NGĀTI TŪMATAKŌKIRI were an iwi on alert. They had come, unbidden, from the north and were, predictably, surrounded by hostile tribes who bitterly resented their intrusion. In such circumstances it is never advisable to lower your guard. Eyes need to be kept wide open, and weapons close to hand.
But no exhortations to watchfulness could possibly have prepared Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri for the alien craft that sailed into their bay on the 18 December 1642. That they were sailing vessels was obvious, but much, much larger and more intricately rigged than anything they had ever before encountered.
Formally challenged, the strange, pale-skinned men (if men they were and not the unearthly patupaiarehe who stole away women and children) responded in ways that made no sense. Returning the following day, prepared for battle, Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri warriors intercepted a smaller craft, not dissimilar to their own, and killed some of the pale-skinned men propelling it in the direction of a second, more distant, vessel.
Almost immediately, the nearest alien craft responded. Flashes of fire. Clouds of acrid smoke. A sound louder than the loudest thunder. Transfixed, the warriors stared with open mouths at the angry faces of the pale aliens emerging from the drifting smoke. Then, acutely conscious of their peril, the warriors turned the waka about and paddled furiously for the shore.
By the next day the alien craft had gone. Their like would not be seen again by Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri, or any other Maori, for another 127 years.
Is it possible that, over the past few weeks, the United States of America has responded to an alien incursion in ways curiously evocative of Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri? Confronted with what the Pentagon calls “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” in their own (and Canada’s) airspace, F-22 “Raptor” fighter-jets have been sent up to shoot down what most of us still call UFOs – Unidentified Flying Objects.
Responding to the killing of four of his sailors by the local inhabitants, Abel Tasman had named the antipodean crime-scene “Murderers’ Bay”. Has an alien starship commander, now en route (at Warp Factor 5) to a less dangerous part of the galaxy, already named this inhospitable planet “Murderers’ World”?
But, surely, the craft shot out of the skies over recent days were mere elaborations of that downed Chinese spy-balloon – the all-too-terrestrial remains of which the US Navy is currently dredging-up off the South Carolina coast?
Well, no – apparently not. A big balloon is a big balloon. But the craft shot down in recent days were not balloons. One of the UAPs was described as “cylindrical” in shape, another as “octagonal”, and no one from the United States military has yet been willing to hazard a guess as to what was propelling them through the sky at 40,000 feet.
Asked if the USAF had shot down three alien spacecraft, in as many days, the man charged with protecting North American airspace, General Glen VanHerck replied: “I’ll let the intel community and the counterintelligence community figure that out. I haven’t ruled out anything.”
Which is not quite the contemptuous dismissal the journalist who asked the question may have been expecting.
Even so, by far the most likely explanation for this sudden rash of UAP/UFO interceptions is that they represent a new departure in surveillance technology – not the unheralded arrival of extra-terrestrial visitors.
For the past 75 years the major powers have had their eyes peeled for military and surveillance technology like their own: high-flying aircraft, spy satellites, missiles, stealth bombers. But, imagine that one of the United States competitors, China say, was to come up with craft so unusual that, until recently, the Americans simply hadn’t been able to see them? What if, like the sailing-ships encountered by Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri, these new craft are so far removed from the technology the Americans are used to tracking, the craft they expect to see, that when they turn up in US airspace – and are finally noticed – they seem to come from another world?
It’s an interesting theory – and almost certainly the most plausible explanation for what is happening high above the North American continent. But, wouldn’t it be thrilling if the extra-terrestrial explanation turned out to be true? Instantaneously, the boundaries of what human-beings believe to be possible would be expanded by what could only be measured in light years.
“What the hell is that!”
This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 17 February 2023.
Kate Hannah would put that to Allen Curnow's poem (extending that to aliens)?
I suppose they would incorporate themselves under the Points Based System (Cone heads) but hopefully they do more than capture the prime real estate (Earthlings "just can't afford these [above ground] prices" - Harcourts Galactic) and increase low paid services (Keyistan a ho)?
Word seems to be US weather baloons .
D J S
Crikey Chris, a bit dangerous telling us about the alien spacecraft theory right. The conspiracy theorists on this site will be all over it like a cheap suit. We'll be bored to death. I think I might welcome Bill Gates efforts to control our minds through 5G. 😇
I don't recall who it was - some well regarded figure in the sciences associated with the cosmos - who said, quite emphatically, that the SETI programmes were a bad idea. If there are extra-terrestrial aliens 'out there', it were better that we keep our heads down and shut the hell up. DON'T advertise our presence, was his view.
Why? if the history of this world is anything to go by, contact between peoples of disparate levels of 'civilization' and 'technological development' tended to be bad news for those less 'advanced'. Very bad news for many; fatal for some.
Human conjectures anent what and who is out there tends to be modelled upon (a) the human example, and (b) wishful thinking. The latter seems to blind them to human colonialism and cultural friction. What might we learn or (better yet) profit from extra-terrestrial contact? In human history millions upon millions of people were not permitted to live long enough to learn much of anything from their conquerors. If we expect ETs are going to be like us in this or that aspect, don't then expect them to be different in others.
I hope like hell the US hasn't descended so far down the road of stupidity to shoot down from the sky craft belonging to extra-terrestrials. The more 'advanced' civilizations are apt to take a dim view of that sort of thing.
Remember the comment of some Roman writer or other (I forget who): 'People who preen themselves upon their civilization are not apt to hold themselves to the same exalted standards they demand and expect from others.'
Ion A. Dowman
So what’s been happening recently? When a distraction is needed for Pfizer having been exposed on camera for manipulating (or, at the least, contemplating manipulating) virus mutations in order to guarantee massive future revenues from the products they will foist on increasingly sceptical populations as a consequence; when the United States has recently been exposed (even though it was the logical conclusion at the time) as the perpetrators of the largest act of industrial terrorism in history, for the purpose of crippling its “ally” Germany and preventing what would be (for the US) and disastrous Russo-German economic alliance; and when a train carrying huge amounts of toxic chemicals has catastrophically derailed and burned in Ohio, releasing a massive cloud of noxious gases into the air and polluting the Ohio river to a very high degree; and, particularly, when the psychopathic hegemons of the US Establishment is starting to beat the war drums with regard to an “aggressive” China with increasing fervour, then you know what? Let’s bamboozle the believing buffoons with “Chinese spy balloons” (but don’t mention the existence of their spy satellites) and proclaim “UFO” technology, possibly also attributed to the restless Chinese dragon. Job done.
Archduke Piccolo said...
Stephan Hawkings I think?
"I hope like hell the US hasn't descended so far down the road of stupidity to shoot down from the sky craft belonging to extra-terrestrials."
I suspect that any civilisation that the had the technology and capacity to visit the earth, which essentially means finding some way around the speed of light, would not have a spaceship that is capable of being shot down – by the USA or anyone else on earth.
Hey Mme – are you having a contest to see who can cram the most conspiracy theories into a smallest post? I told you Chris.😇
Edward Snowden was probably right when he tweeted:
“It’s not aliens, it’s just the ol’ engineered panic, an attractive nuisance ensuring (National Security) reporters get assigned to investigate balloon bulls$%t rather than budgets or bombings (a la Nordstream)”.
Meanwhile, the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade (NIBBB) have lost contact with their $12 “cylindrical” shaped hobby balloon that last reported it’s position over West Alaska.
I knew when Karen Carpenter called the occupants of interplanetary craft there would be trouble.
Hmmm.... well as exciting as this might be the more mundane truth is that it's simply this Administration's right hand not knowing what the Left hand is doing, as usual:
- having failed to react fast enough to the big Chinese "weather balloon" they're now over-reacting by shooting down everything that floats slowly in the breeze. I see some US national balloon association has said one of their fancy, metallic toys is missing and was last detected over Lake Huron, where one of the latest shoot-downs occurred.
- They now admit they had been tracking the original big boy since it was launched in Hainan Island. They clearly didn't want to say anything until some local Montanan videoed and it went viral, at which point the admitted they knew about it. So now the trust factor is way down.
- poor old NORAD General Glen VanHerck then made things worse by trying to fudge the whole issue, with lots of "don't knows", "can't be sure", "I'll leave that to the Intel groups" and finally saying that he couldn't rule out them being alien, which really lit the fuse. I'll bet he had stiff whiskey that night as he watched the MSM insanity.
- finally the godforsaken Press Secretary, Jean-Pierre, threw her wrench into the mess, and still is:
There is… the NORAD is part of like a… part of uhh… it’s a…’, she soldiered on, as if she were trying to sum up something infinitely complex. ‘It’s what you call a coalition… a consortium…’ The journalist intervened to save her, offering: ‘A pact of nations?’ ‘Exactly’, she said, gratefully accepting the help.
Jean-Pierre then went on to confidently assert: ‘We did it, clearly, in step with Canadia (sic).’
Yes, you read that last correctly. "Canadia".
Sigh. The Chinese and Russians must be pissing themselves laughing. What a clown show.
I too think it is likely Psy Ops.
Apparently it first started getting talked about when the news leaked about Biden blowing up the pipeline (As if that wasnt immediately obvious to thinking people at the time). The smoking gun - the pipeline story broke on an early Sunday? morning when there was no-one about. (Just like Jacinda's 5a.m Friday dumps).
And the other interesting thing is how the PTB are not just hinting openly about aliens (Previously a no go area) but they have reverted to using the term UFO since it has been a very definite UAV? since 2017. So now we have government sources talking about it quite openly and using the more mysterious name. We are also told that they have no idea what these things are. (I smell a rat ... um, our country is infiltrated by Aliens and we dont know what we are doing?" Yeah, nah.
Purely a distraction which they have got Trudeau onboard with no doubt for a quid pro quo. 5 UFos in one week?
Apparently China has hundreds of these balloon surveillance craft flying all over the Americas and other parts of the world and it has been ongoing for a number of years.
As to the origin of other craft, it is almost certain that the world has capabilities we the people know literally nothing about. The Americans (no-one knows but most likely) have a black stealth craft of football field size that appears to be powered electro magnetically and this has been caught on camera usually over the states but also in the middle east and Europe on numerous occasions over the last 15 or more years. No aliens necessary and hardly surprising when you consider they have been working on 'space craft' since WW2 when they brought the german scientists over under Operation Paperclip?
The arrival of European ships in New Zealand must have been both frightening and exciting - as our reaction to an alien visit would be. The people of that time had no real knowledge of the wider world, apart from stories of a mostly mythical homeland, their world confined to this land. It must have come as a hell of a shock but there were simultaneously two big discoveries at that time - the world discovered New Zealand and New Zealand discovered the world.
I don't know that people fully appreciate how big the gap, economically, technically and socially, between the two cultures really was. Perhaps appreciated by looking at the present day New Guinea highland tribes, they live much as the pre Europeans Maori lived, though arguably technically more advanced.
Why is it always assumed that aliens (in the unlikely event that they (1) exist & (2) ever make it to Earth) will necessarily speak English ? ... & be cool, calm & collected ? ... when it's far more likely they'll be overwrought drama-queens, speaking Italian with a great deal of nervous excitement & emotional intensity.
This is just one reason among many why there is no reason to credulously accept the pronouncements of Power, the self-appointed arbiters of Truth:
Pre-2023: "If you believe that alien technology exists, you are a conspiracy theorist."
2023:"If you don't believe that alien technology exists, you are a conspiracy theorist."
As soon as the One Source of Truth contradicts itself in its pronouncement or is contradicted by developments regarding the known facts, it is immediately game over for their credibility.
When you deem yourself omniscient, there can be no allowance for being wrong.
On the same logic of multiculturalism, the dissolution of national borders, national sovereignty and national identities through the extreme globalisation of people and capital flows, if aliens landed and wanted to take over the planet, then what is the argument for resisting them? Surely notions of the people of the Earth being able to say "No" to non-Earthling outsiders is a quaint relic of a bygone age. Wouldn't we be bigoted and hateful to stop them?
'@Guerilla Surgeon' - your comment to '@Madame Blavatsky':
"are you having a contest to see who can cram the most conspiracy theories into a smallest post? I told you Chris."
... is more than dismissive, it comes across as outright condescending over a reasonable opinion that the "UFO" story that's dominated headlines was a contrived and an intentional distraction from other potential stories of the past week.
Seymour Hersh was the investigative journalist responsible for exposing the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, Nixon's involvement in Watergate, US torture in Abu Ghraib and the staged "chemical attack" in Ghouta that prompted US involvement in Syria. Are you seriously suggesting that his most recent investigation over the US bombing of Nord Stream 2 should be dismissed as a conspiracy theory?
The Ohio rail disaster was the direct result of bipartisan watering down of Federal safety standards on the transporting of hazardous goods. All due to corporate lobbying. The "remediation" resulted in raining acid over Ohio and skies filled with gas typically used in chemical weapons. Is this the conspiracy theory?
Or is the conspiracy theory that political administrations try to deflect media attention away from damaging stories?
David Stone: "Word seems to be US weather baloons"
Yes indeed: I'd read that somewhere recently. It's by far the most plausible explanation. Occam's Razor and all that.
Archduke Piccolo: "The more 'advanced' civilizations are apt to take a dim view of that sort of thing."
In the example Chris Trotter gives above, Abel Tasman - representative of a more "advanced" civilisation as he was - simply left and never came back. It could be argued that we'd all have been better off, had Cook done the same thing, after his first visit.
swordfish putting rationality over our fevered outpourings, cooling down the heat. We can do with more of this please declaim often.
And it's getting worse. Told you Chris. 👽
Condescending and belittling one liners such as "Dear So-and-So" - offered in response to a coherent argument with which you disagree - are not acceptable, Brendan.
Either defend your position rationally, or say nothing at all.
Seymour Hersh used to be a great journalist. But like so many these days, RFK and the like – he's gone down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. Selling stories that are backed up by flimsy or little evidence, in one case based on one unnamed source. No proof, no documentation, he's just gone crazy. So to be honest I think although my comment was perhaps a little over the top – in which case I apologise, it's still relevant. This place is becoming a hang out for conspiracy theorists of one sort or another trying to push anti-Iraq's among other things.
And I don't know about bipartisan gutting of the rules, Obama certainly didn't take them far enough, but Trump rescinded them altogether, and it's Biden's shame that he didn't reinstate them. It's a symptom of allowing large companies to donate large amounts of money to politicians and purchase political influence. It's notable that Sen Vance (R) Ohio, did not comment on the disaster for well over a week after it happened.
Incidentally, if aliens want to take over the Earth and I can't think why on earth they should, given the resources we have here are plentiful throughout the universe I imagine, all they have to do is drop large rocks off the coasts of all the continents – which would produce huge tsunamis and wipe out most of the population, which tends to live close to the coast. The idea of fighting back is ludicrous.
To: Guerilla Surgeon @ 10:12
Cantankerous and contemptuous you may be at times, GS, but I never thought I'd see you dismiss Seymour Hersh as a conspiracy theorist.
I'm not sure who or what you put your faith in these days, if anything, but that last comment of yours has severely lowered your credibility - at least in my eyes.
Guerilla Surgeon or Seymour Hersh?
Pretty easy choice, mate.
People who casually dismiss as "conspiracy theorists" anyone who reasonably and plausibly suggests that any event may not be as it seems at face value, or may not be exactly as we are told by "official" sources, are, in my estimation, far more deluded than most of those who suggest all is not as it seems at that there may be people with common cause, ulterior motives, and a desire to conceal what is really the case. I think that the psychological shock of accepting that we are ruled by deeply dishonest and duplicitous people who will, if the need arises, lie to the public as and when necessary is just too much for some people.
The strawman they use is "if you think X is a conspiracy, then you think everything is a conspiracy." This, of course, is not the claim. Claims of one particular conspiracy are not claims of universal conspiracies.
Basically, for the "you're a conspiracy theorist" "argument" (and it isn't an argument, of course) to work, it would have to be the case that there has NEVER been such a thing as conspiracies now or in the past. Anyone who knows about humans and human nature will recognise that such a proposition is simply not credible. If there have been conspiracies in the past, then it follows that conspiracies are possible, and it follows further that conspiracies could be in effect as you read this.
In fact, so plausible (and probable) is the notion of parties conspiring for common cause, that conspiracy is a concept encoded into multiple offences in our legal system.
Here's a "conspiracy" for the doubters: the concept of "conspiracy theorist" as a pejorative term was devised very recently by the CIA in the 1960s to be used against members of the American public who questioned the official narratives surrounding the JFK assassination. I suppose this is an instance of a meta-conspiracy (a conspiracy to mitigate a conspiracy).
Means, motive, and opportunity. Those are the three elements required to establish probable commission of a crime.
If you expect a peace of paper ordering the bombing, a a photograph taken by a dolphin in the Baltic Sea showing a man with an American flag on this diving suit planting explosives, then you may be disappointed.
But what we can do is use our reason and and logic:
Did the US have the means?
Of course, they have the largest military in the world, so could very obviously spare the explosives to to the damage.
Did the US have the motive?
Of course. For more than 100 years, the US's principle geostrategic goal has been dominance in Eurasia. This has meant preventing any alliance between Germany (the recipient of gas) and Russia (the provider of gas). If Germany and Russia are closely allied, then what role does the United States have in the region? They are shut out. They therefore have every reason to bring a swift end to Russo-Germanic relations manifested in Nordstream gas arrangements. The US is also currently engaged in a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, so it makes perfect sense that they would want to starve Russia of Nordstream gas revenue. The US regime had, in addition, made numerous public statements in the months and years preceding September 2022 that they would not allow Nordstream to become operational.
Did the US have the opportunity?
Of course. The US (through NATO and through their own forces) have complete control of Western Europe and the surrounding seas. It would have raised no questions for American forces (or even NATO proxies) to be out in the Baltic Sea doing something in the water.
So it all seems perfectly clear and reasonable that the US did the deed. Moreover, if NOT the US, then WHO did the act, and WHY?
Chris – if you did a bit of research on the nutty things that Hirsch believes these days you might change your mind just a little. As far as the American involvement in the pipeline incident goes I am withholding judgement at the moment. On the one hand the US might well have had a motive, but it's not the sort of thing that you can do with a couple of guys and keep it secret. Probably thousands of people needed to be involved here, and someone by now would have talked. There's an algorithm that tells you how long a secret can be kept depending on the number of people who know it – I suspect this one wouldn't last very long.
And if you want some evidence of Seymour Hersh's recent nuttiness.
I don't think Vox is the sort of site that would resist a story that criticised a US government? I had every respect for Hersh – I used his work in an assignment on the My Lai massacre. But he seems to have drunk the cool aid. In a similar vein I used to love Neil Oliver's documentaries on archaeology and history – but now he's a complete loon vaccination denier. People change Chris. And I don't think evidence should be dismissed just because Seymour Hersh was once a great reporter.
Incidentally, I find this a much more nuanced approach to the pipeline thing. His summaries of the Ukraine war are on you tube and excellent – he is not the best speaker in the world but he's very careful about evidence, even though he admits to supporting Ukraine. Many similar commenters would do well to follow his example.
For anyone – and there may well be a few yet still willing to be persuaded – here is a wider view of the whole conspiracy theory thing including a number of mentions of Hirsch which are perhaps less than flattering.
When U.S. Air Force General Glen VanHerck was asked if the objects could be "extra-terrestrial" in origin and he stated: "I'll let the intel community and counterintelligence community figure that out. I haven’t ruled out anything at this point". If the US military was being disingenuous (as they certainly were) in suggesting they may have potentially shot down alien craft we have to ask who benefits in creating this absurd panic over Chinese balloons and “alien” technology? Cui bono? Who has an interest in a government promotion of panic and why fuel that now?
I believe Hersh's investigation into Nord Stream is highly credible and extremely important. Just as Bernstein & Woodward wouldn't reveal details about their famous source, I don't believe his investigation should be dismissed because he is protecting his source(s) from lengthy prison sentences. Even so, with the UFO pantomime 10 days behind us, there is still no significant reporting of the Hersh story anyway. This suggests to me that the Administration doesn’t need deflection stories because journalism has been so completely defanged and brought to heel that anything contradicting official narratives simply doesn’t get covered.
There's zero evidence that the Chinese balloons were anything other than one of 1,800 normal weather balloons that are launched around the globe every day. The very first news reports from the US had government officials admitting this. Later press releases & briefings ignored Occam's Razor and the weather balloon explanation disappeared, instead they became "spy balloons", a phrase that was almost never used prior to February. Google News shows 16 million articles written on "spy balloons" this month. Chomsky would say that this rapid and overwhelming repetition of a new phrase is clear evidence of an intentional propaganda campaign.
Goebbels supposedly said the most effective propaganda was to tell two lies while leaving the public to argue over which is truth. He certainly said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it". In the case of the balloon saga, US officials allowed the public 10 days to debate if the flying objects were either a) "extra-terrestrial" or b) "Chinese Spy Balloons". Rational people dismiss the alien origin theory with laughter, but in doing so were shepherded into pondering if Chinese balloons might be so incredibly sophisticated that might be mistaken as UFOs!?! True to form, we now have had 10 million articles on "Chinese Spy Balloons" and a growing belief that these balloons are “threatening” the US.
When a fearful public demand "we gotta do something about China’s threats" the 'Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex' and the true believers of the Project for a New American Century benefit. My gut feel is that this saga has more to do with building support behind increasing hostility toward China than it does as redirection against any particular issue.
@‘Madame Blavatsky’ – I couldn’t agree with you more!
Loz – I don't know where you get your stories from but I've seen quite a lot about the Nord stream incident. So you're probably not looking hard enough? There's quite a bit of debate going on as to whether America did it or not and I left a link on this or another post – I can't remember – to a reasonable non-tinfoil hat discussion which you might like to read.
Personally I can't see why China should have weather balloons over the US, considering their weather doesn't come from the direction of the US. And also I don't think weather balloons have to carry such a huge cargo. Having said that, even if it was a weather balloon the US probably wouldn't say. But even so the instruments on a weather balloon I doubt would need to be the size of a couple of buses. If you care to Google images of weather balloons the instrument packages are quite tiny.
I can't see how you can say there's no evidence that there isn't a weather balloon – unless perhaps you could produce something that shows they aren't spy balloons?
Loz: :...this saga has more to do with building support behind increasing hostility toward China...."
Agreed. Again: Occam's Razor.
Although yesterday on one of the (mercifully brief) news reports on Concert, I heard a UK spokesperson declaring that such balloons could be being sent by Russia for espionage purposes. In this household, we figured that it was only a matter of time until this furphy was trotted out. And there it was: da Ruuusians dunnit!
So. Now you know.
I liked this account, which I saw somewhere recently:
Madame Blavatsky, I also agree with you.
It's funny isn't it, anti-Americanism used to be the preserve of the left, now it seems that the right is joining in for whatever strange reason. But I like to think at least that when this was proposed to Pres Biden, he or someone in his team would have said "And what happens when this gets out – as it inevitably will? What would the reaction of the Europeans be to Americans destroying one of their sources of energy, just so we could sell them more gas?"
Now the Americans probably had the means and the opportunity, but a motive? It doesn't add up to me. I have no idea who destroyed the pipeline, I have no idea of the weird and twisted motives that other entities might have had the destroying it. I admit the possibility of the US destroying it, but it seems a very politically dangerous thing for them to do.
Anyway, perhaps you all could get back to me when you've read the link/s that I've left in various places, and we can have a proper discussion on it – hopefully without childish, nonmaterial comments.
Here's a link to some intelligent comment on the Ukraine wharf.
@‘Guerilla Surgeon’ - I read each link you provided and decided to read his full book rather than rely on how others characterised it. It's a magnificent work. Hirsh uses private sources (as all journalists do) but his due diligence in cross referencing every statement against government statements and comments from others is masterful. Those limp criticisms that his writing is based on one or two sources are baseless.
I was going to outline why the criticisms were nonsense, until I read the next link you posted by disinformation "expert" Eileen Culloty. Culloty sets up a simple "straw man" argument by misrepresenting Hirsh's evidence on the manufactured Syria gas attack & then she dismisses him as a peddling a conspiracy theory. This is the entire problem of empowering "experts" to identify what is disinformation.
Eileen Culloty is an Assistant Professor at Dublin City University (all credit to her). Linkedin shows she is a member of the 'Social Observatory for Disinformation and Social Media Analysis (SOMA)' project and she was lead researcher on the 'H2020 Provenance' project which, led by DCU FuJo, which aimed to develop tools for "countering disinformation" on social media. As you reference her as an authority on "the whole conspiracy theory thing" lets "follow the money" behind the SOMA project. I have included links below.
SOMA is co-funded by the European Union & the 'Descartes Fondation'. The Descartes Fondation conveniently lists the partners it relies upon "in fighting against disinformation".
Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing the National Endowment for Democracy in 1991 declared: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” Remember this when we look at the organisations behind the Descartes Fondation, and subsequently the SOMA project.
* National Endowment for Democracy - is a direct contributor.
* Center for European Policy Analysis - funded by Lockheed Martin, National Endowment for Democracy, NATO Public Diplomacy Division, Russia Strategic Initiative (itself funded by U.S. Department of Defense), US European Command (itself funded by U.S. Department of Defense), US State Department.
* Democracy Fund - created by Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar who is also creator of Luminate foundation
* German Marshall Fund - which is funded by U.S. Agency for International Development. Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, U.S. Federal Office of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, U.S. Mission to NATO
* Center for an Informed Public (University of Washington) - established through a $50 million investment from Knight Foundation.
* DFR Lab - which is part of the military think tank the Atlantic Council which itself is funded through contributions by: National Endowment for Democracy, Luminate foundation (Pierre Omidyar), Charles Koch Institute. The Rockefeller Foundation, United States Department of State etc.
* NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence
* Open Society Foundation - (ahem - Soros) which works hand in hand, partnering with the National Endowment for Democracy globally.
Talk about putting the fox in the hen house!!!
You see these same "non-government" organisations (which are directly funded by the US government) partnering everywhere globally with a goal of becoming the authoritative group for what the public are able to see, read and hear.
The fact that this lot would advise that Seymour Hersh is peddling Conspiracy Theories shouldn't be of any surprise – but don’t drink the Kool-Aid!
So one of my sources you claim sets up a straw man? Would you like to explain exactly what the strawman is?
You have something against George Soros? Possibly the only billionaire who isn't a raving Nazi?
Of course the menus as private sources of information and of course all journalists are, but they usually do their best to confirm it in other ways. He doesn't seem to have done this.
"Hersh states that the most recent chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun was not, as the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) claimed, a sarin attack carried out by the Syrian government. It was, instead, a conventional bombing raid that happened to hit a warehouse of “fertilisers, disinfectants and other goods.” This caused “effects similar to those of sarin.”
"Chemical weapons experts say this is impossible. Laboratory tests proved that sarin had indeed been used. Hersh disagrees. “Why am I doing this?” he asks at one point. “I don’t feel like explaining this,”
I'm afraid you'll have to get a bit more specific if you are going to discredit my arguments.
Respect goes both ways Chris. Someone who doesn't look at and evaluate evidence but simply makes assertions doesn't get much respect from me either. Look at the evidence and get back to me maybe.
Whatever Hersh's status, he certainly attracted a lot of criticism, much from fellow journalists and not all from the radical right or left. Some of these journalists have just as good a reputation as Hersh, at least since the 2000s when he seems to have gone off the rails.
And I at least have read both sides of the argument, and the most anyone reputable has said is that it's wrong to attack Hersh, that some of his stuff is possible, but that nobody really knows.
There are particular questions of "why?" in his assessment of the Osama bin Laden business. The whole thing seems overcomplicated, and under explained. Oh well, as you conservatives keep telling me – everyone's entitled to their own opinion. And Christ, I didn't think mine would be so controversial. I guess hero worship has its limitations.
'@Guerilla Surgeon' - "I can't see why China should have weather balloons over the US"…
Occam's razor. It is a balloon and we now have reports from US media that the flight path it took was unusual and it was probably blown off course by the unexpected storm systems that hit the US at the time. Note in those comments on Feb 4 the Pentagon stating “the payload wouldn’t offer much in the way of surveillance that China couldn’t collect through spy satellites” anyway.
On your recommendation, I've just finished watching one of the updates from what you described as an 'intelligent comment' on Ukraine. The guy means well but it's garbage in - garbage out. I watched as he chuckled over Bakmhut being lost as nothing more than a tiny dot on a map of a very large Ukraine. Stalingrad was a small dot on a very large map of the Reich too & it's a much better parallel of what’s happening. His misunderstanding comes from studiously plotting on a map releases from the Institute for the Study of War (which is often used by western television as a primary source too). Look closer at who operates that "news" service.
The Institute for the Study of War was founded by Kimberly Kagan (who is the current President). Her brother is Robert Kagan who founded the Project for the New American Century. Robert Kagan is married to Victoria Nuland who is one of the most powerful ‘neocon’ insiders in the US administration and an architect behind the violent overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine in 2014. It's board members include General David Petraeus, General Jack Keane - former Vice Chief of Staff US Army and Bill Kristol who was the other co-founder of the Project for a New American Century. If that wasn't enough to question its journalistic integrity it's funded by General Dynamics, DynCorp, and previously Raytheon too. It’s propaganda, not journalism.
I apologise for subjecting everyone to so much writing that's moved off-topic from Chris' work & is more aligned to previous pieces.
Loz. Okay, I think we just talking past each other now. So this is my last word on it.
1. What does Occam's razor say about the size of the instrument package on the Chinese balloon? Because weather balloons instrument package tends to be about the size of a desktop computer rather than referred to in terms of the number of buses
2. Stalingrad is nothing like Bakhmut. I've just finished two books on Stalingrad so I do know a little about it.
3. It's a map.
Chris, in the absence of any further engagement from you – again my last word.
There are mistakes in Seymour Hersh's work that suggest he's not paying attention – like the NATO officer who's been supposedly cooperating with the American intelligence services since the Vietnam war – when he was about nine years old. Precocious child that.
Even more telling:
The BBC says that Hersh is not doing his best work at the moment. On the other end of the spectrum, the Guardian says that his later work is dodgy. Bellingcat maintains that his ideas on Syria are nonsense, as does the OPCW.
So I think I'm entitled to say this.
Believe them, or a Kiwi blogger and his commenters who have little if any relevant experience in geopolitics, and no relevant sources on the matter – no contest.
Loz your critique of the map is answered here.
To: Guerilla Surgeon @ 5:53
It is one of the great hazards of growing old that we live to see the heroes of our youth exposed as having feet of clay. Pete Townsend had a penchant for kiddie-porn. Norm Kirk was a convinced sexist. And, for you GS, Seymour Hersh stopped paying attention.
The other great hazard of growing old is that we become far too comfortable in our reliance on the “trusted messengers” of our youth. In your case GS, the BBC and The Guardian.
The notion that these venerable sources of news and commentary might have surrendered their independence in return for the forbearance of their political masters, or devoted themselves to discrediting of the enemies of their political friends, requires too much intellectual and emotional effort to entertain.
Seymour Hersh makes you uncomfortable, GS, I get that. His revelations make it clear that our friends are no better than our enemies when it comes to committing crimes. Accepting that “inconvenient truth” makes life much harder for those of us who are still trying to steer a principled path through an ever-more dangerous world. How much easier and more comforting it must be to simply buy (and, in your case, GS, re-sell) the bullshit of those whose crimes stand exposed thanks to the work of journalists like Seymour Hersh.
Of course the media outlets who are guilty of spreading the bullshit are going to say (more in sorrow than in anger they would have us believe) that Seymour is off his game, making mistakes, becoming “dodgy”. And, of course, all those who sit, relaxed, as you do, GS, in the easy-chair of their favourite prejudices, are happy to take the bought-and-paid-for apostates of Western journalism at their word.
And you will not be moved, will you, GS? Not even by the astonishing revelations communicated to us above by Loz. Because his (or hers) cannot possibly be “relevant sources”, can they? Why? Because, if what they say is true, then your smug assumptions about the world will be shattered into smithereens.
Never mind. You just rest easy in that easy-chair of yours. You just go on reflexively declaring the Right to be wrong, and the Left to be right. Just remember, though, that you’re looking at a fading poster of the world that was. A world that, with every passing day, looks less-and-less like the real one.
That is the world that Seymour Hersh, and those who still have the courage to believe him, continues to observe, and write about. Uncomfortably, but without flinching
@'Guerilla Surgeon' this will be my last writing on this thread too.
In Hersh's, "The Killing of Osama Bin Laden" 28 pages were written on the gas attack narrative that was used to launch US action against Syria. An entire chapter was dedicated to "Whose Sarin?" with everything cross referenced to highlight the timeline of events, contradictions with the official narrative, validations of his sources claims and evidence that the jihadist al-Nusra Front had developed the ability to manufacture sarin. Statements made that he doesn't cross reference and validate claims are complete nonsense.
The 'straw man' Culloty used to discredit Hersh's investigation is by not referencing his book at all, instead suggesting his evidence was based on a YouTube clip referenced in a piece hosted on the "London Review of Books" website - which she then discredits. She next states that to believe Hersh's account you have to accept that the UN "Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons produces bogus reports" and she then concludes "Hersh’s reporting now typified conspiracy thinking" and infers he has developed an unreasonable bias toward believing "his government is always lying" instead of accepting the more rational acceptance that the US administration simply acted as a response to a genuine Human Rights atrocity.
The investigation of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was scandal ridden. After the initial events the OPCW ignored its mandatory chain of custody rules and simply accepted evidence of sarin use by receiving "evidence" from a group John Pilger described as "a complete propaganda construct" called "the White Helmets".
The White Helmets were founded by former MI6 agent James Le Mesurier with funding from the US State Department and the UK Foreign Office. They hold strong ties to the US backed Al-Nusra Front and cohabit buildings in the rebel areas of Syria. A small number of OPCW inspectors would eventually arrive in Douma well after the US military involvement, the initial report (which was released by Wikileaks) would cast doubt on the narrative of Syrian government involvement, or that sarin itself had been used. Findings of investigators that contradicted the White House narrative were simply redacted from the final report. Blogger / Journalist Vanessa Beeley would also travel to the scene of the alleged attack and collect an enormous number of testimonies and accounts that suggested the entire event was staged.
The OPCW report scandal actually strengthens the narrative Hersh outlined in his book.
You mention Bellingcat, an organisation that describes itself as "an independent international collective of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists" as a further source for discrediting Hersh. Previous to founding Bellingcat, Eliot Higgins was a senior fellow at the NATO think-tank the Atlantic Council and the organisation has also been funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and a series of organisations linked to US national security. Follow the money!
The reach of the National Endowment for Democracy and its partnership with the Soros’ Open Society Foundations has frightening implications for the future of democracy and our ability to hold power to account.
Chris. The Guardian has a reputation for accuracy better than almost any newspaper today according to objective sources. I'm quite aware that countries have interests rather than ethics. But someone has yet to tell me why on earth the US would risk its relations with one of the largest free-trade/protectionist blocs in the world in order to sell more gas to them. I'm not dismissing the possibility altogether, but I doubt it very much. I mean can you imagine the reaction if the Norwegians or whoever found something down there near the pipeline with property of USMC on it? Heads would explode in the EU, the Baltic and and Nordic nations as well. Ambassadors would be recalled, ambassadors will be called in for a "chat" or more likely just sent packing.
And thousands of people would have to manufacture an elaborate lie and stick to it for years. That ain't going to happen either.
But the difference between me and I suspect you and the others is that if a pair of Marine Corps underpants is found at the bottom of the sea next to the fractured pipeline I would change my mind. If they found some with "Ivan" printed on them, would you change yours? I suspect not.
Well Loz that's interesting George Soros gets blamed for a hell of a lot by the right, and now by conspiracy theorists as well. I imagine every large organisation is funded by someone – why would we trust Seymour Hersh over them? Has anyone traced his money? I mean the list of people who think his research was sloppy even includes George Monbiot, who you'd think would leap at the chance to prove America had done something wrong. And the man hasn't had a name to source in years. Call me a cynic, but unnamed sources? The lack of other evidence? Glaring factual errors. Can't believe it.
Incidentally – God I'm running into Brandolini's law here – if you follow the money, you find that Seymour Hersh's first story about me lie was partially funded by a media conglomerate. Does that make the story suspect? I don't think so myself, Loz – but you might like to look into it.
Although this thread has been exhausted, there have been a flurry of fascinating postings overnight that touch on the same themes.
Chris Hedges' latest "The Trump-Russia Saga and the Death Spiral of American Journalism" is exceptional and highlights why western media corporations now only report on what their target market demographics want to hear.
For anyone uncertain as to how the bombing of the Nord Stream pipelines and the eastward expansion of NATO is in the US interest, I've put together a series of quotes from Zbigniew Brzezinski's ‘the Grand Chessboard’ that discusses these necessities from a perspective of preserving US dominance over Eurasia.
The Duran discuss China's latest position paper that now openly aligns China with Russia in opposition to an expansion of US interests.
Wrapping it all together, Ben Norton also posted the West is out of touch with rest of world politically, EU-funded study admits. The European commissioned study revealed that the populations of no surveyed nations believe the Ukraine conflict is about democracy and the majority of the planet believe it has always been (as Brzezinski discussed) over US hegemony.
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