Exclusive: From the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shoot-down to Tom Brady’s NFL suspension, reality gets defined not by facts and reason but by power and propaganda, reports Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
Power – far more than fact – determines what is defined as true in America, a nation that has become dangerously disconnected from reality in matters both trivial and important.
The way it works now is that, in case after case, the more powerful entity in the equation imposes the answer and the rest of us are invited to join in by throwing stones and jeering at the weaker party. Two current examples make the point:
On the more substantive side, there is the 2014 case of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people – and blamed by U.S. officials and the Western media on ethnic Russian rebels and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (More on that below.)
On the more personal side is the case of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has been defined by the powerful National Football League as a perjurer for denying under oath the NFL’s scientifically dubious charges that he was part of a scheme to slightly deflate footballs.
On Monday, a federal appeals court ruled that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had the power to do to Brady or any other player pretty much whatever Goodell wants in acting as judge, jury and executioner.
In the Brady case, the NFL and Goodell were the stronger parties, so they got to define the reality as far as the major U.S. media was concerned, depicting Brady as a liar and cheater although there was no direct evidence that any footballs had actually been deflated.
NFL officials, who launched the brouhaha known as “Deflategate,” admitted that they didn’t know that cold air and moisture reduce a football’s internal air pressure. They simply assumed that the drop in PSI, detected at the halftime of the AFC Championship game more than a year ago, could only come from letting air out of the balls.
A Vendetta on a Roll
Once the vendetta got started, however, it took on a life of its own. In the major U.S. media, the NFL and Goodell controlled the narrative and – with rival NFL owners playing a significant behind-the-scenes role – engineered both a four-game suspension of Brady and the stripping of draft picks from the Patriots.
Despite many scientific experts challenging the NFL’s sloppy scientific claims, the U.S. media – from The New York Times to ESPN – took the NFL’s side while fans of other teams joined in the mocking of Brady and laughing at any attempts to apply science and reason to the case.
The NFL and Goodell were allowed to decide what was “true” despite their corrupt role in covering up the dangers from concussions to players. In other words, the NFL’s history of lying on a matter as consequential as the safety of all football players – both amateur and professional – was not taken into account when balancing the league’s credibility against the denials of Brady and two locker-room assistants linked to the supposed scheme to intentionally deflate footballs.
And, despite all the time and attention this silly scandal absorbed, there was almost no examination of the science involved and no one in the major U.S. media looked at the conflict of interest in rival NFL owners on the NFL’s Management Council pressing Goodell to impose harsh penalties against Brady and the Patriots.
The Management Council controls whether Goodell gets to keep his $35 million job and these rival owners made anti-Brady recommendations to Goodell as he was considering Brady’s initial appeal of his suspension, according to Goodell’s own appeals decision.
After Goodell rejected Brady’s appeal – calling Brady’s sworn testimony false – the NFL got to choose which federal court would handle the case, picking one in New York that was known to be heavily pro-management.
Although District Court Judge Richard Berman last year overturned Brady’s four-game suspension on largely technical grounds, the deck was stacked against the player when the NFL appealed.
On Monday, the NFL got a 2-to-1 favorable ruling from appellate judges who reinstated Brady’s suspension and asserted that Goodell had nearly unlimited authority in disciplinary matters. [For more on the history, see Consortiumnews.com’s “A Deflategate Slapdown of NFL and MSM.”]
New Claims on MH-17
On a far more serious level, there’s the tragic case of MH-17, which has been thrust back into the news by British press reports about an upcoming BBC documentary that cites seven eyewitnesses in Ukraine who reported seeing a warplane in the vicinity on July 17, 2014, just before MH-17 was shot down – and one witness saying he saw the warplane firing what looked like an air-to-air missile.
That account, if taken seriously, would put another chink in the West’s narrative absolving the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government of any responsibility and blaming ethnic Russian rebels and Putin.
In the MH-17 equation, the rebels and Putin have been the weaker parties, subject of an intense U.S.-led propaganda campaign aimed at getting Europe to impose economic sanctions that serve a larger neoconservative goal of weakening and destabilizing Russia.
So, at the time of the shoot-down, eyewitness reports from Ukraine of people seeing one or two Ukrainian warplanes in the sky – a claim apparently backed up by Russian radar – were dismissed in Western media. The Ukrainian government claimed it had no warplanes in the area and that assertion was widely accepted in the West.
But the regime had turned off its primary radar systems over the area supposedly for reasons of malfunction and maintenance. That left only Ukraine’s secondary radar, which tracked aircraft equipped with transponders such as commercial flights but would not show military aircraft, which don’t identify themselves with transponders for obvious reasons of stealth.
The Russians said their radar, looking into Ukraine, appeared to detect a possible warplane approaching MH-17, but they said their primary radar was not saved because it was outside their jurisdiction. They offered only the visual screen images, which Western investigators discounted.
A Divergent Finding
However, within days of the shoot-down, the official U.S. story blaming Russia and what U.S. intelligence was discovering sharply diverged, a source briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me. The source said U.S. spy data revealed what looked like an ambush by a Ukrainian warplane and a ground-to-air missile fired by a rogue element of the Ukrainian military associated with a hardline Ukrainian oligarch.
The source said CIA analysts gave serious weight to the possibility that the attack was originally intended to kill President Putin who was returning from a state visit to South America aboard his official plane with markings similar to MH-17.
But this analysis contradicted the out-of-the-gate public statements by Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior U.S. officials and thus, the source said, would “reverse the narrative,” making the pro-U.S. Ukrainians look like the bad guys and the Russians not so much.
So, if the source’s information is correct, the needs of America’s global power took precedence over any mandate for honesty in reporting the facts to the American people and the world’s public, including the families of the MH-17 victims.
Since summer 2014, the MH-17 investigation has moved at a glacial pace with the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) and a Dutch criminal investigation still not issuing any official findings as to who was responsible.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government continues to withhold the data that Secretary Kerry cited shortly after the crash, which he claimed implicated the rebels and Russia.
While Kerry declared that the U.S. government knew almost immediately where the ground-to-air missile was fired, the Dutch Safety Board report last October could only put the firing location within a 320-square-kilometer area (covering both government and rebel territory) and a Dutch intelligence report stated that the only operational missiles in the area capable of downing a plane at 33,000 feet were controlled by the Ukrainian military.
But the Western media still reports routinely that a “Russian-made” Buk missile was fired from rebel territory, leaving the public impression that the Russians were responsible (although the “Russian-made” element was always misleading because the Ukrainian military also uses “Russian-made” equipment).
What impact the BBC program may have on the West’s dominant storyline blaming the Russian rebels and Putin is hard to know since the U.S. government has invested so heavily in that narrative and would face a serious loss of credibility by reversing its position at this late date. [For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Kerry Balks at Supplying MH-17 Data.”]
Plus, there is the arrogance of powerful institutions,whether the NFL or the U.S. government, that they can literally define reality for us commoners — and who’s to stop them. [Also, see Consortiumnews.com’s “A Media Unmoored from Facts.”]
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).
While the documentary has not aired yet, a flavor of what is to come can be found in an article on the BBC News website by Mike Rudin, Series Producer for the Conspiracy Files :
Note that the article continues the disappearance down the memory hole of the BBC’s Russian Service report by Olga Ivshina on July 23, 2014. In the report Olga Ivshina interviewed witnesses who claimed to have seen fighters following the jet and debunked the supposed Buk vapor trail as smoke from a factory. The report was immediately deleted by the BBC as not meeting “the editorial standards of BBC.”
Mr Rudin’s prior work includes a supposed resolution of the “conspiracy theories” surrounding 9/11 which had the delightful effect of bringing serious doubts into my mind about American Airlines Flight 77 and the attack on the Pentagon after I actually watched the security camera video available on Wikipedia and looked at the photos of the damage.
The BBC television program “The Conspiracy Files: Who Shot Down MH17?”, scheduled to air on 3 May 2016, will be yet another infomercial for deception operative Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat.
The BBC program is a much ballyhooed “stand-upper” à la the May 2015 Australian “60 Minutes” broadcast with Michael Usher https://consortiumnews.com/2015/05/28/a-reckless-stand-upper-on-mh-17/
The BBC press service claims, “This impartial documentary takes a balanced viewpoint in reporting the competing theories surrounding the fate of MH17…”
Hilarity will ensue.
Mr Parry is the master of manipulation of information and intentionally misinforms public. He is citing Sunday Express publication as a substantiate evidence to support his biased conspiratorial accusations of Ukrainian army and CIA for shooting down MH-17.
While BBC spokesperson said: “The Sunday Express has misrepresented this programme. Contrary to their headline experts in fact tell the programme it was unlikely a Ukrainian fighter jet could have shot down MH17, as they cannot fly at such high altitudes.
“This impartial documentary takes a balanced viewpoint in reporting the competing theories surrounding the fate of MH17, including the evidence for and against those involving Russia, Ukraine and the CIA. It also examines in detail the findings of the official Dutch inquiry into the incident, which provide compelling evidence that the plane was brought down by a powerful ground to air missile.”
This is 3d time Mr Parry lies about MH-17 as far as I recall.
AndJusticeForAll, most likely a Bellingcat fanboy, has been trolling the comments section of Consortium News articles on Ukraine for the past few months.
I’m certain the U.S. and the West are terrified about revealing the truth of the MH-17 shoot-down, whether it is the political damage to their agenda in Ukraine and the floodgates it would open for opposing NATO’s agenda against Russia, or the liability the Ukraine and its Western allies would be forced to bear and billions pay out to the families of the victims. And think of the neocons- all of them- who share responsibility in this and who would be identified and targeted.
As for Brady’s case, the 2nd Circuit Appeals Court 2-1 decision suggests to this reader that Brady’s legal team should seek an en banc hearing and, through third parties, plaster the media with its side of the story, to the extent it is able to obtain media access. Courts, while they make a pretense of judicial impartiality, are also notoriously influenced by the politics of a case. Furthermore, fans who are energized to demand some measure of fairness and punish the league through economic boycotts of its advertisers, and mass petitions, do have some influence over the process. The league bears responsibility for much more than this. Consider, for example, all of those players who have damaged mental capacity and shortened life spans as a result of a sport the league has declared to be safe, and for whom the league with all its billions has failed to assume responsibility and provide adequate compensation and medical care.
Thanks, Mr. Parry, for bringing the MH17 air disaster to light again. The US narrative is full of holes. I’ve responded here before that I landed in Mandalay (Myanmar) just about the time MH 17 crashed in Ukraine and by the time I got to my hotel about two plus hours later Bangkok TV news was reporting that “Putin Has Blood on His Hands.” The exact same phrase was used as a headliner in the US Journal of Foreign Affairs which appeared shortly after the tragedy. I had a clear sense of “deja vu,” that I was being propagandized — and manhandled. The whole UnReality Show had an eerie similarity to how 9/11 was orchestrated. It was this bedevilment that brought John Mearsheimer to the rescue with an article a few months later in the same Journal of Foreign Affairs to try to rescue that publication’s authors from their benightedness. Below is the link to Global Research on MH17 and the BBC production now underway mentioned by Mr. Parry in this article.
“I, I, I just… I could just speculate that, uh, our anti-Putin, anti-Russian instinct in America continues apace. That’s all.”
Seymour Hersh Reacts to Obama’s Plan to Send 250 More U.S. Special Ops Troops to Syria
Rob’t, Don’t be so obvious in pursuing an attempt to skewer only U.S. duplicity, although there is plenty of that. Your Pro-Russia take on Ukraine is an example. Russian duplicity and cruelty-e.g., in starving Ukrainians under Stalin, and repopulating Ukraine with ethnic Russians-is an example of what I speak. Read Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder to start with.
Richard: If you are more comfortable with the “Official Version of Events”, you may well be lost, and will find them in the NY Times, Washington Post, BBC, CNN, etcetera. There is no shortage in or of that echo-chamber of FAUX (FOX) news. Furthermore you seem to be a century out of time; confusing Putin with Stalin and Russia today with the former USSR. That was then: this is now!
I really think we should let someone defend the innocent even if it goes against that first and lasting, near indelible propaganda fed to us by the PTB and their subservient media.
Keep up the good work Mr. Parry. There are some of us who want to know what is going on!
You must be just another US Martian. The Russians did nothing to the Ukrainians, Stalin was Georgian and the majority at the top of the Soviet security apparatus was Jewish. You are conflating the Soviet Union and Russia, which was its main victim. Also, you are conflating the Galicians’ hate of the Russians and historical facts. But this is not surprising for a brainwashed and opinionated US person, the US is full of them – the less he knows the stronger his opinion. The MSM trickery would never work without such individuals.
Kiza — But this is not surprising for a brainwashed and opinionated US person, the US is full of them – the less he knows the stronger his opinion. The MSM trickery would never work without such individuals.
Henry Giroux exposes the case of the vapid American in his book The Violence of Organized Forgetting.
Do we teach civics or social studies in our middle schools any more?
Why does the Great Gulf exist between well off and the poor in our education process?
The dumbing down of our youth portends a much more authoritative form of social control
and the “spiritual death” that MLK foresaw is steadily descending… .
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010), Timothy Snyder’s revisionist political history, is definitely not the book “to start with” in understanding the modern history of Eastern Europe.
The Soviet famine affected other nationalities in addition to Ukrainians, and the debate is still ongoing as to whether the “Holodomor” (a term Snyder avoids) qualifies as an act of genocide.
Dovid Katz, a historian of Lithuanian Jewry, commented that “Snyder flirts with the very wrong moral equivalence between Hitler and Stalin […] None of these incidents besides the Holocaust involved the willful massacre of a whole race. There is something very different going on, beyond politics, when people try to murder all the babies of a race.”
Professional historians have taken issue with Snyder’s arguments and methods, including Thomas Kühne, Omer Bartov, Dan Diner, Christian Ingrao, Dariusz Stola, and Richard J. Evans.
For more on Snyder and Bloodlands see http://defendinghistory.com/30081/30081
On Timothy Snyder’s propagandizing:
Daniel Lazare has observed https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/09/timothy-snyders-lies/ how Timothy Snyder’s lies lend support to America’s Drang nach Osten:
“Bloodlands’ success, as the sociologists say, was over-determined.
“[…] Contrary to Snyder, the problem is not a Russian push to the west, but an American drive to the east that has only intensified since Euromaidan. While the State Department argues that a democratic wave is sweeping across Eastern Europe, the claim is belied by the mass disenfranchisment of Russian-speaking minorities, the growing Baltic identification with the Third Reich, and the exaltation of Bandera in places like Lvov and Kiev.
“The rise of the double-genocide movement, which has enjoyed backing from Václav Havel, German President Joachim Gauck, and Vytautas Landsbergis, is perhaps most dangerous of all since it represents a major step toward the relativization of Nazi war crimes by equating them with the atrocities of Stalin. Bloodlands is important because it is less an effort to understand what happened in 1933–45 than a milestone in the process of engagement with local revanchist forces.
“The rapturous reception that it received in the mainstream media is a sign that intellectual resistance to America’s drive to the east has all but collapsed. Conceivably, the US might respond to an increasingly dangerous situation in the Ukraine by cutting off support for the ultra-right, lowering temperatures all around. But don’t bet on it.”
“Putin now presents himself as the leader of the far right in Europe…”
Timothy Snyder’s propaganda at its most delusional frenzy:
The circle is closed! Most may not be aware or remember that Patriots owner Kraft attempted to hop on the Putin ate my Alfabits train with the accusation Putin had stolen his Superbowl ring, also the Patriots were paid to ALLOW flag waving military displays at games. Living in the Boston Metro area since 9/11 has been a sweet scented psycophants zombie walk of all things sports- I remember Boston and America as a place that backed underdogs not this dynastic crap. As for MH-17, wiki search Siberian airlines flight 1812, precedent as the lawyer class would say.
The MH 17 full passenger plane was first downed by a missle, then two small Ukraine jets guided the plane full of whole dead bodies, over a small grass roofed village of sleeping villagers and there the pilots metal cockpit was shot on each side by the jets to release all air and many whole dead bodies to drop through those roofs and into yards and sheds. The plane then glided down onto an empty civil war field where the debris and dead stayed untouched for weeks. The jets shot up and away. The beginning of the flight of death begun.
Russia has all the facts that the US wants no-one to know..and will and has killed so no one ever does know. Just as they have about the BP oil eruption in the Gulf of Mexico authorised by Obama, who pushed for poisonous Corex be sprayed in the ocean there by the millions of tons. The Gulf of Mexico as a fishery is dead.Too.
There are some problems with this account of the MH-17 tragedy. First of all, the plane went down in the early afternoon so that makes the scenario about guiding the stricken plane over sleeping villagers a bit odd. A former Lufthansa (?) airline pilot* did a very careful analysis of the damage done to the cockpit and came up with a reasoned argument that the plane was attacked on either side of the cockpit while in mid-air. He mentioned Ukraine fighter jets as the culprits (SU-7?). As for the Buk missile that Westerners (specifically the neo-Con faction in the US State Department) insist was used to bring the plane down, thereby implicating Russia, there were no eye-witnesses able to identify traces of a Buk missile which apparently leaves a very long trail of white smoke. The plane was shot down in broad daylight under a clear sky.
*Michel Chossudovsky at Global Research has archived some of the best research done on MH-17.
The other prominent issue not so much touched upon is Why Malaysia Airlines? This, after all, was the second air disaster for this airline company in a matter of months… Possible reasoning suggests retaliation for the War Crimes Tribunal held earlier in Malaysia re 9/11.
Power defines reality by means of propaganda.
With no credible evidence of Syrian government responsibility for the 2013 Ghouta attack or Russian government responsibility for the 2014 MH-17 incident, and faced with the prevailing distrust of the Pentagon or Western intelligence agencies, Obama enthusiastically seized the opportunity provided by deception operative Eliot Higgins.
Higgins and the Bellingcat site are at the center of an extensive Propaganda 3.0 disinformation campaign using so-called “open journalism”, “social media journalism”, “open-source intelligence” as conduits for deception.
Bellingcat is working with major corporations like Google and Youtube in support of the US/NATO “hybrid war” against Russia and Syria.
HIGGINS MANUFACTURES WAR PROPAGANDA AGAINST SYRIA
In March 2012, using the pseudonym “Brown Moses,” British citizen Higgins purportedly began “investigative” blogging on the armed conflict taking place in Syria, claiming this to be a “hobby” in his “spare time”.
A mainstream media darling, Higgins “arm chair analytics” were promoted by the UK Guardian and New York Times, as well as corporate sponsors like Google.
Higgins’ “analyses” of Syrian weapons were frequently cited by MSM and online media, human rights groups, and Western governments seeking “regime change” in Syria.
Higgins’ accusations that the Syrian government was responsible for the August 2013 Ghouta chemical attack were proven false, but almost led to war.
Richard Lloyd and Theodore Postol of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology observed that “although he has been widely quoted as an expert in the American mainstream media, [he] has changed his facts every time new technical information has challenged his conclusion that the Syrian government must have been responsible for the sarin attack. In addition, the claims that Higgins makes that are correct are all derived from our findings, which have been transmitted to him in numerous exchanges.”
Despite the fact that Higgins’ accusations have repeatedly been disproven, he continues to be frequently cited, often without proper source attribution, by media, organizations and governments.
HIGGINS MANUFACTURES WAR PROPAGANDA AGAINST RUSSIA
On 15 July 2014, the day of the airstrike on the separatist-held town of Snizhne in eastern Ukraine, and a few days before the MH-17 crash, Higgins launched the Bellingcat website.
Vice News, Rupert Murdoch’s 70 million dollar Gen Y-targeted media channel, crowed about how “Citizen Journalists Are Banding Together to Fact-Check Online News”.
The United States and the EU used the dramatic 17 July 2014 downing of MH-17 to justify a third round of sanctions against certain sectors of Russia’s economy. Canada, Japan, Australia, Norway, Switzerland and Ukraine also announced expanded sanctions against Russia.
Higgins repeatedly claimed to have “indisputable” open source “evidence” that MH-17 was destroyed by a Buk missile supplied by Russia.
Higgins’ primary “pieces of evidence” — a video depicting a Buk missile launcher and a set of geolocation coordinates — were supplied by the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) and the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior via the Facebook page of senior-level Ukrainian government official Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs.
US/NATO EMBEDDED “CITIZEN JOURNALIST”
The Atlantic Council, a “regime change” think tank, released a 2015 report titled, “Hiding In Plain Sight: Putin’s War in Ukraine”.
A key author of the Atlantic Council report, Higgins is listed as a Visiting Research Associate at the Department of War Studies at the King’s College in London, UK.
On page 1 of the report, the Atlantic Council praises “the ingenuity of our key partner in this endeavor, Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat. The information documented in this report draws on open source data using innovative socialmedia forensics and geolocation”.
The Atlantic Council claim that “Russia is at war with Ukraine” and is summarized in the following key statement on page 8 of the report:
“Separatist forces have been relying on a steady flow of Russian supplies, including heavy weapons such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, and advanced anti-aircraft systems, including the Buk surface-to-air missile system (NATO designator SA-11/17) that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014. 26?
The Atlantic Council’s claim that Russia supplied a Buk missile that shot down MH-17 has a single footnote. Footnote 26 directs the reader to the Bellingcat website and a pdf report by Higgins titled “MH-17: Source of the Separatist’s Buk”.
On page 3 of the November 2014 Bellingcat report, Higgins claims:
“It is the opinion of the Bellingcat MH17 investigation team that there is undeniable evidence that separatists in Ukraine were in control of a Buk missile launcher on July 17th and transported it from Donetsk to Snizhne on a transporter. The Buk missile launcher was unloaded in Snizhne approximately three hours before the downing of MH17 and was later filmed minus one missile driving through separatist-controlled Luhansk.
“The Bellingcat MH17 investigation team also believes the same Buk was part of a convoy travelling from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade in Kursk to near the Ukrainian border as part of a training exercise between June 22nd and July 25th, with elements of the convoy separating from the main convoy at some point during that period, including the Buk missile launcher filmed in Ukraine on July 17th. There is strong evidence indicating that the Russian military provided separatists in eastern Ukraine with the Buk missile launcher filmed and photographed in eastern Ukraine on July 17th.”
OPEN SOURCE DECEPTION
Higgins’ November 2014 claim of “undeniable evidence” has become the Atlantic Council’s May 2015 claim that “pieces of evidence create an undeniable—and publicly accessible—record”.
Higgins “fact checks” the disinformation produced by the Pentagon and Western intelligence regime, rubber stamps it with the Bellingcat “digital forensics” seal of approval.
The Atlantic Council is managed by Western “policy makers”, military leaders, and senior intelligence officials, including four heads of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Atlantic Council used video of Higgins and Michael Usher from the Australian “60 Minutes” program “MH-17: An Investigation” to promote the report.
Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of Programs and Strategy at the Atlantic Council, is a co-author with Higgins of the Atlantic Council report, highlighted Higgins’ effort to bolster Western accusations against Russia:
“We make this case using only open source, all unclassified material. And none of it provided by government sources.
“And it’s thanks to works, the work that’s been pioneered by human rights defenders and our partner Eliot Higgins, uh, we’ve been able to use social media forensics and geolocation to back this up.” (see video minutes 35:10-36:30)
However, the Atlantic Council claim that “none” of Higgins’ material was provided by government sources is an obvious lie.
Higgins’ primary “pieces of evidence” — a video depicting a Buk missile launcher and a set of geolocation coordinates — were supplied by the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) and the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior via the Facebook page of senior-level Ukrainian government official Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs.
A WHO’S WHO OF US DEFENSE AND INTELLIGENCE
The Atlantic Council, founded in 1961 at the height of Cold War, is managed by a Who’s Who of Pentagon and Western intelligence, including four former Directors of the US Central Intelligence Agency.
In February 2009, James L. Jones, then-chairman of the Atlantic Council, stepped down in order to serve as President Obama’s new National Security Advisor and was succeeded by Senator Chuck Hagel.
In addition, Atlantic Council members Susan Rice left to serve as the administration’s ambassador to the UN, Richard Holbrooke became the Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, General Eric K. Shinseki became the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and Anne-Marie Slaughter became Director of Policy Planning at the State Department.
Senator Chuck Hagel stepped down in 2013 to serve as US Secretary of Defense. Gen. Brent Scowcroft served as interim chairman of the organization’s Board of Directors until January 2014.
The Atlantic Council hosts events with US policymakers such as Secretary of State John Kerry, and sitting heads of state and government such as former Georgian President (and newly appointed Governor of Odessa in Ukraine) Mikheil Saakashvili in 2008, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in 2014.
The Atlantic Council has influential supporters such as former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh (Fogh of War”) Rasmussen, who called the Council a “pre-eminent think tank” with a “longstanding reputation”. In 2009, the Atlantic Council hosted Rasmussen’s first major US speech.
In an interview with the Kiev-based Ukrainian Independent Information Agency (Ukrayins’ke Nezalezhne Informatsiyne Ahentstvo) or UNIAN, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated:
“evidence published by the media, NGOs and from Russian soldiers themselves that Russia is supporting the separatists” in eastern Ukraine. Think tanks have also published reports, most recently the Atlantic Council, which gathered proof from various open sources, including satellite imagery.”
Stoltenberg cited the Atlantic Council report based almost entirely on Higgins and Bellingcat’s dubious “open source” disinformation and discredited “forensic analysis” of satellite imagery.
Dr. Neal Krawetz, founder of FotoForensics, has decried Bellingcat’s “faulty analysis”. Krawetz called Higgins’ Bellingcat report, “Forensic Analysis of Satellite Images”, a “how to not do image analysis”.
The Bellingcat site provides a guide for accessing imagery in Google Earth, claiming that “the findings of Bellingcat regarding the July 21 Russian MoD satellite images will be reaffirmed, along with a walk-through for anyone to verify Google Earth imagery via free and precisely dated image previews on Digital Globe”.
Google Earth maps the Earth by the superimposition of multiple images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and geographic information system (GIS) 3D globe.
Google Earth satellite images are provided by Digital Globe, a supplier of the US Department of Defense (DoD) with direct connections to US defense and intelligence communities.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is both a combat support agency under the United States Department of Defense, and an intelligence agency of the United States Intelligence Community.
Robert T. Cardillo, director of the NGA, lavishly praised Digital Globe as “a true mission partner in every sense of the word”. Examination of the Board of Directors of Digital Globe reveals intimate connections to DoD and CIA.
GOOGLE SEES NO EVIL
Corporate giant Google, seed funded by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has been promoting Higgins “arm chair analytics” since 2013.
Indeed, a very cozy cross-promotion is happening between Higgins/Bellingcat and Google.
In November 2014, Google Ideas and Google For Media, partnered the George Soros-funded Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) to host an “Investigathon” in New York City. Google Ideas promotes Higgins’ “War and Pieces – Social Media Investigations” on their YouTube page.
In addition, Google Earth, originally called EarthViewer 3D, was created by Keyhole, Inc, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funded company acquired by Google in 2004.
Google’s partnerships with military contractors like SAIC, Northrop Grumman and Blackbird is just more more evidence of how snugly the company is in bed with the US military-surveillance complex.
Google also is a recent joint venture partner with the CIA. In 2009, Google Ventures and In-Q-Tel each invested “under $10 million each” into Recorded Future shortly after the company was founded. Recorded Future is described as “a company that strips out from web pages the sort of who, what, when, where, why — sort of who’s involved,[…] where are they going, what kind of events are they going to,” even monitors blogs and Twitter accounts.
“VERIFYING” THE UNVERIFIABLE
Alphabet, Inc. (parent company of Google and several other companies previously owned by or tied to Google) is all in with Bellingcat. In October 2015, Google for Media announced that it was providing direct funding for Bellingcat.
In addition, YouTube is getting in on the game of promoting Higgins and Bellingcat. On July 18, 2015, the first anniversary of the MH-17 crash), YouTube announced the launch of three new initiatives, namely the YouTube Newswire, the First Draft Coalition and the WITNESS Media Lab.
YouTube partnered with Storyful, a so-called “social news agency”, to produce YouTube Newswire, described as a “curated feed of the most newsworthy eyewitness videos of the day”.
The First Draft Coalition is described as an “educational resource created by experts such as Bellingcat (a site founded by Eliot Higgins, a British citizen journalist) which will teach people how to verify eyewitness footage”, videos purportedly taken by individuals at the scene of an incident.
The WITNESS Media Lab homepage highlights “Bellingcat’s Ukraine Conflict Vehicle Tracking Project” as a prime example of what it calls “citizen video curation projects”. Promoting “videos created and shared by eyewitnesses”, WITNESS Media Lab funds projects that “find, verify, and contextualize” eyewitness video to “tell a story”.
Higgins and and Bellingcat have a long history of telling stories using video.
As Ray McGovern pointed out in “Propaganda, Intelligence and MH-17” on Consortium News (August 17, 2015):
“The key difference between the traditional ‘Intelligence Assessment’ and this relatively new creation, a ‘Government Assessment’ is that the latter genre is put together by senior White House bureaucrats or other political appointees, not senior intelligence analysts. Another significant difference is that an ‘Intelligence Assessment’ often includes alternative views, either in the text or in footnotes, detailing disagreements among intelligence analysts, thus revealing where the case may be weak or in dispute.
“The absence of an ‘Intelligence Assessment’ suggested that honest intelligence analysts were resisting a knee-jerk indictment of Russia, just as they did after the first time Kerry pulled this ‘Government Assessment’ arrow out of his quiver trying to stick the blame for an Aug. 21, 2013 sarin gas attack outside Damascus on the Syrian government.”
The primary source in both “Government Assessment” episodes, both the 2013 chemical attack in Syria and the 2014 crash of MH-17 in Ukraine, the one person in common who generated the “pseudo-intelligence product, which contained not a single verifiable fact”, was British blogger and media darling Eliot Higgins.
Higgins and the Bellingcat site serve as deception “conduits” as defined by the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Joint Publication 1-02), a compendium of approved terminology used by the U.S. military.
Within military deception, “conduits” are information or intelligence gateways to the “deception target”, defined as the “adversary decision maker with the authority to make the decision that will achieve the deception objective.”
The primary “deception targets” of US and NATO propaganda are key “policy makers” and the civilian populations of the United States and Europe Union.
The Internet offers a ubiquitous, inexpensive and anonymous method for “open source” deception and rapid propaganda dissemination.
PROPAGANDA WAR LYNCHPIN
The Pentagon and Western intelligence agencies now disseminate propaganda by making it “publicly available” via numerous channels, including “investigations” conducted by fake “citizen journalist” Higgins and the Bellingcat site.
The actual purpose of these fake “citizen journalist” deception operatives is to provide a channel for Western propaganda to more effectively reach the public and be perceived as truthful.
Higgins promoted this deception strategy in his article, “Social media and conflict zones: the new evidence base for policymaking” https://blogs.kcl.ac.uk/policywonkers/social-media-and-conflict-zones-the-new-evidence-base-for-policymaking/
Citing “Bellingcat’s MH17 investigation”, Higgins declared that” a relatively small team of analysts is able to derive a rich picture of a conflict zone” using online information and social media.
Higgins extolled the virtues of this “new evidence base” of “open source” information”, and entirely sidestepped the countless opportunities for deceptive information to be planted in these media from not-so-open sources.
The “overarching point” concluded Higgins, is that “there is a real opportunity for open source intelligence analysis to provide the kind of evidence base that can underpin effective and successful foreign and security policymaking. It is an opportunity that policymakers should seize.”
President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and other US policymakers definitely have seized the opportunities provided by Higgins.
I have to protest your expression that the deflated footballs are “dubious charges”, as you seem to imply no-one has investigated the issue. But many have, including the Physics dept at Columbia University, and another version by Dr. Sekerka, professor Emeritus at Carnegie Mellon, (http://scienceblogs.com/principles/2015/01/23/tom-brady-and-the-ideal-gas-law-physics-of-deflategate/) His piece was interesting in just explaining the variables in gaseous states. And there is a rather extensive treatment on the subject by the manufacturer of the footballs themselves, Wilson. Wilson did go on to claim the Patriots were outright lying.
What doesn’t appear to most people as dubious, except the Brady fans, was Bradys’ destruction of his cell phone the day he was to be interviewed by the NFL since that is, of course, what he always does (sarcasm), which he delegated as well. Destroyed evidence? And the recordings of the fired grunts (underlings) also should be brought into the discussion too. I know you have mentioned the Patriots before, as if Brady is getting a bad rap, but I haven’t seen you explain the condition of the footballs of the Colts. Was the atmosphere, pressure and temperature so different on the other sideline? Does that stadium have a micro climate that should be brought to someones attention? Also, I would wager a large Vegas bet that the PAT kicker, punter, and kick off specialist did not have a reduced pressure ball, hence the only one properly filled.
Although behavior by Brady and some others may be suspicious, I believe the allegedly scientific evidence based on pressure readings has largely evaporated. See “True Scandal of Deflategate Lies in the N.F.L.’s Behavior” by Joe Nocera, NY Times, Jan. 22, 2016.
Robert Parry and Consortiumnews.com deserve credit for being on the right side of this from the start, and I think this trivial story (compared to the other issues covered here, such as MH-17) serves as a useful example of the depressing way so many false narratives get promulgated and permanently embedded, regardless of the evidence.
HAVING SAID THAT: The ruling by the appellate court today is probably a good one. It wasn’t on the merits of the alleged cheating, but (as I understand it) on the latitude given to the league to deal with such allegations under their collective bargaining agreement with the players. It’s not good for the either the game or the public to have disputes like this get decided on the merits in federal court. The players can argue for even stronger procedural protections when they negotiate their next CBA.
Susan Raikes Sugar, I tried to find a definition for PTB via a Google search, but all I could find was Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt.
What is tragic about the U.S. is not that evil things happen here — they happen everywhere — but that the pretense of a free press continues while the elite of the mainstream press consistently shirk their duty. If the pretense could be dropped, this difficult problem could at least be confronted directly. But we find ourselves in a double-bind (that term can be successfully Googled, and there is a good article about it on Wikipedia).
For the record, I enjoyed the parallels drawn between the Brady case — football games — and U.S. foreign policy games. If truth is no longer the primary value, power wins every time.
Hi Paul, It’s Powers That Be. And I agree with you about the MSM (mainstream media). They are the purveyors of the smoke and mirrors. The question is: For how long has this abject state of affairs ruled America? My thought is that the PTB in the post-Vietnam era made a decision that they would never allow America to again so brazenly contest their powers; hence the conjecture that the US was, in fact, a freer nation then than now.
But how much of our “awakening” derives from the alternate media? And if the MSM had been doing a better job, would we have reaped this incredible bonanza of alternate sources of news?
Karl Rove was the one, I believe, who stated something to the effect of: Reality? Reality is what we say it is: We create the reality.
So when did we stop believing in “Truth” for its own sake? In the postmodern era? When every issue had to be given a fair hearing on every level? When we decided that there was no true Western world view? That all views were equally admissible? While these trends have become more forceful, more immodest, the problem has always been there. Truth, and what it is, is at the heart of this matter, but the dialectic you pose is just as important. In the absence of a determined search for “Truths” (and integrity is a necessary concomitant), we have power. But could we possibly come up with some more worthy alternative?
Paul — “If truth is no longer the primary value, power wins every time.”
That lies have power over truth in this world ought to be a terrorizing idea for “thinking” citizens.
So, the age old question softly refrains, “what is truth.”
To everyday people it seems to be that truth is whatever can be made to be believed.
Media Power broadly casts it’s “Truths” upon us with great and deceptive authority.
We have been unhooked from Reality for the last half century and more. We let the PTB get by with murdering an elected President, allowed the war mongers to take us into Vietnam and to largely destroy that country and murder and maim its people with Agent Orange. Intended consequences were the side shows of Cambodia and Laos.
We see again and again and again that the misdeeds of the rulers come home to roost. Now we’re fighting to keep Agent Orange and other Monsanto horrors out of our food supply while the leaders of that bankrupt company are now running the FDA. Big Pharma has foisted a gargantuan lie on the American people that radiation and chemotherapy cure cancer when in actuality those modalities spread cancer, and are a near guarantee of the eventual demise of the patient victims. The mainstream medical establishment has created for the benefit of its bottom line a parallel War On Terror, called the War on Cancer, which they have no more intention of trying to win than do our political leaders of stopping the War on Terror.
Money matters. In this country that seems to be all that matters and of course, the power to lie, cheat and foment every kind of trickery while telling the world what a noble, generous, compassionate and caring nation you really are.
Oh, but I forgot the treachery that saw the foundation of the Fed in 1913 — so we the People of the United States of America have been living a colossal lie for more than a century and now lots of chickens (especially ones that cackle) are coming home to roost.
Postscript: Walt Mearsheimer of Israel Lobby fame wrote a piece for the Journal of Foreign Affairs post MH-17 trying to set the record straight on what was but one more misdeed of the US State Department. It’s all smoke and mirrors, folks. And they control the smoke and the mirrors.
As a veteran of both chemo and rad,I hope your prediction is wrong,but yes,Cancer is now big business,with ads for treatment centers all day long on TV.
Anyone else experience chemo dreams?More vivid than acid,and I know acid.The weirdest stuff I ever imagined.
The talk about health insurance didn’t include any mention of dental insurance.Even with premium coverage,you still have to pay enormous amounts of dough hust so one can eat,which is the base of health.
A colossal scam of blood money.
This is a fabulous program on alternative methods for treating cancer. It’s called Quest for a Cure and is being produced by Ty Bollinger. Here are links to the first two episodes and also contact info if you want to watch the whole thing (nine episodes) which is highly recommended.
Episode 1: https://go2.thetruthaboutcancer.com/agq/episode-1/
Episode 2: https://go2.thetruthaboutcancer.com/agq/episode-2/
Phone Number: 1-877-521-5572
The problem with conventional treatments is that they grossly undermine the immune system which is the one thing you need to fight off cancer. But in this series you will learn what alternative practitioners do to boost the immune system for people without cancer, for people with cancer and for people who have undergone conventional treatments. The important thing to know about cancer is that it is not a death sentence. Cancer is treatable; you deserve to get the best treatment out there so please check this information out. Best of luck!
The reason I support this site, is because not only are the esteemed authored articles worth it, but the commenters are priceless. Today’s comments are very right on, and reflective, of our American society today as a whole.
About flight MH17; I have been preparing myself for this tragic story to go the way of the JFK story, and it is, or it has. I don’t have much faith in the Dutch Review Board, nor am I putting much stock in the U.S. Government coming out with the truth anytime soon. It would be nice, if the MSM of the West would at least make an attempt to be more objective, but hey if they did that then maybe I wouldn’t be here on this wonderful site. We all know how our American Press is bought, and paid for, so why have hope for such a loss cause. So, MH17 in my estimation will be reported on by the independent press the same way the JFK assassination has been covered there, for all these many many years.
About the NFL; I live in Steeler Country. This is the place where smoking a little weed is considered worst than raping a young lady in a public bathroom. Although, I feel for all of the Patriot fans, I can’t really rally enough of passion to get all soggy eyed over Tom Brady’s struggles with Roger Goodel. I do get the comparison of how official hierarchy will make up things, just in order to enforce their justice the way they want, and for this we must all get involved to change these medieval methods of order. I also think that part of Tom Brady’s problem is due to the fact that he is Tom Brady. Just look at the guy, and there’s not much to feel sorry for. I will admit I enjoy watching Brady, much more than when I watch our Steelers Big Ben play. The only thing I do feel bad about is that this whole Deflategate debacle upsets Robert Parry, and I like Robert Parry.
JT;But everyone smokes it anyway.
Re Brady;What animus does the NFL have against Brady or Kraft?Why is this suspected of being anti Brad]y or driven by some form of prejudice?Brady is the good face of the NFL,not some violent wife beater.It doesn’t make sense that this isn’t driven by anything but the facts,and that the NFL should be the arbiter of its rules,not some NY judge.
If this was an aberration,probably nothing would have come of it,but they are serial rules benders,and their past has caught up with them.Their success also,as if they were the Cleveland Browns,people would laugh.
The flight,well,this new doc sure will open that can of worms,and further destroy our image,under the feckless cool dude of assassination and destabilization,where thousands are afflicted with disaster.
Useful for MIC profit.And can you believe the Israelis don’t like him?Unbelievable,the bastard has enabled every dirty deed they’ve done.
Dear Mr Parry,
Substituting fraud for reality should be considered the supreme terrorist threat to our nation, as well as all humanity.
If Fraud is allowed unchecked, what crimes cannot be committed, what treason cannot be enacted, what terror cannot be employed ?
Fraud is the cornerstone of all terrorism, it allows the innocent to be punished for the crimes of the guilty, and the guilty to escape the fate of their accountability.
Unchecked fraud is the ruination of the integrity of the society in which it is allowed to grow.
I strongly agree with the comments linking our growing authoritarian culture with fascism. Note how elites throw the concept of “leadership” around, a most common fascist moniker: Fuhrer and Duce. The Fuhrer even developed the concept to a fine art known far and wide as the Fuhrerprincip.
The problem, of course, is the gradual establishment of a fascistic power hierarchy, and the recreation of a feudal structure so admired by many of our so-called and self styled political and economic elites. Any sort of democratic equality is projected as proto- communism and consequently to be snuffed out. We must follow the leader; adore his or her words; and act in accordance with the will of our leader without question. Only then will America be great, again. None of this nonsense, however, will be to the benefit of the American public; indeed the path we are taking will sooner or later lead to our destruction as a democratic republic, if it hasn’t already.
Your obversations make very good points. I would add the word homeland and like to ask readers when they first remember the word “homeland” used to describe the United States? I was born in 1945 and never recall the word being used except to describe fascist Germany as used by fascist Germans. The Bush-Cheney gang were the first to use it and after 911. The word sends crimes ges through my being. How about you?
Should read “the word sends cringes through my being.”
“The Ukrainian government claimed it had no warplanes in the area and that assertion was widely accepted in the West”.
It’s actually quite understandable that so many ordinary people in the West are reluctant to believe that a national government would lie continually, radically, and systematically about such an important matter. It’s only those of us who follow the real news online who have come to grasp that the Ukrainian regime and its associates can, and do, lie almost all the time. Even Washington sometimes tells the truth because, being cleverer than the Kiev regime, they know that you cannot lie continually without people eventually catching on and discounting everything you say.
Yes it is understandable that most accept the mythology that the US is what it claims to be. That is promoted throughout their schools and mass media, and conformism empowers them socially and in their careers. They are well aware that social criticism will be suppressed and they will be punished.
Washington and tyrannies and bullies generally can tell the truth loudly whenever it serves their purposes. It is a simple matter for them to make sufficient explanations of contradictions to retain their followers, who in fact suggest explanations for dissonance, so as to preserve their relationship to the gang upon which they are dependent.
Tom Welsh — It’s actually quite understandable that so many ordinary people in the West are reluctant to believe that a national government would lie continually, radically, and systematically about such an important matter.
many are commercialized and brainwashed and/or busy with life in one way or another.
apathetic people simply don’t care – others live in somnambulance and just don’t pay attention.
Some of these are waking up — maybe new realities on the horizon ??
“NFL officials, who launched the brouhaha known as “Deflategate,” admitted that they didn’t know that cold air and moisture reduce a football’s internal air pressure”.
Maybe the NFL should adopt a policy of hiring only college graduates (for senior posts at least). Surely no college graduate could fail to understand such simple, first-month physics.
Bullies are known NOT for their intelligence but for their BLUNT force. The times of smart/intelligent David against strong Bully Goliath have GONE and so has Democracy. This we could see last weekend in Washington when Police arrested almost 1300 peope who were demonstrating FOR DEMOCRACY. So taxpayers paying the police to restrain their constitutional and democratic right. This is the NEW America where Washington violates the American citizens RIGHTS in the interests of the 1%, large banks and conglomerates, defense industry and of course the political establishment in Washington. Neocons like the Kagan/Nuland duo, Brzezinsky, McCain are pushing the USA from one war into another being responsible for 228 military actions since WW II from Korea to Vietnam, Iraq,Libya and so on. Young Americans lose their lives just for the American Defense industry and Washington’s unstoppable hunger for global expansion and US imperialistic HUNGER. With 900 US bases abroad and US NAVY covering every angle of the Globe to BULLY their form of non existing Democracy upon the freedom of sovereign nations.US bombing and attacking sovereign nations without UN Mandate has become a habit of Washington causing millions of civilian deaths and millions of refugees who are now the responsibility of European countries at the costs of $ 100 billion annually. Not including the suffering of the domestic population and refugees alike.
The present presidential elections show that the American people have no saying in the outcome of the election which is controlled by (super)delegates who are paid by the large banks/conglomerates, defense industry, the rich 1% and of course the Washington establishment. Can you imagine IF Donald Trump would be the next US president how many influential and corrupt policy makers would be on the street. It’s like former President Jimmy Carter said the USA is NOW in the hands of US oligarchs and it’s time that the people take back Washington like JFK said: the American people have ONLY 1 REPRESENTATIVE in Washington and that’s the president. Another reason he and his brother Robert were murdered by the CIA!
You are correct that the US is no longer a democracy at all. We have seen the ancient forces of tyranny turn the structure of democracy into an empty suit of armor in which we are all trapped by propaganda and economic threats, which now blunders around the globe swinging its sword at the delusions of the rich.
The bully-boy ideology substitutes everywhere for the democratic and egalitarian ideals. Win or you are a loser. Side with the winner or you will lose. Moral considerations are merely an obstacle to winning. Justice is the ideology of losers. Virtue equals money. The gang is everything. So they teach their children.
The bully-boy hides in sports and the military and business management and law and local politics; it’s a short trip from there to Washington.
Voters have no say? Look at the last Massachusetts election for example:
A blond princess was to be coronated governor and several good democratic party candidates were thwarted by the archaic and undemocratic primary system. A blond republican won a low turn-out election.
I voted None of the Above and will do the same at the federal level if the democrats pull their old tricks again.
And, shamefully, we accepted these assainainations sitting down and generations later have still not demanded the truth. It is only a democracy if you can keep it. Paraphrased from the words of Thomas Jefferson.
I just now “got it” that the football case is a typical example of when the dominating societal principle is “don’t question Authority, don’t contradict the decisions of Management”. This principle was PUT BACK into play when Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. It was a “shot heard ’round the World”, and Unions, and pretty much any other type of organization of the Commons and Commoners (via “Privatization & De-regulation”), have been in a decades-long retreat in the face of hostile Authority & Management. This pretty much defines my whole experience as a union-trained electrician (no longer in union, retreated to non-organized electrical maintenance). This is the everyday working face of fascism folks; the working class is not to question, nor interfere with, Management decisions, and we have no place at the Table where these decisions are made, simply expected to shut-up and obey. Tell Big Feet MSM about THIS every-day reality. I’ll tell you how this situation came about: it came from drinking the “libertarian Kool-Aid” (of which I’m guilty), and turning our backs on OUR government of, by, for, The People, because, ya know, “Government-Is-The-Problem”. The fascist bastards tricked us, and stole our government from us, folks, and WE’ve been “In Retreat” ever since. And Trump ain’t gonna fix THIS problem, believe it folks…he’s part of The Problem.
Thank you for your truthful, accurate comments. Many working “class” people have been fooled and have hung their heads like a mistreated dog. You obviously speak from experience and the insight is most appreciated. Read “The Deep State” by long time Washington Congressional staffer, Mike Lofgren.
Yes, this HAS been my personal working experience. Graduated from H.S. in 72, tried college, decided the Blue Collar World was for me; and everywhere, in the Blue Collar World of white guys, it has been a steady diet of defeat & retreat ( with nobody “in Authority” seeming to realize that EVERYTHING in MODERN society DEPENDS entirely upon the blue-collar guys with the tools-in-hand…JEEZUS what stupidity). Fishing around eventually for a skilled trade to apprentice myself into, I settled upon Tool & Die; I was told don’t bother, it’s a shrinking field. Godalmightydamn, same thing everywhere, Machinists too. The Big Four became the Big Three; now Toyota is king. Fortunately my dad (former business agent for sheet metal workers, then a Federal Mediator with FMCS…does that even exist anymore?) found out the Electricians Union was giving entry tests, so get on down there…aced it. Then “The Eighties” happened, and I drank the full measure of libertarian Kool-Aid…worst mistake I made; hurt my fellow citizens too (not that I ever thought about that at the time…voted Ron Paul when he ran as Libertarian, sorry about that). By the time 9/11 happened, I was seriously playing detective…”just WTF is going on?!?” was the operative question. I’ve read many things since then, and I think The People are finally gaining on these fascist bastards. I did read Lofgren’s fine article on Common Dreams about The Deep State. I’ll get around to the book too. Thanks.