We bring to the attention of Global Research readers an article by Professor Michael Keefer, which reviews the smear campaign directed against Global Research by Canada’s Walrus Magazine as well as by the Globe and Mail.
These two reports border on ridicule. They belong to realm of “dirty journalism”. While we welcome exchange of viewpoints with individual mainstream journalists, given the nature of the defamatory statements and outlandish accusations (particularly by the Globe and Mail) directed against Global Research, we took the decision after careful consideration not to respond.
As outlined by Michael Keefer, censorship of the independent online media, carried out by the search engines including Google, is not only intended to suppress online access to critical thought and analysis, it is ultimately intended to destroy the independent media outright.
This, however, will not prevent us from relentlessly pursing our commitment to Truth in Media. To quote Martin Luther King, both our authors and readers “have a dream” and so does Professor Michael Keefer who has supported Global Research from the outset.
Not surprisingly, the mainstream media strikes back and accuses us of spreading propaganda on behalf of a foreign government.
Freedom of expression is threatened. With the emergence of “The New McCarthyism”, what is required is an effective counter-propaganda campaign which challenges the mainstream protagonists of “fake news”. In the words of Michael Keefer: “Truth is the goal and the aspiration of honest critical researchers and scholars; it is not a verb, nor something one does, nor a fetish object to be carried in one’s pocket and brandished in the face of doubters.”
It is essential that the relevant information and analysis reach the broader public.
At this juncture in our history, it is essential to reach out to people across the land, nationally and internationally on the derogation of fundamental human rights, the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population, the causes and consequences of US-led wars, not to mention the extensive war crimes and atrocities which are routinely obfuscated by the corporate media.
The Western corporate media is controlled by a handful of powerful business syndicates. The media conglomerates which control network TV and the printed press must be challenged through cohesive actions which reveal the lies and falsehoods.
More than ever we need to support of our readers.
Michel Chossudovsky, February 25, 2018
The Walrus Wants Google to Strangle Global Research: Lessons in the New McCarthyism
by Prof. Michael Keefer
When David Berlin and Ken Alexander launched The Walrus in September 2003, their ambition was to create a Canadian equivalent to American monthly magazines like The New Yorker or Harper’s, which was then under the legendary editorship of Lewis W. Lapham. Who could have anticipated that not quite fifteen years later, The Walrus would be dipping its tusks into the tepid sludge of McCarthyist witch-hunting? It’s not an orientation Lapham would have recommended when David Berlin consulted with him about possibilities of collaboration a year before the magazine’s launch: as Lapham wrote in Gag Rule: On the Suppression of Dissent and the Stifling of Democracy (2004),
“We can’t know what we’re about, or whether we’re telling ourselves too many lies, unless we can see or hear one another think out loud. Tyranny never has much trouble drumming up the smiles of prompt agreement, but a democracy stands in need of as many questions as its citizens can ask of their own stupidity and fear.”1
A McCarthyist suppression of dissent is precisely what The Walrus is advocating with Justin Ling‘s full-throated call, in “Why Google Has a Responsibility to Fight Fake News” (The Walrus, January 5, 2018), for Google to put a prominent Canadian political-commentary website, the Centre for Research on Globalization, out of existence.
Prof. Michael Keefer (right)
Despite a title that might lead one to expect a wide-ranging analysis, Ling has just the one target—though he does seem puzzled as to where exactly Globalresearch.ca fits on the political spectrum. It was once “a joke,” he says, “an example of Canada’s truther far left,” but now he locates it “somewhere in the bizarre alt-right and fake-news ecosystem that has become relevant since President Donald Trump‘s rise to power.”2 Far left or alt-right, Ling wants Google to manipulate its search criteria so as to make Globalresearch.ca effectively disappear.
* * *
One problem I have with what Ling is trying to do in this article is that his hand-me-down McCarthyism is not just politically toxic; it’s blindingly stupid. Ling’s apprenticeship as a journalist with Vice News appears to have taught him two things. First, that in the age of Trumpian Twitter wars and sock-puppet trolling by short-tempered citizens, independent hacktivists, and state-run cyber warfare units,3 nothing pulls in larger numbers of readers than quick-fire insult and innuendo. And second, that in the climate of Vladimir-Putin-panic initiated by the Hillary Clinton campaign during the 2016 US election, and inflated into full-on Russians-under-the-bed McCarthyism after Clinton’s unexpected loss, the hunt for pro-Russian collusion and treachery is where the money lies for freelancers who want to make it in the mainstream media.
Screengrab from The Walrus website
The result in this case is an argument that may be snappy, but is at the same time both evidence-free and absurdly self-contradictory. For while Ling denounces conspiratorial thinking and fake news, his reasons for urging Google to flush Globalresearch.ca down the memory hole rest upon uncritical faith in a large-scale—and, one may suspect, blatantly faked—global conspiracy.
After proposing at some length that the information disseminated by Michel Chossudovsky, the professor emeritus of economics at the University of Ottawa who founded and edits Globalresearch.ca, is both conspiratorial and false, Ling allows that he “and his outlandish views may fit into real-news-with-a-heavy-slant category as well.” But Ling’s next sentences reduce Chossudovsky from a provider of real-though-biased news to the likely agent of a foreign government at whose behest he has been poisoning the wells of our communication system:
“[Chossudovsky] has appeared repeatedly on Sputnik and RT, as well as on state-owned Iran’s PressTV. He’s caught the attention of NATO’s Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence. The Globe and Mail reported in November that the NATO centre has been investigating whether the Centre for Research on Globalization is part of a system used by the Russian government to sow skepticism of the West, in part by feeding fake and misleading information into Google. (When asked by the Globe, Chossudovsky wouldn’t confirm about any ties he may have to the Kremlin.)”4
One can remark in passing that the Globe reporter’s inquiry belongs to the category of literally filthy questions whose use defines the person who deploys them as a smear-artist.5 But Ling evidently believes that a refusal to “confirm about” the Globe and Mail‘s insulting fantasies is the last nail in Chossudovsky’s coffin. He promptly adds,
“If Russia is using the Centre for Research on Globalization, via Google, to muddy the waters, it’s not a bad strategy.”
Indeed! And if Chossudovsky and the—what shall we call them: dupes? stooges? moskali?—who provide the daily contents of Globalresearch.ca are just one part of a sinister and occult Kremlin-run propaganda system, then we can have hopes of a really full-blown witch-hunt!
It would be easy enough to mock this rubble-heap of supposition and innuendo. But one should not forget that Ling’s article is intended to have real-world consequences: that’s how witch-persecutions operated in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe, and how McCarthyism works in our own time.
Ling is pushing his readers toward the truly inane conclusion that “there’s an argument to be made that Google is the real front line in the fight against propaganda and misinformation.” He would like Google to police, rather than simply facilitate, our searches for information. But why should we want to assign such a role to a mega-corporation with a well-earned reputation for greedy profiteering and ruthless manipulation,6 no record of understanding the value to a democracy of critical and oppositional thinking, and no discernible interest in matters of truth?
Let’s instead poke a stick into the spokes of Ling’s front wheel by asking whether there’s the least scintilla of evidence that the Russian skepticism-sowing operation hypothesized by NATO’s Centre of Excellence has any empirical existence in the real world.
Other Russian conspiracies about which we have been informed by breathless hordes of journalists in the mainstream media have proven—shall we say—disappointing. The Russian submarine whose lurking presence near Stockholm agitated the Swedish navy for weeks in 2015 was eventually acknowledged not to have been there at all.7 Emmanuel Macron‘s email was definitely hacked during the French presidential election, but France’s Directorate for Internal Security has denied that any evidence supports the chorus of voices blaming Russia for the intrusion.8
Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service has similarly stated that accusations of Russian interference in Germany’s national election were groundless.9 Despite angry denunciations by Theresa May‘s government, the notion of Russian interference in the UK’s Brexit referendum has likewise proved to be a phantom without substance.10 The claim that Russians hacked into Vermont’s electrical grid turned out to be another piece of fake news.11 Dramatic and apparently authoritative accusations that the Russians had attempted to hack into the vote-counting machines of multiple American states during the 2016 election made front-page stories, but were refuted and then quietly withdrawn.12
And finally, according to Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), the Russians did not after all hack into the computers of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election campaign. One of the associates of VIPS obtained access to the actual downloading data of the DNC files, and concluded that the speed of the transfer showed unequivocally that it was done not through the internet, but rather by means of a USB key. The release to the public of all of those DNC messages was therefore—forgive the phrase—an inside job, carried out, one might suppose, by a DNC staffer disgusted with the organization’s corrupt behaviour.13
What about other forms of electoral interference? Scholars who have done serious work on electoral fraud have strong evidence that the Hillary Clinton campaign manipulated electronic voting machines to steal Democratic primary elections from Bernie Sanders (while the Republican primaries, surprisingly, were clean).14 There is likewise strong evidence that Clinton was in turn defrauded of victory in the 2016 election—not by Russian efforts, of which there is no evidential trace whatsoever—but rather by the same Republican Party fraud machine that stole five to ten percent of the Democrats’ vote through vote-suppression and electronic vote-miscounting in each of the preceding four presidential elections.15
What might the odds be that the NATO hypothesis of a huge Russian skepticism-sowing operation, which Justin Ling finds impressive, will turn out to be just another piece of fake news—and another stage in the rapidly progressing McCarthyist stultification of this continent?16
I have a suggestion for Mr. Ling and the intellectual giants at NATO’s Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence. If they are genuinely concerned with the reasons for declining public confidence in the veracity of Western governments and their mainstream media stenographers, why don’t they try inquiring into the seven episodes mentioned above, in which vehement accusations of aggressive misbehaviour levelled against Russia by the United States and its Western European satrapies turned out, without exception, to be false? Who launched that fake news? Not the Kremlin, I would guess. And who uncritically amplified it? Not the Centre for Research on Globalization.
I would propose as well that anyone inclined to share Justin Ling’s view of Google as an appropriate guardian of truth and journalistic honesty should try carrying out Google searches, using an appropriate variety of search terms, into those same seven episodes. Anyone curious enough to make the effort will find in each case a staggering preponderance of new stories confidently asserting the falsehood in question, and a vanishingly slender number of stories carrying their refutation and the truth of the matter. I’d suggest checking out, as well, what Google provides us with in the way of reports on the critical research and investigative journalism that exposed the fraud conducted by Democratic and Republican party elites in the 2016 election cycle. You won’t find much at all, at least in the mainstream media.
Should these exercises lead us to blame Google for the fact that its listings reflect both the amplifying power and the systematic biases of the mainstream or corporate media? I would say not—if it weren’t for the fact that Google has already developed a habit of systematically adjusting its search algorithms in order to reduce access to the alternative websites that have been trying to inform the public about such deceptions.17 But this experience should disabuse even the most naive among us of any notion that a glorified search engine ought to become an arbiter of truth and falsehood.
* * *
I’ve mentioned Justin Ling’s somewhat muddled notions as to where the Centre for Research on Globalization belongs on the political spectrum. His own political affiliations may be easier to place.
In his third paragraph, eager to smear the founder and editor of Globalresearch.ca, Ling notes that
“in 2006, the now defunct Western Standard magazine listed [Michel Chossudovsky] as one of Canada’s ‘nuttiest professors.’”
The Western Standard was a vehicle of Ezra Levant—the serial slanderer, confabulator, and enabler of neo-fascists—whose name is scarcely one to conjure with in a denunciation of fake news, and whose indecencies include open racism.
On September 5, 2012 Levant denounced Roma refugees in a full nine-minute segment of his cable TV show. In the course of this rant he declared that “gypsies” are “a culture synonymous with swindlers. The phrase gypsy and cheater have been so interchangeable historically that the word has entered the English language as a verb: he gypped me. Well the gypsies have gypped us. Too many have come here as false refugees. And they come here to gyp us again and rob us blind as they have done in Europe for centuries….”18 A response co-written by a former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, by a Shoah survivor, and by the president of Ve’ahavta, the Canadian Jewish Humanitarian and Relief Committee, asked readers to re-imagine Levant’s hateful jeering with a simple word-substitution: “These are Jews [….] he jewed me. Well the Jews have jewed us,” and so on. As they noted, Levant was mobilizing antisemitic tropes against a people who had been victims with the Jews of the Nazi genocide, and who are currently being persecuted in Hungary and other parts of central Europe by a resurgent neo-Nazism.19
Unsurprisingly, Justin Ling attempts to smear Michel Chossudovsky not just as a “nutty professor,” but also as an antisemite—alluding in this case to complaints made by B’nai Brith Canada in 2005 about alleged antisemitic materials that had appeared on the Globalresearch.ca website. The facts of the matter are simple. For a brief period, Globalresearch.ca experimented with a Discussion Board open to the public. When B’nai Brith noticed that comments posted there included hate-mongering by antisemites and Holocaust deniers, rather than simply informing Chossudovsky so that he could delete them, the organization joined the Ottawa Citizen in a campaign of defamation. But attempts to conflate antisemites’ toxic invasion of Chossudovsky’s website with his own writings and editorial work were easily identifiable as misleading, and the campaign evoked strong ironies.
One was that Chossudovsky, members of whose immediate family died at Auschwitz, has been a leading interpreter of globalization and the structural violence and military aggressions it has entailed, and a strenuous critic of injustices of all kinds, including the foulness of racism. Another irony was that the Ottawa Citizen, which quoted at length the insinuations of antisemitism and accusations of “wild conspiracy theories” made against Chossudovsky by leading figures in B’nai Brith in what may have been an attempt to punish him for supporting Palestinian human rights, had not long before published a thoughtful and sympathetic account of Chossudovsky’s work as a political economist.20
Since Ling thinks it worthwhile to rake up these old coals, it may be appropriate to reflect on the credibility of B’nai Brith, which has espoused far-right-wing policies that most Canadians would recognize as extremist. This organization applauded the Harper government’s smearing and de-funding of UN and church-supported humanitarian relief agencies that provide aid to Palestinian refugees;21 it has attacked the principle of arms-length funding to universities, proposing that the Ontario government de-fund universities that fail to suppress events relating to Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights;22 and it supports Israel’s illegal policies of settlement and colonization with such vehemence as to insist, bizarrely, that “the ancestral presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria” makes it improper even to employ “terminology such as ‘settlements’.”23
Given that Ling’s own mode of argumentation rests largely on insinuations of guilt by association, it may seem surprising that in the opening salvo of his polemic he should have chosen to associate himself with two such dubious sources.
* * *
I have another more direct problem with Justin Ling’s article—for I must admit to having skin in this game. I have corresponded with Michel Chossudovsky for well over a decade, and regard him as not just a colleague, but a friend. Like him, I’m now a professor emeritus (a retired academic, that is to say, whose research work has been honoured by his university with that title). I share with him another lesser honour—that of having figured in the Western Standard‘s 2006 list of Canada’s dozen “nuttiest” (which is to say, most deserving of dismissal) professors.
I have likewise written on a variety of political subjects, though in far lesser quantity and with only a small fraction of the impact that Chossudovsky’s widely admired writings in defence of democracy and human rights have attained—ranging as they do through critical analyses of conventional political economy, the geopolitics of globalization, and the alarming linkages between state crimes against democracy at home and military aggressions and state terror abroad.24
For several years I served as a contributing editor for Globalresearch.ca, providing assessments of a very modest number of texts ranging from article- to book-length that had been submitted for publication. And since November 2004, nearly twenty of my essays on political subjects have received their first publication at Globalresearch.ca. (Most of these were also published elsewhere, sometimes at a dozen or two dozen other websites; several were translated into other languages.) Another ten or more essays that I first published elsewhere have been re-published at Globalresearch.ca or linked to by the site, which also carries a scattering of radio interviews in which I was a guest.25
As a contributor to the website, and someone who for a short time assisted in its functioning, I’m happy to assure Justin Ling, together with his editors at The Walrus and the gnomes labouring in NATO’s Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, that I have never detected the least trace of the Kremlin’s cloven hoof in the operations of Globalresearch.ca; nor am I aware of any expressions of sympathy among the website’s publications with the toxic idiocies of the alt-right. Moreover, while the website has indeed published analyses of the events of September 11, 2001 and their consequences (including several by me), I would reject the label “truther.”
Truth is the goal and the aspiration of honest critical researchers and scholars; it is not a verb, nor something one does, nor a fetish object to be carried in one’s pocket and brandished in the face of doubters.
While I find Ling’s mocking allusions to the materials published at Globalresearch.ca bothersome, I won’t defend my own contributions—except to say that whether their subject-matter is electoral fraud in the US, Haiti, and Canada, other forms of state crimes against democracy, or imperial aggressions in the Middle East and elsewhere, they are written to the same standards of critical analysis and documentation as my peer-reviewed academic publications.26 But it’s not for me to assess my own work, or for that matter to offer defensive evaluations of the rest of what is published by Globalresearch.ca: I would prefer to leave judgments of value to the critical intelligence of readers.
My association with this website is evidence of my respect for the analyses of contemporary events it has been providing, though as with any critical reader, that does not imply agreement with or assent to everything I read there. Globalresearch.ca has, for example, only belatedly come to a recognition of the overwhelming importance of chaotic anthropogenic climate change and global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions, which threaten the survival not just of human civilization but of life on this planet; I regard articles the website has published alleging deliberate weather- and climate-change operations through “chemtrails” and the US’s HAARP installation as implausible and as distractions from the main issue.
However, I would emphasize the exemplary courage Globalresearch.ca has shown in facing up to other issues that, taken together, pose a related and possibly no less serious threat to human survival. It is widely acknowledged that the threat of superpower nuclear war may be greater now than at any time since the height of the Cold War—and climate scientists have proposed that while the climatic consequences of a nuclear war between lesser powers would result in mass starvation worldwide, those produced by an all-out war between major nuclear powers would be catastrophic, and could last long enough to entail the probable extinction of all large animal species, including ourselves.27
The West entered a path towards dramatically increased tensions with Russia as a result of US violations during the 1990s of promises made at the time of German reunification not to expand NATO eastward.28 However, the Western shift into full-on aggressiveness followed events which—although they mark a crucial hinge in US history—the mainstream media and most academics have refused to subject to serious analysis. I am referring to the stolen presidential elections of 2000 and 2004, which brought the Bush-Cheney neoconservatives to power and enabled them to consolidate it during a second term; and to the state crime against democracy of September 11, 2001,29 which made it possible for the neoconservative cabal to implement policies that, under the name of The Project for the New American Century, this group had outlined in a report published in September 2000.30
Post-9/11, these policies took the form of manipulating and terrorizing the American population into accepting, domestically, a transition from constitutional government into a permanent state of exception or emergency;31 and in foreign policy, a program of unconstrained aggression aimed at ensuring perpetual American dominance over Eurasia.
The most obvious fruits of that aggressive foreign policy have been the sowing of chaos across the Middle East and North Africa, the near-total destruction of social infrastructure in countries like Iraq, Libya and Syria, the deaths of over a million civilians, and the production of tidal waves of refugees. But far more serious consequences, in the form of superpower nuclear war, may yet ensue from the US push to attain the capacity for a nuclear first strike, with impunity, against Russia—a program that now includes, in addition to a domestic anti-ballistic missile system, the installation of US missiles in NATO countries near Russia’s western borders and the deployment of missile-carrying ships in waters close to Russia’s coasts.
As the recent nuclear alert in Hawaii may remind us, it is possible that a nuclear war could be triggered by a software glitch or by human stupidity. But in an address to an audience of Western journalists at the 2016 St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized a different aspect of the current situation. Russia, he claimed, has developed missiles that can defeat any defensive measures, but the presence near Russia’s borders of US installations whose range is increased year by year means, he implied, that the Russian system is on hair-trigger alert. Russian intelligence is aware of the increasing range of the American missiles in Poland and Romania, Putin said to the journalists, “and [the Americans] know we know! It’s only you that they tell tall-tales to, and you spread it to the citizens of your countries. Your people, in turn, do not feel a sense of the impending danger—this is what worries me. How can you not understand that the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction? [….] From what I can see, we are in grave danger.”32
By this analysis, then, a key aspect of the present situation is the deficit in public understanding and awareness created by the Western media’s continuing refusal to report on important realities. The sabre-rattling US neocons “misunderestimated” (to borrow a George W. Bush coinage) the consequences of their regime-change attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Who is to say, given their invincible arrogance and the fact that regime change in Russia is one of their major goals, that they might not miscalculate yet again?
Most writers on the left—whether persuaded by mainstream propaganda or intimidated by the label of “conspiracy theorist”—have steered away from questioning how the neoconservatives who still control US foreign policy came to power with Dubya Bush and Dick Cheney, and what they proceeded to do with that power. In contrast, Globalresearch.ca has not flinched from publishing analyses of Republican (and more recently, Democratic Party) electoral fraud, or from exposures of the massive cover-ups that have sought to obstruct public understanding of the events of September 11, 2001.
The same determination to sift out the truths underlying a torrent of propaganda and obfuscation has been evident in Globalresearch.ca‘s coverage of NATO’s attack on Libya, the US’s proxy war against Syria, and the seemingly inexorable political pressures in the United States that have been leading us in the direction of a Third and no doubt final World War.
Within this larger context, The Walrus‘s opportunistic McCarthyism may seem trivial. But no attempt to stifle critical intelligence and the search for truth is without significance. As Lewis Lapham wrote, in the final sentence of Gag Rule: On the Suppression of Dissent and the Stifling of Democracy,
“To the extent that a democratic society gives its citizens the chance to speak in their own voices and listens to what they have to say, it gives itself the chance not only of discovering its multiple glories and triumphs but also of surviving its multiple follies and crimes.”33
* * *
Since this essay was first drafted on January 15th, Martin Luther King Day, there may be one last thing to be said about Justin Ling’s polemic. In the first sentence of his article, as the lead entry in a short catalogue of absurdities advanced by the Centre for Research on Globalization as “uncontroversial realities,” Ling cites the belief that
“Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in his hospital room by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI and not, as is commonly accepted, by a gunman dead set against the civil rights’ leader’s crusade.”
When he provides a link to an article containing this piece of supposedly self-evident folly, he must be hoping that readers will be too lazy to check it out. The article, by Craig McKee, is “The Plot to Kill Martin Luther King: Survived Shooting, Was Murdered in Hospital.”34 Let’s note its subtitle as well: “Martin Luther King was murdered in a conspiracy that was instigated by then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Review of William Pepper’s Book.” Ah, so the author isn’t actually claiming that Hoover murdered King with his own hands in a hospital room.
Perhaps, if we have the patience to move beyond facile mockery and to exercise our own critical judgment, we may discover more of substance in McKee’s review article than Ling would lead us to believe is there.
I doubt he would want us to know that Dr. William F. Pepper, one of whose books McKee is reviewing, is a lawyer and civil rights and anti-war activist who was a friend and colleague of King’s. In 1999 Pepper represented Coretta Scott King and the King family in a civil lawsuit against Lloyd Jowers, an alleged organizer of King’s assassination, and against others unnamed. As a usefully compressed article in Wikipedia notes, “After four weeks of testimony which involved over 70 witnesses and thousands of pages of never before seen evidence, a Memphis jury unanimously found […] that Jowers was part of a conspiracy to kill King, and that the assassination plot also involved ‘others, including governmental agencies’.”35
The mainstream media of course chose not to report on this trial and its findings. But Pepper’s book An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King (London: Verso, 2003) contains full information about his painstaking investigations and the court proceedings with which they culminated. Dramatic further details of the assassination plot revealed by Pepper’s subsequent inquiries are contained in the book McKee is reviewing, The Plot to Kill King: The Truth Behind the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2016).
Might I conclude with some suggestions?
I’m not going to make any proposals as to what not to read: that’s a job I’m happy to leave to up-and-coming Catos like Mr. Ling.
But try taking a look at Craig McKee’s insightful review of William F. Pepper’s latest book.
Then read Pepper’s brilliant and moving books yourself—and treat them as fitting introductions to a reading or re-reading of King’s own sermons, speeches, and public letters. I can’t think of a better way of paying tribute to Martin Luther King’s full and generous humanity, his superb courage in standing up against the falsehoods disseminated by what he knew to be great and powerful forces of evil, and the unflinching determination with which he set his forehead against racism and racial inequality, against poverty, and against the cruel and malign forces that lead us into war.
This article was originally published on Michael Keefer.
1 Lewis W. Lapham, Gag Rule: On the Suppression of Dissent and the Stifling of Democracy (New York: Penguin, 2004), p. 1.
2 Justin Ling, “Why Google Has a Responsibility to Fight Fake News: Google gives a platform to sites that deal in outright lies and innuendo—and that’s a problem,” The Walrus (5 January 2018), https://www.thewalrus.ca/why-google-has-a-responsibility-to-fight-fake-news/.
3 For an account of one state-run trolling and cyber warfare unit, based on information from a purportedly reformed troll, see Tom Coburg, “A former hacktivist reveals how a UK spy agency is actively subverting democracy,” The Canary (4 January 2018), https://www.thecanary.co/discovery/2018/01/04/former-hacktivist-reveals-uk-spy-agency-actively-subverting-democracy-video/.
4 Ling, “Why Google has a Responsibility.” The article referred to is by Mark MacKinnon, “NATO research centre sets sights on Canadian website over pro-Russian disinformation,” The Globe and Mail (17 November 2017), https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/nato-research-centre-sets-sights-on-canadian-website-over-pro-russian-disinformation/article37015.
5 One might equally well ask someone about a purported interest in pedophilia, and then, when the question was rejected with indignation, write that “Mr. X wouldn’t ‘confirm about’ any ties he may have to child-pornography rings.”
6 See, for example, Joon Ian Wong, “These are the EU’s reported plans to break up Google’s monopoly powers,” Quartz Media (3 October 2016), https://qz.com/798791/these-are-the-eus-reported-plans-to-break-up-googles-goog-monopoly-powers/; and Mark Scott, “Google Fined Record $2.7 Billion in E.U. Antitrust Ruling,” The New York Times (27 June 2017), https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/27/technology/eu-google-fine.html.
7 “Försvaret om bilden: Det är ingen ubåt,” Dagens Nyheter (12 April 2015), https://www.dn.se/nyheter/sverige/forsvaret-om-bilden-det-ar-ingen-ubat/; Umberto Bacchi, “Russian submarine sighted near Stockholm was civilian boat claims Swedish admiral,” International Business News (13 April 2015), http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/russian-submarine-sighted-near-stockholm-was-civilian-boat-claims-swedish-admiral-1496146.
8 “The Latest: France says no trace of Russian hacking Macron,” Associated Press (1 June 2017), https://apnews.com/fc570e4b400f4c7db3b0d739e9dc5d4d.
9 “German Intel Clears Russia on Interference,” Consortium News (15 February 2017), https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/15/german-intel-clears-russia-on-interference/.
10 Ed West, “It’s nonsense to claim Russia influenced the Brexit vote,” The Spectator (16 November 2017), https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/11/its-nonsense-to-claim-russia-influenced-the-brexit-vote/; “Oxford researchers latest to insist there’s no evidence Russia influenced Brexit,” RT (20 December 2017), https://www.rt.com/uk/413632-russia-brexit-involvement-report/.
11 Edward Kovacs, “Vermont Utility Refutes Reports of Russia Hacking U.S. Electrical Grid,” Security Week (2 January 2017), http://www.securityweek.com/vermont-utility-refutes-reports-russia-hacking-us-electric-grid.
12 See, for example, “Feds tell 21 states they were targeted during election,” CBS News (22 September 2017), https://www.cbsnews.com/news/feds-tell-21-states-they-were-targeted-during-election/. After two states rejected as false the information provided by the Department of Homeland Security—see David Shepardson, “California, Wisconsin deny election systems targeted by Russian hackers,” Reuters (28 September 2017), https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election/california-wisconsin-deny-election-systems-targeted-by-russian-hackers-idUSKCN1C32SQ—the story quietly died.
13 Patrick Lawrence, “A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack,” The Nation (9 August 2017), https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/; Dennis J. Bernstein, “The Still-Missing Evidence of Russia-gate,” Consortium News (1 January 2018), https://consortiumnews.com/2018/01/01/the-still-missing-evidence-of-russia-gate/.
14 See “Odds Hillary Won Without Widespread Fraud: 1 in 77 Billion Says Berkeley, Stanford Studies,” Higgins News Network (18 June 2016), http://alexanderhiggins.com/stanford-berkley-study-1-77-billion-chance-hillary-won-primary-without-widespread-election-fraud/; “Democracy Lost: A Report on the Fatally Flawed 2016 Democratic Primaries,” Election Justice USA (25 July 2016), https://www.facebook.com/notes/election-justice-usa/democracy-lost-a-report-on-the-fatally-flawed-2016-democratic-primaries/923891901070837/; and Alex Geijsel (Tilburg University) and Rodolfo Cortes Barragan (Stanford University), “Are we witnessing a dishonest election?” https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mLpCEIGEYGYl9RZWFRcmpsZk0/view?pref=2&pli=1.
15 See Greg Palast, “The Election Was Stolen—Here’s How….” GregPalast.com (11 November 2016), http://www.gregpalast.com/election-stolen-heres/; and Eric Draitser, “Was the US Election Stolen … Yet Again?” Telesur (18 November 2016), http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Was-the-US-Election-Stolen-…Yet-Again-20161118-0008.html. Important studies of fraud in previous US presidential elections include Bev Harris, with David Allen, Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century (Renton, WA: Talion Publishing, 2004); Andrew Gumbel, Steal This Vote: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America (New York: Nation Books, 2005); Steven F. Freeman and Joel Bleifuss, Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2006); Mark Crispin Miller, ed., Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008 (Brooklyn, NY: Ig Publishing, 2008); Jonathan D. Simon, Code Red: Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century, Election 2016 Edition. 2016, available at http://codered2014.com/; and Greg Palast, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (2003; rpt. New York: Plume, 2004); Palast, Armed Madhouse (New York: Plume, 2007); and Palast, Billionaires and Ballot Bandits (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2012).
16 For a lucid assessment of this McCarthyist stultification, see Jackson Lears, “What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Russian Hacking,” London Review of Books (4 January 2018), https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n01/jackson-lears/what-we-dont-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-russian-hacking. The latest phase of the apparently inexorable advance of stupidity—the media buzz over the Mueller inquiry’s indictment of thirteen Russian people and three Russian legal entities for, among other things, “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States”—is decisively analyzed in “Mueller Indictment – The ‘Russian Influence’ Is A Commercial Marketing Scheme,” Moon of Alabama (17 February 2018), http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02/mueller-indictement-the-russian-influence-is-a-commercial-marketing-scheme/comments/page/1/#comments.
17 See Andre Damon and Niles Niemuth, “New Google algorithm restricts access to left-wing, progressive web sites,” World Socialist Web Site (27 July 2017), https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/07/27/goog-j27.html; and Kollibri Terre Sonneblume, “Cowardly New World: Alternative Media Under Attack by Algorithms,” CounterPunch (26 October 2017), https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/26/cowardly-new-world-alternative-media-under-attack-by-algorithms/.
18 Quoted from Bernie M. Farber, Nate Leipciger and Avrum Rosensweig, “Hating the Jew, hating the ‘gypsy’,” National Post (25 September 2012), http://www.nationalpost.com/2012/09/25/bernie-m-farber-et-al-hating-the-jew-hating-the-gypsy/.
20 The article that provided a sympathetic profile of Chossudovsky’s work (Judith O’Neill, “Battling mainstream economics,” Ottawa Citizen [5 January 1998]) is no longer available online, but a brief synopsis of it is available in an essay I wrote at the time: “In Defence of Michel Chossudovsky: A Cup of Cool Reason for the Ottawa Citizen’s Fevered Brow” (10 September 2005), available at http://www.michaelkeefer.com/blog/2015/9/15/in-defence-of-michel-chossudovsky-a-cup-of-cool-reason-for-the-ottawa-citizens-fevered-brow. (I have echoed wording from my essay in this paragraph.)
21 These are the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, an NGO linked to eleven Canadian churches and church-related organizations (including the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the United Church, the Anglican Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the Mennonite Central Committee). Jason Kenney, the minister responsible for these actions, smeared KAIROS, and by implication the churches that support it, as antisemitic. For details, see Michael Keefer, ed., Antisemitism Real and Imagined: Responses to the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (Waterloo: Canadian Charger, 2010), “Introduction,” pp. 10-11; and Part 3, ch. 3, “Data and Deception: Quantitative Evidence of Antisemitism,” p. 186, and n. 96, p. 203. The “Introduction” and the “Data and Deception” chapter of Antisemitism Real and Imagined are available online at http://www.michaelkeefer.com/blog/2015/9/15/antisemitism-real-and-imagined-introduction; and at http://www.michaelkeefer.com/blog/2015/9/15/data-and-deception-quantitative-evidence-of-antisemitism.
22 See Antisemitism Real and Imagined, p. 186, and n. 97, p. 203.
23 Ibid., p. 186, and n. 99, p. 203.
24 For a now somewhat dated account of Chossudovsky’s work (together with that of another Canadian scholar-activist, the philosopher John McMurtry, FRSC, whose writings in some respects parallel his), see my essay “Canada’s Thinker-Activists and Critics of Globalization,” Centre for Research on Globalization (27 December 2005), https://www.globalresearch.ca/canada-s-thinker-activists-and-critics-of-globalization/1595.
25 Most of my Globalresearch.ca publications, along with a large part of my other writings, are available at my website-in-progress, at https://michael-keefer.squarespace.com. In the versions available there, errors of which I am aware have been duly noted.
26 Some of the essays of mine that appear at Globalresearch.ca have also been published as peer-reviewed articles in academic books and journals.
27 See, for example, A. Robock, L. Oman, G. L. Stenchikov, O. B. Toon, C. Bardeen and R. P. Turco, “Climatic Consequences of Regional Nuclear Conflicts,” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 7. 8 (April 2007): 2003–2012; Owen B. Toon, Alan Robock and Richard P. Turco, “Environmental Consequences of Nuclear War,” Physics Today 61. 12 (December 2008): 37–42; and Steven Starr, “Catastrophic Climatic Consequences of Nuclear Conflict,” from the INESAP Bulletin 28 (April 2008; updated Oct. 2009 version), http://www.icnnd.org/Documents/Starr_Nuclear_Winter_Oct_09.pdf.
28 See Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson, “Russia’s got a point: the U.S. broke a NATO promise,” Los Angeles Times (30 May 2016), http://beta.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-shifrinson-russia-us-nato-deal–20160530-snap-story.html; and “NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard. Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner,” National Security Archive (12 December 2017), https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/russia-programs/2017-12-12/nato-expansion-what-gorbachev-heard-western-leaders-early#.WjAX9r_XxYl.twitter.
29 For an explanation of what may in this context seem an unfamiliar term see my essay “State Crimes Against Democracy and Canada’s 2011 General Election,” Centre for Research on Globalization (13 March 2015), http://www.globalresearch.ca/state-crimes-against-democracy-and-canadas-2011-general-election/5436372; available also at http://www.michaelkeefer.com/blog/2015/9/18/state-crimes-against-democracy-and-canadas-2011-general-election.
30 See Thomas Donnelly et al., Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century (The Project for the New American Century, September 2000), http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf. This report notoriously declared, with respect to the foreign policy reorientation and program of re-armament and military re-organization it recommended, that “the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor” (p. 51). A year later, George W. Bush was reported by CBS News to have written in his diary on the evening of 9/11 that “the Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today.” See David Ray Griffin The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11 (2nd ed., Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press, 2004), p. xi.
31 In 2008 I wrote, in “The Unacknowledged Scandal of Electoral Fraud,” Humanist Perspectives 165 (Summer 2008): 11-16; available at http://www.michaelkeefer.com/blog/2015/9/15/the-unacknowledged-scandal-of-electoral-fraud, that the foundational right to vote and have one’s vote counted, and the right of a simple majority to remove from office a politician or party of whom they disapprove, “appear to have been lost in the United States…. And what of other rights? The Military Commissions Act, passed in September 2006 (and unchallenged since November 2006 by the new Democratic majority in Congress), permits the President to arbitrarily redefine American citizens as ‘enemy combatants,’ and subject them to arbitrary arrest, unconstrained interrogation, and indefinite imprisonment. Together with other Bush regime legislation passed since 2001, this act normalizes and makes permanent a state of exception which supersedes the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The country has entered—perhaps not irrevocably—a condition of yet-to-be-fully-activated fascism.”
32 Putin’s key statements at the 2016 St Petersburg International Economic Forum (and also at the 2007 Munich Security Conference) are available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqD8lIdIMRo (accessed 15 January 2018). Putin refrained from specifying the new Russian missile systems, but Western military intelligence agencies are aware of their reported capacities. The missiles include the rail- and container-mobile RS28 Sarmat ICBM and the RSM58 Bulava submarine-launched ICBM, the hypersonic (Mach 6 plus) Zircon missile, the Kalibr cruise missile (with a range of 2,500 km and a terminal velocity of Mach 2.9 in the anti-ship version), and the S400 and S500 air defence and anti-missile systems. Russia has also developed a long-range hyper-cavitating 100-knot torpedo capable of carrying out nuclear strikes against coastal cities.
33 Lapham, Gag Rule, p. 171.
34 Centre for Research on Globalization (26 December 2017), https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-plot-to-kill-martin-luther-king-survived-shooting-was-murdered-in-hospital-an-interview-with-william-pepper/5544005.
35 “Lloyd Jowers,” Wikipedia (accessed 15 January 2018), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyd_Jowers.