Facebook’s CIA Controlled Standard of Fact-Checking Exposed

From Forbes:

Putting this all together, we simply don’t know if the Daily Mail story is completely false, completely true or somewhere in the middle. Snopes itself has not issued a formal response to the article and its founder David Mikkelson responded by email that he was unable to address many of the claims due to a confidentiality clause in his divorce settlement. This creates a deeply unsettling environment in which when one tries to fact check the fact checker, the answer is the equivalent of “its secret.” Moreover, David’s responses regarding the hiring of strongly partisan fact checkers and his lack of response on screening and assessment protocols present a deeply troubling picture of a secretive black box that acts as ultimate arbitrator of truth, yet reveals little of its inner workings. This is precisely the same approach used by Facebook for its former Trending Topics team and more recently its hate speech rules (the company did not respond to a request for comment). Read more: Forbes

The danger of giving certain entities the power to tag a news story as “fake” or “real” is clearly demonstrated by recent revelations about Snopes. [11] After Facebook announced Snopes would be used to fact-check stories, The Daily Mail [12] questioned Snopes’ façade as a paragon of truth.

Snopes was created in 1995 by Barbara and David Mikkelson to explore the truth and fiction behind myths and urban legends (see video above). According to the Daily Mail’s investigation into the company, the couple posed as “The San Fernardo Valley Folklore Society” when they first started — a society that, in fact, does not exist as a legal entity.

David has admitted they created the fake society, with official-looking stationary and all, “to help make the inquiries seem more legit.” The Mikkelsons divorced in 2015, but are still locked in a heated legal battle over corporate and private funds. Barbara claims David embezzled $98,000 of company money, allegedly spending it on “himself and prostitutes,” and used corporate funds for his personal use, including attorney’s fees, without consulting her.

David, on the other hand, claims he’s been underpaid, and is demanding an “industry standard” rate of at least $360,000 per year. He’s currently making $240,000 a year from Snopes. He also accuses Barbara of taking millions of dollars from their joint bank accounts to buy property. According to the Daily Mail, David’s attorneys have also “blasted Barbara as ‘a loose cannon who simply must have her way.’”

According to the featured report, David’s new wife, Elyssa Young — a former escort, self-proclaimed “courtesan” and porn actress who ran for Congress in Hawaii as a Libertarian in 2004 — is now employed as a Snopes administrator. Despite that, David claims Snopes still has no political leanings.

Young is also said to maintain a website that offers her escort services, although “it is unclear if she is still working as one,” the Daily Mail notes. Another former sex-blogger known as “Vice Vixen” (real name Kimberly LaCapria) is one of Snopes’ main contributors.

According to her blog — which she describes as being focused on “naughtiness, sin, carnal pursuits and general hedonism and bonne vivantery” — she has performed her Snopes duties while smoking pot. In all, Snopes is said to have six employees “scattered across the U.S.” [13]

Did you know that anyone, regardless of background, can be hired by Snopes? Indeed, the company does not have any set professional requirements for fact-checkers. Disturbingly, David has admitted they do not even have a standardized procedure for conducting the actual fact-checking. [15],[16]

Surprisingly, not everyone appears to care about the integrity of fact-checkers. The New York Times [17] published a puff piece in Snopes’ defense, side-stepping any and all concerns raised by the Daily Mail and Forbes.

A perfect example of why Snopes should have nothing to do with arbitrating health news is its “debunking” of safety concerns about aspartame. [19] This case also demonstrates the insidious and dangerous effect of bias, which can come from the very highest levels. Snopes bases its decision on the 1999 testimony of David Hattan, Ph.D., acting director of the Division of Health Effects Evaluation in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Clearly, he is a person of authority. And yet he’s wrong. Entire books have been written delineating the cover-up and political shenanigans that allowed aspartame on the market and has kept it there ever since, despite warnings from scientists both before and after its release. Reputable scientists have also refuted a number of Hattan’s comments, such as the idea that aspartame may only cause problems in individuals with a rare genetic disorder.

At the very least, Snopes would need to read the books and review the aspartame research that shows harm, and there are many such studies. Instead, they took the easy way out. As a result, a lot of people are not properly forewarned and may be hurt.

According to Wikipedia, the Mikkelsons, a California couple, created the Snopes site in 1995. By mid-2014, the couple had divorced and Barbara Mikkelson had not written for the site “in several years”. So David Mikkelson “hired employees to assist him from Snopes.com’s message board.” Barbara no longer has an ownership stake in Snopes.com.

In other words, we are to believe that one man, David Mikkelson, with “assistants” he’d hired from Snopes’ message board, manages to pump out a steady stream of researched articles every day. If you believe that, I have the proverbial swamp in Florida to sell you.

Using Snopes as an authority is laughable. According to independent investigative reporter Wayne Madsen, “The so-called ‘fact-checking’ authentication website Snopes.com is the go-to website for CIA propaganda.”

From Madsen’s for-subscribers-only report of Oct. 7, 2016, “Snopes.com: the latest CIA addition to Internet disinformation“:

“On April 19, 2016, WMR reported: […] ‘Snopes.com is run by a California couple named Barbara and David Mikkelson, who founded the San Fernando Valley Folklore Society . . . The Mikkelsons chose the name Snopes because it is the name of a fictional family featured in William Faulkner’s novels that includes a pedophile, a murderer, a bigamist, a corrupt racist politician, and a thief who live in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County in Mississippi. The idea is to label all those targeted by the Mikkelsons as candidates for membership in the Snopes family. […]’

Snopes.com is on record calling WMR a ‘disreputable web site.’ Nothing says ‘CIA’ more than Snopes.com’s description of legitimate news reports of CIA director John Brennan being a Wahhabist and Saudi sympathizer as ‘bogus.’

Snopes’s most recent dissembling of the truth was to discount reports from Greece that Turkey has been shipping weapons disguised as furniture shipments to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and affiliated terrorist groups in North Africa and Europe.

Snopes claims that because the story of a Greek Coast Guard interception of a weapons shipment south of the island of Crete dates from 2015, there is no validity to the Turkish connection to weapons shipments to ISIL terrorists. The ship transporting the weapons was the Bolivian-flagged Haddad 1, operated by Delta Sea Maritime of Turkey. The vessel had loaded twelve containers at the Egyptian port of Alexandria, a favorite weapons shipment location for the CIA. The ship, before stopping in Famagusta in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, loaded another three containers at the Turkish port of Iskenderun, the transit port for the shipment of captured weapons from Muammar Qaddafi’s arms warehouses to Syrian jihadist rebels. It was the Iskenderun transport operation that involved the late U.S. envoy to Libya Christopher Stevens; Turkish Consul General in Benghazi Ali Sait Akin; CIA director David Petraeus; and, reportedly, senior advisers to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The CIA had to commission its favorite Internet disinformation site to throw cold water on the Turkish weapons links to ISIL because it threatens to expose the CIA’s massive weapons smuggling operations to ISIL terrorists that involved Turi Defense Group of Arizona — a case just buried by the Department of Justice on orders of the Obama administration and the Hillary Clinton campaign — and other covert weapons transfers being carried out on the orders of ‘Al Hadj’ John Brennan, veteran of the Islamic ritual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.

One of the CIA’s smuggling operations entailed the Belgian-based arms manufacturer Fabrique Nationale (FN), which has a CIA-connected subsidiary called FNH-USA. One particular FN rifle, the Fusil Automatique Léger (FAL), was the standard weapon used by the Libyan rebels in 2011 and 2012, including the jihadist group that attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. The FAL, called the ‘Right Arm of the Free World’ during the Cold War, uses only NATO standard rounds. The weapon was never used by the Libyan Army, which relied on Soviet weaponry. Claims by NATO that the rebels were using Libyan weapons captured from Libyan army arsenals and caches were patently false.

Snopes is now questioning Turkey’s weapons links to jihadist terrorists in North Africa and Europe. However, photographs do not lie, as seen below. Ammunition and 5,000 shotguns from the Turkish-owned arms dealer Yavex USA were shipped from Istanbul in boxes denoted as plastic office furniture manufactured by the Turkish firm ‘Senyayla Plastik Sanayi ve Ticaret A/S’ of Istanbul. The Turkish government and the CIA had their ‘plausible deniability’ cover story on the intercepted weapons and ammunition ready to go just after the Greek Coast Guard interception: The 492,000 handgun bullets were destined for the Sudanese national police and were to be delivered through the port of Beirut, Lebanon and the 4900 shotguns were ‘hunting rifles’ destined for Lebanese customers. The Haddad 1 was stopping at the Libyan ports of Misrata and Tobruk, according to the Turkish government, to deliver bags of ‘cement mix.’ At the time of the interception, Libya was subject to a United Nations arms embargo.

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Yavex’s U.S. subsidiary is located at 6361 Corporate Park Circle in Fort Myers, Florida. It is clear that both Yavex USA, Turi Defense Group, and FN-USA, now called FN-America, were involved in a covert CIA weapons smuggling operation in violation of the UN arms embargoes imposed on Libya, and later, on Syria, with the connivance of Hillary Clinton. Not surprisingly, FN-America operates from a post office box in McLean, Virginia, not far from CIA headquarters in Langley.

What may have possessed Hillary Clinton to destroy thousands of State Department emails transmitted, processed, and stored on her personal servers? Perhaps it was her involvement in a major CIA weapons smuggling operation that saw U.S. and NATO weapons being shipped to jihadist terrorists in Libya, Syria, and Europe. As Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton had ultimate authority for approving U.S. weapons transfers abroad pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act.

As far as Snopes.com is concerned, nothing they report should be taken seriously. They are as reliable a news source as The Onion.”

Sources and References