TBR News September 27, 2017

Sep 27 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., September 27, 2017: “The public in general gets their news from the Internet, not the traditional media. The latter is so controlled that it virtually useless. This explains why the traditional media is rapidly shrinking into the vanishing point. And a major part of the population is so entranced with the social media and the new electronic toys and pacifiers that they never bother to look for, or read, world news. If these pathetic sites for the insecure ever suddenly closed down, there would be mass suicides throughout the world.”


Table of Contents

  • Iraq’s Kurds vote ‘yes’ to independent state in referendum – official results
  • What is the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum?
  • I asked Tinder for my data. It sent me 800 pages of my deepest, darkest secrets
  • Puerto Rican Debt Holders Respond to Catastrophic Hurricane by Offering Puerto Rico More Debt
  • WPost Pushes More Dubious Russia-bashing
  • Official Government Disinformation Methodology

 Iraq’s Kurds vote ‘yes’ to independent state in referendum – official results

The results followed Iraq’s demand that Monday’s vote be annulled. Baghdad, Ankara and Tehran have all hinted at military intervention

September 27, 2017


Iraqi Kurds in the north of the country voted overwhelmingly for independence from Baghdad, according to the Kurdish High elections and Referendum Commission on Wednesday.

A reported 92.7 percent of the more than 3.3 million people who voted were in favor of secession. Voter turnout was just over 72 percent.

Iraq demands annulment

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi demanded Wednesday that leaders of the Iraqi Kurdish minority annul Monday’s referendum vote on Kurdish independence as pressure mounts on Kurdish leaders.

“The referendum must be annulled and dialogue initiated in the framework of the constitution. We will never hold talks based on the results of the referendum,” al-Abadi said.

Hours earlier, the Iraqi parliament asked the prime minister to use armed force to take control of the oil fields in Kirkuk.

The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has administered the multi-ethnic region ever since Kurdish Peshmerga prevented “Islamic State” militants from taking the oil fields in 2014. The KRG included Kirkuk in the independence referendum held on Monday, reflecting the Kurds’ historical claim to the area.

The Iraqi central government in Baghdad had however controlled Kirkuk before Islamic State routed the Iraqi army three years ago. It remains unclear when troops will be deployed to the area.

KRG leader Massud Barzani tried to defuse tensions Tuesday evening in a televised address by saying the vote was not meant “to delimit the border, nor to impose it de facto.” He assured “the international community of our willingness to engage in dialogue with Baghdad,” and added that al-Abadi should “not to close the door to dialogue because it is dialogue that will solve problems.”

KRG isolated

On Tuesday, al-Abadi demanded the KRG place the airports in Irbil, the Kurdish capital, and Sulaimaniyah in the east of Iraqi Kurdistan under central government control. Failure to do this would lead to a ban on all international flights to and from Kurdistan in three days, he added.

But Iraqi Kurdish Transport Minister Mawlood Bawa Murad said Wednesday his government rejected that demand. “The Irbil and Sulaimaniya airports belong to Kurdistan and they continue to work as normal,” he told reporters. “The demand of the Iraqi government to hand over airports is inappropriate and incorrect.”

EgyptAir and Middle East Airlines announced Wednesday that they would stop flying to Irbil this week.

Escalating regional tensions

Turkey and Iran – also home to large Kurdish populations – have also joined Iraq in condemning the vote.

On Wednesday, the Iraqi military said an Iraqi army delegation had visited Iran “to coordinate military efforts,” but did not disclose more details about what was discussed.

Iraq has already conducted joint military drills with Turkey along the Iraqi Kurdistan border. Iran and Turkey have also reportedly conducted joint military exercises near their respective borders with the northern Iraqi province.

Turkey, which is home to the largest Kurdish population in the region, has been most vocal in opposing the vote. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Tuesday that Iraqi Kurdish independence risked sparking an “ethnic war.”

“If Barzani and the Kurdistan Regional Government do not go back on this mistake as soon as possible, they will go down in history with the shame of having dragged the region into an ethnic and sectarian war,” he said.

Erdogan had previously threatened to stop oil exports from Iraqi Kurdistan and hinted it may consider military intervention to preclude an attempt for independence.


What is the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum?

Voters in the Kurdish territories of northern Iraq have begun voting in an independence referendum. The ballot has created tensions domestically and internationally with the UN warning of a “destabilizing effect.”

September 25, 2017


The question is simple: “Would you like the Kurdistan region and the areas lying outside its regional administration to become an independent state?” This question will be answered by roughly five million people in the referendum on independence in the Kurdish north of Iraq. The opposition is massive, both in Iraq itself and internationally.

However, if the mass marches staged by Kurds in recent days are indicative of the level of support, then the overwhelming majority will probably vote in favor of independence. Still, it remains uncertain if the Kurds will actually come closer to their long-time dream of establishing their own state.

A flag without a state

The Kurds are one of the largest ethnic groups in the world without a state of their own. An estimated 35 million Kurds are spread across Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. Though the Kurds are often divided internally due to disputes between different clans and political parties, fervent nationalism prevails over the lines of division and national borders.

In northern Iraq, the red, white and green Kurdish tricolour is everywhere. It hangs from public and private buildings, in restaurants and in taxis. Ahead of the referendum, a large wave of support swept the region. However, Masoud Barzani, president of the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government, has explained that a “Yes vote” would not automatically result in a declaration of independence. Rather, it would mark the beginning of serious discussions with Baghdad. The referendum is not legally binding.

Dysfunctional central government and de facto Kurdish independence

But the vote does cast doubts on Iraq’s territorial integrity. However, this is more of a written formality rather than an Iraqi reality, given that the country is divided into religious and ethnic groups. Carina Schlüsing of BICC Bonn International Center for Conversion underscored this point in an interview with DW. After visiting northern Iraq, the peace researcher said, “In my opinion, the central government in Baghdad is extremely dysfunctional and not particularly strongly positioned as a comprehensive control center.” Her BICC colleague Markus Rudolf agreed, saying, “I do not consider Iraq’s state unity to be a given in any way.”

Since the first Gulf War in 1991, the Kurdish territories in northern Iraq have enjoyed extensive autonomy. Rudolf said that in the past quarter of a century, the Kurds there have already achieved a de facto independence “economically, politically, in cultural policy, with their own curriculum, with their external border security and with their decisions as to who can and cannot enter the country.” Ferhad Seyder added that two generations have now grown up without the Arabic language in the Kurdish regions. This leads researchers to believe that, “Arabs and Kurds have nothing in common.”

Military threats

Nevertheless the Iraqi government firmly opposes the referendum. On September 18 the Supreme Court in Baghdad ordered a suspension of the vote. Two days before that, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told the AP news agency that Iraq is prepared to intervene militarily should the Kurdish referendum lead to violence. Baghdad is particularly annoyed that the referendum is being held not only in the autonomous Kurdish region but also in some contested areas, like the oil-rich region around Kirkuk, which is controlled by the Kurdish Peshmerga.

US and Iran on the same side

Internationally, even countries with differing views, such as the USA, Iran, Germany and Saudi Arabia, oppose Kurdish aspirations. They share the goal of persuading Kurdish leaders to postpone the independence referendum. However, they have not yet made much tangible progress, as on September 15, the Kurdish regional parliament in Erbil met for its first session in two years and the large majority voted in favor of the referendum. The next day in Tehran, Iranian Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkani warned that “illegal separatist acts” in Iraq would destabilize the region. Iran only recognizes an “integrated, federal Iraq.”

An extremely nervous Turkey

Turkey is particularly nervous about Kurdish independence. Almost one in four Turks comes from a Kurdish background. Ankara is concerned that Turkey’s estimated 20 million Kurds could feel validated for their tacit aspiration for autonomy. The fact that at least 2,000 people have been killed since 2015 during Turkish military operations in the Kurdish regions has not brought the Kurds any closer to Ankara.

Furthermore, 40,000 people have been killed in clashes between the Kurdish PKK and the Turkish army between 1984 and 2013. On September 16, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim declared the Kurdish referendum to be a “matter of Turkey’s national security.” On the following day, the Turkish army began manoeuvers on the Iraqi border, which will apparently last until the day after the referendum. Around 100 tanks and vehicles carrying missiles and heavy artillery have been deployed. According to the Turkish news agency Anadolu on September 20, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan stated that Turkey was considering sanctions against the northern Kurdish region. This is a powerful threat, as the Kurds export a large part of their oil via Turkey.


I asked Tinder for my data. It sent me 800 pages of my deepest, darkest secrets

The dating app knows me better than I do, but these reams of intimate information are just the tip of the iceberg. What if my data is hacked – or sold?

Getting your data out of Tinder is really hard – but it shouldn’t be

September 26, 2017

by Judith Duportail

The Guardian

At 9.24pm (and one second) on the night of Wednesday 18 December 2013, from the second arrondissement of Paris, I wrote “Hello!” to my first ever Tinder match. Since that day I’ve fired up the app 920 times and matched with 870 different people. I recall a few of them very well: the ones who either became lovers, friends or terrible first dates. I’ve forgotten all the others. But Tinder has not.

The dating app has 800 pages of information on me, and probably on you too if you are also one of its 50 million users. In March I asked Tinder to grant me access to my personal data. Every European citizen is allowed to do so under EU data protection law, yet very few actually do, according to Tinder.

With the help of privacy activist Paul-Olivier Dehaye from personaldata.io and human rights lawyer Ravi Naik, I emailed Tinder requesting my personal data and got back way more than I bargained for.

Some 800 pages came back containing information such as my Facebook “likes”, my photos from Instagram (even after I deleted the associated account), my education, the age-rank of men I was interested in, how many times I connected, when and where every online conversation with every single one of my matches happened … the list goes on.

“I am horrified but absolutely not surprised by this amount of data,” said Olivier Keyes, a data scientist at the University of Washington. “Every app you use regularly on your phone owns the same [kinds of information]. Facebook has thousands of pages about you!”

As I flicked through page after page of my data I felt guilty. I was amazed by how much information I was voluntarily disclosing: from locations, interests and jobs, to pictures, music tastes and what I liked to eat. But I quickly realised I wasn’t the only one. A July 2017 study revealed Tinder users are excessively willing to disclose information without realising it.

“You are lured into giving away all this information,” says Luke Stark, a digital technology sociologist at Dartmouth University. “Apps such as Tinder are taking advantage of a simple emotional phenomenon; we can’t feel data. This is why seeing everything printed strikes you. We are physical creatures. We need materiality.”

Reading through the 1,700 Tinder messages I’ve sent since 2013, I took a trip into my hopes, fears, sexual preferences and deepest secrets. Tinder knows me so well. It knows the real, inglorious version of me who copy-pasted the same joke to match 567, 568, and 569; who exchanged compulsively with 16 different people simultaneously one New Year’s Day, and then ghosted 16 of them.

“What you are describing is called secondary implicit disclosed information,” explains Alessandro Acquisti, professor of information technology at Carnegie Mellon University. “Tinder knows much more about you when studying your behaviour on the app. It knows how often you connect and at which times; the percentage of white men, black men, Asian men you have matched; which kinds of people are interested in you; which words you use the most; how much time people spend on your picture before swiping you, and so on. Personal data is the fuel of the economy. Consumers’ data is being traded and transacted for the purpose of advertising.”

Tinder’s privacy policy clearly states your data may be used to deliver “targeted advertising”.

All that data, ripe for the picking

What will happen if this treasure trove of data gets hacked, is made public or simply bought by another company? I can almost feel the shame I would experience. The thought that, before sending me these 800 pages, someone at Tinder might have read them already makes me cringe. Tinder’s privacy policy clearly states: “you should not expect that your personal information, chats, or other communications will always remain secure”. As a few minutes with a perfectly clear tutorial on GitHub called Tinder Scraper that can “collect information on users in order to draw insights that may serve the public” shows, Tinder is only being honest.

In May, an algorithm was used to scrape 40,000 profile images from the platform in order to build an AI to “genderise” faces. A few months earlier, 70,000 profiles from OkCupid (owned by Tinder’s parent company Match Group) were made public by a Danish researcher some commentators have labelled a “white supremacist”, who used the data to try to establish a link between intelligence and religious beliefs. The data is still out there.

So why does Tinder need all that information on you? “To personalise the experience for each of our users around the world,” according to a Tinder spokesperson. “Our matching tools are dynamic and consider various factors when displaying potential matches in order to personalise the experience for each of our users.”

Unfortunately when asked how those matches are personalised using my information, and which kinds of profiles I will be shown as a result, Tinder was less than forthcoming.

“Our matching tools are a core part of our technology and intellectual property, and we are ultimately unable to share information about our these proprietary tools,” the spokesperson said.

The trouble is these 800 pages of my most intimate data are actually just the tip of the iceberg. “Your personal data affects who you see first on Tinder, yes,” says Dehaye. “But also what job offers you have access to on LinkedIn, how much you will pay for insuring your car, which ad you will see in the tube and if you can subscribe to a loan.

“We are leaning towards a more and more opaque society, towards an even more intangible world where data collected about you will decide even larger facets of your life. Eventually, your whole existence will be affected.”

Tinder is often compared to a bar full of singles, but it’s more like a bar full of single people chosen for me while studying my behaviour, reading my diary and with new people constantly selected based on my live reactions.

As a typical millennial constantly glued to my phone, my virtual life has fully merged with my real life. There is no difference any more. Tinder is how I meet people, so this is my reality. It is a reality that is constantly being shaped by others – but good luck trying to find out how.


Puerto Rican Debt Holders Respond to Catastrophic Hurricane by Offering Puerto Rico More Debt

September 27 2017

by David Dayen

The Intercept

Puerto Rico, facing absolute devastation after Hurricane Maria barreled through last week, desperately needs immediate funding to restore critical infrastructure, particularly its hobbled electric grid. The entire island — home to over 3.5 million American citizens, roughly equivalent to the state of Connecticut — lost power, and satellite imagery shows how little electricity has come back. This affects not only electricity and telecommunications service but access to clean water, as many pumping stations run on the same grid.

A group of bondholders, who own a portion of Puerto Rico’s massive $72 billion debt, has proposed what they are calling relief — but in the form of a loan. So they’re offering a territory mired in debt the chance to take on more debt.

The announcement came after The Intercept spent two days reaching out to 51 of Puerto Rico’s known creditors, asking them if they would support a moratorium or cancellation of debt payments for the island, given the humanitarian crisis. Prior to this announcement, only three of the 51 creditors had so much as donated relief funds to charity or offered sympathy for island residents, all of them banks who actually have to face consumers, and so are a bit more adept at handling public relations. No creditor had supported debt relief.

Of the 51 creditors contacted by The Intercept, only Citibank, Goldman Sachs, and Scotiabank have pledged no-strings-attached money for Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands, in the form of donations to relief organizations totaling $1.25 million. Citi has also waived certain fees for citizens within disaster zones.

Puerto Rico’s other creditors contacted by The Intercept would not say whether donations were made by their firms or their top executives, which include some of the richest people on earth. Holders of Puerto Rican debt include John Paulson, who got rich betting against the housing market during the financial crash; Jeffrey Gundlach of DoubleLine Capital, who in 2015 called Puerto Rican debt his “best idea” for investors; and Marc Lasry of Avenue Capital Group and co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team.

The creditor lists were assembled by Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism in 2015 and supplemented by additional media reports. In addition, the federal bankruptcy-like process in Puerto Rico forced holders of one type of debt, so-called “COFINA” bonds backed by sales tax revenue, to reveal themselves. A full list of known Puerto Rican bondholders and their responses to The Intercept’s inquiries appear at the end of this article.

Experts see even the offer that was made by the bondholders less as a gift and more as a backdoor for creditors associated with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or Prepa, to take advantage of the disaster by enriching themselves. Offering a desperate population the ability to drown themselves in even more debt is hardly generous.

The Prepa Bondholder Group has offered the island’s utility a $1 billion debtor-in-possession (DIP) loan, and a separate swap of $1 billion in existing bonds for another $850 million DIP note. This money would be immediately available for restoring electric power. In all, the deal includes $150 million in debt cancellation on roughly $9 billion in outstanding Prepa bonds.

But for a better gauge of just how altruistic the offer is, it’s an even worse bid than the creditors made before the storm hit. The overall debt relief is slim; in fact, far less than the 15 percent haircut Prepa bondholders proposed in April. And when you factor in accrued interest and higher-value bonds, Prepa bondholders would likely come out ahead.

The bondholders’ offer comes after President Donald Trump offered one of the most historically grotesque responses to a natural disaster, highlighting Puerto Rico’s debt difficulties

Puerto Rico would not have to make interest or principal payments on the $1.85 billion in loans for the next two years, with a rate of Libor plus 4.50 percent after that. (Puerto Rico’s last note sale in 2014 was for Libor plus around 8 percent, so the terms are an improvement.) In addition, Prepa bondholders say the capital will allow Puerto Rico to provide federal matching funds to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which could qualify the island for up to $9 billion more in grants.

Those grants are certainly important. But to be sure, Prepa bondholders “are not giving away $1.85 billion,” said Adam Levitin, bankruptcy expert and law professor at Georgetown University. “They’re giving a loan [Puerto Rico] will have to pay back. This is not a donation to the Red Cross.”

DIP financing, typically done for bankrupt entities, is considered low-risk because it puts the creditor in a senior position to get paid back in full. By swapping Prepa bonds, which are junior to other forms of Puerto Rican debt, with DIP loans, the bondholders would put themselves in a better position for repayment. They are more valuable bonds to hold. “They cut to the front of the line,” Levitin said.

Plus, opening up additional FEMA grants would boost Prepa as an asset, increasing the value of the remaining bonds.

Of course, any funding, strings or no strings, that makes Puerto Rico more likely to survive two powerful hurricanes would inevitably reward bondholders, by increasing the likelihood of repayment. And the island can certainly use any dollars it can find, though Puerto Rico could likely find plenty of lenders willing to offer such a low-risk DIP financing deal, especially with matching FEMA funds on the horizon, as well as congressional disaster relief a likelihood.

Although leaders across the political spectrum have stressed the need for aid to Puerto Rico, Congress is likely to delay a package until mid-October. The fiscal control board that governs Puerto Rico’s finances, created by 2016 legislation called the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, or PROMESA, has so far allowed only $1 billion to be “reprogrammed” from other parts of the budget. Austerity measures, like planned furloughs and pension cuts, have still not been formally lifted. And since tax revenues are unlikely to be collected for at least a month, cash flow is nearly impossible to come by.

Meanwhile, streets continue to look like rivers. A dam with a large crack caused hurried evacuations. Food and medications are hard to find. Eighty percent of crops are ruined. Neighborhoods have been deemed unsafe as people struggle to survive. “If anyone can hear us, help,” said one of the island’s mayors. Officials have said full restoration of power could take four to six months, and full recovery will likely take years, with damages ranging as high as $30 billion.

In August, one creditor, Aurelius Capital Management, sued to stop Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy-style case, arguing it violates the Constitution. Aurelius, owned by Paul Singer protege Mark Brodsky, has not dropped the lawsuit since the hurricanes hit.

The Prepa Bondholder Group includes mutual fund investors Franklin Templeton and Oppenheimer Funds; insurers Assured Guaranty and National Public Finance Guarantee Corp.; and hedge funds Angelo, Gordon & Co., BlueMountain Capital Management, Knighthead Capital Management, and Marathon Asset Management.

In a statement, Stephen Spencer of Houlihan Lokey, the Prepa Bondholder Group’s financial adviser, said: “Our thoughts are with the people of Puerto Rico and its residents during this difficult time and we hope that this capital commitment will provide bridge financing and matching funds as required by FEMA legislation while supporting the Commonwealth’s recovery.”

The list of creditors:

Angelo, Gordon & Co. – Member of Prepa Bondholders Group, offered $1.85 billion in DIP loans and $150 million in debt relief

Appaloosa Management – no response

Archview Investment Group – no response

Ambac – no response

Aristeia Capital – no response

Arrowgrass Capital Partners – no response

Assured Guaranty – Member of Prepa Bondholders Group, offered $1.85 billion in DIP loans and $150 million in debt relief

Aurelius Capital Management – no response

Avenue Capital Group – no response

BlueMountain Capital Management – Member of Prepa Bondholders Group, offered $1.85 billion in DIP loans and $150 million in debt relief

Brigage Capital Management – no response

Candlewood Investment Group – no response

Canyon Capital Partners – no response

Carmel Asset Management – no response

Centerbridge Partners – no response

Cyrus Capital Partners – no response

Citibank – Donated $250,000 to the Red Cross.

D.E. Shaw – no response

DoubleLine Capital – no response

Farallon Capital Management – no response

FGIC – no response

Fir Tree Partners – no response

Fortress Investment Group – no response

Franklin Templeton Investment Co. – Member of Prepa Bondholders Group, offered $1.85 billion in DIP loans and $150 million in debt relief

Fundamental Advisors – no response

Golden Tree Asset Management – no response

Goldman Sachs – Gave $500,000 to “organizations assisting in immediate search, clean-up and recovery efforts” in the Caribbean after Hurricane Irma.

Highbridge Capital Management – no response

Knighthead Capital Management – Member of Prepa Bondholders Group, offered $1.85 billion in DIP loans and $150 million in debt relief

Mackay Shields – declined to comment

Maglan Capital – no response

Marathon Asset Management – Member of Prepa Bondholders Group, offered $1.85 billion in DIP loans and $150 million in debt relief

MatlinPatterson Global Advisors – no response

MBIA – no response

Meehan Combs – fund shut down

Merced Capital – no response

Monarch Alternative Capital – no response

Och-Ziff Management – no response

Oppenheimer Funds Co. – Member of Prepa Bondholders Group, offered $1.85 billion in DIP loans and $150 million in debt relief

Paulson & Co. – no response

Perry Capital Management – fund shut down

Principal Global – no response

Redwood Capital Management – no response

Scotiabank – gave $500,000 for Hurricane Irma relief in the Caribbean.

Sound Point Capital Management – no response

Stone Lion Capital Partners – no response

Syncora – no response

Taconic Capital Partners – no response

Tilden Park Capital Management – no response

Vårde Partners – no response

Whitebox Advisors – “We have a policy of not discussing Puerto Rico or any securities in which we are involved.”

Correction: Sept. 27,2017, 10:25 a.m.

An earlier version of this story listed Syncora as a member of the Prepa Bondholder Group. It was not a part of the most recent offer.



WPost Pushes More Dubious Russia-bashing

The Washington Post has published another front-page story about Russia maybe placing some ads on Facebook, but the article violates a host of journalistic principles in hyping its case

September 25, 2017

by Robert Parry

consortium news

Some people are calling the anti-Russian hysteria being whipped up across the U.S. mainstream news media a new “golden age of American journalism,” although it looks to me more like a new age of yellow journalism, prepping the people for more military spending, more “information warfare” and more actual war.Yes, without doubt, President Trump is a boorish and dangerous demagogue, now highlighted by his reckless speech before the United Nations last week, his schoolyard Tweet taunts toward North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and his ugly denunciation of black athletes for protesting against police killings of often unarmed African-Americans.

And, yes, I know that some people feel that the evidence-lite and/or false allegations about “Russian meddling” are the golden ticket to Trump’s impeachment. But the unprofessional behavior of The New York Times, The Washington Post and pretty much the entire mainstream media regarding Russia-gate cannot be properly justified by the goal of removing Trump from office.

Ethically in journalism, the ends – however much you might wish them to succeed – cannot justify the means, if those means involve violating rules of evidence and principles of fairness. Journalism should be a place where all sides get a fair shake, not where some get a bum’s rush.

But the U.S. mainstream media has clearly joined the anti-Trump Resistance and hates Russian President Vladimir Putin, too. So, we are given such travesties of journalism as appeared as a banner headline across the front page of Monday’s Washington Post, another screed about how Russia supposedly used Facebook ads to flip last November’s election for Trump.

The article purports to give the inside story of how Facebook belatedly came to grips with how the “company’s social network played a key role in the U.S. election,” but actually it is a story about how powerful politicians bullied Facebook into coming up with something – anything – to support the narrative of “Russian meddling,” including direct interventions by President Obama and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and a key legislator regarding reg

Finding the ‘Evidence’

In other words, Facebook was sent back again and again to find what Obama and Warner wanted the social media company to find. Eventually, Facebook turned up $100,000 in ads from 2015 into 2017 that supposedly were traced somehow to Russia. These ads apparently addressed political issues in America although Facebook has said most did not pertain directly to the presidential election and some ads were purchased after the election.

Left out of the Post’s latest opus is what a very small pebble these ads were – even assuming that Russians did toss the $100,000 or so in ad buys into the very large lake of billions of dollars in U.S. political spending for the 2016 election cycle. It also amounts to a miniscule fraction of Facebook’s $27 billion in annual revenue.

So the assertion that this alleged “meddling” – and we’ve yet to see any evidence connecting these ads to the Russian government – “played a key role in the U.S. election” is both silly and outrageous, especially given the risks involved in stoking animosities between nuclear-armed Russia and nuclear-armed America.

Even the Post’s alarmist article briefly acknowledges that it is still unclear who bought the ads, referring to the purchasers as “suspected Russian operatives.” In other words, we don’t even know that the $100,000 in ads over three years came from Russians seeking to influence the U.S. election. (By comparison, many Facebook advertisers – even some small businesses – spend $100,000 per day on their ads, not $100,000 over three years.)

But this diminutive effort by “suspected Russian operatives” doesn’t stop the Post from going on and on about “fake news” and “disinformation,” albeit again without offering evidence or specifics of any Russian “fake news” or “disinformation.”

It has simply become Official Washington’s new groupthink to say that everything linked to Russia or its international TV network RT is “fake news” or “disinformation” even though examples are lacking or often turn out to be false accusations themselves.

For instance, there is nothing in the Post’s article acknowledging that nothing from the various Democratic email disclosures, which have been blamed on Russia (again without real evidence), has been identified as untrue. So, how can truthful information, whether you like how it was obtained or not, be “fake news” or “disinformation”?

Falsehood as Fact

But Monday’s Post exposé simply asserts the claim as flat fact. Or as the article asserts: “what Russian operatives posted on Facebook was, for the most part, indistinguishable from legitimate political speech. The difference was the accounts that were set up to spread the misinformation and hate were illegitimate.”

In responsible journalism, such an accusation would be followed by a for-instance, giving an example of “the misinformation and hate” that the “Russian operatives” – note how they have been magically transformed from “suspected Russian operatives” to simply “Russian operatives” – were disseminating.

But there is no example of the Russian “misinformation and hate,” a classic violation of the reporting principle of “show, don’t tell.” In this story, it’s all tell and no show.

Indeed, what is shown in the article is often contradictory to the story’s conclusion. The article says, for instance, “A review by the company found that most of the groups behind the problematic pages had clear financial motives, which suggested that they weren’t working for a foreign government. But amid the mass of data the company was analyzing, the security team did not find clear evidence of Russian disinformation or ad purchases by Russian-linked accounts.”

So, Facebook initially – after extensive searching – did not find evidence of a Russian operation. Then, after continued pressure from high-level Democrats, Facebook continued to scour its system and again found nothing, or as the Post article acknowledged, Facebook “had searched extensively for evidence of foreign purchases of political advertising but had come up short.”

That prompted Warner to fly out to Silicon Valley to personally press Facebook executives to come up with the evidence to support the Democrats’ theory about Russia paying for carefully targeted anti-Clinton ads in key districts.

The Post’s article reported that “Finally, [Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex] Stamos appealed to Warner for help: If U.S. intelligence agencies had any information about the Russian operation or the troll farms it used to disseminate misinformation, they should share it with Facebook. The company is still waiting, people involved in the matter said.”

Under Pressure

Still, faced with extraordinary pressure from senior Democrats, Facebook finally delivered the desired results, or as the Post reported, “By early August, Facebook had identified more than 3,000 ads addressing social and political issues that ran in the United States between 2015 and 2017 and that appear to have come from accounts associated with the [St. Petersburg, Russia-based] Internet Research Agency.”

So, the ads covering three years, including post-election 2017, only “appear” to be “associated” with some private Russian operation that only allegedly has ties to the Kremlin. And the total sums of the ad buys are infinitesimal compared to what it actually takes to have any real impact on Facebook or in a U.S. presidential election.

If the context of this story were changed slightly – say, it was about the U.S. government trying to influence public opinion in another country (which actually does happen quite a bit) – the Post would be among the first news outlets to laugh off such allegations or dismiss the vague accusations as a conspiracy theory, but since these allegations fit with the prejudices of the Post’s editors, an entirely different set of journalistic standards is applied.

What the article also ignores is the extraordinary degree of coercion that such high-level political pressure can put on a company that recognizes its vulnerability to government regulation.

As Facebook has acknowledged in corporate filings, “Action by governments to restrict access to Facebook in their countries could substantially harm our business and financial results. It is possible that governments of one or more countries may seek to censor content available on Facebook in their country, restrict access to Facebook from their country entirely, or impose other restrictions that may affect the accessibility of Facebook in their country for an extended period of time or indefinitely. …

“In the event that access to Facebook is restricted, in whole or in part, in one or more countries or our competitors are able to successfully penetrate geographic markets that we cannot access, our ability to retain or increase our user base and user engagement may be adversely affected, we may not be able to maintain or grow our revenue as anticipated, and our financial results could be adversely affected.”

Avoiding Reality

In other words, another way to have framed this story is that powerful politicians who could severely harm Facebook’s business model were getting in the face of Facebook executives and essentially demanding that they come up with something to support the Democratic Party’s theory of “Russian meddling.”

The Democratic leaders wanted this finding as an explanation for Hillary Clinton’s stunning defeat, rather than going through the painful process of examining why the party has steadily lost ground in white working-class areas across the country.

What is missed in these Russia-bashing articles is that the Democratic brand has been sinking for years, including massive losses in statehouses across the country as well as in Congress. The party’s decline was not a one-off event with Donald Trump suddenly snaking away with significant parts of the white working class because the Russians bought some Facebook ads.

However, instead of looking in the mirror, national Democrats demanded that Facebook executives ferret out whatever tiny or imaginary information there might be about some Russians buying Facebook ads – and then allow those coerced findings to be fed into the excuse industry for why Hillary Clinton lost.

And, what about the Post’s repeated accusations about Russia engaging in “disinformation” and “fake news” without offering a single example? Apparently, these assertions have become such articles of faith in the U.S. mainstream media that they don’t require any proof.

However, honest journalism demands examples and evidence, not just vague accusations. The reality is that the U.S. government has stumbled again and again when seeking to paint RT as a disinformation outlet or a vehicle for undermining American democracy.

For instance, the Jan. 6 report on alleged Russian “cyber operations,” released by Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, included a lengthy appendix, dated from 2012, which decried RT for such offenses as allowing a debate among third-party presidential candidates who had been excluded from the Republican-Democratic debates; covering the Occupy Wall Street protests; and citing the environmental dangers from “fracking.”

The idea that American democracy is threatened by allowing third-party candidates or other American dissidents to have a voice is at best an upside-down understanding of democracy and, more likely, an exercise in hypocritical propaganda.

False Accusations

Another misfired attempt to discredit RT came from Obama’s Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Richard Stengel, who issued a “Dipnote” in April 2014, which helped establish the narrative of RT as a source of Russian disinformation.

For instance, Stengel claimed that RT reported a “ludicrous assertion” that the United States had spent $5 billion to produce Ukraine’s “regime change” in February 2014.

But what Stengel, a former managing editor of Time magazine, apparently failed to understand was that RT was referring to a public speech by Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, in which she told them that “we have invested more than $5 billion” in what was needed for Ukraine to achieve its “European aspirations.” In other words, the RT report wasn’t “ludicrous” at all.

Nuland also was a leading proponent of “regime change” in Ukraine who personally cheered on the Maidan demonstrators, even passing out cookies. In an intercepted pre-coup phone call with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, Nuland discussed who should run the new government and pondered with Pyatt how to “glue” or “midwife this thing.”

So, Stengel was the one disseminating false information, not RT.

Similarly, senior U.S. politicians, including Hillary Clinton, and the U.S. mainstream media have falsely asserted that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies signed off on the Russia-did-it hacking claims.

For months, that canard was used to silence skepticism. After all, how could you question something that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed to be true?

But it turned out that – as DNI Clapper, himself a hardline Russia-basher, belatedly acknowledged – the Jan. 6 report on the alleged Russian hacking was the work of “hand-picked” analysts from only three agencies, the CIA, FBI and NSA, and the “assessment” itself admitted that it was not asserting the Russian conclusion as fact, only the analysts’ opinion.

The New York Times finally retracted its use of the fake claim about “all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies” in late June 2017 although it wouldn’t let the lie lie, so instead the Times made misleading references to a “consensus” among U.S. intelligence agencies without using the number.

Recent studies by former U.S. intelligence experts have punched more holes in the certainty by raising doubts that the email downloads could have been accomplished over the Internet at the recorded speeds and more likely were achieved by an insider downloading onto a thumb drive.

Deciding What’s Real

So who is guilty of “fake news” and “disinformation”?

One positive from the current PBS series, “The Vietnam War,” is that despite its bend-over-backwards attempts to make excuses for the “good faith” decisions by U.S. politicians, no one can watch the series without encountering the chasm between the upbeat Official Story being peddled by the U.S. government and the ghastly on-the-ground reality.

Yet, given how little accountability was meted out then for journalists who served as conveyor belts for pro-war propaganda in Vietnam – or more recently over the fraudulent reporting that rationalized the U.S. aggressive war against Iraq – it is perhaps not surprising that similar false group thinks would coalesce around Russia now.

Careerist journalists understand that there is no danger in running with the pack – indeed, there is safety in numbers – but there are extraordinary risks to your career if you challenge the conventional wisdom even if you turn out to be right. As one establishment journalist once told me, “there’s no honor in being right too soon.”

So, for the Post reporters responsible for the latest journalistic violation of standards – Adam Entous, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg – there will be no penalty for the offense of telling about Russia’s alleged “disinformation” and “fake news” – rather than showing, i.e., providing actual examples. When it comes to Russia these days – as with the Vietcong in the 1960s or Iraq in 2002-03 – you can pretty much write whatever you want. All journalistic standards are gone.

Yet, what is perhaps most insidious about what we are seeing is that – in the name of defending democracy – the U.S. mainstream media is trampling a chief principle of the Enlightenment, the belief that the marketplace of ideas is the best way to determine the truth and to create an informed populace.

The new U.S. mainstream media paradigm is that only establishment-approved views can be expressed; everything else must be suppressed, purged and punished.

For instance, if you question the State Department’s narrative on alleged Syrian government sarin attacks – by noting contrary evidence that points to staged incidents by Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate – you are called an “apologist” for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

If you question the one-sided State Department narrative regarding the Ukraine coup in 2014 – indeed even if you use the word “coup” – you are denounced as a “Kremlin stooge.”

No ‘Other’ Side

It is now not okay to even consider the other side of these stories, just as it was anathema to suggest that Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi government may have been telling the truth in 2002-03 when it declared repeatedly that it had destroyed its WMDs. That made you a “Saddam apologist.”

The hostility toward Americans who dare question the current anti-Russian hysteria was highlighted by an article last Thanksgiving Day by one of the authors of the new Post article, Craig Timberg.

In another front-page Post story, Timberg allowed an anonymous group called PropOrNot to malign the professionalism and patriotism of 200 Web sites, including our own Consortiumnews, that were lumped together in a McCarthyistic smear that they were somehow guilty of disseminating “Russian propaganda.”

The unnamed accusers – granted anonymity by the Post – acknowledged that they had no evidence that the sites were part of some grand Russian conspiracy but made the judgment based on PropOrNot’s analysis of the Web sites’ content.

In other words, if you questioned the State Department’s narratives on Ukraine or Syria – regardless of how well-supported those critiques were – you got smeared as a “Russian propagandist” – and the Post, which didn’t even bother to contact the accused, considered that sort of analysis to be worthy of its front page.

The story fed into another frenzy about the need to use algorithms and artificial intelligence to hunt down and suppress or purge such dissenting views from the Internet, supposedly to protect the sanctity of American democracy and spare Americans from exposure to “fake news.”

So, well-meaning Americans who may hope that Russia-gate will somehow bring down Trump are getting recruited into a movement that intends to silence dissent and allow the U.S. establishment to dictate what information you will get to see and hear.

And that officially approved “information” will surely lead to new global tensions, more military spending. and additional warfare up to and possibly including nuclear war with Russia.

Official Government Disinformation Methodology 

September 27, 2017

by Christian Jürs

Prior to the event of printed, and later television, media, it was not difficult for the world’s power elites and the governments they controlled, to see that unwelcome and potentially dangerous information never reached the masses of people under their control. Most of the general public in more distant times were completely illiterate and received their news from their local priest or from occasional gossip from travelers, The admixture of kings, princes and clergy had an iron control over what their subject could, or could not hear. During the Middle Ages and even into the more liberal Renaissance, universities were viewed with suspicion and those who taught, or otherwise expressed, concepts that were anathema to the concept of feudalism were either killed outright in public or permanently banished. Too-liberal priests were silenced by similar methods. If Papal orders for silence were not followed, priests could, and were, put to the torch as an example for others to note.

However, with the advent of the printing press and a growing literacy in the population, the question of informational control was less certain and with the growing movements in Europe and the American colonies for less restriction and more public expression, the power elites found it necessary to find the means to prevent unpleasant information from being proclaimed throughout their lands and unto all the inhabitants thereof.

The power elites realized that if they could not entirely prevent inconvenient and often dangerous facts to emerge and threaten their authority, their best course was not censorship but to find and develop the means to control the presentation and publication of that they wished to keep entirely secret.

The first method was to block or prevent the release of dangerous material by claiming that such material was a matter of important state security and as such, strictly controlled. This, they said, was not only for their own protection but also the somewhat vague but frightening concept of the security of their people.

The second method was, and has been, to put forth disinformation that so distorts and confuses actual facts as to befuddle a public they see as easily controlled, naïve and gullible.

The mainstream American media which theoretically was a balance against governmental corruption and abuses of power, quickly became little more than a mouthpiece for the same government they were supposed to report on. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, most American newspapers were little better than Rupert Mudoch’s modern tabloids, full of sound and fury, and signifying nothing but during the First World War, President Wilson used the American entry into the First World War as an excuse for setting up controls over the American public. Aside from setting up government control over food distribution, the railroads, much industry involved in war production, he also established a powerful propaganda machine coupled with a national informant system that guaranteed his personal control. In 1918, citing national security, Wilson arrested and imprisoned critical news reporters and threatened to shut down their papers.

Wilson was a wartime president and set clear precedents that resonated very loudly with those who read history and understood its realities.

During the Second World War, Franklin Roosevelt, another wartime leader, was not as arrogant or highhanded as Wilson (whose empire fell apart after the end of the war that supported it) but he set up informational controls that exist to the present time. And after Roosevelt, and the war, passed into history, the government in the United States created a so-called cold war with Soviet Russia, instead of Hitler’s Germany, as the chief enemy. Control of the American media then fell into the hands of the newly-formed Central Intelligence Agency who eventually possessed an enormous, all-encompassing machine that clamped down firmly on the national print, and later television media, with an iron hand in a velvet glove. Media outlets that proved to be cooperative with CIA propaganda officials were rewarded for their loyalty and cooperation with valuable, and safe, news and the implication was that enemies of the state would either be subject to scorn and derision and that supporters of the state and its policies would receive praise and adulation.

The methodology of a controlled media has a number of aspects which, once clearly understood, renders its techniques and goals far less effective.

Mainstream media sources (especially newspapers) are notorious for reporting flagrantly dishonest and unsupported news stories on the front page, then quietly retracting those stories on the very back page when they are caught. In this case, the point is to railroad the lie into the collective consciousness. Once the lie is finally exposed, it is already too late, and a large portion of the population will not notice or care when the truth comes out. A good example of this would be the collusion of the mainstream media with the Bush administration to convince the American public after 9/11 that Iraq had WMDs, even though no concrete evidence existed to prove it. George W. Bush’s eventual admission that there had never been any WMDs in Iraq (except chemical weapons which the U.S. actually sold to Saddam under the Reagan / Bush administration) was lightly reported or glazed over by most mainstream news sources. The core reason behind a war that killed over a million people was proven to be completely fraudulent, yet I still run into people today who believe that Iraq had nukes…

Unconfirmed Or Controlled Sources As Fact

Cable news venues often cite information from “unnamed” sources, government sources that have an obvious bias or agenda, or “expert” sources without providing an alternative “expert” view. The information provided by these sources is usually backed by nothing more than blind faith. A recent example of this would be the Osama Bin Laden audio tapes which supposedly reveal that the Christmas “Underwear Bomber” was indeed Al-Qaeda:


The media treats the audio tape as undeniable fact in numerous stories, then at the same time prints a side story which shows that the White House cannot confirm that the tape is even real:


If the White House cannot confirm the authenticity of the tape, then why did the media report on its contents as if it had been confirmed?

Calculated Omission

Otherwise known as “cherry picking” data. One simple piece of information or root item of truth can derail an entire disinformational news story, so instead of trying to gloss over it, they simply pretend as if it doesn’t exist. When the fact is omitted, the lie can appear entirely rational. This tactic is also used extensively when disinformation agents and crooked journalists engage in open debate.

Distraction, and the Manufacture of Relevance

A recent push for an audit of the Federal Reserve was gaining major public and political support. Instead of reporting on this incredible and unprecedented movement for transparency in the Fed, the MSM spent two months or more reporting non-stop on the death of Michael Jackson, a pop idol who had not released a decent record since “Thriller,” practically deifying the man who only months earlier was being lambasted by the same MSM for having “wandering hands” when children were about.

Dishonest Debate Tactics

Sometimes, men who actually are concerned with the average American’s pursuit of honesty and legitimate fact-driven information break through and appear on T.V. However, rarely are they allowed to share their views or insights without having to fight through a wall of carefully crafted deceit and propaganda. Because the media knows they will lose credibility if they do not allow guests with opposing viewpoints every once in a while, they set up and choreograph specialized T.V. debates in highly restrictive environments which put the guest on the defensive, and make it difficult for them to clearly convey their ideas or facts.

TV pundits are often trained in what are commonly called “Alinsky Tactics.” Saul Alinsky was a moral relativist, and champion of the lie as a tool for the “greater good;” essentially, a modern day Machiavelli. His “Rules for Radicals” were supposedly meant for grassroots activists who opposed the establishment, and emphasized the use of any means necessary to defeat one’s political opposition. But is it truly possible to defeat an establishment built on lies, by use of even more elaborate lies, and by sacrificing one’s ethics?

Today, Alinsky’s rules are used more often by the establishment than by its opposition. These tactics have been adopted by governments and disinformation specialists across the world, but they are most visible in TV debate. While Alinsky sermonized about the need for confrontation in society, his debate tactics are actually designed to circumvent real and honest confrontation of opposing ideas with slippery tricks and diversions. Alinsky’s tactics, and their modern usage, can be summarized as follows:

1) Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.

We see this tactic in many forms. For example, projecting your own movement as mainstream, and your opponent’s as fringe. Convincing your opponent that his fight is a futile one. Your opposition may act differently, or even hesitate to act at all, based on their perception of your power.

2) Never go outside the experience of your people, and whenever possible, go outside of the experience of the enemy.

Don’t get drawn into a debate about a subject you do not know as well as or better than your opposition. If possible, draw them into such a situation instead. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty in your opposition. This is commonly used against unwitting interviewees on cable news shows whose positions are set up to be skewered. The target is blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address. In television and radio, this also serves to waste broadcast time to prevent the target from expressing his own positions.

3) Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.

The objective is to target the opponent’s credibility and reputation by accusations of hypocrisy. If the tactician can catch his opponent in even the smallest misstep, it creates an opening for further attacks.

4) Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.

“Ron Paul is a crackpot.” “Dennis Kucinich is short and weird.” “9-11 twoofers wear tinfoil hats.” Ridicule is almost impossible to counter. It’s irrational. It infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage. It also works as a pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

5) A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.

The popularization of the term “Teabaggers” is a classic example, it caught on by itself because people seem to think it’s clever, and enjoy saying it. Keeping your talking points simple and fun keeps your side motivated, and helps your tactics spread autonomously, without instruction or encouragement.

6) A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.

See rule number 6. Don’t become old news. If you keep your tactics fresh, its easier to keep your people active. Not all disinformation agents are paid. The “useful idiots” have to be motivated by other means. Mainstream disinformation often changes gear from one method to the next and then back again.

7) Keep the pressure on with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.

Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. Never give the target a chance to rest, regroup, recover or re-strategize. Take advantage of current events and twist their implications to support your position. Never let a good crisis go to waste.

The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

This goes hand in hand with Rule #1. Perception is reality. Allow your opposition to expend all of its energy in expectation of an insurmountable scenario. The dire possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.

9) The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.

The objective of this pressure is to force the opposition to react and make the mistakes that are necessary for the ultimate success of the campaign.

10) If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counter side.

As grassroots activism tools, Alinsky tactics have historically been used (for example, by labor movements) to force the opposition to react with violence against activists, which leads to popular sympathy for the activists’ cause. Today, false (or co-opted) grassroots movements use this technique in debate as well as in planned street actions. The idea is to provoke (or stage) ruthless attacks against ones’ self, so as to be perceived as the underdog, or the victim. Today, this technique is commonly used to create the illusion that a certain movement is “counterculture” or “anti-establishment.”

11) The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.

Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. Today, this is often used offensively against legitimate activists, such as the opponents of the Federal Reserve. Complain that your opponent is merely “pointing out the problems.” Demand that they offer a solution.

12) Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. The targets supporters will expose themselves. Go after individual people, not organizations or institutions. People hurt faster than institutions.

The next time you view an MSM debate, watch the pundits carefully, you will likely see many if not all of the strategies above used on some unsuspecting individual attempting to tell the truth.

Internet Disinformation Methods

Because the MSM’s bag of tricks has been so exhausted over such a long period of time, many bitter and enraged consumers of information are now turning to alternative news sources, most of which exist on the collective commons we call the internet. At first, it appears, the government and elitists ignored the web as a kind of novelty, or just another mechanism they could exploit in spreading disinformation. As we all now well know, they dropped the ball, and the internet has become the most powerful tool for truth history has ever seen.

That being said, they are now expending incredible resources in order to catch up to their mistake, utilizing every trick in their arsenal to beat web users back into submission. While the anonymity of the internet allows for a certain immunity against many of Saul Alinsky’s manipulative tactics, it also allows governments to attack those trying to spread the truth covertly. In the world of web news, we call these people “disinfo trolls.” Trolls are now being openly employed by governments in countries like the U.S. and Israel specifically to scour the internet for alternative news sites and disrupt their ability to share information.




Internet trolls, also known as “paid posters” or “paid bloggers,” are increasingly being employed by private corporations as well, often for marketing purposes. In fact, it is a rapidly growing industry.

Trolls use a wide variety of strategies, some of which are unique to the internet, here are just a few:

1) Make outrageous comments designed to distract or frustrate: An Alinsky tactic used to make people emotional, although less effective because of the impersonal nature of the web.

2) Pose as a supporter of the truth, then make comments that discredit the movement: We have seen this even on our own forums — trolls pose as supporters of the Liberty Movement, then post long, incoherent diatribes so as to appear either racist or insane. Here is a live example of this tactic in use on Yahoo! Answers.

The key to this tactic is to make references to common Liberty Movement arguments while at the same time babbling nonsense, so as to make those otherwise valid arguments seem ludicrous by association.

In extreme cases, these “Trojan Horse Trolls” have been known to make posts which incite violence — a technique obviously intended to solidify the false assertions of the notorious MIAC report and other ADL/SPLC publications which purport that constitutionalists should be feared as potential domestic terrorists.

3) Dominate Discussions: Trolls often interject themselves into productive web diicussions in order to throw them off course and frustrate the people involved.

4) Prewritten Responses: Many trolls are supplied with a list or database with pre-planned talking points designed as generalized and deceptive responses to honest arguments. 9/11 “debunker” trolls are notorious for this.

5) False Association: This works hand in hand with item #2, by invoking the stereotypes established by the “Trojan Horse Troll.”

For example: calling those against the Federal Reserve “conspiracy theorists” or “lunatics”. Deliberately associating anti-globalist movements with big foot or alien enthusiasts, because of the inherent negative connotations. Using false associations to provoke biases and dissuade people from examining the evidence objectively.

6) False Moderation: Pretending to be the “voice of reason” in an argument with obvious and defined sides in an attempt to move people away from what is clearly true into a “grey area” where the truth becomes “relative.”

7) Straw Man Arguments: A very common technique. The troll will accuse his opposition of subscribing to a certain point of view, even if he does not, and then attacks that point of view. Or, the troll will put words in the mouth of his opposition, and then rebut those specific words. For example: “9/11 truthers say that no planes hit the WTC towers, and that it was all just computer animation. What are they, crazy?”

Sometimes, these strategies are used by average people with serious personality issues. However, if you see someone using these tactics often, or using many of them at the same time, you may be dealing with a paid internet troll.

Government Disinformation Methods

Governments, and the globalists who back them, have immense assets — an almost endless fiat money printing press — and control over most legal and academic institutions. With these advantages, disinformation can be executed on a massive scale. Here are just a handful of the most prominent tactics used by government agencies and private think tanks to guide public opinion, and establish the appearance of consensus:

1) Control The Experts: Most Americans are taught from kindergarten to ignore their instincts for the truth and defer to the “professional class” for all their answers. The problem is that much of the professional class is indoctrinated throughout their college years, many of them molded to support the status quo. Any experts that go against the grain are ostracized by their peers.

2) Control The Data: By controlling the source data of any investigation, be it legal or scientific, the government has the ability to engineer any truth they wish, that is, as long as the people do not care enough to ask for the source data. Two major examples of controlled and hidden source data include; the NIST investigation of the suspicious 9/11 WTC collapses, in which NIST engineers, hired by the government, have kept all source data from their computer models secret, while claiming that the computer models prove the collapses were “natural”. Also, the recent exposure of the CRU Climate Labs and their manipulation of source data in order to fool the public into believing that Global Warming is real, and accepting a world-wide carbon tax. The CRU has refused to release the source data from its experiments for years, and now we know why.

3) Skew The Statistics: This tactic is extremely evident in the Labor Department’s evaluations on unemployment, using such tricks as incorporating ambiguous birth / death ratios into their calculation in order to make it appear as though there are less unemployed people than there really are, or leaving out certain subsections of the population, like those who are unemployed and no longer seeking benefits.

3) Guilt By False Association: Governments faced with an effective opponent will always attempt to demonize that person or group in the eyes of the public. This is often done by associating them with a group or idea that the public already hates. Example: During the last election, they tried to associate Ron Paul supporters with racist groups (and more recently, certain Fox News anchors) in order to deter moderate Democrats from taking an honest look at Congressman Paul’s policies.

4) Manufacture Good News: This falls in with the skewing of statistics, and it also relies heavily on Media cooperation. The economic “Green Shoots” concept is a good example of the combination of government and corporate media interests in order to create an atmosphere of false optimism based on dubious foundations.

5) Controlled Opposition: Men in positions of power have known for centuries the importance of controlled opposition. If a movement rises in opposition to one’s authority, one must usurp that movement’s leadership. If no such movement exists to infiltrate, the establishment will often create a toothless one, in order to fill that social need, and neutralize individuals who might have otherwise taken action themselves.

During the 1960’s and 70’s, the FBI began a secretive program called COINTELPRO. Along with illegal spying on American citizens who were against the Vietnam conflict or in support of the civil rights movement, they also used agents and media sources to pose as supporters of the movement, then purposely created conflict and division, or took control of the direction of the movement altogether. This same tactic has been attempted with the modern Liberty Movement on several levels, but has so far been ineffective in stopping our growth.

The NRA is another good example of controlled opposition, as many gun owners are satisfied that paying their annual NRA dues is tantamount to actively resisting anti-gun legislation; when in fact, the NRA is directly responsible for many of the compromises which result in lost ground on 2nd amendment issues. In this way, gun owners are not only rendered inactive, but actually manipulated into funding the demise of their own cause.

6) False Paradigms: Human beings have a tendency to categorize and label other people and ideas. It is, for better or worse, a fundamental part of how we understand the complexities of the world. This component of human nature, like most any other, can be abused as a powerful tool for social manipulation. By framing a polarized debate according to artificial boundaries, and establishing the two poles of that debate, social engineers can eliminate the perceived possibility of a third alternative. The mainstream media apparatus is the key weapon to this end. The endless creation of dichotomies, and the neat arrangement of ideologies along left/right lines, offers average people a very simple (though hopelessly inaccurate) way of thinking about politics. It forces them to choose a side, usually based solely on emotional or cultural reasons, and often lures them into supporting positions they would otherwise disagree with. It fosters an environment in which beating the other team is more important than ensuring the integrity of your own. Perhaps most importantly, it allows the social engineer to determine what is “fair game” for debate, and what is not.

Alinsky himself wrote: “One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.”

One merely needs to observe a heated debate between a Democrat and a Republican to see how deeply this belief has been ingrained on both sides, and how destructive it is to true intellectual discourse.

Stopping Disinformation

The best way to disarm disinformation agents is to know their methods inside and out. This gives us the ability to point out exactly what they are doing in detail the moment they try to do it. Immediately exposing a disinformation tactic as it is being used is highly destructive to the person utilizing it. It makes them look foolish, dishonest, and weak for even making the attempt. Internet trolls most especially do not know how to handle their methods being deconstructed right in front of their eyes, and usually fold and run from debate when it occurs.

The truth, is precious. It is sad that there are so many in our society that have lost respect for it; people who have traded in their conscience and their soul for temporary financial comfort while sacrificing the stability and balance of the rest of the country in the process. The human psyche breathes on the air of truth, without it, humanity cannot survive. Without it, the species will collapse in on itself, starving from lack of intellectual and emotional sustenance. Disinformation does not only threaten our insight into the workings of our world; it makes us vulnerable to fear, misunderstanding, and doubt, all things that lead to destruction. It can lead good people to commit terrible atrocities against others, or even against themselves. Without a concerted and organized effort to diffuse mass-produced lies, the future will look bleak indeed.


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