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Special Prosecutor Mueller and his fishing expedition

Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime ~ Lavrentiy Beria

 "'A mountain had gone into labor and was groaning terribly. Such rumors excited great expectations all over the country. In the end, however, the mountain gave birth to a mouse." The Mountain in Labour - Wikipedia

News Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump Recommended Links Appointment of a Special Prosecutor gambit National Security State John "911 Coverup" Mueller Coordinated set of leaks as a color revolution tool Internet research agency story as fiasco of Russiagate Wiretaps of Trump and his associates during Presidential elections
Strzokgate Steele dossier Brennan elections machinations "Seventeen agencies" memo about Russian influence on elections Appointment of a Special Prosecutor gambit The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies Anti Trump Hysteria MSM as attack dogs of color revolution Rosenstein
Michael Flynn Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Rosenstein and appointment of the special prosecutor DNC and Podesta emails leak: blaming Vladimir Putin Hillary Clinton email scandal History of American False Flag Operations
Corporate Media: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few Color revolutions Trump vs. Deep State NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions The Real War on Reality Media as a weapon of mass deception Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Two Party System as polyarchy Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich
US and British media are servants of security apparatus MSM as fake news industry Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neoconservatism New American Militarism Bernie Sanders betrayal of his supporters Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Control of the MSM during color revolution is like air superiority in the war Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite
Control of the MSM during color revolution is like air superiority in the war The Deep State The Iron Law of Oligarchy Principal-agent problem Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Militarism and reckless jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Skeptic Quotations Politically Incorrect Humor Hypocrisy and Pseudo-democracy

Prosecutors are often in error, but never in doubt

Never underestimate the joy people derive from hearing something they already know.

~Enrico Fermi

When asked what he meant by a miracle: Oh, anything with a probability of less than 20%.

~Enrico Fermi

To hear the Western media talk, the Russian Federation has become the most powerful and influential nation on Earth. Russia can influence elections in faraway lands, and change the minds of people through Facebook ads, as long as the catering is done by a good Russian company, of course.

But wait, that’s probably not what the Western media wants to say. They want to tell us that Russia is a problem because it has the amazing ability to do all these things.

It must be that catering company. Something they put in the food makes the people who eat it into super mind-control agents.

Lavrov Russia ready for partnerships based on mutual respect

The gambit of appointment of the  Special Prosecutor was a pretty slick operation performed by Brennan and people who were supporting him at this time, including Rosenstein. Comey firing was just a pretext; if it did not happen, they would find another reason to appoint the Special Prosecutor to investigate Trump. Along with paralyzing Trump administration Mueller has basically criminalized foreign criticism of the Democratic party and neocons. Open season on Russia, but not even one peep about the Dems crimes. In other words the Special Prosecutor Muller emerged as Grand Inquisitor accusing Trump of religious heresy not following neocon perception in foreign policy, especially regarding Russia.

Mueller is going to investigate the life of Trump until they find something/anything he can hang around his neck. Who in the United States of American could pass that kind of scrutiny? After all Trump and Kushner were real estate developers. If you dig hard enough having a dozen of prosecutors and unlimited amount of money probably any real estate developer in the USA can be put in jail. 

One of the  most interesting fact about Mueller is that he  was the person responsible for investigation of 911 as the director of FBI.So destruction of evidentce, protection of Saudis royal family all happened  not just under  his  watch, but under his direct supervision.  

 He also closely supervised botched Anthrax investigation.

Those two facts alone tells you a lot about what we can expect from his "investigation" so quickly  launched by Rosenstein after Trump fired Mueller using falsified document nicknamed "Steele dossier" as the main evidence that Russia was trying to recruit Trump and/or members of his inner  circle.  Moreover, in such cases  "personnel is policy" and Muller hires strongly suggests that  the original intention was not an investigation, but a witch hunt with the single goal to depose Trump (it might well be that Muller appointment  was the insurance policy about which Strzok wrote to Lisa Page): 

  1. Aaron Zebley referred in MSM to as Mueller’s “right-hand man” acted as an attorney for Justin Cooper, the IT staffer who installed Clinton’s private email server at her home, and who destroyed her old Blackberry phones with a hammer (as Fox News report states).
  2. Andrew Weissmann, a former partner at the global law firm WilmerHale, attended the Democratic presidential candidate’s election party in November 2016.
  3. Jeannie Rhee, another former WilmerHale partner, represented Ben Rhodes, an ex-Obama National Security Adviser in a 2015 racketeering case, and Clinton herself in a lawsuit seeking disclosure of her private emails
  4. Peter Strzok (after whom Strzokgate was named) who was removed from Mueller’s team was the key person in exonerating Hillary Clinton in emailgate scandal. He also entrapped former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, which led to Flynn conviction. 

And in one year Mueller produce a pretty humiliating  results taking into account resorces which were put in his multimillion investigation: indictment of 13 Russia internet trolls from some sleazy marketing company (Internet research agency) run by former hot dog stand owner from Sanct Petersburg who first used it for PR campaign trying to protect himself from charges that he supplied rotten lunches to Moscow schoolchildren.

With each new indictment from Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller the same question emerges: when will he produce evidence that the president of the United States committed treason? Because that’s what this is really about; Some Russians somewhere may have meddled in the election. But what Mueller has to answer is whether Trump knowingly worked with a foreign adversarial government to help get himself elected in return for some quid pro quo. Mueller is tasked with proving the president, now in his 13th month in office, purposefully acts against the interests of the United States because of some debt to Russia. Here’s what Mueller has, and does not have, so far in his case (WeMeantWell.com):

What Mueller’s Missing

That’s what Mueller has. Here’s what he is missing.

The full force of the U.S. intelligence community has been aimed at finding evidence of Russian government interference in the 2016 election (still largely undemonstrated) for some 18 months, and the Comey/Mueller team aimed at finding evidence of Trump’s collusion with Russia for about a year. It is reasonable to conclude they do not have intelligence that would form a smoking gun, no tape of a high-ranking Trump official cutting a deal with a Russian spy. If such information existed, there would be no need for months of investigation. Same for the Steele dossier, and its salacious accusations. If there was proof any of it was true, we’d be hearing it read aloud during impeachment hearings.

What’s left is the battle cry of Trump opponents since election day: just you wait. The recount will show Hillary won. The Electoral College won’t select Trump. The Emoluments Clause will take Trump down. Or his tax returns. Or the 25th Amendment. Mueller will flip _____. The shoe will drop. Tick tock. And anything that looks like a weak move by Mueller is only an example we don’t yet understand his keen judicial kung fu.

No one knows the future. But so far the booked charges against Flynn and Papadopoulos, and the guilty pleas of others, point toward minor sentences to bargain over (never mind the possibility of a presidential pardon if it came to that), assuming they have relevant information to share in the first place. Manafort says he’ll go to court and defend himself. Mueller has produced nothing that has touched Trump, nothing connecting any meddling to a deal between Trump and Putin.

The core task is not to prove some Russians, or even the Russian government, meddled in the election. A limping to the finish line conclusion to Mueller’s work just ahead of the midterm elections that Trump somehow technically obstructed justice without a finding of an underlying crime would tear the nation apart. Mueller is charged with nothing less than proving the president knowingly worked with a foreign adversarial government, receiving help in the election in return for some quid pro quo, an act that can be demonstrated so clearly to the American people as to overturn an election well-over a year after it was decided.

It is a very dangerous thing to see the glee so many display hoping Trump will be found to be a Russian agent. That pleasure in hoping the U.S. is controlled by a foreign power because it means Trump will leave office early is not healthy for us. Mueller can fix that, but so far the bar is still seemingly pretty high above him. Given the stakes — a Kremlin-controlled man in the Oval Office — you’d think every person in govt would be on this 24/7 to save the nation, not just a relatively small staff of prosecutors ever-so-slowly filing indictments that so far have little to do with their core charge.

In other words "'A mountain had gone into labor and was groaning terribly. Such rumors excited great expectations all over the country. In the end, however, the mountain gave birth to a mouse." The Mountain in Labour - Wikipedia

The Russian company, which like dozens of similar sleazy Internet marketing  companies tried to earn some money by attracting audience with politically charged  messages and probably played some political games too on its own meager resources (with pro-Trump bias actually created automatically, as in this and several other cases pro-Trump messages were getting better audience and more money, and thus stimulating further moves in this direction, creating the impression of hardcore Trump supporters out of sleazy internet marketing firms).

After one year Mueller investigation looks more and and more as a part of color revolution against Trump, a futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning for the US neoliberal elite by deposing Trump (which definitely is a challenge to neoliberal elite, but not that great challenge, similar but slightly greater than the "change in can believe in" challenge that Obama supposedly represented ;-). But the  day when furious and informed citizens will demand accountability of neoliberals in the  Congress and  past governments  for their legitimate grievances might eventually come, especially after the next financial collapse or other major calamity. That's why neoliberal rats feel the danger and instead of jumping the ship decided to eat Trump alive ;-)

On the other hand Mueller investigation is a perfect tool of fueling  Neo-McCarthyism. Which is an tried and true dirty statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy as Satan (God's defeated adversary). Russia perfectly suited the role as it opposed unilateral global domination so substitution of Soviet Union with Russia was only logical and allow to reuse old Russophobia stereotypes like "better be dead then red".  Even contracts with Russian officials are now tantamount to treason. As if this is replay of WWII,  and Russia is equivalent of Imperial Japan, or Nazi Germany.  This is a typical war propaganda mechanism (Depicting the enemy - The British Library_:

 During World War One atrocity propaganda was employed on a global scale. The Great War was the first total war in which whole nations and not just professional armies were locked in mortal combat. This and subsequent modern wars required propaganda to (1) mobilize hatred against the enemy; (2) convince the population of the justness of one’s own cause; (3) enlist the active support and cooperation of neutral countries; and (4) strengthen the support of one’s allies. Having sought to pin war guilt on the enemy, the next step was to make the enemy appear savage, barbaric, and inhumane.

All the belligerents in World War One employed atrocity propaganda associated with the enemy and, as a result, stereotypes emerged that had been largely developed in the period leading up to the outbreak of war.

The recognition of stereotypes is an important part of understanding the use of anti-symbols and the portrayal of the enemy in propaganda. The enemy is of great importance in propaganda, for not only does it provide a target that can be attacked, but also it offers a scapegoat – the easiest means of diverting public attention from genuine social and political problems at home.

But the truth is the USA experience a crisis of neoliberalism as a social system. That's why Trump rejection of globalization during election campaign made him unacceptable to neoliberal (and neocon) camps. In this sense Mueller investigation is a perfect smoke screen which help to project  problems caused in Western societies by neoliberalism (in the USA there are clear signed of the de-legitimization of neoliberal elite, demonstrated by the Trump victory) into Russia as a very convenient scapegoat:

Russia has been made the scapegoat for most of the West’s problems for years now. In November, for example, British PM Theresa May accused Russia of threatening the international order of the world. However, this does nothing to counter the rise in knife-related attacks and stabbings in London and the UK at large. The American Democrat Party, and not a few Republicans, blame Russia for the successful election of Donald Trump, a man who doesn’t play by DC rules, to the presidency.

This witch hunt is modeled after Ken Starr prosecution of Bill Clinton and based on a very fuzzy mandate which is a feature not a bug as it allows "bait and switch" during investigation. Appointment of Mueller (of 911 investigation fame) was the final move in the complex multi-step gambit to depose Trump, which started with Steele dossier, and involves Strzok, 17 agencies memo, wiretapping of Trump team, Comey dismissal (sacrificial pawn), set of damaging and well-coordinated leaks, and, finally, Rosenstein appointment of Mueller

The fact that Mueller politicized the action of Russian Internet scammers (who are, at best,  petty criminals using clickbaits to earn money) suggest that he has nothing more significant to offer hungry US Russophobes. At this point Mueller turned  his investigation into pure political propaganda. The election manipulations which the Clinton forces engaged in to defeat Sanders during the Democratic primaries dwarfs, by orders of magnitude, anything alleged against the Russians by even the most hawkish backers of the Russia probe. Here is one interesting  comment from  discussion of pro-clinton article in The Nation  The Russiagate Intelligence Wars What We Do and Don’t Know

Cara Marianna says: February 19, 2018 at 4:36 pm

Here's what we know:

  1. NO actual physical proof has been presented to the public to substantiate claims that Russia hacked the DNC
  2. There is NO proof (only allegations) of collusion between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin
  3. Social media efforts by Russian trolls to influence the election were minimal in the extreme, laughably amateurish and completely ineffective
  4. Glenn Greenwald has spent the past year documenting in detail the large volume of fake anti-Russian "news" generated by the MSM (see GG at The Intercept)
  5. There is NO connection between the Russian government and the 13 private citizens recently indicted for their pathetic and ineffectual activity as part of a troll farm
  6. Thanks to the paranoid, xenophobic, Russia-bashing nationalistic propaganda that is being promoted by our military-industrial-intelligence-media complex, the U.S. now believes it is acceptable to launch a first strike nuclear attack in retaliation for breeches of cyber security

Read number six again and think about it. The U.S. is ready and willing to launch a preemptive nuclear attack against any nation it accuses of undermining our cyber security - no proof necessary. The Democratic establishment, which has spent the past year engaging in baseless Kremlin-baiting (and very little else), is directly responsible for this insanity.

Trump won't be impeached over Russiagate for the simple reason that Russiagate is nothing but a psyops perpetrated against the American people by the national-security bureaucracy (and their corporate media propagandists) for the purposes of reigniting a second Cold War and maintaining U.S. global hegemony.

Thanks to the hysterical McCarthyism now rampant among Democrats - and that is being used to great effect by Washington's bipartisan neocon warmongers - we may just end up in a nuclear war. The good news: it will be a short war and the Democrats will never have to accept responsibility for Clinton's loss.

I realize that Clinton wing of Democratic Party (soft neoliberals) and their supporters which include a part of intelligence agencies (especially FBI and CIA), Wall Street, a large part of Silicon valley and most MSM  hate Trump. While he capitulated to neocons  after just three months of his Presidency, they still do not view him as the "member of the  club" much like NYC aristocracy shun him. 

But Mueller Russiagate witch hunt (and this is 100% pure witch hunt which also proved that Rosenstein is the agent of Clinton mafia) is suspicious for one simple reason: no intelligent person would assume that Deep State would allow any politician who are not "vetted" as for foreign and domestic policies, to say nothing about Russia connections to be on iether  party ticket. Trump would be derailed instantly if such information would  be avoidable. They would find not one but  a couple of Stormy Daniel which would tell the whole world that  Trump is a sexual pervert ;-). And if this did not work, that so other dirt iether in the form of his supposed connections to mafia and/or shadow financial deal would surface too. 

So all candidates were vetted. That includes both Trump and Sanders ( Hillary was the establishment candidate by definition).  Also Putin as pretty gifted politician would not play the game in which you can only lose supporting one candidate over another, as POTUS has almost  zero influence of the  US forign policy, which is amazingly consistent for the last four US administrations. 

In other words "Russiagate" is a domestic circus to distract shmucks from Hillary political fiasco (and preserve the power of Clinton neoliberal mafia over Democratic party) as well as rally the people against the  enemy patching the cracks that neoliberalism left in the nation unity, is much more reasonable attitude.  The only other reasonable explanation is that some minor Russian functionaries decided to  revenge the blatant USA interference into 2012 Russian Presidential elections and  an attempt to launch a color revolution in this country to prevent reelection of Putin. But this is not the right time, as Russia is still pretty weak after carnage and after horrible economic rape by the West of 1990th needs to recover. As French say " the revenge is a dish that is better served cold." And  most Russian  functionaries are not stupid and do not have the disgusting disease that infects almost all US politicians -- American exceptionalism and the burning desire to attain "full spectrum dominance" in the world. They generally more realistically weight their chances, probably hoping that the end of "cheap oil" in ten to twenty years will put a dent in the US full spectrum dominance and possibly can lead to the collapse the US economy.  That  why recently Hayden recently stressed the important of low oil prices for the US as usual masking it with  anti-Russian rhetoric  (Ex-CIA Chief Hayden U.S. Needs To ‘Wean’ Europe Off Russian Gas The National Interest Blog):

Increasing gas supplies to Europe would not only help prevent future shortages, but it could also push back against the Kremlin. Russia relies on oil and gas exports for approximately half of its fiscal revenue. The current abundance of cheap oil, in conjunction with international sanctions, has taken a toll on Russia’s economy. Hayden thinks taking away the Kremlin’s oil trade would deal a decisive blow.

Former CIA chief James Woolsey also stressed the importance  for the USA to keep oil price in the range $30-$40, the lower the better ( Former CIA Chief Admits US Meddling In Foreign Elections For Their Own Good

But this consideration can't explain why the Deep State went to such length as to launch "color revolution" against Trump administration of which Mueller investigation is the most prominent "enemy action". It should be viewed as a final move of the gambit to depose Trump (with Comey as sacrificed pawn)  which stated with the creation of the Steele dossier, they media witch hunt unleashed by "17 agencies memo" and Strzokgate (which included swiping Hillary "emailgate" dirt under the carpet).  In it unclear why neoliberals and neocons think that Trump is so dangerous to justify such extraordinary step. Or they were drunk with their own impunity ?  Or any attempt  for detente with Russia is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.  Too much taxpayers money are flowing to MIC and intelligence agencies to afford any deviation from the "cold war with Russia" party line.

Few people read (and no major MSM for example reported such an interesting quote from 17 intelligence agencies memo, which explicitly state that  they just assessed the possibility of Russian interference. Whether this group of handpicked analysts were drunk or not (at Brennan expense) is not mentioned  at all ;-):

Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation and precedents.

That sentence is the core to proper understand Russia-gate and Muller investigation. It defines the latter as a part of color revolution against Trump, a shrewd and well prepared maneuver  designed to depose Trump. It also defines Rosenstein as the forth member of the "gang of three" ( Comey, McCabe, Strzok) hell-bent on removing Trump.  Mayberry Machiavellians, all of them,  if you ask me. There were lots of claims, assertions and judgments, but no proof at all that any of the alleged Russian influence on elections really happened to warrant opening of this investigation (which is required for such things as appointment of the Special Prosecutor).  So this appointment was against the law, based on falsified evidence and solidly paints Rosenstein as a co-conspirator.

Neoliberals and neocons might hate Donald Trump so much for several (and slightly different for various factions) reasons (skeletons in the closet; MIC profits, continuation of globalization, to name a few). What unite them is a strong  believe that any pretext is justified in taking him down ("end justifices the means" mentality), even if it put in negative light the USA on international arena. AS Victoria Nuland  famously said "F*ck EU" ;-) 

That's why Clinton Democrats (neoliberal wing of Democratic Party, aka DemoRats) joined efforts with the neoconservatives in the Republican Party to take Trump down. That's why war-mongering against Russia is now established policy for both parties and actually a test for any political commentator who tried to get to any of major MSM. In other words Democratic party now is just the second War Party (as was evident from Hillary campaign) and anti-war left completely disappeared from the USA political landscape. 

Many people who detest Trump also view Russiagate positively as the most effective path to achieve Trump’s impeachment, so this desirable goal in which "ends justifies the means"  which makes this investigation somewhat similar to Ukrainian "EuroMaydan" charges of corruption, a part of color revolution effort by intelligence agencies and controlled by them MSM.   Moreover the atmosphere in the USA is already poisoned and the majority of people believe that Russia interfered in elections.  In other words Iraq yellowcake story was played on unsuspecting American public again and with the same resounding success.

But to me it look like Trump surrendered after just 100 days of anti-Russian smear campaign launched by neocons. So why they still  want to finish him like poor colonel Kaddafi?  That's an interesting question. So it must be more on the plate then just forcing Trump to abandon his election promises in foreign policy (which he already did); there might be some dangerous skeletons in the closet revealing of which the previous administration and their factions in intelligence  services the are afraid to death.

Because their action is as close to sedition as one  can get. In other words they went va bank (a common expression among Russian and German speakers. Va bank means to put everything at risk in order to win. As a result you would win everything or lose everything; similar US term might be "all in").  

In any case now two-third or more of US population is brainwashed into adamantly anti-Russian mindset, increasing the risk of the major war

At the foundation of Mueller fishing expedition is so called Steele dossier. The key in understanding Steele dossier is to view it as in integral part of Russiagate plot to remove Trump, an interesting twist of "Color revolutions" methods. See Steele dossier. It has a very interesting chronology and is closely connected with  Strzok-gate

Similarly Trump wanted to reach some level of detente  with Russia rightly considering the level of hostility achieved under Obama dangerous and counterproductive (to the extent that Obama might be controlled by Brennan it might be not Obama personal fought).  In this sense he also crossed the line (with the only difference that he did it during he election campaign) and at this point all power of neocons and neolib including their factions in intelligence agencies was unleashed for his removal. That's why Steele dossier was created and advertized: as part of anti-Trump coup d'état by the neocons, Clinton neoliberals and parts of the US intelligence services.  In both case the interests of the USA and national security suffers. In a way both neocons and neoliberals  are elements of foreign influence that do not care much about ordinary Americans.

From the beginning it was a set up to find dirt on Trump campaign insiders and if possible to topple Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations. It was actually pretty elegant gambit: after Attorney general recluse himself from Russian probe, Rob Rosenstein jumped into action first recommended firing Comey and then on the basis of this decision by Trump appointed the special prosecutor -- Comey friend and mentor Mueller. Whether firing Comey was a trap set up for Trump (and this is quite probably as Trump can be easily played by appealing to his vanity), or he just make the decision with bad timing (day 1 of his Presidency would be much more appropriate)  or not is immaterial.

turbojarhead -> loveyajimbo , Dec 10, 2017 2:37 PM

They played Sessions like a violin. Sessions recluses himself for a bullcrap Kisnyak speech, where he did not even meet him. Rosenstein then recommends Trump fire Comey -- who wanted to be fired so they would appoint a special prosecutor -- which Rosenstein does -- Mueller, to the acclamation of ALL of Con and the Senate -- including Republicans.

When Trump tries to get out of the trap by leaking he is thinking about firing Sessions, Lispin Lindsey goes on television to say that will not be allowed too happen. If he fires Sessions, Congress would not approve ANY of Trump's picks for DOJ-leaving Rosenstein in charge anyway.

Trump was pissed because they removed his only defender from Mueller -- the head of the DOJ. He knew it was a setup, so went ballistic when he found out about Sessions recusing.

Before and after the 2016 election Trump was under tack from intelligence  agencies. And the list includes not only obvious suspects in CIA and NSA, but also FBI (via liaison with CIA, see Strzokgate) as well as a several senior officials in Obama's Justice Department (Loretta Lynch, Sally Yates, Bruce Ohr), as well as National security advisor Susan Rise and UN ambassador Samantha Power (both were engaged in so called "unmasking" campaign).  to say nothing about Obama (who has high personal animosity to both Trump and Putin) who fueled Russiagate histeria by his expulsion of 35 Russian  diplomats on December 30, 2017, when he was already "lame duck".

Among the players that promoted Steele dossier and used it for "color revolution" against Trump Davis Stockman mentioned (The Russiagate Witch-Hunt Stockman Names Names In The Deep State's Insurance Policy )

Of course, this list is incomplete. CIA, FBI, State Department and Department of Justice all have their strong factions of Clinton loyalists, neocons and globalists.  Add to this large, dominant part of MSM, both newspapers, TV channels and major web sites.  So the critical mass for launching color revolution was present and they just needed a trigger, which was Steele dossier and 17 agencies memo. At this point the color revolution against Trump was launched. And while this operation had many moving parts and alternating players, the mission to unseat Trump never changed. And it remains ongoing with all hoes currently put on the result of 2018 elections (if Democrats regain majority Mueller can definitely to do more and House intelligence committee investigation, which is most damaging to Mueller can be shut). Efforts to find dirt on Trump involved extensive wiretapping (Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations? ):

And likely there were others.

A good overview of Mueller fishing expedition was provided by Mike Whitney on Dec 21, 2017 (unz.com):

While it's clear that this political cage-match is going to persist for some time to come, we'd like to make two points. First, that there was never sufficient

While it's clear that this political cage-match is going to persist for some time to come, we'd like to make two points. First, that there was never sufficient reason to appoint a Special Counsel. The threshold for making such an appointment should have been probable cause, that is, deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should have shown why he thought there was 'reasonable basis to believe that a crime had been committed.' That's what's required under the Fourth Amendment, and that's the standard that should have been met. But Rosenstein ignored that rule because it improved the Special Counsel's chances of netting indictments

Even so, there's no evidence that a crime has been committed. None. And that's been the main criticism of the investigation from the get go. It's fine for the New York Times and the Washington Post to reiterate the same tedious, unsubstantiated claims over and over again ad nauseam. Their right to fabricate news is guaranteed under the First Amendment and they take full advantage of that privilege. But it's different for professional attorney operating at the highest level of the Justice Department to appoint a Special Counsel to rummage through all manner of private or privileged documents, transcripts, tax returns, private conversations, intercepted phone calls and emails -- of the democratically-elected president -- based on nothing more than the spurious and politically-motivated allegations made in the nation's elite media or by flagrantly-partisan actors operating in the Intelligence Community or law enforcement.

Can you see the problem here? This is not just an attack on Trump (whose immigration, environmental, health care, tax and foreign policies I personally despise.) It is an attempt to roll back the results of the election by bogging him down in legal proceedings making it impossible for him to govern. These attacks are not just on Trump, they're on the legitimate authority of the people to choose their own leaders in democratic elections. That's what's at stake. And that's why there must be a high threshold for launching an investigation like this.

Consider this: On May 17, 2017, when Rosenstein announced his decision to appoint a Special Counsel he said the following:

"In my capacity as acting attorney general I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter. My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command." Rosenstein wrote that his responsibility is to ensure a "full and thorough investigation of the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election." As special counsel, Mueller is charged with investigating "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump."

That's not good enough. There's no evidence that "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump" were improper, unethical or illegal. Nor do any such presumed "links and/or coordination" imply a crime was committed. Rather, the loosey-goosy standard Rosenstein has applied is an invitation for an open ended fishing expedition aimed at derailing the political agenda of the elected government. This puts too much power in the hands of unelected agents in the bureaucracy who may be influenced by powerbrokers operating behind the scenes who want to disrupt, obstruct, or paralyze the government. And this, in fact, is exactly what is taking place presently.

Naturally, a broad-ranging mandate like Rosenstein's will result in excesses, and it has. Of the four people who have been caught up in Mueller's expansive dragnet, exactly zero have been indicted on charges even remotely connected to the original allegation of "collusion with Russia to sway the presidential election in Trump's favor." Clearly, people's civil liberties are being violated to conduct a political jihad on an unpopular president and his aids.

So, how does one establish whether there's a reasonable basis to believe that a crime has been committed?

The daily blather in the media does not meet that standard nor does the much ballyhooed Intelligence Community Assessment that was supposed to provide ironclad proof of Russian meddling in the elections. The ICA even offered this sweeping disclaimer at the beginning of the report which admits that the intelligence gathered therein should not in any way be construed to represent solid evidence of anything.
Here's the from the report:

"Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents."

... ... ...

The fact is, Mueller is no elder statesman or paragon of virtue. He's a political assassin whose task is to take down Trump at all cost. Unfortunately for Mueller, the credibility of his investigation is beginning to wane as conflicts of interest mount and public confidence dwindles. After 18 months of relentless propaganda and political skullduggery, the Russia-gate fiction is beginning to unravel.

 

Mike Whitney May 24, 2017 analysis

That's all nice but the truth is that Trump abandoned his agenda in April 2017, a month before appointment of Special Council. Also the intercity of Russian witch hunt was such that appointment of a special council was kind of inevitable. Trigger might be different, but the net result is the same.
The idea that both Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller belong to the same team is plausible. Mueller is also a close friend of Comey. But as Trump folded what would be the gain from his removal ?
Notable quotes:

Appointment of rabid anti-Trump prosecutors

Mueller got this appointment after he was rejected by Trump for the position of the director of FBI. So he  might have personal grudges to hold. In any case the selection of his team tells us a lot about the direction of the investigation as "personnel is policy".  Among the most notorious members of his team were

Peter Strzok

Peter Strzok the man who was instrumental in swiping the dirt of Hillary "emailgate" under the carpet as well as using Steele dossire as a ram to put members of Trump team under surveillance. Later became involved in Strzok-gate scandal and  removed from the investigation. Along with Comey and McCabe he influenced the US Presidential election depriving Sanders from chances to became the candidate from the Democratic Party. 

Peter P. Strzok II (born in 1970, currently 47 year old) was until July 2017  the key figure in Clinton Email investigation and Trump Russiagate investigation as a Deputy Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and second in command of counterintelligence.  He is the central figure of so called Strzok-gate scandal.

Despite being  a rabid Hillary Clinton supporter (judging from his texts to Lisa Page with whom he allegedly has an affair ) he was assigned as the investigator both Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server, and allegations of collusion of Trump team with Russians in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.  which were conducted in highly politized manner ( Anti-Trump FBI Agent Changed Language Of Hillary Email Scandal From Grossly Negligent To Extremely Careless )

Electronic records show Peter Strzok, who led the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server as the No. 2 official in the counterintelligence division, changed Comey's earlier draft language describing Clinton's actions as "grossly negligent" to "extremely careless," the source said. The drafting process was a team effort, CNN is told, with a handful of people reviewing the language as edits were made, according to another US official familiar with the matter.

Subsequently, he joined the 2017 Special Counsel investigation but was quietly removed by Mueller in late July 2017. At this time he was demoted in FBI to HR department.

Andrew Weissmann. He is called a legal bulldog of Mueller team. Here is how pro-clinton site thedailybeast.com  chantaterise hims

The FBI’s decision to send a dozen agents on an early-hour raid of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s home struck some observers as an audacious, even unprecedented move for a white collar criminal case.

But to former federal prosecutors familiar with members of special counsel Bob Mueller’s team, it had all the makings of the work of Andrew Weissmann.

A former federal prosecutor from Brooklyn who spent his career going after mobsters, ponzi-schemers, and white collar criminals, Weissmann is known as a tenacious operator who uses strategies that have dazzled some legal experts and disturbed others. They believe his presence on Mueller’s team means the probe may push legal boundaries as it investigates alleged collusion between Trump and Russian interests.

“He fashions himself as a real tactician, in the sense of having a chessboard in front of him and moving pieces around,” said a person who has faced Weissmann in court.

Mueller has known and trusted Weissmann for more than a decade, having made him special counsel at the FBI for a few months in 2005, according to the Houston Chronicle. In 2011, after Weissmann left the bureau for a short stint in private practice, Mueller brought him back and made him the FBI’s general counsel.

“Mueller trusted him to be the FBI’s top lawyer,” said a former federal prosecutor who knows Weissmann. “That’s a pretty big deal.”

While he was general counsel to the FBI, Weissmann was known as quick-moving and decisive.

I am so proud Mueller deputy congratulated Sally Yates after she was fired for refusing to enforce Trump's travel ban  The substantive part of Andrew Weissmann’s email to Yates is just 11 words long.

Judicial Watch today released two productions (335 pages and 44 pages) of Justice Department (DOJ) documents showing strong support by top DOJ officials for former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ refusal to enforce President Trump’s Middle East travel ban executive order. In one email, Andrew Weissmann, one of Robert Mueller’s top prosecutors and formerly the Obama-era Chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Fraud Section, applauds Yates writing: “I am so proud. And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects.”…

“This is an astonishing and disturbing find. Andrew Weisman, a key prosecutor on Robert Mueller’s team, praised Obama DOJ holdover Sally Yates after she lawlessly thwarted President Trump,” stated Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “How much more evidence do we need that the Mueller operation has been irredeemably compromised by anti-Trump partisans? Shut it down.”

The Hatch Act, passed in 1939, prohibits civil servants from engaging in political activity, which is directed at the promotion of or advocacy against a political party, group or candidate.  When you consider that Ms. Yates leaked FISA information to the Washington Post without the authority or approval to do so, which is a crime, I would have serious reservations about having anyone supportive of a criminal and who can be viewed as a part of an attempted coup on the new POTUS in the team


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[Apr 09, 2018] New photos reveal Robert Mueller and Paul Manafort both worked with former Ukraine President in 2013

Apr 09, 2018 | theduran.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged Paul Manafort, President Trump's former Campaign Manager, for working with former Ukrainian Presidnet Viktor Yanukovych in 2013.

Mueller failed to mention that he also worked with Yanukovych in 2013 six months before John Brennan, John McCain, Victoria Nuland, and their EU partners, lead a bloody neo-nazi coup to overthrow the Yanukovych government.

Last week a memo was released showing Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein directing the Mueller investigation to look into allegations that Paul Manafort

"Committed a crime or crimes arising out of payments he received from the Ukrainian government before and during the tenure of President Viktor Yanukovych."

According to the The Gateway Pundit , in the memo there is no indication that Rosenstein or Mueller offered that Mueller interacted with the former Ukrainian President as well. But then again, Rosenstein and Mueller have so many conflicts of interest in this case that it is accurately labeled a "witch hunt".

Jack Posobiec tweeted out over night the link between Mueller and Yanukovych

Robert Mueller is prosecuting Manfort for doing work in Ukraine for Viktor Yanukovych back in 2013

Here is Robert Mueller hanging out in Ukraine with Viktor Yanukovych back in 2013

What is going on here? pic.twitter.com/HQZ1zzjctR

-- Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) April 6, 2018

The Ukrainian Embassy in the United States shared on Facebook a picture of Robert Mueller with the President Yanukovych in 2013. The post was dated June 6, 2013

"We are grateful to American side for support of our efforts aimed at settlement of frozen conflicts, ensuring control over conventional arms in Europe and combating trafficking. We count on further support and cooperation with USA within the OSCE in order to enhance stability and security in the area which is under jurisdiction of the given organization," the President said at the meeting with FBI Director Robert Mueller.

The Head of State reminded that since the beginning of 2013, Ukraine had been presiding in the OSCE. "We determined priorities of our presidency in close cooperation with member-states of the OSCE. I am pleased to note that we have a constructive cooperation with Washington in this sphere," the President emphasized.

"Ukrainian-American cooperation efficiently develops in many spheres of mutual interest. Your visit is very interesting for Ukraine and relations between our law enforcement bodies have established good traditions of cooperation and communication in the course of 20 years. I am confident that there is a potential for further broadening of cooperation," Viktor Yanukovych said.

He stressed that Ukraine paid particular attention to the issue of combating terrorism. We have adopted a number of documents aimed at increasing the efficiency of such work.

"The level of cooperation between central executive governmental bodies involved in anti-terrorist actions is pretty high. The Security Service elaborated respective documents, they were reviewed and approved by respective Presidential Decree," the Head of State noted.

The President emphasized that Ukraine is very close to signing the Association Agreement with the EU in November. "There are some preparations left but I hope that we will fulfill everything and sign the Agreement," he said.

In his turn, FBI Director Robert Mueller expressed gratitude to the President of Ukraine for the assistance provided after the explosions in Boston. "I would like to focus on the most important issue for us – the issue of combating terrorism. I would like to say thank you for the assistance provided to us after the Boston Marathon," he noted.

FBI Director also informed that in the course of his meetings in Ukraine, he planned to discuss a number of issues of mutual interest.

Who only knows what the issues of mutual interest were!

Via The Gateway Pundit

This is not the first interaction Mueller had with the Russians. In 2009 Mueller hand delivered uranium to the Russians on an airport tarmac per the request of Hillary Clinton. Mueller also was Head of the FBI when the Obama Administration sold 20% of US uranium to the Russians in the Uranium One deal.

Mueller also reportedly visited Moscow before he visited the Ukrainian President in 2013.

How can Mueller be investigating Manfort for business with the Ukraine and Russia when Mueller is as suspect as Manafort ever was? Shut it down!

[Apr 01, 2018] Does the average user care if s/he is micro-targetted by political advertisements based on what they already believe?

Highly recommended!
Apr 01, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

BigJim -> MusicIsYou Sat, 03/31/2018 - 10:20 Permalink

The furor is all about the "illegitimate" victories of Brexit and Trump's campaign. Does the average user care if s/he is micro-targetted by political advertisements based on what they already believe?

No, because they already believe they're right, so what's wrong with a little confirmation bias? Most of us spend significant amounts of energy seeking out sources of information confirming what we already believe; micro-targetting just makes our lives that little bit less effortful.

[Mar 31, 2018] FBI Director Mueller testified to Congress that Saddam Hussein was responsible for anthrax attack! That was Mueller's role in selling the "intelligence" to invade Iraq.

Highly recommended!
Mar 31, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Steve McIntyre | Mar 31, 2018 9:47:15 AM | 15

It took a long time before the 2001 US anthrax attacks were solved. (The initial attribution was totally wrong.) The ultimate explanation was that an anthrax scientist (Bruce Ivins) was worried that funding for his research would be cut back. A similar motive cannot be excluded out of hand for Skripals, especially given proximity of Porton Downs. Already, there has been a huge infusion of cash into Porton Downs, as there was into anthrax research after Ivins' attack. A quote from https://www.wcpo.com/news/our-community/from-the-vault/from-the-vault-local-scientists-hatred-for-uc-sorority-led-to-national-panic-terror-attack.

FBI Director at the time, Robert Mueller -- yes, that Robert Mueller -- said Ivins' livelihood was in jeopardy when the Department of Defense wanted to end anthrax vaccinations because of side effects later called "Gulf War Syndrome." And when the U.S. was attacked on Sept. 11, Ivins capitalized on the paralyzing fear sweeping the nation.

"The anthrax vaccine program to which he had devoted his entire career was failing," according to the "Amerithrax" report from the Justice Department. "Short of some major breakthrough or intervention, he feared that the vaccine research program was going to be discontinued."

After the anthrax attacks in 2001, however, Ivins' program experienced a rebirth.

ToivoS , Mar 31, 2018 12:55:28 PM | 37

b comments that the case against Ivins (yes, made by Mueller, that Mueller) was all bullshit. At the time I too looked into the case that they had against him. What was completely wrong was that Ivins had prepared the Anthrax spores in his personal lab. I too read the FBI report that described the equipment in that lab. Having experience in this field, I found it was very close to impossible for him to have prepared the samples that were used in the anthrax attacks. However, the facilities at Fort Dietrick do have that capacity. If Ivins used those facilities it would not have been possible for him to use them without accomplices or at the least without witnesses to his use of those facilities.

That is what the Mueller report covered up at the very least. It remains quite possible that Ivins was not involved at all.

Ort , Mar 31, 2018 2:46:44 PM | 46
B. and others have already noted that the official conclusion that Bruce Ivins committed suicide is, in a word, bogus.

But I can't resist adding the piquant detail that the authorities claimed that he killed himself with an overdose of Tylenol with codeine. Despite the presence of some codeine, Tylenol is a truly odd choice for suicide. It is potentially toxic, and overdoses cause liver damage that can be eventually fatal-- but overdoses are reportedly painful to endure, and are by no means sure to be fatal.

We're expected to believe that Ivins was so distraught and irrational that he "chose" this means because he wanted to "sleep", and was either oblivious or indifferent to the above-cited drawbacks.

Yet, Ivins was a microbiologist, vaccinologist, and senior biodefense researcher at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. He presumably had, or could easily acquire, an understanding of the effects of Tylenol-- and he had a laboratory full of ultra-lethal toxins to boot. Yet when the moment of truth came, he reached for a bottle of... Tylenol?

It's déjà vu all over again. How many "other ones" do Western authorities think we have to pull?

Daniel , Mar 31, 2018 5:59:27 PM | 76
b @20. Thanks for setting the record straight on the UNSOLVED Anthrax terrorist attack in the US. FBI Director Mueller testified to Congress that Saddam Hussein was responsible! That was Mueller's role in selling the "intelligence" to invade Iraq. Once it became known that the anthrax came from the US Army, he tried to pin it on an innocent man and then closed and buried the case.

[Mar 26, 2018] Trump Unable To Hire diGenova, Toensing Over Conflicts, Mueller Strategy In Limbo

Mar 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

diGenova has been on of Trump's most ardent defenders - speaking in January of a " Brazen plot " by the deep state to exonerate Hillary Clinton and frame Donald Trump.

The FBI used to spy on Russians. This time they spied on us . what this story is about - a brazen plot to exonerate Hillary Clinton from a clear violation of the law with regard to the way she handled classified information with her classified server. Absolutely a crime, absolutely a felony. It's about finding out why - as the Inspector General is doing at the department of justice - why Comey and the senior DOJ officials conducted a fake criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton. Followed none of the regular rules, gave her every break in the book, immunized all kinds of people, allowed the destruction of evidence, no grand jury, no subpoenas, no search warrant. That's not an investigation, that's a Potemkin village. It's a farce. -Joe diGenova via Daily Caller

https://www.youtube.com/embed/zyTVZU3MJ9o


two hoots -> Pandelis Sun, 03/25/2018 - 14:57 Permalink

Does Mueller realize he is now doing more harm to the country than any foe? His 10 month investigation of "got cha" is dividing us and has uncovered little stuff the DOJ could have found without the continuous spotlight of his "specialness counsel". It is time he turns his findings over to DOJ and cease this unfortunate, seemingly now, self-serving hunt. The nation is facing more daunting task.

JoseyWalesTheOutlaw -> two hoots Sun, 03/25/2018 - 15:02 Permalink

With all due respect do you actually believe people like Mueller and those he represents give a fu*k about the well being of this country?

11b40 -> just the tip Sun, 03/25/2018 - 18:32 Permalink

In the court of public opinion, treason is better. Let Mueller argue the difference once Trump starts using his name in the same tweet with treason. That will be amusing.

Plus, with Mueller, it may well be treason. Can you say Uranium One? That is the deal he has to worry about. First, there is the I.G. report due soon. Then, there is the real possibility of another special investigation into the investigators of the entire FBI/Clinton affair, and Mueller will for sure be in the cross hairs. What a great time to be a lawyer in DC.

This is a battle between 2 giants. One is going down bigly, or maybe both.....or, Mueller has already copped a plea, and is actually part of the I.G.'s investigation of the FBI. Who knows? Right now, just about anything is possible.

carlnpa -> The First Rule Sun, 03/25/2018 - 17:57 Permalink

I believe it is actually sedition. Treason would involve another country. Regardless Mueller is known for acting like a petulant child. I also note the budget just passed looks like a war budget, so all this may not matter much into the future.

FBaggins -> JoseyWalesTheOutlaw Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:59 Permalink

If you step back and try to look at the bigger picture you have a better chance in seeing what is really going on. It is clear that from the beginning, there was never any real substance to the Russia collusion thing. Anyone with any common sense could see that all of it was being orchestrated by the deep state with the amplification and BS of the MSM using the DNC and various hack politicians to keep things going. The only relevant question was why?

Presently, US deep state operatives from the military and the intelligence agencies are filling in slots in the Democratic party to be candidates for the upcoming midterm elections. This is clearly an indication that the US is preparing for war, not only for an escalation in Syria but more likely for some much greater conflict against Iran and Russia. The sociopathic US deep state will no doubt not be satisfied until they try out all their toys no matter how much blood they shed and destruction they cause. That is their history and they are a scourge against the entire world.

Rubicon727 -> FBaggins Sun, 03/25/2018 - 18:23 Permalink

Your first three observations are correct. Unfortunately, the 4th premise being massaged merely by "The Deep State." The US financial/military hegemony is faltering. It stands up only because the central banks are in collusion with each other. Those and Wall Street manipulate and massage the financial markets in trying to maintain their own hegemony.

But, many honest economic/financial experts know it's only a matter of time before the American empire cracks. Happens every time throughout history. In this case it's China who is moving away from the US$ and linking its trade/currency with 50% of the world's population found in Asia/Eurasia, and Latin American. A laborious exercise, for sure, but watch carefully as the US continues its toxic downfall via the military budget and the corrupt world of finance/currency. It's only a matter of time.

GUS100CORRINA -> Bigly Sun, 03/25/2018 - 14:52 Permalink

Trump Unable To Hire diGenova, Toensing Over Conflicts, Mueller Strategy In Limbo

My response : This development is a disappointment. I was looking for some honorable people to go into Washington DC and kick some MUELLER BUTT and END the SPECIAL COUNSEL CHARADE that has been going on for over a year.

Where the HELL is "OBOZO" these days? This circus in Washington DC needs to be shutdown.

krispkritter -> GUS100CORRINA Sun, 03/25/2018 - 15:31 Permalink

Amazing that they(diGenova & Toensing) admit to conflicts of interest but then nearly the entire Mueller team is rife with people showing bias and COI and they're still at it a year later. Hell, the bulk of the FBI top tier is littered with biased assholes. If you went in and tried to clean house it'd be like shooting fish in a barrel...with an RPG .

Anunnaki -> krispkritter Sun, 03/25/2018 - 19:04 Permalink

Comey and Mueller take family vacations together

ChiangMaiXPat -> GUS100CORRINA Sun, 03/25/2018 - 20:56 Permalink

I concur.....

but also why is this President & his team being help to a far superior standard than the last. The conflicts in Muellers' team are too innumerable to count, Sessions recusal, Rosenstein appointing special counsel, Trump's clan being stymied with piss ant caught mis remembering lying to FBI charges. diGenova is the shit as his wife too, since when have lawyers ever given a rat's ass about conflict or even integrity, Gloria Aldridge comes to mind. Is anyone tired of winning yet? Seems all by design. We are constantly told it's 4D chess and yet Schumer gets 60 Billion for a tunnel and Donald "the art of the deal" Trump get 1.6 B for paint & maintenance and specific language prohibiting a wall. Tired of winning yet?

The First Rule -> izzee Sun, 03/25/2018 - 15:50 Permalink

"Fire Sessions????? Are you 12years old???

You do realize that whoever Trump names to replace him REQUIRES Senate Confirmation....which can be slow walked for months. Meanwhile the assy AtG---Rosenstein with be the ACTING ATTNY GEN"

ANSWER: Not if he puts someone from a different cabinet position who's already been confirmed in (aka Scott Pruitt). Pruitt can take Sessions place, and he wouldn't be recused; which means he takes over the investigation from that crooked Deep Date scumbag Rosenstein. Mueller can then be fired (and not a damn thing Congress can do about it other than b!tch and whine to Libtard news media).

Better still, Pruitt can appoint a second special counsel to go after the Deep State.

Mind you, there are Mountains and Mountains of evidence of all the crimes these Deep State people committed. All its going to take is a second special council, and its game over.

[Mar 24, 2018] Did Trump cut a deal on the collusion charge by Mike Whitney

Highly recommended!
The idea the Russians " "had the strategic purpose of sowing political discord in the United States" which in reality in the result of deep crisis on neoliberalism, which started in 2008 is a typical scapegoating. The essence of neo-McCarthyism if you wish.
"... But the indictments themselves suggest that Mueller's narrative is wrong. The objective was not to influence the election, but make money by getting viewers to "click on" advertisements. Check it out: ..."
"... It's worth noting, that if Mueller really wanted to get to the bottom of the Russia-gate allegations, he would interview the people who have first-hand knowledge what actually happened. He would question Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) and Craig Murray, both of whom have stated publicly that they know who stole the Podesta emails. ..."
"... Mueller hasn't done that, nor has he contacted the VIPs (Ray McGovern, William Binney, Skip Folden, etc) who did extensive forensic investigation of the "hacking" allegations and proved that the emails were not hacked but leaked. Mueller has not pursued that line of inquiry either. ..."
"... The above statement helps to prove my point that the indictments are not a vehicle for criminal prosecution, but part of a politically-motivated information campaign to damage Trump and vilify Russia. No one seriously believes that Mueller would ever try to prosecute this case based on the spurious and looney claims of a criminal conspiracy. The whole idea is laughable. ..."
"... We found it interesting that Rob Goldman, who is the Vice President of Facebook Ads, tweeted this revealing disclaimer on Monday which Trump posted on Twitter: ..."
"... Bottom line: The indictments were very good news for Donald Trump, but very bad news for Robert Mueller who appears to have run into a brick wall. But has he? Has Mueller abandoned the attacks on Trump or is there something else going on just below the surface? ..."
"... I can only guess at the answer, but it looks to me like Trump may have made a deal to support the attacks on Russia provided he is acquitted on charges of collusion. That's what he's wanted from the beginning, so, maybe he won this round? Here's one of his recent tweets that helps to support my theory: ..."
"... What's wrong with that? If Trump's enemies want to provide him with a Get-Outta-Jail-Free card, then why shouldn't he snatch it up and put this whole goofy probe behind him? That's what most people would do. ..."
"... The problem is that Trump's biggest supporters want him to continue struggle against "The Swamp". They want him to fight for their interests and expose the crooked goings-on behind the Russiagate scandal. They want him to lift up the rock that conceals the activities of the National Security State so everyone can see the maggots squirming below. That's what they want, a modern-day Samson who shakes the temple's pillars and brings the whole crooked system crashing down around him. ..."
"... These same people are hopeful that the Nunes memo and the Grassley-Graham "criminal referral" are just the tip of the iceberg that will inevitably lead to the bigger fish involved in this deep-state conspiracy, namely former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Former FBI Director James Comey, and very likely, Barack Hussein Obama himself. What role did these men play in spying on the Trump campaign? Were they actively trying to sabotage the elections by giving Hillary an edge? Should a second Special Counsel be appointed to investigate whether crimes were committed in their targeting of the Trump team? ..."
"... There is no crime called "collusion". So Trump cannot be "acquitted", let alone be charged with something that is not a crime. Apparently the deep state and media's repetition of "collusion" has duped not just the public, but this author with thinking it is some kind of crime. ..."
"... Trump needs the swamp to produce politicized intel for his campaigns against Iran and Venezuela (plus a dozen other countries which don't threaten the US). He needs the hated MSM (not much more than the swamp's media branch) to sell the Iran war to his voters, who are supposed to pay for it. He needs his shady relatives to stay OUT of prison, where several of them seem to belong (of course, papa Kushner has already spent time inside). So appeasement it is. ..."
"... Sorry, but on the whole Trump voters are too dumb to pose much of an obstacle. They like the campaigns against Iran because of religion, and against Venezuela because of "socialism". They didn't raise a peep when it became clear that THEIR money would all go to the Armies of Mordor. That this is "Saddam-WMD-9/11″ all over again just hasn't registered with them, and never will. Just like Trump winning his primary running against outside money, and immediately afterwards selling out for Adelson's shekels–it exceeds the deplorables' attention span, so it never happened. Keep harping on immigrants and it's all good; razzle-dazzle them, as it was called in the Chicago movie. ..."
"... So on the whole, yes, already since his inauguration it has been clear that The Donald is mostly playing along, as long as he'll be allowed to stay president ..."
"... So Trump is not opposed to demonizing Russia, he's just opposed to demonizing Donald John Trump. That's where he draws the line. ..."
"... Well guys, if there's anyone here who still abides by the '5-D chess' theory, I think it's time to face facts: Trump has thrown us all under the bust to save himself. Expect a war in Syria, or Ukraine, or maybe both. ..."
"... The indictments have no legal merit, they are a form of domestic propaganda and disinformation. The real target is the American people. ..."
"... That's pretty much what this banana republic's government is all about. One way or another, everything they do is designed to ultimately squeeze something out of us dumb 'Merkin proles and peasants ..."
"... I was expecting more of a profile in courage under the tutelage of someone smarter than Trump; instead we are seeing another profile in venality and stupidity. ..."
"... US has too many laws that are ambiguous beyond belief, almost anything can be declared a 'crime'. Plus you have limited disclosure due to national security ('methods and sources subterfuge always works). Volunteering for a political show trial doesn't work. ..."
"... Pentagon vs neoliberal CIA for upper hand at the White House with Bibi (via AIPAC) solidly on the side of Pence, probably not if, but much more likely when, Trump is taken down. ..."
"... The RussiaGate affairs and collusion charge are the obvious "Banksters United" coup run with a stunning degree of incompetence. Russia must be demonized because of her mineral resources, which are still not available for free, and because of her "wrong" behavior in Syria. Bansksters need this war. Arm producers and dealers need this war. Only the apparent danger of suicide by nuclear answer stops the banksters and other war profiteers from an immediate attack against Russian Federation. ..."
"... The FBI and the CIA are the hired gangster organizations for the banksters. If the FBI and the CIA cared about national security, the US would not suffer the infamy of Awan affair, CrowdStrike "conclusions," and the US support for Daesh/ISIS/Al Qaida in the Middle East, as well as the US support for neo-Nazis in Ukraine. The US taxpayers have been financing both ISIS and neo-Nazis because banksters decided so. ..."
Notable quotes:
"... But the indictments themselves suggest that Mueller's narrative is wrong. The objective was not to influence the election, but make money by getting viewers to "click on" advertisements. Check it out: ..."
"... It's worth noting, that if Mueller really wanted to get to the bottom of the Russia-gate allegations, he would interview the people who have first-hand knowledge what actually happened. He would question Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) and Craig Murray, both of whom have stated publicly that they know who stole the Podesta emails. ..."
"... Mueller hasn't done that, nor has he contacted the VIPs (Ray McGovern, William Binney, Skip Folden, etc) who did extensive forensic investigation of the "hacking" allegations and proved that the emails were not hacked but leaked. Mueller has not pursued that line of inquiry either. ..."
"... The indictment states that the organization that employed the trolls "had the strategic purpose of sowing political discord in the United States." This seems to be a recurrent theme that has popped up frequently in the media as well. The implication is that the Russians are the source of the widening divisions in the US that are actually the result of growing public angst over the lopsided distribution of wealth that naturally emerges in late-stage capitalism. ..."
"... The above statement helps to prove my point that the indictments are not a vehicle for criminal prosecution, but part of a politically-motivated information campaign to damage Trump and vilify Russia. No one seriously believes that Mueller would ever try to prosecute this case based on the spurious and looney claims of a criminal conspiracy. The whole idea is laughable. ..."
"... We found it interesting that Rob Goldman, who is the Vice President of Facebook Ads, tweeted this revealing disclaimer on Monday which Trump posted on Twitter: ..."
"... Bottom line: The indictments were very good news for Donald Trump, but very bad news for Robert Mueller who appears to have run into a brick wall. But has he? Has Mueller abandoned the attacks on Trump or is there something else going on just below the surface? ..."
"... I can only guess at the answer, but it looks to me like Trump may have made a deal to support the attacks on Russia provided he is acquitted on charges of collusion. That's what he's wanted from the beginning, so, maybe he won this round? Here's one of his recent tweets that helps to support my theory: ..."
"... Hmmm? So Trump now Trump is okay with blaming Russia as long as he's not included too? Is that what he's saying? ..."
"... Okay, so now Trump is turning the tables and saying, 'Yeah, maybe Russia has been 'sowing discord', but the Democrats are the ones you should be blaming not me.'So Trump is not opposed to demonizing Russia, he's just opposed to demonizing Donald John Trump. That's where he draws the line. ..."
"... The problem is that Trump's biggest supporters want him to continue struggle against "The Swamp". They want him to fight for their interests and expose the crooked goings-on behind the Russiagate scandal. They want him to lift up the rock that conceals the activities of the National Security State so everyone can see the maggots squirming below. That's what they want, a modern-day Samson who shakes the temple's pillars and brings the whole crooked system crashing down around him. ..."
"... These same people are hopeful that the Nunes memo and the Grassley-Graham "criminal referral" are just the tip of the iceberg that will inevitably lead to the bigger fish involved in this deep-state conspiracy, namely former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Former FBI Director James Comey, and very likely, Barack Hussein Obama himself. What role did these men play in spying on the Trump campaign? Were they actively trying to sabotage the elections by giving Hillary an edge? Should a second Special Counsel be appointed to investigate whether crimes were committed in their targeting of the Trump team? ..."
"... Trump's backers hope that he is principled and pugnacious enough to go nose-to-nose with these Intel agency serpents and give them the bloody whooping they so richly deserve. Unfortunately, I don't see any evidence that that's what he has in mind ..."
"... Goldman, an executive at Zucc's Book, displayed evidence at a House Committee hearing of Russian bots trolling the US by portraying Sanders as 'sexy' and Trump as a hero. These memes were generally amusing but largely ineffectual. The idea of election meddling by Russia to elect Trump has largely been debunked, and both the Left and the Right now see it as a distraction to the real issue: Deep State malfeasance. ..."
"... Trump has to realize that he would be neutered by the continuance of the Mueller witchhunt, so I think that if it is a deal, it is tactical for the present. ..."
"... in my view, the Democrats overplayed their hand by calling this clickbait scam the "equivalent of Pearl Harbor" and make pushback more likely. ..."
"... Whitney can't bring himself to say Mueller has been, for decades, 'historically, criminally corrupt with longtime habit of maintaining a DoJ cover for CIA.' As well, why does Mike exclude mentioning Seymour Hersh and Kim Dotcom concerning the proposed fact Seth Rich leaked the DNC mails? He sticks with a weak 'we really don't know' line of bs. ..."
"... Grassley wants the DoJ personalities to fall on their swords while Feinstein is besides herself, going crazy, as the investigation into President Skunk implodes around the Steele Dossier. It's like an exclusive 'serial-killers only' swingers' club where everybody is tired of the limited opportunity at couplings, yet their sex addiction requires everyone screwing everyone out of habit and everyone hates everyone's guts. At some point, the entire crew will resort to some new mass murder, like allowing war in Korea, to get it all back on track ..."
"... There is no crime called "collusion". So Trump cannot be "acquitted", let alone be charged with something that is not a crime. Apparently the deep state and media's repetition of "collusion" has duped not just the public, but this author with thinking it is some kind of crime. ..."
"... Trump needs the swamp to produce politicized intel for his campaigns against Iran and Venezuela (plus a dozen other countries which don't threaten the US). He needs the hated MSM (not much more than the swamp's media branch) to sell the Iran war to his voters, who are supposed to pay for it. He needs his shady relatives to stay OUT of prison, where several of them seem to belong (of course, papa Kushner has already spent time inside). So appeasement it is. ..."
"... Sorry, but on the whole Trump voters are too dumb to pose much of an obstacle. They like the campaigns against Iran because of religion, and against Venezuela because of "socialism". They didn't raise a peep when it became clear that THEIR money would all go to the Armies of Mordor. That this is "Saddam-WMD-9/11″ all over again just hasn't registered with them, and never will. Just like Trump winning his primary running against outside money, and immediately afterwards selling out for Adelson's shekels–it exceeds the deplorables' attention span, so it never happened. Keep harping on immigrants and it's all good; razzle-dazzle them, as it was called in the Chicago movie. ..."
"... So on the whole, yes, already since his inauguration it has been clear that The Donald is mostly playing along, as long as he'll be allowed to stay president ..."
"... So Trump is not opposed to demonizing Russia, he's just opposed to demonizing Donald John Trump. That's where he draws the line. ..."
"... Well guys, if there's anyone here who still abides by the '5-D chess' theory, I think it's time to face facts: Trump has thrown us all under the bust to save himself. Expect a war in Syria, or Ukraine, or maybe both. ..."
"... The indictments have no legal merit, they are a form of domestic propaganda and disinformation. The real target is the American people. ..."
"... That's pretty much what this banana republic's government is all about. One way or another, everything they do is designed to ultimately squeeze something out of us dumb 'Merkin proles and peasants ..."
"... I was expecting more of a profile in courage under the tutelage of someone smarter than Trump; instead we are seeing another profile in venality and stupidity. ..."
"... US has too many laws that are ambiguous beyond belief, almost anything can be declared a 'crime'. Plus you have limited disclosure due to national security ('methods and sources subterfuge always works). Volunteering for a political show trial doesn't work. ..."
"... Pentagon vs neoliberal CIA for upper hand at the White House with Bibi (via AIPAC) solidly on the side of Pence, probably not if, but much more likely when, Trump is taken down. ..."
"... The RussiaGate affairs and collusion charge are the obvious "Banksters United" coup run with a stunning degree of incompetence. Russia must be demonized because of her mineral resources, which are still not available for free, and because of her "wrong" behavior in Syria. Bansksters need this war. Arm producers and dealers need this war. Only the apparent danger of suicide by nuclear answer stops the banksters and other war profiteers from an immediate attack against Russian Federation. ..."
"... The FBI and the CIA are the hired gangster organizations for the banksters. If the FBI and the CIA cared about national security, the US would not suffer the infamy of Awan affair, CrowdStrike "conclusions," and the US support for Daesh/ISIS/Al Qaida in the Middle East, as well as the US support for neo-Nazis in Ukraine. The US taxpayers have been financing both ISIS and neo-Nazis because banksters decided so. ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | www.unz.com

Here's your legal koan for the day: When is an indictment not an indictment?

Answer– When there is no intention of initiating a criminal case against the accused. In the case of the 13 Russian trolls who have just been indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, there is neither the intention nor the ability to prosecute a case against them. (They are all foreign nationals who will not face extradition.)

But, if that's the case, than why would Mueller waste time and money compiling a 37-page document alleging all-manner of nefarious conduct when he knew for certain that the alleged perpetrators would never be prosecuted? Why?

Isn't is because the indictments are not really a vehicle for criminal prosecution, but a vehicle for political grandstanding? Isn't that the real purpose of the indictments, to add another layer of dirt to the mountain of unreliable, uncorroborated, unproven allegations of Russian meddling. Mueller is not acting in his capacity as Special Counsel, he is acting in his role of deep state hatchet-man whose job is to gather scalps by any means necessary.

Keep in mind, the subjects of the indictment will never be apprehended, never hire an attorney, never be in a position to defend themselves or refute the charges, and never have their case presented before and judge or a jury. They will be denied due process of law and the presumption of innocence. Mueller's ominous-sounding claims, which were the centerpiece of his obscene media extravaganza, made sure of that. In most people's minds, the trolls are guilty of foreign espionage and that's all there is to it. Case closed.

But the indictments themselves suggest that Mueller's narrative is wrong. The objective was not to influence the election, but make money by getting viewers to "click on" advertisements. Check it out:

"Defendants and their co-conspirators also used the accounts to receive money from real U.S. persons in exchange for posting promotions and advertisements on the ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages. Defendants and their co-conspirators typically charged certain U.S. merchants and U.S. social media sites between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content on their popular false U.S. persona accounts, including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist."

That sounds like a money-making scheme to me not an attempt to subvert US democracy. So why is Mueller in such a lather? Isn't this all just an attempt to divert attention from the fact that the Nunes' investigation has produced proof that senior-level officials at the FBI and DOJ were "improperly obtaining" FISA warrants to spy on members of the Trump Campaign? Isn't that what's really going on?

If we can agree that the indictments were not intended to bring the "accused" to justice, then don't we also have to agree that there must have been an ulterior motive for issuing them? And what might that ulterior motive be? What are the real objectives of the investigation, to cast a shadow on an election that did not produce the results that powerful members of the entrenched bureaucracy wanted, to make it look like Donald Trump did not beat Hillary Clinton fair and square, and to further demonize a geopolitical rival that has blocked Washington's imperial ambitions in Syria and Ukraine? Which of these is the real driving force behind Russiagate or is it 'all of the above?'

Nothing will come of the indictments because the indictments were not designed reveal the truth or bring the accused to justice. They were written to shape public perceptions and to persuade the American people that Trump cheated in the elections and that Russia poses a serious threat to US national security. The indictments have no legal merit, they are a form of domestic propaganda and disinformation. The real target is the American people.

It's worth noting, that if Mueller really wanted to get to the bottom of the Russia-gate allegations, he would interview the people who have first-hand knowledge what actually happened. He would question Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) and Craig Murray, both of whom have stated publicly that they know who stole the Podesta emails.

Mueller hasn't done that, nor has he contacted the VIPs (Ray McGovern, William Binney, Skip Folden, etc) who did extensive forensic investigation of the "hacking" allegations and proved that the emails were not hacked but leaked. Mueller has not pursued that line of inquiry either. Nor has he interviewed California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who met with Assange personally and who has suggested that Assange may reveal the name (of the DNC "leaker") under the right conditions. Instead of questioning witnesses, Mueller has spent a great deal of time probing the online activities Russian trolls who were engaged in a money-making scheme that was in no way connected to the Russian government, in no way connected to the Trump campaign, and in no way supportive of the claims of hacking or collusion. None of this reflects well on Mueller who, by any stretch, appears to be either woefully incompetent or irredeemably biased.

The indictment states that the organization that employed the trolls "had the strategic purpose of sowing political discord in the United States." This seems to be a recurrent theme that has popped up frequently in the media as well. The implication is that the Russians are the source of the widening divisions in the US that are actually the result of growing public angst over the lopsided distribution of wealth that naturally emerges in late-stage capitalism. Moscow has become the convenient scapegoat for the accelerated parasitism that has seen 95% of the nation's wealth go to a sliver of people at the top of the foodchain, the 1 percent. (But that's another story altogether.) Here's a brief clip from the portentous-sounding indictment:

"The general conspiracy statute creates an offense "[i]f two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose .

The intent required for a conspiracy to defraud the government is that the defendant possessed the intent (a) to defraud, (b) to make false statements or representations to the government or its agencies in order to obtain property of the government, or that the defendant performed acts or made statements that he/she knew to be false, fraudulent or deceitful to a government agency, which disrupted the functions of the agency or of the government. It is sufficient for the government to prove that the defendant knew the statements were false or fraudulent when made."

The above statement helps to prove my point that the indictments are not a vehicle for criminal prosecution, but part of a politically-motivated information campaign to damage Trump and vilify Russia. No one seriously believes that Mueller would ever try to prosecute this case based on the spurious and looney claims of a criminal conspiracy. The whole idea is laughable.

There are a couple interesting twists and turns regarding the indictments that could be significant, but, then again, maybe not. We found it interesting that Rob Goldman, who is the Vice President of Facebook Ads, tweeted this revealing disclaimer on Monday which Trump posted on Twitter:

"I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal."

Then there are the puzzling comments by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who said on Friday:

"There's no allegation in this indictment that any American had any knowledge. And the nature of the scheme was the defendants took extraordinary steps to make it appear that they were ordinary American political activists, even going so far as to base their activities on a virtual private network here in the United States so, if anybody traced it back to that first jump, they appeared to be Americans ."

Do you notice anything unusual about Rosenstein's remarks? There's no mention of Trump at all, which is a striking omission since all of previous public announcements have been used to strengthen the case against Trump. Now that's changed. Why? Naturally, Trump picked up on Rosenstein's omission and blasted this triumphant message on Twitter:

"Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein stated at the News Conference: "There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election." Donald Trump

So, what's going on here? Mueller and Rosenstein are smart guys. They must have known that Trump would use the dates and the absence of anything remotely suggesting collusion as vindication. Was that the purpose, to let Trump off the hook while the broader propaganda campaign on Russia continues?

This is the great mystery surrounding the indictments, far from helping to establish Trump's culpability, they appear to imply his innocence. Why would Mueller and his allies want to do that? Are the Intel agencies and the FBI looking for a way to end this political cage-match before a second Special Counsel is appointed and he starts digging up embarrassing information about the involvement of other agencies (and perhaps, the White House) in the Russiagate fiasco?
Just think about it for a minute: There is nothing in the indictments that suggests that Trump or anyone in his campaign was involved with the Russian trolls. There is nothing in the indictments that suggests Trump was acting as a Russian agent. And there's nothing in the indictments that suggests the Russian government helped Trump win the election. Also, the timeline of events seems to favor Trump as does Rosenstein's claim that the online activity did not have "any effect on the outcome of the election."

Bottom line: The indictments were very good news for Donald Trump, but very bad news for Robert Mueller who appears to have run into a brick wall. But has he? Has Mueller abandoned the attacks on Trump or is there something else going on just below the surface?

I can only guess at the answer, but it looks to me like Trump may have made a deal to support the attacks on Russia provided he is acquitted on charges of collusion. That's what he's wanted from the beginning, so, maybe he won this round? Here's one of his recent tweets that helps to support my theory:

"I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said "it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer." The Russian "hoax" was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!" Donald Trump

Hmmm? So Trump now Trump is okay with blaming Russia as long as he's not included too? Is that what he's saying? Here's more in the same vein:

"If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!" Donald Trump

Okay, so now Trump is turning the tables and saying, 'Yeah, maybe Russia has been 'sowing discord', but the Democrats are the ones you should be blaming not me.'So Trump is not opposed to demonizing Russia, he's just opposed to demonizing Donald John Trump. That's where he draws the line.

What's wrong with that? If Trump's enemies want to provide him with a Get-Outta-Jail-Free card, then why shouldn't he snatch it up and put this whole goofy probe behind him? That's what most people would do.

The problem is that Trump's biggest supporters want him to continue struggle against "The Swamp". They want him to fight for their interests and expose the crooked goings-on behind the Russiagate scandal. They want him to lift up the rock that conceals the activities of the National Security State so everyone can see the maggots squirming below. That's what they want, a modern-day Samson who shakes the temple's pillars and brings the whole crooked system crashing down around him.

These same people are hopeful that the Nunes memo and the Grassley-Graham "criminal referral" are just the tip of the iceberg that will inevitably lead to the bigger fish involved in this deep-state conspiracy, namely former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Former FBI Director James Comey, and very likely, Barack Hussein Obama himself. What role did these men play in spying on the Trump campaign? Were they actively trying to sabotage the elections by giving Hillary an edge? Should a second Special Counsel be appointed to investigate whether crimes were committed in their targeting of the Trump team?

All of these questions need to be answered in order to clear the air, hold the guilty parties accountable and restore confidence in the government. Trump's backers hope that he is principled and pugnacious enough to go nose-to-nose with these Intel agency serpents and give them the bloody whooping they so richly deserve. Unfortunately, I don't see any evidence that that's what he has in mind . We'll see.


ChrisD , February 22, 2018 at 5:48 am GMT

Goldman, an executive at Zucc's Book, displayed evidence at a House Committee hearing of Russian bots trolling the US by portraying Sanders as 'sexy' and Trump as a hero. These memes were generally amusing but largely ineffectual. The idea of election meddling by Russia to elect Trump has largely been debunked, and both the Left and the Right now see it as a distraction to the real issue: Deep State malfeasance.

Those Never Trumpers in the Dems and McCain camps are now left disgraced and humiliated and their only allies are WaPo, NYT, CNN and a few other fake news outlets. The test for Trump will be whether he can take a wrecking ball to the FBI and Department of State and to truly cleanse the bureaucracy of ne'er-do-wells who have constantly been undermining him from the beginning.

exiled off mainstreet , February 22, 2018 at 6:25 am GMT
I think the author is correct in his assumptions. One area of hope, though, is that the allegations are so ridiculous and others have pointed out, for instance, that the Australian Labor party sent operatives to the US to help defeat Trump, and Trump has to realize that he would be neutered by the continuance of the Mueller witchhunt, so I think that if it is a deal, it is tactical for the present.

As the article indicates, Trump would lose a lot of his support if he follows through on the deal. Also, pro-Trump websites are continuing on with the drumbeat against Mueller, and in my view, the Democrats overplayed their hand by calling this clickbait scam the "equivalent of Pearl Harbor" and make pushback more likely.

I think that one thing the indictment has accomplished is to reveal to anybody not paid to think otherwise that the yankee imperium entered the post-legal era years ago, and that the legitimacy of the yankee state has totally evaporated.

Ronald Thomas West , February 22, 2018 at 7:17 am GMT

Isn't is because the indictments are not really a vehicle for criminal prosecution, but a vehicle for political grandstanding? Isn't that the real purpose of the indictments, to add another layer of dirt to the mountain of unreliable, uncorroborated, unproven allegations of Russian meddling. Mueller is not acting in his capacity as Special Counsel, he is acting in his role of deep state hatchet-man whose job is to gather scalps by any means necessary [...] It's worth noting, that if Mueller really wanted to get to the bottom of the Russia-gate allegations, he would interview the people who have first-hand knowledge what actually happened. He would question Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) and Craig Murray, both of whom have stated publicly that they know who stole the Podesta emails.[sic][...] None of this reflects well on Mueller who, by any stretch, appears to be either woefully incompetent or irredeemably biased

Misdirection here by Mike Whitney. Whitney can't bring himself to say Mueller has been, for decades, 'historically, criminally corrupt with longtime habit of maintaining a DoJ cover for CIA.' As well, why does Mike exclude mentioning Seymour Hersh and Kim Dotcom concerning the proposed fact Seth Rich leaked the DNC mails? He sticks with a weak 'we really don't know' line of bs.

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2017/09/16/incompetent-espionage-wikileaks-iii/ https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/02/07/bob-manson-charlie-mueller/

These same people are hopeful that the Nunes memo and the Grassley-Graham "criminal referral" are just the tip of the iceberg that will inevitably lead to the bigger fish involved in this deep-state conspiracy, namely former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Former FBI Director James Comey, and very likely, Barack Hussein Obama himself. What role did these men play in spying on the Trump campaign? Were they actively trying to sabotage the elections by giving Hillary an edge? Should a second Special Counsel be appointed to investigate whether crimes were committed in their targeting of the Trump team?

Yeah, well Mike, 'hope springs eternal' is the apropos folk wisdom. Why not look at this instead:

"Of course, none of this will be brought out by the Congressional intelligence committees, to collapse the credibility of 'three amigos' Special Counsel Mueller, fired Director Comey & present FBI boss Wray to help kill the 'Russia collusion' farce; because all parties are complicit and tainted in the cover-up. Grassley wants the DoJ personalities to fall on their swords while Feinstein is besides herself, going crazy, as the investigation into President Skunk implodes around the Steele Dossier. It's like an exclusive 'serial-killers only' swingers' club where everybody is tired of the limited opportunity at couplings, yet their sex addiction requires everyone screwing everyone out of habit and everyone hates everyone's guts. At some point, the entire crew will resort to some new mass murder, like allowing war in Korea, to get it all back on track " (See second link, preceding.)

Ron West

Backwoods Bob , February 22, 2018 at 7:32 am GMT
There is no crime called "collusion". So Trump cannot be "acquitted", let alone be charged with something that is not a crime. Apparently the deep state and media's repetition of "collusion" has duped not just the public, but this author with thinking it is some kind of crime.

That's the purpose of endlessly repeating this vague term in pejorative rhetoric, without ever referencing a criminal statute like the Foreign Agent Registration Act or whatever.

This gigantic diversionary twaddle has worked because the seditionists have still not been stopped. I'm not real optimistic about it, but there are some positive developments. There is a big disappointment in the offing with the Inspector General report coming out soon. Horowitz is a deep state operative who has covered for the Clintons in the past. They have to do something, so expect a limited hangout or partial whitewash. That way the drug and weapons ratlines can continue to fund our unconscionable acts across the globe.

Ma Laoshi , February 22, 2018 at 9:42 am GMT
Trump needs the swamp to produce politicized intel for his campaigns against Iran and Venezuela (plus a dozen other countries which don't threaten the US). He needs the hated MSM (not much more than the swamp's media branch) to sell the Iran war to his voters, who are supposed to pay for it. He needs his shady relatives to stay OUT of prison, where several of them seem to belong (of course, papa Kushner has already spent time inside). So appeasement it is.

Sorry, but on the whole Trump voters are too dumb to pose much of an obstacle. They like the campaigns against Iran because of religion, and against Venezuela because of "socialism". They didn't raise a peep when it became clear that THEIR money would all go to the Armies of Mordor. That this is "Saddam-WMD-9/11″ all over again just hasn't registered with them, and never will. Just like Trump winning his primary running against outside money, and immediately afterwards selling out for Adelson's shekels–it exceeds the deplorables' attention span, so it never happened. Keep harping on immigrants and it's all good; razzle-dazzle them, as it was called in the Chicago movie.

So on the whole, yes, already since his inauguration it has been clear that The Donald is mostly playing along, as long as he'll be allowed to stay president . The question remains if (just like Putin in Syria) he isn't trying to appease something which won't be appeased–maybe Trump thinks he has a deal, but his enemies, while technically backing off from the collusion claim, will still squeeze his relatives so hard on their finances and other shenanigans that something breaks. I say: would serve Trump right for sleeping with the dogs.

Jim Christian , February 22, 2018 at 10:03 am GMT
Intriguing if these 13 Russians turned up at US District Court for a chat with a Federal Prosecutor with the International press in tow. It would be lovely to have Vlad present his people for investigation and trial. Mueller set these 13 up, again, 'knowing' he would never have to prove a damned thing and so, there are many embellishments. Mueller 'knows' he'll never try them, but he also 'knew', as they ALL did, that Hillary was getting in and so these crimes would never come to light.

Love to have Putin blow up yet another thing these folks thought they 'knew'. I'd contribute to the GoFundMe for the best lawyers there are..

Seamus Padraig , February 22, 2018 at 10:32 am GMT

So Trump is not opposed to demonizing Russia, he's just opposed to demonizing Donald John Trump. That's where he draws the line.

Bingo. Well guys, if there's anyone here who still abides by the '5-D chess' theory, I think it's time to face facts: Trump has thrown us all under the bust to save himself. Expect a war in Syria, or Ukraine, or maybe both.

It's all up to Nunes now. Let's hope he doesn't sell us out, too:

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/19/nunes-fbi-and-doj-perps-could-be-put-on-trial/

jacques sheete , February 22, 2018 at 11:20 am GMT

The indictments have no legal merit, they are a form of domestic propaganda and disinformation. The real target is the American people.

That's pretty much what this banana republic's government is all about. One way or another, everything they do is designed to ultimately squeeze something out of us dumb 'Merkin proles and peasants , especially us stupid goyim.

The rest is mere detail. Understanding that saves a lot of time and energy.

Twodees Partain , February 22, 2018 at 1:38 pm GMT
@ChrisD

"The test for Trump will be whether he can take a wrecking ball to the FBI and Department of State "

He could have done that a year ago. Trump has left more people loyal to Obama in their jobs than would have thought possible. His advisors are all seemingly pushing their own agendas and haven't clued him in on the fact that he has Obama's bureaucracy snapping at his ankles and he needs to go on a firing rampage.

I doubt that he even knows who he can fire outright and who would have to be moved into another department.

Twodees Partain , February 22, 2018 at 1:59 pm GMT
The Duran has another article that busts Mueller's game:

http://theduran.com/13-russian-trolls-indictment-debunked-by-journalist-profiled-the-operation-in-2015/

According to the author, this troll farm had 90 employees assigned to the American market who designed clickbait ads using titles that would attract doofuses wanting to read articles on their favorite subjects related to the election.

If you surf the net without a good adblocker, you'll see all these clickbait ads with titles like "Defeat Trump with one weird trick", or "What Trump said to Hillary off stage will astonish you" in an attempt to get the reader to go to their site and buy something.

That's what these trolls were doing, and it had nothing to do with influencing voters.

lavoisier , Website February 22, 2018 at 2:06 pm GMT
@Seamus Padraig

Bingo. Well guys, if there's anyone here who still abides by the '5-D chess' theory, I think it's time to face facts: Trump has thrown us all under the bust to save himself. Expect a war in Syria, or Ukraine, or maybe both.

It does really look like this is true. I was expecting more of a profile in courage under the tutelage of someone smarter than Trump; instead we are seeing another profile in venality and stupidity.

ante , February 22, 2018 at 2:20 pm GMT
there have been thousands of such people in Balkans, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, who set up web pages and made money on advertising, who used the presidential election, as honey pot. Mueller is such an idiot, that he does not know it. Sorry, he is so clever, to go only after russian trace. you can start here:

https://www.wired.com/2017/02/veles-macedonia-fake-news/

Beckow , February 22, 2018 at 2:55 pm GMT
@The Alarmist

send a couple of the indictees over to stand trial, and hire some lefty-lawyer like Dershowitz to defend them

That was my initial reaction. But that assumes that a Washington court would not be a show trial with emphasis on process minutia, e.g. 'identity theft' and some financial violations. With media in overdrive proving their hyper-patriotism.

US has too many laws that are ambiguous beyond belief, almost anything can be declared a 'crime'. Plus you have limited disclosure due to national security ('methods and sources subterfuge always works). Volunteering for a political show trial doesn't work.

We just have to let it go, it is now a 'crime' for foreigners to criticise US politicians without first registering with Washington. Quite a beacon of freedom for the world.

Jingo Starr , February 22, 2018 at 3:03 pm GMT
Indicting foreign election interference trolls sets a precedent for prosecuting domestic election interference trolls. The domestic election interference trolls spent hundreds of millions and left very prolific financial and digital footprints. Jim Messina shouldn't be sleeping easy.
Bill , February 22, 2018 at 3:19 pm GMT
@Twodees Partain

Trump's failure to fire people by the truckload during the first week of his presidency is a topic worth exploring. Probably we won't know why he failed to do this until after his presidency sometime, but it is a curious choice given how widespread and intense was the hatred of him.

Ronald Thomas West , Website February 22, 2018 at 3:56 pm GMT
@Bill

We can know why now. Trump was kneecapped from day one in the Oval Office and he's surrounded by treasonous people who'll either keep him in line or step out of the way of Trump's political enemies. Pence and his ideologically (theologically, actually) aligned Christian Zionist generals have it under control:

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/02/11/president-held-hostage/

Meanwhile Trump is the perfect idiot to take the heat and end up holding the bag. The momentary big, inside fight, is fundamentalist Christian Pentagon vs neoliberal CIA for upper hand at the White House with Bibi (via AIPAC) solidly on the side of Pence, probably not if, but much more likely when, Trump is taken down.

That fool actually believed he would be allowed to become President. Well, he was wrong. He got the title, he gets the heat, but he'll never be allowed to exercise the power.

Anonymous Disclaimer , February 22, 2018 at 4:00 pm GMT
@Bill

Trump belongs to the Ruling Class. If he didn't, the rulers never would have selected him as president. I thought the producers had brought in the Trump character to change the direction of the play. But no, still the same old Empire first, the rich second, and everything else later. How much did the Trump family save from the new tax law? That's another story all together.

edNels , February 22, 2018 at 4:07 pm GMT
Back in the day, when knights were bold, prosecutors for real, laws were understood by all , they laid their turds beside the road, and walked away contented!

Sheesh anyhow, This Comey, and his side kick Mueller are doing pretty good job of what they are charged with, (to do that is charged with a task.) of charging Russians, those dirty Boris's and Natashia's over there in the dark forrest somewhere.

A ticket a tasket, the case is in a basket, (basket case, of course) and Comey and Mueller are excellent in their roles, playing to a tough crowd, masterful impressions of Lerch and Herman Munster.

What is the real job? could it be to extend childhood and adelescence (strike that) wrong thought . dupdada here it is: could it be that the real job is to extend the election process FOOD FIGHT, indeterminately, thus displacing the expectations normally accruing to a change of administrations. That is a serious sounding term for adults, not for the kids. ADMINISTRATION suit wearing mthfrkrs all around, all dry fake talk masking every possible meaning and to what end?

That boat left the pier now the population is only to be amused, more of the same Food Fight please!

You have an evolution of pollution of the process of regress into the abstraction/distraction. Mad Hatter's Tea Party, now the new norm, and it seems to work,

We've grown too cynical for the likes of Columbo, or Perry Mason, etc.

EliteCommInc. , February 22, 2018 at 6:44 pm GMT
The investigation like the Sword of Damocles may indeed get Pres Trump to further compromise his agenda as per the campaign. However, those who lost the election have no intention of of giving an inch. if at all possible, they intend to get rid of Pres Trump because he waylaid there plans. Unfortunately they are incorrect, it was Pres Trump, it was their agenda and and a solid opposition to it that defeated them during the election.

Since the attempt to remove him includes the Russia investigation and it various tentacles I intend to defend the current President as much possible.

Major Sjursen and Dr. Bacivich – ya ya ya I know . . . he's a this and a that . . . ) seem to have reached the same conclusion – once in it's "heck to fight" the preordained agenda.

annamaria , February 22, 2018 at 7:40 pm GMT
@exiled off mainstreet

The RussiaGate affairs and collusion charge are the obvious "Banksters United" coup run with a stunning degree of incompetence. Russia must be demonized because of her mineral resources, which are still not available for free, and because of her "wrong" behavior in Syria. Bansksters need this war. Arm producers and dealers need this war. Only the apparent danger of suicide by nuclear answer stops the banksters and other war profiteers from an immediate attack against Russian Federation.

The moneyed and powerful psychopaths-in-charge are enraged that the wealth of other nations is still outside their reach becasue of Russian "stubborness." The US/UK banking section is the main engine behind the supreme crimes of aggression in the Middle East and Ukraine (the ongoing civil war there had been initiated on the CIA instructions in 2014; see Brennan "secret" visit to Kiev on the eve of military actions against the civilian populations of Eastern Ukraine: https://themoscowtimes.com/news/russian-media-report-cia-director-held-secret-consultations-in-kiev-33897 ).

The FBI and the CIA are the hired gangster organizations for the banksters. If the FBI and the CIA cared about national security, the US would not suffer the infamy of Awan affair, CrowdStrike "conclusions," and the US support for Daesh/ISIS/Al Qaida in the Middle East, as well as the US support for neo-Nazis in Ukraine. The US taxpayers have been financing both ISIS and neo-Nazis because banksters decided so.

annamaria , February 22, 2018 at 7:48 pm GMT
"Banksters United" conference in Munich: http://www.voltairenet.org/article199781.html

"The Middle East as seen by Berlin

Germany invested a lot in the US project for the Middle East (the strategy of the destruction of societies and states, conceived by Admiral Arthur Cebrowski, but noticeably less in the British-US project for the " Arab Springs ". Since the Cold War, it has housed and supported several headquarters for the Muslim Brotherhood, including that of the Syrians in Aix-la-Chapelle. Germany took a part in the assassination of ex-Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafic Hariri. In 2012, it co-wrote the Feltman plan for the total and unconditional capitulation of Syria. At present, Volker Perthes, director of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, the state think-tank, is advisor to Jeffrey Feltman at the UNO. [Jeffrey David Feltman is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs. Feltman was born to Jewish parents in the US he speaks Hebrew, English, Arabic, French, and Hungarian.]

For several years, the internal documents of the European External Action Service (EEAS) are copied and pasted from Volker Perthes' notes for the German government. Volker Perthes was at Munich with Jeffrey Feltman and their friends, Lakdhar Brahimi, Ramzi Ramzi, Steffan de Mistura, Generals David Petraeus (the KKR was also represented by Christian Ollig) and John Allen (Brookings Institution), as well as Nasser al-Hariri, the President of the High Authority for Negotiations (pro-Saudi Syrian opposition), Raed al-Saleh, director of the White Helmets (Al-Qaïda) and their Qatari sponsors, including Emir Thamim."

There were also "three bosses – German BND (Bruno Kahl), British MI6 (Alex Younger) and the French DGSE (Bernard Emié), who explained in a private room, in front of an audience chosen for their naïveté, how nervous they were about the Turkish operation in Syria. The three men pretended to believe that the combatants of the YPG constitute the safest barrier against Daesh. Yet they were supposed to create the Frontier Security Force with certain ex-members of Daesh . It's clear that the job of these three super-spies is to know to whom they owe the truth, and to whom they can lie. Sustaining their momentum, they hinted that the Syrian Arab Army uses chemical weapons – profiting from the absence in the room of the US Secretary for Defence, Jim Mattis, who had testified a few days earlier that proof of this claim is inexistent."

-- Lies, obfuscations, and crimes. The "three bosses" [of national security services] are in service to Banksters, corporations, and arm dealers and producers. On the public dime, of course And is not it touching that Jeffrey Feltman [a veritable Israel-firster] designs the US military support for ISIS/Daesh in Syria?

Anonymous Disclaimer , February 22, 2018 at 8:04 pm GMT
@EliteCommInc.

The Government exists for the rich to control the slaves. The rich choose one of their own to be President. The patriotic slaves, aka zombie morons left and right, vote for the slave masters every four years. And argue over their merits. Oh, the Trump has a much nicer touch with the lash than Obama.

SunBakedSuburb , February 22, 2018 at 8:43 pm GMT
The DNC data was leaked by an insider -- some say by the murdered Seth Rich. The Podesta emails were hacked. And what that hack revealed was a network of wealthy pedophiles that included both Podesta brothers, John and Tony, and other D.C. notables like Maeve Luzzatto and James Alefantis. It's true that the PizzaGate conspiracy theory has been promoted by Twitter nutcases, but that doesn't mean there isn't truth in it.

Obama CIA Director James Brennan's heavy involvement in the Russia/election conspiracy theory might be a clue that the D.C. pedophile network might be a CIA blackmail operation, much as Jeffrey Epstein's private Caribbean island was used as a Mossad honey trap.

SunBakedSuburb , February 22, 2018 at 9:18 pm GMT
@lavoisier

"No greater friend of the Zionists than the fundamentalist Christians."

True. And thanks for using the term "Zionist" because not all Jews are Zionists and not all Zionists are Jews. Most American Jews, while supportive of Israel, are not Zionists. Most American Jews are a benefit to the communities they call home. Zionism is a globalist cult that must be unmasked and destroyed.

[Mar 23, 2018] It's amazing what obomber left around for the trumpster to use.

Mar 23, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: jo6pac | Mar 22, 2018 5:55:35 PM | 21

jo6pac , Mar 22, 2018 5:55:35 PM | 21
#4
It's amazing what obomber left around for the trumpster to use.

http://thehill.com/opinion/technology/379245-whats-genius-for-obama-is-scandal-when-it-comes-to-trump

[Mar 22, 2018] Now I'm F---ing Doing It My Way Trump Prepares For War With Mueller Zero Hedge

Mar 22, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Hours after the resignation of John Dowd , President Trump's lead attorney handling the special counsel investigation, Trump said he "would like to" testify in Robert Mueller's ongoing probe - a move panned by some, including Fox's Judge Napolitano, as a bad move .

The President's 180 comes after the White House legal team had reportedly been considering ways that President Trump might be able to testify - including giving written answers - with Trump's attorneys reportedly having been split on the terms of such a deal, reported the Wall Street Journal earlier this month.

But that's not Trump's style... After bringing on former federal prosecutor Joe diGenova on Monday - a former Special Counsel himself who went after both the Teamsters and former NY Governor Elliot Spitzer, Trump is reportedly taking the gloves off according to Vanity Fair 's Gabriel Sherman.

Earlier this month, Mueller crossed one of Trump's stated "red lines" when he subpoenaed Trump Organization business records. According to four Republicans in regular contact with the White House, the move spurred Trump to lose patience with his team of feuding lawyers. "Trump hit the roof," one source said. Today, Trump's personal lawyer John Dowd resigned under pressure from Trump.

diGenova - who said in January that the Obama administration engaged in a " brazen plot to exonerate Hillary Clinton " and " frame an incoming president with a false Russian conspiracy, " is married to Victoria Toensing - who, as we've mentioned, is a former Reagan Justice Department official and former chief counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"She's a killer," one Republican who knows the couple told Sherman.

Toensing also happens to represent FBI whistleblower William D. Campbell - who claims to have gathered evidence of a Russian "uranium dominance strategy" which included millions of dollars routed to a Clinton charity. Campbell testified before three Congressional committees in February.

The Campbell connection makes it all the more interesting since Trump is reportedly considering adding Toensing to his legal team. In other words, Trump would be teaming up with two veteran bulldog D.C. attorneys - one of whom ostensibly has evidence in the Uranium One scandal. As Sherman points out in Vanity Fair , " The hiring of Toensing would be a sign that Trump wants to flip the script and investigate his investigators . Appearing on Fox News, Toensing has called for a second special prosecutor to investigate Mueller, the logic being that he was F.B.I. director at the time that the Uranium One acquisition was approved. "

Following Mueller's subpoena of the Trump organization, Trump has been fuming. Last weekend, Trump encouraged John Dowd to call for an end to the Russia probe, according to Sherman. "On Sunday, Trump blasted Mueller as partisan, tweeting: " Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans ?""

And with the hire of Joe diGenova - it's obvious that Trump is bringing out the big guns for a direct confrontation with Mueller , after souring on his legal team's more diplomatic strategy:

Trump's new offensive is a sign that he's unilaterally abandoning the go-along, get-along strategy advocated by Dowd and Ty Cobb , the White House lawyer overseeing the response to Mueller. Cobb's standing with Trump has been falling for months, after Cobb made the now-infamous prediction that the Russia probe would be over by Thanksgiving 2017. Dowd assured Trump that he had a "great relationship with Mueller" and could manage him , according to sources. That obviously hasn't happened. " Trump just wants something to change and nothing was changing, " the outside adviser said. The genial and mustachioed Cobb has always been somewhat of an odd fit for Trump, whose mental picture of a lawyer is Roy Cohn, his early mentor. Sources said Trump reluctantly conceded to allow Cobb to play good cop . "Trump is looking at this saying, I did it your way for months, now I'm fucking doing it my way ," a former West Wing official said. (The White House did not respond to a request for comment.) - Vanity Fair

diGenova was reportedly recommended to Trump by Dave Bossie and Jeanine Piro - both of whom are outside advisors to Trump. That said, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Napolitano thinks Dowd's resignation and the decision to put Trump in front of Mueller's team would be a "disaster" for the President.

[Mar 22, 2018] Trump's National Security Chief Calls Russian Interference 'Incontrovertible'

Mar 22, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

MUNICH -- Just hours after the Justice Department indicted 13 Russians in what it charged was a broad conspiracy to alter the 2016 election, President Trump's national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, accused Moscow of engaging in a campaign of "disinformation, subversion and espionage" that he said Washington would continue to expose.

The evidence of a Russian effort to interfere in the election "is now incontrovertible," General McMaster said at the Munich Security Conference, an annual meeting of European and American diplomats and security experts, including several senior Russian officials. On Friday, just hours before the indictment, the top White House official for cyberissues accused Russia of "the most destructive cyberattack in human history," against Ukraine last summer.

Taken together, the statements appeared to mark a major turn in the administration's willingness to directly confront the government of President Vladimir V. Putin. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo also attended the Munich conference, and while they did not speak publicly, in private meetings with others here they reiterated similar statements.

The comments highlighted a sharp division inside the administration about how to talk about the Russian covert efforts, with only Mr. Trump and a few of his close advisers holding back from acknowledging the Russian role or talking about a larger strategy to deter future attacks.

The indictment characterized the cyberattacks and social media fraud as part of a larger effort by Russia to undermine the United States. A senior administration official called the effort to confront Russia "a significant point of contention" within the administration.

After the indictment on Friday Mr. Trump declared in a Twitter post that "the results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong -- no collusion!" He made no mention of Russia as a "revisionist power," the description used in his own National Security Strategy, or of the elaborate $1.2 million-a-month effort that the indictment indicated Russia's Internet Research Agency spent in an effort to discredit the election system and ultimately to support his candidacy.

Vice President Mike Pence, speaking this past week in Washington, misstated American intelligence conclusions about the election hacking, arguing "it is the universal conclusion of our intelligence communities that none of those efforts had any effect on the outcome of the 2016 election." The intelligence chiefs have said they have not, and cannot, reach such a conclusion.

Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, cited Mr. Pence's comments during the session here Saturday to make the case that Russia did nothing wrong. "So until we see the facts, everything else is just blabber," he said.

The man who served as the Russian ambassador to the United States during the period covered by the indictments, Sergey I. Kislyak, picked up on a favorite theme of Mr. Trump's: questioning the credibility of the F.B.I. and intelligence agency assessments.

"I have seen so many indictments and accusations against Russians," Mr. Kislyak said on Saturday afternoon. "I am not sure I can trust American law enforcement to be the most truthful source against Russians." He added, "The allegations being mounted against us are simply fantasies."

Mr. Kislyak, who has been caught up in the investigation because of meetings with Trump campaign officials during his time as ambassador, went on to cite a study, which he said he was keeping in his briefcase, that proved the "main source of computer attacks in the world is not Russia. It is the United States."

[Mar 20, 2018] When public officials and former public officials -- like Shumer, Brennan and Power -- make such public statements it must necessarily have a chilling effect on public criticism of the security services

Notable quotes:
"... in reality -- the security services have the skills-sets and the abilities, to do damage anyone they want to do damage to -- and to probably get away with it. ..."
"... Fast forward to January, 2017 and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer telling MSNBC's Rachael Maddow that President-elect Donald Trump is "being really dumb" by criticizing the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia's cyber activities: Shumer: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you, So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he's being really dumb to do this." No, Shumer wasn't joking. He was serious. ..."
"... Fast forward again to yesterday, March 17, 2018: Former CIA Director John Brennan wasn't joking when he reacted to the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe -- and President Donald Trump's tweeted celebration of it -- by tweeting this attack against Trump ..."
"... When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America. America will triumph over you. ..."
"... Obama UN Representative Samantha Power followed up on the Brennan tweet with this: "Not a good idea to piss off John Brennan." ..."
Mar 20, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Kurt Gayle , March 19, 2018 at 9:34 am

Does Peter Van Buren's criticism of the CIA's Haspel put him at risk?

In the 2003 film "Love Actually" the British Prime Minister (played by Hugh Grant) jokes with a Downing Street employee Natalie (Martine McCutcheon):

"PM: You live with your husband? Boyfriend, three illegitimate but charming children? --
"NATALIE: No, I've just split up with my boyfriend, so I'm back with my mum and dad for a while.
"PM: Oh. I'm sorry.
"NATALIE: No, it's fine. I'm well shot of him. He said I was getting fat.
"PM: I beg your pardon?
"NATALIE: He said no one's going to fancy a girl with thighs the size of big tree trunks. Not a nice guy, actually, in the end.
"PM: Right You know, being Prime Minister, I could just have him murdered.
"NATALIE: Thank you, sir. I'll think about it.
"PM: Do -- the SAS are absolutely charming -- ruthless, trained killers are just a phone call away."

It's just a film. It's just a joke. But the joke works because the public knows that -- in reality -- the security services have the skills-sets and the abilities, to do damage anyone they want to do damage to -- and to probably get away with it.

Fast forward to January, 2017 and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer telling MSNBC's Rachael Maddow that President-elect Donald Trump is "being really dumb" by criticizing the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia's cyber activities: Shumer: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you, So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he's being really dumb to do this." No, Shumer wasn't joking. He was serious.

Fast forward again to yesterday, March 17, 2018: Former CIA Director John Brennan wasn't joking when he reacted to the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe -- and President Donald Trump's tweeted celebration of it -- by tweeting this attack against Trump :

" When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America. America will triumph over you. "

Obama UN Representative Samantha Power followed up on the Brennan tweet with this: "Not a good idea to piss off John Brennan."

When public officials and former public officials -- like Shumer, Brennan and Power -- make such public statements it must necessarily have a chilling effect on public criticism of the security services.

After all, none of the three are joking. They're serious. And the American people know that they're serious.

Does Peter Van Buren's criticism of CIA operative Haspel put him at risk?

[Mar 20, 2018] Trump's Lawyers Hand Over Documents To Limit Scope Of Mueller Interview

Mar 20, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Barely a day after President Trump outraged his political opponents by calling out Special Counsel Robert Mueller by name in a series of angry tweets, the Washington Post is reporting that the president's legal team has provided written descriptions of certain key moments to the Mueller probe as they push to limit the scope of a presidential interview, should they agree to one.

According to the report, Trump has reportedly told aides that he's "champing at the bit" to sit for an interview. But his lawyers, who are carefully negotiating terms, have sought to restrain the president, worried he might inadvertently perjure himself or - worse - accidentally walk into a perjury trap.

Given the time-sensitive nature of the investigation (Trump and his allies would like it to end as swiftly as possible) Trump on Monday added storied Washington lawyer Joseph diGenova, the husband of former Reagan Justice Department official and former Senate Intelligence Committee chief counsel Victoria Toensing, to his legal team.

[Mar 14, 2018] Shelter From The Stormy

Mar 14, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Can Donald Trump be taken down? Life in Donald's America gets more farcical every day. We cannot dump the Donald despite our collective desire to. At this point most Americans would welcome any replacement. We are caught in a dangerous storm and we would trust near any neighbor to take us in. Even one as creepy as Mike Pence. Who will give us shelter from the storm? Lately it appears to be an aptly named porn star, Stormy Daniels. Porn is also the apt comparison for the Donald saga. Absurd, painful and relentlessly climatic. Meanwhile on CNN and more surreptitious browsers, porn rumbles on.

Leigh Raven and Riley Nixon released a YouTube video detailing some of the abuse they have taken at the hands of the porn industry. Just weeks ago we learned of Donald Trump's affair with porn star Stormy Daniels. Stormy has become the liberal media's latest sweetheart, perhaps second only to FBI man Bob Mueller. The real storms and droughts that are ravaging the natural world take a back seat to all scandalous details. Stopping the dismantling of environmental protections by Donald Trump could in theory make all frivolous investigations worth it. That is assuming that Mike Pence, Paul Ryan and co. are any better. I'd say don't count on it. With a smoother operator in town Democrats would be even more hapless in fighting for the environment. The Republican Party's libertarian commitment to dismantling the protections of the state would continue. The only sort of protection the rich want are protections from the people. This is done through militarizing the cops in poor communities. It is also done through taking away impediments to profit. Who needs safety regulations or environmental protections when they impede on the profits of the rich?

The mainstream media has paid little attention to Trump's war on the environment and has instead focused on abstract values, most namely a "liberal democracy." Too often democracy, especially a liberal democracy, is equated with capitalism. Freedom is defined by the individual's right to make a profit and to form an identity from this profit. This freedom is gained at expense of the earth and the people of the Global South. Global trade deals that abuse workers of poor countries and strip protections from the environment are seen as an expression of the never been freer global market. The right to find one's passion and voice is seen as the greatest freedom here in America. The people of other countries and the earth we stand upon get no voice. For every new invention and new expansion comes new exploitation and new destruction of the earth.

At the same time the value of democracy is being questioned by the elites because the poor supposedly brought us Donald Trump. The rich want to correct the mistakes of the poor through unelected bureaucrats like Bob Mueller. The rich fail to understand that in our society money means representation. The rich get the policies and politicians they want and the poor do not. The concerns about campaign finance reform and inequality brought up by the Bernie Sanders campaign and Occupy Wall St. are swept under the rug.

The dismissal of Sanders, Occupy and the like are part of a broader dismissal of young people. Millennials are cast off as lazy when they don't come out to vote for hopeless Democrats or heartless Republicans. On the contrary, I see the lack of young people voting as a sign of hope. We understand that our liberal capitalist democracy is not working, regardless of who runs the show. How we create a new world is a much more difficult question. I see denial of the old one as a fine first step.

The mainstream media is so out of touch with young people it has become a joke to even engage with the high brow liberal outlets, even the ones who are potentially quite thoughtful. Take this recent New Yorker article with an intriguing title: "Donald Trump and the Stress Test of Liberal Democracy". The author David Remnick quotes Yascha Mounk: "Mounk, who teaches government at Harvard, points out that one reason for the increasing indifference to democratic rule and the rising enthusiasm for authoritarian alternatives, particularly among young people, is the widening historical distance from any direct experience of the horrors of German Fascism or Soviet Communism." Huh? It has been the old people who are mislabeling Trump a fascist and Obama a communist. The young people see that both men are capitalists. It is the old people who are questioning the value of democracy. They are right to call Trump undemocratic in his actions. But they get really confused when they try to explain his success. How did he do it without the endorsement of established undemocratic American institutions they ask. They naturally just blame the dumb people who elected Trump rather than the capitalists who took away their education, jobs, and economic security.

To the author's point though I think that young people are seeing the limits of a an unequal liberal democracy. We have elections and free speech, which is awesome. But we have no time or money or long term security. The politicians answer overwhelmingly to corporate interests. How are we supposed to become politically involved?

The broader question we are asking is: how valuable is a society that liberates the individual at the expense of the society? This is the ideology of neoliberalism. Basically all actions are done with the word "liberal" in mine. Liberate the markets through stripping protections for workers and the planet. Liberate the Other in a distant land through military intervention. Liberate each person so they can make a profit off of people if they work hard enough or play dirty enough.

My only criticism of the millennial generation is that we have chosen to interact through self-focused and inherently isolating social media, internet, and entertainment platforms. It is very easy to construct a world of one's own online. Making a world that works for all of us must be done away from our phones, laptops and headphones.

The porn industry is seen as one of the ways our society is more liberated than ever before. Like other industries of consumption the conditions of the workers are ignored. If a product is cheap for the consumer it is seen as liberating. They say we have never had so many options to buy and consume things, which is true. But what about the people who make these things? What about the people who cannot get jobs because of this newfound efficiency? What about the resources we take from the earth as we consume? To each their own, the liberal democracy answers.

There was some justified horror about the death threats that porn star Mia Khalifa received from ISIS. ISIS is a child of the liberating American Empire but their actions are always blamed on the Muslim community. We are told that the East hates women and that the West loves women. We are told that "our" women are sexually free while "their" women are sexually oppressed. We are told that porn is a way for women to empower themselves. Like all relationships under the free market, the relationship between women and men are assumed to be "free and equal."

What then to make of this latest story from Leigh Raven and Riley Nixon? They were forced to eat apples to induce vomit from the blow jobs they were to give. The blow job induced choking and despite signals from the actors, the man in the scene would not let up. Raven says: "I got in trouble and was beat vigorously with the largest, strongest hands you can imagine," "I proceeded to get slapped in the face, I proceeded to be slapped on my ass, my thighs, my inner thighs, and at this point I begin to cry and now I'm not just crying because I'm deep-throating a dick." ."He recognized the fact that my legs were shaking and he found it funny and he made me sit up higher, which made it hurt a lot more," "I was being penetrated extremely, extremely deep" "I was squeezing his leg, his left thigh, I think, as hard as I could while pushing away and wincing in pain and tears coming down my face, and he would smack my hand away, say some sort of 'dumb white bitch' comment." ."I'm pretty sure, like, the first thing that happens in the intro video with Rico is he comes in and just slaps me across the face really hard, like really hard." ."I couldn't breathe, it went black, I saw stars, I was stunned. Near unconscious."

Why didn't they leave? Because they needed to pay rent. They feared repercussions, perhaps sexual ones, from their superiors. This is not so uncommon now for millennials, as sex for rent is something demanded by landlords too. As internet hero Jimmy McMillan tells us: the rent is just too damn high.

What the rich do not realize is that to survive under capitalism one must do whatever it takes to pay the bills. Incarcerating drug dealers who have no other way to make a living is one prevalent example of the punishing of the poor in an unequal society. Ultimately these stories are a result of the failure of the state to provide the basic needs for the individual. Now is the time for a Universal Basic Income. No one should have to live like this to survive.

Stormy Daniels is the latest beacon of hope for the liberals looking to take down Trump. Let's hope she succeeds. But just as Bob Mueller was paraded through the headlines everyday without a mention of the evils of the FBI, Stormy is brought up everyday without a mention of the cruelty of the porn industry. There is no mention of the negative implications of watching porn either. One would think there could be some links drawn between porn and the violence against women exposed through the #MeToo movement. Although as I have noted before, domestic violence remains an untouchable subject for the media. The toxic nature of porn has been well-documented by many feminists, most notably, Andrea Dworkin. Porn tells us that it is a freedom to be cruel to other people. Could anything better fit the mentality of Donald Trump?

Don't look for the defenders of a free market democracy to help us either. As nice as it may sound as a principle, the implications of such a self-centered society have been deadly. There are few left in the mainstream who question the ultimate freedom that capitalism brings to us. Stormy Daniels, Russia, or any other scandal may ultimately give us shelter from the storm of Donald Trump. The rent for this shelter unfortunately still depends on the benevolence of those with the freedom to exploit us under capitalism. Regardless of whether we survive Hurricane Donald, liberal democracy has a leaky roof. It will be up to those of us interested in a collective society to build something more durable.

[Mar 12, 2018] Man Cited As Trump's Russian Link Actually Works For The FBI Zero Hedge

Mar 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Felix Sater, the man at the center of a controversial email "tying" President Trump to Russia while trying to work a business deal, has come forward in a comprehensive BuzzFeed News Exposé, which if Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Anthony Cormier and co-author Jason Leopold hadn't verified - nobody would believe.

Sater went from a "Wall Street wunderkind" working at Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, to getting barred from the securities industry over a barroom brawl which led to a year in prison, to facilitating a $40 million pump-and-dump stock scheme for the New York mafia, to working telecom deals in Russia - where the FBI and CIA tapped him as an undercover intelligence asset who was told by his handler " I want you to understand: If you're caught, the USA is going to disavow you and, at best, you get a bullet in the head ."

... ... ...

Meanwhile, Sater is still working for the FBI , according to two current FBI agents. Moreover, he has relationships with at least six members of Robert Mueller's team, "some going back more than 10 years."

To this day, Sater continues to cooperate with the FBI and Justice Department, he said in his statement to the House Intelligence Committee. He wouldn't disclose additional details, except to say that he works on "international matters." Two US officials confirmed Sater continues to be a reliable asset.

As for his regular life, when he relocated back to the US in 2010, he recalled, "Donald said, 'Where have you been?'" Sater said Trump asked him to join the Trump Organization. "That's when I became senior advisor to him," he said. The Trump Organization and the White House declined to comment. - BuzzFeed

In effect, Sater - at least according to BuzzFeed , is more or less a rockstar opportunist spy with a shady past, who redeemed himself as an asset for the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the FBI. During the course of his work for the agencies, all unpaid, BuzzFeed confirmed the following exploits:

[Mar 11, 2018] Is Trump the New Clinton by Musa al-Gharbi

Notable quotes:
"... If Mueller's probe drags on and fails to produce a "smoking gun," the whole affair may end up seeming so complex, muddy, and partisan that most of the public would prefer to move on, eager to talk about something else . ..."
"... In 1996, Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole decided to take a hard line on China -- portraying the nation as a growing economic and geopolitical threat to the United States and a violator of international rules and norms. In response, China tried to leverage its extensive diplomatic , intelligence , and financial networks in the United States in order to sway the election in favor of Dole's rival, Democrat Bill Clinton. ..."
"... This is not a theory, it is historical fact: there was a major Congressional investigation . In the end, several prominent Democratic fundraisers, including close Clinton associates, were found to be complicit in the Chinese meddling efforts and pled guilty to various charges of violating campaign finance and disclosure laws (most notably James T. Riady , Johnny Chung , John Huang , and Charlie Trie ). Several others fled the country to escape U.S. jurisdiction as the probe got underway. The Democratic National Committee was forced to return millions of dollars in ill-gotten funds (although by that point, of course, their candidate had already won). ..."
"... Clinton authorized a series of controversial defense contracts with China as well -- despite Department of Justice objections . Federal investigators were concerned that the contractors seemed to be passing highly sensitive and classified information to the Chinese. And indeed, the companies in question were eventually found to have violated the law by giving cutting-edge missile technology to China, and paid unprecedented fines related to the Arms Export Control Act during the administration of George W. Bush. But they were inexplicably approved in the Bill Clinton years. ..."
Mar 11, 2018 | thebaffler.com

A president can be reelected despite corruption, foreign meddling, and sex scandals Bill Clinton was reelected with help from China. / The Baffler Imagine for a moment that special counsel Robert Mueller is unable to establish direct and intentional collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Or, suppose he proves collusion by a few former campaign aides but finds nothing directly implicating the president himself. In either event -- or in just about any other imaginable scenario -- it seems improbable that Congress will have the votes to impeach Trump or otherwise hold him accountable prior to 2020.

If Mueller's probe drags on and fails to produce a "smoking gun," the whole affair may end up seeming so complex, muddy, and partisan that most of the public would prefer to move on, eager to talk about something else .

In other words, Russiagate could well continue to distract and infuriate Trump without breaking his hold on power.

Is it shocking to think evidence of Russian chicanery could be shrugged off? Don't be shocked. After all, the last major case of foreign meddling and collusion in a U.S. presidential race didn't exactly end up rocking the republic.

In 1996, Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole decided to take a hard line on China -- portraying the nation as a growing economic and geopolitical threat to the United States and a violator of international rules and norms. In response, China tried to leverage its extensive diplomatic , intelligence , and financial networks in the United States in order to sway the election in favor of Dole's rival, Democrat Bill Clinton.

This is not a theory, it is historical fact: there was a major Congressional investigation . In the end, several prominent Democratic fundraisers, including close Clinton associates, were found to be complicit in the Chinese meddling efforts and pled guilty to various charges of violating campaign finance and disclosure laws (most notably James T. Riady , Johnny Chung , John Huang , and Charlie Trie ). Several others fled the country to escape U.S. jurisdiction as the probe got underway. The Democratic National Committee was forced to return millions of dollars in ill-gotten funds (although by that point, of course, their candidate had already won).

It was a scandal that persisted after the election in no small part because many of Clinton's own policies in his second term seemed to lend credence to insinuations of collusion.

Several prominent Democratic fundraisers, including close Clinton associates, were found to be complicit in Chinese meddling efforts and pled guilty to campaign finance violations.

Rather than attempting to punish the meddling country for undermining the bedrock of our democracy, Bill Clinton worked to ease sanctions and normalize relations with Beijing -- even as the U.S. ratcheted up sanctions against Cuba, Iran, and Iraq. By the end of his term, he signed a series of sweeping trade deals that radically expanded China's economic and geopolitical clout -- even though some in his administration forecast that this would come at the expense of key American industries and U.S. manufacturing workers.

Clinton authorized a series of controversial defense contracts with China as well -- despite Department of Justice objections . Federal investigators were concerned that the contractors seemed to be passing highly sensitive and classified information to the Chinese. And indeed, the companies in question were eventually found to have violated the law by giving cutting-edge missile technology to China, and paid unprecedented fines related to the Arms Export Control Act during the administration of George W. Bush. But they were inexplicably approved in the Bill Clinton years.

For a while, polls showed that the public found the president's posture on China to be so disconcerting that most supported appointing an independent counsel (a la Mueller) to investigate whether the Clinton Administration had essentially been " bought ."

Law enforcement officials shared these concerns: FBI director Louis Freeh (whom Clinton could not get rid of, having just fired his predecessor ) publically called for the appointment of an independent counsel. So did the chief prosecutor charged with investigating Chinese meddling, Charles La Bella . However, they were blocked at every turn by Clinton's Attorney General, Janet Reno -- eventually leading La Bella to resign in protest of the AG's apparent obstruction.

The 1996 Chinese collusion story, much like the 2016 Russian collusion story, dragged on for nearly two years -- hounding Clinton at every turn. That is, until it was discovered that the president had been having an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The 1996 Chinese collusion story dragged on for nearly two years -- hounding Clinton at every turn. That is, until the Monica Lewinsky scandal came along.

This was Bill Clinton's second known extra-marital affair with a subordinate : in the lead-up to his 1992 election it was also discovered that Clinton had been involved in a long-running affair with Gennifer Flowers -- an employee of the State of Arkansas during Bill's governorship there, appointed as a result of Clinton's intercession on her behalf.

The drama of the inquiry into Bill Clinton's myriad alleged sexual improprieties, the President's invocation of executive privilege to prevent his aides from having to testify against him, Clinton's perjury , subsequent impeachment by the House, acquittal in the Senate, and eventual plea-bargain deal -- these sucked the oxygen away from virtually all other stories related to the president.

Indeed, few today seem to remember that the Chinese meddling occurred at all. This despite continuing China-related financial improprieties involving both the Clintons and the DNC Chairman who presided over the 1996 debacle, Terry McAuliffe -- and despite the fact that the intended target of the current foreign meddling attempt just so happens to be married to the intended beneficiary of the last.

And the irony in this, of course, is that not only do we find ourselves reliving an apparently ill-fated collusion investigation, but the foreign meddling story is once again competing with a presidential sex scandal -- this time involving actual porn stars. (Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones both posed for Penthouse after their involvement with Clinton surfaced. Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal are well-established in the industry.)

Much like Bill Clinton, our current president has a long pattern of accusations of infidelity, sexual harassment and even assault. However all of Trump's alleged sexual misconduct incidents occurred before he'd assumed any public office. Therefore, although some Democrats hope to provide Trump's accusers an opportunity to testify before Congress if their party manages to retake the House in 2018, the legal impact of these accounts is likely to be nil. The political significance of such theater is likely being overestimated as well.


The danger for Democrats in all this is that they could get lulled into the notion that Trump's liabilities -- the Mueller probe, the alleged affairs, and whatever new scandals and outrages Trump generates in the next two years -- will be sufficient to energize and mobilize their base in 2020. Democratic insiders and fatcats are likely to think they can put forward the same sort of unpalatable candidate and platform they did last cycle -- only this time, they'll win! A strong showing in 2018 could even reinforce this sense of complacency -- leading to another debacle in the race for the White House in 2020.

Democrats consistently snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by believing they've got some kind of lock. Remember the " Emerging Democratic Majority " thesis? Remember Hillary Clinton's alleged 2016 " Electoral Firewall ?" What have the Democrats learned from 2016? The answer is, very little if they believe the essential problem was just James Comey and the Russians.

Here's one lesson Democrats would do well to internalize:

The party has won by running charismatic people against Republican cornflake candidates (see Clinton v. Bush I or Dole, or Obama v. McCain or Romney). Yet whenever Democrats find themselves squaring off against a faux-populist who plays to voters' base instincts, the party always make the same move: running a wonky technocrat with an impressive resume, detailed policy proposals, and little else.

Does it succeed in drawing a sharp contrast? Pretty much always. Does it succeed at winning the White House? Pretty much never: Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, and now Clinton.

Democrats could be headed for trouble if they are counting on the Mueller investigation to bring Trump down.

Democrats rely heavily on irregular voters to win elections; negative partisanship races tend to depress turnout for these constituents. More broadly, if left with a choice between a "lesser of two evils" the public tends to stick with the "devil they know." In short: precisely what Democrats don't need in 2020 is a negative partisanship race.

A referendum on Trump might not play out the way Democrats expect. Against all odds, it looks like the president will even have an actual record to run on . He should not be underestimated.

Clinton-style triangulation is also likely to backfire. Contemporary research suggests there just aren't a lot of " floating voters " up for grabs these days. Rather than winning over disaffected Republicans, this approach would likely just alienate the Democratic base.

The party's best bet is to instead focus on mobilizing the left by articulating a compelling positive message for why Americans should vote for them (rather than just against Trump). They will need to respond to Trump with a populist of their own -- someone who can credibly appeal to people in former Obama districts that Hillary Clinton lost . And they need to activate those who sat the last election out -- for instance by delivering for elements of their base that the party has largely taken for granted in recent cycles.

If the Democratic National Committee wants to spend its time talking about Russia and sex scandals instead of tending to these priorities, then we should all brace for another humiliating "black swan" defeat for the party in 2020.

But, you say, isn't Trump the least popular president ever after one year in office? Guess whose year-one (un)popularity is closest to Trump's? Ronald Reagan. He was under 50 percent in approval ratings at the end of his first year; but he went on to win reelection in an historic landslide. Barack Obama was barely breaking even after year one but won reelection comfortably. Bill Clinton was only slightly above 50 percent after his first year.

You know who else had the lowest approval rating in a quarter-century after Trump's first year in office? The Democratic Party.

Musa al-Gharbi is a Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in Sociology at Columbia University. Readers can connect to his research and social media via his website .

[Mar 10, 2018] Russian oligarchs represents the US fifth column in Russia created by Harward mafia in 1990th with this explicit purpose

Notable quotes:
"... Just think about who can go down with Trump is such a case. It's not only Bill and Hillary. It is also a very dangerous thing to open this can of worms as "the people" might learn something that neoliberal elite does not want them to know -- specifically the USA and intelligence agencies role in creating Russian mafia and oligarchs after the dissolution of the USSR. Do you, by any chance, know such a name as Andrei Shleifer and such a term as "Harvard Mafia" ? Please Google those if you do not. ..."
Mar 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Mark Logan , 10 March 2018 at 02:05 PM

My understanding is Fusion GPS does research for both sides. Soros giving them money is entirely plausible but assuming that money equals control is a bit of a leap.

It appears to be some Russians seeking to discredit the investigation with clever BS/truthiness.

I suspect a few absurdly wealthy Russians harbor a deep fear of Mueller. They may believe he is primarily after them and they may be right. I see Mueller as an old-school lawman, and suspect he is using all this as a golden opportunity to put the hurt on some Russian mobsters, particularly in their money laundering. It would not surprise me if he hopes he will not be forced to nail Trump himself to the wall, which would drag all kinds of political noise into the trials, some of the people around Trump will be bad enough. Using some of them, at least for the moment, is unavoidable, it's the politics is the source of his mission and resources.

If only our press had the bandwidth necessary to distinguish those few Russians from ALL Russians...

likbez said in reply to Mark Logan... , 10 March 2018 at 03:43 PM
"I suspect a few absurdly wealthy Russians harbor a deep fear of Mueller."

"I see Mueller as an old-school lawman, and suspect he is using all this as a golden opportunity to put the hurt on some Russian mobsters"

Thank you ! You have such a refreshing level of naivety that I really enjoyed your posts.

How one in his sound mind can call Mueller "an old-school lawman" if one remember Mueller's role in 9/11 and anthrax investigations.

And FYI those "absurdly wealthy Russians" represents the US fifth column in Russia (as guarantors and protectors of neoliberalism in Russia; Google such a name as Chubais https://www.rusjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Yeltsin_Putin.pdf ) and to destroy them might not be in best USA interests. Moreover, such a move actually will be do Putin a huge favor, strengthening his hand.

As for "a golden opportunity to put the hurt on some Russian mobsters" the danger of such a brilliant move is to reveal criminal connections with Russian oligarchs (and financial oligarchs in general as you never know where the oligarch ends and the mafia boss starts) and the Democratic Party.

Just think about who can go down with Trump is such a case. It's not only Bill and Hillary. It is also a very dangerous thing to open this can of worms as "the people" might learn something that neoliberal elite does not want them to know -- specifically the USA and intelligence agencies role in creating Russian mafia and oligarchs after the dissolution of the USSR. Do you, by any chance, know such a name as Andrei Shleifer and such a term as "Harvard Mafia" ? Please Google those if you do not.

FYI Bill Clinton took a huge bribe in the form of speech fee from people very close to "Russian Mobsters" (organized crime figures should probably more correctly be called "the informal neoliberals" ;-)

There was an interesting discussion in Quora in 2016 on this topic:

https://www.quora.com/Who-paid-Bill-Clintons-2-5-million-commission-and-500-000-speaking-fee-for-brokering-the-sale-of-20-of-Americas-uranium-deposits-to-Russia

[Mar 09, 2018] One of Mueller's 'cooperating witnesses' George Nader was arrested for child pornography in 1985

Mar 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

08 March 2018 at 10:23 PM

PT,

One of Mueller's 'cooperating witnesses' George Nader was arrested for child pornography in 1985

https://theintercept.com/2018/03/08/robert-mueller-george-nader-child-pornography/

[Mar 08, 2018] We don t have the evidence yet because Mueller hasn t found it yet! is a classic argument from ignorance, in that is assumes without evidence (there s that pesky word again!) that there is something to be found

Highly recommended!
It is interesting that US tax payer dollars fund an agency that executes foreign policy, with no controls, which is the responsibility of the federal government according to the US constitution.
Notable quotes:
"... Mueller has had 18 months and has proceeded to reveal exactly nothing related to either Trump "collusion" with Russia nor Russia as a state actually doing anything remotely described as "meddling." ..."
"... It's a witch hunt, nothing more. People holding their breath for the "slam dunk" are going to pass out soon if they haven't already. ..."
"... Pointing out that the legal basis for the entire Mueller dog and pony show was based on a fraud, well lets not do that ..."
"... "We don't have the evidence yet because Mueller hasn't found it yet!" is a classic argument from ignorance, in that is assumes without evidence (there's that pesky word again!) that there is something to be found. ..."
"... That said, I have no doubt that Mueller will find *something*, simply because an aggressive and determined prosecutor can always find *something*, especially if the target is engaged in higher level business or politics. A form unfiled, an irregularity in an official document, and overly optimistic tax position. ..."
"... If nothing else works, there's always the good old standby of asking question after question until the target makes a statement that can be construed as perjury or lying to investigators. ..."
Mar 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Green Zone Café , 07 March 2018 at 11:16 PM
The "17 intelligence agencies" statement was undoubtedly hype, but it's old news now. The reasonable position now is to wait and see what facts Mueller reveals. All else is partisan spinning, by all sides.
Richardstevenhack , 08 March 2018 at 03:02 AM

Mueller has had 18 months and has proceeded to reveal exactly nothing related to either Trump "collusion" with Russia nor Russia as a state actually doing anything remotely described as "meddling."

His expected indictment of some Russians for the DNC hack is going to be more of the same in all likelihood. I predict there will be next to zero evidence produced either that the Russians named are in fact members of APT28 or APT29 or that they had any direct connection with either the alleged DNC hack or Wikileaks or the Russian government.

It's a witch hunt, nothing more. People holding their breath for the "slam dunk" are going to pass out soon if they haven't already.

Fred -> Green Zone Café ... , 07 March 2018 at 11:57 PM

GZC,

Pointing out that the legal basis for the entire Mueller dog and pony show was based on a fraud, well lets not do that; We should by all means just sit back and let the narrative unfold as those who are trying to unseat the elected president continue unopposed to craft public opinion, just in time for mid-term elections.

Fred -> Green Zone Café ... , 08 March 2018 at 09:55 AM

GZC,

Using the same legal logic there is "probable cause" for the FBI to investigate every member of the House and Senate as well because they have all have met some guy who is connected to somebody who is corrupt, a foreign agent, or some other kind of crook or some drunk in a bar is saying they have. The only people above reproach are the senior agents committing adultery; failing to inform their bosses of conflicts of interests due to their wives working for the very people who are witnesses in the investigation they are conducting; or are omitting important facts from submissions to court for warrants. Even mentioning those is just further evidence that something really did happen. I for one don't want the professional bureaucracy running the candidate selection process in the Republic or keeping the elected representatives "in line" by making "some people sweat their future freedom and wealth". But that statement alone would make me a suspect too.

Sid Finster , 08 March 2018 at 11:06 AM

"We don't have the evidence yet because Mueller hasn't found it yet!" is a classic argument from ignorance, in that is assumes without evidence (there's that pesky word again!) that there is something to be found.

That said, I have no doubt that Mueller will find *something*, simply because an aggressive and determined prosecutor can always find *something*, especially if the target is engaged in higher level business or politics. A form unfiled, an irregularity in an official document, and overly optimistic tax position.

If nothing else works, there's always the good old standby of asking question after question until the target makes a statement that can be construed as perjury or lying to investigators.

Sid Finster said in reply to Green Zone Café ... , 08 March 2018 at 11:08 AM
So "six degrees of separation" is cause to investigate?

I've talked to a Russian, does that make me a potential criminal?

james said in reply to Green Zone Café ... , 08 March 2018 at 12:11 PM
Green Zone Café

"The "17 intelligence agencies" statement was undoubtedly hype, but it's old news now."

that is true.. however, what is not new, is the fact that lies or exaggeration is going on non stop still! perhaps you got a chance to read this article 'cult of authority' which i think is applicable here...
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/07/the-cult-of-authority/

[Mar 08, 2018] Given the CrowdStrike itself is a massively compromised organization due to its founder and CEO, those "certified true images" are themselves tainted evidence

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... To be precise, CrowdStrike did provide the FBI with allegedly "certified true images" of the DNC servers allegedly involved in the alleged "hack." They also allegedly provided these images to FireEye and Mandiant, IIRC ..."
"... Of course, given the CrowdStrike itself is a massively compromised organization due to its founder and CEO, those "certified true images" are themselves tainted evidence. ..."
"... In addition, regardless of whether the images were true or not, the evidence allegedly contained therein is painfully inadequate to confirm that APT28 or APT29 were involved, nor that the Russian government was involved, or even that there was a real hack involved, and even less evidence that any emails that might have been exfiltrated were given to Wikileaks as opposed to another leak such as that alleged by Sy Hersh to have been done by Seth Rich. ..."
Mar 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Richardstevenhack , 07 March 2018 at 06:23 PM

Re this: " In the case of Russian meddling there is no forensic evidence available to the IC because the Democratic National Committee did not permit the FBI to investigate and examine the computers and the network that was allegedly attacked."

To be precise, CrowdStrike did provide the FBI with allegedly "certified true images" of the DNC servers allegedly involved in the alleged "hack." They also allegedly provided these images to FireEye and Mandiant, IIRC .

All three allegedly examined those images and concurred with CrowdStrike's analysis.

Of course, given the CrowdStrike itself is a massively compromised organization due to its founder and CEO, those "certified true images" are themselves tainted evidence.

In addition, regardless of whether the images were true or not, the evidence allegedly contained therein is painfully inadequate to confirm that APT28 or APT29 were involved, nor that the Russian government was involved, or even that there was a real hack involved, and even less evidence that any emails that might have been exfiltrated were given to Wikileaks as opposed to another leak such as that alleged by Sy Hersh to have been done by Seth Rich.

The "assessment" that Putin ordered any of this is pure mind-reading and can be utterly dismissed absent any of the other evidence Publius points out as necessary.

The same applies to any "estimate" that the Russian government preferred Trump or wished to denigrate Clinton. Based on what I read in pro-Russian news outlets, Russian officials took great pains to not pick sides and Putin's comments were similarly very restrained. The main quote from Putin about Trump that emerged was mistranslated as approval whereas it was more an observation of Trump's personality. At no time did Putin ever say he favored Trump over Clinton, even though that was a likely probability given Clinton's "Hitler" comparison.

As an aside, I also recommend Scott Ritter's trashing of the ICA. Ritter is familiar with intelligence estimates and their reliability based on his previous service as a UN weapons inspector in Iraq and in Russia implementing arms control treaties.

Exposing The Man Behind The Curtain
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/exposing-the-man-behind-the-curtain_us_5877887be4b05b7a465df6a4

Throwing a Curveball at 'Intelligence Community Consensus' on Russia
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/did-17-intelligence-agencies-really-come-to-consensus-on-russia/

His analysis of the NSA document leaked by NSA contractor Reality Winner which supposedly supported the Russia theory is also relevant.

Leaked NSA Report Is Short on Facts, Proves Little in 'Russiagate' Case
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/leaked-nsa-report-is-short-on-facts-proves-little-in-russiagate-case/

[Mar 08, 2018] Mueller determines the US foreign policy toward Russia; The Intel Community Lies About Russian Meddling by Publius Tacitus

Highly recommended!
The sad but reasonable conclusion from all those Russiagate events is that an influential part of the US elite wants to balance on the edge of war with Russia to ensure profits and flow of taxpayer money. that part of the elite include top honchos on the US intelligence community and Pentagon (surprise, surprise)
The other logical conclusion is that intelligence agencies now determine the US foreign policy and control all major political players (there were widespread suspicions that Clinton, Bush II and Obama were actually closely connected to CIA). Which neatly fits into hypotheses about the "deep state".
This "can of worms" that the US political scene now represents is very dangerous for the future on mankind indeed.
Notable quotes:
"... Most objective observers would concede that the DNI has been a miserable failure and nothing more than a bureaucratic boondoggle. ..."
"... "The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow -- the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities." ..."
"... More telling was the absence of any written document issued from the Office of the DNI that detailed the supposed intel backing up this judgment. Notice the weasel language in this release ..."
"... If there was actual evidence/intelligence, such as an intercepted conversation between Vladimir Putin and a subordinate ordering them to hack the DNC or even a human source report claiming such an activity, then it would have and should have been referenced in the Clapper/Johnson document. It was not because such intel did not exist. ..."
"... "We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election," Clinton said. "I find that deeply disturbing." ..."
"... The basic job of an analyst is to collect as much relevant information as possible on the subject or topic that is their responsibility. There are analysts at the CIA, the NSA, the DIA and State INR that have the job of knowing about Russian cyber activity and capabilities. That is certain. But we are not talking about hundreds of people. ..."
"... Let us move from the hypothetical to the actual. In January of 2017, DNI Jim Clapper release a report entitled, " Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections " (please see here ). In subsequent testimony before the Congress, Clapper claimed that he handpicked two dozen analysts to draft the document . That is not likely. There may have been as many as two dozen analysts who read the final document and commented on it, but there would never be that many involved in in drafting such a document. In any event, only analysts from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI were involved ..."
"... This report includes an analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA), which draws on intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies. ..."
"... That is how the process is supposed to work. But the document produced in January 2017 was not a genuine work reflecting the views of the "Intelligence Community." It only represented the supposed thinking (and I use that term generously) of CIA, NSA and FBI analysts. In other words, only three of 16 agencies cleared on the document that presented four conclusions ..."
"... Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow's longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations. ..."
"... We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. ..."
"... We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. ..."
"... We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes. ..."
"... It is genuinely shocking that DNI Jim Clapper, with the acquiescence of the CIA, the FBI and NSA, would produce a document devoid of any solid intelligence. There is a way to publicly release sensitive intelligence without comprising a the original source. But such sourcing is absent in this document. ..."
"... The Intelligence Community was used as a tool to misinform the public and persuade them that Russia was guilty of something they did not do. That lie remains unchallenged. ..."
"... "The Intelligence Community was used as a tool to misinform the public and persuade them that Russia was guilty of something they did not do. That lie remains unchallenged.'" Yes it was and so remains the lie unchallenged. ..."
"... Conjectural garbage appears first to have been washed through the FBI, headquarters no less, then probably it picked up a Triple A rating at the CIA, and then when the garbage got to Clapper, it was bombs away - we experts all agree. There were leaks, but they weren't sufficient to satisfy Steele so he just delivered the garbage whole to the Media in order to make it a sure thing. The garbage was placed securely out there in the public domain with a Triple A rating because the FBI wouldn't concern itself with garbage, would it? ..."
"... Contrast this trajectory with what the Russian policy establishment did when it concluded that the US had done something in the Ukraine that Russia found significantly actionable: it released the taped evidence of Nuland and our Ambassador finishing off the coup. ..."
"... To be precise, CrowdStrike did provide the FBI with allegedly "certified true images" of the DNC servers allegedly involved in the alleged "hack." They also allegedly provided these images to FireEye and Mandiant, IIRC ..."
"... Of course, given the CrowdStrike itself is a massively compromised organization due to its founder and CEO, those "certified true images" are themselves tainted evidence. ..."
"... In addition, regardless of whether the images were true or not, the evidence allegedly contained therein is painfully inadequate to confirm that APT28 or APT29 were involved, nor that the Russian government was involved, or even that there was a real hack involved, and even less evidence that any emails that might have been exfiltrated were given to Wikileaks as opposed to another leak such as that alleged by Sy Hersh to have been done by Seth Rich. ..."
"... My interpretation is: In 1990 +- Bush 41 sold us the 1st Iraq war using fudged intelligence, then Bush 43 sold us the second Iraq war using fabricated intelligence. And now the Obama Administration tried to sell us fake intelligence in regard to Russia in order to get Clinton elected ..."
"... Mueller has had 18 months and has proceeded to reveal exactly nothing related to either Trump "collusion" with Russia nor Russia as a state actually doing anything remotely described as "meddling." ..."
"... His expected indictment of some Russians for the DNC hack is going to be more of the same in all likelihood. I predict there will be next to zero evidence produced either that the Russians named are in fact members of APT28 or APT29 or that they had any direct connection with either the alleged DNC hack or Wikileaks or the Russian government. ..."
"... It's a witch hunt, nothing more. People holding their breath for the "slam dunk" are going to pass out soon if they haven't already. ..."
"... Mueller is investigating some aspects. But there is another aspect - the conspiracy inside law enforcement and the IC. That is also being investigated. There are Congressional committees in particular Nunes, Goodlatte and Grassley. Then there is the DOJ IG. And today AG Sessions confirms there is a DOJ prosecutor outside Washington investigating. ..."
"... But such evidence (corroborating the Steele dossier) was not forthcoming. If it had existed than Jim Comey could have claimed in his June 2017 testimony before Congress that the parts of the "Dossier" had been verified. He did not do so. Testifying under oath Comey described the "Dossier" as "salacious and unverified." ..."
"... Was it Hitler or Stalin who said "show me the man and I will find his crime?" As I have said before, Trumps greatest vulnerability lies in his previous business life as an entrepreneurial hustler. ..."
"... Re 'baby adoption' meeting between Trump, Jr. and Veselnitskaya, I recall a comment here linking to an article speculating the email initiating the meeting originated in Europe, was set up by the playboy son of a European diplomat, and contained words to trip data-gathering monitors which would have enabled a FISA request to have Trump, Jr. come under surveillance. ..."
"... "We don't have the evidence yet because Mueller hasn't found it yet!" is a classic argument from ignorance, in that is assumes without evidence (there's that pesky word again!) that there is something to be found. ..."
"... Manafort has been indicted for money laundering, wire fraud, etc for activities well before the election campaign. Sure, it is good that these corrupt individuals should be investigated and prosecuted. However, this corruption is widespread in DC. How come none of these cheering Mueller on to destroy Trump care about all the foreign money flowing to K Street? Why aren't they calling for investigations of the Clinton Foundation or the Podesta brothers where probable cause exist of foreign money and influence? What about Ben Cardin and all those recipients of foreign zionist money and influence? It would be nice if there were wide ranging investigations on all those engaged in foreign influence peddling. But it seems many just want a witch hunt to hobble Trump. It's going to be very difficult to get the Senate to convict him for obstruction of justice or tax evasion or some charge like that. ..."
Mar 07, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The Intel Community Lie About Russian Meddling by Publius Tacitus

Americans tend to be a trusting lot. When they hear a high level government official, like former Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper, state that Russia's Vladimir ordered and monitored a Russian cyber attack on the 2016 Presidential election, those trusting souls believe him. For experienced intelligence professionals, who know how the process of gathering and analyzing intelligence works, they detect a troubling omission in Clapper's presentation and, upon examining the so-called "Intelligence Community Assessment," discover that document is a deceptive fraud. It lacks actual evidence that Putin and the Russians did what they are accused of doing. More troubling -- and this is inside baseball -- is the fact that two critical members of the Intelligence Community -- the DIA and State INR -- were not asked to coordinate/clear on the assessment.

You should not feel stupid if you do not understand or appreciate the last point. That is something only people who actually have produced a Community Assessment would understand. I need to take you behind the scenes and ensure you understand what is intelligence and how analysts assess and process that intelligence. Once you understand that then you will be able to see the flaws and inadequacies in the report released by Jim Clapper in January 2017.

The first thing you need to understand is the meaning of the term, the "Intelligence Community" aka IC. Comedians are not far off the mark in touting this phrase as the original oxymoron. On paper the IC currently is comprised of 17 agencies/departments:
  1. Air Force Intelligence,
  2. Army Intelligence,
  3. Central Intelligence Agency aka CIA,
  4. Coast Guard Intelligence,
  5. Defense Intelligence Agency aka DIA,
  6. Energy Department aka DOE,
  7. Homeland Security Department,
  8. State Department aka INR,
  9. Treasury Department,
  10. Drug Enforcement Administration aka DEA,
  11. Federal Bureau of Investigation aka FBI,
  12. Marine Corps Intelligence,
  13. National Geospatial Intelligence Agency aka NGIA or NGA,
  14. National Reconnaissance Office aka NRO,
  15. National Security Agency aka NSA,
  16. Navy Intelligence
  17. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

But not all of these are "national security" agencies -- i.e., those that collect raw intelligence, which subsequently is packaged and distributed to other agencies on a need to know basis. Only six of these agencies take an active role in collecting raw foreign intelligence. The remainder are consumers of that intelligence product. In other words, the information does not originate with them. They are like a subscriber to the New York Times. They get the paper everyday and, based upon what they read, decide what is going on in their particular world. The gatherers of intelligence are:

Nine of the other agencies/departments are consumers. They do not collect and package original info. They are the passive recipients. The analysts in those agencies will base their conclusions on information generated by other agencies, principally the CIA and the NSA.

The astute among you, I am sure, will insist my list is deficient and will ask, "What about the FBI and DEA?" It is true that those two organizations produce a type of human intelligence -- i.e., they recruit informants and those informants provide those agencies with information that the average person understandably would categorize as "intelligence." But there is an important difference between human intelligence collected by the CIA and the human source intelligence gathered by the FBI or the DEA. The latter two are law enforcement agencies. No one from the CIA or the NSA has the power to arrest someone. The FBI and the DEA do.

Their authority as law enforcement agents, however, comes with limitations, especially in collecting so-called intelligence. The FBI and the DEA face egal constraints on what information they can collect and store. The FBI cannot decide on its own that skinheads represent a threat and then start gathering information identifying skinhead leaders. There has to be an allegation of criminal activity. When such "human" information is being gathered under the umbrella of law enforcement authorities, it is being handled as potential evidence that may be used to prosecute someone. This means that such information cannot be shared with anyone else, especially intelligence agencies like the CIA and the NSA.

The "17th" member of the IC is the Director of National Intelligence aka DNI. This agency was created in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks for the ostensible purpose of coordinating the activities and products of the IC. In theory it is the organization that is supposed to coordinate what the IC collects and the products the IC produces. Most objective observers would concede that the DNI has been a miserable failure and nothing more than a bureaucratic boondoggle.

An important, but little understood point, is that these agencies each have a different focus. They are not looking at the same things. In fact, most are highly specialized and narrowly focused. Take the Coast Guard, for instance. Their intelligence operations primarily hone in on maritime threats and activities in U.S. territorial waters, such as narcotic interdictions. They are not responsible for monitoring what the Russians are doing in the Black Sea and they have no significant expertise in the cyber activities of the Russian Army military intelligence organization aka the GRU.

In looking back at the events of 2016 surrounding the U.S. Presidential campaign, most people will recall that Hillary Clinton, along with several high level Obama national security officials, pushed the lie that the U.S. Intelligence agreed that Russia had unleashed a cyber war on the United States. The initial lie came from DNI Jim Clapper and Homeland Security Chief, Jeb Johnson, who released the following memo to the press on 7 October 2016 :

"The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow -- the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities."

This was a deliberate deceptive message. It implied that the all 16 intelligence agencies agreed with the premise and "evidence of Russian meddling. Yet not a single bit of proof was offered. More telling was the absence of any written document issued from the Office of the DNI that detailed the supposed intel backing up this judgment. Notice the weasel language in this release:

If there was actual evidence/intelligence, such as an intercepted conversation between Vladimir Putin and a subordinate ordering them to hack the DNC or even a human source report claiming such an activity, then it would have and should have been referenced in the Clapper/Johnson document. It was not because such intel did not exist.

Hillary Clinton helped perpetuate this myth during the late October debate with Donald Trump, when she declared as fact that:

"We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election," Clinton said. "I find that deeply disturbing."

What is shocking is that there was so little pushback to this nonsense. Hardly anyone asked why would the DEA, Coast Guard, the Marines or DOE have any technical expertise to make a judgment about Russian hacking of U.S. election systems. And no one of any importance asked the obvious -- where was the written memo or National Intelligence Estimate laying out what the IC supposedly knew and believed? There was nothing.

It is natural for the average American citizen to believe that something given the imprimatur of the Intelligence Community must reflect solid intelligence and real expertise. Expertise is supposed to be the cornerstone of intelligence analysis and the coordination that occurs within the IC. That means that only those analysts (and the agencies they represent) will be asked to contribute or comment on a particular intelligence issue. When it comes to the question of whether Russia had launched a full out cyber attack on the Democrats and the U.S. electoral system, only analysts from agencies with access to the intelligence and the expertise to analyze that intelligence would be asked to write or contribute to an intelligence memorandum.

Who would that be? The answer is simple -- the CIA, the DIA, the NSA, State INR and the FBI. (One could make the case that there are some analysts within Homeland Security that might have expertise, but they would not necessarily have access to the classified information produced by the CIA or the NSA.) The task of figuring out what the Russians were doing and planned to do fell to five agencies and only three of the five (the CIA, the DIA and NSA) would have had the ability to collect intelligence that could inform the work of analysts.

Before I can explain to you how an analyst work this issue it is essential for you to understand the type of intelligence that would be required to "prove" Russian meddling. There are four possible sources -- 1) a human source who had direct access to the Russians who directed the operation or carried it out; 2) a signal intercept of a conversation or cyber activity that was traced to Russian operatives; 3) a document that discloses the plan or activity observed; or 4) forensic evidence from the computer network that allegedly was attacked.

Getting human source intel is primarily the job of CIA. It also is possible that the DIA or the FBI had human sources that could have contributed relevant intelligence.

Signal intercepts are collected and analyzed by the NSA.

Documentary evidence, which normally is obtained from a human source but can also be picked up by NSA intercepts or even an old-fashioned theft.

Finally there is the forensic evidence . In the case of Russian meddling there is no forensic evidence available to the IC because the Democratic National Committee did not permit the FBI to investigate and examine the computers and the network that was allegedly attacked.

What Do Analysts Do?

Whenever there is a "judgment" or "consensus" claimed on behalf to the IC, it means that one or more analysts have written a document that details the evidence and presents conclusions based on that evidence. On a daily basis the average analyst confronts a flood of classified information (normally referred to as "cables" or "messages"). When I was on the job in the 1980s I had to wade through more than 1200 messages -- i.e., human source reports from the CIA, State Department messages with embassies around the world, NSA intercepts, DIA reports from their officers based overseas (most in US embassies) and open source press reports. Today, thanks to the internet, the average analyst must scan through upwards of 3000 messages. It is humanly impossible.

The basic job of an analyst is to collect as much relevant information as possible on the subject or topic that is their responsibility. There are analysts at the CIA, the NSA, the DIA and State INR that have the job of knowing about Russian cyber activity and capabilities. That is certain. But we are not talking about hundreds of people.

Let us move from the hypothetical to the actual. In January of 2017, DNI Jim Clapper release a report entitled, " Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections " (please see here ). In subsequent testimony before the Congress, Clapper claimed that he handpicked two dozen analysts to draft the document . That is not likely. There may have been as many as two dozen analysts who read the final document and commented on it, but there would never be that many involved in in drafting such a document. In any event, only analysts from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI were involved :

This report includes an analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA), which draws on intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies.

Limiting the drafting and clearance on this document to only the CIA, the NSA and the FBI is highly unusual because one of the key analytical conclusions in the document identifies the Russian military intelligence organization, the GRU, as one of the perpetrators of the cyber attack. DIA's analysts are experts on the GRU and there also are analysts in State Department's Bureau of INR who should have been consulted. Instead, they were excluded.

Here is how the process should have worked in producing this document:

  1. One or more analysts are asked to do a preliminary draft. It is customary in such a document for the analyst to cite specific intelligence, using phrases such as: "According to a reliable source of proven access," when citing a CIA document or "According to an intercept of a conversation between knowledgeable sources with access," when referencing something collected by the NSA. The analyst does more than repeat what is claimed in the intel reports, he or she also has the job of explaining what these facts mean or do not mean.
  2. There always is an analyst leading the effort who has the job of integrating the contributions of the other analysts into a coherent document. Once the document is completed in draft it is handed over to Branch Chief and then Division Chief for editing. We do not know who had the lead, but it was either the FBI, the CIA or the NSA.
  3. At the same time the document is being edited at originating agency, it is supposed to be sent to the other clearing agencies, i.e. those agencies that either provided the intelligence cited in the draft (i.e., CIA, NSA, DIA, or State) or that have expertise on the subject. As noted previously, it is highly unusual to exclude the DIA and INR.
  4. Once all the relevant agencies clear on the content of the document, it is sent into the bowels of the DNI where it is put into final form.

That is how the process is supposed to work. But the document produced in January 2017 was not a genuine work reflecting the views of the "Intelligence Community." It only represented the supposed thinking (and I use that term generously) of CIA, NSA and FBI analysts. In other words, only three of 16 agencies cleared on the document that presented four conclusions:

Sounds pretty ominous, but the language used tells a different story. The conclusions are based on assumptions and judgments. There was nor is any actual evidence from intelligence sources showing that Vladimir Putin ordered up anything or that his government preferred Trump over Clinton.

How do I know this? If such evidence existed -- either documentary or human source or signal intercept -- it would have been cited in this document. Not only that. Such evidence would have corroborated the claims presented in the Steele dossier. But such evidence was not forthcoming. If it had existed than Jim Comey could have claimed in his June 2017 testimony before Congress that the parts of the "Dossier" had been verified. He did not do so. Testifying under oath Comey described the "Dossier" as "salacious and unverified."

It is genuinely shocking that DNI Jim Clapper, with the acquiescence of the CIA, the FBI and NSA, would produce a document devoid of any solid intelligence. There is a way to publicly release sensitive intelligence without comprising a the original source. But such sourcing is absent in this document.

That simple fact should tell you all you need to know. The Intelligence Community was used as a tool to misinform the public and persuade them that Russia was guilty of something they did not do. That lie remains unchallenged.


LeaNder , 07 March 2018 at 05:59 PM

Good summary argument, PT. Thanks. Helpful reminder.

But, makes me feel uncomfortable. Cynical scenario. I'd prefer them to be both drivers and driven, somehow stumbling into the chronology of events. They didn't hack the DNC, after all. Crowdstrike? Steele? ...

********
But yes, all the 17 agencies Clinton alluded to in her 3rd encounter with Trump was a startling experience:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/oct/19/hillary-clinton/hillary-clinton-blames-russia-putin-wikileaks-rele/

turcopolier , 07 March 2018 at 06:10 PM
LeaNder

One other point on which Tacitus and I differ is the quality of the analysts in the "minors." The "bigs" often recruit analysts from the "minors" so they can't be all that bad. And the analysts in all these agencies receive much the same data feed electronically every day. There are exceptions to this but it is generally true. I, too, read hundreds of documents every day to keep up with the knowledge base of the analysts whom I interrogated continuously. "How do you know that?" would have been typical. pl

Flavius , 07 March 2018 at 06:19 PM
Well done.

"The Intelligence Community was used as a tool to misinform the public and persuade them that Russia was guilty of something they did not do. That lie remains unchallenged.'" Yes it was and so remains the lie unchallenged.

Conjectural garbage appears first to have been washed through the FBI, headquarters no less, then probably it picked up a Triple A rating at the CIA, and then when the garbage got to Clapper, it was bombs away - we experts all agree. There were leaks, but they weren't sufficient to satisfy Steele so he just delivered the garbage whole to the Media in order to make it a sure thing. The garbage was placed securely out there in the public domain with a Triple A rating because the FBI wouldn't concern itself with garbage, would it?

Contrast this trajectory with what the Russian policy establishment did when it concluded that the US had done something in the Ukraine that Russia found significantly actionable: it released the taped evidence of Nuland and our Ambassador finishing off the coup.

The whole sequence reminds me in some ways of the sub prime mortgage bond fiasco: garbage risk progressively bundled, repackaged, rebranded and resold by big name institutions that should have known better.

I have only two questions: was it misfeasance, malfeasance, or some ugly combination of the two? And are they going to get away with it?

Richardstevenhack , 07 March 2018 at 06:23 PM
Re this: " In the case of Russian meddling there is no forensic evidence available to the IC because the Democratic National Committee did not permit the FBI to investigate and examine the computers and the network that was allegedly attacked."

To be precise, CrowdStrike did provide the FBI with allegedly "certified true images" of the DNC servers allegedly involved in the alleged "hack." They also allegedly provided these images to FireEye and Mandiant, IIRC.

All three allegedly examined those images and concurred with CrowdStrike's analysis.

Of course, given the CrowdStrike itself is a massively compromised organization due to its founder and CEO, those "certified true images" are themselves tainted evidence.

In addition, regardless of whether the images were true or not, the evidence allegedly contained therein is painfully inadequate to confirm that APT28 or APT29 were involved, nor that the Russian government was involved, or even that there was a real hack involved, and even less evidence that any emails that might have been exfiltrated were given to Wikileaks as opposed to another leak such as that alleged by Sy Hersh to have been done by Seth Rich.

The "assessment" that Putin ordered any of this is pure mind-reading and can be utterly dismissed absent any of the other evidence Publius points out as necessary.

The same applies to any "estimate" that the Russian government preferred Trump or wished to denigrate Clinton. Based on what I read in pro-Russian news outlets, Russian officials took great pains to not pick sides and Putin's comments were similarly very restrained. The main quote from Putin about Trump that emerged was mistranslated as approval whereas it was more an observation of Trump's personality. At no time did Putin ever say he favored Trump over Clinton, even though that was a likely probability given Clinton's "Hitler" comparison.

As an aside, I also recommend Scott Ritter's trashing of the ICA. Ritter is familiar with intelligence estimates and their reliability based on his previous service as a UN weapons inspector in Iraq and in Russia implementing arms control treaties.

Exposing The Man Behind The Curtain
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/exposing-the-man-behind-the-curtain_us_5877887be4b05b7a465df6a4

Throwing a Curveball at 'Intelligence Community Consensus' on Russia
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/did-17-intelligence-agencies-really-come-to-consensus-on-russia/

His analysis of the NSA document leaked by NSA contractor Reality Winner which supposedly supported the Russia theory is also relevant.

Leaked NSA Report Is Short on Facts, Proves Little in 'Russiagate' Case
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/leaked-nsa-report-is-short-on-facts-proves-little-in-russiagate-case/

ann , 07 March 2018 at 11:22 PM
This is a wonderful explanation of the intelligence community. And I thank you for the explanation. My interpretation is: In 1990 +- Bush 41 sold us the 1st Iraq war using fudged intelligence, then Bush 43 sold us the second Iraq war using fabricated intelligence. And now the Obama Administration tried to sell us fake intelligence in regard to Russia in order to get Clinton elected. However inadequate my summary is it looks like the Democrats are less skilled in propaganda than the Repubs. And what else is the difference?
Richardstevenhack , 08 March 2018 at 03:02 AM
Mueller has had 18 months and has proceeded to reveal exactly nothing related to either Trump "collusion" with Russia nor Russia as a state actually doing anything remotely described as "meddling."

His expected indictment of some Russians for the DNC hack is going to be more of the same in all likelihood. I predict there will be next to zero evidence produced either that the Russians named are in fact members of APT28 or APT29 or that they had any direct connection with either the alleged DNC hack or Wikileaks or the Russian government.

It's a witch hunt, nothing more. People holding their breath for the "slam dunk" are going to pass out soon if they haven't already.

blue peacock , 08 March 2018 at 04:12 AM
GZC #12

Mueller is investigating some aspects. But there is another aspect - the conspiracy inside law enforcement and the IC. That is also being investigated. There are Congressional committees in particular Nunes, Goodlatte and Grassley. Then there is the DOJ IG. And today AG Sessions confirms there is a DOJ prosecutor outside Washington investigating.

IMO, the conspiracy is significantly larger in scale and scope than anything the Russians did.

Yes, indeed we'll have to wait and see what facts Mueller reveals. But also what facts these other investigations reveal.

English Outsider , 08 March 2018 at 05:57 AM
Thank you for setting out the geography and workings of this complex world.

Might I ask how liaison with other Intelligence Communities fits in? Is intelligence information from non-US sources such as UK intelligence sources subject to the same process of verification and evaluation?

I ask because of the passage in your article -

"But such evidence (corroborating the Steele dossier) was not forthcoming. If it had existed than Jim Comey could have claimed in his June 2017 testimony before Congress that the parts of the "Dossier" had been verified. He did not do so. Testifying under oath Comey described the "Dossier" as "salacious and unverified." "

Does this leave room for the assertion that although the "Dossier" was unverified in the US it was accepted as good information because it had been verified by UK Intelligence or by persons warranted by the UK? In other words, was UK Intelligence, or an ex-UK intelligence officer, used to get material through the US evaluation process, material that would not have got through that US evaluation process had it originated within the US itself?

turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 07:53 AM
EO,

" ... was UK Intelligence, or an ex-UK intelligence officer, used to get material through the US evaluation process, material that would not have got through that US evaluation process had it originated within the US itself?" I would say yes and especially yes if the contact for this piece of data was conducted at the highest level within the context of the already tight liaison between the US IC and Mi-6/GCHQ. PT may think differently. pl

turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 07:54 AM
GZC

A lot of smoke? Only if you wish to place a negative value on everything the Trump people did or were. pl

jsn -> The Twisted Genius ... , 08 March 2018 at 08:20 AM
The CIA appears to be trying to right the wrongs done them with the creation of the DNI:
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/08/dems-m08.html
turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 08:54 AM
jsn

The wrongs done them? I hope that was irony. pl

turcopolier -> Green Zone Café ... , 08 March 2018 at 09:01 AM
GZC

Was it Hitler or Stalin who said "show me the man and I will find his crime?" As I have said before, Trumps greatest vulnerability lies in his previous business life as an entrepreneurial hustler. If he is anything like the many like him whom I observed in my ten business years, then he has cut corners legally somewhere in international business. they pretty much all do that. Kooshy, a successful businessman confirmed that here a while back. These other guys were all business hustlers including Flynn and their activities have made them vulnerable to Mueller. IMO you have to ask yourself how much you want to be governed by political hacks and how much by hustlers. pl

turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 09:24 AM
jsn

hy this socialist pub would fing it surprising that former public servants seek elected office is a mystery to me. BTW, in re all the discussion here of the IC, there are many levels in these essentially hierarchical structures and one's knowledge of them is conditioned by the perspective from which you viewed them. pl

DH , 08 March 2018 at 09:50 AM
Re 'baby adoption' meeting between Trump, Jr. and Veselnitskaya, I recall a comment here linking to an article speculating the email initiating the meeting originated in Europe, was set up by the playboy son of a European diplomat, and contained words to trip data-gathering monitors which would have enabled a FISA request to have Trump, Jr. come under surveillance.

Also, the Seymour Hersh tape certainly seems authentic as far as Seth Rich being implicated in the DNC dump.

Publius Tacitus -> Green Zone Café ... , 08 March 2018 at 09:53 AM
GZC,

Are you really this obtuse?

You insist (I guess you rely on MSNBC as your fact source) that Manafort, Page, etc. all "have connections to Russia or Assange." You are using smear and guilt by association. Flynn's so-called connection to Russia was that he accepted an invite to deliver a speech at an RT sponsored event and was paid. So what? Nothing wrong with that. Just ask Bill Clinton. Or perhaps you are referring to the fact that Flynn also spoke to the Russian Ambassador to the US after the election in his capacity as designated National Security Advisor. Zero justification for investigation.

Stone? He left the campaign before there had even been a primary and only had text exchanges with Assange.

Your blind hatred of Trump makes you incapable of thinking logically.

jsn , 08 March 2018 at 10:15 AM
Sir,

The most sarcastic irony was intended. This is what the real left looks like, its very different from Clintonite Liberals, not that I agree with their ideological program, though I believe parts have their place.

Liberals have, I believe, jumped the shark: https://consortiumnews.com/2018/03/07/progressive-journalists-jump-the-shark-on-russiagate/

If the get their way with the new McCarthyism, the implications for dissent, left or right, seem to me to be about the same:
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/12/federalist-68-the-electoral-college-and-faithless-electors.html#intelligence

jsn , 08 March 2018 at 10:25 AM
Sir,

And to your second comment, yes I agree about the complexity of institutions and how situationally constrained individual experiences are, if that was the point.

I'll also concede my brief comments generalize very broadly, but it's hard to frame things more specific comments without direct knowledge, such as the invaluable correspondents here. I try to avoid confirmation bias by reading broadly and try to provide outside perspectives. My apologies if they're too far outside.

I suppose it would be interesting to see a side by side comparison of how many former IC self affiliated with which party in choosing to run. I'm just guessing but I'll bet there's more CIA in the D column and more DIA among the Rs.

LeaNder said in reply to Flavius... , 08 March 2018 at 10:40 AM
love this coinage Flavius: Yes it was and so remains the lie unchallenged

a lie "circumstantial"? http://recycledknowledge.blogspot.de/2005/05/seven-degrees-of-lie.html

Sid Finster , 08 March 2018 at 11:06 AM
"We don't have the evidence yet because Mueller hasn't found it yet!" is a classic argument from ignorance, in that is assumes without evidence (there's that pesky word again!) that there is something to be found.

That said, I have no doubt that Mueller will find *something*, simply because an aggressive and determined prosecutor can always find *something*, especially if the target is engaged in higher level business or politics. A form unfiled, an irregularity in an official document, and overly optimistic tax position.

If nothing else works, there's always the good old standby of asking question after question until the target makes a statement that can be construed as perjury or lying to investigators.

Sarah B said in reply to turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 11:27 AM
My perspective, after reading that linked article by the WSWS, is that both, the IC and the DoD, are trying to take over the whole US political spectrum, in fact, militarizing de facto the US political life....

Now, tell me that this is not an intend by the MIC ( where all the former IC or DoD people finally end when they leave official positions )to take over the government ( if more was needed after what has happened with Trump´s ) to guarantee their profit rate in a moment where everything is crimbling....

Btw, have you read the recently released paper, "WorldWide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community" by Daniel R. Coats ( DNI )? You smell fear from the four corners....do not you?

Barbara Ann -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 11:35 AM
Those immortal words are attributed to Lavrentiy Beria, Colonel and you are not the first to draw the comparison re Mueller's investigation. For those who do not know Beria was head of the NKVD under Stalin.
Barbara Ann -> Sid Finster... , 08 March 2018 at 11:36 AM
Only if you were discussing BDS.
Sarah B , 08 March 2018 at 11:38 AM
Here is the paper in question I am mentioning above: https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Newsroom/Testimonies/2018-ATA---Unclassified-SSCI.pdf Some neutral analyst is saying that from 28 pages, 24 are dedicated to Russia and China, then Iran and NK, in this order...and that it is an official recognition of the new multipolar order....
Peter VE said in reply to johnf... , 08 March 2018 at 11:55 AM
The BBC reported this morning that a police officer who was amongst the earliest responders to the "nerve gas" poisoning of Col. Skripal is also being treated for symptoms. How was it that many "White Helmets" who were filmed where the sarin gas was dropped on Khan Sheikhoun last April suffered no symptoms?
Jack -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 11:59 AM
Sir

That's a good way to present it political hacks vs hustlers. The fact is Flynn has pled guilty to perjury. Nothing else like collusion with the Russians. And his sentencing is on hold now as the judge has ordered Mueller to hand over any exculpatory evidence. Clearly something is going on his case for the judge to do that.

Manafort has been indicted for money laundering, wire fraud, etc for activities well before the election campaign. Sure, it is good that these corrupt individuals should be investigated and prosecuted. However, this corruption is widespread in DC. How come none of these cheering Mueller on to destroy Trump care about all the foreign money flowing to K Street? Why aren't they calling for investigations of the Clinton Foundation or the Podesta brothers where probable cause exist of foreign money and influence? What about Ben Cardin and all those recipients of foreign zionist money and influence? It would be nice if there were wide ranging investigations on all those engaged in foreign influence peddling. But it seems many just want a witch hunt to hobble Trump. It's going to be very difficult to get the Senate to convict him for obstruction of justice or tax evasion or some charge like that.

The Twisted Genius , 08 March 2018 at 12:59 PM
The select group of several dozen analysts from CIA, NSA and FBI who produced the January 2017 ICA are very likely the same group of analysts assembled by Brenner in August 2016 to form a task force examining "L'Affaire Russe" at the same time Brennan brought that closely held report to Obama of Putin's specific instructions on an operation to damage Clinton and help Trump. I've seen these interagency task forces set up several times to address particular info ops or cyberattack issues. Access to the work of these task forces was usually heavily restricted. I don't know if this kind of thing has become more prevalent throughout the IC.

I am also puzzled by the absence of DIA in the mix. When I was still working, there were a few DIA analysts who were acknowledged throughout the IC as subject matter experts and analytical leaders in this field. On the operational side, there was never great enthusiasm for things cyber or info ops. There were only a few lonely voices in the darkness. Meanwhile, CIA, FBI and NSA embraced the field wholeheartedly. Perhaps those DIA analytical experts retired or moved on to CYBERCOM, NSA or CIA's Information Operations Center.

LeaNder said in reply to Richardstevenhack ... , 08 March 2018 at 01:01 PM
I predict there will be next to zero evidence produced either that the Russians named are in fact members of APT28 or APT29 ...

Richard, over here the type of software is categorized under Advanced Persistent Threat, and beyond that specifically labeled the "Sofacy Group". ... I seem to prefer the more neutral description 'Advanced Persistent Threat' by Kaspersky. Yes, they seem to be suspicious lately in the US. But I am a rather constant consumer, never mind the occasional troubles over the years.

APT: Helps to not get confused by all the respective naming patterns in the economic field over national borders. APT 1 to 29 ...? Strictly, What's the precise history of the 'Bear' label and or the specific, I assume, group of APT? ...

Kasperky pdf-file - whodunnit?
https://tinyurl.com/APT-Avanced-Persitent-Treat

Ever used a datebase checking a file online? Would have made you aware of the multitude of naming patterns.

******
More ad-hoc concerning one item in your argument above. To what extend does a standard back-up system leave relevant forensic traces? Beyond the respective image in the present? Do you know?

Admittedly, I have no knowledge about matters beyond purely private struggles. But yes, they seemed enough to get a vague glimpse of categories in the field of attribution. Regarding suspected state actors vs the larger cybercrime scene that is.

LeaNder said in reply to Fred... , 08 March 2018 at 02:29 PM
Even mentioning those is just further evidence that something really did happen.

I appreciate you are riding our partially shared hobby horse, Fred. ;)

But admittedly this reminds me of something that felt like a debate-shift, I may be no doubt misguided here. Nitwit! In other words I may well have some type of ideological-knot in the relevant section dealing with memory in my brain as long-term undisciplined observer of SST.

But back on topic: the argument seemed to be that "important facts" were omitted. In other words vs earlier times were are now centrally dealing with omission as evidence. No?

Dave -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 03:18 PM
Ask National Security Advisor General McMaster.
Even Trump now says Putin meddled.
What more evidence do you need
Dave -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 03:20 PM
General McMaster has seen the evidence and says the fact of Russian meddling can no longer be credibly denied.
That doesn't stop the right-wing extremists from spinning fairy tales.
turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 03:34 PM
Dave

It is politically necessary for Trump to say that. Tell me, what is meant by "Russian meddling"in this statement by McMaster? pl

Dave -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 03:50 PM
Russian meddling is hacking our election systems.

The right wing (re: Hannity and Limbaugh) have been trying mightily to discredit this investigation by smearing Mueller's reputation, even though he is a conservative republican.

They are doing this so that if Mueller's report is damning, they can call it a "witch hunt."

I would think that if Trump is innocent, he would cooperate with this investigation fully.

You are insinuating that McMaster is a liar even though he has access to information that you don't.

Publius Tacitus -> Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 04:02 PM
Just because trump is stupid is not an excuse for you. You accept a lie without one shred of actual evidence. You are a lemming
Fred -> LeaNder... , 08 March 2018 at 04:04 PM
LeaNder,

"omission as evidence. " Incorrect. Among the omissions was the fact that the dossier was paid for by a political campaign and that the wife of a senior DOJ lawyer's wife was working for Fusion GPS. Then there's the rest of the political motivations left out.

Fred -> Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 04:07 PM
Dave,

Putin hired Facebook. That company seems to do well helping out foreign governments.
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/22/technology/facebook-censorship-tool-china.html

Linda , 08 March 2018 at 04:16 PM
If you have seen the classified information that would be necessary to back up your conclusions, it should not be discussed in this forum. As you are well aware sources and methods cannot be made public so I fail to see how you believe this should have been publically done. Having said that, I pretty much agree with your conclusion except for the indication that the analysts lied.
turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 04:26 PM
Dave

What does "hacking our elections" mean? Does it means breaking into voting systems and changing the outcome by altering votes? Or does it mean information operations to change US voters' minds about for whom they would vote? If the latter you must know that we (the US) have done this many times in foreign elections, including Russian elections, Israeli elections, Italian elections, German elections, etc., or perhaps you think that a different criterion should be applied to people who are not American. As for McMasters, I am unimpressed with him. He displays all the symptoms of Russophobia. He has special information? Information can be interpreted many ways depending on one's purpose. pl

turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 04:36 PM
Linda

PT does not have access to the classified information underlying but your argument that "As you are well aware sources and methods cannot be made public so I fail to see how you believe this should have been publicly done." doesn't hold water for me since I have seen sources and methods disclosed by the government of the US many times when it felt that necessary. One example that I have mentioned before was that of the trial of Jeffrey Sterling (merlin) for which I was an expert witness and adviser to the federal court for four years. In that one the CIA and DoJ forced the court to allow them to de-classify the CIA DO's operational files on the case and read them into the record in open court. I had read all these files when they were classified at the SCI level. IMO the perpetrators in the Steel Memo case are and were merely hiding behind claims of sources and methods protection in order to protect themselve. pl

JamesT -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 04:37 PM
I continue to learn things around here that I could never learn anywhere else. It is a privilege to read the Colonel, TTG, and Publius Tacitus.
turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 04:47 PM
Dave

If you use denigrating language like "wild eyed" to attack your interlocutors you will not be welcome here. pl

LeaNder said in reply to Flavius... , 08 March 2018 at 04:49 PM
Mueller cleared his ridiculous indictment relating to the Russian troll farm, a requirement that at one time would have been SOP for any FBI Office or USAtty Office bringing an indictment of this kind.

Not aware of this. Can you help me out?

No doubt vaguely familiar with public lore, in limited ways. As always.

Sid Finster said in reply to Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 05:09 PM
So now we are supposed to believe unquestioningly the word of torturers, perjurers and entrapment artists, all talking about alleged evidence that we are not allowed to see?

Did you learn nothing from the "Iraqi WMD" fiasco or the "ZOMG! Assad gassed his own peoples ZOMG!" debacle?

Funny how in each of these instances, the intelligence community's lies just happened to coincide with the agenda of empire.

LeaNder said in reply to Fred ... , 08 March 2018 at 05:10 PM
Ok, true. I forgot 'Steele'* was used as 'evidence'.

Strictly, Pat may have helped me out considering my 'felt' "debate-shift". Indirectly. I do recall, I hesitated to try to clarify matters for myself.

* ...

m -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 06:29 PM
Depends on what crime the "hack" committed. Fudging on taxes or cutting corners? Big whoop. Laundering $500 mil for a buddy of Vlad's? Now you got my attention and should have the voters' attention.

This is a political process in the end game. Clinton lied about sex in the oval Office and was tried for it. Why don't we exercise patience in the process and see if this President should be tried?

m -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 06:33 PM
I ain't a lawyer but don't prosecutors hold their cards (evidence) close to their chests until the court has a criminal charge and sets a date for discovery?
Publius Tacitus -> Linda ... , 08 March 2018 at 06:45 PM
Linda,
You betray your ignorance on this subject. You clearly have not understood nor comprehended what I have written. So i will put it in CAPS for you. Please read slowly.

THIS TYPE OF DOCUMENT, IF IT HAD A SOURCE OR SOURCES BEHIND IT, WOULD REFERENCE THOSE SOURCES. AN ANALYST WOULD NOT WRITE "WE ASSESS." IF YOU HAVE A RELIABLE HUMAN SOURCE OR A RELIABLE PIECE OF SIGINT THE YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ASSESS. YOU SIMPLY STATE, ACCORDING TO A KNOWLEDGEABLE AND RELIABLE SOURCE.

GOT IT. And don't come back with nonsense that the sources are so sensitive that they cannot be disclose. News flash genius--the very fact that Clapper put out this piece of dreck would have exposed the sources if they existed (but they do not). In any event, there would be reference to sources that provided the evidence that such activity took place at the direction of Putin.

IT DOES NOT EXIST.

J , 08 March 2018 at 07:08 PM
Colonel,

The granddaddy of them all is #16, and what have they contributed?

Steve McIntyre -> David Habakkuk ... , 08 March 2018 at 07:41 PM
I'm eagerly awaiting your thoughts on the Skripal poisoning. I'm sure I'm not alone in the hope that you will write on it.
The Twisted Genius -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 07:59 PM
Publius Tacitus,

I notice other Intelligence Community Assessments also use the term "we assess" liberally. For example, the 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment and the 2012 ICA on Global Water Security use the "we assess" phrase throughout the documents. I hazard to guess that is why they call these things assessments.

The 2017 ICA on Russian Interference released to the public clearly states: "This report is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment. This document's conclusions are identical to the highly classified assessment, but this document does not include the full supporting information, including specific intelligence on key elements of the influence campaign. Given the redactions, we made minor edits purely for readability and flow."

I would hazard another guess that those minor edits for readability and flow are the reason that specific intelligence reports and sources, which were left out of the unclassified ICA, are not cited in that ICA.

The Twisted Genius -> Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 08:26 PM
Dave,

As far as I know, no one has reliably claimed that election systems, as in vote tallies, were ever breached. No votes were changed after they were cast. The integrity of our election system and the 2016 election itself was maintained. Having said that, there is plenty of evidence of Russian meddling as an influence op. I suggest you and others take a gander at the research of someone going by the handle of @UsHadrons and several others. They are compiling a collection of FaceBook, twitter and other media postings that emanated from the IRA and other Russian sources. The breadth of these postings is quite wide and supports the assessment that enhancing the divides that already existed in US society was a primary Russian goal.

https://medium.com/@ushadrons

I pointed this stuff out to Eric Newhill a while back in one of our conversations. He jokingly noted that he may have assisted in spreading a few of these memes. I bet a lot of people will recognize some of the stuff in this collection. That's nothing. Recently we all learned that Michael Moore did a lot more than unwittingly repost a Russian meme. He took part in a NYC protest march organized and pushed by Russians. This stuff is open source proof of Russian meddling.

Publius Tacitus -> The Twisted Genius ... , 08 March 2018 at 08:55 PM
TTG
Nice try, but that is bullshit just because recent assessments come out with sloppy language is no excuse. Go back and look at the assessment was done for iraq to justify the war in 2003. Many sources cited because it was considered something Required to justify going to war. As we have been told by many in the media that the Russians meddling was worse or as bad as the attack on Pearl Harbor and 9-11. With something so serious do you want to argue that they would downplay the sourcing?

[Mar 08, 2018] So the net effect of Flynn indictment is that Mueller's office is conducting our Russian foreign policy. Authority without either responsibility or expertise is not a desirable thing when it comes to forging correct relations with a nuclear power.

Notable quotes:
"... So the net effect is that Mueller's office is conducting our Russian foreign policy. Authority without either responsibility or expertise is not a desirable thing when it comes to forging correct relations with a nuclear power. ..."
Mar 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Flavius -> LeaNder... , 08 March 2018 at 01:54 PM

It will be interesting to see why the interviewing FBI Agents to whom Flynn has admitted to the Mueller Op telling a lie, or lies, did not avail Flynn the opportunity of the 'lie circumstantial."

From what I think I know about the case, the answers to the questions put to Flynn were already known to the Agents from wire overhears; and their substance did not constitute a crime in any case.

Why would not the Agents interviewing Flynn have said "If you're telling me this, we have reason to think that you're mistaken?"

If I'm correct in my understanding, in my opinion, the Agents conducted themselves in a very chickenshit fashion and I would suspect an Agenda was in play.


Making a more general observation regarding the Mueller Op, it seems to me that not the least reprehensible effect of its existence is that de facto it has usurped the authority of the White House and the State Department to conduct Foreign Policy vis a vis Russia.

For example, I doubt very much whether Mueller cleared his ridiculous indictment relating to the Russian troll farm, a requirement that at one time would have been SOP for any FBI Office or USAtty Office bringing an indictment of this kind. And even if Mueller did, what would, what could the WH or State response have been given the mishapen political climate and the track record of outrageous leaking that so far have gone on without consequence to the leaker.

So the net effect is that Mueller's office is conducting our Russian foreign policy. Authority without either responsibility or expertise is not a desirable thing when it comes to forging correct relations with a nuclear power.

[Mar 08, 2018] Hope Hicks Tells House Intel Committee That Her Emails Were Hacked

Notable quotes:
"... We're keeping our eyes out for another report confirming that Hick's account had been hacked (by shadowy Russia-affiliated hackers, no doubt). ..."
Mar 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

As NBC News pointed out, Hicks' hacking claim raises questions about who hacked the account and why. But the committee wasn't able to pursue those questions because Hicks, like many other members of the White House staff who have appeared before the House Intel Committee, has refused to answer questions about her time at the White House or her experiences during the transition -- and also because she was appearing voluntarily and not under a subpoena for her testimony.

It is standard practice for lawmakers to ask witnesses about phone numbers and email accounts. However, it is uncommon, according to people familiar with the committee process, for a witness to tell lawmakers that he or she no longer has access to past accounts.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has famously been pursuing the emails of Trump associates and other records from the campaign period, transition and the Trump administration.

Mueller recently sent a subpoena to former Trump aide Sam Nunberg ordering Nunberg to turn over documents relating in any way to 10 current and former Trump associates, including Hicks.

As NBC points out, Corey Lewandowski, Trump's first campaign manager (who reportedly dated Hicks during the campaign while he was married to another woman), is slated to testify before the committee on Thursday.

We're keeping our eyes out for another report confirming that Hick's account had been hacked (by shadowy Russia-affiliated hackers, no doubt).

Throat-warbler Thu, 03/08/2018 - 14:52 Permalink

What is always a mystery to me is why these email servers are attached and available to the public Internet. Any script kiddie with a version of "crack" can eventually guess a password that is composed of regular words or favorite clichés. Not to mention some inherently hackable OSs.

GeezerGeek -> Throat-warbler Thu, 03/08/2018 - 15:07 Permalink

Are your email accounts all hosted on servers not attached to the internet?

Email servers, even ones attached to the internet, can be protected. Not perfectly, but well enough. Throw in proper use of non-trivial passwords and you become even safer in a relatively private environment such as a corporation or campaign committee might set up. When email services are offered freely to everyone you are always at risk, because the hosts will have full access to whatever you send and receive.

One more thing: make certain you can trust those running your servers. Then you won't have to hire someone to kill them when they steal stuff via direct access to the servers. Think Seth Rich.

[Mar 07, 2018] How Russiagate helps the Israel lobby

Notable quotes:
"... The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs ..."
"... The Washington Report's ..."
Mar 07, 2018 | electronicintifada.net

Ever since Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 US presidential election , the Democratic Party establishment has held tightly to the belief that her shock defeat was not the result of her and their shortcomings, but rather due to a nefarious Russian plot to "hack" the election in "collusion" with the winner.

Instead of examining why Donald Trump was able to connect with voters in economically distressed parts of the country in a way that Democrats failed to do, adherents of the Russiagate narrative hoped that investigations would quickly find a smoking gun, leading to Trump's impeachment and undoing an election result they consider aberrant and unjust.

On Friday, I spoke at a conference in Washington, DC, titled The Israel Lobby and American Policy , sponsored by The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and IRmep , a group that researches the lobby's influence.

As I note in my talk, a handful of journalists – especially Max Blumenthal and Aaron Maté of The Real News – have consistently debunked the wild, exaggerated and sometimes fabricated claims of Russian interference made by members of the self-styled but woefully ineffectual "Resistance" to Trump.

Watch the video above.

True, over the course of the last year, special counsel Robert Mueller has made a number of indictments, but none of those cases – including the recent indictment of 13 Russians linked to a St. Petersburg troll farm – substantiates the heavily hyped claim that Russia helped Trump win the White House.

Perhaps the most high-profile indictment of someone in Trump's inner circle, the president's first national security adviser Michael Flynn , actually shows that rather than colluding with Russia, senior members of Trump's team were really working with Israel to advance its agenda.

And while no one has pinpointed evidence of Trump auctioning off his foreign policy to any Russian oligarchs, he has definitely tailored his policy toward Israel to the demands of casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson , his biggest campaign donor .

Adelson's immediate priority was securing US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the American embassy there – and Trump duly obliged .

New censorship helps Israel

In my talk I consider how the Russiagate narrative is actually helping Israel and its lobby in particular ways.

I point out that the Russiagate hysteria being adopted by many liberals is legitimizing censorship that helps Israel clamp down on free speech and a free press.

Last year, the Russian-funded network RT was forced to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

As Maté has noted, free speech advocates and journalists were largely silent about it , perhaps thinking this tool of government control over the media would never be used against them.

But now, Israel's supporters in Congress – including Senator Ted Cruz – are demanding that Al Jazeera be investigated by the Department of Justice and forced to register as an agent of Qatar. They are explicitly citing the US government crackdown on RT as their precedent.

Al Jazeera's transgression is that it produced an undercover documentary on the workings of the Israel lobby in the US.

Qatar has come under intense pressure from that lobby to make sure the documentary is never aired. Five months after the network's head of investigations Clayton Swisher announced it would be released "very soon," the film has yet to be broadcast.

On Monday, The Electronic Intifada exclusively published details of what is in the film.

According to a source who has seen it, the film identifies a number of lobby groups as working with Israel to spy on American citizens using sophisticated data gathering techniques. It is also said to cast light on covert efforts to smear and intimidate Americans seen as too critical of Israel.

True, FARA is being used only against foreign networks, but the point is that these outlets – whatever their flaws – are providing space for discussion and dissent that docile US mainstream media keep closed.

It's simply impossible to imagine CNN, ABC – or for that matter the BBC – showing true independence and taking on the power of the Israel lobby.

While organizers diligently informed media about the Washington conference, the only outlets that invited me on to talk about the Israel lobby were the The Real News and RT. I know that other speakers were shut out of mainstream media as well.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/v7EvTIplv5I?feature=oembed

And besides, there are other forms of high-tech censorship that are being used to stifle or stigmatize dissent in domestic media: Partly as an outgrowth of Russiagate, Silicon Valley giants Google and Facebook have succumbed to political pressure to effectively throttle the exposure of independent outlets in the name of fighting extremism, "fake news" and alleged foreign interference.

The perverse effect has been to reassert state and elite control over media and erode the freedom that those of us shut out of mainstream outlets rely on. Nothing could suit Israel and its lobby better.

Stark warning

The conference in Washington featured many interesting presentations that can be seen at The Washington Report's YouTube channel .

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to Colin Powell when he was secretary of state in the run-up to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, issued a stark warning that the US ramping up its military presence in Syria may be a prelude to launching a war on Iran on behalf of Israel.

Wilkerson said that Israel and its ally Saudi Arabia are encouraging the US to fight a regime-change war against Tehran that they would be incapable of mounting on their own.

"We've already done Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan," Wilkerson said, "so we'd just be seen as continuing the trend."

He warned that an Israeli confrontation and war with Lebanon – perhaps on the pretext of disputed gas fields in the Mediterranean – could provide the pretext.

In an ominous parallel, he likened the current situation to 1914, the eve of World War I – any spark could generate a broad regional or even global conflagration.

Wilkerson singled out the role of the neoconservative think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies as leading the campaign for war on behalf of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Notably, the source who spoke to The Electronic Intifada about Al Jazeera's suppressed Israel lobby film said that the documentary reveals that the same think tank may be acting as an agent for Israel in its covert efforts to undermine support for Palestinian rights in the US.

In spite of Wilkerson's worrying thesis, it must be said that, however powerful, the Israel lobby cannot alone force the US to undertake foreign military conquests. For one thing, US elites have never needed encouragement from anyone to wage devastating wars around the world.

When the US establishment sees a critical interest at stake, it pursues it regardless of what the lobby may want. That is why the US signed the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement despite all of Israel's efforts to sabotage it. Of course whether that deal survives the Trump administration remains to be seen .

In his keynote address , Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy stated that Israel's military rule over Palestinians "is today one of the most brutal, cruel tyrannies on Earth."

He asserted that the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights is a "legitimate tool" and the "only game in town" to force Israel to end this injustice.

[Mar 07, 2018] The New Surveillance State and the Old Perjury Trap by Peter Van Buren

Notable quotes:
"... " Incidental collection " is the claimed inadvertent or accidental monitoring of Americans' communications under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. Incidental collection exists alongside court-approved warranted surveillance authorized on a specific individual. But for incidental collection, no probable cause is needed, no warrant is needed, and no court or judge is involved. It just gets vacuumed up. ..."
"... While exactly how many Americans have their communications monitored this way is unknown , we know these Republican Trump supporters and staffers were caught up in surveillance authorized by a Democratic administration (no evidence of incidental surveillance of the Clinton campaign exists). Election-time claims that the Obama administration wasn't " wiretapping " Trump were disingenuous. They in fact gathered an unprecedented level of inside information. How was it used? ..."
"... Incidental collection nailed Michael Flynn : the NSA was ostensibly not surveilling Flynn, just listening in on the Russian ambassador as the two spoke. The embarrassing intercept formed the basis for Flynn's firing as Trump's national security advisor, his guilty plea for perjury, and very possibly his "game-changing" testimony against others. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
Mar 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

March 7, 2018

A significant number of Trump's people were electronically monitored by a Democratic administration -- many "by accident." We now know that a significant number of people affiliated with Donald Trump were surveilled during and after the 2016 campaign, some under warrants, some via "inadvertent" or accidental surveillance. That surveillance is now being used against these individuals in perjury cases, particularly to press them to testify against others, and will likely form the basis of Robert Mueller's eventual action against the president himself.

How did the surveillance state become so fully entrenched in the American political process? Better yet, how did we let it happen?

The role pervasive surveillance plays in politics today has been grossly underreported. Set aside what you think about the Trump presidency for a moment and focus instead on the new paradigm for how politics and justice work inside the surveillance state.

" Incidental collection " is the claimed inadvertent or accidental monitoring of Americans' communications under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. Incidental collection exists alongside court-approved warranted surveillance authorized on a specific individual. But for incidental collection, no probable cause is needed, no warrant is needed, and no court or judge is involved. It just gets vacuumed up.

While exactly how many Americans have their communications monitored this way is unknown , we know these Republican Trump supporters and staffers were caught up in surveillance authorized by a Democratic administration (no evidence of incidental surveillance of the Clinton campaign exists). Election-time claims that the Obama administration wasn't " wiretapping " Trump were disingenuous. They in fact gathered an unprecedented level of inside information. How was it used?

Incidental collection nailed Michael Flynn : the NSA was ostensibly not surveilling Flynn, just listening in on the Russian ambassador as the two spoke. The embarrassing intercept formed the basis for Flynn's firing as Trump's national security advisor, his guilty plea for perjury, and very possibly his "game-changing" testimony against others.

Jeff Sessions was similarly incidentally surveilled, as was former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon , whose conversations were picked up as part of a FISA warrant issued against Trump associate Carter Page . Paul Manafort and Richard Gates were also the subjects of FISA-warranted surveillance: they were surveilled in 2014, the case was dropped for lack of evidence, and then they were re-surveilled after they joined the Trump team and became more interesting to the state.

Officials on the National Security Council revealed that Trump himself may also have been swept up in the surveillance of foreign targets. Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, claims multiple communications by Trump transition staff were inadvertently picked up. Trump officials were monitored by British GCHQ with the information shared with their NSA partners. Some reports claim that after a criminal warrant was denied to look into whether or not Trump Tower servers were communicating with a Russian bank, a FISA warrant was issued.

How much information the White House may have acquired on Trump's political strategy, as well as the full story of what might have been done with that information, will never be known. We do know that the director of national intelligence Dan Coats saw enough after he took office to specify that the "intelligence community may not engage in political activity, including dissemination of U.S. person identities to the White House, for the purpose of affecting the political process of the United States."

Coats likely had in mind the use of unmasking by the Obama administration. Identities of U.S. persons picked up inadvertently by surveillance are supposed to be masked, hidden from most users of the data. However, a select group of officials, including political appointees in the White House, can unmask and include names if they believe it is important to understanding the intelligence, or to show evidence of a crime.

Former Obama national security advisor Susan Rice told House investigators in at least one instance she unmasked the identities of Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner , and Steve Bannon. Obama's ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power , also made a number of unmasking requests in her final year in office.

But no one knows who unmasked Flynn in his conversations with the Russian ambassador. That and the subsequent leaking of what was said were used not only to snare Flynn in a perjury trap, but also to force him out of government. Prior to the leak that took Flynn down, Obama holdover and then-acting attorney general Sally Yates warned Trump that Flynn could be blackmailed by Moscow for lying about his calls. When Trump didn't immediately fire Flynn, the unmasked surveillance was leaked by a "senior government official" (likely Yates ) to the Washington Post . The disclosure pressured the administration to dump Flynn.

Similar leaks were used to try to pressure Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign, though they only resulted in him recusing himself from the Russiagate investigation. Following James Comey's firing, that recusal ultimately opened the door for the appointment of Special Counsel Mueller.

A highly classified leak was used to help marginalize Jared Kushner. The Washington Post , based on leaked intercepts, claimed foreign officials' from four countries spoke of exploiting Kushner's economic vulnerabilities to push him into acting against the United States. If the story is true, the leakers passed on data revealing sources and methods; those foreign officials now know that, however they communicated their thoughts about Kushner, the NSA was listening. Access to that level of information and the power to expose it is not a rank-and-file action. One analyst described the matter as "the Deep State takes out the White House's Dark Clown Prince."

Pervasive surveillance has shown its power perhaps most significantly in creating perjury traps to manufacture indictments to pressure people to testify against others.

Trump associate George Papadopoulos lied to the FBI about several meetings concerning Clinton's emails. The FBI knew about the meetings, " propelled in part by intelligence from other friendly governments, including the British and Dutch." The feds asked him questions solely in the hope that Papadopoulos would commit perjury, even though there was nothing shown to be criminal about the meetings themselves. Now guilty of a crime, the FBI will use the promise of a light punishment to press Papadopoulos into testifying against others.

There is a common thread here of using surveillance to create a process crime out of a non-material lie (the FBI already knew) where no underlying crime of turpitude exists (the meetings were legal). That this is then used to press someone to testify in an investigation that will have a significant political impact seems undemocratic -- yet it appears to be a primary tool Mueller is using.

This is a far cry from a traditional plea deal, giving someone a light sentence for actual crimes so that they will testify against others. Mueller should know. He famously allowed Mafia hitman Sammy the Bull to escape more serious punishment for 19 first-degree murders in return for testimony against John Gotti. No need to manufacture a perjury trap; the pile of bodies that never saw justice did the trick.

Don't be lured into thinking the ends justify the means, that whatever it takes to purge Trump is acceptable. Say what you want about Flynn, Kushner, et al, what matters most is the dark process being used. The arrival of pervasive surveillance as a political weapon is a harbinger that should chill Americans to their cores.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan. He tweets @WeMeantWell. MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR


SteveM March 6, 2018 at 10:13 pm

Pervasive surveillance has shown its power perhaps most significantly in creating perjury traps to manufacture indictments to pressure people to testify against others.

Key advice: Never talk to a cop. Never trust an agent of the Security State. They may still wreck your life, but at least you won't make it easy for them.

Al Boehnlein , says: March 6, 2018 at 10:24 pm
Are you really arguing that using surveillance on foreign agents and spies to catch and compel traders to testify against each other is bad????? Isn't that the way it is usually done?
Joe , says: March 6, 2018 at 11:18 pm
They do have the option of telling the truth.
Bruce Heilbrunn , says: March 6, 2018 at 11:31 pm
It is extremely easy to avoid a perjury trap: don't tell lies. And don't tell me the government has no right to investigate what could be treason by the president and his staff. I know how you love Trump and Russia.
Clean Up Crew , says: March 7, 2018 at 12:06 am
I voted for Trump but now I'm completely disgusted with his failures and betrayals and won't vote for him again.

Setting that aside, it's starting to look to me like the Hillary campaign and allies in the Obama federal bureaucracy were spying on the Trump campaign.

They fully expected Hillary to win and therefore to be able to cover up what they were doing.

But then they lost, and now they're ginning up the Russia/national security angle to blow smoke over what's starting to look like the worst campaign skullduggery since Nixon and Watergate.

It needs to be investigated, and if there's any fire there, vigorously prosecuted. I don't give a damn about Trump anymore, but I give a damn about our democracy and system of government, and if it turns out that some government filth was spying on Trump's campaign, I want them arrested, prosecuted, and thrown in the darkest, dirtiest hole in our prison system. We can't have that kind of s***.

connecticut farmer , says: March 7, 2018 at 8:13 am
Reading this raises the following question: At what point does soft-core totalitarianism morph into hard-core totalitarianism?
Peter Van Buren , says: March 7, 2018 at 10:40 am
If I see one more variation on "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" in a comment my brain will explode. Anyone who writes that kind of thing ("Well maybe they shouldn't lie") is missing the point: our political process was surveilled and no one can control what happens to information gathered. Even if you think it good to "take down" Trump, the process will exist past him to be aimed at a future candidate you support.
SteveJ , says: March 7, 2018 at 10:58 am
"It is extremely easy to avoid a perjury trap: don't tell lies."

Even if true, do you think it is fair for Flynn to be hit with felony charges for his "less than candid answers" with regard to politically and diplomatically sensitive phone calls to the Russian ambassador after the elections were over?

connecticut farmer , says: March 7, 2018 at 11:12 am
"if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear"

Sound familiar? The Fifties. When the so-called McCarthyites were peddling this line–to howls of derision from the Left.

Thaomas , says: March 7, 2018 at 11:36 am
Republicans created this mess in their desire to make "security" a partisan issue after 9/11. If they now regret it and wish to undo the mess, more power to them!
MM , says: March 7, 2018 at 11:49 am
Peter: "If I see one more variation on 'if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear' in a comment my brain will explode."

The Left used to be vociferously in favor of privacy rights. I took note during the Obama years that it really only mattered for abortion and library books, nothing beyond that.

But a thought experiment: How many progressives, for that matter how many Black and Hispanic Americans would be comfortable with the following government requirements:

– Federal, state, and local law enforcement have your name and current address on file at all times.
– Federal, state, and local law enforcement have a key to your home at all times.
– Federal, state, and local law enforcement have a tracking device on your car or your person at all times.

If you have nothing to hide, you should have no objections to any of those requirements.

Any takers?

Gerard , says: March 7, 2018 at 11:50 am
[[It is extremely easy to avoid a perjury trap: don't tell lies.]]

Even easier: Be a Democrat, preferably the Party's presidential candidate, and then it doesn't matter whether you tell lies or commit felonies because the corrupt Deep State-lib-Dem-media alliance will hold you safely above the law.

kimp , says: March 7, 2018 at 12:01 pm
Even in the midst of all of this, the ongoing ability to continue to spy on our own citizens was recently voted on and passed overwhelmingly, with large bipartisan support. Save your crocodile tears now.
Will Harrington , says: March 7, 2018 at 12:37 pm
Bruce Heilbrunn

Russia is not an enemy of the United States despite all the hoopla about how eeeevil they are, we are not at war. Treason is not on the table unless you, you know, amend the constitution, or abandon it, or something.

mark_be , says: March 7, 2018 at 1:30 pm
@MM: apart from the key to your house (and even that might be questionable if you have certain "smart" appliances), you are describing Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and/or Microsoft. Adding Federal Government to that list isn't as much of a jump as you seem to believe.
BobS , says: March 7, 2018 at 1:32 pm
"The arrival of pervasive surveillance as a political weapon is a harbinger that should chill Americans to their cores."

Thankfully J. Edgar Hoover practiced his job with restraint.
That being said, while there is certainly a need for improvement of the FISA program (sadly, the 'principled' Devin Nunes, Trey Gowdy, Matt Gaetz, et al., missed their opportunity in January when they voted for reauthorization), those individuals caught in the web "by accident" were regularly communicating with targets of legitimately obtained warrants. It was their choice to subsequently lie.
With respect to their "unmasking", it doesn't seem unreasonable that policy makers in the White House should have knowledge of their identity (even in the politicized environment of a presidential campaign), especially when there's the taint of influence of an adversarial government and/or organized crime on a potential POTUS.

MM , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:15 pm
BobS: "Especially when there's the taint of influence of an adversarial government and/or organized crime on a potential POTUS."

How about an actual POTUS?

Can it be presumed the DOJ and FBI had President Obama under similar surveillance?

MM , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:18 pm
mark_be: "Adding Federal Government to that list isn't as much of a jump as you seem to believe."

No, federal, state, and local *law enforcement*, that's what I put forth

Are you comfortable with that leap, personally? You know, jumping over probable cause and due process?

Youknowho , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:20 pm
It is amazing how many law and order Conservatives start screaming about abuses of power, and targeting specific people when they are the ones at the receiving end.

As a rule, if they did defended the police when the subject was racial profiling, they get to shut up on the subject now.

(Maybe they SHOULD team up with Black Lives Matter..)

b. , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:21 pm
We have come a long way from the reactionary and authoritarian chants of "if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide" in the lead-up and then wake of the sarcastically name PATRIOT Act.

Surveillance and monitoring are, like all other "national securities" spending, primarily profit extraction driven public-private "partnerships", but the major point here always was "if you build it, they will use it".

That, too, is the foundational criticism driving Global Zero and the insistence that Article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty be honored by all signatory nuclear powers.

The basic principle of any evolutionary stable open society based on checks and balances is that no self-inflating institutions and power centers are permissible – whether that is inbred, networked multi-generational wealth, incorporated power such as financial institutions, or specific government institutions, such as the military, the "intelligence" agencies etc.

Of course, the whole idea of having secret courts applying secret law in secret decisions without adversary parties, and no mandatory disclosure after the fact, is also fundamentally incompatible with the idea of transparency and accountability, without which free speech and elections are little more than a travelling circus and a vehicle for advertising profit.

MM , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:23 pm
mark_be: Sorry, I meant to include fingerprints and DNA samples in that list of items for all levels of law enforcement to retain on file on every American.

How does that sound to you?

Youknowho , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:24 pm
@Will Harrington:

Any government whose interests clash with ours must be considered a potential enemy – not enough to go to war, of course, but to be wary of what steps they may take to protect their interests and thwart ours.

As for Russia, alas, she is known for playing very dirty. Before there was a KGB, there was an Okhrana, among whose achievements was the writing and disemination of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Anyone who thinks that because they are no longer communists they Russians are nice guys lives in a fool's paradise

MM , says: March 7, 2018 at 2:53 pm
YKW: "As a rule, if they did defended the police when the subject was racial profiling, they get to shut up on the subject now."

There is no such rule in a free society. People are within their rights to be as hypocritical and inconsistent as they like.

But if there were such a rule, where are the civil libertarians in the Democratic Party? Why aren't they castigating DOJ abuse of power in the previous administration?

Why are neoconservatives and Bush era creeps like Brennan, Clapper, and Hayden darlings of the Left?

[Mar 06, 2018] In Her Majesty's Secret Service: How an Agent of British Intelligence Tried (and Failed) to Prevent the Election of Donald Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Another new point in the Mayer piece, not in the above list, is an alleged meeting between the head of the British spy service GCHQ and the head of the CIA John Brennan in which GCHQ briefs Brennan about alleged interceptions of communication between Trump campaign associates and Russia. This is curious because the usual contact for such a case should have been the FBI, not the CIA. ..."
"... But some have suggested that the Brennan came up with the idea or at least directed the campaign of smearing Trump over made-up connections with Russia. For legal reasons and deniability the affair the creation of "evidence" was outsourced to the British partners. As Pat Lang, who has led large intelligence spying and counter-intelligence operations, opines : ..."
"... An unnamed, unknown, unvetted "government official" source is reported by, say, WP, which is then reported by the Times (? since when did competing newspapers use each other as confirmation?), so that official government spokespeople now report "as confirmed by multiple newspaper stories..." ..."
"... Use big words to conceal nonsense and say nothing. ..."
"... Robert Hannigan, head of GCHQ, resigned for "personal reasons" on Jan. 23 2017, a week after Trump's inauguration. ..."
Mar 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

... ... ...

Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller (yes, I know it is not deemed reputable) looked into some claims Mayer makes in her piece which, if true, contain new morsels on the issue. They support the standpoint that the whole dossier is fake. These points are:

  1. Steele likely knew who funded the dossier
  2. Steele used dozens of paid confidential 'collectors', not unpaid ones
  3. Steele may have earlier worked for a Kremlin-connected oligarch
  4. The salacious claims in the dossier were based on secondhand information
  5. Steele briefed Jane Mayer during the campaign
  6. A John McCain associate wanted to use dossier to force Trump to resign

Another new point in the Mayer piece, not in the above list, is an alleged meeting between the head of the British spy service GCHQ and the head of the CIA John Brennan in which GCHQ briefs Brennan about alleged interceptions of communication between Trump campaign associates and Russia. This is curious because the usual contact for such a case should have been the FBI, not the CIA.

But some have suggested that the Brennan came up with the idea or at least directed the campaign of smearing Trump over made-up connections with Russia. For legal reasons and deniability the affair the creation of "evidence" was outsourced to the British partners. As Pat Lang, who has led large intelligence spying and counter-intelligence operations, opines :

IMO there was a criminal conspiracy among various parts of the government, the Clinton Campaign and the MSM to rig the election against Trump, and it continues. pl

Posted by b on March 6, 2018 at 05:12 AM | Permalink

Comments


Pictorex , Mar 6, 2018 6:04:54 AM | 1

Very astute observations, as usual.

A more fitting title for Jane Mayer's piece would have been:

"In Her Majesty's Secret Service: How an Agent of British Intelligence Tried (and Failed) to Prevent the Election of Donald Trump"

By the way, please correct this: "They pledged guilty on unrelated issues." should read: "They pleaded guilty on unrelated issues."

J Swift , Mar 6, 2018 6:41:08 AM | 2
Nicely written piece. It just leaves you shaking your head in disbelief sometimes, the brazen repetition of utter nonsense and total lies in hopes that it will eventually start to stick. And I had also noticed some time back the rampant circular citations bootstrapped into being called evidence. An unnamed, unknown, unvetted "government official" source is reported by, say, WP, which is then reported by the Times (? since when did competing newspapers use each other as confirmation?), so that official government spokespeople now report "as confirmed by multiple newspaper stories..."

No wonder the New Yorker and their ilk stick to print rather than video...with AV media, you would be able to hear the heavy breathing and wiki-wiki-wiki sounds of turd polishing in the background.

ELRIUS , Mar 6, 2018 7:12:54 AM | 4
common core education. Use big words to conceal nonsense and say nothing.
Christian Chuba , Mar 6, 2018 7:19:27 AM | 5
And of course this one assertion by Steele is used by the Hannity's of the world to assert that Trump was the victim of a Russian misinformation campaign ...
"In the reports Steele had collected, the names of the sources were omitted, but they were described as "a former top-level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin,""

The beauty of it is that this alleged source never has to be revealed because it would endanger the source so we have to take this Boy Scouts word for it.

lysias , Mar 6, 2018 11:49:39 AM | 21
Robert Hannigan, head of GCHQ, resigned for "personal reasons" on Jan. 23 2017, a week after Trump's inauguration.
dahoit , Mar 6, 2018 12:18:58 PM | 22
How about the report graun had today; The Russians had poisoned their ex-spy? Another made up crap. The NYer is another web of deceit, the web of zionism. All of msm is.
Ike , Mar 6, 2018 1:20:15 PM | 26
@22
The possible poisoned spy case is now being used by Boris Johnson for a possible boycott of the Moscow World Cup. It is obvious bullshit and a rerun of the litvinenko affair some years ago.

Also an Mi6 setup in my opinion. The Russians provided a shipload of LNG to alleviate gas shortages in Britain. Boris Johnson is an ungrateful sack of S--t

Erelis , Mar 6, 2018 5:35:39 PM | 49

Max Blumenthal has observed that much of what is in the "dossier" was available in the public sphere. The dossier is touted as being deep revelation totally missed a figure like Papadopoulos, who only appeared to the public after the dossier was published. Strange that.

What seems strange is that so many people in Russia were willing to divulge what would have been closely held secrets like the golden showers tape. Putin is described in the Western press as somebody who would disappear you if you even criticized his shoe laces.

[Mar 05, 2018] His Investigation Is BS Former Trump Aide Refuses To Cooperate With Mueller Subpoena; Hints Trump, Carter May Have Colluded

Mar 05, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

As part of what Donald Trump has dubbed an ongoing "witch hunt", Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed longtime Donald Trump associate and former aide Sam Nunberg. requesting he appear before a grand jury investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Nunberg, however, told Bloomberg he has no intention of cooperating with Mueller's subpoena.

"I'm not going to cooperate with Mueller. It's a fishing expedition ," Nunberg told Bloomberg News . " They want me in there for a grand jury for testimony about Roger Stone. He didn't do anything. What is he going to do? His investigation is BS. Trump did not collude with Putin. It's a joke."

Nunberg was on Trump's payroll from mid-2011 to August 2015 when he was fired from Trump's campaign shortly after it emerged that he had posted racially charged Facebook posts. In July 2016, Trump sued him for violating a confidentiality agreement, however the suit was dropped the following month.

. "What's he going to do? He's so tough - let's see what they do. I'm not going to spend 40 hours going over emails. I have a life."

Nunberg told Bloomberg he expects one line of questioning before the grand jury to be related to Stone, who Nunberg worked with closely over the years.

In a somewhat surreal interview, Nunberg also spoke with NBC's Katy Tur on Monday afternoon, reiterating that he was not going to comply with the subpoena while stating his belief that his onetime boss may be guilty of collusion with the Russians.

After admitting to host Katy Tur that he'd been interviewed by Mueller's investigators, the host asked Nunberg if he believes the special counsel "has anything" on Trump.

"I think they may," the ex-aide responded. "I think he may have done something during the election. But I don't know that for sure."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/E86Qy6O4Smo

This isn't the first time Nunberg's given a rambling MSNBC interview. Last week, he called presidential adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner a "weak link" who has done "nefarious things," and earlier this year, called Trump an "idiot" and a "complete pain in the ass to work for." In the latter interview, which was conducted by host Joy Ann Reid, many noted that Nunberg appeared to be intoxicated.

... ... ...

In the subpoena dated Feb. 27, Bloomberg reports that Nunberg was also asked to turn over emails, texts and other communications with 10 campaign associates, including Trump, former campaign manager Corey Lewandoski and outgoing White House communications director Hope Hicks starting in November 2015 and running through the present.

Another possible line of questioning could be related to Trump's activities in Moscow in 2013 during the Miss Universe pageant, which the president once owned. The book by author Michael Wolff, "Fire and Fury," quotes Nunberg extensively describing the early months of the Trump administration. Wolff said the former adviser was "generally regarded as the man who understood Trump's whims and impulses best" and a Bannon associate. Mueller's team interviewed Bannon earlier this month.

Incidentally, when asked if Nunberg was correct that Trump "may have done something during the election", Press Sec. Sanders dnied, saying that "He's incorrect...I certainly can't speak to him or the lack of knowledge that he clearly has."


Bay of Pigs -> Moe Hamhead Mon, 03/05/2018 - 15:41 Permalink

Didn't Rosenstein say that no collusion or interference with the election had taken place?

WTF would this guy know about that anyway? He was long gone by then.

pods -> Moe Hamhead Mon, 03/05/2018 - 15:46 Permalink

Seriously, what about Trump's Hotels? Do they employ any Russians? I think that black jack dealer looked Russian.

I am not a big fan of OJ, but Jesus Christ this Mueller investigation acts like our QA department. Non-stop making you do retarded shit just because someone, somewhere might not fully get exactly what you did because they are retarded.

Mueller better just close up shop before the people supporting him give him the hook. Russian Troll farm? Really? Shitposting is now a national security issue. omg.

The longer this goes on, the more I think that our government just needs to go away. Total loss of all credibility. And when he does find something HUGE, if it isn't related to Trump (Uranium One) he just passes it by.

We are now past the point of absurd. Trump will next be guilty of having a bottle of Stoli at his house.

Kudos to this guy for calling this for what it is. Just downright stupid.

pods

BarkingCat -> DillyDilly Mon, 03/05/2018 - 16:35 Permalink

I took Russian as my foreign language elective in college and sometimes even understand some of it. I also read RT from time to time and donated to the Trump campaign.

I fear that Mueller will come after me next.

Dorado -> Moe Hamhead Mon, 03/05/2018 - 15:55 Permalink

So someone that worked for Trump says that he doesn't know for sure if Trump did something bad and it is headline news? Give me a break! What click-bait garbage this article is.

chunga -> Dorado Mon, 03/05/2018 - 16:12 Permalink

The thing is, the MSM headlines will read "Another Trump Aide Caught in Crosshairs, Refuses To Cooperate in Collusion Probe".

Mueller is going to keep doing this until he's stopped. He was appointed by the DOJ and, supposedly, the AG is the boss.

Billy the Poet -> Deep Snorkeler Mon, 03/05/2018 - 16:31 Permalink

I love the liberal delusion that the Trump-Russia evidence is going to show up any day now while they continue to ignore the fact that Hillary paid for Kremlin help in the election.

How Ex-Spy Christopher Steele Compiled His Explosive Trump-Russia Dossier

Source A -- to use the careful nomenclature of his dossier -- was "a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure." Source B was "a former top level intelligence officer still active in the Kremlin."

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/03/how-the-explosive-russian-dossi

Clinton defends funding the dossier

https://www.cnn.com/videos/cnnmoney/2017/11/02/hillary-clinton-dossier-

Bay of Pigs Mon, 03/05/2018 - 15:26 Permalink

Finally. Let's see some push back on this bullshit and false narrative.

pods -> Bay of Pigs Mon, 03/05/2018 - 15:52 Permalink

Maybe this is the guy who stops pretending? He already sounds like would call Mueller for what he is. I bet Mueller is sitting there in his psychosis thinking that because this guy said what he did he is the one really holding all the dirt.

Someone should go and testify and just start dropping bombs.

"Hey Bob

Savyindallas Mon, 03/05/2018 - 15:28 Permalink

I think all witnesses should do the same. Then when they are forced to testify under penalty of contempt, they should plead the 5th amendment and force Mueller to grant them immunity. This is all total BS. Any witness who cooperates and appears before a grand jury runs the risk of some bogus perjury or obstruction of justice charges. Mueller is a piece of human vermin.

Bill of Rights Mon, 03/05/2018 - 15:29 Permalink

Mueller has already committed a crime he lied to the Senate, if there was any law and order in this Country Mueller would have been locked up a long time ago.

Born2Bwired Mon, 03/05/2018 - 15:31 Permalink

I don't know anything about this guy but glad to see someone is calling bullshit on this ongoing witch hunt. And there are plenty of idiots thinking it is a real thing when basically nothing has been uncovered in a year and a half related to Trump/Putin. Meanwhile gigantic conflicts on the Hillary side are going totally uninvestigated..

Md4 Mon, 03/05/2018 - 15:37 Permalink

"I'm not going to cooperate with Mueller. It's a fishing expedition...".

All the president has to do is give Mueller two weeks to wrap it up.

If he doesn't, fire the bastard.

Easy as that.

Joiningupthedots Mon, 03/05/2018 - 15:43 Permalink

The truth is Mueller doesn't really know what he is looking for.

Its gone from a controlled search model (which has yielded nothing) to a "pin the tail on the donkey" excersize.

Clinton....the gift that keeps on giving LOL

Distant_Star -> Joiningupthedots Mon, 03/05/2018 - 16:18 Permalink

Mueller is not looking for anything Russia-related because he knows no such evidence exists. Instead, he is looking to file completely unrelated charges against other people such as Paul Manafort, who can then be pressured into making false accusations against Trump. "Special Counsel" Mule-er is nothing but the leader of a star chamber packed with (((Democrat))) loyalists who have no interest in serving justice. This entire ruse is nothing but a seditious attempt to overthrow a Constitutionally elected president because the Deep State and its cronies remain in a state of apoplexy over the 2016 election results. More than anything, this reminds me of some kind of Stalinist NKVD secret police operation from the 1930s: false charges supported by fraudulent evidence followed by show trials that delivered the expected results. Truth and justice be damned. Of course, we know (((who))) was calling the shots in the Soviet Secret Police, don't we?

Md4 -> Joiningupthedots Mon, 03/05/2018 - 16:26 Permalink

I don't think he's actually investigating anything. Once in awhile, he pops up with serious-sounding garbage, that really means nothing.

He's intended to be a shark in the waters around this administration, nothing more. A "potential" threat he might "find" something.

He's had his time at the "Russian collusion" plate, and he needs to be outta pitches.

Meanwhile, the country's business isn't getting done, and Trump's time in office isn't open-ended.

Business like infrastructure, the BloCare repeal, the wall, sanctuary city crackdowns, trade deal overhauls (not simply tariffs, but new deals or no deals at all), and much more.

His supporters really DO need to rise mightily and force these issues to the front and center.

The Bolshevik fascists are stymieing this president, as they bide their time toward the midterms.

Mueller is just one front in that effort.

THAT shouldn't be happening.

Jambo Mambo Bill Mon, 03/05/2018 - 15:56 Permalink

Only in Americana, the deep State mother fuckers, can go over the president like never before, and undermine his authority, take down his staff and stall his presidency... and basically place him in a corner for the kill.

Trump since his inauguration, wasn't able to get anything done because of these fuckers... they are enemies of the people! Why are these freaks being allowed to make a mockery of Trump presidency using bs excuses? How stupid people can be to believe on this shit! Where are the good politicians if any left in Washington? Is there any political decency left in the States? WTFIGO? Most veterans and folks on the service that I know of are ashamed of these debacle!

Hikikomori Mon, 03/05/2018 - 16:17 Permalink

The President needs to set a deadline for Mueller - end of summer would be good - either present evidence of collusion with Russia to Congress - or you're fired. Otherwise this investigation will still be ongoing when Ivanka is sworn in as the 46th. president January 20, 2025.

Fiberton Mon, 03/05/2018 - 16:49 Permalink

He is setting up a trap for Mueller. Get Mueller to go balls to the wall and make a misstep and blow his whole investigation up by being retarded. Stone created an art of being a provocateur. This guy learned from Stone. Mueller will see that conversation and think " WE got the President dig dig dig send subpoenas, do raids. " Thing is doing raids on innocent people catches up to you very fast. You never know who knows who and who is connected to who. This will get Mueller to spend more money and he will for sure go over the line and cut his own throat. Keystone cops tend to die by their own gun.

[Mar 05, 2018] Eric Holder Predicts Mueller Will Hit Trump With Obstruction Charges

Muller was in charge of 9/11 investigation. So he is the perfect prosecutor for the "deep state." Proven in action. Everything is possible with him being the Grand inquisitor for Trump.
One insightful comment that re4flect my sentiments about Mueller investigation as well : "Honestly don't care about Trump's personal fate, but I despise the [neo]libs and their clubby parody of justice typified by Holder, Lynch, Comey, Mueller et al. It's probably too much to ask for, yet what would really be fun is to see Mueller's probe shut down before he can bring charges. Just as the Dems are about to splurge in celebration....conspiratus interruptus!"
Mar 05, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Meanwhile, liberal legal scholar Alan Dershowitz disagrees:

" You cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power to fire Comey and his constitutional authority to tell the Justice Department who to investigate, who not to investigate, " said Dershowitz last December. "That's what Thomas Jefferson did, that's what Lincoln did, that's what Roosevelt did. We have precedents that clearly establish that."

The controversy over whether or not Trump obstructed justice was one of the primary drivers behind Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel following Comey's dismissal. Notably, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from all things related to the Russia investigation - frustrating many who say he's simply been sitting on his hands while Mueller and his fleet of trump-hating Democrat investigators gun for the President.

"I don't want to get into loyalty, but I will tell you that, I will say this: Holder protected President Obama. Totally protected him," Trump told the New York Times. " When you look at the things that they did, and Holder protected the president. And I have great respect for that, I'll be honest. "

Holder shot back fast and furiously on Real Time with Bill Maher - stating " The difference between me and Jeff Sessions is that I had a president I didn't have to protect ." Perhaps he forgot about the selective targeting of conservative groups by the IRS, lying about the cause of Benghazi, Obama's knowledge of Hillary's private server, the Solyndra green energy and similar crony capitalism scams, spying on journalists, the Secret Service hooker scandal, and of course Fast and Furious.

Holder thinks Sessions should resign in the wake of President Trump openly criticizing him. "At some point, though, you would hope that you would have the intestinal fortitude or the pride to simply say, you know, 'I wanted this job all my life, but it's not worth it, and I'm not going to take that kind of abuse, and I'm simply going to tell you, you know, go screw yourself, and I'm out,'" Holder told Maher.


Deathrips Sun, 03/04/2018 - 15:50 Permalink

No one should give a fuck what holder says.

He should be in jail with the rest of the moneychangers.

Keyser -> HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Sun, 03/04/2018 - 17:56 Permalink

And this from the only AG in the history of the country to be held in contempt of Congress... Come on Holder, you can do better than this weak effort, especially when they drag your ass to jail for sedition...

PhysicalRealm -> HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Sun, 03/04/2018 - 17:22 Permalink

This is William Binney discussing the magnitude of the corruption of the FBI, the secret FISA courts, and how it affects us all.

One of the NSA's top code breakers Bill Binney explains how the FBI works.
Secret, unconstitutional courts...
"Law enforcement" agents who lie as a matter of course.
Evidence falsified daily.
That's just another day at the office at the FBI.
34:57
https://www.brasscheck.com/video/about-the-fbi/

(No, I have no connection to Brasscheck.)

ShrNfr -> gatorengineer Sun, 03/04/2018 - 16:26 Permalink

Holder was held in contempt of Congress when he was AG. Sessions should be prosecuting him for that.

loveyajimbo -> chunga Sun, 03/04/2018 - 16:00 Permalink

Comey has already Been caught in several major lies, some of them indictable... no one with a brain believes anything that sewer roach says...

Holder is an old pro when it comes to obstruction... and lying... and sedition... and, probably... gobbling Barry's joint... and why hasn't that Contempt Citation this maggot got ever been prosecuted... or perhaps accessory to MURDER, in Terry's death?

Blankenstein -> chunga Sun, 03/04/2018 - 16:18 Permalink

Holder let HSBC get away with crimes of laundering money for drug dealers and terrorists and gave them (HSBC) subsequent immunities not even available to the President of the United States.

Starts at 12:18 (Interview with John Titus who produced All the Plenary's Men, which describes HSBC's exoneration)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfeAhYUWSas

All the Plenary's Men

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=2gK3s5j7PgA

Blankenstein -> chunga Sun, 03/04/2018 - 16:29 Permalink

Report: Holder Blocked HSBC Trial On Drug Cartel Money Laundering Scandal

" Former Attorney General Eric Holder overruled Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers who said British banking giant HSBC should be prosecuted for missing hundreds of millions of dollars in money laundering by drug cartels, a congressional committee report said Monday"

" Attorney General Holder misled Congress concerning DOJ's reasons for not bringing a criminal prosecution against HSBC," the committee report said."

http://dailycaller.com/2016/07/11/report-holder-blocked-hsbc-trial-on-d

Heroic Couplet Sun, 03/04/2018 - 16:40 Permalink

Thanks, Eric Holder, because several months ago I thought that Trump firing Comey was obstruction of justice. The other curious incident to me is why Trump thought that Barack Obama "hacked" Trump in Trump Tower, NYC. It's going to be interesting to read about someday exactly what made Trump think that. Of all the people in the world, if anyone wanted to remain anonymous, it would be the POTUS. I can imagine someone trolling Trump and signing Barack Obama's name to it, and Trump falling for it.

Appreciated also the Holder comment "because I never had to protect President Obama from anything." LOL well said.

Mineshaft Gap Sun, 03/04/2018 - 19:19 Permalink

Honestly don't care about Trump's personal fate, but I despise the libs and their clubby parody of justice typified by Holder, Lynch, Comey, Mueller et al.

It's probably too much to ask for, yet what would really be fun is to see Mueller's probe shut down before he can bring charges. Just as the Dems are about to splooge in celebration.... conspiratus interruptus!

[Mar 04, 2018] RUSSIAGATE UKRAINE HOW THE MUELLER INVESTIGATION HEIGHTENS THE WAR DANGER Roger Stone Stone Cold Truth by Roger Stone

Notable quotes:
"... Prior to the convention, Manafort was involved in the successful fight to remove language from the party's platform which called for providing lethal weapons to the Poroshenko government, allegedly to fight against "Russian subversion." Manafort had the backing of Trump for this, as Trump had campaigned for an end to U.S. support for regime change wars, such as the Obama-neocon coup in Ukraine. ..."
"... (Manafort was also instrumental in including a plank supporting restoration of Glass Steagall banking separation, something vehemently opposed by Wall Street and the City of London financial institutions.) ..."
"... It was also in June that CIA Director John Brennan was briefed by GCHQ Director Hannigan, on "evidence" compiled by his agency, of "suspicious" activity they had picked up on Russian activity with Trump. GCHQ is Britain's cyber security intelligence agency, which works directly with MI5 and MI6. Brennan then pulled together an inter-agency task force to investigate the British charges of Russian activity. Among those in the FBI unit which was part of this task force were the now-famous duo, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, whose extensive text messaging shows that they were engaged in creating the fake narrative of "Russian meddling and Trump collusion". One text spoke of developing the Russiagate narrative to either defeat Trump in November, or provide an "insurance policy" against him, if he won. ..."
"... Beginning in 2013, Steele drafted more than 100 memos on Ukraine and Russia, and passed these on to Winer, who was then a special assistant to Kerry on Libya, which had been destroyed in a Clinton-Obama regime change operation. Winer admitted, in an oped in the Washington Post on February 8, 2018, that he passed these on to Victoria Nuland, who asked that he continue to bring them to her. Note that these were written at the time of, and the immediate aftermath of the coup in Ukraine. The Washington Post Deep State conduit, James Rosen, wrote that Nuland found these reports "informative and sometimes helpful", and asked Winer to keep them coming. ..."
"... When asked about the Steele memos on Ukraine in an interview with CBS on February 4 -- four days before Winer's oped was published -- Nuland lied, denying that she had used the Steele memos. ..."
"... Nunes and Grassley are both investigating the Steele-Winer-Nuland connection to see what this means as far as Obama administration direct involvement in running the Russiagate coup. ..."
"... The new indictments against Manafort come from squeezing his former partner, Rick Gates. Using a prosecutor's set of tools, Mueller went after Gates on his weak flank, the threat to him and his family of bankruptcy, were he to fight the charges. In entering his guilty plea, Gates told the court, "Despite my initial desire to vigorously defend myself, I have had a change of heart. The reality of how long this legal process will likely take, the cost, and the circus-like atmosphere of an anticipated trial are too much. I will better serve my family moving forward by exiting this process." ..."
"... On the new charges against Manafort on money laundering, a well-informed insider said he's astonished at the lengths to which Mueller is going. He noted the irony that, when Mueller and Comey were FBI Directors, they never made a criminal case against leading banks which engaged in billions of dollars in money laundering, much of it proceeds from drug and arms-trafficking. ..."
"... One of the banks given a repeated pass was the notorious HSBC, which while being fined repeatedly for money laundering, never faced criminal prosecution. Among those arguing against criminal charges was the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, who said a criminal proceeding against a "systemically important" bank, such as HSBC, would risk "global financial disaster." Obama's Attorney General Holder shared this view, as he refused to file any criminal charges against "Too Big to Fail" banks. ..."
"... Until his appointment by Obama as Director of the FBI, James Comey served on the Board of Directors of HSBC! ..."
"... From this review of the significance of Ukraine in the whole Russiagate process, it becomes clear that the perversion of justice it represents is surpassed only by the danger which flows from the anti-Russia theme it serves. Unless there is an intervention to shut down this witch hunt, as there was to end the hysterical red-baiting charges of the infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, the threshold for a possible nuclear confrontation with Russia is being dramatically reduced. It was Trump's campaign pledge to cooperate with Russia, rather than prepare for war, which is the reason for the Russiagate fraud. ..."
"... With the Ukraine tensions heightened by recent developments, full exposure of Steele's dirty role, and that of his collaborators, has become an essential component of a war-avoidance strategy. ..."
Mar 02, 2018 | stonecoldtruth.com

What is not generally known, however, due to the lying coverage in the Transatlantic "Fake News" media, is that included in this unholy alliance of coup plotters were armed militia units made up of neo-Nazis, who were responsible for the bloodshed on Maidan Square in Kiev, and which threatened the ethnic Russians, which constitute the majority of the population in the eastern Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The lie that there was no neo-Nazi involvement has been maintained, despite ample evidence to the contrary, including interviews with militants pronouncing admiration for Hitler's collaborators in the Bandera movement in Ukraine during World War II, when Ukrainian units murdered ethnic Poles, Russians, and other "non-Ukrainians", including Ukrainian Jews. The armed "Banderistas" and related thugs have been incorporated into the security apparatus of the Kiev regime, and continue to march in the halls of Parliament and on the streets, under banners with pictures of Bandera, the Nazi collaborator, and symbols going back to their alliance with the Nazi SS.

The coup provoked a chain of events which the U.S., London and NATO used as justification to impose punitive sanctions against Russia, while demonizing Russia's President Putin, asserting that the he was engaged in military operations in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, to reverse the coup. Efforts to stop the fighting between the regime's armed forces and ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine led to the Minsk Accord in 2015, which included a cease fire and the granting of autonomy for Donetsk and Luhansk. The Minsk Accord was brokered by France, Germany and Russia.

On January 18, 2018, the Ukrainian Parliament ripped up the Minsk Accord, referring to the two republics as "temporarily occupied" by an "aggressor country," that is, Russia, and vowed to reintegrate them, by military force if necessary. This bill, which received the full support of Ukraine's President Poroshenko, has been described by the Russian Foreign Ministry as "a preparation for a new war." It occurs simultaneously with an outburst of war-like propaganda from western neocons, typified by a report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), released on February 20 with the title, "Coping with Surprise in Great Power Conflicts." The report charges that both Russia and China are preparing for war against the U.S., and that the Russians are deploying forces and artillery to overrun the Baltic states in a lightning strike, to reincorporate them into a new Russian empire!

THE CASE OF PAUL MANAFORT

This background is necessary to understand the vicious hostility behind the targeting of Paul Manafort, a long-time U.S. political operative, by the "amoral legal assassin", special counsel Robert Mueller. Manafort, who served as Donald Trump's campaign manager at a key moment in his fight to secure the Republican nomination, from May to August 2016, was indicted by Mueller on October 27, 2017, charged with numerous counts of money laundering, tax fraud, not registering as an agent of a foreign government, and of making false statements to the FBI. Mueller filed a revised indictment on February 28, 2018, following his "turning" of Manafort's partner Rick Gates, who filed a guilty plea to a single count on February 22. While awaiting trial in September, Manafort is confined to house arrest.

None of the charges against Manafort are related to the initial mandate given to Mueller, by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, to investigate the allegations of Russian hacking and sundry meddling in the 2016 election, and whether Donald Trump had "colluded" with the Russians. However, they are directly related to the geopolitical manipulations against Russia, which have been sharply criticized by Trump, both as a candidate and as President.

Manafort was first placed under surveillance following a FISA Court order in 2014. FISA, the super-secret court set up as part of the post-9/11 apparat to spy on potential terrorists, granted the surveillance order as part of an investigation into alleged illegal lobbying on behalf of the Yanukovych government of Ukraine by Manafort and others. Note that the timing of the court order coincided with the 2014 coup in Ukraine. Manafort had been working for several years as an adviser to the Party of the Regions, which was the party of President Yanukovych, who was overthrown by the regime change coup.

The original FISA warrant targeting Manafort was subsequently not renewed, for lack of evidence. A second order, however, was approved by the FISA Court for surveillance of Manafort sometime during 2016 -- the exact date of the order has not been released -- likely around the time Manafort took over the reins of the Trump campaign. Manafort played a key role in holding the Trump coalition together heading into the Republican convention July 18-21, as Bush-directed "Never-Trumpers" were attempting to steal the nomination away from him.

Prior to the convention, Manafort was involved in the successful fight to remove language from the party's platform which called for providing lethal weapons to the Poroshenko government, allegedly to fight against "Russian subversion." Manafort had the backing of Trump for this, as Trump had campaigned for an end to U.S. support for regime change wars, such as the Obama-neocon coup in Ukraine.

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, a leading campaigner for tougher sanctions against Russia -- he was one of the authors of the initial anti-Russia sanctions, in the Magnitsky Act -- accused Trump and Manafort of changing the platform to benefit Russia, which he accused of robbing Ukraine of sovereignty! It is now reported that Manafort's role in changing the language in the platform is "under investigation" by Mueller!

(Manafort was also instrumental in including a plank supporting restoration of Glass Steagall banking separation, something vehemently opposed by Wall Street and the City of London financial institutions.)

It was during this same time period, June and July, once it was evident that, barring some unforeseen event, Trump would be the Republican nominee, that the anti-Trump activities of the "Deep State" went into high gear. While the "Never Trumpers" were unsuccessfully plotting to prevent his nomination at the convention, Christopher Steele began churning out memos, paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, which included wild claims about Putin's secret service filming Trump in compromising sexual activity during the 2013 Miss Universe contest in Moscow. His first memo was written on June 20, 2016, and he met for the first time with an FBI official on July 5, 2016.

It was also in June that CIA Director John Brennan was briefed by GCHQ Director Hannigan, on "evidence" compiled by his agency, of "suspicious" activity they had picked up on Russian activity with Trump. GCHQ is Britain's cyber security intelligence agency, which works directly with MI5 and MI6. Brennan then pulled together an inter-agency task force to investigate the British charges of Russian activity. Among those in the FBI unit which was part of this task force were the now-famous duo, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, whose extensive text messaging shows that they were engaged in creating the fake narrative of "Russian meddling and Trump collusion". One text spoke of developing the Russiagate narrative to either defeat Trump in November, or provide an "insurance policy" against him, if he won.

This incriminating text describes the meeting as taking place in "Andy's office", a reference to the now-fired Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, who told a Congressional hearing that there would have been no surveillance warrant issued by the FISA court in October 2016 against Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, had it not been for the Steele dossier.

Nunes has sent a list of ten questions regarding how the Steele's dossier shaped the anti-Trump mobilization of Obama's intelligence agencies. Among those receiving the list of ten questions are James Comey, the former FBI director fired by Trump, Obama's Director of National Intelligence Clapper, Brennan and Victoria Nuland. They are given until March 2 to answer, or they will face subpoenas. What Nunes is looking for is answers as to when the Steele dossier was brought to their attention, by whom, what actions were taken in response to it, its role in the submission to the FISA Court, and whether President Obama was briefed on what the dossier contained. They lay the basis for possible indictments against those receiving the questions, and for Steele. Senators Grassley and Graham have already stated they believe charges should be filed against Steele, who has thus far been protected by Her Majesty's government, which has acted to prevent Steele from being brought before a court of law.

STEELE AND THE UKRAINIAN CONNECTION

But Steele's role in shaping U.S. policy predates the setting up of the Get Trump task force. Both Nunes and Grassley are investigating Steele's connections with the U.S. State Department, including with the notorious Nuland. They are looking into the role of Jonathan Winer, a former assistant Secretary of State who served as a long-time aide to former Secretary of State John Kerry. Winer befriended Steele in 2009, when they were collaborating on investigations of Russian "corruption".

Beginning in 2013, Steele drafted more than 100 memos on Ukraine and Russia, and passed these on to Winer, who was then a special assistant to Kerry on Libya, which had been destroyed in a Clinton-Obama regime change operation. Winer admitted, in an oped in the Washington Post on February 8, 2018, that he passed these on to Victoria Nuland, who asked that he continue to bring them to her. Note that these were written at the time of, and the immediate aftermath of the coup in Ukraine. The Washington Post Deep State conduit, James Rosen, wrote that Nuland found these reports "informative and sometimes helpful", and asked Winer to keep them coming.

When asked about the Steele memos on Ukraine in an interview with CBS on February 4 -- four days before Winer's oped was published -- Nuland lied, denying that she had used the Steele memos.

But the Steele-Winer connection continued. In September 2016, Winer met with Steele, who presented to Winer his anti-Trump dossier. Winer drafted a two-page summary of the dossier, which he gave to Nuland. She told him to present this to Kerry. Later in the month, Winer met with Hillary Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal, who showed him another specious anti-Trump dossier, compiled by Clinton operative Cody Shearer. Winer then shared this who Steele, who then claimed it confirmed the charges he made in his dossier, though coming from different "sources."

Nunes and Grassley are both investigating the Steele-Winer-Nuland connection to see what this means as far as Obama administration direct involvement in running the Russiagate coup. Among those calling for a full criminal investigation into Brennan, Clapper, Comey and Hillary Clinton, which would reach Obama as well, is former Washington, D.C. U.S. Attorney Joseph DiGenova, who said it's very likely they could all be indicted.

YET BRITISH HITMAN MUELLER PROCEEDS!

The new indictments against Manafort come from squeezing his former partner, Rick Gates. Using a prosecutor's set of tools, Mueller went after Gates on his weak flank, the threat to him and his family of bankruptcy, were he to fight the charges. In entering his guilty plea, Gates told the court, "Despite my initial desire to vigorously defend myself, I have had a change of heart. The reality of how long this legal process will likely take, the cost, and the circus-like atmosphere of an anticipated trial are too much. I will better serve my family moving forward by exiting this process."

On the new charges against Manafort on money laundering, a well-informed insider said he's astonished at the lengths to which Mueller is going. He noted the irony that, when Mueller and Comey were FBI Directors, they never made a criminal case against leading banks which engaged in billions of dollars in money laundering, much of it proceeds from drug and arms-trafficking.

One of the banks given a repeated pass was the notorious HSBC, which while being fined repeatedly for money laundering, never faced criminal prosecution. Among those arguing against criminal charges was the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, who said a criminal proceeding against a "systemically important" bank, such as HSBC, would risk "global financial disaster." Obama's Attorney General Holder shared this view, as he refused to file any criminal charges against "Too Big to Fail" banks.

Until his appointment by Obama as Director of the FBI, James Comey served on the Board of Directors of HSBC!

From this review of the significance of Ukraine in the whole Russiagate process, it becomes clear that the perversion of justice it represents is surpassed only by the danger which flows from the anti-Russia theme it serves. Unless there is an intervention to shut down this witch hunt, as there was to end the hysterical red-baiting charges of the infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, the threshold for a possible nuclear confrontation with Russia is being dramatically reduced. It was Trump's campaign pledge to cooperate with Russia, rather than prepare for war, which is the reason for the Russiagate fraud.

With the Ukraine tensions heightened by recent developments, full exposure of Steele's dirty role, and that of his collaborators, has become an essential component of a war-avoidance strategy.

[Mar 03, 2018] Leaked: Secret Documents From Russia s Election Trolls

Those are Clinton stooges who published Steele dossier.
Mar 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

falconflight Fri, 03/02/2018 - 19:56 Permalink

Leaked: Secret Documents From Russia's Election Trolls

An online auction gone awry reveals substantial new details on Kremlin-backed troll farm efforts to stir up real protests and target specific Americans to push their propaganda.

The Kremlin-backed troll farm at the center of Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. election has quietly suffered a catastrophic security breach, The Daily Beast has confirmed, in a leak that spilled new details of its operations onto obscure corners of the internet.

The Russian "information exchange" Joker.Buzz, which auctions off often stolen or confidential information, advertised a leak for a large cache of the Internet Research Agency's (IRA) internal documents. It includes names of Americans, activists in particular, whom the organization specifically targeted; American-based proxies used to access Reddit and the viral meme site 9Gag; and login information for troll farm accounts.

Even the advertisement for the document dump provides a trove of previously unknown information about the breadth of Russia's disinformation effort in the United States, including rallies pushed by IRA social media accounts that turned violent.

While special counsel Robert Mueller's recent conspiracy indictment against the IRA showed a sophisticated organization aimed at targeting U.S. voters with disinformation, the seller appears not to have understood the implications of the auction.

The listing was titled " Savushkina 55 ," the physical address in St. Petersburg from which the troll farm used to operate. The date on the auction is listed as Feb. 10, 2017 -- seven months before Facebook and Twitter identified and pulled down Internet Research Agency accounts from Twitter. It received no bids. The seller, "AlexDA," has not posted any other listings, and was unable to be reached. In Russian, the listing promised "working data from the department focused on the United States."

"The leaks show that Russian imposter accounts targeted activists for specific causes the Kremlin-backed troll farm wanted promoted. On the target list: the daughter of one of Martin Luther King's lieutenants."

While the date of the auction could not be independently confirmed, the authenticity of the leak can. The leaked documents list screen names connected to a number of American citizens who were used as unwitting proxies by the Russians. The Daily Beast was able to track down four of those citizens, whose names have not been previously revealed. The leak contains precise dates in 2016 in which the IRA-created account Blacktivist reached out to those U.S. citizens, plus a short description of the conversations. The Daily Beast spoke to those citizens, and confirmed they interacted with the Blacktivist account in the ways described by the IRA in the document. In one case, the American even provided screenshots of his interactions with the Russian troll trying to dupe him.

In short, the leaked document contains details of the Russian disinformation campaign that have not been previously made public -- details which The Daily Beast was able to confirm. .....

https://www.thedailybeast.com/exclusive-secret-documents-from-russias-e

[Mar 02, 2018] Contradictions In Seth Rich Murder Continue To Challenge Hacking Narrative

Highly recommended!
Muller was the guy who buried 911 investigation. That's probably why he was hired for Russiagate investigation too.
Notable quotes:
"... retired U.S. Navy admiral James A. Lyons, Jr. asks a simple, yet monumentally significant question: Why haven't Congressional Investigators or Special Counsel Robert Mueller addressed the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich - who multiple people have claimed was Wikileaks' source of emails leaked during the 2016 U.S. presidential election? ..."
"... Mueller has been incredibly thorough in his ongoing investigations -- however he won't even respond to Kim Dotcom, the New Zealand entrepreneur who clearly knew about the hacked emails long before they were released, claims that Seth Rich obtained them with a memory stick , and has offered to provide proof to the Special Counsel investigation. ..."
"... In addition to several odd facts surrounding Rich's still unsolved murder - which officials have deemed a "botched robbery," forensic technical evidence has emerged which contradicts the Crowdstrike report. The Irvine, CA company partially funded by Google , was the only entity allowed to analyze the DNC servers in relation to claims of election hacking: ..."
"... Notably, Crowdstrike has been considered by many to be discredited over their revision and retraction of a report over Russian hacking of Ukrainian military equipment - a report which the government of Ukraine said was fake news. ..."
"... Also notable is that Crowdstrike founder and anti-Putin Russian expat Dimitri Alperovitch sits on the Atlantic Council - which is funded by the US State Department, NATO, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukranian Oligarch Victor Pinchuk. Who else is on the Atlantic Council? Evelyn Farkas - who slipped up during an MSNBC interview with Mika Brzezinski and disclosed that the Obama administration had been spying on the Trump campaign: ..."
"... "The facts that we know of in the murder of the DNC staffer, Seth Rich, was that he was gunned down blocks from his home on July 10, 2016. Washington Metro police detectives claim that Mr. Rich was a robbery victim, which is strange since after being shot twice in the back, he was still wearing a $2,000 gold necklace and watch. He still had his wallet, key and phone. Clearly, he was not a victim of robbery, " writes Lyons. ..."
"... Another unexplained fact muddying the Rich case is that of a stolen 40 caliber Glock 22 handguns stolen from an FBI agent's car the same day Rich was murdered. D.C. Metro police said that the theft occurred between 5 and 7 a.m., while the FBI said two weeks later that the theft had occurred between Midnight and 2 a.m. - fueling speculation that the FBI gun was used in Rich's murder ..."
"... Perhaps the most stunning audio evidence, however, comes from leaked audio of a recorded conversation between Ed Butowsky and Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who told him of a " purported FBI report establishing that Seth Rich sent emails to WikiLeaks ." ..."
"... Hersh also told Butowsky that the DNC made up the Russian hacking story as a disinformation campaign – directly pointing a finger at former CIA director (and now MSNBC/NBC contributor ) John Brennan as the architect. ..."
"... and said 'I want money.' ..."
Mar 02, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

As rumors swirl that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is preparing a case against Russians who are alleged to have hacked Democrats during the 2016 election -- a conclusion based solely on the analysis of cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike, a Friday op-ed in the Washington Times by retired U.S. Navy admiral James A. Lyons, Jr. asks a simple, yet monumentally significant question: Why haven't Congressional Investigators or Special Counsel Robert Mueller addressed the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich - who multiple people have claimed was Wikileaks' source of emails leaked during the 2016 U.S. presidential election?

Mueller has been incredibly thorough in his ongoing investigations -- however he won't even respond to Kim Dotcom, the New Zealand entrepreneur who clearly knew about the hacked emails long before they were released, claims that Seth Rich obtained them with a memory stick , and has offered to provide proof to the Special Counsel investigation.

On May 18, 2017, Dotcom proposed that if Congress includes the Seth Rich investigation in their Russia probe, he would provide written testimony with evidence that Seth Rich was WikiLeaks' source.

In addition to several odd facts surrounding Rich's still unsolved murder - which officials have deemed a "botched robbery," forensic technical evidence has emerged which contradicts the Crowdstrike report. The Irvine, CA company partially funded by Google , was the only entity allowed to analyze the DNC servers in relation to claims of election hacking:

Notably, Crowdstrike has been considered by many to be discredited over their revision and retraction of a report over Russian hacking of Ukrainian military equipment - a report which the government of Ukraine said was fake news.

In connection with the emergence in some media reports which stated that the alleged "80% howitzer D-30 Armed Forces of Ukraine removed through scrapping Russian Ukrainian hackers software gunners," Land Forces Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine informs that the said information is incorrect .

Ministry of Defence of Ukraine asks journalists to publish only verified information received from the competent official sources. Spreading false information leads to increased social tension in society and undermines public confidence in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. –mil.gov.ua (translated) (1.6.2017)

In fact, several respected journalists have cast serious doubt on CrowdStrike's report on the DNC servers:

Pay attention, because Mueller is likely to use the Crowdstrike report to support the rumored upcoming charges against Russian hackers.

Also notable is that Crowdstrike founder and anti-Putin Russian expat Dimitri Alperovitch sits on the Atlantic Council - which is funded by the US State Department, NATO, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukranian Oligarch Victor Pinchuk. Who else is on the Atlantic Council? Evelyn Farkas - who slipped up during an MSNBC interview with Mika Brzezinski and disclosed that the Obama administration had been spying on the Trump campaign:

The Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about the Trump staff dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods , meaning we would not longer have access to that intelligence. - Evelyn Farkas

Odd facts surrounding the murder of Seth Rich

"The facts that we know of in the murder of the DNC staffer, Seth Rich, was that he was gunned down blocks from his home on July 10, 2016. Washington Metro police detectives claim that Mr. Rich was a robbery victim, which is strange since after being shot twice in the back, he was still wearing a $2,000 gold necklace and watch. He still had his wallet, key and phone. Clearly, he was not a victim of robbery, " writes Lyons.

Another unexplained fact muddying the Rich case is that of a stolen 40 caliber Glock 22 handguns stolen from an FBI agent's car the same day Rich was murdered. D.C. Metro police said that the theft occurred between 5 and 7 a.m., while the FBI said two weeks later that the theft had occurred between Midnight and 2 a.m. - fueling speculation that the FBI gun was used in Rich's murder.

Furthermore, two men working with the Rich family - private investigator and former D.C. Police detective Rod Wheeler and family acquaintance Ed Butowsky, have previously stated that Rich had contacts with WikiLeaks before his death.

"According to Ed Butowsky, an acquaintance of the family, in his discussions with Joel and Mary Rich, they confirmed that their son transmitted the DNC emails to Wikileaks ," writes Lyons.

While Wheeler initially told TV station Fox5 that proof of Rich's contact with WikiLeaks lies on the murdered IT staffer's laptop, he later walked the claim back - though he maintained that there was "some communication between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks."

Wheeler also claimed in recently leaked audio that Seth Rich's brother, Aaron – a Northrup Grumman employee, blocked him from looking at Seth's computer and stonewalled his investigation.

Wheeler said that brother Aaron Rich tried to block Wheeler from looking at Seth's computer, even though there could be evidence on it. "He said no, he said I have his computer, meaning him," Wheeler said. "I said, well can I look at it? He said, what are you looking for? I said anything that could indicate if Seth was having problems with someone. He said no, I already checked it. Don't worry about it."

Aaron also blocked Wheeler from finding out about who was at a party Seth attended the night of the murder.

"All I want you to do is work on the botched robbery theory and that's it," Aaron told Wheeler - Big League Politics

Perhaps the most stunning audio evidence, however, comes from leaked audio of a recorded conversation between Ed Butowsky and Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who told him of a " purported FBI report establishing that Seth Rich sent emails to WikiLeaks ."

As transcribed and exclusively reported on by journalist Cassandra Fairbanks last year:

What the report says is that some time in late Spring he makes contact with WikiLeaks, that's in his computer," he says. " Anyway, they found what he had done is that he had submitted a series of documents -- of emails, of juicy emails, from the DNC."

Hersh explains that it was unclear how the negotiations went, but that WikiLeaks did obtain access to a password protected DropBox where Rich had put the files.

" All I know is that he offered a sample, an extensive sample, I'm sure dozens of emails, and said 'I want money.' Later, WikiLeaks did get the password, he had a DropBox, a protected DropBox," he said. They got access to the DropBox."

Hersh also states that Rich had concerns about something happening to him, and had

"The word was passed, according to the NSA report, he also shared this DropBox with a couple of friends, so that 'if anything happens to me it's not going to solve your problems,'" he added. "WikiLeaks got access before he was killed."

Brennan and Russian disinformation

Hersh also told Butowsky that the DNC made up the Russian hacking story as a disinformation campaign – directly pointing a finger at former CIA director (and now MSNBC/NBC contributor ) John Brennan as the architect.

I have a narrative of how that whole f*cking thing began. It's a Brennan operation, it was an American disinformation , and the fu*kin' President, at one point, they even started telling the press – they were backfeeding the Press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press, fu*king c*cksucker Rogers, was telling the press that we even know who in the Russian military intelligence service leaked it.

Listen to Seymour Hersh leaked audio:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/giuZdBAXVh0

(full transcription here and extended audio of the Hersh conversation here )

Hersh denied that he told Butowsky anything before the leaked audio emerged , telling NPR " I hear gossip [Butowsky] took two and two and made 45 out of it. "

Technical Evidence

As we mentioned last week, Dotcom's assertion is backed up by an analysis done last year by a researcher who goes by the name Forensicator , who determined that the DNC files were copied at 22.6 MB/s - a speed virtually impossible to achieve from halfway around the world, much less over a local network - yet a speed typical of file transfers to a memory stick.

The big hint

Last but not least, let's not forget that Julian Assange heavily implied Seth Rich was a source:

Given that a) the Russian hacking narrative hinges on Crowdstrikes's questionable reporting , and b) a mountain of evidence pointing to Seth Rich as the source of the leaked emails - it stands to reason that Congressional investigators and Special Counsel Robert Mueller should at minimum explore these leads.

As retired U.S. Navy admiral James A. Lyons, Jr. asks: why aren't they?

macholatte Permalink

Something all of us here already know, if Mueller gets away from the delusion of Trump-Russia collusion then it will be his ass in the frying pan. So he won't go after the Clintons, Obama, Comey or anyone else. Hitlery could show up with a gun in her hand and tell Mueller she shot Seth and he would ignore it.

And, sadly, there ain't nobody gonna do anything about it unless and until a Special Prosecutor from outside DC is hired. Right now a snowball in hell has a better chance.

Corruption!
It's what's for breakfast!

– Rod Sessions

NumberNone -> hedgeless_horseman Permalink

Why don't the Democrats scream about the exploitation of his murder against them like they do with every minor accusation? It's as if they want his death to disappear from the public view...wonder why?

Theosebes Goodfellow -> WTFRLY Permalink

I think it is mostly because they know so much of their world hangs in the secrecy. If they let the Seth Rich story get out, the Uranium One story gets out. If the Uranium One story gets out, the Awans' stolen cars with diplomatic cover for guns to Syria in return for heroin to America comes out. If that story comes out, then the ISI Pakistani doctors with fake medical degrees pushing pharma opiods in America comes out. And finally, Pizzagate, Pedogate, call it what you want, it comes out too. And then all of these dirty sons of bitches go to jail.

And that's why you aren't hearing any of it. Especially from Mueller. I think he got hoodwinked too. They sold him this job as a slam dunk to get Trump out of the White House. It really is the shits when the best laid plans of mice go south.

Bes Yars Revenge Permalink

One of Trumps big problems is that as an outsider he did not have people both qualified and loyal to appoint to critical offices in the deep state. That is why he wound up with a cipher like Sessions, a guy naive and gullible enough to believe the justice department was filled with honorable and trustworthy people or at least men who played by some set of rules. Having found out the hard way that he screwed up Trump is groping for a way out, trying to use a knife in a gun fight. The other side is too ruthless and i suspect they will take him down in the end.

SlothB77 Yars Revenge Permalink

"All I know is that he offered a sample, an extensive sample, I'm sure dozens of emails, and said 'I want money.' Later, WikiLeaks did get the password, he had a DropBox, a protected DropBox," he said. They got access to the DropBox."

Why has no one followed the money on this yet? This introduces an interesting angle - did Seth Rich get paid by WikiLeaks? And if so, can we find evidence of the payoff? How did he afford his expensive watch and necklace?

Freddie Bastiat Permalink

Dems voters and liberals are silent on all this or really just pushing the Russian and Putin narrative.

Blankenstein RopeADope Permalink

Report a crime, yet don't allow law enforcement access to evidence to help them solve the case.

Sounds like a case in Illinois. A 1 1/2 year old went missing, yet the parent wouldn't let the authorities search the house. I don't remember if there was a warrant or what finally happened that the police were allowed to search the home, but they did, and found the baby, dead, under the sofa.

hedgeless_horseman z530 Permalink

The case is being tried on CNN and in the NYT. It was never intended to go to court.

Withdrawn Sanction z530 Permalink

The other key is Rod Rosenstein's post-indictment presser. At the very end, he gave away the game by admitting there was no collusion, no Americans were involved, and nothing allegedly done by the Russians affected the election's outcome. BOOM. Stick a fork in Mueller's ham sandwich indictment.

truthalwayswinsout Permalink

Without that bit of truth, Mueller can go after people for other crimes but not for what he was mandated to do.

EddieLomax Permalink

The one bit of evidence that pushes me over from the possible to probably is the gun, what are the odds of this gun being stolen from the FBI, not just some random joe, but the FBI themselves. If that was the same gun used in the murder than the odds of it happening to turn up immediately in a robbery where nothing was stolen in an area where no one commits crimes is so small as to be near zero. It is vague above, what do ballistics say?

If Trump really wants to drain his swamp then this would be the way in, however if they did murder Seth then they'll murder Trump's family too so he is neutralized unless they can go in and get everyone involved in one go. Otherwise I'd expect the job to be handed over to someone ready to die, thinking here a retired general/admiral with no family might be the one to do it.

[Feb 28, 2018] The Knives Are Out For Kushner Loans With Deutsche Under Scrutiny By Regulator

If Kushner was/is involved with such risky staff, why he tried to join Trump administration. It does not requires any IQ to understand that he will be the target and that knife are out to depose Trump. In view of color revolution against Trump the best strategy would be to stay in NYC. You need to be squeaky clean to work for him.
Notable quotes:
"... A spokeswoman for the Kushner Cos, Christine Taylor, said "We have not received a copy of any letter from the New York State Department of Financial Services," adding "Our company is a multi-billion enterprise that is extremely financially strong. Prior to our CEO voluntarily resigning to serve our country, we never had any type of inquiries. These type of inquiries appear to be harassment solely for political reasons. " ..."
"... Kushner's family business, the Kushner Companies, has had longstanding financial troubles related to 666 Fifth Avenue, "the most expensive building ever purchased", in New York City. ..."
"... After Kushner bought the Fifth Avenue property in late 2006 for $1.8 billion - with zero skin in the game coming from Kushner, the building came under intense pressure during the financial crisis. Vornado Realty Trust stepped in with financing in exchange for a 49.5% stake in the building, which is now carrying over $1.4 billion in debt according to a March release by Vornado ..."
"... While Jared has separated himself from his family's business and placed assets in a trust, he has fallen into the crosshairs of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Of interest are discussions between Kushner and Chinese investors during the transition, according to sources familiar with the investigation. Kushner met with executives of troubled Chinese conglomerate Anbang Insurance which was recently taken over by China's insurance regulator. Talks between Kushner and Anbang's chairman, Wu Xiaohui, broke down in March 2017, according to the New York Times . ..."
"... Also of interest to Mueller are Kushner's dealings with a Qatari investor over the 666 property, for which Kusher reportedly sought financing from former Prime Minister Jassim Al Thani, according to The Intercept. The discussion apparently went nowhere , similar to the Anbang deal. ..."
"... Dovetailing off of the reports of Kushner's meetings to shore up his finances, the Washington Post reported this week that officials from at least four countries - China, Israel, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates have explored ways to manipulate Kushner by taking advantage of his "complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience." The story cited current and former US intelligence officials - and noted that it is unclear on whether the cited countries took any action. ..."
"... Kushner is absolute scum, but how come he gets the treatment and not the Clinton foundation ..."
"... Back door attack. The inlaws, the sacred family structure. Eventually trump is going down. ..."
"... They will stop at nothing. They already committed treasonous crimes. ..."
"... They are the majority within gov.org. top to bottom -- Trump is fighting a completely stacked deck of swamp cards. They have no fear of the law. Look at every step they have taken. Look at the reactions. deflection, non-action. Behind the scenes the deals have been made-they will take down Trump ..."
"... If any dirt is found it wasn't an issue worthy of the integrity of the FBI before Kushner gained political office. So the FBI is only discrediting their felonious selves, past and politicized, craven present. ..."
"... Trump's example proved that it is pointless trying to go there and fight them alone. There needs to be a (new) party behind the individual, otherwise one does not stand a chance. ..."
"... Kushner has been systematically targeted by allies and foes alike because he has no foreign diplomacy expertise and they know he can be manipulated. Manipulated due to ignorance and arrogance. The worst kind of manipulation! ..."
"... You don't get unsecured lines from banks anymore unless you are GOD. Not personally. It may be that the company got one, but if Jared got one something funky is going on. ..."
"... NYCB is a garbage bank. They are essentially a 1980s S&L running a book of long maturity multi family loans and funding with purchased CD's in the overnight - 90 day market. (DISCLOSURE: I have been and will be short this stock). As the Fed tightens and the curve flattens, their margins go to shit. They did well in the free money QE world, but their game has been over for a while. They rely on credit underwriting to avoid adding defaults to the litany of woes this environment brings. In fact, taking no credit risk has been their hallmark for years. They generally don't do office or mixed use lending. That they would be making an unsecured line to Kushner is BIZARRE. ..."
"... I would be surprised if DJT is involved in anything illegal in his business. The guy knows how to bend the rules, but risking his great life to launder money for a bunch of Russians?? Just don't see it. Running for the Presidency with skeletons would be suicide, and he knows that. You don't want the antiseptic light of justice shining on the roaches if you've done something not nice. ..."
"... It may be Kushner is as dirty as they come. God knows his Dad is a piece of detritus. I know DJT as a crass vulgarian, with a genius for the common weal and leveraging off OPM. But stupid felon? Not buying it. ..."
"... Thank goodness the FBI and Justice have all the Democrat/Clinton crimes solved so they can dispense equal Justice to the Republicans ..."
Feb 28, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

The knives are out for Jared Kushner.

After losing his top secret security clearance and reportedly falling under intense scrutiny by Robert Mueller's probe, the New York Department of Financial Services has asked Deutsche Bank two local lenders for information about their dealings with Jared Kushner, the Kushner companies and his family , according to Bloomberg .

Letters were sent by department superintendent Maria Vullo to Deutsche Bank, Signature Bank and New York Community Bank last week, said a person who had seen the letter which seeks a response by March 5. Vullo was appointed by New York's Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo.

The requested information is broad, and include the banks' processes for approving loans.

Vullo requested copies of emails and other communications between the Kushners and the banks related to financing requests that have been denied or are pending. She also asked whether the banks have conducted any internal reviews of the Kushners and their companies and the results of any such inquiries revealed.

The most detailed information about the Kushners' finances can be found in their government disclosures. The couple had unsecured lines of credit of $5 million to $25 million each from Deutsche Bank, Signature Bank and New York Community Bank according to a late December filing.

Deutsche Bank's line of credit was extended to Kushner and his mother; lines from the other two banks were extended to Kushner and his father. Signature Bank also extended a secured line of credit to the couple of $1 million to $5 million, according to the disclosure. - Bloomberg

A spokeswoman for the Kushner Cos, Christine Taylor, said "We have not received a copy of any letter from the New York State Department of Financial Services," adding "Our company is a multi-billion enterprise that is extremely financially strong. Prior to our CEO voluntarily resigning to serve our country, we never had any type of inquiries. These type of inquiries appear to be harassment solely for political reasons. "

Kushner's family business, the Kushner Companies, has had longstanding financial troubles related to 666 Fifth Avenue, "the most expensive building ever purchased", in New York City.

After Kushner bought the Fifth Avenue property in late 2006 for $1.8 billion - with zero skin in the game coming from Kushner, the building came under intense pressure during the financial crisis. Vornado Realty Trust stepped in with financing in exchange for a 49.5% stake in the building, which is now carrying over $1.4 billion in debt according to a March release by Vornado.

The Kushner companies are also reportedly negotiating with Vornado to buy their stake back.

While Jared has separated himself from his family's business and placed assets in a trust, he has fallen into the crosshairs of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Of interest are discussions between Kushner and Chinese investors during the transition, according to sources familiar with the investigation. Kushner met with executives of troubled Chinese conglomerate Anbang Insurance which was recently taken over by China's insurance regulator. Talks between Kushner and Anbang's chairman, Wu Xiaohui, broke down in March 2017, according to the New York Times .

Also of interest to Mueller are Kushner's dealings with a Qatari investor over the 666 property, for which Kusher reportedly sought financing from former Prime Minister Jassim Al Thani, according to The Intercept. The discussion apparently went nowhere , similar to the Anbang deal.

Kushner in the crosshairs

Dovetailing off of the reports of Kushner's meetings to shore up his finances, the Washington Post reported this week that officials from at least four countries - China, Israel, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates have explored ways to manipulate Kushner by taking advantage of his "complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience." The story cited current and former US intelligence officials - and noted that it is unclear on whether the cited countries took any action.

Meanwhile, the presidential son-in-law's security clearance was downgraded from "Top Secret/SCI-level" to "secret" this week, walling him off from the most sensitive information.

Many had expected that Trump would grant Kushner a waiver, even though Trump himself said Friday that he would let Chief of Staff John Kelly decide if such an exception should be granted. In a statement issued last week, Kelly said that any changes to Kushner's security clearance wouldn't impact his ability to do his job:

"As I told Jared days ago, I have full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio including overseeing our Israeli-Palestinian peace effort and serving as an integral part of our relationship with Mexico," Kelly said in the statement.

At the end of the day, unless Kushner or his company broke the law, it appears that this entire exercise is meant to embarrass the president's son-in-law over his troubled 666 property.


gatorengineer Wed, 02/28/2018 - 17:26 Permalink

Kushner is absolute scum, but how come he gets the treatment and not the Clinton foundation..... .yeah I know but how in your face are they going to get... wait dont answer that

NumbersUsa -> giovanni_f Wed, 02/28/2018 - 18:08 Permalink

Trump's Jewish Agenda

January 7, 2018

By CUFPa

Trump, the first US President with two Jewish children , beholden to the money power of the US establishment (i.e., Jewish money ) that supported his presidential bid (or bought the presidency for him), is making the Israeli dream of stealing Jerusalem and the whole of Palestine a reality; especially since he owes Jewish investment banks hundreds of millions of dollars, which can be easily written off the books if certain conditions are met.

"I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," Trump said .

In one fell swoop, Donald Trump overturned decades of international consensus and laws. He also ignored recorded history: Jerusalem was NEVER the capital of even ancient Israel.

Furthermore, he constantly and nonchalantly overlooks the fact that Israel today is an inhumane, apartheid country that uses its carte blanche from the US to do as it pleases in the Middle East. It oppresses the Palestinians, treats them like caged animals , and spreads chaos in the region regardless of how it affects the peace of the world.

The reason is because the Jews control the Federal Reserve , the real center of power in the United States or the money power of the establishment (i.e., Jewish money ). In turn, the Fed wags every other financial institution in America, and consequently ends up being the root cause of all of America's economic ills.

Trump's Jewish Entourage

Not even Trump , who supposedly wants to "make America great again," dares mention the need to dismantle the Fed. Worse, he drools every time he talks about Apartheid Israel , not unlike every other American politician.

The anti-Christ spirit of hate thy neighbor , which revs up the engine of the state of Israel and that of its Prime Minister, seems to fire up Trump's motor as well with his loathing of immigrants , especially of his Mexican neighbors. He and Netanyahu are two peas in a pod – both arrogant, haughty, and supercilious narcissists.

"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18

new game -> Consuelo Wed, 02/28/2018 - 17:52 Permalink

Back door attack. The inlaws, the sacred family structure. Eventually trump is going down.

They will stop at nothing. They already committed treasonous crimes. All the righteous types just don't get it, they are being played to heighten the drama and division.. they don't give a shit.

They are the majority within gov.org. top to bottom -- Trump is fighting a completely stacked deck of swamp cards. They have no fear of the law. Look at every step they have taken. Look at the reactions. deflection, non-action. Behind the scenes the deals have been made-they will take down Trump.

Rex Andrus -> new game Wed, 02/28/2018 - 17:59 Permalink

Drain the Beltway start at your state capitol

If any dirt is found it wasn't an issue worthy of the integrity of the FBI before Kushner gained political office. So the FBI is only discrediting their felonious selves, past and politicized, craven present.

Remember WACO. Remember Ruby Ridge. Remember 911. Remember Lynch. Remember DACA. Remember Obama stealing from Freddie and Fannie. Remember all the government assistance programs you are paying for, that you are not eligible for because of the color of your skin, that you had no say in. Nice work, FBI.

EndOfDayExit -> new game Wed, 02/28/2018 - 20:35 Permalink

Trump's example proved that it is pointless trying to go there and fight them alone. There needs to be a (new) party behind the individual, otherwise one does not stand a chance.

GoingBig -> aliens is here Wed, 02/28/2018 - 17:50 Permalink

Kushner has been systematically targeted by allies and foes alike because he has no foreign diplomacy expertise and they know he can be manipulated. Manipulated due to ignorance and arrogance. The worst kind of manipulation!

Rex Andrus Wed, 02/28/2018 - 17:52 Permalink

How much of the loot from the US taxpayer did Deutche get from the "bailout"? The credibility of their organized bankster cartel is lower than that of a belarus hooker in jail in Thailand, because they practice fraud professionally. The FBI is an active enemy of the United States. The masks are coming off.

california chrome Wed, 02/28/2018 - 18:04 Permalink

"The Knives Are Out For Kushner: Loans With Deutsche Under Scrutiny By Regulator"

Will this be the catalyst for Trump to fire Muler's sorry-ass or does he just become more defensive every day about taking action and hope the issue will just sort itself out?

I too would continue unabated like a crazy man until stopped, if I were Muler.

LaugherNYC Wed, 02/28/2018 - 19:21 Permalink

Kushner wants a security clearance? They get to ream, steam and dry clean his ass. This is no game. Now, it just so happens I ran one of the biggest commercial real estate shops on the Street. I have been in the market recently for a major developer. 5-10X the size of Kushner. You don't get unsecured lines from banks anymore unless you are GOD. Not personally. It may be that the company got one, but if Jared got one something funky is going on.

You see, on a secured credit line, the bank only has to reserve about 4-8% of the limit as a capital charge. That allows them to operate at about 12X leverage. If they are charging LIBOR + 300 for the line, and they fund art LIBOR-50, and the line is fully drawn (no bank wants a line that isn't utilized, that's why they charge non-utilization fees), their 350BP spread translates into a nice ~35% ROE. That's good business. On an unsecured line, there is a 100 % capital charge. That's a 3.5% ROE. That sucks balls.

I have literally had a major bank walk away from an unsecured $50mm line when it would have given them the inside track for a $800 million loan they could securitize and make a quick and easy $25 million on. The regulatory headache and capital charges just made it a non-starter.

NYCB is a garbage bank. They are essentially a 1980s S&L running a book of long maturity multi family loans and funding with purchased CD's in the overnight - 90 day market. (DISCLOSURE: I have been and will be short this stock). As the Fed tightens and the curve flattens, their margins go to shit. They did well in the free money QE world, but their game has been over for a while. They rely on credit underwriting to avoid adding defaults to the litany of woes this environment brings. In fact, taking no credit risk has been their hallmark for years. They generally don't do office or mixed use lending. That they would be making an unsecured line to Kushner is BIZARRE.

If I were working for Mueller, I would be very curious about this stuff, too. If they called me, I would give them a list of things to look for. Something sounds screwy. Either the reporter has the details wrong, or something IS wrong.

I would be surprised if DJT is involved in anything illegal in his business. The guy knows how to bend the rules, but risking his great life to launder money for a bunch of Russians?? Just don't see it. Running for the Presidency with skeletons would be suicide, and he knows that. You don't want the antiseptic light of justice shining on the roaches if you've done something not nice.

It may be Kushner is as dirty as they come. God knows his Dad is a piece of detritus. I know DJT as a crass vulgarian, with a genius for the common weal and leveraging off OPM. But stupid felon? Not buying it.

onlooker Wed, 02/28/2018 - 21:21 Permalink

Thank goodness the FBI and Justice have all the Democrat/Clinton crimes solved so they can dispense equal Justice to the Republicans.

[Feb 28, 2018] Perjury traps to manufacture indictments to pressure people to testify against others is a new tool of justice in a surveillance state

Highly recommended!
Looks like Mueller investigation was a part of color revolution to depose Trump, using consequentialism slogan widely attributed to Machiavelli's The Prince "the end justifies the means".
Mueller witch hunt is a part of neoliberalism counterattack on forces that are against neoliberal globalization, dropping standard of living of common people and offshoring of manufacturing. That means tiny greedy elite against the majority of the USA population. We read about such situations in history books, did not we?
Notable quotes:
"... The full force of the U.S. intelligence community has been looking for evidence of Russian government (not just "some Russians") interference in the election for 18 months (the recently released Schiff memo reveals five Trump campaign officials were under investigation as of September 2016, including Flynn), with the aim of finding proof of Trump's collusion with Russia in the same caper for about a year. ..."
"... It is reasonable to conclude they do not have definitive intelligence, no tape of a Team Trump official cutting a deal with a Russian spy. The same goes for the Steele dossier and its salacious accusations . If a tape existed or if there was proof the dossier was true, we'd watching impeachment hearings. ..."
"... What's left is the battle cry of Trump's opponents since Election Day: "Just you wait." They exhibit a scary, gleeful certainty that Trump worked with the Russians, because how else could he have won? ..."
"... It's not enough. Mueller is charged with nothing less than proving the president knowingly worked with a foreign government, receiving help in the election in return for some quid pro quo, an act that can be demonstrated so clearly to the American people as to overturn an election probably a full two years after it was decided. ..."
"... Given the stakes -- a Kremlin-controlled man in the Oval Office -- you'd think every person in government would be on this 24/7 to save the nation, not a relatively small staff of prosecutors leisurely filing indictments that so far have little to do with their core charge in the hope that someone will join their felony hunt and testify to crimes that may not have been committed. ..."
Feb 28, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

So here's what Mueller has: evidence of unrelated-to-Trump financial crimes by Paul Manafort and others, based mostly from FISA surveillance on Manafort dating back to 2014 . The FBI's earlier investigation was dropped for lack of evidence, and it appears Mueller revived it now in part so the information could be repurposed to press Manafort to testify. The role pervasive surveillance has played in setting perjury traps to manufacture indictments to pressure people to testify against others has been grossly underreported. We'll see more of it, unfortunately, a new tool of justice in a surveillance state.

Flynn and Papadopoulos are currently charged with relatively minor offenses whose connections to Russiagate are tenuous. Flynn's contact with the Russian ambassador can be seen as a lot of uncomplimentary things, but it does not appear to have been a crime. With Papadopoulos there may be a conspiracy charge in there with some shady lawyering, but little more. Further offstage, Carter Page, a key actor in the Steele dossier and the subject of FISA warrants, has not been charged with anything.

Here's what Mueller is missing. The full force of the U.S. intelligence community has been looking for evidence of Russian government (not just "some Russians") interference in the election for 18 months (the recently released Schiff memo reveals five Trump campaign officials were under investigation as of September 2016, including Flynn), with the aim of finding proof of Trump's collusion with Russia in the same caper for about a year.

It is reasonable to conclude they do not have definitive intelligence, no tape of a Team Trump official cutting a deal with a Russian spy. The same goes for the Steele dossier and its salacious accusations . If a tape existed or if there was proof the dossier was true, we'd watching impeachment hearings.

What's left is the battle cry of Trump's opponents since Election Day: "Just you wait." They exhibit a scary, gleeful certainty that Trump worked with the Russians, because how else could he have won?

But so far the booked charges against Flynn and Papadopoulos and the guilty pleas of others point towards relatively minor sentences to bargain over -- assuming they have game-changing information to share in the first place. These are process crimes, not ones of turpitude. Manafort says he'll go to court and defend himself, lips sealed.

It's not enough. Mueller is charged with nothing less than proving the president knowingly worked with a foreign government, receiving help in the election in return for some quid pro quo, an act that can be demonstrated so clearly to the American people as to overturn an election probably a full two years after it was decided.

Given the stakes -- a Kremlin-controlled man in the Oval Office -- you'd think every person in government would be on this 24/7 to save the nation, not a relatively small staff of prosecutors leisurely filing indictments that so far have little to do with their core charge in the hope that someone will join their felony hunt and testify to crimes that may not have been committed.

A limping-to-the-finish line conclusion to Mueller's work just ahead of the midterms alleging Trump technically obstructed justice, or a "conspiracy to commit something" charge without a finding of an underlying crime, will risk tearing the nation apart. Mueller holds a lot in his hands, and he needs soon to produce the conclusive report to Congress he was charged to write. Until then, absent evidence, skepticism remains a healthy stance.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan. He Tweets @WeMeantWell.

[Feb 28, 2018] Another SIGINT compromise ...

Highly recommended!
Feb 28, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

" Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter.

Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico, the current and former officials said.

It is unclear if any of those countries acted on the discussions, but Kushner's contacts with certain foreign government officials have raised concerns inside the White House and are a reason he has been unable to obtain a permanent security clearance, the officials said.

Kushner's interim security clearance was downgraded last week from the top-secret to the secret level, which should restrict the regular access he has had to highly classified information, according to administration officials. Washpost

------------------

Most people will probably be struck by the fall from grace of Kushner and other WH staff dilettantes. I am not terribly interested in that. What strikes me is that this is the third major compromise of US SIGINT products in the last year. The first was the felonious disclosure to the press of US intelligence penetration of Russian diplomatic communications. the second was the disclosure to the press of penetration of GRU communications. In this one the oral or written discussions among the officials of several foreign countries are revealed. These conversations were probably encrypted.

Is Jeff Sessions still alive? Why are there no prosecutions for these felonies? pl

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/kushners-overseas-contacts-raise-concerns-as-foreign-officials-seek-leverage/2018/02/27/16bbc052-18c3-11e8-942d-16a950029788_story.html?utm_term=.e3639623e918

[Feb 27, 2018] Mueller's plan is to keep this going as long as possible leaving the "Sword of Damocles" hanging over President Trump and his administration

Feb 27, 2018 | theconservativetreehouse.com

Paco Loco , February 25, 2018 at 1:38 pm

If Muellers witch hunt is still ongoing in June, the impact on the mid-year elections will be sever. Mueller's plan is to keep this going as long as possible leaving the "Sword of Damocles" hanging over President Trump and his administration. So far the Manafort indictments for acts years before the election are all about "guilt by association" of the Trump team. Muellers endless investigation is clearly theater of the absurd. Russian collusion is only manifested in the Manafort indictments for things that had nothing to do with Trump or the election. The anti-Trump forces will play this tune for as long as Trump lets them.

Like Like

WVNed , February 25, 2018 at 1:50 pm
Mueller is just contributing to the appearance of incompetence hanging over our government at this point.

Like Like

Amos The Prophet , February 25, 2018 at 2:02 pm
". . . theater of the absurd. . ." You are much to kind. Try Stalin's "Show Trials." so loved and cherished by Walter Duranty and the New York Times.

Like Like

Craig D , February 25, 2018 at 3:10 pm
Reply to John A. Maher – Good catch (and obvious / the best way to hide something is in the open). The Democratic memo admits "they spied on Trump", (and they were right to spy on his [the Trump] campaign). And now we see the reaction to all this build up – NO ONE CARES. Now it is just a debate whether is was done properly (not illegally, but properly) and that can be argued for years.

Like Like

Leapin , February 25, 2018 at 8:58 pm
I care and I don't like police state tactics.

Like Like

Margaret Berger , February 25, 2018 at 3:06 pm
Valerie was not the puppeteer. Obummer wore the tiara and waved, had the wife, children and dog assessoiries Val was the gett'er done person who took the phone calls from the real boss. She organized and carried out the plans but I don't think she came up with them all on her own. She took orders. The same someone or small group is still issuing orders and trying to keep everyone in line.

They won't give up as they have more to lose by doing so than to gain.

Like Like

asdf , February 25, 2018 at 4:39 pm
The Schiff memo continues to insist Steele wasn't the source for the Yahoo news article, when Isikoff admits he was!

Like Liked by 1 person

Leapin , February 25, 2018 at 9:10 pm
#fullofSchiff #downtheSchiffhole

Like Like

Iamacokecan , February 25, 2018 at 6:08 pm
It's really depressing watching Mueller continue to do what he wants too. Mueller is the deep state. When all is said and done, Mueller will probably have a few more indictments associated with Manafort and Gates and will come out and say the fbi and doj had every right to do what they did because Trump did have Manafort in his campaign and Manafort is a really bad guy. Mueller was appointed for the special council to cover up everything and to protect the fbi. He will not get Trump, but he will save himself and all the black hats from indictments.

[Feb 26, 2018] State Department Troll Farm Receives Huge Cash Infusion

Notable quotes:
"... "This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight," said Under Secretary Goldstein. "It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive. ..."
"... Israel is long known for such information operations in which its paid trolls not only comment on issues on social media but actively manipulate Wikipedia entries. Such astroturfing has since become a common tool in commercial marketing campaigns. ..."
"... With regard to the larger issue, it seems that the US is getting more and more like its allies Ukraine (drives out any press concerned with printing the truth, relies on a bombastic and entirely false narrative to try and convince its hapless citizens that all is great and everything is Russia's fault) and Israel (an early leader in manipulating online info as b states). ..."
"... If it sounds like a PR monkey banging away on a regurgitated theme, it probably is. For example, the endless repetition in US media about "Syrian chemical weapons attacks" with no on-the-ground supporting evidence is typical of a Rendon Group disinformation campaign; so then they hire a hundred trolls to post outraged comments about 'Syrian chemical weapons use' in comment sections and on twitter; then they hire some State Department intern to write a book about the horrors of the Assad regime, and at the end they collect their $10 million paycheck. ..."
"... The hypocrisy of the U$A continues to be staggering.. If the collective IQ's of the general public approached double digits, the disinformation and propaganda afoot, couldn't gain much traction. As comedian Richard Pryor once said, " Who you gonna' believe, the propagandists, or your lying eyes." ..."
"... money for propaganda... that was back in 1984 - we have progressed from Orwell's version of reality to a new one where reality is what you make of it... meanwhile there will be more dead people that the sponsors of these troll farms, could care less about... although they will frame it - 180% of that... ..."
Feb 26, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The U.S. State Department will increase its online trolling capabilities and up its support for meddling in other countries. The Hill reports :

The State Department is launching a $40 million initiative to crack down on foreign propaganda and disinformation amid widespread concerns about future Russian efforts to interfere in elections.

The department announced Monday that it signed a deal with the Pentagon to transfer $40 million from the Defense Department's coffers to bolster the Global Engagement Center, an office set up at State during the Obama years to expose and counter foreign propaganda and disinformation.

The professed reason for the new funding is the alleged but unproven "Russian meddling" in the U.S. election campaign. U.S. Special Counsel Mueller indicted 13 Russians for what is claimed to be interference but which is likely mere commercial activity.

The announcement by the State Department explains that this new money will not only be used for measures against foreign trolling but to actively meddle in countries abroad:

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein said the transfer of funds announced today reiterates the United States' commitment to the fight.

"This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight," said Under Secretary Goldstein. "It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive. "

The mentioning of Silicon Valley is of interest. The big Silicon Valley companies Google, Facebook and Twitter were heavily involved in the U.S. election campaign. The companies embedded people within the campaigns to advise them how to reach a maximum trolling effect:

While the companies call it standard practice to work hand-in-hand with high-spending advertisers like political campaigns, the new research details how the staffers assigned to the 2016 candidates frequently acted more like political operatives, doing things like suggesting methods to target difficult-to-reach voters online, helping to tee up responses to likely lines of attack during debates, and scanning candidate calendars to recommend ad pushes around upcoming speeches.

In May 2016 the Hillary Clinton campaign even set up her own troll farm :

Hillary Clinton's well-heeled backers have opened a new frontier in digital campaigning, one that seems to have been inspired by some of the Internet's worst instincts. Correct the Record, a super PAC coordinating with Clinton's campaign, is spending some $1 million to find and confront social media users who post unflattering messages about the Democratic front-runner.

In effect, the effort aims to spend a large sum of money to increase the amount of trolling that already exists online.

Clinton is quite experienced in such issues. In 2009, during protests in Iran, then Secretary of State Clinton pushed Twitter to defer maintenance of its system to "help" the protesters. In 2010 USAid, under the State Department set up a Twitter-like service to meddle in Cuba.

The foreign policy advisor of Hillery Clinton's campaign, Laura Rosenberger, initiated and runs the Hamilton68 project which falsely explains any mentioning of issues disliked by its neo-conservative backers as the result of nefarious "Russian meddling".

The State Department can build on that and other experience.

Since at least 2011 the U.S. military is manipulating social media via sock puppets and trolls:

A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an "online persona management service" that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.
...
The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations "without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries".

It was then wisely predicted that other countries would follow up:

The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as "sock puppets" – could also encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.

Israel is long known for such information operations in which its paid trolls not only comment on issues on social media but actively manipulate Wikipedia entries. Such astroturfing has since become a common tool in commercial marketing campaigns.

With the new money the State Department will expand its Global Engagement Center (GEC) which is running "public diplomacy", aka propaganda, abroad:

The Fund will be a key part of the GEC's partnerships with local civil society organizations, NGOs, media providers, and content creators to counter propaganda and disinformation. The Fund will also drive the use of innovative messaging and data science techniques.

Separately, the GEC will initiate a series of pilot projects developed with the Department of Defense that are designed to counter propaganda and disinformation. Those projects will be supported by Department of Defense funding.

This money will be in addition to the large funds the CIA traditionally spends on manipulating foreign media:

"We've been doing this kind of thing since the C.I.A. was created in 1947," said Mr. Johnson, now at the University of Georgia. "We've used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners -- you name it. We've planted false information in foreign newspapers. We've used what the British call 'King George's cavalry': suitcases of cash."
...
C.I.A. officials told Mr. Johnson in the late 1980s that "insertions" of information into foreign news media, mostly accurate but sometimes false, were running at 70 to 80 a day.

Part of the new State Department money will be used to provide grants. If online trolling or sock puppetry is your thing, you may want to apply now.

Posted by b on February 26, 2018 at 02:02 PM | Permalink

Comments


nhs , Feb 26, 2018 2:34:39 PM | 1

The US propaganda machine has just confirmed what establishment's worst nightmare would be
Peter AU 1 , Feb 26, 2018 2:40:29 PM | 2
"to find and confront social media users who post unflattering messages about the Democratic front-runner"

I call these social media watchers rather than trolls. Rather than simply trying to disrupt any and all social media threads they don't like, social media watchers look for comments or comment threads that are disparaging or damaging to their employer.

WorldBLee , Feb 26, 2018 2:49:32 PM | 3
#2 @Peter AU 1 - I would say the language "to find and CONFRONT" sounds pretty much like troll behavior.

With regard to the larger issue, it seems that the US is getting more and more like its allies Ukraine (drives out any press concerned with printing the truth, relies on a bombastic and entirely false narrative to try and convince its hapless citizens that all is great and everything is Russia's fault) and Israel (an early leader in manipulating online info as b states).

Don Bacon , Feb 26, 2018 2:51:50 PM | 4
That $40 million will probably be pissed away on a couple sweetheart contracts to Tillerson friends and nobody will see a difference. US State Department propaganda programs, labeled as "public diplomacy" and other monikers, have been around for a long time but haven't been executed very well.

From the State Dept. historian office, 2013: . .(excerpt):

Public Diplomacy Is Still in Its Adolescent Stage in the State Department , etc.

. . . The process of convergence has been evolutionary. Secretary Powell grasped the power of the information revolution, reallocated positions and resources from traditional diplomatic posting to new areas and recognized the power of satellite television to move publics and constrain governments even in authoritarian regimes. Secretary Rice forwarded this reconceptualization under the rubric of "Transformational Diplomacy," which sought to help people transform their own lives and the relationship between state and society. Secretary Clinton continued the theme under the concept of "Smart Power." "Person-to-person diplomacy in today's work is as important as what we do in official meetings in national capitals across the globe," Clinton said in 2010.The work done by PD officials in Arab Spring countries beginning in 2011 was as much about capacity-building as advocating U.S. policies or directly trying to explain American culture. . . here

notlurking , Feb 26, 2018 2:55:14 PM | 5
I am retired and can use some extra change....just kidding!!!....
nonsense factory , Feb 26, 2018 3:18:15 PM | 6
Prior efforts were targeted more at traditional news outlets, this is just an expansion into social media along the lines of previous work, example A being the Rendon Group in Iraq, etc. https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Rendon_Group

If it sounds like a PR monkey banging away on a regurgitated theme, it probably is. For example, the endless repetition in US media about "Syrian chemical weapons attacks" with no on-the-ground supporting evidence is typical of a Rendon Group disinformation campaign; so then they hire a hundred trolls to post outraged comments about 'Syrian chemical weapons use' in comment sections and on twitter; then they hire some State Department intern to write a book about the horrors of the Assad regime, and at the end they collect their $10 million paycheck.

Tediousness, defined.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 26, 2018 3:19:30 PM | 7
WorldBLee 2

Media watchers target specific comments or comment threads, in the case stated by b, those disparaging or damaging to Clinton.

What I term trolls target blogs or social media accounts that are considered targets, no matter the content of a particular article or comment thread. Social media media watchers are a little more specialized than trolls and look for specific content.

nonsense factory , Feb 26, 2018 3:23:52 PM | 8
P.S. it's funny that you can find out what these clowns are up to by looking for job listings and salary reports:

The Rendon Group Social Media Specialist Salary | Glassdoor

Average [monthly] salaries for The Rendon Group Social Media Specialist: $2,520. The Rendon Group salary trends based on salaries posted anonymously by The Rendon Group employees.

Talk about a soul-destroying job. Right up there with Wikipedia page editor.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 26, 2018 3:27:48 PM | 9
nonsense factory 8. Money looks good. Plenty of people that dont give a shit about their soul will take it up.
la Cariatide , Feb 26, 2018 3:40:19 PM | 11
http://www.voltairenet.org/article194715.html
NemesisCalling , Feb 26, 2018 4:08:38 PM | 12
@7 peter

I see what you are alluding to, but the only problem with it is that, irrespective of the differing definitions, at heart, these infiltrators are a disrupting force on the message boards, whether paid to be or not. Their medium is disruption and obfuscation. I tried to wade into the neoliberal viper's den at slate.com un the past to post "alt-right" stuff and was quickly attacked by multiple avatars.

In essence, one troll disrupts because he has a need for recognition, and the latter disrupts for money. Both are netgain for the troll and loss for the rest of us.

ben , Feb 26, 2018 4:09:30 PM | 13
The hypocrisy of the U$A continues to be staggering.. If the collective IQ's of the general public approached double digits, the disinformation and propaganda afoot, couldn't gain much traction. As comedian Richard Pryor once said, " Who you gonna' believe, the propagandists, or your lying eyes."

Turn off your I phones, and think a little.

james , Feb 26, 2018 4:19:32 PM | 14
thanks b... troll farms looks like a good name for it... farming for the empire.. they could call it that too.. russia as trend setter, lol.. i don't think so!

speaking of troll farms, i see max Blumenthal came out with some 'about time' comments on the sad kettle of fish called 'democracy now'... here is his tweet - "If @democracynow is going to push the neocon project of regime change in Syria so relentlessly and without debate, it should drop the high minded literary NPR aesthetic and just host Nikki Haley for a friendly one-on-one #EstablishmentNow https://twitter.com/democracynow/status/967123918237655041
7:07 AM - Feb 25, 2018 "

money for propaganda... that was back in 1984 - we have progressed from Orwell's version of reality to a new one where reality is what you make of it... meanwhile there will be more dead people that the sponsors of these troll farms, could care less about... although they will frame it - 180% of that...

NemesisCalling , Feb 26, 2018 4:19:33 PM | 15
The silver lining here is that the state dept. is in a sense admitting that there is nothing "in the pipe" relating to outright censorship whether through nefarious agreements between ISP providers and the IC via the repeal of net neutrality.

$40 mil is a lot for liberal college graduates however.

Jen , Feb 26, 2018 4:20:59 PM | 16
Nonsense Factory @ 8, Peter AU 1 @ 9: There are plenty of communities in rural Australia who'd be glad to have troll farms paying that sort of money (even as Australian dollars - 1 Australian dollar being worth about US$0.76 at this time of posting) a month. Real farmers could do trolling on the side during slow seasons of the year and make some money.
karlof1 , Feb 26, 2018 4:26:45 PM | 17
What we need are some Mole Trolls, or maybe that's Troll Moles--double agents if you will that work for 6-12 months recording 100% of all they do then reveal it all in an expose.
Ian , Feb 26, 2018 5:21:58 PM | 18
Getting ready for mid-terms. It's going to be interesting to see if the Democrats get wiped off the map. They should be able to hire quite a few people for $40 million. Don't be surprised if they deploy AI in the first wave, then follow up with a real person.

ben @13:

Turn off your I phones, and think a little.

ROFL After wandering aimlessly in the mall with Her Majesty over the weekend, I'm not sure if that's even possible now.

Piotr Berman , Feb 26, 2018 5:23:20 PM | 19
Hillary Clinton sat on a wall,
Hillary Clinton had a great fall;
All the DNC stooges and all her trolls
Couldn't put her campaign again on the roll.

[department of lame rhymes]

Piotr Berman , Feb 26, 2018 5:29:18 PM | 20
I am retired and can use some extra change....just kidding!!!....

Posted by: notlurking | Feb 26, 2018 2:55:14 PM | 5

Foolish human, who needs the likes of you! Regards, Chief Bot

pantaraxia , Feb 26, 2018 6:42:36 PM | 21
"The big Silicon Valley companies Google, Facebook and Twitter were heavily involved in the U.S. election campaign. The companies embedded people within the campaigns to advise them how to reach a maximum trolling effect:"

It went much further than that . Google actually tweaked its algorithms to alter search recommendations in favor of the Clinton campaign. A comparative analysis of search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo showed that Google differed significantly from the other two in producing search recommendations relevant to Clinton.

Google Manipulates Search Results To Favor Hillary Clinton - Jimmy Dore
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MICXf6viakc

But , but, but...Russia!!!

Nothing to see her folks. Carry on.

che , Feb 26, 2018 6:47:53 PM | 22
The entire U.S. MSM is a F'ing troll farm, disinformation, Orwellian world on steroids. The U.S. public is fed a constant never ending stream of complete Bull sh**, self serving crap. How to stop it is the only question, to stop the impunity with which these criminals like Bush and Trump and Obama and Mattis et.al. lie with their pants on fire and .....they all suck .01% dick.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 8:19:04 PM | 23
@8 Nonsense Factory

Ahmed Nafeez exposed The Rendon Group and the Pentagon's Highlands Forum a few years ago.

And then there's today's nonsense.

Are You a Russian Troll?

Curtis , Feb 26, 2018 8:44:21 PM | 24
It's surprising to see the NYT admit the US does it, too. The alt media has been all over this including Corbett's recent video with the Woolsey interview with Fox News where he laughs it off and then says it was for a good cause.
Curtis , Feb 26, 2018 8:47:09 PM | 25
Hillary's Troll Farm = Lipstick on a pig.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 8:51:55 PM | 26
From Nafeez Ahmed :
Two days before 9/11, Condoleeza Rice received the draft of a formal National Security Presidential Directive that Bush was expected to sign immediately. The directive contained a comprehensive plan to launch a global war on al-Qaeda , including an "imminent" invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban. The directive was approved by the highest levels of the White House and officials of the National Security Council, including of course Rice and Rumsfeld. The same NSC officials were simultaneously running the Dhabol Working Group to secure the Indian power plant deal for Enron's Trans-Afghan pipeline project. The next day, one day before 9/11, the Bush administration formally agreed on the plan to attack the Taliban.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:01:10 PM | 27
From Nafeez Ahmed :

The Highlands Forum has thus played a leading role in defining the Pentagon's entire conceptualization of the 'war on terror.' Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a retired IMB vice president who co-chaired the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee from 1997 to 2001, described his experience of one 2007 Forum meeting in telling terms:

"Then there is the War on Terror, which DoD has started to refer to as the Long War, a term that I first heard at the Forum. It seems very appropriate to describe the overall conflict in which we now find ourselves. This is a truly global conflict the conflicts we are now in have much more of the feel of a battle of civilizations or cultures trying to destroy our very way of life and impose their own."
Debsisdead , Feb 26, 2018 9:01:42 PM | 28
Posted by: Fec | Feb 26, 2018 8:19:04 PM | 23

Yeah well since the writer of the 'quiz' exposes themself as bein a troll of the worst sort there is nothing to be said. I'm currently attempting to ingest only those newstories where the publisher provides space for feedback from readers since if a story is truthful it should be able to withstand challenge. yeah riight cos that means there's bugger all out there anymore. The biggest 'win' populism has had this far is in driving all feedback off all sites with a readership of more than a few hundred. Many of those that do allow feedback only permit humans with credentialed facebook or google accounts to indulge and the comments are only visible to similarly logged in types. That tells us a lot about the lack of faith the corporate media actually have in the nonsense they publish.

Of course 'trolls' are the ones held to be the guilty for causing this but if you actually watch what happens in a feedback column such as the rare occasions when the graun still permits CIF comments it isn't the deliberately offensive arseholes spouting the usual cliches who get deleted, it is those who put forward a considered argument which details why the original writer has reached a faulty conclusion.

We all know this yet it seems as though none of us are prepared to confront it properly as the censorship it is.
IMO media outlets which continually lie or at least distort the truth to advance a particular agenda need to be called to account.
Massed pickets outside newsrooms would be a good way cos as much as media hate us loudmouths who won't swallow their bromides, they like their competition even less. A decently organised picket of NYT, WaPo or the Graun would be news in every other spineless, propagandising & slug-featured media entity.

Lozion , Feb 26, 2018 9:09:10 PM | 29
Cant wait to see the big new shiny gold GEC logo, AMC & GMC anyone? ;)
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:17:57 PM | 30
@ 28 Debsisdead

Said troll was published in Richmond and God only knows who else picked it up. I refuted it in the comments as best I could, also excerpting MOA. Regardless:

From Ahmed Nafeez :

Among Rendon's activities was the creation of Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC) on behalf of the CIA, a group of Iraqi exiles tasked with disseminating propaganda, including much of the false intelligence about WMD . That process had begun concertedly under the administration of George H W. Bush, then rumbled along under Clinton with little fanfare, before escalating after 9/11 under George W. Bush. Rendon thus played a large role in the manufacture of inaccurate and false news stories relating to Iraq under lucrative CIA and Pentagon contracts  --  and he did so in the period running up to the 2003 invasion as an advisor to Bush's National Security Council: the same NSC, of course, that planned the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, achieved with input from Enron executives who were simultaneously engaging the Pentagon Highlands Forum.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/why-google-made-the-nsa-2a80584c9c1
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:26:22 PM | 31
From Ahmed Nafeez :
Mass surveillance and data-mining also now has a distinctive operational purpose in assisting with the lethal execution of special operations, selecting targets for the CIA's drone strike kill lists via dubious algorithms, for instance, along with providing geospatial and other information for combatant commanders on land, air and sea, among many other functions. A single social media post on Twitter or Facebook is enough to trigger being placed on secret terrorism watch-lists solely due to a vaguely defined hunch or suspicion; and can potentially even land a suspect on a kill list.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:40:37 PM | 32
From Ahmed Nafeez :
In 2011, the Forum hosted two DARPA-funded scientists, Antonio and Hanna Damasio, who are principal investigators in the 'Neurobiology of Narrative Framing' project at the University of Southern California. Evoking Zalman's emphasis on the need for Pentagon psychological operations to deploy "empathetic influence," the new DARPA-backed project aims to investigate how narratives often appeal "to strong, sacred values in order to evoke an emotional response," but in different ways across different cultures

This goes a long way toward explaining what is occurring in Hollywood and Nashville.

[Feb 26, 2018] Democrat Memo Lays Egg by Publius Tacitus

Highly recommended!
Carter Page FISA warrant does much, much more than surveille Page himself -- it permits surveillance of most of the Trump campaign.
Notable quotes:
"... The whole Memo discussion above concerns the FBI's data manipulations to cast Carter Page as a spy worthy of an Article 1 warrant by the FISC. As I explained above, once Admiral Rogers closed the FBI's access to the NSA mega-file, the Bureau developed several work-arounds to explain how the FBI had data from the mega-file that they were mining through our Ambassador to the UN. ..."
"... Fusion GPS immediately hired the wife of FBI manager Bruce Ohr, Nellie, and Christopher Steele. Bruce handed material to Nellie, Nellie to Christopher. He repackaged the material claiming it was provided by very personal "Russian contacts" and the FBI then handed that laundered Steele material to the FISC. ..."
"... This laundering operation was exposed with a mistake concerning Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen was actually attending a family celebration and a ball game here in the US when he supposedly met Steele's "Russian contacts" in Prague. Steele's contacts, who exist only in his mind, dutifully confirmed that the meeting took place in Prague. ..."
"... Bill Binney, on Jimmy Dore show, said that FISA warrant enabled "two hop" surveillance. If so, then Carter Page FISA warrant does much, much more than surveille Page himself -- it permits surveillance of most of the Trump campaign. ..."
"... My "dog that didn't bark" question about Carter Page - if Carter Page was such a known danger, why didn't the FBI warn the Trump Campaign against letting him become involved in the campaign? ..."
"... The dog that didn't bark - if the Schiff Memo were so powerful, such a slam dunk, every MSM outlet in the western world would be trumpeting it to the skies and talking about nothing but. They seem to be barely able to acknowledge the existence of the Memo. ..."
"... As it happens, I think the suggestion that Steele's role may have been, in very substantial measure, to give the impression that material from other source was the product of a high-quality 'humint' investigation merits being taken extremely seriously. ..."
"... Schiff's defence sounded so, pardon the pun, shifty and did nothing to really counter the main point Nunes made when he released his memo. ..."
"... Schiff's memo was basically a vendetta against persons. Page and Papadopolis (sp?) are obviously the unpopular kids in the minds of the "mean girl" Democrats because they had links to Trump, the real threat to the popular girl Democrats. ..."
"... Funnily enough the question raised in your excerpt is exactly what I've been thinking since reading a post by TTG about Carter Page being an important FBI informant and state witness to the prosecution of Russian espionage. ..."
"... If the FBI believed Page had become a Russian spy it would have been easy due to their prior relationship with him to interview him and if he lied, to prosecute him for the process crime of perjury. That is such a slam dunk that the fact they didn't do that makes it seem there's something fishy there. ..."
"... And they never verified Steele's allegation that Page met with Sechin and Divyekin which would have been easy to do and now it seems was pure fabrication. Instead the FBI and DOJ lied and misrepresented to FISC to get a surveillance warrant on Page. This seems rather fishy. I speculate they did that to gain incidental collection on members of the Trump campaign. ..."
"... I note that Page hasn't been charged by the DOJ for any crime. ..."
"... Instead of working hard to protect national security, the FBI/CIA/DOJ' senior-idiots (accustomed to comfort and hefty checks) have been politicking and meddling in the electoral process. Meanwhile, the foreign nationals were left free to surf congressional computers – for years! (See Awan affair) and the "natives" like Clinton et al have been making a lot of money by getting huge bribes from Russians and Saudis (see Uranium One, involving Mueller for all other people). ..."
"... Carter Page during his period of cooperation with the FBI, almost certainly was handled by Agents assigned to a field office. I wonder what they had to say, assuming they even knew, about HQ opening a CI case targeting their former cooperating witness for FISA coverage. It will be very interesting to see who handled Steele. Strzok? ..."
"... What was the compelling evidence and who furnished it to turn a US Naval Academy graduate, and presumably a Naval Officer with a readily accessible track record in service, into the targeted subject of an espionage investigation. Did he even have any current access to classified information? This is not looking good. ..."
"... Carter Page is indeed a puzzlement. I don't see any account of him being an FBI informant, but he was a witness in the investigation and trial of the three SVR officers who tried to recruit him in 2013. ..."
"... Obama claimed something to the effect that, it turns out I am pretty good at killing people. This was in reference to the drone program and assume I don't need to footnote. Perhaps he got the notion that his administration was pretty good at intelligence. ..."
Feb 26, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

After reading the memo championed by Democrat Adam Schiff , which was promised to rebut the memo produced by the Republican majority on the House Intel Committee, I was reminded of a Peggy Lee song-- Is That All There Is?

Devin Nunes and his team have saved me the effort of pointing out the problems with the Schiff rebuttal. I am presenting that in full. Here is the bottomline--we now know that Christopher Steele was not a "one-time Charlie." He had a longstanding covert relationship as an FBI intelligence asset. The Democrat memo does nothing to dispute that fact.

It also is clear that DOJ and FBI personnel engaged in unprofessional (and possibly illegal) conduct with respect to making representations to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). Three key points on this front--1: The so-called Steele dossier was proffered as evidence to the FISC without fully disclosing that Steele was a covert asset being paid for his work and that Democrat political operatives were also paying him; 2: Senior DOJ officials, particularly Bruce Our, were totally comprised yet continued to be involved in the process; and 3: The Democrats insist that Carter Page is a bad guy and deserves to be investigated. Yet, no charges have been filed against him and the allegations leveled in the Steele dossier were dismissed by former FBI Director Comey as "salacious and unverified."

Anyway, here are the main points from the Democrat memo and the Republican response.


Publius Tacitus -> steve... , 25 February 2018 at 03:12 PM

Steve,

Page was a campaign nobody. Never had a meeting with Trump. Never briefed Trump. That's what is one of the bizarre aspects of this.

james , 25 February 2018 at 08:53 PM
from page 2 of the pdf - https://intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hpsci_redacted_minority_memo.pdf

"George Papadopoulos revealed [redacted] that individuals linked to Russia, who took interest in Papadopoulos as a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, informed him in late April 2016 that Russia [two lines redacted]. Papadopoulos's disclosure, moreover, occurred against the backdrop of Russia's aggressive covert campaign to influence our elections, which the FBI was already monitoring. We would later learn in Papadopoulos's plea that the information the Russians could assist by anonymously releasing were thousands of Hillary Clinton emails."

my problem with this is wikileaks released the e mails via a search-able archive on march 16th 2016...

i still don't see how anything papadopolous said is relevant time wise.. what am i missing here, other then the obvious fact papadopolous looks like a lousy liar.. apparently he got this from Joseph Mifsud who as it turns out was 'director of the London Academy of Diplomacy' and etc - according to the nyt here -
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/31/world/europe/russia-us-election-joseph-mifsud.html

and from the nyt article "Mr. Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about his conversations with the "professor." Mr. Mifsud is referred to in the papers only as "the professor," based in London, but a Senate aide familiar with emails involving Mr. Mifsud -- lawmakers in both the Senate and the House are investigating Russia's role in the election -- confirmed that he was the person cited."

the whole thing of russia influencing the usa election seems built on via a number of sketchy characters at best..

at any rate - this is what emptywheel thinks is relevant in an otherwise irrelevant memo from schiff... i don't get how it is!

RC said in reply to Fred ... , 25 February 2018 at 09:50 PM
Fred,

The whole Memo discussion above concerns the FBI's data manipulations to cast Carter Page as a spy worthy of an Article 1 warrant by the FISC. As I explained above, once Admiral Rogers closed the FBI's access to the NSA mega-file, the Bureau developed several work-arounds to explain how the FBI had data from the mega-file that they were mining through our Ambassador to the UN.

Fusion GPS immediately hired the wife of FBI manager Bruce Ohr, Nellie, and Christopher Steele. Bruce handed material to Nellie, Nellie to Christopher. He repackaged the material claiming it was provided by very personal "Russian contacts" and the FBI then handed that laundered Steele material to the FISC.

This laundering operation was exposed with a mistake concerning Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen was actually attending a family celebration and a ball game here in the US when he supposedly met Steele's "Russian contacts" in Prague. Steele's contacts, who exist only in his mind, dutifully confirmed that the meeting took place in Prague.

I wish I might be a sock-puppet, but too many of my condo neighbors know otherwise. My favorite hobby in retirement is writing films for children, in which white hats succeed and black hats don't.

Steve McIntyre , 25 February 2018 at 10:25 PM
Bill Binney, on Jimmy Dore show, said that FISA warrant enabled "two hop" surveillance. If so, then Carter Page FISA warrant does much, much more than surveille Page himself -- it permits surveillance of most of the Trump campaign.
Tel said in reply to Boronx... , 25 February 2018 at 10:40 PM
"The entire case against the FBI rests on the idea that they cannot seek a warrant using biased evidence."
The FBI can use any evidence that is convincing to a judge.

Ahhhh, but they cannot legally tell lies to the judge during that process.

RC , 25 February 2018 at 11:19 PM
Hi Fred,

In some ways, being a sock-puppet and napping, in a bureau drawer (?), between soliloquies would be rather peaceful. Alas, too many of my condo neighbors know me to be otherwise !

Do check out sites such as The Conservative Treehouse and you will discover that Admiral Rogers' closing the NSA mega-file to the FBI led to Nellie Ohr's & Christopher Steele's information laundering operation. Other sites yet will introduce you to FISC Chief Judge Rosemary Collyer's 99-page rebuke of the FBI for their defalcations.

At a minimum, you won't be surprised when a plethora of FBI / DOJ / State Department employees are found guilty and sent to prison.

Enrico Malatesta , 26 February 2018 at 12:06 AM
My "dog that didn't bark" question about Carter Page - if Carter Page was such a known danger, why didn't the FBI warn the Trump Campaign against letting him become involved in the campaign?
blue peacock , 26 February 2018 at 03:53 AM
A cogent critique of the Schiff memo and how it doesn't aid the Democrats.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/schiff-memo-russia-investigation-harms-democrats-more-than-helps-them/

The memo does note that "the FBI also interviewed Page multiple times about his Russian intelligence contacts." Apparently, these interviews stretch back to 2013. The memo also lets slip that there was at least one more interview with Page in March 2016, before the counterintelligence investigation began. We must assume that Page was a truthful informant since his information was used in a prosecution against Russian spies and Page himself has never been accused of lying to the FBI .

So . . . here's the question: When Steele brought the FBI his unverified allegations that Page had met with Sechin and Divyekin, why didn't the FBI call Page in for an interview rather than subject him to FISA surveillance? Lest you wonder, this is not an instance of me second-guessing the Bureau with an investigative plan I think would have been better. It is a requirement of FISA law.

When the FBI and DOJ apply for a FISA warrant, they must convince the court that surveillance -- a highly intrusive tactic by which the government monitors all of an American citizen's electronic communications -- is necessary because the foreign-intelligence information the government seeks "cannot reasonably be obtained by normal investigative techniques." (See FISA, Section 1804(a)(6)(C) of Title 50, U.S. Code.) Normal investigative techniques include interviewing the subject. There are, of course, situations in which such alternative investigative techniques will inevitably fail -- a mafia don or a jihadist is not likely to sit down with FBI agents and tell them everything he knows. But Carter Page was not only likely to do so, he had a documented history of providing information to the FBI .

There's a reason why Nunes, Goodlatte and Grassley are focused on the Clinton commissioned Fusion GPS dossier, Christopher Steele and the FISA Title 1 warrant on Carter Page. It is the simplest path to the conspiracy at the Obama administration.

jonst said in reply to Boronx... , 26 February 2018 at 09:35 AM
My, street sense, and experience as a lawyer tells me that -- "tips, confessions.." from informants is true Steve. But the bar for going after a drug dealer, or fence, or kiddie porn type, is supposed -- one assumes -- to be a hell of a lot lower than going after the nominee for President of a major political party.
Green Zone Café , 26 February 2018 at 11:11 AM
Welcome to the criminal defense world. Everyday, hundreds of warrants based on the statements of criminals, paid informers, bitter ex-girlfriends, lying cops, and even non-existent "confidential informants" are issued. With all but the most blatant provably false affidavits, questionable searches are upheld by judges.

At this point I'm just waiting for Mueller's final indictments and the report. The facts will be there, or they won't.

If they are, try arguing a Motion to Suppress Evidence in the impeachment trial. That'll get you far . . .

Sid Finster , 26 February 2018 at 11:14 AM
The dog that didn't bark - if the Schiff Memo were so powerful, such a slam dunk, every MSM outlet in the western world would be trumpeting it to the skies and talking about nothing but. They seem to be barely able to acknowledge the existence of the Memo.
David Habakkuk -> RC... , 26 February 2018 at 11:28 AM
RC,

It really does help if, when you make claims, you link to the source so that others can evaluate them. In the case of the claims you are making, the source is clearly a post two days ago by 'sundance' on the 'Conservative Treehouse' site entitled 'Tying All The Loose Threads Together – DOJ, FBI, DoS, White House: "Operation Latitude" '

(See https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/02/24/tying-all-the-loose-threads-together-doj-fbi-dos-white-house-operation-latitude/ .)

As it happens, I think the suggestion that Steele's role may have been, in very substantial measure, to give the impression that material from other source was the product of a high-quality 'humint' investigation merits being taken extremely seriously.

However, to repeat claims by 'sundance', while not taking the – rather minimal – amount of trouble required to provide the link which allows others to evaluate them, simply puts people's backs up and makes them less likely to take what you are suggesting seriously.

DianaLC , 26 February 2018 at 01:55 PM
PT,

In the words of Emily Dickinson, I'm nobody. So., I come here to test my reaction when I read what the Democrats wrote -- though it was hard to get any continuity while reading because of all the big black lines--I was completely underwhelmed. I hate it when someone claims that what he/she is going to say will be something that will change my entire Weltanschauung and it turns out to be a nothing burger, in today's parance.

So thank you for confirming my opinion of the memo and thanks to others who have commented and who have way more experience and knowledge about how our Swam works (or doesn't work?).

My first reaction before I even tried to read the memo was correct. My first instinct was to judge on the basis of personality, which I know is not often logical. I felt that nothing put out under Schiff's authority could change my mind about the point Nunes made when he put out his mamo. Schiff's defence sounded so, pardon the pun, shifty and did nothing to really counter the main point Nunes made when he released his memo.

Schiff's memo was basically a vendetta against persons. Page and Papadopolis (sp?) are obviously the unpopular kids in the minds of the "mean girl" Democrats because they had links to Trump, the real threat to the popular girl Democrats. All we have to do is hear their names and we should automatically decide that if we want to be popular, we should malign them also so as to malign Trump and gain our entrance into the popular group in the cafeteria.

Jack said in reply to blue peacock... , 26 February 2018 at 02:00 PM
blue peacock,

Thanks for that link.

Funnily enough the question raised in your excerpt is exactly what I've been thinking since reading a post by TTG about Carter Page being an important FBI informant and state witness to the prosecution of Russian espionage.

If the FBI believed Page had become a Russian spy it would have been easy due to their prior relationship with him to interview him and if he lied, to prosecute him for the process crime of perjury. That is such a slam dunk that the fact they didn't do that makes it seem there's something fishy there.

And they never verified Steele's allegation that Page met with Sechin and Divyekin which would have been easy to do and now it seems was pure fabrication. Instead the FBI and DOJ lied and misrepresented to FISC to get a surveillance warrant on Page. This seems rather fishy. I speculate they did that to gain incidental collection on members of the Trump campaign.

I note that Page hasn't been charged by the DOJ for any crime. I agree with you that the investigation of the "conspiracy" is moving along well despite the roadblocks by the DOJ. Goodlatte who has seen the FISA application has now requested all the DOJ testimony from FISC. In a recent interview Rep. Ratcliffe who has also seen the FISA application made an interesting point that since in a FISC proceeding the accused has no ability to challenge the prosecution's claims, the prosecution has an affirmative obligation under FISA to present all the evidence, which the DOJ did not do but instead knowingly mislead the court.

It looks like we're heading towards another special counsel to investigate law enforcement and the IC regarding both the Trump and Clinton counter-intelligence investigations as well as the IC and media propaganda efforts to build hysteria around the meme of collusion of the Trump campaign with the Russian government. That investigation could lead all the way into the Obama White House.

Anna said in reply to Leaky Ranger... , 26 February 2018 at 02:56 PM
Your answer deserves F.

See post No 14: "...the FBI also interviewed Page multiple times about his Russian intelligence contacts." Apparently, these interviews stretch back to 2013. The memo also lets slip that there was at least one more interview with Page in March 2016, before the counterintelligence investigation began. We must assume that Page was a truthful informant since his information was used in a prosecution against Russian spies and Page himself has never been accused of lying to the FBI."

The case is not closed – it is closing on the high-placed violators of the US Constitution --as well as on their lack of professionalism, sheer incompetence and promiscuous opportunism

Instead of working hard to protect national security, the FBI/CIA/DOJ' senior-idiots (accustomed to comfort and hefty checks) have been politicking and meddling in the electoral process. Meanwhile, the foreign nationals were left free to surf congressional computers – for years! (See Awan affair) and the "natives" like Clinton et al have been making a lot of money by getting huge bribes from Russians and Saudis (see Uranium One, involving Mueller for all other people).

There is another big Q: To what extend both the FBI and the CIA have been infiltrated by Israel-firsters that are loyal to Zion, and how extensive is the damage inflicted by the "duals" on the US.

RC said in reply to David Habakkuk ... , 26 February 2018 at 03:30 PM
Thank you David -- will do so in the future.
outthere , 26 February 2018 at 04:30 PM
Some commentators here seem not to know this simple fact: prosecutors in USA have enormous power. They can make mountains of molehills. And their most powerful weapon is the law of conspiracy. Here is an explanation by an experienced attorney:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/26/thirteen-russians-a-defense-lawyer-decodes-the-mueller-indictments/
Flavius , 26 February 2018 at 05:32 PM
Most unusual, I would say, for an Agent in an upper management position in FBI HQ to open a counter intelligence case and then for all intents and purposes assign it to himself. Cases are normally worked and directly supervised in field offices.

Carter Page during his period of cooperation with the FBI, almost certainly was handled by Agents assigned to a field office. I wonder what they had to say, assuming they even knew, about HQ opening a CI case targeting their former cooperating witness for FISA coverage. It will be very interesting to see who handled Steele. Strzok?

What was the compelling evidence and who furnished it to turn a US Naval Academy graduate, and presumably a Naval Officer with a readily accessible track record in service, into the targeted subject of an espionage investigation. Did he even have any current access to classified information? This is not looking good.

The Twisted Genius -> Jack... , 26 February 2018 at 07:29 PM
Jack,

Carter Page is indeed a puzzlement. I don't see any account of him being an FBI informant, but he was a witness in the investigation and trial of the three SVR officers who tried to recruit him in 2013.

If he was an informant, the FBI would not have had to obtain a FISA warrant to surveil him in 2014. That also raises doubts about how cooperative he was during that investigation and the 2015 Russian spy trial.

Obviously he didn't obstruct the investigation or prosecution or he would have been charged for that long ago. I get the impression he is a lot more wily than most people give him credit for.

Duck1 , 26 February 2018 at 08:37 PM
Obama claimed something to the effect that, it turns out I am pretty good at killing people. This was in reference to the drone program and assume I don't need to footnote. Perhaps he got the notion that his administration was pretty good at intelligence.

[Feb 26, 2018] Et Tu, Bernie by Justin Raimondo

Looks like neoliberals decided to equate widespread anti-neoliberalism and anti-globalization sentiment with pro-Russian propaganda. A very clever and very dirty trick.
What is funny is that Steele dossier and FBI Mayberry Machiavellians machinations actually deprived Sanders a chance to represent Democratic Party. nt that he wanted this badly, he folded eve without major pressure (many be under behind the scenes intimidation due to business dealing of his wife)
Notable quotes:
"... Instead of standing up to the crazies – by which I mean the Democratic party Establishment – and saying that the whole Russia-phobic campaign is based on nothing but hot air and fantasy, he's kowtowing to the very people who are trying to smear him as a Russian agent. Here he is signing on to the Clintonite canon of faith that poor Hillary " had to run against the Russian government " as well as Trump. ..."
"... This is laughable: there's no evidence for this other than Mueller's comical "indictment," which shows that something called the "Internet Research Agency," run by an out-of-work chef, spent a grand total of $100,000 – mostly after the election – on Facebook ads that were both anti-Clinton and anti-Trump. Michael Moore attended one "Russian-sponsored" event – a rally of thousands targeting Trump Tower, and, by the way, the only successful "Russian" event (the pro-Trump events were flops). ..."
"... Not only is Bernie buying into Russia-gate, now that the case for it is collapsing – nearly two years later and there's still no evidence of "collusion" – but he's calling for a full-fledged witch-hunt: ..."
"... Sanders' followers have taken up the hate-on-Russia battle cry with alacrity, with material by the fraudulent fanatic Luke Harding all over the web site of the Democratic Socialists of America. And being the left edge of the Democratic party, DSA will be supporting the very Democratic officeholders and officials who are shouting the loudest about Russia. ..."
"... Oh, he's got money-laundering charges on Paul Manafort and associates, but that has nothing to do with the Trump campaign: it all happened years before Trump ran. He's got Carter Page pleading guilty to lying to the FBI – but it's not clear what this means, exactly, since he's not been charged with a crime after all this time. ..."
"... So no matter what you may think of Trump and his policies, the real question is: will the Deep State and their allies in the media succeed in their bid for power? Will they oust a sitting President and institute a new era in our politics, one in which the political class can exercise its veto over the democratic will of the people? ..."
"... A SPECIAL NOTE : Yes, our matching funds have arrived: a group of donors has gotten together and pledged $30,000 – but there's a catch. We have to match that amount in smaller donations. So now it's up to you. We need your support so we can get back to doing our job – exposing the lies of the War Party. But we can't do it without your tax-deductible donations. ..."
Feb 26, 2018 | original.antiwar.com

Sanders signs on to Russia-gate conspiracy theory

One by one, the plaster gods fall, cracked and crumbled on the ground: the latest is Bernie Sanders, the Great Pinko Hope of the (very few) remaining Democrats with a modicum of sense who reject the "Russia! Russia! Russia!" paranoia of Rep. Adam Schiff and what I call the party's California Crazies. The official Democratic leadership seems to have no real commitment to anything other than fealty to a few well-known oligarchs, who provide the party with needed cash, a burning hatred of Russia – an issue no ordinary voter outside of the Sunshine State loony bin and Washington, D.C. cares about – and exotic issues of interest only to the upper class virtue-signalers who are now their main constituency (e.g., where will trans people go to the bathroom?). Overlaying this potpourri of nothingness, the glue holding it all together, is pure unadulterated hatred: of President Trump, of Trump voters, of Middle America in general, and, of course, fear and loathing of Russia and all things Russian.

And now the one supposedly bright spot in this pit of abysmal darkness has flickered out, with Bernie Sanders, the Ron Paul of the Reds, jumping on the Russia-did-it bandwagon and cowering in the wake of Robert Mueller's laughable "indictment," in which the special prosecutor avers that $100,000 in Facebook ads were designed to throw the election to Trump – and to help Bernie!

Oh no, says Bernie, from his place of exile in the wilds of Vermont, where the Russians did not take over the electrical grid: It wasn't me!

Instead of standing up to the crazies – by which I mean the Democratic party Establishment – and saying that the whole Russia-phobic campaign is based on nothing but hot air and fantasy, he's kowtowing to the very people who are trying to smear him as a Russian agent. Here he is signing on to the Clintonite canon of faith that poor Hillary " had to run against the Russian government " as well as Trump.

This is laughable: there's no evidence for this other than Mueller's comical "indictment," which shows that something called the "Internet Research Agency," run by an out-of-work chef, spent a grand total of $100,000 – mostly after the election – on Facebook ads that were both anti-Clinton and anti-Trump. Michael Moore attended one "Russian-sponsored" event – a rally of thousands targeting Trump Tower, and, by the way, the only successful "Russian" event (the pro-Trump events were flops).

Not only is Bernie buying into Russia-gate, now that the case for it is collapsing – nearly two years later and there's still no evidence of "collusion" – but he's calling for a full-fledged witch-hunt:

"The key issues now are: 1) How we prevent the unwitting manipulation of our electoral and political system by foreign governments. 2) Exposing who was actively consorting with the Russian government's attack on our democracy."

This is the real goal of anti-Trump groups like the " Alliance for Securing Democracy " and their "Hamilton dashboard," which purports to track "pro-Russian" sentiment online: it's the explicit intention of #TheResistance to censor the media with the cooperation of the tech oligarchs like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. It's back to the 1950s, folks, only this time the Thought Police are "liberals," and "socialists" like Bernie and the Bernie Bros.

Sanders' followers have taken up the hate-on-Russia battle cry with alacrity, with material by the fraudulent fanatic Luke Harding all over the web site of the Democratic Socialists of America. And being the left edge of the Democratic party, DSA will be supporting the very Democratic officeholders and officials who are shouting the loudest about Russia.

Coming soon: a congressional "investigation" into "pro-Russian" Americans using the "Hamilton dashboard" and the Southern Poverty Law Center as templates. Remember the House UnAmerican Activities Committee? Well, it's coming back. That's always been in the cards, and now those cards are about to be dealt.

I'll tell you one thing: I would have colluded with the Klingon Empire to prevent Hillary and her band of authoritarian statists and warmongering nutcases from taking the White House. If only the Russians had intervened, they'd have been doing this country – and the world – a great service. Alas, there's not one lick of solid evidence – forensic, documentary, witness testimony – that shows this. Which is what the Mueller investigation is all about: the Democrats are claiming there was interference, and Mueller is out to find corroboration. Except it's been over a year and he's come up with nothing.

Oh, he's got money-laundering charges on Paul Manafort and associates, but that has nothing to do with the Trump campaign: it all happened years before Trump ran. He's got Carter Page pleading guilty to lying to the FBI – but it's not clear what this means, exactly, since he's not been charged with a crime after all this time.

The Deep State's bid for power has hit several roadblocks recently, but it could yet succeed. First, Mueller could indict the President for "obstruction of justice" – a charge derived not from any real criminal activity, but from the investigation itself. I think this is the most probable outcome of all this.

Barring that, however, there is one road they could and probably would go down, given the intensity of their hatred for this President and their overweening power lust. Having gone this far in an attempt to overthrow a sitting President, they can't just stop halfway to their goal. They have to go all the way, or else suffer the consequences – public exposure, and possible criminal charges. In short, if they fail to get Trump on some semi-legal basis, I think they'd welcome his assassination.

The Deep State cannot allow the Trump administration to stand for a number of reasons, the chief one being that the coup is already in progress and there's no stopping it now. The President's enemies are legion, they are powerful, and they are abroad as well as here on American shores. They cannot allow his brand of "America First" nationalism to succeed, or seem to succeed: it conflicts too violently with their globalist vision of a borderless America-centric empire ruled by a coalition of oligarchs, technocrats, and Deep State operatives who've been shaping world events from the shadows for generations.

So no matter what you may think of Trump and his policies, the real question is: will the Deep State and their allies in the media succeed in their bid for power? Will they oust a sitting President and institute a new era in our politics, one in which the political class can exercise its veto over the democratic will of the people?

That's the issue at hand and that's why I spend so much time writing about Trump and his enemies' efforts to destroy him. Because if the Deep State succeeds, the America we knew and loved will be no more. Something else will take its place – and believe me, it won't be pretty.

A SPECIAL NOTE : Yes, our matching funds have arrived: a group of donors has gotten together and pledged $30,000 – but there's a catch. We have to match that amount in smaller donations. So now it's up to you. We need your support so we can get back to doing our job – exposing the lies of the War Party. But we can't do it without your tax-deductible donations.

If we all get together and make that final push we can make our goal. Every donation counts, no matter the amount. This is how we'll finally win the battle for peace: by uniting, despite superficial differences, to support the institutions that are in the front lines of the struggle for a rational foreign policy. And leading the charge is Antiwar.com.

Please make your tax-deductible contribution today.

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

You can check out my Twitter feed by going here . But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.

I've written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement , with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey , a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon ( ISI Books , 2008).

You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here .

[Feb 25, 2018] Looks like FBI or CIA has an insider in Internet Research Agency Agata Burdonova, who has recently moved with her husband to the United States. She run translator project and is missing from Mueller indictment

Notable quotes:
"... The Russian independent TV Rain, also known as Dozhd, found (Russian, machine translation ) that one management person of the IRA was missing in the Mueller indictment. That women, Agata Burdonova, has recently moved with her husband to the United States. She had run the "translator" department of the IRA that created English language social marketing campaigns. She has now applied for a U.S. Social Security number. ..."
"... On June 15, 2017, Dmitry Fyodorov says he received an employment offer from Facebook. On August 8, 2017 Fyodorov marries Burdonova. Employer (presumably, Facebook) sponsors both of their visas -- prob. H1B. ..."
"... On December 7 2017 both moved to Bellevue, Washington. Two month later Mueller indicts the alleged IRA owner and management, but not Burdonova. This smells of a deal made by some US agency to get insight into the IRA. In return, an opportunity to move to the US was offered. ..."
Feb 25, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Feb 19 - Internet Marketing - Why Is This Smelly Fish Priceless?

Automated Twitter accounts, or trolls, repeated a tweet about a MoA piece on Muller's indictment of "Russian trolls" . Funny but not really important. There is interesting news though related to the original Muller indictment. Mueller accused with little evidence 13 persons involved in the private Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) of meddling with the U.S. election campaign.

The Russian independent TV Rain, also known as Dozhd, found (Russian, machine translation ) that one management person of the IRA was missing in the Mueller indictment. That women, Agata Burdonova, has recently moved with her husband to the United States. She had run the "translator" department of the IRA that created English language social marketing campaigns. She has now applied for a U.S. Social Security number.

According to a follow up :

On June 15, 2017, Dmitry Fyodorov says he received an employment offer from Facebook. On August 8, 2017 Fyodorov marries Burdonova. Employer (presumably, Facebook) sponsors both of their visas -- prob. H1B.

On December 7 2017 both moved to Bellevue, Washington. Two month later Mueller indicts the alleged IRA owner and management, but not Burdonova. This smells of a deal made by some US agency to get insight into the IRA. In return, an opportunity to move to the US was offered.

Feb 20 - "Russian bots" - How An Anti-Russian Lobby Creates Fake News

On the farce of the "Hamilton 68" dashboard and how the media fall for it.

[Feb 24, 2018] Masha Gessen Did a Russian Troll Farm's Inflammatory Posts Really Sway the 2016 Election for Trump

Mash Gessen is a well know Russophob. That's they way she earns living.
Feb 24, 2018 | www.truth-out.org

MASHA GESSEN: So, I am really fascinated with what it tells us about our imagination about the Russian imagination. So, Russia imagines America and the American political system as like this unassailable monolith that they are throwing stuff at just to try to make a dent, whereas the United States is starting increasingly to imagine Russia as all-powerful, as incredibly sophisticated, as capable of, you know, sending out some really absurd tweets, in sub-literate English, and somehow changing the outcome of the election. And that projects such a belief in the fragility of the system and the basic instability of it and in the gullibility of voters who read something that's not even comprehensible English and suddenly change their vote. I mean, the working theory of the investigation -- right? -- is that Russians influenced the election by influencing American public opinion. And so, we're asked to believe that a significant impact on American public opinion could be produced by, you know, the Bernie the Superman coloring book tweet.

[Feb 24, 2018] Looks like color revolution plotter offered Trump a deal: switching to anti-Russia platform in exchange of stopping personal witch hunt against him. W>ell this was always the ultimate point. Not getting Trump, but making sure Trump falls in line with the insane plan to get Russia

Notable quotes:
"... The sad thing is, by admitting that Trump had no connection to the 13 accused 'election hackers,' his accusers are offering him an easy out–with the expectation that he will pay them back by turning against Russia. ..."
"... Trump has already acquiesced in new arms shipments to Ukraine, and he doesn't seem to have any problem with the Pentagon randomly attacking (among others) Russian soldiers and contractors in Syria ..."
"... Well this was always the ultimate point. Not getting Trump, but making sure Trump falls in line with the insane plan to get Russia. ..."
Feb 24, 2018 | off-guardian.org

Seamus Padraig says February 18, 2018

The sad thing is, by admitting that Trump had no connection to the 13 accused 'election hackers,' his accusers are offering him an easy out–with the expectation that he will pay them back by turning against Russia.

Trump has already acquiesced in new arms shipments to Ukraine, and he doesn't seem to have any problem with the Pentagon randomly attacking (among others) Russian soldiers and contractors in Syria. If there were ever any doubt, it now seems obvious that "the swamp" has successfully drained Trump. Start digging your bomb shelters, people

MLS says February 19, 2018

Well this was always the ultimate point. Not getting Trump, but making sure Trump falls in line with the insane plan to get Russia.

It's hard to see how this ends. Like the Terminator they absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until they are physically incapable of moving another step. But will the world survive long enough for that to happen? Or will Russia cave rather than risk war? Without Putin at the helm I think 'compromises' will start and then pretty soon Russia is back in the fold with a token president and the IMF running the show. Like the rest of us.

[Feb 24, 2018] The Tragicomedy of Russiagate by Sheldon Richman

Notable quotes:
"... Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq ..."
"... The Myth of the Rational Voter ..."
"... America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited ..."
Feb 24, 2018 | original.antiwar.com

The whole election-meddling distraction is remarkable in both comic and tragic ways. The tragedy can be summed up in three words: New Cold War. At a time when the U.S. and Russian governments ought to be working toward nuclear disarmament, relations are deteriorating dangerously. As the estimable Australian writer Caitlin Johnstone, notes , despite Donald Trump's campaign promise of détente with Russia,

This administration has already killed Russians in Syria , greatly escalated nuclear tensions with Russia, allowed the sale of arms to Ukraine (a move Obama refused for fear of angering Moscow), established a permanent military presence in Syria with the goal of effecting regime change, forced RT and Sputnik to register as foreign agents, expanded NATO with the addition of Montenegro, assigned Russia hawk Kurt Volker as special representative to Ukraine, shut down a Russian consulat e in San Francisco and expelled Russian diplomats as part of continued back-and-forth hostile diplomatic exchanges.

We are already at an extremely dangerous point in the ongoing trend of continuous escalations with a country that is armed with thousands of nuclear warheads. [Johnstone's links.]

Would Trump have done these things without the pressure of Russiagate? I don't know, but Russiagate hasn't helped. And what more would Hillary Clinton have done by this point? Johnstone argues that Russiagate is all about putting Russia in its place and securing the American ruling elite's geopolitical and economic interests -- not about getting Trump:

America's unelected power establishment doesn't care about impeaching Trump, it cares about hobbling Russia in order to prevent the rise of a potential rival superpower in its ally China. All this lunacy makes perfect sense when you realize this. The US deep state is using the hysterical cult of anti-Trumpism to manufacture support for increasing escalations with Russia, and the anti-Trumpists are playing right along under the delusion that pushing for moves against Russia will hurt Trump.

Of course, removing Trump from office would be a cherry on top. If the drivers of Russiagate can't have that, at least they can leave the impression that Hillary Clinton would be president today were it not for the diabolically cunning Vladimir Putin and the inherently depraved Russia in cahoots with their tool, Donald Trump. ( Putin's opponents in Russia are irritated that Americans portray Putin as virtually omnipotent.) Russiagate promoters in the Democratic Party deny they intend to right the wrong of 2016, but I don't believe them. Surely they are trying to delegitimate the election on the grounds that Trump and Putin stole it from its rightful owner. (For the record, I think all elections are illegitimate but not because of foreign involvement.)

The anti-Russia campaign has certainly gone well beyond overboard. Former Director of National Intelligence James (Yeah, I lied . What you gonna do about?) Clapper, on "Meet the Press," said the Russians "are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique." (Beg your pardon, I linked to RT. Here's an American site for anyone concerned about having RT in their browser history.) Johnstone points out that Clapper has said such things before, including: "But as far as our being intimate allies, trusting buds with the Russians that is just not going to happen. It is in their genes to be opposed, diametrically opposed to the United States and to Western democracies." As I recall, former CIA Director John Brennan said something similar.

On the comic side, Russiagate is a new theater of the absurd, featuring Americans running around with their hair on fire over alleged official Russian actions that amount to nothing significant: it was an act of war -- another Pearl Harbor -- no wait, another 9/11!

Let's assume -- purely for the sake of discussion since no evidence has been made public -- that the Russians did it. Note, first, that the "it" looks like the product of the gang that couldn't shoot straight. I'm not going to do what Johnstone, Glenn Greenwald, Aaron Maté, and the late Robert Parry have done so well so many times, namely, catalog all the inane acts the Putin-guided Russian intel agencies are said to have committed in order to bring down America. (Start here .) Suffice it to say that if that's the best Putin can come up with, we have little to worry about. Of course, the very inanity of this so-called campaign to destroy America -- the ridiculous discrepancy between means and alleged end, the sheer clownish ineptitude -- furnishes sufficient grounds for skepticism, at least, about the Russiagate narrative. (See David Stockman's explanation of the ineptitude. SPOILER ALERT: It wasn't a Russian Intel operation. The man who we are to believe sought to subvert America's democracy is a freelance pro-Putin Russian food-industry oligarch employing a bunch of minimum-wage keyboard jockeys who didn't pay attention to the United States until the 2014 U.S.-sponsored coup in Ukraine, i.e., before there was a Trump campaign.)

Another comic aspect is the national arrogance of it all. How dare anyone interfere with our election! What's so funny is that some people who express such outrage really have no idea how many times the US government has interfered in other countries' elections ( including Russia's ), not to mention far worse things, like perpetrating assassinations, coups, and invasions. (See Stephen Kinzer's Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq . This sordid history is summarized here .)

Americans generally do not know the nefarious things "their" government has done over many, many years. This is partly due to what Bryan Caplan in The Myth of the Rational Voter calls "rational irrationalism." Americans embrace a nationalism that is impervious to facts. Even vivid accounts of the systematic wholesale slaughter of the Indians wouldn't shake it. People generally don't like to venture outside their comfort zones to shake up their worldview, and even if they did so, what would change? Each person has only one vote, and the chance that one vote will make a difference is close to zero. So why not indulge one's nationalist biases? It's not as though there's an opportunity cost to doing so.

On the other hand, politicians and pundits do have some idea of America's long record of intervening in other countries. (Maybe I'm being too charitable.) What's their excuse for being so offended by even the possibility of meddling in an U.S. election? One explanation is the "exceptional nation" dogma of the American creed, or what I call the American chosen-people complex. Even secular American nationalists believe America has been anointed -- by history if not by a deity -- to lead the world. (This goes back to the founding generation, by the way. It's no post-World War II phenomenon. See America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited .)

Thus, we have a moral inequivalence on our hands. It's okay if we do it to "them" (whoever), but it's not okay if "they" do it to us. Moreover, we can do it to ourselves , but if anyone else tries it, there'll be hell to pay.

Any way you look at it, Russiagate is ridiculous. Of course it serves some people's interests. But it harms the rest of us, most of all by bringing us closer to conflict with Russia, perhaps even to nuclear war.

Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute , senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society , and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com . He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies, former editor of The Freeman , published by the Foundation for Economic Education , and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation . His latest book is America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited .

Read more by Sheldon Richman

[Feb 24, 2018] Russian Espionage, or Clickbait (1-2)

The reality of Russiagate is that the corrupt neoliberal system and its institutions were laid bare in an unprecedented way. The Democratic Party is toast. The Republican Party is a vile sham. And the MSM has exposed itself as attack dogs of intelligence agencies like never before. People are waking up to the corrupt and useless system in place. The reality of the system was exposed in magnifying Russiagate lens. That's probably the only good thing about it
Notable quotes:
"... John Sipher (ha ha) starts out by re-asserting the lie that Russians "hacked" the DNC ..."
"... Why are the people who work for this guy trying to sell opinions being called trolls? This is just another way to give credence to the FBI narrative that trolls tried to sway the election. If anyone was a troll, ..."
"... And Rachel? Quit lying to yourself and others. My gawd! You have come a long way from your time at Air America that I don't even recognize you anymore. You are creating hysteria and you have become a raving lunatic. Enjoy your $30,000/day, $7 million a month salary for selling out to the people who you used to despise. I despise you! ..."
"... He retorts that 'there's enough hot spots -- Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, China' -- but fails to acknowledge that for example, the Iraq invasion and subsequent insurgency/civil war/rise-of-ISIS is all about what Aaron pointed to, the ginning up intelligence to create the Iraq invasion - which then spilled over into Syria. The role that the US is playing in all the other place he mentions, they have constantly resorted to lethal force and refused negotiation. ..."
"... The establishment media leaves out the essential context: The US is on a single superpower, Pax Americana global empire gambit; with everyone else playing for time while building their defences. ..."
"... And 'Russian Doctrine' is just recycled Soviet Doctrine - but the US always lead arms escalations during the old cold war - the so called soviet doctrine was in fact defence against US pressure and aggression. ..."
"... The Democratic Party is toast. The Republican Party is a vile sham. And the main stream media has exposed itself like never before. People are waking up to the corrupt and useless system in place. The reality of the system is being laid bare in an unprecedented way. As bad as things seem, this is a good thing, if we can keep those in power from destroying the earth before we can recover it. ..."
"... Unless something more comes of this, the Dems and their media cohorts will do a repeat of the Repubs and that same media when the WMD failed to materialize in Iraq. The wonderful thing about The Homeland, though, is that being wrong, all the time, in no way disqualifies you for remaining an important and serious person. ..."
"... Black Lives Matter ..."
"... Bernie Sanders ..."
"... Yeah, I think the point of this is not to change opinions, the point was to try to either suppress voters on one side, or to get people to hardened opinions, and get people to come out to vote, and we've even seen the same troll farm, looks like they're doing this now around the Parkland shooting in Florida. They were going around Black Lives Matter, they're trying to spin up divisions to get us working against each other, as much as electing Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders. ..."
Feb 24, 2018 | therealnews.com

AARON MATÉ: Now, Maddow makes at least one error here. The indictment does say that the operation had a monthly budget of $1.25 million dollars, but that was for its entire global operations, of which the U.S. was only a part. And more importantly, can we say conclusively that this was the work of Russian intelligence? Well, joining me is John Sipher, national security analyst with Cipher Brief, and a former member of the CIA's clandestine service.

John Sipher (@john_sipher) is a former Chief of Station for the C.I.A. He worked for over 27 years in Russia, Europe and Asia and now writes for various publications and works as a consultant with CrossLead and New Media Frontier.


Nixak*77*, February 24, 2018 2:04 AM

Here's what Mr CIA guy 'Sipher' is selling: The indicted 13 Russian trollers interfered w the 2016 POTUS election- NOT by hacking US voting machines & flipping votes to Repug Trump, but by sowing discord among the US electorate which even 'Sipher' admits already existed. Most of the Face-Book posts by these alleged Russian trollers were either posted AFTER Nov 8, 2016 &/or were seen by virtually NO-One, thus 'Sipher' effectively admits he now ilk in the US intel biz can even assess how much alleged impact these alleged Russian trollers had on the 2016 POTUS election -But- I can: Virtually ZERO!!

Now compare that to the US' notorious track-record of nefariously 'meddling' in other countries' political processes- Mainly by Mr CIA guy 'Sipher's' so-called 'ex' employer:

- In 1996 the US actively & blatantly interfered in Russia's presidential election to get Slick Willy's pal & chum(p) that drunk Boris Yeltsin guy elected, & even openly bragged about it. And then orchestrated a fire-sale of Russia's resources, that resulted in great hardship to the Russian people.

In 2014 while Putin's attention was on the Winter-Olympics in Sochi, Killary Clinton's protege' Vikky Nuland actively stoked a Neo-NAZI coup vs Ukraine's democratically elected president -- In an blatant attempt to push NATO right up into Russia's face / west-flank & to try to grab Russia's naval base in Crimea [which up till the 1950s was actually officially Russian territory].

And oh let's NOT forget the US' & it allies [UK, the Saudis, the Turks, the IAF, etc] actively involvement in the on-going Syrian disaster- In yet another Neo-CONian / Neo-Liberal nefarious regime-change scheme!! And how Mr CIA guy Sipher's CIA & other intel' agencies have been trying to bait first Dim OBomber & now Repug Trump into an all out attack on Syria to accomplish it, using dubious 'intel' ala 'WMD redux'!!

I mean seriously Mr CIA guy 'Sipher' & all you other Russia-Gaters [IE: Rachael Mad-cow & even Bernie]?? All this BS hype over 13 Russians trolling click-bait on Face-Book, vs all that I've outlined above [just a short-list] that the CIA & even so-called 'liberal' Dims have actively supported, w DISASTROUS results- Literally destroying MILLIONS of lives in the process!! PLEASE!!

gregorylkruse , February 23, 2018 5:27 PM

"I tend to believe them". That's the problem.

Robert Johnson , February 23, 2018 1:08 PM

John Sipher (ha ha) starts out by re-asserting the lie that Russians "hacked" the DNC. Everything that follows is just blah, blah,blah....Why is TRN interviewing this buffoon?

Robert Johnson gregorylkruse , February 23, 2018 11:37 PM

No, sorry. I have great respect for Aaron, but TRN is not doing us any favors by helping spread this noxious propaganda. They legitimize it by acknowledging it. Meanwhile, there is other news they could be giving us.Check this out: http://bit.ly/2EMOl4S Sad we have to depend upon comedians to give us the news....

Robert Johnson , February 23, 2018 1:06 PM

Rachel Maddow is American "intelligence" at its least ambitious....

Richard Burt Robert Johnson , February 23, 2018 5:50 PM

LOL

beaglebailey , February 23, 2018 1:28 AM

BTW. Why are the people who work for this guy trying to sell opinions being called trolls? This is just another way to give credence to the FBI narrative that trolls tried to sway the election. If anyone was a troll,

I'd say it was the Correct the Record folks who were the trolls. Hillary's campaign paid over a million dollars for people to go into websites and if anyone was being critical of Hillary, they tried to get them to change their minds. How is that not election interference? And was that even legal? It was unethical if not against campaign finance laws.

Jay Hansen beaglebailey , February 23, 2018 1:47 AM

It arose inside the country, though Hillary is, without a doubt, scum. Hillbots were actual 'Murkins, a lot of them still suffering from Hillbotulism. Elections featuring two absolutely unacceptable candidates are a real drag, and, unfortunately, probably the OFFICIAL end of the United States (though in reality, the US died in March 2003).

beaglebailey , February 23, 2018 1:19 AM

Unbelievable. Aaron: I don't believe that the Mueller investigation has delivered solid proof that Russia did anything against the country.

Sipher:

Well I think that he and the FBI are reputable sources and I'm going to believe them and what they tell me. Even if they haven't proven anything, we know that Putin is a bad man and he wants to sow divisions here and besides he's using chemical weapons in Syria (even though that's so totally off topic) and when I go to bed at night I see Putin in my dreams and yackity, yack, yack! So there. I'm a poopy head and you're not.

Good grief, how can people believe anything by this time? And Rachel? Quit lying to yourself and others. My gawd! You have come a long way from your time at Air America that I don't even recognize you anymore. You are creating hysteria and you have become a raving lunatic. Enjoy your $30,000/day, $7 million a month salary for selling out to the people who you used to despise. I despise you!

Michael Holloway , February 22, 2018 10:37 PM

This guys arguments are so weak he must be interacting the very ignorant audience most of the time (I think the great majority of Americans don't pay attention to what their own foreign policy is -- and MSM the vast majority of the time offers nothing but safe softball foreign policy questions).

He retorts that 'there's enough hot spots -- Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, China' -- but fails to acknowledge that for example, the Iraq invasion and subsequent insurgency/civil war/rise-of-ISIS is all about what Aaron pointed to, the ginning up intelligence to create the Iraq invasion - which then spilled over into Syria. The role that the US is playing in all the other place he mentions, they have constantly resorted to lethal force and refused negotiation.

The establishment media leaves out the essential context: The US is on a single superpower, Pax Americana global empire gambit; with everyone else playing for time while building their defences.

And 'Russian Doctrine' is just recycled Soviet Doctrine - but the US always lead arms escalations during the old cold war - the so called soviet doctrine was in fact defence against US pressure and aggression.

Vincent Berg , February 22, 2018 6:50 PM

MoonofAlabama gives a good analysis of the marketing scheme aspect of these "meddlings". Max Blumenthal mentions it in his discussion with Mate from earlier in the week, but this is a very detailed look into the matter: http://www.moonofalabama.or...

Bill Conklin , February 22, 2018 6:40 PM

I suppose it is ok for Aaron to interview guys like this CIA agent but the agent clearly doesn't understand the validity of an indictment. An indictment doesn't prove anything; If it did, we wouldn't need trial courts.

The Department of Justice could indict a ham sandwich if they wanted.

The DOJ knows that this case will never go to trial and they will never have to prove anything. It is depressing that the Democrats and MSNBC have lost all credibility. We are very lucky to have Aaron and Max looking at this sutff.

beaglebailey Bill Conklin , February 23, 2018 1:20 AM

Not according to Rachel. She's seeing Russian bots in her dreams. Just like Sipher.

Sillyputta , February 22, 2018 4:25 PM

The Democratic Party is toast. The Republican Party is a vile sham. And the main stream media has exposed itself like never before. People are waking up to the corrupt and useless system in place. The reality of the system is being laid bare in an unprecedented way. As bad as things seem, this is a good thing, if we can keep those in power from destroying the earth before we can recover it.

michael nola Sillyputta , February 22, 2018 5:47 PM

I just got done reading the Mueller indictment. For the MSM and the Dems to continue their pathetic witch hunt is a true indictment of the corruption at the heart of this country's political and media elites. No doubt there was an attempt, weak as it was, to influence Americans, but for anyone to think this is the smoking gun that proves it was decisive in determining the 2016 election, or that the Russian government definitely orchestrated it, or that Trump, whom I despise as much as anyone else, colluded with them, reveals a startling lack of intellectual honesty.

The effort put forth by the Russians involved seemed to have two objectives; first to take advantage of the tribalization of American society to advance the Trump campaign, and secondly, to make money off it.

Worst of all, if nothing more comes out of this, then the Dems, as corrupt as they are incompetent, will have added more fuel to the Trump charges of fake news and will have served only to weaken any resistance they claim to represent as this clown leads this country on an ever accelerating demise.

Saint Jimmy (Russian American) michael nola , February 22, 2018 6:15 PM

I take issue with advancing the Trump campaign as an objective. Some ads, etc., were anti-Trump and some were about kittens. I haven't seen any predominant political message, at all, in that "effort". Also, it was so paltry that they had to know that it would have no effect, at all, and never could have any effect. Implying otherwise is part of what makes the whole story look like a bumbling, comedic farce to most thinking people.

michael nola Saint Jimmy (Russian American) , February 22, 2018 7:52 PM

If you read the Mueller indictment, it's clearly stated that they did contact various American groups working for Trump, locally, that is, and arranged events, paid for various materials, even someone to dress up as HRC and be in a jail, and also travel to the states to do some first hand research, but as you say, the effort was minor, at best, and was no factor in Trump winning, especially compared to the billions of $ of free air time he got when running in the Repub primary, he was a cash cow for the networks, after all, and the DNC advancing his cause during those same primaries, thinking he was an easier opponent than Cruz or Rubio.

Unless something more comes of this, the Dems and their media cohorts will do a repeat of the Repubs and that same media when the WMD failed to materialize in Iraq. The wonderful thing about The Homeland, though, is that being wrong, all the time, in no way disqualifies you for remaining an important and serious person.

Saint Jimmy (Russian American) michael nola , February 22, 2018 8:16 PM

I haven't seen ANY evidence of traveling to the US for "first hand research". WHERE does this crap come from? It comes from people desperate to keep the war budget higher than any war budget in the history of planet earth. I still see nothing in that "indictment" that serves as any real evidence that Trump colluded with any Russians, much less any Russians definitively working for the Government of Russia, or any evidence that the campaign was affected or that Russians were trying to create "discord" in the US.

If they bothered to look at the same types of activities and even direct money given to candidates by Israeli, Saudi, UK, and other nationals, I think it would dwarf anything Russian citizens used to fund or further any campaign. They won't look elsewhere, though, because nothing perpetrates the fraud on the American people that is the Defense budget like the word "Russians" and most of the "defense" (i.e., war) budget is completely unnecessary. They should be cut by a third right now, with further cuts pending.

michael nola Saint Jimmy (Russian American) , February 23, 2018 6:28 PM

The indictment gives the names and dates of two Russians who made it here for a few days; a third was unable to secure a visa. There are dates and places named in the indictment, but nothing that could of had any influence on the election. If the Dems are so worked up over having lost two elections this century even though their candidate had more popular votes, you'd think they'd be screaming for a change in determining the presidential election. We all know the Repubs would.

We are in total agreement as to what really mattered and matters regarding this issue and the reasons behind the Dems sudden embrace of McCarthyism and their overall need to point to Russia or anyone else to maintain the unmaintainable American empire. If you haven't read the indictment, it's not that long, 37 short pages, several of which can be skipped because they simply list names or laws broken.

Saint Jimmy (Russian American) michael nola , February 23, 2018 6:41 PM

If the dems really cared, they would be calling for publicly funded elections, cuts of a quarter or more of the war budget (i.e., "defense"), and public health care and education, and jobs programs with benefits. They care about nothing but their own butts.

Sillyputta , February 22, 2018 4:21 PM

Aaron Mate is an excellent, intelligent, sincere, and questioning journalist--in short, what everything one would expect from a real journalist. So, what is it the naysayers don't like about him? Is it because he does not support their narrative. Is it his laid back style? What in particular?

Vern La Vernon Sillyputta , February 23, 2018 1:49 AM

this site is controlled by quitiplas.

Saint Jimmy (Russian American) , February 22, 2018 3:28 PM

This guy gets it. As a Russian American, it looks as though I'll have company in the coming American political gulags.

https://blackagendareport.c...

bacvlvs Saint Jimmy (Russian American) , February 23, 2018 10:09 PM

Yes, Glen Ford is outstanding.

michael nola Saint Jimmy (Russian American) , February 22, 2018 6:03 PM

Glen Ford penetrates all the BS and gets right down to the real agenda, Black or otherwise. He called out Obama back in 2007, when nearly everyone else on the so called left were coming in their pants over that fake.

bacvlvs michael nola , February 23, 2018 10:08 PM

"The more effective evil."

Saint Jimmy (Russian American) michael nola , February 22, 2018 6:07 PM

Yeah. I noticed.

Palimpsestuous , February 22, 2018 2:19 PM

CIA staff exhibit two qualities in abundance: 1) Suspicious incredulity regarding all apparent statements, actions and motivations of subjects in the field, and 2) Studied, refined, and highly purposeful public mendacity regarding their and their government's apparent statements, actions and motivations.

Mr Sipher is lying and the tell is his amazing degree of credulity regarding numerous US entities paired with across the board mistrust and outright defamation of numerous non-US entities. Virtually every accusation Sipher made against Russia, Putin and the indicted, is a menu item on standard CIA operational plans for disrupting the elections of foreign nations and has been practiced continuously for several decades, technology permitting.

As a companion to this interview it might be nice to solicit an interview with a CIA antagonist who knows how to expose--point by point, in policy, practice and tradition--one of the most destructive covert entities in world history.

p.munkey Palimpsestuous , February 22, 2018 9:57 PM

Hi Palimpsestuous, your assessment is spot on!

Mr. Sipher is throwing everything at the wall to see what might stick, attempting to conflate what he laughably refers to as the "Russian Black Arts" with the Parkland shooting. He talks in circles; on one hand acknowledging pre-existing social "hyperpartisan", "tribal", divisions", while on the other hand dismissing genuine political movements Black Lives Matter , Democratic Socialism ( Bernie Sanders ), and the Environmental Movement ( Jill Stein ) as products of Russian propaganda that is at once both sophisticated and simple.

JOHN SIPHER: Yeah, I think the point of this is not to change opinions, the point was to try to either suppress voters on one side, or to get people to hardened opinions, and get people to come out to vote, and we've even seen the same troll farm, looks like they're doing this now around the Parkland shooting in Florida. They were going around Black Lives Matter, they're trying to spin up divisions to get us working against each other, as much as electing Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders.

His assessment lacks any measure of self/social-awareness or self/social-consciousness that should be a pre-requisite before laying out criticism of another. It seems to me Mr. Sipher might be protecting his CIA pension.

Palimpsestuous p.munkey , February 22, 2018 10:35 PM

Hey there Munk! True believers will lay down their lives for their preferred criminal syndicate because they are of one body; pensions are just icing. Your observations among others are exactly why I said Sipher is lying.

Vincent Berg Palimpsestuous , February 22, 2018 6:03 PM

Bill Binney, Ray McGovern and John Kiriakou are the first three that come to mind as potential contrarians, although I am sure there are others as well. Perhaps the Clapper lyings will come up in part two?

Saint Jimmy (Russian American) Palimpsestuous , February 22, 2018 3:11 PM

He even looks like a square headed, red neck Nazi.

Pacemaker4 Palimpsestuous , February 22, 2018 2:34 PM

Shouldve asked him about Clapper lying to congress. That wouldve been a lot of fun.

michael nola Pacemaker4 , February 22, 2018 6:04 PM

That 's not called lying anymore; just being parsimonious with the truth, a very precious commodity, not to be over used.

Pacemaker4 michael nola , February 22, 2018 6:23 PM

hehe I hope youre being facetious, But In case youre not]
Lying James Clapper
https://www.youtube.com/wat...

michael nola Pacemaker4 , February 22, 2018 7:54 PM

A few months ago, while waiting for wifey to come out of Target, I saw a preteen kid wearing a T shirt that said, "I speak fluent sarcasm." I want one of those.

Seedee Vee , February 22, 2018 2:16 PM

I am glad you gave John Sipher enough rope.

Southern , February 22, 2018 2:11 PM

It's a sad day for TRRN now that it's been confirmed that Aaron Mate takes this cue from the CIA.

gustave courbet Southern , February 22, 2018 3:51 PM

Takes a cue by prosecuting a hostile interview? I'd rather say the opposite.

Southern gustave courbet , February 23, 2018 2:44 AM

Russians are being accused of involvement in activity that Israel engages in openly.

https://disqus.com/home/dis...

Parvin , February 22, 2018 1:59 PM

This guy is full of it. Come on Real News, please don't waste our time with this nonsense. We, the people are intelligent unlike our media.

Pacemaker4 Parvin , February 22, 2018 2:06 PM

disagree...I like to see schills like Sipher go on the record, and lose the debate, and lose their credibility.

Basle , February 22, 2018 1:45 PM

Whose idea what is to invite this nut on the show?

stan van houcke , February 22, 2018 1:41 PM

is this 'interview' a joke? if not, what is it?

Southern stan van houcke , February 22, 2018 2:15 PM

Propaganda.

Aaron Mate appears to be another gekaufte Journalist.

michael nola Southern , February 22, 2018 7:57 PM

Muhammad Ali used rope a dope to defeat George Foreman; Mate let's these idiots expose themselves with their own words; nothing is more effective than letting a fool speak.

[Feb 24, 2018] The Mueller Indictments The Day the Music Died by Daniel Lazare

The size of funds that Democrats and Republicans operated were in billions. And , IRA staffers purchased just $100,000 worth of Facebook ads, 56% of which ran after Election Day. So only $44K was spent during election campaign.
There author is wrong about color revolution against Trump. It is progressing.
One interesting side effect will be ruthless suppression of the US influence in Russian elections. Bismark famously remarked that "the Russians are slow to saddle up, but ride fast." Here media dogs also are off leash and there will be innocent victims, blamed in treason and other nefarious activities just to voicing dissent. Russiagate discredited neoliberal fifth column in Russia, making them all "enemies of the people".
Notable quotes:
"... After nine months of labor, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller thus brought forth a mouse. Even if all the charges are true – something we'll probably never know since it's unlikely that any of the accused will be brought to trial -- the indictment tells us virtually nothing that's new. ..."
"... Yes, they persuaded someone in Florida to dress up as Hillary Clinton in a prison uniform and stand inside a cage mounted on a flatbed truck. And, yes, they also got another "real U.S. person," as the indictment terms it, to stand in front of the White House with a sign saying, "Happy 55th Birthday Dear Boss," a tribute, apparently, to IRA founder Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the convicted robber turned caterer whose birthday was three days away. Instead of a super-sophisticated spying operation, the indictment depicts a bumbling freelance operation that is still giving Putin heartburn months after the fact. ..."
"... Not that this has stopped the media from whipping itself into a frenzy. "Russia is at war with our democracy," screamed a headline in the Washington Post. "Trump is ignoring the worst attack on America since 9/11," blared another. " Russia is engaged in a virtual war against the United States through 21st-century tools of disinformation and propaganda," declared the New York Times, while Daily Beast columnist Jonathan Alter tweeted that the IRA's activities amounted to nothing less than a "tech Pearl Harbor." ..."
"... This makes the Dems seem crass, unscrupulous, and none too democratic. But then Mudde gave the knife a twist. The real trouble with the strategy, he said, is that it isn't working: ..."
"... No collusion means no impeachment and hence no anti-Trump "color revolution" of the sort that was so effective in Georgia or the Ukraine. Moreover, while 53 percent of Americans believe that investigating Russiagate should be a top or at least an important priority according to a recent poll , figures for a half-dozen other issues ranging from Medicare and Social Security reform to tax policy, healthcare, infrastructure, and immigration are actually a good deal higher – 67 percent, 72 percent, or even more. ..."
"... " the Russia-Trump collusion story might be the talk of the town in Washington, but this is not the case in much of the rest of the country." Out in flyover country, rather, Americans can't figure out why the political elite is more concerned with a nonexistent scandal than with things that really count, i.e. de-industrialization, infrastructure decay, the opioid epidemic, and school shootings. As society disintegrates, the only thing Democrats have accomplished with all their blathering about Russkis under the bed is to demonstrate just how cut off from the real world they are. ..."
"... But Russiagate is not just about regime change, but other things as well. One is repression. Where once Democrats would have laughed off Russian trolls and the like, they're now obsessed with making a mountain out of a molehill in order to enforce mainstream opinion and marginalize ideas and opinions suspected of being un-American and hence pro-Russian. If the RT (Russia Today) news network is now suspect -- the Times described it not long ago as "the slickly produced heart of a broad, often covert disinformation campaign designed to sow doubt about democratic institutions and destabilize the West" – then why not the BBC or Agence France-Presse? How long until foreign books are banned or foreign musicians? ..."
"... "I'm actually surprised I haven't been indicted," tweets Bloomberg columnist Leonid Bershidsky. "I'm Russian, I was in the U.S. in 2016 and I published columns critical of both Clinton and Trump w/o registering as a foreign agent." When the Times complains that Facebook "still sees itself as the bank that got robbed, rather than the architect who designed a bank with no safes, and no alarms or locks on the doors, and then acted surprised when burglars struck," then it's clear that the goal is to force Facebook to rein in its activities or stand by and watch as others do so instead. ..."
"... But Russiagate is about something else as well: war. As National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster warns that the "time is now" to act against Iran, the New York Times slams Trump for not imposing sanctions on Moscow, and a spooky "Nuclear Posture Review" suggests that the US might someday respond to a cyber attack with atomic weapons, it's plain that Washington is itching for a showdown that will somehow undo the mistakes of the previous administration. The more Trump drags his feet, the more Democrats conclude that a war drive is the best way to bring him to his knees. ..."
"... Thus, low-grade political interference is elevated into a casus belli while Vladimir Putin is portrayed as a supernatural villain straight out of Harry Potter. But where does it stop? Libya has been set back decades, Syria, the subject of yet another US regime-change effort, has been all but destroyed, while Yemen – which America helps Saudi Arabia bomb virtually around the clock – is now a disaster area with some 9,000 people killed, 50,000 injured, a million-plus cholera cases, and more than half of all hospitals and clinics destroyed. ..."
"... The more Democrats pound the war drums, the more death and destruction will ensue. The process is well underway in Syria, the victim of Israeli bombings and a US-Turkish invasion, and it will undoubtedly spread as Dems turn up the heat. If the pathetic pseudo-scandal known as Russiagate really is collapsing under its own weight, then it's not a moment too soon. ..."
"... The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy ..."
"... A minor quibble was how at the end the author kept referring to how the "U.S" or "Washington" were the forces for the regime changes or flat-out destruction of nations Israel wants destroyed. The crappy little pesthole has been the barely-concealed mastermind of all the "Wars For Israel" which have turned the US of A into a bankrupt laughingstock. ..."
"... As ludicrous as Russiagate became, it was no joke, and became a real amplifier of the threat of nuclear war, and the relentlessly increasing militarization of America. Without the enthusiastic help of the corporate media, the whole phony narrative would never have got off the ground. Of course the criminals we call the intelligence community did all they could to give it legs, as well. We can only pray that it fades away now, and is not replaced with something else like a shooting war. But that hope is fading now on several fronts ..."
"... That was NOT to remove Trump, which was always a long shot and would only produce Pence and angry motivated Trump voters in the next election. ..."
"... The Trump derangement syndrome had a calculated purpose to keep donors giving after they were outraged by the waste of their donations. They'd been acting like a donor-strike was in progress. This cured that. ..."
"... This fed off the Stages of Grief reactions of those who'd so confidently expected a Hillary win. That helped do it, but was not the real motive. Those who initiated and shaped it were more directed, and aimed at the money. That is why the more likely things to blame, like Comey, were set aside in favor of the easy target of a foreign enemy which was familiar from recent Cold War. ..."
"... Having only as reference my own personal take on our news media the infamous MSM, is that these journalistic bandits are only in the game of twisting the news for the ratings, and to promote their own opportunistic careers. The corporate owned media has replaced responsible reporting with salaisuus promotions of often tragic events in a way that tends to in my eyes be a mere exploitation of these tragedies, as we viewers become glued to our TV screens. ..."
Feb 24, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Fads and scandals often follow a set trajectory. They grow big, bigger, and then, finally, too big, at which point they topple over and collapse under the weight of their own internal contradictions. This was the fate of the "Me too" campaign, which started out as an exposé of serial abuser Harvey Weinstein but then went too far when Babe.net published a story about one woman's bad date with comedian Aziz Ansari. Suddenly, it became clear that different types of behavior were being lumped together in a dangerous way, and a once-explosive movement began to fizzle.

So, too, with Russiagate. After dominating the news for more than a year, the scandal may have at last reached a tipping point with last week's indictment of thirteen Russian individuals and three Russian corporations on charges of illegal interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. But the indictment landed with a decided thud for three reasons:

It failed to connect the Internet Research Agency (IRA), the alleged St. Petersburg troll factory accused of political meddling, with Vladimir Putin, the all-purpose evil-doer who the corporate media say is out to destroy American democracy. It similarly failed to establish a connection with the Trump campaign and indeed went out of its way to describe contacts with the Russians as "unwitting." It described the meddling itself as even more inept and amateurish than many had suspected.

After nine months of labor, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller thus brought forth a mouse. Even if all the charges are true – something we'll probably never know since it's unlikely that any of the accused will be brought to trial -- the indictment tells us virtually nothing that's new.

Yes, IRA staffers purchased $100,000 worth of Facebook ads, 56 percent of which ran after Election Day. Yes, they persuaded someone in Florida to dress up as Hillary Clinton in a prison uniform and stand inside a cage mounted on a flatbed truck. And, yes, they also got another "real U.S. person," as the indictment terms it, to stand in front of the White House with a sign saying, "Happy 55th Birthday Dear Boss," a tribute, apparently, to IRA founder Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the convicted robber turned caterer whose birthday was three days away. Instead of a super-sophisticated spying operation, the indictment depicts a bumbling freelance operation that is still giving Putin heartburn months after the fact.

Not that this has stopped the media from whipping itself into a frenzy. "Russia is at war with our democracy," screamed a headline in the Washington Post. "Trump is ignoring the worst attack on America since 9/11," blared another. " Russia is engaged in a virtual war against the United States through 21st-century tools of disinformation and propaganda," declared the New York Times, while Daily Beast columnist Jonathan Alter tweeted that the IRA's activities amounted to nothing less than a "tech Pearl Harbor."

All of which merely demonstrates, in proper backhanded fashion, how grievously Mueller has fallen short. Proof that the scandal had at last overstayed its welcome came five days later when the Guardian, a website that had previously flogged Russiagate even more vigorously than the Post, the Times, or CNN, published a news analysis by Cas Mudde, an associate professor at the University of Georgia, admitting that it was all a farce – and a particularly self-defeating one at that.

Mudde's article made short work of hollow pieties about a neutral and objective investigation. Rather than an effort to get at the truth, Russiagate was a thinly-veiled effort at regime change. "[I]n the end," he wrote, "the only question everyone really seems to care about is whether Donald Trump was involved – and can therefore be impeached for treason.

With last week's indictment, the article went on, "Democratic party leaders once again reassured their followers that this was the next logical step in the inevitable downfall of Trump." The more Democrats play the Russiagate card, in other words, the nearer they will come to their goal of riding the Orange-Haired One out of town on a rail.

This makes the Dems seem crass, unscrupulous, and none too democratic. But then Mudde gave the knife a twist. The real trouble with the strategy, he said, is that it isn't working:

"While there is no doubt that the Trump camp was, and still is, filled with amoral and fraudulent people, and was very happy to take the Russians help during the elections, even encouraging it on the campaign, I do not think Mueller will be able to find conclusive evidence that Donald Trump himself colluded with Putin's Russia to win the elections. And that is the only thing that will lead to his impeachment as the Republican party is not risking political suicide for anything less."

Other Objectives of "Russiagate"

No collusion means no impeachment and hence no anti-Trump "color revolution" of the sort that was so effective in Georgia or the Ukraine. Moreover, while 53 percent of Americans believe that investigating Russiagate should be a top or at least an important priority according to a recent poll , figures for a half-dozen other issues ranging from Medicare and Social Security reform to tax policy, healthcare, infrastructure, and immigration are actually a good deal higher – 67 percent, 72 percent, or even more.

Summed up Mudde: " the Russia-Trump collusion story might be the talk of the town in Washington, but this is not the case in much of the rest of the country." Out in flyover country, rather, Americans can't figure out why the political elite is more concerned with a nonexistent scandal than with things that really count, i.e. de-industrialization, infrastructure decay, the opioid epidemic, and school shootings. As society disintegrates, the only thing Democrats have accomplished with all their blathering about Russkis under the bed is to demonstrate just how cut off from the real world they are.

But Russiagate is not just about regime change, but other things as well. One is repression. Where once Democrats would have laughed off Russian trolls and the like, they're now obsessed with making a mountain out of a molehill in order to enforce mainstream opinion and marginalize ideas and opinions suspected of being un-American and hence pro-Russian. If the RT (Russia Today) news network is now suspect -- the Times described it not long ago as "the slickly produced heart of a broad, often covert disinformation campaign designed to sow doubt about democratic institutions and destabilize the West" – then why not the BBC or Agence France-Presse? How long until foreign books are banned or foreign musicians?

"I'm actually surprised I haven't been indicted," tweets Bloomberg columnist Leonid Bershidsky. "I'm Russian, I was in the U.S. in 2016 and I published columns critical of both Clinton and Trump w/o registering as a foreign agent." When the Times complains that Facebook "still sees itself as the bank that got robbed, rather than the architect who designed a bank with no safes, and no alarms or locks on the doors, and then acted surprised when burglars struck," then it's clear that the goal is to force Facebook to rein in its activities or stand by and watch as others do so instead.

Add to this the classic moral panic promoted by #MeToo – to believe charges of sexual harassment and assault without first demanding evidence "is to disbelieve, and deny due process to, the accused," notes Judith Levine in the Boston Review – and it's clear that a powerful wave of cultural conservatism is crashing down on the United States, much of it originating in a classic neoliberal-Hillaryite milieu. Formerly the liberal alternative, the Democratic Party is now passing the Republicans on the right.

But Russiagate is about something else as well: war. As National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster warns that the "time is now" to act against Iran, the New York Times slams Trump for not imposing sanctions on Moscow, and a spooky "Nuclear Posture Review" suggests that the US might someday respond to a cyber attack with atomic weapons, it's plain that Washington is itching for a showdown that will somehow undo the mistakes of the previous administration. The more Trump drags his feet, the more Democrats conclude that a war drive is the best way to bring him to his knees.

Thus, low-grade political interference is elevated into a casus belli while Vladimir Putin is portrayed as a supernatural villain straight out of Harry Potter. But where does it stop? Libya has been set back decades, Syria, the subject of yet another US regime-change effort, has been all but destroyed, while Yemen – which America helps Saudi Arabia bomb virtually around the clock – is now a disaster area with some 9,000 people killed, 50,000 injured, a million-plus cholera cases, and more than half of all hospitals and clinics destroyed.

The more Democrats pound the war drums, the more death and destruction will ensue. The process is well underway in Syria, the victim of Israeli bombings and a US-Turkish invasion, and it will undoubtedly spread as Dems turn up the heat. If the pathetic pseudo-scandal known as Russiagate really is collapsing under its own weight, then it's not a moment too soon.

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).


Zachary Smith , February 24, 2018 at 1:25 pm

First thing I checked before reading this was to check for instances of misuse of the term "liberal". When I found none at all, the piece suddenly looked very promising. And it was a fine essay!

A minor quibble was how at the end the author kept referring to how the "U.S" or "Washington" were the forces for the regime changes or flat-out destruction of nations Israel wants destroyed. The crappy little pesthole has been the barely-concealed mastermind of all the "Wars For Israel" which have turned the US of A into a bankrupt laughingstock.

With that small objection on record, I will declare this was great.

BobH , February 24, 2018 at 2:05 pm

Zachary, I wouldn't get too hung up on words like "liberal" which have been used and abused to become almost meaningless but yes, "the Democratic Party is now passing the Republicans on the right." Somehow I think they believe they can pick up enough "moderate" Republicans in the midterms to make up for the "angry white males"(& intellectuals) they lost in the last election the same losing strategy.

mike k , February 24, 2018 at 1:41 pm

As ludicrous as Russiagate became, it was no joke, and became a real amplifier of the threat of nuclear war, and the relentlessly increasing militarization of America. Without the enthusiastic help of the corporate media, the whole phony narrative would never have got off the ground. Of course the criminals we call the intelligence community did all they could to give it legs, as well. We can only pray that it fades away now, and is not replaced with something else like a shooting war. But that hope is fading now on several fronts

Mark Thomason , February 24, 2018 at 1:41 pm

From its first moment, this was a Team Hillary exercise, decided on by her in the days right after the election and promoted through her media contracts that had been an extension of her campaign.

Why? At first they seemed to imagine it possible to reverse the election outcome.

Then it shifted to Trump hate. Why?

That was NOT to remove Trump, which was always a long shot and would only produce Pence and angry motivated Trump voters in the next election.

The Trump derangement syndrome had a calculated purpose to keep donors giving after they were outraged by the waste of their donations. They'd been acting like a donor-strike was in progress. This cured that.

This fed off the Stages of Grief reactions of those who'd so confidently expected a Hillary win. That helped do it, but was not the real motive. Those who initiated and shaped it were more directed, and aimed at the money. That is why the more likely things to blame, like Comey, were set aside in favor of the easy target of a foreign enemy which was familiar from recent Cold War.

It was completely cynical, guided by the same greed that had produced the candidacy of Hillary and run it the whole time, doing fund raising in friendly places instead of campaigning in swing states.

JDQ , February 24, 2018 at 2:00 pm

..please do read this. It gives Liberals more a bashing than Conservatives

Joe Tedesky , February 24, 2018 at 2:40 pm

Having only as reference my own personal take on our news media the infamous MSM, is that these journalistic bandits are only in the game of twisting the news for the ratings, and to promote their own opportunistic careers. The corporate owned media has replaced responsible reporting with salaisuus promotions of often tragic events in a way that tends to in my eyes be a mere exploitation of these tragedies, as we viewers become glued to our TV screens.

This is the way the MSM sell too many needless pharmaceutical products, and their drugs are products, to insurance ad's and somehow make commercial space for the MIC defense contractors. This is how the MSM makes real money, as they forfeited our learning of anything worthwhile, as to pave the way for more exploitation of our country's struggles with everything and anything, but all forfeited simply to make the MSM more money.

It goes without saying that we the American public aren't necessarily as fooled, and tricked, as our masters would like to believe we are. So to explain away the Empire's failings certain forces from within our nation's Beltway are hard at work trying to blame all of their misgivings on another, and that another is Vladimir Putin and his American engineered misunderstood Russians. For this reason our MSM hardly ever put the real Putin on our television screens. No never, these American media producers always when describing Putin, use a prop, or a slimy squinty eyed shirtless Russian stereotype instead. For our MSM ever to air a speech of Putin, or do as Oliver Stone did, is beyond question, so don't wait up kids to see ever steady Vladimir on our American TV sets because it just isn't going to happen.

So now our MSM is exploiting the Florida mass shooting, and it is with their slants and predisposed opinions where I lose faith in anything our media does. Even as terrible as this Florida school shooting was, our MSM must politicize and adhere left right slants to this story as in their daff journalistic heads this is what they must do. Like I said this is my opinion taken from my own experiences, so take my comment for what it is, and not from any references I happened upon.

[Feb 24, 2018] Mueller in Hot Pursuit by Andrew Napolitano

That's a good question: why now. Where was all those immense power of NSA, CIA and FBI during election. Why that calmly observed that Russian are destroying American democracy :-). Something is really fishy here.
Another interesting tidbit is connection of Mr. Mueller to 911 cover-up.
Yet another interesting tidbit is the story of the USA interference in the Russian election s of 2011-2012. As Caitlin Johnstone observes the US's long history in meddling in other countries' elections is not "whataboutism," but rather a highly germane point to understanding the context for the allegations of Russian meddling
Notable quotes:
"... f the purpose of all the warrantless spying -- in direct contravention of the Constitution, no less -- is to keep the country safe from foreign assault, whether by bombs in a subway or by guns in an office building or by hacking into computers, why didn't our 60,000 domestic, and God only knows how many foreign, spies catch this Russian interference? ..."
"... "the Russians ran unchecked through our computer systems and the American marketplaces of ideas." You see, kids, the First Amendment is no longer prophylactic, something to prevent government from violating your natural rights to speak, hear, and think. Instead, things such as what I'm doing right now are like food stamps, political privileges redeemable only at Uncle Sam's Club. ..."
"... Muller indicted foreigners knowing they could not be extradicted to stand trial in the US. These indictments are "guerrilla theater" designed to justify Mueller's investigation. ..."
"... Why are so few people laughing at the microminiature level of this so-called meddling? These guys were run-of-the-mill internet trolls, engaging people in idiotic quarrels like trolls everywhere do. ..."
"... Meanwhile, how many American military bases sit on foreign soil where our people with guns and jets meddle for a living? How many countries get our ridiculously misnamed "foreign aid" where we tax America's middle class to bribe foreigners' rich people to do our bidding? ..."
"... All of MSM is owned by one foreign entity with one anti-American agenda. They interfere in every election, hell they hand pick the candidates, make em sign a pledge/oath to the foreign nation. Will Mueller be going after any of these traitors? Why isn't Mueller in prison for 9/11 cover up Mr. Sessions? ..."
Feb 24, 2018 | www.unz.com

Why didn't the CIA or the NSA or the FBI pick this up?

That is the $64,000 question that the indictment does not address, and we may never know the answer to it. If the purpose of all the warrantless spying -- in direct contravention of the Constitution, no less -- is to keep the country safe from foreign assault, whether by bombs in a subway or by guns in an office building or by hacking into computers, why didn't our 60,000 domestic, and God only knows how many foreign, spies catch this Russian interference?

One answer is information overload. By spying on everyone all the time, the spies have too much data through which to sift, and they miss the evidence of coming terror -- just as they did with the killings in Orlando, in San Bernardino, at the Boston Marathon, on a New York bike path and even recently at a school in Florida, all of which were preceded by internet chatter that would have tipped off a trained listener to the plans of the killers.


anonymous Disclaimer , February 22, 2018 at 8:55 am GMT

Well, shucks. No Russophobic dirk to look for this week in the folds of his robe -- Mr. Napolitano is finally full on, swinging the Establishment sword at "the Kremlin" and "its indicted spies." And he's doing it to scare the American people.

"It is a felony for foreign nationals to participate in American federal elections, and it is a felony for any Americans knowingly to assist them." No citation of the statute(s), or of the particular acts among all "Judge" has mentioned within the scope of the subject indictment. He is endorsing the notion that, under the Constitution he pretends to cherish, a non-US citizen and any American "assistant" can be criminally convicted for "phony web posts" or "aggressively revealing embarrassing data about Clinton," i.e., publishing anything deemed relevant to a federal election on the internet. If you suggested after Sunday School there in Nebraska that your friend check out those documents at Wikileaks, then will Mr. Mueller come for you? Well, that depends:

"The other reason for the indictment is to smoke out any American collaborators. He has identified American collaborators, but not by proper name, and the Department of Justice has said -- not in the indictment, in which case it would be bound by what it says, but in a press statement, which binds no one -- that the American collaborators were unwitting dupes of the Russians. My guess is that Mueller's American targets are under electronic and visual surveillance and that he is listening to their (premature) sighs of relief."

So don't worry, Big Brother most likely still loves you, or at least won't send you to your room. As long as you were only an "unwitting dupe," and have stopped playing with the bad kids.

Until Mr. Mueller could get here on his white horse, "the Russians ran unchecked through our computer systems and the American marketplaces of ideas." You see, kids, the First Amendment is no longer prophylactic, something to prevent government from violating your natural rights to speak, hear, and think. Instead, things such as what I'm doing right now are like food stamps, political privileges redeemable only at Uncle Sam's Club.

I hope there's no gentlemen's agreement that precludes some of the other writers published on this website from confronting Mr. Napolitano on this vile column.

George Weinbaum , February 22, 2018 at 5:18 pm GMT
Muller indicted foreigners knowing they could not be extradicted to stand trial in the US. These indictments are "guerrilla theater" designed to justify Mueller's investigation.

What would Mueller do if Putin gets tough and: sends one Russian to the US; with say $100 million for his legal defense?

Or if Putin offers to try the Russians in Moscow, in a Russian court, with Mueller prosecuting them?

Fran Macadam , February 22, 2018 at 11:16 pm GMT
What if even Andrew Napolitano succumbed to Big Lie techniques?
WorkingClass , February 23, 2018 at 5:39 am GMT

Though an indictment is a charge only, it presumably relies on hard evidence of a wide and deep Russian project -- so wide and so deep that it could only have been approved and paid for by the Kremlin.

The operative word here is "presumably".

The Grate Deign , February 23, 2018 at 1:37 pm GMT
Why are so few people laughing at the microminiature level of this so-called meddling? These guys were run-of-the-mill internet trolls, engaging people in idiotic quarrels like trolls everywhere do.

Meanwhile, how many American military bases sit on foreign soil where our people with guns and jets meddle for a living? How many countries get our ridiculously misnamed "foreign aid" where we tax America's middle class to bribe foreigners' rich people to do our bidding?

To call this flapdoodle about Russian net trolling a joke is far too kind.

redmudhooch , February 24, 2018 at 1:56 am GMT
All of MSM is owned by one foreign entity with one anti-American agenda. They interfere in every election, hell they hand pick the candidates, make em sign a pledge/oath to the foreign nation. Will Mueller be going after any of these traitors? Why isn't Mueller in prison for 9/11 cover up Mr. Sessions?

We all know it wasn't Muslims caught celebrating the attack, or busted with explosives inside of a van leaving New York. Why act like it isn't common knowledge, you're making the FBI look pretty stoopid Mr. Mueller .look even Faux News messed up and reported it

[Feb 24, 2018] American Media s Big Bot Conspiracy Exposed: The bot paranoia is being used to delegitimize real stories and candidates.

Notable quotes:
"... Rachel Maddow feeds the left's appetite for bot conspiracy nonsense. But in 2013, MSNBC personalities, including Maddow, were being promoted by Chinese bots. Does that mean Maddow is a Chinese spy? Bots are ads that pretend to be people. Tracking how they're deployed can be interesting, but it's dangerous to read too much into that. ..."
"... The bot paranoia is being used to delegitimize real stories and candidates. If you can connect bots to a point of view you don't like, then no one really believes it. Link it to a candidate you don't like and he was never really elected. Hook it up to a serial predator in the Senate and you can ignore his victims. ..."
"... But if you believe that, then MSNBC must be a Chinese informational warfare operations. ..."
"... Mad Cow disease. ..."
"... Give me a fucking break, they think bots are going to swing big things. Bots are not very advanced, only annoying. They cannot craft intelligent or persuasive arguments. Yet the establishment is freaking out about them. It goes to show how far down the drain things stand if such lowly, unpersuasive, spamming shittery is deemed a threat to the narrative. ..."
"... That's what democracy is all about - steering the public discourse and manipulating the lowest common denominator, which isn't that hard to do if you own big media. The challenge is in deprogramming all the lies and deceptions, which takes effort initially, after which it just becomes a never ending tragicomic episode. ..."
"... Who the fuck needs bots in North America, U.K. and EU when you have bull dyke's like Rachel "Mad Cow" that still have viewers that actually listen to "him" ..."
Feb 24, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

The Internet Research Agency indictment accuses a troll bot farm of trying to influence the election in what the media claims is the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor. 9/11 need not apply.

Bots are everywhere.

"Bots Are Trying to Help Populists Win Italy's Election," claims Bloomberg. "Russian Bots Are Using 2016 Tactics to Hijack the Gun Debate," shrieks Vanity Fair. ABC spins that bots are trying to make Black Panther look bad. "Rampaging Twitter 'bots' bred in Suffolk farmhouse," the London Times asserts.

This media madness might make you think that bots are some sort of new and advanced technology. But you can see them in the comments and they've been around forever. Automated programs that log into social media accounts are not a new technology. Internet users of a bygone era remember seeing them in chat rooms and on bulletin boards without ever rampaging around Suffolk farmhouses.

Bots have become a convenient media scapegoat. The new formula is "Bots + Thing We Disagree With = Proof We're Right". That's why there are stories claiming that Russian bots are tweeting against gun control or Islamic migration. And it explains the "Russian Bots Rigged the Election for Trump" meme.

Bots are an informational technique. Media spin reverse engineers the technique to discredit the idea. Not only is that a fallacy, but bots just piggyback on popular trends to gain influence. Russian bots don't tweet about gun control because they care about guns, but because they get retweeted. The same was true of the bots promoting Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. There are a million brands doing the same thing with bots and influencers. But that's okay because they push politically correct messages.

And that's the bot double standard. When Russian bots and trolls push Black Lives Matter, Bernie Sanders or Dakota Access Pipeline protests, their programmed actions don't reflect on leftist causes, organizations and politicians. But the revelation that Russian bots and trolls tweeted about the Bill of Rights, Islamic migration or Trump is spun by the media into a conspiracy that indicts the ideas and discredits the previous election.

The latest example of the Big Bot Conspiracy is a bizarre Newsweek article by Nina Burleigh blaming Senator Franken's problems on bots. Some might have thought that Franken had been forced to resign for groping women across America. But according to Burleigh, it was the fault of the Japanese bots.

The feminist activist was already infamous for putting her allegiance to Democrats ahead of sisterhood.

"I would be happy to give him a b_____ just to thank him for keeping abortion legal," Nina Burleigh had said of Bill Clinton. "I think American women should be lining up with their Presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude." Now Burleigh has brought her kneepads to the raided offices of Newsweek.

Nina Burleigh's article blames Franken's problems on "fake news sites, an army of Twitter bots and other cyber tricks". The Democrat Senator's original accuser is dismissed as a "Hooters pinup girl and lad-mag model". So there was either nothing wrong with groping her or no reason to believe her.

That's what leftists denounce as 'slut-shaming', but, as with Bill Clinton, it's okay when Democrats do it.

Burleigh mentions the "release of a picture of a Tweeden and Franken" (editors are one of the casualties of Newsweek's troubles), but neglects to mention that it's a picture of Franken groping Tweeden. None of the other many accusers rate a mention from this feminist Franken activist.

There was the feminist choir member and book editor who accused Franken of groping her at the Women's Political Caucus. It's really hard to write her off as a "right-wing plant" or a "lad-mag model".

Especially since she then voted for Senator Franken.

Another accuser was groped at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and claimed that Franken wanted to join her in the bathroom. Nina Burleigh would have probably told her to go along and bring her senatorial kneepads in gratitude for his support of Planned Parenthood.

A Democrat congressional aide remembers Franken trying to give her an open mouth kiss while he was still a radio host with Air America. "It's my right as an entertainer," she recalls Franken telling her.

An Army vet on a USO tour described being groped by Franken during the Iraq War. "When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast. He kept his hand all the way over on my breast."

Jezebel, a hard left feminist site, offered an account from a liberal "former elected official in New England" who remembers Franken trying to plant a "wet, open-mouthed kiss" on her, on stage.

Instead of addressing the many accounts of Franken's liberal accusers who supported him and, many of whom indicated they didn't want him to quit, Burleigh, like most Frankentruthers from Tom Arnold to Richard Silverstein, smears Leeann Tweeden while ignoring Franken's numerous other accusers.

After silencing the women who came out against Franken, Nina Burleigh surreally claims that the Franken accusations had served to "silence the testimonies of eight former female staffers who defended the Minnesota Democrat".

Presenting testimonies from the few women you didn't grope is not considered a compelling argument.

But instead of talking about any of this, Burleigh talks about bots. A "bot army" made the Franken accusations go viral. And then there was "a developer named Atsufumi Otsuka" who "registered a web domain in Japan" that hosted "Japanese-registered fake-news sites". But, "by November 17, the trending of 'Al Franken' was officially also a Russian intelligence operation."

The Japanese and the Russians had teamed up against the Minnesota groper. This wasn't just worse than Pearl Harbor. It was WW2 and the Cold War combined in one hashtag.

"Researchers have found that each bot account had 30 to 60 followers, all Japanese. The first follower for each account was either Japanese or Russian," Burleigh breathlessly relates.

Now that the Russian and Japanese bots had teamed up, all hope for humanity was lost.

Burleigh's article has more international locations than a Tom Clancy novel. It also completely ignores the question of whether Franken groped his victims to discuss the bots who tweeted about it.

That's not accidental. Burleigh doesn't want to talk about whether Franken is guilty; she wants to write a progressive thriller in which international bots caused the problem by talking about it. And if it can be shown that bots amplified a scandal, then the facts somehow no longer matter. In the same way that if it can be shown that bots amplified Trump's message, the 2016 election results were illegitimate.

But shooting the messenger bot doesn't tell us anything the truth of the inconvenient message.

Since the election, these types of articles are everywhere. They rely on the work of "researchers" who are usually partisan activists, often amateurs with no actual technical training, to spread conspiracy theories. These conspiracy theories confuse correlation and causation. If a foreign bot retweets Trump, he works for the bot's masters. If a bot tweets any conservative story, it's a right-wing global bot plot.

Anyone who knows anything about how the internet works knows that this is nonsense.

Bots imitate to amplify. In this comments section, a bot will show up sooner or later, it will copy a comment that someone else made and post it in order to get likes so that it resembles a real account. For every stupid bot telling you how much it makes by working online, there's a smarter bot leaving legitimate comments to blend in. And so bots tweet, comment and chat about everything popular.

If there's a trending topic, the bots will quickly show up. And everyone uses them.

Rachel Maddow feeds the left's appetite for bot conspiracy nonsense. But in 2013, MSNBC personalities, including Maddow, were being promoted by Chinese bots. Does that mean Maddow is a Chinese spy? Bots are ads that pretend to be people. Tracking how they're deployed can be interesting, but it's dangerous to read too much into that.

Correlating bots with narratives isn't actually causation.

The bot paranoia is being used to delegitimize real stories and candidates. If you can connect bots to a point of view you don't like, then no one really believes it. Link it to a candidate you don't like and he was never really elected. Hook it up to a serial predator in the Senate and you can ignore his victims.

But if you believe that, then MSNBC must be a Chinese informational warfare operations.


Brazen Heist Fri, 02/23/2018 - 21:03 Permalink

Mad Cow disease.

stizazz -> pier Fri, 02/23/2018 - 21:09 Permalink

Divide Et Impera.

Brazen Heist -> khnum Fri, 02/23/2018 - 21:17 Permalink

Give me a fucking break, they think bots are going to swing big things. Bots are not very advanced, only annoying. They cannot craft intelligent or persuasive arguments. Yet the establishment is freaking out about them. It goes to show how far down the drain things stand if such lowly, unpersuasive, spamming shittery is deemed a threat to the narrative.

What a fragile society it all is.

Brazen Heist -> khnum Fri, 02/23/2018 - 21:27 Permalink

Bots are low level AI.

Yeah, I can't imagine reading CNN balls deep or other garbage groupthink mouthpieces that apparently alot of zombies take as gospel. I go to CNN only to dip my feet in the water and see how fucking stupid its all becoming. Other than that, its a brain killer.

That's what democracy is all about - steering the public discourse and manipulating the lowest common denominator, which isn't that hard to do if you own big media. The challenge is in deprogramming all the lies and deceptions, which takes effort initially, after which it just becomes a never ending tragicomic episode.

Son of Captain Nemo Fri, 02/23/2018 - 21:06 Permalink

Who the fuck needs bots in North America, U.K. and EU when you have bull dyke's like Rachel "Mad Cow" that still have viewers that actually listen to "him"?!!!

I rest my case! ( https://www.rt.com/news/419510-bild-fake-russia-emails-spd/ )

[Feb 23, 2018] Julian Assange explains how troll farm in St. Petersburg was nothing more than social media spam business (Video) by Alex Christoforou

Feb 22, 2018 | theduran.com

The "Russian troll" farm was a marketing/spam business.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange weighed in on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's "13 Russian troll" indictment noting that the Russians bots from The Internet Research Agency, spent thousands of dollars on Facebook ads to grow their audiences something that is very common and encouraged by Facebook.

Mueller "troll farm" indictment today
– explicitly states no collusion
– does not mention WikiLeaks
– states trolls intent to support Trump & Sanders, oppose Clinton, Cruz
– states trolls intent on anti-Trump AND pro-Trump rallies post electionhttps://t.co/uMxBAwOeOY

Click here for the best news on Russia >>

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 16, 2018

This is how Facebook makes money, and how groups build an audience, which can then be sold to advertisers who wish to target such groups.

In other words, the IRA was and is operating a run-of-the-mill marketing and social media spam business, not a "sow American discord" operation.

Via The Gateway Pundit

The Russian ads mentioned in Mueller's indictment were already released by the House Intelligence Committee in November 2017.

Facebook previously announced the Russian ads comprised .004% of their advertising during the election.

Assange tweeted all this out on Friday, but of course the mainstream media failed to note any of this while reporting its propaganda to those who naively listen and believe in the nonsense (courtesy The Gateway Pundit)

Buried in the Mueller astro-turfing indictment is something that we have long suspected. The Internet Research Agency's "troll farm" is geared to develop audience in socially active communities (e.g through aligned memes), in order to spam them on behalf of anyone willing to pay: pic.twitter.com/sms0YAKB3j

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: Buried in the Mueller astro-turfing indictment is something that we have long suspected. The Internet Research Agency's "troll farm" is geared to develop audience in socially active communities (e.g through aligned memes), in order to spam them on behalf of anyone willing to pay.

Before advertising networks can advertise they must build audience. How much of IRA's activities were simply trying to build audience by gaining followers using tweets and memes likely to be shared in those communities?

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: Before advertising networks can advertise they must build audience. How much of IRA's activities were simply trying to build audience by gaining followers using tweets and memes likely to be shared in those communities?

IRA allegedly also ran kitten appreciation groups. Are we also to believe that these kittens were also a plot to divide America? To not distinguish between audience building and customer advertising payload is sketchy.

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: IRA allegedly also ran kitten appreciation groups. Are we also to believe that these kittens were also a plot to divide America? To not distinguish between audience building and customer advertising payload is sketchy.

The US has 320 million people with a trillion dollar media and cultural sector that employees over a million people. I do not assess that it is possible whatsoever to divide America by trying to "heighten the differences" with a hundred trolls.

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: The US has 320 million people with a trillion dollar media and cultural sector that employees over a million people. I do not assess that it is possible whatsoever to divide America by trying to "heighten the differences" with a hundred trolls.

Re-enforcing audience bias is exactly what Facebook & Google have been doing at a vast scale by algorithmically preying on people's existing biases to increase engagement. In a more traditional manner, FOX, MSNBC, CNN, NYTimes, WaPO etc, are doing the same thing.

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: Re-enforcing audience bias is exactly what Facebook & Google have been doing at a vast scale by algorithmically preying on people's existing biases to increase engagement. In a more traditional manner, FOX, MSNBC, CNN, NYTimes, WaPO etc, are doing the same thing.

Regardless of whether IRA's activities were audience building through pandering to communities or whether a hare-brained Russian government plan to "heighten the differences" existed, its activities are clearly strategically insignificant compared to the other forces at play.

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: Regardless of whether IRA's activities were audience building through pandering to communities or whether a hare-brained Russian government plan to "heighten the differences" existed, its activities are clearly strategically insignificant compared to the other forces at play.

Jimmy Dore did catch on to Assange's explanation as to what exactly was happening at IRA's HQ in St, Petersburg, which can be summed up as just another social media spam business, which had the misfortune of operating in Russia at a time when American swamp creatures are trying to find any scintilla of evidence to demonize Russia, and drag on a falling apart "Trump-Russia" collusion investigation.