Category Archives: Media

WSJ Says CIA Chief Wouldn’t Do Anything ‘Inappropriate’—Despite Record of Torture and Coverup, by Joshua Cho

Sometimes you wonder if the Wall Street Journal doesn’t just take dictation from the CIA. From Joshua Cho at fair.org:

Depiction of Gina Haspel in Wall Street Journal

A Wall Street Journal report (5/25/19) by Warren Strobel whitewashed CIA Director Gina Haspel’s career and put a positive spin on the CIA’s insulation from public accountability with its turn towards its greatest opacity “in decades.”

While one might expect CIA officials to support greater secrecy around the organization, it’s odd that ostensibly independent journalists—with a mission to hold official organizations accountable by informing the public—would treat less information coming from the agency as a positive development.

WSJ: Under CIA Chief Gina Haspel, an Intelligence Service Returns to the Shadows

The Wall Street Journal (5/25/19) says “returns to the shadows” like that’s a good thing.

Yet that’s exactly what the Journal report did, depicting Haspel’s strategy of avoiding backlash from the Trump administration by not publicly contradicting its dubious claims as “protecting the agency” from “the domestic threat of a toxic US political culture.”

“She and her agency have adopted their lowest public profile in decades,” Strobel writes—just before summing her up as a “CIA director who has been warmly received by the workforce she has spent her life among.”

In other words, for the Journal, a public intelligence agency sharing its intelligence with the public is a bad thing, unless it supports US foreign policy by agreeing with whatever the Trump administration is saying. This position is echoed in the piece by official sources, like former CIA official and staff director of the House Intelligence Committee Mark Lowenthal, who assures us, “It’s not going to be any good for her [Haspel] to be out there attracting lightning bolts.”

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A Soldier’s Defense of Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, by Danny Sjursen

A former soldier applauds Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange’s exposure of US  war crimes. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

It’s a matter of principles over personalities. Whether one loves or hates Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange is besides the point. The First Amendment freedom of the press is at stake now. In this case the government’s tool for oppression is the Espionage Act, an archaic relic from America’s repressive World War I-era legislation. Chelsea Manning already served seven years of a 35-year sentence, one of the longest ever meted out to a whistleblower, and was recently jailed again after she refused to testify about WikiLeaks.

That was harsh and disturbing enough for those of us who value transparency regarding our national security state. Now the Trump administration has gone a step further and threatens, for the first time ever, to imprison an actual publisher – in this case Julian Assange. Charged on 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act, Assange – currently jailed in Britain – faces extradition and a lengthy sentence in the United States.

I’ve been called a whistleblower, myself, for my decision to write a book and articles critical of the American warfare state and the military to which I dedicated my entire adult life from the age of seventeen. But the truth is I’ve got nothing on Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. Manning broke the law, risked it all, went to prison for her principles. Assange is headed for the same fate. And as a soldier I’m glad they did what they did!

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The Trust Project: Big Media and Silicon Valley’s Weaponized Algorithms Silence Dissent, by Whitney Webb

The last thing you should do is trust the Trust Project. From Whitney Webb at mintpressnews.com:

After the failure of Newsguard — the news rating system backed by a cadre of prominent neoconservative personalities — to gain traction among American tech and social media companies, another organization has quietly stepped in to direct the news algorithms of tech giants such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.

Though different from Newsguard, this group, known as “The Trust Project,” has a similar goal of restoring “trust” in corporate, mainstream media outlets, relative to independent alternatives, by applying “trust indicators” to social-media news algorithms in a decidedly untransparent way. The funding of “The Trust Project” — coming largely from big tech companies like Google; government-connected tech oligarchs like Pierre Omidyar; and the Knight Foundation, a key Newsguard investor — suggests that an ulterior motive in its tireless promotion of “traditional” mainstream media outlets is to limit the success of dissenting alternatives.

Of particular importance is the fact that the Trust Project’s “trust indicators” are already being used to control what news is promoted and suppressed by top search engines like Google and Bing and massive social-media networks like Facebook. Though the descriptions of these “trust indicators” — eight of which are currently in use — are publicly available, the way they are being used by major tech and social media companies is not.

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NYT Covers Up CIA Skripal Lie With Even Worse CIA Skripal Lie, by Tyler Durden

What a tangled web they weave, when intelligence agencies and their captive media practice to deceive. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the fact that the New York Times has corrected its CIA-Skripal story, saying that no ‘dead ducks’ or ‘sick kids’ in Salisbury due to the ‘Novichok’ nerve agent.

The New York Times corrected a report that stated UK officials shared photos with the CIA showing children and ducks who head been exposed to the Novichok nerve agent after coming into contact with the Skripals.

The NYT reported on April 16 that the British government had supplied images of “young children hospitalized” and of dead ducks, poisoned after interactions with Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia at a park in Salisbury in March of last year.

The NYT profile of CIA Director Gina Haspel had claimed the ‘dead duck’ images were used to convince US President Trump to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the US in response to the Skripal case. The New York Times now says no photos ever existed, and its report of such photos was inaccurate.

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MSM Mourns Death Of CIA-Backed Syrian Al-Qaeda/ISIS Ally, by Caitlin Johnstone

That the Free Syrian Army was in bed with al Qaeda and ISIS against the government of Syria has not stopped the US government from supporting it and lionizing its dead. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

On Wednesday the alternative media outlet Southfront published an article titled “New Video Throws Light On Jaysh Al-Izza High-Tolerance To Al-Qaeda Ideology” about newly discovered footage showing the leader of a “rebel” faction in Syria cozying up with a militant who was wearing a badge of the official flag of ISIS.

“The video shows Jaysh al-Izza General Commander Major Jamil al-Saleh congratulating a group of his fighters on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr in a underground bunker,” Southfront reports. “One of the fighters greeted by Saleh was wearing a batch of the Islamic Black Standard with the Seal of Muhammad. This is a well-known symbol of al-Qaeda and the official flag of ISIS.”

Today, mass media outlets are mourning the death of a well-known Jaysh al-Izza fighter named Abdel-Basset al-Sarout with grief-stricken beatifications not seen since the death of war criminal John McCain. An Associated Press report which has been published by major news outlets like The New York Times, The Guardian, PBS and Bloomberg commemorates Sarout as a “Syrian soccer goalkeeper” who “won international titles representing his country”, as “the singer of the revolution”, and as “an icon among Syria’s opposition”.

Remember Major Jamil al-Saleh from two paragraphs ago? AP features his glowing eulogy in its write-up on Sarout’s death:

“He was both a popular figure, guiding the rebellion, and a military commander,” said Maj. Jamil al-Saleh, leader of Jaish al-Izza rebel group, in which Sarout was a commander. “His martyrdom will give us a push to continue down the path he chose and to which he offered his soul and blood as sacrifice.”

Other mainstream outlets like BBCThe Daily Beast and Al Jazeera have contributed their own fawning hagiographies of the late Jaysh al-Izza commander.

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“Europe Will Not Be Europe”, by Guy Millière

The outcome in the European Parliamentary elections will do nothing to alter what now appears to be Europe’s inevitable transformation. From Guy Millière at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • In the United Kingdom, the Brexit Party victory at 31.6% of the vote was a remarkable achievement that showed the persistent willingness of millions of Britons to leave the European Union. The “populist” positions — the defense of national sovereignty and European civilization, refusal of uncontrolled immigration and diktats of Brussels technocrats — have gained ground.
  • The parties that have ruled Europe for decades obtained weak results, but, with rare exceptions, did not collapse — and will continue to dominate the European Union.
  • The Greens may gain more influence – along with its consequences. To anyone who read the Greens’ programs, it is evident that they are essentially leftists with an environmental green mask. They support unrestricted immigration and multiculturalism. They are…resolutely hostile to any defense of Western civilization, to free enterprise and free markets. They are often in favor of zero growth. Most of them support an apocalyptic vision of climate change and say that the survival of humanity will be at stake around the corner if Europe does not take drastic measures to “save the planet”. All of them are in favor of authoritarian decisions imposed from Brussels to all of Europe.
  • A European parliament placed under the influence of the Greens will almost certainly accelerate the slide towards more power given to the unelected members of the European Commission, and a phasing out of nuclear energy and fossil fuels. Policies favorable to still more immigration already are in preparation.
(Image source: iStock)

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Hacking Dirty Government Secrets Is Not a Crime, by Ted Rail

People who blow the whistle on government crime (Is that a redundancy?) should be given medals, not jail sentences. From Ted Rail at antiwar.com:

British goon cops acting at the request of the United States government entered Ecuador’s embassy in London, dragged out WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and prepared to ship him across the pond. After this event last month, most of the mainstream media reacted with spiteful glee about Assange’s predicament and relief that the Department of Justice had exercised self-restraint in its choice of charges.

“Because traditional journalistic activity does not extend to helping a source break a code to gain illicit access to a classified network, the charge appeared to be an attempt by prosecutors to sidestep the potential First Amendment minefield of treating the act of publishing information as a crime,” reported a pleased New York Times.

At the time, the feds had accused Assange of hacking conspiracy because he and Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning allegedly discussed how to break into a Pentagon computer.

Bob Garfield of NPR’s “On the Media,” a veteran reporter who should and probably does know better, was one of many establishmentarians who opined that we needn’t worry because Assange isn’t a “real” journalist.

This being the Trump administration, self-restraint was in short supply. It turns out that the short list of Assange charges was a temporary ploy to manipulate our gullible English allies. Now, Assange faces 17 additional charges under the Espionage Act, and a finally concerned Times calls it “a novel case that raises profound First Amendment issues” and “a case that could open the door to criminalizing activities that are crucial to American investigative journalists who write about national security matters.”

Corporate media’s instant reversal on Assange – from rapist scum to First Amendment hero within minutes – elevates self-serving hypocrisy to high art. But that’s OK. Whatever gets Assange closer to freedom is welcome – even the jackals of corporate media.

May we linger, however, on an important point that risks getting lost?

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