The War Against Alternative Information

From the Archive: The State Department is reportedly spending $40 million to bolster the Global Engagement Center’s efforts to crack down on “foreign propaganda.” On this occasion we republish an article by Rick Sterling examining the motives behind this initiative launched in the waning days of the Obama administration.

By Rick Sterling (first published Jan. 1, 2017)

The U.S. establishment is not content simply to have domination over the media narratives on critical foreign policy issues, such as Syria, Ukraine and Russia. It wants total domination. Thus we now have the “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act” that President Obama signed into law on Dec. 23 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017, setting aside $160 million to combat any “propaganda” that challenges Official Washington’s version of reality.

Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN, addresses the Security Council meeting on Syria, Sept. 25, 2016. Power has been an advocate for escalating U.S. military involvement in Syria. (UN Photo)

The new law mandates the U.S. Secretary of State to collaborate with the Secretary of Defense, Director of National Intelligence and other federal agencies to create a Global Engagement Center “to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.” The law directs the Center to be formed in 180 days and to share expertise among agencies and to “coordinate with allied nations.”

The legislation was initiated in March 2016, as the demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia was already underway and was enacted amid the allegations of “Russian hacking” around the U.S. presidential election and the mainstream media’s furor over supposedly “fake news.” Defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton voiced strong support for the bill: “It’s imperative that leaders in both the private sector and the public sector step up to protect our democracy, and innocent lives.”

The new law is remarkable for a number of reasons, not the least because it merges a new McCarthyism about purported dissemination of Russian “propaganda” on the Internet with a new Orwellianism by creating a kind of Ministry of Truth – or Global Engagement Center – to protect the American people from “foreign propaganda and disinformation.”

As part of the effort to detect and defeat these unwanted narratives, the law authorizes the Center to: “Facilitate the use of a wide range of technologies and techniques by sharing expertise among Federal departments and agencies, seeking expertise from external sources, and implementing best practices.” (This section is an apparent reference to proposals that Google, Facebook and other technology companies find ways to block or brand certain Internet sites as purveyors of “Russian propaganda” or “fake news.”)

Justifying this new bureaucracy, the bill’s sponsors argued that the existing agencies for “strategic communications” and “public diplomacy” were not enough, that the information threat required “a whole-of-government approach leveraging all elements of national power.”

The law also is rife with irony since the U.S. government and related agencies are among the world’s biggest purveyors of propaganda and disinformation – or what you might call evidence-free claims, such as the recent accusations of Russia hacking into Democratic emails to “influence” the U.S. election.

Despite these accusations — leaked by the Obama administration and embraced as true by the mainstream U.S. news media — there is little or no public evidence to support the charges. There is also a contradictory analysis by veteran U.S. intelligence professionals as well as statements by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and an associate, former British Ambassador Craig Murray, that the Russians were not the source of the leaks. Yet, the mainstream U.S. media has virtually ignored this counter-evidence, appearing eager to collaborate with the new “Global Engagement Center” even before it is officially formed.

Of course, there is a long history of U.S. disinformation and propaganda. Former CIA agents Philip Agee and John Stockwell documented how it was done decades ago, secretly planting “black propaganda” and covertly funding media outlets to influence events around the world, with much of the fake news blowing back into the American media.

In more recent decades, the U.S. government has adopted an Internet-era version of that formula with an emphasis on having the State Department or the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy supply, train and pay “activists” and “citizen journalists” to create and distribute propaganda and false stories via “social media” and via contacts with the mainstream media. The U.S. government’s strategy also seeks to undermine and discredit journalists who challenge this orthodoxy. The new legislation escalates this information war by tossing another $160 million into the pot.

Propaganda and Disinformation on Syria

Syria is a good case study in the modern application of information warfare. In her memoir Hard Choices, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote that the U.S. provided “support for (Syrian) civilian opposition groups, including satellite-linked computers, telephones, cameras, and training for more than a thousand activists, students and independent journalists.”

A heart-rending propaganda image designed to justify a major U.S. military operation inside Syria against the Syrian military.

Indeed, a huge amount of money has gone to “activists” and “civil society” groups in Syria and other countries that have been targeted for “regime change.” A lot of the money also goes to parent organizations that are based in the United States and Europe, so these efforts do not only support on-the-ground efforts to undermine the targeted countries, but perhaps even more importantly, the money influences and manipulates public opinion in the West.

In North America, representatives from the Syrian “Local Coordination Committees” (LCC) were frequent guests on popular media programs such as “DemocracyNow.” The message was clear: there is a “revolution” in Syria against a “brutal regime” personified in Bashar al-Assad. It was not mentioned that the “Local Coordination Committees” have been primarily funded by the West, specifically the Office for Syrian Opposition Support, which was founded by the U.S. State Department and the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

More recently, news and analysis about Syria has been conveyed through the filter of the White Helmets, also known as Syrian Civil Defense. In the Western news media, the White Helmets are described as neutral, non-partisan, civilian volunteers courageously carrying out rescue work in the war zone. In fact, the group is none of the above. It was initiated by the U.S. and U.K. using a British military contractor and Brooklyn-based marketing company.

While they may have performed some genuine rescue operations, the White Helmets are primarily a media organization with a political goal: to promote NATO intervention in Syria. (The manipulation of public opinion using the White Helmets and promoted by the New York Times and Avaaz petition for a “No Fly Zone” in Syria is documented here.)

The White Helmets hoax continues to be widely believed and receives uncritical promotion though it has increasingly been exposed at alternative media outlets as the creation of a “shady PR firm.” During critical times in the conflict in Aleppo, White Helmet individuals have been used as the source for important news stories despite a track record of deception.

Recent Propaganda: Blatant Lies?

As the armed groups in east Aleppo recently lost ground and then collapsed, Western governments and allied media went into a frenzy of accusations against Syria and Russia based on reports from sources connected with the armed opposition. CNN host Wolf Blitzer described Aleppo as “falling” in a “slaughter of these women and children” while CNN host Jake Tapper referred to “genocide by another name.”

War damage in the once-thriving Syrian city of Aleppo.

The Daily Beast published the claims of the Aleppo Siege Media Center under the title “Doomsday is held in Aleppo” and amid accusations that the Syrian army was executing civilians, burning them alive and “20 women committed suicide in order not to be raped.” These sensational claims were widely broadcast without verification. However, this “news” on CNN and throughout Western media came from highly biased sources and many of the claims – lacking anything approaching independent corroboration – could be accurately described as propaganda and disinformation.

Ironically, some of the supposedly “Russian propaganda” sites, such as RT, have provided first-hand on-the-ground reporting from the war zones with verifiable information that contradicts the Western narrative and thus has received almost no attention in the U.S. news media. For instance, some of these non-Western outlets have shown videos of popular celebrations over the “liberation of Aleppo.”

There has been further corroboration of these realities from peace activists, such as Jan Oberg of Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research who published a photo essay of his eyewitness observations in Aleppo including the happiness of civilians from east Aleppo reaching the government-controlled areas of west Aleppo, finally freed from areas that had been controlled by Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and its jihadist allies in Ahrar al-Sham.

Dr. Nabil Antaki, a medical doctor from Aleppo, described the liberation of Aleppo in an interview titled “Aleppo is Celebrating, Free from Terrorists, the Western Media Misinformed.” The first Christmas celebrations in Aleppo in four years are shown here, replete with marching band members in Santa Claus outfits. Journalist Vanessa Beeley has published testimonies of civilians from east Aleppo. The happiness of civilians at their liberation is clear.

Whether or not you wish to accept these depictions of the reality in Aleppo, at a minimum, they reflect another side of the story that you have been denied while being persistently force-fed the version favored by the U.S. State Department. The goal of the new Global Engagement Center to counter “foreign propaganda” is to ensure that you never get to hear this alternative narrative to the Western propaganda line.

Even much earlier, contrary to the Western mythology of rebel “liberated zones,” there was strong evidence that the armed groups were never popular in Aleppo. American journalist James Foley described the situation in 2012 like this:

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

“Aleppo, a city of about 3 million people, was once the financial heart of Syria. As it continues to deteriorate, many civilians here are losing patience with the increasingly violent and unrecognizable opposition — one that is hampered by infighting and a lack of structure, and deeply infiltrated by both foreign fighters and terrorist groups. The rebels in Aleppo are predominantly from the countryside, further alienating them from the urban crowd that once lived here peacefully, in relative economic comfort and with little interference from the authoritarian government of President Bashar al-Assad.”

On Nov. 22, 2012, Foley was kidnapped in northwestern Syria and held by Islamic State terrorists before his beheading in August 2014.

The Overall Narrative on Syria

Analysis of the Syrian conflict boils down to two competing narratives. One narrative is that the conflict is a fight for freedom and democracy against a brutal regime, a storyline promoted in the West and the Gulf states, which have been fueling the conflict from the start. This narrative is also favored by some self-styled “anti-imperialists” who want a “Syrian revolution.”

The other narrative is that the conflict is essentially a war of aggression against a sovereign state, with the aggressors including NATO countries, Gulf monarchies, Israel and Jordan. Domination of the Western media by these powerful interests is so thorough that one almost never gets access to this second narrative, which is essentially banned from not only the mainstream but also much of the liberal and progressive media.

For example, listeners and viewers of the generally progressive TV and radio program “DemocracyNow” have rarely if ever heard the second narrative described in any detail. Instead, the program frequently broadcasts the statements of Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and others associated with the U.S. position. Rarely do you hear the viewpoint of the Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, the Syrian Foreign Minister or analysts inside Syria and around the world who have written about and follow events there closely.

“DemocracyNow” also has done repeated interviews with proponents of the “Syrian revolution” while ignoring analysts who call the conflict a war of aggression sponsored by the West and the Gulf monarchies. This blackout of the second narrative continues despite the fact that many prominent international figures see it as such. For example, the former Foreign Minister of Nicaragua and former President of the UN General Assembly, Father Miguel D’Escoto, has said, “What the U.S. government is doing in Syria is tantamount to a war of aggression, which, according to the Nuremberg Tribunal, is the worst possible crime a State can commit against another State.”

In many areas of politics, “DemocracyNow” is excellent and challenges mainstream media. However in this area, coverage of the Syrian conflict, the broadcast is biased, one-sided and echoes the news and analysis of mainstream Western corporate media, showing the extent of control over foreign policy news that already exists in the United States and Europe.

Suppressing and Censoring Challenges

Despite the widespread censorship of alternative analyses on Syria and other foreign hotspots that already exists in the West, the U.S. government’s new “Global Engagement Center” will seek to ensure that the censorship is even more complete with its goal to “counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation.” We can expect even more aggressive and better-financed assaults on the few voices daring to challenge the West’s “group thinks” – smear campaigns that are already quite extensive.

The “White Helmets” symbol, expropriating the name of “Syria Civil Defense.”

In an article titled “Controlling the Narrative on Syria”, Louis Allday describes the criticisms and attacks on journalists Rania Khalek and Max Blumenthal for straying from the “approved” Western narrative on Syria. Some of the bullying and abuse has come from precisely those people, such as Robin Yassin-Kassab, who have been frequent guests in liberal Western media.

Reporters who have returned from Syria with accounts that challenge the propaganda themes that have permeated the Western media also have come under attack. For instance, Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett recently returned to North America after being in Syria and Aleppo, conveying a very different image and critical of the West’s biased media coverage. Bartlett appeared at a United Nations press conference and then did numerous interviews across the country during a speaking tour. During the course of her talks and presentation, Bartlett criticized the White Helmets and questioned whether it was true that Al Quds Hospital in opposition-held East Aleppo was attacked and destroyed as claimed.

Bartlett’s recounting of this information made her a target of Snopes, which has been a mostly useful website exposing urban legends and false rumors but has come under criticism itself for some internal challenges and has been inconsistent in its investigations. In one report entitled “White Helmet Hearsay,” Snopes’ writer Bethania Palmer says claims the White Helmets are “linked to terrorists” is “unproven,” but she overlooks numerous videos, photos, and other reports showing White Helmet members celebrating a Nusra/Al Qaeda battle victory, picking up the bodies of civilians executed by a Nusra executioner, and having a member who alternatively appears as a rebel/terrorist fighter with a weapon and later wearing a White Helmet uniform. The “fact check” barely scrapes the surface of public evidence.

The same writer did another shallow “investigation” titled “victim blaming” regarding Bartlett’s critique of White Helmet videos and what happened at the Al Quds Hospital in Aleppo. Bartlett suggests that some White Helmet videos may be fabricated and may feature the same child at different times, i.e., photographs that appear to show the same girl being rescued by White Helmet workers at different places and times. While it is uncertain whether this is the same girl, the similarity is clear. 

The Snopes writer goes on to criticize Bartlett for her comments about the reported bombing of Al Quds Hospital in east Aleppo in April 2016. A statement at the website of Doctors Without Borders says the building was “destroyed and reduced to rubble,” but this was clearly false since photos show the building with unclear damage. Five months later, the September 2016 report by Doctors Without Borders says the top two floors of the building were destroyed and the ground floor Emergency Room damaged yet they re-opened in two weeks.

The many inconsistencies and contradictions in the statements of Doctors Without Borders resulted in an open letter to them. In their last report, Doctors Without Borders (known by its French initials, MSF) acknowledges that “MSF staff did not directly witness the attack and has not visited Al Quds Hospital since 2014.”

Bartlett referenced satellite images taken before and after the reported attack on the hospital. The images do not show severe damage and it is unclear whether or not there is any damage to the roof, the basis for Bartlett’s statement. In the past week, independent journalists have visited the scene of Al Quds Hospital and report that that the top floors of the building are still there and damage is unclear.

The Snopes’ investigation criticizing Bartlett was superficial and ignored the broader issues of accuracy and integrity in the Western media’s depiction of the Syrian conflict. Instead the article appeared to be an effort to discredit the eyewitness observations and analysis of a journalist who dared challenge the mainstream narrative.

U.S. propaganda and disinformation on Syria has been extremely effective in misleading much of the American population. Thus, most Americans are unaware how many billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on yet another “regime change” project. The propaganda campaign – having learned from the successful demonizations of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and other targeted leaders – has been so masterful regarding Syria that many liberal and progressive news outlets were pulled in. It has been left to RT and some Internet outlets to challenge the U.S. government and the mainstream media.

But the U.S. government’s near total control of the message doesn’t appear to be enough. Apparently even a few voices of dissent are a few voices too many.

The enactment of HR5181, “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation,” suggests that the ruling powers seek to escalate suppression of news and analyses that run counter to the official narrative. Backed by a new infusion of $160 million, the plan is to further squelch skeptical voices with operation for “countering” and “refuting” what the U.S. government deems to be propaganda and disinformation.

As part of the $160 million package, funds can be used to hire or reward “civil society groups, media content providers, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions.”

Among the tasks that these private entities can be hired to perform is to identify and investigate both print and online sources of news that are deemed to be distributing “disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda directed at the United States and its allies and partners.”

In other words, we are about to see an escalation of the information war.

Rick Sterling is an independent investigative journalist. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com

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67 comments for “The War Against Alternative Information

  1. Loretta
    March 2, 2018 at 5:11 am

    What about Israel’s foreign propaganda and meddling in elections?

  2. Gerry
    March 2, 2018 at 2:45 am

    I wrote a small comment thanking Rick (whom I know) and even that comment was not published.
    I cannot find a moderation policy, but perhaps non-US citizens are not allowed on this site? I cannot find any way of contacting anybody either.Probably because I said a few more things that were upsetting the status quo here.
    Well, so much for the most censored site I have ever seen: nice website but operated by controlling journalists, so better stick to non-US sites as this is really ridiculous. You publish whatever somebody says (Abe) who exposes anybody who dares to disagree with his idea about those of us who do not agree with Zionism, but no rebuttal allowed. Nobody will see this comment probably, so censor that as well and you are right up there with all the other Americans who pretend they have a broader view and yet censor anybody who says something slightly critical. Goodbye and good luck with the effect of this site on the media while your part of the same policies in the end if it does not suit you.

  3. Drew Hunkins
    March 2, 2018 at 12:55 am

    There were two points in very recent history when the Putin vilification operations really began to ramp up in the West:

    1.) The anti Putin propaganda campaign escalated in 2006 when Kemp & Edwards published their CFR paper in which they made the absurd charge that Putin was “rolling back democracy” in Russia. What a sick joke. They made no such breathless accusations during the rape and pillage of Russia during the 1990s when j. Sachs and his Harvard boyz provided the intellectual muscle for the massive exploitation and plunder. No, it was only when Putin put a halt to a lot of the looting and capital flight that the Western liberal intellectual class became alarmed and proceeded to assail and decry the Putin “regime” ( it is almost always deemed a regime, rarely is it referred to as the Putin “administration.”)

    2.) Then the anti Putin propaganda campaign began to escalate even more so in 2013 when Putin pulled off one of the finest diplomatic moves of the last 30 years: he talked Obama down from bombing Damascus to remove Assad. This made Putin enemy number one in the eyes of the Zio-Saudi-Washington militarist Terror Network. They wanted ever so desperately to topple Assad and turn Syria into a wasteland and miserable failed state. They were apoplectic.

    From here on out the Rachelle Maddows & Masha Gessens were off and running, fomenting Russophobia and putting the world on the brink of thermo nuclear Armageddon.

  4. backwardsevolution
    March 1, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    From Paul Craig Roberts again:

    “The Trump presidency is the perfect timing for the oligarchs to take over control of all information. The liberal/progressive/left hate Trump so much that they are willing to ignore the proven fact that Russiagate was a FBI/Obama/Hillary conspiracy against Trump in order to use the false accusation as a weapon against Trump.

    Gun control advocates and Identity Politics are willing to turn a blind eye to the unanswered questions about school shootings and terrorist bombings in order to get more gun control and police power to suppress “white supremacists.” Partisan in their approach, they do not consider that the same power will be used against them.

    As far as I can tell, the vast majority of young Americans have no idea what is at stake. Most will never realize that their reality consists of controlled explanations. They will never know the truth about anything.”

    The Lefties are playing right into their trap. Like I said, useful idiots.

  5. mark
    March 1, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    DemocracyNow is just controlled opposition.
    It is constantly shilling for regime change and “humanitarian bombing”.
    It gets its funding from Soros.
    It is just another faux Left outfit like the Guardian.

  6. Lucifer Christ
    March 1, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    The problem with this propaganda is that the US government is calling its own ticked off citizens trolls.

    The American people should not be paying for propaganda against their own interests.

    This money is being spent by the Deep State to destroy the American people.

    The American people are aware of the evil that lives in Washington, DC and how people in Washington, DC within the Deep State care nothing about them or their families. No matter of money will change that fact!

    People’s actions say much. Over time the American people have learned that the Deep State and the majority of politicians in DC are all about their own agenda and padding their own pockets – not serving Americans.

    Washington DC is evil. Everybody knows!

  7. me under the circumstances
    March 1, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett are targeted by the “pure white never mistaken good guys” ie the Fawning Corporate Media, as Ray McGovern calls them, as fake news providers, indicating to fair observers that they are actually the reporters on the scene in many parts of the globe who record what is really happening and how it affects the people involved.

    Even when evidence is staring people in the face, many refuse to change their stereotyped images of who is to blame.

    • mark
      March 1, 2018 at 5:05 pm

      The state controlled BBC, the Murdoch media and the like get their information from bogus terrorist mouthpieces like the MI6’s “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” and the headchopping, cannibal throatslitters of the White Helmets.

  8. Liam
    March 1, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Also worth noting: A huge purge of You Tube alternative information channels took place in the wake of the Parkland shooting event. Looks like the school shooting has been used not just as a gun grab, but also to assert control via purging of a large number of popular You Tube channels that were critical of the children’s acting skills. It would be great to see Consortium News cover this attack on free speech, and also the Google/You Tube connections to the Deep State and why they should be looked at as a government entity and not simply as a corporate entity that has the right to ban and censor people. They have almost complete control of information.

    Massive list of channels removed from YouTube #The1984IsREAL

    https://steemit.com/politics/@theouterlight/massive-list-of-channels-removed-from-youtube-the1984isreal

    • mark
      March 1, 2018 at 5:11 pm

      All the youngsters interviewed looked like they had come from central casting, all polished and photogenic and calmly parroting a few talking points like “the time for action is now”, after they had supposedly been dodging bullets and watching friends killed in front of them. Some local reporters spoke to people who claimed there were several gunmen, but this was filtered out of the national media.

    • backwardsevolution
      March 1, 2018 at 7:08 pm

      Liam – great post! People need to open their eyes. I too hope that more and more articles are written on this very topic. I know Tucker Carlson at Fox tries to bring this to people’s attention on a weekly basis. You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. We had better smarten up quickly.

  9. Liam
    March 1, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Excellent article Rick Sterling and Consortium News. For those wanting to learn more about the White Helmets (FSA terrorists) this link includes hundreds of pics from their own Facebook accounts proving that they are indeed terrorists posing as rescuers of little kids.

    Huge Cache of White Helmets Exposed Links All In One Massive Volume For Sharing and Red Pilling – Over 400 Images in 22 Files

    https://steemit.com/news/@clarityofsignal/huge-cache-of-white-helmets-exposed-links-all-in-one-massive-volume-for-sharing-and-red-pilling-over-400-images-in-22-files

  10. jools
    March 1, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Just wait until Net Neutrality “officially” kicks in, when the Stasi will go full throttle in interrupting many of the progressive channels esp. on UTube. On a side note, I was wondering, does Consortiumnews have a podcast? Again, thanks for enlightening us all w/your hard hitting journalism for I fear that much darker days awaits this nation.

  11. anastasia
    March 1, 2018 at 8:10 am

    Is this why I have noticed that google and youtube are taking down comments, youtube channels, etc of alternative media; why I also noticed that new bogus websites are going up purporting to be “alternative” websites (but who clearly are not) that are putting up false information and are very threatening, etc. Is google, Amazon, etc. doing this in accordance with this new law? What is our President doing about it? What about Congress? Eventually will they close down Trump’s Twitter account and claim that they are only complying with the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017? This is very disturbing.

    • backwardsevolution
      March 1, 2018 at 8:45 am

      anastasia – yes, it is disturbing. I think Congress is putting pressure on Google (who owns YouTube), Facebook and Twitter to censor. Of course, some say that these outfits are merely an arm of the U.S. government. Who knows what’s really happening.

      The upshot is that freedom of speech is being strangled right in front of our eyes. I hope everyone will stop using Google, Facebook and Twitter. Boycott them.

      • backwardsevolution
        March 1, 2018 at 8:47 am

        As Paul Craig Roberts said:

        “Who asked Google to transform itself from search engine to gatekeeper? Is there a conspiracy here against the First Amendment? What are Google’s qualifications for determining what is fake news and extremist views? Is what are we witnessing here the elite’s use of a private company to control explanations in behalf of the One Percent?

        How does a private company get to overrule the First Amendment of the US Constitution? […]

        Why do people use Google, Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter when the companies are in a conspiracy against freedom of the press? Is the answer that Americans would rather be entertained than to be free?”

        • E. Leete
          March 1, 2018 at 11:03 am

          I remember Paul Craig Roberts saying that the neoliberal economic agenda is getting enough pushback that it will have to use nuclear weapons to succeed, and make no mistake the neoliberal economic agenda means. to. succeed.

          I can’t fathom why the 99% underpaid are not campaigning united for an end to allowing overpay. When will humans snap awake and stop shoveling world wealth to a fraction few in exchange for tyranny? Tyranny is where overfortunes are – money is power – power to influence power to control power to make human history be what they say it will be – !! – the government is bought by people with overfortunes who are writing the laws and putting themselves above the laws they write – because they can – the gigarich are behind all the disinformation, the waste of wealth, the chaos, violence, corruption, the psychopathological militarism we cannot afford – divide and conquer – distractions instead of focus on the root cause – people endlessly discuss myriad CONsequences of allowing overpayoverpower but won’t go near the one idea that would reverse the colossal destruction of everyone’s everything. Getting good government and an unbiased press requires turning to justice and obeying her. Peace, safety, prosperity, a bright future? Spread world wealth as evenly as world work is spread and outlaw once and for all time any human being’s being able to keep an overfortune. The madness is not going to stop until we resolve ourselves to end the stealing – legal thefts are too numerous to count right now and the gigarich obviously have the power to keep inventing new ones even if you can manage to shut one legal theft down now and then – see the biggest picture, humanity – or perish by your own lack of seeing. Endlessly attacking the consquences of allowing overpayoverpower is getting you nowhere but deeper in the hole.

        • March 1, 2018 at 11:33 am

          “Who asked Google to transform itself from search engine to gatekeeper?”…exactly,…it’s the loose end of a long rope that tends to choke dissent on the internet…at best, it induces paranoia…one never knows whether that “glitche” is intended to censor or is merely a technical aberration

  12. backwardsevolution
    March 1, 2018 at 6:32 am

    The Southern Poverty Law Center has been hired by Google to police the content of YouTube for hate speech. IOW, one hate group gets to stifle their opposition.

  13. March 1, 2018 at 6:21 am

    Well of course the USG has to quiet the Alternative News army – how else can one have successful False Flags or assisted ones , when you have someone – spilling the beans. And there is a big one coming folks – you can bet on it – but they have to silence the Truth News – first. The Deep State , MIC, Corporations, Bankers, Wall Street, and many many USG employees along with State and Muni Govs. are going to throw all their chips into the pot on this Global poker game – they’re all in – Look out World !

  14. Andre
    March 1, 2018 at 6:03 am

    Eva Bartlett’s latest article on Syria can be found on TheDuran (dated today) and is another source for real journalism, as she and Vanessa Beeley as well as the author Rick Stirling have actually been in Syria and know more than those he sit behind their desk at home cashing in high sums for writing fake news for the war machine.
    Thanks again, Rick for another excellent article!

  15. KiwiAntz
    March 1, 2018 at 4:39 am

    What a godsend Consortiumnews & other alternative news outlets like RT & Sputnik are which provide real news rather than the Fakestream American & Western Media? I can’t even watch or read Western Media now, I just cringe in disgust at the endless, baseless & 24 hr propagandist lies & bull crap, it makes me sick to my stomach! Consortiumnews has really opened my eyes to the real situation behind World events? As a thinking person, I reached a sort of “Road to Damascus moment” & that’s when one comes to the realisation that everything our Leaders & Countries have told us are blatant lies & brainwashing lies at that? Some Americans, especially those who read alternative news & refuse to be brainwashed by their Govt, are slowly coming to this realisation, that their Country has become a evil, murderous, Fascist, Oligarchy state & when that happens the scales really come off the eyes (just like the Apostle Paul) & you really start to understand the serious threat to every human being on Earth, that this evil, scumbag, American deepstate elite class are, with their demented agenda, seeking to manipulate, deceive & enslave the World with their murderous, money making schemes. Using Nazi style, fake media propaganda as demonstrated in this article, that Joseph Goebels would have rejoiced in, they fail to recognise that just as Hitler’s fascist Empire fell, it is the fate of this current false US Empire as well, to collapse under its own imperialistic weight? Americans need a “storming the Bastille” revolution like the French Revolution, where they round up this elite class & dispense justice by gullotine? It worked out fine for the French & it could work for American citizens, fed up with this bunch of crooks? That’s the only way to get rid of these satanic nutcases? The Writings on the Wall, the rot has set in, & hopefully we will be around to see the American empire collapse, it’s going to happen & the sooner the better before it’s drags us into WW3?

    • john wilson
      March 1, 2018 at 5:31 am

      Hey there KiwAntz, there is another great site out there called ‘information clearing house info’ and it has great articles by people like John Pilger and others. Just type in the usual www, etc and you will find it.

  16. Realist
    March 1, 2018 at 3:37 am

    Wonderful, this gives me another chance to say it: Thanks, Obama! NOT!!!

    • March 2, 2018 at 4:08 pm

      yah…he lost me when he started bragging about how good he was at assassinating people with his drones…thats not smugly elite…its evil

      • robjira
        March 2, 2018 at 9:29 pm

        As Glen Ford once said (and I paraphrase), “He’s (Obama) not just the lesser of two evils; he’s the more effective evil.”

  17. Gerry
    March 1, 2018 at 2:36 am

    It is clear in your face how propaganda is all around, but how do you beat the owners and top echelons of the MSM?
    The owners are clear on the map on the following website and yet, try and say concrete things about WWII black propaganda and you will get into trouble: https://swprs.org/the-american-empire-and-its-media/

    The Zionists are excelling in spreading propaganda and controlling it through abuse if side-lining does not work. They have propelled their propaganda to the level where “their truth” has become like a religion where doubt is treated as heresy. I know what it feels like: always believing what you are being told as the absolute truth and then one day to actually read and study. Not the SteeleGate affair but further back where nobody did any research until it was all too late.
    History repeats itself and those at the top are too strong and go unchallenged because they are capable of making sure protests can and will be suppressed by their methods. Slurs, breaking careers (remember how during the Iraq war journalists got fired as soon as they deviated from the main story-line dictated by them?).
    it will take a lot of courage to commit certain “thought crimes” or to step outside the “groupthink” mentality.

  18. robjira
    March 1, 2018 at 1:12 am

    It was the one sided reporting on Syria that was the last straw for me regarding DN, of which I had been a financial supporter. Cracks in the veneer appeared (for me, at any rate) as far back as the release of the Collateral Murder video (I distinctly recall Amy Goodman relentlessly badgering Julian Assange to confirm it was [Bradley] Chelsea Manning who provided the material to Wikileaks, while Assange with obvious discomfort repeatedly told Goodman Wikileaks did not reveal the identities of sources), and continued with her ignorant and insulting treatment of a member of Iraq Veterans Against The War who acknowledged during a segment on the CM video, that he had friends among the squad of ground troops who arrived after the massacre (he didn’t want to reveal their names, and Goodman tore into him questioning his enthusiasm for transparency, displaying stunning ignorance of the bonds formed by soldiers serving together in combat). My misgivings deepened with the enthusiastic support for the vilification of Putin as a monolithic representation of all that is brutally and nefariously, “Russian.” This coincided with DN’s somewhat murky reporting on the Ukrainian crisis, but it was Syria and the coverage of the 2016 election that did it for me as far as DN is concerned.
    Thank the stars for Consortium News. RIP Robert Parry.

    • March 1, 2018 at 3:45 am

      robjira – thanks for the observations on Democracy Now. It has really been quite amazing to watch Amy and company continue to shill for amoral neocon war mongering while continuing to promote themselves as some sort of challenge to power. I’m really not sure how that crew sleeps at night given the amount of civilian blood on their hands from their reporting both Libya and Syria. Glad to see Aaron Mate left and now is able to do important ethical journalism over at RealNews. Meanwhile a senior reporter Shane Bauer at “Mother Jones” openly calls for censorship by the web platform “Medium” of those posting views that challenge the official government narrative on Syria. And “Counterpunch” seems to have stopped publishing the work of Andre Vitchek, as its editorial selection of articles becomes more and more milk-toast “McResistance” by the week. As the ranks of “alternative media” willing to actually stand up and oppose U.S. imperialism continues to shrink, those (like Consortiumnews) that have maintained their integrity become that much more important.

      • Nancy
        March 1, 2018 at 1:21 pm

        The times we are living in are separating the real truth-seekers from the phonies. This is a good thing, as Democracy Now, Counterpunch, etc. are exposing themselves as part of the problem, not the solution. The truth is hard to face but as the saying goes–will set us free –someday.

        • March 1, 2018 at 2:35 pm

          The good news is that there are other independent sources that keep popping up. They may have occasional links to MSM(when relevant) but the bias is toward uncovering corruption and international hypocrisy. One such website I recently discovered was Defend Democracy Press with an emphasis on European news.

          http://www.defenddemocracy.press/a-fourth-nato-reich-over-europe-preparing-to-fight-iran-and-russia/

        • Virginia
          March 1, 2018 at 2:47 pm

          Robjira, Gary, Nancy — I observed the same thing with DN and Amy Goodman. I recall a piece here at CN that show DN not to be the independent news source it used to be,…some huge contribution was mentioned. DN is compromised now.

          Maybe you saw Amy interview Glenn Greenwald who early on debunked Russia hacking the DNC. He made a good case but she, as did MSM’s reporters, stopped using the word “alleged” hacking almost right away.

          Two good articles not to miss on RT today: one on White Helmets, the other on Putin’s speech.

      • mark
        March 1, 2018 at 5:15 pm

        Not really all that amazing.
        DemocracyNow is funded by Soros.
        Just follow the money.
        It’s the same story with a lot of these “radical”, “alternative” sites.

    • March 2, 2018 at 4:07 pm

      yes….poor Amy…the shekels were just too shiny to resist…

  19. geeyp
    March 1, 2018 at 12:24 am

    Particularly good choice to reprint as many have awoken since then to the last president’s sedition and cutting of the last thin thread of what was left of US democracy. And, he didn’t even have to pay for it. He allotted for it, and you paid for it.

  20. February 28, 2018 at 11:56 pm

    Sobering recap in reprint of this Rick Sterling article, to realize that things continue as bad or worse since this was published. There is a very well written opinion piece on Sputnik by Finian Cunningham, “American Collapse — The Spectacle of Our Time”. The US power structure, rather than address US internal societal rot, he says, doubles down on its rogue nation behavior and militarism. The US is now as bad as Nazi Germany was and ought to receive a “Judgement at Nuremberg” condemnation, is my opinion, but read Finian’s piece at Sputnik, very good.

  21. Virginia
    February 28, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Thank you, Mr. Stirling.

  22. Dan Good
    February 28, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    It is quite amazing to see that America is creating a class of American dissidents. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s it was hard to understand how the USSR could treat its writers as outcasts. But it is about to happen now in the US of A.

  23. ranney
    February 28, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Last Sunday 60 minutes had a segment on the White Helmets so full of lies I wanted to barf. I hope everyone who reads this comments section will write 60 minutes and tell them that lying to the public is a big no-no and that White Helmets is an ISIS organization that gasses their own people and leaves “evidence” to prove Assad did it.

    • Lois Gagnon
      February 28, 2018 at 6:46 pm

      Once in a while I go on the networks’ Facebook pages and link an article that contradicts what they just reported. Sometimes the next night they will add what the critics of US policy are saying. They go out of their way to minimize that content, but it’s good to let them know there are people paying attention to the reality on the ground. It also exposes those commenting on the FB page to alternative information.

      It may not make a big difference, but even putting a dent in the official propaganda is better then nothing.

    • Realist
      March 1, 2018 at 3:48 am

      I make it a point not to watch 60 Minutes any more, because I have a low tolerance for deceit. However, I am aware of the false narratives they have been propagating on this country’s foreign policy for a long time. Other media outlets that have taken on that role with zest these days include the History Channel, with a scathing systematic slander of “Public Enemy Number One,” President Vladimir Putin, and the National Geographic Channel. Like PBS and NPR, both try to pass themselves off as dispensers of a refined intellectual approach to news. Frankly, there is more thoughtful analysis given to the purchases of backyard junk made by Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz on the History Channel’s “American Pickers.”

    • john wilson
      March 1, 2018 at 5:23 am

      60 minutes is part of the MSM deep state mouth piece. You don’t seriously think they will take the slightest bit of notice of letters complaining about their shyty programme do you? We need to support and donate to genuine alternative media, news and comment like the late Mr Parry’s great site. Further, good, informative articles and alternative news clips should be printed out and left on public transport for others to read. If each of us only printed out 10 copies of informative alternative news and left them on public transport for others to read, then we might get at least a bit of the alternative (no, not alternative but truth news) out there.

      • Nancy
        March 1, 2018 at 1:10 pm

        That’s a great idea.

      • Virginia
        March 1, 2018 at 2:51 pm

        I second that idea.

  24. mike k
    February 28, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    Mind control is an essential feature of the project to enslave the world. If you think there is no such project, you may already be a victim of it. Realizing that this is happening is essential for defending against it. Those who are waging this war against your freedom will do everything in their power to make you unaware of being brainwashed.

    For a person to awaken to being brainwashed requires humility, openness, honesty, courage, and the right kind of help from those already awakening.

    • mike k
      February 28, 2018 at 5:43 pm

      And if you lack the qualities mentioned, welcome to zombiehood!

  25. February 28, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    “the State Department or the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy supply, train and pay “activists” and “citizen journalists” to create and distribute propaganda and false stories via “social media” and via contacts with the mainstream media.”…and yet they hyperventilate about “Russian trolls”. How many of these pseudo patriotic agencies have been financed with our taxes?

    • mark
      March 1, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      They paid just one British PR company, Bell Pottinger, $540 million to produce fake material about Iraq and Syria and get it on to the Internet. This firm is run by a British Lord, Lord Bell. He and his firm have a very shady record. They were hired by corrupt South African politicians to divert attention from corruption scandals by fomenting hatred towards the white minority there.

  26. Joe Tedesky
    February 28, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    If Russia-Gate hadn’t been about providing a distraction from Hillary’s blasted emails, it would have been something else to create this need to combat ‘fake news’, because for my whole life of 68 years most of everything our government and media has told us is a lie, so now truthful reporting will be censored. Now all alternative news is being attacked by the very establishment of people who have been lying to us for so long, as their constant lies have made necessary a market for honest news. Rather the corporate owned media tell the truth, they instead rally behind a patriotically draped ‘news ban’, as this is the MSM’s fix for all that’s fake, or to tell the truth their fake news hammer to squash all that’s honest. We are in the bottom of the ninth whereas our police state nation is about to lose it’s free press…god help us, god help the world.

    • February 28, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      ” their constant lies have made necessary a market for honest news.”…yes, Joe, perhaps that’s the only good thing that has come out of their monopoly of MSM.

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 28, 2018 at 5:02 pm

        Yes being able to find truthful journalism is a commodity these days, but how long before we lose that, is the question?

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 28, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      Lt. Col. Daniel L Davis says it’s time to quit going to war with the AUMF. After you read this let’s see how much media attention the good Lt. Col. gets.

      http://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/376067-abuse-of-the-2001-aumf-weakens-our-national-security

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 28, 2018 at 5:10 pm
    • Joe Tedesky
      February 28, 2018 at 5:33 pm
      • godenich
        February 28, 2018 at 7:58 pm

        Here’s an interesting view[1] and a classic on patriotic peer pressure for war[2]. There must have been ample profit for stakeholders in the Vickers maxim gun production during the Boer Wars and WW1[3,4].

        [1] The Truth About World War I: The Hidden History | Youtube
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQ8Sj9FFmRc
        [2] The Four Feathers | AEW Mason
        http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/18883
        https://librivox.org/the-four-feathers-by-a-e-w-mason-2/
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aG1kHdnMSRU
        [3] Merchants of Death | H. C. Engelbrecht | Internet Archives | 1934
        https://archive.org/details/MerchantsOfDeath-AStudyOfTheInternationalArmamentIndustry
        [4] Zaharoff High Priest Of War | Guiles Davenport | Internet Archives | 1934
        https://archive.org/details/zaharoffhighprie011222mbp

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 28, 2018 at 10:06 pm

          Thank you very much. I watched the first video and got the book, I also am going to enjoy ‘the Four Feathers’ movie since it is one of my favorites.

          Here something where moonofalabama is suggesting of how the NYT is back to their old tricks like before the Iraq WMD invasion, where now the NYT is claiming N Korea is selling nuclear weapons parts to Syria.

          http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02/new-york-times-time-warps-back-to-2002-makes-new-bogus-wmd-claims.html#more

        • John W
          March 1, 2018 at 12:04 pm

          Checked out all of your links. I have downloaded, and saved as favorites. I have some reading to do. I’ll watch the youtube links that you have provided first. Thanks godenrich.

      • John W
        March 1, 2018 at 11:19 am

        Keep those links coming Joe Tedesky. People need actual reality, not reality derived by the criminally insane.

      • Annie
        March 2, 2018 at 3:17 pm

        Joe, it’s so frustrating dealing with people who read, or listen to mainstream media which provides them with their sole source of information. I was going to respond to a cousin’s Facebook post based on a recent article where Putin proclaims Russia’s nuclear prowess to protect itself in case of a nuclear attack, in which he also states Russia would not be the aggressor in any nuclear war. Her statement, ” I don’t know what it is with Putin but that guy is the real danger….Keep your friends close but your enemies closer. Putin is outsmarting us.” I was going to tell her about our military buildup along Russia’s eastern border, and the coup we created in Ukraine, and about our sanctions undermining Russia’s economic growth. I was going to mention that during the Obama administration the new cold war really got underway. I was going to talk about our military bases world wide that no country in the history of the world had so many, and our double standard of never allowing any military bases near us. I was going to write about our pivot to the east, and I wrote it all out then deleted it, because it’s a useless endeavor, and depressing. It never ceases to amaze me that educated people never pick up a book, or read anything other then the propaganda spewed by mainstream media, and put themselves out there as knowledgeable about the world. I often feel alienated knowing my comments will be perceived as anti-American, naive, or just plain ignorant. 

        P. S. it’s good that the internet as well as various books put out the truth, however it’s unfortunate that only a small minority will pay them any mind, and there is nothing like creating a common enemy to keep people united in their ignorance.

    • Bruce
      March 1, 2018 at 5:57 am

      Excellent comment. To paraphrase Orwell….telling the truth has become a revolutionary act.

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 1, 2018 at 5:51 pm

        Orwell was so right, that sometimes I swear we in this century should be looking to see if he is amongst us….a true time traveler. Joe

        • Annie
          March 2, 2018 at 3:31 pm

          Joe, it’s so frustrating dealing with people who read, or listen to mainstream media which provides them with their sole source of information. I was going to respond to a cousin’s Facebook post based on a recent article where Putin proclaims Russia’s nuclear prowess to protect itself in case of a nuclear attack, in which he also states Russia would not be the aggressor in any nuclear war. Her statement, ” I don’t know what it is with Putin but that guy is the real danger….Keep your friends close but your enemies closer. Putin is outsmarting us.” I was going to tell her about our military buildup along Russia’s eastern border, and the coup we created in Ukraine, and about our sanctions undermining Russia’s economic growth. I was going to mention that during the Obama administration the new cold war really got underway. I was going to talk about our hundreds of military bases world wide, and our double standard of never allowing a military base near us. I was going to write about our pivot to the east, and she should not forget our McCarthy era politics where so many lives were damaged based on lies. I wrote it all out then deleted it, because it’s a useless endeavor, and depressing. It never ceases to amaze me that educated people never pick up a book, or read anything other then the propaganda spewed by mainstream media, and put themselves out there as knowledgeable about the world. I often feel alienated knowing my comments will be perceived as anti-American, naive, or just plain ignorant. 

          P. S. it’s good that the internet as well as various books put out the truth, however it’s unfortunate that only a small minority will pay them any mind, and there is nothing like creating a common enemy to keep people united in their ignorance.

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 3, 2018 at 9:42 pm

            Tell you cousin to watch the Paramont made for TV movie ‘Waco’, then see if your cousin will watch Showtime’s Oliver Stone Peter Kuznick ‘America’s Untold History’, after that Annie I’m sure you could suggest reading material, so do it.

            In any case keep loving your cousin, and maybe talk about other things, but it doesn’t hurt for you to try and guide your cousin to the truth. Joe

    • John W
      March 1, 2018 at 11:13 am

      I concur Joe Tedesky. The shit is indeed hitting the fan. Destroying the very thing that gives them live(Earth) is complete insanity. But, psychopaths want control, and I believe that these humanoids in control do not want anything to grow, live, prosper, or be, unless they say so. Unless they have ultimate control over it(trees, grass, flowers, birds, animals, humans, bacteria, planets, suns, etc). This geoengineering and other agendas that they are doing, is killing off everything. This I believe is where their GMO’s comes in. Kill all off, then replace it with that they have created to live in the environment they have created. Nothing or no one has a child or offspring unless they deem it ok, give their acceptance for it to be. Entirely psychopathic, or an extremely primitive beastial mind. But, no one says that what we call psychopathic is anywhere near sane. A bit off the tracks, but it does coincide with controlling narratives or ‘truths’ for their agendas.

      • Nancy
        March 1, 2018 at 1:07 pm

        In a crazy way, it makes sense!

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 1, 2018 at 5:50 pm

        John W if more people were to investigate the harmful effects of GMO food products, and they were to take what they found seriously, why this alone would be a good reason to stand up and say to our corporate masters, ‘enough is enough’.

        Glad you enjoyed the links, because I was fearful that I had over done it with all those posted links…get this I had even more, but thought I was going overboard with what I had already posted. So thanks for the approval John W. Joe

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