21st Century Wire says…
They say nothing happens in Washington by accident, and new details of the much celebrated on-air resignation of Liz Wahl reveal who she was working with, in what can now be confirmed as a politicized ‘self-promotional’ publicity stunt – engineered in part by a leading neoconservative think thank in Washington DC.
If you are a mainstream media consumer, then the narrative ends with CNN and FOX: “Female news anchor resigns in defiance of Vladamir Putin”. Upon deeper examination however, the real story begins to emerge…
COLD, CUNNING: Wahl’s unusual climb to fame was a destructive one.
It’s not certain exactly how long Liz Wahl had been involved in planning the incident, but an investigation by news site Truth Dig shows that she coordinated her publicity stunt with Robert Kagan and William Kristol’s new neoconservative think tank to replace the much-maligned Project for a New American Century, called Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI).
Wahl and FPI’s move came at a time when the US-EU media meme of, “Russia invades the Ukraine”, was being propelled through western media and diplomatic channels. This of course, ignoring the fact that Russia actually has only 16,000 of its treaty allotment of 26,000 permanently stationed in the Crimea region – a fact conveniently bypassed by western corporate and state-run media outlets.
Wahl appears to have been in close coordination with FPI member and neoconservative writer, James ‘Jamie’ Kirchick, 31, who also appears in media as an ‘LGBT activist’ and also works for right-ring GOP affiliated media outlet The Weekly Standard. At passing glance, Kirchick might seem like a mere neoconservative ‘hack for hire’, but he’s more than ruthless enough to land a political job in Washington. His function is more of a hatchet man for the FPI think tank. In a 10,674-word essay for right-wing Commentary, Kirchick accused NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden of being ‘a traitor’ and suggested as well as journalists Glenn Greenwald and others, saying that “far more than a drop of treason runs through their veins”.
It gets worse. Truth Dig adds: “On Aug. 21, Kirchick accepted an invitation to appear on RT to discuss his op-ed calling for Manning’s execution. But as soon as he appeared on air, the openly gay Kirchick slapped on a pair of rainbow-colored suspenders and delivered a tirade against Russia’s new anti-gay legislation.”
Other key operators in this neoconservative propaganda scheme to talk up the war include none other than Michael Goldfarb, an Israeli-linked PR consultant who helped mastermind the infamous ‘reverse-spin’ lie of ‘Russia Attacks Georgia’ in 2008 which was eventually correctly reported as Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia, along with Eli Lake from the Daily Beast and Rosie Gray from Buzzfeed – all of whom have been actively involved previously in generating pro-war and anti-Russian propaganda in order to provide some media cushion to the same foreign policy directives coming out of the Foreign Policy Initiative think tank. Most likely, Goldfarb would be supervising his protégé Kirchick. A Huff Post piece featuring Goldfarb entitled, “Using the American Right to Advance Likud” should give a clear picture of the divisive nature of his activities in Washington and Tel Aviv.
NEOCON MEDIA PAYROLL: Liz Wahl, with ‘Israel-First’ journalists Rosie Gray, Eli Lake, and Jamie Kirchick celebrating after planned PR stunt.
Unfortunately, FPI was caught on Twitter in advance of Wahl’s on-air anti-Russian rant, boasting about a plan which was about to come to fruition:
— FPI (@ForeignPolicyI)
March 5, 2014
The incident also landed her guest spots on CNN, MSNBC, FOX et all – a media tour which fueled additional suspicion over the scripted political nature of her exit.
Wahl’s think tank stunt was originally uncovered by journalists Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek and broken by Truth Dig in a very detailed report.
It should come as no surprise then that Victoria Nuland – the US State Department’s lead architect for the Ukrainian uprising and destabilisation project just happens to be wife of FPI Director Robert Kagan, who is in turn backing Arizona Senator John McCain on his dubious foreign excursions to the Ukraine. It’s nothing less than a neoconservative nexus – one designed to hype a new war footing with Russia, to the benefit of US companies engaged in the arms industry, and also energy giants who hope to gain additional traction in Eurasia.
Was Wahl a willing accomplice? Apparently yes, but her problems at work may have helped to greased the skids for this one…
RT America studio sources reveal that Wahl had previously been demoted from anchor to correspondent, and disciplined on suspension without pay – presumably over issues relating to her tantrums and emotional outbursts in the studio – all of which may have played a crucial role in her willingness to be used by think tank operators like Kirchick who were seeking to capitalise on her planned political stunt – which they did.
Before her post at RT America, Wahl’s only real ‘media experience’ was in intern position for none other than Sean Hannity at FOX News.
It turns out that Wahl’s beef with RT wasn’t really about editorial lines, of which she rarely engaged producers on. It was about money – more specifically, she wanted more of it. According to one ex-RT staffer, “Liz wasn’t disgruntled about anything editorially. It was entirely about payment.(…) She learned that another correspondent who has since left had made more money than her. But that’s because this correspondent had had six more years more experience than her.”
There are other aspects of this plot which also weakens Wahl’s credibility. To somehow bolster her position early on in the controversy, Wahl then falsely claimed that RT had censored a Ron Paul interview – a claim that former Congressman Paul flatly refuted. He explained, “I didn’t think it was slanted in any way. I thought what they reported was exactly what I said”.
For a journalist to construct a narrative at the expense of a figure like Congressman Ron Paul – by accusing her employer of a flagrant violation when there was none – is astonishing and speaks volumes about Wahl’s own state of mind.
Sources also confirmed that late in 2013, while still at RT America, Wahl had travelled up to New York City to interview with the failing channel Al Jazeera America, but did not get the job, after which time she became “despondent” about her dwindling career prospects. This aspect of the story also supports observations of Wahl’s “disinterest” in politics not least of all because Al Jazeera itself is funded by an elite monarchy in Qatar and the channel has been one of the key propaganda drivers of western war efforts in Libya and Syria, as well as attempting to prop-up, alongside the White House, the failed Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt.
Incidentally, Wahl’s post-resignation appearance on CNN with Anderson Cooper is ironic considering it was Cooper and CNN who spun the phony narrative of ‘Syria Danny’ and had British agent Danny Dayem on their program regularly in the early days of Syria’s civil war, punctuated by a fake ‘war scene’ report made by their golden war child – all to influence American and world public opinion in favour of an eventual military intervention in that country.
After arranging her interview with CNN’s Cooper which aired shortly after her dramatic resignation, critics have charged Wahl as being an opportunistic hypocrite. In fact, here is Liz Wahl only months before who (according to her new-found pro-American guidelines) was engaging in ‘anti-American’ propaganda as she is caught categorically exposing CNN’s “war propaganda” in a segment with Emmy Award-winning journalist Amber Lyon:
Studio colleagues also confirmed (in Truth Dig report) that Wahl was indeed approached by an unnamed individual to “take down RT.” Whether or not this unnamed individual was Kirchick, or another member of FPI, is unknown as yet. Here is Wahl and Kirchick posing for ‘selfie’:
— Jamie Kirchick (@jkirchick) March 6, 2014
For anyone who actually followed the work of Liz Wahl while she appeared on RT, what happened should not have come as a huge surprise. Viewers would be hard-pressed to find any indication of a clear set of values or any political stance from Wahl, whose news persona was more akin to what one might see on a major US broadcaster like MNSBC or CNN – where attractive but predictable anchors and correspondents play the time-honoured role of ‘talk head’. Colleagues described her as “apolitical and without any clear principles”, just holding down a job, rather than working at RT America for any specific reason – for instance, like not wanting to run on the mainstream news treadmill. Certainly, one can now view her ‘on-air resignation’ in hindsight and understand better why her final monologue rang with such faux sincerity, sounding awkward and scripted – as if written by someone else, which makes better sense now that it’s been proven she was not working alone, as she planned her grand finale with others in advance.
Watch her bizarre ‘Cold War rant’ as she takes her parting shot at RT:
Liz Wahl’s seemingly crass attempt at portraying her exit as some sort of ‘act of conscience’ is incredible, considering the fact that not only is the US State Department intimately involved in the logistics of the street revolt in Kiev, but also in sabotaging the February 20th truce agreement. Leaked phone calls confirm how intimately involved Victoria Nuland and her Washington superiors were in hand-picking the present unelected Ukrainian government a government which took power by force in a violent coup de tat. Later leaked phone calls further indicate that infamous the ‘sniper shootings’ in Maidan Square which were instrumental in breaking the truce agreement were organised and carried out by Far Right and NeoNazi-linked extremists working hand in hand with US central planners. All of this has been ignored by US and European media – for obvious reasons.
In the end, Wahl’s political stunt was timed to coincide perfectly with the height of the Crimea crisis, and also to offer a much needed US media distraction away from Victoria Nuland and her State Department’s humiliating meltdown over the leaked phone calls.
Something for Liz Wahl to consider: all of these facts regarding the Ukraine and Crimea have been intentionally buried by US and European mainstream media in “one-sided coverage”, in what can only be described as an attempt to lie and propagandise a completely false narrative (just like with Georgia in 2008) of what took place and why – so that the US and EU version of events could fit neatly into a clear set of aggressive foreign policy objectives regarding Russia.
After the neocon cheering section quiets down and the novelty wears off, it’s likely that Liz Awhl will still find herself unemployed as a broadcast journalist – for a while at least. Using your paid position to trash your own employer, no matter who it might be, is Kryptonite when being considered for a future appointments – for very obvious reasons. Even her supporters may view her as an unstable individual. Hence, Wahl’s options are very limited. Internet and tweets hint at FOX being a suitor, but this ignores the fact that from a talent and political awareness perspective, Wahl might not be up to scratch.
A position with neocon think tank FPI perhaps, but that is contingent on her writing ability – and Wahl’s only literary accomplishment to date, is being able to read off a teleprompter.
Her best and possibly only option is to start a blog now. Maybe Jamie can give her a hand with that.
See more detail in RT’s investigation here…
New report reveals how ‘American neocons’ stage attacks against alternative media
The recent on-air resignation by former RT news anchor Liz Wahl was just the latest stunt orchestrated by a neo-conservative think tank, according to a new investigative report shedding light on the group’s role in an ongoing Cold War revival campaign.
An extensive account of the days and minutes leading up to Wahl’s remarks and public denunciation of “propaganda” tactics during her news segment on March 5 by authors Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek via truthdig has revealed connections with the little known neoconservative think-tank Foreign Policy Initiative.
FPI was founded in 2009 by a group of high-profile neo-conservative figures, including Robert Kagan and William Kristol, founder of the Weekly Standard, who themselves were cofounders of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) — an organization that played a key role in advocating for the US invasion of Iraq by the Bush administration following the 9/11 terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda.
According to the authors, as well as evidence readily available online via the group’s Twitter feed, FPI was privy to what would take place at RT on-air that day.
Just twenty minutes prior to Wahl’s last appearance on RT, FPI announced that “something big” would be “going down” on RT, and directed followers to RT’s live web feed.
Just over an hour later, an exclusive interview with Wahl was posted to The Daily Beast, authored by James Kirchick, a 31-year-old writer who had appeared regularly on the pages of conservative publications such as Commentary and the Weekly Standard.
As the truthdig report points out, Kirchick, a senior fellow with FPI, considered by most beltway insiders as a rebrand of PNAC, had been in contact with Wahl since last August.
But while Kirchick himself appears to be more of neo-con waterboy, the FPI has a deep bench when it comes to Washington insiders at the heart of the current crisis in Ukraine.
It turns out that the husband of Victoria Nuland, the top US diplomat for Europe, is none other than Robert Kagan. Kagan not only serves on the FPI Board of Directors, but was also John McCain’s foreign policy advisor during the Arizona senator’s failed 2008 presidential bid. McCain, known for his harsh anti-Russian rhetoric, appeared alongside Ukrainian opposition leaders in December, including far right nationalist Oleh Tyahnybog.
The very same week McCain was meeting with Ukraine’s opposition, Nuland was on Independence Square, the epicenter of the Kiev protests, handing out cakes to protesters and riot police. The diplomat, however, sparked a media frenzy for a far less saccharine gesture.
While discussing the situation on the ground with US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, Nuland criticized Europe’s more cautious Ukrainian policy with her now infamous “F*** the EU” remark. The US State Department said at the time that if if Moscow had been responsible for recording and disseminating the conversation, it was “a new low in Russian tradecraft”.
“F*** with the Russians”
Kirchick, who has taken a less than amicable approach to Russia himself, had himself appeared on RT after accepting an invitation to participate in a panel and discuss his recent op-ed calling for Bradley Manning’s execution.
The panel was derailed when Kirchick took the opportunity to denounce recent “gay propaganda” laws ratified by Russia’s government. As Khalek and Blumenthal write, moments after the uncomfortable appearance Kirchick had removed his microphone and remarked “I only go on that station to f*** with the Russians.”
Several days after Wahl’s resignation, after she appeared on a number of networks, Kirchick camped out outside of RT’s DC studios, apparently on a self-assigned mission to “find out more about RT.”
Kirchick, after befuddling random office workers with questions on Pussy Riot, was approached by building security, who eventually contacted local police. Though the resulting piece posted by Kirchick for the Daily Beast had denounced “the wannabe thugs” at RT’s DC headquarters who had contacted police, the piece was later quietly updated to clarify that it had been building security who had contacted authorities, not RT staff members.
Beyond the extensive analysis of FPI and James Kirchick’s political purpose, the investigation also delved into Wahl’s tenure at RT. Six employees were contacted by the authors, all of whom professed “qualms with the network’s coverage of Russia-related issues,” though they also portrayed Wahl, who had previously been demoted from anchor to correspondent and suspended without pay, as “apolitical and without any clear principles.”
“Wahl expressed her outrage at co-workers, often berating them, according to her former colleagues, and by ‘screaming’ at management,” write Blumenthal and Khalek.
READ MORE UKRAINE NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Ukraine Files