Monday, May 8, 2017

Neocon Anne Applebaum: Give Me Money to Fight 'Russian Disinformation'!


By Daniel McAdams - May 08, 2017 at 06:09AM

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Neocon Anne Applebaum has never seen a bed she did not expect to find an evil Russian lurking beneath. More than a quarter of a century after the end of the Cold War, she cannot let go of that hysterical feeling that, “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!” In screeching screed after screeching screech, Applebaum is, like most neocons, a one trick pony: the US government needs to spend more money to counter the threat of the month. Usually it's Russia or Putin. But it can also be China, Iran, Assad, Gaddafi, Saddam, etc.

There is no doubt that Applebaum is a true believer that Putin wants to destroy our democratic institutions, but there is also a more pedestrian way to understand her endless obsession: it pays well to hype up big threats. In fact, according to a mandatory Polish government disclosure (her husband was Polish defense and foreign minister before being forced out in disgrace after an eavesdropping scandal), Applebaum has made out like a bandit for a humble journalist and think-tanker.

As I wrote when her scandal broke:
Interestingly, Applebaum demands transparency for everyone else while rejecting it for herself. A recent mandatory income declaration of her husband to the Polish government shows that her income has skyrocketed from $20,000 in 2011 to more than $800,000 in 2013. No explanation was given for this massive influx of cash, though several ventures in which she has a part are tied to CIA and National Endowment for Democracy-affiliated organizations. Could Applebaum be one of those well-paid propagandists about whom she complains so violently?
Applebaum's latest Washington Post column is about...you guessed it: the danger of Russian disinformation! Here is a synopsis of Applebaum's latest Cold War 2.0 propaganda piece from this weekend:

1) The mainstream media has taken a beating. The old business model is no longer working. There are too many new sources of information available, which makes it harder for people to judge the accuracy of what they read.

My comment: Indeed, the US mainstream media no longer controls what we see, read, and think. Applebaum cannot stand that there are websites challenging the central neoconservative foreign policy paradigm. She hates organizations like the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity (she even blocked us on Twitter!).

She longs for the days when you could only pick up a Washington Post or a New York Times and had no chance of discovering opposing opinions.

In other words, Anne Applebaum misses the Soviet-style monochrome media that she pretends to despise so much.

2) As a result of mainstream media outlets like the Washington Post losing their monopoly over shaping foreign policy opinion, as she writes: "authoritarian regimes, led by Russia but closely followed by China, have begun investing heavily in the production of alternatives." 

My comment: Applebaum is saying here that it's all our fault that the Russians are coming because as soon as the Internet and alternative news and analysis sites offered a point of view different from Applebaum's neocons, we played into the hands of the Russians by ignoring the Washington Post and turning to alternatives. If we had only kept our faith in the neocon worldview, the Russians would not be set to take us over.

3) This new Cold War is even worse than the old Cold War! Unlike back then, in the new Cold War, as Applebaum writes, "Russia does not seek to promote itself, but rather to undermine the institutions of the West, often using discordant messages."

My comment: Anne Applebaum offers no evidence or even clues to back her claim. But what she is saying is that by allowing voices to be heard that run counter to the Washington Post and neocon foreign policy paradigm, Russian-funded outlets like RT are seeking to sow "confusion" among Western listeners and viewers. Applebaum does not want us to be "confused" by messages that run counter to the neocon view of a US empire fighting endless wars against manufactured enemies. We would be far less "confused" if we would all just read Anne Applebaum and stop questioning the neocons!

4) Don't worry, this effort to sow confusion is being countered.

Applebaum writes:
Some countries are waking up to this, especially those that have been hardest hit. The invasion, occupation and dismemberment of Ukraine in 2014 was preceded by a highly effective propaganda blitz that fomented confusion in Russian-speaking areas and blinded both Ukrainians and Westerners to what was really going on. In response, Ukrainian organizations such as StopFake began to expose and ridicule Russian propaganda.
My comment: She does not explain exactly what that "propaganda blitz" looked like. Was it the release of the tape of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland plotting the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Kiev? Well, according to Applebaum, at least the noble, independent NGOs are spontaneously springing up across Europe to counter this Russian propaganda blitz!

Except for one problem: The "StopFake" organization that she praises is not a grassroots Ukrainian organization as she would have us believe. In fact it's a George Soros astroturf organization, funded by his International Renaissance Foundation. In other words, "StopFake" is fake.

5) In fact, when it comes to funding, Anne Applebaum knows which side of her bread is buttered. As the Washington Post notes in the article's byline: "Anne Applebaum, a Post columnist, and Edward Lucas, a senior editor at the Economist, are this week launching a counter-disinformation initiative at the Center for European Policy Analysis, where they are, respectively, senior vice president and senior adjunct fellow."

My comment: Who funds the (Washington, D.C.-based) Center for European Policy Analysis? The United States Department of Defense and a handful of US defense contractors!

From their own website:
Recent donors to CEPA include:

Bell Helicopter
Boeing
Chevron Corporation
FireEye
Lockheed Martin Corporation
New Vista Partners
Raytheon Company
Sikorsky Aircraft
Textron Systems
The East Tennessee Foundation
The Hirsch Family Foundation
The Hungarian Initiatives Foundation
The International Visegrad Fund
The Poses Family Foundation
The Smith Richardson Foundation
U.S. Department of Defense
There are one or two surprises on the above list. The Hungarian government of Viktor Orban has been quite cautious about following the neocon line that any resistance to massive refugee inflows from the Middle East are signs of unforgivable xenophobia and that Russia and Putin must be resisted at all costs. In fact, Orban's opposition in Hungary is furious that he is not following the Russia-bashing neocon line. So why is the Hungarian government-funded Hungarian Initiatives Foundation backing Anne Applebaum's neocon initiative to demonize Russia? Good question. Maybe Fidesz supporters will want to ask their government why their tax money is going to such a worthless, anti-Fidesz cause.

6) And again on funding, we come to the crux of Anne Applebaum's problem: the US government does not spend nearly enough money creating its own propaganda to counter what she claims is Russian propaganda. They are outspending us and outmaneuvering us!

She writes:
There is no modern equivalent to the U.S. Information Agency, an organization dedicated to coping with Soviet propaganda and disinformation during the Cold War. Although there has been some extra funding for U.S.-backed foreign broadcasters such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty , they cannot provide a complete response.
My comment: But that's not really true, is it? The idea that the US government is pinching propaganda pennies while the Russians are going in for the whole fake news hog is not backed up by those pernicious little things called facts. In fact, the Russian government spent around $300 million on RT in 2016. Compare that with the US propaganda arm, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, whose 2017 budget runs to $777.8 million dollars, or more than two and a half that of RT. And Congress just gave the green light to another $100 million to "counter Russian influence" in its stop-gap omnibus budget. We are out-spending them three-to-one. So why are we still "losing"?

Anne Applebaum is a bitter neocon. She is furious that people no longer read the Washington Post as the authoritative voice of US foreign policy. She has apparently made a tidy fortune warning us that the Russians are coming, but she wants even more. The Washington Post still views her as an expert, but the American people, as she herself complains, are no longer interested in her worn-out fantasies. She is buried in defense industry funded think tanks and she does the bidding of her masters. Every intelligent American reader should ridicule her as the propagandist she is.

As for Russian "propaganda," like everything else in that vast cornucopia now thankfully available for our consumption, we should read all we can while keeping our wits about us. There is no one authoritative, unbiased source of information. That we do know. But we also know that we are far more able to think for ourselves now that the neocon gatekeepers like Anne Applebaum have been defeated in the marketplace of ideas.

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Friday, March 31, 2017

John McCain Blasts Trump White House for Allowing Assad to Stay in Power


By Alex Christoforou - March 31, 2017 at 11:48AM

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Now that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Assad’s fate will be decided by the Syrian people and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, told reporters…“You pick and choose your battles. And when we’re looking at this it’s about changing up priorities and our priority is no longer to sit and focus on getting Assad out,” neocon Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went ballistic at the prospects of Assad staying is power.

McCain is visibly upset that the countless hours invested in building his ISIS army, is now crashing down in spectacular fashion. Maybe another trip to Syria, to have coffee with Al-Baghdadi, is in order for Senators McCain and Graham.

In a statement Thursday evening, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain, blasted Tillerson’s and Haley’s comments.

McCain said in a statement…
I am deeply disturbed by statements today by our Secretary of State and Ambassador to the United Nations regarding the future of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Their suggestion that Assad can stay in power appears to be just as devoid of strategy as President Obama’s pronouncements that ‘Assad must go.'

Once again, US policy in Syria is being presented piecemeal in press statements without any definition of success, let alone a realistic plan to achieve it.
McCain's rant was furious, saying the Trump administration’s statements could negatively impact the war against ISIS by casting doubt among US allies…like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who fund and support ISIS.
Such a policy would only exacerbate the terrorist threat to our nation.

Trying to fight ISIS while pretending that we can ignore the Syrian civil war that was its genesis and fuels it to this day is a recipe for more war, more terror, more refugees, and more instability.

I hope President Trump will make clear that America will not follow this self-destructive and self-defeating path.
McCain’s partner in "many a war crime," Senator Lindsey Graham, said that such comments would be “the biggest mistake since President Obama failed to act after drawing a red line against Assad’s use of chemical weapons.”

We are sure Assad finds McCain’s panic attacks amusing, as Syria and Russia continue to obliterate the US senator’s ISIS army.

Reprinted with permission from The Duran.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Criticizing Neoconservatives and the Deep State is Anti-Semitic?


By Adam Dick - March 13, 2017 at 04:03PM

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Kevin D. Williamson’s Sunday National Review editorial “Word Games” may lead readers to believe that people who criticize neoconservatives or the deep state are presenting anti-Semitic arguments or are anti-Semitic. The editorial does not conclude that all people who present such criticisms are anti-Semitic. But, a take-away for some readers will be that challenging the deep state or neoconservatives indicates a person is likely, or should be assumed to be, anti-Semitic.

People who have read Williamson’s editorial may further their education regarding neoconservatism and the deep state by looking to some of the plentiful anti-Semitism-free criticisms of neoconservatism and the deep state. In particular, they can read Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity (RPI) Chairman Ron Paul’s July of 2003 United States House of Representatives floor speech “Neo-Conned” and watch Paul and RPI Executive Director Daniel McAdams’ February of 2016 Ron Paul Liberty Report interview with The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government author Mike Lofgren.


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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Nikki Haley Watch: Trump's Disaster UN Ambassador Loses it Over Syria Sanctions Vote

By - February 28, 2017 at 06:10PM

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Although Russia signaled that it would veto the US/UK/France UN Security Council Resolution adding sanctions on the Syrian government over allegations that it used chemical weapons on its own people, the Resolution was brought to a vote anyway today. In the end, it was vetoed by Russia, China, and Bolivia, with three additional countries abstaining.

The Resolution and accompanying sanctions were a classic case of guilty until proven innocent, as the investigations into the alleged use of chlorine gas are ongoing and have established no definitive proof of Syrian government culpability.

That did not stop President Trump's "Disaster Ambassador," Nikki Haley, from once again displaying her astonishing ignorance in a blistering (but groundless) attack on Russia and China for not falling in line behind the US-led sanctions effort.

Ambassador Haley started out:
When you hear members of the Security Council speak about the use of chemical weapons, it’s pretty amazing because you have unity in the fact that we need to be concerned about chemical weapons use in Syria and elsewhere. That is why the blocking of this resolution is so troubling.
The Resolution was vetoed not because Russia and China are not concerned about chemical weapons, but rather, as the deputy Russian Ambassador to the UN said, because the investigation is flawed in its approach and politicized in its conclusions:
The problem is that the basis of expert work on Syria come from dubious information submitted by the armed opposition, international NGOs sympathetic to it, the media and so-called ‘Friends of Syria’...
This is the same approach to Syria that the Obama Administration has taken since 2013: taking the word of the rebels -- all of which according to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who was in Syria, are radical extremists -- as fact. That is how so much US weaponry sent to "moderates" in Syria ended up in the hands of al-Qaeda and ISIS.

Yet President Trump's Ambassador to the UN is ready to take the word of the radicals and terrorists over the Syrian government, which is fighting radicals and terrorists.

Haley cluelessly went on:
Russia and China made an outrageous and indefensible choice today. They refused to hold Bashar al-Assad’s regime accountable for the use of chemical weapons.
But Assad has not been found guilty of the use of chemical weapons. It was a flawed investigation that used testimony of disreputable special interest groups to push a "regime change" agenda.

And like the Obama Administration before it, Trump's Ambassador is going right along with the program. Including taking as gospel reports from the George Soros-funded Human Rights Watch, which has been firmly on the side of regime change in Syria.

Investigative journalist Robert Parry reported last year that UN investigators looking into the use of chlorine gas by the Syrian government were given evidence that jihadist groups were staging false flags to blame the Syrian government. They chose to ignore the reports.

Wrote Parry:
United Nations investigators encountered evidence that alleged chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian military were staged by jihadist rebels and their supporters, but still decided to blame the government for two incidents in which chlorine was allegedly dispersed via improvised explosives dropped by helicopters.
In both cases, the Syrian government denied that it had any aircraft in the areas at the times of the purported attacks, but the U.N. team rejected that explanation with the curious argument that Syria failed to provide flight records to corroborate the absence of any flights. Yet, if there had been no flights, there would be no flight records.

The U.N. team also dismissed out of hand the possibility that jihadist rebels who had overrun some air bases and thus had operational helicopters at their disposal might have used them as part of a staged event designed to incriminate the Damascus regime and thus justify U.S. or other outside military intervention.

Another problem with the U.N. team’s findings is that the home-made chlorine bombs had minimal military value, inflicting relatively few casualties and only a handful of deaths.

Why the Syrian government, which was under intense international pressure regarding alleged chemical weapons use and was in the process of surrendering its stockpile of such weapons, would have jerry-rigged a handful of homemade bombs and dropped them for no discernible military effect makes little sense.
But that doesn't faze Haley. Like her predecessor, Samantha Power, for Nikki Haley and her UN team any evidence contrary to the pre-determined conclusion is to be ignored.

Ambassador Haley said:
Now step back from the Security Council. The reason we all should care about this resolution is that we want to make sure no one ever thinks about using chemical weapons.
Here again we have Obama era hypocrisy on display. The US government has admitted it used deadly depleted uranium munitions in Syria thousands of times.

Unproven and illogical allegations that the Syrian government used chlorine gas on its own citizens must be punished, according to Ambassador Haley. But the self-admitted fact that the US has also used a horrible form of mass weapon -- depleted uranium -- in Syria is completely ignored.

And again, why would Assad use chlorine gas on his own people? The majority of the Syrian population support Assad, for one. Why would he want to gas them?

Also, when facing a fight for survival against al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other foreign-backed extremist groups, why waste time and risk the wrath of the international community to use such an inefficient weapon as chlorine gas?

According to the big Human Rights Watch report released earlier this month, up to nine people were killed in the attacks blamed on Assad. Nine people!

Might the desperate terrorist groups, who are losing territory every day, not have the incentive to frame the Assad government by either faking a chlorine attack or making an attack and blaming it on the Syrian government? After all, even Ambassador Haley has admitted that the rebels have also used chemical weapons.

The Great Nikki Haley Train Wreck continues. And with it goes any hope that President Trump will pursue a foreign policy in any way resembling the one he promised on the campaign trail.

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