The Russia-Afghanistan Story Is Western Propaganda At Its Most Vile

| Educate!

All western mass media outlets are now shrieking about the story The New York Times first reported, citing zero evidence and naming zero sources, claiming intelligence says Russia paid out bounties to Taliban-linked fighters in Afghanistan for attacking the occupying forces of the US and its allies in Afghanistan. As of this writing, and probably forevermore, there have still been zero intelligence sources named and zero evidence provided for this claim.

As we discussed yesterday, the only correct response to unsubstantiated claims by anonymous spooks in a post-Iraq invasion world is to assume that they are lying until you’ve been provided with a mountain of hard, independently verifiable evidence to the contrary. The fact that The New York Times instead chose to uncritically parrot these evidence-free claims made by operatives within intelligence agencies with a known track record of lying about exactly these things is nothing short of journalistic malpractice. The fact that western media outlets are now unanimously regurgitating these still 100 percent baseless assertions is nothing short of state propaganda.

The consensus-manufacturing, Overton window-shrinking western propaganda apparatus has been in full swing with mass media outlets claiming on literally no basis whatsoever that they have confirmed one another’s “great reporting” on this completely unsubstantiated story.

“The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have confirmed our reporting,” the NYT story’s co-author Charlie Savage tweeted hours ago.

“We have confirmed the New York Times’ scoop: A Russian military spy unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to attack coalition forces in Afghanistan,” tweeted The Washington Post‘s John Hudson.

“We matched The New York Times’ great reporting on how US intel has assessed that Russians paid Taliban to target US, coalition forces in Afg which is a pretty stunning development,” tweeted Wall Street Journal’s Gordon Lubold.

All three of these men are lying.

John Hudson’s claim that the Washington Post article he co-authored “confirmed the New York Times’ scoop” twice uses the words “if confirmed” with regard to his central claim, saying “Russian involvement in operations targeting Americans, if confirmed,” and “The attempt to stoke violence against Americans, if confirmed“. This is of course an acknowledgement that these things have not, in fact, been confirmed.

The Wall Street Journal article co-authored by Gordon Lubold cites only anonymous “people”, who we have no reason to believe are different people than NYT’s sources, repeating the same unsubstantiated assertions about an intelligence report. The article cites no evidence that Lubold’s “stunning development” actually occurred beyond “people familiar with the report said” and “a person familiar with it said“.

The fact that both Hudson and Lubold were lying about having confirmed the New York Times‘ reporting means that Savage was also lying when he said they did. When they say the report has been “confirmed”, what they really mean is that it has been agreed upon. All the three of them actually did was use their profoundly influential outlets to uncritically parrot something nameless spooks want the public to believe, which is the same as just publishing a CIA press release free of charge. It is unprincipled stenography for opaque and unaccountable intelligence agencies, and it is disgusting.


None of this should be happening. The New York Times has admitted itself that it was wrong for uncritically parroting the unsubstantiated spook claims which led to the Iraq invasion, as has The Washington Post. There is no reason to believe Taliban fighters would require any bounty to attack an illegitimate occupying force. The Russian government has denied these allegations. The Taliban has denied these allegations. The Trump administration has denied that the president or the vice president had any knowledge of the spook report in question, denouncing the central allegation that liberals who are promoting this story have been fixated on.

Yet this story is being magically transmuted into an established fact, despite its being based on literally zero factual evidence.

Outlets like CNN are running the story with the headline “Russia offered bounties to Afghan militants to kill US troops“, deceitfully presenting this as a verified fact. Such dishonest headlines are joined by UK outlets like The Guardian who informs headline-skimmers that “Russia offered bounty to kill UK soldiers“, and the Murdoch-owned Sky News which went with “Russia paid Taliban fighters to attack British troops in Afghanistan” after “confirming” the story with anonymous British spooks.

Western propagandists are turning this completely empty story into the mainstream consensus, not with facts, not with evidence, and certainly not with journalism, but with sheer brute force of narrative control. And now you’ve got Joe Biden once again attacking Trump for being insufficiently warlike, this time because “he failed to sanction or impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international law”.

You’ve also got former George W Bush lackey Richard Haas promoting “a proportionate response” to these baseless allegations.

“Russia is carrying out covert wars vs US troops in Afghanistan and our democracy here at home,” Haas tweeted with a link to the New York Times story. “A proportionate response would increase the costs to Russia of its military presence in Ukraine and Syria and, using sanctions and cyber, to challenge Putin at home.”

Haas is the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, a wildly influential think tank with its fingers in most major US news outlets.

And indeed, the unified campaign to shove this story down people’s throats in stark defiance of everything one learns in journalism school does appear to be geared toward advancing pre-existing foreign policy agendas which have nothing to do with any concern for the safety of US troops. Analysts have pointed out that this new development arises just in time to sabotage the last of the nuclear treaties between the US and Russia, the scaling down of US military presence in Afghanistan, and, as Haas already openly admitted, any possibility of peace in Syria.

“This story is published just in time to sabotage US-Russia arms control talks,” Antiwar‘s Dave DeCamp noted on Twitter. “As the US is preparing for a new arms race — and possibly even live nuclear tests — the New York Times provides a great excuse to let the New START lapse, making the world a much more dangerous place. Russiagate has provided the cover for Trump to pull out of arms control agreements. First the INF, then the Open Skies, and now possibly the New START. Any talks or negotiations with Russia are discouraged in this atmosphere, and this Times story will make things even worse.”

“US ‘intelligence’ agencies (ie, organized crime networks run by the state) want to sabotage the (admittedly very inadequate) peace talks in Afghanistan,” tweeted journalist Ben Norton. “So they get best of both worlds: blame the Russian bogeyman, fueling the new cold war, while prolonging the military occupation. It’s not a coincidence these dubious Western intelligence agency claims about Russia came just days after a breakthrough in peace talks. Afghanistan’s geostrategic location (and trillions worth of minerals) is too important to them.”

All parties involved in spreading this malignant psyop are absolutely vile, but a special disdain should be reserved for the media class who have been entrusted by the public with the essential task of creating an informed populace and holding power to account. How much of an unprincipled whore do you have to be to call yourself a journalist and uncritically parrot the completely unsubstantiated assertions of spooks while protecting their anonymity? How much work did these empire fluffers put into killing off every last shred of their dignity? It boggles the mind.

It really is funny how the most influential news outlets in the western world will uncritically parrot whatever they’re told to say by the most powerful and depraved intelligence agencies on the planet, and then turn around and tell you without a hint of self-awareness that Russia and China are bad because they have state media.

Sometimes all you can do is laugh.

  • The money quote:

    “It really is funny how the most influential news outlets in the western world will uncritically parrot whatever they’re told to say by the most powerful and depraved intelligence agencies on the planet, and then turn around and tell you without a hint of self-awareness that Russia and China are bad because they have state media.”

  • John R.

    Thanks Caitlin and PR – let’s jump on these liars right outta the gate for yet another BS Russian nothing burger. I’ve highlighted a few of her comments below.

    “The fact that western media outlets are now unanimously regurgitating these still 100 percent baseless assertions is nothing short of state propaganda.” Standard operating procedure – nothing new here.

    “None of this should be happening. The New York Times has admitted itself that it was wrong for uncritically parroting the unsubstantiated spook claims which led to the Iraq invasion, as has The Washington Post.” But, they do this sort of thing all the time – that’s why they’re called the paper of record , they make it up on the fly then WaPo repeats it – they trade off doing this back and forth game. I don’t subscribe.

    ” . . . this story is being magically transmuted into an established fact, despite its being based on literally zero factual evidence.” And you have a problem with this ? A lie repeated often enough . . .

  • tee

    this biotchhh is a traitor…….something is fishy……and we know where it is emanating from….

  • chetdude

    I’m so f*cking sick and tired of the goddamn phony Cold War that’s been used as an excuse to piss away so much of our treasure on a bloated war machine forcing OTHER nations to piss away their treasure on (not nearly as) bloated war machines along with the Planet Killing pollution that accompanies that madness — during my ENTIRE RATHER LONG LIFE!

    Phony Forever Wars (c. 1944 – present)…

  • Southern

    Excellent video

    Trump is weak – support the brain dead Biden – this has the signature of legalized Deep dark State propaganda all over it.

    MB makes an interesting observation about social media nearing the end – all social media platforms appear to have been infiltrated by the deep state – there’s never a mention of this platform yet it could not have been left out.

  • Donald Smith

    Even if true, the story of the alleged bounties shouldn’t be newsworthy. After all, the U.S. supported Islamic “freedom fighters” in their struggle against Soviet troops occupying Afghanistan. The U.S. is harassing Russia at its borders now, having expanded NATO into Eastern Europe (in violation of an agreement made when the U.S.S.R. dissolved). The U.S. is sanctioning Russia and engaging in an arms race with it. The U.S. withdrew from numerous treaties with Russia. Why wouldn’t Russia respond aggressively in self-defense?

  • kevinzeese

    I posted this comment on another article where you made the same point.

    When an article starts from the premise that the NY Times is credible, it is not balanced. The NY Times brought us the Gulf of Tonkin, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Russiagate — to name a small number of the security state false stories. In fact the author of this bounty story in the NY TImes also wrote that there was no doubt there were WMD in Iraq justifying the Iraq invasion and occupation. He also wrote about Russiagate. He seems to be someone who writes stories that generate military conflict that turn out to be false.

    We will have an excellent article tomorrow by Ray McGovern who was a Soviet expert for the CIA and who did the daily intelligence brief for three presidents. He believes this is another false story from a writer who has a history of false stories.

  • Donald Smith

    I’d be surprised if Russia WEREN’T trying to kill U.S. troops. After all, we try to kill their troops in Ukraine, we surround their borders with bases and missiles, we sanction them, we expanded NATO, we withdraw from long-term treaties, we expand the arms race to space, and so on.

  • SuzanneK

    Looking in the mirror and talking to yourself, again?

  • tee

    if I looked in the mirror and saw that lying biotch I would smash the mirror and cut my wrists…..you ignorant biotch….