The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Good-Bye, Disinformation Commissar!

Posted on | May 20, 2022 | Comments Off on Good-Bye, Disinformation Commissar!

The screen shot above is from November 2021, when Nina Jankowicz was a guest on MSNBC talking about “disinformation” on Facebook. Suffice it to say that Jankowicz was a “Russian collusion” truther, whose 2020 book How to Lose the Information War included what a friendly reviewer called “a fascinating examination of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election” as supposedly exemplifying “the experience of countries targeted by Russian disinformation.” This was the central thesis of the Clinton campaign’s claim that Donald Trump’s election was illegitimate, i.e., that Hillary Clinton didn’t actually lose in 2016, but rather that she was cheated out of the presidency because of “Russian interference.”

We could examine at length the harmful impact of the “Russian collusion” hoax, and examine also Jankowicz’s role in promoting that hoax, but the point is that her selection to head the Department of Homeland Security’s newly-created “Disinformation Governance Board” was certainly not a coincidence. That is to say, Jankowicz was recognized by Democrats as a reliable agent with a solid record of promoting (indeed, producing) partisan smears intended to shut down opposition.

That’s what the “disinformation”/“misinformation” wars are actually about. For the past six years, going back to the 2016 campaign, Democrats have weaponized the accusation that Republicans were not merely wrong, but were secretly in cahoots with the Kremlin — traitors acting on behalf of a hostile foreign regime. And after all the investigations attempting to prove that bogus claim, which originated with the Clinton campaign and was used to assert that the 2016 election was stolen, then the Democrats turned around and asserted that anyone dubious of Joe Biden’s election in 2020 was a “threat to democracy.”

Thus, in order to protect “democracy,” any and all opponents of the Biden administration must be silenced. Or so the argument seems to be: Democracy requires censorship, and the First Amendment be damned.

All of that is preamble to the story by the Washington Post‘s Taylor Lorenz which reported that the Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) plans have been “paused,” a decision that Lorenz blames on “far right” attacks on the saintly non-partisan Jankowicz:

In naming the 33-year-old Jankowicz to run the newly created board, the administration chose someone with extensive experience in the field of disinformation, which has emerged as an urgent and important issue. The author of the books “How to Be a Woman Online” and “How to Lose the Information War,” her career also featured stints at multiple nonpartisan think tanks and nonprofits and included work that focused on strengthening democratic institutions. Within the small community of disinformation researchers, her work was well-regarded.
But within hours of news of her appointment, Jankowicz was thrust into the spotlight by the very forces she dedicated her career to combating.

There is a lot to digest in that 106-word passage, with its thumbnail summary of Jankowicz’s career. The phrase “multiple nonpartisan think tanks” is a way to fluff up a resume that includes (a) a stint at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, (b) a postgraduate fellowship in Ukraine funded by the Clinton Foundation, and (c) her current employment at the Wilson Center.  The best way to explain her “extensive experience” is to cite Jankowicz’s own description of what inspired her to write her book:

Out of graduate school, I worked for the National Democratic Institute, an organization that provides training and support to democratic activists around the world. I worked on programs in Russia and Eurasia. We were often the victims of Russian propaganda, which sought to paint us “CIA-sponsored instigators of color revolution” (we weren’t). I’ve always been interested in the effects of social media on society, so when Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution happened, I felt a strong pull to go there and work on issues related to disinformation. As a Fulbright Public Policy Fellow, I advised the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on strategic communications issues. I watched from Kyiv as the U.S. election unfolded and America woke up to the threat of information warfare. That’s where the idea for the book was born.

Notice first her flat assertion that the NDI is not a CIA front sponsoring foreign revolutions. NDI is merely supporting “democratic activists around the world” — you say “to-may-to,” I say “to-mah-to.”

Remember the allegedly spontaneous outbreak of revolutions in the so-called “Arab Spring” of 2011? Did the NDI play any role in that? Were they supporting “democratic activists” in Libya, Syria, Egypt, etc.? At whose behest did such “support and training” take place? Do you expect me to believe that the NDI would have been training “democratic activists” in such countries without the explicit approval of the State Department (to which the CIA is joined at the hip)? We may be charitable toward Jankowicz and assume she really didn’t know NDI was part of CIA operations or, alternatively, we may suppose she’s just doing what CIA operatives always do — i.e., deny that they’re CIA operatives.

Excuse me for belaboring this point, but did you know that, when Jankowicz was at NDI, the institute was led by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and that in 2011 — the same year as the “Arab Spring,” which we’re supposed to believe was totally not a CIA operation — the keynote speaker at the NDI’s Democracy Awards Dinner was none other than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? But of course NDI is just an independent non-partisan think tank, right? That’s what Taylor Lorenz expects us to believe, and you must be some kind of “far right” conspiracy theorist (or perhaps a Russian agent) if you doubt it.

So there was the allegedly non-partisan Jankowicz, working at NDI — totally not a CIA front — “when Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution happened” (note the passive voice) and she grabbed a Fulbright fellowship that put her in Kyiv, where she “advised the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on strategic communications issues.” The association between the Clinton Foundation and the Fulbright fellowships is no secret, and so when this revolution in Ukraine “happened” in 2013-2014, Jankowicz left NDI to become an adviser to the new regime in Kyiv. Purely a coincidence, I’m sure, but probably Vladimir Putin has his doubts.

Let anyone investigate what happened in Ukraine in 2013-2014, a revolution that ousted the Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych and installed in his place the U.S.-friendly Petro Poroshenko, and ask yourself, “Was the Obama administration pleased by this result? Was this an outcome that the Obama administration, shall we say, encouraged?”

It was in April 2014 — in the wake of this Ukrainian revolution that just “happened,” and which only a far-right conspiracy theorist might suspect was instigated by the CIA — that the Ukrainian gas company Burisma hired a certain vice president’s son as a member of its board of directors. Less than two years later, when a Ukrainian prosecutor began investigating Burisma, Joe Biden told President Poroshenko to fire the prosecutor, or else the U.S. would withhold aid to Ukraine.

This was what was going on while Jankowicz was giving advice to Poroshenko’s foreign ministry on “strategic communications issues.” You may be surprised to learn (that is, if you’re stupid enough to believe Taylor Lorenz about this “non-partisan” stuff, it may be surprising) that Jankowicz literally campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and donated to Joe Biden’s campaign in 2020. So she’s up to ears in it and — yet another amazing coincidence! — “as the U.S. election unfolded” in 2016, when Hillary notoriously lost, she got the idea for her book about “disinformation.” Jankowicz was and is a “Russian collusion” truther, and the fact that she, of all people, was appointed as director of a new agency within the Department of Homeland Security tells you everything you need to know about what’s wrong with the Biden administration.

What’s going on in Ukraine this very minute is a direct result of the kind of dangerous meddling that the Obama administration pursued in so many countries. First with Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and later with John Kerry, the Obama administration was so busy promoting “democracy” (as they viewed it) overseas that they completely lost sight of whether such shenanigans might produce results harmful to U.S. national interests. The deaths of four Americans at Benghazi was just the most glaring of the unintended consequences of the Obama administration’s approach to foreign policy, and the fact that Benghazi was the site of a CIA compound sort of gives away the dirty little secret of why the 2011 Arab Spring just “happened,” in the same way the Ukrainian revolution “happened,” which is to say, not by coincidence.

Look, I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I’m not naïve, either. The Arab Spring had all the hallmarks of a CIA operation, and so did the 2013-2014 revolution in Ukraine. Someone at the White House or Foggy Bottom decides they want certain outcomes in foreign countries, and somebody at the CIA is assigned to get the job done. Sic semper hoc. You can look up the history of CIA-sponsored revolutions and if you think that kind of stuff ended with Allen Dulles, you’re a damned fool. Jankowicz ridicules the accusation that NDI’s training of foreign “democratic activists” was linked to such CIA operations, which tells me either (a) she’s a damned fool or (b) she thinks the rest of us are damned fools.

Time to wake up and smell the Deep State, my friends.

But oh, says Taylor Lorenz, Jankowicz was a victim of the “far right”:

Just hours after Jankowicz tweeted about her new job, far-right influencer Jack Posobiec posted tweets accusing the Biden administration of creating a “Ministry of Truth.” Posobiec’s 1.7 million followers quickly sprung into action. . . .
Posobiec’s early tweets shaped the narrative and Jankowicz was positioned as the primary target. Republican lawmakers echoed Posobiec’s framing and amplified it to their audiences. . . .
The week following the announcement, approximately 70 percent of Fox News’s one-hour segments mentioned either Jankowicz or the board, with correspondents frequently deriding the board as a “Ministry of Truth,” according to Advance Democracy. The Fox News coverage was referenced in some of the most popular posts on Facebook and Twitter criticizing Jankowicz.
Dozens of websites including Breitbart, the Post Millennial, the Daily Caller and the New York Post began mining Jankowicz’s past social media posts and publishing articles to generate controversy.

You can read the rest of that, but you see Lorenz is encouraging readers to believe that if (a) actions of the Biden administration (b) are criticized by Republicans, then this must mean that (c) the criticism was wrong, and therefore (d) Nina Jankowicz is a victim of “disinformation”! This is either a tautology or a non sequitur, but whatever you call it, the line of argument advanced by Taylor Lorenz does not withstand scrutiny. She minimizes Jankowicz’s problematic past and treats as self-evidently false the belief that what DHS was undertaking was an effort to set up a federal “Ministry of Truth” with Jankowicz as commissar.

Lorenz expects us to accept without question that creation of the Disinformation Governance Board — my friend John Hoge used Cyrillic letters for the acronym — should not have been the least bit controversial, and that the choice of Jankowicz to head this novel agency should have been similarly non-controversial. What are they smoking in the offices of the Washington Post? Or, for that matter, what are they smoking at the White House, if they thought they could get away with this?

Well, congratulations to my “far right” friends for putting a stop to it.

(Hat-tip: Instapundit.)



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