Author: max-blumenthal

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of several books, including best-selling Republican GomorrahGoliath, The Fifty One Day War, and The Management of Savagery. He has produced print articles for an array of publications, many video reports, and several documentaries, including Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded The Grayzone in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America's state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

How Nicaragua’s ‘Left-Wing’ Opposition MRS Are NGO Opportunists Lobbying the West for Regime Change

The Sandinista Renovation Movement (Movimiento Renovador Sandinista – MRS) is the intellectual, left-sounding arm of reactionary politics in Nicaragua. Its popular base is minuscule, but it has been adept at courting Western support.

By Max Blumenthal and Nils McCune

On a recent episode of my Moderate Rebels podcast with Ben Norton, I asked Nils McCune about the role of the Sandinista Renovation Movement (Movimiento Renovador Sandinista – MRS) party in marketing the recent coup in Nicaragua as a progressive popular mobilization.

McCune, a longtime resident of the Nicaraguan city of Tipitapa, has worked closely with the country’s rural campesino movement and observed the coup from the ground. He is also an astute observer of the country’s politics and history.

Below is audio of our discussion and a transcript of McCune’s comments on the MRS, its collaboration with right-wing elements inside Nicaragua, and its importance in selling the coup to the Western liberal-left.

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An Exclusive Interview with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega

Daniel Ortega claims his Sandinista government has just defeated a US-backed coup. In a candid and lengthy discussion with me in Managua, he discussed the violent unrest and the factors behind it.

By Max Blumenthal

Since the sudden outbreak of protests and violence last April, an uneasy calm had fallen over Nicaragua. President Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista government have claimed victory over what they call a coup attempt, but they now face condemnation from the US and its allies, who accuse them of unleashing lethal violence against peaceful protesters.

I spent much of July inside Nicaragua, speaking with supporters of the government and their opponents. I learned that Washington’s narrative of a despised dictator mowing down unarmed demonstrators wasn’t exactly accurate. Across the country, I observed widespread support for Ortega and the Sandinista movement. It also became apparent from the moment I arrived that Western media had covered up the brutality of the opposition, as well as its anti-democratic agenda.

In the midst of what seemed to be a misinformation campaign reinforced by right-wing members of Congress and the Organization of American States, I approached the Nicaraguan government for a chance to hear Ortega’s side of the story. He agreed, granting me one of his first interviews in eleven years.

Here are 13 takeaways from our wide-ranging discussion on July 25 in Managua:

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How Washington and Soft Power NGOs Manipulated Nicaragua’s Death Toll to Drive Regime Change and Sanctions

Did Nicaragua’s Sandinista government really kill 300+ peaceful protesters? A forensic analysis of the death toll exposes the claim as a dangerous lie.

By Max Blumenthal

A detailed study of the death toll that has been recorded in Nicaragua since a violent campaign to remove President Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista government shows that at least as many Sandinista supporters were killed as opposition members. The study, “Monopolizing Death,” demonstrates how partisan local NGOs conflated all deaths that occurred since April, including accidents and the murders of Sandinistas, with killings by government forces. Washington has seized on the bogus death count to drive the case for sanctions and intensify pressure for regime change.

The manipulated death toll was the centerpiece of a July 25 harangue by Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on the House floor. While drumming up support for a bipartisan resolution condemning Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega for supposedly ordering the massacre of demonstrators, Ros-Lehtinen declared, “Mr. Speaker, four hundred and fifty! That is how many Nicaraguans have been killed by the Ortega regime and its thugs since April of this year.”

The congresswoman’s portrayal of a dictatorial regime gunning down peaceful protesters like helpless quails in a canned hunt was designed to generate pressure for an attack on the Nicaraguan economy in the form of sanctions packages like the Nica Act. Her narrative was reinforced by Vice President Mike Pence, who condemned Nicaragua’s government for “350+ dead at the hands of the regime,” and by Ken Roth, the long-serving executive director of Human Rights Watch, who also suggested that Ortega had personally ordered the killing of “300 demonstrators against his corrupt and repressive rule.”

Throughout the past two weeks, I have been in Nicaragua interviewing scores of victims of the US-backed Nicaraguan opposition. I have met police officials who saw their colleagues gunned down by well armed elements while being ordered to stay in their stations, Sandinista union leaders whose homes were burned down, and average citizens who were kidnapped at tranque roadblocks and pulled out of their homes to be beaten and tortured, sometimes with the assent of Catholic priests. It was clear to me that the Nicaraguan opposition was anything peaceful in its bid for regime change.

Continue reading “How Washington and Soft Power NGOs Manipulated Nicaragua’s Death Toll to Drive Regime Change and Sanctions”

VIDEO: Congress welcomes an actual fascist as Nazi violence rages in Ukraine

I asked the Washington hosts of Andriy Parubiy, the speaker of Ukraine’s parliament and founder of two neo-Nazi parties, why they were legitimizing an open fascist at the heart of the extremism plaguing his country.

By Max Blumenthal

While racist violence raged through Ukraine, punctuated by a wave of attacks on Roma encampments by the state-funded C14 neo-Nazi militia, Congress played host to an actual Ukrainian fascist. He was Andriy Parubiy, and besides being the proud founder of two Nazi-like parties — the Social-National Party and the Patriot of Ukraine — he was the speaker of Ukraine’s parliament.

During a meeting hosted by the American Foreign Policy Society inside the Senate, I seized the chance to ask Parubiy’s hosts why they were welcoming a figure who was so central to the extremism overtaking Ukrainian society. I also put the question to Michael Carpenter, a former Pentagon official who helped deepen the US relationship with post-coup Ukraine during the Obama administration.

The responses I received reflected a semi-official policy of denying the very existence of Ukraine’s far-right plague in order to turn the heat up on Moscow.

The Ukrainian lawmaker appeared on a panel alongside fellow speakers of Eastern European parliaments eager to join the US-NATO crusade against Russia in exchange for handsome aid packages. At the top of the agenda was stopping the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany, a project viewed in Washington as an existential threat to US economic leverage over Europe.

Earlier in the day, Parubiy held private discussions with the Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan and enjoyed what Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Andrea Thomson described as an “excellent meeting” with a “proactive” leader.

Parubiy’s first meeting with Ryan, which Ben Norton covered for the Grayzone last June, was also treated as business as usual, without a single protest or critical word from the Beltway press.

Watch my exchange in the video report below, which I co-produced with Thomas Hedges.

Maquinaria injerencista del gobierno de los EE.UU. se jacta de ‘preparar el terreno para la insurrección’ en Nicaragua.

Mientras los líderes de las protestas estudiantiles nicaragüenses se reunían con neoconservadores en Washington DC, una publicación financiada por el brazo del gobierno estadounidense encargado en los cambios de régimen, la Fundación Nacional para la Democracia (NED por sus siglas en inglés), se jacta de gastar millones de dólares “preparando el terreno para la insurrección” contra Daniel Ortega.

By Max Blumenthal

(Read the original report in English with hyperlinked sourcing here).

Mientras que algunas corporaciones de medios de comunicación han retratado al violento movimiento de protesta que atrapa a Nicaragua como una corriente progresista de base, los propios líderes estudiantiles del país han sugerido lo contrario.

A principios de junio, jóvenes líderes activistas nicaragüenses salieron de excursión a Washington DC, financiados por el grupo derechista de defensa del Estado estadounidense Freedom House. Los líderes estudiantiles nicaragüenses estaban allí para suplicar a Donald Trump y otros funcionarios derechistas del gobierno de los Estados Unidos, para que los ayudaran en su lucha contra el presidente nicaragüense Daniel Ortega.


En la excursión a la capital de EE. UU., Los jóvenes activistas posaron en fotos con algunos de los más notorios neoconservadores del Congreso de los EE. UU .: los senadores Ted Cruz y Marco Rubio y la representante Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Los líderes estudiantiles nicaragüenses también fueron llevados a reuniones con altos funcionarios del Departamento de Estado y la organización de ‘poder blando’ USAID. Allí, se les aseguró que contarían con el  sonoro apoyo de Washington.


Un mes antes de las reuniones entre líderes estudiantiles nicaragüenses y los legisladores ultraconservadores, en Washington, una publicación financiada por el brazo del gobierno estadounidense encargado en los cambios de régimen, Fundación Nacional para la Democrácia (NED), afirmó sin rodeos que organizaciones respaldadas por la NED dedicaron  años y millones de dólares “preparando el terreno para la insurrección” en Nicaragua.


Este artículo que se jacta abiertamente de la injerencia Estadounidense se publicó en la página web de noticias, enfocada en América Latina ‘Global Americans,’ y fue escrito por el académico estadounidense Benjamin Waddell, director académico de la Escuela de Capacitación Internacional en Nicaragua. Después de la publicación de este artículo, ‘Global Americans’ reemplazó el término “insurrección” con la palabra menos ofensiva “cambio”. Sin embargo, el título original aún se puede ver en la URL del artículo.

Continue reading “Maquinaria injerencista del gobierno de los EE.UU. se jacta de ‘preparar el terreno para la insurrección’ en Nicaragua.”

US Gov. Meddling Machine Boasts of ‘Laying the Groundwork for Insurrection’ in Nicaragua

As Nicaraguan student protest leaders meet with neoconservatives in Washington, DC, a publication funded by the US government’s regime change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), boasts of spending millions of dollars “laying the groundwork for insurrection” against Daniel Ortega

By Max Blumenthal

While some corporate media outlets have portrayed the violent protest movement gripping Nicaragua as a progressive grassroots upswell, the country’s own student leaders have suggested otherwise.

In early June, Nicaragua’s leading young activists went on a junket to Washington, DC, on the dime of the US government-funded right-wing advocacy group Freedom House. The Nicaraguan student leaders were there to beseech Donald Trump and other right-wing US government officials to help them in their fight against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.

On the excursion to the US capital, the young activists posed for photo-ops with some of the most notorious neoconservatives in the US Congress: Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The Nicaraguan student leaders were also shepherded to meetings with top officials from the State Department and the US government soft power organization USAID. There, they were reassured that they would have Washington’s full-throated support.

A month before the student protesters’ meetings with ultra-conservative lawmakers in Washington, a publication funded by the US government’s regime change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), bluntly asserted that organizations backed by the NED have spent years and millions of dollars “laying the groundwork for insurrection” in Nicaragua.

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Exposing the OAS’ Anti-Venezuela, Pro-US Bias and Right-Wing Hypocrisy

The Organization of American States (OAS) is a Cold War-era group that acts as a vehicle for US influence, opposing leftist governments in Latin America. Journalist Max Blumenthal challenged the OAS on its extreme anti-Venezuela bias and enlisting of right-wing pro-Israel lobbyists to demonize Nicolas Maduro.

By Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton

Max Blumenthal spoke with Ben Norton on The Real News.

BEN NORTON: It’s The Real News, I’m Ben Norton. The Organization of American States is a Cold War-era international body of countries in North and South America that claims to be independent and neutral, but, in reality, frequently acts as a proxy for the United States government.

The OAS is notorious for its extreme bias against left-wing governments in Latin America, particularly Cuba and Venezuela. Western corporate media outlets frequently echo the OAS’s anti-Cuba and anti-Venezuela reports, without providing any further information as to what exactly the OAS is, and what interests it serves.

In reality, however, the OAS was formed at the behest of the U.S. government as a coalition of anti-communist governments at the beginning of the Cold War. In 1948, the U.S. convened the International Conference of American States. At this meeting in Colombia, which was led by the U.S. Secretary of State and infamous cold warrior George Marshall, the right-wing governments of Latin America joined the U.S. in signing a charter that established the Organization of American States with the explicit goal of fighting the spread of socialism and defending capitalism in North and South America.

Although media outlets today cite the OAS as if it were supposedly an independent and impartial source, U.S. government bodies have openly admitted otherwise.

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Internal Cambridge Analytica Documents Reveal Private Intelligence Web Behind Global Surveillance Program

Part Two of an Exclusive Two Part Investigation

By Max Blumenthal

Read part one here.

Internal documents exclusively obtained by the Grayzone Project (and embedded after this article) show how Cambridge Analytica’s UK-based parent company, SCL group, conducted a surveillance operation in Yemen called Project Titania. The initiative relied on psychological profiling, “strategic communications campaigns,” and infiltration of foreign operatives into indigenous communities through unwitting local partners whom they were instructed to deceive.

According to the materials detailed here, Project Titania was to be implemented by SCL “on behalf of Archimedes.” Archimedes is a US-based private contractor that advertises its ability to provide “Systems Integration, Engineering, and Mission Support solutions to government and businesses worldwide.”

The partnership between SCL and Archimedes highlights the seamless web of relationships between private intelligence firms and Western governments engaged in counter-intelligence activities in the Middle East. These large scale surveillance operations have been conducted without the knowledge of the Western public or input from elected officials, and would have remained mostly unknown had a series of leaks and hacking operations not placed them in the public domain.

Communications obtained legally by the Grayzone Project indicated that a former Archimedes staffer named Tim Riesen was a key contact for the Yemen operation. Little information is publicly available about Riesen; he is currently the the CEO of an international corporate consultancy firm called Madison Springfield, Inc.

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VIDEO: OAS Panel Accusing Venezuela of “Crimes Against Humanity” is Grilled on Moral Hypocrisy and Open Bias

An OAS panel featured condemnations of Venezuela’s human rights violations by one of the world’s most prominent defenders of Israeli atrocities

By Max Blumenthal

(Video of my questioning of the OAS panel follows the article.)

On May 29, a panel of self-described independent experts convened a press conference at the Organization of American States in Washington DC. The panel presented a 400-page report accusing the Venezuelan government of crimes against humanity and demanding the prosecution of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the International Criminal Court.

The panel comprised a collection of aggressive advocates of regime change in Venezuela. I attended the event to question the self-proclaimed experts on their ulterior agenda and the absurd contradictions behind their claims to support universal human rights.

“With right-wing allies ruling Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Peru, the OAS has faded back into its history as an instrument of US domination of Latin America,” Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, told the Grayzone Project.

Weisbrot added OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, “is obsessed with Venezuela, and determined to do whatever he can to achieve regime change there, by any means necessary.”

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Did Rep. Adam Schiff Just Admit the US Has a Secret Indictment of Julian Assange?

Update posted on 11/16/2018: A U.S. prosecutor has inadvertently revealed that Julian Assange has been secretly charged by the U.S. government, confirming this report.

After Randy Credico offered Rep. Adam Schiff an interview with Assange, Schiff apparently revealed US plans to indict and extradite the Wikileaks founder

By Max Blumenthal

On May 23, activist and satirist Randy Credico met with the staff of Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and de facto leader of the House’s investigation into Russian meddling. Credico described the discussions to me hours after his meeting.

According to Credico, Schiff requested the interview after a brief chat with Schiff at the White House Press and Correspondents Association gala last month. An email from House Intelligence Committee senior counsel Shannon Green to Credico (below) demonstrates Schiff’s interest in the encounter.

May 8 email from House Intel Committee senior counsel Shannon Green to Randy Credico

Schiff was interested exclusively in gathering evidence to bolster the Russiagate narrative of Credico as a secret liaison between Julian Assange, who has been branded without evidence by the CIA as a hostile foreign intelligence asset rather than a journalist, and former Trump campaign aide Roger Stone.

(Credico, an erstwhile associate of Stone and fervent advocate for Assange’s freedom, was subpoenaed last November by Schiff. He invoked the Fifth Amendment at the time).

But once Credico arrived in Schiff’s office, he sent the congressman’s staff in an unexpected – and politically inconvenient – direction.

“I told them three times that Mr. Assange is wiling to meet with him,” Credico said. “And if Schiff is serious he can get this stuff cleared up. I’m just a courier to deal with this. And they [Schiff’s staff] just sat there and said, ‘Well noted.’ I said, if Nixon went to China, if the orange man Trump’s going to Korea, Schiff has the street cred — go meet with Assange.”

Two days later, Credico was invited onto MSNBC’s “The Beat” with Ari Melber. Melber and his producers had no idea that Assange had offered to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee. Like Schiff, they were merely interested in pumping Credico for details on communications between Stone and Assange that reinforced the narrative of Trump-Russia collusion.

“They have an agenda at MSNBC that’s anti-Assange, pro-war against Russia,” Credico remarked. “They pre-taped me because they got nervous, but they kept most of what I had to say. So what all the stuff about Stone did was give me a chance to talk about Assange.”

When Credico revealed his “secret mission” to Schiff to deliver Assange’s offer of an interview, Melber reacted with astonishment. He took to Twitter to publicize the offer that Credico disclosed, prompting a revealing reply from the congressman’s office:

“Rep. Schiff’s office just gave us this response:,” Melber tweeted. “‘Our committee would be willing to interview Julian Assange when he is in U.S. custody, not before.’”

Continue reading “Did Rep. Adam Schiff Just Admit the US Has a Secret Indictment of Julian Assange?”