Washington Post admits article on ‘Russian propaganda’ & ‘fake news’ based on sham research

Facing threats of legal action, the Washington Post has been forced to add an editor’s note distancing the paper from a dubious website, PropOrNot, which it had initially endorsed as a group of nonpartisan experts on “Russian propaganda.”

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The Post came under fire on social media for its provocative hit piece which claimed that “Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda campaign” actually influenced the US presidential election.

The article, published late last month, referenced “independent researchers” who allegedly determined that Russian state media, RT and Sputnik News among them, produced “misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy.” 

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One of the main sources cited by the Post was PropOrNot, “an independent team of concerned American citizens” who, according to the site’s description, are “volunteering time and skills to identify propaganda – particularly Russian propaganda – targeting a US audience.”

After the publication of its evidence-free article, the newspaper was sent a letter from one of the websites listed, threatening a defamation lawsuit.

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“We have another post today that describes how the few things that are verifiable on the PropOrNot site don’t pan out, as in the organization is not simply a group of inept propagandists but also appears to deal solely in fabrications,” Naked Capitalism – a US blog on finance, economics and politics – said on its website. 

“If the site is flagrantly false with respect to things that can be checked, why pray tell did the Washington Post and its fellow useful idiots in the mainstream media validate and amplify its message? Strong claims demand strong proofs, yet the Post appeared content to give a megaphone to people who make stuff up with abandon. No wonder the members of PropOrNot hide as much as they can about what they are up to; more transparency would expose their work to be a tissue of lies.”

Jim Moody, an attorney representing the website, stressed in a letter to the Washington Post on Sunday that the newspaper “did not provide even a single example of ‘fake news’ allegedly distributed or promoted by Naked Capitalism or indeed any of the 200 sites on the PropOrNot blacklist.”

Award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, significant in bringing Edward Snowden’s US security revelations to the public, labeled the Post story“total journalistic garbage.”

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“More troubling still, PropOrNot listed numerous organizations on its website as ‘allied’ with it, yet many of these claimed ‘allies’ told The Intercept, and complained on social media, they have nothing to do with the group and had never even heard of it before the Post published its story, Greenwald wrote in response to the article.

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In his article, the Post’s Craig Timberg did not initially include a link to PropOrNot’s website. “If readers had the opportunity to visit the site, it would have become instantly apparent that this group of ostensible experts far more resembles amateur peddlers of primitive, shallow propagandistic clichés than serious, substantive analysis and expertise; that it has a blatant, demonstrable bias in promoting NATO’s narrative about the world; and that it is engaging in extremely dubious McCarthyite tactics about a wide range of critics and dissenters,” Greenwald noted.

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Following a storm of negative comments on social media, with many accusing the newspaper of crazy lies,” saying the Post is actually the “real propaganda peddler, the dubious article was appended.

“The Washington Post on Nov. 24 published a story on the work of four sets of researchers who have examined what they say are Russian propaganda efforts to undermine American democracy and interests. One of them was PropOrNot, a group that insists on public anonymity, which issued a report identifying more than 200 websites that, in its view, wittingly or unwittingly published or echoed Russian propaganda. A number of those sites have objected to being included on PropOrNot’s list, and some of the sites, as well as others not on the list, have publicly challenged the group’s methodology and conclusions.

The Post, which did not name any of the sites, does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings regarding any individual media outlet, nor did the article purport to do so. Since publication of The Post’s story, PropOrNot has removed some sites from its list, the paper said.

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Less than a week after the Post published the article, the US House of Representatives passed an intelligence authorization bill containing a provision aimed at tackling what Washington claims is political interference by Russia on a global level.

The 93-page HR 6393 – passed by the House in a 390-30 vote on November 30 – calls for the establishment of a new, interagency panel designed to suppress Russia’s alleged attempts to “exert covert influence over peoples and governments.”  The panel would be tasked with “countering active measures by Russia to exert covert influence, including exposing falsehoods, agents of influence, corruption, human rights abuses, terrorism and assassinations carried out by the security services or political elites of the Russian Federation or their proxies,” the draft legislation goes on to say.

LIMBAUGH: When You Watch The ‘NEWS’ You’re Actually Watching The ‘Clinton Campaign’

Liz Douglas

PEOPLE HAVE BEEN WATCHING PURE PROPAGANDA.
dooglitas

Why should anyone get their “news” from any mainstream source? Alternative media. That’s the only place you can find any real news.
dooglitas

When you watch the “news” you’re watching criminal activity and treason.
dooglitas

The agenda of communism.
jim s

Are the media working for the Clintons and DNC or are the Clintons working for the media? The reason I say this is if you look back on some of the old videos of 8 years ago you find the Clintons complaining about how Obama is getting a pass from the media and gets shown in a better light. Almost to point that he was chosen by the media. To watch these videos you might think the Clintons were republicans. lol

Glenn Greenwald: The U.S. Media Is Essentially 100 Percent United Against Donald Trump

 

by MATTHEW BOYLE

Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept, formerly of The Guardian newspaper, laid out in an interview with Slate magazine that the media in the United States has decided to band together in a last-ditch effort to stop the rise of 2016 GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump.

Greenwald, the progressive journalist who broke the  mass government surveillance storyline, was asked what he thought about Donald Trump’s press conference recently in which Trump joked that Russia should release any emails it has from 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton’s illicit private home-brew email server from her time as President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State.

“What did you think of Trump’s press conference? You’ve gone after people who you thought were smearing those denying a Trump-Russia connection, and you’ve used the word McCarthyite to describe them. But now Trump has encouraged the Russians to find or release more Hillary Clinton emails,” Slate asked Greenwald.

In his response, Greenwald detailed how the media in the United States has decided to bloc together against Trump’s candidacy for the presidency:

OK, so, I am glad you asked about that because this is the conflict that I am currently having: The U.S. media is essentially 100 percent united, vehemently, against Trump, and preventing him from being elected president. I don’t have an actual problem with that because I share the premises on which it is based about why he poses such extreme dangers. But that doesn’t mean that as a journalist, or even just as a citizen, that I am willing to go along with any claim, no matter how fact-free, no matter how irrational, no matter how dangerous it could be, in order to bring Trump down.

Greenwald bashed the New York Times for pushing, in his words, “unmitigated bullsh*t.” He went on to say:

So, literally, the lead story in the New York Times today suggests, and other people have similarly suggested it, that Trump was literally putting in a request to Putin for the Russians to cyberattack the FBI, the United States government, or get Hillary Clinton’s emails. That is such unmitigated bullsh*t. What that was was an offhanded, trolling comment designed to make some kind of snide reference to the need to find Hillary’s emails. He wasn’t directing the Russians, in some genuine, literal way, to go on some cybermission to find Hillary’s emails. If he wanted to request the Russians to do that, why would he do it in some offhanded way in a press conference? It was a stupid, reckless comment that he made elevated into treason.

But then Greenwald questioned whether, ultimately, the media’s tactics against Trump would be successful. He compared them to the media’s and establishment’s tactics against the Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom, which obviously failed as Brits voted overwhelmingly to “Leave” the European Union. He continued:

You interviewed Chris [Hayes] about Brexit and I just want to submit to you that the mistake the U.K. media and U.K. elites made with Brexit is the exact same one that the U.S. media and U.S. elites are making about Trump. U.K. elites were uniform, uniform, in their contempt for the Brexit case, other than the right-wing Murdochian tabloids. They all sat on Twitter all day long, from the left to the right, and all reinforced each other about how smart and how sophisticated they were in scorning and [being snide] about UKIP and Boris Johnson and all of the Brexit leaders, and they were convinced that they had made their case. Everyone they were talking to—which is themselves—agreed with them. It was constant reinforcement, and anyone who raised even a peep of dissent or questioned the claims they were making was instantly castigated as somebody who was endangering the future of the U.K. because they were endorsing—or at least impeding—the effort to stop Brexit. This is what’s happening now.

Greenwald said most people supporting Donald Trump for president won’t care about the media spin against him on this front.

“Do you think the people voting for Donald Trump because they feel their economic future has been destroyed, or because they are racist, or because they feel fear of immigrants and hate the U.S. elite structure and want Trump to go and blow it up, give the slightest sh*t about Ukraine, that Trump is some kind of agent of Putin?” Greenwald said. “They don’t! Just like the Brexit supporters. The U.K. media tried the same thing, telling the Brexit advocates that they were playing into Putin’s hands, that Putin wanted the U.K. out of the EU to weaken both. They didn’t care about that. That didn’t drive them. Nobody who listened to Trump could think that was genuinely a treasonous request for the Russians to go and cyberattack the U.S. government.”

VISITING WEBSITES ABOUT PRIVACY GETS YOU PUT IN AN NSA DATABASE OF “EXTREMISTS”

Merely expressing an interest in anonymity makes you a target

by PAUL JOSEPH WATSON | JULY 3, 2014

Searching for online articles about privacy is enough to get someone put in an NSA database of “extremists,” according to new revelations published today.

In an article for German news outlet Tagesschau (translation here), Lena Kampf, Jacob Appelbaum and John Goetz reveal how the NSA’s “deep packet inspection” rules, which it uses to determine who to target for deep surveillance, include looking for web users who search for articles about Tor and Tails, an anonymous browser and a privacy-friendly operating system.

Those whose Internet traffic patterns suggest merely an interest in Tor or Tails are immediately put on a list of “extremists,” as is anyone who actually uses the Tor network.

“Tor and Tails have been part of the mainstream discussion of online security, surveillance and privacy for years. It’s nothing short of bizarre to place people under suspicion for searching for these terms,” writes Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow, adding that the NSA’s goal is, “to split the entire population of the Internet into “people who have the technical know-how to be private” and “people who don’t” and then capture all the communications from the first group.”

The revelation once again highlights the fact that the NSA’s data dragnet has little to do with catching terrorists and everything to do with targeting anyone who values their right to privacy. The mass collection of such information only serves to make it easier for actual bad guys to evade detection since the federal agency is building such vast and unwieldy databases.

Earlier this week, journalist Glenn Greenwald announced that he was set to release new information based on leaked documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden which would reveal which individuals and institutions were the targets of NSA spying.

However, at the last minute Greenwald said the story would be postponed as a result of the U.S. government, “suddenly began making new last-minute claims which we intend to investigate before publishing.”

GOVERNMENT STOPS GLENN GREENWALD FROM PUBLISHING HIS BIG SNOWDEN REVELATION

GOVERNMENT STOPS GLENN GREENWALD FROM PUBLISHING HIS BIG SNOWDEN REVELATION

But Others Will Release ALL of the Snowden Documents to Prevent a War

by WASHINGTON’S BLOG | JULY 1, 2014

It’s been a dramatic day for whistleblowing news.

A month ago, Glenn Greenwald announced that he was going to publish his biggest story yet: the names of those the NSA has been spying on.

Earlier today, Greenwald tweeted that he would finally publish the story tonight at midnight.

8 hours later, he tweeted:

After 3 months working on our story, USG [the United States government] today suddenly began making new last-minute claims which we intend to investigate before publishing
Many responded that it’s a trap, and that the government is dishonestly and illegally censoring Greewald.

At the same time, Cryptome announced that all of the Snowden documents will be released in July … supposedly in order to avert a war.

As the Daily Register notes:

All the remaining Snowden documents will be released next month, according t‪o‬ whistle-blowing site ‪Cryptome, which said in a tweet that the release of the info by unnamed third parties would be necessary to head off an unnamed “war”.‬

‪Cryptome‬ said it would “aid and abet” the release of “57K to 1.7M” new documents that had been “withheld for national security-public debate [sic]“.

The site clarified that will not be publishing the documents itself.

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“July is when war begins unless headed off by Snowden full release of crippling intel. After war begins not a chance of release,” Cryptome tweeted on its official feed. “Warmongerers are on a rampage. So, yes, citizens holding Snowden docs will do the right thing,” it said.

“For more on Snowden docs release in July watch for Ellsberg, special guest and others at HOPE, July 18-20: http://www.hope.net/schedule.html,” it added.

NSA can easily bug your switched-off iPhone: Here’s how you can stop them

NSA can easily bug your switched-off iPhone: Here's how you can stop them

Edward Snowden’s recent revelation that the NSA can bug cell phones even when they are turned off left some experts split on whether it is true or not. But a group of hackers claim that at least there is a way to protect your phone from spies’ ears.

Snowden, who exposed the American government’s secret mass surveillance program, has been making headlines in the media for almost a year with shocking details about the scale of snooping by the National Security Agency (NSA).

In last week’s interview with NBC, the former CIA employee yet again added to the spreading privacy panic when he said the NSA can actually eavesdrop on cellphones even when they are turned off.

“Can anyone turn it on remotely if it’s off?” Williams asked Snowden referring to the smartphone he used for travel to Russia for the interview. “Can they turn on apps? Did anyone know or care that I Googled the final score of the Rangers-Canadiens game last night because I was traveling here?”

“I would say yes to all of those,” Snowden replied. “They can absolutely turn them on with the power turned off to the device,” he added.

It is not news that American (and possibly not only American) special services have been able to use mobile phones as a spying tool for at least a decade.

Back in 2006, media reported that the FBI applied a technique known as a “roving bug” which allowed them to remotely activate a cell phone’s microphone and listen to nearby conversations.

Pinpointing a person’s location to within just a few meters has not been a problem either thanks to a tracking device built into mobile phones. This option, a party-spoiler for criminals, has also been helpful in finding people who have gone missing or got into trouble. The general belief has been that removing a battery would make tracking impossible.

In July last year, Washington Post wrote that “By September 2004, a new NSA technique enabled the agency to find cellphones even when they were turned off.”

The agency used it to help American forces in Iraq. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) called the method “The Find,” and “it gave them thousands of new targets, including members of a burgeoning al-Qaeda-sponsored insurgency in Iraq,” the paper wrote.

It is very likely that the scale of the use of such techniques has grown much bigger and more sophisticated due to SciTech developments. And with millions of people getting addicted to their smartphones – which they carry with them literally everywhere – it is much easier to spy on them.

But, according to a piece published in Wired magazine, there is a way to make sure that no one is listening to you. The article, citing security researchers, says that if an attacker had a chance to install malware before the phone is turned off, the software could make it only look like the phone is shutting down. Instead, it “enters a low-power mode that leaves its baseband chip—which controls communication with the carrier—on”.

Such “playing dead” state would allow the phone to receive commands, including one to activate its microphone, says Eric McDonald, a hardware engineer in Los Angeles told the news outlet. It also gives practical advice on how to deal with the situation. Whether it works or not – is another question.

If you’ve got totally paranoid about your iPhone, you can try to put it into device firmware upgrade (DFU) mode, Eric McDonald, a hardware engineer, told Wired. In this mode, all elements of the phone are shut down except for the USB port which waits for iTunes to install new firmware.

To enter the mode, use any power outlet or computer USB port to plug in the iPhone. Then hold the power button for three seconds, after start holding the home button, too. After 10 seconds, release the power button, but not the home button. Wait for another 10-15 seconds.

The routine is to send “hardware reset” to the phone’s power management unit that overrides any running software, including any malware designed to fake a shutdown, McDonald says.

Now the phone won’t turn on when someone holds the power button or power up when the phone is plugged into a power source and you can leak some NSA secrets to a Glenn Greenwald. But if you decide to make a phone call at some point, you will have to hold the power button and home button together until the Apple logo appears.

The video below explains it with the use of a real iPhone.

There are easier ways to enter a complete shutdown, according to Wired. You can hold the home and power buttons simultaneously for 10 seconds without the DFU button sequence. This will put the phone in too low level a state for anything to able to interact with its baseband.

A SURVEILLANCE STATE BEYOND IMAGINATION IN ONE OF THE WORLD’S FREEST COUNTRIES

A SURVEILLANCE STATE BEYOND IMAGINATION IN ONE OF THE WORLD’S FREEST COUNTRIES

Defense of the fundamental right to privacy helped to spark the American Revolution

A White House lawyer seems determined to demolish our civil liberties.

June 2, 2014 |

In the past several months, we have been provided with instructive lessons on the nature of state power and the forces that drive state policy. And on a closely related matter: the subtle, differentiated concept of transparency.

The source of the instruction, of course, is the trove of documents about the National Security Agency surveillance system released by the courageous fighter for freedom Edward J. Snowden, expertly summarized and analyzed by his collaborator Glenn Greenwald in his new book, ” No Place to Hide.”

The documents unveil a remarkable project to expose to state scrutiny vital information about every person who falls within the grasp of the colossus – in principle, every person linked to the modern electronic society.

Nothing so ambitious was imagined by the dystopian prophets of grim totalitarian worlds ahead.

It is of no slight import that the project is being executed in one of the freest countries in the world, and in radical violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which protects citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures,” and guarantees the privacy of their “persons, houses, papers and effects.”

Much as government lawyers may try, there is no way to reconcile these principles with the assault on the population revealed in the Snowden documents.

It is also well to remember that defense of the fundamental right to privacy helped to spark the American Revolution. In the 18th century, the tyrant was the British government, which claimed the right to intrude freely into the homes and personal lives of American colonists. Today it is American citizens’ own government that arrogates to itself this authority.

Britain retains the stance that drove the colonists to rebellion, though on a more restricted scale, as power has shifted in world affairs. The British government has called on the NSA “to analyse and retain any British citizens’ mobile phone and fax numbers, emails and IP addresses, swept up by its dragnet,” The Guardian reports, working from documents provided by Snowden.

British citizens (like other international customers) will also doubtless be pleased to learn that the NSA routinely receives or intercepts routers, servers and other computer network devices exported from the United States so that it can implant surveillance tools, as Greenwald reports in his book.

As the colossus fulfills its visions, in principle every keystroke might be sent to President Obama’s huge and expanding databases in Utah.

In other ways too, the constitutional lawyer in the White House seems determined to demolish the foundations of our civil liberties. The principle of the presumption of innocence, which dates back to Magna Carta 800 years ago, has long been dismissed to oblivion.

Recently The New York Times reported the “anguish” of a federal judge who had to decide whether to allow the force-feeding of a Syrian prisoner who is on a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment.

No “anguish” was expressed over the fact that he has been held without trial for 12 years in Guantanamo, one of many victims of the leader of the Free World, who claims the right to hold prisoners without charges and to subject them to torture.

These exposures lead us to inquire into state policy more generally and the factors that drive it. The received standard version is that the primary goal of policy is security and defense against enemies.

The doctrine at once suggests a few questions: security for whom, and defense against which enemies? The answers are highlighted dramatically by the Snowden revelations.

Policy must assure the security of state authority and concentrations of domestic power, defending them from a frightening enemy: the domestic population, which can become a great danger if not controlled.