise verteufelt wird. Alles wohl, um die militärische Spannung aufrecht zu erhalten (Absatzmarkt schaffen für neue Waffen und mehr Sicherheit im Allgemeinen) und zu vertuschen, weshalb Hillary Clinton wirklich die Präsidentschaftswahl verloren hat und was dabei alles schief ging.

 

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/11/06/learning-to-love-mccarthyism/

Learning to Love McCarthyism

Special Report: Many American liberals who once denounced McCarthyism as evil are now learning to love the ugly tactic when it can be used to advance the Russia-gate “scandal” and silence dissent, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The New York Times has finally detected some modern-day McCarthyism, but not in the anti-Russia hysteria that the newspaper has fueled for several years amid the smearing of American skeptics as “useful idiots” and the like. No, the Times editors are accusing a Long Island Republican of McCarthyism for linking his Democratic rival to “New York City special interest groups.” As the Times laments, “It’s the old guilt by association.”

Yet, the Times sees no McCarthyism in the frenzy of Russia-bashing and guilt by association for any American who can be linked even indirectly to any Russian who might have some ill-defined links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Monday, in the same edition that expressed editorial outrage over that Long Island political ad’s McCarthyism, the Times ran two front-page articles under the headline: “A Complex Paper Trail: Blurring Kremlin’s Ties to Key U.S. Businesses.”

The two subheads read: “Shipping Firm Links Commerce Chief to Putin ‘Cronies’” and “Millions in Facebook Shares Rooted in Russian Cash.” The latter story, which meshes nicely with the current U.S. political pressure on Facebook and Twitter to get in line behind the New Cold War against Russia, cites investments by Russian Yuri Milner that date back to the start of the decade.

Buried in the story’s “jump” is the acknowledgement that Milner’s “companies sold those holdings several years ago.” But such is the anti-Russia madness gripping the Establishment of Washington and New York that any contact with any Russian constitutes a scandal worthy of front-page coverage. On Monday, The Washington Post published a page-one article entitled, “9 in Trump’s orbit had contacts with Russians.”

The anti-Russian madness has reached such extremes that even when you say something that’s obviously true – but that RT, the Russian television network, also reported – you are attacked for spreading “Russian propaganda.”

We saw that when former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile disclosed in her new book that she considered the possibility of replacing Hillary Clinton on the Democratic ticket after Clinton’s public fainting spell and worries about her health.

Though there was a video of Clinton’s collapse on Sept. 11, 2016, followed by her departure from the campaign trail to fight pneumonia – not to mention her earlier scare with blood clots – the response from a group of 100 Clinton supporters was to question Brazile’s patriotism: “It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponents about our candidate’s health.”

In other words, the go-to excuse for everything these days is to blame the Russians and smear anyone who says anything – no matter how true – if it also was reported on RT.

Pressing the Tech Companies

Just as Sen. Joe McCarthy liked to haul suspected “communists” and “fellow-travelers” before his committee in the 1950s, the New McCarthyism has its own witch-hunt hearings, such as last week’s Senate grilling of executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google for supposedly allowing Russians to have input into the Internet’s social networks.

Trying to appease Congress and fend off threats of government regulation, the rich tech companies displayed their eagerness to eradicate any Russian taint.

Twitter’s general counsel Sean J. Edgett told the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism that Twitter adopted an “expansive approach to defining what qualifies as a Russian-linked account.”

Edgett said the criteria included “whether the account was created in Russia, whether the user registered the account with a Russian phone carrier or a Russian email address, whether the user’s display name contains Cyrillic characters, whether the user frequently Tweets in Russian, and whether the user has logged in from any Russian IP address, even a single time. We considered an account to be Russian-linked if it had even one of the relevant criteria.”

The trouble with Twitter’s methodology was that none of those criteria would connect an account to the Russian government, let alone Russian intelligence or some Kremlin-controlled “troll farm.” But the criteria could capture individual Russians with no link to the Kremlin as well as people who weren’t Russian at all, including, say, American or European visitors to Russia who logged onto Twitter through a Moscow hotel.

Also left unsaid is that Russians are not the only national group that uses the Cyrillic alphabet. It is considered a standard script for writing in Belarus, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbo-Croatia and Ukraine. So, for instance, a Ukrainian using the Cyrillic alphabet could end up falling into the category of “Russian-linked” even if he or she hated Putin.

Twitter’s attorney also said the company conducted a separate analysis from information provided by unidentified “third party sources” who pointed toward accounts supposedly controlled by the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), totaling 2,752 accounts. The IRA is typically described in the U.S. press as a “troll farm” which employs tech-savvy employees who combat news and opinions that are hostile to Russia and the Russian government. But exactly how those specific accounts were traced back to this organization was not made clear.

And, to put that number in some perspective, Twitter claims 330 million active monthly users, which makes the 2,752 accounts less than 0.001 percent of the total.

The Trouble with ‘Trolling’

While the Russia-gate investigation has sought to portray the IRA effort as exotic and somehow unique to Russia, the strategy is followed by any number of governments, political movements and corporations – sometimes using enthusiastic volunteers but often employing professionals skilled at challenging critical information or at least muddying the waters.

Those of us who operate on the Internet are familiar with harassment from “trolls” who may use access to “comment” sections to inject propaganda and disinformation to sow confusion, to cause disruption, or to discredit the site by promoting ugly opinions and nutty conspiracy theories.

As annoying as this “trolling” is, it’s just a modern version of more traditional strategies used by powerful entities for generations – hiring public-relations specialists, lobbyists, lawyers and supposedly impartial “activists” to burnish images, fend off negative news and intimidate nosy investigators. In this competition, modern Russia is both a late-comer and a piker.

The U.S. government fields legions of publicists, propagandists, paid journalists, psy-ops specialists, contractors and non-governmental organizations to promote Washington’s positions and undermine rivals through information warfare.

The CIA has an entire bureaucracy dedicated to propaganda and disinformation, with some of those efforts farmed out to newer entities such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) or paid for by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). NATO has a special command in Latvia that undertakes “strategic communications.”

Israel is another skilled player in this field, tapping into its supporters around the world to harass people who criticize the Zionist project. Indeed, since the 1980s, Israel has pioneered many of the tactics of computer spying and sabotage that were adopted and expanded by America’s National Security Agency, explaining why the Obama administration teamed up with Israel in a scheme to plant malicious code into Iranian centrifuges to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program.

It’s also ironic that the U.S. government touted social media as a great benefit in advancing so-called “color revolutions” aimed at “regime change” in troublesome countries. For instance, when the “green revolution” was underway in Iran in 2009 after the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Obama administration asked Twitter to postpone scheduled maintenance so the street protesters could continue using the platform to organize against Ahmadinejad and to distribute their side of the story to the outside world.

During the so-called Arab Spring in 2011, Facebook, Twitter and Skype won praise as a means of organizing mass demonstrations to destabilize governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. Back then, the U.S. government denounced any attempts to throttle these social media platforms and the free flow of information that they permitted as proof of dictatorship.

Social media also was a favorite of the U.S. government in Ukraine in 2013-14 when the Maidan protests exploited these platforms to help destabilize and ultimately overthrow the elected government of Ukraine, the key event that launched the New Cold War with Russia.

Swinging the Social Media Club

The truth is that, in those instances, the U.S. governments and its agencies were eagerly exploiting the platforms to advance Washington’s geopolitical agenda by disseminating American propaganda and deploying U.S.-funded non-governmental organizations, which taught activists how to use social media to advance “regime change” scenarios.

While these uprisings were sold to Western audiences as genuine outpourings of public anger – and there surely was some of that – the protests also benefited from U.S. funding and expertise. In particular, NED and USAID provided money, equipment and training for anti-government operatives challenging regimes in U.S. disfavor.

One of the most successful of these propaganda operations occurred in Syria where anti-government rebels operating in areas controlled by Al Qaeda and its fellow Islamic militants used social media to get their messaging to Western mainstream journalists who couldn’t enter those sectors without fear of beheading.

Since the rebels’ goal of overthrowing President Bashar al-Assad meshed with the objectives of the U.S. government and its allies in Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, Western journalists uncritically accepted the words and images provided by Al Qaeda’s collaborators.

The success of this propaganda was so extraordinary that the White Helmets, a “civil defense” group that worked in Al Qaeda territory, became the go-to source for dramatic video and even was awarded the short-documentary Oscar for an info-mercial produced for Netflix – despite evidence that the White Helmets were staging some of the scenes for propaganda purposes.

Indeed, one argument for believing that Putin and the Kremlin might have “meddled” in last year’s U.S. election is that they could have felt it was time to give the United States a taste of its own medicine.

After all, the United States intervened in the 1996 Russian election to ensure the continued rule of the corrupt and pliable Boris Yeltsin. And there were the U.S.-backed street protests in Moscow against the 2011 and 2012 elections in which Putin strengthened his political mandate. Those protests earned the “color” designation the “snow revolution.”

However, whatever Russia may or may not have done before last year’s U.S. election, the Russia-gate investigations have always sought to exaggerate the impact of that alleged “meddling” and molded the narrative to whatever weak evidence was available.

The original storyline was that Putin authorized the “hacking” of Democratic emails as part of a “disinformation” operation to undermine Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and to help elect Donald Trump – although no hard evidence has been presented to establish that Putin gave such an order or that Russia “hacked” the emails. WikiLeaks has repeatedly denied getting the emails from Russia, which also denies any meddling.

Further, the emails were not “disinformation”; they were both real and, in many cases, newsworthy. The DNC emails provided evidence that the DNC unethically tilted the playing field in favor of Clinton and against Sen. Bernie Sanders, a point that Brazile also discovered in reviewing staffing and financing relationships that Clinton had with the DNC under the prior chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The purloined emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta revealed the contents of Clinton’s paid speeches to Wall Street (information that she was trying to hide from voters) and pay-to-play features of the Clinton Foundation.

A Manchurian Candidate?

Still, the original narrative was that Putin wanted his Manchurian Candidate (Trump) in the White House and took the extraordinary risk of infuriating the odds-on favorite (Clinton) by releasing the emails even though they appeared unlikely to prevent Clinton’s victory. So, there was always that logical gap in the Russia-gate theory.

Since then, however, the U.S. mainstream narrative has shifted, in part, because the evidence of Russian election “meddling” was so shaky. Under intense congressional pressure to find something, Facebook reported $100,000 in allegedly “Russian-linked” ads purchased in 2015-17, but noted that only 44 percent were bought before the election. So, not only was the “Russian-linked” pebble tiny – compared to Facebook’s annual revenue of $27 billion – but more than half of the pebble was tossed into this very large lake after Clinton had already lost.

So, the storyline was transformed into some vague Russian scheme to exacerbate social tensions in the United States by taking different sides of hot-button issues, such as police brutality against blacks. The New York Times reported that one of these “Russian-linked” pages featured photos of cute puppies, which the Times speculated must have had some evil purpose although it was hard to fathom. (Oh, those devious Russians!).

The estimate of how many Americans may have seen one of these “Russian-linked” ads also keeps growing, now up to as many as 126 million or about one-third of the U.S. population. Of course, the way the Internet works – with any item possibly going viral – you might as well say the ads could have reached billions of people.

Whenever I write an article or send out a Tweet, I too could be reaching 126 million or even billions of people, but the reality is that I’d be lucky if the number were in the thousands. But amid the Russia-gate frenzy, no exaggeration is too outlandish or too extreme.

Another odd element of Russia-gate is that the intensity of this investigation is disproportionate to the lack of interest shown toward far better documented cases of actual foreign-government interference in American elections and policymaking.

For instance, the major U.S. media long ignored the extremely well-documented case of Richard Nixon colluding with South Vietnamese officials to sabotage President Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam War peace talks to gain an advantage for Nixon in the 1968 election. That important chapter of history only gained The New York Times’ seal of approval earlier this year after the Times had dismissed the earlier volumes of evidence as “rumors.”

In the 1980 election, Ronald Reagan’s team – especially his campaign director William Casey in collaboration with Israel and Iran – appeared to have gone behind President Jimmy Carter’s back to undercut Carter’s negotiations to free 52 American hostages then held in Iran and essentially doom Carter’s reelection hopes.

There were a couple of dozen witnesses to that scheme who spoke with me and other investigative journalists – as well as documentary evidence showing that President Reagan did authorize secret arms shipments to Iran via Israel shortly after the hostages were freed during Reagan’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 1981.

However, since Vice President (later President) George H.W. Bush, who was implicated in the scheme, was well-liked on both sides of the aisle and because Reagan had become a Republican icon, the October Surprise case of 1980 was pooh-poohed by the major media and dismissed by a congressional investigation in the early 1990s. Despite the extraordinary number of witnesses and supporting documents, Wikipedia listed the scandal as a “conspiracy theory.”

Israeli Influence

And, if you’re really concerned about foreign interference in U.S. elections and policies, there’s the remarkable influence of Israel and its perceived ability to effect the defeat of almost any politician who deviates from what the Israeli government wants, going back at least to the 1980s when Sen. Chuck Percy and Rep. Paul Findley were among the political casualties after pursuing contacts with the Palestinians.

If anyone doubts how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has continued to pull the strings of U.S. politicians, just watch one of his record-tying three addresses to joint sessions of Congress and count how often Republicans and Democrats jump to their feet in enthusiastic applause. (The only other foreign leader to get the joint-session honor three times was Great Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill.)

So, what makes Russia-gate different from the other cases? Did Putin conspire with Trump to extend a bloody war as Nixon did with the South Vietnamese leaders? Did Putin lengthen the captivity of U.S. hostages to give Trump a political edge? Did Putin manipulate U.S. policy in the Middle East to entice President George W. Bush to invade Iraq and set the region ablaze, as Israel’s Netanyahu did? Is Putin even now pushing for wider Mideast wars, as Netanyahu is?

Indeed, one point that’s never addressed in any serious way is why is the U.S. so angry with Russia while these other cases, in which U.S. interests were clearly damaged and American democracy compromised, were treated largely as non-stories.

Why is Russia-gate a big deal while the other cases weren’t? Why are opposite rules in play now – with Democrats, many Republicans and the major news media flogging fragile “links,” needling what little evidence there is, and assuming the worst rather than insisting that only perfect evidence and perfect witnesses be accepted as in the earlier cases?

The answer seems to be the widespread hatred for President Trump combined with vested interests in favor of whipping up the New Cold War. That is a goal valued by both the Military-Industrial Complex, which sees trillions of dollars in strategic weapons systems in the future, and the neoconservatives, who view Russia as a threat to their “regime change” agendas for Syria and Iran.

After all, if Russia and its independent-minded President Putin can be beaten back and beaten down, then a big obstacle to the neocon/Israeli goal of expanding the Mideast wars will be removed.

Right now, the neocons are openly lusting for a “regime change” in Moscow despite the obvious risks that such turmoil in a nuclear-armed country might create, including the possibility that Putin would be succeeded not by some compliant Western client like the late Boris Yeltsin but by an extreme nationalist who might consider launching a nuclear strike to protect the honor of Mother Russia.

The Democrats, the liberals and even many progressives justify their collusion with the neocons by the need to remove Trump by any means necessary and “stop fascism.” But their contempt for Trump and their exaggeration of the “Hitler” threat that this incompetent buffoon supposedly poses have blinded them to the extraordinary risks attendant to their course of action and how they are playing into the hands of the war-hungry neocons.

A Smokescreen for Repression

There also seems to be little or no concern that the Establishment is using Russia-gate as a smokescreen for clamping down on independent media sites on the Internet. Traditional supporters of civil liberties have looked the other way as the rights of people associated with the Trump campaign have been trampled and journalists who simply question the State Department’s narratives on, say, Syria and Ukraine are denounced as “Moscow stooges” and “useful idiots.”

The likely outcome from the anti-Russian show trials on Capitol Hill is that technology giants will bow to the bipartisan demand for new algorithms and other methods for stigmatizing, marginalizing and eliminating information that challenges the mainstream storylines in the cause of fighting “Russian propaganda.”

The warning from powerful senators was crystal clear. “I don’t think you get it,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, warned social media executives last week. “You bear this responsibility. You created these platforms, and now they are being misused. And you have to be the ones who do something about it. Or we will.”

As this authoritarian if not totalitarian future looms and as the dangers of nuclear annihilation from an intentional or unintentional nuclear war with Russia grow, many people who should know better are caught up in the Russia-gate frenzy.

I used to think that liberals and progressives opposed McCarthyism because they regarded it as a grave threat to freedom of thought and to genuine democracy, but now it appears that they have learned to love McCarthyism except, of course, when it rears its ugly head in some Long Island political ad criticizing New York City.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

Die Schweiz(er Nationalbank) besitzt US Aktien im Wert von 87 Mia Dollar (ca 87 Mia CHF) und 19.2 Mio Aktien von Apple

In the third quarter of 2017, one in which the global economy was supposedly undergoing an unprecedented „coordinated growth spurt“, and in which central banks were preparing to unveil their QE tapering intentions, in the case of the ECB, or raising rates outright, at the Fed, what was really taking place was another central bank buying spree meant to boost confidence that things are now back to normal, using „money“ freshly printed out of thin air, and spent to prop up risk assets around the world by recklessly buying stocks with no regard for price or cost.

Nowhere was this more obvious than in the latest, just released 13F from the massive hedge fund known as the „Swiss National Bank.“ What it showed is that, just like in the prior quarter, and the quarter before that, and on, and on, the Swiss central bank had gone on another aggressive buying spree and following its record purchases in the first quarter, the central bank boosted its total holdings of US stocks to an all time high $87.8 billion, up 4.2% or $3.5 billion from the $84.3 billion at the end of the second first quarter.

As reported earlier this week, as of Sept.30, the Swiss central bank had accumulated foreign exchange worth 760 billion francs (roughly the same in USD) due to its relentless open market interventions to depress the Swiss franc, and has „invested“ those funds created out of thin air in both stocks and bonds. At the end of the second quarter, it held 20% in equities, of which the bulk was in US stocks.

While we are far beyond the point of debating central bank intervention in equity markets (we do want to remind readers that until several years ago, it was considered „fake news“ to even mention it, and those who accused central bankers of manipulating stock markets were said to be paranoid tinfoil basement dwellers), we want to point out that unlike the BOJ, which at least keeps its capital markets distortion local, the SNB, which likewise creates money out of thin air (then sells it for dollars in an attempt to keep the Swiss franc depressed) is actively causing substantial price distortions in the US.

While we doubt this will be investigated with stocks are at all time highs, we look forward to the Congressional hearings after the crash when the scapegoating and fingerpointing begins as it always does, and everyone is „stunned“ to learn that central banks were responsible for blowing the biggest asset bubble the world has ever seen by directly buying stocks.

What else did the SNB reveal in its 13F? Two main things.

First, its top 20 holdings are as shown in the following chart. The central bank was clearly not shy in adding to its top positions.

And while we have yet to learn if Warren Buffett was actively frontrunning the SNB once again during the quarter, by buying even more AAPL shares, a look at the SNB’s holdings of AAPL stock which again increased modestly to 19.2 million shares, making it a larger holder of AAPL stock than Schwab and Franklin Resources (with 18.3 and 17.0 million shares respectively), and just behind Janus with 20 million shares, shows one of the main reasons why the Nasdaq has until recently been hitting new all time highs on a daily basis.

The chart above also explains why Goldman, despite warning of rising client worries about record low volatility and record high valuations, remains bullish on the Nasdaq 100: after all, when a central bank can and does create money out of thin air, then splurges on the handful of tech companies that have the biggest impact on the broader market, pushing both the Nasdaq and all indices higher, what is the point of even talking about „risk“?

Source: SNB 13-F