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Fake news in the USA is now promoting a fact-free story that the Chinese government paid Islamist guerrillas to attack US soldiers in Afghanistan. 

Here is the story being pushed by the sinister Axios site, which exists to drip feed lies like this into the mainstream news narrative:

The Trump administration is declassifying as-yet uncorroborated intelligence, recently briefed to President Trump, that indicates China offered to pay non-state actors in Afghanistan to attack American soldiers, two senior administration officials tell Axios.

The big picture: The disclosure of this unconfirmed intelligence comes 21 days before the end of Trump's presidency, after he has vowed to ratchet up pressure on China, and months after news reports indicated that the Russians had secretly offered bounties for Taliban militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The Chinese embassy in D.C. did not respond to a request for comment. Trump is not believed to have discussed the matter with President Xi Jinping.

It was not immediately clear whether any members of Congress or President-elect Joe Biden have been briefed, though Biden now has access to the President's Daily Brief (PDB).

Behind the scenes: The intelligence was included in the president's briefing on Dec. 17, and Trump was verbally briefed on the matter by national security adviser Robert O'Brien, officials said.

Notice how this "story" works. First there is plenty of detail but none of it is relevant or directly about the story itself. All that we get is an "unconfirmed" report and a lot of chatter about it, but nothing in the way of hard facts.

When, where, and who paid what amount to whom for what attacks on which Americans?

Details [sic.]: One senior official involved in the latest China discussions, who described the uncorroborated intelligence to Axios, said: "Like all first reports, we react with caution to initial reports" but "any intel reports relating to the safety of our forces we take very seriously." [....]

One [official] said: "The U.S. has evidence that the PRC [People's Republic of China] attempted to finance attacks on American servicemen by Afghan non-state actors by offering financial incentives or 'bounties'" and said the National Security Council "is coordinating a whole-of-government investigation."

He would not say whether he was referring to the Taliban, or go beyond the descriptor of "non-state actors."

The timing of the alleged bounty offer is unclear. The source would say only that this happened some time after late February when the U.S. struck its deal with the Taliban. He also noted there had not been an American combat death in Afghanistan since.

Zilch! Nothing there -- the pose of facts without any facts themselves!

Let's repeat the last sentence: "He also noted there had not been an American combat death in Afghanistan since."

Yes, this is another massive nothing-burger like most American news today, much of which exists simply to whip up and manipulate people's emotions.

In fact, the article even pretends to be vaguely dismissive of, and "uninterested" in, its own story!!!! and even seems to undercut it by
referring to another earlier and similar fake news story that Russia paid bounties for dead Americans:

Don't forget: Trump received heavy criticism earlier this year when he admitted he had not addressed with Vladimir Putin the unconfirmed intelligence reports that Russia had been offering bribes to the Taliban to kill American soldiers.

The commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Frank McKenzie, said in September that "it just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me" that Russia offered these bounties. (This information was included in the President's Daily Brief earlier in the year, the New York Times first reported).

"We continue to look for that evidence," McKenzie said of the reports on Russia. "I just haven't seen it yet. But … it's not a closed issue."

Really, what news site decides to run a story when there is obviously so little there?

All this meta-journalism (another word for lying and misinformation) is simply to create an "online history" and "respectable pedigree" for a story so that, when the time comes, it can be booted upstairs to media outlets higher up in the fake news food chain, which then have a convenient link source, for their lies.

Here is how Axios is described in its Wikipedia entry:

Axios' articles are typically brief and matter-of-fact: most are shorter than 300 words and use bullet points so they are easier to scan. In addition to news articles, Axios produces daily and weekly industry-specific newsletters...two daily podcasts and a documentary news series on HBO.

In fact, Axios is a highly suspicious entity that has no real reason or financial basis to exist except to float rubbish like this (i.e. it is a dull, boring, and "meta-factual" site with no ostensible paying audience).

Meta-factual journalism, BTW is the attaching of irrelevant facts (e.g. "The Chinese embassy in D.C. did not respond to a request for comment" and " Trump is not believed to have discussed the matter with President Xi Jinping") to relevant lies (China paid Afghans to kill Americans).

Get used to that term, as you will see a lot more of it in the months and years ahead.

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