"SouthFront has repeatedly been accused of being pro-Russian propaganda, anti-Erdogan propaganda, pro-Trump propaganda, anti-Russian propaganda, pro-Iranian propaganda, pro-Assad propaganda, anti-Assad propaganda and so on. The allegations have been made by various different media outlets, think tanks and media activists.
However, the most widespread narrative is that SouthFront is part of some sophisticated Kremlin propaganda campaign or is even run by the Russian Defense Ministry. Such allegations have been spread by large pro-NATO organizations such as the Atlantic Council, or by representatives of the US Department of State or the US Department of Defense.
Now, it even looks as if both the House and Senate intelligence committees are investigating SouthFront’s interference in the US presidential election.
SouthFront supposes that it should be seen as an honor that elites of the often touted “most free” nation in the world have so highly evaluated the joint efforts of numerous experts and volunteers involved in the project.
An Oxford University study found on October 9th that SouthFront targets “US military personnel and veterans with conspiracy theories, misinformation, and other forms of junk news about military affairs and national security issues.”
In June 2017, Politico Magazine already pushed a very similar idea arguing that SouthFront is one of the projects shaking the very pillars of American society, foremost among which was the military." South Front
I use South Front and al Masdar News to find material seldom available on the web or in broadcast news. For example, if one reads only the MSM one would never know that the R+6 have made a major contribution to winning the war against the IS jihadis and will soon deal with the HTS (Al-Qa'ida) jihadis that infest Idlib Province.
The level of media control by various governments is impressive. The US has become what Solzhenitsyn called a "muffled zone."
I await a knock on the door. pl
My impression is that South Front does have a pro-Russian bias, but no more so than CNN, say, has a pro-US establishment bias.
It is interesting to read your own endorsement of it as a useful source of information, since you have the specific experience and expertise to allow a good assessment of its overall reliability as an information source, and presumably you have had the opportunity to assess the reliability of information from that source over a sufficient period of time now to do so with some confidence.
“The level of media control by various governments is impressive. The US has become what Solzhenitsyn called a “muffled zone.””
To the extent that even bodies like Wikipedia, which one would think has only its own supposed independence and integrity to rest any claim to credibility upon, bow before the hurricane of Official Truth enforcement:
Open letter concerning Wikipedia suppression of SouthFront information
The question in my mind is if we have become a muffled zone by intent or by single-minded pursuit of ratings for money on the part of our corporate media and their rise to dominance by default. These two things aren’t mutually exclusive…I’m thinking primary cause.
Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984 are becoming more of a reality every day.
Ad-click-revenue helps to limit first page results from search engines. An overwhelming majority of users click on the first link of the first page.
Results are manipulated and old news is recycled and presented as new.
The internet memory-hole also enables easy changing or removal of content.
There are also new laws that will act as filters and prevent ‘other’ content such as this one”
Germany’s Network Enforcement Act: Legal framework for censorship of the Internet
5 October 2017
On October 1, the Network Enforcement Act took effect in Germany. Under the cover of a fight against “fake news” and “hate speech,” it creates a legal framework for censorship of the Internet.
The law requires operators of Internet platforms with over two million users to “remove or block obviously unlawful content within 24 hours of receipt of a complaint.” In what are called less obvious cases, a seven-day period applies. A platform must regularly report on its handling of complaints. If it does not comply, it faces fines of up to 50 million euros.
IMO these are dangerous trends.
We are becoming what government said we had to fight or else become.
Today i listened to Ash Carter on NPR. He explained that he had talked to Putin in 2012 and Putin had offered to remove Assad and fight ISIS. He went on to explain that Putin had failed to do either and that Russia had never impeded ISIS in any way. I called in to ask a question and eventually got through to an assistant taking questions. She asked what my question was. I said that the most senior Russian officer in Syria and two Colonels had recently been killed in a mortar attack in Deir El Azzor. If they were not killed by ISIS could Mr. Carter tell me who had killed them?
You will be shocked to hear there was no time for my question.
I’m afraid it’s by intent Mark. The next step will be to make an example of some one who is an author or blog owner.The fine point for the authorities will be to judge when they can do that without setting off a scream about Constitutional rights.
President Trump has unfortunately fallen for the trap of suggesting that a broadcasters licence could be removed for purveying “Fake News” which of course is a big slide down the slippery slope.
Who actually sponsors and runs South Front??
They seem to run on small money and ask every day for donations. I give then $15/month througt Paypal. pl
As a regular reader of South Front I would agree it’s Russian propaganda in much the same sense that NYT is Democratic Party propaganda. The biases in story selection and phrasing are pretty obvious in both.
But the rest of this is nonsense. I also used to read Krasnaya Zvesta regularly. It’s biased but informative. You get news from a very different perspective. There’s no need to limit news and opinion to the official government line. It’s useful to be reminded that in Raqqa, as in Manbij, there are differing priorities and objectives as part of cease fire/ surrender strategies. I never see this kind of issue discussed in the MSM. Southfront doesn’t discuss both sides, but they take a very different perspective and that highlights the issues.
This might be the best way to stay independent. Advertising/click-revenue kills quality.
OSINT is very powerful in this age of social media and Internet. It is much cheaper than other INTs and can have spectacular results. South Front is a good example. Some others:
Thanks to satellite imagery from Planet Labs, Bellingcat was able to verify the Russian official’s claim that the build was indeed built in fewer than 48 hours. An image from September 23, for example, does not show any signs of a bridge over the river, while an image from two days later, September 25, shows the newly-constructed, full-length bridge, confirming the claim that the military personnel had managed to build it in a mere two days.
In August 2017, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its first ever arrest warrant solely based on social media evidence
A Turkish state prosecutor on Monday denied reports that Turkish intelligence agencies were asked to or participated in identifying Israeli soldiers and officers that participated in the 2010 Mavi Marmara raid, Turkish daily Today’s Zaman reported.
Istanbul Deputy Public Prosecutor Ates Shasan Sozen told the newspaper that the IHH, the organization that organized the Gaza Flotilla, submitted the list to the Prosecutor’s Office the same day when Turkish daily Sabah published the list of 174 names.
3D reconstruction of Cameroon’s secret torture chambers created by Forensic Architecture of the University of Goldsmith in London.
The Borg/MSM is very active in channeling to their propaganda.
Google’s strategy is to downgrade search results for targeted Web sites based on a supposed desire to limit reader access to “low-quality” information, but the targets reportedly include some of the highest-quality alternative news sites on the Internet, such as – according to the report – Consortiumnews.com.
Google sponsors the First Draft Coalition, which was created to counter alleged “fake news” and consists of mainstream news outlets, including the Times and The Washington Post, as well as establishment-approved Web sites, such as Bellingcat, which has a close association with the anti-Russia and pro-NATO Atlantic Council.
I’ve looked at Bellingcat and – as any source – should never be trusted at face value. They do post techniques and tips that can be used. So why disregard them? The examples above are useful.
Personally I don’t care who provides the information. Left, right, Russia, whoever. A lot should be regarded as propaganda, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be used. When combined it can give a proper overview (as wel as show the gaps etc)
IMO the main problem now is how these sources can be found? Especially the general public.
IMO an independent search engine (without ads, ownership by big corporations etc) that returns information from different positions/views (left, right, US, Russia, religions, wikileaks etc).
It is up to the searcher/reader to determine their position (which at least can be based on a more complete overview and can less easily be manipulated)
This is what I’m trying to create now. The main problem is how to remain objective and independent and avoid being eaten by MSM/Borg before it can grow roots.
Colonel, although I do not not even close to approach your stature in reach or general, I can sympathize to these thoughts of waiting for the knock on the door…how far we have fallen as Americans for me to voice this ! I have maintained an informal blog with relatively wide circulation since the late 2000s, relating in particular to ISI and ISIS propaganda. I judge that the reading of Solzhenitsyn in my formative years was one of the main catalysts for my current political views particularly as they relate to the role of centralized overreach and our foreign policy in the ME.especially “The Gulag Archipelago”.This “muffled zone” quote perfectly describes the current state of information exchange as it relates to American policy in ME, to the “average” inquirer, how pitiable of a state the information exchange is in! Blogs such as SST and orgs such as SF are bulwarks against this manufactured ignorance imposed on the american people. May God help you in your continued work and endeavors, Colonel.
Thank you for the link, looks to be some interesting reading.
It is rather amazing that the greatest threat that the United States faces has become nothing more than the truth.
I believe it’s more difficult and more challenging to pick up a book than pick up a gun (and I know you agree). Nevertheless, when the knock comes, pick up a gun.
I’ve gotten so I can tell an Andrew Higgins article in the Times by the headline without even looking at the byline. That’s the reality of the mainstream media.
Russia did an excellent job copying the simple tools of Bateson’s WW2 propaganda method, which he referred to as schismogenesis. A staple of State intelligence agencies, their imitators and opponents across south and SE Asia since the war, all it took was a photocopied counterfeit account of a religious or political meeting planning an attack on a neighbouring village to start a conflict, and keep a conflict going. All societies have competing sets of values, hopes and fears. Russia must be delighted beyond expectation that Americans could be so easily divided by sets of values and fight one another with just a nudge here and there. The US behaved like an uneducated pre literate society. Russia tried it on France too. It didn’t work.
“Accurate news” is information that has received the imprimatur of an organ of the global ruling class.
I have been impressed with the level of control of the media in the “western” world for a long time, probably longer than many. I have commented about it on SST. My explanations for it go beyond the mere financial/existential control of the ‘scribes’ in different outlets of MSM. That kind of control would be the simplest reason, as indicated by some comments on the your article “The Newshour is not neutral at all” – where the names of fired reporters have been listed (of course a hugely incomplete list). I wondered and commented on the peculiar “unisono” quality of MSM years ago, because I was able to compare not only the US media but had the relatively frequent insight into the german media.
I and some friends of mine who come from similar circumstances have been joking privately about the ‘knock on the door’ here in the “free world” for some time.
When South Front first appeared I assumed that they were backed by some Russian outfit,maybe official or not. I took their news reports with a skeptical note. As time went on it appeared that the stuff they were talking about turned out to accurate more often than not. Still have no idea who they are but am willing to give them a little support.
Sir. there wont be people knocking on your door. In a modern “liberal” and “tolerant” way you will first warned of your heresy then your credibility will be chipped away bit by bit slowly by various media outlets and speaking heads demonzing you continously. If that’s not enough next step is depriving you of your means of income, and should these not work, a SWAT team will come crashing through blastholes, to eliminate the terrorist threat.
Knocking on doors is so polite ans therefore outdated. These people are definitely not polite.
Until 2010 I feared the above as an outspoken conservative. Living in a pronouncedly illiberal country most of these fears are gone. To me it appears that nowadays the western hemisphere conservatives are targeted. Mayber members of this correspondence should start studying guerilla tactics, not to mention those excellent CIA materials from the 60s and 70s about ressisting oppressive govts.
“I await a knock on the door. ” !!!
Very interesting to hear this coming from Pat – I also use the 2 sites he mentions to get past the firewall of MSM. My brother had similar views to me on world affairs for many years. He now spends more time in the US as he is engaged to an American; whilst he knows the news out there is garbage he has half bought into the Russia bad meme and Assad bombs his own people, etc. He thinks I have become a wild eyed loon.
“President Trump has unfortunately fallen for the trap of suggesting that a broadcasters licence could be removed for purveying “Fake News” which of course is a big slide down the slippery slope.”
But it can be. The public owns the airwaves, and have since 1933/34. (1) That’s why broadcasters must buy a licence. (2) I’m not looking up the law right now, but broadcasters must supply accurate news.
Anyone alive during the era of Edward Morrow, Walter Cronkite, Fred Friendly, etc, and the lauded CBS, Nbc, and ABC news depts know that they were in a category by themselves. It wasn’t some altruistic bent, it was the law, and the broadcasters all competed with each other to be the best at it.
Has anyone here gone through the 45 pages of Ash Carter’s recent article and can give a succinct characterization of its contents?
Commenter Harry just suggested that I should expect a significant amount of obfuscation from it. If others who have delved into it, concur with that estimate, I’d rather skip over it.
“In June 2017, Politico Magazine already pushed a very similar idea arguing that SouthFront is one of the projects shaking the very pillars of American society, foremost among which was the military.”
I doubt if .1% of American citizens have ever heard of southfront Its website ranking is 20,400 in worldwide popularity. In contrast, WaPo ranks 175 while the NyTimes is at 113 worldwide.
Perhaps these have been discussed previously, but along these lines I should add some very funny RT ads that appear at what I am led to believe are Washington bus stops:
The NKVD would knock on the door, but here it’s getting to the point where it’s more likely to be broken down without warning, or “breached”…
I’m sure this was not a shock to your system. Every advanced totalitarian state has a ministry of information and NPR serves that purpose for us. It is how the inner party informs the outer party what to believe, not what to think. The last thing anyone wants is people thinking.
South Front’s production values and access to information seems very high, add that to their editorial slant and I make the obvious assumption. I have no problem with this, as their information is far superior to the Western MSM and one can take the Hegelian perspective of thesis, antithesis leading to synthesis, namely that getting both perspectives gives you a balanced outlook.
I don’t know what scares me more, the massive censorship effort that is being waged against small news operations or the fact that the massive behemoth is so apparently so terrified and threatened by them. Or maybe the fact that the all-seeing behemoth has apparently just recently noticed that so many of us have found alternate sources of information.
Hi mariner – Are you referring to the “Macron” hack? It seems it didn’t happen: https://www.apnews.com/fc570e4b400f4c7db3b0d739e9dc5d4d/The-Latest:-France-says-no-trace-of-Russian-hacking-Macron
I was in Europe on that date and saw the interview with M. Poupard on television. Seems like that info didn’t make it across the pond, for some strange reason….
My apologies if I misconstrued your reference.
Without enemies many people would find little or no purpose to life. They have been hard wired to be so.
Among the many RSS feeds I watch and for some historical reason I forgot about I do have the NPR.
I just skim the headlines and I am not truly involved in American news and events but even only doing that is slightly nauseating.
A german journalist named Udo Ulfkotte wrote a book called Journalists for Hire in which he claims he worked as a CIA agent for many years in Germany, and how the CIA used him and other journalists to shape German public opinion. The book has been translated into English but it is, as far as I can tell, impossible to buy. Amazon said they were going to make it available 5 months ago but they still are not shipping it. I ordered it through a used book seller on the internet, and shortly afterwards the going price for the book on the used markets went from $100 to $1000. The copy I ordered never arrived. Udo Ulfkotte died of a heart attack about two months after the announcement that his book was being translated into English.
Ay, there’s the rub. While there are many sites trying very hard to show that MSM reality is an elaborate deception they reach far too few people to create the critical mass needed for a widespread acknowledgement of the problem. If any person or organisation fails to adhere to the talking points they get dis-invited from participating. I note UNESCO have been removed from the US and Israeli Christmas card list for not being sufficiently Israel friendly.
Here’s a Yahoo article that briefly discusses the FCC’s regulatory power over “Hoaxes” and “News distortion” that I referred to. These days the general public are blithely unaware of this unfortunately.
The gigantic change in news reporting came in 1985 when Reagan deregulated the media companies. He was an idiot.
The consolidation of even our local news seems to be following the predictable path of Monopoly. Sinclair, News Corp, et al. This seems to be organic. However this single minded pursuit of profits make them easy to manipulate and that would be intentional. Perhaps this is a combination which defies any one-word description.
Trump is a victim of himself IMO, as are we. We get fake news because that is what their primary consumers want. Many have said we are a nation deeply divided but when less than half bother to vote it’s mostly a nation which doesn’t give a crap. This will hopefully change as we become poorer, and we must pray that will bring a little more sanity.
Sorry, you are here using a suggestive technique reminiscent of Spiegel or the Guardian and employed regularly in the few NYT articles I now read.
1. You give a convincing and instructive account of how to make use of cracks in a society to destabilise that society. That wins my confidence because it’s in line with how I believe I’ve seen it done recently. I’m now ready to take you on trust.
2. You point out that America is also a society with cracks in it. A divided society. Yes, I believe that too. I retain my trust in you. You say Russia must be delighted about that. OK, I’ll provisionally accept that because it could be true and you’ve been trustworthy so far.
3. Then you shift to implying, not just that America is divided, but that the Russians did the dividing “with just a nudge here and there”. That this is what you seek to imply is then put past doubt by “Russia tried it on France too.” With that “too” you lose my trust. I’ve been had.
NYT to a fault. Had you started by saying fair and square “The Russians got the Americans to fight among themselves by using techniques of destabilisation” I’d have accepted that as your honest opinion, though I’d then have wanted to see at least some back-up. By slipping the suggestion in at the end as if it were proven and generally accepted fact you lose my trust completely. You’ve also escaped the obligation to supply back-up.
You’re doing two things here. 1. You’re pushing the current political mantra that whatever’s gone wrong, the Russians did it. 2. You’re using the current terminology of “nudge” economic management or “nudge” political management to give colour to your assertion. That makes me feel you know what you’re talking about, as I think you certainly do, but what use is that if you’re doing an NYT on me?
Give it up, mister. There’s a superb brief comment by “eakens” above:_
“The greatest threat that the United States faces has become nothing more than the truth.”
Dead right, and for “the United States” we could substitute “the West” and it would still get to the heart of the matter. A lesser but still serious threat comes from those who so expertly and professionally manipulate the truth.
No, Russia plays the role of Orwell’s “EurAsia,” while China is “EastAsia”.
Is the White House subject to FCC rules?
More likely they will cut off your access to the internet. You may have to start having clandestine meetings on 23rd street.
It is striking how the establishment has become to believe their own propaganda.
“Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order to maintain that what they said was true.”
The Elite won’t acknowledge that the only way $50,000 of ads on Facebook could possibly negate a $1.2 billion election campaign is that the ads told the truth. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan voted for Donald Trump. This had to be Russian meddling. Not the intentional de-industrialization of mid-America to increase the wealth of the coastal cities.
Pinning blame on alternative news sources, because “US military personnel and veterans” and other Americans diverge from mainstream sources and opinion – is that not a “cart before the horse” type of analysis? Better the studies should ask why mainstream reporting has lost so much credibility that people go looking for alternative sources.
Easiest way to follow the march of daily events and explore common concerns is to read a daily paper or turn on a television, or check the related websites. The fact that growing numbers take the trouble to search out other sources suggests that reporting, the concerns, and prescriptions appearing in the mainstream do not resonate with the lived experience and concerns of some of the public, including military personnel.
If they cut off my internet aceess i won’t have to do this anymore? pl
They have them in London, too: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1432185896901518&set=p.1432185896901518&type=3&theater
Clicking through the links, the actual Oxford study yields curiosities and raises some questions, including about the intent of the study and the validity of its assumptions in building its algorithms and data maps. Someone with a better understanding than me of cyber technicalities and the methods of data sorting should evaluate the validity of Methods.
A few items: Why is Oxford, UK conducting a study of US military engagement with news sites purveying Russian disinformation and “targeting” US military? No competent academic bodies in the U.S.?
The data were drawn from Twitter and Facebook accounts, not from internet blog or news sites. The study counts “interactions”, not assent or dissent or other more qualitative measures.
The specific sources of concern, sites which “target military” were identified as Veterans Today, Veterans News Now, and Southfront. It seems Southfront was included because it “was registered in Moscow in early 2015 and partnered with Veterans Today later that year.”(This based on a Politico report 8/30/2017. The list of sources is interesting.)
Under Methods: “We use the term “junk news” to include various forms of propaganda and ideologically extreme, hyper-partisan, or conspiratorial political news and information. … This content is produced by organizations that do not employ professional journalists, and the content uses attention grabbing techniques, lots of pictures, moving images, excessive capitalization, ad hominem attacks, emotionally charged words and pictures, unsafe generalizations and other logical fallacies.”
Really?! No mainstream site would ever stoop to such attention grabbing content tricks. (irony alert)
For the study’s International Conspiracy Theory and Issue Specific grouping, “the unifying theme of this group is international with a conspiracy theory focus. For example, accounts in this group oppose big government, and spread conspiratorial messages about the Rothschild family.” A curiously inclusive association.
“Sustainable agriculture” is included in the FB mapping as a troublesome topic, because “deeper qualitative analysis of this group revealed it to be a frontier of conspiracy theory activity, including both [left and right].”
Computational Propaganda Project, the group conducting this study, seems to be the source for many studies feeding the current headlines on “junk” and “fake” news.
In the CPP summary of findings for this particular study, they conclude that, “Over Facebook, … users who are either in the military or are veterans are among the most sophisticated news consumers, and share very little junk news through the network.” Sophisticated – a careful word here.
From military.com, buried in the middle of the story, under an alarmist lede and 2 paragraphs suggestive of broad Russian propagandizing, lies one paragraph summarizing the study findings:
In other words, Russian communication has shown only slight success on Twitter and almost none on Facebook.
Then never mentioned again. What follows is a recapitulation of aspects of the study, assembled in such a way as to imply the opposite of the above conclusion, as well as some previously reported statistics about Russia on FB. And then more alarmist quotes from Politico, Mike Carpenter,and Professor Howard.
Howard, at least, cautions, in a roundabout way, that the data in the study may be inadequate. But only to suggest indirectly that FB and Twitter should be obligated to hand over all their data and data analysis to the government.
“Reading the news” has become an fatiguing exercise in trying to read through the reporting and scan for the morsels of fact and informed, grounded commentary.
One thing on which I agree completely with John C. Calhoun, “The limit of tyranny is prescribed by the endurance of the oppressed.”
Does FCC have regulatory power over cable broadcast?
Does the White House broadcast over the airwaves? I suppose if it owned its own TV network, it would be. But filling satellite feeds to disseminate to the broadcast networks would not constitute ownership of a network, any more than a presidential press conference would be, or an Oval Office speech, or Rode Garden presentation.
The media is supposed to be the Fourth Estate. (The other three are the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.) The Fourth Estate is supposed to represent the people and provide vital info that the public needs to know about the doings of the other three Estates, and when they are bullshitting. That’s why the cable companies created the C-Span Networks (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network) in 1979: to provide the pubic service that the commercial networks were regulated to do.
Until of course Grandpa Reagan still reelng from getting shot in the head chopped the whole thing up in 1985, or his minions did after convincing Reagan that this would be another brilliant move of getting the government out of people’s lives. (So much for government of the people, by the people, and for the people.) He never did catch on to how the federal government worked, and at its best how it could protect the general welfare with the full power of the federal government. He thoroughly confused state governance and its need to generate income in order to survive with the federal government’s number one job of serving the public purpose. But he’s lionized to this day.
I, too, read SouthFront and Al Masdar News for the simple reason that they cover the subjects I am interested in studying. They both have a point of view as do damned near all other news sources. Hell, Walter Cronkite had a point of view. That’s a far cry from being a deliberate propaganda source. I like Meduza for the same reason. It also has a specific point of view, but I find value in reading many of their articles. Lyttenburg has no use for Meduza for the same reason. RT is state sponsored and probably deliberately pushes a point of view. I don’t care. I can see past that and enjoy a lot of their wonderfully informative and in depth pieces. I sometimes read some sources with clearly rightwing points of view. I often find those points of view abhorrent, but those sources are still worth reading.
I read all these as an anthropologist. In studying these writings, you can discern the world view of the authors, how they organize their world, their culture. To me, that is just as important as the stories themselves.
Saudi signed 15 new agreements with the Kremlin.
Also video shows the Saudi King bowing to the new ME tsar.
According to Al Jazeera news, a small contingent of Turkish military has entered Syria toward the Idlib province area as part of the de-escalation plan of R+6.
Colonel, I’ve contributed to SF 2X. Initially simply to get a better look @ their colored coded maps. It’s doubtful I’ve made any progress in my
endeavor unfortunately. The color coding confuses me, however that’s ok as other maps exist if I become interested in a particular assault, etc.
I find some of their content interesting, although not that divergent from many more msm sources, just more detailed rather than overtly slanted. If I’m not mistaken SF may have gotten the scoop on the white
helmets & some in the msm had to run to catch up with them.
What I do find objectionable are some of the comments on their threads.
Perhaps the harsh criticism aimed @ the site is based on the assumption
the coverage of issues purposely elicits blatant anti-Americanism &
contempt for some ethnic groups. I’m not a linguistic psychologist, so
if there are hidden triggers in the articles I’m not picking up on them.
While I laud SF’s free speech come-one-come-all tolerance on the threads, if I worked for Homeland Security (which of course I don’t)
I’d be checking the url addresses of some of the thread contributors to insure they’re not state side &/or active military, etc.
Currently money is a bit too tight for me to contribute to SF & I already have enough nuts knocking on my door.
Anyone, am I too far out there to say this is all in part about Israel and the wars they want and the reasons for them. And their manipulations to have the U.S. fight those wars for/with them?
The consolidation of news sources into corporate behemoths is the product of American ideology and its determined execution by American elites. It’s far more complicated than the over-simplification of “single-minded pursuit of profits.”
Are you familiar with the Powell Memo?
My side was listed by ProPornOT as “Russian propaganda”. The Washington Post promoted that list.
I felt no consequences (yet). I understood it as a warning shot. But the atmosphere for off-the-main sites is surely getting worse. I expect that the next step will be downgrading/delistment by search engines as it already happened to some sites (wsws.org, alternet.org). The next move will pressure the IT providers of my site to end all contracts with me. Paypal will stop to accept donations for my site.
They have no need to knock on my door. They can simply shut down the public voice I have. The same holds for SouthFront.
The immediate effect of the anti-SouthFront campaign will likely be more readers for them. But the current campaign is only a start. There are lost of ways and means to kill that and any other site.
>>>Every advanced totalitarian state has a ministry of information and NPR serves that purpose for us.
Uhh…not sure how you get that. NPR tells more of the actual news than any other news station out there. I know it’s not saying much, but it still is much better than CNN, Fox, or MSNBC. NPR’s real failure is just that it’s American, and it relies on sources like the NYTimes and other “papers of record” for its core analysis and exposition.
The problem really originates there; every major newspaper in the U.S. has pretty much cut all funding for foreign bureaus and staff, so there is absolutely no on-the-ground reporting of foreign events. That means ALL news that doesn’t happen within the U.S. is ONLY reported through Dept. of State and US Military filters: there is no contrasting viewpoint for the newspapers to call upon.
NPR reflects the same set of problems, which can be boiled down to this one glaring failure in our system of “news” generation. The fact that nobody who’s in a position capable of doing something about it recognizes it as a problem is really the core failure, and we should–instead of pointing fingers at “the media”–be asking why the corporate managers and leaders of these institutions think it’s OK to just repeat the official government line and then attack as “fake” anything that doesn’t conform to it.
It all boils down to Americans watching more TV than any other country on earth; reading far fewer books than most other literate nations; and constantly pointing fingers at their neighbors (conspicuous even on this blog) and blaming them for not “seeing the truth” when the reality is that everyone is more-or-less suffering from too much TV, forcefully constrained analysis, and narrowly nationalistic world views that masquerade as “patriotism,” or “love of our culture.”
Or, to put it another way: the problem is that our communities are no longer geographically defined by physical neighbors with whom we share tribulations and good fortune with, and are instead defined by our workplace, what we watch on TV, the style of music we listen to, the kinds of clothes and decorations we wear, the church we go to.
This is why small-town Americans claim to be “conservative,” and yet I grew up in one of those small towns and I can testify that we never had a block-party, our neighborhood never joined with one-another and held a festival, none of our neighbors in that suburb ever communicated with one another except to complain, and even the parents of the children who formed groups of friends never much talked to one another. This was all very, very different from the world my parents grew up in.
These are the reasons Americans are so easily duped and divided: TV, overwork, underpay, economic inequality, social stratification, the erosion of communities and communal responsibilities (of which citizen participation in government is, according to core American values, the most important)–not some fantastic “ministry of information.”
There is no “global ruling class.” Elites throughout the world are constantly at one another’s throats. Chinese leadership is not in bed with Russia; Nigerian leadership takes money from the U.S., but not much of anything else–unless it’s forced to at gunpoint.
Now, if you were to say that there’s a political and economic consensus that has emerged among the western European, US, and English-speaking Commonwealth nations–and that this consensus is fundamentally anti-democratic and aggressively seeking to violently extend its influence–I’d agree with you, there.
There’s a million cheap cafes with Internet access.
BTW it’s only yourself who makes you do this. Please never blame me for keeping you away from spending time with the grandchildren.
That was meant as humor on my part but your lack of appreciation for this place is noted. Standard technique for trolls with a cause is to ridicule, and mock site hosts they wish to shut down. you fit that profile. BTW, you are banned and I will look at your spam canned comments with that in mind. pl
Let me see… even assuming that the “poor US press” cannot afford to subscribe to international news agencies of which there are plenty do you know that there is such a strange thing out there called “The Internet” which shows boatloads of information which only need to be assessed and vetted?
There is absolutely NO contradiction here, it’s only “healty competition” among elites but they are definitely wary of any non-elites.
To quote Larry Summers in Yanis Varoufakis latest book:
“ ‘There are two kinds of politicians,’ he said: ‘insiders and outsiders. The outsiders prioritize their freedom to speak their version of the truth. The price of their freedom is that they are ignored by the insiders, who make the important decisions. The insiders, for their part, follow a sacrosanct rule: never turn against other insiders and never talk to outsiders about what insiders say or do. Their reward? Access to inside information and a chance, though no guarantee, of influencing powerful people and outcomes.’ With that Summers arrived at his question. ‘So, Yanis,’ he said, ‘which of the two are you?’ ”
They muzzled PressTV during their economic war against Iran.
Under Franco, all the books of Marxists were available in Spain – Marx, Engels etc.
The Confederacy respected Free Speech more that the Union throughout the War Between the States.
I dont recognise the situation i have come to understand in syria from NPR broadcasts. I remain open minded but NPR seem to be broadcasting propoganda on subjects i have studied closely.
A user from Germany here. I have been wondering why my Facebook account, which I had for many years, was suddenly deleted and “blocked” by Facebook about 3 weeks before the elections in Germany. Note that I was not banned from commenting or posting content, I was outright deleted. I could appeal the decision at Facebook, but only if I send them a scan of my ID card or passport or some other identity document that also shows my photo and address – and I am definitely not willing to do that.
I shared some Youtube videos of Southfront on my timeline, maybe that was the reason? If Southfront is now labeled “Kremlin propaganda”, this might have been a justification to declare me a Russian propaganda bot and therefore delete me. Facebook says that they deleted “tens of thousands” of “fake accounts” in the week before the election in Germany:
“After reports of foreign interference in the run-up to the US and French presidential elections, we also worked closely with German officials on a number of initiatives to fight disinformation and make Facebook a safer and more secure environment for genuine civic engagement.
Promoting Authenticity. To prevent people from misusing our platform, we announced a new push to remove fake accounts by spotting suspicious patterns of activity. In the month before the election, we took action against tens of thousands of fake accounts in Germany.”
The German version can be downloaded online here:
If you machinetranslate the German text it should be readable (although not as good as a proper translation.
It is not necessary to ban internet access.
The position on a result list is enough so most internetusers will never see a website:
1. 80% of users click on the top result of the first page (e.g. look at google, these are all ad-pages that cost the advertisers money)
2. Searches have an average of 1.1 search term
In addition to this the results are negatively affected by:
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that site-owners use to get high results (= also click-bait for advertizing-revenue
2. Internet has become too big so a lot is never visited by anyone
When these things are known, these can be used to find the nuggets. There is a lot of stuff on internet that was not intented to be accessible. The plain truth is that most people don’t really understand Internet (and that includes a lot of IT people) which allows a lot of (unintended) nuggets that are out there. IMO SST is such a nugget.
OAnother major problem is that most humans are not very good at managing a lot of data. Our brains are just not evolved for this. In a single day we receive so much new information as an average person in the middle ages received in his entire life. This information overload also creates problem in analyzing the available information (often with wrong techniques) so suboptimal results are the standard.
Blocking or censoring Internet is because of its design very difficult (if not impossible) because of the Open Shortest Path First algorithm that enables a communication network to survive a nuclear war.
IMO the main problem is still finding the nuggets for an (untrained) person. Don’t fight it, use it. E.g. if a site is denounced by the MSM/Borg it is worth a visit.
Russian Strategic Missile Troops begin large-scale drills in South Siberia
And repeated requests to youtube.com to remove hurtful material posted by a deceased relative was ignored. I guess that was Freedom of Speech.
Russian nuclear missile hits mock target 6,000 km away
Thanks Adrestia. I have downloaded it. Thanks for the link to the November 30th release james, but I would bet heavily that it won’t actually become available then.
“Anyone, am I too far out there to say this is all in part about Israel and the wars they want and the reasons for them. And their manipulations to have the U.S. fight those wars for/with them?”
No, but real threat to the exceptional elites (both countries)in power is that they covered up the murder of civilians on an airliner to drag us common folk into another one of their wars. When the truth comes out in public a lot of those power players are going to get free room and board for a long time, which is what they truly fear.
Russia can drop the dime on them by declassifying their radar and communications logs for that area on that day. Why they haven’t is the question?
>>>…even assuming that the “poor US press” cannot afford to subscribe to international news agencies…
Subscribing to a news service (which is what you actually mean, rather than “international news agencies”) is not the same thing as maintaining a foreign bureau in another country.
First, the AP, McClatchy, Reuters, and AFP all answer to a corporate hierarchy that imposes its own perspective on what is or is not newsworthy. Second, each of these services is also characterized by its own rather narrow editorial perspective, much the same as the NYTimes, Tribune, LATimes, and WaPo are all characterized by their own editorial perspective. Third, the reporters that work for these agencies abroad are a tiny fraction of the number that used to be maintained abroad.
Do you remember that Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Orwell all worked as journalists who reported on the Spanish Civil War? Each of them was employed by a paper, each received a paycheck from that paper and each was expected to return a certain number of stories in a certain amount of time. Papers simply do not do that, any more, and the reason is not hard to figure out: the Internet has so drastically reduced income from things like classified ads, advertising revenue, and paper subscriptions that the newspapers can no longer afford to keep the foreign bureaus they once maintained open any longer.
What that translates into is that when CNN, Fox, NBC, the NYTimes, or some other media outlet wants to pursue a story in a foreign country, they must send one of their own reporters abroad. That means that someone who is likely only vaguely familiar (if that) with the local culture, someone who often cannot speak the language and requires an interpreter, and who has literally no inside sources to aid in picking apart official stories, or help in sifting out the bullshit from the public narrative. Moreover, in today’s media climate the reporter sent out to that foreign country is likely to not even recognize that these are serious deficiencies in his/her capability. The end result is that official stories by “the good guys” get taken at face value, while evidence or rejoinders presented by “the bad guys” gets rejected as false because it conflicts with the officially-approved narrative.
Now, when this hypothetical reporter steps off the plane and into, say, Djibouti, where do you think he or she is going to turn when looking for an interpreter? What do you think is the first place he or she will seek out when trying to establish the basic facts of the story? If you guess “The U.S. Dept. of State” then yeah, you got it right. There are rare exceptions, these days, but they are quite rare.
>>>….do you know that there is such a strange thing out there called “The Internet” which shows boatloads of information which only need to be assessed and vetted?
We’re talking about core investigative journalism and basic reporting. By the time something makes it to the Internet, it has already passed through the basic reporting stage. The Internet is not all that useful for generating basic reportage, and that’s why good reporters and journalists are necessary: we need reliable people to provide the pictures and eye-witness accounts that allow for us, as people quite distant from the events that have occurred, to be able to form a meaningful, accurate picture of what is happening and why.
I’m not sure how long you’ve been reading this blog, but those are issues that have been reiterated here again and again. Despite the ubiquity of the Internet, it is still often quite difficult to get accurate reporting on highly politicized events. Most of what people read on the Internet about Syria is false. Most of what people read on the Internet about Ukraine is false. Do you remember that coup in Honduras that kicked off what has amounted to a simmering civil war, back in 2008? I bet you don’t. Why don’t you dig around on the Internet and get back to me with the details of what happened, what the timeline was, what the issues at stake were, and what the legal issues involved were? Those are, after all, what I expect from a responsible reporter; unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get much of that–maybe none of it–from the major U.S. media outlets (WaPo, NYTimes, CNN, etc). All were reporting falsehoods as if they were facts, all were simply adopting the U.S. Dept. of State line (set by Ms. Clinton), and none of them bothered to mention the *actual* motives that underlay those events.
Yes, I was able to find some valuable news sources that did report on those things–but it took a lot of digging, and because I’ve been doing that kind of digging for a long time now I am rather better at it than most of my fellow citizens are. The important thing, though, is the takeaway: I got it from reporters who were on the ground in Honduras, or who had contacts who were on-the-ground in Honduras. None of the U.S. media outlets had anything like that except via the wire agencies, which (as I stated before) are constantly stretched quite thin, and themselves also suffer from editorial bias and a very narrow range of opinions: four or five different agencies are today the entire range of all foreign reporting.
100 years ago there were twenty or thirty papers that kept foreign agents in various regions. Even up until about 15 years ago, there were five or ten stringers here in Taiwan who were permanently employed as observers for various news magazines and newspapers. Now, there are the wire agencies and nobody else.
>>>I dont recognise the situation i have come to understand in syria from NPR broadcasts.
I agree with you: NPR is a less-than-ideal source of news, and yes, a lot of what it “reports” is bullshit. But let’s not pretend as if it’s NPR that’s responsible for that. NPR does not establish basic narratives and outlines for how foreign events are reported–it is a VERY minor player in that regard. Generally, NPR news coverage goes along with whatever the WaPo and NYTimes report, and in that regard it is better than most of what one gets on CNN, Fox, and the TV news bureaus–but, as I also admitted above, “That’s not saying much.” In any event, since NPR mostly receives established narratives from other news sources, it’s certainly in no conceivable way a “ministry of truth.”
I think you failed to grasp the core of my point, which is that all of these “insiders” are typically in quite brutal competition or conflict with one another.
Insiders in Taiwan may find it useful, these days, to work closely with insiders in the U.S., but the moment the power elite among Taiwanese politicians finds it more useful to shift their allegiance to China, they will do so, and not lose a moment’s sleep over it.
I often hear many Americans and Brits insisting that there’s some kind of “global ruling elite” or “new world order,” but there is not. I do agree with them, however, that there is a consensus among many of the Western European political and economic “insider elite” over where they’d like things to go, and how best to get there. While that may seem like a “global ruling elite,” they are not. They represent a few countries in Western Europe, and those countries happen to punch well above their weight range, these days; but they do not rule “the world,” and don’t even come close to “ruling” half of it, much less “most.” Syria is an excellent example of that: Russia, China, and Iran are not allowing the U.S., France, Israel, and UK to break that country up. There remain a lot of African countries where Western Europeans simply can’t exert a lot of control or influence–Libya, Nigeria, and Senegal each neatly prove that. Cuba has resisted domination by the US for the last 60 years. China has yet to regain control of Taiwan. The U.S. is finding it extremely difficult to re-establish bases on the Philippines–there are lots and lots of examples out there that demonstrate the indisputable independence of the many nations and smaller states out there.
>>>Why is Oxford, UK conducting a study of US military engagement with news sites purveying Russian disinformation and “targeting” US military? No competent academic bodies in the U.S.?
Because MI-6 would hate to lose the privileged prioritization of its propaganda that it currently enjoys–that’s why.
Don’t know. They certainly didn’t in 1979.
It has been a “long day’s journey into night,” but I think you are right. We will be gone soon. pl
The internet is surely the quickest and most convenient way of identifying and classifying opposition. I think it would really upset the authorities if the Colonel and his Committee were to go off-line. How would they know what you were saying then?
But should it come to the worst, I think I have an old mimeograph machine up in the attic somewhere.
I share the view of what is valuable in reading Southfront and Masdar, as well as following RT news and a variety of news outlets from various countries.
My questions are: Who operates Southfront and where are they located? Who are the writers and what is their expertise? They clearly include real experts.
‘Are you referring to the “Macron” hack’
I was, but not in isolation. Russia had been using the same schizmogenesis method against France and Germany prior to the alleged Macron hack.
btw i meant no disrespect to the US nor to US readers here. Australia has just had a similar woeful and debilitating experience in which a neighbouring country was able to play our competing set of values and paralyze our polity using refugee boats. And, what’s worse, not for the first time.
Wow, so many words for belaboring the obvious and ending up supporting my point:
Yes, the Internet made obsolete the old structures of news collection, so why didn’t the MSM adapt to this new situation and instead prefer to turn to propaganda suppliers?
The fact that the “new world order” isn’t successful enough or that there is bickering about sharing of the spoils doesn’t detract from the existence of an informal “global elite” which DOES share a lot of common goals and stick to the rule so deftly enounced by Summers.
Honesty among thieves!
‘you are here using a suggestive technique reminiscent of Spiegel or the Guardian and employed regularly in the few NYT articles I now read.’
That would be more than I read then. No, no tricks, no ahem ‘Penn ‘n Tellers.’I only read papers I can read gratis when I’m having a coffee at a cafe. You know, we’re so backward here in Oz that i can still read copies of old Princess Di editions.
It’s a lame excuse I know, and you probably deserve better, but I’m a very occasioanal reader and commenter here, and working away, I don’t have the time nor wish to make time, to go back and search for the backup links you demand among the voluminous social media. Perhaps in the future when we both have the time we could take this up again? Nor am I asking you to provide backup links for your allegation of tricks. I’m sure you have plenty. May I ask you though – do you believe these alleged tricks are the editorial policy of the media outlets you mention? Taught in University? Or, perhaps just the bad journalism of individuals?
Perhaps I could give just one quick example. The infamous Saker propaganda site when it began carried links to 9/11 conspiracy rubbish. A bad, amateur move, guaranteed to ensure that western/angloshere readers of avg IQ could never take it seriously thereafter. Saker’s target demographics were perhaps fringe and antisemitic audiences across Europe, playing to their already established suspicions/fears. The blog then moved to target different audiences more directly, including an ‘Oceania’ section straight out of a Cold War KGB atlas. Basking in my new citizenship of ‘Oceania,’ one quick look was enough to confirm neo Batesonism. Comrade Helmer is a far smarter and better propagandist than Saker.
‘whatever’s gone wrong, the Russians did it’
No. We are all responsible for creating our own problems. I am, you are, so are Americans. And, all responsible for fixing them. I’m not sure whether the US has really begun to do this.
Just this past week here in Oz an ABC doco has been promoting an ‘exclusive’ interview with Hillary, in which she calls Trump a clear and present danger, a danger to Australia and to the whole world. Thankfully, Mars seems safe for the time being. As a sympathetic admirer of the US who still hopes for a revival of the TPP post Trump, I wish Hillary would shut up for just four years and allow some resiliency back into the system. A forlorn hope? Modern oppositional democracies have never seemed so vulnerable.
‘Southfront and Masdar’
Fwiw they are both news as well as propaganda vehicles. It’s up to each reader to sort out true from false. Masdar has had some very strange people associated with it, including their Australian ‘editor’ P.Antonopoulos, exposed as a white supremacist neo-nazi. Some of them were previously involved with anti Nato pro Serbia apologetics.
It is SouthFront that I am really interested in learning about. My questions are: Who operates Southfront and where are they located? Who are the writers and what is their expertise? They clearly include real experts.
Any insight would be most appreciated.
As for Masdar, I had assumed it was from t he government of Syria. Thanks.
In a rare excursion to the Big Apple a few years ago, while walking on a busy Manhattan street, we saw a man somewhat normal looking in that he was dressed in typical American bad taste. For the record he was Caucasian and, thank God, not of our ethnic group. We are kinda sensitive about that.
Anyway, he walked up to a telephone stand, (there are no more booths) and urinated in broad daylight as if he had entered the men’s room.
Bums are everywhere so what does this have to do with NPR. About the same time as our visit to NYC, NPR had a segment about the administration’s fight for an important civil right. It seems holy mother state wants to have urban governments not merely help the homeless, but canonize them. Arresting people for urinating and defecating on city streets is now a federal no no.
NPR was true to form and despite the pretend tone of even handedness, it was easy to see they were on message as to the government being enlightened and only yahoos would not see the justice of the homeless loosening their bowels when they desire.
That NPR has high production values and puts more effort into stories than commercial outlets may be true, but it is a propaganda outfit more than anything else.
Pacifica Advocate stated, “That means ALL news that doesn’t happen within the U.S. is ONLY reported through Dept. of State and US Military filters: there is no contrasting viewpoint for the newspapers to call upon.”
I guess now more than ever, NPR should use Southfront as a source if it is to be a serious news organization.
I got it wrong. I hope you’ll accept that straight out.
Some time ago there was an exchange on the Colonel’s site about what would happen if other countries started working the cracks in Western societies as we work the cracks in theirs. A commenter – “Arioch The” – gave a chilling account of the later stages of such a destabilisation exercise. I think we’re wide open to destabilisation and am surprised no one has had a go at the early stages. Wide open in England at least, because senior figures in our security forces are already saying they’re overstretched.
Presumably the internet would play a part there in widening the cracks. But the social media operations the Trump and Clinton camps used during the election – Cambridge Analytica and all that – were more designed to catch the swing voters, or those who might potentially be swing voters, than they were designed to change the attitudes or exploit the grievances of great masses of people. That at least is how it has been explained to me. So if the Russians had wanted to affect the election they’d have had to run a similarly carefully tuned operation, rather than the mass propaganda campaign that some American politicians seem to be scared of.
That’s how I see it but I’m probably the least internet-savvy reader here so I could be seeing it wrong. As for the Russian or pro-Russian web sites that are causing such a fuss at the moment, I rather like them. They give many more facts and although they are partisan the bias seems to me to be easier to filter out than ours is.
I agree that the Saker is dodgy – one of the great mass of internet analysts who start with a thesis and then work the facts round it. I do believe that Putin’s 2007 Munich speech and his 2014 Valdai statements – PR or not, I can’t tell – set out a saner view of what is occurring at the moment, and a saner view of how countries should conduct themselves in their relations with other countries than we see set out by our Western politicians.
To return to my first sentence above, I got it wrong. Why? I suppose I listen to the BBC too much. They, like the NYT and the rest of them, are past masters at slipping suggestions in like that. Once bitten twice shy and I’ve been bitten a lot more than once by the bastards. I’m very sorry I made the mistake of attributing the same fell design to you.
Do give my regards to Mrs Hanson, if she’s allowed out at the moment. I’m not entirely sure of her programme, but whatever the ins and outs of that it is nice to see a bit of oppositional democracy in action.
Thanks for that. You definitely made my point.
In the words of Public Enemy:
“Don’t believe the hype!”
>>>Wow, so many words for belaboring the obvious and ending up supporting my point:
Chutzpah at it’s most obviously worst.
What’s your last name, again?
>>>Yes, the Internet made obsolete the old structures of news collection,
No, it did not. The basic structures of news collection are:
* First-hand witnesses
If you notice, “Trustworthiness” is in there twice: first, the source one garners the news from must be trustworthy from the perspective of the reader, and third, the accounts returned by that source must be trustworthy upon reflection of what the journalist has returned.
In-between, there must be a trustworthy source who either delivers first-hand accounts, or who references the most trustworthy of those accounts, and elaborates upon them.
In any event, “trust” is the key.
But hey — this is all stuff that anyone who has been trained in this stuff knows already, right? So I must be preaching to the expert, here–right, jdl?
I’d be willing to give you that benefit of the doubt, except you have this this bit here, at the end:
>>>….so why didn’t the MSM adapt to this new situation and instead prefer to turn to propaganda suppliers?
You ask me why they “failed,” and I have already given you the answer:
Money. With the failure in subscription and advertising (in particular, classified) revenue, they were unable to sustain foreign bureaus.
And before you get too deep into the “Wait a minute, let me take this up as a pecker-preening debate” stuff, let me remind you:
This is all established, material, legerdemain fact. Accounting 101.
>>>The fact that the “new world order” isn’t successful enough or that there is bickering about sharing of the spoils doesn’t detract from the existence of an informal “global elite”….
Whatever “elite” is chapping your ass, it isn’t “global.”
More words salad, just as with your rants against ‘mike’ you appear definitely as a propagandist and a very poor one at that.
Ah my good man (or woman), I guess for you, reality is a construct.