Author: max-blumenthal

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of several books, including best-selling Republican GomorrahGoliath, The Fifty One Day War, and The Management of Savagery. He has produced print articles for an array of publications, many video reports, and several documentaries, including Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded The Grayzone in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America's state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

Inside the Temple of Covert Propaganda: The Integrity Initiative and the UK’s Scandalous Information War

The Grayzone entered the carefully concealed offices of a covert, British government-backed propaganda mill that is at the center of an international scandal the mainstream media refuses to touch.

By Mohamed Elmaazi and Max Blumenthal

Recent hacked documents have revealed an international network of politicians, journalists, academics, researchers and military officers, all engaged in highly deceptive covert propaganda campaigns funded by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), NATO, Facebook and hardline national security institutions. 

This “network of networks”, as one document refers to them, centers around an ironically named outfit called the Integrity Initiative. And it is all overseen by a previously unknown England-based think tank registered in Scotland, the Institute for Statecraft, which has operated under a veil of secrecy.

The whole operation appears to be run by, and in conjunction with, members of British military intelligence.

According to David Miller, professor of political sociology in the school of policy studies at the University of Bristol and the director of the Organization for Propaganda Studies, the Integrity Initiative “appears to be a military directed push.”

“The most senior government people are professional propagandists and spooks,” Miller explained. “The ‘charity’ lead on this [Chris Donnelly] was also appointed as a colonel in military intelligence at the beginning of the project — a truly amazing fact that suggests this is a military intelligence cut out.”

A minister for the UK FCO has officially confirmed that it has been funding the Integrity Network.

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“Pistachio Wars”: How the Resnicks’ Snack Food Fortune is Fueling the Assault on Iran

A highly original documentary project reveals how a couple of Beverly Hills billionaires “are willing to risk war in Iran and the Middle East — all in order to boost and protect their lucrative pistachio business.”

By Max Blumenthal

Three years ago, journalist Yasha Levine and filmmaker Rowan Wernham first arrived at the vast pistachio plantation of Stewart and Lynda Resnick in California’s parched Central Valley. There, they saw firsthand how a billionaire power couple had successfully manipulated the state’s political system to privatize its water supply for their own financial benefit.

Today, the Wonderful Company farm owned by the Resnicks soaks up more water than the entire city of Los Angeles. Their business was based on “a heist of epic proportions,” according to Levine, that “will put family farms out of business, and push life in the biggest river estuary on the west coast of America towards mass extinction.”

The story eventually took Levine and Wernham far beyond the parched Central Valley, and into the heart of America’s Israel lobby. It turned out that the Resnicks had been pumping their money into some of the most militantly pro-Israel think tanks in Washington, including the American Jewish Committee and the Washington Institute on Near East Policy (WINEP). Both of these outfits have lobbied heavily for sanctions on Iran and against the Iran nuclear deal. One WINEP executive, Pat Clawson, has even called on the US to stage a false flag attack that could trigger a war with Iran.

Levine and Wernham recognized that the Resnicks’ support for the Israel lobby was all about protecting their monopoly from a nation traditionally recognized as the producer of the world’s best pistachios. The billionaire nut barons were not only threatening the environment and livelihoods of their local competitors, they were bankrolling forces determined to take America to war against a rising Middle Eastern power. This is why the title of Levine and Wernham’s work in progress, “Pistachio Wars,” is so apt.

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Blowback: How US-Funded Fascists in Ukraine Mentor US White Supremacists

Not only are white supremacists from across the West flocking to Ukraine to learn from the combat experience of their fascist brothers-in-arms, they are doing so openly, under the nose of a shrugging law enforcement — chronicling their experiences on social media before they bring their lessons back home.

By Max Blumenthal

This article originally appeared at Mint Press

Last month, an unsealed FBI indictment of four American white supremacists from the Rise Above Movement (RAM) declared that the defendants had trained with Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi militia officially incorporated into the country’s national guard. The training took place after the white supremacist gang participated in violent riots in Huntington Beach and Berkeley, California and Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

The indictment stated that the Azov Battalion “is believed to have participated in training and radicalizing United States-based white supremacy organizations.”

After a wave of racist violence across America that culminated in the massacre of twelve Jewish worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the revelation that violent white supremacists have been traveling abroad for training and ideological indoctrination with a well-armed neo-Nazi militia should cause extreme alarm.

Not only are white supremacists from across the West flocking to Ukraine to learn from the combat experience of their fascist brothers-in-arms, they are doing so openly — chronicling their experiences on social media before they bring their lessons back home. But U.S. law enforcement has done nothing so far to restrict the flow of right-wing American extremists to Azov’s bases.

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Members of Netanyahu’s Likud Blame Victims of Pittsburgh Pogrom and Echo the Killer’s Rhetoric

As Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett sets out to Pittsburgh, prominent members of the governing Likud Party have blamed the Jewish victims of the neo-Nazi massacre “for causing anti-Semitism.”

By Max Blumenthal

Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett has embarked on a visit to Pittsburgh “to be with our sisters and brothers in their darkest hour,” he said, after an avowed anti-Semite massacred eleven Jewish worshippers at the city’s Tree of Life Synagogue.

Robert Bowers, the right-wing terrorist, targeted the progressive congregation on the basis of its partnership with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, or HIAS, a Jewish non-profit that helps refugees from conflict-torn regions obtain asylum in the US.

“HIAS likes to bring in invaders that kill our people,” Bowers stated in a social media manifesto explaining his motives.

As Bennett departs for Pittsburgh, some members of Israel’s governing Likud Party have issued talking points and statements blaming the victims of the anti-Jewish mass murderer for inspiring the attack. One especially prominent Likud member has even echoed Bowers’ hate manifesto.

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Facebook Censorship of Alternative Media “Just the Beginning,” Says Top Neocon Insider

At a Berlin security conference, hardline neocon Jamie Fly appeared to claim some credit for the recent coordinated purge of alternative media.

By Max Blumenthal and Jeb Sprague

This October, Facebook and Twitter deleted the accounts of hundreds of users, including many alternative media outlets maintained by American users. Among those wiped out in the coordinated purge were popular sites that scrutinized police brutality and U.S. interventionism, like The Free Thought Project, Anti-Media, and Cop Block, along with the pages of journalists like Rachel Blevins.

Facebook claimed that these pages had “broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior.” However, sites like The Free Thought Project were verified by Facebook and widely recognized as legitimate sources of news and opinion. John Vibes, an independent reporter who contributed to Free Thought, accused Facebook of “favoring mainstream sources and silencing alternative voices.”

In comments published here for the first time, a neoconservative Washington insider has apparently claimed a degree of credit for the recent purge — and promised more takedowns in the near future.

“Russia, China, and other foreign states take advantage of our open political system,” remarked Jamie Fly, a senior fellow and director of the Asia program at the influential think tank the German Marshall Fund, which is funded by the U.S. government and NATO. “They can invent stories that get repeated and spread through different sites. So we are just starting to push back. Just this last week Facebook began starting to take down sites. So this is just the beginning.”

Fly went on to complain that “all you need is an email” to set up a Facebook or Twitter account, lamenting the sites’ accessibility to members of the general public. He predicted a long struggle on a global scale to fix the situation, and pointed out that to do so would require constant vigilance.

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Censored Documentary Exposes the Israeli Government’s Attack on Black Lives Matter

Exclusive footage from the censored Al Jazeera documentary, “The Lobby – USA,” shows Israeli government officials taking credit for attacks on Black Lives Matter and reveals an Israel lobbyist explaining how his organization shut down a BLM fundraiser

By Max Blumenthal

When the Movement for Black Lives released a platform in August 2016 that supported the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement and identified Israel as an apartheid state engaged in a project of genocide against Palestinians, the Israeli government snapped into action.

Previously unreleased footage from Al Jazeera’s censored investigative documentary, “The Lobby – USA,” shows Israeli diplomats complaining about the Black Lives Matter “problem” and boasting about their cultivation of established black civil rights activists as pro-Israel proxies.

The footage also reveals how the Israel lobby orchestrated the sudden cancellation of a Black Lives Matter fundraiser at a New York City nightclub.

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Leaked Scenes from Censored Documentary Reveal Israel Lobbyist Noah Pollak Astroturfing an Anti-Palestinian Protest

Exclusive leaked scenes from Al Jazeera’s “The Lobby – USA” documentary show how Emergency Committee for Israel Executive Director Noah Pollak and the Hoover Institution astroturfed an inflammatory protest against the 2016 Students for Justice in Palestine national conference.

By Max Blumenthal

The Grayzone Project has released scenes from an investigative Al Jazeera undercover documentary, “The Lobby – USA,” whose publication was blocked by the government of Qatar under Israel lobby pressure.

The footage reveals how Emergency Committee on Israel Executive Director Noah Pollak and the right-wing Hoover Institution organized an astroturfed a protest aimed at disrupting the 2016 Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) national conference.

According to one Hoover Institution campus fellow, “This is the first foot soldier activity that I think we’ve been forced to do.”

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Who’s Behind Canary Mission’s Anonymous Anti-Palestinian Blacklisting Website?

Canary Mission has exploited its anonymity to smear college students with impunity. The Grayzone is investigating the forces behind the malicious anti-Palestinian organization’s web domain.

By Hamzah Raza and Max Blumenthal

Editor’s note #1: An attorney for Howard David Sterling has asserted that Sterling “does not own the website” of CanaryMission.org, “did not engage in any of the conduct” committed by Canary Mission, and “had never even heard of that website until he was asked about it by a reporter earlier this year.” Sterling’s attorney stated, “GoDaddy specifically informed us that Howard Sterling is not and never has been the owner of that domain registration.”

Editor’s note #2: The Grayzone has continued to investigate the forces behind Canary Mission. We have obtained a bank statement recording a November 21, 2018 donation to CanaryMission.org that was accompanied by a cellphone number that was registered in Sterling’s name until at least March 15, 2015 — a month after the Canary Mission domain was registered.

Editor’s note #3: As Ali Abunimah and Asa Winstanley first reported, the censored Al Jazeera documentary, “The Lobby – USA” identified pro-Israel oligarch Adam Milstein as “Canary Mission funder.” 

Since it first registered its website in February 2015, Canary Mission has been a source of mystery and menace. Dedicated to blacklisting students involved in Palestine solidarity activism, intimidating them and denigrating their public reputations, Canary Mission’s administrators have gone to great lengths to conceal their identities. The secrecy has enabled them to target legally defenseless students – who are mostly members of minority and immigrant groups — with total impunity.

A document supplied to the Grayzone identifies the person who was at least the initial owner of Canary Mission’s domain name as a wealthy lawyer who has been a fervent supporter of Israel. According to document provided to the Grayzone, his name is Howard David Sterling.

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Inside America’s Meddling Machine: The US Funded Group that Interferes in Elections Around the Globe

Filmed inside the Capitol, this Grayzone special explores the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a taxpayer-funded organization that has interfered in elections, mobilized coups, and orchestrated public relations campaigns against nations that resist Washington’s agenda.

By Max Blumenthal

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How Nicaragua’s ‘Left-Wing’ Opposition MRS Are NGO Opportunists Lobbying the West for Regime Change

The Sandinista Renovation Movement (Movimiento Renovador Sandinista – MRS) is the intellectual, left-sounding arm of reactionary politics in Nicaragua. Its popular base is minuscule, but it has been adept at courting Western support.

By Max Blumenthal and Nils McCune

On a recent episode of my Moderate Rebels podcast with Ben Norton, I asked Nils McCune about the role of the Sandinista Renovation Movement (Movimiento Renovador Sandinista – MRS) party in marketing the recent coup in Nicaragua as a progressive popular mobilization.

McCune, a longtime resident of the Nicaraguan city of Tipitapa, has worked closely with the country’s rural campesino movement and observed the coup from the ground. He is also an astute observer of the country’s politics and history.

Below is audio of our discussion and a transcript of McCune’s comments on the MRS, its collaboration with right-wing elements inside Nicaragua, and its importance in selling the coup to the Western liberal-left.

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