Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Is Zero Hedge a Putin Asset?

Is Zero Hedge a Russian asset? Stop laughing and think it through. Zero Hedge started roughly when the American Financial Crisis started. It was linked to a Bulgarian trader. Here is that trader's father's website. His dad runs a tabloid news outlet and political/business consulting company. Papa was a military journalist during the Soviet era as an envoy in multiple third world nations. Some jobs run in the family. Zero Hedge is merciless with attacking the US war machine. It is one of the few places that will connect the dots or even explain the financial machinations of the mandarins that rotate between DC and Wall Street. There are multiple contributors but the general message is against the crony corporatists running the US at this time and that your pre-set foreign villains might be better than your chosen domestic leaders. To follow Lasswell's media model, Zero Hedge is a free anti-USG/Wall Street message for Americans in English to look at the truth behind the American Empire.

It is like Radio Free Europe just on the Internet. It is not just financials (like government tampering with every official statistic), but the entire surveillance system, war machine and welfare state (corporate and social). Zero Hedge called into question protests that we now know had State Department or CIA help. They mock US military foreign adventures and propaganda process like Youtube clips being used as a bloody shirt. What lefties envision Fox News is, Zero Hedge actually is but shining a light at every corrupt politician and with great financial analysis. Zero Hedge follows the money. Zero Hedge will not pull punches on Putin (citing Russian self interest, nationalism + strategic oil interests, wait what a nation should behave like), but find me a news source that gives Putin a fair approach? Find me one that give him a positive portrayal? Find me a source that is positive towards Putin but negative towards China? Zero Hedge is it. Go to their homepage now, and you will find one pro-Russia or Putin article.

Putin booted out Western NGOs. Putin has openly discussed the the self-destruction of the west through immigration. Putin also cleaned house of the original oligarchs who got rich through privatization, which was enabled by Harvard, the US Treasury, Soros and Wall Street. Putin made his bones as a KGB agent when Barack Obama was finding himself in college. Putin witnessed the direct effects of Western propaganda on the entire Eastern Bloc. In the brutal game of the KGB and '90s Russia, Putin won. Reading any book on the KGB or post-USSR wild west Russia, one will know it is not a schmooze fest from Harvard to Yale to campaigns to the presidency in Russia. Mobsters, oligarchs, asset stripping, Chechens, hyperinflation, default and lower life expectancy would destroy many an egotistical leader.

It is possible Russia's current leadership circle learned a lesson from the effect of Western propaganda and decided to return the favor and fill a hole in the US media space that would also create seeds of doubt in the USG regime. This is also timed as Americans trust the media at historic lows. They push gold non-stop, but what Zero Hedge analyzes becomes investigative reports months or years later in mainstream sources. Zero Hedge is also friendly with showing Russia Today clips and links and vice versa. They are hyperbolic at times (some specific contributors), but with each report that is verified later, with each analysis that follows the money trail and with each explanation of why the chain is off the bike, Zero Hedge gains credibility and chips away at any remaining credibility the official media has with the chattering classes.

How much was it going to cost them to fund a trader barred from trading by the SEC but fully aware of the corrupt dukes at the top who have skated free for coming up on seven years now? Not much. Zero Hedge gives the people of America some red meat (down with bankers! politicians are bought! fight the power!) while slipping in anti-USG regime messages daily if not in every single post. Alexa ranks Zero Hedge as the 608th most visited website in the US and globally 1,554th. They don't have to reach or convince every American, just enough of the Americans that matter. I want to believe that this is one guy leading a small crew at ZH with their many contributors, but there is a part of me that says it smells of well funded opposition media. I'm going to open the odds on this at 9-1. It is not a long shot, but I want to believe that this is a success story of a smart crew taking on the system more than a Putin puppet. Even if it is, sometimes interests can overlap.

Note: Long time ZH reader and fan.

21 comments:

rufio127 said...

I have long thought that something doesn't add up with ZH. So much content with surprisingly sharp analysis, while almost always managing to avoid drifting into conspiracy nut job land.

Not convinced that Putin puppet is the explanation, but there's definitely much more to the story than just a group of amateur traders and armchair economists.

chris said...

Russia Today (RT.com) is pro-Putin, no (and anti US war machine)?

Guys like Lew Rockwell are on all the time.

Son of Brock Landers said...

RT is pro-russia and the friendliness is convenient. Just a thought experiment. ZH contributor Mike Kriger overreacted to this post and couldnt concede that maybe "Tyler" is the Putin asset and given support and editorial freedom. ZH is incredibly plugged in and their financial insider approach makes sense but the geopolitical stuff makes me wonder sources

Portlander said...

I think it is entirely plausible.

For the skeptics, where's the line for being a Putin asset? What if he was given some seed money three levels removed from Russian secret service just to get it off the ground in the early going until it became self-funding? By analogy, is Zuckerburg an Obama asset? I have no doubt in my mind that FB was helped and nudged at critical points to keep it going. How much of its existence is owed to the CIA?

If "Tyler" was already anti-Chi Comm, anti-Blue State, anti-TBTF, how much "control" would Putin really need to apply to his asset? Is Zuckerburg open borders because he's an Obama asset or because he's a pin head? The media arm of the Cathedral is not directly funded by the US Govt. What difference does that make?

If ZH were an admitted Russian propaganda outlet, I'd adjust my take on some of their world events reporting, but if I knew they got a few smallish injections in the early going to make sure they found an audience, I'm not sure what it would mean for my opinion of them. The US is fast becoming a two-party fascist state. That ZH might be a Russian-sympathetic and partially funded messenger w.r.t that fact doesn't change the fact.

Son of Brock Landers said...

@Portlander - Great point on the "line". Mike Krieger who contributes to ZH, but isn't Tyler, was going apeshit on Twitter at this thought experiment. He'd never know. Tyler is a good service for shining a light on the financial shenanigans of the world and it just seems "smart" for the Russians to reach out and try to do to the US what we did to them for decades. Interests can align. The geopolitical stuff is dead on and from a Russia friendly POV, which causes me to think.

I'm fine with it because if it is anti-DC/Ivy/Wall St cabal of cronies (cathedral), fire away. ZH writes more on the $ connections between the cathedral than anyone in our sphere. If given a proper presentation, I think they'd be allies.

Anonymous said...

Zerohedge is very much pro-russian. Just check the two sets of satellite images. One of Ukrainian arms buildup taken by Russians and another one taken by US satellites.

The US images are "purported", Russian are a "fact". Only a Ruskie's ass-kisser would slip like this...

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-26/satellite-images-reveal-massing-15000-ukraine-troops-hundreds-tanks-around-slavyansk

Anonymous said...

After reading about the results in East-Ukraine vote on ZeroHedge I searched "is zerohedge russian"? Why did I do that?

Well, I read ZeroHedge almost every day and I like many economic articles. But, when it comes to geopolitics is very much Pro-Russia. The vote results from Ukraine were the same version as on RT.

Now, I question also many economic articles that I've read...

Anonymous said...

Whilst I have enjoyed reading the economic articles in the past, I have come to the conclusion that ZH is a honey pot for America haters and "Useful Idiots".

Every article seems slanted against the West and the site has been preaching Western economic collapse and disaster since it came into existence.

It was the Russian invasion of the Crimea that really exposed the leanings of the site and made me wonder whether it was a site similar to RT.

The articles were invariably pro-Russian and anti-US.

Posters that pointed out that Russia was in the wrong received no up-arrows and a lot of hostility whilst the pro-Russian comments received scores of up-arrows.

I no longer read ZH articles because I believe the site is some sophisticated kind of Russian propaganda outlet.

Anonymous said...

brilliant theory. this just might be the only thing that makes sense.

i skim almost everything posted to zero hedge. like drinking from a firehose. the depth and timeliness of content from there is at times unbelievable. I have often wondered how the hell a site like this exists? how could this guy (or guys) possibly notice everything he does, see the angles? (leaving aside the named contributors - 100% of which are garbage).

the source materials are so varied, and the inferences drawn off thin material are fascinating. catching every leaked phone call, even if it makes no mention in the US press. (a red blooded analyst would use bloomberg for 90% of news and likely miss everything else, another tell).

occam's razor would suggest - not possible to be the work of a lone, or even a few, disgruntled analysts. generally, their training isn't deep enough, and american college rabbit hole theories start on the left side of the spectrum and go leftward, never right.

it actually makes no sense that zero hedge is just some disgruntled macro analyst. the departures from "how you make money on this info" are so complete (which is all a red-blooded analyst would care about), that it seems entirely logical that only a foreign intelligence service could come up with this. most of the people i worked with on wall street have incredibly shallow foreign policy understanding.

i have to say - the site works. i feel as though whatever illusion the US government had working in its favor is totally gone in my eyes. i think i "accurately" see how hapless the obama administration is, alienating traditional allies (saudis, israelis) to questionable ends (rise of the brotherhood).

it's actually to the point where russia seems like it might be one of the few world powers working in the interest of its people. the US wants to replace the population with mexican nationals. turn a blind eye towards the border but support the anti-american self-determination trends in the middle east. in essence, obama has a lot in common with ghadaffi - and the fact that i can even write that sentence is a result of reading zero hedge.

america is suicidal - who will really reverse this trend? the republicans don't even have a language to use to describe these thoughts, just "lower taxes" and a mish-mash of other ideas. the fourth turning indeed.

last thought: if we entertain the possibility that snowden is a carefully orchestrated russian intelligence operation, it is quite possible that russia is the most sophisticated player on the world stage. it could almost fit that they'd have a low-level product like zero hedge. meanwhile, the US was funding LGBT media in russia.

no contest.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading ZH for 4 or 5 years now and it is now one of my fav sites for info because I can generally read articles/news there at least a day or 3 ahead of the normal media.
A Putin stooge?? Why not? I don't care and I'll tell you why. I am SICK of the US war machine and the attitude the US Political Class has towards the rest of the world. US hegemony will destroy this world. There HAS to be a kick back against it somewhere somehow and, if that balance comes from Russia or China so be it. For the good of the world we need to see it.
I would bet that you are an American looking at ZH from an American perspective??
I don't agree with some attitudes which appear often on ZH. There is a definite "Worldview" that is accepted as 'normal' there. I don't agree with their view that all socialism is a bludge on society. I don't agree in pure capitalism which seems to be part of their doctrine.
I also don't think that Putin is hailed as the saviour. It just seems that over the past few years he hasn't had much competition in the area's of common sense, good decisions for the betterment of mankind, and anything which is anti war or hegemony.
Maybe Obama is a Putin stooge??
he couldn't help him any more if he tried.

Anonymous said...

Why was Russia in the wrong?? If you think that Putin was aggressive which, is the US line. Putin is the ONLY leader since the formation of the world to aggressively take a state the size of ?? Maryland without firing a bullet, swinging an axe or thrusting a knife.

Think about that for a moment....................because it just aint possible to be aggressive without being aggressive is it!?

In my opinion Putin had a legitimate right to seize control of Crimea after the US spent 5billion usurping the democratically elected government of Ukraine.
The US usurping control of democratically elected governments happens so often that we see it as a normal function of the State Department rather than the dastardly act that it really is.

Anonymous said...

"The place you will always long for but never be able to go." Nothing works so well like such an arrogant header to keep me from reading a single word of your tripe.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to return to see the newer comments. Can I ask you a legit question/s that you will answer?
# Why do you/others consider that Russia requires an "asset"? What is it about Russia or Putin that would require either man or country to set up a website to sway the minds of the people?
Why would they need that? and, in counterbalance with what system? or country?

The reason I ask is this. RUssia is a democratic federal republic. Putin is a democratically elected leader. WHere is the sin??

The intended slant or innuendo that you imply is that Russia is an enemy or counter balance to US hegemony and, therefore, a bad thing. Putin is the Captain of that ship. That is your implication.

What is wrong with Putin setting up a trade alternative to the US? Seriously, what is wrong with that? I know that that system may impact your lifestyle and that of the western world but, it may add equally to the eastern world's living standards. Thereby a balnce is achieved and, a balance that the people of the world are screaming out for.

So, the only sin with the set up of the BRICS trading partners is that the world as the US know it will now have competition. But good competition, business, not military. In fact it is the US that does the sabre rattling in this world but, we're used to it.

So, ZH........... I see the people who run ZH more as a 'captured capitalistic theo-crat hedge fund manager who, doesn't like the present ground rules or, one who has not been invited to play 'on the inside' more than a Putin stooge. Whatever that means.

Son of Brock Landers said...

Last Anon - I dislike the US Federal govt's level of control, totalitarian behavior, and how it acts against its citizens and their wishes, before I even get to the USG psychopathic behavior in foreign affairs. Please read more than just this post, as I welcome many of China's and Putin's moves. I think they're being smart. We need a world that has a counterbalance and competitor to theUSG because it is horribly drunk with power now.

Dont be naive and think nations do not need propaganda assets. This post was just a thought experiment, but what if russia helps Zero Hedge a bit. It would be SMART to do so. It's exactly what the US did during the cold war and continues to this day. Putin is a smart guy and looking out for Russia, which is more than the US elites do. I can see this as a possibility, not the actual fact.

Anonymous said...

Zerohedge is Putine regime "alternative media". It never ever has written article about Internet censorship in Russia. That bloggers needs to register their blogs if they have 3000 daily visitors, that in Russia any site can be shut down by Putin regime without any trial, that people who attend to "unauthorized rally" for 2 times (like occupy wall street in US) goes to jail for 5 years.

And if you ever speak about this in ZH, than you are mounted with Russian trolls to discredit you anyway possible. Like fascist or something like that.

missiondweller said...

ZH has changed remarkably since its inception. This year (2014) especially, ZH has gone from posting on economic issues, which its fantastic at, to posting as much on anti-western, pro-Russia topics of every kind.

ZH started out as a guest writer on Seeking Alpha then eventually created their own site. I became a big fan of ZH back then because they challenged central bank's QE policy and crony capitalism. They pointed out the failed policies of Keynesianism in favor of more free market Austrian economics. Their writings and journalism were extremely sophisticated and explored topics in flash trading and shadow banking that wasn't touched by the WSJ. They obviously had access to a Bloomberg machine which costs at a minimum $5k per month implying they were traders and Wall ST insiders. Furthermore back then, to post on ZH you had to solve a fairly complex math problem to prove your intelligence or education. The focus of their audience seemed to be fellow traders. The commentors at the time seemed to be insiders.

As ZH became more popular they seemed to be seeking a wider audience which I ascribed to going a bit more commercial. Things changed remarkably this year when ZH started posting political posts that seemed to be not just critical of the US, but seemed anti-western and especially anti US. I was blocked after noting that the political posts seemed to have a tone that sounded more like a left wing Berkeley freshman rant.

I was allowed to create a new account under a different e-mail but saw it morph even more lately. Anything put out by the US was attributed as "alleged" while anything pro-Russian was "fact". The posters were less sophisticated on economics and markets and have become openly anti-Semitic. Anyone questioning the constant RT news references is banned. I openly opined that ZH had changed ownership and that ZH should disclose if it was backed or owned by the Russian government. That was not received well at all and I got no response, even though I know from experience that "Tyler" reads all the posts, occasionally responding to commentors.

The economics posts on ZH are still very good but the bias of the political posts is now extremely obvious.

One final note about Russian government using alternative economics to hook readers. RT (The cable news channel Russia Today) had an excellent show called Capital Account that was similar to ZH. RT is an obvious Kremlin outfit and got many viewers drawn to the channel for alternative economic perspectives. Then its star, Lauren Lyster left the show to work for Yahoo news. One wonders if RT learned from this and bought out Zero Hedge to replace Capital Account to draw a new source for its propaganda.

total12 said...

Russia requires an "asset"? What is it about Russia or Putin that would require either man or country to set up a website to sway the minds of the people?More info

Andrew Gough said...

@missiondweller, I have had a very similar experience on ZH. It truly has changed over the last year, and I too was blocked after questioning their slant. I've been looking for a similar alternative for financial/economic articles without the pure anti-west ethos, but have come up empty so far.

mansizedtarget said...

Why assume an asset, though? Maybe he's just an Orthodox Christian who realizes the current USG is a force for anti-Christianity today because its run by Wall Street, Hollywood, and the Media. (Not Christian any of them, but rather their 2,000 year old adversary.)

Anonymous said...

yeah I stopped reading this website when I noticed some Holocaust-deniers in the public comments section. I can no longer trust the website if they have such insane readers

Anonymous said...

Great thread on ZH and its possibility being an agitprop operation. I am a seven+ year avid reader of ZH and have friends in Russia. My belief about this subject is that Tyler Durden is simply a very smart ex-Wall St guy who realized that Goldman and JPM were at the helm of the mortgage melt down as were several other websites and individuals: Gretchen Morgansen, Elaine Supkis, Janet Tavakoli, Dylan Ratigan, Charlie Gasparino, Karl Denninger, among others. The one politician that actually understands why Wall St banks and brokers have been fined over $100 Billion is Elizabeth Warren. People don't like to have their thinking challenged when it disturbs their long held narratives. Cognitive Dissonance is the key ro understanding Behavioral Finance - Zero Hedge uses this tag line up front. The unscrupulous fraudsters hate that they can't operate in the shadows using such mind tricks. Money and Politics meld together in DC like peanut butter and jelly. So blaming it all on a Russia propaganda psyop is blatantly naive.