Category: Democracy Now
Americans pushed into pro-war frenzy by elite-controlled MSM & NATO – Max Blumenthal

https://www.rt.com/usa/406059-msm-nato-americans-war-support/

Americans pushed into pro-war frenzy by elite-controlled MSM & NATO – Max Blumenthal

Americans pushed into pro-war frenzy by elite-controlled MSM & NATO – Max Blumenthal
Years of Russia hysteria and North Korea fearmongering led by the US mainstream media and NATO propaganda have built support for war among Americans, making them ready to “fight and die” in overseas lands, author and journalist Max Blumenthal told RT.

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A recent study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs has pointed at a shift in the collective thinking and feeling of Americans, when it comes how they view global conflict.

The study was conducted over the last two years leading up to the elections in 2016 and found that Americans seem to have found a new appetite for war.

Blumenthal, who co-hosts the “Moderate Rebels” podcast focused on US interventions and is the Senior Editor of AlterNet’s Grayzone Project, spoke to RT America’s Manila Chan about these developments.

RT:What do you make of this Chicago Council study?

Max Blumenthal: The Washington Post in a commentary framed these numbers as kind of the failure of Donald Trump’s America First policy. And I think Trump has done a pretty horrible job selling his policy. There was a non-interventionist component that he campaigned on, which proved pretty popular, particularly in places like the Rust Belt.

However, I really think that if you look at these numbers, you should look at the internals, and look at when the poll was taken, and when the numbers started to shift. They started to shift when the election campaign began. They reflect a concerted campaign by the mainstream media and by the national security state, which has unprecedented access and control over mainstream media – particularly CNN and MSNBC – to bring the American public’s views in line with the elites’ [views] of our interventionist bipartisan foreign policy consensus in Washington. Two years of non-stop red-baiting, Russia hysteria, and fearmongering over North Korea have done the trick, particularly among Democrats.

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RT:Speaking of the mainstream media, why do liberals tend to support interventionist policies at higher rates than even Republicans? It’s unusual, isn’t it?

MB: Yes, it is unusual. We should just talk about some of the numbers first. From 2015 to this summer we saw a 20 percent surge in the number of Americans who would support sending troops to defend South Korea. We also see, for the first time in history, a majority of Americans willing to send US troops to fight and die for Latvia against Russia, and that is a reflection of their support for NATO.
Liberals disproportionately support these militaristic policies, which seem to suggest support for a hot war with Russia, and even hot war with China. It would be disastrous if they took place. So why didn’t that take place? Because of the partisan war against Trump, who has been portrayed as an enemy of NATO – even though he is now as supportive of NATO as ever; as someone who is a Manchurian candidate of Russia, who is controlled by Putin’s nine-dimensional chess and has colluded with Russia. So, Democrats tend to see Russia in a negative light, and they support interventionist policies.

But if you also look at CNN and MSNBC versus Fox News, which is the de-facto channel of the Republican Party and Trump, you see non-stop contributors from the national security state – like James Clapper, Michael Hayden, the former CIA director – pushing these kinds of militaristic policies. So, these are the channels that Democrats watch. Their media, including the Washington Post and the New York Times, has really stepped up the fearmongering and militarism.

So, you see a total reversal from the Bush period, the Bush era – when Democrats were staunchly against the Iraq war, because it was Bush’s war. And now you see the people that are against guns that are against mass shooting – favoring pointing guns and committing mass shootings abroad.

RT:How do you view the posture of the American people on defending eastern European countries like Lithuania and Latvia, who are members of NATO?

MB: In 2014, Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State, wife of the neo-conservative Robert Kagan, said that Americans were ready to fight and die for Latvia. That wasn’t true at the time. Now it is. These attitudes have been manufactured.

They’ve been partly manufactured by NATO propaganda. We heard at lot – especially on CNN from figures like Jake Tapper, “Deep State Jake,” who almost every show is pushing regime change in one of the non-compliant states. We heard a lot about the Zapad [West] military exercises, thinking Romania, where Russia was said to have amassed 100,000 troops on NATO borders – even “Democracy Now!” reported that.

It turns out that Jens Stoltenberg, the head of NATO, was pushing this lie – that there will be 100,000 troops. I think less than 10,000 troops in the end appeared for these military exercises. This was supposed to terrify the states. It was absolute blaster and pro-war propaganda. We’ve seen that reflected in these attitudes.

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Google’s New Search Protocol Is Restricting Access to 13 Leading Socialist, Progressive and Anti-war Web Sites

Google’s New Search Protocol Is Restricting Access to 13 Leading Socialist, Progressive and Anti-war Web Sites

Google’s New Search Protocol Is Restricting Access to 13 Leading Socialist, Progressive and Anti-war Web Sites

 

New data compiled by the World Socialist Web Site, with the assistance of other Internet-based news outlets and search technology experts, proves that a massive loss of readership observed by socialist, anti-war and progressive web sites over the past three months has been caused by a cumulative 45 percent decrease in traffic from Google searches.

The drop followed the implementation of changes in Google’s search evaluation protocols. In a statement issued on April 25, Ben Gomes, the company’s vice president for engineering, stated that Google’s update of its search engine would block access to “offensive” sites, while working to surface more “authoritative content.”

The World Socialist Web Site has obtained statistical data from SEMrush estimating the decline of traffic generated by Google searches for 13 sites with substantial readerships. The results are as follows:

* wsws.org fell by 67 percent
* alternet.org fell by 63 percent
* globalresearch.ca fell by 62 percent
* consortiumnews.com fell by 47 percent
* socialistworker.org fell by 47 percent
* mediamatters.org fell by 42 percent
* commondreams.org fell by 37 percent
* internationalviewpoint.org fell by 36 percent
* democracynow.org fell by 36 percent
* wikileaks.org fell by 30 percent
* truth-out.org fell by 25 percent
* counterpunch.org fell by 21 percent
* theintercept.com fell by 19 percent

Of the 13 web sites on the list, the World Socialist Web Site has been the most heavily affected. Its traffic from Google searches has fallen by two thirds.

The new statistics demonstrate that the WSWS is a central target of Google’s censorship campaign. In the twelve months preceding the implementation of the new Google protocols, the WSWS had experienced a substantial increase in readership. A significant component of this increase was the product of Google search results. The rapid rise in search traffic reflected the well-documented growth in popular interest in socialist politics during 2016. The rate of growth accelerated following the November election, which led to large protests against the election of Trump.

Search traffic to the WSWS peaked in April 2017, precisely at the point when Google began the implementation of its censorship protocols.

Another site affected by Google’s action has provided information that confirms the findings of the WSWS.

“In late May, changes to Google’s algorithm negatively impacted the volume of traffic to the Common Dreams website from organic Google searches,” said Aaron Kaufman, director of development at progressive news outlet Common Dreams. “Since May, traffic from Google Search as a percentage of total traffic to the Common Dreams website has decreased nearly 50 percent.”

The extent and impact of Google’s actions prove that a combination of techniques is being employed to block access to targeted sites. These involve the direct flagging and blackballing of the WSWS and the other 12 sites listed above by Google evaluators. These sites are assigned a highly negative rating that assures that their articles will be either demoted or entirely bypassed. In addition, new programming technology teaches the computers to think like the evaluators, that is, to emulate their preferences and prejudices.

Finally, the precision of this operation strongly suggests that there is an additional range of exclusion techniques involving the selection of terms, words, phrases and topics that are associated with socialist and left-wing websites.

This would explain why the World Socialist Web Site, which focuses on issues such as war, geopolitics, social inequality and working class struggles has experienced such a dramatic fall in Google-generated searches on these very topics. We have seen that the very terms and phrases that would under normal circumstances be most likely to generate the highest level of hits—such as “socialism,” “Marxism” and “Trotskyism”—produce the lowest results.

This is an ongoing process in which one can expect that Google evaluators are continuously adding suspect terms to make their algorithm ever more precise, with the eventual goal of eliminating traffic to the WSWS and other targeted sites.

The information that has been gathered and published by the WSWS during the past week exposes that Google is at the center of a corporate-state conspiracy to drastically curtail democratic rights. The attack on free speech and uncensored access to information is aimed at crippling popular opposition to social inequality, war and authoritarianism.

The central and sinister role of Google in this process demonstrates that freedom of speech and thought is incompatible with corporate control of the Internet.

As we continue our exposure of Google’s assault on democratic rights, we demand that it immediately and unequivocally halt and revoke its censorship program.

It is critical that a coordinated campaign be organized within the United States and internationally against Google’s censorship of the Internet. We intend to do everything in our power to develop and contribute to a counter-offensive against its efforts to suppress freedom of speech and thought.

The fight against corporate-state censorship of the Internet is central to the defense of democratic rights, and there must be a broad-based collaboration among socialist, left and progressive websites to alert the public and the widest sections of the working class.

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‘Democracy Now!’ journalist pursued by N Dakota prosecutors despite dropping of charges

https://www.rt.com/usa/363225-goodman-dakota-access-charges/

Amy Goodman. © Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Cinema for Peace New York 2012
Though trespassing and riot charges against journalist Amy Goodman over her coverage of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests have been dropped, a North Dakota prosecutor has hinted the state will continue to pursue her and wants her unedited footage.

On Monday, a district court judge rejected a riot charge filed against Goodman for her coverage of ongoing protests of the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Goodman, host and executive producer of “Democracy Now!” who has won a Polk Award for her journalism, was originally charged with criminal trespass on September 8 after “Democracy Now!” reported on a violent encounter between protesters, led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and private security guards on September 3.

The rioting charge was filed by McLean County State’s Attorney Ladd R. Erickson on October 15, after he dropped criminal trespassing charges. Erickson is assisting the Morton County state’s attorney’s office in the case.

“I wasn’t trespassing,” Goodman said Monday from a courthouse in Mandan, North Dakota, in a Facebook Live broadcast. “I wasn’t rioting. The ‘Democracy Now’ team and I were there to report, to document what was happening on the ground. These charges are simply a threat to all journalists around the country: Do not come to North Dakota.”

Reacting to the dropped charges, “Democracy Now!” hailed the judge’s decision as a “press freedom victory.”

Having failed twice to successfully charge Goodman with a crime connected to her coverage of the pipeline protests, Erickson told the New York Times on Monday that the state will continue to pursue criminal charges.

“I believe [the Morton County state’s attorney’s office] want to keep the investigation open and see if there is any evidence in the unedited and unpublished videos that we could better detail in an affidavit for the judge,” he said in an email. “The Democracy Now video that many people have seen doesn’t have much evidence value in it.”

Erickson said last week that reporting by “Democracy Now!” and Goodman does not deserve First Amendment press protections.

“She’s a protester, basically,” he told the Bismarck Tribune. “Everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions.”

Reed Brody, an attorney for Goodman, told NYT that “the prosecutor seems to be determined to charge Amy with something,” adding that another charge such as disturbing the peace could come next.

“It’s hard to see what the State of North Dakota gains by charging a reporter with a crime for doing her work,” he said. “If the attempt is to prevent people from talking about the Dakota Access pipeline, it certainly has not worked out for them.”

Freedom of the Press Foundation’s Trevor Timm says to access any unedited, unaired “Democracy Now!” footage, the state will likely have to subpoena it.

“North Dakota has a strong reporter’s shield law that should protect Goodman and Democracy Now from turning it over, but given how much the prosecutors have disregarded the law so far, there’s no indication they’ll stop now,” he wrote.

The $3.78 billon 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline, being developed by the company Energy Transfer Partners, has been the subject of heated protests for months, after Standing Rock Sioux alleged the project would destroy several cultural sites and burial grounds, and claimed it would taint their water supply.

If completed, the pipeline would travel across four states and is expected to carry nearly half-million barrels of crude oil daily from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota. The pipeline would travel through North and South Dakota, under the Missouri River, through Iowa to an existing pipeline in Illinois.

On Tuesday, authorities in Iowa said a fire that caused damage to construction equipment being used to build the Dakota Access pipeline in Jasper County, Iowa, was likely the work of arsonists.

Goodman is not the only journalist facing a criminal charges of late for covering activists in opposition of fossil fuel pipelines. On October 11, documentary filmmaker Deia Schlosberg was arrested in North Dakota for filming activists who shut down a valve of a tar sands pipeline. Schlosberg was charged with three counts of felony conspiracy and now faces a potential 45 years in prison.

The action Schlosberg was filming was part of a multi-state protest by “Climate Direct Action,” which targeted valve stations of five pipelines moving tar-sands oil from Canada into the US, and to show solidarity with ongoing protests led by the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota. Eight others were arrested and initially charged with trespassing.

On October 15, Schlosberg released a video thanking her supporters.

“I’ll be saying more in the coming days and weeks after I talk to some legal folks, but for now I really wanted to say thank you. I feel amazingly supported and that gives me hope that this is going to work out and we can move the focus back to where I think it should be, the original story that I was trying to cover.”