Glenn Greenwald
Politics • Writing • Culture
Hunter Biden Sues Laptop Repair Shop—Confirming Authenticity, ICC Issues Arrest Warrant for Putin, Kamala Beclowns Herself (Again), & More
March 22, 2023
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Hunter Biden is suing the now famous Delaware repair store where he left his laptop, alleging that they invaded his privacy and otherwise harmed him when distributing materials from that computer. Despite Joe Biden's attempt to pretend otherwise, this is necessarily an admission that the laptop - on which The New York Post pre-election reporting about his father's business activities in China and Ukraine was based - was entirely authentic all along. Authentic. And that, in turn, means that we have yet more dispositive evidence to add to the large mountain, proving that most corporate media outlets spent the weeks before the 2020 election spreading an outright lie that came directly from the CIA, namely that the laptop materials weren't authentic at all, but instead were “Russian disinformation.” We’ll, once again, examine the implications of these new revelations, including the fact that not one corporate outlet that spread that lie has yet retracted it or even accounted for it, and why they did it and never will do so.

The corporate media has been in virtual panic mode ever since it was reported that the most elite team of virologists of the U.S. Energy Department, as well as the FBI and their top scientists, have concluded that the most likely origin of the COVID pandemic was a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the very same theory that the corporate media, at the direction of Dr. Fauci, spent years telling the public was a crazy conspiracy theory that had been “debunked”. We'll look at The New York Times’ new attempt today to salvage the theory that COVID was naturally occurring, and the implications of this very significant media lie as well. 

Then, the International Criminal Court today issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin accusing him of various war crimes. The corporate media is ecstatic. We'll examine the multipronged absurdity of this indictment, the media reaction, and we'll welcome to our show, our regular guest and our friend Nick Cruse of the Revolutionary Blackout Network to examine what he calls – and I certainly endorse that –“the  NATO left’s” cowardly silence over the proxy war in Ukraine. 

And we'll also discuss the newest and latest self-humiliation of Vice-President Kamala Harris. 

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update starting right now. 

 


I'm seriously considering amending my will to stipulate that my tombstone has to make some reference to the Hunter Biden story. Because honestly, I am likely to go to my grave completely shocked and with my anger over this story unresolved. Because even though I know I shouldn't be, I am genuinely astounded at what has happened here and what continues to happen here. 

As a reminder, on October 14, just three weeks before the 2020 presidential election, the nation's oldest newspaper, The New York Post reported about Joe Biden's business activities both in Ukraine and then, the following day, in China. That raises serious ethical questions about those business activities regarding the presidential frontrunner and, as they said, the investigation they were able to do was based on materials taken from Joe Biden's son, Hunter, and they obtained that laptop because he left that laptop at a Delaware repair store to get fixed, but then failed to pick it up within 90 days. 

According to the agreement he signed when leaving it there, after 90 days, he forfeits ownership rights to the laptop and it becomes the property of the store, a very common agreement. The store then looked at the laptop, realized it was his, and turned it over to the FBI, as well as Rudy Giuliani, who gave it to the New York Post. And we were able to get a lot of reporting – previously unknown information about what Joe Biden and his family were doing in both China and Ukraine, trading on his name in order to profit off those family connections. 

The media's reaction, the corporate media's reaction to that reporting, instead of investigating it and talking about it, noting it, was exactly the opposite, because, as we all know, barely requires debate, the vast, vast, vast majority of the corporate media – including the media outlet which I founded in 2013, in which I worked during this moment – was desperate to ensure Donald Trump was defeated and Joe Biden won. As a result, any reporting that had the opportunity to undermine Joe Biden's chances to win or that reflected poorly on him in any way, such as this New York Post reporting, had to be not just demeaned and maligned and discredited and dismissed, but buried, censored. 

Then, the CIA created the lie – an absolute lie – about these materials. They said that these materials that came from Hunter Biden's laptop are not actually authentic. They didn't come from Hunter Biden's laptop at all – although the CIA had the decency, these ex-intelligence officials from the intelligence community, like John Brennan, James Clapper, all the standard career liars – had the decency to admit they had no evidence for their claims. They said that it was kind of this intuitive feeling they had deep in their gut from their decades of experience, that this was likely the Russians who were involved in procuring this information and that the information wasn't authentic, but instead was disinformation. 

Based on the claims from those ex-CIA and other intelligence agencies, and based on those claims exclusively, the corporate media spent weeks – weeks – over and over telling Americans an absolute lie, namely, that the materials on which the New York Post's reporting was based were Russian disinformation. They refused to air any dissent to that claim. They could spread it over and over because they were desperate that Americans did not hear this reporting. 

As a result of that lie, both Facebook and Twitter suppressed the story. Twitter outright banned any discussion. They locked the New York Post out of their account for the two weeks leading up to the election and Facebook, in ways they've never explained, algorithmically suppressed this spreading of the story on the grounds that they believed it was Russian disinformation. 

So, every power center in America, virtually the U.S. intelligence agency, Big Tech and the U.S. Security State united to lie about this story in order to manipulate the outcome of the 2020 election. We now have a mountain of evidence proving that the media lied, and the CIA lied, that this information had nothing to do with Russia, was not remotely disinformation, but instead was fully authentic. The reality is – it was obvious all along – that it was authentic. Right-wing media, which doesn't count as real journalism in most corporate media, had the proof that it was real. 

I talked about this many times before, about my work authenticating large archives like this Hunter Biden archive. The question when you get it as a journalist always is how do I know it's true, either in whole or in part? And there are certain ways that you go about authenticating it. It's what we did in the Edward Snowden case. It's what I've done many times reporting with WikiLeaks on the archives that they've reported. It's what I did when sources in Brazil handed me a gigantic archive of hacked conversations among Brazilian judges and prosecutors proving corruption. In each case, I had to authenticate those materials before I could report them. And I used standard journalistic means to do so and concluded they were authentic and therefore put my name on them. And in each case, they were authentic. And I knew before the election that the Hunter Biden laptop was authentic, which is why I tried to report on it, too. And when The Intercept precluded me, prohibited me from doing that reporting because The Intercept a week earlier, like most outlets, had published the CIA lie that this information was not real, but instead was Russian disinformation, that was when I quit The Intercept. But I did that because I knew it was authentic. It was easy to see. But since that election, the proof that this laptop was real all along has no longer come from right-wing media or from my journalistic, not just intuition, but investigatory knowledge, but, instead, has now come from the very media outlets that they trust the most. 

 The New York Times is the first to admit that they had authenticated that laptop here, on March 16, 2022, so almost a year ago to the day, The New York Times published an article in which they reported on the investigation into Biden's alleged tax fraud, according to the Justice Department, the FBI, they're investigating Hunter Biden for possible crimes committed. The New York Times wanted to report on exactly what happened and, in order to do that, The New York Times did the information on Hunter Biden's laptop, because a year and a half after the election, they were prepared to admit that the material on that laptop was fully authentic. 

So, there you see the headline “Hunter Biden Paid Tax Bill, but Broad Federal Investigation Continues.” In other words, he had paid his tax bill and found the money with his father as president. Congratulations to Hunter for finding the money to pay off his tax debt but that doesn't mean that whatever he did previously is resolved. So, The New York Times wanted to explain what this case was about and this is what they said, 

 

Last year, prosecutors interviewed Mr. Archer and subpoenaed him for documents and grand jury testimony, the people said. Mr. Archer, who was sentenced last month in an unrelated security fraud case in which a decision to set aside his conviction was reversed, had served with Mr. Biden on Burisma's board starting in 2014. People familiar with the investigation said prosecutors had examined emails between Mr. Biden, Mr. Archer and others about Burisma and other foreign business activity (The New York Times. March 16, 2023). 

 

Where did those emails come from – the ones that these investigators are using for their investigation? 

 

Those emails were obtained by the New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop. The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation. 

In some of the emails, Mr. Biden displayed a familiarity with FARA, and a desire to avoid triggering it. (The New York Times. March 16, 2023). 

 

So, with Joe Biden safely elected, The New York Times is prepared to admit that they had independently authenticated these materials, which meant it wasn't Russian disinformation at all. It came exactly where everyone said it came from, which was the repair shop in Delaware. Russia had nothing to do with it, and the information was not disinformation but was fully authentic, which is why The Times is using it to do their reporting. 

After that, The Washington Post did the same thing. CNN did the same thing. CBS News did the same thing. In fact, months earlier, before that New York Times article even emerged, a reporter from Politico, Ben Schreckinger, who's a really good reporter whose work I've gotten to know, wrote a book called The Bidens and he had, as part of that book, done a lot of independent research in other countries to obtain emails that were in the archive and was able to compare the emails he got from independent sources to the emails in the archive, and was able to prove in his book that the email in the archive was word for word what the actual emails were proving - the archive was authentic, proving that it was not Russian disinformation. That book was largely ignored because it proved that the media lied repeatedly to manipulate the outcome of the 2020 election. 

So, we have today yet another piece of evidence, very, very conclusive evidence, proving that this laptop is authentic. Hunter Biden is now suing the Delaware repair store on the grounds that they invaded his privacy when they disseminated the materials from the laptop. Needless to say, the only way the laptop could be responsible for invading his privacy is if the material they disseminated was in fact, authentic. That's the necessary implication of the lawsuit. 

The Washington Post headline from today reads: “Hunter Biden Sues Laptop Repair Shop Owner Citing Invasion of Privacy. The lawsuit, a counter move against John Paul Mac Isaac, escalates the legal battle surrounding the president's son at a sensitive moment”. Here's what the Washington Post says, 

 

Hunter Biden has filed a sweeping countersuit against the computer repair shop owner who said that Biden dropped his laptop off and never claimed it, a legal action that escalates the battle over how provocative data and images of the president's son were obtained nearly four years ago. In the counterclaim, filed on Friday morning, in the U.S. district court in Delaware, Biden and his attorneys say that John Paul Mac Isaac had no legal right to copy and distribute private information. They accuse him and others of six counts of invasion of privacy, including conspiracy to obtain and distribute the data. The 42-page filing goes into significant detail on the ways Hunter Biden's data became public, a development that propelled it into the maelstrom of the last presidential campaign and, since January, to the center of a Republican-led congressional investigation of the president's son. The lawsuit could draw further attention to a sordid chapter in Biden's life, one involving nude photos, sensitive audio and a trove of personal texts and emails (The Washington Post. March 17, 2023). 

 

That's how the media always wants to depict this, as though it's about Hunter Biden's nude photos and all kinds of personal information when the reality was and is that the key part of the emails, the reason they became significant, is precisely because they were about not Hunter Biden, but Joe Biden, what he was doing in Ukraine to help Burisma, what Joe Biden and his family were doing to pursue profitable deals, 10% of which, according to a deal memo, would go to Joe Biden himself. It wasn't about Hunter Biden's naked photos or his drug use, which I personally don't care at all about and don't think is relevant to the public. What made it relevant –and if you go look at the first two New York Post stories you will see – that the focus of this investigation journalistically was what Joe Biden was doing in China and Ukraine, not what Hunter Biden was doing with prostitutes and drugs. But this is how the media tries to minimize the importance of it and justified their lying about it by saying, okay, we may have lied about it, but it wasn't important anyway. It was extremely important because it called into question the integrity and ethics of Joe Biden and his willingness to trade on his power and his name for profit. 

The Washington Post goes on and says

“Hunter Biden is seeking a jury trial to determine any compensatory and punitive damages. The suit also asked the court to require Mac Isaac and others to return any copies, or partial copies, of any data belonging to the president's son”. 

 

So, he's asking for this information back on the grounds that it was his all along. That is an implicit admission that the laptop that was given to the FBI and Rudy Giuliani by this laptop owner was, in fact, Hunter Biden's materials and his laptop. Otherwise, this suit would make no sense. 

Hunter Biden, knowing the implications of this for the media, inserted paragraphs into the complaint to try and deny that this is an admission that this is his. The Washington Post says, 

 

Still, the legal move required delicate positioning by the president's son, who has never explicitly confirmed that the laptop was his. Hunter Biden does not concede in his lawsuit that he dropped off the laptop, received an invoice and neglected to pick it up. In response to such claims by Mac Isaac, the filing states “Mr. Biden is without knowledge sufficient to admit or deny the allegations”.

 

But he does acknowledge that some of the data that has been released publicly belongs to him and concedes that Mac Isaac could have obtained it in April 2019. “This is not an admission by Mr. Biden that Mac Isaac or others in fact possessed any particular laptop containing electronically stored data belonged to Mr. Biden, the filing says. Rather, Mr. Biden simply acknowledges that at some point Mac Isaac obtained electronically stored data, some of which belonged to Mr. Biden (The Washington Post. March 17, 2023).  

 

That is a joke. This is a paragraph designed to allow the media and Biden's defenders to deny that Hunter Biden is admitting this was his because he says this is an admission. Of course, that's an admission. It has to be an admission or the whole lawsuit doesn't make any sense. 

One of the reasons why Hunter Biden has to deny that is admitting finally that the laptop is his is because he's been lying about this the entire time, pretending that he was in such a stupor from his drug use that he simply doesn't know whether he dropped the laptop off or not. Here was him telling that lie with the CBS “Morning Show” in April 2021, in a series of interviews he was doing when he released his book and wanted to promote his book. Watch what Hunter Biden says when asked if this was his laptop. 

 

(Video Hunter Biden on CBS. April 5, 2021)

Morning Show: You make just one reference to it in the book. Is that laptop yours? 

 

Hunter Biden: You don't need a laptop. You got a book. And I don't know. I truly that you don't know. The series answer is that I truly do not know the answer to that. 

 

Morning Show: Did you leave a laptop with a repairman? 

 

Hunter Biden: Not that I don't remember now. No. But whether or not somebody has my laptop, whether or not it was hacked, whether or not there exists a laptop at all. I truly don't know. 

 

Morning Show: Are you missing a laptop? 

 

Hunter Biden: Not that I know of, but, you know, read the book and you realize that I wasn't keeping tabs on possessions very well for about a four-year period of time. 

 

 

 

I mean, not only lying runs in that family, but like very, very poorly skilled lying runs in that family. That's a complete and total joke. So now we're supposed to believe that there's this blind owner of a tiny little laptop repair store in Delaware who somehow got Hunter Biden's laptop in a way other than Biden dropping it off to get it repaired. I mean, the most implausible thing about it is, of course, that everybody knows that Hunter Biden dropped off his laptop at this Delaware repair store and forgot to pick it up because he was in a drugged stupor. Of course, that's what happened. But whatever else is true in this lawsuit, he is admitting that the materials that got to the New York Post were real and that alone proves the media lied when they said it was Russian disinformation. And as I said, we know from many other sources, including The New York Times investigation, The Washington Post investigation and CNN, all of whom concluded long ago that this material is authentic. 

I could spend literally the next 50, 60 minutes doing nothing but showing you media lies in video form and in text form where they spend on every show on CNN and MSNBC and NBC and CBS, NBC and ABC, and every article in Politico and Huffington Post and The Intercept and every scummy Brooklyn-based liberal digital magazine that asserted over and over again what everyone now knows is an absolute lie, which is that this material's authenticity was in doubt, it's likely Russian disinformation. So, I'm just going to show you a couple of illustrative examples, in part because I don't want to spend the whole show doing that, and in part because I've done it many times before.

Here, for example, on October 19, 2020, is Jen Psaki, the extremely honest Biden White House press secretary who brought honesty back to politics and journalism, according to then CNN, now fired CNN host Brian Stelter, here she is tweeting, “Hunter Biden's story is Russian disinfo. Dozens of former intel officials say.” It now has context added to the tweet that reads, “On March 17, 2022, The New York Times confirmed that the Hunter Biden missing laptop is real as first reported by The New York Post prior to the 2020 election.” She was referring to the very first article that was published with this lie that, of course, came from Natasha Bertrand, the single greatest liar in media over the last six years, who has been repeatedly promoted as a result of spreading CIA lies mindlessly and uncritically. 

There you see the headline on Politico that kicked off this whole lie on October 19, 2020. “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinformation. Dozens of former intel officials say. More than former 50 former intelligence officials signed a letter casting doubt on the provenance of a New York Post story on the former vice president's son.”

Here's Mother Jones: “Giuliani and The New York Post are pushing Russian disinformation. It's a big test for media. With its new Biden story. Murdoch's tabloid is a useful idiot for Vladimir Putin.” They just didn't even pretend to be in doubt at all. They just simply stated this is Russian disinformation and anyone who spreads it is an asset is as an agent of Vladimir Putin. Whenever Joe Biden was asked about this laptop, including in the presidential debate, he claimed that this was all Russian disinformation because his friends in the media lied for him, as did the CIA. And when Bo Erikson, a CBS reporter asked Joe Biden about it, he was mauled by most of the media, claiming that Bo Ericson was doing the job of Vladimir Putin by even raising this question with Joe Biden. It was one of the sleaziest, most toxic, most unjustified, and most destructive lies I've ever seen in journalism because it was intended to alter the outcome of the election and because it wasn't one outlet that told the lie. It was virtually all of them. Fox News debunked it. The New York Times, to its credit, expressed skepticism over it. They wrote an article saying, we’re not really convinced because we don't have the evidence. But pretty much every other media outlet affirmed it over and over and over and over and over again. 

Here for just as one example is what Erin Burnett did. She called on James Clapper, President Obama's former national security senior official, the director of national intelligence. And you can just watch what they did. This is October 17:

 

(Video James Clapper on CNN. Oct 17, 2020)

 

Erin Burnett: A bunch of questions from this. Let me just start with this. How much does the source matter, right? To hear the story of this laptop, we don't know a lot. We do know that the way that this information is getting out is through Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani. How much do the does the source matter here? 

 

James Clapper: Well, source matters a lot, and in the timing matters a lot. I think then to me, this is just classic textbook Soviet Russian tradecraft at work. 

 

 

He just goes on like that. It's classic Soviet tradecraft at work. CNN tweeted that repeatedly affirming this career liar’s lie that this was Soviet tradecraft at work. And the thing that is most amazing about this story is despite the fact that we now have, as I said, a mountain of proof that all of these people right here lied over and over and over again with the obvious intent to manipulate the outcome of the election and with the possible success of having done so, we will never know the counterfactual of how many people would have heard this story, how much it would have played into the preexisting concern that Joe Biden has trouble with the truth and as a sleazy, long time New York, D.C. politician.  We'll never know. It was a very close election. It would have only had to swing a few votes in a few states for it to change the outcome. 

What we know for sure is that the media lied and it's journalism 101 that when you make a mistake, as you're going to do as a journalist, even big ones, the first thing you do is you go to your readers or your viewers and you say, I reported this, I've since learned it was false. This is why I got it wrong. I apologize. I retract it. And here's what we're doing to ensure it never happens again. That's what you do if you are actually a journalist. That's journalism 101. If you don't do that, you have no business claiming that title. 

Not one single corporate outlet, not one, not a single one, every single time there's more proof that they lied, has even acknowledged the evidence showing that they lied, let alone accounted for what they did, let alone retracted for it. And they never will. Even now that Hunter Biden is suing the repair store in Delaware, implicitly acknowledging that that laptop was his all along, that he left it at the Delaware repair store, there's not the slightest pressure to even acknowledge what they did or to retract it, because they are not journalists. They are there to lie on purpose. This is their mission. Why would you, if you have a job and you perform your job poorly, apologize? If you perform your job well, you don't apologize. They're showing you what their job is by not apologizing. Their job is to lie. Their job is to spread lies on behalf of the U.S. Security State and the Democratic Party to please their audience and to serve the political agenda that they all have. And that's what they did here effectively, and that's why they will never retract it. And the reason I say I want to put it on my tombstone is that it is amazing to me that nobody pressures them about this, that nobody says, how is it that you can possibly purport to be the guardians of the truth, the arbiters of disinformation, to censor the Internet, to remove false claims when you yourselves are the most toxic and casual and aggressive and frequent liars? And the proof is so easy to see. It is not a complicated case. 

So, every time there's new evidence of this, I'm going to report it, I'm going to note it. I'm going to talk about it. As I say, I'll probably do it until I die. And I know for sure, Hunter Biden could go on camera and say, I now have a recovered memory. I remember clearly bringing my laptop to this repair shop, and then I abandoned it there and I recognized every document that was published by the New York Post as my own – and that, therefore, the way The New York Post claimed they got the story is, in fact, how they got this story. He could swear to that under oath, and they still will never apologize for the lies that they spread for weeks before the election because lying is their mission, and they know that. And that's the only conclusion you can reach from that. 

Speaking of the media lying and knowing that that's their job, let's look at another episode from today, regarding the extremely disturbing media revelation that The Wall Street Journal reported just a few weeks ago that no one in government denies – in fact, everyone in government acknowledges. There you see the headline from February 26: “Lab Leak Most Likely Origin of COVID-19 Pandemic, Energy Department Now Says. U.S. agency's revised assessment is based on new intelligence.”

When you dig into this article, what you find is that it's not just the Department of Energy, but also the FBI that concludes not with certainty, but that the most likely way that COVID and the pandemic ended up being created and entering humanity was not through natural evolution or a zoonotic leap from species to human, but rather through a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. That is the formal assessment of the Department of Energy and the FBI. The CIA is agnostic and other agencies continue to claim that it's more likely it came from a natural evolution, including Dr. Fauci. 

The Washington Post, a couple of days after this article was published, reported that this is not just any old part of the Department of Energy. This is the most elite team of virologists at the Department of Energy, which is the agency responsible for supervising the United States's own biological research labs. The labs that we claim we do gain-of-function research in, are not in order to weaponize bioweapons, but instead simply to produce defenses against them. But there's no question the U.S. weaponizes biological weapons. Remember, according to the FBI itself, the anthrax attack of 2001 – which we were told at the time, was extremely sophisticated – came from Fort Detrick, an Army research facility, because they were working there to take anthrax and weaponize it and make it far deadlier and far more transmissible, not – perish the thought –to use as a weapon against anyone else, but simply to develop defenses in case the bad countries do it to us. 

So, we know the government does this. It's the Department of Energy that oversees that work. Obviously, they had the best virologist overseeing this work, and it's that elite team of scientists that concluded that the lab leak theory is the most likely explanation for the origin of COVID. And the reason that's so alarming is that, as we reviewed the chronology a few days ago, Dr. Fauci worked desperately behind the scenes to coerce and bully scientists early on, who were telling him this came from this lab and not naturally occurring, to switch their view and to create a consensus, a false consensus, to convince the public that the natural origin of COVID had been proven. And the lab leak was a crazy conspiracy theory that only hateful bigots trying to stir up anti-Asian animus will actually affirm. As a result, Big Tech censored that claim, too, just like they censored the true New York Post story. Two stories of major significance that were censored on the ground they were disinformation: the Hunter Biden reporting and the lab leak theory. That's how you know that when people claim that they are disinformation experts, they are fraudulent. Those are the people who want to hide the truth by calling it disinformation and getting it censored from the Internet. 

This is a huge problem – for the media, for Big Tech, and for the U.S. government. Everybody remembers that they were told that the lab leak theory is a crazy conspiracy theory that was debunked and that nobody with any knowledge would actually believe only to learn that major agencies inside the U.S. government, including its most elite virology unit at the Department of Energy, believe not just that it is viable, but the most likely theory. That's a huge problem. How in the media can you defend yourself now, having spent two years telling people that this crazy conspiracy theory is one that you should laugh at only to learn that the government's own scientists at the highest levels believe that that's the explanation?  

The New York Times today published an article trying to salvage what they did. It has a very strong headline: “New Data Links Pandemics Origins to Raccoon Dogs at the Wuhan Market”. That's a pretty bold headline. New data. A new discovery proves a link between the wet market in Wuhan and the pandemic's origins. “Genetic samples from the market were recently uploaded to an international database and then removed after scientists asked China about them.” That's the New York Times article today: 

 

An international team of virus experts said on Thursday that they had found genetic data from a market in Wuhan, China, linking the coronavirus with raccoon dogs for sale there, adding evidence to the case that the worst pandemic in a century could have been ignited by an infected animal that was being dealt through the illegal wildlife trade (The New York Times. March 16, 2023).  

 

Look at the language here. You have this gigantic, bold, bombastic headline leading people to believe that new evidence was just found by scientists proving or at least strongly suggesting it came from the wet market, and already in the first paragraph, what we learn is these experts are saying it, there's no paper that you can read, there's no scientific data that has been published, there's no peer review survey. It's just experts claiming this. And then even the Times in the very first paragraph is already backtracking from that headline. Look at this language, “adding evidence to the case that the worst pandemic in a century could have been ignited by an infected animal”. So already they're saying this is not actually proof. There's no new study. It's just some experts saying we think we might have found something suggesting that this may have happened. 

 

The genetic data was drawn from swabs taken from in and around the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market starting in January 2020, shortly after the Chinese authorities had shut down the market because of suspicions that it was linked to the outbreak of a new virus. By then, the animals had been cleared out, but researchers swabbed walls, floors, metal cages, and carts often used for transporting animal cages. 

In samples that came back positive for the coronavirus, the international research team found genetic material belonging to animals, including large amounts that were a match for raccoon dog, three scientists involved in the analysis said (The New York Times. March 16, 2023). 

 

This is not how scientific research works – that anonymous researchers make claims to the New York Times about the evidence you can't evaluate, not published in peer-reviewed journals. Now, here's the real paragraph that you have to really focus on, 

The jumbling together of genetic material from the virus and the animal does not prove that a raccoon dog itself was infected. And even if a raccoon dog had been infected, it would not be clear that the animal had spread the virus to people. Another animal could have passed the virus to people, or someone infected with the virus could have spread the virus to a raccoon dog (The New York Times. March 16, 2023).  

 

In other words, this proves nothing. 

 

But the analysis did establish that raccoon dogs – fluffy animals that are related to foxes and are known to be able to transmit the virus – deposited genetic signatures in the same place where genetic material from the virus was left, the three scientists said. That evidence, they said, was consistent with the scenario in which the virus had spilled into humans from a wild animal. The new evidence is sure to provide a jolt to the debate over the pandemic's origin, even if it does not resolve the question of how it began (The New York Times. March 16, 2023).  

 

It most certainly does not resolve the question. And then it mentions the new Department of Energy study, which is why this New York Times is saying this. And then we get the following: “But the genetic data from the market offers some of the most tangible evidence yet of how the virus could have spilled into people from wild animals outside a lab”. And it then says, 

 

Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada who worked on the analysis, said that the human genetic material was to be expected, given that people were shopping and working there and that human COVID cases had been linked to the market. Dr. Goldstein, too, cautioned that “we don't have an infected animal and we can't prove definitively there was an infected animal at that stall. Genetic material from the virus is stable enough, he said, that it is not clear when exactly it was deposited at the market". He said anything that the team was still analyzing the data and that it had not intended for its analysis to become public before it had released a report. “But”, he said, given that the animals that were present in the market were not sampled at the time. this is as good as we can hope to get” (The New York Times. March 16, 2023).   

 

So, you take that analysis in the headline, which seems extremely conclusive and revelatory and by the time you get to the end of the article, not only is there no study, but it basically proves nothing. I think we have a tweet from my former colleague at The Intercept, Ryan Grim, who analyzed the flaws in this article. There you see the tweet and it says, 

There are a lot of reasons people don't trust the media, some good, some bad, but look at these last three paragraphs and compare it to the headline and you'll see one very stark example of why trust in the media is collapsing (March 17, 2023) 

 

They had to create a headline that gave people who want to believe in the zoonotic theory some way to believe new evidence was discovered as proof to get rid of this lab leak theory that just got a lot more credibility, when the article itself, once you read it, almost says nothing and certainly doesn't match the promises of the headline. 

 


 

Before we begin Nick on, let me just report on one issue that happened today. The International Criminal Court today, which is based in The Hague and is designed to punish leaders for war crimes, issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming he committed war crimes within their jurisdiction in the war in Ukraine. Here you see two CNN anchors responding to this with great excitement and glee. 

(Video CNN, March 17, 2023)

CNN: Breaking news, really important breaking news to turn to right now. Moments ago, we're just now learning that the ICC, the International Criminal Court, has issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin and another Russian official. Both are at the center of an alleged scheme to forcibly deport thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia. This is a topic that we've been talking about so much on the show. Let me get back to Ivan Watson. He's back in here. He's joining me now with more on this. Ivan, what are you hearing about this? 

 

Watson, CNN: Well, I mean, the headline here is that the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for the president of the Russian Federation. 

 

All right. Incredibly important news, extremely exciting. Shocking. There's only one problem with that, which is the relationship of the United States to the International Criminal Court is quite noteworthy, in particular, because the United States is not a signatory to the International Court –  it considers itself exempt from the International Court. Congress has refused to ratify the Rome Statute, the treaty that Bill Clinton wanted to sign, making the United States a member and not only that: the United States reserves unto itself the right, using a 2002 law, to use military force to rescue any American soldiers or officials who are put on trial at the International Criminal Court. 

In other words, the United States treats the International Criminal Court like an enemy and believes it has no jurisdiction or credibility to judge other nations and certainly not the United States. As a result, here you see the Voice of America news, which is generally pro-America, the headline there, “The ICC issues arrest warrant for Putin”, and it explores some of these difficulties. 

 

The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant Friday for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of war crimes for his alleged involvement in the abduction of children from Ukraine. A prosecutor presented the allegations, which were reviewed by independent judges who decided, “There is sufficient reason to believe these crimes have been committed by these persons, and as a result of this consideration, the arrest warrant was issued by the court today”, ICC President Piotr Hofmanski told VOA. 

 

U.S. officials appear hesitant to publicly cheer the ICC action given past American antipathy for the court. The United States was one of only seven countries (along with China, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Qatar and Yemen) to vote against the court's establishment in 1998 at the United Nations. Considering the sometimes “very tense” history between Washington and The Hague “it would not be as it would not be surprising that it would take them a moment to think through their position”, Leila Sadat, a Yale Law School fellow and international criminal law professor at the University of Washington in Saint Louis, told VOA (VOA News. March 17, 2023).

 

So basically, if you wanted to try Vladimir Putin at The Hague for war crimes, good luck trying to arrest him. I'd like to know how that's going to happen. But beyond that, you have to explain why George Bush and Dick Cheney aren't on trial there for the Iraq war. It's the kind of morass and contradictory values that all you have to do is just dig an inch deep – which, of course, these CNN anchors are incapable of doing – and suddenly you'll discover the kind of quicksand on which all of these moralistic narratives are based. 


 

The Interview: Nick Cruse

 

Let me bring in our guest tonight, who is Nick Cruse, who is an independent journalist, a founding member of the Revolutionary Blackout Network, and a now, let's call him regular guest, certainly a friend of our show System Update as I find him a very astute and independent-minded observer of American politics. We have a couple of things to discuss, beginning with the silence of the American left when it comes to the U.S. proxy war with Russia over Ukraine, as well as the latest very cringe-worthy embarrassment by our vice president, Kamala Harris. 

 

G. Greenwald: Nick, good evening. How are you.?

 

Nick Cruse: Always fun to do this show, if you don't mind, I do want to chime in on the ICC thing

 

G. Greenwald: I was going to bring you in on that. I knew you had a lot to say. So, by all means, I thought about it first and then I was like, you know what? Let me just get through this. But go ahead, by all means. 

 

Nick Cruse: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I love that they did this because they opened a can of worms. What the U.S. media is not telling you is that the Pentagon and the Biden administration wasn't all the way in on this. They actually, as you reported, did not turn this on because it wasn't they didn't want to do it because they didn't want to opt in United States citizens in the military-industrial complex into war crimes investigations. So, I'm glad that they opened this can of worms because – I don't know how much you've been following this discourse – because now that this happened, now everyone's like, how about George W. Bush? Who about Netanyahu? What about all these war criminals in the United States government? And it's hilarious to me because there’re liberals right now who really believe that Vladimir Putin has a higher kill count than Joe Biden, than Barack Obama, than George W. Bush, than Bill Clinton. That's why when this stuff happens, you open this conversation up, well, okay, if you think Vladimir Putin is a war criminal, explain Syria, explain Libya and Barack Obama. And this is the conversation Iiberals will want to avoid, but they walked right to the trap. So, narrative-wise, I think is good for anti-imperialism people who want to hold the war machine accountable because they walk right into this trial. And for the people that you see properly story up in a day celebrating Putin being charged with a war crime, as you see, I have no respect for these people, especially the middle left that we're going to get into here later, because there's no one – the height of cowardice is you live in the most violent empire, you benefit from U.S. imperialism, but you spend all your time focusing on Putin and the adversaries of the biggest criminal empire that humanity has seen in recent age. They're the biggest cowards. And you should focus on calling your state out. But that doesn't get to the tip of the iceberg. Iceberg on my comments on ICC, I love that this happened because of the hypocrisy of Western imperialism. 

 

G. Greenwald: Yeah, I love it too. I mean, that's why the U.S. is extremely uncomfortable. How can they possibly upon a court that they not only regard as illegitimate but previously threatened with sanctions for daring to charge Americans with war crimes and they reserve the right to invade The Hague militarily in the event that The Hague was to put any American soldier or American official on trial? So not only that, you know, there's this whole kind of discourse tactic that liberals in particular and their media allies have been trained to use, which is anytime you make this point, so you say, oh, Vladimir Putin is being tried for war crimes at the ICC, why wasn't George Bush and Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice and Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama put on trial for war crimes as well? And then immediately they'll say, oh, that's “whataboutism.” They've been trained with this word to basically refuse to ever allow the inquiry of whether are you subjecting yourself to the same set of rules that you're purporting to impose on other people. The most basic requirement of morality is that everyone can go around pointing fingers at other people and saying they did this and they did that. The question is, if you yourself are doing it and even doing it worse, what credibility do you have to judge others? 

 

Nick Cruse: That's such a good point. They use whataboutism to reflect their lack of principles, their lack of morals. Could we hold the mirror about to them? In the same way, they had all the criticism of Donald Trump meanwhile, Joe Biden is funding ICE and the border industrial complex more than Trump, funding the military more than Trump. 

AOC literally did a whole photoshoot with her crying at the border, but Biden is doing the same thing. He's doubling down on Trump’s policy. There's nowhere to be found. “Whataboutism” points towards your party calling out their lack of consistency? And that is what the Liberals have. That's what literally makes my skin crawl and I thought the progressive – what I call now the NATO Left – I thought they were supposed to be burying this but they walk around these contradictions, walk around praising Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders endorsing Biden 2024. You know, Joe Biden's funding multiple genocides. But meanwhile, Bernie Sanders also condemned Vladimir Putin. These are the contradictions that we cannot tolerate. 

Now, to the point with the United States and their opposition to ICC is very clear, is because you had John Bolton, I know you saw his unhinged speech in 2019. “We call for the prosecution of the ICC”, “U.S. sanctions on the ICC”, which kind of rebuke to the ridiculous talking point from what comes from that Donald Trump was here to drain the swamp. You have John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, the war swamp monsters. And then those swamp monsters came in, and protected the other swamp from war crimes. So, I want people to understand it's a unified party. Both parties are going to continue to support the war. Don't believe the narrative that the president and the standards in Congress, follow the direction of the military-industrial complex that was their boss at the end of the day. 

 

G. Greenwald: Yeah, yeah. I want to get to that point that you just made. But, you know, just to kind of finalize this part about the ICC, it's insanity to say that you can't examine a set of a system of justice for whether or not there's consistent application. It would be like if the government was only enforcing laws, let's say traffic laws, against Democrats, but not Republicans. So, you're a Democrat, you get ticketed if you speed if you're a Republican, you don't. The idea that that's not a valid point to bring up, but all you should do is say, well, look, the liberals broke the law, that all that you should care about is that they're being punished. Who cares? The Republicans, of course, that's a valid critique whether or not because if it's not being consistently applied, it's not actually a system of justice. It's just a cynical, corrupt way of wielding power, which is exactly, of course, what international law as it's used actually is. 

All right. Let's move to the issue of the thing that caught my attention that I wanted you to come on and talk about, one of the things, which is this tweet that you raised. It says: 

 

The only political group in Washington that refuses to speak on the Ukraine war is the NATO left. There is a giant debate after the DeSantis comments and Tucker Carlson asking all Republican candidates about it. Meanwhile, the NATO left congresspeople to have nothing to say. Cowards. 

 

Now, Nick, earlier today I saw this video that I found super interesting in the state of Maine. The Maine legislature, which is run by Democrats, they have a majority in both houses of the main legislature, decided for whatever reason, I guess they have nothing else to do that, they wanted to vote on a resolution applauding Joe Biden and NATO for supporting the war in Ukraine and urging that more weapons and more money be spent on fueling this proxy war. And in the Senate, it passed 27 to 4. Four Republicans voted no. The rest voted yes. In the House, the vast majority of Republicans voted no, 53 out of 63 Republicans voted no. But it still ended up passing because enough Republicans joined with every Democrat to vote yes. But here was one Republican – I'm not going to play you the whole thing. But he gave a speech. He stood up. He was a citizen, state senator it's Eric Brakey, he's actually a Republican. He explains why he refuses to join in on this resolution. Let's just listen to a little bit of what he has to say. 

 

(Video. March 10, 2023)

 

State Sen. Eric Brakey (R-ME): Mr. president, I rise in opposition to this resolution in the strongest terms possible as a piece of war propaganda that I will not have my name or my vote attached to. This resolution on the war in Ukraine is riddled with half-truths, historical omissions and dangerous conclusions that urge our nation down the path towards a potential global nuclear war, the likes of which no one alive or dead on this earth has ever seen, and one that humanity will never experience twice. 

 

Rather than urging peace talks to bring an end to this dangerous border dispute halfway across the world, this resolution presents a simplistic narrative with no grounding in the realities of foreign policy or the history of Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War in order to justify a continued blank check, now over $100 billion, much of it totally unaccounted for from the pockets of U.S. taxpayers to the Ukrainian government, in an undeclared proxy war, with no exit strategy and in which continued escalation endangers the entire world. 

 

 

Nick, why are we hearing that from Republicans all over the state legislators in the United States and in the United States Congress? Not all Republicans. In fact, most Republicans support Biden's policy, but a lot of them – and not heard this from any elected official on the left in the United States. 

 

Nick Cruse: It is my opinion that the Ukraine crisis has exposed them as cowards and not the best among us, but active agents of the Democratic Party into a perilous war machine. You heard the video there. Right now, the Doomsday Clock is closest to midnight it has ever been. Right now. Right now, the military-industrial complex is making record profits. Japan doubled its military budget. Germany is now a militarized country again. The U.S. is forcing Europe to militarize with the force of a gun. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders and the progressive left have no criticism of this. This is an issue that Bernie and The Squad claim is not even on their radar, which is mostly a lie. 

 

G. Greenwald: The last time they voted, they actually voted for it. The last time they had to weigh in on whether to authorize $40 billion on top of the $15 billion immediately authorized at the start. Every last Democrat, including Bernie and AOC, voted yes. 

 

Nick Cruse: Yeah, absolutely. And I guess my point – I don't know if you saw that shameless interview that Bernie Sanders did when he was asked about this. One a few corporate media had to have the balls to ask Bernie about Ukraine. He said, oh, this hasn't been on my radar – but you voted for Ukraine funding. You are in support of this war. And he played the ball and said, Oh, actually I support the president on this. I support Joe Biden on his endless crusade to provoke World War III. And he said, I don't want your to vote for this stuff. You are 100% involved. And that is a lie in a coordinated strategy. And after seeing this goal for the last year, 100% of this progressive was told not to talk about this, to take the side of the Democrat Party, allow the quote/unquote “bad guys” like Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, Tucker Carlson. That's why I believe they are allowed to speak out about this, because the establishment won't stand up against the Ukraine proxy war scam. They want that to be considered a right-wing position. So, they told Bernie Sanders and the NATO left: you get on board with what we're doing and you shut up and only allow the right wing to speak on this. So, that's why anyone who told the truth about this war is a right winger. No, AOC should be saying what Marjorie Taylor Greene is saying because it's a longstanding leftist belief that they are now throwing under the bridge and they are now ignoring it. You have Joe Progressive. You got people like Marianne Williamson, who says you want a primary Joe Biden, but she agrees with the commander in chief on a very important policy like Ukraine. How are you going to primary a president, the commander in chief, meanwhile, you agree with them on foreign policy? It's a joke. This is what a NATO left is and this is why at revolutionary blackout, we have no tolerance for people who are directly responsible for the explosion of the military industrial complex. That is a stain that will forever be on Bernie Sanders and AOC’s records. They did a vote. That vote led directly to write don't have record profit. That is a stain on their records and we will continue to hold them accountable. And all the folk progressives like Max, Wolf Ross and Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, who's a coward, who bowed their head to the military-industrial complex on this. 

 

G. Greenwald: So, look, that last point that you made is the one I want to focus on, because, you know, Bernie's been around for a long time. He's been very engaged in foreign policy, going back to, you know, the eighties. He would visit Cuba and Nicaragua and El Salvador. He was very outspoken on left-wing foreign policy. It's not like he hasn't been involved in foreign policy. And he actually wrote a good article right before the Russian invasion of Ukraine when it became inevitable that it was highly likely that they were going to invade. Laying out all the dangers that came from the United States’ possible involvement in this war. It was still unclear what role the U.S. would play. They were still saying at the time, it was really dangerous for us to get involved. It could lead to escalation. And Bernie wrote an article in The Guardian saying, look, I condemn Putin, I think this invasion is wrong, but here are all the reasons why it would be remarkably foolish and dangerous for the U.S. to get involved in this war. Three months later, when the vote happened, not only did Bernie abandon all those arguments and snap into line and vote yes, but Cori Bush, whom you mention, voted yes as well, and she issued a statement that read exactly like what someone smart would have said if they had voted no. She said, “My worry is all this money is really going to go to Raytheon and the CIA and corrupt people in Ukraine. My worry is this isn't going to save the people of Ukraine, but kill them, that it's all going to disappear in corruption, and yet she still voted yes. So, clearly, some of these people at least know these arguments. What are they so afraid of? Why are they so subservient to the Democratic Party staying in line and doing what they're told when Bernie and the Squad ran, their whole reason to exist was that they were going to challenge the Democratic establishment. 

 

Nick Cruse: Yeah. And that's why I wonder – crucial errors that many progressives in the United States have made. They believe that you can root out corruption if you get rid of “corporate money.” And that’s what AOC and Bernie Sanders claim, they said we don't take corporate money, so we are not corrupted. But the problem with this analysis is they ignore the many ways that you can become corrupted. You can ruin them just how Nancy Pelosi tamed the Squad just by being nice to them, offering them to go to lunch, giving them committees, and seat assignments, assuring them that they are on the right side of history. And then you get used to being paid $170,000 a year plus security benefits plus a lifetime pension. So, you pretend it's only the corporate money. If you don't take over money, you won't be corrupted, but you get part of the Democratic Party’s influence, which is impossible, impossible to overcome. Every single one progressive who had a great day, they became part of the party apparatus, and they flip. 

And, Glenn, I'll tell you, the person that has my mind on this project, the failed project of the Democrat Party, is Cori Bush. I live in Missouri. I knew who Cori Bush was long before she was elected. She was a legend in activism in Saint Louis. The fact that they turned her – she was a serious nurse, working-class activist, calling out William Lacy Clay for his corrupting with the St. Louis PD. You won't get anyone who is more well-meaning than Cori Bush, but she got elected and she's not sold out to the machine because of the coffee benefit being part of high society. They are totally doing great. They buy the media, get magazine deals. Cori Bush got a book deal. What the fuck she had to say? Nothing. But they gave her a book deal because she plays along and this stuff is intoxicating. You become addicted to this Washington behavior; it’s more than corporate money. And that just a very short summary of why people sell out. Bernie, I give him credit because, as you said before, he was a very harsh critic of Ronald Reagan. He had a long time of being an anti-imperialist after he called out Operation Condor and all this stuff. But now after a few decades he gave up and now he wants to be a PR machine at the Democrat Party. But what's shameful about AOC, Corey Bush, Jamaal Bowman, is how quickly they gave up; they immediately fell into the establishment. The second that Jamaal Bowman was endorsed by Barack Obama, he was all in there with no resistance. That’s why I put a lot of my focus towards these people because they pulled what I view as one of the biggest political frauds I have ever seen - in Barack Obama - and what they promised to do versus what they actually carried out. 

 

G. Greenwald: Yeah. You know, Chris Hayes, before he had his MSNBC show, in primetime, I think he still at that point had his MSNBC show on the weekend that nobody watched, that he tried to make elevated. I was on that show several times. It's actually a pretty interesting show, kind of very off-the-beaten-path. They didn't really care what he did. He wrote a book called “Twilight of the Elites”, and I interviewed him. I read the book. I wrote a book review of it, and then I interviewed him about it. And his argument was that these institutions of power are constructed so that no matter how well-intentioned you are when you enter them, no matter how determined you are to subvert and resist them, no matter how smart you are, or strong of character you are, that it is inevitable that it will be what he called cognitively capturing you, that you will start to see the world through their prism. Because every day the people with whom you're speaking are reinforcing the value system that they want to be implanted in your head and every incentive scheme around you punishes you for deviating from their value system and rewards you for affirming it. And human beings basically cannot withstand, he argued, the kind of institutional pressures that have been cultivated over decades for how to co-opt people. 

And I remember I asked him, I said, Chris, you're about to get, you know, your own primetime show and a big contract with one of the largest media corporations on the planet, Comcast. What have you done to prepare yourself for this, especially since you're saying that it's inevitable – and you can go and read the interview? There's a transcript on Salon – he said, “I really haven't thought about it”. And he should have because he is exhibit A, along with Rachel Maddow, in how well that happens. But oftentimes, I think you're exactly right that you want to kind of look for some very nefarious, you know, these people sold out or there's some kind of corrupt dealing going on when in reality they just get this like trivial but very enticing reward system thrown at their feet. But the price to pay is sacrificing all of their principles.  

You mentioned the debate that takes place within the Republican Party and there really is a real debate. I mean, most of the Republican establishment, Mitch McConnell and Marco Rubio and all those people are absolutely fully supportive of Biden's war in Ukraine. But you have a substantial wing of the Republican Party in the conservative media led by Tucker Carlson, the most watched commentator on the right, who are vehemently opposed and making speeches very similar to the one that I just showed you from the Maine legislature. And, you know, say what you want about Fox News, but the reality is you hear so much more vehement and virulent criticism of Republican leaders, from Fox, than, in a million years, you would ever hear of Democratic leaders from MSNBC and CNN. And the reason for that? There are many. But the main one, in my view, is what you're saying, which is conservatives hold their leaders, their political leaders, with great skepticism and even kind of scorn, whereas liberals – this sort of left, the kind of part of the left that's now well the Democratic Party – views their political leaders with reverence, kind of like royalty, or like a rock star or like a Hollywood celebrity that you would just kind of revere. And you can really see the way in which that manifests. And so, I just want to tell people out there, you know, one of the things I hear people saying a lot is that there was kind of this old left that was very anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment, and then, a lot of people on the populist right have respected more for that kind of left and more in common with that left. Then this new left that's very authoritarian and worshipful of the establishment. So even if you're not on the left, I really hope you will follow and watch the Revolutionary Blackout Network, because if you're not to the left, you're not going to agree with them on anything. That's what it means to have a coalition of people who don't agree on everything, but they really are this sort of anti-establishment, anti-establishment, anti-war authoritarian left that I respect from decades ago. And I think if there's going to be a coalition on various issues like war and corporatism of right, left-wing populists, that's where it's going to come from. So, I can't recommend that enough. 

All right. Before I let you go, we have to talk about our beloved vice president. Speaking of the kind of pro-establishment left, I think it's worth saying that nobody on the left really was ever fooled by Kamala Harris. She was always regarded with a huge amount of distrust and a huge amount of skepticism, given the fact that she began her career as a prosecutor, spent a lot of time prosecuting with great zeal and what seemed like glee, even nonviolent criminals, putting them into prison, not resisting the death penalty. She looks to me always like somebody who just walked out of a board of directors meeting of Aetna. She just seems like she has that vibe all the time. But I have to say, she's turned into something totally embarrassing and unrecognizable. As vice president, there are so many examples. Let's just look at the latest one. I honestly feel bad for her watching this, but we're going to have to get through it. Let's watch her on Stephen Colbert. 

 

(Video. Stephen Colbert. March 16, 2023)

 

S. Colbert:  Any discussion in the White House about what the blowback would be for approving the Willow Oil project, because people have gotten quite upset about it. I think there are some protesters outside right now. 

 

K. Harris: Well, I think that the concerns are based on what we should all be concerned about but the solutions have to be and include what we are doing in terms of going forward, in terms of investments. 

 

So, Nick, their concerns are based on what we should all be concerned about, but the solutions have to be based on what we're doing going forward. What? What happened to her? Why does she speak in these nonsensical, blatantly vapid phrases? 

 

Nick Cruse: I mean, one can only guess. I mean, my only theory is I think Tulsi Gabbard really broke her brain because I feel like that was a real turning point. 

 

G. Greenwald: Remind people what happened there. 

 

Nick Cruse: So that was when Kamala Harris, although if you guys remember, was polling like number one, number two, within the margin of error, after her debate, as she called him Jim Crowe Joe, she called out Joe Biden for her segregation policies that she 100% forgot about when she was elected as vice president. But we can talk about that another time. 

 

G. Greenwald: So after she basically called, she basically strongly implied that he was a racist, that he was on the side of segregationists and anti-busing, and that had he gotten his way, she said the little girl, that that was her would not have been able to go to the white schools she went to – or the predominantly white school that she went to – because she was black but she basically implied he was a racist. That was a big moment in the Democratic debate, as you say, the media started thinking maybe she can win, had a big jump in the polls and then the next debate, what happened? 

 

Nick Cruse: They had Tulsi Gabbard that ruined that. There is a direct correlation to that debate from a free fall when Tulsi Gabbard called out Kamala Harris’s criminal justice record and her psychopathy in the criminal justice system. 

And I think like when you look at her in her early performances, I feel like she was more allowed to be free. And then she had that moment with Tulsi Gabbard, she had a few other embarrassing moments. And then you had the Hillary Clinton people who were with Biden - she had a meeting in the Hamptons, with the Clinton people during the primaries.. You saw the awful job they did with Hillary Clinton, so they did Kamala Harris no justice as well. So, she became this overly coached thing, especially Tulsi, because that was a very devastating. Once again, that's just my theory. After that, she became a shell of herself. But I remember during the Brett Kavanaugh trial, she will put on very charismatic performances during the Senate hearings.

As someone who supported Bernie, I was part of the campaign at the time, I was deathly afraid of Kamala Harris because – I don't know if you remember – she pretended to be a progressive very early on when she was high in the polls. She pretended to be for Medicare for All. She would run on this nonsense that she's also a progressive prosecutor. So, I saw this: a woman who was sold out, though very charismatic during the Brett Kavanaugh trials. And since then, she has performed in such a way that is embarrassing and no one could predict. She thought maybe she could be the next Obama. But Kamala Harris is the perfect example of how there is no meritocracy in the liberal system. And that's based on between her and Pete Buttigieg. They are chosen by the establishment for the really weak reason of identity politics, because Kamala is a somewhat attractive woman, because Pete Buttigieg is a gay man. So, they push them on people, but it doesn't mean they’re talented.

 

G. Greenwald: Yeah. Yeah. You know, I think it's important when there are people you dislike ideologically or politically, to kind of be aware of what their skills are. You know, I don't play video games, but I've seen my kids play video games enough to know that like when they're preparing to, you know, do combat with someone – whom they're going to like trying to stab in the neck or whatever horrible thing the video game forces them to do to win – they analyze the strengths of the person they're about to fight, they like to analyze the strength and their speed and their agility. So, I never had trouble admitting, you know, when I saw Liz Cheney – is this an incredibly grave threat to everything I value that he was very smart. Liz Cheney is very smart. I don't have problems admitting that about Liz Cheney. 

So, I always thought Kamala was smart. When I watched her in the Senate, I recognized those skills. Those are skills of like a very adept lawyer. You know, her ability to construct questions, to trap people in these logical corners. That is a certain skill that requires a kind of intellect to think about where people are going to anticipate what their argument is to force them into corners. I think the problem became that she kind of got overwhelmed because the reality is, if you look at what she's done in her life, she doesn't know anything about foreign policy, like she went to Guatemala to resolve the root problems of Guatemala and immigration. And then she has to go to like Eastern Europe. She knows nothing about this. And I think the combination of like being overwhelmed and having her confidence destroyed, as you said, through the Tulsi thing, through her campaign being a complete failure, but also, I think they're constantly warning her you cannot error even by one word. And there's no freedom to what she speaks. There's no confidence. Her confidence is destroyed. And to watch this very poised and confident and skillful and intelligent woman become this object of pity because she can't even articulate a single sentence of any substance is really strange and bizarre to watch. I agree. All you can do is speculate. But I think the Democrats are really screwed because  the reality is, Biden said he was only going to be a one-term president. He's going to be 82 when he runs for reelection. That means he's going to be 86 if he finishes his term, of course, they're going to look for alternatives. The problem is, who do they have? They can't just sweep Kamala aside for like Gavin Newsom and just put a white male in front of Kamala. But they can't run Kamala because they know she's going to get destroyed. She's incredibly unlikable at this point. She can't even speak. So, they're really kind of in a terrible position because of her. 

 

Nick Cruse: Can you imagine a debate between Donald Trump – because I don't know if you saw Donald Trump's comments on Ukraine – imagine a debate between Kamala Harris and Donald Trump and the issue of Ukraine comes up. And I have no respect for Trump’s overall intellect. But if you look at his speeches and general statements on Ukraine, there is no doubt in my mind that Donald Trump will run circles around or come later on Ukraine, because as you said, she had no knowledge of foreign policy. And you make another great point because she was amazing prosecuting, and she was great at the Brett Kavanaugh trial. But just because you're a great prosecutor – great at these controlled environment – don't mean you're going to be able to speak on the fly and be a great politician. It is saying with Ben Carson, when you – there's no doubt this man was a legendary brain surgeon – but if you ask him about foreign policy, this man has his brain blown. Another point I want to make is that at Revolutionary Blackout, we are a group of black lefties. I want to call and hold the ruling class accountable. I think one of the biggest obstacles to the black community has been black leadership. Kamala Harris I love that she is this because she's like the perfect example of this thing about all these black sellout leaders that you see promoted by the Democrat Party because they can hide behind her skin color, even though they support imperialism, even though they support a criminal Justice Department, 

 

G. Greenwald: Corporate power, corporate power. 

 

Nick Cruse: […] Wall Street. You have Hakeem Jeffries, who’s the biggest Wall Street shill, the biggest Zionist, the biggest supporter of Ukraine. You have Eric Adams, who's a giant police state boot licker. You have Kareem Jean-Pierre, who's a traitor to the Haitian people, supports U.S. occupation of Haiti. You have Lori Lightfoot, right, who’s absolutely horrible. Jim Clyburn who's absolutely horrible. So, this is a conversation you never hear. Also, because people are afraid of calling these people out, because if you target black politicians, you get called as a racist. They can’t use that against me. So, I've been calling these people out - Kamala Harris, Laurie - all these black leaders.The Black Congressional Caucus sold us out and the Democrats prop up black leaders who suck, who have no clue. Far cry from Malcolm X, MLK. I have no other way to say that they are intellectually shallow. Do you guys think Lori Lightfoot is the intellectual, Eric Adams is the intellectual, Hakeem Jeffries? No, they’re probably the biggest bootlickers, the people who want to sell the community the most, and we need to call them out. It’s easier for me because liberals hide behind identity politics to deflect criticism, and that's why they choose these people; it’s all extremely, extremely nefarious.

 

G. Greenwald: Yeah. I think Pete Buttigieg is a really good one too, which is if you look at him on paper, like Kamala Harris, he has like the perfect kind of profile for what a smart person is supposed to do and be and sound like, you know, his background of education is impressive. He went to McKinsey, he learned a limited skill set, just like Kamala did. He exercises that very well. But you can't just put him as the Secretary of Transportation and think he's going to know anything about the transportation system. And as a result, he's been a complete and utter disaster. As everyone knows, he has no idea what he's doing. And I think that you're exactly right that this kind of liberal artifice, this structure that they've built - of who you're supposed to respect as a smart and inspiring leader - is all starting to crumble. Because at the end of the day, I think there is enough diversity in politics. We had a black president, we've elected twice. We now have a black woman who's been the vice president. A lot of these barriers are now broken. 

And I remember Obama’s first press conference. They asked him: do you think Americans are going to be inspired emotionally by seeing you and your family walk into the White House as a black family, the first ever to be in the White House? And he said, you know, I think this is going to be an emotional punch to that for like a day. And then starting on the second day, people are going to want to know: what are you doing for me? What are you doing for my life? And identity politics is not going to take the Democratic Party very far at all. And the more kind of failures and frauds and people who are completely incompetent, they continue to advance thinking that identity politics or liberal resumes are enough to dress it up. I think the more this is all going to collapse in on them and Kamala is just a particularly weird and vivid and extreme example of watching that happening in front of us in real time. 

 

Nick Cruse: Yeah, and I could stress enough the damage that the liberal establishment and the ideology does to real legitimate ideas, like when you look at what the Black Panthers spoke about, when you listen to Malcolm X and all these people, there's a uniting positive idea behind identity politics. I as a black man, as this struggle, that struggle, the same struggle that you have, even though you poor and white, the same struggle that you have, even though you're poor, Latino, let's combat. We struggle together. This is our daily politics. We talk about the Palestinian struggle. That's identity politics. When we talk about a police state and how much of our community. But what the liberal establishment did was to take identity politics and bastardize it. And to turn it into, Oh my God, look at this black woman in position of power, even though she's a warmonger. Oh, my God, you're just a gay person, even though you support Wall Street. That is not what the original idea has been and thereby has been poisoned because liberalism, as applied, is a very toxic connotation to something that should be uniting.But once again, it's one of the main ways that the Democrat Party, through their rhetoric, through their politics, actually does a lot of harm to our community. But I can write a book on that. 

 

[01:24:34] G. Greenwald: Absolutely. So, I was just, once again, encouraging people to watch, including those of you who aren't leftists, I purposely try and find the smartest people who are the proponents of the ideologies. They don't support me. So even if you're not to the left, maybe, especially if you're not, look at Nick and his colleagues at the network, I've had Sabby on my show before, who's also incredibly smart. The thing I like best about what you guys do is you never speak without a very strong basis for knowledge. You read, you prepare, and you studied. None of it is dogmatic or reflexive without actually having really grappled with the substance. That's the thing I appreciate about you guys the most. 

Again, you can find Nick on Twitter and that has all the links to where there it is to where he appears as well. On their YouTube show. They have great guests. They have just interviewed Matt Taibbi. They cover issues in a really interesting way, as I think you can see from this discussion. Nick, thank you so much for coming back on. We're going to continue to harass you and coerce you back into our show in the future. It's always a pleasure. I hope you have a great evening. 

 

Nick Cruse: Yeah, the show is always very fun to do. It's very therapeutic. So, thank you for having me here.

 

G. Greenwald: For me as well. It's kind of cathartic. You have a great night. 


 

So that concludes our show for this evening. As a reminder, all of our episodes are now on the major podcasting platforms, which we did at your request. You can follow us on Spotify and Apple and the rest, which we hope you'll do. Every Tuesday and Thursday, after the show, we have a live feedback interactive show on Locals, which is part of Rumble. To join our Locals community, which not only gives you access to that show but also my written reporting as well, as just being part of our community. For those of you who have been watching, we're super appreciative. Our show continues to grow. That helps us get the guests that we need. It helps us do planning for the rest of the next few months to continue to grow. So, we hope you'll keep watching. Come back every night at 7 p.m. EST, our regular time, exclusively here, on Rumble. 

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FAUCI’S COVER-UP ON DOG EXPERIMENTS
How NIAID, with key help from the Washington Post, turned a true story into a “right-wing conspiracy theory”

By Leighton Woodhouse

On the morning of October 25, 2021, Dr. Anthony Fauci dashed off an email to eight of his colleagues, asking them to look into an experiment conducted in Tunisia in 2019. It was urgent. “I want this done right away,” he wrote, “since we are getting bombarded by protests.”

The experiment Fauci was referring to was the one that Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene asked him about this week in a heated Congressional hearing. Holding up a photograph on poster board of two beagles with their heads locked into mesh cages, she said, “As director of the NIH, you did sign off on these so-called ‘scientific experiments,’ and as a dog lover, I want to tell you this is disgusting, and evil.”

 

 

Greene is to liberals what Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is to conservatives: an easy target for partisans to mock. Her questioning of Fauci predictably inspired the usual derision. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, referring to Greene as “the consistent frontrunner for stupidest member of the House of Representatives in history,” sneered, “No one knew what she was talking about.”

But in fact, Fauci knew exactly what Greene was talking about. Three years ago, the experiment in question was at the center of an entire crisis communications response within NIAID (the institute within NIH run by Dr. Fauci). Fauci claimed that it had provoked so many angry calls that his assistant had to stop answering the phone for two weeks. The day before Fauci sent his email about being “bombarded by protests,” one of his colleagues had advised him, “It might be wise to hold off on TV until we have a handle on this.” The story had become a full-blown publicity crisis for Fauci and NIAID — until the Washington Post came to his rescue, turning a legitimate news story into “right-wing disinformation,” based on flimsy evidence that was literally concocted by Fauci’s team.

In 2019, under the auspices of a microbiologist at the University of Ohio, researchers in Tunisia placed the heads of sedated beagles in mesh bags filled with starved sand flies. This was the image Rep. Greene had held up at this week’s hearing. Later, the beagles were placed in outdoor cages for nine consecutive nights, in an area dense with sand flies infected with a parasite that carries the disease with which the researchers were trying to infect the dogs.

In his paper, the Ohio microbiologist, Abhay Satoskar, along with his research partner, acknowledged funding from NIAID, which added up to about $80,000, alongside the grant number. The grant application read:

“Dogs will be exposed to sand fly bites each night throughout the sand fly season to ensure transmission…Dogs will be anesthetized…and for 2 hours will be placed in a cage containing between 15 and 30 females…”

The description fits the experiments in Tunisia perfectly.

In August of 2021, White Coat Waste Project, a non-profit group that advocates against federal funding of animal experimentation, exposed NIAID’s support for the experiment in a blog post. In October, based on White Coat Waste’s revelations, a bipartisan group of Congressional representatives released a letter expressing concern about cruel NIAID-funded experiments on dogs, drawing particular attention to the fact that some of the dogs had had their vocal cords severed to keep them from barking and howling in pain and distress. The story generated a maelstrom online, leading to the angry phone calls Fauci claimed to have received.  “#ArrestFauci” trended on Twitter.

NIAID staff went into damage control mode. Within hours of Fauci asking his staff to look into the experiment, Satoskar emailed NIAID, following up on a phone call. Satoskar now claimed that the acknowledgment of NIH funding was a mistake. “This grant was mistakenly cited as a funding source in the paper,” he wrote.

Later, NIAID would claim that it only funded an experiment that involved vaccinating the dogs against Leishmaniasis, the disease carried by the parasites in the sand flies. Leishmaniasis is the disease with which Satoskar infected his subject beagles in Tunisia.

There is no way to know what was said on the phone call with Satoskar, but released emails show that this is exactly what NIAID wanted to hear. “Will you forward this to Dr. Fauci or let me know if I should directly forward to him?”, the recipient of the email at NIAID wrote to a colleague (the names in the emails, which were obtained by a FOIA request from White Coat Waste Project, are redacted).

Email obtained by a FOIA request from White Coat Waste Project.Email obtained by a FOIA request from White Coat Waste Project.

Satoskar then hurried to delink the paper from NIAID funding. Less than ten minutes after sending his email to NIAID, Satoskar emailed Shaden Kamhawi, editor of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, the journal that had published the paper on the experiment. “We would like to request correction of this error,” Satoskar wrote.

He might as well have been asking himself. Kamhawi is a colleague of Satoskar. She is an expert on precisely the subject that Satoskar was studying. “Dr. Kamhawi is a world expert on phlebotomine sand flies,” her curriculum vitae reads, “vectors of the neglected tropical disease leishmaniasis.” Like Satoskar, Kamhawi has conducted research in which she used sand flies to infect beagles with the disease. She has even co-published with him. Indeed, Kamhawi’s own research has been the subject of White Coat Waste Project exposé. On top of that, she is an employee of NIAID: meaning that Anthony Fauci is her boss.

Kamhawi was aware of at least the last of these potential conflicts of interest. “BTW,” she emailed her colleagues at PLOS NTD, “as I am an NIAID employee, “I am not sure if there is a COI [Conflict of Interest] here so please let me know.”

It’s unclear whether the journal took that conflict seriously. In any case, the correction went forward. The journal now read:

“There are errors in the Funding statement. The correct Funding statement is as follows: the authors received no specific funding for this work. The US National Institutes of Health and the Wellcome Trust did not provide any funding for this research and any such claim was made in error.”

This was the exonerating evidence that went out to reporters. On October 27th, a NIAID employee wrote to colleagues that “we can at least share with reporters that the journal has made the correction.” Another NIAID staffer emailed colleagues for help fielding a query from an Associated Press “fact checker,” who asked how NIAID could be sure that their funds weren’t used for the Tunisian beagle experiment. “Our evidence is simply the statement of the PI [Principal Investigator], Dr. Satoskar,” came the reply.

In fact, NIAID had no way to be certain that its funds were not used on the Tunisia experiment. Michael Fenton, Director of NIAID’s Division of Extramural Activities, wrote in an email, “It seems to me that the only way to prove that the grant funds weren’t used for other projects is to do an audit of those grant expenditures and invoices. This would not be something that could be done quickly.”  

The next day, NIAID was still putting out fires. “We are still getting clobbered on this,” one wrote in an email. But three days before, NIAID had scored a huge coup: On October 25, the same day Fauci wrote his “bombarded by protests” note, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote a column facetiously entitled, “Why is Anthony Fauci trying to kill my puppy?” The article maligned the story as a product of “the right wing disinformation machine and its crusade against Fauci,” and cited the correction in PLOS NTD as evidence that it was all just an innocent mistake.

In an email to a NIAID employee the next day, Milbank offered further assistance. He wrote, “I might do a follow-up column on the reaction, and the imperviousness to facts. Do you have any more info that could further prove that you didn't fund the Tunisia study involving feeding the anesthetized dogs to sand flies?” Forwarding Milbank’s story to colleagues, the NIAID staffer wrote approvingly, “Dana is being extremely helpful.”

From Milbank’s story came a cascade of “fact checks”: from Politifact, Snopes, FactCheck.org, MediaMatters, Mic, and USA Today. Then came a big story in the Washington Post about the “viral and false claim” that NIAID had funded the Tunisia experiment. The reporters who wrote the story had evidently already reached their conclusion before they began reporting on it. Their email to Satoskar and others asking for comment opened, “I am working on a story about a massive disinformation campaign that is being waged against Anthony Fauci.”

The media re-framing of the story had its intended effect. Three years later, following Marjorie Taylor Greene’s questioning, reporters are once again citing PLOS NTD’s correction as the definitive debunking of the beagle experiment story. The Washington Post effectively banished it from mainstream public debate, though today, the paper published a fact check that contradicts much of the Post’s previous reporting.

After the story came out, Beth Reinhard, one of the reporters on the Post story, emailed Satoskar the link. “Thanks Beth. This is a great article clearing up all misinformation and falsehood,” he wrote.

“Thanks!” she replied.

 

 


Leighton Woodhouse is freelance journalist and a documentary filmmaker currently based in Oakland, California. You can support his work at https://leightonwoodhouse.substack.com

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AIPAC's Singular Ability to Remove and Influence Members of Congress; Senator Rand Paul On More COVID Cover-Ups; PLUS: Media Denies Biden's Decline
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Good evening. It's Thursday, June 20. 

Tonight: AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is easily one of the most powerful, feared, and effective lobbying groups in Washington, if not the single most feared. That assertion is so well documented by now that it barely requires debate. But their power lies not only, or even primarily, in their extraordinary ability to foster close to unanimous votes in Congress for every pro-Israel resolution or bill they wish to see implemented. That is extraordinary enough. But even more amazing is their unmatched ability – and it is unmatched – to simply remove incumbent members of the U.S. Congress who are, in their eyes, insufficiently supportive of and dedicated to the foreign government of Israel. 

A perfect example illustrating how this works is the current primary challenge being launched against the two-term Democratic congressman and former middle school principal, Jamaal Bowman, who represents New York's 16th congressional district. Bowman currently faces an extraordinarily well-financed primary challenger from George Latimer, the corruption-plagued county executive in Westchester Country who, polls now show, has built a substantial lead over Bowman. And it's not hard to understand why. It's not because George Latimer is some beloved figure. It's because his campaign is being fueled by a massive amount of money that comes almost entirely from out-of-the-district funding, the vast majority of which comes from a pro-Israel PAC directed and funded by AIPAC. It's an extraordinary, even unprecedented amount that is being spent on this single primary challenge to a congressional House incumbent: $20 million and counting. 

The reason Bowman faces such a powerfully funded primary challenge is simple and obvious. He sometimes criticizes Israel and has been particularly critical of their eight-month U.S.-funded war that has destroyed much of Gaza. Voters in the district, who are being drowned in anti-Bowman ads on radio, TV, online, everywhere, have little idea that the reason for this overwhelmingly funded challenge to their congressman is due to pro-Israel groups, and that's because the ads that run against him rarely, if ever, even mention the issue of Israel, instead pretending that they are angry with Bowman for his failure to be a good Democrat, that he's not sufficiently loyal to President Biden and his agenda. 

This has been a long-standing and extremely effective tactic for punishing and even removing members of Congress for failure to support Israel with unquestioning praise. In an era where bipartisan systems ensure that congressional incumbents have even a higher reelection rate than Soviet-era members of the Russian legislature, AIPAC appears, as we will show you, to have become the one real threat to the ability of Congress members to win reelection, or even to secure their own party's nomination. 

Then: we welcome back to System Update, the three-term Republican Senator from Kentucky and medical doctor, Rand Paul. Senator Paul has been relentlessly attempting to expose the truth about what happened, specifically in the beginning months of the Covid pandemic, when Doctor Fauci and his associates falsely claimed to the world that they had confirmed that Covid originated from nature and not from a lab leak in Wuhan. That false claim of certainty ended up as intended, shaping discourse about that pandemic around the globe for the next two years and also as intended, caused a full-scale online censorship ban of any questioning or doubts about the official story of Covid's origins. Just as importantly, Dr. Paul has been attempting to demonstrate that Fauci deliberately concealed his attempts to fund what is called gain-of-function research, meaning scientific attempts in labs to manipulate viruses and other pathogens to become even more contagious or more deadly to humans, something that, if leaked, could cause a pandemic of the type that we saw with Covid. 

But now, Senator Paul is also warning about what appears to be bipartisan efforts to approve or defund the exact kind of dangerous gain-of-function research that very likely caused the worldwide Covid pandemic in the first place. I am genuinely amazed at how little interest there seems to be in investigating and finding the truth about what is easily one of the most consequential events in our lifetime, the Covid pandemic. Dr. Paul is one of the few in Washington still demanding just basic accountability and we believe that that work is extremely important and deserves as much journalistic attention as we can possibly give to it. So, we'll speak to him in just a little bit. 

And then finally: videos of Joe Biden frequently surface that confirm what Americans already know about him, as polling data demonstrates, namely, that he is aging in a way that has left him with serious cognitive impairment to the point that he sometimes barely knows where he is or what he is saying. The evidence proving that is overwhelming, from reporting to first-hand accounts to simply comparing his conduct now to what it was even five years ago. And it's worth remembering that the very first-time concerns about Biden's cognitive capabilities were expressed not by Republicans or even Bernie Sanders supporters in the 2020 cycle, it was by DNC operatives and DNC media allies, in 2019, who were very concerned that Biden would get the nomination simply because he was the most well-known candidate. They continuously warned that this was not the same Joe Biden, that he was likely not capable of sustaining the full rigors of the campaign. Once Biden got the nomination, those very same people turned around and said it was immoral to raise questions about Biden's cognitive capabilities, even though they were the ones who first cast doubt on it in the first place. 

Nonetheless, despite all that evidence, most of the U.S. corporate media, as we know, will say or do anything to ensure Trump's defeat, even if that means outright lying. They already proved that in 2016, when they spread virtually every day all sorts of false collusion conspiracy theories about Trump and the Trump campaign and Russia, and then did so again in 2021. They claimed that incriminating reporting about Biden and his family in Ukraine and China was the byproduct of what they called fake documents, meaning Russian disinformation. Now, with that same goal in mind, they insist that the video showing Biden's cognitive decline and incapacitation is somehow fake, as they hope to convince Americans to trust the media’s partisan claims, more than they trust their own eyes and their own judgment. We will examine the latest self-humiliation of the media in pursuit of manipulating another presidential election by trying to disseminate claims that are so recognizably false. 

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update, starting right now. 

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The Pentagon's Secret Disinfo Campaign Discrediting China's COVID Vaccine Unveiled; France's Unprecedented Elections, China, Ukraine, and More with Commentator Arnaud Bertrand
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Good evening. It's Wednesday, June 19.

Tonight: the biggest media story by far in U.S. politics in 2016 was focused on Russia. Not only did they falsely insist that the Trump campaign had colluded with Moscow to hack the email accounts of the DNC and of John Podesta, but even more media indignation was focused on the fact that Russia had engaged in unprecedented and incomparably evil interference with our sacred democracy by using a few Twitter bots and Facebook pages to disseminate what our media called “disinformation.” What made this reaction so mystifying was the obvious belief that the United States and other freedom-loving democracies would never, ever engage in that kind of treachery. Instead, this kind of interference and trickery was the sole provenance of the Kremlin under Vladimir Putin. 

Anyone who knows even the most minimal amount of American history should have instantly scoffed at that claim. It is beyond any reasonable doubt that the U.S. has “interfered” in the internal affairs of countless other countries, including Russia, for decades, and the U.S. has done so with methods that included clandestine disinformation campaigns as well as tactics a bit more extreme and far worse than a few online bots. It was just embarrassing to watch so many corporate media employees express what appears to be earnest rage that Russia would do such a thing. 

Late last week, Reuters published a genuinely good and important piece of investigative journalism – credit where due – the type of journalism that we rarely see anymore. Rather than bravely denouncing the bad acts of America's enemies on the other side of the world, Reuters actually revealed a secret and morally repugnant online disinformation campaign conducted in secret by the Pentagon. That online campaign was designed to spread fears, doubts and resistance to the COVID-19 vaccine that China was offering impoverished countries and impoverished people for free. That was being done at the very same time that the U.S. government was arguing that anyone spreading vaccine skepticism and encouraging vaccine hesitancy was guilty of killing large numbers of people. Indeed, they not only mandated that Americans take the vaccine they were given upon threat of losing their jobs or their freedom of movement, but the government coerced Big Tech outlets to censor and ban anyone expressing doubts about the vaccine's efficacy or its safety, all at the very same time that the same U.S. government was using an army of online bots and fake social media accounts to spread vaccine doubt in the poorest countries, the poorest populations of the world. 

It is worth reviewing these revelations and then putting them in the historical context of American behavior, as well as the claims the government was making about how nobody about Russia does such a thing, as well as the moral calculations that drove this clandestine campaign against China's COVID-19 vaccine. It really is remarkable when one delves into the details of what the U.S. government did here, and therefore, that is exactly what we will do. 

Then: as we reported two weeks ago, with the help of a professor who was a specialist in the EU, the European-wide elections for the EU Parliament provided major shocks and surprises for EU elites everywhere. Many countries saw a decisive rejection of pro-establishment parties, replaced by a mass surge of support for what is called far-right populist parties. That happened in Germany, Holland and elsewhere but especially in France. In response to the devastating defeat of his party at the hands of Marine Le Pen, French President Emmanuel Macron shocked even his own allies by dissolving the French parliament and calling for snap elections, a move that could very well result in the first-ever French prime minister from Le Pen's party. 

All of this has caused extreme chaos in EU politics, especially in French politics. Many of the trends that drove the EU election are, of course, visible and clearly present – if not dominant – in modern-day American politics as well. So, to help us sort out everything happening there, we will speak to the French political analyst and commentator Arnaud Bertrand. While he is French by origin, Bertrand has lived for quite some time in China. He is an expert in Sinology, which is a study of all things Chinese, and he has, in my view, been one of the most informed, enlightened analysts on the Washington-Beijing relationship, along with both wars that the U.S. is currently funding, the one in Ukraine and the one in Gaza. We are excited to talk to him and I think you will enjoy hearing from him as well. 

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update, starting right now. 

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