Vetting the News: Using Tor, TinEye, and the Wayback Machine to Unmask Deceptive Reporting
By Paul Dowling
“To your request of my opinion of the manner in which a newspaper should be conducted, so as to be most useful, I should answer, ‘by restraining it to true facts & sound principles only.’ Yet I fear such a paper would find few subscribers. It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more completely deprive the nation of its benefits than is done by its abandoned prostitution to falsehood. Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. . .. I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors.”
– Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, June 11, 1807.
“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill: the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill: you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth, nothing more.”
– Morpheus to Neo, in the movie The Matrix
Separating Fact from Fiction Is Important
The purpose behind this article is to give Patriots a fighting chance to determine, to some degree of accuracy, what is fake versus what is factual in the news. Many journalists lie relentlessly, which irreparably pollutes the information stream flowing into the homes of Americans. This article discusses how traditional legacy news media seem to do a better job of hiding, rather than revealing, the truth. Some specific examples will be discussed, followed by the author’s suggestion that the reader considers using three powerful research tools to aid in doing his or her own research to vet the news: the Tor browser, the TinEye reverse image search, and the Wayback Machine search engine. When it comes to news, this author highly recommends doing your own vetting of any information, before deciding whether to forward a news article, an Internet meme, or any truth claim whatsoever.
[For any reader who wishes to cut to the chase, and go directly to the part of this article that discusses Tor, TinEye, and the Wayback Machine, please feel free to scroll down to the subheading entitled “Tools for Investigating Stories, Vetting Images, and Retrieving Memory-Holed Articles.” Also note that, under “Sources” at the end of this article, links are provided to the websites under discussion.]
One-Sided Reporting on an Issue Suggests Censorship of the Truth
This author opened Edge recently and used Bing to perform a search using the phrase “Mariupol bombing of hospital a hoax.” The idea was to find out whether or not this particular bombing was fake news. Multiple “fact-checking” sites came up debunking the “conspiracy theory” that the bombing was a hoax. The fact that the opinions were not mixed – but were uniform in the assertion that this event really happened as reported in the fake news – suggested that more investigation was warranted. So, the question that arose was this: Why is the other side being censored? Generally, the only reason to censor is because the facts claimed and the arguments made by the other side are stronger than those being published by purveyors of the official narrative.
An Incognito Search from “Russia” Found Evidence of Fake News
Using the Tor browser to carry out an incognito search from Russia (about which there will be more discussion later), a website called Misbar came up, featuring a recent article entitled “The Photo Is From Vasylkiv, Not a Hospital in Mariupol.” At the time of this writing, this article was not discoverable using most American-based search engines (although, if you knew the web address, you could access the article, since only its discovery was blocked, not access to the website itself).
According to the article, “media outlets and social media users shared a photo purporting to depict the damage caused by the bombing of a children’s hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 9, 2022. Misbar investigated the circulated claim and found it to be misleading. . .. The photo dates back to February 27, 2022, and shows a building that was destroyed after a missile attack targeted the town of Vasylkiv, near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, in the north of the country.” So, this begs the question: Was there really an attack on a hospital in Mariupol? If there was, then why not use an actual photo of the damage?
Another story that did not come up in Bing, but was revealed by Tor, was a news article reported by The Guardian. Dan Milmo and Hilbaq Farah reported the following: “Twitter has removed a post from the Russian embassy in London about the Mariupol hospital bombing which claimed that the facility was no longer operational and that images of the attack had been faked, following criticism from Downing Street. No 10 accused the embassy of posting disinformation on Twitter after it posted pictures of the bombing emblazoned with the label ‘fake’. A series of follow-up tweets, including a claim that a victim of the bombing was ‘played’ by a beauty blogger, have also been removed after Twitter said they ‘violated the Twitter rules’.” This article illustrates how the government works with Twitter to censor viewpoints that conflict with the sanctioned narratives and official opinions. Without any truth to fight the original claim that the attack was faked, censorship becomes the weapon of choice among elites to silence that claim.
The Ukrainian Tank That Keeps and Going, and Going, and Going . . .
There seems to be no dearth of falsified and photo-shopped tank photos in the news these days. In a fine example of how the investigation of an image – using a reverse image search – can send the investigator down many related rabbit-holes in the quest for truth, CheckYourFact has posted these comments in an article about one such image: “The original photo was taken in 1990 during the First Gulf War. The image shows what appears to be a tank adorned with an image of the Ukrainian flag parked in front of a mural of Iraq’s late dictator Saddam Hussein. ‘Ironically, in 2003 the Ukrainian Army was part of those that invaded Iraq,’ reads text included in the image. The image is digitally altered. A reverse image search found the original image was published in a 2013 article from Al Bawaba titled ‘The price of the past: Iraq reiterates commitment to pay Kuwait compensations.’ Notably, there is no Ukrainian flag visible on the tank in this image. ‘Pictured: The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, which Iraq’s new government is still paying the price for,’ reads the image’s caption. An image of the same mural can be found on Getty Images with a caption that reads in part, ‘American soldiers deployed in Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War rest in front of a mural of Saddam Hussein.’ (RELATED: Does This Video Show a Ukrainian Giving Instructions on How to Drive Abandoned Russian Tanks?) The U.S. and its allies went to war with Iraq following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, beginning what became known as the First Gulf War, according to the U.S. State Department’s website. The Allied coalition was made up of 39 countries but did not include Ukraine, CNN reported. A relatively small contingent of Ukrainian soldiers did assist in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, according to a U.S. Army report.” What a lesson on just how fake and convoluted news reporting can be!
Sidebar: A Note About Fact-Checkers
A brief note on purported fact-checking sites is called for here: Not all fact-checking sites are honest. In fact, a whole host of sites that are famous for their fact-checking are compromised. Snopes is one example of a site that lacks integrity. Although Snopes is not lying in every instance, AllSides has said this about the site: “AllSides moved Snopes’ rating to Lean Left following a June 2021 independent review by AllSides editors on the left, center, and right. It was previously rated Center. We reviewed the numerous instances of Snopes’ left-wing bias that we found during our June 2020 Editorial Review, such as slant. We also noted a number of times that Snopes had recently interpreted things in favor of the left, including when it ‘fact checked’ a subjective opinion on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), when it defended Gov. Andrew Cuomo by saying an accurate tweet about him was ‘Mostly False,’ and when it ‘fact-checked’ satire from humor website The Babylon Bee (an entry Snopes then had to edit following criticism). AllSides noted that Snopes’ story choice is generally favorable to the left, and it lacks fact checks on subjects that speak to a conservative or more right-wing audience. Its collections page also showed left bias, with the first page still predominantly highlighting Trump. At the time, AllSides also noted that RealClearPolitics’ Fact Check Review found that 89% of Snopes articles from January 27, 2021, to June 26, 2021, used at least one media source as verification for its claims, rather than using original sources. . ..” So, it becomes apparent that you must vet your fact-checking sites carefully, the same as you do your news outlets.
Using an Internet Time Machine to Find an Article
This author was searching for a news article recently on Constitution.Com. The name of the author who penned the desired article was easy to recall: Dr. Paul Revere. Remembering the article’s title was more problematic. So, a general search for the articles of Dr. Paul Revere yielded a web address of the author page for Dr. Paul Revere at Constitution.Com. When that URL – http://constitution.com/author/dr-paul-revere/ – was typed into Bing, the page would not come up. So, the next step was to visit the Internet Archive, in order to copy and paste the web address of Dr. Paul Revere’s author page into the search engine of the Wayback Machine. The author page still would not come up. However, suspicious that Bing might be blocking the search, this author decided to switch to Tor – The Onion Router – to conduct the selfsame search, while pretending to be from Russia (the methodology of which is explained later in this article); what happened next was like magic: Presto! The Wayback Machine was able to fetch the desired author page. The name of the original article was now on display; so, armed with the recalled title of the article, the next order of business was to access that article. Alas, although the author page was still discoverable by the Wayback Machine, the article being sought was not to be found, for whatever reason. So, an incognito Russian search was instituted – using Tor, of course – to find the 2016 article by name, which was the following: “Will a Sex Pervert Become the Next President of the United States, or Can Trump Prevail?” The article was found; it had been reposted by a Patriot, from Constitution.Com to a media outlet called Sharla’s Labyrinth.
Tools for Investigating Stories, Vetting Images, and Retrieving Memory-Holed Articles
Once you start using online tools, such as Tor, TinEye, and the Wayback Machine, you will be tempted to share them with everybody. But please do not be indiscriminate in your sharing. People who would rather not know the truth may well become angry – even bordering on violent – if you seek to coax them from their comfort zones, before they are prepared to leave their gilded cages. Having said that, the question is this: Are you ready to uncover uncomfortable truths by doing some serious digging? If you are ready to embrace the truth and to feel disappointed at times by what you learn, then sally forth! You are ready to leave Plato’s Cave for a more accurate view of reality. And the red-pilling will continue for as long as you remain a seeker of truth.
Research Tool Extraordinaire: Tor, The Onion Router
The most popular browsers, which are mainly owned and maintained by corporatist elites, manipulate your search results, in order to force you to read the articles and view the websites establishment elites want you to see. If you want to search for information without all the censorship, a good browser for you to try would be Tor – The Onion Router – which can be downloaded online here: LINK. Tor is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android. And Tor also allows your choice of language preference from a list of options. Once you download Tor, you will find a box in the upper left corner of your screen that says this: “New to Tor Browser? Let’s get started.” Clicking on the box will reveal resources you can select to learn more about Tor in the areas of Privacy, Network, Security, Services, and more.
Tor protects your privacy by means of employing the Tor Virtual Privacy Network. While using Tor, you will need to turn off any VPN that might interfere with Tor. Tor’s VPN helps protect against tracking, surveillance, and censorship. A very nice feature of Tor is that you can search for information as if you were conducting your search from another country. For example, you can type into your search bar the words “Russian RT News”; then, directly beneath the search bar and to the left, you can utilize the drop-down menu provided to choose the country from which you wish to appear to be searching. If the US is blocking Russian websites, you can choose to disguise yourself as a researcher who is in Brazil, China, Japan, Romania – or even Russia. Each country’s search will yield different results. This will allow you, in private, to read the news that is being banned in the United States by the corporatist media but which is available in other locales around the globe.
If you are already doubtful about the narratives being dispensed by corporatist media, via their preferred news outlets, just wait until you read some of the articles to which they are banning access, with respect to American-based researchers. The default search while using DuckDuckGo in Tor is “All regions”; but the nonspecific nature of not identifying a specific country from which you are conducting your search may cause the information to be blocked that will appear if a particular country is identified.
A Few Words About DuckDuckGo and Alternative Browsers
Although DuckDuckGo has recently joined the ranks of browsers who are censoring Russian news services – by blocking RT News and other media sources sympathetic to Russian perspectives – this censorship is primarily for American audiences, as well as any other audiences to whom political elites wish to deny access. If DuckDuckGo were doing the same thing with regard to its users inside of Russia (and current indications are that this is not happening), no Russian would persist in using DuckDuckGo. This is why Tor is so valuable; by disguising your search as being Russian in origin, you can see whatever it is Russians are being allowed to see. And, if you feel the need to search using a different browser, you can do so by using the Russian-disguised DuckDuckGo to bring up the Brave search engine page, for example, and get Russian news that way (or by accessing another search engine the same way).
Sometimes, it may prove useful to have alternatives to Tor at your fingertips. One such alternative is Brave; another is Dissenter. Currently, Brave seems to be censoring RT.com, while Dissenter is allowing access to it. Strangely enough, in the course of writing this article, Microsoft Edge (which features Bing) and Firefox have begun to allow access to RT.com, although Google still blocks the site (although this could change at any time). Knowing how capricious all of these entities can be, keep in mind that, if you maintain Tor as an option, you can always visit the search engine of your choice inside of Tor, while disguising yourself as being from another country. Using the Brave search engine to illustrate, the path inside of Tor for accessing RT.com might go like this: Use DuckDuckGo in an incognito Russian search to find the website hosting the Brave search engine; use that search engine to find and access RT.com. If Brave will not work in the US, a Russian-based search, as described, has a good chance of working.
Keep in mind that you must sometimes be patient with Tor and wait for the requested website to come up, since your search is being sent through literally thousands of computer nodes along the way to its final destination, which causes a time delay. Being creative with Tor, and thinking outside the box, you can generally find most of the information you wish to access. Have fun using Tor!
TinEye is an Internet site for conducting reverse image searches. What that means is uploading an image or searching by means of providing the web address (URL) of the image; you may also use a drag-and-drop feature to search for iterations of the image on the Internet. To find TinEye, click on the link provided here: LINK. To demonstrate how this works, there is a famous image of Obama holding his right index finger to his lips here: LINK. You can copy the link from your search bar and paste it into the box provided by TinEye that says “Paste or enter image URL”; what should occur, upon doing this, is that more than 600 results showing the famous image will appear. For more information on TinEye and how to use its features, you can visit TinEye’s “How” web page here: LINK.
A trick used by the fake news to disguise reused imagery is to flip the image, causing a person facing to the left to face to the right, or vice versa. So, if you have no luck finding a particular image, and you want to try searching for the horizontally or vertically flipped version of that image, you can flip the image, pre-search, by using Google Docs, per the instructions given here: LINK. You can also flip an image using Microsoft Word, either horizontally or vertically; instructions on how to flip images using Word can be found here: LINK. So, enjoy conducting reverse image searches on TinEye!
The Wayback Machine
There are articles that have seemingly disappeared from the Internet as if an Orwellian Ministry of Truth has sent them down a memory hole. Indeed, many of these articles can be rediscovered by use of the Wayback Machine. For example, if you wanted to find an article called “Crisis Actors, Staged News, False Flags, and the Death of Journalism,” by Dr. Paul Revere, and you tried to use the original link to the article (provided here: LINK), you would get a message stating, “Oops! That page can’t be found.” This means that the article has been taken down. However, if you were to post that same link into the search box of the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive, you would literally be able to resurrect the article, by choosing the snapshot of the date corresponding to December 20, 2017, among other highlighted dates being offered. Click on the date and choose one of the timestamps displayed; this will convey you back in time, figuratively speaking, so you might read the article in its entirety.
The Wayback Machine can also be used to find a censored YouTube video, such as the video entitled “CNN Caught Staging a Fake News Video!” If the video will not play in Edge, or whatever your default browser may happen to be, try copying and pasting the link into Tor, Brave, or Dissenter. The YouTube videos can be tricky, but the Wayback Machine often yields amazing results.
Enjoy Investigating the Truth
Please share this information. And enjoy using these powerful tools to investigate the truth.
- Tor: The weblink for downloading Tor is this: LINK. It is recommended you read about Tor, prior to using it, so you understand how it works; this will help you to utilize Tor more effectively.
- Brave: The weblink for downloading Brave is this: LINK.
- Dissenter: The weblink for downloading Dissenter is this: LINK.
- TinEye: The search engine for finding the first appearance of a given image is here: LINK
- Google Docs Image Flipping: Instructions on how to flip images in Docs are here: LINK.
- Microsoft Word Image Flipping: Instructions on how to flip images in Word are here: LINK.
- The Wayback Machine: The search engine to go back in time to retrieve articles is here: LINK.