Glenn Greenwald
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Servants of Power: WaPo & NYT Hunt Down Ukraine-Docs Leaker—Doing the FBI’s Work for Them
Video Transcript: System Update #70
April 19, 2023
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The FBI arrested a 21-year-old whom they claim is the person who leaked dozens of classified documents on the Internet showing far greater U.S. involvement in the war in Ukraine than had been previously acknowledged by the Biden administration. But it was not the FBI that hunted down and found the accused leaker, Jack Teixeira, of the Massachusetts Air National Guard. Instead, it was two newspapers – The Washington Post, which early this morning provided every possible detail about the leaker to enable the FBI to identify and find him, and then, The New York Times, which named him, outed him before the FBI could find him itself. They've now arrested him as a result of the work of those two newspapers. It was their work in conjunction with the site Bellingcat, funded by both the United States government and the EU, that enabled the FBI to find and apprehend the alleged leaker. 

The idea of journalism, ostensibly, in theory, is to bring transparency to what the most secretive and powerful institutions are doing in the dark. Exactly what this leak did. Why, then, would self-proclaimed journalism outlets do the job of the FBI and hunt down the leaker and boast of the fact that they were the ones who found him even before the FBI did? Why would a 21-year-old with the National Guard, whom the BBC describes as holding the rank of airman first class, “a relatively junior” position, have access to what media outlets have been claiming are the government's most sensitive and potentially damaging secrets? 

As we have been reporting and demonstrating since Trump was inaugurated, the function of the U.S. corporate media has always been to act as propagandists and messengers for the U.S. Security State. But in the Trump era, this relationship even intensified further as the CIA, FBI and Homeland Security became the most valuable allies – the leaders of the ongoing attempt to sabotage Trump and his movement.

 Still, the only thing more bizarre and twisted than watching journalists turn themselves into the leading advocates for Internet censorship is watching them so eagerly and explicitly dedicate themselves to doing the work of the FBI by hunting down and exposing leakers of classified documents, handing their head on a pipe to the U.S. government. And yet that's exactly what media outlets did. We’ll examine all of the implications of that. 


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


There aren't many ways to define the function of a free press and what journalism is without referencing the way in which journalists are supposed to bring transparency to the most powerful institutions. Nobody needs a free press to bring to the public the messages of institutions of authority and power. They're very capable of doing that themselves. There would be no value to a free press if that's all they did. If every day you picked up the New York Times and The Washington Post and read what you, in fact, read in those newspapers, which is X, Y, and Z happened, according to government officials. That's the framework - the standard metric for how media outlets report. But if they don't expose government secrets that the government doesn't want you to know, there's really no value to a free press because it's not serving as a check and adversarial check and institutions of authority, which is the foundational reason why a free press matters. 

If you read the Founders, the entire idea of checks and balances included what they called the fourth estate, which, though not part of the government, is nonetheless a crucial part of the framework to maintain a balance of power between various institutions, knowing that there are people out there who are doing journalism, who are using what was then the printing press, and now as all kinds of other technology, to check what institutions of authority are saying to you, what you can reveal, what they're trying to hide. It was one of the most crucial ways to keep these institutions of authority honest. One of the ways, arguably the only real way, that we, as journalists, now have to show the public what these institutions of power are doing in the dark is through leaks. Leaks of the things that they don't want you to see oftentimes being classified information. 

Classified information is not some sacred text. Classified information is nothing more than a document or a piece of information that the government has stamped on that word “classified” or “top-secret,” because they want to make it illegal for you to learn about it. That's the effect of calling a document classified or top secret. And one of the things I learned in working with many large archives of government secrets and classified material is that, more often than not, when the government calls something classified or top secret, it's not because they're trying to protect you. It's because they're trying to protect themselves. They're trying to make it illegal for anybody to show what it is that they're saying and doing in the dark because what they're saying and doing in the dark is composed of deceit, corruption, or illegality. And that's why the most important journalism over the last 50 years, beginning with the Pentagon Papers, through the WikiLeaks reporting, the Snowden reporting, and all kinds of other major investigations have taken place when people have been able to show you, the public, documents and other information that people inside the government wanted you not to see and made it illegal for anyone to show it to you. That's the dynamic between actual journalism on the one hand and powerful institutional state actors on the other. That is always supposed to be what that relationship is about. 

But along the way, over, not since just Trump, but over the last many decades, the largest media corporations in the United States – The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, CNN – have become the opposite of adversarial to intelligence agencies. They have become the leading propagandists, the leading messengers, whenever the CIA or the FBI or Homeland Security wants to disseminate propaganda, they go to those their favorite media outlets, their favorite journalists. They tell them what to say. And those journalists then go and say it.

Oftentimes, it's presented as a leak to make you feel like it's unauthorized. They'll refer to anonymous sources to make you kind of evoke that sentiment of Deep Throat meeting the Watergate reporters in a garage and passing information, even though that kind of original transaction that is supposed to have that image pop into your mind itself is highly suspicious. But that's what most leaks are when they're given to places like The New York Times and The Washington Post. They have the theater, the appearance, the costume of being unauthorized but, in fact, they're completely authorized. So, the CIA goes to Natasha Bertrand, now at CNN, and tells CNN and tells her to say that Hunter Biden’s laptop is Russian disinformation or that Trump has been found to have a secret server with the Russian Alfa Bank, or that Russians have put bounties on the heads of American soldiers and Trump is doing nothing about it, all of which turned out to be totally untrue. Or the FBI goes to Ken Dilanian or the CIA goes to Ken Dilanian, NBC News, and tells him that the Russians are using some kind of super-advanced machine to attack the brains of service members and diplomats in Havana and around the world, the Havana syndrome, to make you think that Trump is allowing Russia to attack our service members without doing anything about it. This is propaganda and deceit. These are authorized leaks in the government and that's, of course, where Russiagate came from. it's how the Bush and Cheney administration sold the country on the lies that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction by going to The New York Times and The Washington Post and ABC News and feeding them instructions about what they should say and then, those newspapers mindlessly put it on the front page of the newspaper. And so, we learned from the Iraq war, from the War on Terror, and then from the Trump years, including Russiagate, that the real function, the actual function of these media outlets is not to be adversarial at all to intelligence agencies or to the U.S. government but to be their servants, their messengers, their allies, their propagandists. And oftentimes they'll go so far as they did in Russiagate, to even give themselves Pulitzers when they publish information and disseminate information to the public that came directly from the CIA and the FBI, even though it turned out to be totally false. 

So, the fact that this relationship, on the one hand, between the largest media corporations in the country and, on the other, the intelligence community, in particular, is one of subservience and collaboration is something that we have been writing about and reporting on and talking about for many years. But what happened in the last 48 hours is really a new manifestation of it. It's a completely new escalation. What they're really telling you is they don't even want to pretend anymore what their real function is. They are basically acknowledging to you that their role is to act as servants for the FBI and the CIA. 

As you know, we've been covering it on our show. There has been a leak of dozens of classified materials, some of which have been labeled top secret. But as we reviewed, there's really nothing particularly dangerous about any of these revelations. There's no even viable argument that it's putting people in harm's way. They don't contain any names of undercover agents in the field. There's nothing in there that is even particularly sensitive. And we try to dissect these documents to demonstrate to you, based on my experience of many years of working on many different archives of classified information with WikiLeaks and the NSA, that these are not the kind of documents that are really the most sensitive secrets. That's clear and obvious. But that doesn't mean that they are bereft of important revelations. They do have some important revelations. Some of them show, for example, that the United States, contrary to the claims of the Biden administration, has deployed U.S. Special Forces inside Ukraine and there are other NATO countries, including the U.K. and Latvia and others that have done the same. Of course, that's something we ought to know if the government is more involved in the war in Ukraine than they've been telling us. And we'll go through some of the other important revelations, including the fact that the United States government is saying there will be no resolution to the war in Ukraine through 2023. There will be no negotiations, there will be no diplomatic settlement, there will be nothing but ongoing grinding, endless war that you will pay for beyond the $100 billion already authorized. That was the purpose of this leak, to show people that the Biden administration has been deceiving the public about the role that we're playing there and about what our objectives are. 

And there are other important revelations here as well. And yet The New York Times and The Washington Post, instead of protecting sources, which is the role of journalists, instead, has led the way to hunt down this source, to hunt down the leaker, to dig in an investigative way to find out who this leaker is and hand that information over to the FBI. They're handmaidens now of the FBI. I've never seen anything like it before. As journalists, we're supposed to rely on leaks. That's what we need and use in order to do our reporting. The idea that a journalist would be the one to actually go and find out who this leaker is and then reveal it publicly to the FBI is something that, honestly, I didn't even think I would see, notwithstanding that, there are few people who hold them in greater contempt than I do. 

Let's look at what's really going on here. First, what they did and the broader context of what the corporate media has become in terms of its relationship to the intelligence community. So, as I said earlier this morning, The Washington Post published a lengthy article, the title of which was “Discord member details how documents leaked from closed chat group.” It was out last night and so, a lot of people saw it first thing in the morning. This was essentially a blueprint for the FBI to find exactly who this leaker was and where he was. It penetrated the Discord group, the small Discord group, where these documents were first leaked. They spoke on tape to a 17-year-old who was part of the group – and they stressed they did it with his parents’ permission – and the 17-year-old described in detail who this person was, who was the leaker, that he was a young man in his early twenties, that he was a member of the military and gave all the digital breadcrumbs for the FBI to find him. I was shocked when I saw this article. I really was. It was focused not on the substantive revelations of what these documents show but, instead, on painting the perfect path, kind of leading the FBI down the path with breadcrumbs directly to the door of this leaker. It was incredibly obvious. Soon, as you saw in this Washington Post article, it was just a matter of hours before the FBI find the leaker because The Washington Post led the FBI to him on purpose. And I watched all day today as not a single journalist in corporate media stood up and said, “Wait a minute, is this really our role now, to act as law enforcement? We're going to expose leakers to the public and ensure they go to prison? Isn’t it supposed to be our role to work with leakers and encourage them to come forward and give us information about what the government is doing in secret that is the truth rather than what they're telling the public? 

Journalists played the role of wanting to see punished leakers and people who disclose classified information. But evidently, that is not just the role of The Washington Post, but the understanding of the role of almost everybody in corporate media, because virtually nobody stood up and said, “Wait a minute, we shouldn't be doing this. This is the opposite of our role.” Everybody cheered The Washington Post and said, wow, this is an incredibly important and intrepid scoop that they got. 

It wasn't the FBI who found where those breadcrumbs got first. It was instead The New York Times. They obviously felt annoyed that The Washington Post had scooped them and they went one step further. They went and found the name of the leaker and announced it to the world and described the proof that they had that he was actually the leaker. So here is the New York Times article that was just out this afternoon. And the headline is: “Here's what we know about the leader of the online group where secret documents were leaked. Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, was arrested on Thursday.” 

The article tells us,


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Listen to this Article: Reflecting New U.S. Control of TikTok's Censorship, Our Report Criticizing Zelensky Was Deleted

For years, U.S. officials and their media allies accused Russia, China and Iran of tyranny for demanding censorship as a condition for Big Tech access. Now, the U.S. is doing the same to TikTok. Listen below.

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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,, 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

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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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