Moderate Rebels episode 14 (Part 2 of 2) – Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton continue reporting on Vice Media’s transformation into a mouthpiece for American foreign policy. With filmmaker Robbie Martin, we look specifically at “A World in Disarray,” a documentary film VICE co-produced with Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, which glorifies US imperialism and brings together the most notorious neoconservatives and neoliberals.

We also analyze VICE’s propaganda on Venezuela and its whitewashing of US-backed neo-Nazis in Ukraine.

PART 1: Vice Media, normalizing US empire under hipster guise – with Robbie Martin (Ep. 13)

Show Notes

VICE’s “A World in Disarray” documentary

Broadcasting Board of Directors citing VICE’s use of RFE/RL materials

BBG Media Highlights – January 24, 2014: “RFE/RL coverage of the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine cited by BBC, NBC, Vice and Gulf News.”

BBG Media Highlights – February 10, 2014: “Vice cites RFE/RL story on genetic testing for future Olympians in Uzbekistan.”

VICE Neocon Michael Moynihan’s support for the Iraq War

Michael Moynihan, “Iraq at Five Years: Reason staffers look back in shock, awe, and sorrow at the way things have gone in the Middle East,” Reason, 19 March 2008

Michael C. Moynihan, then associate editor of Reason, a right-wing libertarian website bankrolled by the Koch Brother oligarchs:

Anniversaries of catastrophic wars are typically moments of ritual self-flagellation. So what, then, was I wrong about, what have I changed my mind about, five years later? Where does one begin. In those years proceeding the 9/11 attacks, one was forced, often by the social obligation of dinner discussions, to wade into the swamp of Middle Eastern politics; to be pro-war or anti-war, regardless of your level of political engagement or knowledge.

Groping at the unfamiliar—which ones are the Sunnis? what is a Kurd, exactly?—the post-9/11 cult of the amateur (myself included) rebelled against the supposedly lazy and corrupt “MSM,” and instead offered endless lunkheaded comparisons between 2003 Iraq and 1945 Japan. The insurgency that flowered, many bloggers blithely suggested, had its historical antecedents in the Werewolf Organization, a band of former Nazis that harassed Allied occupiers and quickly melted away. The Iraqis, brutalized by war and dictatorship, were ready to have a go at democracy. Of course, none of this would happen.

The best mirror of my bewilderment and disappointment is George Packer’s brilliant book The Assassins Gate, a clear-eyed account of the stupidity and venality of those sent by the Bush administration to mismanage the occupation. As one CPA advisor told me in 2006, Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR) was known inside the green zone as “Kick Back and Relax.” And as Washington Post correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s noted with wonderment, James K. Haveman Jr., the official put in charge of Iraq’s health care system, landed in Baghdad and launched an anti-smoking campaign. I suppose this is something I always knew, just something that I hoped wouldn’t be true in this one case, but boy was I wrong in thinking that the U.S. government could ever achieve a level of honesty and competence needed to even try to promote democracy in an undemocratic region.

Michael Weiss

Max Blumenthal, “CNN Analyst Michael Weiss Hosted Anti-Muslim Rally with Far-Right Hate Queen Pamela Geller“, AlterNet Grayzone Project, 15 August 2017

Syria regime change trolls

Ben Norton, “How Online Trolls Pushing for Regime Change in Syria Helped Popularize Trump’s Attack on the ‘Alt-Left’“, AlterNet Grayzone Project, 17 August 2017

Francis Fukuyama and “The End of History”

Srecko Horvat, “Where are we 25 years after ‘the end of history’?“, Al Jazeera,  19 June 2014

Trump’s National Security Strategy

Ben Norton, “Trump Admin. Says China and Russia Are Top US National Security ‘Threats,’ Not Terrorism“, The Real News, 26 January 2018

Chilcot Report and al-Qaeda

Ben Norton, “Chilcot report: British intel warned Iraq war would strengthen al-Qaeda and extremists; Blair invaded anyway“, Salon, 7 July 2016

Alliance for Securing Democracy

Max Blumenthal, “Meet Clint Watts, a Dubious Russia Meddling ‘Expert’ Lobbying the U.S. Government to ‘Quell Information Rebellions’“, AlterNet Grayzone Project, 8 November 2017

Max Blumenthal, “McCarthyism Inc: Introducing the Counter-Terror ‘Experts’ Hyping Russian Threats and Undermining Our Civil Liberties“, AlterNet Grayzone Project, 10 November 2017

US regime change operation in Syria

Ben Norton, “US Ambassador Confirms Billions Spent On Regime Change in Syria, Debunking ‘Obama Did Nothing’ Myth“, The Real News, 9 February 2018

Moderate Rebels episode 2: End of CIA’s Syrian ghost war and al-Qaeda’s renaissance

Moderate Rebels episode 3: The sordid history of US proxy war in Syria, with Gareth Porter

CFR’s “A World in Disarray” teaching notes

Richard N. Haass, A World in Disarray teaching notes, 27 April 2017

South Korea anti-war protests

Moderate Rebels episode 6: Understanding North Korea and US militarization: Dispatch from Seoul, with Wol-san Liem

Moderate Rebels episode 7: South Koreans resist US military presence and war with DPRK

Abby Martin, VICE producer Alex Chitty, Venezuela propaganda

Mike Pearl, “A Chat with Producer Alex Chitty About Tonight’s Episode of ‘VICE’ on HBO: We chatted with producer Alex Chitty about the trail of cocaine running from Caracas to a small, strange town in Niger called Agadez”, VICE, 27 March 2015

Ukraine’s US-backed neo-Nazi Azov Battalion

Max Blumenthal, “The US is Arming and Assisting Neo-Nazis in Ukraine, While Congress Debates Prohibition“, The Real News, 18 January 2018

Max Blumenthal, “Max Blumenthal: US is Arming Neo-Nazis in Ukraine“, The Real News, 5 February 2018

Robbie Martin’s “A Very Heavy Agenda”

Robbie Martin’s A Very Heavy Agenda website

Listen to Moderate Rebels episode 14