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“It’s just incorrect to say that that the press secretary initially declined to blame Russia. Sarah and the White House generally, and the administration generally, were making the effort to remain consistent with what our partners in the United Kingdom said,” the official explained. “This was at a moment when the prime minister of the United Kingdom had identified the nerve agent as Russian but had not specified that the Russian government was necessarily responsible.”
That’s only partially true. At the time, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the nerve agent definitely came from Russia and that it was “highly likely” the Kremlin was responsible. However, May stopped short of definitively laying blame at the Kremlin’s feet, leaving open the possibility that Russia had allowed its nerve agent to fall into other hands. Since then May’s government has been more definitive about attributing responsibility to Russia.
The official did not address whether the dismissal of Tillerson or Trump’s phone call contributed to a mixed message to the Kremlin.
Experts who talked to Yahoo News were divided on whether the expulsion of the diplomats sends a clear signal to Moscow. Two former State Department officials suggested that the Trump administration’s posture toward Russia appears inconsistent because the president generally leaves it to aides to criticize Moscow or announce steps against the regime, while he personally seems to want to cultivate a good relationship with Putin.
Heather Conley, who is director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former State Department official in the first Bush administration, said the United States has not shown a “unified approach” to Russia.
“The head of government needs to articulate that policy and the consistency of that policy, as do all the other agencies that are implementing that policy,” Conley said. “Normally, the White House — and the president — plays that coordinating role and sets the policy, but we sort of have the inverse here. We have the interagency, and the different departments, and the intelligence community setting one policy, and the president keeps articulating a different one when he speaks out on the subject.”
Conley described the White House’s position on Russia as “incoherent” and “confusing,” thanks to the “dissonance between the president and what the White House is putting out.”
“I think no analyst or even government official or member of Congress could explain why this incoherence and inconsistency exists,” said Conley. “We just don’t understand it.”
Rick Stengel, a former under secretary of state in the Obama administration, also told Yahoo News that the Trump White House was “not being consistent” toward Russia.
“One of the hallmarks of most traditional administrations is that you have consistency from the top down. … If you’re applying sanctions, you have the commander in chief who’s supportive of those sanctions and endorses them with the same language that appears in the sanctions,” Stengel explained.
Stengel said any perception that Trump wasn’t fully backing the actions of the State Department or National Security staff could weaken their effect.
“If the Russians interpret this as a velvet glove over the fist, then they’re not going to be as hurt about it as much as if they interpreted it as a pure first,” Stengel said.
But Ian Bremmer, president of the consulting firm Eurasia Group, disagreed. While he acknowledged that Trump had previously “been deeply unwilling to blame Putin for stuff personally and publicly” he suggested that the expulsion of the diplomats is part of a recent shift toward a harder line from the White House. Bremmer pointed to sanctions and a statement by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in response to Russian cyberattacks earlier this month. He said that criticism of the congratulatory phone call from Trump to Putin was overblown.
“Trump’s decision to, ‘congratulate’ Putin on the election was late, it was perfunctory, it came after a host of Western leaders had done the same and, in many cases, in more effusive terms,” Bremmer said.
Bremmer also noted that Trump pushed Putin to address the global “arms race” during that call, and stressed that the expulsion of diplomats was not something Trump was forced to do.
“The fact that Trump has decided to take this step against Seattle and the 60 diplomats — he didn’t need to do that,” Bremmer said. “A number of European governments have not done that. This was Trump’s choice. He easily could have said no.”
The experts were also divided on how definitive a message the expulsion of the diplomats sent to Russia.
Bremmer described it as a “comparatively light response” given what the Russians have been accused of doing in the United States and the United Kingdom. He made the case that the strongest move to make would be targeting the assets of Putin’s inner circle, an argument echoed by some European law enforcement officials.
“You could do a lot more. You could go after a lot of Putin’s sort of confederates. You could close them down … shut down their assets … take their property,” said Bremmer. “The Brits have not been willing to do that. The United States has not either.”
Still, Bremmer said Trump has recently been pursuing what he called “clearly a much more hawkish policy” toward Russia. That trend could continue, since Trump appointed as his national security adviser John Bolton, a foreign policy hard liner who has called for an aggressive approach to Russia.
Conley, the former State Department official, argued that the expulsion of the diplomats was a “strong move on two levels.”
“No. 1, just from a historical perspective, this is the most Russian diplomats we have ever expelled in our history, even going back to the Cold War,” he said. “Ronald Reagan expelled 55 in 1986, so this, just the number itself, is a pretty big move.”
Conley also said the coordination between 15 different countries was significant.
Stengel agreed that the expulsion of the diplomats was a “good and strong step.” But he said it “can’t stand alone” and should be reinforced by a broader “sanctions regime” and a clearer denunciation of Russia by the president.
“It has to be part of a rhetorical punishment of Russia, and calling them out for all of the anti-democratic things that they are doing and have done,” Stengel said.
Both Stengel and Conley predicted that Russia would follow this move by similarly expelling American diplomats.
Stengel described Russia’s strategy as “never letting a punch go without a return punch.” And, in light of this, he argued that the Trump administration’s move was insufficient, particularly since Trump did not issue any punishments for Russia’s intervention in the U.S. election.
“Our sanctions and our tossing out of diplomats are for a violation of the sovereignty of, in this case, the U.K. And we’ve done nothing about their violation of our sovereignty during our elections,” Stengel said. “It’s an eye for, like, a whole torso, right? … We have had this body blow against us, and we basically inflicted this pinprick on them.”
Read more from Yahoo News:
- GOP lawmaker knocks Trump for Putin call but refuses to distance himself from president
- What’s behind Trump’s charges about Andrew McCabe’s wife?
- On gender, candidates in the Trump era negotiate a changed landscape
- Why aren’t Western sanctions stopping Putin?
- Photos: Scenes from ‘March for Our Lives’ rallies from around the world
A video of the US National Anthem reportedly broadcast during the 1960s was found to contain creepy subliminal messages about “obeying the government”. Is the video authentic or is it a well-crafted hoax?
Back in the good ol’ days, TV stations ended their broadcast day with a goodnight message and the national anthem, complete with a montage of patriotic images. While many of us have somewhat fond and nostalgic memories of these TV sign-offs, one Star Spangled Banner video said to be broadcast during the 1960s was apparently laced with creepy subliminal messages. Here it is :
The messages found in the video are:
TRUST THE US GOVERNMENT
GOD IS REAL GOD IS WATCHING
BELIEVE IN GOVERNMENT GOD
REBELLION WILL NOT BE TOLERATED
OBEY CONSUME OBEY CONSUME
BUY ULTRA BUY NAOMI
WORSHIP CONSUME OBEY BELIEVE
DO NOT QUESTION GOVERNMENT
The goal of subliminal perception is to flash messages on screen quickly enough to cause the subconscious mind to record them without even being perceived and analyzed by the conscious mind.
“Subliminal perception is a deliberate process created by communications technicians, by which you receive and respond to information and instructions without being consciously aware of the instructions”
– Steve Jacobson, Mind Control in the United States
Do subliminal messages actually work? Older studies claimed that they do not work, which lead the general public to dismiss the entire theory. However, recent studies found that, in some cases, subliminal perception produces conclusive results (this page contains several links to studies on the subject). One thing is for sure, the technique is still used today (see my article, Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media,for some examples).
In the context of the national anthem video, debating whether or not subliminal messages work should not be even an issue. Discrediting the video because “subliminal messages are BS” is not a valid argument. It is the intent behind the message that counts.
Some of the phrases flashed during that video appear to be taken out of the movie They Live (see my article about it here), such as OBEY and CONSUME. While some argue that these lines are too “conspiracy-kitsch” to be taken seriously, they are the kinds of words a government bent on creating a consumer culture would use.
The words “BUY ULTRA” and “BUY NAOMI” also appear a few times. These lines appear to refer to MKULTRA and MKNAOMI, two secret CIA projects that were active at the time – but unknown to the public. MKULTRA studied mind control and MKNAOMI was about biological warfare (these projects still exist today and are infinitely more sophisticated).
Considering the social and political context of United States during the 1960s, which was characterized by Cold War paranoia, political assassinations, rebellious youth movements and dabblings with mind control – the existence of such a video is plausible. If the US government admitted to drugging and conducting horrendous experiments on thousands of people via the MKULTRA studies, why wouldn’t it attempt to manipulate minds using this powerful invention called the television?
But is there proof that this subliminal video was actually broadcast on television? Or were the messages injected by a funny-pants computer wiz in 2009 as a hoax? A few internet sites and message boards have debated these possibilities, but I have yet to come across conclusive evidence proving one side or another. Those who believe that the video is authentic cannot find another video source except a single YouTube video; those who believe that the video is a hoax often rely on arguments that are false or inconclusive.
The Original Upload
The original video was uploaded in 2009 by a YouTube user named Naomi19631963. The user provided a short description of the video – it DOES NOT mention the subliminal messaging.
I salvaged this reel of film from a TV station that used to sign of with it during the 1960s.
The uploader later posted a comment stating that the video was salvaged from Alabama and that it was probably broadcast in several states. The uploader did not post anything else, ever.
It is only about two years after the original upload that someone discovered the subliminal messages. The video was then mentioned on larger websites, such as Infowars in 2013. In all of the discussions, many claim that the video is “fake” or “doctored” using arguments that are sometimes valid, but sometimes false. Here are some of these arguments.
The Uploader’s Name
The username of the uploader is Naomi19631963. Coincidentally enough, a subliminal line from the video is “BUY NAOMI”. This is perceived as proof that the original uploader knew about the messages (and maybe inserted the messages themselves), but wanted to go for the “found by accident” effect. This is indeed a possibility, but it is not conclusive proof that the video is “fake”. According to the YouTuber who first posted a slowed down version of the video :
the original uploader is not a regular youtuber, but salvaged this from an old reel he found in Alabama (see his comment). The old reel probably had written on it somewhere “NAOMI 1963” or something similar, and when he uploaded it onto youtube, he simply used that as his youtube name. He never once indicated he was aware of anything out of the ordinary in this film.
The name of the original uploader is therefore indeed suspicious, but it is not proof that the video is fake.
Was This National Anthem Ever Broadcast?
Others who claim the video is a hoax argue that this sign-off video either never actually existed, that it was created from scratch, or that the on-screen text was added by the hoaxer. All of these claims are false. This national anthem video was indeed broadcast on television for several years. The site Fuzzy Memories currently hosts at least two sign-off videos from the 1980’s (recorded from the Chicago TV station WMAQ Channel 5) that end with this same national anthem. There is however one important difference : There are no subliminal messages. (This one is from 1981).
This has lead deniers to claim that the hoaxer used this 1981 video as a source to add subliminal messages using computer software. A simple comparison of both videos however reveals that this is impossible, for a couple of reasons. First, the “subliminal” video has a wider field of view than the 1981 version.
Another important difference is the color of the text and the shadow underneath the text. In the 1981 version, the text is yellow and the shadow projects at the top-left of the letters. On the subliminal video, the shadow goes towards the bottom right. This not only demonstrates that the 1981 was not the source of the hoax, but that at least two totally different versions of the same national anthem video were created. The 1981 version was formatted for TV screens with a 4:3 aspect ratio. The text was redone in yellow – and without the subliminal messages. Is it possible that the subliminal messages were removed from the 1980’s “refresh” of the anthem due to the advent of VCRs, which gave viewers the opportunity to record TV footage … and discover the hidden messages?
Those claiming hoax state that the font used for the subliminal lines is different from the main lyrics. After some detective work and NCIS-style computer enhancing, I found that some letters in the subliminal lines were indeed different from the anthem lyrics.
Does this prove that the video is a hoax? Not really. Before the advent of computer graphics, text was overlaid on video footage by hand using green screens. The sequences were then shot in stop motion, frame by frame, as technicians moved objects around after each shot. Under intense scrutiny, it is therefore easy to find differences and inconsistencies in text found on older films. If one closely observes the letters for the national anthem lyrics, some differences can also be noted.
If one overlooks these differences, one must admit that the text of the subliminal message blends perfectly with the words of the national anthem. If a hoaxer added these words using computer software such as After Effects, this person did an amazing job to make the added text look as “old” as the original text. The subliminal text is not crisper or more “digital” as the the anthem lyrics. The subliminal text has the exact same amount of “blurriness” due to the age of the video. Furthermore, if you look at the word “real” on the above image, the alleged hoaxer even took the the time to misalign some letters to add an old-school, “manual” effect to it all. If the hoaxer had such amazing computer skills, didn’t he have the tools to exactly replicate the original font?
There is still not enough data to prove that the video is authentic, but there is also not enough data to prove that it is a hoax. However, the observations in this article allows us to advance several important facts. First, the uploader of the subliminal anthem (whether it is a hoax or not) had access to a video that was never seen online before. Since it does not appear to be recorded using a VCR, it is most likely an actual film reel that has been digitized. Second, there are at least two different versions of this national anthem video. The version broadcast in the 1980s had the same video footage, but differently formatted text. Third, some letters in the subliminal messages differ from those in the national anthem lyrics. However, the overall texture and disposition of the words in the subliminal messages are consistent with 1960’s video-editing techniques.
So, in order to truly get to the bottom of this story, we need to see another video source of the subliminal video. It might be sitting in a library or an archive somewhere, waiting to be discovered. I am therefore calling on vigilant citizens across the US (especially around Alabama) to look for additional copies or versions of this video. It will either allow us to put an end to a clever hoax … or to shine a light on an important piece of secret American history.
Congressional investigators are puzzling over a December 2016 text message that suggests the Justice Department sought to grant immunity to Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
In a Dec. 13, 2016 text exchange, FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok sent his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, a text message referring to a conversation he had with the Justice Department discussing immunity and potential grand jury testimony.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee released the text message along with 384 pages of additional records on Wednesday.
“Talked with DoJ about HA interview,” Strzok wrote to Page.
“Told them we had to interview, no immunity. They said they thought that would get counsel to the point of saying she’s either taking the 5th in the Gj or you need to give her immunity. I said that’s fine, please have discussions to get the decision to that point and I would run it up the chain.”
The initials “HA,” the gender reference and other text messages that Strzok sent in that time frame strongly suggest that he was referring to Abedin.
A day before the text about immunity, Strzok said that a top FBI official had offered to meet with Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall.
Kendall did not represent Abedin in the email case so it is unclear why the FBI sought to meet with him. A lawyer who represented Abedin on the email matter did not respond to a request for comment.
It is unclear what case Strzok was investigating at the time, and there have been no reports that Abedin was granted immunity or that she pleaded the Fifth.
The Hillary Clinton email investigation was closed for good on Nov. 6, 2016, just two days before the election. The FBI re-opened its investigation in late Oct. 2016 after Clinton emails were discovered on a laptop shared by Abedin and her husband, Anthony Weiner.
The FBI was still investigating Weiner for sending lewd messages to an underage girl.
Strzok was one of the lead investigators on the Clinton email investigation. He conducted the interviews of Clinton and several of her aides, including Abedin, Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and Heather Samuelson.
Mills and Samuelson were granted limited immunity in order to cooperate in the case.
As The Daily Caller has reported, Abedin and Mills gave conflicting answers about Clinton’s email server during their interviews with Strzok. They claimed that they were not aware of Clinton’s server until she left the State Department. But emails that the two aides sent while they worked for Clinton at State show that they discussed Clinton’s server, which maintained thousands of classified emails.
For many city dwellers, the closest they might get to nature is the neighbourhood park, or a gaggle of weeds sprouting up in between the cracks of the sidewalk. But it may come as a surprise that while we may declare war on them in our gardens, weeds are also symbols of resilience and have also been sources of food and medicine for millennia, and might even be good for farming.
In honour of the humble but powerful weed, San Francisco-based artist Mona Caron paints them in all their towering glory on the walls of cities across the world. Watch her video on them blossoming up:
© Mona Caron
© Mona Caron
So far, Caron has created murals in places like Portland, Sãu Paulo, Spain and Taiwan. In line with her belief in “artivism” (or art with an activist bent), she often collaborates with local social and environmental organizations on her works. Caron’s floral subjects are often selected from local species, and she is careful to include bits of historical or cultural references of local significance in her works.
© Mona Caron
© Mona Caron
© Mona Caron
© Mona Caron
Several of these murals contain intricate miniature details, invisible from afar. These typically narrate the local history, chronicle the social life of the mural’s immediate surroundings, and visualize future possibility, and are created in a process that incorporates ideas emerging through spontaneous conversations with the artwork’s hosting communities while painting.
© Mona Caron
Take, for instance, Caron’s mental narrative behind this commissioned artwork soaring high in the city of Kaohsiung, Lingya District, Taiwan:
I’m known to paint weeds. The plants in this mural are hardly weeds: their medicinal properties are appreciated enough to make them widely cultivated. But I painted them growing, like weeds do, from an inhospitable ground, a disturbed environment. Our disturbed environment.
Like weeds, their origins are sundry: Echinacea, Leonotis leonurus, agastache mexicana, safflower… each hails from a different continent, their only commonality is their possession of healing powers.
In the mural, their rootless migrant growth materializes like magic at the grassroots of the urban jungle, conjured like a spell around clusters of people engaged in various tiny actions that might reconnect us physically, emotionally, in action and spirit, to the primacy of nature and to each other. Drops in a bucket, imperceptibly small beneath the massive, skyrocketing dangers and harms looming above.
But from those beacons in the dark, healing plants grow upwards, pushing beyond our predicament. The healing plants assert themselves somehow, reaching that elusive clear sky, rarely seen in many cities like Kaohsiung.
© Mona Caron
© Mona Caron
Caron’s approach seems to suggest that we should believe in the resilience of life: it’s almost like the huge scale of some of these murals reverse some of that misguided sense of human superiority over lowly but enduring species like so-called “weed” plants. They are awe-inspiring reminders that there alternative narratives to the idea that weeds (and other species) are nuisances; in fact, they all have a role to play on this planet, as we do too. For more, visit Mona Caron.
[Via: This Is Colossal]
Source Article from https://www.treehugger.com/culture/weeds-murals-mona-caron.html
Washington, D.C. — (ZH) Newly released text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page reveal that the agency’s top brass was considering appointing former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as a special counsel in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
The idea is pitched in a March 2016 exchange between Strzok and Page – relatively early on in their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information. Of note, Attorney General Loretta Lynch or one of her deputies would have had to make the ultimate decision to appoint a special prosecutor to look into the “matter.”
“Thought of the perfect person [FBI Director James Comey] can bounce this off of?” Strzok wrote to Page in a March 18, 2016 text. “Pat….You got to give me credit if we go with him….And delay briefing him on until I can get back and do it, Late next week or later.”
“We talked about him last night, not for this, but how great he is,” Page responded.
“I could work with him again….And damn we’d get sh*t DONE,” Strzok wrote.
Strzok noted that Fitzgerald was brought in by Comey as a special counsel in the investigation into who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame.
Appointed in 2001 by President George W. Bush, Fitzgerald was the longest-serving U.S. Attorney in Chicago history – and has led several high profile federal investigations and prosecutions.
In a follow-up text exchange on May 13, 2016, Page asks Strzok “Hey forgot to ask if you mentioned the whole special counsel thing to andy?” (referring to current Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe).
No special prosecutor was selected for the Clinton email investigation despite calls by Republicans to do so as early as February, 2016.
Instead, former FBI Director James Comey had originally determined Clinton’s conduct fit the legally consequential charge of “gross negligence” which Peter Strzok later downgraded to “extremely careless” – which is not a legal term of art. The agency ultimately recommended that the Department of Justice not press charges.
In a Thursday letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley asked if whether the FBI had approached the DOJ to appoint a special counsel. “If not, why not?” wrote Grassley, who also demanded all written communications on the subject.
Politics as usual…
The newly released batch of text messages also reveal that the pair of anti-Trump FBI agents were concerned over reprisal from Hillary Clinton, should they aggressively pursue her.
“One more thing: she might be our next president,” Page wrote, adding “The last thing you need us going in there loaded for bear. You think she’s going to remember or care that it was more doj than fbi?”
“Agreed,” Strzok replied.
Th texts also reveal that Page was engaged in a lengthy phone conversation with then-Wall St. Journal (now WaPo) reporter Devlin Barrett – several days after the journalist published a story on FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s wife receiving over half a million dollars in campaign donations from a committee tied to then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA). Barrett also reported on an “internal feud” at the FBI over investigating the Clinton Foundation, leading some to suggest that he was a conduit for the FBI to leak information to the public.
Strzok-Page texts show that Page spoke on phone to WSJ (now WaPo) reporter @DevlinBarrett as story of Weiner laptop emails broke. Close enough relationship that she called him Devlin. https://t.co/IdUshxPfAf
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) January 26, 2018
Page was on the phone with Barrett just as news broke that the FBI had found State Department emails on a laptop it seized while investigating former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) for sexting with minors.
“Still on with devlin,” Page wrote. “Mike’s phone is ON FIRE,” she added, apparently referring to FBI public affairs chief Michael Kortan.
“You may want to tell Devlin he should turn on CNN, there’s news going on,” Strzok replied.
“He knows. He just got handed a note,” Page said.
“Ha. He asking about it now?” Strzok asked.
“Yeah. It was pretty funny,” Page wrote.
The text messages don’t indicate what information, if any, Page provided to Barrett or whether her discussions with the reporter were authorized by FBI management. –Politico
The texts released by Sen. Grassley on Thursday were included in a 384-page document delivery to Congressional investigators by the DOJ. While Justice officials said in a cover letter that five months of texts were “missing” and unable to be recovered due to a technical glitch, DOJ Inspector General (DOJ OIG) Michael Horowitz told lawmakers on Thursday that his office has managed to retrieve the missing correspondence between Page and Strzok.
The new batch of text messages along with Grassley’s full letter can be viewed below: