Glenn Greenwald
Politics • Writing • Culture
Media & Biden Admin Get Far Too Cozy at WHCD—Revealing Rotten Core of US Journalism. Plus: Lula/Google Ominous Online Censorship Battle
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May 05, 2023
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The corporate media on Saturday threw itself a gaudy, glitzy celebration of itself at the White House as it does every year. Employees of large media corporations who bear the title ‘journalist’ made a pilgrimage to the White House to gush over their own importance, desperately trying to secure selfies with mid-level Hollywood celebrities and toast to their own courage, all as they swoon over President Biden, the person they pretend to hold accountable. It is both easy and entertaining to spend time mocking this monument to its debauchery, and we will certainly spend some time doing exactly that, but how these journalists are just so giddy and eager to spend just a night of glitter and glamor behind the walls of Versailles, admitted to the Royal Court for one night for good behavior, is more than just repellent to watch: it is deeply revealing of their true function. And – while I will not feign being above delighting in the mockery this provides – it is also a vivid window into the specific ways that our corporate press corps is so deeply rotted and corrupted. 

Then we're trying this show to report on developments in Brazil only when there are important implications beyond that country. And that is definitely the case with the extraordinary events taking place right now and all week long in that country, the government of Lula da Silva is on the verge of implementing one of the most repressive and dangerous Internet censorship laws yet seen in the democratic world, one that we've reported on multiple times because it is being eyed by the EU, Canada and eventually the U.S. as the model for ending a free Internet as a means of expressing and organizing meaningful dissent. While the law is technically being sponsored by Lula's government, its most aggressive opponents, as is true in the U.S., are Brazil's highly powerful media corporations, which know that their ability to maintain their hegemony over the flow of information depends upon ending social media as a venue for legitimate dissent. And that is why they are such ardent supporters of this bill. This law in Brazil does nothing less than empower the government to silence and criminalize dissent and the means that are being used by all but outlaw opposition to this law as it's being debated, including by legally banning Google, Facebook and Spotify from criticizing the law and then ordering their executives forward to appear for interrogation at the Brazilian equivalent of the FBI. All things that happened just today are deeply alarming, but also very aligned with the spirit of the bill itself, one that has already begun to wind its way through the legislatures of other democratic countries. If you care about Internet freedom, it is imperative that you care about these developments. 

As a programming note, we were off the last few days of last week as well as yesterday, largely due to my need to attend to family matters, which I've discussed on this show before, and for that reason, as well, we won't have our live aftershow on Locals tonight, but we'll be back with it on Thursday night. To gain access to that live aftershow every Tuesday and Thursday night, simply join our Locals community by clicking the join button right below the Rumble screen. 

As a reminder, System Update is available in podcast form. It appears 12 hours after we broadcast this show, live, here on Rumble. You can follow us on Spotify, Apple and other major podcasting platforms. If you rate and review the show, it helps spread its visibility.

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

 


 

As repulsive as it is to watch corporate journalists make this pilgrimage to the White House that they make every year under the guise of the White House Correspondents Dinner, where they pretend to celebrate their commitment to press freedom and the important role they play in safeguarding our democracy, it actually is important to look at because it is one night where they let the mask drop and reveal who and what they really are.  It's become kind of like the Oscars, in the sense that – in many senses, actually, but one important one is that it is not just one night, but many days leading up to it, where they have all kinds of parties that are the buzziest of the ones that they get to attend. But they also spend a lot of time before the event trying to justify to the American people why it is that these people who claim to be our watchdogs, the people who are safeguarding our basic rights, who are holding our government accountable, are instead dressing up like it's the Oscars, in gowns and tuxedos, and appearing with celebrities and the politicians they supposedly hold accountable at the gaudiest and sleaziest event you can possibly imagine held at the White House hosted by Joe Biden, the person whom they're supposed to be adversarially covering. 

And so, in the days leading up to the event, they spend a lot of time trying to justify what it is that they're doing and within those justifications reside a great deal of insight into how they actually think. As I said, it's a mask-dropping event. They know what it makes them look like, but they do it anyway because they're so desperate for the self-importance that it provides. It's really why they do their job – to be around power or to be accepted by power, to feel as though they're part of the Royal Court – and so, it's way too valuable to their sense of purpose and self-identity to relinquish it, even though they know that it's one of the most revealing lights that ever get shined on them. 

So, let's take a look at a couple of the pre-event discussions that took place as they tried to explain to the public and prepare the public for the nauseating sight to which they were about to be exposed. And we're going to begin with a program that is on MSNBC. It is hosted by a former adviser to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Symone Sanders. She has our own MSNBC show on Saturday and here she is speaking to Joe Biden's former White House press secretary, who now also has her own show on MSNBC. So, you can see, these roles are completely interchangeable. You can go and work at the White House. You can go and work for NBC News. And you don't have to change a single thing. No one notices anything that you do differently because you don't do anything different. It's the same exact role. You're propagandizing the public on behalf of a Democratic president. And so, on this show with Symone Sanders, they had Jen Psaki, who, as I said, has her own show. And Jen Psaki was interviewed about her relationship with the press and how she saw both it and the importance of this event and listen to what it is that she said. 

 

(Video. MSNBC. April 23, 2023)

 

Symone Sanders: […] With the White House Correspondents Association. 

 

Jen Psaki: You know, I will say the majority of the time they were really incredible partners because when we were navigating COVID, even that was some of the hardest times. It was also some of the most collaborative times. […]

 

 

Okay, so just let's stop right there because that is an extraordinary statement. Here is a person who worked for the Biden White House. Her job was to spin and deceive and disseminate propaganda on behalf of the Biden White House. And how she saw journalists were not as her adversaries, not as the people around whom she had to work or against whom she had to work, but instead her very good partners, which of course, is exactly what the media is. They are partners to the government and to the State. Obviously, there's nobody in the Trump White House who would ever call this part of the media or any part of the media – other than very small segments of it – partners, because they played a very different role when the Trump administration was in power. She's talking here about her role in the Biden administration and the way in which she sees the media writ large, the corporate media, and the first words she uses for them are partners, not just partners, but very good partners. Listen to her explanation about why she sees it that way. 

 

(Video. MSNBC. April 23, 2023)

 

Symone Sanders: What was your best day with the White House Correspondents Association? 

 

Jen Psaki: You know, I will say the majority of the time they were really incredible partners, because when we were navigating COVID, even that it was some of the hardest times, it was also some of the most collaborative times. When I was the press secretary, Zeke Miller from the Associated Press at the time was the president, Long may he reign, I used to say, even after he was no longer the president […] 

 

That part is amazing, too. So, Zeke Miller is a White House reporter for the Associated Press, and he was long the president of the White House Correspondents Association, the group that sponsors this glitzy, nauseating affair at the White House. And she is so enamored of Zeke Miller, the person who's the head of the press organization, and she's talking to her not as a member of the press, but as a member of the state. But again, you're seeing there's really no difference. And she said she was so enamored of him; he was such a dedicated partner to what she was doing. They were collaborative, she said – the opposite of adversarial – that her phrase used to be ‘long may he reign’, ‘long may Zeke Miller reign.’ 

You may have seen the footage of a couple of weeks ago where a reporter from Africa, who is not part of this clique, tried to question the White House and the White House press secretary before he was called on, and all of the journalists there were extremely agitated, angry with him because it was the day that they got to see the cast of Ted Lasso. And they were incredibly excited. And this journalist wasn't interested in the cast of Ted Lasso because he's actually a journalist. He wanted to ask the Biden administration about their Africa policy, and his colleagues in the media were incredibly hostile to him telling him to shut up, lecturing him, or treating him like, as he said, like just some kind of a black interloper – is how he described it. He definitely thought there was a racist dynamic to it, but either way, they were very hostile to him. And the reason was that they were not there to ask questions about policy. They wanted to see the stars of Ted Lasso, and it was Zeke Miller – long may he reign – who, on behalf of the entire press corps, apologized for this journalist to the White House press secretary, this very sycophantic apology that he made to her on behalf of all journalists, because there was one journalist there wanting to do his job. So, this is how Jen Psaki sees the press and the person who is the leader or has long been the leader of this organization who reports supposedly on the White House for the Associated Press, a collaborator, a partner, someone about whom she says “long may he reign.” 

 

(Video. MSNBC. April 23, 2023)

 

Jen Psaki: We had to navigate through a very difficult time in history, a time where we wanted to return access to the press, show value and respect for the media, but also do it in a way that was keeping people safe. They're also very important and valuable partners when there are foreign trips. I mean, you know this – when you're going to a war zone, you do go to the Correspondents Association and you say, “Hey, we're going to go to Afghanistan or Iraq or somewhere that is a challenging security place to be. I need to work with you on how we create a press pool for them.” 

 

I mean, have you seen anything less adversarial in your life than Jen Psaki's view of the White House press corps? She regards them as what they are – her partners. It's just bizarre that she's forgetting that that's not supposed to be how it works. That's not supposed to actually be what their function is. That's not what they pretend it is. But for some reason, I think probably because she was speaking with her current colleague and her prior colleague at the White House, they forgot that there are cameras on and that there's a fraud that's supposed to be maintained about the relationship between the White House and the media. They're not supposed to be described publicly as partners, collaborators, friends, or people with whom you work towards the same aim. But that is the reality. And that's why this clip was so revealing. 

Equally revealing was a reporter, I believe, from the Wall Street Journal. We don't see her name here. We are about to see her. She is a guest as well talking to Sanders, on the same show, about the role of the media. Let's listen to what she says. 

 

(Video. MSNBC. April 28, 2023)

 

Symone Sanders: Let's just be honest, okay? Know, I was going to get a straight answer from the podium in the briefing room. If you were traveling with the president or the vice president, you do not always get a straight answer for the president or vice president. I used to be one of the people helping people craft maybe some not-so-straight answers. So […]

 

All right. Well, so there, first of all, is Symone Sanders saying that her job at the White House was to craft answers that weren't direct, honest, informative, or straight for journalists. She was supposed to deceive journalists. Jen Psaki evidently thought they were very happy with that. They were great partners as she did that. So that's the admission. So, we're going to get her name in a second. She's currently the White House reporter for The Wall Street Journal. She used to be at The Guardian. I want you to listen to her as she describes how she sees her role and her relationship with the current White House. 

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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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