All the Manufactured News That’s Fit to Believe™

Politikḗ on Twitter: ‘Bellingcat’s new magnum opus’

(It’s longish, but instead of making a Part II, I’d thought it might serve as a reference for readers in the future, so one will have to do.)

In his Oct. 1 ‘Julian Assange appoints new WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief’, Patrick O’Connor at notes that Julian Assange had appointed  Icelandic investigative journalist Kristinn Hrafnsson as editor-in-chief while Assange will remain the organization’s publisher.  A sad day for us, for Julian, and lovers of truth and free speech everywhere, but as he’s been incommunicado for at least six months, it was necessary to make the change.

O’Connor also highlighted the new leaks the organization had published within two days of Hranfnnson’s appointment.  the most excellent Whitney Webb  is already up with the story in her ‘New WikiLeaks Release Exposes Corruption in UAE Arms Deal Fueling War on Yemen; Though the corruption detailed in the newly leaked document took place decades ago, it highlights how lucrative arms deals are often enough incentive for governments to bend the rules in order to keep weapons and cash flowing, no matter the consequences at

O’Connor had also highlighted John Pilger calls out Vichy journalism and witch-hunts in his ‘Bringing Julian Assange Home’, John Pilger, 19 June 2018,

Below is the speech delivered by the well known journalist and documentarian John Pilger to the rally to free Julian Assange held by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia on Sunday, June 17 in Sydney’s Town Hall Center. It’s longish, but excellent; there’s a longer video if you’d prefer it.

“In 2008, a plan to destroy both WikiLeaks and Assange was laid out in a top secret document dated 8 March, 2008. The authors were the Cyber Counter-intelligence Assessments Branch of the US Defence Department. They described in detail how important it was to destroy the “feeling of trust” that is WikiLeaks’ “centre of gravity.”

This would be achieved, they wrote, with threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution” and an unrelenting assault on reputation. The aim was to silence and criminalise WikiLeaks and its editor and publisher. It was as if they planned a war on a single human being and on the very principle of freedom of speech.

Their main weapon would be personal smear. Their shock troops would be enlisted in the media—those who are meant to keep the record straight and tell us the truth. The irony is that no one told these journalists what to do. I call them Vichy journalists—after the Vichy government that served and enabled the German occupation of wartime France.”

He spends a lot of time on Corrupt Warmonger/War Criminal Clinton’s words and deeds, including approving $80 billions worth of arms to our partners in peace, Saudi Arabia, a huge contributor to the Clinton Foundation. He cites the abject and dastardly hypocrisy of the Guardian profiting mightily from publishing WikiLeaks revelations, then publishing Luke Harding’s lies about Assange, and hyping his book made into a movie as well.

What John Pilger was likely unaware of is that Pierre Omidyar’s ‘fearless investigative journalists at the Intercept had published a minimum of four wild smears against Julian Assange, one here with perhaps allusions to earlier ones), and my favorite:

‘The Great WikiLeaks Train Robbery: Pinkerton Police Greenwald [the Good Whistleblower] and Klein in Close Pursuit’, café babylon, 10/24/2016, re: WikiLeaks publication of the Podesta emails and more)

Smear after smear after craptastic smear from both if them, but this may take the cake (GG quoting Ed Snowden when they’d met in Hong Kong):

“Why didn’t you just upload it to the internet? Why did you need to work with us, to have journalists as the middleman and mediators to process this information and take the decision-making out of your hands about what the public will and won’t see?

And he said: Think about how incredibly sociopathic, how narcissistic it would be for me, Edward Snowden, to decide that I have the right, singlehandedly, to destroy all of these programs simply because I don’t like them.

He said he doesn’t want to destroy anything, that his goal instead is to take the information that gives human beings around the world the ability to know what it is their governments are doing, what is being done to the internet, so that those people, democratically and collectively, can make that choice about should these programs continue? In what form? Do we need safeguards? Do we need pushback? Do we need citizen movement? All of that. He felt very uncomfortable with the idea that his role could ever be anything other than facilitator of information that allows others to make that choice.”

Yeppers, Assanage believes he has the right to burn it all down.  And Saint Klein is…so uncomfortable about it all, the poor thing, although the ‘hacks’ weren’t…the Pentagon Papers.  Pffft on all three of them.

‘News’ is also manage by censoring it, of course; this is one overview: A “Sudden Bout of Atypical Decency”?; Social Media Giants, “Free Speech,” and the Control of Informationby Leftist Critic, August 30th, 2018,  I’ll admit that I was kinda confused over who said what about Alex Jones, etc., but you may not be so afflicted.

And what of the WaPo-spawned PropOrNot (fueled by Russian interference in our putative Democracy™?)

““Obtain news from actual reporters, who report to an editor and are professionally accountable for mistakes. We suggest NPR, the BBC, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington PostBuzzfeed NewsVICE, etc, and especially your local papers and local TV news channels. Support them by subscribing, if you can!”

Wot? Not the Guardian?  But more on the BBC in a bit….  The updated list of Propaganda sites is here.  Whew; close call: the Intercept ain’t on it!

Now Atlantic Council-funded NATO think stink tank) Bellingcat online investigative news isn’t on the approved list, but founder Eliot ‘iggins (yeah, he and Craig Murray scrap a hella lot on Twitter, and oy, do they smear him hard)  and PropOrNot dude  OzKateri swap a lot of Tweets.

This is a Tweet demonstrating Bellingcat being thanked for their ‘services and reports’, Ukraine SBU, UK Defense Minister, etc. Heh, one subtweet says: “That bellingcat couch potato-“researcher” has being milking NATO’s apprentices. Pure and Simple. They have been funding that dumbfock (clearly criminal) lad. MH17 shouting cover up was his “best moment”, best moment of crime and he will pay for it.”

But wait: it gets even funnier!  Apparently (via RT) Gavin Newsome then deleted the Tweet, but:

“It was long enough for Reuters to quote it in a report, however, running under the headline: “‘True identity’ of Salisbury suspect revealed, UK defense minister says.”  

How often have we seen reports from the UK that use Bellingcat as their only source?  the BBC, for certain (zounds, quite a list on just the first page of hits), the Daily Mail, the New Yorker, according to Bellingcrap’s Aric Toler: “(The New Yorker profiled one of our trainings in London. The Tbilisi workshop is a three-day training ran in Russian, free to all participants)”

For what it’s worth, this is a Twitter thread by glumbird explaining Bellingcat’s (cough) methodology for naming the GRU Russians as the poisoners of Sergei Skripal and his daughter.  By the by: are they both in silent deep dark badger holes under UK D-notice?

Craig Murray’s been following the Bellingcat claims avidly (an deconstructing them here and there), and he’s up with a new one now, but in his Sept. 27 Boshirov” is probably not “Chepiga”. But he is also not “Boshirov” he’d said:

“The evidence mounts that Russia is not telling the truth about “Boshirov” and “Petrov”. If those were real identities, they would have been substantiated in depth by now. As we know of Yulia Skripal’s boyfriend, cat, cousin and grandmother, real depth on the lives and milieu of “Boshirov” and “Petrov” would be got out. It is plainly in the interests of Russia’s state and its oligarchy to establish that they truly exist, and concern for the privacy of individuals would be outweighed by that. The rights of the individual are not prioritised over the state interest in Russia.

But equally the identification of “Boshirov” with “Colonel Chepiga” is a nonsense.

The problem is with Bellingcat’s methodology. They did not start with any prior intelligence that “Chepiga” is “Boshirov”. They rather allegedly searched databases of GRU operatives of about the right age, then trawled photos in yearbooks of them until they found one that looked a bit like “Boshirov”. And guess what? It looks a bit like “Boshirov”. If you ignore the substantially different skull shape and nose.”

“It is worth repeating that the only evidence that Chepiga is Boshirov offered by Bellingcat is this photo. The rest of their article simply attempts to establish Chepiga’s career.

This is gross hypocrisy by Bellingcat, who have argued that scores of photos of White Helmets being Jihadi fighters are not valid evidence because you cannot safely recognise faces from photographs.”

(then a series of eliot ‘iggins’ Tweets)

“UPDATE Incredibly, at 13.15 on 27 September the BBC TV News ran the story showing only the two photos of “Boshirov”, which of course are the same person, and not showing the photo of Chepiga at all!”

@theLemniscat Sep 28 “This a #thread of badly staged #WhiteHelmets videos”

And speaking of the Intercept, this Tweet from Sharmine Narwani:

The Geopolitical Zeitgeist (spoiler alert: there is no shelter save for our inner lives) :

(cross-posted at

13 responses to “All the Manufactured News That’s Fit to Believe™

  1. wd fail: and i’d forgotten to add the Guardian sourcing bellingcat.
    an internal search came up pages of them, the most recent one is here.
    Q: is that where Luke Harding gets his info?

    …and christopher miller of the Kyiv Post makes an appearance on bellingcat’s twitter account, gotta luv it. i rest my case. ;-)

  2. Noam is really disappointing. what the hell is up w/him? doesn’t it matter at all that what the US is doing in Syria is completely illegal? not to mention so deeply immoral it’s kind of hard to fathom. more than a few “lefties” are dismissive of questions of international law b/c, you know, Assad is bad.

    thanks for sharing the DOD playbook on Assange. the focus on a person’s (supposed, in his case) sexual misdeeds has a long history, of course, but it just makes wonder about #MeToo. Whether it’s Kavanaugh or Assange or whoever, focusing on the sex life of a public figure is a great tool of distraction.
    speaking of scapegoats…

    • Ronan Farrow has some kind relationship w/the CIA and David Walsh at wsws has speculated that #MeToo is being used by the “deep state” (not his words) to target specific people, like Woody Allen & Harvey Weinstein, for political reasons. this is not to exonerate them of anything they may actually have done, but they are both very significant artistic figures who try, mostly unsuccessfully, to put out interesting work occasionally even in this soul-crushing environment. so they gotta go. people will say they find W Allen’s sex life “creepy” b/c of his marriage to his adopted daughter. “upper west side jewish liberal radical communist pornographer”, as he jokes about himself in, I think, Annie Hall (back when his movies didn’t suck). now we can add child molester & cradle robber to boot! what are these Puritans going to do when the “traditional monogamous lifestyle as we know it” has to be abandoned, for the good of the species natch, in our post-Apocalyptic bunkers?

      “i’m not a witch! that’s not my nose. it’s a false nose.” MP’s Holy Grail.

      • woof; let’s see. dunno anything about ronan farrow, not much about weinstein, but what galls me is that aggregates of anonymous accusers seem to get people fired/drop-kicked from their chosen fields, as he says, mccarthy-style. when one of them wrote ‘may i ay a word in defense of kevin spacey cuz he was a great actor?” i almost wretched. i loathe him and every role he’s played, but what the hell does his acting have to do with it?

        pretty creepy way to come out as gay, too, no? but yep, deviations to the sexual norm…sell like hotcakes, eh? oh, lawdie, i saw a headline with connie chung saying…was it that she was molested by an authority figure in her life…and had her first orgasm? what was the point of that admission?

        i just don’t think it’s helping the rabble workers of the world, myself, nor in the military (sorry jen stoltenberg and angelina). and why don’t men being sexually harassed by female bosses get any play? if it’s a power differential, you know it’s happening. #HeToo?

        great video, wonder who made the town? i clicked thru, no attribution. ‘burning man’, whoa, nellie.

        on edit: oh, this ronan farrow.

        the internal link to the new yorker makes weinstein sound awful, possibly guilty of rape many times over. power, not just motivation by sexual desire. at least he’ll face his accusers in court, that’s a plus.

        • why when I read that article about Ronan’s self-regard do I immediately think of Edward Snowden? CIA’s Doogie Howser, got into Yale law school at 16, now whetting the “J’accuse” ax at a chopping block near you. I wonder if he was a “Disney Kid,” like Britney, Lindsay, Miley, Justin, etc., etc., where the state’s favorite media empire trains the entertainers of tomorrow, today!

          how does one’s class affect one’s views of something like #Metoo? ever grasping upwardly achievers are delighted that their Stanford-bound daughters will apparently be less likely to be hassled or raped by some Trumpish gropenfuhrer in US corporate boardrooms and penthouse suites. and then they see a Kavanaugh being accused of stuff, or someone that they identify with and realize that perhaps, with just a word, this kind of thing could happen to them for absolutely no reason at all & adios all that grasping & scraping & huffing & puffing up the ladder. then suddenly, hey man, innocent till proven guilty is real important! oh, you betcha. but it is the dread of loss of property & position that introduces some caution about wild accusations flying round willy nilly, though the property owner immediately attributes such sentiments to his own native virtue & takes solace in the silly notion of “rights,” all b/c he can afford a good lawyer. yes, I am thinking of someone I had this conversation with.

          • i expect you think of snowden when you thing of ronan…because they both evidence shitty politics. sure ed, assange wants to burn it all down, i just want to reform the nsa or have group-think vote on whether they want to have their civil liberties taken away.

            same diff? well, i can’t say about _avenanagh, cus i don’t care, but the Ds sure do. did they rail so about haspell? i read whose acolyte K-man was, but i’ve forgotten. jill richardson hd a thing up at CP w/ all thesee studies on drink and rape (not all the metoo’s were rape) but no mention of power, not libido at all iirc. pat on the bottom by morgan freeman? well, i’m free to tell him my bottom’s off-limits, or not mind it a whit.

    • i dunno about chomsky, but it’s much like the dreck he’d spouted at democracy now! that the CP editors had featured…from 2017, only ramped up a bit. jacobin’s the same way, reminding me of the PEP acronym: progressive except palestine’, this is ‘leftist’ except assad.

      i’m glad john pilger had mentioned the ‘top secret 2008 document’, it was new to me, but i hadn’t gone to try to unearth it, either. but i’ll bet that one in a hundred peeps know the truth of that ‘assange rapist, pedophile, fled sweden’ story. and of course we had the atlantic, the freaking ‘daily beast’ (aptly named), regurgitating all again and again.

      but you might be right that smears against the sex lives of public personages are titillating distractions that stick partially because so many are so weirded out by their own sexual selves and love to toss daggers…at others.

  3. boy, howdy is this correct: ‘More Cold War extremism and crises – by Stephen F. Cohen’; Overshadowed by the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, US-Russian relations grow ever more perilous’. , via RT

    now i can’t claim causality, but this diary got two comments over yonder, and i’ll bet that diaries over there have received a minimum of 1200-1400 comments on the ones that were front-paged. but of course i stepped on a few sacred cows, so there’s that to consider as well. ;-)

    • wsws reporting that under the Kavanaugh cover, lots of “tax cutting” going on.

      and the NYT could have pub’d their very recent expose of the criminality of the Trump family empire *before* the election, at least in part. some stuff is as plain as the pig shit flowing thru Carolina rivers right now. Hell, CNN or MSHRC coulda taken a camera & walked down the main drag in Atlantic City & just spouted “Trump” even a few times and he’d have lost the election. (oh wait! then someone might have taken a camera thru Little Rock and…well, we just can’t have that, can we?)

      anyway, fuck it. i’m telling people I voted for Trump cuz I couldn’t think of a better way, in the poll booth at least, to accelerate the destruction of USG than to put one of its most stellar members in charge. he didn’t earn the Cecil Rhodes Prize for Obfuscating Ruling Class Rape of the Planet, like HRC & Bezos’ new best friend, the Senator from Amazon.

      • well, he got the nod from the senate….but then they confirmed gina haspell. had K-man been sent packing, T might have nominated…john bolton, eh?

        yeah, we got into the ‘bernie sanders got bezos to give half a million workers a pay rise’ over yonder. big al did bring wsws’s take on what it really meant. love the ‘senator from amazon’, too. his diary wet pretty well considering.

  4. from the creators of PropOrNot: ‘see? there’s always a silver lining!’

    • absolutely unreadable. war enforces a kind of gender equality. and species equality. across flora & fauna. makes a kind of equality to the air & water too, don’t it? but, yeah, probably more women driving in parts of Yemen right now too ain’t there? if they can find a get-away vehicle, that is, amidst the rubble. and across all sectors, who can argue some business is booming? like need for cholera treatment, for example. more children are dying from cholera and we all know “death=market potential”.

      what a world.

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