Glenn Greenwald
Politics • Writing • Culture
Drone Strikes on Moscow Signal Dangerous New Phase of Ukraine War. Plus: One of Russia’s Most Notorious Spies—a Whale—Resurfaces
Video Transcript
June 01, 2023
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Good evening. It's Tuesday, May 30. Welcome to a new episode of System Update, our live nightly show that airs every Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern, exclusively here on Rumble, the free speech alternative to YouTube. 

Tonight, we spend a lot of time on this program discussing the war in Ukraine because – how could we not? It is easily the most dangerous war for the U.S., the West, and the world, in decades. The Iraq war, which had nuclear power only on one side of the conflict, posed nowhere near the dangers that this war poses. One of the primary participants in the war, President Joe Biden, the chief proxy sponsor of Ukraine, himself, said in an unscripted moment back in October that this war has brought the planet closer to nuclear Armageddon than at any point since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, 61 years ago. And then we just all moved on like that never happened. 

This war is the single most important political story of the year, and nothing is close to that title. How could it not be that? This is a proxy war between the nation with the largest nuclear power on one side, Russia, and the nation with the second largest nuclear stockpile on the other, the United States. There's this new conception that nuclear war is not really possible, that will only happen if a suicidal psychopath had full control over their use. But that is a delusion, a fairy tale, a belief that can arise only from the crudest and most extreme form of historical ignorance. 

The U.S. and USSR came very, very close less than an hour away, from nuclear war on at least two occasions during the Cold War, caused not by psychotic behavior, but by rational behavior triggered by miscommunication and misperceptions. That same hair-trigger, archaic Cold War systems are still in place. Washington and Moscow continue to have thousands of nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles pointed at each other’s large and midsize cities that are designed to be launched upon any belief that the other side is preparing to do so. The option of first using nuclear weapons, namely using them without even believing that the other side intends to use them, merely as a justified, offensive, or defensive tactic in the face of a threat perceived to be existential, is very much still on the table for war planners in both capitals. Indeed, during the 2017 general election in the UK, the Labor Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was lambasted by everyone for his statement that he would never consider the use of nuclear weapons as part of his nuclear national security strategy.

 The reason I continue to cover this war so much is not because I wish to repeat myself. It's because the war is not stagnant. It is changing constantly. And the way it is changing – more so now than ever – is that it is now ushering, in a very rapid and very dangerous escalation, including, again, just last night. 

What is declared unthinkable one month becomes explicit policy the next: the classic framework for how wars rapidly escalate out of control in history. Biden has repeatedly declared various weapons systems off-limits to send to Ukraine because of their escalatory dangers – meaning their potential to expand the war beyond its current theater focused on southern and especially eastern Ukraine – only for him to repeatedly change his mind and reverse himself, with the latest reversal coming in his announcement that he will now support sending F-16 fighter jets – we will now send them to Ukraine as they aggressively expand their military operations inside Russia.

 Very early this morning, on Tuesday, eight kamikaze drones were flown into residential buildings in Moscow, an act The New York Times characterized as “a potent sign that the war is increasingly reaching the heart of Russia,” adding “Ukraine has increasingly been reaching far into Russia-held territory.” Western commentators and governments barely even bothered to pretend today to be concerned that their weapons, our weapons, American weapons, were used by Kyiv to purposely target civilian targets in Russia's capital. 

Russia has, of course, attacked targets in Kyiv and other cities, civilian targets have been hit by Russia and Ukrainian civilians have been killed. That is true of every war, including the ones the U.S. and its allies fight, but the question now is how many dangers are you willing to put yourself in for this war? When it comes to U.S. involvement what is the limiting principle? If we give F-16s, why not give them the green light to use them to bomb targets inside Russia if we haven't already, to bomb the Kremlin with our F-16s, why not give them tactical nuclear weapons? What's the argument against that? Are we willing to risk a Third World War over the question of who governs the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, filled with Russian-speaking ethnic Russians, or Crimea, about which that is even more true? The answer, even though it is not explicit, increasingly seems to be yes, in a word, that we barely bother to debate because there is unanimity in the Democratic Party in support of Joe Biden's war policy and the GOP establishment is completely aligned with Biden. And when that kind of bipartisan, Uniparty consensus emerges, debate ends and we simply proceed along without even talking about it. 

Then, as our second story, we all know that the Kremlin agents are working everywhere, working on every corner, on every social media platform, and under every bed. We know that Russia – despite being, at best, a regional power with an economy smaller than Italy and Canada – that spends 1/16 of what the U.S. spends on our military, controls almost every major world event somehow and is responsible for most of America's social and political ills. But what you may not know is that they have developed one of the most nefarious and terrifying weapons yet: they have recruited and trained a deceptively adorable white beluga whale to serve as a Kremlin spy. We will tell you the full story of this Marine menace who, after years in hiding, has reportedly resurfaced this week to terrorize a Norwegian fishing boat. 

As we do every Tuesday and Thursday, as soon as we're done with our one-hour live show here on Rumble, we will move to Locals for an interactive aftershow to take your questions and comment on your feedback. To obtain access to our aftershow, which is for subscribers only, simply sign up as a member of our Locals community. The red Join button is right below the video player here on the Rumble page. We also provide daily transcripts, full transcripts for each program, as well as exclusive access to some of our journalism. 

As a reminder, System Update is also available in podcast form. We are available on Spotify, Apple and all other major podcasting platforms. The show posts the podcast version 12 hours after we first broadcast here, live, on Rumble. Simply follow us on those platforms as well as please rate and review our programs: that helps us spread the visibility of System Update.

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


Certain words when they become so overused, begin to lose their meaning. They're just like noises that no longer evoke any real sentiment or any real feeling. They just become pure abstractions. And I think that's the case for the word ‘escalation’ when it comes to war. You can warn about how wars have the risk of escalating and the dangers that come from that escalatory spiral but I think, more often than not, we tend to dismiss that as an abstraction. It just doesn't evoke very many strong sentiments any longer and I think that's because the United States for so long has felt completely safe and immune from the risks of a world war. It's been 70 years since the conclusion of the last World War. It used to be commonplace that American students and American children were trained how to hide in bomb shelters. The specter of nuclear war very much was on the forefront of people's consciousness throughout all of the Cold War. And now we seem to be at the moment where people just tacitly, blissfully, assume that nuclear war is not really a possibility. It's something that you can kind of mention or talk about, but everyone knows that will never happen. There's very little fear over what is increasingly looking like a very direct proxy war between the two largest nuclear nations on the planet. It is, though, the warnings about nuclear war or the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists putting their doomsday clock to the closest time to midnight ever, which signifies global extermination, just doesn't seem to make any difference. We barely even debate or discuss this war. It's a war that Joe Biden himself said has brought the planet closer to nuclear Armageddon than at any point since 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And yet, given how central the U.S. government is to this war – over $100 billion already authorized for it after just over a year and increasingly sophisticated weapons being supplied to Ukraine, that are then used not only against Russian soldiers inside Ukraine but increasingly inside Russia itself – it seems like we're in this blissful form of ignorance, fortified by the fact that there is absolutely many within the Democratic Party in Washington in support of this war, as well as the fact that the Republican establishment, as usual, is in full alignment with the Biden administration when it comes to the U.S. war policy. So, everybody from Chuck Schumer to Tom Cotton and everybody from AOC to most of the Republican House caucus, clearly including Kevin McCarthy and Michael McFaul, the head of the House Intelligence Committee, and Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, and on and on and on are in complete agreement. There's just no dissent. Ilhan Omar thinks the same way as – pick your Republican senator – Marsha Blackburn. And when that kind of bipartisan consensus happens, debate stops, even though there's a lot to debate. 

This war is constantly escalating right before our eyes, and that's the reason we keep discussing it. And we'll continue to. The last 24 hours may have brought the most dangerous escalation yet. By escalation, what I mean by that is the ability of a war to start wildly and rapidly expanding, physically expanding beyond its original theater, but expanding rhetorically as well in terms of the willingness of countries to just devote themselves endlessly to not just trying to solve the conflict, but to win the conflict and vanquish one's enemies, as well as to what the war aims are that just constantly spiral out of control. That is absolutely, whatever your views are and whatever your assignment of blame is, is how to understand this war. 

So, what happened last night is that eight kamikaze drones were obviously sent by Ukraine – people aren't even bothering with the pretense this time to say it was a false flag that Russia bombed itself – attacked not military installations, not any battalion of troops, but residential buildings in Russia's capital and Moscow. So just try and imagine how that would look to the United States if, say, Mexico using Chinese-provided drones or Chinese-provided weapons, attack residential buildings in Arlington, Virginia, or in the nation’s capital, or in Manhattan. That is how Russia is currently looking at the world today. 

So here from The New York Times, the headline is “What we know about the drone attack on Moscow. Russia's defense ministry said that at least eight drones had targeted Moscow and the surrounding region.” 


Explosions were reported in Moscow early on Tuesday morning with Russia's defense ministry saying that at least eight drones had targeted the capital city and the surrounding region. All of the drones were intercepted, the ministry said in a statement, saying that electronic jamming measures forced some to deviate from intended targets and that others had been shot down outside the city limits by air defenses. It did not specify what the targets may have been. 

American officials have in the past voiced concern that Ukrainian attacks on Russian soil could provoke Mr. Putin without having a direct effect on the battlefield – one reason that Washington has withheld from Ukraine weapons that could be used to strike deep into Russia. 

The reality of the war in Ukraine has largely been perceived as distant for much of the Russian public but the attacks unmask Moscow could change that and possibly even threaten overall support for Mr. Putin's handling of what the Kremlin has called “the special military operation.” (The New York Times. May 30, 2023)


It seems to be a very bizarre formulation by The New York Times for a couple of reasons. One is implicit within that account – it seems to be a justification for targeting residential buildings, for targeting civilians on purpose, which, when it's convenient, we are told is a war crime. The implicit narrative in the New York Times article – and we're going to show you one from The Washington Post that's even more egregious because a big part of the story is not just what Ukraine did, but how the West, and the United States in particular, are reacting – because there lies the real danger of what our mentality has become collectively. But the idea that it is now permissible to target civilians in order to make civilians more invested in the war's outcome, so they don't see it as an abstraction, is a justifying rationale for war crimes. Targeting civilian infrastructure and civilians on purpose for strategic gain is a violation of the laws of war, to the extent anyone cares about that – but there is implicit justification in there.

The other point that I find amazing is the notion that if you start bombing Russian civilians enough, they will turn against the war. When does that ever happen? Every government in the world knows that the best way to unify the population behind the government is to convince them that they are under attack and being threatened by a foreign enemy, by a foreign power. George Bush's 2000 election was one of the most disputed and contested elections in American history. For all the talk about election denialism and the threat posed in challenging the credibility of our elections, Democrats overwhelmingly believed that that election was stolen and that Al Gore was the rightful winner. The Supreme Court stole the election from the Democrats on behalf of George W. Bush, and for the first year of George Bush's presidency, of the first nine months, he was completely polarizing as a president. And then came September 11 and 90% of Americans approved the way George Bush was doing his job – 90% of Americans unified behind their leader the minute there was a foreign attack. That's what happens in every instance where a country is attacked. If you want to find a way to unify the Russians behind Vladimir Putin, keep bombing and targeting apartment buildings filled with civilians in Moscow on purpose. 

We have some videos that will give you a sense of what this attack looks like, from Sky News.



 Ukraine clearly has the intention – because they've repeatedly done it – to not just attack Russian troops on their soil, to expel them, but to attack Russia itself inside Russian territory. This is not the first time by far that this has happened. There were units allied with the Ukrainian army, including reportedly certain actual overt Nazis who are enemies of the Putin government, who just recently engaged in cross-border attacks inside Moscow. There have been terrorist attacks by the Ukrainians, including blowing up a cafe in St. Petersburg to kill a Russian nationalist journalist and not only killed him but injured 19 people attending the speech. A car bomb that was targeting a Russian nationalist pro-war blogger who ended up instead murdering his daughter. So, it's not like this is the first time, but this is now eight kamikaze drones inside Moscow attacking residential buildings. That is an escalation of a war, if ever there was one. 

I want to show you what The Washington Post said about this war, not in an editorial, not in an op-ed, but in what they purport to be their news report, because embedded within this reporting is something extraordinary and, I would submit, very alarming: conceptions about how to understand this war. So, there you see the Washington Post article from today that reports on these drone attacks: “Drones hit Moscow, shocking Russian capital after new missile on Kyiv.” 


A drone attack hit Moscow on Tuesday morning, damaging two residential buildings – the first strike on a civilian area of the Russian capital since President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago. It was almost certainly a prelude to a major escalation in hostilities. (The Washington Post. May 30, 2023)


This is a newspaper that has been behind this war from the beginning – they're behind every single major or minor American war of the last two decades, at least, every single war from Iraq and Syria to Libya, to Afghanistan, to the bombing missions throughout the Middle East. Now, the war in Ukraine has been supported by The Washington Post. And even The Washington Post is saying “This event yesterday is almost certainly a prelude to a major escalation in hostilities,” a major escalation in a war involving multiple nuclear powers. 

How is this not the story that all of us should be focused on today? 


The drone attack, which was confirmed by Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, occurred just hours after yet another barrage of Russian airstrikes on Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, which killed at least one person and injured more than a dozen. In Moscow, there were no reports of serious injuries. 

While Ukraine denied involvement in the drone attack on Moscow, the dueling strikes on the capital cities appeared to mark a threshold moment as residents of Russia's capital experienced direct consequences of their nation's hostilities for the first time. (The Washington Post. May 30, 2023)

I want to read this again because it's a lot of words put together that seem on their own to be the kind of technical journalistic words newspapers typically use when they're describing some kind of national security policy but the actual meaning really bears some scrutiny. They say that the “dueling strikes” marked “a threshold moment as residents of Russia's capital experienced direct consequences of their nation's hostilities for the first time.” Is that how we now talk about attacks on civilians – deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure like apartment buildings? Oh, they're just carrying the consequences of what their nation is doing. That's how Osama bin Laden talked about 9/11. “Oh, we're going to make sure that Americans, for the first time feel the direct consequences for their nation's hostility for the first time.” That was his justification for the 9/11 attacks. Well, it's about time Americans don't just get to attack, but have to feel the consequences that they bring to other countries. That's the justification being offered by The Washington Post for targeting civilian buildings in Russia based apparently on the view that not the Russian government, but the Russian people need to suffer, be injured, or even be killed. And as we emphasized on our program last night when we were talking about the disparate treatment of Russian and Belarusian athletes who are somehow told they're responsible for their government's actions, it makes even less sense in this case, because we're also constantly told that Russia is a tyranny, a totalitarian society where no citizen has any input at all into what their government does, and any dissidents of any kind result in imprisonment or death. Anyone who criticizes Vladimir Putin gets sent to the Gulag. And yet, apparently, we're now supposed to believe that these same Russian people who are oppressed, we're told, by the Putin government, need to start feeling some bombs because somehow they bear responsibility for this war and need to be motivated to stop Putin, even though he's a totalitarian dictator who kills all of his critics. 

This is how propaganda works. It's an insidious weaving throughout everything that we're constantly told about how just to implicitly understand the world and the moral frameworks that we are supposed to apply to others and ourselves. 


Reports that some 200 artillery shells hit Russian towns in the Belgorod region near the Ukrainian border Tuesday, offered further evidence that Kyiv wants to bring the war to Russian territory before initiating its long-expected counter-offensive, which will inevitably necessitate further destruction in Ukraine. (The Washington Post. May 30, 2023) 


So let me stop there as well for a minute. We've been told forever that a counter-offensive is coming. And maybe it will. But the reality is the primary victim of the war right now is Ukraine. It's Ukrainian buildings and Ukraine that's been destroyed, Ukrainian infrastructure that's being destroyed, Ukrainian lives that are being taken in gigantic numbers. And the idea that they want this war is a nice narrative, but it's belied by the fact, as we've shown you before, that President Zelenskyy has been repeatedly forced not only to do things like close oppositional media outlets, ban political parties who are his opponents and banning churches – something he was doing even before the war started – but he severely increased the penalties for desertion because Ukrainian men, many of them, actually don't want to fight in this war. They do not think this war is worth dying for over the question of who controls Donbas or whether they get Crimea back. Ultimately awards merit is determined by whether people are willing to fight and die in it. Huge numbers of Americans volunteered to fight in World War II. Zelensky is using a conscript army. These are people forced to fight. And their country is being destroyed because, at the beginning of the war, it was clear. as many reported that the United States’ goal in this war was never to save Ukraine or protect Ukrainians, it was to destroy Ukraine and sacrifice Ukrainians for its broader geopolitical goal of beating the Russians as much as possible. That is what this war is really about. That is why there's never been even any discussion, let alone efforts toward finding a diplomatic solution to this war in Washington – because Washington does not want this war to end. It wants it to continue. It's a gold mine for the arms industry, for the intelligence community, and for the goal of destroying Russia, which again, I believe is predominantly motivated by a perception in Washington that it was Russia that was responsible for the election of Donald Trump. That's the real reason for this increasingly vitriolic anti-Russian hatred that is driving U.S. policy much more than any geopolitical objectives. 


Mykailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky, said Moscow residents deserved whatever came at them. (The Washington Post. May 30, 2023)


This is one of Zelenskyy's primary advisors justifying the targeting of civilian infrastructures on the grounds that “Moscow residents deserved whatever came at them.” 


I'm going to say some paradoxical things and you can then analyze them: first, undoubtedly, gradually, Moscow is starting to sink into the fog of war… with a very desired sensation, Podolyak said Tuesday morning during “Breakfast Show” a Ukrainian Russian-language YouTube program. “Of course, we want those people who wanted to start this big European war to feel what it is like to live in this state of danger.” 

“And, of course, all those terrible men who sat in the parliament and threatened everyone,” Podolyak added, “they are going to gradually receive all of that back.” (The Washington Post. May 30, 2023)

Note that Ukraine did not bomb the parliament or the Kremlin this time the way they did several months ago when they sent a drone over Moscow that exploded right above the Kremlin. They targeted apartment buildings. How is it that on the one hand, Russia is a totalitarian, despotic society that imprisons every citizen who dissents from the government's actions and where Russian citizens have no ability to influence at all the government that we're told is despotic, and yet on the other, the Ukrainian government can say – using our weapons – that Russian civilians deserve whatever is coming to them because somehow they're responsible for this war. Is that now our position that the proxy nations that we use as pawns in war can deliberately target civilian infrastructure and kill as many civilians as possible and then explicitly justify doing that because they deserve to get what's coming to them? 

Again, that is the rationale of Osama bin Laden for why 9/11 happened. When Osama bin Laden was asked to justify that, then he said “Americans bear responsibility for their government's aggression in the world because they are the ones who elected that government. It was actually true in that case, that the Americans elected the government that initiated the war in Iraq or that starved hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children with sanctions or put troops on Saudi soil. But still, it didn't justify targeting civilians. It never is justified, let alone when we're told that civilians have no political rights of any kind. The article goes on. 


Putin said that Ukraine was trying to “intimidate” Russia and Russian citizens and that the attack aimed to provoke “a mirror response” from Moscow. 

“This, of course, is a clear sign of terrorist activity,” Putin said during a visit to a cultural center. (The Washington Post. May 30, 2023)


Regardless of what you think about this war, about who's to blame for this war, if you want to assign 1,000% of the blame to Vladimir Putin, is it true that deliberately targeting civilians to terrify those civilians into changing their government's policy is the very definition of terrorism? It's the definition I've always understood terrorism had, to the extent that it's actually a term with a clear fixed meaning, as opposed to just a propaganda term. Targeting civilians with violence on purpose to terrorize them into changing their behaviors and their views, that is terrorism. And that is what the Ukrainian government explicitly is saying was their goal here, was their purpose, was their aim. 

I mentioned Osama bin Laden and what he said about 9/11 on several occasions because it is exactly what we hear increasingly not just from Ukrainians, but from the West, about who bears responsibility for the invasion of Ukraine, that it's not just the Russian government, but Russian civilians as well. We showed you last night in the context of professional sports how that rationale is being invoked and I emphasized that even though that's just sports, it can seem trivial, the underlying propagandistic framework that is being pushed on us constantly, that we're being asked to ratify, is an extremely dangerous one because you first banned Russian and Belarusian athletes on the grounds that they somehow bear responsibility – 25-year-old athletes.

 If that's true that civilians are responsible, then it does become justifiable morally to target them and kill them on purpose because you've just gotten done implementing a framework that holds them morally responsible, ethically responsible, and responsible in every other way, for the war that you claim is the greatest act of evil since Hitler, if not even worse than Hitler. That's what makes this rationale so nefarious: that it's coming not only from Ukraine but from their sponsors in the West.

 Let's look at what Osama bin Laden said in September 2007 in a transcript of a speech that he gave from a video where he was talking about 9/11 and the War on Terror and U.S. aggression:


After it became clear to you that it was an unjust and unnecessary war, you made one of your greatest mistakes [He's talking here to the American people] in that you neither brought to account nor punished those who waged this war, not even the most violent of its murderers, Donald Rumsfeld. And even more incredible than that is that Bush picked him as secretary of defense in his first term, after picking Dick Cheney as his vice president, Powell, as secretary of state, and Richard Armitage as Powell's deputy, despite their horrific, bloody history of murdering humans. So that was a clear signal that his administration – the administration of generals – didn't have as its main concern the serving of humanity, but rather, was interested in bringing about new massacres. 

Yet, in spite of that, you permitted Bush to complete his first term, and stranger still, chose him for a second term, which gave him a clear mandate from you [American civilians] – with your full knowledge and consent – to continue to murder our people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then you claim to be innocent! This innocence of yours is like my innocence of the blood of your sons on the 11th – were I to claim such a thing. But it is impossible for me to humor any of you in the arrogance and indifference you show for the lives of humans outside America, or for me to humor your leaders and their lying, as the entire world knows, they have the lion's share of that. 

These morals aren't our morals. What I want to emphasize here is that not taking past war criminals to account led to them to keep repeating that crime of killing humanity without right and waging this unjust war in Mesopotamia, and as a result, here are the oppressed ones today continuing to take their right from you.  (Public Intelligence. Sept. 7, 2007, Video with Transcript).


So that was Osama bin Laden's argument for why American civilians were legitimate targets on September 11. And it sounds a lot to me like what Ukraine is saying about Russian civilians now and what the West has been saying since the start of this war in the way that they are talking about, not the Russian government, but the Russian civilians. And from that, it is not a big leap, in fact, it is the inevitable outcome, that Russian civilians should be targeted, which is exactly what happened within the last 24 hours – and now, with increasingly sophisticated, aggressive weaponry in their hands, provided to them by the United States with a mentality that you just got done hearing: that Russian civilians deserve what's coming to them. What do you think these weapons are going to be used for? 

If you can just put yourself into the position of seeing the world through Russian eyes – and again, think all you want about the fact that Russia is to blame for invading Ukraine, that they can end the war at any moment by going home. That's not the way the Russians see this war: it's the way the West sees this war. It's not the way Russians see this war, it's not the way most countries see this war. As we demonstrated to you when we reported on Fiona Hill's remarkable speech, an anti-Russia anti-China hawk who has been deep in the bowels of the U.S. foreign policy establishment forever, standing up and telling the Western foreign policy elites that “the rest” of the world – which now is not the rest of the world, but is actually a huge portion of the world, assembling greater and greater power and coming together in a more potent confederation than ever – does not see the war in Ukraine the way the United States and the West see the war in Ukraine. They see the war in Ukraine as yet another attempt – rightly or wrongly, it's how they see it – by the United States, by the West, to assert their dominion and hegemonic control everywhere, including all the way up to the Russian border. And while they don't necessarily support the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they certainly believe that the U.S. and the West provoked it. And that's Fiona Hill talking, not me. And there are tons of evidence to demonstrate that that's how major governments around the world see this war. 

But leaving aside the question of who's to blame or who's responsible, do you think that Russia, this country with this enormous history, filled with proud nationalists and the largest nuclear stockpile on the planet, is going to sit by while Ukraine takes weapons provided by the West and kills their civilians inside Moscow by bombing them from the air? Does anyone think that Putin is going to allow that to happen without reacting very, very aggressively? 

The theory of escalated wars,  of war getting out of control, of how World Wars start, is they always have a very limited beginning – that there is a border dispute between two countries, other allies side with each, and suddenly, there are all kinds of tension escalating. All these other new grievances are aired and the anger and hatred and hostility that war breeds in humans – we need hatred to be pulsating through our veins to support wars because when we engage in war, we do the most unthinkable things to one another – that hatred just constantly increases and bubbles over. That's how atrocities become possible. 

We are now already at the point where the Ukrainians are explicitly justifying attacks on Russian civilians, deep inside Russia, into Moscow, its capital; at the same time that the United States is now providing Ukraine F-16 fighter jets and at the same time that there's almost no communication at all between Moscow and Washington, one of the rotted results of Russiagate that essentially criminalized conversations between American diplomats on the one hand and Russian diplomats on the other. Michael Flynn almost went to jail because he reached out to the Russian ambassador shortly after becoming the national security adviser. 

Again, this is not the first time there have been strikes inside Russia, and each time that it happens, we are told some kind of just laughable propaganda about what happened. Here, from The Washington Post earlier this month – and you may recall that Ukraine exploded a drone bomb over the Kremlin near where Vladimir Putin was and The Washington Post headline was “Ukraine Denies Kremlin's Claim of Drone Assassination Attempt on Putin” and gave credence to this preposterous notion, even more, preposterous than the insulting claim that Russia blew up its own pipeline:

 Russia on Wednesday accused Ukraine of staging a drone attack intended to kill President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, an incendiary allegation that was forcefully denied by Ukrainian officials, some of whom warned it could be a pretext for Russia to escalate its war. (The Washington Post. May 3, 2023)

In the first paragraph, The Washington Post gave credence to this false flag theory that Russia bombed itself. 


Russia said that it thwarted the attack and that Putin was not in the building at the time. Among the mysteries surrounding Wednesday's alleged attack was how two drones could have successfully reached one of the most protected buildings of Moscow's fortified city center. While some analysts said the incident might have been a false flag attack staged by Russia, others suggested it could be a performance gesture, by Ukraine, striking at a preeminent symbol of Russian state power. (The Washington Post. May 3, 2023)


Don't forget that incident just weeks ago when the Russians perceived that Zelenskyy and Ukrainians tried to murder the Russian president via drone over Moscow. Again, think about what would the United States do if all of this was happening, not in Moscow, but in Washington – especially if those weapons were supplied by and the war was enabled by Russia, Iran or China, or some combination of all of those countries, which is what's happening in Ukraine that's enabled solely by the United States principally, and the rest of Western Europe and NATO. 



Just to give you a sense of how utterly deranged the mentality has become among American journalists, war analysts and the like, all these people who just make a living constantly supporting U.S. foreign policy whenever it comes to militarism and war, I want to show you this tweet or series of tweets from Tiger Rogoway. I forgot the publication he works at. We will get that for you. He used to be part of the Gizmodo Media Group and he's worked for other media outlets as well. So, he's a journalist. But listen to how he thinks and how he's speaking. And very little opposition arose from this tweet until I pointed it out. It's him today discussing the drone attacks on Moscow last night. 

Every day this war goes on, Ukraine's kinetic reach expands in magnitude and frequency. Taking the word to Moscow IS the goal. Little drones will turn into way more drones of increasing complexity, then into cruise missiles, then ballistic missiles… (@Aviation_Intel.  May 30, 2023)


They have relatively advanced indigenous ballistic missile tech. If you don't think they aren’t doing everything they can to get what they set aside a few years ago operational, we are living in different universes and they are likely getting help. (@Aviation_Intel.  May 30, 2023)


Obviously, meaning help from the United States. And he cites an article entitled “Does Ukraine have a stash of domestically developed ballistic missiles?” Once a day he is celebrating an intended abuse to strike deep into Russia. He then goes on. 


So much is focused on what NATO will give them, especially in standoff weaponry, but it's 15 months into this thing. What crash programs are likely maturing? Hence the flocks of drones that will be raining on Moscow. 

Bad, bad news for Russia. (@Aviation_Intel.  May 30, 2023)


Is that just bad news for Russia? Or is that bad news for the world if we are now going to start having constant drone attacks on civilian infrastructure in Russia, in Moscow, followed by cruise missiles, followed by ballistic missiles? He works at this media outlet called The Drive, which is a New York outlet. I’d never heard of it before that published this article about whether Ukraine has a stash of ballistic missiles. He also has a vertical called the War Zone. He's obviously one of these people Adam Smith warned us about back in 1776. People who stay far away from the battlefield but who cheer wars from a distance. Sometimes they go there and do kind of we're reporting in the war zone, but they don't fight in the wars. But you can see the excitement. They get a sense of purpose and strength. We're talking about cruise missiles and ballistic missiles raining down on Russia. If you want to have a nuclear war, this is the way to do it. And as always, the question I will continue to pose for as long as this war goes on is: what interest does the United States have in continuing this war? What interest does the United States have in fighting with this level of risk and danger over who gets to govern the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine – bereft of any vital interests for the United States – or who governs Crimea – a region where even the harshest anti-Russian hawks will acknowledge is filled with people who far more identify as Russian than they do as Ukrainians and who would far more rather be governed by Moscow or be independent than be governed by President Zelenskyy in Kyiv. 

Ever since the United States fostered regime change in Ukraine, which we know happened – we heard Victoria Nuland talking about it secretly on a tape – there are large numbers of people in these provinces who feel like they live in a country that is not theirs. They see Russia with far more affinity to their ethnic identity, to their historical identity than Ukraine. And one possible way out of this war is to hold a referendum and see what the people of Eastern Ukraine want; to see what people in Crimea want, a fair election supervised by the U.N.; to see if they want to be part of Russia, if they want to be independent, if they want to remain under the thumb of Kyiv. I think the West knows what the outcome of that referendum will be. 

And whatever else is true, again, whatever your position, I think the most striking thing here is how little effort there is on the part of Washington or London or Paris or Berlin to even pretend they're seeking a diplomatic solution to this war. Where are the diplomats? Where are the efforts to foster an outcome to finally end this war before it escalates out of control? There are paths to a diplomatic resolution. I just named one. We have the example of Kosovo, which is in the news – we're going to cover that later this week – which is now engaged in some hostilities with Serbia, over what is technically, at least in the eyes of the West, the territory of Kosovo even though many countries don't recognize Kosovo as a country. But the reason there are Kosovo and Serbia to talk about is that the United States and the EU sided with the ethnic separatists in Kosovo that no longer wanted to be part of Serbia. They didn't want to be ruled by Belgrade because they're Albanians, ethnic Albanians, and they wanted their independence and the U.S. supported that independence by arguing that the people of Kosovo deserved autonomy over who they're governed by. And at the time, Vladimir Putin warned that that would be a very dangerous precedent to set because post-World War II Europe is filled with regions and provinces that have been shoved into countries with which they don't identify – including those two breakaway provinces in Georgia that were subject to that 2008 war between Russia and Georgia where the people of South Ossetia and other provinces in Georgia, that are Russian speaking and identify as Russians, did not want to be under the thumb of a country with which they felt no affinity and preferred to be under the governance of Russia. Same with Crimea, same with people in Donbas and other parts of eastern Ukraine. 

So, the Kosovo model is one way out of this, which is to have a free and fair election to oust the people in those provinces and in those regions what they want. Do they want independence? Do they want to be part of Russia? Do they want to be part of Kyiv? And allow them to have their own say in the outcome of that. There is no attempt on the part of the West, you will notice, to try and foster that diplomatic resolution or any other, because the only people in whose interest this war is our Western elites and the Western security state and everybody else, principally the people of Ukraine but also the people of the United States who, are transferring enormous amounts of resources – poured into that war through Raytheon, through the CIA – to this country that has long been considered the most corrupt in all of Europe, only to now face what Joe Biden himself, the sponsor of this war, calls the most dangerous moment since 1962 for the survival of the species. 

So, there is no effort to end this war diplomatically, nor is there any intention to hold that kind of referendum because the West knows what the people in those regions want and don't care about what they want at all. This war is not about protecting Ukraine or protecting Ukrainians. It never was. It's about pretty much everything else, and each day that this war escalates, the dangers intensify. 

We all know that Russia has been responsible, the puppet master, for pretty much every single problem that the West has had over the last ten years. It's not because the Western elites are corrupted. It's not because neo-liberal global institutions are malicious and are willing to squeeze entire populations just to enrich themselves and empower themselves a little further. No, perish the thought. It's because Vladimir Putin, despite all his problems domestically, despite having an economy that is smaller than that of Canada or Italy, despite spending 1/16 of what the United States spends on the military, is somehow able, from across the other side of the world, to puppet master every last event inside the United States, inside of the United Kingdom, and even other Western European countries. And we all know how many Kremlin agents there are, how many Russian spies are, essentially, everybody who challenges or dissents from U.S. foreign policy in any way. 

So just a reminder of all the things the Russians somehow managed to do. The New York Times, through Charlie Savage, in July or June 2020, announced that Russia had placed bounties on the heads of American soldiers in Afghanistan, we were told they had convinced the Taliban that they would pay them if they killed American troops. 

Just beyond anything else, as a reminder, remember the outrage that Russia would dare try and involve itself in an American war by encouraging our enemies to kill American troops? This is something just ghastly that no country would ever do. Only for two years later us to drown Russia's bordering country, Ukraine, with every conceivable weapon we can think of in order for them to go and kill as many Russian troops and increasingly Russian civilians as they can. 

But anyway, that's what Russia was doing. They were controlling Afghanistan. Of course, that story turned out to be false like most of these stories. The Daily Beast in 2021, “U.S. Intel walks back claim Russians put bounties on American troops.” Then we had the Havana Syndrome: somehow there was this new mind-controlled device using 24th-century technology that nobody had ever heard of before, much less began to understand, that enabled them, the Russians, to go around the world injuring the brains of American diplomats, not just in Havana, but all over Europe, using invisible sonic weapons that nobody can't even possibly explain. And we were told over and over again that Russia was behind that as well – that they were damaging the brains of State Department officials. Turns out it was all basically hysteria. It was a psychosomatic illness created by a bunch of hysterics. Imagine that those are the kinds of people working inside the State Department, people who are just completely hysterical and create imaginary illnesses. I wonder where they came from. But as you see here in Rolling Stone, the “Noises were likely crickets, not super weapons, State Department report says.” But we were told that Russia was behind that as well. 

From the Washington Post, in 2020, turns out that America's racial strife is not due to 250 years that involve slavery and Jim Crow laws and segregation or American activist groups that need racial strife. It turns out that racism is because of Russian bots. They're responsible for racial strife in the United States, too. They're sending disinformation campaigns targeting African Americans. They're behind that as well. 

Also, Brexit. Remember Brexit? When the British people went and decided they no longer wanted to be part of the EU, they didn't want to be ruled by Eurocrats in Brussels, they actually want a local role to be able to influence their own self-governance by removing themselves from the EU. That was not the decision of the British people. That too was due to Russia! Russia also engineered Brexit, says the New York Times: “‘No one’ protected British democracy from Russia, UK report concludes.” They blamed Brexit on the Russians.

And of course, 2016: the Democrats lost the presidential election not because they ran one of the most unlikable people on the planet, one of the most historically unpopular politicians in modern American political history. Not because they didn't go to Wisconsin. Not because they had no program to offer anybody other than the elites that financed Hillary Clinton's campaign. Not because they relied on Lena Dunham and a bunch of Hollywood celebrities to tell people in the United States that they should vote for Hillary. None of that. It was because Moscow dictated the outcome of our election. And I could go through the entire list of all the people who we know are Russian agents – because of the fact that they criticized the U.S. government.

Here from the New York Times is a reminder. “Hillary Clinton left no doubt on Thursday that she believes Russia contributed to her defeat by interfering in the election, condemning what she called Moscow's “weaponization of information.” 

So those are all the things and many, many more that Russia has masterminded through its incredible sophistication and power. It turns out they have a new weapon. It's actually a new one. It's the emergence of an old one in 2019. The Guardian, in April, warned us of a frightening new weapon – a Russian spy. The headline: “Whale with harness, could be Russian weapon,” said Norwegian experts.


Fishermen in Norway raised alarm after a white beluga whale sporting unusual strapping began harnessing their boats. Marine experts in Norway believe they have stumbled upon a white whale that was trained by the Russian Navy as part of a program to use underwater mammals as a special ops force. Fishermen in waters near the small Norwegian fishing village of Inga, reported last week that a white beluga whale wearing a strange harness had begun to harass their fishing boats. (The Guardian. May 29, 2019) 


Kind of like the way Russian bots do on Twitter. 


The strange behavior of the whale, which was actively seeking out the vessels and trying to pull straps and rope from the sides of the boats[…] (The Guardian. May 29, 2019) 

Apparently, I knew that there was the claim that the Russians had used these whales to spy on Kremlin spies, but apparently, they trained them to attack Norwegian fishing boats. 

The strange behavior of the whale, which was actively seeking out the vessels and trying to pull strobe straps and ropes from the side of the boats, as well as the fact that it was wearing a tight harness, which seemed to be a camera or weapon, raised suspicions among Marine experts that the animal had been given military-grade training by neighboring Russia. inside the harness, which has now been removed from the whale, were the words “Equipment of St Petersburg.” (The Guardian. May 29, 2019) 


Because, of course, everybody knows that when you deploy covert agents into the field, or convert whales into the ocean, you, of course, have to describe where they came from, and who they belong to. Everybody knows that. I mean, yes, spying is a pretty nasty business, but there are rules. And one of the rules is if you're going to use whales, you have to say where they came from. So, there was a harness that said “Equipment from St Petersburg.” And apparently, that's how they knew. 

Maybe that's a false flag. Could be. Except, unfortunately, you're never allowed to suggest that the West was responsible for a false flag, mislabeling the perpetrator of the attack. Only Russia does that. Russia explodes its own industrial hardware and infrastructure, even though its future economic growth depends on it – like they blew up their own pipeline. Russia bombs itself as it did when it exploded a drone over the Kremlin where Vladimir Putin was sleeping. They think it's Russia that killed its own pro-Russian nationalist blogger in that cafe and blew up that car. But we know in this case that this whale is definitely a Kremlin agent because it says right in the harness “Equipment of Saint Petersburg.” 


“If this whale comes from Russia, and there is great reason to believe it, then it is not Russian scientists, but rather the Navy that has done this,” said Martin Biuw of the Institute of Marine Research in Norway. 

Audun Rikardsen, professor at the Department of Arctic and Marine Biology at the Arctic University of Norway told NRK: “We know that in Russia they have domestic whales in captivity and also that some of these have been apparently released. Then they often seek out boats.” (The Guardian. May 29, 2019) 

 So, I guess the claim here is that whales are generally gentle and humanitarian mammals that ordinarily are very peaceful when they see boats but the Russians have trained them to identify Western boats, boats that are controlled by Westerners or by Western navies, and to attack these boats on behalf of the Kremlin, very, very alarming. Once you start weaponizing marine life this way.


He said he had contacted Russian researchers who said the harnessed whale had nothing to do with them. “They tell me that most likely is the Russian navy in Murmansk,” said Rikardsen. 

In 1980s Soviet Russia, a program saw dolphins recruited for military training, their razor-sharp vision, stealth, and good memory, making them effective underwater tools for detecting weapons. 

This mammal program closed in the 1990s. However, a 2017 report by TV Zvezda, a station owned by the Defense Ministry revealed that the Russian Navy has again been training beluga whales, seals and bottlenose dolphins for military purposes in polar waters. 

In the past three years, President Vladimir Putin has re-opened three former Soviet military bases along its vast Arctic coastline. The recent research and training were done by Murmansk Sea Biology Research Institute in northern Russia on behalf of the Navy to see if beluga whales could be used to, “guard entrances to naval bases” in Antarctic regions, “assist deepwater divers and, if necessary, kill any strangers who enter their territory. (The Guardian. May 29, 2019) 

I don't doubt, in fact, I affirmatively believe that many countries probably do train dolphins to try and engage in certain behavior that could be beneficial to their government. But the idea that this is some kind of nefarious, scary army of Wales, that the Kremlin's have been trained to be spies and to attack Norwegian boats is lunacy. Lunacy. Especially given what they're claiming is the evidence for it that they had a harness that said basically, “Hello, I'm a Russian spy.” And the tone that's used to suggest that this is supposed to frighten us. That this is something that only very evil, insidious countries would do. Like this sonic weapon that came from the 24th century. That instead turned out just to be the psychosomatic neuroses of people who just got out of Swarthmore and joined the State Department and convinced themselves that their brains were being melted by Russian sonic weapons because they'd been watching Rachel Maddow too much, when in fact all along it was crickets they were hearing, and they had invented this mental health disease and then given themselves it sounds like a lot like that. 

As it turns out, this scary Russian Kremlin not just apparently a spy but also an attacker had disappeared, in 2019, only to resurface in the last two days, the last 48 hours. So here from The Guardian, we find he has returned: “Suspected Russia-trained spy whale, reappears off Sweden's coast.” Where is this whale been for the last four years? 


A beluga whale that turned up in Norway wearing a harness in 2019, prompting speculation it was a spy trained by the Russian Navy has reappeared off Sweden's coast. First discovered in Norway's far northern region of Finnmark, the whale spent more than three years slowly moving down the top half of the Norwegian coastline before suddenly speeding up in recent months to cover the second half and move on to Sweden. (The Guardian. May 29, 2023)


So, the Marine mission for which he had been trained, apparently involved a four-year timeline where he would kind of chill out in the Arctic waters – excuse the pun, I promise it wasn't intended. For four years. And then in 2023, maybe to the date that the program would suddenly speed up and start attacking Swedes.


The harness had a mount suited for an action camera and the words “Equipment St. Petersburg” printed on the plastic clasps. 

Directorate officials said Hvaldimir – I guess that's the name of the whale. Oh, it's a pun on Vladimir and then the word for the whale, in Norwegian. Very clever. – Hvaldimir may have escaped an enclosure and may have been trained by the Russian navy as he appeared to be accustomed to humans. 

Moscow never issued any official reaction to Norwegian speculation that he could be a “Russian spy.” (The Guardian. May 29, 2023)


 They probably couldn't stop laughing.

 So here from 2019 is another one: it’s an AP report that has even a picture of him. He looks quite adorable. “Beluga whale with Russian harness raises alarm in Norway.” 


A beluga whale found with a tight harness that appeared to be Russian-made has raised the alarm of our region officials and speculation that the animal may have come from a Russian military facility. (AP News. April 29, 2019)


Just more of the same. 

We do have a video of this nefarious Kremlin spy. And like I said, I want to warn you, I think it's important for you to watch this video to be on guard because he's incredibly cute. He's very playful. He clearly likes humans or at least pretends to like humans. I think part of the danger is that he orders people into this sense of safety by tracking them into his web. He's like a honeypot. You know, Russians use honeypots, like very beautiful women to entice politicians like Eric Swalwell and the person who turned out to be a Chinese spy who developed a very good relationship. That's been a Cold War tactic for a long time. But instead of using women to lure men into getting their secrets, they use adorable animals. People love animals. A lot of people use the love of animals as a way of getting greater connection in our hearts in modern life. And they found this incredibly adorable whale. But he's a spy for the Kremlin. Who not only warns your secrets but attacks you if you're Norwegian or Swedish. 

So, let's look at him. I think it's important to keep you out in the waters and you see him. to identify him and remain very cautious in what you tell him and in your interactions with him. 

I should say this is from NBC News just to ensure, I assure you that this is all coming from the most mainstream outlets. There you see the caption: Marine experts think this whale may be a Russian-trained spy. Let's watch him


Do you see how malicious the Russians are? They play on our best instincts and they weaponize the cuteness of beluga whales for military purposes. I don't know if you notice in that propaganda I read you, one paragraph, said, “The reason we know he's a Russian spy is because he's unusually aggressive and hostile.” He attacks only Norwegian boats, fishing boats out of the blue with no provocation. And then we also heard that the reason we know he's a spy is because he's so accustomed to being around humans. Did you see any hostility there at all? I saw nothing but very polite behavior. But again, that's the point. That's the way they keep this a secret. 


Now, let me show you one other report, which I believe is from CBS News because I think you cannot be on guard enough. Here is the report. It's entitled Russian Spy Whale. And it's from 2019 when he first appeared. 


(Video. CBS News. 2019)


The city of Hammerfest, Norway. You may have to get into a boat to see the town's most iconic resident, Hvaldimir, the Beluga. The gentle giant is not from Norway. The townspeople believe he once worked as a Russian spy whale and then fled. […]


So apparently he's like a dissident. It turns out he was trained as a Russian spy. I think he developed some kind of misgivings about the nature of the work that he was doing. And he escaped bravely. And he sought asylum in Norway, off the coast of Norway. So, I mean, I guess according to this version, at least he's heroic, though he did reappear in 2023. Maybe the Russians captured him again, debriefed him, retrained him, and then gave him a new Marine mission, kind of reoriented him, indoctrinated him out of his dissidence, and now he's back under Russian control. But this is what they thought in 2019 about him. 


I always say it sounds like something that a comic book artist ran out of ideas or something in the fifties and created this. 

He was trained to do military spy work. You can send a whale a lot further and a lot longer and a lot deeper than you can a human, first of all. 

And second of all, that whale can go undetected. Hvaldimir had cameras strapped to him. He boldly left his old life behind, showing up on the coast alone and in need of help. 


He Oh, my God. I mean, okay, let me say again, this is CBS News, and they've turned him into like a victim of Russian repression by a heroic victim. Somebody who really did not appreciate being forced to work for the Russian government. Or maybe at some point he kind of like had an epiphany, kind of like Edward Snowden. He was a very young man, who joined the U.S. military believing the war in Iraq was just. He broke both of his legs in basic training. Then he went to work for the CIA and the NSA until he had an epiphany and began realizing that the mythology that he had been fed about the U.S. government, and the role that it played in the world was false. And therefore, he wanted to act against it. This seems to be the case for this whale, at some point, we don't know why he had kind of like an epiphany, like a sort of awakening about the true nature of the Russian government, and decided he no longer wanted to work for them. And he made a breakaway to the coast of Norway where he anticipated correctly, it turns out, that he would be well received. 

This is 2019, so I want to point out that this may be all a cover, a gigantic fraud perpetrated on the West to make us think that he had an awakening and was no longer willing to do the work of the Russian government when in reality was his way of luring us in. That was part of his training to think that he was actually on our side and to trust him. And now it turns out he resurfaced, is swimming faster than ever and attacking the Swedes. So, it's a very complex story, that's for sure. 

So, here's the rest of this report for 2019. 


Started pulling at fishermen’s boats and buoys and equipment and getting their attention. One of the fishermen in Norway really realized something's wrong with this picture. There's a man wearing a harness. He got in the water himself and was able to undo the harness and take all the mirrors out of the harness, which I think is really important, an important thing to have happened for Hvaldimir because I don't think he probably could have lived his whole life and not too comfortably.  


Can you believe this? I mean, you know, obviously there are lots of ways to mock this. I have refrained from doing so because of the gravity of the story. But if I wanted to, I could. I think the point here, though, is all of this is based on this whole story that emerged in 2019 about this Kremlin spy who's a whale and then, like, escaped as kind of like fleeing a repressive regime, quickly making it to the West, where he could be free and asked for help, and the Norwegians gave it to him. But now it turns out he really might have been a spy. Or maybe he went back and got What is any of this based on? It's like this woman just telling a story with music in the background designed to pull in your heartstrings, to make you think this whale is, like, benevolent, heroic. Except now he's being depicted once again as nefarious. This is the never-ending, incessant bullshit. But these corporate media outlets and under the guise of news, this is news, that Washington Post article that I read you before about how Russian civilians are finally getting what they deserve and this is going to make them rise up. That was also presented as news. This is what we are constantly bombarded with. There's not even pretense to have an evidentiary basis for it. It's almost like the more egregious they can be, the more flagrant they can be, and how they propagandize us, the better it is because it shows their power. 

If they can make you affirm things that you know are false or they don't even have to pretend to care whether or not you believe them, they just shove narrative constructions down your throat without the slightest regard for whether it even makes the most basic sense, that's real power. That's essentially saying to you we don't fear you at all. We don't even have enough respect for you to bother caring about whether or not you're convinced. And that is really the posture of the U.S. government and the corporate media outlets that serve that. And I think it's no wonder that it's one of the most optimistic and encouraging facts that we have that faith and trust in these media outlets have completely collapsed because, eventually, people see through this stuff. People know when they're being scorned and treated with contempt. 

And while you can mark this and talk about the absurdity of it, it does in fact, have very dangerous outcomes. We’re now at war with a country that the Democratic Party decided to blame for what for them was the most traumatic event in recent political history, which is the loss of Hillary Clinton and the election of Donald Trump. They fed their followers with the most severe form of anti-Russian animus. They basically made it a crime to even talk to Russians. And now we're in the middle of this incredibly dangerous, rapidly escalating war that has no geostrategic aim other than its continuation for its own sake. There are no efforts to resolve it diplomatically and instead, all we ever get is this constant narrative that we should hate Russia and Russians in lieu of any rationale for why these resources should continuously be expended and why these rights should be incurred in pursuit of this war. 

These institutions cannot collapse fast enough. They cannot collapse fast enough. There is no way to describe how fundamentally and irretrievably corrupted they are. And that's why I always say, and I will continue to say that: however much you hate the corporate media and the U.S. security state, it is nowhere near enough the willingness that they have to drag you into lies and then create dangers all around those lies is essentially limitless. 


That concludes our show for this evening. Because it is Tuesday night, we will now move to our Locals platform for our live, interactive show where we take your questions, comment on your critiques and feedback, hear your suggestions for the kinds of stories we should cover and whom we should interview, and just generally have a conversation with our audience, which I always find to be a very important form of journalistic accountability. 

To have access to that live aftershow, simply join our Locals community by clicking the join button here, on the video player. That also helps support the journalism we do here. 

As a reminder, System Update is available in podcast forms: you can follow us on Spotify, Apple, and every other major podcast platform. You can also rate and review the show – that helps spread its visibility.


 Thank you so much for watching. We hope to see you back tomorrow night and every night at 7 p.m. EST, exclusively here on Rumble. 

Have a great evening, everybody.

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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
Video Transcript

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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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