Yellow-billed loons in love, video


This video from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA says about itself:

The Yellow-billed Loon is the largest and most spectacular of the world’s five loon species. It breeds around the globe in arctic and sub-arctic tundra lakes and is the northern counterpart to the Common Loon.

Watch this rare video shot by The Lab’s Gerrit Vyn of a mated pair calling and foraging just after arriving on the partially frozen breeding grounds in Chukotka, Russia.

‘Russiagate conspiracy’ campaign based on double agent?


This video says about itself:

The Secrets Of The CIA‘s Iraq Media War

Media War (2003): How the CIA rewrote their intelligence to build support for the Iraq War.

Disturbing evidence suggests the CIA fed faulty intelligence to handpicked journalists to win support for the war against Iraq.

The defection of Iraqi engineer Adnan al Haideri in 2001 was a massive coup for the White House. “He was probably the single most significant defector who came out of Iraq”, states an INC spokesman. Al Haideri claimed to have been hired by Saddam Hussein to build facilities for testing WMD. His story was widely circulated and used to justify the war. Unfortunately, it now appears that his remarkable testimony was a lie. Not one of the hundreds of bunkers detailed by him has been found. “Al Haideri’s evidence is a perfect example of the kind of garbage that was disseminated by Ahmed Chalabi,”

a CIA-Iranian double agent

states former weapons inspector Scott Ritter. New information has also emerged about the way Al Haideri’s story was leaked to the media. “They misled us”, states Ritter “Thousands of innocent Iraqis perished in a war that didn’t need to be fought.”

One of the conspiracy theories used by the United States George W Bush administration to start their war on Iraq was that Iraq supposedly had ‘weapons of mass destruction’.

Another conspiracy theory of the George W Bush administration to start their war on Iraq was supposed Iraqi involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA.

That lying theory was based on torture.

The Bush administration’s other conspiracy theory, on ‘Iraqi weapons of mass destruction‘, was based on a taxi driver’s gossip; and on Iranian-CIA double agent Ahmed Chalabi.

Now, more double agent news, this time about the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

New York Times: Main source for anti-Russia campaign may have been a “double agent”

11 September 2019

In a further exposure of the concocted claims of the New York Times and the Democrats of Russian “subversion” of the US political system, the Times acknowledged Tuesday that the key source used by the intelligence agencies to claim Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement “could be a double agent”.

On October 7, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said they were “confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions.”

According to this narrative, amplified by the Democratic Party and the New York Times itself, Putin personally intervened to try to get Donald Trump elected by directing the Russian state to steal incriminating emails from the Clinton campaign and release them to WikiLeaks for publication.

But this sweeping conspiracy theory, alleging a plot spanning continents involving Russia, a sovereign state, the Republican presidential nominee, and WikiLeaks, the world’s most famous dissident news organization, has fallen apart.

In August, a federal court dismissed a Democratic National Committee (DNC) civil suit against Trump, the Russian government and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Now, the main editorial outlet driving the Democrats’ anti-Russia campaign has admitted that serious concerns were raised within the US intelligence establishment about the primary source behind its hyperventilating denunciations of Russian “meddling”. The Times reported that the source, later identified by the Russian press as Oleg Smolenkov, gained an “influential position that came with access to the highest level of the Kremlin.”

Smolenkov “became one of the CIA’s most important—and highly protected—assets”, according to the Times. CNN reported that he was able to photograph documents on Putin’s desk and send them to Washington.

The Times wrote: “The Moscow informant was instrumental to the CIA’s most explosive conclusion about Russia’s interference campaign: that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered and orchestrated it himself. As the American government’s best insight into the thinking of and orders from Mr. Putin, the source was also key to the CIA’s assessment that he affirmatively favored Donald J. Trump’s election and personally ordered the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.”

There was just one problem. When the United States, concerned that media reports of Russian “meddling” might compromise their asset in the Kremlin, offered to exfiltrate their spy from Russia, where he risked a life sentence or execution if caught, he at first refused, leading to the conclusion that he might be a double agent, feeding false information to the Americans on behalf of elements within the Russian state.

The Times wrote that in 2016 “the source’s rejection of the CIA’s initial offer of exfiltration prompted doubts among some counterintelligence officials. They wondered whether the informant had been turned and had become a double agent, secretly betraying his American handlers. That would almost certainly mean that some of the information the informant provided about the Russian interference campaign or Mr. Putin’s intentions would have been inaccurate.”

The Times continued, “Some operatives had other reasons to suspect the source could be a double agent, according to two former officials, but they declined to explain further.” …

In the name of combating “Russian meddling”, politicians pressured American technology firms to undertake the most onerous program of political censorship in the history of the internet in the US. Accounts with millions of followers were deleted overnight, while Google manipulated search results to bury left-wing viewpoints.

There was a massive effort to poison public opinion against Julian Assange, the courageous publisher and exposer of war crimes. He was slandered by the Democrats and the Times as a Russian agent who colluded with Trump, setting the stage for his imprisonment.

More information will no doubt emerge about the background and possible motivations of Smolenkov. But regardless, the fact that the source behind allegations the newspaper breathlessly proclaimed as fact had serious credibility problems makes clear that the Times made no serious efforts to question, much less validate, its chosen political narrative.

This newspaper functions as a clearinghouse for unquestioned, unexamined dispatches from within the American intelligence apparatus. Its role in promoting the Bush administration’s lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was not an aberration, but its modus operandi.

Fake ‘Russian’ interference by United States spies


This 27 December 2018 video from the USA is called Senate Security Expert Suspended From FacebookRussiaGate Crumbling.

By Will Morrow in the USA:

US intelligence think tank conducted “false flag” operation impersonating Russian election interference

31 December 2018

A series of articles published in the past week have revealed that the New Knowledge think tank conducted a “false flag” operation to influence the 2017 Alabama state election and make it appear that Russia was conducting a Twitter campaign to back its preferred candidate. New Knowledge is closely connected to the US intelligence agencies and has been widely cited as an impartial investigator of “Russian meddling” in US politics.

The story was first reported by the Washington Post on December 18 and the New York Times on December 19. Only a day earlier, both newspapers had carried lead front-page articles based largely on a New Knowledge report that claimed to provide new evidence of Russian social media operations to influence American politics.

As is the now well-established procedure, the report by New Knowledge was presented by the Times and Post as “independent” and scientific. The articles in the Times and Post were then made the basis for countless news articles and television reports breathtakingly reporting the latest nefarious activities of the Kremlin as established fact.

The New Knowledge report, entitled “The Tactics & Tropes of the Internet Research Agency,” cited hundreds of predominantly left-wing social media posts on Facebook, including on police violence and government spying, to argue that Russian activities were sowing political divisions in the United States. It amounted to a brief for mass internet censorship directed against working-class political opposition. (See: “The disinformation campaign behind the allegations of Russian ‘disinformation’”)

In its December 19 article, the Times admits that New Knowledge CEO Johnathon Morgan was involved in an effort to promote the election of Democrat Doug Jones against Republican rival Roy Moore in the 2017 Alabama Senate election. The operation, codenamed “Project Birmingham,” included creating fake Facebook pages to attract conservative voters and promote an obscure write-in conservative Republican candidate likely to draw votes away from Moore. The operation also sought to artificially inflate click rates on anti-Moore news stories in order to encourage more such articles. Moore ultimately lost the election.

Most significantly, the Times report includes the admission that the project “involved a scheme to link the Moore campaign to thousands of Russian accounts that suddenly began following the Republican candidate on Twitter, a development that drew national media attention.”

The Times goes on to quote an internal report by New Knowledge, summarizing Project Birmingham: “We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet.” Moore’s Twitter account was followed by numerous accounts with an obviously fake and Russian appearance, featuring profile pictures of celebrities and Russian cyrillic characters.

In other words, the very body cited as an impartial expert on unsubstantiated allegations of Russian “disinformation” itself carries out actual disinformation fabricating evidence of Russian meddling.

The Times article is itself an exercise in damage control aimed at preserving the credibility of New Knowledge and the intelligence agencies’ anti-Russia campaign, for which the Times and the Post have been leading voices.

As is suggested by the headline, “Secret Experiment in Alabama Senate Race Imitated Russian Tactics,” it argues that New Knowledge and Morgan’s actions were a small-scale “experiment” aimed at testing the impact of Russian-style tactics. It further warns that New Knowledge’s actions were a sign that Russian tactics are being copied by other political groups, and that a further intensification of government censorship of social media is required.

It has since been revealed that the project went beyond the Times’ initial report—and that the Times knew of New Knowledge’s role long in advance but did not mention it even as it promoted New Knowledge’s own report. An article by Buzzfeed on December 27 reveals that Scott Shane, the Times national security correspondent who wrote a December 17 article based on New Knowledge’s report on Russian meddling, was one of a handful of speakers at a September meeting in Washington that discussed “Project Birmingham.”

The Project also involved another organization, American Engagement Technologies, which is run by Mikey Dickerson, a former Obama administration official and Google engineer. The organization received $750,000 from Reid Hoffman, the billionaire CEO of LinkedIn, and spent approximately $100,000 on Project Birmingham. The collaboration of New Knowledge in this operation underscores the close nexus between the intelligence agencies, the Democratic Party, and the technology companies that are leading the campaign for censorship.

New Knowledge and its CEO, Johnathon Morgan, epitomize the collection of state propaganda outlets, staffed by former intelligence agents and advisors, who are trotted out in media television panels and featured in news articles as sources for unsubstantiated allegations of Russian interference. New Knowledge’s co-founder, Ryan Fox, was an NSA agent for 15 years, and previously worked as an analyst for the US Joint Special Operation Command in the military.

Morgan himself was an advisor to the US State Department and helped create the Hamilton 68 “dashboard”, a project run by the German Marshall Fund, ostensibly tasked with tracking Russian disinformation activities, that is headed by Clint Watts, a former FBI agent and advocate of internet censorship.

Even if the allegations of a Russian social media operation since 2016, involving approximately $100,000 of paid Facebook ads, are true, they would pale in comparison with the actions of the US intelligence agencies, which are responsible for overthrowing governments, sponsoring coups, destabilizing governments and providing fake intelligence (“weapons of mass destruction”) for illegal US wars.

If the Washington Post and the New York Times, the so-called “newspaper of record” of what previously passed for American liberal journalism, were operating with a shred of journalistic integrity, the revelation of such compromising actions by New Knowledge would compel them to issue an immediate retraction of their previous promotion of New Knowledge’s investigations.

Neither will do so, because they do not function as houses of genuine journalism, but rather of government propaganda. The campaign over Russian-backed “fake news” is not based on actual facts but is itself the greatest fake news story of all. Its purpose is to justify mass censorship of the internet. Its target is not Russia, but political opposition among workers and young people inside the US, and their determination to obtain information outside of the control of the corporate media, and to organize struggles against social inequality on social media.

No Ukraine-Russia war, no World War III!


This 26 November 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Moscow & NATO Playing a ‘Dangerous Tit-For-Tat Game’ in Ukraine

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson says that the latest Ukraine crisis, in which Russia is holding Ukrainian navy boats, was foreseeable and likely, given NATO’s constant encroachment on Russia’s border region.

By Clara Weiss in Germany:

Russia-Ukraine stand-off over Azov Sea continues as Poroshenko declares martial law

27 November 2018

Following Russia’s capture of three Ukrainian vessels on Sunday in the Azov Sea, the Ukrainian government, at the behest of President Petro Poroshenko and the War Cabinet, has introduced martial law starting November 28 for 30 days. On Monday, the Ukrainian armed forces also announced that they were fully combat ready. Meanwhile, US media foreign policy and think tank officials have been beating the war drum, urging a “tough” response to alleged “Russian aggression” by Ukraine, NATO and the US.

The Azov Sea borders southwestern Russia, the southeast of Ukraine as well as Crimea, and enters into the Black Sea, which is of key geostrategic significance to both the US and Russia, as a water gateway to the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

The stand-off occurred at the Kerch Strait, which is the only link between both seas and has been largely under the control of Russia since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in early 2014.

From daily News Line in Britain today:

The Ukrainian navy vessels were sailing through the narrow Kerch Strait between Crimea and mainland Russia which connects the Azov Sea with the Black Sea. Under a 2003 treaty, ships from both Russia and Crimea have freedom to pass through the very narrow and difficult to navigate Strait on condition that they first contact the Crimean sea port for permission that it is safe to do so. All vessels are required to proceed directly through the Strait and not perform any manoeuvres that endanger other ships.

According to the Russian authorities responsible for safeguarding the Strait the three Ukrainian ships gave no warning that they were entering it, ignored repeated requests to leave Russia’s territorial waters, and entered a stretch that had been temporarily closed to navigation.

The Clara Weiss article continues:

In the most significant direct confrontation between the Russian and Ukrainian military since 2014, Russian warships fired at and captured three Ukrainian vessels after they entered Russian territorial waters. Several Ukrainian sailors were wounded. Russian media have called it a “veritable maritime battle.” Initially shut down by Russia, the Kerch Strait has now been reopened for civilian ships.

The Kiev regime, brought to power in an imperialist-backed, far-right coup in February 2014, had so far refrained from introducing martial law, despite an ongoing civil war in the east of the country that has claimed the lives of over 10,000 people. Poroshenko initially declared martial law for 60 days, but then reduced the duration to 30 days, following a public outcry. He also insisted in a statement that the declaration of martial law in response to Russia’s “aggression” did not mean an open declaration of war with Russia.

The introduction of martial law by Poroshenko is a transparent attempt to exploit the crisis to intensify the far-advanced drive toward dictatorial rule in dealing with an ever deepening domestic crisis. Martial law is being imposed in the midst of a campaign for the March 2018 presidential elections in which Poroshenko is performing worse than all other candidates in the polls and is almost certain to lose his bid for reelection.

Nearly five years after the beginning of the conflict with Russia, some one million Ukrainians are on the verge of starvation, hundreds of thousands have left the country to live and work abroad; and thousands of workers have been going on strike to protest starvation-level wages. There is also enormous anger about the government’s open ties to and reliance on far-right forces, as recently evidenced in the fascist assassination of a former Maidan activist.

Under these conditions, not only Poroshenko but the entire Ukrainian ruling class see the whipping up of militarism, nationalist hysteria and the promotion of dictatorial rule as the only means to deal with mass social discontent.

The escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the introduction of martial law by Kiev have triggered a devaluation of the currencies and a fall on the stock markets of both countries. The value of the Ukrainian currency, the Hryvnia, fell, trading at 27.89 to the dollar on Tuesday, compared to 27.79 to the dollar on Monday. The National Bank of Ukraine has called upon the country’s banks to guarantee cash supply at ATMs in an expected rise in demand because of the state of martial law. The value of several major Ukrainian companies also fell on the stock markets.

The Russian ruble experienced an even sharper devaluation, with the index of the Moscow stock market falling by 1.46 percent.

More details have since emerged about the stand-off on Sunday, suggesting that Ukraine consciously provoked some kind of response by Russia to use as a pretext for an escalation of the long-simmering military conflict.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which fired at the ship on Sunday, released a transcript, according to which the Ukrainian vessels performed maneuvers in Russian territorial waters in the Azov Sea, staying in the waters for some 12 hours and refusing to leave upon the request of Russian authorities. The Ukrainian vessels, according to Russian officials, also entered waters that had been temporarily closed to navigation. In a statement, the FSB argued that the Russian warships were forced to open fire because the three Ukrainian ships had ignored “legal demands to stop” and were “performing dangerous maneuvers.” Footage released by the FSB shows one of the Ukrainian vessels ramming a Russian warship.

The Kremlin has denounced the vessels’ maneuvers as “a dangerous provocation. On Monday, an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council took place. When the agenda proposed by Russia, including Ukraine’s violation of its borders, was voted down (only China, Kazakhstan, Bolivia and Russia voted for it, four abstained), the Russian representatives left the meeting. The UN Security Council instead adopted the agenda proposed by Ukraine.

The British ambassador to the UN denounced Russia’s refusal to participate in the meeting as “provocative.” The president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, condemned the use of force by Russia and insisted that it had to release the Ukrainian vessels. Tusk later met with Poroshenko to discuss the situation. Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative of Foreign Affairs, echoed Tusk’s statements, calling upon Russia “to immediately de-escalate the situation.”

The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said: “As President Trump has said many times, the United States would welcome a normal relationship with Russia. But outlaw actions like this one continue to make that impossible.” In reality, the US has helped ratchet up tensions in the region in recent months by supplying Ukraine with missiles and patrol boats, including ones to be used in the Azov Sea. Trump and Putin are set to meet later this week.

Behind the scenes, more open discussions about a military escalation are taking place among the strategists of US imperialism. In a publication by the Atlantic Council, a leading foreign policy think tank in Washington, Michael Carpenter, former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, urged the US to “respond immediately by giving Ukraine radars to boost its maritime domain awareness and land-based anti-ship missiles so it can defend its Azov Sea littoral.”” Ukraine insists that it had the right under international law to transit the strait and called Russia’s firing on its vessels an “act of aggression.”

Taras Berezovets, a Ukrainian TV host and founder and CEO of Free Crimea, said: “The US should sanction Nord Stream 2 [pipeline]. NATO should increase its military presence in the Black Sea to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine should declare martial law, impose visa regime, and break the 2003 Azov Sea Treaty.” The Azov Sea Treaty from 2003 regulates relations between Ukraine and Russia, dividing up both the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait between the two, and provides for a ban on foreign ships—including NATO—unless their passage is sanctioned by both countries.

Phillip Karber, who was worked for various US government agencies and now heads the Potomac Foundation, an American NGO that has close ties to the State Department, was even more explicit: “It’s time to spell it like it smells—it’s war!” He demanded “full wartime level of mobilization” in Ukraine; the re-equipment of the Ukrainian military “with modern Western military technology”; that NATO include Ukraine in the alliance, and that the US provide Ukraine “with the hardware needed to sustain a long-term competitive posture.”

The dangerous developments in the Black Sea region underscore the warnings of the ICFI of the danger of a Third World War. Neither the Putin regime, which is the outcome of the Stalinist destruction of the Soviet Union and fears the socialist mobilization of the Russian working class more than any assault by imperialism, nor any other section of the bourgeoisie can be relied upon to fend off the threat of war and dictatorship. Only an independent movement by the working class against capitalism and the nation-state system can put an end to the danger of another imperialist world war and nuclear annihilation.

Over the past several days, Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister of Ukraine and head of the All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland” party, has toured Washington to garner support for her presidential bid in the elections in March 2019. Early polling sees her as the front-runner, leading the rest of the potential candidates in a crowded field by nearly twofold: here.

Ukraine purchases armed drones from Turkey. Purchase agreement covers 6 Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles, 3 ground control station systems and equipment: here.