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Al Jazeera English vs. Russia Today

February 24, 2011

Global Post

Miriam Elder

February 13, 2011

MOSCOW, Russia — Anyone getting their information about Egypt from Russia Today would have learned that the United States orchestrated the uprising, the Muslim Brotherhood was formed by MI6 and opposition leader Mohamed El Baradei was a Free Mason.

Five years since its launch, the English-language channel has become home to fringe ideas and rabid anti-American rhetoric. At the same time, Qatar-based Al Jazeera English has proved itself indispensable, in a time of decreasing television budgets, to the coverage of global stories such as the Egypt uprising — bringing non-stop live coverage as the events unfolded and holding interviews with those most relevant to the story.

Another difference between the two? Russia Today is widely carried by major U.S. cable providers such as TimeWarner. Al Jazeera is not.

Al Jazeera English launched to suspicious fanfare in November 2006. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had famously called the coverage of the Iraq War provided by its Arabic-language sister channel “vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable.” Former U.S. President George W. Bush reportedly mused about bombing its Doha headquarters (a report the White House denied).

Yet in four years it has grown into a respected news channel, watched by policymakers as it provides — by virtue of its budget, location and focus — incomparable breadth of coverage of the Middle East. What the 1991 Persian Gulf War was for CNN, so the ongoing crisis in Egypt may well be for Al Jazeera English.

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theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

January 20, 2011


What do Nazi war criminals, the CIA, Mafia overlords and the Vatican have in common? The secret order of the Knights of Malta.

by Robert Anton Wilson

July, 1989

In spring 1945, when Nazi Germany was in ruins, General Reinhard Gehlan, Chief of Intelligence under Hitler, loaded a truck with top secret documents and drove to the nearest American Army division he could find, to negotiate a separate peace. General Gehlan was evidently a very, very good negotiator. (Of course, he had that truck full of god-knows-what secrets…)

Gehlen soon had an American generals’ uniform and was flown to Washington, where he negotiated further. According to papers secured by professor Carl Ogelsby, under the Freedom of Information Act, by the time Gehlen was through negotiating, he was the head of what became the CIA’s Soviet penetration section, and a number of other top Nazis had CIA jobs as well. Ogelsby regards this as the beginning of the “Nazification” of the American intelligence community. Reinhard the Fox, as some called him, was a Knight of Malta, and that may also have helped.

Who the hell, you may ask, are the Knights of Malta? Didn’t Dashiel Hammett invent them for a detective story?

Well, the Knights of Malta are a fabulously wealthy secret society of Catholic laypersons. Back in the 11th century they were called the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. Later they became the Knights of Rhodes, and then the Knights of Malta, as they are still usually known. Their correct name, however, is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (often abbreviated to SMOM) since they now admit Dames as well as Knights. After they lost Malta to Napoleon in 1789, their actual world headquarters has been a small building in the Vatican.

According to Catholic sources, they are a charitable order devoted to good works. According to most secular humanist historians, and especially Freemasons, SMOM is the Vatican’s secret police and all member are sworn to destroy Protestantism, liberalism, democracy and everything else that has interfered with Papal Omnipotence in the last 400 years.

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Allies in the Shadows: The FBI’s Private Network

January 20, 2011

Excerpt from Break-ins, death threats and the FBI

Allies in the Shadows: The FBI’s Private Network

While Frank Varelli was the first FBI employee to infiltrate and report on developments within CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador), a network of private, right-wing organizations was also at work spying on emerging liberal and left-wing Cenral America groups, disrupting their activities and providing material for the FBI’s files. Many of the same groups that gathered intelligence on religious and political groups, including CISPES – and disseminated a blitz of distorted, scurrilous material tying them to purported international communist-inspired terror networks – would later be shown to have formed the propaganda and funding core of the Reagan Administration’s private contra-support network.

In the context of domestic intelligence gathering, their affiliation with the FBI had been authorized by a little-noticed provision of a presidential order signed by Ronald Reagan in 1981 which permitted the FBI to “contract with…private companies or institutions…and need not reveal the sponsorship of such contracts or arrangements for authorized intelligence purposes.”

A number of domestic conservative groups who aided the Administration’s secret campaign to support the contras and to neutralize opponents of its Central America policies worked with other foreign governments and organizations under the umbrella of an international organization known as the World Anti-Communist League. The League’s membership includes some of the most ultra-conservative and reactionary elements in the non-communist world. Founded in 1967, WACL has included in its membership a number of former Nazis and Nazi collaborators and counts among its various regional affiliates Guatemalan and Salvadoran death squad leaders, including Mario Sandoval Alarcon, a former vice president of Guatemala known as the “Godfather of the Death Squads.” League members were invited to Taiwan’s Political Warfare Academy for training in counter-insurgency and police techniques, as well as to Argentina, where they were trained in brutal interrogation techniques by members of the Argentine military.

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The Roots of Stalin in the Tea Party Movement

April 19, 2010

By Yasha Levine


The Tea Party movement’s dirty little secret is that its chief financial backers owe their family fortune to the granddaddy of all their hatred: Stalin’s godless empire of the USSR. The secretive oil billionaires of the Koch family, the main supporters of the right-wing groups that orchestrated the Tea Party movement, would not have the means to bankroll their favorite causes had it not been for the pile of money the family made working for the Bolsheviks in the late 1920s and early 1930s, building refineries, training Communist engineers and laying down the foundation of Soviet oil infrastructure.

The comrades were good to the Kochs. Today Koch Industries has grown into the second-largest private company in America. With an annual revenue of $100 billion, the company was just $6.3 billion shy of first place in 2008. Ownership is kept strictly in the family, with the company being split roughly between brothers Charles and David Koch, who are worth about $20 billion apiece and are infamous as the largest sponsors of right-wing causes. They bankroll scores of free-market and libertarian think tanks, institutes and advocacy groups. Greenpeace estimates that the Koch family shelled out $25 million from 2005 to 2008 funding the “climate denial machine,” which means they outspent Exxon Mobile three to one.

I first learned about the Kochs in February 2009, when my colleague Mark Ames and I were looking into the strange origins of the then-nascent Tea Party movement. Our investigation led us again and again to a handful of right-wing advocacy groups directly tied to the Kochs. We were the first to connect the dots and debunk the Tea Party movement’s “grassroots” front, exposing it as billionaire-backed astroturf campaign run by free-market advocacy groups FreedomWorks and Americans For Prosperity, both of which are closely linked to the Koch brothers.

But the Tea Party movement — and the Koch family’s obscene wealth — go back more than half a century, all the way to grandpa Fredrick C. Koch, one of the founding members of the far-right John Birch Society which was convinced that socialism was taking over America through unions, colored people, Jews, homosexuals, the Kennedys and even Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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Mike McConnell, the WashPost & the dangers of sleazy corporatism

March 30, 2010

By Glenn Greenwald


In a political culture drowning in hidden conflicts of interests, exploitation of political office for profit, and a rapidly eroding wall separating the public and private spheres, Michael McConnell stands out as the perfect embodiment of all those afflictions.  Few people have blurred the line between public office and private profit more egregiously and shamelessly than he.  McConnell’s behavior is the classic never-ending “revolving door” syndrome:  public officials serve private interests while in office and are then lavishly rewarded by those same interests once they leave.  He went from being head of the National Security Agency under Bush 41 and Clinton directly to Booz Allen, one of the nation’s largest private intelligence contractors, then became Bush’s Director of National Intelligence (DNI), then went back to Booz Allen, where he is now Executive Vice President.

But that’s the least of what makes McConnell such a perfect symbol for the legalized corruption that dominates Washington.  Tellingly, his overarching project while at Booz Allen and in public office was exactly the same:  the outsourcing of America’s intelligence and surveillance functions (including domestic surveillance) to private corporations, where those activities are even more shielded than normal from all accountability and oversight and where they generate massive profit at the public expense.  Prior to becoming Bush’s DNI, McConnell, while at Booz Allen, was chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, the primary business association of NSA and CIA contractors devoted to expanding the privatization of government intelligence functions.

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Nature And Purpose Of Political Conspiracies

March 20, 2010

By ernie1241

revised 8/20/08

We all know that conspiracies exist.  There is ample indisputable historical proof in such matters as: Watergate, Enron, tobacco and drug companies suppressing adverse data about health-related consequences of their products, the Mafia, military-scandals such as Tailhook, Abu Ghraib, Haditha; military academy cheating, criminal prosecutions of politicians and law enforcement or correctional officers who lied under oath to protect themselves or others, the KKK, the CPUSA, etc.

Political conspiracy theories arise most often when the “official version” of events seems inadequate, flawed, or incomplete.

But the entire purpose of most political conspiracy theories is NOT to carefully present evidence and use reason and logic to arrive at sound, verifiable conclusions.  Instead, most political conspiracy theories are primarily an intellectual device by which individuals and organizations identify and demonize their perceived enemies whom they propose to vanquish.

There is a distinction between perceiving an “opponent” (i.e. an honorable, decent, and legitimate competitor–albeit wrong-headed from one’s own perspective) versus an “enemy” (i.e. someone characterized in terms calculated to evoke fear, contempt, suspicion, distrust, and revulsion.)

Most conspiracy theories focus upon enemies, not on opponents. One’s receptivity to logic and evidence diminishes drastically when one confronts “enemies” as opposed to “opponents”.

The substantive content of a political conspiracy theory is often completely irrelevant to the underlying purpose of the theory and, in any event, there is no possible way to refute or disprove most such theories to the satisfaction of its authors or adherents because most political conspiracy theories are constructed to be self-sealing so that contradictory data can be instantly dismissed, ignored, or de-valued.  The reason is because the theory functions as a problem-solving device but the actual “problem” has virtually nothing to do with the details regarding people and events which are part of the conspiratorial narrative.

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The Paranoid Style In American Politics

March 20, 2010

From the November 1964 Harper’s Magazine.

By Richard Hofstadter

It had been around a long time before the Radical Right discovered it–and its targets have ranged from “the international bankers” to Masons, Jesuits, and munitions makers.

American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority. But behind this I believe there is a style of mind that is far from new and that is not necessarily right-wing. I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind. In using the expression “paranoid style” I am not speaking in a clinical sense, but borrowing a clinical term for other purposes. I have neither the competence nor the desire to classify any figures of the past or present as certifiable lunatics. In fact, the idea of the paranoid style as a force in politics would have little contemporary relevance or historical value if it were applied only to men with profoundly disturbed minds. It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant.

Of course this term is pejorative, and it is meant to be; the paranoid style has a greater affinity for bad causes than good. But nothing really prevents a sound program or demand from being advocated in the paranoid style. Style has more to do with the way in which ideas are believed than with the truth or falsity of their content. I am interested here in getting at our political psychology through our political rhetoric. The paranoid style is an old and recurrent phenomenon in our public life which has been frequently linked with movements of suspicious discontent.

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