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 from Café Babylon)

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wendy davis's picture

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. ; )

remember when amy goodman had him on her show? of course, she and the intercept paid all sorts of homage to the white helmets psyop.

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wendy davis's picture

tonight's lullaby is from the musician from another universe:

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wendy davis's picture

but i have another thing to add myownself. ; )

In a taped interview with RT (close to 27 minutes):

“Speaking to RT's Going Underground, Pilger said that he believes you can categorize the news as approved or unapproved. “Basically we're allowed to see the approved news but not allowed to see the unapproved news. Usually the unapproved version is the's the piece in the puzzle that allows us to make sense of the news; we're denied that.”

they've excerpted some of what he'd said, but the parts i listened to weren't portrayed terribly well, imo. he'd mentioned the realpolitik involved with the UK still trading with iran, but mentioned to overthrow of mohammad mossaddegh by the US and amerika 'still wanting it back', whereas i'd always read it was a joint CIA/MI6 operation.

holy crow; there's a thunderstorm happening here, with rolling thunder, lightning and everything. rain? beautiful rain? we've had four inches or rain here so far this year. existential drought.

on edit: the storm lasted about ten minutes, the clouds in three directions vanished...and the sun is out. dagnabbit. ah well, the air does smell sweet, so there's that.

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It is one thing to marginalize and ignore but the current reality of social media and information on the web, it is now possible to eliminate any trace of a person, opinion, group, etc. It is like the famous Soviet efforts of completely erasing pictures of party officials who Stalin got rid off.

Pliger is correct about RT. His point has been made by such people was Hedges that RT has given an outlet to view absolute forbidden in the main stream media outlets. Which is why the ante has been raised with attempts to completely remove RT from being able to broadcast in various countries.

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wendy davis's picture


at dissident voice was compiling about the social networking giants in the OP. if you read it, i hope you might have grasped it more straightforwardly than i had (who said what, etc.), but i did take his larger point and have watched it on twitter, though why anyone would use facebook is rather beyond me.

add in as well this rubbish: ‘New Google algorithm restricts access to left-wing, progressive web sites’,, 27 July 2017, one of several articles there. but again, i only ever use google chrome when i must, as in: it's the only browser in which one can create diaries in wordpress the old-fashioned way, not the new teeny-bopper turquoise creepy way. not to mention it's very slowwwww, thank you, eric schmidt.

but then again, julian assange's Google Is Not What It Seems’; In this extract from his new book When Google Met Wikileaks, WikiLeaks' publisher Julian Assange describes the special relationship between Google, Hillary Clinton and the State Department -- and what that means for the future of the internet.”

the photos and captions are worth thousands of words. i've forgotten when he published the excerpt, but likely not long after sept., 2014 when the book was published.

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magiamma's picture

Just getting around to reading it. Still more to go. Thanks for putting this all in one place. Funny similarity between Mona's nose and Putin's. RT is not the be all and end all, but I find news there that I do not see other places. And I search. So there is that. One more place to check.

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wendy davis's picture

i just loved that photo-shop witlessly, i swear. so many photos of that dastardly, evil, dictator putin show him smiling that mona lisa smile, as if he knows exactly what his say, buying an election for herr drumpf are doing to the world...on his behalf.

RT has a lot of click bait headline teasers, but yes, it's one place that dissenters to the Imperium can get a jolt of fresh air. my first stop every morning, the in fact, they've reprinted one of professor stephen cohen's articles from the nation today. 'More Cold War extremism and crises'

too many striking sections to choose from, and we've read them all, but it's a nice overview w/ potentially disastrous implications, from syria to crimea to kay bailey hutchison's freak storm. luckily, he spared us john bolton redux screams about iran, an name the the prize.

but i agree emphatically with what he said was happening w/ scant attention while...celebrity jeopardy was playing on all channels:

"I'll take names ending in __avanaugh for $400, alex!"

on edit as evidence; my guess is that there've been at least 1400 commments on diaries with 'kavanaugh' in the title at this site.

on edit: and that's only on the front-paged diaries.

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wendy davis's picture

as the only one at C99% that's ever had the least number of comments save for those of the author. what might the award be named? a lot of possibilities leap to mind... ; )

from andre damon, today, aug. 5: The US military’s vision for state censorship’

“In March, the United States Special Operations Command, the section of the Defense Department supervising the US Special Forces, held a conference on the theme of “Sovereignty in the information age.” The conference brought together Special Forces officers with domestic police forces, including officials from the New York police department, and representatives from technology companies such as Microsoft.

This meeting of top military and corporate representatives went unreported and unpublicized at the time. However, the Atlantic Council recently published a 21-page document summarizing the orientation of the proceedings. It is authored by John T. Watts, a former Australian Army officer and consultant to the US Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security.”

“Nor can the growth of political opposition, for the time being, simply be solved by “eliminating” (i.e., killing or jailing) political dissidents, because this only lends legitimacy to the ideas of the victims. “Eliminating those individuals and organizations will not be sufficient to combat the narrative and may in fact help amplify it.” He adds, “This is also the case for censorship as those behind the narrative can use the attempt to repress the message as proof of its truth, importance, or authenticity.”

Enter the social media companies. The best mechanism for suppressing oppositional viewpoints and promoting pro-government narratives is the private sector, in particular “technology giants, including Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter,” which can “determine what people see and do not see.”

and 'we the people' seem collectively sanguine about all this? when will we ever fight back? and how?

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magiamma's picture

@wendy davis
of all the information. Lots to grok. Thank you again. Smile

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wendy davis's picture


four other comments now. and here i'd been thinkin' The Fools Errand Award or some such. not now, boy, howdy, lol.

thanks again, magiamma. and i have another thing to add, arrrggh. please always remember that the WaPo (which bezos paper had spawned PropOrNot) is surprisingly on the Okey-Dokey Not Prop list. blood boil/thought crimes alert:

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Mark from Queens's picture

Sorry, I don't have time for more than that. Every day I mostly peruse as much of the content here as possible but partially (unfortunately) in a cursory way.

Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed that so much. And when it was done my 2 1/2 yr old son asked if I could play another one. So having heard the One Love one already was delighted by the Listen To The Music one (with original Doobies in it). The kids watched mesmerized (but probably due more to them having not been purposely sat down in front of tv/computer screens to watch anything). They catch some from time to time from us, but have only seen literally only 15min of Mr. Rogers and yesterday not feeling well I let him sit with me on the couch to watch one of my favorite Little Rascals ("Freewheeling," where Dicky has a neck brace and Stymie comes to the rescue with the kids' homemade car for a wild ride that cures him).

Assange is really a modern day hero. And it's heartbreaking to see friends who should know better falling for all the villanization (sp?) coordination across the globe. Such a weird, creepy time. The beginning of the Internet Age will go down in history probably more as the era in which propaganda flourished in its evilest while the great hope of getting people more informed and into action has yet to manifest. It will still always come down to face-to-face meetings and coalitions in the streets and inside communities that then spread.

Thanks again for all the work you do in compiling these essays and offering excellent insights.

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wendy davis's picture

@Mark from Queens

and how cool your kids love playing for change (world peace thru music); i hesitate to say it, too. ; )

with the hideous hits on assange and wikileaks (the freedom of the press foundation had also tossed the organization out on its ass).

part of assange's response:
“US donors are the majority of our donor base. FPF’s anonymizing structure and tax-deductibility have been very important in reassuring donors that it is safe for them to support WikiLeaks. We don’t advertise the banking blockade because we found that doing so creates anxiety in donors as to the legality of donating to WikiLeaks.”

and not a peep in dissent apparently from anyone on the board which seems to have been Glenn Greenwald, Daniel Ellsberg, John Cusack, Laura Poitras, Trevor Timm, and John Perry Barlow.

timm had also left this for him at pastebin:

“Much had changed since the foundation was formed. Today it has a $1.5 million annual budget and a staff of 15. Taking donations for WikiLeaks and other groups has become only a tiny part of the foundation’s work. In 2013, for example, the foundation took over development of SecureDrop, an open-source tool designed to make it safer for whistleblowers to submit information to reporters. Under the foundation’s stewardship, SecureDrop today is running in dozens of newsrooms, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, and Bloomberg.”

Feel the burn PropOrNot approved list? So…it’s not a stretch to imagine that it’s so, or even worse. is that the secure drop that caused the intercept to burn reality winner as a source? she was sentenced to five years in prison for her leak.

now let this be tonight's lullaby, my favorite PFC, while for mr. wd it's the phenomenal Jah Guide. titi! tula! ya can't sit still in your chair! Yahamba! ah, the tears are flowin' already...

peace and solidarity to all,

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