Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 06, 2019

Odd NYT 'Correction' Exculpates British Government And CIA From Manipulating Trump Over Skripal Novichok Incident

A piece in the New York Times showed how in March 2018 Trump was manipulated by the CIA and MI6 into expelling 60 Russian diplomats. Eight weeks after it was published the New York Times 'corrects' that narrative and exculpates the CIA and MI6 of that manipulation. Its explanation for the correction makes little sense.

On April 16 the New York Times published a report by Julian E. Barnes and Adam Goldman about the relation between CIA Director Gina Haspal and President Donald Trump.

Gina Haspel Relies on Spy Skills to Connect With Trump. He Doesn’t Always Listen.

The piece described a scene in the White House shortly after the contentious Skripal/Novichok incident in Britain. It originally said (emphasis added):

During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the “strong option” was to expel 60 diplomats.

To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia’s attack.

Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives.

The 60 Russian diplomats were expelled on March 26 2018. Other countries only expelled a handful of diplomats over the Skripal incident. On April 15 2018 the Washington Post reported that Trump was furious about this:

The next day, when the expulsions were announced publicly, Trump erupted, officials said. To his shock and dismay, France and Germany were each expelling only four Russian officials — far fewer than the 60 his administration had decided on. The President, who seemed to believe that other individual countries would largely equal the United States, was furious that his administration was being portrayed in the media as taking by far the toughest stance on Russia.
Growing angrier, Trump insisted that his aides had misled him about the magnitude of the expulsions. ‘There were curse words,’ the official said, ‘a lot of curse words.

In that context the 2019 NYT report about Haspel showing Trump dead duck pictures provided by the Brits made sense. Trump was, as he himself claimed, manipulated into the large expulsion.

The NYT report created some waves. On April 18 2019 the Guardian headlined:

No children or ducks harmed by novichok, say health officials
Wiltshire council clarification follows claims Donald Trump was shown images to contrary

The report of the dead duck pictures in the New York Times was a problem for the CIA and the British government. Not only did it say that they manipulated Trump by providing him with false pictures, but the non-dead ducks also demonstrated that the official narrative of the allegedly poisoning of the Skripals has some huge holes. As Rob Slane of the BlogMire noted:

In addition to the extraordinary nature of this revelation, there is also a huge irony here. Along with many others, I have long felt that the duck feed is one of the many achilles heels of the whole story we’ve been presented with about what happened in Salisbury on 4th March 2018. And the reason for this is precisely because if it were true, there would indeed have been dead ducks and sick children.

According to the official story, Mr Skripal and his daughter became contaminated with “Novichok” by touching the handle of his front door at some point between 13:00 and 13:30 that afternoon. A few minutes later (13:45), they were filmed on CCTV camera feeding ducks, and handing bread to three local boys, one of whom ate a piece. After this they went to Zizzis, where they apparently so contaminated the table they sat at, that it had to be incinerated.

You see the problem? According to the official story, ducks should have died. According to the official story children should have become contaminated and ended up in hospital. Yet as it happens, no ducks died, and no boys got sick (all that happened was that the boys’ parents were contacted two weeks later by police, the boys were sent for tests, and they were given the all clear).

After the NYT story was published the CIA and the British government had to remove the problematic narrative from the record. Yesterday they finally succeeded. Nearly eight weeks after the original publishing of the White House scene the NYT recanted and issued a correction (emphasis. added):

Correction: June 5, 2019

An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the photos that Gina Haspel showed to President Trump during a discussion about responding to the nerve agent attack in Britain on a former Russian intelligence officer. Ms. Haspel displayed pictures illustrating the consequences of nerve agent attacks, not images specific to the chemical attack in Britain. This correction was delayed because of the time needed for research.

The original paragraphs quoted above were changed into this:

During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the “strong option” was to expel 60 diplomats.

To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel tried to demonstrate the dangers of using a nerve agent like Novichok in a populated area. Ms. Haspel showed pictures from other nerve agent attacks that showed their effects on people.

The British government had told Trump administration officials about early intelligence reports that said children were sickened and ducks were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives.

The information was based on early reporting, and Trump administration officials had requested more details about the children and ducks, a person familiar with the intelligence said, though Ms. Haspel did not present that information to the president. After this article was published, local health officials in Britain said that no children were harmed.

So instead of pictures of dead ducks in Salisbury the CIA director showed pictures of some random dead ducks or hospitalized children or whatever to illustrate the effects consequences of nerve agent incidents?

Bridge for Sale

That the children were taken to hospital but unharmed was already reported in British media on March 24 2018, before the Russian diplomats were expelled, not only after the NYT piece was published in April 2019.

Yesterday the author of the NYT piece, Julian E. Barnes, turned to Twitter to issue a lengthy 'apology':

Julian E. Barnes @julianbarnes - 14:52 utc - 5 Jun 2019

I made a significant error in my April 16 profile of Gina Haspel. It took a while to figure out where I went wrong. Here is the correction: 1/9


The intelligence about the ducks and children were based on an early intelligence report, according to people familiar with the matter. The intelligence was presented to the US in an effort to share all that was known, not to deceive the Trump administration. 7/9

This correction was delayed because conducting the research to figure out what I got wrong, how I got it wrong and what was the correct information took time. 8/9

I regret the error and offer my apology. I strive to get information right the first time. That is what subscribers pay for. But when I get something wrong, I fix it. 9/9

Barnes covers national security and intelligence issues for the Times Washington bureau. His job depends on good access to 'sources' in those circles.

It is remarkable that the CIA spokesperson never came out to deny the original NYT report. There was zero visible push back against its narrative. It is also remarkable that the correction comes just as Trump is on a state visit in Britain.

The original report was sourced on 'people briefed on the conversation'. The corrected version is also based on 'people briefed on the conversation' but adds 'a person familiar with the intelligence'. Do the originally cited  'people' now tell a different story? Are we to trust a single 'person familiar with the intelligence' more than those multiple 'people'? What kind of 'research' did the reporter do to correct what he then and now claims was told to him by 'people'? Why did this 'research' take eight weeks?

That the 'paper of the record' now corrects said 'record' solves a big problem for Gina Haspel, the CIA/MI6 and the British government. They can no longer be accused of manipulating Trump (even as we can be quite sure that such manipulations happen all the time).

In the end it is for the reader to decide if the original report makes more sense than the corrected one.

Posted by b on June 6, 2019 at 10:12 UTC | Permalink


[Self promotion with badly formatted linking deleted - b.]

Posted by: JOHN CHUCKMAN | Jun 6 2019 11:13 utc | 1

Julian E. Barnes is obviously a long-term intelligence asset and his stories are not based on independent research but are just a repetition of the yarn that the CIA want to spin. Julian E. Barnes and the CIA obviously think Americans and other westerners are DAF.

Posted by: ADKC | Jun 6 2019 11:14 utc | 2

Rob Slane, June 5, 2019: The New York Times Tries to Get Itself Out of the Duckgate Hole Using a Spade

Posted by: John Doe | Jun 6 2019 11:26 utc | 3

Surely the time and effort Julian Barnes needed to check what information he had got wrong and how he got it wrong should not have been as major as he makes out. Animals dying and children falling sick to a toxin that could have killed them are incidents that should have stuck out like sore thumbs and warranted careful checks with different and independent sources before reporting that Gina Haspel apparently showed the US President pictures of dead ducks and sick boys in Salisbury.

No wonder Barnes got such a roasting on Twitter after making his abject apology.

And should we be surprised that such false information about Gina Haspel and Donald Trump puts Trump in a bad light and somehow humanises a CIA director with a reputation for torturing prisoners?

Posted by: Jen | Jun 6 2019 11:32 utc | 4

Julian E. Barnes @julianbarnes - 14:52 utc - 5 Jun 2019

I made a significant error in my April 16 profile of Gina Haspel. It took a while to figure out where I went wrong.

From April 16, 2019 till June 5, 2019?

A significant error in his profile of Gina Haspel?

Posted by: John Smith | Jun 6 2019 11:39 utc | 5

J'Accuse News @NewsAccuse:

During years I researched articles published in @nytimes we fact-checked BEFORE publication. Here it comes AFTER bloggers, officials et al point out fatal flaws. That no children were poisoned, and no ducks killed, by #novichok in #Salisbury+ was known in Spring 2018. #propaganda

Posted by: John Smith | Jun 6 2019 11:48 utc | 6

So Haspel did not (it is claimed) knowingly supply false information to the president leading to the (some would say) desired outcome. She did it unknowingly.

Makes all the difference and seems somewhat a pattern of behavior by the "intelligence" community.
For what it's worth.

Posted by: jared | Jun 6 2019 11:59 utc | 7

A week or 3 ago, a Barnes co-reported "article" flat out stated that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. This was done by pretending to quote someone in the the US Defense establishment as saying "we believe Iran will redouble its work on nuclear weapons".

Except in the Barnes construction it wasn't a quotation, or anything like a phrasing that made clear that the Pentagon source was guessing, not stating, that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

This was NOT corrected.

Eric Schmitt was the other NY Times "reporter" who signed the article.

Here's the article:

And here's what the two liars reported, pretending that an Iranian nuclear weapons program is a real thing, first paragraph:

“Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated
military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the
Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on
nuclear weapons, administration officials said.”

So Julian Barnes is a well established liar. Sort of akin to Judith Miller and Michael Gordon.

Posted by: Jay | Jun 6 2019 12:37 utc | 8

Barnes provides the truth then provides a lie about the truth....par for the course at NYT.
(Remember Judith Miller?) A fake news organization spreading fake news with revised fake news.

Posted by: ger | Jun 6 2019 12:44 utc | 9

can't really get excited by the fact that not everything in this type of creative writing is taken serious. Did anyone expect otherwise?

During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the “strong option” was to expel 60 diplomats.

To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia’s attack.

It's pretty obvious that his/their narrative necessarily must be cobbled together by a lot of sources. Some by phone. Those may not even share the same idea what image of the president or Haspel they should convey. I always wonder with this type of newspaper reporting. Maybe both writers should write novels.

Now the Washington post's narrative is quite colorful too. So Trump really was concerned how many Russians Germany or France expelled? Why was he angry? The vassals did not follow his example as they should have?

Posted by: joanna | Jun 6 2019 13:01 utc | 10

Superb analysis! Been coming here for 11 years now, and I just have to say that "b" is the best propaganda analyst in the english language. He is the sturdiest anchor in these stormy seas:)

Posted by: SharonM | Jun 6 2019 13:08 utc | 11

The CIA and MI6 boys must have blanked out to let this one slip through the cracks. We pay them billions to run false flag and cover-up operations. This makes those of us that believe their lying narratives look stupid. I guess we need to add more billions to their annual budgets.

Sarcasm is just about the last pleasure one can get from watching the horrific antics of these morons.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Jun 6 2019 13:42 utc | 12

More believable that Julian Barnes performs no cross-referencing and zero research. Investigative reporting (or asking questions) is not the job of the modern MSM stenographer. His job - pushing the war machine agenda.

He simply writes that which he is instructed to write. Probably emails all of his articles to his CIA liason for approval prior to publication.

Perhaps, the liason can see what this fool types in real time. Who knows?

As the story of the dead ducks and sick children unraveled and fell apart, a sloppy patch up had to be made. Now its fixed. Like a Boeing 737 MAX.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jun 6 2019 14:07 utc | 13

BoTh vErSioNs of the story (I checked with the "Wayback Machine") still include this paragraph (6th paragraph of story):

Unusually for a president, Mr. Trump has publicly rejected not
only intelligence agencies’ analysis, but also the facts they have gathered.
And that has created a perilous situation for the C.I.A.

As usual for the NYT, they did not publicly reject the intelligence agencies' analysis,
but also the facts they had gathered.
That, of course, would have created a perilous situation for the NYT.

Posted by: librul | Jun 6 2019 14:09 utc | 14

thanks b, for confirming what all the readers at moa already know - the nyt is a lying sack of shite, mouthpiece for the cia..

ditto @2 adkc... i especially liked fastfreddys comment - 'a sloppy patch up had to be made... like a boeing 737 max".. so true!

Posted by: james | Jun 6 2019 14:30 utc | 15

As the saying goes: "if it looks like a false-flag, walks like a false-flag, and talks like a false-flag, it just might be a "duck."

In the Skripnal psyop one can readily assess that the only truly "dead ducks" are the MSM journalists and the Western politicians who peddled this incredible slapstick nonsense story in order to further the "demonization of Russia" narrative of Western oligarchy. That these same media "dead ducks" appear to have not even the very slightest interest whatsoever in the current whereabouts or safety of said Skripnals speaks volumes about the true nature of this intelligence operation.

Posted by: Gary Weglarz | Jun 6 2019 14:30 utc | 16

"I made a significant error in my April 16 profile of Gina Haspel. It took a while to figure out where I went wrong".
It was only when I found the horses head next to me in bed when I woke up, that I realized what a stupid mistake I had made.

Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 6 2019 14:36 utc | 17

You fools!
Keep discussing the issue and don't notice the occasion of a lifetime, a gold mine...
B, do you ship to my country?

Posted by: albagen | Jun 6 2019 14:48 utc | 18

Thanks for the post b except I don't see the questions that keeps coming into my head about this.

Why is this correction being made very public and why now?

Where is the pressure coming from, other than "the horse head next to me in bed" answer provide by Harry Law in his comment above?

Which narrative is unraveling and which is gathering momentum?

Interesting times indeed.....someday us peons may even be told which side won

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 6 2019 15:03 utc | 19

Gina Haspel has to be as dumb and incompetent as I suspected: someone is paying good money to make her look like an ordinary sociopath, not a depraved tart who sucked cock to climb to the head of the organisation.

Posted by: aspnaz | Jun 6 2019 15:04 utc | 20

Gina Haspel's reputation as a professional is actually excellent.
Bernhardt on the other hand disappoints me. How did he end up with a bridge for sale?

Posted by: tuyzentfloot | Jun 6 2019 15:23 utc | 21

Slane is ++ on the Skirpals. One ‘fact’ that emerged early on, made public by Slane, is that the proposed ‘official’ time-line ( > press, Gvmt between the lines) of the Skripal movements - trivial as in a town, drinkies, lunch, feeding ducks, etc. -- was never reported correctly, obfuscated.

Idk the reasons, but it is a vital point.

Trump, we see, is treated like the zombie public, flashed random photos, sold tearful narratives about babies, children, recall incubator babies, horrific bio-weapons threats...

The PTB loathes him, Pres. are supposed to be complicit like Obama - or at least keep their resistance toned down, be ready to compromise. .. Obama objected to, and refused to act on, at least two engineered / fake Syria chem. ‘attacks.’ (Just looked on Goog and can't find links to support.)

The only EU figure who stated there is no evidence that the Russkies novichoked Sergei and Yulia was Macron, afaik. He didn’t get the memo in time (the Elysée is inefficient, lots of screw-ups there) but soon caught up! and expelled the minimum. — I have heard, hush hush, one in F was a receptionist - gofer (an excellent + extremely highly paid position) who is now at the Emb. in Washington! Most likely merely emblematic story (see telephone game) .. but telling.

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 6 2019 15:31 utc | 22

The state of the American Imperial wobble (like a spinning top as it wobbles toward a collapse):

Dead ducks and the Golden Gollum of Greatness (to borrow a Kuntslereque phrase) spark an international incident.

Posted by: Wes | Jun 6 2019 15:51 utc | 23

I like this story. It makes Trump look like a naif which wouldn't bother President Teflon in the least. On the other hand, both versions of the story expose Gina as a untrustworthy ratfucker.
I'm hoping she said "cross my heart and hope to die" when he queried her advice...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 6 2019 15:52 utc | 24

@ Jay | Jun 6, 2019 8:37:49 AM @8

So Julian Barnes is a well established liar.

I'm glad I checked to see if anyone had mentioned this hack's article about Russia restarting nuclear testing. Using his name as one search item I tried a number of current issues. Like the fellows at local intersections holding up signs "will work for money", Barnes might as well have a tattoo saying "I'll write anything if the price is right. That it took so long to come up with a half-assed "explanation" shows he's not the brightest bulb in the lamp. I suppose people whose jobs consist of slightly re-writing Deep State dictation don't have to be especially clever.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 6 2019 16:01 utc | 25

That "apology" by Barnes is completely nonsensical. How would you know that there was something wrong with your story, that there was an error in it, without knowing what it was? If the CIA, various bloggers, commenters, etc., alerted him to the errors, it's unlikely they would say, "There's something wrong in this story but I'm not going to say what it is. You'll have to re-research they whole thing to figure it out." I don't think that's how people usually point out errors.

Posted by: PrairieBear | Jun 6 2019 16:25 utc | 26

"Which narrative is unraveling and which is gathering momentum?"psychohistorian@19

One thing that seems to be unravelling is the tight political cartel that controls Foreign Policy in the UK.
If it does unravel and Labour turns to an independent foreign policy while it reverses the disaster of 'austerity' and neo-liberalism, cases such as that of Assange and the Skripal affair, both products of extremists within the Establishment who regard themselves as privileged members of the DC Beltway, are going to be re-opened.
At the moment the UK is run by MI6 which sees itself as the real political directorate of the CIA and the Deep State in the US. It seriously believes that it is on the verge of establishing global hegemony. And this at a time when the UK is falling apart and its population teeters on the brink of economic disaster. It has fallen into this delusion over the years as it has been able to offer the CIA services which it is afraid to initiate itself. Hence, most recently, the entire Russiagate nonsense which has British fingerprints all over it. Hence too the new aggressiveness in DC towards Assange. Hence the disappearance, without explanation, of the Skripals.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 6 2019 16:34 utc | 27

Julian Barnes is like Winston Smith without the intellectual curiosity. He quote happily goes about his work. lol. What is the matter with you people? You are supposed to embrace the new narrative!

From wikidpeida... A memory hole is any mechanism for the alteration or disappearance of inconvenient or embarrassing documents, photographs, transcripts or other records, such as from a website or other archive, particularly as part of an attempt to give the impression that something never happened.[1][2] The concept was first popularized by George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, where the Party's Ministry of Truth systematically re-created all potentially embarrassing historical documents, in effect, re-writing all of history to match the often-changing state propaganda. These changes were complete and undetectable.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Jun 6 2019 16:44 utc | 28

Watchout when b is on your tail! Thank you.

Looks like the mockingbirds have come home to roost.

Posted by: roza shanina | Jun 6 2019 16:46 utc | 29

I think the"Why now?" answer was Trump is in the UK and asking questions, lots of questions, can't have that.

Posted by: frances | Jun 6 2019 16:48 utc | 30

@37 bevin... maybe they will do with assange what they have done with the skripals... the uk is more then pathetic at this point in time.. craig murray had more to say on the assange case yesterday - A Swedish Court Injects Some Sense

Posted by: james | Jun 6 2019 16:49 utc | 31

Julian E. Barnes' humble confession (a self-incrimination) sounds like one made in a Gulag.

Posted by: bjd | Jun 6 2019 17:32 utc | 32

could one of you starting with Jen initiate me Julian Barnes, or the Julian Barnes we are talking about here?

Posted by: joanna | Jun 6 2019 18:16 utc | 33

curious, but here it goes in repetition;
could one of you starting with Jen initiate me into "the" Julian Barnes, or the Julian Barnes we are talking about here?

Posted by: joanna | Jun 6 2019 18:18 utc | 34

Further down the memory hole is the side tale of the daughter of Brutish Army Chief Nurse helping Skirpals and getting an award without contaminating the news. Was the girl's father Pablo Miller,(of Orbis Dossier MFG) and a pal of Skirpal? There's debunk in their poor narrative. The public has a photogenic memory.

Posted by: failure of imaginati | Jun 6 2019 18:23 utc | 35

Speaking of MI6, Julian Barnes is a very English-looking name. Do we know anything about his biography?

Posted by: lysias | Jun 6 2019 18:28 utc | 36

There are 2 Julian Barneses(at the very least!), one is an English writer, the other has mostly been writing for the WSJ ( but since recently again for the NYTimes .

Posted by: tuyzentfloot | Jun 6 2019 18:56 utc | 37


Trump is a drug-addled, brain-damaged, hollowed-out shell of the dull con man he once was.

But, he perceives himself to be a brilliant mastermind - a stable genius. So, he might indeed, be prone to making inquiries (generally these would induce the toadies around him to stifle their laughter).

It makes sense that he might ask, while in GB, about the Skirpal incident, since he pulled 60 people from their posts and he remembered the fantasy he was lead to believe about sick children and dead ducks.

The fact that he overreacted without sufficient evidence, may have inspired a tiny amount of self-reflection simply because it may have embarrassed him to have been caught on his back foot.

He was lead to believe that his contemporaries intended to react in equal measure. They did not. Therefore - he was "fooled" or tricked.

This is the only way to embarrass the buffoon. That is to have someone fool him personally. And to make him look stupid.

He doesn't mind that he is a fat oaf, a greed head and a pig, but that is the stuff of his own doing. He is comfortable in this. Money is the end-all, etc.

He bought Mar A Lago, making it his own club, because the Palm Beach Club and its elite snobs would not let him join.

Trump was betrayed by Gina Haskell, the CIA and the NYT.

What is he gonna do about it?

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jun 6 2019 19:10 utc | 38

This is clearly a case of closing the Barnes door after the ducks have bolted.

Posted by: Ort | Jun 6 2019 19:10 utc | 39

All of Western media has been compromised by the CIA and friends since at least the 50s. Remember what late CIA director William Casey said in 1981; "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the US public believes is false".
They 'CIA' controls every talking head you can name. Believe no one. Sad isn't it.

Posted by: joebattista | Jun 6 2019 19:22 utc | 40

Please note, everyone, that not all of these sad excuses for "journalists" are on the CIA payroll. In fact, very few of them are. Most work with the CIA out of warped senses of patriotism and duty to the empire. Most would never think of themselves as intelligence agency assets, and no small number of them probably think their relationships with the CIA are unique. They think that they are special and that their contacts on the inside at the CIA are unusual. Few would guess that they are just another propaganda mule in the CIA's stable, and that friendly guy who "leaks" to them is actually their handler; their "operator" in spook-speak.

Of course, there is also the incentive provided by just having to take the story their CIA "friend" gives them, edit it a little to fit their employer's style guidelines, and then submit it as their own. A whole day's worth of work and they can have it finished in half an hour. What's not to like about that?

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 6 2019 19:56 utc | 41


CIA did not control many of the Vietnam era journalists that had their pieces printed in mainstream media of the day. Not many left now and perhaps since the nineties they could no longer get their articles published. Regan brought in perception management which eventually brought all MSM 100% under US -CIA control.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 6 2019 20:11 utc | 42


If you're a CIA guy, you get the editor and the ombudsman on the payroll and he will make certain that the desired propaganda gets published.

If he's a Zionist, he's on the same page from the start, anyway.

The self-important "journalists" are controlled and in fact, they are flattered by their special relationships with informants and the owner/managers.

After one has sucked his or her way to the upper level, kissing up and kicking down...

Laziness is a bonus.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jun 6 2019 20:45 utc | 43

@Zachary Smith:

Barnes' CV has US News and World Report on it.

That's big spewer of lies, especially over the last 25 years.

Posted by: Jay | Jun 6 2019 20:47 utc | 44

Putin did it.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Jun 6 2019 21:28 utc | 45

I made a significant error in my April 16 profile of Gina Haspel. It took a while to figure out where I went wrong.

What a strange construction. Doesn't the CIA have PR staff? A decent PR team would review every item referencing their boss and issue clarifications and/or demand corrections immediately. Thewre should have been no need for Julian E. Barnes to figure anything out as the CIA should have pointed out his mistake very quickly. This explanation/exculpation is utter bullshit!

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jun 6 2019 21:35 utc | 46

Every day when I turn on my computer, I am enticed with offers to "see how the Brady Bunch kids look today" or "what do the stars of the 80s look like today?".
Apparently, there is quite a demand for updates on celebrities and their current well being.
So why would Julian Barnes do an article about the Skirpals without showing us how they look today? And just where are they living? Enquiring minds want to know!
I doubt that Trump asked questions about how those ducks and kids were doing. More likely that MI5 was annoyed that they were exposed as the providers of the duck snuff pictures, and put pressure on the NY Times.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Jun 6 2019 21:40 utc | 47

Whatever happened with the Skripals since ? It’s like they fell off the face of the planet.

Posted by: Featherless | Jun 6 2019 21:49 utc | 48

So, the claim is that she used ducks, as an example of what happens when animals are exposed to nerve toxins? Why not rabbits, or gerbils, or hippopotami? This is really pathetic. You could not make up jokes more ridiculous.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Jun 6 2019 22:22 utc | 49

Could this be referred to as a good old fashioned SNAFU ?

Posted by: John Sanguinetti | Jun 6 2019 22:37 utc | 50

SteveK9 @ 49:

Using ducks is easier. Gina Haspel could always ask one of the bottom-feeding subordinates to nip down the road to one of those Chinese BBQ shops and photograph the display of roast ducks hanging in the shop window. The photos can be uploaded and altered to remove the background of the chef and the cashier and then the actual ducks can be altered or coloured appropriately before the pictures are sent to Haspel. Anyone looking at the altered pictures would never guess their actual provenance.


I'm not sure where Haspel can find hippos or any other large animals that might topple on top of someone (with dire consequences) were s/he to apply a whiff of nerve agent.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 6 2019 22:44 utc | 51

SteveK9 @ 49:

Oops the link @ 51 isn't working so I'd better link to this instead.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 6 2019 22:49 utc | 52

Those who advocated the strong response to Russia are the intellectual authors of "Russia Gate" to thwart detente with Russia.

Posted by: El Cid | Jun 7 2019 0:10 utc | 53

Thanks b for a good laugh at Barnes and Goldman's expense. I note Goldman is silent and I guess that is because he would likely get his apology wrong and contradict Barnes BS.
Here's my profile of Gina Haspal: war criminal
Here's my profile of Julian Barnes: Fwit and BShitter
Here's my profile of Adam Goldman: Fwit and BShitter.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 7 2019 0:12 utc | 54

So, the initial set of lies are set straight by another set of lies; yet, it all remains a lie. On top of a lie, and another; and another and another, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera; and so on and so forth; ad infinitum. An Empire of Lies is what the UK and its spawn has constructed, and a false political-economy to go with them all. Soon, the entire false construction will perish and a new phase of humanity will emerge, one that helps its helpers and faces its challenges honestly, the need for lies finally dying a well deserved death.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 7 2019 1:43 utc | 55

NYT is sly and sloppy. If you search "Skipal" at NYT website, you get no hint about any correction. The correction consists of rewriting a paragraph (or two) and a note appended to the piece that STILL has an illustration with unchanged caption:

"A former Russian intelligence officer, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter were poisoned last year in Britain in a slipshod attack that also sickened children, killed ducks and required careful cleanup."

Moreover, the paragraph that follows the description of picture presentation still refers to "emotional appeal". The only change is that in the correction, BUT NOT IN THE PICTURE CAPTION, it is mentioned that the picture did not show ACTUAL SICK CHILDREN AND DEAD DUCK IN WILTSHIRE, but mere illustration of possible consequences (btw. where they got pics of dead ducks? My "image" search returned photographs by animal rights activists from German poultry farms). OK, but what did Ms. Haspel say to make it "emotional"?

Since NYT does not disclose what she said, it could make the same correction quite promptly, namely, that it was not possible for Ms. Haspel to show children sickened and ducks killed because of the incident as there were none.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 7 2019 2:23 utc | 56

Here's my profile of Gina Haspal: war criminal
Here's my profile of Julian Barnes: Fwit and BShitter
Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 6, 2019 8:12:21 PM | 54

Still, what we have learned that when "duty calls, her back is against the wall", Gina can bullshit with the best of them. While she may lack the deep baritone of Colin Powell, she shares his steely unblinking gaze etc.

On personal note, the article has a photo of Haspel and Trump joined in an embrace. While I do not like Trump, I do not envy him this embrace, and while I do not like Haspel... Do they need to show such gruesome stuff? What about the children?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 7 2019 2:28 utc | 57

Putin talks about Truths and Lies to representatives of global media. Unfortunately, the transcript isn't complete. But what he says about Nuclear War and the destruction of the painstakingly arrived at Global Security Structure by "our US partners" are words needing to be published everywhere, but particularly in the Empire of Lies, where they still think they can lie their way out of anything.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 7 2019 3:07 utc | 58

Jen @ 51

Gina Haspel could always ask one of the bottom-feeding subordinates to nip down the road

Nash, she should have used one of her "bottom-feeding subordinates" to demonstrate her point. A liberal application of chemicals, roasting and air drying would have worked quite well.

The ducks on the village ponds here spent half their time on the water with their arses pointing skywards. There aren't any ducks left here anymore - perhaps I should call The Guardian and BBC and blame it on novichok and Putin.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jun 7 2019 5:28 utc | 59

Gina Haspel's reputation as a professional is actually excellent. by: tuyzentfloot 21 <= best unlicensed duck hunter in the world?

unravelling is the tight political cartel that controls M16, UK Foreign Policy, Deep State authority, USA nation state affilates ,etc.
offer the CIA services: recent examples, Russiagate, destruction of Assange, disappearing Skripals. Posted by: bevin | Jun 6, 2019 12:34:34 PM | 27 <== Foreign policy is actually economic policy and it is in the hands of the banking, corporate trader, deep state political and criminal cartel.. which includes MBS owned Saudi Arabia $s <==Jamil Khashoggi was about to expose them.

Trump was betrayed by Gina Haskell, the CIA and the NYT. by: fastfreddy @38 <= all answer to M16_City of London bankers.

The 'CIA' controls every talking head by: joebattista @ 40 <= but who controls the CIA... that's the question.

not all .. "journalists" are on the CIA payroll. by: William Gruff @ 41 <=Mr Gruff, There ain't no Santa Claus.. those not on the CIA payroll are eliminated.. Jamil Khashoggi.. even Ghost Ship @ 46 <=calls it Bullshit.


Posted by: snake | Jun 7 2019 7:42 utc | 60

I remember an interview with Sy Hersh (I think it was @OnContact with Chris Hedges a year ago) where he openly confirms that the NYT is pervaded with intelligence stenographers and basically run by the CIA.
Yup, that sums it up!

Posted by: Vato | Jun 7 2019 7:50 utc | 61

I really would like a comparison of how CIA/NATO influence now and in the seventies when Bernstein's article was written. It all seems so much easier for them now that I wonder whether they even bother with anything like 'infiltrants' . The seventies were the golden age for journalism. It's also the time when 'The Propaganda Model' was written to explain the conformism with power, but they had money and a degree of independence. Now there's a tight business model and no room for independence.

Posted by: tuyzentfloot | Jun 7 2019 8:21 utc | 62

First comment on this informative website. Did you see May making reference to the "special" relationship and how Trump had expelled 60 Russians (Skripal incident)and how the UK had supported Trump with retaliation against Syria for the "chemical attack". You couldn't make this my opinion she was publicly trolling (warning) him. In other words....our "special relationship" is based on covering each others lies.....or...don't you dare cause trouble over the Steele dossier?? In any case also present in the background of the meeting was Mark Sedwell the so called "King of Britain" top civil servant and paymaster of MI5 and MI6 among many other top jobs....he is May's controller. There is some bad S*** going on. Here in Oz they are raiding jorno' France they threaten Journalist for revealing arms sales and Assange is being tortured (drugged). They want to control the narrative because they know financial collapse and war is coming.

Posted by: PWyns | Jun 7 2019 8:28 utc | 63

snake @60

The global drug trade is estimated to be worth half a $trillion, and the CIA has taken control of most of that. The CIA also has revenue streams from trafficking in humans and weapons as they can use the same transportation infrastructure for all three kinds of "cargo". Disposable Filipino children can fetch a respectable profit from businessmen in Riyadh and Miami, after all. Videos of those children being used and disposed of also provide the CIA with "insurance" and additional leverage.

So yes, the CIA has mountains of cash at their disposal that Congress can pretend that they don't know about. That said, the CIA prefers not to actually use that cash to directly purchase the loyalty of their tools in the corporate mass media. As fastfreddy @43 suggests, some individuals in specific roles at key media sources, like the NYT and WaPo, are certainly full fledged CIA operators, but the "cooperation" of many of the rest is assured in different ways. Flattery works great on stupid people, and the current generation of #fakenews pseudo-journalists is nothing if not stupid.

Many of the controller->asset relationships start in college (this is why the CIA has offices on university campuses). These relationships can involve a gimmick where the controller manipulates the future asset into committing some act or acts that are disreputable and that our future asset might not want widely discussed in polite company. The future asset, believing that it is a closed secret of shame shared with the controller (it isn't... available evidence will only implicate the future asset) causes the future asset to form a close bond with controller... a dependency upon the controller.

Again, this is just one method of securing loyalty to "The Company". Outright blackmail is used frequently as well, which is why they like to snoop on everyone's communications. Lest you worry that the blackmail will generate resentment in the asset, which could reduce the effectiveness of that asset's efforts on behalf of the CIA, realize that a kind of Stockholm syndrome soon sets in that transforms the blackmail victim into an ally of his or her blackmailer.

Of course, the horsehead-in-the-bed threats are also used, and the CIA doesn't hesitate to simply dispose of assets that lose their utility or become a liability, but that sort of stuff tends to be more often employed with foreign politicians, bureaucrats, and officials than with "Operation Mockingbird" mass media assets.

Who controls the CIA? Simply look at what the CIA does and who benefits to find the answer to that. It is obviously western big finance and big corporate interests... the 0.1%. Get invited to the next Bohemian Grove meet-up to see some of them.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 7 2019 11:28 utc | 64

curious, but here it goes in repetition;
could one of you starting with Jen initiate me into "the" Julian Barnes, or the Julian Barnes we are talking about here?
Posted by: joanna | Jun 6, 2019 2:18:01 PM | 34

Barns are used to keep the rain off hay and farm animals.
When the CIA's straw men and cattle are threatened by a shower of truthiness, they call on Barnes to deflect the deluge and shelter them?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 7 2019 13:38 utc | 65

In a report published on May 30, Bloomberg claimed Russia had rejected Iran’s request to buy S-400 missile defense systems, “concerned that the sale would stoke more tension” in the Middle East.

The report came as tensions between the US and Iran escalated,

B U T Russia says it has received no request from Iran for its S-400 missile defense systems,
I think its called diversity, the same chiefs ordering their reporters to multitask.. different stories.. ?

Posted by: snake | Jun 7 2019 14:30 utc | 66

The timing of the "correction" surely says a lot. The original piece was intended as a smear on Trump, and an attempt to show the importance and value of the CIA in setting US foreign policy. It was meant to be read and understood as "See what an idiot our president is! It was only the strength of our gallant CIA director who pressed him to man up and spank Russia properly. The fool had the gaul to question the CIA's assessment and recommendation, such that our gallant director had to take time from her busy day and actually show Trump some of the raw intelligence, as one would a child, of the sick children and dead ducks, before he finally realized he should have been unquestioningly accepting the CIA's hard work from the get-go."

Of course, a writer can fall into the trap of writing something so convinced it is obvious, and neglecting to spell out some of the assumptions on which the piece is based, such that a reader who does not have those prejudgments can come to an entirely different conclusion when reading the same article. This is why the agency didn't immediately block or respond to the piece, even though many readers read the article not as denigrating Trump but as demonstrating how conniving Haspal was, and how easy it was for a president to be mislead by false "intelligence" from what were supposed to be trusted sources.

But a "correction" now can only mean that Trump made some comment to some official in England--perhaps inquiring if he could go visit one of the poor sickened children to show his support, or to erect a duck statue, or something of the sort--and had to be told that there were in fact no such victims, and perhaps he was misremembering the briefing or misunderstood Haspal who had tried so hard to use simple words when explaining that photos of sick children clutching freshly poisoned bread morsels were just examples of how nerve agents were bad juju. [Quick! Have Barnes "fix" that story!]

Posted by: J Swift | Jun 7 2019 14:44 utc | 67

snake @66

Press TV isn't controlled by the CIA. It is controlled by the Iranian government. That said, since Press TV didn't just print a denial from the Iranian government but instead printed a properly researched and attributed article, we can sorta see the difference in quality between CIA directed capitalist mass McMedia and Iranian non-profit state controlled media.

"...according to two people with knowledge of the matter..." <--Bloomberg's reference
"...Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told..." <--Press TV's reference

See the difference? Since Iran's state-controlled media will obviously be seen as biased by viewers and readers they have a higher standard to meet. On the other hand, since western media consumers are conditioned to swallow any crap that is fed to them by capitalist mass McMedia there is essentially no quality bar for corporate media.

With that said, differing western corporate mass media outlets will apply slightly differing spins to the stories that the CIA provides to them. This is because they are intended to program the minds of differing demographics. For instance the West's faux left will not care if a particular "dictatorship" that is being targeted by the empire's corporate media is curtailing gun rights, but will be outraged if abortion rights are clamped down on. Likewise the West's faux right audiences are not concerned if that targeted "dictatorship" limits abortions, but they will feel the hate if the mass media convinces them that the evil "dictatorship" is going after people's guns. Different dog whistles work on different audiences so it is the job of the individual media outlets to decide which aspects of the main CIA narratives they will emphasize to their flocks. This can make it look like the corporate mass McMedia is manufacturing different narratives, though in fact the core message remains the same with its presentation just slightly adjusted to align with varying perspectives.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 7 2019 15:20 utc | 68

J Swift @67 <== This is likely closest to what really transpired. The CIA and their tools at the NYT didn't even realize that they had screwed up until weeks after the fact. A toxic brew of hubris and stupidity can have that effect.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 7 2019 15:25 utc | 69

snake 60
The masses will miss most of this. It is only a small minority that is paying attention and paying attention enough to do something. And most of those will not.
What are they/we "able" to do? Plenty. The last time the masses (in the US) acted like masses was to contact congress about their immigration reform plan in 2007.
Otherwise the masses have little to no voice in US foreign policy. That is mostly done by CFR, foundations, think tanks, special interest groups, party insiders, lobbyists, etc.
The original design called for the Senate to dominate US foreign policy. Senators would be selected by the individual state legislatures. That changed with the 17th Amendment.
For now the masses are too divided to get together to affect anything.

Posted by: Curtis | Jun 7 2019 17:24 utc | 70

Off topic, but something that happened this week looks a bit like the handling of the story of the poisoned ducks and boys. Just like the New York Times article, a report into Russia's alleged interference in the US 2016 elections got rewritten after a small part of it unwittingly exposed a fake story.

This week, Symantec published the findings of their in-depth analysis of tweets posted as part of an alleged "propaganda campaign" by a Russian company, the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

In a section titled "Profitable tweets", Symantec reported that the IRA used "monetized URL shorteners" which made money by pushing ads to Twitter users.

As regular MoA readers know, this 'clickbait' technique means that the Russian company had a financial incentive - not a political one - for posting these tweets. This fact undermines the basis of the allegation of Kremlin-backed interference in the American elections (for which there is no other evidence anyway).

Soon after publication, BuzzFeed's Media Editor questioned the methodology of Symantec's calculation (that one of the tweets could have earned a million dollars). Symantec responded, not by modifying the calculation, but by removing the whole section on profitable tweets.

After that deletion, the only mention of the clickbait scheme left in the report is this:
"(...) what appeared to be some rogue operators using monetized link-shortening services to make some money on the side."

The rest of the report gives details of what it describes as "the largest propaganda campaign directed against the U.S.", which was "planned months in advance ". In spite of this, Symantec still wants us to believe that this campaign also included a money-making scheme by 'rogue operators'.

In other words, the Kremlin supposedly commissioned a carefully planned Twitter campaign intended to undermine American democracy, but some individuals managed to sneak in some commercial ads into those messages. Putin must have been angry when he found out about that!

No wonder Symantec had to cover up that part of the narrative about the profitable tweets that had nothing to do with the purpose of the campaign. Many people would not believe it, and then they might start to question the entire story of Russian interference.

Posted by: Brendan | Jun 7 2019 17:43 utc | 71

Screenshot of the deleted section of the Symantec report :

Current page where it has been removed (from near the bottom of the page):

Text of deleted section:

"Profitable tweets

One interesting detail uncovered in the investigation is that a number of the accounts were using monetized URL shorteners to create links. These services usually make their money by displaying an ad before redirecting the user. A fee is then paid to the person who created the link. We are unsure whether the use of monetized URL shorteners was official policy. However, the fact that such services were only used by a minority of accounts suggests that some employees may have been trying to make some money on the side.

In total, we found 13 different accounts using monetized URL shorteners. One account stands out as making a substantial income from its tweets. The user handle was blanked-out by Twitter since it only had 4,123 followers, but it masqueraded as a pro-Trump political account. was the most commonly used link shortening service by this account, and the payout rates advertised on indicate that a user can make US$14.04 per 1,000 clicks by users in the U.S.

Given that this account had 4,123 followers, it is possible this account generated an income of $56.16 per tweet. It tweeted 16,914 times, meaning the account may have generated an income of almost $1 million if each of its followers clicked on a link just once ($949,890). The account was also retweeted 8,362 times which may have resulted in even more clicked links.

None of the 12 other accounts who used monetized link shorteners were as prolific, sending between one and 1,192 tweets using monetized services."

Posted by: Brendan | Jun 7 2019 17:43 utc | 72

Theresa May's husband owns a hedge fund which the time of that Syria missile run that she and the UK participated in...along with France...a 10% ownership stake in Lockheed...whose missiles were used in "retaliation" for that White Helmets Fake Flag chemical attack that never happened. Interestingly, both Canada and Merkel "declined the honor" and did NOT participate in that run That missile run was made up of something like 90 of Lockheed's latest $1.5M missiles. Something like 95% were stopped by Russia's missile defense systems. The real purpose of that US missile attack was to take out all of Syria's airports since they never got HRC's "no fly zone" policy passed for Syria. As I understand it...they weren't able to take out ANY of Syria's airports. The Damascus Int'l Airport was one of those targeted that wasn't taken out. Nevertheless...the "Mays" made a bundle on that run!!!

Posted by: Margret Head | Jun 7 2019 19:53 utc | 73

Re: The Skripal Operation. Novichok was a "chemical weapon" designed by a Uzbekistan chemical weapons guy. That Uzbek chemical weapons lab was jointly taken down by Russia and the US somewhere around 1982. The US took all of the documentation. The Novichok weapon that the guy was working on was never declared as a chemical weapon because it was never proved to work. The inventor defected to the US in 1985. He's now living in a million dollar house in NJ. He wrote a book on his weapon containing all of his formulas, etc. to duplicate it which was published on Amazon in something like 2008. The US holds the patent on Novichok. The Skripals have disappeared. Their medical prognosis at the time was "no long-term injuries". The nearby UK bio-weapons lab at Porton Down has Novichok samples in its stores.
Moon had articles on it at the did Zero Hedge:

Posted by: Margret Head | Jun 7 2019 20:38 utc | 74

Since Russiagate and Skripals are connected, it makes sense to post this Russiagate tidbit here for those who haven't seen it yet:

"The revelation that Kilimnik was a valued State Dept informant, & that Mueller excluded that from his report, is one of the most embarrassing episodes yet for the Russiagate conspiracy theory narrative (and that’s saying a lot)."

And of course, we know that Mueller omitted a vast amount from his report and from his "investigation" which ought to be termed a cover-up.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 7 2019 21:13 utc | 75

More on 75--

Ben Norton thread on NY Times propaganda:

"The NY Times wrote an entire profile on Konstantin Kilimnik, strongly implying he was a 'Russian spy,' and had worked with Manafort to lobby for policies that the Kremlin wanted.

"But he was secretly a key US intelligence asset! This is insane propaganda."

The amount of omissions and outright negligence related to Mueller's charge all relate to its goal of covering up for DNC, Obama, and Clinton. There's no other viable explanation. Getting that entirely proved is being worked on by numerous people wanting Justice to be applied. And Justice doesn't begin with Trump's impeachment; it begins with dealing with those involved with preventing Sanders from becoming POTUS. And even further back in time when Capital Crimes are included.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 7 2019 22:45 utc | 76

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 7, 2019 9:38:27 AM | 65

enjoyed your response. On a fictive level, that is.

More generally I wonder when this type of news style started. I vaguely recall that around the age of 17 the 20 volume history on my mother's shelf offered the same type of (obviously) fictive entrance, as I recall it, into the chatter in the bedrooms of the French king and queen pre-revolution.

Posted by: joanna | Jun 8 2019 15:11 utc | 77

Just a thought (pardon if this has (probably) already been mentioned): is use of the term "dead duck(s)" some kind of threat to Trump from Haspel and/or the CIA? The term has a larger significance:
"An Americanism dating back to 1820–30; orig., in political slang, a person who has lost influence or power and is therefore useless; perhaps from the proverb “never waste powder on a dead duck”"

Posted by: MG | Jun 10 2019 14:25 utc | 78

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