Thursday 23rd of January 2020

the agent of truth is disliked by the agents of lies...


Ever wonder why left wing trolls hate Julian Assange so much? And why maybe you’re more questioning? Ever tried to get to the bottom of a government-run propaganda campaign and found your synapses misfiring? The final in a five-part series by clinical psychologist Dr Lissa Johnson explains the science behind smear, and how and why it works.

Earlier this month, on March 10th, it came to widespread attention via the New York Times (NYT) that a recent explosive instalment in the Venezuela regime change narrative was false. Major news outlets had been reporting for over two weeks that forces loyal to Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, had set an aid convoy ablaze, on February 23rd. 

US Senator Marco Rubio immediately spread the exciting regime-change news via Twitter, announcing that Maduro must pay “a high price”, amid emerging scenes of blazing food and medicine. Other US officials echoed Rubio’s sentiments on Twitter, including National Security Advisor John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the head of USAid Mark Green, calling Maduro a “sick tyrant” who uses “masked thugs” to commit “violent attacks against life saving aid”.

Clearly a little carried away, Vice President Mike Pence chimed in, gushing that Maduro “the tyrant danced as his henchmen… burned food and medicine.” 

“US news stars and think tank luminaries” got on board wrote Glenn Greenwald, branding the Venezuelan president “evil” and his military “animals and criminals”. Senator Diane Feinstein called for Maduro to step down. 

CNN even told its audiences that CNN reporters had witnessed the attack first hand.

The false story, reported Greenwald, “changed everything… politicians who had been…reluctant to support regime change began issuing statements now supportive of it”.

In reality, however, what occurred on February 23rd was that anti-Maduro protesters, on the same anti-Maduro side as the USA, had thrown Molotov cocktails at the aid convoy, setting it on fire. 

They didn’t mean to though, according to the NYT. The flaming rag just came loose and flew in the wrong direction. Because mixing up Molotov cocktails, setting them alight, standing beside an aid convoy and throwing them could happen to anyone. (Except Maduro’s guys. If they had done it, they would still be animals).

Significantly for those interested in accurate news, a detail omitted in the NYT report is that from the very day the official lie began making the rounds, independent journalists had broken the real story. 

Over two weeks before the NYT report, Max Blumenthal of the Grayzone Project posted an article, on February 24th, explaining that the “evidence pointed in the exact opposite direction” to the official narrative. The same day, journalist Dan Cohen posted a video showing an opposition protester, not Maduro’s forces, throwing a Molotov cocktail in the direction of the aid truck.

CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, PBS and the rest of the establishment media failed to run Cohen and Blumenthal’s reports. Another well-known news service did, however, giving its audiences the real scoop, from the start. 

And which news service was that? It was RT.

Glenn Greenwald wrote, “Please tell me: who was acting here as lying propagandists and agents of State TV, and who was acting like a journalist trying to understand and report the truth?”

He added, “Every major war of the last several decades has begun the same way: the US government fabricates an inflammatory, emotionally provocative lie which large US media outlets uncritically treat as truth while refusing to air questioning or dissent.”

Even after the NYT story ran, the corporate media barely blinked. Yet it was the first time in 20 years that the NYT had contradicted an official regime change lie according to Mark Weisbrot of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research. Which was newsworthy in itself. (In fairness to those behind the lie, which was ham-fisted, impulsive and slightly overdone, the liars were ad-libbing. It was a fortuitous Twitter opportunity, not a plan years in the making like WMDs.)

Meanwhile, as all of this unfolded, the world’s leading source of accurate information about war, Wikileaks, came under heightened pursuit by the US government. 

First, Chelsea Manning, responsible for some of the most explosive truths about recent Western wars, was sent to jail. Again. This time Manning had been imprisoned for refusing to take part in a Grand Jury investigation into Wikileaks, on the grounds that doing so violated her First, Fourth and Sixth Amendment rights. She said, “I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech.”

In response, 20 German members of the Bundestag stood publicly in support of Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Wikileaks. 

On her refusal to testify, Manning noted that she had already given all relevant evidence at her court martial in 2013, adding that she was concerned about being “forced to backtrack on the truth”. Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Elsberg said, “They want her to contradict her earlier sworn testimony… that she behaved in relation to WikiLeaks exactly as she would have to The New York Times or The Washington Post.”

The Grand Jury seeking to force Chelsea Manning to testify is investigating Julian Assange and Wikileaks, most likely for exposing lies about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, based in part on Chelsea Manning’s leaks.

As outlined in parts 2 and 3 of this series, if the Trump Department of Justice (DoJ) succeeds in prosecuting Julian Assange in this way, any journalists who seek to expose the official lies and secrets of US governments had better watch out. Such a prosecution would be the first time that a publisher has been criminalised for publishing classified information. The precedent that it would set risks criminalising journalism. So say leading legal minds left and right, including current and former counsel for the NYT.

US extradition would also flout international and human rights law, including the rules of asylum. To emphasise this, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights recently issued a statement in which it “forcefully declared to Ecuador… [that]Ecuador has the international obligation not to surrender Assange” to the United States.

No doubt aware of the legal obligations and dangers, however, when he was Attorney General in 2017 Jeff Sessions declared Assange’s arrest a “priority”. On the implications for journalism in general Sessions declined to rule out prosecuting other media outlets in Wikileaks’ wake.

As CIA director, Mike Pompeo similarly confirmed that the CIA was “working to take down” Wikileaks. Pompeo added that along with Wikileaks his administration would pursue “with great vigour” other “small” media organisations.

In the latest instalment of this pursuit, Trump’s nominee for Ambassador to Ecuador, Michael J. Fitzpatrick said during his confirmation hearings that Julian Assange’s “hostile activity” was “a problem, and letting it drag on much longer would continue to harm our interests, and I believe harm Ecuador’s interests as well”.


Read more:



from fellow travellers...




I suspect Cold Type is a word play on "hot Metal" which was the way newspapers used to be composed. We then had "hot from the press" and cold type became the norm in the 1980s with phototype composition. Now "Cold Type" represents the electronic transfer of information in typographical pdf format. ColdType magazine is a mine of articles and subjects we're fond of and have been harping about since 2005 on this site. Gus used to do a lot of graphics and layouts for magazines from the late 1960s to the 1990s. I was a bit more professional than my lazy efforts of today... but I'm old and enjoy off-the-cuff non-polished spur-of-the-moment stuff herein...

when whistleblowers are useful for the democrats...

Pelosi announces impeachment inquiry into Trump after whistleblower complaint.

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced a formal investigation that could lead to impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

Key points: 
  • The allegations centre on a July phone call between the US President and his Ukrainian counterpart
  • Ms Pelosi called Mr Trump's actions "a betrayal of national security"
  • Mr Trump tweeted "PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!" in response


The inquiry centres on whether Mr Trump abused his presidential powers and sought help from a foreign government for his re-election.

Ms Pelosi, the most senior elected Democrat, had previously been reluctant to back moves towards impeachment, but there had been mounting pressure from her colleagues.

"The President must be held accountable. No-one is above the law," she said after meeting with her Democratic colleagues.

"The actions taken to date by the President have seriously violated the Constitution, especially when the President says, 'Article 2 says I can do whatever I want'.


Read more: