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Mueller invokes ghosts of GRU operatives to help his and Brennan case

12 Russian ghosts and the desire to implicate Russia in DNC leak

The Russiagate investigation looks more and more like the struggle for power between two Mafiosi clans,
when losing side is ready to do all types of dirty tricks on the winning side.

Mueller now he is doing something he wasn't hired to do: trying  to save his job  and simultaneously derail Putin-Trump summit

News Purple revolution Recommended Links Attempts to find dirt on Trump and his associates using Special Prosecutor Mueller modeled after Ken Starr prosecution of Bill Clinton False flag operations in cyberspace History of American False Flag Operations Trump vs. Deep State Fusion GPS Coordinated set of leaks as a color revolution tool
Appointment of a Special Prosecutor gambit The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Strzok-gate Brennan elections machinations Anti Trump Hysteria Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ? Michael Flynn
DNC and Podesta emails leak: blaming Vladimir Putin Hillary Clinton email scandal Wiretaps of Trump and his associates during Presidential elections  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" The Deep State Bernie Sanders betrayal of his supporters National Security State New American Militarism History of American False Flag Operations
Deception as an art form The Iron Law of Oligarchy Principal-agent problem Neoliberalism US Presidential Elections of 2012 Non-Interventionism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
 

Don Corleone: [to Luca Brasi] I'm a little worried about this Sollozzo fellow. I want you to find out what he's got under his fingernails. Go to the Tattaglias, and tell them you're not too happy with our Family, and find out what you can...

The Godfather (1972) - Quotes - IMDb

Just saw a would-be meme on my Facebook feed . . . to the general effect that the FBI still hasn't even looked at the DNC's computer or server, but Mueller's indicted 12 Russians for 'hacking' them.

Of course, there is that old quote from a New York state judge that a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. (Which also reminds me of a riddle: Why is a ham sandwich better than perfect happiness? Well, nothing is better than perfect happiness, right? -- and a ham sandwich is certainly better than nothing. . . .)

moonofalabama.org

As ludicrous as Russiagate became, it was no joke as it became a real amplifier of the threat of nuclear war. John "911 cover-up" Muller role in this case is very dirty and reminding the behaviour of a typical Mafiosi in a desperate struggle with other clan. During 811 he already again proved himself to be a loyal agent of the Deep state, if not Democratic Party.

The accusations are worded different the in case on Internet research agency story as fiasco of Russiagate. No more of "we assess" like the last time. It is amazing to see all the gory (and probably false or falsified ) detail with which the US supposedly knows of the names and actions of GRU cyber espionage unit in Russia.

They present GNU as organization without any discipline or special methods and inhabited by wanna be hackers with questionable qualifications.  For example, the malware which Mueller claimed to be  used looks like a the one with capabilities similar to Flame.  So why on Earth those guys need to use CCcleaner (a freeware/shareware with murky history -- some versions of which were troyanzed, see BleepingComputer) when operating this super-sophisticated military grade malware (with probably immense battery of plugins) is completely bizarre.  Why they need to leave a trace in Windows log?  In order to be detected ?

To assume that GRU officers use spearphishing in a manner described looks very unconvincing. If they do it it 's probably outsourced.  That suggest more of a false flag operation, then real GRU activities.  Any sizable intelligence  agency now has a lot of skill and a huge knowledgebase of US "achievements" in this area including Stuxnet, Flame, Duqu Trojan and such. Including detailed history of those operations and source code of malware. Vault 7 also probably was available for them for some time.  In other words they understand NSA capabilities as for malware and for traffic inspection/interception better that some NSA former  employees.

It is unclear also why the military intelligence was tasked with penetrating into civil organization like DNC and how name of "GRU officers" were obtained (this question was raised in an excellent post at  Sic Semper Tyrannis  blog:

Something Rotten About the DOJ Indictment of the GRU by Publius Tacitus

How do we know the names of the 12 Russian GRU officers? The Russians do not publish directories of secret organizations. Where did this information come from?

It would appear that the release of the indictment today was a deliberate political act designed to detract and distract from the Trump visit to the UK and to put pressure on him to confront Vladimir Putin. I have heard from many of my former colleagues who are hoping that Putin calls the Rosenstein bluff. If forced to reveal the "evidence" behind this indictment because of a challenge from a defendant, the results will be a disaster for the prosecution.

... ... ...

Valissa Rauhallinen 13 hours ago

The timing of this announcement illustrates how badly the deep state desires to sabotage Trump's plan to improve US-Russia relations. Since they have been playing the Russia card for so long with no real results and to the detriment of their credibility, the urge to try to obstruct Trump at the 11th hour must have been overwhelming.

Between Trumps experience dealing with shady characters in his prior career (esp the casino industry) and what he has no doubt learned about his enemies in the borg since getting elected, I'm guessing he has contingency plans. And if not, he has great Road Runner-like instincts :)

There is other Russian secret services that are more suitable for the task.

And why those "spearfishers" were indicted. This indictment creates a president, which endanger similar work of US intelligence agencies against Russian objects.

also look how stupid was DNC and "team Clinton" as for computr security. Yo really need to start to question IQ of people involved. MSM of couse does nto wnat to look at the problem from this angle. These things only lead to more embarassing questions

A pretty devastating analysis by Disobedient Media

See Mueller’s Latest Indictment Contradicts Evidence In The Public Domain – Disobedient Media. The  article confirms my suspicion that malware was compiled and inserted by Crowstike to implicate Russians as a false flag operation.

We will include some quotes, but this paper needs to be read in full for naybody interesting in anyalising the situation with "12 Russian ghosts"

Gussifer 2.0 persona was probably a false flag operation

There were previous signs that Guccifer 2.0 persona was a false flag operation, the creation of Brennan CIA, specifically to propagate Russiagate story (Mueller’s Latest Indictment Contradicts Evidence In The Public Domain – Disobedient Media):  

As Mueller’s Latest Indictment Contradicts Evidence In The Public Domain – Disobedient Media states

It makes no sense that the GRU would have even used Guccifer 2.0 in the manner we now know he operated – it only caused any harm to Trump and served to undermine leaks due to the deliberate placement of Russian metadata that would give a false perception of Russians mishandling those documents (including the Trump research document found in Podesta’s emails).

... ... ...

Adam Carter

NOTE: There will likely be various amendments made to this article over the next 24 hours.

On July 13th, 2018, an indictment was filed by Special Counsel Robert Swan Mueller III.

This author is responding to the indictment because it features claims about Guccifer 2.0 that are inconsistent with what has been discovered about the persona, including the following:


The first piece of malware at the DNC identified by Crowdstrike as relating to “Fancy Bear,” was compiled on 25 April, 2016. This used a C2 (command and control) IP address that, for the purposes of the APT group, had been inoperable for over a year. It was useful mostly as a signature for attributing it to “Fancy Bear.”

Two additional pieces of malware were discovered at the DNC attributed to the same APT group. These were compiled on 5 May 2016 and 10 May 2016 while Robert Johnston was working with the DNC on CrowdStrike’s behalf to counter the intrusion reported at the end of April and install Falcon.

References to the evidence covering all of this are available in the article: “Fancy Fraud, Bogus Bears & Malware Mimicry“.

This could be inferred from a number of things. DCLeaks was re-registered on 19 April 2016, however, what they published included Republicans and individuals that were not connected to the DNC. In fact, DCLeaks didn’t start publishing anything relating to Clinton campaign staff until June/July 2016. There was also the fact that the daily frequency of emails in the DNC emails released by WikiLeaks increased dramatically from around 19 April 2016, however, this wasn’t indicative of the start of hacking activity but rather caused by a 30 day email retention policy combined with the fact that the emails were acquired between May 19th and May 25th.

There has been no technical evidence produced by those who had access to the DNC network demonstrating files were being manipulated or that malware was engaging in activity prior to this and by CrowdStrike’s own admissions, many of the devices at the DNC were wiped in June. As such, it’s unclear where this may have come from.

There’s an issue here with the conflation of Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. Why would Guccifer 2.0 have had an account at DCLeaks with which he had restricted access and could only manage a subset of the leaks (and only those relating to the DNC) while DCLeaks featured leaks covering those unconnected to and even opposing the DNC?

It also appears there may have been an effort to have people perceive Guccifer 2.0 as being associated with someone that claimed to have root access to DCLeaks too, however, this could only be demonstrated through the use of multimedia props.

It makes no sense that the GRU would have even used Guccifer 2.0 in the manner we now know he operated – it only caused any harm to Trump and served to undermine leaks due to the deliberate placement of Russian metadata that would give a false perception of Russians mishandling those documents (including the Trump research document found in Podesta’s emails).

However, there is one interesting thing that does connect Podesta being phished with DCLeaks. As spotted by Stephen McIntyre – the syntax in the spearphishing emails for both Podesta and Rhinehart (whose leaked emails were published at DCLeaks) were identical.

So, in fairness, there is actually circumstantial evidence to suggest an overlap as Guccifer 2.0 clearly had Podesta’s emails and it looks like the spearphishing attack used to snare Podesta’s emails was identical to one that was attributed to the acquisition of emails published by DCLeaks.

Is there a reason for ambiguity when referencing WikiLeaks?

While he clearly had access to the Podesta emails (NOTE: CrowdStrike decided to start investigating the NGP-VAN breach within a week of Podesta’s emails being acquired, three months after the December 2015 incident), Guccifer 2.0 used those materials to fabricate evidence on 15 June 2016 implicating Russians and which, coincidentally appeared to support (but ultimately helped refute) multiple assertions made by CrowdStrike that the Trump Opposition report (actually sourced from Podesta’s emails) was targeted by Guccifer 2.0 at the DNC in April 2016 – and that the theft of this specific file from the DNC – which, again, could not have been stolen from the DNC – had set off the “first alarm” indicating a security breach.

On 6 July 2016, Guccifer 2.0 released a batch of documents that were exclusively attachments to DNC emails that would later be released by WikiLeaks.

Guccifer 2.0 certainly didn’t make a genuine effort to “conceal a Russian identity,” far from it. The persona made decisions that would leave behind a demonstrable trail of Russian-themed breadcrumbs, examples include:

We know that whoever had the Podesta emails had far more damaging content on Hillary than that produced by Guccifer 2.0 or DCLeaks and we know Guccifer 2.0 had access to Podesta’s emails. If it was the GRU and they wanted to harm Hillary, they had FAR better material do that with than what they chose to release.

DCLeaks featured leaks from those that were not involved in the US presidential election. Guccifer 2.0 only released content relating to the Democratic party and only content that was of little harm to the DNC leadership and Clinton’s campaign.

... .... ....

Also, if Guccifer 2.0 was Russian, why didn’t he struggle with indefinite and definite articles as a Russian struggling with English language would typically do?

Of course, ultimately, if he was working with the Russian state, why deliberately do so much to be perceived as Russian?

Ambiguity with not mentioning  Wikileaks in the indictment
is probably connected with  Seth Rich murder controversy

The fact the Seth Rich murder was swiped under the carpet and never mentions despite obvious (at least time wise) connection  of DNC hack/leak, as well as Awan brothers investigation (which is one big question in itself) creates even more questions about validity of Mueller indictment and colors it as a cover-up attempt.

Cur Bono and  related questions

The first question is: why would Russians go to such length if in any case the foreign policy is by-and-large controlled by forces outside the Presidential administration and Russians understand that. Not that he is completely powerless, but is not the person who determine the USA foreign policy. He may have his own wishes (Trump does have) but at the end of the day he will be forced to follow the Deep State "recommendations".  

High level Russian officials made several statement to this extend. In other words for Russia there is little difference if elections would result in winning of iether candidate as this winds would have little or no influence on the direction of the USA foreign policy. If so why bother?

Another question that instantly arises: after reading the indictment is: 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.  And that suggest that Russian "involvement" might well be a false flag operation by Crowdstrike and forces behind it (Brennan and company).  Here is one interesting comment

Yet another interesting tidbit is Mr/Mueller past role in  911 cover-up. And 911 was a huge interference into the US political life. It essentially finalized conversion to the national security state.

From several point  of view Mueller indictments look disingenuous. first of all there is no chain of evidence whatsoever: FBI was unceremoniously was send  to sidelines and all investigation was done by very questionably security firm -- FBI and CIA contractor Crowdstrike

This indictment reads like Le Carre novel. Some observations.

  1. GRU operates under a very heavy classification regime similar to CIA and other intelligence agencies.  Meaning the names of their operatives themselves are classified information and reveling them to foreigners represents a crime. And yet, here we have an indictment with not less than a dozen names. "Which means that either the US has infiltrated the GRU top to bottom and sideways, and Mueller is somehow not gun shy to reveal this fact to the world – or someone is making stuff up. Unless someone wants to point out to me some other explanation for a dozen classified – top secret and all that – names showing up in a public US document…" (
  2. Since Russia appears is capable of running circles around all the US intelligence  agencies, perhaps all of the incompetents running US 'Intelligence'  had better be fired ib the spot.  The USA elections should return to paper ballots as they best serve the interests of the American people.  Election propaganda should be allowed only from candidates and only within strict limits of government allocated budget. Third parties election propaganda should probably be prohibited.
     
  3. Crowdstrike is shady security company evidence from which can't be  trusted. It is riddled with conflicts of interest (beyond being hired by the DNC) as most of its executuves and senior management have a well known anti-Russian bias. Crowdstrike, hired by the DNC is the only source of the claim Russia hacked the DNC computer servers (since the DNC refused the FBI to have access to their servers). Again,  FBI never has direct access to DNC  computers. NSA capabilities for encrypted communications are very limited: they can establish the fact of communication and capture )and for short period of time store) the  bit stream, but they can't decode the stream unless they hack into one of the  endpoints. So from which source such  a detailed "step by step" information emerged?
     
  4. We now know that the CIA has the cyber-tools to mask the origin of attacks and point the finger at whomever they choose. The list of the CIA’s cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble Framework that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to.
     

  5. Why GRU was involved? GRU is a specialized military intelligence unit, and those a civil target.  So the statement like "Unit 26165 had primary responsibility for hacking the DCCC and DNC, as well as the email accounts of individuals affiliated with the Clinton Campaign." look pretty bizarre.
     
  6. The personalities of GRU operatives which emerge from Mueller criminal indictments  (justice.gov) look like a second rate hackers, without any discipline,  or higher level control of their actions, which definitely harm Russian state.
     
  7. The indictment does not explain the fact that the download speed of data was much higher that the Internet connection allows (which  suggests  a leak, not hack). The murder of Seth Rich still is hanging over DNC leak. This documents claims that Seth Rich has nothing to do with it. Assange might disagree, so niether he not Wikileaks were mentioned directly. 
     
  8. Looks like the X-Tunnel malware they refer to belongs to the same class of "exfiltration" software as the USA developed Flame malware ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flame_%28malware%29 ). Why having such a powerful, multipupose malware "GRU Ghosts" still needed to use a "CC cleaner" (which is a shareware) can't be explained as in such cases there are plugins which are capable to do the same job (and much more) much better. X-Tunnel malware variants supposedly used to infiltrate and hack the Democratic National Committee (DNC) back in April 2016 was based on a piece of open source networking utility developed by a Chinese company in the early 2000s for VOIP applications.  Here is some (unreliable) information about the tool (XTunnel Malware with a Specific Target – the DNC Network )

    ... According to Invincea`s expert Pat Belcher, some of the most threatening abilities of XTunnel are “to hook into system drivers, access the local LDAP server, access local passwords, use SSH, OpenSSL, search and replace local files, and of course be able to maintain a persistent connection to a pre-specified IP address, even if the host is behind a NATed firewall. That is a lot of capabilities packed into a file that is less than 2 MB in size.”

  9. As intrusion was detected rather late by the provate company hired by DNC, how FBI managed to obtain the information about "GRU ghosts" activities? The only other source would be  NSA. And NSA can't catch to much  -- if this is serous operation the intruder first build "traning ground" - a server with an identical software", study it, design the operation, automate it and then do it at minimum amount of time during the day ours when other employees traffic can mask your activity on the "compromised employee" computer.
     
  10. Unless absilutly nessesary, no "professional" hacker would try to break into server directly. They way to do it is to break into some employees home desktops and use them, so that all traffic appear legitimate.
     
  11. Idea that you can trace particular session to a partiuclar GRU computer is questionable and blongs to the type of "security porno" typical for Crowdstrike.  In no way such organization as GRU operates a direct connection to the Internet. There is such device as a remote control unit in modern servers (Dell DRAC, HP ILO and it allows to disassociate the IP address that you are using from the IP address of you desktop/laptop. This is a kind of built-in KVM available on all modern servers.  There are is also such things as proxy servers which are used by most  most security consious organizations, whi internally operqte in a provate IP space (for example 10.x.x.x network) . In this case all IP sessions originate from proxy. And those two mechanisms represent a minimal level of security -- I am sure  that intelligence agencies are capable of and use use more, much more. For example you can change from IP4 to IP6 on internal netwrok (I think US intelligence agencies now operate IP v6). So the statement that a session was traced to a particular computer looks extremely amateurish, at best )ala "security porn").  This is not how such organizations as GRU or CIA operate.
      
  12. NSA capabilities are probably studied all over the world and schemes to "blind" them at lest temporarily already exist (one important limitation is that NSA can't  store the  whole traffic for long, this is just enormous amount of data; may be a week at most, and then only "envelope" remains stored; so my impression is that in case of hack if it is not detected within a week most traces are gone.
     
  13. If "professional hackers" were involved, then the complex task like infiltration onto DNC is heavily compartmentalized. And each stage is done independently and immediately cleaned on completion. As Crowdstrike did not get access to the server until the horse left the barn and NSA has problems with encrypted communication, it is unclear how such a level of details was achived. For example,  IP used on each stage should be "burned." and never reused as there are thousands computers in a typical botnet.  Particular modules used are destroyed,  This is just common sense as many of them are available from criminal botnets. 
     
  14. I heard that NSA can trance SSH and VPN connection to their destination but all major intelligence servicesa probably know that and devices measured that bypass this capability.  Law enforcement has very little success in catching authors of "extortionware" so they are really in bad position in facing of capabilities of organizations like GRU.
     
  15. In a sense the claim about "GRU server" looks a little bit like Le Carre fiction. With the power of modern desktop all you need is to control one of the botnets and you have everything you need  :-) 
     
  16. NSA is the only source of detailed information about hacks as Crowstrike arrived on the scene too late and generally can't be trusted. But as communications are encrypted how NSA can get detailed account of what and how this is done. And with military intelligence you can be sure that cypher used is not the one that NSA can break -- they probably know more about capabilities of NSA than many NSA former employers.
     
  17. Timing is extremely suspicions in view of the revelation that almost all Hillary emails went to a foreign source. AS PT observed "It would appear that the release of the indictment today was a deliberate political act designed to detract and distract from the Trump visit to the UK and to put pressure on him to confront Vladimir Putin"
     
  18. The statement "On or about June 15, 2016, the Conspirators logged into a Moscow-based server used and managed by Unit 74455 and, between 4:19 PM and 4:56 PM Moscow Standard Time, searched for certain words and phrases, including:

    suggests two things:

It mightell be yet another false flag operation to implicate Russians

Like some people see Russianunder  each bed, I see flase flag operations even when they might not be the case ;-). But  there is some evidence of that because the indictment was written completly unprofessionally and reflect below average understanding of the issues involved. That means one thing: they do not care about the truth which is a sure sign of propaganda or false flag oepration or both.

forst on all none of contrudicting evidence  was discussed. And there are severalthing that contrudict the  hypotheye state in the invitement:

 

 


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Old News ;-)

[Jun 18, 2018] There was a strong commercial component in the sense that the accounts that the Russians are accused of creating were used to essentially, as a scheme in which vendors would pay them money for retweets at sometimes $25 to $50 a pop. It seems to me that there is both a commercial motive here as well as a political

Jun 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

UserFriendly | Jun 17, 2018 10:52:26 PM | 18

Re Aaron Mate
It's entirely possible he reads you regularly and saw your post when you first published, but on 2/20/18 :

AARON MATÉ: Let's talk about the indictment, Max. Reading through it, the prosecution alleges some clear political motives, a preference, basically, for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump and a strong distaste for Hillary Clinton, also support for some, also, the encouragement of Russian trolls to disparage Republicans like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

There does appear to be some political motives there in whatever the Russians, whatever these alleged suspects were doing. But also, there's a strong commercial component in the sense that the accounts that the Russians are accused of creating were used to essentially, as a scheme in which vendors would pay them money for retweets at sometimes $25 to $50 a pop.

It seems to me that there is both a commercial motive here as well as a political imperative, as well. I'm wondering your thoughts on what this indictment tells us.

So your Tweet on 6/5/18 wasn't telling him anything he hadn't already said publicly.

[Jun 13, 2018] The trial was postponed because the defendant planed to show up to his own trial

I can't believe in the USA the prosecutor is asking the judge not to let the defendant see the evidence against them .
From comments: "Mueller's face [on the photo] looks like he is out on a limb and badly needs to take a restroom break."
Jun 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

are we there yet -> chunga Tue, 06/12/2018 - 18:22 Permalink

The trial was postponed because the defendant planed to show up to his own trial. That just sounds wrong.

ebear -> chunga Tue, 06/12/2018 - 21:12 Permalink

"In this case it's a euphemism for sleaze."

Oh it's way more than that. That is the kind of language Oliver Wendell Holmes would have used back in the day. It also brings to mind Samuel Clemens. This is a very sharp team indeed.

Ristretto X4 -> stacking12321 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

*Definition of pettifogger. 1 : a lawyer whose methods are petty, underhanded, or disreputable : shyster. 2 : one given to quibbling over trifles.

So, pretty much every bar member?

OverTheHedge -> apocalypticbrother Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:48 Permalink

To quote the immortal Derek and Clive:

"Laugh? I nearly shat!"

...and that is all the comment necessary on tnis.

The Man from Uncle -> y3maxx Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:59 Permalink

Mule-er basically drew to an inside straight, and got busted. The Russkies called his bluff, and his hand is 7-8-10-Jack-four. Sorry, Ereberto, no nine, just a "nein." Discovery is a bitch! I suspect that further developments are going to be highly entertaining. Judge: "can we see your evidence of wrongdoing." Mule-er: "That's highly classified."

IOW, "We got nuthin'."

platyops -> stacking12321 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:55 Permalink

In its earliest English uses, "pettifogger" was two separate words: "pettie fogger." "Pettie" was a variant spelling of "petty," a reasonable inclusion in a word for someone who is disreputable and small-minded.

That is Meuller!

Keep Stacking

Versengetorix -> stacking12321 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:06 Permalink

Actually this is the third time a Federal Judge has used the term against the Mueller team. It's accurate and it is beginning to stick.

ironmace -> stacking12321 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:28 Permalink

pettifog:

  1. to bicker or quibble over trifles or unimportant matters.
  2. to carry on a petty, shifty, or unethical law business.
  3. to practice chicanery of any sort.

I had to look it up.

archaic: to practice legal deception.

good word.

Gaius Frakkin' -> Zip_the_Zap Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:26 Permalink

Maybe if Mueller resigned and spent some time away from DC to travel the country he'd realize the division in America is real and not a Russian ploy.

He's either incompetent for not knowing or a complete shill for pushing a narrative he knows is false. Pick one.

nidaar -> Gaius Frakkin' Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:30 Permalink

"After indicted Russians actually show up in court"

Puhahahaha

No one could see that comin' right Mueller?

Shift For Brains -> BarkingCat Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:25 Permalink

Who would have believed decent Americans would ever applaud Russians kicking the shit out of federal law enforcement? Do I hear "The World Turned Upside Down" in the distance? Should Mueller change his name to Cornwallis?

aelfheld -> Gaius Frakkin' Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:37 Permalink

Why can't he be a complete, incompetent, shill?

i poop pink ic -> Gaius Frakkin' Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:52 Permalink

How about "corrupt" shill? Remember, Mueller headed the FBI before and after the 9/11 attacks. Did Mueller's FBI investigate? No; they covered up for 9/11 perpetrators. Thanks a lot Mueller.

I Am Jack's Ma -> Bastiat Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:26 Permalink

but what's the crime?

political speech? conspiring to engage in political speech?

clickbait ads on the internet?

Being Russian?

Being against Hillary Clinton?

I'm waiting for someone to explain what the alleged actual crime is - and why Mueller isn't prosecuting the 1st Amendment?

jin187 -> Bastiat Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:56 Permalink

If I were the judge, I would refuse any motion Mueller makes to avoid releasing evidence, and if he doesn't do it within a matter of hours, his entire staff would be getting perp walked for contempt. Let Mueller manage his investigation from a prison cell, like some drug kingpin.

shortonoil -> jin187 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:59 Permalink

The US government has already wasted $200 million on this stupid "pettifoggery". Some one, any one, put an end to this ridiculous dog and pony show. Mueller, and the Justice Dept. are now the laughing stock of the world. We need to save a little face, and have this SOB shot for the good of the nation. This Prick doesn't give two shits for the American people, or the nation that he is paid to serve.

The_Dude -> I Am Jack's Ma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:14 Permalink

These guys were likely just pushing click-bait on Facebook. And since it is election season, it is easy for them to riff off the candidates.

Mueller giving it any legitimacy shows he is either out of touch with how the internet works or has his own special case of Trump derangement syndrome.

Rufus Temblor -> MoreFreedom Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:27 Permalink

If producing propaganda to change the outcome of an election is a crime, then the entire democrat party should be put in jail.

ChargingHandle -> I Am Jack's Ma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:49 Permalink

Accuse others for which you are guilty is in the dnc handbook. The only illegal activity involved the DNC, team Hillary, and operatives in the FBI, CIA, DOJ, and the IRS.

Unknown User -> I Am Jack's Ma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:28 Permalink

Apparently Mueller has a novel legal theory that Russians are not protected under the 1st Amendment in US.

are we there yet -> gmrpeabody Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:19 Permalink

Mueller's face looks like he is out on a limb and badly needs to take a restroom break.

Rufus Temblor -> vato poco Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:24 Permalink

This indictment is a total fujkin joke. In Mueller's world he can charge you with a crime but refuse to show the evidence. Proves that he has no interest in serving justice. His goals are to defame and bankrupt enemies of the deep swamp.

Thordoom -> vato poco Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:56 Permalink

When the truth comes out and i was Russian company or individual affected by this assholes i would sue US for lost business and for defamation and demand reparations and let THe black Jesus and Clinton Killer Gang and their lackies pay for it.

PlayMoney -> vato poco Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:56 Permalink

Last thing in the world ole Bobby wants is to go to trial. This is going to be quite entertaining.

Buster Cherry -> vato poco Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:57 Permalink

A summons is a summons. It is an ORDER by a court to be present.

Since when does a court need to have a summons be " formally accepted???"

This shit needs to seriously blow up in Mueller's face, hopefully decapitating him in the process.

Scipio Africanuz -> vato poco Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:05 Permalink

Is this how the Republic dies? Via strangulation of the First Amendment?

When JFK called himself a Berliner, was he a German citizen?...

When Reagan interfered in German affairs, by proclaiming "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!", was he a German citizen?

When Obama advised Britain not to exit the EU, was he a British citizen?

Folks, what's sauce for the goose, is same for the gander!...

I Am Jack's Ma -> nmewn Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:39 Permalink

malicious prosecution?

malicious prosecution - SCOTUSblog

http://www.virginialawreview.org/sites/virginialawreview.org/files/Kossis_Book.pdf

nmewn -> I Am Jack's Ma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:44 Permalink

Yes, very good links but, this is different in my opinion.

Mueller attempted to bring a criminal domestic case against international personas that he is now unwilling to go through the discovery process with (his claim) because of...wait for it...national security.

He never intended or wanted for this case to go to trial (but he had to show "something" for his efforts) it is malpractice (at the American bar level) and he knew it when he filed it.

When a prosecutor files charges against anyone (here) he is in essence saying "We have the evidence to prosecute your honor and we are going to show it to you." now he is saying he can't or will not produce that evidence in the venue he chose to prosecute in.

Probably because he (and his crack Hillary lawyers) didn't do the homework required until after filing charges (idiot fucktard that he and they are...lol) as Concord's new CEO is none other than one Dimitry Utkin, founder of the Wagner Group, a Rodnover, for whatever thats worth ;-)

whosyerdaddy -> Countrybunkererd Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:03 Permalink

It's not just embarrassing it's criminal. He wants unlimited scope to find "something". He indicts Russians knowing they won't show up for court or so he thought and now he wants to limit the evidence because he has no hand. Don't interfere with your enemy when he's mucking it up. Mueller is going to be indicted for all of this, Uranium One being the least of his problems. If Mr. Mueller wants to question me the first thing I say is how much money did you give Whitey Bulger?

currency Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:58 Permalink

Muller got caught, tried to make headlines with Real Russians thinking they would not show up and one did he is now in a PANIC - Muller needs to produce the evidence or shut up and go away with his band of 13 anti Trump staff.

Do us a favor Muller RESIGN

SmittyinLA Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:00 Permalink

"The indictment accuses the firm of producing propaganda, pretending to be U.S. activists online and posting political content on social media in order to sow discord among American voters."

Cough cough, none of that is illegal, 1st Amendment, even for Russians

[Jun 13, 2018] Mueller Scrambles To Limit Evidence After Indicted Russians Actually Show Up In Court Zero Hedge

Jun 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is scrambling to limit pretrial evidence handed over to a Russian company he indicted in February over alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, according to Bloomberg .

Mueller asked a Washington federal Judge for a protective order that would prevent the delivery of copious evidence to lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, one of three Russian firms and 13 Russian nationals. The indictment accuses the firm of producing propaganda, pretending to be U.S. activists online and posting political content on social media in order to sow discord among American voters .

The special counsel's office argues that the risk of the evidence leaking or falling into the hands of foreign intelligence services, especially Russia, would assist the Kremlin's active "interference operations" against the United States.

"The substance of the government's evidence identifies uncharged individuals and entities that the government believes are continuing to engage in interference operations like those charged in the present indictment," prosecutors wrote.

Improper disclosure would tip foreign intelligence services about how the U.S. operates, which would "allow foreign actors to learn of those techniques and adjust their conduct, thus undermining ongoing and future national security operations ," according to the filing.

The evidence includes thousands of documents involving U.S. residents not charged with crimes who prosecutors say were unwittingly recruited by Russian defendants and co-conspirators to engage in political activity in the U.S., prosecutors wrote. - Bloomberg

Mueller also accused Concord of "knowingly and intentionally" conspiring to interfere with the election by using social media to disparage Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump.

And Concord Management decided to fight it...

As Powerline notes, Mueller probably didn't see that coming - and the indictment itself was perhaps nothing more than a PR stunt to bolster the Russian interference narrative.

I don't think anyone (including Mueller) anticipated that any of the defendants would appear in court to defend against the charges. Rather, the Mueller prosecutors seem to have obtained the indictment to serve a public relations purpose, laying out the case for interference as understood by the government and lending a veneer of respectability to the Mueller Switch Project.

One of the Russian corporate defendants nevertheless hired counsel to contest the charges. In April two Washington-area attorneys -- Eric Dubelier and Kate Seikaly of the Reed Smith firm -- filed appearances in court on behalf of Concord Management and Consulting . Josh Gerstein covered that turn of events for Politico here . - Powerline Blog

Politico' s Gerstein notes that by defending against the charges, " Concord could force prosecutors to turn over discovery about how the case was assembled as well as evidence that might undermine the prosecution's theories ."

In a mad scramble to put the brakes on the case, Mueller's team tried to delay the trial - saying that Concord never formally accepted the court summons related to the case , wrapping themselves in a "cloud of confusion" as Powerline puts it. "Until the Court has an opportunity to determine if Concord was properly served, it would be inadvisable to conduct an initial appearance and arraignment at which important rights will be communicated and a plea entertained."

The Judge, Dabney Friedrich - a Trump appointee, didn't buy it - denying Mueller a delay in the high-profile trial.

The Russians hit back - filing a response to let the court know that " [Concord] voluntarily appeared through counsel as provided for in [the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure], and further intends to enter a plea of not guilty . [Concord] has not sought a limited appearance nor has it moved to quash the summons. As such, the briefing sought by the Special Counsel's motion is pettifoggery. "

And the Judge agreed ...

A federal judge has rejected special counsel Robert Mueller's request to delay the first court hearing in a criminal case charging three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens with using social media and other means to foment strife among Americans in advance of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In a brief order Saturday evening, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich offered no explanation for her decision to deny a request prosecutors made Friday to put off the scheduled Wednesday arraignment for Concord Management and Consulting, one of the three firms charged in the case . - Politico

In other words, Mueller was denied the opportunity to kick the can down the road, forcing him to produce the requested evidence or withdraw the indictment , potentially jeopardizing the PR aspect of the entire "Trump collusion" probe.

And now Mueller is pointing to Russian "interference operations" in a last-ditch effort .

Of note, Facebook VP of advertising, Rob Goldman, tossed a major hand grenade in the "pro-Trump" Russian meddling narrative in February when he fired off a series of tweets the day of the Russian indictments. Most notably, Goldman pointed out that the majority of advertising purchased by Russians on Facebook occurred after the election, were hardly pro-Trump, and they was designed to "sow discord and divide Americans", something which Americans have been quite adept at doing on their own ever since the Fed decided to unleash a record class, wealth, income divide by keeping capital markets artificially afloat at any cost.

me title=


gmrpeabody -> Arnold Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:58 Permalink

The charges are redacted, your Honor.., but he sure is guilty just the same.

I Am Jack's Ma -> gmrpeabody Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:05 Permalink

The indictment accuses the firm of producing propaganda, pretending to be U.S. activists online and posting political content on social media in order to sow discord among American voters .

...

"knowingly and intentionally" conspiring to interfere with the election by using social media to disparage Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump.

Wait a minute, hold on - what exactly is the 'crime' here? Facebook ads that said Clinton sucks? That's a crime now? I'm missing something obviously - I just don't know what. Anyone willing and able to shed light on the crime alleged here?

How about CNN and NYT absolutely slanted and biased coverage? [And no - 'the press' in the 1st Amendment meant and means still the written word, not news corporations].

So far as I know "meddling" isn't a crime outside of Scooby Doo cartoons and MSNBC

Bastiat -> I Am Jack's Ma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:12 Permalink

The nerve of them to: a) show up; and b) demand to see the evidence against them. What they hell to those damn Russians think this is?

philipat -> Oliver Klozoff Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:27 Permalink

I believe that Mueller is, rightly, being told to "Put up or shut up"? The discovery phase should be very interesting and the only way to avoid that is to drop the charges, which will indeed completely destroy Mueller's PR strategy. And with it, what remains of his credibility...

Mr. Universe -> Leakanthrophy Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:11 Permalink

I can picture Mueller sitting at the poker table with a huge stack. As he looks over his hand, with a sly look on his face and a wink, he goes all in. Surprise suprise, they call his bet. Now we wait for the reveal except that Bobby is screaming, wait, no fair, it was an accident, I didn't mean to go all in. Turn those machines back on! The dealer then looks him dead in the eye and says "Tough shit" as he turns over Mueller's losing hand.

JRobby -> Mr. Universe Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:15 Permalink

"Laugh Track Deafening !!!!!"

Called Mueller's bluff. Discovery could be a "back breaker".

janus -> JRobby Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:37 Permalink

mueller, you are so screwed. so supremely and royally screwed. now your investigation is coming to a crashing halt without POTUS having to step in. all that was ever needed is transparency. and now the good guys will have the IG report, Session's investigation, the declassification of spy-gate materials and discovery from your Keystone cop operation all at once.

best timeline ever.

take it from janus, extracting a troll from the interwebs and thinking you can crush him IRL ALWAYS blows up in your face.

the only way you can win the game is with the deck stacked like a tower in your favor and warping the rules to effect a desired outcome. tptb, you are up against superior people with superior minds animated by an indomitable will. devastating defeat is inevitable.

surrender now,

janus

monkeyshine -> janus Tue, 06/12/2018 - 18:12 Permalink

They have a right to a speedy trial. They have a right to see the evidence against them. They have a right to interview witnesses.

Pettifoggers will pettifogger, but they will be pasquinaded by the defense and the court will show its disapprobation.

bh2 -> monkeyshine Tue, 06/12/2018 - 18:29 Permalink

"the government believes"

Whatever happened to "the government will prove " as a basis of conviction?

The government "believes". But we don't have any actual evidence we can provide the court. You'll just have to take our word for it.

Good grief. How perfectly Star Chamber.

These people should be embarrassed to even show up before an honest judge.

monkeyshine -> bh2 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:04 Permalink

That is part of the defense's argument. Many are asking "what is the actual crime" being charged. Mueller charged them with campaign finance violations and failing to register as a foreign agent. These crimes have a high burden of proof in that they require the state to prove that the defendant knowingly broke the laws. No foreign corporation has ever been charged with these crimes before. And the defense argues that there is nothing in the indictment to show that they knew they were breaking these laws - hence no way to prove the case against them. They also raise the 1st Amendment as defense saying political speech is protected.

SybilDefense -> monkeyshine Tue, 06/12/2018 - 23:06 Permalink

Did/do these companies have any other function besides buying $500 worth of "I Like Trump" ads like selling something? So only Americans can have free speech in America, unless you identify you and your coworkers as foreign free speech speaker-people? It sounds too tricky. Only a progressive could figure out the legalities involved, as they are the free speech professionals. The rest of us must get permission first, and then it will only be grafted IF we say things that are officially approved by the free speech Nazi party.

Just think if these Ruskies could have voted! It would have been 30-40 more Trump votes and he would have really really won bigly.

Can't Mueller be prosecuted himself if he knows there is no collusion or whatever... No Russian anything, yet he continues to steal tax payer monies to fabricate false leads? He has no incentive to be honest or to limit the investigation and if having the case remain open benefits his party affiliates and he himself financially. If I got hired to do a one day job and lied to make it a one year job, wouldn't that be theft of services?? The cuss must show or he must go!

The pettifoggin dickbrain bitchfuck!

are we there yet -> chunga Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:09 Permalink

Kangaroo...Mueller...Kangaroo...
Kangaroo Mueller is a good nickname....surprised Trump has not used it.

[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 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] 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 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

[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 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.

[Feb 23, 2018] Something for everyone Mueller indictment a boon for partisan status quo by Whitney Webb

Notable quotes:
"... The bipartisan support Mueller's appointment received is even more telling given that he is the definition of a Washington insider. The power elites across the political spectrum seemed to trust him to, above all, protect their position at the head of the table. ..."
"... McAdams noted that the indictment was especially helpful to the " entire political class in Washington, " which may now " continue with its Cold War 2.0 project " without interference from anyone in favor of normalizing U.S.-Russian relations. In addition, McAdams warned that the recent indictment is likely to have a " chilling effect on the First Amendment, " also a boon to those elements of the political elite that seek to limit the acceptable range of debate on U.S. foreign policy. ..."
Feb 23, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

Something for everyone: Mueller indictment a boon for partisan status quo

The bipartisan support Mueller's appointment received is even more telling given that he is the definition of a Washington insider. The power elites across the political spectrum seemed to trust him to, above all, protect their position at the head of the table.

Part 1

Last Friday, depending on which side of the partisan divide one was watching from, President Trump was either vindicated or his treachery was confirmed. The impetus for these seemingly disparate reactions was Robert Mueller's indictment against 13 Russian nationals, the latest and largest indictment to result from his investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

However, over the nine months that Mueller's investigation has been active, it has continuously grown from its original purpose of investigating Russian collusion, expanding to include the business dealings of Trump and his inner circle with countries ranging from Qatar to China, meaning that the probe is no longer expressly about Russian collusion.

The drift of focus from its original purpose -- as well as its failure to produce any connection between the Trump campaign, the Russian government, and the leaks of DNC and John Podesta's emails -- has led critics who place themselves outside of the left-right paradigm to treat this latest indictment with skepticism. Not only that, but concerns have been raised that the real purpose of Mueller's probe is much more subtle and nefarious than publicly admitted and that it may itself be a threat to American democracy.

One such critic is Daniel McAdams, political analyst and executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. McAdams, in an interview with MintPress News, stated that the Mueller indictment " has something for everybody, " explaining the strikingly different reactions from the establishment left and right.

However, McAdams noted that the indictment was especially helpful to the " entire political class in Washington, " which may now " continue with its Cold War 2.0 project " without interference from anyone in favor of normalizing U.S.-Russian relations. In addition, McAdams warned that the recent indictment is likely to have a " chilling effect on the First Amendment, " also a boon to those elements of the political elite that seek to limit the acceptable range of debate on U.S. foreign policy.

Source, links:
https://www.mintpressnews.com/something-for-everyone-mueller-indictment-a-boon-for-partisan-status-quo/237970/

Related:
The US propaganda machine has just confirmed what establishment's worst nightmare would be: a great coalition of Bernie Sanders with the Greens
The truth about 'Russiagate'

[Feb 23, 2018] America's Election Meddling Would Indeed Justify Other Countries Retaliating In Kind

Feb 23, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Like every single hotly publicized Russiagate "bombshell" that has broken since this nonsense began, Mueller's indictment of 13 Russian social media trolls was paraded around as proof of something hugely significant ( an "act of war" in this case), but on closer examination turns out to be empty. The always excellent 'Moon of Alabama' recently made a solid argument that has also been advanced by Russiagate skeptics like TYT's Michael Tracey and Max Blumenthal of The Real News, pointing out that there is in fact no evidence that the troll farming operation was an attempt to manipulate the US election, nor indeed that it had any ties to the Russian government at all, nor indeed that it was anything other than a crafty Russian civilian's money making scheme.

The notion that a few Russian trolls committed a "conspiracy to defraud the United States" by "sowing discord" with a bunch of wildly contradictory posts endorsing all different ideologies sounds completely ridiculous in a country whose mainstream media spends all its time actively creating political division anyway, but when you look at it as a civilian operation to attract social media followers to sock puppet accounts with the goal of selling promoted posts for profit, it makes perfect sense. James Corbett of The Corbett Report has a great video about how absolutely bizarre it is that public dialogue is ignoring the fact that these trolls overwhelmingly used mainstream media like the Washington Post in their shares instead of outlets like RT and Infowars. As a scheme to acquire followers, it makes perfect sense. As a scheme to subvert America, it's nonsensical.

There is currently no evidence that the Russian government interfered in the US election. But it is worth pointing out that if they did they had every right to.

"Whataboutism" is the word of the day . At some point it was decreed by the internet forum gods that adding "-ism" to a description of something that someone is doing makes for a devastating argument in and of itself, and people have hastened to use this tactic as a bludgeon to silence anyone who points out the extremely obvious and significant fact that America interferes in elections more than any other government on earth.

"Okay, so America isn't perfect and we've meddled a few times," the argument goes. "So what? You're saying just because we've done it that makes it okay for Russia to do it?"

Actually, yes. Of course it does. Clearly. That isn't a "whataboutism", it's an observation that is completely devastating to the mainstream Russia narrative. If it's okay for the CIA to continuously interfere in the elections of other countries up to and including modern times, it is okay for other countries to interfere in theirs. Only in the most warped American supremacist reality tunnel is that not abundantly obvious.

Every country on earth is absolutely entitled to interfere in America's elections. America is responsible for the overwhelming majority of election interferences around the world in modern times, including an interference in Russia's elections in the nineties that was so brazen they made a Hollywood movie about it , so clearly an environment has been created wherein the United States has declared that this is acceptable.

It amazes me that more people aren't willing to call this like it is. No, it would not be wrong for Russia to interfere in America's elections. Yes, what America did to Russia absolutely would make a proportionate retaliation okay. Of course it would.

Imagine this:

A guy in a cowboy hat runs into a bar and starts punching people. Most of them just rub their sore jaws and hunch over their drinks hoping to avoid any trouble, but one guy in a fur cap sets down his vodka and shoves the man in the cowboy hat.

The man in the cowboy hat begins shrieking like a little girl. All his friends rush to his side to comfort him and begin angrily shaking their fists at the man in the fur cap.

"Hey, he punched me!" says the man in the fur cap.

"That's a whataboutism!" sobs the man in the cowboy hat.

Can you imagine anything more ridiculous?

Seriously, how do people think this is a thing? How does anyone think it's legitimate to respond to my article about a former CIA Director openly admitting that the US still to this day interferes with elections around the world babbling about "whataboutisms" ? What a doofy, indefensible monkey wrench to throw into the gears of political discourse.

Yes, obviously by asserting that it is acceptable for the CIA to meddle in other countries' elections, the US has created an environment where that sort of thing is acceptable. If Americans just want to embrace their American supremacist bigotry and say "Yeah we can do that to you but you can't do it to us cuz we have big guns and we said so," that's at least a logically consistent position. Crying like little bitches and behaving as though they've been victimized by some egregious immorality is not.

Channel 4 News reported on the research of the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University's Don Levin back in November, writing the following:

Dov Levin, an academic from the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University, has calculated the vast scale of election interventions by both the US and Russia.

According to his research , there were 117 "partisan electoral interventions" between 1946 and 2000. That's around one of every nine competitive elections held since Second World War.

The majority of these – almost 70 per cent – were cases of US interference. And these are not all from the Cold War era; 21 such interventions took place between 1990 and 2000, of which 18 were by the US.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-4Y54-8RR-k

If Americans don't like election meddling, they need to demand that their government stops doing it. As long as it remains the very worst offender in that department, the US is entitled to nothing other than the entire world meddling in its elections.

I shouldn't even have to say this. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Don't dish it out if you can't take it.

Duh.

[Feb 22, 2018] A Lesson in Political Sociology for Robert Mueller - A Lesson in Warfare for Dmitry Peskov by John Helmer

This is a very weak argumentation which is based of very questionable sources (such as Fontanka rag).
Notable quotes:
"... For the evidence Mueller has revealed of incompetence in the Russian campaign, the waste of money expended, and the failure of the campaign's objectives, there are calls in Moscow for Peskov to be sacked. ..."
"... The Christopher Steele dossier accused Peskov of arranging negative media against Hillary Clinton during 2016; for an analysis of the veracity of that claim, read this . For a painstaking analysis of how the Mueller indictment discredits the Steele dossier, read Alexander Mercouris's account . ..."
Feb 18, 2018

The three types of power which decide the fate of regimes are force, fraud and subversion; that's to say, arms, money, media.

The Roman Empire was good at using small armies to take on much bigger ones; by adeptly concentrating their force they managed to rule much larger large territories than the legions could cover.

The Byzantine Empire excelled at using bribery of locals to stay loyal; the pre-requisite for that was the intelligence to identify who to pay, how much, and how often. The British Empire used subversion to divide and rule most of their colonial targets, but if the British were matched for firepower and intelligence, they failed and were defeated – by the American colonists, the Maoris, the Boers, the Germans, the Japanese.

The American Empire excels at subversion on the home front. But abroad it usually combines fraud with subversion. When these two fail to preserve or topple regimes, US-made wars have been a consistent failure. The Russians are better than Americans at force and fraud. Schemes of subversion like the US plots to promote Boris Yeltsin, Anatoly Chubais, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and Alexei Navalny to rule the Kremlin, are not winners with Russians; they are judged successful only by foreigners who read the Washington Post and London Times.

The Kremlin official responsible for Russian media involvement in the US presidential election of 2016 was Dmitry Peskov (2nd image, left); he doubles as spokesman for President Vladimir Putin. For Peskov's intention to employ social media he has not been indicted nor identified as a co-conspirator by Special Prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III ( right). For the evidence Mueller has revealed of incompetence in the Russian campaign, the waste of money expended, and the failure of the campaign's objectives, there are calls in Moscow for Peskov to be sacked.

He has so far avoided responding. "We have not yet familiarized ourselves [with the Mueller indictment], " he told Reuters.

The 37-page indictment, dated February 16 and signed personally by Mueller, can be read in full here .

Mueller's indictment reveals how much evidence was gathered from the internet server companies and social media platforms, Facebook, YouTube-Google, Twitter and Instagram, together with their banks and the PayPal payment service. But this is circumstantial evidence; the corpus delicti is absent.

Missing from the charge sheet is identification of the victims of the crime alleged, the numbers of victims, and the money spent to subvert or defraud them, as Mueller charges. The indictment alleges that "significant numbers of Americans" were targeted, "significant funds spent", and "thousands of US dollars [paid for advertising] every month"; but no evidence is presented of these numbers. No witness has come forward to testify to having suffered; no alleged perpetrator or conspirator to substantiate criminal intention. Also, these aren't the crimes formally charged against the accused Russians.

THE FIVE-CHARGE ALLEGATION, BUT ONLY TWO CRIMINAL COUNTS CHARGED

In short, the Russians are accused of violating the US law on registering as foreign agents, as well as the crimes of stealing identity data from real Americans and fabricating false identities to open and operate US bank accounts, credit cards and the PayPal system. Although "interfer[ence] in US political and electoral processes" is alleged, it's an orphan -- no such crime is charged in the indictment.

Another orphan is the charge of obtaining visas "through false and fraudulent statements" and "false pretenses in order to collect intelligence for their interference operations". Mueller alleges this offence was committed in 2014, when three of the thirteen Russians named in the indictment visited the US briefly. However, the "intelligence" they are alleged to have gathered at the time wasn't used, according to the indictment, until two years later. What this "intelligence" by "false pretenses" might have been isn't provided in the evidence because Muller and his grand jury don't charge anyone with visa fraud.

Fourteen weeks before last Friday's indictment, executives of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google testified in open congressional hearings on the same set of allegations as Mueller presented to his grand jury behind closed doors.

The media company witnesses started by identifying very small numbers of accounts, advertising messages, reader clicks, and bots (automated relayed messages). Subsequently, these numbers have been multiplied in US media commentaries by estimates of audience reach, although reach is not a measure of actual exposure. Still, compared with the aggregate volumes of internet traffic associated with the presidential election but unconnected to Russian sources, the numbers for Russian-source material amounted to minuscule fractions of one percent. The media companies weren't asked for, and volunteered no report of how much money they had received from their Russian content sources .

In his indictment Mueller provided less precision than the rules of evidence and the defendants' rights require under the US Constitution; Mueller is not expecting to try the thirteen named defendants in a court of law. In one example of an "overt act" of the alleged Russian crime (Par. 71), Facebook is reported as publishing an advertisement on August 4, 2016, for a "Florida Goes Trump" rally. Facebook charged the Russians for audience reach of 53,000, according to Mueller. But only 8,300 clicked on the ad (14%). Although the allegation is that this audience was then "routed to the ORGANIZATION's 'Being Patriotic' page", Mueller withholds his count of how many – more likely, how few readers followed the route. The Russians were still paying to advertise the same rally on Instagram two weeks later, on August 16, but no evidence is presented by Mueller that it happened at all. No route, no rally, no American victims, no evidence of Russian intention to commit a crime of election interference.

Four bank accounts have been identified at six banks "in order to receive and send money into and out [sic] of the United States to support the ORGANIZATION's operations in the United States and for self-enrichment". These banks, as well as the US dollar-clearing banks in New York, have provided Mueller with details of the originating banks for the transactions. The indictment identifies fourteen Russian company names as holding these bank accounts. The Russian company names are mentioned in evidence, but not the originating banks. If they were Russian state banks under US and European Union sanctions since 2014 (Gazprombank, for example), Mueller's indictment doesn't say so; noone has intimated that the Russian money was anything but lawfully earned and then legally transferred from source.

Details of fake or stolen names, driver's licences or social security numbers have been reported by Mueller to substantiate the count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. But this was a fraud with a twist. No sum of money is identified in the evidence as having been taken from an unwitting victim; all of it, however much or little, was sent to the US bank accounts from the alleged Russian conspirators and their companies, and spent on social media placements. As for enrichment – again, no sum reported in the indictment – this appears to have been earned by the US media companies and the US banks. Lawfully, according to Mueller. The only losers were the Russians, but the accused haven't been complaining of not getting their money's worth.

The criminal counts set out in the indictment turn out to be crimes without victims – that's to say, no American victim, according to the charge sheet.

Mueller's indictment is precise about the names of the Russian companies established by the principal defendant Yevgeny Prigozhin, allegedly "for operations to interfere with elections and political processes". Mueller also claims that the only link he could find to the Russian government was the official registration of the "ORGANIZATION [Internet Research Agency] as a Russian corporate entity" "in or around July 2013." Although the allegation is that Prigozhin's organization had an "annual budget [of] the equivalent of millions of US dollars", there is no evidence, nor even an allegation that this money came from a Russian government source. Instead, other companies operated by Prigozhin are reported to have had "various Russian government contracts".

Prigozhin's parent company called Concord is alleged to have funded "the ORGANIZATION as part of a larger CONCORD-funded interference operation it referred to as 'Project Lakhta'."

... ... ...

Mueller noted in passing that Project Lakhta wasn't targeted only in the US. The indictment alleges that by September 2016 it was working on a budget exceeding Rb73 million ($1.25 million) per month, with bonus payments to its Russian employees of Rb1 million (1.4%). The money was being spent, according to Mueller, on "multiple components, some involving domestic audiences within the Russian Federation, and others targeting foreign audiences in various countries, including the United States".

This is another clue to Prigozhin's real line of business, and the reason for the multiplicity of company names and functional departments through which he operated; and for an employment roll Mueller counted as "more than eighty" in Project Lakta alone. Russian sources believe Prigozhin's organization has contracted for domestic Russian operations paid for by Russian corporations and local politicians. Some of the operations are believed to be conventional positive advertising of events, products, campaigns, and ideas. Some reportedly involve the circulation of kompromat against business and election rivals; some to defend against botnet and denial of service attacks on corporate websites and communication systems; some to attack the websites of business adversaries or investigative journalists, Russia-based or Russia-related.

Investigations by Russian media and government regulators have been reporting for some time allegations that Prigozhin has been diverting money from state procurement contracts for himself, and for clandestine purposes approved by state officials and state company executives. For a sample of the details, start in 2014 with the St. Petersburg website Fontanka's investigation of Mikhail Bystrov and Mikhail Burchik, the second and third defendants in the Mueller indictment. Fontanka said it had uncovered evidence that paying clients of the Prigozhin, Bystrov and Burchik organization included a youth group of the Russian Orthodox Church, the St. Petersburg municipal authorities, and a Gazprom media promotion company. The payroll of the organization was reported in mid-2014 to be Rb180,000 per month (about $5,500).

Source: https://www.fontanka.ru/2014/06/03/182/
For a more recent sample of the Russian allegations against Prigozhin, read and this .

In December 2016 Prigozhin was listed on the US Treasury's sanctions list, the evidence for which appears to have been cribbed from Fontanka and other Russian press reports . Prigozhin was accused of,

"having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, senior officials of the Russian Federation. Prigozhin has extensive business dealings with the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense, and a company with significant ties to him holds a contract to build a military base near the Russian Federation border with Ukraine. Russia has been building additional military bases near the Ukrainian border and has used these bases as staging points for deploying soldiers into Ukraine."

Mueller's indictment fails to mention this Treasury charge or its Russian media sources. Mueller claims the reason for the multitude of Russian corporate names used by Prigozhin in Project Lakhta was to "obscure its conduct" and conceal the Russian source of funds from the US media and US regulators. For much longer, however, Russian investigators have been reporting that Prigozhin has created corporate chains of this type to conceal personal enrichment schemes from Russian regulators and commercial competitors.

Prigozhin has replied publicly to the US prosecutor's charges, not to the Russian ones. "The Americans are very impressionable people; they see what they want to see," he is quoted by a state news agency as saying last Friday. "I have a lot of respect for them. I am not upset at all that I ended up on this list. If they want to see the devil, let them see him."

Russian sources believe Prigozhin's Project Lakhta was ordered by someone in a position to exercise a call on Prigozhin's cashflow. They exclude Russian officials on the Kremlin Security Council -- Sergei Ivanov, Sergei Lavrov, Sergei Shoigu, Anton Vaino, Nikolai Patrushev, Sergei Naryshkin – and dismiss the possibility that Project Lakhta had either President Putin's or Russian intelligence service support.

The suspicion of Russian sources is that the American campaign element in Project Lakhta was "so hare-brained there is only one official who could have considered Prigozhin's project worth the money and the attempt – Dmitry Peskov". Peskov is officially titled Deputy Chief of the Presidential Executive Office and Presidential Press Secretary. From the Kremlin he supervises the budgets for the state television broadcaster RT, the state news agency Sputnik, and special US-targeted propaganda programmes, such as the Valdai Discussion Club for academics and the Oliver Stone films.

The Christopher Steele dossier accused Peskov of arranging negative media against Hillary Clinton during 2016; for an analysis of the veracity of that claim, read this . For a painstaking analysis of how the Mueller indictment discredits the Steele dossier, read Alexander Mercouris's account .

Russian experts charge that the Russian targeting of Americans through social media, as described by Mueller, was a colossal mistake because the US audience for social media was young and overwhelmingly committed to Clinton. Between their intention to vote and the vote they cast, the social media made next to no difference.

... ... ...

Brookings , the Washington think-tank most supportive of Clinton, reached the conclusion that her defeat was caused by "blowback" among older voters. In other words, Clinton's defeat, Trump's victory came from voting by older Americans. They were not the ones targeted by the Russian social media campaign; they didn't see the advertisements and tweets the Mueller indictment is now reporting as a criminal conspiracy to "defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing and defeating the lawful functions of the government."

Official Russian reaction to the indictment has been to ridicule the election interference allegation but avoid addressing the foreign registration and false identity charges. "Thirteen people interfered in the US elections?!" responded the Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova.

"13 against an intelligence services budget of billions? Against intelligence and counterintelligence, against the latest developments and technologies? Absurd? Yes."

Her minister Sergei Lavrov claimed : "unless we see the facts, all the rest will be just twaddle, I am sorry for my not so diplomatic expression."

The unofficial Russian reaction towards Prigozhin's activities in the US is more quizzical, and under the American pressure, more private. It acknowledges that Prigozhin is a commercial operator, and for every outlay he has a paying client. Who that client was for Project Lakhta is the object of speculation so far unreported in the Russian press.

To Russian lawyers the facts presented in the Mueller indictment suggest the big crime in the affair may have been a Russian one. If Mueller's small numbers are correct, then Prigozhin may have spent much less money, and to lesser effect and purpose than he had led his client to believe and pay for. If there's a difference between what Prigozhin was paid and what the Mueller indictment suggests he spent, Prigozhin may have a case for fraud to answer to Russian prosecutors – and his client, the charge of abuse of authority.

"If the US prosecutor makes it a crime for a Russian to pretend to be an American," commented a Moscow lawyer, "will the [Russian] General Prosecutor investigate Prigozhin for the crime of spending such money with the pretence of having brains?"

[Feb 22, 2018] Pat Lang -- Project Lakhta - What was the goal?

Notable quotes:
"... Since the end of the first Cold War and the collapse of the USSR the US has treated Russia with overbearing contempt and hostility. The Russians appealed to the US to be allowed a more open role in European affairs. The response was to drive the borders of NATO far to the east, to the borders of what is but a rump of the Russian Empire before WW1. ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | mikenormaneconomics.blogspot.com

Since the end of the first Cold War and the collapse of the USSR the US has treated Russia with overbearing contempt and hostility. The Russians appealed to the US to be allowed a more open role in European affairs. The response was to drive the borders of NATO far to the east, to the borders of what is but a rump of the Russian Empire before WW1.

The Russian response is to use what they see as a legitimate instrument of statecraft against us. This instrument seeks the weakening of enemies through exploitation of their own defects.

Our response to this is to adopt a high handed attitude that speaks volumes about us. We admit that we do the same things to others even as we claim an absolute right to do this because we are the future of humanity, the dwellers in the "city on the hill."...

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Project Lakhta - What was the goal?
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.)
At the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lang was the Defense Intelligence Officer (DIO) for the Middle East, South Asia and counter-terrorism, and later, the first Director of the Defense Humint Service. At the DIA, he was a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service. He participated in the drafting of National Intelligence Estimates. From 1992 to 1994, all the U.S. military attachés worldwide reported to him. During that period, he also briefed President George H. W. Bush at the White House, as he had during Operation Desert Storm.
He was also the head of intelligence analysis for the Middle East for seven or eight years at that institution. He was the head of all the Middle East and South Asia analysis in DIA for counter-terrorism for seven years. For his service in the DIA, Lang received the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive. -- Wikipedia

... ... ...

[Feb 22, 2018] Act of war? Dangerous balderdash! Most of the information available to voters is always a mish-mash of lies, myth and spin. It's the voters' responsibility, as in all areas of life, to assess incoming info with skepticism and individual research.

Notable quotes:
"... I don't care about USA hypocrisy, I care about the stupidity of thinking that elections are somehow tainted for no other reason than that spurious points of view were expressed by somebody somewhere. ..."
"... Looking at the lefty dupes who actually fell for this trolling, I surmise that (1) the disinformation only confirmed the choices they already made, and (2) the stupidity of those sky-screaming dupes will never be good for success of a democracy, whether they are trolled or not. ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | www.unz.com

gp , February 21, 2018 at 1:42 am GMT

I don't care about USA hypocrisy, I care about the stupidity of thinking that elections are somehow tainted for no other reason than that spurious points of view were expressed by somebody somewhere.

Act of war? Dangerous balderdash! Most of the information available to voters is always a mish-mash of lies, myth and spin. It's the voters' responsibility, as in all areas of life, to assess incoming info with skepticism and individual research. You can not hold an election if you insist on invalidating it afterwards whenever a lie is discovered in the petabytes of hype that support it.

Looking at the lefty dupes who actually fell for this trolling, I surmise that (1) the disinformation only confirmed the choices they already made, and (2) the stupidity of those sky-screaming dupes will never be good for success of a democracy, whether they are trolled or not.

[Feb 22, 2018] Project Lakhta - What was the goal?

Looks like securityboulevard.com is peddling disinformation. But like in all such cases you never know... Colonel Lang is a very respectable blogger and if he quoted this garbage there might something behind it.
My impression is that if Russians wanted to disrupt the US elections (the good question is why, because the consensus in Russia is that it is just a political show that does not affect the US foreign policy one bit; in other words Russians as believers in "deep stat" hypothesis) they would use much more sophisticated approaches. Those internet trolls are far from the the level of Russian professionals in the area of "active measures" ;-)
BTW commenters trashed his post mercilessly.
Notable quotes:
"... Since the end of the first Cold War and the collapse of the USSR the US has treated Russia with overbearing contempt and hostility. The Russians appealed to the US to be allowed a more open role in European affairs. The response was to drive the borders of NATO far to the east, to the borders of what is but a rump of the Russian Empire before WW1. ..."
"... The Russian response is to use what they see as a legitimate instrument of statecraft against us. This instrument seeks the weakening of enemies through exploitation of their own defects. ..."
"... Our response to this is to adopt a high handed attitude that speaks volumes about us. We admit that we do the same things to others even as we claim an absolute right to do this because we are the future of humanity, the dwellers in the "city on the hill." ..."
"... Our political parties far surpass any Russian effort "to create, publish and repeat divisive messages." Proof? Just look at all the attack ads aired in before any important election. Lots of the ads come from dark money sources, so who can tell who's behind them. Maybe Mueller should be investigating that, too...if the integrity of US elections is really the goal, not just opportunistic Russia-bashing. ..."
"... Was the Organization (Internet Research Agency) acting on behalf of the Russian government, or was it a commercial marketing operation with no operational ties to the Russian government? ..."
"... It seems the notion of "sowing discord" or creating chaos within the American body politic is arrived as a means of explaining the lack of internal consistency in the Organization's methods, but such analysis is predicated on the assumption this was a Russian government operation. ..."
"... Evidence for that assumption is obviously lacking, although that has not prevented such assumption from being presented as flat fact by many. ..."
"... It's a circus, a distraction against the Nunes Memo and investigation by Mueller, a compromised individual, if every there was one. ..."
"... Mueller is in it for the $$$millions in fees he gets for his office. Period. ..."
"... No one who actually tried to skew the election will ever be indicted. That includes, Clinton herself, and her husband, the DNC, and the media. ..."
"... Never mind the same Obama administration brought down the Brazilian President through leaking "Panama Papers". Unfortunately a clean politician was replaced by a corrupt politician in that country. Thanks ..."
"... When we compare these trolls to the New York Times, which admitted it intentionally kept news of Bush's illegal electronic spying from the American people during the Bush/Kerry election, specifically so it would not be an election issue, the trolls were doing exactly what our founding fathers wanted the press to do, while the NYT was not. ..."
"... I believe that these Russian trolls were merely parts of a private profit making Internet advertising firm that had zero to do with election interference and everything to do with generating the most eyeballs for its customers' advertisements, However, the claim that these trolls were a Russian government operation intended to create "divisiveness" is based on the assumption that opposing Hillary Clinton was somehow divisive. Since when did criticism of a US politician become devisive? ..."
"... We don't need the Russians to "sow discord" among our polity. We do it rather well ourselves. TDS, Birtherism, BLM, #MeToo, pro-choice/pro-life, safe spaces, and all the PCness and identity politics is just that, more grist for the discord mill. ..."
"... The hysteria over the Russian trolling shows how far into madness we've fallen. My personal hunch however is that Russiagate is a giant smokescreen to obfuscate a conspiracy at the highest levels of the Obama administration to interfere in the elections in a partisan manner and when the electorate chose otherwise to discredit a duly elected POTUS. Russia just happened to be roadkill in that plot. ..."
"... It shouldn't take long before Russian are blamed for 9-11 and Great Depression. A complete dehumanization of Russia and Russians is gaining a full steam. ..."
"... And while the outcome, regardless of who funded this operation, has contributed to US political disarray, it seems this outcome has primarily been driven by HRL's loss, plausible (but not yet proven) DOJ, FBI and White House illegal election and post-election interventions and the desperate efforts by Democratic party types and their tribal supporters to believe that HRC was robbed of her rightful Presidency. ..."
"... How do we know this wasn't some cockamamie propaganda exercise drawn up in some CIA office? the whole thing is small potatoes.. Mueller has nothing of relevance here, other catching some advertising agency trying to make a buck off social networks... and it was chump change in terms of $... if 100, grand a month could affect the direction of an election - i am sure many others would happily pay some troll farm based in st. petersburg for that kind of success.. ..."
"... This organisation has been well known and received coverage in the western press for years so I assume the relevant people have poked around their, likely poorly protected, systems. Two things to remember is Russia is a pretty anarchic place with different factions and people doing their own thing. ..."
"... Others would be a better judge of whether this smacks of an organised Russian intelligence operation, or just one of Russia's many incompetent private companies ..."
Feb 21, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

https://securityboulevard.com/2018/02/project-lakhta-russian-meddling-gets-russians-indicted/ by Christopher Burgess

"We will use the key performance indicators (KPIs) we created in November to measure the level of success enjoyed by the Russian intelligence active measures campaign. The plethora of examples within the indictment serves to confirm much of our analysis, but also shows their successes were more robust than previous analysis had concluded.

KPI 1Shape the U.S. election discourse and feed divisiveness into the United States. The efforts in the creation of thousands of online accounts to create, publish and repeat divisive messages, creating slightly nuanced content and otherwise pushing themes that would be most inflammatory has now been documented in the indictment. The DoJ shared an example: "The Russians organized one rally in support of the President-elect and another rally to oppose him, both in New York, and on the same day."

KPI 2Framing the dialogue via ads and fictitious persons. This is where the Russians invested heavily -- not only millions in funds which they funneled to social media accounts including Twitter and Facebook, but also in online search ads with Google and Bing. Additionally, their use of email and assuming the identities of real U.S. citizens to infiltrate and provide direct support to various political entities is now well-documented." securituboulevard.com

-------------

I have no idea what or who "Security Boulevard" may be but I needed a mission statement for Project Lakhta. A number of people are saying that Lakhta just wasn't professional enough for them to give it much credit. I disagree. the program may have been run by Putin's Caterer billionaire friend with a few ex-SVR as cadre and the rest enthusiastic geeks, but IMO the results speak for themselves. If the goal was to further aggravate divisiveness in the US, this project certainly contributed to US political disarray.

The image of Michael Moore marching in a Project Lakhta anti-Trumo demonstration is just too, too delicious.

The question arises of actual motive on the part of the Russians. Much of the usual drivel is circulating about Russian hatred of democracy as a commodity.

IMO that is not the root of their behavior in this matter and in all the other IO operations that they seem to be continuing against the US. No, I think the objective is simply to weaken the US as a self-declared adversary that wishes to see Russia reduced to the status of a mid-sized regional player subject to US oversight and control.

Since the end of the first Cold War and the collapse of the USSR the US has treated Russia with overbearing contempt and hostility. The Russians appealed to the US to be allowed a more open role in European affairs. The response was to drive the borders of NATO far to the east, to the borders of what is but a rump of the Russian Empire before WW1.

The Russian response is to use what they see as a legitimate instrument of statecraft against us. This instrument seeks the weakening of enemies through exploitation of their own defects.

Our response to this is to adopt a high handed attitude that speaks volumes about us. We admit that we do the same things to others even as we claim an absolute right to do this because we are the future of humanity, the dwellers in the "city on the hill."

How childish and self absorbed we are! pl


JohnH , 21 February 2018 at 12:25 PM

Our political parties far surpass any Russian effort "to create, publish and repeat divisive messages." Proof? Just look at all the attack ads aired in before any important election. Lots of the ads come from dark money sources, so who can tell who's behind them. Maybe Mueller should be investigating that, too...if the integrity of US elections is really the goal, not just opportunistic Russia-bashing.
jjc , 21 February 2018 at 01:24 PM
Was the Organization (Internet Research Agency) acting on behalf of the Russian government, or was it a commercial marketing operation with no operational ties to the Russian government?

It seems the notion of "sowing discord" or creating chaos within the American body politic is arrived as a means of explaining the lack of internal consistency in the Organization's methods, but such analysis is predicated on the assumption this was a Russian government operation.

Evidence for that assumption is obviously lacking, although that has not prevented such assumption from being presented as flat fact by many.

Dr. George W. Oprisko , 21 February 2018 at 01:36 PM
"Me thinks the lady doth protest too much"

The Story was broken and published in 2015. It found the perps were using bots to get advert revenues........ period. The indictments are of Russian Nationals for activities and actions taken within Russia. Neither Mueller nor the US have jurisdiction.

It's a circus, a distraction against the Nunes Memo and investigation by Mueller, a compromised individual, if every there was one.

Mueller is in it for the $$$millions in fees he gets for his office. Period.

No one who actually tried to skew the election will ever be indicted. That includes, Clinton herself, and her husband, the DNC, and the media.

INDY

Murali Penumarth , 21 February 2018 at 01:37 PM
Colonel I totally agree with your analysis, we seem to forget about our adventures in promoting democracy else where. What I think is that the Russians exposed our own corrupt politicians (I can still hear Obama's preaching about wikileaks and Clinton emails "Never mind the content of those emails, it is a fact they stole our documents, and attacked our democracy). Never mind the same Obama administration brought down the Brazilian President through leaking "Panama Papers". Unfortunately a clean politician was replaced by a corrupt politician in that country. Thanks
TimmyB , 21 February 2018 at 01:51 PM
The entire purpose of the First Amendment is to allow for a vigorous public debate. The flaw in the above reasoning is that if the alleged goal of the supposed Russian "interference" was to "aggravate divisiveness" then that Russian troll farm was doing exactly what our founding fathers wanted the press to do, provoke a public debate about issues during an election.

When we compare these trolls to the New York Times, which admitted it intentionally kept news of Bush's illegal electronic spying from the American people during the Bush/Kerry election, specifically so it would not be an election issue, the trolls were doing exactly what our founding fathers wanted the press to do, while the NYT was not.

I believe that these Russian trolls were merely parts of a private profit making Internet advertising firm that had zero to do with election interference and everything to do with generating the most eyeballs for its customers' advertisements, However, the claim that these trolls were a Russian government operation intended to create "divisiveness" is based on the assumption that opposing Hillary Clinton was somehow divisive. Since when did criticism of a US politician become devisive?

This is the part I don't understand. The devisiveness stick can be swung against anyone and anything. My comments here can be seen by some as devisive. Same with the post I'm commenting on, this entire blog and every other person or group exercising their First Amendment rights by debating an issue. So while I believe the whole Russian thing is complete bullshit, the thing I worry about most is that it is being used to demand conformity and squelch our First Amendment rights. Vigorous debate, no matter who or what is sponsoring that debate, doesn't weaken our country. It only makes it stronger. What is really weakening our country is the current demonizing of free speech via evidence free claims that such speech is hurting the US and helping a supposed enemy country.

Richardstevenhack , 21 February 2018 at 02:02 PM
"If the goal was to further aggravate divisiveness in the US, this project certainly contributed to US political disarray."

So you're saying that because a commercial fake ad campaign was seized upon by a US government Russian witch-hunt that therefore the fake ad campaign contributed to US political disarray? As opposed to the witch-hunt itself?

I believe that's putting the cart before the horse.

We have Facebook's head of ads explicitly saying that he's seen all the ads and they definitely had nothing to do with swaying the election - before he's forced to recant that statement by Facebook management on the excuse that it insults Mueller.

Facebook executive apologizes to social media mob after pointing out that Russian ads did "NOT sway" election
http://theduran.com/facebook-executive-apologizes-to-social-media-mob-after-pointing-out-that-russian-ads-did-not-sway-election/

Then we have the journalist who covered the operation back in 2015 debunking the importance:

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

Then we have the *Russian* journalist who covered the operation back in 2013 debunking it:

The Russian journalist who helped uncover election interference is confounded by the Mueller indictments
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/02/18/the-russian-journalist-who-helped-uncover-election-meddling-is-confounded-by-the-mueller-indictments/?utm_term=.1b99ad01b60b

In other words, everyone views this as a commercial marketing operation which used the US elections as a vehicle to make money by supporting and denouncing both Trump and Clinton, but you're convinced it was a real Russian government disinformation operation.

Based on what? The fact that it had zero impact on the election? Or the fact that by definition it couldn't possibly have had any significant impact on US divisiveness by comparison with the US media and social media themselves - other than by having been put up by Mueller's witch hunt as significant? The fact that this operation has zero connections to the Russian government except for this "chef" having some vague connections with Putin?

Not buying it. This operation in my view had zilch to do with weakening the US in any way, shape or form - except to extract some money from it.

Don , 21 February 2018 at 02:03 PM
Scott Adams
does a white board presentation where he compares the theory of Russians helping Trump with the theory of Russians as someone else who wanted anybody but Hillary.

https://www.pscp.tv/w/bVxlNjFYSlFra05sQk9YUUx8MU1ZR05wUkJvcE54dxGY6BnkkEtvqffzkIpuPI-mekfG8QawYa1_Advd4px-

Scott has been right about quite a few things before and has written the book "How to win biggly in a world where facts don't matter" explaining trumps style and persuasion methods.

blue peacock , 21 February 2018 at 02:29 PM
Col. Lang

We don't need the Russians to "sow discord" among our polity. We do it rather well ourselves. TDS, Birtherism, BLM, #MeToo, pro-choice/pro-life, safe spaces, and all the PCness and identity politics is just that, more grist for the discord mill.

The hysteria over the Russian trolling shows how far into madness we've fallen. My personal hunch however is that Russiagate is a giant smokescreen to obfuscate a conspiracy at the highest levels of the Obama administration to interfere in the elections in a partisan manner and when the electorate chose otherwise to discredit a duly elected POTUS. Russia just happened to be roadkill in that plot.

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 02:49 PM
All

A lot of you armchair sleuths are creating your own reality on an unwarranted basis proceeding from a desire to think that because Mueller is embarked on a voyage to Gulliver's various lands, all his results are false. This is a fallacy. The first amendment? The framers never intended that it should protect people acting either directly or indirectly on behalf of a foreign power. Their reaction to the Citizen Genet case shows that clearly. The British did things like this on a sustained basis for the purpose of luring the US into WW2. Why do you think they made that effort a covert campaign?

A covert political action on behalf of a foreign power would never have been thought by the framers to deserve first amendment protection.

A commercial venture? Once again, you don't know what you are talking about. If you had ever written a business plan for a new venture you would know that a competent entrepreneur would have looked at the "pro forma" financial projections in the plan and decided that the trivial possible revenues would never recover the capital invested in the scheme and would have decided against proceeding. Have you never watched "Shark Tank?"

Some of the operatives involved did travel to the US to work some of the street demonstration capers. The indictment says that in September of last year, they concluded that the FBI was closing in on them and left the country rather than be apprehended. pl

Joe100 , 21 February 2018 at 02:54 PM
jjc -

With Col Lang's forbearance on posting an except in this case, the following excerpt from John Helmer's current blog post (johnhelmer.net) provides some insight into that has been driving the "Organizations" activities:

"Russian sources believe Prigozhin's organization has contracted for domestic Russian operations paid for by Russian corporations and local politicians. Some of the operations are believed to be conventional positive advertising of events, products, campaigns, and ideas. Some reportedly involve the circulation of kompromat against business and election rivals; some to defend against botnet and denial of service attacks on corporate websites and communication systems; some to attack the websites of business adversaries or investigative journalists, Russia-based or Russia-related.

Investigations by Russian media and government regulators have been reporting for some time allegations that Prigozhin has been diverting money from state procurement contracts for himself, and for clandestine purposes approved by state officials and state company executives. For a sample of the details, start in 2014 with the St. Petersburg website Fontanka's investigation of Mikhail Bystrov and Mikhail Burchik, the second and third defendants in the Mueller indictment. Fontanka said it had uncovered evidence that paying clients of the Prigozhin, Bystrov and Burchik organization included a youth group of the Russian Orthodox Church, the St. Petersburg municipal authorities, and a Gazprom media promotion company. The payroll of the organization was reported in mid-2014 to be Rb180,000 per month (about $5,500).

Russian sources believe Prigozhin's Project Lakhta was ordered by someone in a position to exercise a call on Prigozhin's cashflow. They exclude Russian officials on the Kremlin Security Council -- Sergei Ivanov, Sergei Lavrov, Sergei Shoigu, Anton Vaino, Nikolai Patrushev, Sergei Naryshkin – and dismiss the possibility that Project Lakhta had either President Putin's or Russian intelligence service support.

The suspicion of Russian sources is that the American campaign element in Project Lakhta was "so hare-brained there is only one official who could have considered Prigozhin's project worth the money and the attempt – Dmitry Peskov". Peskov is officially titled Deputy Chief of the Presidential Executive Office and Presidential Press Secretary. From the Kremlin he supervises the budgets for the state television broadcaster RT, the state news agency Sputnik, and special US-targeted propaganda programmes, such as the Valdai Discussion Club for academics and the Oliver Stone films"

So this appears to me to be primarily a "commercial for hire to make something happen through the web" model for arrange of potential corporation and political clients. I find it interesting that the one possible "sufficiently hare-brained" suspect is Peskov who oversees the budgets of Russia's state owned "open" US-targeted information programs..

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 02:54 PM
joe100

You want the mastermind to be Peskov? Fine. It matters not in the context of my argument. pl

SmoothieX12 , 21 February 2018 at 03:41 PM
The piece in NYT certainly broke through the bottom. But then again, I learned today from Adam Schiff that Russians love 2nd Amendment because they love nothing more than Americans killing each-other. It shouldn't take long before Russian are blamed for 9-11 and Great Depression. A complete dehumanization of Russia and Russians is gaining a full steam.
steve , 21 February 2018 at 03:44 PM
"The Russian response is to use what they see as a legitimate instrument of statecraft against us. This instrument seeks the weakening of enemies through exploitation of their own defects. "

I have always thought that this makes sense. It would have been incredibly passive and an abdication of responsibility for the Russians to not respond. You can argue about the particulars on exactly what they did or did not do, but it never made sense to think that they were not acting in their own best self-interests in response to provocation.

Steve

Barbara Ann -> Joe100... , 21 February 2018 at 04:00 PM
I think the following excerpt from Helmer's piece is more relevant here:
The unofficial Russian reaction towards Prigozhin's activities in the US is more quizzical, and under the American pressure, more private. It acknowledges that Prigozhin is a commercial operator, and for every outlay he has a paying client. Who that client was for Project Lakhta is the object of speculation so far unreported in the Russian press.
So finding the client would seem to be critical to both the 'Russian government involvement' and 'Trump team colluded' allegations.
Grazhdanochka , 21 February 2018 at 04:03 PM
Just to add one more Aspect that should be considered...

Russian Press has repeatedly covered the Topic of Troll Farm, RBK/RBC late last Year again covered it last Year - https://www.rbc.ru/magazine/2017/04/58d106b09a794710fa8934ac

In other Article - https://www.rbc.ru/business/30/12/2017/5a465d969a79472a87a3c920

It is noted that Prigozhin had previously tried to take another Russian Company - Yandex (Equivalent of Google for Russia) to Court to have his Name removed from Search Results that connected his Name with [this] Search Query, before eventually backing down....

This points out an obvious Dilemma to many Critiques of Russia, the all Powerful Russian Government whom between apparently personally controlling all Business, nor does it allow a free Press neither forced Yandexs Hand in having those results Removed, nor did it prevent RBC/RBK from publishing their Report on the 'Troll Farm' which if to be believed was a vital Part of their Political Interference...
Which way does it go? Do they suddenly have to admit that Press is maybe the more Free than imagined? Or does the Government simply not extend any interest in hiding its 'Operation and Assets'... Or is it that simply - It has no Hand in this and thus no interest?

All of this goes back to the Points others have clearly made very well above - That of this being about Commercial Interests and Motivations not a super Secret Plot that clearly is not being hidden..

Grazhdanochka , 21 February 2018 at 04:08 PM
To add one more Aspect to what I mean by 'Commercial Interests' - This does not have to mean Directly... Favorable Patronage if the right People are pleased with you can leverage Profits through further Contracts and Opportunities..

The Trick is gaining said Patronage

Joe100 , 21 February 2018 at 04:10 PM
Col Lang -

I am not pushing Peskov and basically agreeing with jjc's post that evidence that this was a Russian government is lacking (at least so far).

And while the outcome, regardless of who funded this operation, has contributed to US political disarray, it seems this outcome has primarily been driven by HRL's loss, plausible (but not yet proven) DOJ, FBI and White House illegal election and post-election interventions and the desperate efforts by Democratic party types and their tribal supporters to believe that HRC was robbed of her rightful Presidency. Absent this context - which was clearly not created by the IRA operation - it is hard to see that this operation would be getting any attention.

Norbert M Salamon , 21 February 2018 at 04:11 PM
Sir:
An Alternate to your thesis is that the object of Lakhta is to make Russia Great Again. It appears with every US inspired sanction Russia recovers after a brief pause, and advances her economy far beyond what was foreseen but a few years ago:
1., agriculture -greatest wheat exporter in 2017, rather than importer.
2., replacing slowly all the software from the west with either homegrown product or Chinese goods
3., the famous Kremlin List might force lot of offshore Russian wealth to go home, lest it be expropriated by the US Treasury.
4., you, Sir, can add other observations based on facts of Russia's recovery since the sanctions started.
james -> turcopolier ... , 21 February 2018 at 04:20 PM
How do we know this wasn't some cockamamie propaganda exercise drawn up in some CIA office? the whole thing is small potatoes.. Mueller has nothing of relevance here, other catching some advertising agency trying to make a buck off social networks... and it was chump change in terms of $... if 100, grand a month could affect the direction of an election - i am sure many others would happily pay some troll farm based in st. petersburg for that kind of success..

sorry - cold war 2 / mccarthyism 2 - all on tap and who benefits from that? that is the question i would like to hear an answer to.. thanks..

Barbara Ann , 21 February 2018 at 04:22 PM
Colonel

Re the KPI's to "measure the level of success enjoyed by the Russian intelligence active measures campaign":

I was taught that performance measures are meaningless unless they can quantify a commodity which equates to 'success'. The examples given here seem to fall well within that category IMHO. Discord and divisiveness may be a valid goal, but how much was sown? There was plenty around, but it is surely next to impossible to assess the impact of Lakhta in a meaningful way. So Moore went to a Lakhta rally, rather than what, perhaps a different anti Trump rally? Is the net effect better or worse and by how much?

The second KPI is not even a KPI - how is dialog framing a valid goal? The text describes the significant investment made (the other side of the equation) and the methods used - this is meaningless re any assessment of supposed 'success'.

LondonBob -> turcopolier ... , 21 February 2018 at 04:36 PM
Average salary in St Pete would be around USD1000 a month so the costs are not much, maybe more if they had English language skills. Wouldn't be many fixed/startup costs at all. Also not just click bait advertising but the opportunity to take a contract to run a PR campaign.

I am still undecided. This organisation has been well known and received coverage in the western press for years so I assume the relevant people have poked around their, likely poorly protected, systems. Two things to remember is Russia is a pretty anarchic place with different factions and people doing their own thing.

Generally Russians can still be pretty incompetent at things, these guys seem to be a good example of that. Others would be a better judge of whether this smacks of an organised Russian intelligence operation, or just one of Russia's many incompetent private companies. Creating a little mischief can be fun as well. I can't be bothered to look fully in to everything but actual real examples of attempts to cause mischief are too few, and the evidence sufficient to convict has not been presented.

As for British activities before WWII, I have always been of the opinion the success of that was due to important power centres, the people Lindbergh listed in his Des Moines speech, although I would include white Southerners, in the US consciously turning a blind eye. The inference would be that this was so insignificant and ineffectual that it wasn't picked up, or dismissed if it was.

The Twisted Genius , 21 February 2018 at 04:41 PM
Security Boulevard is an aggregation of cyber-security bloggers. Christopher Burgess, the author of this article, retired from the CIA in 2005 with 30+ years. He worked as a security advisor for Cisco and in several other security related companies. I don't remember ever hearing about him. I looked at some of his writing about the Russia thing going back to before the election. Our views largely coincide and I recognize the terminology he uses. I chalk that up to his background. He certainly was aware of some of the same experiences in foreign cyber-espionage and IO that I dealt with. These key performance indicators are from an article he did back in November 2017.

https://securityboulevard.com/2017/11/russia-expert-active-measures-including-cyber-meddling/

jonst , 21 February 2018 at 04:52 PM
It is not in the interests, to say the least, of Russia to weaken the US. And Putin, above most, knows this. Maybe tweak us a bit...but weaken us? Why? He is going to need us against China. We have no natural geopolitical antipathy (hostility) with Russia. We may thrust ourselves into that position, at times, in Eastern Europe or the Middle East. However it is not organic to our relationship. On the other hand, such antipathy (hostility) does exist between China and Russia. And it is not just , organic, geopolitical, but racial was well. Although we're not supposed to talk like that anymore. Putin might not talk it...but he is thinking it.
turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 04:56 PM
jonst

YOU may not have any antipathy toward Russia but Washington and New York and the media drip with it and our actions since the fall of the USSR would not look like friendship to any neutral observer. pl

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:01 PM
LondonBob

The thing about British activities in the US before WW2 is laughable and rather self-serving. So, you think that 1.25 million US a month was trivial, eh? Have you ever funded a business? pl

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:08 PM
Barbara Ann

"I was taught that performance measures are meaningless unless they can quantify a commodity which equates to 'success'. " You were taught poorly. Nothing in international policy operations can be meaningfully quantified. Only social science idiots thank that this is possible. pl

LondonBob -> turcopolier ... , 21 February 2018 at 05:08 PM
Wasn't the USD1.25m a month the budget for the whole organisation, including Russian activities? I haven't looked in to it in enough detail.

Self serving but true.

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:11 PM
james

You have CIA on the brain, something like water on the knew and have seen too many movies. you have no idea how difficult it would be to construct an operation like this in a police state like Russia if you were foreign. pl

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:13 PM
LondonBob

And then there were a few British capers like the Zimmerman telegram and the BS about German atrocities in Belgium in WW1. Oh, yes and the lies told about the Boers in the S. Africa War. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Security_Co-ordination
pl

shepherd -> Barbara Ann ... , 21 February 2018 at 05:19 PM
Barbara Ann,

He seems not to be using KPI in the traditional way, but it could be a terminology difference between intelligence and business uses. Substitute the word "goal" and you're fine.

james -> turcopolier ... , 21 February 2018 at 05:19 PM
pat - b did a post to break down this us .25 million a month b.s..

here is the quote for you - "(Some U.S. media today made the false claim that $1.25 million per month were spend by the company for its U.S. campaign. But Point 11 of the indictment says that the company ran a number of such projects directed at a Russian audience while only the one described in 10d above is aimed at an U.S. audience. All these projects together had a monthly budget of $1.25 million.)

as memory serves they had at least 10 different projects going... - 100 grand a month is a better guesstimate... chump change...

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02/mueller-indictement-the-russian-influence-is-a-commercial-marketing-scheme.html#more

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:21 PM
james

you prefer b's opinion? Go there and abide. pl

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:24 PM
Norbert S. Solomon

Do you really think that Russia sees its relations with the US as other than a zero sum game? How could they see it any other way given the way the US has acted toward them? pl

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:28 PM
joe100

I didn't say the Russian project created the aura of animosity. The US is falling apart politically. The Russian project originators perceived this and sought to exacerbate it, and succeeded. pl

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:30 PM
grazdanochka

So, you think this project was put up on "spec" like building something in the hope that someone will buy it and redeem your costs. Have you ever done that? pl

shepherd , 21 February 2018 at 05:37 PM
TTG,

I concur on Burgess. The graphic in the article you cite is pretty good, though it doesn't mention the "seeding and feeding" use of bots and commenters in blog and media platform threads to influence the discussion. But I think that's inferred by the use of the term "computational propaganda." I've never seen that before, but I like it. In psychology, it is called the "availability heuristic." The idea is that if you make the same claim or idea appear again and again, people will eventually become convinced it's true. So if you can swarm the Internet with many instances of the same falsehood or argument, people will come to believe it's true.

In case anyone's curious, this is the same tactic employed by GEICO in the US.

Barbara Ann -> turcopolier ... , 21 February 2018 at 05:37 PM
With respect Colonel, my point was that the use of KPI's in this context is indeed meaningless. Thus the authors are discredited in my view by using & abusing the term.

This report reads no different to many others to me - allegations that the mission was to sow discord. So is this a new Pearl Harbor or a laughably tiny contribution to the immense discord extant already. My own gut feel is that it is likely well towards the latter end of the scale.

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:40 PM
Barbara ann

You are quibbling over words. I never said Lakhta had a significant effect. My piece dealt only with intentions and goals. pl

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:44 PM
lars

Russophobic bigotry and based on what? your reading of Russian history? pl

[Feb 21, 2018] Russian Troll Farm Indictment Shredded By Journalist Who First Profiled It In 2015 Zero Hedge

Feb 21, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Following Special Counsel Robert Mueller's indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three entities behind a Russian "troll farm" said to have meddled in the 2016 U.S. election (admittedly, with zero impact ), two people familiar with both the ads purchased by Russians on Facebook, and the "troll farm" in question have refuted Mueller's narrative over the course of four days. Indeed, things don't seem to be going well for the Russia investigation, which started out with serious claims of Collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, and has been reduced to CNN diving through the garbage of a Russian troll farm.

About that troll farm...

Adrian Chen, staff writer for The New Yorker - who first profiled the indicted Russian troll farm in 2015, sat down with MSNBC's Chris Hayes, where he proceeded to deflate Mueller's big scary indictment to nothing.

"Tried to tamp down the troll farm panic on @chrislhayes show last night," Adrian Chen tweeted . " It's 90 people with a shaky grasp of English and a rudimentary understanding of U.S. politics shitposting on Facebook. "

Watch:

me frameborder=

Chen then responded to a tweet saying the IRA has 300-400 individuals. "That was the entire Internet Research Agency," Chen wrote." The American department had ~90 people , according to the Russian journalists who did the most in-depth investigation."

Chen links to a Washington Post article which profiles Russian journalists who also investigated said troll farm.

me title=

A brief review:

And for all of this, Obama and Congress slapped sanctions on Russia, evicted two diplomatic compounds, and launched several Congressional investigations over.

But at least the US Military Industrial Complex is happy, while the stock of Boeing has never been higher.

Tags Politics Apparel & Accessories Retailers - NEC Commercial Aircraft Manufacturing

Vote up! 7 Vote down! 0

AlaricBalth -> American Psycho Tue, 02/20/2018 - 23:22 Permalink

Our "troll farm" is better funded than theirs...

The United States, through a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) called The National Endowment for Democracy has spent over $27,000,000 since 2013 in Russia to "promote democracy".

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a U.S. non-profit soft power organization that was founded in 1983 with the stated goal of promoting democracy abroad. It is funded primarily through an annual allocation from the U.S. Congress in the form of a grant awarded through the United States Information Agency (USIA).

NED was banned in Russia as an undesirable international NGO in for "using Russian commercial and noncommercial organizations under its control... to declare the results of election campaigns illegitimate, organize political actions intended to influence decisions made by the authorities, and discredit service in Russia's armed forces.

Former Congressman Ron Paul also argued against NED funding stating that NED has "very little to do with democracy. It is an organization that uses US tax money to actually subvert democracy, by showering funding on favored political parties or movements overseas. It underwrites color-coded 'people's revolutions' overseas that look more like pages out of Lenin's writings on stealing power than genuine indigenous democratic movements."

Investigative reporter and editor of Consortiumnews Robert Parry has characterized NED as a "neocon slush fund," whose founding was the brainchild of Reagan Administration CIA Director William Casey and its leading propagandist Walter Raymond Jr., then on the staff of the National Security Council. The idea was to set up an organization funded by the U.S. Congress to take over CIA programs that attempted to influence foreign elections by promoting the selection of candidates who supported U.S. policy and would "do what the U.S. government tells them to do.

See screen grab of chart here from USAID showing NED spending in Russia: https://imgur.com/DuQwJZW

https://explorer.usaid.gov/query?country_name=Russia&fiscal_year=2016&t

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Endowment_for_Democracy

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/28/national-endowment-for-de

Interference in elections

NED's Statement of Principles and Objectives, adopted in 1984, asserts that "No Endowment funds may be used to finance the campaigns of candidates for public office." But the ways to circumvent the spirit of such a prohibition are not difficult to come up with; as with American elections, there's "hard money" and there's "soft money".

As described in the "Elections" and "Interventions" chapters, NED successfully manipulated elections in Nicaragua in 1990 and Mongolia in 1996; helped to overthrow democratically elected governments in Bulgaria in 1990 and Albania in 1991 and 1992; and worked to defeat the candidate for prime minister of Slovakia in 2002 who was out of favor in Washington. And from 1999 to 2004, NED heavily funded members of the opposition to President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela to subvert his rule and to support a referendum to unseat him.

Additionally, in the 1990s and afterward, NED supported a coalition of groups in Haiti known as the Democratic Convergence, who were united in their opposition to Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his progressive ideology, while he was in and out of the office of the president.

The Endowment has made its weight felt in the electoral-political process in numerous other countries.

https://williamblum.org/chapters/rogue-state/trojan-horse-the-national-

The United States has continued democracy programs despite local prohibitions.

Nevertheless, USAID and the NED have continued to fund organizations, even where that's against the local country's laws. In Venezuela, for example, the United States has openly continued funding civil society organizations, even listing that in its annual budgets, albeit without naming recipients.

USAID and the NED are undoubtedly keeping their plans in the country secret. However, the NED and its leaders continue to openly counter Russian ideological efforts throughout Eurasia. For instance, when NED President Carl Gershman testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in June 2016, he said that one of the NED's five main focuses includes pushing back against "an information offensive by Russia and other authoritarian regimes."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/03/20/putin-is-

ebworthen Tue, 02/20/2018 - 23:01 Permalink

MSM has a story to run for 3 nights on "Russian meddling" - the sheeple bleat - go to work, pay bills, pay taxes, invest in their "retirement", and send their kids off to die in pointless wars.

LetThemEatRand Tue, 02/20/2018 - 23:03 Permalink

The other funny thing about the indictments is that the speech of these Russian nationals if they ran ads as alleged, is protected by the First Amendment, which does not limit itself to US citizens. "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech ...". The indictments claim that one must register as a foreign lobbyist if they want to engage in political speech in the United States. For very important reasons, the Constitution does not limit its protections to citizens, including and especially where speech and religion are concerned.

Give Me Some Truth -> Cozy Vanilla Sugar Tue, 02/20/2018 - 23:38 Permalink

Let's use a little math here. Even FB admits that only 1 in 23,000 images on their site during this time period were paid for by the trolls. The vast majority of FB users would never even have seen this content. If they were in the .0004 of users who stumbled upon "troll speech," the message would no doubt be drained out by all the other hundreds or thousands of messages they did notice (mostly pictures of friends' babies). And, believe it or not, a whole lot of voters don't even use Facebook. So only a minute fraction of FB users could have conceivably seen one random, lonely impression, which would have been drowned out by thousands of other non-troll impressions, posts made by people who actually speak English and made by people the FB users actually know.

Finally, if you were in the subgroup that found one of the five golden tickets (stumbled upon a real Russian troll post), who is to say the dang post wasn't 100 percent accurate.

I know I'm supposed to panic over all of this, but I'm not gonna do it. Not. Gonna. Do. It.

Zorba's idea -> Give Me Some Truth Wed, 02/21/2018 - 00:48 Permalink

The FBof Matters apparently have exposed their MSM strategy...they stole it from the Chocolate Factory...(((super secret FIB methods)))... Oomph Loompa doompadee doo, I've got another puzzle for you. Ooompa Loompa doompadah dee, If you are wise you'll listen to me." I suppose Mueller and associates have their heads so far up their asses they actually believe they're in Wonka's Chocolate Factory...Oh look!!! Another pristine Passport!!!

Give Me Some Truth -> Cozy Vanilla Sugar Tue, 02/20/2018 - 23:38 Permalink

Let's use a little math here. Even FB admits that only 1 in 23,000 images on their site during this time period were paid for by the trolls. The vast majority of FB users would never even have seen this content. If they were in the .0004 of users who stumbled upon "troll speech," the message would no doubt be drained out by all the other hundreds or thousands of messages they did notice (mostly pictures of friends' babies). And, believe it or not, a whole lot of voters don't even use Facebook. So only a minute fraction of FB users could have conceivably seen one random, lonely impression, which would have been drowned out by thousands of other non-troll impressions, posts made by people who actually speak English and made by people the FB users actually know.

Finally, if you were in the subgroup that found one of the five golden tickets (stumbled upon a real Russian troll post), who is to say the dang post wasn't 100 percent accurate.

I know I'm supposed to panic over all of this, but I'm not gonna do it. Not. Gonna. Do. It.

Zorba's idea -> Give Me Some Truth Wed, 02/21/2018 - 00:48 Permalink

The FBof Matters apparently have exposed their MSM strategy...they stole it from the Chocolate Factory...(((super secret FIB methods)))... Oomph Loompa doompadee doo, I've got another puzzle for you. Ooompa Loompa doompadah dee, If you are wise you'll listen to me." I suppose Mueller and associates have their heads so far up their asses they actually believe they're in Wonka's Chocolate Factory...Oh look!!! Another pristine Passport!!!

Give Me Some Truth Tue, 02/20/2018 - 23:22 Permalink

The trolls were allegedly trying to "sow discord." The MSM - working closely with the FBI and the Establishment in Washington - are trying to "spread panic."

For once, the fear-mongering isn't playing in Peoria.

Mzhen Wed, 02/21/2018 - 00:20 Permalink

If Obama hadn't slapped sanctions on Russia, what were the Oval Office conspirators going to leak to media about Flynn's conversations with the Russian ambassador? What was Sally Yates going to assert could be a violation of the Logan Act, and also a possible way for Russia to blackmail Flynn? What was the FBI going to question Flynn about? So McCabe could change their 302s. So there had to be sanctions. And there had to be trolls.

Jung Wed, 02/21/2018 - 00:47 Permalink

The Saker gives a few findings to those who understand what might be happening:

The best way to get information is to make it up.

Everything what we know now about the so-called "Kremlin trolls from the Internet Research Agency paid by Putin's favorite chef," came from one source, a group of CIA spies that used the mascot of Shaltay-Boltay, or Humpty-Dumpty, for their collective online persona.

They were arrested in November 2016 and revealed as the FSB and former FSB officers . One of them even managed a security department for the Kaspersky Lab.".........."

Now, this is a very important grave mark.

Just think about this working scheme: Shaltay-Boltay with a group of anti-government "activists" created the "Internet Research Agency," they and some "activists" created 470 FaceBook accounts used to post comments that looked unmistakably "trollish."

After that other, CIA affiliated entities, like the entire Western Media, claimed the "Russian interference in the US election." Finally, the ODNI published a report lacking any evidence in it."

[Feb 20, 2018] Since only Russians were indicted, can we conclude that Russia was the only nation in the world that tried to influence the American election?

Notable quotes:
"... I turned in a blank ballot in November 2016. A choice between the Devil's Sister and the Devil's Jester wasn't a choice that sober grownups would make. I didn't need 13 Russians's help to arrive at that conclusion. ..."
"... My God, what a confession it is to believe that 13 non-billionaires could influence an American election: "Horosho! Now that election goes to Trump, next we get Moose and Squirrel!" Seriously?! ..."
"... "Is the Great Republic about to fall because a bunch of trolls tweeted in our election?" The Deep State folks want us to think so. Is there any way to turn the tables on them? ..."
"... If career lawyers at DOJ told Jeff Sessions that he should probably recuse himself because of X, Y, and Z, then they are presumptively guilty of bad faith, and Sessions need not necessarily feel bound to stay recused. ..."
"... Sessions was under no legal compulsion to recuse himself, as Andrew C. McCarthy has demonstrated. Arguably, the A.G. can point to any such bad faith as a reason for taking back his recusal. "The rule of law!" the Deep State will scream. But bad faith of the kind in question is ipso facto a negation of the rule of law. ..."
"... The rule of law only demands that a reversal of a recusal bear an extremely heavy burden of proof for its justification. No problem if Sessions relied on bad-faith actors at DOJ–reversing his recusal would be justified. ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

VikingLS February 19, 2018 at 10:17 pm

Cue the resident amoral neocon scumbags to tell us that darn it, it's DIFFERENT when we do it. Sure our "allies" might be neonazis, slave traders, people who bomb churches, behead priests, kidnap nuns, and enslave Christians .but you know .Putin.
Ken , says: February 20, 2018 at 12:26 am
The Internet Research Agency is a commercial enterprise, Don't buy this new McCartyism. Read
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02/mueller-indictement-the-russian-influence-is-a-commercial-marketing-scheme.html#more
spite , says: February 20, 2018 at 3:11 am
The insanity that is engulfing the USA is no longer just a joke, that these lunatics have nuclear weapons is now a very serious threat to the rest of the world – that is hopefully not as insane. Bombing foreign nations is not considered an act of war (kinetic action in Syria, Libya, Niger, Somalia, etc), however making online comments is an act of war?!?

I have made online comments against America, I suggest I also get added on that list as an act of war.

David Nash , says: February 20, 2018 at 8:41 am
Such a short trip from "Fake News" to "No Big Deal, and what about X?"

You, and I, know full well that if Trump were a Democrat, you would be crying TRAITOR from the rooftops.

Have you no decency left, sir? At long last, have you no decency left?

You can sell your soul to a door-to-door peddler with tweety birds flying about his head, but can you ever get it back? Apparently not.

TR , says: February 20, 2018 at 10:51 am
I don't think if I were a "resident amoral neocon scumbag" I would dare to reply after VikingLS' opening comment.

The title sounds silly: "acts of war" in the real world are defined by people who want to go to war.

And BTW, Pat's language is slippery when talking about the Chilean coup. Maybe the White House had "deniability" but State and the CIA left fingerprints everywhere. If you want to see an obviously lying Kissinger, read the section on the coup in "White House Years."

VikingLS , says: February 20, 2018 at 11:21 am
"You, and I, know full well that if Trump were a Democrat, you would be crying TRAITOR from the rooftops."

Maybe, but Buchanan has been pushing to deescalate with Russia consistently for over a decade now, so probably not.

Have you ever read any of his books?

KD , says: February 20, 2018 at 2:28 pm
Since only Russians were indicted, can we conclude that Russia was the only nation in the world that tried to influence the American election?
Steve S. , says: February 20, 2018 at 2:37 pm
I turned in a blank ballot in November 2016. A choice between the Devil's Sister and the Devil's Jester wasn't a choice that sober grownups would make. I didn't need 13 Russians's help to arrive at that conclusion.

My God, what a confession it is to believe that 13 non-billionaires could influence an American election: "Horosho! Now that election goes to Trump, next we get Moose and Squirrel!" Seriously?!

I tell my kids all the time that half the people in this country are, by definition, below average in intelligence.

Ken Zaretzke , says: February 20, 2018 at 2:37 pm
"Is the Great Republic about to fall because a bunch of trolls tweeted in our election?" The Deep State folks want us to think so. Is there any way to turn the tables on them?

If career lawyers at DOJ told Jeff Sessions that he should probably recuse himself because of X, Y, and Z, then they are presumptively guilty of bad faith, and Sessions need not necessarily feel bound to stay recused.

Sessions was under no legal compulsion to recuse himself, as Andrew C. McCarthy has demonstrated. Arguably, the A.G. can point to any such bad faith as a reason for taking back his recusal. "The rule of law!" the Deep State will scream. But bad faith of the kind in question is ipso facto a negation of the rule of law.

The rule of law only demands that a reversal of a recusal bear an extremely heavy burden of proof for its justification. No problem if Sessions relied on bad-faith actors at DOJ–reversing his recusal would be justified.

Career lawyers at DOJ, especially in the Office of Legal Counsel, would clearly have known that Sessions was under no legal compulsion or professional obligation to recuse himself. If they left him with a different impression and advised that it would be best for him to recuse himself, their actions couldn't realistically be attributed to incompetence. Only bad faith could explain such advice.

This is true even if they deliberately neglected to inform the A.G. of the legal non-necessity for recusal and played up the alleged political necessity for recusal. It would still be bad faith.

If that's correct, it doesn't mean Sessions should immediately take back his recusal. Weeks or months of preparation might be needed for educating the public and injecting a spine-stiffening drug in a number of Republican senators–call your office, Lindsey Graham. But it does allow for a stronger attack right now on Robert Mueller, who needs to get out from under his own shadow of bad faith before he ends up earning the nickname "Bad Faith Bob."

[Feb 20, 2018] A classic case of misdirection, served up and serving the converging interests of a variety of players: neo-cons and defense contractors wet for a new Cold War with Russia, the Clinton/Obama wing of the Democratic Party desperate to use this to distract from their catastrophic political negligence, and factions in the National Security State looking to be rehabilitated in the eyes of media and liberal elites

Notable quotes:
"... The whole of American politics is nothing but 'sowing discord'. The only thing that holds the two parties together is the hatred shared for the 'other party'. ..."
"... Again, if election laws were broken, arrest, try, convict and imprison the perpetrators. Lots of money gets spent sowing discord during the elections. I'm not concerned one bit about the drop in the bucket spent by the Russians ..."
"... She had over a billion dollars to tell me that she was for universal health care. ..."
"... So, if I have a heart attack, based on my obesity, poor diet and alcoholism, I should immediately blame the background radiation in my basement? ..."
"... A classic case of misdirection, served up and serving the converging interests of a variety of players: neo-cons and defense contractors wet for a new Cold War with Russia, the Clinton/Obama wing of the Democratic Party desperate to use this to distract from their catastrophic political negligence, and factions in the National Security State looking to be rehabilitated in the eyes of media and liberal elites. ..."
"... What Russian government? It was a commercial operation posting click bait, of all sorts, to sell ads. And yes, that's the explanation that fits the facts best. If Putin was really bankrolling it, no evidence so far, he was wasting his money. From our point of view, a good thing. ..."
"... A foreign government employed copy editors to sow dissent in American politics by way of Twitter, Facebook, online advertising and a network of blogs. ..."
"... Google files patent for robot that writes your Facebook posts, emails and tweets ..."
"... All Russian bot claims appear to originate from the same group of warmongers and their highly flawed Hamilton 68 Dashboard project: McCarthyism Inc.: Terror Cranks Sold America the Russia Panic Truthdig ..."
"... [The Alliance for Securing Democracy's] researchers and advisors have become go-to pundits for mainstream reporters seeking expert opinions on Russian online meddling. They have been endorsed by John Podesta, the founder of the Center for American Progress and chief of staff for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. Julia Ioffe, the Atlantic's Russia correspondent, has also weighed in to promote the ASD's efforts. Both highlighted the ASD's Hamilton 68 Dashboard as a scientific barometer of Kremlin influence over the American social media landscape ..."
"... Bill Kristol, among others, is on the so-called Alliance for Securing Democracy's board of advisors. ..."
"... And "b" at Moon of Alabama thinks that they've deliberately indicted a bunch of people they don't expect to prosecute (they're all in Russia) in order to have the above "message" on the books for as long as it takes for someone to stage a legal test of it. ..."
"... Until then it is simple intimidation. ..."
"... If the Russian government actually funded this sort of thing, they must be pretty simple-minded. ..."
"... Anyway, do we even know that it was Russian "government" money financing these things? It was some oligarch who had "ties" to Putin. By the standards used so far in Russiagate reporting, that basically means that he and Putin are both Russian. ..."
"... The Russian Federation is very much against neo-Nazi and white supremacy movements due to what it suffered from Nazi Germany during WWII. Now Russia sees this on it's boarders in Ukraine. But Russia is branded with this because white folk live there. What about all the Muslims in Russia, many of which have come from Central Asia? What about all the Asians in Eastern Russia? The quoted statement is born of either ignorance, misinformation or disinformation. ..."
"... Unfortunately for Soros (and fortunately for the entire planet) the Russian government realised the cancerous nature of Soros backed NGOs, and took the proper preventative measures which in hindsight, and after reviewing the DC Leaks memos, proved to be a very wise move. ..."
"... Crowdstrike is the only source of evidence of Russian hacking of DNC. And Crowdstrike had to walk it back when they used the exact same evidence to claim that Russia had hacked Ukraine's artillery. That is likely why DNC refused to let FBI run forensics on their servers. ..."
"... negotiable convictions ..."
"... This is the mental equivalent of the sunk cost fallacy. At this point the media, the Dems and legions of David Brock led trolls have invested so much time and energy into "Muh Russia" that they can't write off their investment. ..."
"... Keep going. You're doing fine. It's down there somewhere. You can endure another season of Persist, the payoff is right around the corner. There is nothing more important right now than ignoring inconvenient facts. ..."
"... Domain Keys Identified Mail, or DKIM, is a highly regarded email security system that can be used to independently authenticate the contents and sender of an email that uses it. ..."
"... argumentum ad ignorantium ..."
"... argumentum ad ignorantiam ..."
"... Feffer says that progressives don't take Russiagate as seriously as they should. I think critical thinkers are taking it very seriously, because of potential censorship of dissenting voices that favor peace over war, and that favor productive social spending over wasteful military spending. ..."
"... Even absent such concerns, the Russiagate hysteria is obviously a partisan power struggle that sucks the air out of the room for productive political discourse to address real social, economic, and environmental problems. ..."
"... So, the 13 incitements, in addition to keeps the Russian narrative alive for another few weeks, is providing political cover for the establishment to clean house as it were, and clear out the Progressive infestation threatening to cripple the money train the establishment has become accustomed too. ..."
"... democracy in the USA is broken. ..."
"... when 10s of thousands of soldiers would be sent somewhere for an extended period ..."
"... Historically speaking, America peaked at the moon landing. ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

XXX February 20, 2018 at 4:19 pm

I find this question, in light of Real News (quite missing from the American landscape) and Real History (likewise), rather tedious and specious.

Time doesn't allow me to go on for more pages, plus this site has a word limit.

todde , February 20, 2018 at 12:43 pm

The whole of American politics is nothing but 'sowing discord'. The only thing that holds the two parties together is the hatred shared for the 'other party'.

Again, if election laws were broken, arrest, try, convict and imprison the perpetrators. Lots of money gets spent sowing discord during the elections. I'm not concerned one bit about the drop in the bucket spent by the Russians

Anon , February 20, 2018 at 12:46 pm

So this is more about Americans and their political intelligence than Russia and its intelligence. Trolls bringing down the Merican political system is theatre of the absurd. How many people died, again?

Buck Eschaton , February 20, 2018 at 1:44 pm

What I find truly amazing is that Hillary Clinton had over a billion dollars to provide me with reasons to vote for her. I was searching for anything.

It was obvious to every one that she was a hard-core neo-liberal and hard-core neo-conservative. All she offered was "America is already great!!!" A billion dollars and all she could provide was insults and paranoia.

sgt_doom , February 20, 2018 at 4:25 pm

And people still don't know that as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, she attended those rightwing prayer breakfasts at the Bush White House; belonged to rightwing, imperialistic/military organizations, and had an uncle, Wade Rodham, who was a member of the US Secret Service's presidential protection unit during the Kennedy Administration.

Not to mention those fundraisers thrown by Lady Rothschild at Martha's Vineyard for HRC.

And so it goes . . .

OldBear , February 20, 2018 at 4:47 pm

She had over a billion dollars to tell me that she was for universal health care.

She not only didn't tell you (or me) that she was for it, she angrily yelled that it "would never, ever come to pass!"

Expat , February 20, 2018 at 6:17 pm

This is not about Clinton. It's about Russia and the Trump campaign. Hillary lost and thank God. We should ban any spouses, children or grandchildren from holding elected office of any kind.

But turning this into a Democrat or Hillary thing is wrong. If there is something there, then the investigation might find it. If not, we have already grabbed up some arch-criminals in the persons of Gates and Manafort. So that is a already justification enough. Frankly, all the talk of costs is also a lie. Manafort's milllions will be seized. Russiagate will turn out to be profitable!

Michael Fiorillo , February 20, 2018 at 7:28 pm

So, if I have a heart attack, based on my obesity, poor diet and alcoholism, I should immediately blame the background radiation in my basement?

Most of the "attacks" Lobel referred to were traditional white propaganda by the likes of RT, which are invariably conflated with, first, Trump/Putin collusion, and since that puppy died, Russian "attacks" on our exceptional democracy.

Assume every hyper-ventilating charge by Mueller to be true, and magnify it fifty-fold; it's still bupkis in the toxic and corrupt stew that is US politics.

A classic case of misdirection, served up and serving the converging interests of a variety of players: neo-cons and defense contractors wet for a new Cold War with Russia, the Clinton/Obama wing of the Democratic Party desperate to use this to distract from their catastrophic political negligence, and factions in the National Security State looking to be rehabilitated in the eyes of media and liberal elites.

Big River Bandido , February 20, 2018 at 9:23 pm

This entire tempest (in a teapot) only gained legs because Hillary Clinton is congenitally unable to accept responsibility for her own mistakes.

What started out as merely a convenient way to distract the public from the embarrassing and politically crippling *leak* of her own internal emails (the actual content of which no one in Clintonland or the media ever protested) has, over the last 18 months, devolved into a swampland of denial and fantasy which has engulfed the Democrats.

lyman alpha blob , February 20, 2018 at 1:46 pm

So you must be the one who has the actual evidence that any of this was financed by the Russian government. Please do post it and enlighten us all. Then please forward it to the DNC – if they know the type of bang for their buck they can get for just $1000 maybe they'll stop sending the rest of us so many emails begging for money.

Clif , February 20, 2018 at 2:50 pm

Kevin-it seems to me you presume your conclusion when you say 'This is not the case. A foreign..' What's your source? What long history, the internet came around in early 90's, I'm old but that's not that long ago. And seriously, millions of impressions when Trump rallies were chanting "lock her up" you don't think word had gotten around or you don't think any Americans would think of that without foreign assistance.

Your tone of confidence betrays credibility.

NotTimothyGeithner , February 20, 2018 at 4:38 pm

The World Wide Web went live in 1991. The "internet" has become a catchall term for the WWW, but there were previous proto-internets including the Internet. "Kevin" isn't on the ball clearly. "Sow dissent" is pretty much code for how upset he was that "Dear Mother" didn't have a coronation.

Harry , February 20, 2018 at 3:45 pm

"A foreign government employed copy editors to sow dissent in American politics by way of Twitter, Facebook, online advertising and a network of blogs." Er, citation? I read the indictment. It doesn't say that.

NotTimothyGeithner , February 20, 2018 at 4:06 pm

"to sow dissent in American politics "

Can you possibly explain this? If the political system can suffer from a few internet memes, the problem is the state of American politics.

Is the country really this childish? The whole country is founded on dissent. Have you ever seen those bumper stickers about "Well behaved women not making history"? Do you not see the problem with your issue.

We aren't discussing arming paramilitary groups or rousing violence. We are discussing a social media click bait farm in an indictment presented by Bob Mueller, who's greatest hits include torture, lying about WMDs in Iraq, rounding up Muslims, entrapment, and the Anthrax farce. I would probably start with a prosecutor with a shred of credibility outside of the circles where Joe Scarborough is respected.

The worst part is the "OMG Russia" frauds are going to shout so much that nothing will be done about gun control or any other calamity, but I bet the Pentagon will get more money for another failed weapon system.

oh , February 20, 2018 at 8:15 pm

Mueller's greatest hits are still in the Top Forty Charts everywhere, albeit covertly.

Oregoncharles , February 20, 2018 at 5:07 pm

What Russian government? It was a commercial operation posting click bait, of all sorts, to sell ads. And yes, that's the explanation that fits the facts best. If Putin was really bankrolling it, no evidence so far, he was wasting his money. From our point of view, a good thing.

will_f , February 20, 2018 at 5:19 pm

A foreign government employed copy editors to sow dissent in American politics by way of Twitter, Facebook, online advertising and a network of blogs.

There is no proof that this troll farm was acting on behalf of any government.

In one example, for a mere $1000 or so, Russians were able to get American citizens to build a fake jail cell on a trailer complete with actors to play Hillary, Bill and Trump.

Right, no republican ever made an offensive parade float before the Russians came along.

Jim Haygood , February 20, 2018 at 12:02 pm

NYT headline today:

Russian Bots Moved Quickly to Exploit the Florida Shooting. By SHEERA FRENKEL and DAISUKE WAKABAYASHI

What ever happened to good old made-in-USA trolls? *sniff* Facebook, Google and Twitter are a global sandbox get used to it.

blennylips , February 20, 2018 at 4:58 pm

>What ever happened to good old made-in-USA trolls? *sniff*

Did you miss yesterday's links? About the google patent? Essentially a troll-bot to fake FB posts, ie, a BernaysBot, as american as you cant get!

Google files patent for robot that writes your Facebook posts, emails and tweets

It's a bit like stuxnet, or the tool chest the Equation Group lost control of: We invent it and then lose control of it.

Besides, we do so much election meddling that it had to be automated!

Montanamaven , February 20, 2018 at 5:01 pm

I fear Lambert is right and that the DNC will hyjack the Florida High School students anti-gun movement and make it serve their purposes. Not Russians bots to fear.

marym , February 20, 2018 at 5:18 pm

Actually saw someone (somebot? sometroll?) get called out on twitter today for doing the Russia! thing and not the US people who actually believe whatever the issue was. I think it's the first time I've seen that. Maybe the last too, but still for a moment there

Elizabeth Burton , February 20, 2018 at 7:01 pm

Yes, those nasty Russians were stirring up conflict by using hashtags calling for gun control. Bad Russians! Bad!

integer , February 20, 2018 at 7:42 pm

All Russian bot claims appear to originate from the same group of warmongers and their highly flawed Hamilton 68 Dashboard project: McCarthyism Inc.: Terror Cranks Sold America the Russia Panic Truthdig

[The Alliance for Securing Democracy's] researchers and advisors have become go-to pundits for mainstream reporters seeking expert opinions on Russian online meddling. They have been endorsed by John Podesta, the founder of the Center for American Progress and chief of staff for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. Julia Ioffe, the Atlantic's Russia correspondent, has also weighed in to promote the ASD's efforts. Both highlighted the ASD's Hamilton 68 Dashboard as a scientific barometer of Kremlin influence over the American social media landscape

However, an investigation by AlterNet's Grayzone Project has yielded a series of disturbing findings at odds with the established depiction. The researchers behind the ASD's "dashboard" are no Russia experts, but rather a collection of cranks, counterterror retreads, online harassers and paranoiacs operating with support from some of the most prominent figures operating within the American national security apparatus.

Bill Kristol, among others, is on the so-called Alliance for Securing Democracy's board of advisors.

jsn , February 20, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Our current Powers That Be have never been happy with the legacy of "free speech." It's now, demonstrably, an indictable offense for non-US citizens to engage in it in the US.

And "b" at Moon of Alabama thinks that they've deliberately indicted a bunch of people they don't expect to prosecute (they're all in Russia) in order to have the above "message" on the books for as long as it takes for someone to stage a legal test of it.

Until then it is simple intimidation.

drumlin woodchuckles , February 20, 2018 at 3:17 pm

Here at Sic Semper Tyrannis is a post with a link to the text of the Indictment. When I clicked on the link to the Indictment, I got to see it without any paywall. So here is the link to that SST post. http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/02/the-text-of-the-indictment-of-the-svr-13.html

OldBear , February 20, 2018 at 5:05 pm

If the Russian government actually funded this sort of thing, they must be pretty simple-minded.

For not the first time in recent days, I am reminded of a Dave Barry joke from many years ago, perhaps even before the collapse of the Soviet Union. I don't remember what the column was about; it might have been about comic strips in general, which were his favorites and which ones he didn't care for, etc. He mentioned the strip Nancy and said something like it "was the product of a 70-year Soviet government experimental project to produce a joke."

Anyway, do we even know that it was Russian "government" money financing these things? It was some oligarch who had "ties" to Putin. By the standards used so far in Russiagate reporting, that basically means that he and Putin are both Russian.

RandyM , February 20, 2018 at 10:41 am

It's easy to be skeptical of Russigate. For over a year now the MSM have breathlessly published a steady stream of "evidence" only to have it fall apart. When "progressive skeptics" point this out they're accused of going too far? I think we can all assume the Russian government hasn't been sleeping through the relentless pressure put on it by the West, but hasnt it been obvious that Russiagate is a politically motivated project?

Arizona Slim , February 20, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Toward the end of the book Shattered , there's a passage describing how the Russia! Russia! Russia! narrative was planned. This happened in a room full of Shake Shack containers and it involved people from the Clinton campaign.

Peter Pan , February 20, 2018 at 10:41 am

"It's not a surprise that neo-Nazi groups and white supremacy groups have identified Russia as one of their key allies, in part because Russia is home to so many white people, and that the Putin government has identified these movements of key allies as well."

This is an absolutely ridiculous statement. The Russian Federation is very much against neo-Nazi and white supremacy movements due to what it suffered from Nazi Germany during WWII. Now Russia sees this on it's boarders in Ukraine. But Russia is branded with this because white folk live there. What about all the Muslims in Russia, many of which have come from Central Asia? What about all the Asians in Eastern Russia? The quoted statement is born of either ignorance, misinformation or disinformation.

JTMcPhee , February 20, 2018 at 11:26 am

The 'net says there are maybe 40,000 "blacks" living in Russia. Also reports a wide variety of experiences and opinions on what it's like to be a black (actually, of course, various shades of skin tones from dark olive to golden russety shades of brown, to near obsidian with hints of blue, but lumped together as "black," like I am a "white" even though my skin tones range from pinky yellow [soles and palms] to a light tannish cream [most of the rest]), living and traveling in Russia. One bit of the discourse: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/15/black-in-the-ussr-whats-life-like-for-a-russian-of-colour

I'm reminded of Dick Gregory's observation on America, that as to whites and blacks, "Down South, they don't care how close you (African-Americans) get, as long as you don't get too big. Up North, they don't care how big you get, as long as you don't get too close."

Russia is a big place, with some 143 million people living within the geographic boundaries. Nativism and related notions seem present in any population anywhere, whether deeply held convictions or convenient ladder rungs to political and economic power. It's so hard to develop any completeness and accuracy in understanding what's really shakin' and doin' in the world when people revert to simplisticated personifications as actual important functional categories. "Russia" is getting the full treatment. Too bad us USians don't use the same lenses and mirrors to examine our own linty navels

JustAnObserver , February 20, 2018 at 1:05 pm

Absolutely right. Russia's dead in WW2 – 20 million (*) is the accepted estimate. I don't think any other nation suffered as badly (+). If anyone on earth knows the evil consequences of fascism, neo-Nazism, racial purism the Russians do. That one single line in Feffer's argument comes squeaky close to invalidating the whole thing.

(*) Strictly the USSR.

(+) Query: Maybe the brutality of the Japanese invasion of Manchuria ?

rd , February 20, 2018 at 1:21 pm

It is estimated that the total deaths in the Soviet Union under Stalin range from 9 to 50 million (book-keeping was their forte), including famines but not including death by the Germans.

Mao's policies are believed to have resulted in 40 to 70 million deaths in China.

War is bad. Sometimes peace can be worse.

Clif , February 20, 2018 at 3:04 pm

strange that good book keeping has a margin of error of 5 fold?

NotTimothyGeithner , February 20, 2018 at 4:34 pm

Not really. The German sympathizers and later defectors who just wanted out couldn't all claim to be rocket scientists. A factory worker who just wanted to drive a big car and live in McClean has to come up with a story worth paying for.

There was a cottage industry of tall tales for Stalin's personal use/entertainment. I don't think the later defectors are an issue, but powerful people helped facilitate the arrival of too many people with missing records and German accents who weren't in a rush to go to Israel to not be a political problem.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/03/09/canadas-foreign-minister-says-russia-is-spreading-disinformation-about-her-grandfather/?utm_term=.b8c691c10933

The former Canadian foreign minister's grandfather was a collaborator. How did he get to the West? He probably told a tall enough tale. Someone could make their career with that kind of information coup. What happens if its discovered it was a run of the mill Nazi that was helped by a now powerful person?

The U.S. actually sent out people to look for Hitler in South America, not escaped war criminals but Adolph, himself. The U.S. is a paranoid society. Someone was giving tips, and reason would pretty much dictate the Soviets weren't stopping until they finished the job.

Its similar to how many people Caesar killed in Gaul, not that he didn't kill a great deal of people, but after a while, it comes back to there not being that many people.

drumlin woodchuckles , February 20, 2018 at 9:06 pm

Here is a Rigorous Intuition post about the CIA's importation of Nazis into post WWII America . . . . more about the reasons for it than a lot of details about the whole scope of all the operations . . . all the ratlines, all the paperclips, all the etc.

http://rigorousintuition.blogspot.com/2006/06/mephistopheles.html

And here is another, this one about Allen Dulles's persistent sympathy for German Fascism with perhaps a little of the smelliest Nazism pressure-washed off of it. It talks about his negotations through various go-betweens with German interlocutors during the early WWII period.

http://rigint.blogspot.com/2007/01/patterns-of-force.html

Donald , February 20, 2018 at 4:56 pm

The larger figures attributed to Stalin are bogus.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2011/03/10/hitler-vs-stalin-who-killed-more/

He killed millions, but people in the modern era are as prone to using figures as metaphors as medieval historians.

sgt_doom , February 20, 2018 at 4:26 pm

And what was the historical figure of Nazi soldiers killed by the Russkies: I believe it was 3 out of every 4?!

lyman alpha blob , February 20, 2018 at 1:52 pm

I'm going with ignorance – the rest of Feffer's arguments were a bunch of bafflegab too.

He's got nothing.

Montanamaven , February 20, 2018 at 5:22 pm

A combination of ignorance and arrogance is annoying and more dangerous than Russian troll farms. I can't believe his stupidity about Russians being Nazis. And of Putin being an Imperialist. If you read Putin's speeches, he is very much a nationalist or patriot. The Bear is in defense mode and trying to protect its huge borders. Putin' s Speech to the UN in 2015 was about "sovereign democracy" i.e. self -determination of a nation. He said they learned from the USSR that you can't and shouldn't spread ideology. Feffer could have a permanent gig on Morning Joe for all the "bafflegab" he spouts.

JerryDenim , February 20, 2018 at 4:02 pm

It's not a particularly well-supported or well-worded statement but it's not ridiculous nor is it without merit. Muslims are a minority group in Russia and not a very popular one. Some particularly barbarous acts of terrorism by various aggrieved groups has done nothing to improve their standing in Russian society. Vladimir Putin's government has actively cultivated various domestic ethno-nationalist astro-turf movements with fascist predilections for some time. It is believed that Putin sees these groups as a bulwark against liberal, western ideology that can be weaponized as CIA sponsored color revolutions or MeToo# type identity politic movements. Knowing what I know about the United States and post-Cold War US political meddling, I can't say I blame Putin for wanting a bulwark.

I remember years ago watching a documentary about a state-funded ultra-nationalist Putin youth group called "Nashi". They staged pro-Putin rallies, hosted summer camps and would organize free skin-head metal concerts with complimentary vodka and private tents for appropriately "Russian" ( not muslim and definitely not brown) couples to patriotically procreate in the service of the fatherland. You can call these state-sponsored groups of young Russian ethno-nationalists whatever you want, but neo-nazi doesn't seem too unfair if you're familiar with the ideological history and psychological undercurrents of National Socialism.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nashi_(youth_movement)

I don't believe Russia hacked any DNC servers, hijacked our elections or flipped any votes, but I don't doubt for a minute that Russia is actively sowing discord and disinformation among the American body politic. I believe the ultimate goal is the political disintegration, or at least paralysis of the United States as payback for the disintegration of the USSR and Warsaw Pact. I've heard Putin make sly statements over the years where if you read between the lines this goal is discernible through his thinly veiled remarks and his smoldering anger at the US for it's continued aggression against Russian influence and territory post-1989. Years before the 2016 election I remember reading reporting of how the modern Texas secessionist movement was nothing more than Moscow funded astro-turf. I have no doubts the "Cal-Exit" campaign that sprung up right after the election (and ironically supported by the exact same people most worried about Russian influence) was chiefly organized and funded by professional Russian propagandists as well.

I don't believe the hysterical, McCarthyist media narrative concerning the election and Russia, but I am also skeptical of absolutist, overarching narratives to the contrary. Putin is no dummy, he's not a pacifist, and he definitely views the US as a threat/adversary. None of that means Russian needs to be treated as an enemy or that diplomacy could not result in a mutually beneficial accommodation for both countries. The world is complicated and becoming emotionally invested in overly simplistic narratives, even contrarian ones, is unwise.

ChrisPacific , February 20, 2018 at 4:04 pm

I just about choked when I read this bit:

my major concern is its support for far right-wing nationalist and frankly, racist movements around the world, including here in the United States.

What does he think Ms. Nuland and her friends were up to in Ukraine? Other than a few bits like that, Feffer does seem to be at least somewhat grounded in reality (contrast his comments with the quote from Dan Coats). He thinks Russiagate had little to do with Trump, for example, and was just targeted at spreading confusion in general. That alone would get him branded as a heretic by the true believers.

Mo's Bike Shop , February 20, 2018 at 8:19 pm

I quit reading shortly after that. TV/Video is just awful at policy discussions. The stupid factoid barrages. I feel dumber just for reading this conversation, I suppose that's the point.

zagonostra , February 20, 2018 at 10:59 am

Take a look at the online cover of the NYT and tell me this whole Russiagate canard hasn't gone off the rail? https://zagonostra.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/opinon/

flora , February 20, 2018 at 1:17 pm

Great examples of how to fill up newspaper columns without doing any real reporting and without rocking any important boats.

Also, from 2013:

For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government's mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2013/07/14/u-s-repeals-propaganda-ban-spreads-government-made-news-to-americans/

Thanks, Obama.

Zagonostra , February 20, 2018 at 5:35 pm

Thanks for link Flora, I posted at Zagonostra.

I just started a website to organize all these scattered articles I read on the various sites I visit I need to find where I put the link to an article that outlines the planting of CIA paid journalist in major newspapers

Elizabeth Burton , February 20, 2018 at 7:09 pm

Just do what I do and tell people to research Project Mockingbird. :-) And welcome to the growing club of alternative news site aggregators.

Ur-Blintz , February 20, 2018 at 11:05 am

"There's always one " – Spike Lee

Given the "resistance" and other self-described "progressive" voices who have lost their minds over the election of Donald Trump, one should not be surprised by Feffer's credulity. He may do a better job at hiding it, with his oh-so-civil language, but the desperation coming from partisan believers, who rightly see Trump as dangerous but refuse to go after him for real reasons (first-strike policy in retaliation for cyber attacks, for instance – has a single Democrat gone on record saying how utterly wrong that is? Oh wait, didn't Hillary herself campaign on refusing to rule out the first strike option?) is palpable.

And who can blame them for being desperate?

But I find the notion that Russian "meddling" successfully increased the amount of discord among USians to be.ridiculous. We don't need any help from Russia to be dissatisfied with our polity and the false choices it constantly gives us.

Mate was far too kind. Some people and some ideas don't deserve the benefit of rational debate.

drumlin woodchuckles , February 20, 2018 at 3:22 pm

The "#TheResistance" don't care about Trump's genuine dangers. They care about how he prevented their Jonestown Priestess Clinton from getting coronated Empress as they were all expecting.

There are millions and millions of Jonestown Clintonites. They are a deadly threat and a menace to political improvement in this country. You can get a sample of what they smell like by reading Riverdaughter's blog "The Confluence" and its threads. Put your nose close to the screen and you can smell the Jonestown Punch.

Byron the Light Bulb , February 20, 2018 at 11:17 am

Not since German security services sent VI Lenin back on a sealed train to Petrograd, has one nation fractured the politics of another with cynical support for the deranged.

Disturbed Voter , February 20, 2018 at 12:42 pm

Nice. If the Russian Empire wasn't on the verge of falling apart, it wouldn't have taken the one Lenin domino to topple it all. If the US is on the verge of falling apart people will be blamed, but not the American people, the people who are actually responsible for this sociopathy.

Stormcrow , February 20, 2018 at 11:20 am

Do the Skeptics Go Too Far?

Caitlin Johnstone made a three-part Debunking Russiagate series back in June 2017. Here are all three. I think they hold up pretty well. (They were noted at NC.)

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/debunking-russiagate-part-1-7cca3eb88ffa
https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/debunking-russiagate-part-2-9e4b1dd895e9
https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/debunking-russiagate-part-3-b159aedc9410

Here's her latest.

America's Election Meddling Would Indeed Justify Other Countries Retaliating In Kind
February 20, 2018
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/20/americas-election-meddling-would-indeed-justify-other-countries-retaliating-in-kind/

The late Robert Parry was also consistently trenchant.
Here is a link to some of his articles. (Many also noted at NC.)

https://www.google.com/search?q=Robert+Parry+russiagate&lr=&hl=en&source=lnt&tbs=qdr:y&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjCkuSC8bTZAhVIA6wKHQCUCFAQpwUIIQ&biw=1849&bih=925

Johnstone and Parry are only two of many incisive skeptics. I am diasppointed in Feffer.

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 12:24 pm

goddamn i miss robert parry.

sgt_doom , February 20, 2018 at 4:29 pm

And wasn't it AP who fired Mr. Parry for attempting to publish Real News?

hemeantwell , February 20, 2018 at 2:37 pm

Ian Welsh offered a suggestion http://www.ianwelsh.net/how-to-stop-russian-election-interference/

.From the outside, Americans screaming about this look like a bully screaming, "How dare you do to me what I do to everyone else. I'm going to bury you!" This does not induce sympathy.

Still, we can make a strong case that countries shouldn't interfere in other countries' internal political affairs, including–especially including–elections.

I think that the Russians might be willing to agree to that.

So the sane method of dealing with this issue, to which which virtually everyone will agree, would be to begin negotiations towards that end.

Americans and Russians get together and have frank talks, which amount to a peace treaty: We won't do it to you, if you don't do it to us.

They might even extend that to not doing it to other countries.

This is the actual road out, though it seems laughable because it's really impossible to imagine. Both the US and Russia have been interfering in many countries for a long time, though America is the champion of the last 30 years or so, and by a wide margin.

Bittercup , February 20, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Russia has been arguing for just that -- a cyberwar peace treaty -- for almost a decade now. Here's a 2009 write-up , which is really quite interesting in a hindsight-y way.

"We really believe it's defense, defense, defense," said the State Department official, who asked not to be identified because authorization had not been given to speak on the record. "They [the Russians] want to constrain offense. We needed to be able to criminalize these horrible 50,000 attacks we were getting a day."

Carolinian , February 20, 2018 at 11:20 am

Feffer's argument boiled down

I find the narrative that's been put forward to be honestly more convincing than the counter narrative

We're supposed to be convinced because he's convinced. It's a gut feeling. Appeals to actual evidence bounce right off. Guess I don't get out much but had to look up who John Feffer even is.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Feffer

The latest M of A–linked here the other day–is a great takedown of Mueller's troll farm allegation. Some of us prefer a little evidence prior to being "convinced."

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02/mueller-indictement-the-russian-influence-is-a-commercial-marketing-scheme.html#more

integer , February 20, 2018 at 12:52 pm

As noted on his Wikipedia page, and his own website, Feffer is/was a fellow at Open Societies Foundations. The incontinent George Soros hates Russia:

Leaked memo shows how George Soros planned to overthrow Vladimir Putin and destabilise Russia The Duran

Russia is Soros' white whale a creature he has been trying to capture and kill-off for nearly a decade.

Unfortunately for Soros (and fortunately for the entire planet) the Russian government realised the cancerous nature of Soros backed NGOs, and took the proper preventative measures which in hindsight, and after reviewing the DC Leaks memos, proved to be a very wise move.

integer , February 20, 2018 at 1:08 pm

From commenter danny j at TRNN:

Crowdstrike is the only source of evidence of Russian hacking of DNC. And Crowdstrike had to walk it back when they used the exact same evidence to claim that Russia had hacked Ukraine's artillery. That is likely why DNC refused to let FBI run forensics on their servers.

Feffer claims to oppose Cold War II, but is actively promoting it. Russiagate is being used to silence progressives. Note that both Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein are named in Mueller's indictment as beneficiaries of the alleged "Russian meddling" in our election. BTW: Feffer is a Fellow at Open Society, a NGO financed by George Soros who also funds the Atlantic Council, whose board includes the owner of Crowdstrike. So Feffer and Crowdstrike are both funded by the same oligarch.

Watt4Bob , February 20, 2018 at 1:15 pm

Feffer strikes me as a man of ' negotiable convictions '.

shinola , February 20, 2018 at 11:29 am

Lions and tigers and Russian bears, oh my!

So, it appears that some Russians may have used social media to try and sway the US elections in a direction more favorable to their own interests.

If that gets your panties in a wad, then hang onto your hat because I've some shocking news for you: Ice is cold & fire is hot!

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 11:54 am

and most of whatever it was came after the election, not sure how that worked.

Bill Smith , February 20, 2018 at 12:39 pm

The Soviets and now the Russians have been messing about with the US for 70 years. Nothing new about it. Read "The Sword and the Shield" which is sourced from the KGB archives when they were briefly opened to the west after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Things are just easier now than then. "The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the the Third World" is also sourced from the KGB archives has details about what they did then.

The US messed with the Soviet Union and Russia when they could. See the stories about Yeltsin's reelection. Or the Ukraine in 2014.

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 1:15 pm

this was reportedly a commercial venture. still awaiting evidence that the election was in any way affected by some online scam that may have originated in russia. the us has interfered, as you point out, much more effectively in russia. other countries do it to us, but there is no evidence that russia effected clinton's loss to trump, or colluded in effecting it.

lyman alpha blob , February 20, 2018 at 2:00 pm

A commercial venture, as opposed to David Brock's pro-Clinton paid trolls which was definitely not a commercial venture and designed solely to influence the election. Also illegal by the way but he's a Murican so who cares?

Loblolly , February 20, 2018 at 11:45 am

This is the mental equivalent of the sunk cost fallacy. At this point the media, the Dems and legions of David Brock led trolls have invested so much time and energy into "Muh Russia" that they can't write off their investment.

Keep going. You're doing fine. It's down there somewhere. You can endure another season of Persist, the payoff is right around the corner. There is nothing more important right now than ignoring inconvenient facts.

I might suggest that things would go faster if you give up just a little more of your critical thinking skills. To be honest they just get in the way at times like these when the narrative gets tenuous.

Roquentin , February 20, 2018 at 11:46 am

No one outside of the Dem party faithful really cares about the Russiagate nonsense. The rest of the world has watched the US meddle in and outright rig elections in more countries than I have the time to list for decades, a list with very ironically includes Russia in 1996. If a troll factory is the best they have, it's a straight up joke. They better have more to go along with it, because as it stands now buying a few ads and paying people to post online, standard PR practice, is incredibly weak. At this stage in the game, it feels kind of pathetic, an attempt by a party elite still unable to admit they lost, grasping at straws and still in this late hour desperately trying to make it seem like Hillary was the rightful winner.

It also, not coincidentally, works to taint the criticism of anyone, right or left, who disagrees. Not only that, it further casts doubt on all news sources which aren't the Democrat party approved corporate sources, another bonus. One could make a good case this was the goal all along: absolve themselves for bungling the 2016 election and discredit any information sources they don't control lock, stock, and barrel.

Jim Haygood , February 20, 2018 at 2:05 pm

'The rest of the world has watched the US meddle in and outright rig elections in more countries than I have the time to list.'

Not only has the US been hollering "regime change" since the infamous neocon Project for a New American Century began in 1997, it actually invaded and plundered several countries -- Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan -- for the express purpose of replacing their governments with US-backed ones.

Check out ex-CIA douchebag James Woolsey making weird barnyard noises when MSM anchorette Laura Ingraham asks him whether "we" still meddle in other countries' elections, before admitting on the record that it's "only for a very good cause" [yuk, yuk]

https://tinyurl.com/yded4ugt

With waving arms and hair on fire, Rep. Jerrold Nadler claimed on MSNBC that the Russian troll farm is "the equivalent of Pearl Harbor." If special snowflake America's democracy is so fragile that a bunch of amateurish Boris & Natasha trolls can bring it down, then let it bleed [and share the Stoli, comrades].

shinola , February 20, 2018 at 3:36 pm

" If special snowflake America's democracy is so fragile that a bunch of amateurish Boris & Natasha trolls can bring it down, then let it bleed [and share the Stoli, comrades]."

I like that framing. I am so gonna steal it.

FluffytheObeseCat , February 20, 2018 at 2:10 pm

Your second paragraph is I think all that matters at this point. The Russian trolls (who are probably still active online, albeit with less vigor) are pikers compared to the native manipulators who swarm the 'liberal' ring of our 2-ring media circus. The latter are devoted to squelching dissent, and unconcerned about sounding like idiots while they do it. Of course the only people they are aiming to shame are waverers on their 'own side'. Republican flyover types are unpeople in their eyes; their target audience is pretty select -- mainly those who don't want to be out of place among the youthful hipster elite. I.e. former Sanderistas who might pay attention to establishment Democrat perfidy if the noise machine stops howling for a second.

I'd love to know where these frantic fellows were when the New York Times comments sections were overtaken by Correct the Record trolls 2 years ago. That Brockian anti-Sanders effort was more effective and Orwellian than anything they've since tagged as Russia-generated. So much of the furor now seems to be coming from men who fear they may be getting bested at their own game!

drumlin woodchuckles , February 20, 2018 at 3:29 pm

"Tainting the criticism" of anyone who disagrees is the primary mid-range goal of the Russiagate Information Operation. The long range goal is to pass Patriot Act type laws to suppress and control all expression on all media; digital, analog or other.

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 11:53 am

feffer keeps saying "who hacked the dnc" but there is no evidence anybody did. it's like the repeated assertions made about saddam's "wmd's" in the runup to iraq 2.

False Solace , February 20, 2018 at 1:19 pm

Timestamps on the DNC data show the files were copied locally, not over a network. That means they were leaked. Not hacked. Leaked by someone with physical access to the data. This came out back in July . Maybe Mate isn't "convinced" but I haven't seen anything, ever, that convincingly refutes the analysis.

So if someone wants me to believe in Russiagate they need to show me some damn evidence. I'm not going to believe something simply because every flexian apparatchik in the press parrots it 24/7 (90% of whom were in the tank for Hillary and personally devastated when she lost and more than happy to blame evil foreigners for how they called the election wrong). What we're seeing is a serious mental breakdown on the part of Democrats. What happened to these people? Back when GWB was in office they were supposedly the party of reality, the rational people who didn't make things up to justify a convenient war. It appears that only lasted as long as elections went in their favor. Now we see them for the dishonest hysterical fantasists they really are. Just like Republicans.

So where does that leave us? At the dawn of a Second Cold War with a psychopathic party on either side. Well, that's just awesome.

Bill Smith , February 20, 2018 at 5:39 pm

How do we know that the time stamps where created on the DNC's computer and not some other computer later on? It's easy to change the date backwards and make those time stamps be anything.

blennylips , February 20, 2018 at 8:57 pm

I had occasion to view a Podesta email recently: https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/11409 Big banner across the top: This email has also been verified by Google DKIM 2048-bit RSA key. Like a blockchain transaction, this DKIM algo was designed to prove cryptographically that you are viewing what existed when the user clicked send.

Click on the DKIM link in that banner for a full explanation.

Domain Keys Identified Mail, or DKIM, is a highly regarded email security system that can be used to independently authenticate the contents and sender of an email that uses it.

JTMcPhee , February 20, 2018 at 8:46 pm

Some folks just can't keep themselves from pushing the Narrative. I wonder how many of those people have been involved in "interfering with elections," as part of the Great American Enterprise

Just for a little fun, here's a list of actual "interference" done by the good old US of C.I.A, attempts and actual overthrows of various governments, including democratically elected ones: http://theduran.com/list-of-foreign-governments-overthrown-by-the-cia-is-massive/

DJG , February 20, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Yves Smith: You yourself have written that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. What we are getting is flimsy hearsay and calls for war. It is all Remember the Maine (and don't remember that the Democrats, in particular, brought this on themselves).

Feffer's typical in not being able to keep control of the simplest of facts:
"It's not a surprise that neo-Nazi groups and white supremacy groups have identified Russia as one of their key allies, in part because Russia is home to so many white people, and that the Putin government has identified these movements of key allies as well."

So now Russia is the international source of white people? What can this possibly mean? And don't tell the Volga Tatars or the Mari or the Yakuts or any of the many peoples who aren't "white" by U.S. standards. (Many of the Mari are among the last pagan Europeans.) The comment is worthy of Sarah Palin, well-known foreign-policy expert and Chunky Monkey shoes fancier.

I am reminded of the Watergate crisis. By all means, let's have indictments for real crimes (besides lying to the FBI) of people who are living within American jurisdictions or can be extradited. Then have a trial(s) with a judge of the quality of John Sirica.

But that isn't what the powerful want, particularly because establishment figures soon will be dragged in. They want confrontation, more looting, and more war. And if we are all suddenly worried about Putin being morally stinky, what should we do with Erdogan, Netanyahu, Viktor Orban of Hungary, Brazilian President Temer, and Aung San Suu Kyi, all of whom are considered "friends" of the U S of A?

And as to sowing discord: Someone should have noticed that 50 years ago with Nixon and the Southern Strategy.

Paul Cardan , February 20, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Seems to me that Maté did just fine. I'm not sure of what else you can do with someone like Feffer. When presented with good reasons for doubting his purported evidence, Feffer pretty much concedes the point every time. But then he insists that he finds the evidence convincing. In other words, he insists that he's going to go on treating it as good evidence, drawing the relevant conclusions, and asserting as much. That means he's a gullible person, and rather dogmatic to boot. Arguing with such people won't get you very far.

I did find Feffer's repeated demand for a counter-narrative interesting. This seems to be a way of simultaneously lowering the bar for knowledge and raising the bar for doubt. He's trying to say that doubt is only reasonable if the skeptic can produce a better theory than the believer. Absent such a theory, doubt isn't reasonable and everyone should believe. In other words, having conceded that the evidence isn't very good by ordinary epistemic standards, he's decided to switch to extra-ordinary standards. Roughly, I think the ordinary standard for doubt goes something like this: I can correctly say I doubt something when I can explain why the supposed evidence doesn't provide sufficient support for the claim in question. I'm not required, as a skeptic, to produce a superior argument for a different, incompatible claim about the same issue.

And now, having written that, it looks to me like Feffer is just engaging in a bit of argumentum ad ignorantium , a fallacy so old they named it in Latin.

Susan the other , February 20, 2018 at 1:48 pm

Exactly. Thank you for this ancient nutshell: argumentum ad ignorantium.

Paul Cardan , February 20, 2018 at 2:13 pm

You're welcome. But I misspelled it: argumentum ad ignorantiam .

Mattski , February 20, 2018 at 3:35 pm

The counter-narrative, IMO, is this: The avaricious and foolhardy Trump wanted to build more onanistic monuments to himself in Moscow, to slurp oysters there and cavort with Russian women. He threatened to upset decades of planning by both Dems and Republicans alike to encircle Russia, expand NATO, and SELL BILLIONS AND BILLIONS WORTH OF ARMS, often to dictators, with kickbacks on the side (legal and illegal) to ours truly. The powers that be in the CIA and FBI decided that intervention was needed, even if the cost was democracy itself. Trump has enough irons in the fire with Russia, enough outstanding loans and dirty dealings, that such a clear-eyed narrative may never get its head above water, but that is as close as we may come to nutshelling it.

witters , February 20, 2018 at 5:26 pm

"That means he's a gullible person, and rather dogmatic to boot. Arguing with such people won't get you very far."

Which also means, surely, that his demand that others who refuse to endorse his gullible dogmatism must meet "extra-ordinary epistemic demands" is – at best – mere sounding off. For who could be a worse pick for assessing both the required standards and their being met?

I think the kindest thing to say here, epistemically, is that the man is in a terrible mess. It is a sad thing to see. But then there are a lot of sad things to see in the "progressive reality-based community" today.

Paul Cardan , February 20, 2018 at 8:05 pm

Makes me wonder what's to be done about it. When I hit upon the idea that he's just arguing from ignorance, I started thinking about informal logic courses, the ones called Critical Thinking hereabouts. Perhaps more of those would help.

By the way, I was talking with a colleague who does Ancient yesterday, specifically the philosophy of Socrates, and I mentioned the question you raised about the Noble Lie. He told me that it's quite similar to a myth recounted by Hesiod. That was news to me. He also said that Greek colonists, prior to departure, would settle on a constitution for the new city together with a founding myth. As for the bit about the whole of one's childhood having been a dream, he guessed that this was a story that was intended to be told repeatedly, to successive generations. Now, the first generation was unlikely to believe, granted. But later generations would believe it of the first , the founding generation. He noted that this would be quite similar to what a number of native American peoples believed about the first of their kind. Oh, and one more thing occurred to me: earth mother goddess myths were common to the region back then, dating back at least to the Minoan civilization. Altogether, to me this makes the Myth of Metals seem a good deal more plausible relative to the people for whom it was intended.

This also makes me think that education in the humanities could be part of the solution to widespread credulity and dogmatism. Studying Plato can, for instance, inoculate against myth, something which is still with us. Knowing myth when you see it, it's possible to appreciate it without being taken in. There's much to be gained, too, from thinking like Thucydides from time to time. It's good to recall that both Sparta and Athens claimed to be fighting for freedom. And every time I hear about how we're going to use better, more powerful tools to finally vanquish the things we find most threatening, whether those things are "enemy" states or tactics (terrorism) or catastrophic ecological processes that we have ourselves set in motion, I can't help but recall Lucretius' account of what happened when bulls and boars and lions were trained up for war and loosed upon the enemy. "Don't believe what I've just told you about all this," he says, "for no one would be so foolish as to think they could ever really control such beasts." I don't often use the word, but there's wisdom here, or so it seems to me. We'd profit from knowing it. But, by and large, we don't.

JohnnyGL , February 20, 2018 at 12:32 pm

If I take my young kids and have an easter egg hunt with those plastic eggs and tell them that there's candy inside, and they keep finding them, opening them and there's just candy wrappers with no candy, then my kids are going to quickly grow tired of looking for the eggs since they're not delivering the promised candy.

This is what Russiagate feels like. We keep finding eggs, getting excited, then, no candy. But we're told to keep at it .eventually SOME of those eggs will have some candy. Other people who are really good at finding eggs have said they found some eggs with candy in them, even though we know they're habitual liars.

Feffer and the others who believe in this story are going to need some SERIOUS F-ING CANDY at this point to justify this unshakable belief they have that THERE IS CANDY SOMEWHERE IN THESE STUPID, PLASTIC EASTER EGGS!?!?!?!

Mo's Bike Shop , February 20, 2018 at 9:06 pm

I won't get my hopes up, some people like that kind of thing. The internet can always bring them together. /oi

John Merryman , February 20, 2018 at 12:32 pm

It reminds me of that iceberg that broke off Antarctica last year. The enormity and extent of the hypocrisy and global delusion it represents. If anyone wants to understand the level of breakdown, consider the amount of debt being issued today. That is the real source of cognitive dissonance.

Susan the other , February 20, 2018 at 1:58 pm

I certainly agree. When politics gets this chaotic and confusing there is some far more important hidden agenda being guarded by a "bodyguard of lies." The turn of this century will go down in history as the beginning of the energy wars. When the stakes are this high everybody pretends to be innocent. My knowledge is scant – I assume Russia's lifeblood is natural gas and LNG and they want to sell it to Europe. We claim Europe as our URally and do not want this to happen. Unless we can strong arm our way into some of the action. To that end we have been pushing US natural gas/LNG exports regardless of the expense and short returns of fracking. The dead silence on global warming and the energy crisis should be the first give-away.

Clive , February 20, 2018 at 3:48 pm

A hugely important point which is seldom ever if ever covered in the media here (umm scratching his head, I wonder if it could be for any particular reason) -- Europe is highly dependent on natural gas from Russia. We're forecast to have a big, late cold sna p and suddenly everyone starts getting a little twitchy about energy security.

Of course, us gas consumers here (well, our governments, anyway) resent their dependence and the self-loathing which it engenders. But that dependence in fact increases geopolitical security because neither "side" wants to do anything which upsets the energy apple cart.

Shale gas and LNG exports from the US threatens this equilibrium. But there's no economic (cost of production) advantage for US shale gas over pipeable Russian gas. Wouldn't it be nice for the US shale gas industry if, oh, I don't know, there were some shenanigans which gave a voice to anti-Russia sentiment and a clamour for, maybe eventually, economic sanctions?

Cynical, moi?

Elizabeth Burton , February 20, 2018 at 7:23 pm

And during the last cold snap in the US, several tankers full of Russian LNG made port here to make up a shortage. So, having prohibited Europe from buying Russian gas in favor of importing the US version, we ended up not having enough for our own people and got it from Russia.

The farce be with you.

Rob P , February 20, 2018 at 12:37 pm

>We have the report from the intelligence community here in the United States that provides at least a trail. It's been challenged, but I find the narrative that's been put forward to be honestly more convincing than the counter narrative.

I agree that the 'Russia hacked the DNC' theory is more likely to be true than any other individual theory, although there still isn't any hard proof available to the public. But that's hardly a good defense of 'Russiagate'. Not having a better suspect isn't really a justification for sanctioning Russia (or more, if the Russiagaters get their way).

voteforno6 , February 20, 2018 at 1:19 pm

I disagree that the report provides a trail. It lists a number of APTs that conducted the hacking, and states that they are tied to Russia. However, it provides zero underlying evidence that the hacking was conducted by those APTs, and that they were related to Russia in any way.

Another possibility is that, yes, Russia did hack the DNC for intelligence-gathering purposes, but didn't provide the emails to WikiLeaks. It's entirely possible that more than one entity hacked into them (if anyone did at all). As flimsy as the narrative is with Russia doing the hack, it's even thinner when it comes to transmitting the emails to Russia.

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 1:59 pm

thanks for this summary. just more assertions sans evidence from the people that brought you the iraq war (republicans and democrats, working together like the harlem globetrotters and the washington (hmm) generals.

False Solace , February 20, 2018 at 1:27 pm

That's like saying the most popular theory is correct, on the basis that it's the most popular. Truth doesn't work that way. Supply some evidence. Otherwise you're operating on the basis of what feels true. "Truthiness", not truth.

Why did the FBI never examine the server?
Why do the timestamps show the data was copied locally by someone with physical access to the machine?
Why did the NSA decline to back the whitepaper when we know they have every single network intercept and can literally prove what happened?

All we have is a bunch of handwaving and people who don't know much about computers repeating things they heard from people with a track record of lying.

JohnnyGL , February 20, 2018 at 12:42 pm

I think it's worth looking at the Russia-gate believers, on this. If they all agreed on one narrative, that'd be something, but they don't even agree among themselves, which I'd argue is actually really problematic.

I may be off on one or more of the details above, but all of these "serious" believers in Russia-gate don't even agree with one another.

I'm growing increasingly tired of watching Aaron Mate disembowel these people one-by-one but I'd agree it needs to be done because this story just .won't .go .away .

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 12:47 pm

it's like global warming deniers, they often take contradictory positions in coming to the preordained conclusion that it isn't happening.

JohnnyGL , February 20, 2018 at 1:24 pm

Exactly .I've heard

Climate change is real, but not caused by humans .not real ..real, but caused by solar activity .real, but planet is getting colder and risking new ice age .maybe real, but don't have enough evidence .

almost like it's an organized campaign to spread DIS-information?!?!?!?

Mo's Bike Shop , February 20, 2018 at 9:20 pm

If anyone has a fun link to someone trying to tackle where the secret volcanoes spewing CO2 are, I'd appreciate it. Because it's become a meme-earworm to me: "Which volcanoes?!?"

FluffytheObeseCat , February 20, 2018 at 2:35 pm

The people you've mentioned are not perfectly mainstream. At least they were not until quite recently. They are members of the (formerly) 'left' wing blogosphere. A group that contains many natural contrarians, who each have cultivated slightly different views of things over the years.

Although they sure seem pretty lockstep now, on this matter, don't they? I suspect most of them cannot not allow themselves to accept why it is that a skank like Trump was elected. The 'left' blogosphere was completely neutered over the past decade, and it's leading lights now have little value to add to anyone's thinking on current affairs.

HotFlash , February 20, 2018 at 3:47 pm

Perhaps they are applying for the gravy train?

Dwight , February 20, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Feffer says that progressives don't take Russiagate as seriously as they should. I think critical thinkers are taking it very seriously, because of potential censorship of dissenting voices that favor peace over war, and that favor productive social spending over wasteful military spending.

Even absent such concerns, the Russiagate hysteria is obviously a partisan power struggle that sucks the air out of the room for productive political discourse to address real social, economic, and environmental problems.

How seriously to take Russiagate is a separate question from skepticism over evidence we have yet to be shown. The bigger question that Feffer doesn't address is "So what?" Even if the facts stated in the 3-agency report and the DOJ indictment are true, do they really justify all this hysteria?

If the Russian state is actually interfering in our elections, then quietly take measures to stop it. Instead, over the past 15 years, the federal government has promoted hackable computers and voting systems.

Moreover, even if the Russian state did interfere for geopolitical goals, treat it as the actions of an adversary and quietly take countermeasures. This should not be a political issue.

The Russiagate narrative has gone far beyond authentic reaction to Russia's actions, which many experts such as Cohen and Mearsheimer consider to be reactions to NATO actions.

Feffer's concern is that Putin and Trump are colluding to promote white supremacy. That's his big picture, and would be concerning if true. However, even if true that doesn't address the concerns I raise above.

sgt_doom , February 20, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Would recommend a recently published book by investigative journalist, Michele McPhee: Maximum Harm: The Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI, and the Road to the Marathon Bombing. Highly recommended

moving left , February 20, 2018 at 5:11 pm

All good points, Dwight. We need to separate the discussion/investigation of Russian influence from the ridiculous and dangerous hyperbolic reaction to it. We need to take steps to make the election process fair and transparent and un-hackable as far as possible (paper ballots, hand-counted) as much or more for domestic reasons. I care far more about voter suppression (legal and illegal) and about domestic players monkeying around with electronic voting systems than I care about a tiny amount of crude ads and trolling on social media.

Code Name D , February 20, 2018 at 12:52 pm

Democrats have just strangled the "Blue wave" in the cradle. Political tides are turning, and the Democratic Establishment is starting to feel the pressure from Progressive primary challengers. And evidence is mounting that Progressives win elections, even in "red districts" while corporate Democrats still manage to lose even in blue ones. And on the horizon, is a Sanders run in 2020.

So, the 13 incitements, in addition to keeps the Russian narrative alive for another few weeks, is providing political cover for the establishment to clean house as it were, and clear out the Progressive infestation threatening to cripple the money train the establishment has become accustomed too.

The "Do Russia-gate skeptics go too far" is a part of that narrative. Interesting to note that "Russia-gate skeptics" don't actually get much air-time to challenge the narrative. So, the notion that they have gone "too far" is a bit laudable. No, the point here is to justify further squelching independent media and to silence the few individuals out there who still dare to speak out over watercoolers.

Already, more assertive smears have been made against Jill Stine and Birney Sanders as receiving "Russian aid" in their campaigns. The end game is to knock them out of the running in 2020, justifying even more extreme steps.

Democratic Establishment being challenged in primaries will start to invoke a kind of "don't change horses" privileges for their primaries in response to this new "9-11". They might even go so far as to accuse the primary challengers as receiving "aid from Russia." This will cripple their primary efforts. And failing that, justifies simply locking them out of the primary all together in the name of "election integrity."

Their thinking is that if they lock out the progressives, then the establishment can rise the wave for another cycle. But in so doing, they squelch the issues progressives are trying to represent, and makes Russia-gate more prominent in the 2018 strategy.

It plays right into the hands of the Republicans. Giving them the intellectual high ground when it comes to rallying around the president. While at the same time de-mobilizing the progressive vote, ending the blue wave before it gets started.

The Dem-establishment are finished, they just don't know it yet. It's just a mater of time before they fade away completely. What remains undecided is whether a progressive moment will take their place, either by taking over the Democratic Party or forming a new third party to take its place. Or weather America becomes a single party state under Republican Rule.

The 13 indictments is a step closer to the later.

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 1:17 pm

yes, i think it's a twofer, clean house in the democratic party to preserve their control and maintain their grift, and support the neocons who haven't had enough wars lately.

MichaelSF , February 20, 2018 at 3:29 pm

So, the 13 incitements, . . .

I think that is an apt term to use instead of indictments, as it seems to cut to the heart of why this is happening.

drumlin woodchuckles , February 20, 2018 at 6:52 pm

The answer is to defeat every single mainstream Democrat in every single race, every single time. Loss by loss, the Mainstream Democrats can be exterminated from political existence.

Tobin Paz , February 20, 2018 at 1:08 pm

Clinton paid for the dossier

Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump's connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.

which included Russian sources

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

How good were these sources? Consider what Steele would write in the memos he filed with Simpson: 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. " And both of these insiders, after "speaking to a trusted compatriot," would claim that the Kremlin had spent years getting its hooks into Donald Trump.

lied about it

Hillary Clinton's Campaign Wasn't Honest About Paying for Trump Dossier, Watchdog Says

The Washington-based Campaign Legal Center (CLC) said in a Wednesday complaint to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that Hillary for America and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) broke campaign finance law by trying to hide payments related to the dossier, which included graphic, unproven claims about the current president's sexual habits.

and the FBI used it:

FBI used dossier allegations to bolster Trump-Russia investigation

The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump's campaign as part of the justification to win approval to secretly monitor a Trump associate, according to US officials briefed on the investigation.

And what is the origin of all this Russia BS?

Political Strategy: The Origins Of The Trump/Russia Nonsense & Hysteria

Thanks to the Podesta Emails available on Wikileaks, we can have a clear view of what research and polling was done to try to come up with a good strategy for the Clinton campaign.

Secretary Clinton's top vulnerability tested in this poll is the attack that claims as Secretary of State she signed off on a deal that gave the Russian government control over 20% of America's uranium production, after investors in the deal donated over $140 million to the Clinton Foundation. Half of all likely voters (53%) are less likely to support Clinton after hearing that statement and 17% are much less likely to support her after that statement.

And guess who was the FBI director at that time:

FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin's atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

The connections to the current Russia case are many. The Mikerin probe began in 2009 when Robert Mueller , now the special counsel in charge of the Trump case, was still FBI director. And it ended in late 2015 under the direction of then-FBI Director James Comey , whom Trump fired earlier this year.

voteforno6 , February 20, 2018 at 1:14 pm

I found the intelligence agency report on the DNC hacking to be rather flimsy. I think the tell for me was that roughly half of it consisted of some very generic, boilerplate cybersecurity tips – the kind that you'll find in your agency's annual security refresher training. The only thing that would've made it more obvious, I think, is if they had changed around the font size and margins, in order to drive up the page count. What does that say about their confidence in the rest of the report, that they felt the need to add fluff to it?

todde , February 20, 2018 at 9:48 pm

You have no chain of evidence to convict anyone in a court of law for the hack. The FBI was called in months later, and the already deemed guilty party just so happened to collude with her election opponent.

cocomaan , February 20, 2018 at 1:18 pm

Lee Camp's takedown of the Mueller indictments is incredible:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8ccn2oE3v4

Ranger Rick , February 20, 2018 at 1:24 pm

I often get called a supporter of "fake news" for ignoring any and all reports on Russian election interference and Russian twitter bots as profoundly not interesting or important. No evidence has ever surfaced that votes were changed, fabricated or deleted. The electoral process itself was untouched. The candidates were not bribed (for a given value of 'bribed' -- i.e. 'quid pro quo'). Thus, there was no interference.

I was especially ridiculed for claiming that the recent four-alarm fire at Wired about Russian Twitter posts following the Parkland school shooting was crisis exploitation at its most disgusting. I do not dispute that posts by Russian government employees exist. I just fail to see them as a threat or even a meaningful fact to report about.

cocomaan , February 20, 2018 at 1:54 pm

You CLEARLY don't spend your whole life on twitter. If you DID you'd UNDERSTAND.

What are you, some kind of shut in?

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 1:27 pm

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/19/mueller-the-politician/
https://theintercept.com/2018/02/19/a-consensus-emerges-russia-committed-an-act-of-war-on-par-with-pearl-harbor-and-911-should-the-u-s-response-be-similar/

I'm sure the second article has been linked here, but bears repeating.
h/t to Sonja commenting on it for the counterpunch link.

Tomonthebeach , February 20, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Why would Putin prefer Trump to Clinton? SABOTAGE.

The term sabotage derives from the practice of throwing "sabots" (clogs) into machines to break them. It's Luddites 101. Tossing Trump into the machinery of Democracy has clearly achieved precisely the same thing. Since Trump, many headlines continue to assert that democracy in the USA is broken.

To Putin, the beauty of it is that he did it so easily and for so little money.

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 1:39 pm

clinton sabotaging the primaries broke our democracy, and so did the supreme ct in citizens united. are the justices and clinton controlled by putin, too? i understand clinton has a higher price tag than the average russian troll.

Massinissa , February 20, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Yeah, sorry, but if we lost our 'democracy', we lost it some good number of years before Trump. Perhaps when George W Bush beat Gore, if not before that. Trump is just the latest right wing sh*tlord president we have had in succession, including supposed leftists Obama and Clinton. The only reason Democrats hate Trump more than they hated Bush (whose image by the way has since been rehabilitated by the Democratic establishment!) is that he is rude and goes against social norms.

Also, do you really think a few hundred thousand dollars worth of shitty advertisements comparing Hillary to the Devil is really enough to actually affect the election in any significant way?

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 1:47 pm

yeah love it when shrub is now getting brought back into the fold, assuming their disdain for him ever was real. and ronnie was often complimented by obama.

Arizona Slim , February 20, 2018 at 3:51 pm

Trump is hated because he is rude and goes against social norms? Well, I'll bet that the Democrats would have hated Lyndon Johnson too. Oh, wait

Taras 77 , February 20, 2018 at 1:54 pm

The extent of the hysteria is mind boggling-do people believe this? another pearl harbor, worst atk sincie 9-11?
The head of these 13 people, yes just 13, was a former hot dog vendor in St Pete. The $1.2 mil also covered ads to internal Russian markets. Moon over alabama says it was a commercial exercise-VP of Facbook says most ot the russian sourced ads were place after the election.

i agree with kuntzler that the us has collectively lost its mind-it really is beyond hysteria, it goes to "can you top this." I think "worst atk since 9-11" gets us close to the top but I have never credited scarborough with any ability to think-just keep repeated the mantra. I do not know where this will wind up but clearly the neo cons have won big time and america has embarassed itself beyond what anyone could conceiveably imagine. I hold my head and try not to completely dispair.

Buck Eschaton , February 20, 2018 at 2:06 pm

It's the blatant in your face lies and it's the ludicrousness of the lies. I recently saw Dr.Strangelove at the theater, and what do you do when confronted with people who are crazed or possessed by something? To say things in all seriousness that would make you spit your drink out in laughter. There's got to be something going on for this many people in "serious" media outlets to be saying the most lunatic and bizarre things in unison.

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 2:11 pm

i'm afraid it's a push for another war, syria, iran, russia, you name it. it's just about as bad as the extended propaganda campaign before we attacked iraq for nonexistent (and very obviously nonexistent, as hans blix and mohammed elbarridei shot down each and every report of wmd's) weapons. i just hope and pray to the gods of randomness that this one doesn't work as well.

NotTimothyGeithner , February 20, 2018 at 5:12 pm

A few thoughts: Cord cutting. Who watches cable news? In the end people who are older and towards the more comfortable end of the spectrum, the last eight or sixteen years, weren't terrible. Trump might be more upsetting to them that the Iraq War, hence the new found admiration for Shrub.

We should remember the rightward shift of the media in the 90's to chase after the audience being lost to cable news and talk radio. Rush harped endlessly on the liberal media. It was grossly inaccurate, but newspapers shifted right in response as conservatives stopped buying newspapers.

Who is the most likely to be a cable news viewer of the next few years? A kid who went to an Occupy rally? No, I don't think so. The networks have been furiously fear mongering to keep the election viewership watching because in the long term they won't pick up new people. After all, what does Maddow do in an hour (imagine she never went full Glenn Beck) that you couldn't read in under five minutes? They are pulling out all of FoxNews tricks to win old people over. Look at the graphics on MSNBC and CNN. In years past, the three cable networks had different acts, but they look almost interchangeable. Everything, even opinion pieces, get the "breaking news" chyron. Turn on MSNBC. I guarantee you, you will see "breaking news" in a frightening form over something entirely trivial.

http://www.adweek.com/tvnewser/heres-the-median-age-of-the-typical-cable-news-viewer/355379

Senior citizens viewership. Anathema to advertisers. Seniors even the ones with money already have loyalty to brands. Ads are a waste on them.

Then of course, there is the basic problem with "access journalism." The msm "press" revolves around the need for "interviews" and access to subjects. For example, Trump and the NYT have the strangest relationship. The snipe at each other non-stop, and then hold weird public love fests when Trump does an interview. Instead of "following the money," the media looks for Deep Throat to provide answers. The Bush and Clinton courtiers dominate Washington (Obama just kept whoever was around in power), but going forward, what good is a useless Clinton lackey to a corporate board? A Bush family endorsement? They are still in Washington, but they desperately need for the paymasters to believe the Clinton/Bush apparatus are still marketable. They provide the press with a story, and their story of "OMG Russia" excuses their own losses. Lets not forget $125 million Jeb lit on fire and promises of how Trump couldn't down to Bush Country and defeat Jeb after the Southern Dandy's endorsement in SC.

At the end of the day, it still goes back to "What Happened?" The political elites in this country are so effed up that they allowed Jeb vs. Hillary to be a real possibility. The future of the GOP is a clownshow, and the Democrats have Bernie Sanders and a drooling Kennedy or whoever their desperate attempt to block a candidate having to make promises is. Who is at fault? It can't be "Mother." It can't be people with fancy titles. No, its foreigners.

albert , February 20, 2018 at 2:04 pm

Lee Camp sums it up quite well:

IT'S INSANE!

. .. . .. -- .

Taras 77 , February 20, 2018 at 2:31 pm

To cap things off, CNN, yes that CNN, dispatched one of their reporters to St Pete to go through the garbage of the troll farm; he tried to enter the building and was asked to leave.

This was all on video presented by cnn.

Buck Eschaton , February 20, 2018 at 3:07 pm

I can't help thinking of Zizek and his trash can of ideology.
https://youtu.be/j28DtHJCamA

Rob P , February 20, 2018 at 2:14 pm

I think the most recent Mueller indictments are more dangerous than many people realize. Claims that Bernie was supported by 'Russian bots' in the primaries are already being used against him. Assuming most Democratic primary voters still believe in Russiagate in 2020, it would be very easy for Trump to use the Russia conspiracy against Bernie or another progressive that had a good chance of beating him. His intel heads are all Russia hawks who have vowed to help prevent 'Russian interference in our elections'. There's guaranteed to be at least a few Russian internet trolls supporting the campaign, or some minor official with some vague connection to Russia, so all they have to do is open an investigation, and leak that investigation to the press.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , February 20, 2018 at 4:24 pm

Ironically, Sanders said we needed to investigate Russian collusion.

petal , February 20, 2018 at 2:16 pm

I was just at a talk and Q&A session given by NH senior Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. There will be an article in the local paper tomorrow that I'll post, but in the meantime I will do my best to write up the highlights here today, so please bear with me. I was scribbling furiously. Unfortunately it was not videotaped.

She gave a 15-20 minute talk at a podium and then the rest was Q&A with the crowd and a professor moderated it. There were 168 chairs set out but from a quick head count only a little over 100 people attended- most were retirees, and then students made up the rest. It was at 11am, so not a very good time of day for normal people.

Okay so for her talk: she said she looks at the cybersecurity threat through a lens of global security, and that the Kremlin has used these tactics versus Ukraine and in the lead up to Brexit. She said this isn't a new Cold War because technology has rendered countries borderless, and only recently has the US become aware that it's been targeted by cyberattacks, especially spread through social media. She said our efforts in Syria were damaged by these cyberattacks. She kept mentioning Kaspersky over and over again, how he's a major buddy of Putin and does his bidding, said Kaspersky Labs is Kremlin-linked, and that under Russian law it is required to have all servers located in Moscow available/all info shared with the FSB. She used the term "Russia's hybrid warfare" at least a few times, and said that our government has to "protect Americans from threats". She wants to establish a clear command structure for cybersecurity at the federal government level. And that it's crucial for younger generations to be taught how to identify fake news and disinformation.

She thinks Putin is doing this to manipulate our open media in order to turn Americans against each other, and reiterated that all 17 intel agencies have incontrovertible evidence of Russian interference. She brought up that Dan Coates repeated Pompeo's statement that the US is under attack. Sanctions against Russia were brought up and she repeated how the bill was bipartisan, and it sends a strong message to the Kremlin and that Trump won't okay these sanctions. She said there have been partisan attacks on Mueller, the DoJ, and FBI in order to undermine the investigations, and that this would help achieve the Kremlin's goal of turning Americans against each other. She said elections here in the US and "all across Europe" have been threatened.

The "misleading" Nunez memo was mentioned and she said trolls and bots using facebord and twitter led to its release, that the Russians are pushing the deep state narrative along with anti-Obama messages in order to enflame social divisions in the US, and that the Russians are pushing messaging about Ukraine and Syria. She said "a hostile foreign power interfered in our election", that the Russians are trying to undermine American democracy, that we have to fight back because "It's about Patriotism"(yeah, she actually said this-it was all I could do to not throw up at that point), and how important the independence of the FBI is and that the Mueller MUST be allowed to complete his investigation. She said the US is being eroded from within and trotted out a JFK quote about defending freedom "against Putin's methods". Unity unity unity! Felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

She accused the Russians of building up their military might and extending it to Ukraine and Syria, that they caused the Brexit vote result, fomented and stirred up Catalonia's secessionist movement the other month, and caused a certain Czech leader to be elected(I'm not up on Czech politics).

She brought up the idea of using paper ballots again and admitted there had been no hacks to voting machines. She said the Russians were trying to undermine people's(not just Americans) faith in democracy, getting folks to think elections are rigged, and that their vote doesn't count (yeah yeah I know, right?!).

During the Q&A session, she said how they were talking to Treasury and others to find out ways to force the sanctions through, brought up the Magnitsky Act(and his murder in jail). Someone asked about the Korea troubles and she said how she completely believes McMaster and other military leaders that the bloody nose strategy isn't on the table even though "Trump has pleaded for it". She stated that she thinks an AUMF from Congress is only necessary when 10s of thousands of soldiers would be sent somewhere for an extended period , and she mentioned how the Syria situation deteriorated because Obama drew a red line and then didn't back it up.

She thinks the Russians are trying to undermine The West in order to create a new Russian Empire. She actually said this out loud. A student called out the US's efforts influencing the elections of other countries(he brought up a recent Carnegie Mellon paper about how the US meddled in 80 countries), coups, propping up dictators, etc and you could hear a pin drop. I think she looked like a deer in headlights and then she spurted out she thinks we shouldn't be doing that. It was awesome and I thanked the kid on the way out.

Anyway, sorry for the super long post, but that's how it went down. She seemed not very intelligent, like she was just mindlessly repeating what someone above had told her to say, kept repeating certain terms and statements like Russian hybrid warfare, etc. She sounded like a crackpot, to be honest with you-I couldn't believe some of the stuff she was saying. It was very concerning-this is a US senator and there must be a lot more like her, and they are leading the Dems. She seemed very uncomfortable and not very knowledgeable talking about this stuff, even though that's why she was here and it's supposed to be her thing. It's like for example when you didn't actually do the work but you're talking about it-you memorize the answers or what you're supposed to say and that's it-no depth, just repeat certain terms over and over. I got the feeling she doesn't know much geography or history, too. It was scary. These are the people in control and driving this agenda. Cheers.

tegnost , February 20, 2018 at 3:06 pm

Thanks petal

hemeantwell , February 20, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Thanks for the report.
The public gutlessness and corresponding stupidity of most senior US elected officials regarding relations with major competitive powers is like a bizarre form of patriotic observance in which the speaker proudly announces the sacrifice of their critical faculties in the service of the nation. It's as though there are no constituents who will reward analytic honesty and the corresponding lives and resources saved. One wonders if her interactions with staff on these matters amount to anything more than a selection of camouflage statements that allow her position to become indistinguishable from the modal patriotic dimwit her fellow elected officials aspire to be. It's like watching high schoolers try out team cheers.

flora , February 20, 2018 at 3:45 pm

Thanks for this report.

todde , February 20, 2018 at 4:05 pm

Did we repeal the War Powers Act and I missed it? Why are we confused about when we can send troops abroad?

Russia can't dominate more than one province in the Ukraine. I think we are safe from the Russian Empire for the time being.

todde , February 20, 2018 at 4:13 pm

anyway, left a tweet on her twitter, for all the good that'll do

petal , February 20, 2018 at 7:16 pm

After today, I'm not confident she knows what the Twitter actually is. And bots this, bots that, bots bots bots. It was a lot to digest, and makes me appreciate Lambert and his yellow waders even more. I tried to write down as much as I could word for word what she said, especially the Russian Empire thing. It seemed like she really thinks the Russians are trying to take over the whole world to create a new Russian Empire with Tsar Putin at the helm, and that this supposed meddling is truly an act of war. It's scary. Walking out of there, I felt like a (family blog) genius. What she said about congressional authorisation needed only when 10,000s of troops are being sent for an extended period, my head exploded. Like I said before, caught in a Twilight Zone episode.

petal , February 20, 2018 at 7:25 pm

The D party is pushing this Russia! thing whole hog-this is what they're going with for the long haul instead of focusing on real issues. They are 100% sure Mueller's going to find something that takes down Trump. That's their whole plan.

petal , February 20, 2018 at 7:47 pm

So I must have missed a page in my notebook earlier, sorry-just remembered how she made a point to crow about forcing the Kremlin-backed and very well-funded RT to register as a foreign agent, and talked about how if RT's on in a hotel in the US and you watch a few minutes of it, it's very subtly biased(those sneaky Russians!) and the delivery is a little different than on CNN and other mainstream US news stations and this is in order trick American viewers and to subtly sow discord amongst the American public. It was epic stuff today, so much to try to keep track of and remember.

grizziz , February 20, 2018 at 2:33 pm

John Feffer, "the reason we take it seriously is twofold." (What do you mean we , kemo sabe?)

"One, because we're worried about our U.S. democracy and whether it can function in a fair way." (We live in a Republic which by design favors the moneyed classes primarily through the Senate and Electoral College. Fairness has been in retreat since Buckley v. Valeo and Citizens United v. FEC.)

"And the threats to U.S. democracy, by the way, are not, you know, specific to Russia." (I'm afraid and you should be, too.)

Anonymous , February 20, 2018 at 2:57 pm

It sure doesn't help cybersecurity when top US officials (e.g. a former 2016 POTUS candidate) do not even bother to follow basic government cybersecurity protocols.

Clif , February 20, 2018 at 3:17 pm

i just did something fun. Google 'Evidence of Russian meddling', or 'Why can't Google find evidence of Russian meddling?'. One gets links to GWB and McMaster's claims of 'clear evidence' and 'incontrovertible', but no actual evidence.

Good times.

Anonymous , February 20, 2018 at 3:17 pm

What was up with Feffer's wall art? Not exactly confidence inspiring images.

John , February 20, 2018 at 3:32 pm

The American electoral system has always been open to the corrupt current flavor of the day. George Washington passed out free whiskey,poll taxes, Jim Crow, voter suppression, gerrymandering, Citizens United, secret money, hackable computerization and so on. We leave the barn door open and are surprised when stuff happens.
I would be shocked if the Russians did not try to stick a toe in the door and create a little chaos if for nothing else than our hypocritic and insufferable claims to exceptionalism, freedom fries and all things bright and beautiful. Especially using a tool as perfect as the web and social media the Americans own creation.
We have lost all sense of racketeering though sort of on the books, it is not really a crime any more in this country. I think Russia and the USA are organized as competing racketeering oligarchies. The cold war was about the commies and the commissars. This is just about your basic Sicilian mob activity.
Very muddled and gray.
Average Americans do not understand cultures where the lie is the first response in most discourse. We are working on it, but we are not really there in comparison to the older cultures.
So while I am certain that elements within Russia have been sowing chaos wherever possible and that there is some truth in Russia Gate I also recognize that it mirrors the chaos that the US has sowed throughout the world. Mostly motivated by an ideology of greed and naked power on both sides.
Donald Trump was for sure laundering money in New York real estate and saved by mob money in everyone of his bankruptcies. We know Sheldon Adelson was in collusion with the Chinese mob and got a "cost of doing business" penalty from the government. Grrr. Rant. corrupt.corrupt.corrupt

John , February 20, 2018 at 3:37 pm

Did the finagling around the election have any effect on the outcome? As far as I can see, no it did not. Worse than Pearl Harbor? Worse than 9/11? Of course not. The hysterical posturing became tedious long ago. Wake me if you find anything.

Why is Trump trumpeting? I would follow the money.

RMO , February 20, 2018 at 3:44 pm

A minor point but perhaps someone could point out to Feffer that Nazis (both the ur-example and those currently U.S. favored Ukranian ones) consider Russians to be sub-human?

Fastball , February 20, 2018 at 3:50 pm

I get labeled a Trump supporter by decrying Russiagate.

Frankly I couldn't care less what Mueller does to Trump. This bothers me on several different fronts.

1. This is demonstrably a McCarthyite witch hunt with goals at clear divergence from what Mueller was originally appointed for, which was to investigate "collusion" (whatever that means) between Putin and Trump. We know because of one Adam Schiff (D-McCarthy) and similar Democrats and their Russian demagoguing anyone who dares to disagree with them.

2. These indictments are clearly exaggerated in their impact on the American system. Why? I can think of one major effect of the witch hunt: The attempt by the establishment to roll up dissent of any kind. We now have this media fueled hysteria going on by proven liars in the establishment to suppress what they call "fake news". We saw efforts such as the infamous "PropOrNot" anonymous troll cavalcade to try to censor sites. Now Google and Facebook are doing the censoring for them by ranking non-establishment sources as somehow untrustworthy -- as if the establishment press was ever trustworthy.

3. The hypocrisy. No one in the corporate media establishment ever seems to note that this cyber behavior and other types of regime undermining is completely typical of the U.S., which mere hypocrisy might not be so bad, except it leads directly to #4:

4. The warmongering. People have openly talked about Russia engaged in acts of war (as if the U.S. is pure as a crystal snowflake in this regard). This exaggeration and hypocrisy are a direct threat to world peace and my own personal survival as a human being.

These are the things I fear: Being silenced by authoritarians who call themselves "liberal" and getting nuked. That's it. People who accuse everyone of being "Russian dupes" or "supporting Trump" are IMHO engaged in sheer demagoguery. The influence of the Russians on the American system, whatever you call it, can be described as ephemeral at best, but the censorship and warmongering are very real and dangerous.

That our politicians and media are being grossly irresponsible in a supposed effort to get Trump (the real effort is much more than that) is an understatement.

Expat , February 20, 2018 at 6:23 pm

That the US is hypocritical is not news. But that we should call this a witch hunt because we are guilty of tampering and worse is not fair to either our constitution or the American people.
The costs of this investigation are small in the grand scheme and tiny compared to the principles it purports to protect. Mueller is far from done. Writing this off now smacks of partisanship. If there is something there, then it will out. If not, then a few will hang anyway. I, for one, am quite happy that the likes of Manafort and Gates got caught. I think hillary should swing as well, so don't tar me with a red or blue brush. But the Republicans had their chance to investigate her and never did, so that tells me something.

Remember that this is a 100% Republican administration carrying out this investigation. Everyone involved is Republican from Potus to Congress to Mueller.
Frankly, if this keeps Trump from doing too many stupid things, it's time and money well spent.

Procopius , February 20, 2018 at 8:03 pm

I may be wrong, but I seem to recall they investigated her AND Bill many, many times over the years, starting when he was governor of Arkansas, and never found any evidence they could take to a prosecutor. Do you happen to recall how many discrete investigations of Benghazi there were?

Donald , February 20, 2018 at 9:48 pm

It's pressuring Trump to do stupid things. Russiagate is hyped to justify a more militaristic and hardline policy towards Russia and Syria.

Trump is a fool, but it seems difficult for some people to understand that both sides of the Russiagate controversy have bad motives.

rps , February 20, 2018 at 3:57 pm

"Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations for allegedly using social media to sow discord in the U.S. and support the candidacy of Donald Trump"

The 13 Russian national stooges social media talking points show is all smoke and mirrors to distract from the DNC and Clinton campaign tactics that did intentionally interfere with a presidential election. Considering the enormous amount of actual evidence in the complicity of the DNC, a foreign ex-spook national- Christopher Steele is fed 'info-mation' by Clinton buddies Trey Gowdy and Sidney Blumenthal, Fusion GPS, Hillary Clinton campaign, FBI surveillance and FISA memo to spy on the opposing presidential candidate (Trump) is the real show. All based upon a dubious paid for foreign dossier filled with hearsay of anonymous sources used to undermine and destroy an american presidential candidate during an election year is the real crime of complicity Mueller is trying to avoid.

Throwing a ruskie sheet over the 800lb elephant sitting in the middle of the room doesn't hide the facts and more than likely brings into question the Clinton campaign influences and connections with the NSA.

Onto more relevant news: Lucky Charms has added marshmallow unicorns to its cereal.

rps , February 20, 2018 at 4:30 pm

Lynn de Rothschild has been howling a tweeter Trump hate-storm since her bff Hillary lost. One minute she's congratulating Mueller on Russiagate, the next tweet reprimanding the FBI failure in Parkland Florida . Doesn't she have a bilderberg polo match to attend somewhere in the world and annoy them?
Hillary Clinton's Intimate Relationship with the Rothschild Banking Dynasty, The Shadowy Network of Super-Elites

OldBear , February 20, 2018 at 5:15 pm

This actually makes me a little sad. I am only skimming the transcript so far and I don't think I could stand to watch the video, even though I really like Aaron Maté. I didn't care when he took apart that Luke Harding fool, but John Feffer always seemed like a pretty smart guy and a good writer. I was dismayed a few days ago when he went off in this direction in one of his posts. If Aaron is holding back, maybe he feels a little sorry about him, too.

John Feffer, one more decent person lost to the McCarthyite pod people, for whom I can no longer have a shred of respect. Is that going too far?

Angry Panda , February 20, 2018 at 5:46 pm

Why .is this here?

I could have gotten the same exact "depth" of analysis from watching CNN. Or MSNBC. Or what have you.

Even the interviewer was off the ball – by the time he identified KASPERSKY as a "Russian hacker" I was essentially howling with laughter. And by the time the interviewee started insinuating that Russia is supporting far-right neo-nazi type groups in the West yeah. No. Incidentally, the West [i]is[/i] doing just that in specific places, but that is a different conversation.

Finally the stamement: "So I don't think anybody, much less Vladimir Putin, could have predicted the turn U.S.-Russian relations would take " pretty much discredits the interviewee as any kind of analyst or expert on the subject. Because on every single US-Russia flashpoint 2017 was a direct continuation of 2016 (and 2015, and 2014 ) – and that was pretty much the "base case" to begin with, since it is silly to imagine that either nation will just "surrender" and stop pursuing its policies whether in Europe, Asia or the Middle East. The "Trump == unpredictable-loose-cannon-maverick" talking point, much as it has been bandied about, applies mainly to Trump's twitter account and decidedly not the ACTUAL foreign policy steps taken by the US.

And so I reiterate the point – why is this blog suddenly carrying MSNBC-level content? Because that's why we come here in the first place?

oaf , February 20, 2018 at 6:14 pm

"we're worried about our U.S. democracy and whether it can function in a fair way."

WTF???

Very high entertainment value .

The Rev Kev , February 20, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Sometimes when this whole things goes several shades of crazy you have to pull back and try to look at it from a historical level. I try to imagine what people will be saying some 20 years from now when there is a new generation in place. What will their text books say about what is happening now. And I realize that we are going to be mocked but hard by them. Can you imagine what comedians routines on us will say? It will be embarrassing. So, getting back to the present, I pull up the news this morning and I find a CNN reporter checking out trash dumpsters next to the 'troll farm' in Russia – which is no longer even there. Uh, OK.

Maybe some people in government and the media should go back on their meds again and have a nice warm cup of shut-the-xxxx-up. Just because Trump won the election does not mean that the 'establishment' gets to have an epic triggering – and take the rest of the country with it. Are there criminal charges to be laid against certain people? Absolutely. Thing is, they don't have Russian addresses but more likely American ones and I think that a lot of people are starting to realize this which may partially explain the increasing support for the GOP. You can only keep up evidence free accusations so long until somebody shout "Call!".

If you want to know about election meddling, ask the Russians ( https://www.rt.com/op-ed/419371-election-meddling-us-russia/ ) as they have much experience here. And that story doesn't cover even half of what went on. Getting back to seeing things from a historical level, my own idea is that what we are seeing is a power that has dominated the world for decades now finding itself with peer competitors arising and the people in charge are unable to deal with this. There are far too many careers at stake. Too many lucrative contracts at risk. Too many rice bowls to be broken. It's too many powerful people not being able to get their way – and being unable to handle it. This is what I think that we are seeing.

todde , February 20, 2018 at 7:57 pm

Historically speaking, America peaked at the moon landing.

Clark Landwehr , February 20, 2018 at 7:51 pm

Foreign interference in the U.S. is nothing new. Its why we are so divided.

"The division of the United States into federations of equal force was decided long before the Civil War by the high financial powers of Europe. These bankers were afraid that the United States, if they remained in one block and as one nation, would attain economic and financial independence, which would upset their financial domination over the world. The voice of the Rothschilds prevailed Therefore they sent their emissaries into the field to exploit the question of slavery and to open an abyss between the two sections of the Union."
Otto von Bismarck, German chancellor, 1865

Procopius , February 20, 2018 at 7:53 pm

This is a great example of why I think I've gone crazy. This guy Feffer seems more reasonable than most of the Russiagaters I see on other blogs, but when Mate points out the lack of evidence he acknowledges that and then goes right on as if he had refuted it. He acknowledges that the Dutch "revelation" is unsupported, and regrets that, and then goes right ahead as if that is irrelevant. His whole method of argument seems to be, "Well, we have a pattern of other Russian involvement, " and then cites speeches by Putin that probably are not relevant to the case. I mean, supporting white nationalism? This is something you want to blame Russia for? Spreading divisiveness? Undermining confidence? Kill me now.

[Feb 20, 2018] Is That Russia Troll Farm an Act of War by Pat Buchanan

Jerrold Lewis Nadler is an American attorney and politician who serves as the US Representative from New York's 10th congressional district. So it is reasonable to assume that this guy is a stooge of financial oligarchy and as such died in the wool globalist
When Congressman Jerrold Nadler equated Internet Trolls with Pearl Harbor that does not mean that his a paranoiac. That means that he is a sleazy opportunist, for whom Party line is more important then truth. That's why he repeated DemoRats Party like in the color revolution against Trump. In which NeoMcCartyism is a fundamental component, creating the necessary prerequisites for the witch hunt on Trump conducted by Mueller. He just can' deviate from the story.
"Have you no decency left, sir? At long last, have you no decency left?" applies
This "slash and burn" style of internal politician debates is another sign of the deep crisis of neoliberalism in the USA. The crisis that led to election of Trump.
Tactically all this noise is a preemptive move to save Strzokgate participants scalps by putting a smoke screen on Nunes memo as well as the forthcoming report of Inspector General.
Notable quotes:
"... When MSNBC's Chris Hayes pressed, Nadler doubled down: The Russians "are destroying our democratic process." While the Russian trolling may not equal Pearl Harbor in its violence, said Nadler, in its "seriousness, it is very much on a par" with Japan's surprise attack. Trump's reaction to the hysteria that broke out after the Russian indictments: "They are laughing their (expletives) off in Moscow." ..."
"... While Mueller's indictments confirm that Russians meddled in the U.S. election, what explains the shock and the fear for "our democracy"? Is the Great Republic about to fall because a bunch of trolls tweeted in our election? Is this generation ignorant of its own history? Before and after World War II, we had Stalinists and Soviet spies at the highest levels of American culture and government. ..."
"... As for Russian trolling in our election, do we really have clean hands when it comes to meddling in elections and the internal politics of regimes we dislike? ..."
"... Sen. John McCain and Victoria Nuland of State egged on the Maidan Square crowds in Kiev that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine. ..."
"... "Have we ever tried to meddle in other countries' elections?" Laura Ingraham asked former CIA Director James Woolsey this weekend. With a grin, Woolsey replied, "Oh, probably." "We don't do that anymore though?" Ingraham interrupted. "We don't mess around in other people's elections, Jim?" "Well," Woolsey said with a smile. "Only for a very good cause." Indeed, what is the National Endowment for Democracy all about, if not aiding the pro-American side in foreign nations and their elections? ..."
"... "One cannot observe democracy objectively without being impressed by its curious distrust of itself -- it's apparent ineradicable tendency to abandon its philosophy at the first sign of strain. I need not point to what invariably happens in democratic states when the national safety is menaced. All the great tribunes of democracy, on such occasions, convert themselves into instant despots of an almost fabulous ferocity." H.L. Mencken ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

According to the indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Russian trolls, operating out of St. Petersburg, took American identities on social media and became players in our 2016 election. On divisive racial and religious issues, the trolls took both sides. In the presidential election, the trolls favored Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein and Donald Trump, and almost never Hillary Clinton.

One imaginative Russian troll urged Trumpsters to dress up a female volunteer in an orange prison jump suit, put her in a cage on a flatbed truck, then append the slogan, "Lock Her Up!"

How grave a matter is this?

This Russian troll farm is "the equivalent (of) Pearl Harbor," says Cong. Jerrold Nadler, who would head up the House Judiciary Committee, handling any impeachment, if Democrats retake the House.

When MSNBC's Chris Hayes pressed, Nadler doubled down: The Russians "are destroying our democratic process." While the Russian trolling may not equal Pearl Harbor in its violence, said Nadler, in its "seriousness, it is very much on a par" with Japan's surprise attack. Trump's reaction to the hysteria that broke out after the Russian indictments: "They are laughing their (expletives) off in Moscow."

According to Sunday's Washington Post, the troll story is old news in Russia, where reporters uncovered it last year and it was no big deal.

While Mueller's indictments confirm that Russians meddled in the U.S. election, what explains the shock and the fear for "our democracy"? Is the Great Republic about to fall because a bunch of trolls tweeted in our election? Is this generation ignorant of its own history? Before and after World War II, we had Stalinists and Soviet spies at the highest levels of American culture and government.

The Hollywood Ten, who went to prison for contempt of Congress, were secret members of a Communist Party that, directed from Moscow, controlled the Progressive Party in Philadelphia in 1948 that nominated former Vice President Henry Wallace to run against Harry Truman.

Soviet spies infiltrated the U.S. atom bomb project and shortened the time Stalin needed to explode a Soviet bomb in 1949.

As for Russian trolling in our election, do we really have clean hands when it comes to meddling in elections and the internal politics of regimes we dislike?

Sen. John McCain and Victoria Nuland of State egged on the Maidan Square crowds in Kiev that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine. When the democratically elected regime of Mohammed Morsi was overthrown, the U.S. readily accepted the coup as a victory for our side and continued aid to Egypt as tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members were imprisoned.

Are the CIA and National Endowment for Democracy under orders not to try to influence the outcome of elections in nations in whose ruling regimes we believe we have a stake?

"Have we ever tried to meddle in other countries' elections?" Laura Ingraham asked former CIA Director James Woolsey this weekend. With a grin, Woolsey replied, "Oh, probably." "We don't do that anymore though?" Ingraham interrupted. "We don't mess around in other people's elections, Jim?" "Well," Woolsey said with a smile. "Only for a very good cause." Indeed, what is the National Endowment for Democracy all about, if not aiding the pro-American side in foreign nations and their elections?

Did America have no active role in the "color-coded revolutions" that have changed regimes from Serbia to Ukraine to Georgia?

When Republicans discuss Iran on Capitol Hill, the phrase "regime change" is frequently heard. When the "Green Revolution" took to the streets of Tehran to protest massively the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, Republicans denounced President Obama for not intervening more energetically to alter the outcome.

When China, Russia and Egypt expel NGOs, are their suspicions that some have been seeded with U.S. agents merely marks of paranoia?

The U.S. role in the overthrow of Premier Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, and of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, and of President Ngo Dinh Diem in Saigon in 1963 are established facts.

... ... ...


Randal , February 20, 2018 at 9:23 am GMT

This "hysteria" as Buchanan accurately describes it is very characteristically American, in its sheer hypocritical dishonesty.

The US has made a regular practice for a century or more of pushing and attacking others, via political interference, subversion, diplomacy or outright military aggression, until they respond, and then screaming hysterically about "unprovoked aggression" against America.

It's who they are.

Ronald Thomas West , Website February 20, 2018 at 9:45 am GMT
Of several factual mistakes in your piece, Pat, why do you slip in crap like this

"Yet we do have evidence that a senior British spy and Trump hater, Christopher Steele, paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC to dig up dirt on Trump, colluded with Kremlin agents to produce a dossier of scurrilous and unsubstantiated charges, to destroy the candidacy of Donald Trump"

bs claiming 'Kremlin agents' when it would appear the entire hit job on Trump originated with s ** t made up on the USA end, and Steele was little more than a cut-out to give the USA's DoJ (and more likely CIA) cover? Isn't that more than just a bit like playing the insider game? If you"re going to take a shot at Hillary, why not bring up the actual Russia collusion concerning uranium?

And pushing the 'hack' line

"What do these indictments of Russians tell us? After 18 months, the James Comey-Robert Mueller FBI investigation into the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta emails has yet to produce evidence of collusion"

giving cover to the 'Russians did it' hack bs when it is clear the DNC 'hack' was actually an insider leak? You're no better than yellow rag Marcy Wheeler's 'empty wheel' blog:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/01/31/the-wheel-is-indeed-empty/

You're both disgusting, limited-hangout-sellouts.

NoseytheDuke , February 20, 2018 at 11:29 am GMT
Destroying the democratic process? A president was shot dead in full view of the nation and it was never properly investigated, the same goes for 9/11. Endless and unconstitutional wars that have bankrupted the nation. I'd say that it was destroyed a long time ago and all that remains is nostalgia. Buckle up my colonial cousins!
anonymous Disclaimer , February 20, 2018 at 1:05 pm GMT
@anonymous

Addendum, lifted from comment (#3) of Ronald Thomas West:

"What do these indictments of Russians tell us? After 18 months, the James Comey-Robert Mueller FBI investigation into the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta emails has yet to produce evidence of collusion." Are you still unaware of the forensic evidence and credible analysis of people like Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity that the DNC emails were leaked, not hacked?

Columnists like Pat Buchanan and Andrew Napolitano may help people find this website, but week in and week out they show themselves as sloppy, at best. There may be something to be said for putting them up here, where they can be compared to Dinh, Giraldi, Hopkins, Sailer, Whitney, et al.

I read their columns closely when it comes to Russia, and comment when I see them serving the Establishment line. It has become apparent that "Judge" is purposeful in his Eastasia bulls ** t. I am reaching the same conclusion about Mr. Buchanan.

Jason Liu , February 20, 2018 at 1:14 pm GMT
Read this NYT article about American interference in other countries' elections. Makes Russia look like an amateur.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/17/sunday-review/russia-isnt-the-only-one-meddling-in-elections-we-do-it-too.html

And it's still going on under the guise of NGOs. So if Russians tweeting stuff is an act of war, then the US is already at war with a bunch of countries.

jacques sheete , February 20, 2018 at 2:45 pm GMT

Before and after World War II, we had Stalinists and Soviet spies at the highest levels of American culture and government.

During WW2, too.

They were running some of the biggest banks and corporations, too. It was fashionable for the trust fund kiddies and some of the money bags "upper crust" to play commie as well. Still is, apparently.

Famous names, Vanderbilt, Lamont, Whitney, Morgan, mingled with those of communist leaders. The Russian Institute was so respectable that it was allowed to give in-service courses to New York City schoolteachers for credit.

-Bella Dodd, School of Darkness, Chap 11

Carroll Price , February 20, 2018 at 3:42 pm GMT

When MSNBC's Chris Hayes pressed, Nadler doubled down: The Russians "are destroying our democratic process." While the Russian trolling may not equal Pearl Harbor in its violence, said Nadler, in its "seriousness, it is very much on a par" with Japan's surprise attack.

"One cannot observe democracy objectively without being impressed by its curious distrust of itself -- it's apparent ineradicable tendency to abandon its philosophy at the first sign of strain. I need not point to what invariably happens in democratic states when the national safety is menaced. All the great tribunes of democracy, on such occasions, convert themselves into instant despots of an almost fabulous ferocity." H.L. Mencken

exiled off mainstreet , February 20, 2018 at 8:42 pm GMT
This is an excellent article summarizing the major issues presented. Though I have views which vary somewhat about the postwar witchhunt in the US which sort of sets the beginning precedent for this one the fact situation described is correct. As for whether it is an act of war, I say that it is, but not by the Russians. It is an act of war by out of control extra-legal yankee authorities against any individual, foreign or domestic, who would choose to resist them in any fashion, including those just trying to make money like the Russians in this case from farming US internet subscribers.
mark green , February 20, 2018 at 9:56 pm GMT
Russiagate is a starched and stuffed empty suit. Buchanan is right to demean its significance. And yes, there is the shameful fact of rank US hypocrisy in all this. No doubt. But the relatively modest impact of Russian 'meddling' in the last US election, coupled with the moral emptiness within the entire Russiagate investigation, is what's most revealing.

Indeed, not only does the US routinely interfere (and even overthrow) other sovereign states, but Russian machinations in America pales besides other extranational interference, particularly Israel's.

When it comes to pushing around Washington and shaping US public opinion, Israel is in a class by itself. You haven't noticed?

Not only do crypto-Israelis own or supervise most American mass media (including hard news) but hundreds of young, paid Jewish/Israeli trolls regularly clog US social media sites, American internet news comments sections, and Wikipedia entries.

Israelis (and their US-based cousins) are the masters of political chicanery. No one else comes close.

Then there's the overbearing influence of AIPAC, the ADL, and dozens of other crypto-Israeli pressure groups. These highfalutin lobbies have managed to buy their way into the halls of Congress, the White House, and onto national TV. It's a continuous phenomena. But we're not supposed to notice or be concerned. After all, they're our best friends!

By comparison, Russian access and interference in American life is infantesimal.

Does this shock you? It shouldn't. It's been this way in America for decades.

Incredibly, it's publicly examining, discussing, and criticizing this odd situation that becomes 'shocking' (and career-ending). That's the scary part.

Crypto-Israelis have dominated, and continue to dominate, a vast swath of American culture; especially news and entertainment.

Henry Ford, Charles Lindburgh, and Marlon Brando all complained about this unique and dangerous situation. And conditions have not improved since they did. If anything, Zionist power in America has only hardened.

This makes far-away Russia even more of a bit player in our corrupt political circus. And this is why Russiagate is such a farce.

In Hollywood, on Wall Street, as well as in Washington, the top dog (and most sacred cause) involves Israel. Every US politician recognizes this unpublicized fact. Just read their speeches. See how they vote. And those public servants who don't recognize Israel's unique status in Washington tend to fade rapidly into oblivion. This is Jewish power.

Zio-Americans helped steer Washington into its preemptive and criminal annihilation of Libya and Iraq and, if they have their way again, there will be additional American wars fought on behalf of the Jewish state.

Due in large part to Zionist dictates, Assad's Syria is being targeted by Washington right now. Iran is next. All foes of Israel end up in Washington's crosshairs.

America has been quietly captured and domesticated by Zionists.

Sadly, even referring to the overriding impact of Zionist power in America is taboo. Buchanan and others have learned this lesson the hard way. But this explosive fact ultimately renders the entire Russiagate 'scandal' little more than a contrived distraction.

Call it Jewish political theater if you like. But it's mostly a charade.

Randal , February 20, 2018 at 10:27 pm GMT
@International Jew

Mr. Buchanan is correct, of course, that we interfere in other countries. But defending foreign hostility to America by pointing to America's own misdeeds is a traditional leftist line.

It's not a "leftist line" (at least in this case), it's one that's basic to human nature – don't dish it out if you can't take it in turn, and don't whine like a hypocritical two year old when you do get some back. Nothing "left wing" about that.

There's nothing wrong with us taking our own country's side.

No, not if you don't mind being a hypocrite.

But hypocrisy is a very American thing – throughout your history you've been manipulated into wars by the very weakness you adhere to here. "We can do it but if anyone does it back to us that's unacceptable, because we're special" has been pretty much the way the US has been kept interfering around the world for decades.

The answer is to stop doing it yourself, then complain about other people doing it. But that isn't going to happen, is it? Your lords and masters are going to keep poking their noses into other countries' affairs all over the world, and people like you are going to complain like bitches if you get any back, and those complaints will justify further aggression in response to supposedly unacceptable foreign "unprovoked" aggression/interference against your country.

And I write that while being pretty much the very opposite of anything that could be described as "left wing", just as a foreigner weighing US behaviour.

SteveK9 , February 21, 2018 at 12:15 am GMT
'Yet we do have evidence that a senior British spy and Trump hater, Christopher Steele, paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC to dig up dirt on Trump, colluded with Kremlin agents to produce a dossier of scurrilous and unsubstantiated charges, to destroy the candidacy of Donald Trump. And the FBI used this disinformation to get FISA Court warrants to surveil and wiretap the Trump campaign.'

Correct except for 'Kremlin agents' Steele hadn't been to Russia in more than 20 years. The 'dossier' is full of ridiculous mistakes about Russia. It's just as likely he made the whole thing up, or was fed stuff by the CIA, not the Kremlin.

[Feb 20, 2018] Russia's Election Meddling Worse Than a Crime; a Blunder

Notable quotes:
"... The National Interest ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

When Napoleon Bonaparte executed the Duc d'Enghien in 1804 for what seemed like trumped-up treason charges, the implications extended far beyond questions of French justice and even beyond the borders of France. European leaders were shocked, and the episode helped crystallize anti-Bonaparte sentiment throughout the Continent and in Britain. The famous French diplomat Charles de Talleyrand captured the moment when he said: "It was worse than a crime; it was a blunder."

That might well be said now about the Russian effort to manipulate the 2016 presidential election by using social media to undermine Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, promote the candidacy of Donald Trump, and generally sow discord throughout the American body politic. Three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens were indicted by U.S. authorities Friday on charges of engaging in a three-year, multimillion-dollar effort to interfere in the election. Americans naturally are shocked at this brazen effort to unravel the political fabric of their country.

But it isn't really all that shocking. To understand why it was more of a blunder than a crime -- and a blunder with likely tragic consequences -- it is important to absorb five fundamental realities surrounding this important development in U.S.-Russian relations.

First, countries have been doing this sort of thing for centuries. It is a fundamental part of tradecraft -- the use of covert actions to undermine the internal workings of rival nations. No country likes being on the receiving end, but few refrain from such activity when they think it will thwart national security threats.

Second, no nation has been more aggressive than the United States in pursuing efforts, covert and even overt, to destabilize other regimes. In part that's because, as the leading global power since World War II, the Unites States has had more at stake in events of significance throughout the world. In part also, it's because America has had the greatest capacity for bringing the latest technology and the greatest covert capabilities to meet the challenge.

In any event, the U.S. record in this area is beyond dispute. A New York Times piece by Scott Shane over the weekend quoted a University of Georgia professor named Loch Johnson as saying, "We've been doing this kind of thing since the CIA was created in '47. We've used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners -- you name it." Among other things, he adds, the United States has planted false information in foreign newspapers and distributed "suitcases of cash" to influence foreign elections. Steven L. Hall, a 30-year CIA veteran (now retired) with extensive experience leading the Russia desk, told Shane that the United States "absolutely" engaged in such activities, "and I hope we keep doing it."

Shane cites a study by Dov H. Levin of Carnegie Mellon that sought to quantify "election influence operations" by the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia between 1946 and 2000. He counts 81 by the United States and 36 by the Soviet Union or Russia (though he figures there were more ops initiated from Russian soil than we know about).

Beyond that, there is what has become known as the "democracy industry" -- legions of U.S. NGOs, many funded with federal money, that fan out through the world to remake regimes they consider insufficiently imbued with Western values. Writer and thinker David Rieff, writing in The National Interest a few years ago, attacked these democracy promotion adherents as people who "will not or cannot acknowledge either the ideological or the revolutionary character of their enterprise." He likened the democracy promoters in propaganda terms to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 boast to America that "we will bury you."

Third, the greatest interference in the internal affairs of foreign nations, aside from invasion, is regime change, and here the United States is by far the leader in the post-World War II era. We know of major efforts -- covert or overt, successful or not -- by America to upend regimes in Iran, Guatemala, South Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua, Grenada, Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.

Leaving aside the case-by-case merits, this is a powerful record, and it has implications far beyond U.S. domestic politics. Like Bonaparte's execution of the Duc d'Enghien, it generates concerns and fears among foreign leaders. In the case of America's regime change zest, it sends chills down the spines of leaders fearful that they may be next on the list of U.S. regime change targets. Certainly the resolve of North Korea's Kim Jong-un to develop nuclear weapons with a delivery capacity to the United States is partly a product of such fears.

Fourth, America and its allies bear by far the greater share of the blame for the current tensions between the West and Russia. It was all predictable back in 1998 when NATO fashioned its policy of aggressive eastward expansion toward the Russian border. George F. Kennan, the highly respected U.S. diplomat and Russia expert, predicted the outcome in particularly stark terms. He called it "the beginning of a new cold war a tragic mistake." He foresaw that of course the Russians would react badly, as any nation would, and then the NATO expansionists would say, see, we always said the Russians were aggressive and couldn't be trusted. "This is just wrong," Kennan warned.

But if NATO expansion was a provocative policy destined to elicit a strong Russian response, the provocation was heightened hugely when America helped perpetrate a regime change initiative in Ukraine, which is not only next door to Russia but has been a crucial part of Russia's sphere of influence going back to the mid-17th century. Further, Russia lies vulnerable to invasion. The unremitting grassy steppes of the nation, extending from Europe all the way to the Far East, with hardly a mountain range or seashore or major forest to hinder encroachment by army or horde, has fostered a national obsession over the need to control territory as a hedge against incursion. Such incursions from the West occurred three times in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Ukraine is crucial in this Russian sense of territorial imperative. It's a tragically split country, with part tilting toward the West and part facing eastward toward Russia. That makes for a delicate political and geopolitical situation, but for centuries that delicate political and geopolitical situation has been overseen by Russia. Now the West wants to end that. Upending a duly elected (though corrupt) Ukrainian president was part of the plan. Getting Ukraine into NATO is the endgame.

Note that the Ukrainian revolution occurred in 2014, which just happened to be the year, according to the U.S. indictments, that Russia initiated its grand program to influence America's 2016 elections. Kennan was right: Russia inevitably would react badly to the NATO encirclement policy, and then America's anti-Russian cadres would cite that as evidence that the encirclement was necessary all along. That's precisely what's happening now.

Which brings us to the fifth and final fundamental reality surrounding the revelation of Russia's grand effort to influence the U.S. election. It was an incredible blunder. Given all that's happened in U.S.-Russian relations this century, there probably wasn't much prospect that those relations could ever be normalized, much less made cordial. But that is now utterly impossible.

Donald Trump campaigned on a platform of seeking better relations with Russia. After getting elected he repeatedly asserted in his first news conference that it would be "positive," "good," or "great" if "we could get along with Russia." Unlike most of America's elites, he vowed to seek Moscow's cooperation on global issues, accepted some U.S. share of blame for the two countries' sour relations, and acknowledged "the right of all nations to put their interests first."

This suggested a possible dramatic turn in U.S.-Russian relations -- an end to the encirclement push, curtailment of the hostile rhetoric, a pullback on economic sanctions, and serious efforts to work with Russia on such nettlesome matters as Syria and Ukraine. That was largely put on hold with the narrative of Russian meddling in the U.S. election and vague allegations of campaign "collusion" with Russia on behalf of Trump's presidential ambitions.

It doesn't appear likely that investigators will turn up any evidence of collusion that rises to any kind of criminality. But it doesn't matter now, in terms of U.S.-Russian relations, because these indictments will cement the anti-Russian sentiment of Americans for the foreseeable future. No overtures of the kind envisioned by Trump will be possible for any president for a long time. It won't matter that every nation does it or that America in particular has done it or that the West's aggressive encirclement contributed to the Russian actions. The U.S.-Russian hostility is set. Where it leads is impossible to predict, but it won't be good. It could be tragic.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington, D.C., journalist and publishing executive, is editor of The American Conservative . His latest book, President McKinley: Architect of the American Century , was released in September.


Gazza February 18, 2018 at 10:12 pm

I'm disgusted that people are taking this garbage indictment seriously A bunch of Russian private citizens working for a privately-funded NGO (allegedly funded by an owner of a restaurant chain) using faked social media accounts to carry out political activism, and no evidence of Russian government involvement, and this clown Mueller thinks this is some evidence for "Russian meddling" in elections? It wouldn't be so laughable except that the US spook agencies do this sort of thing as a routine .

This is just Mueller doing as he was told to do by his Establishment leash-holders, and come up with any old steaming pile of garbage to be packaged as "evidence" to support this Cold War 2 paranoia mindset and promote the unfounded allegation of Trumps "collusion" with Russians in order to undermine his Presidency.

The US continues to disappoint me This country seems to be utterly incapable of getting things into perspective or acting rationally. A nation run by amoral psychopaths who are completely obsessed with power and wealth and control, and who will stoop to anything in order to achieve their unspoken power agendas.

VikingLS , says: February 18, 2018 at 10:29 pm
Perfectly written. Unless the Russians come up wit ha very good explanation (which most people won't believe) this was a serious screw-up.
Jim Jatras , says: February 18, 2018 at 10:41 pm
The sad fact is the Mr. Merry is probably right. The die is cast. Enmity is almost certainly now permanent, with the increasingly likely result indeed tragic.

With this latest indictment, the bogus "Russian collusion" charge has finally achieved its primary goal -- which was not to remove Trump (that's 3; goal 2 was to elect Hillary), but to ensure unchangeable hostility towards Russia. The fact that Trump even now controverts what H.R. McMaster calls "incontrovertible" is nice but irrelevant. It hardly matters what the president thinks at all. (Besides, for whom does McMaster work, Trump or Mueller?)

Everybody now agrees that "Romney was right." There's nothing Trump can do about it. Ruthenia delenda est. The madness may now become terminal – for everybody.

Notice too how everyone, including Trump's cheering section at Fox News, has immediately lost sight of the REAL collusion within the US government (with a little help from "hands across the water"): Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, James Comey, Bruce Ohr, Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein (remember, he signed one of the FISA requests to spy on the Trump team), John O. Brennan, Christopher Steele, Andrew Wood (former British ambassador to Russia who peddled the Steele dossier), Loretta Lynch, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, and of course Barack Obama. They'll all skate. No surprise there.

All that said, it would have been nice to explain who "the Russians" are we're talking about. This looks less like a government op than a clickbait scam of the sort hundreds of firms in dozens of countries engage in:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02/mueller-indictement-the-russian-influence-is-a-commercial-marketing-scheme.html#more

AG , says: February 18, 2018 at 11:04 pm
Donald Trump campaigned on having better relations with Russia(?). Ok, why? A) Is he a deep well read strategic thinker on Russian US relations and envisioned better relations as a positive step towards world peace or B) he admires Putin for being a white right nationalist that he is coupled with his deep business ties to Russian oligarchs which have the potential of being un earthed by that Witcher hunter himself Robert Mueller?

I'm inclined to go with B.

RichterRox , says: February 18, 2018 at 11:30 pm
The man on street doesn't give a squat about the Russians, it's a purely media driven event .
Alexander , says: February 18, 2018 at 11:31 pm
This is a good article, but I feel that it would have been stronger if Mr. Merry had elaborated on the reasons why elevated hostility between Russia and the West represents a tragedy for both parties.

The geopolitical argument for a modus vivendi between America and Russia can be summarised with a single phrase: 'the rise of China'. As an immense body of commentators have argued for years, the #1 geostrategic imperative for the U.S. in the foreseeable future is thwarting Chinese ambitions to become the military, political, and economic hegemon of Asia. China also threatens to displace Russia's influence in Central Asia, and menaces the security of its hold on the thinly populated territories of Siberia. So it would seem that there is a common interest to build on.

Unfortunately, Russia will always value the security of its western lands above all other priorities, and so Eastern Europe remains an enduring sticking point in its relations with the U.S.A. Regardless of whether or not the expansion of NATO back in the 1990s was wise or not, America cannot let go of its commitments there without incurring an unacceptable loss in prestige and credibility. An adversarial relationship appears to be locked in on both sides.

Even if Russia hadn't attempted to influence the 2016 election, I suspect that attempts to forge a new detente would have proven unavailing – just like the infamous 'reset' attempted by Obama. What neither Obama or Trump seem to have understood is the first rule of successful diplomatic resets: 'Only Nixon can go to China'. It takes a leader with genuine credibility on the issue to make such a thing stick. Otherwise the whole thing collapses as soon as the political cycle rotates.

Taras 77 , says: February 19, 2018 at 12:31 am
"Which brings us to the fifth and final fundamental reality surrounding the revelation of Russia's grand effort to influence the U.S. election. It was an incredible blunder."
_________________________________
I'm not all sure what we are talking about here in the grand effort: the troll army, thefacebook/twitter "massive" campaign, the DNC "hacking" which by all accounts did not happen?

I fear that we are falling into the trap of actually believing the press and the hysterical democrats.

My sense is that it was a minor effort in terms of financial expenditures and people involved-I am very skeptical that any votes were influenced to any degree.

So where is the there in all of this smoke and hoopala?

Cornel Lencar , says: February 19, 2018 at 12:52 am
There is a worst outcome of these events, never mind the massive hypocrisy of the US establishment. It will not be possible to have another Bernie Sanders, or even Trump movement in the US, because such movements will be blamed on Russia.

Pro-social ideas and more political diversity in the US are dead and the country will be even more overtly move towards a corporatism, militarist regime.

The time will come that even TAC and likes of Daniel Larson will be accused of being Russian puppets.

JEinCA , says: February 19, 2018 at 2:37 am
My Grandfather (God rest his soul) was born in 1910 and was a brutally honest (and frank) man who never shied away from giving you his opinion on anything. When I was a teenager in the mid 1990's we'd watch the CBS evening news together. Him on his recliner and me on the couch we'd watch the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and he'd turn to me and say, "You know why every other country hates America?". Of course I'd say I didn't know and he'd say to me, "it's because we've got our nose up everybody's ass. We should mind our own Goddamn business!". That was my Grandfather's take on foreign policy. Most might try to dismiss it out of simplicity but his opinion on the matter was not without wisdom. My Grandfather lived through two World Wars (and served in the US Navy during WWII and the Korean War) and worked for the VA hospital during the Vietnam War. Had Washington followed my Grandfather's advice (which has been echoed here at TAC by Patrick J. Buchanan and the rest of the gang for almost two decades now) then there wouldn't be a New Cold War with Russia or China.
Celery , says: February 19, 2018 at 3:28 am
Trump's constant assertions of "nothing to see here" are certainly the acts of someone guilty. Hard to believe there is nothing there. Too many around him have been shown to have ties to Russia, Trump wasn't even in office yet when he promised to remove sanctions on Russia, and his loyalty to Russia over the US in the election meddling is telling. If large numbers of Republicans want to be useful idiots, that's their business, but ducks that quack and walk, and all that

Was the Russian election meddling a blunder? It was certainly successful. It has fractured our society. I believe we will come back stronger from this, but it showed the rot in society, in our religious institutions, and our political institutions. You have to identify the rot to get in there and clean it out, so the Russians gave us that advantage, but it has brought us to the brink.

Again, a blunder? Were we really going to get closer to Russia? I don't think so. Trump tried his best and it didn't work. Not being politically minded, he had to have personal gain as a motivation to promote closer ties with Russia. So if the odds politically of having better ties with Russia were next to nothing at this time, again, Russia won with their troll campaign. While the duped continue to refuse to admit they were duped, Russian influence remains strong, and the duped can be duped again.

Adriel Kasonta , says: February 19, 2018 at 4:54 am
For God's sake, this is madness. There are no winners in this situation. All of us are losers, because we couldn't prevent it from occurring.
Terrence Moloney , says: February 19, 2018 at 6:29 am
This article trots out the usual inaccuracies about NATO expansion and Eastern European history. There is no conceivable scenario in which the Eastern European countries admitted to NATO threaten Russia. Estonia has no invasion plans. NATO does not war game invading Russia and has no capacity to do so. Russia is not by any reasonable measure encircled by anyone. She is the largest country in the world and has managed to survive with Turkey as a NATO member at its doorstep for years.
It's also absurd to make the case that having been invaded three times in the past two centuries makes Russia especially sensitive to invasion. Many European countries have had that experience and aren't annexing bits and bobs of their neighbors if things don't go their way. The Baltic States were invaded three times in FIVE years in World War II, twice by Russia. Now, they have cause for paranoia.
For that matter, Russia hasn't been invaded three times in the 19th and 20th century. In WWI, Russia invaded East Prussia. Most of the war took place in what is now Poland and Belarus, not Russia.
Please stop trying to buttress your commitment to a non-aligned US with dubious statements about Eastern Europe.
PAX , says: February 19, 2018 at 6:29 am
Why can't we trade and exchange with Russia and just get along? Why so much hostility to a country that did the heavy lifting in WW2? Why not call out Isreal (mainly) and Saudi Arabia for trying to manipulate us as their attack dog on a very short and disciplined leash? Recall when Netanyahu addressed the full U.S.Congress (screaming and yelling like rabid fans at a Beatles concert) and a sitting president was forced to watch on TV? Recall how Johnson let Israel attack the USS Liberty for hours and would not let our planes splash the aggressors? What has happened to our values of democracy, dignity, international human rights and above all national independence, especially from relatively client states? P.T. Barnum's "You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all of the time will take hold." Enough dying and resource wasting on designer wars, not in our interest.
Dan Green , says: February 19, 2018 at 7:06 am
Post WW 2 we have a history of cozing up to Dictators or questionable regimes, then turning on them. Our adversaries especially China and Russia understand this very well.
Michael Antony , says: February 19, 2018 at 7:50 am
Excellent analysis of America's foolish and perhaps fateful policy of encirclement, encroachment and permanent alienation of Russia. Buy why expect Russia to remain passive? Surely they could be forgiven for picking out Trump as a possible source of a more rational and peaceable policy, and saying: let's help this guy get elected. And doing it with their usual clumsiness. Why would they stand by and let the warmongering Hillary push the policy to its ultimate conclusion: war?
Mel Profit , says: February 19, 2018 at 8:01 am
Mr. Merry does a brilliant job–the best I have read–of contextualizing the Russia election interference story. But his analysis is also telling, and typical, in what it omits: any consideration of what in fact the Russians did, and how and to what extent it mattered. And this for a reason that says everything that does matter in our time: the truth of the allegations is irrelevant. Everything is the "narrative".

So, he is correct. Relations will be poisoned for decades. We may even go to war. And the underlying cause will be something that may or may not have happened and, if it did, was–relative to the actual presidential election–inconsequential.

I would only add that in a world more than ever shaped and driven by contesting narratives, the question should be: who benefits most from the Russia indictments, evidence-based or not?

The answer is the dominance of American hawkishness and interventionism, which can now accelerate and expand, unopposed, out to infinity.

Johann , says: February 19, 2018 at 8:50 am
@Terrence Maloney. Expansion of NATO to the Baltics puts OUR troops on Russia's border.

The Washington Post put out an article yesterday interviews a Russian journalist who published a detailed report on the Russian troll factory back in October.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/02/18/the-russian-journalist-who-helped-uncover-election-meddling-is-confounded-by-the-mueller-indictments/?utm_term=.aa9cdb79d885

"Zakharov (the journalist) explained how it was a strange feeling seeing something he had so closely investigated become a major issue in the United States, when it had not been a "bombshell" when he published his report at home."

You would think the major news organizations like NYT and WaPo would have the resources to constantly research foreign publications. Evidently not, because if the MSM thinks that an indictment of 13 Russian trolls is a bombshell, surely they would think 90 Russian Trolls, as described in the Russian news report and $2M would be an even bigger bombshell. And yet it was never picked up on in this country. It goes to show our big media are navel gazers.

But in any event its NOT a bombshell at all. 90 trolls with $2M in a multi-billion election? I believe what really upsets our self-proclaimed adults, is that the vast unwashed masses' opinions can be changed by comments on facebook or any other outlets where they cannot control the message.

This whole "Russia ate our homework" thing is to divert attention from the corrupt use of the Justice Department and intelligence agencies to spy on political opponents.

Christian Chuba , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:02 am
@Terrence Moloney, it's not an issue of Latvia invading Russia it's an issue of those countries being used as missile platforms and choke points against their navy.

The game goes like this, the U.S. keeps encircling Russia with NATO expansion. If Russia doesn't resist, great, it continues. If Russia resists then that is evidence of 'aggression' that justifies a military buildup on existing NATO countries.

Russia lost an area the size of the United States when the Soviet Union collapsed 1991. After an earthquake there are after shocks.

Crimea never wanted to be part of Ukraine. In 1992 they created their own constitution only to have it nullified by Ukraine. Ossetia declared independence from Georgia in 1992. Is 1992 early enough for you? You act like Moses created these boundaries.

Putin has stated that Russia will not invade the Baltics or Kiev. That it is wrong to try to rule over an unwilling population, that Russia has more than enough land for their people. The premise behind the Crimean annexation was that it was the population's will.

collin , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:19 am
There is a part of me that agrees with you. But.

So Democrats are suppose to simply turn a blind eye towards the Trump campaign then? After years of Benghazi! and Birtherism during Obama. And do you think Russians would have been as effective with Marco Rubio running? Or how the Russian activity started against Democrats Congress in the late election?

Or how the Republican fought against Obama on announcing this activity to the country?

2016 was a God-awful election and conservative have been incredibly smug on their slight victory. And President Trump is DOING NOTHING on this activity so I assume he is hoping for their assistance in 2018. (And notice how much they were active they were on the David Nune memo.)

Why don't Republicans do anything now?

John Gruskos , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:27 am
13 Russians illegally volunteered for Trump's campaign?

So what!

The establishment is straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel.

Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans illegally voted for Hillary Clinton.

Worse, billionaires whose first loyalty is to Israel, such as Haim Shaban and Paul Singer, exercise immense influence over American foreign policy.

Immense resources are being devoted to investigating minuscule Russian activity. Why?

1. Because the establishment wants to overturn the results of the 2016 Presidential election.

2. They also hope to find some connection between the Russian government and the American hard right (via Dugin) which can be used to jail the leading figures of the American hard right, thus doing what the ADL, SPLC and Antifa have failed to do – nullify the First Amendment.

This is arguably the most serious assault ever on the Constitution of the United States.

ARGON , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:37 am
Putin requires hostility with the west in order to remain in power. He doesn't want a war, he just needs Russian citizens to feel aggrieved against outsiders so that they don't react to the kleptocrats running the country. It's classic 'strong man' strategy.
Nathan , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:49 am
"Which brings us to the fifth and final fundamental reality surrounding the revelation of Russia's grand effort to influence the U.S. election. It was an incredible blunder."

What a second. You call that a "grand effort?" A few Facebook accounts and some organized trolling? That is anything but a "grand effort" and I question why anyone would characterize it as such. Especially in the context of what we Americans have done and do (which you touch on).

Fred Bowman , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:50 am
At some point the US needs to turn away from it's "Do as we say, not as we do" mentality. Only thing it's gotten us is a world that doesn't trust us anymore. Unfortunately that day won't come until the day the American Empire collapses and America returns to it's roots as a Republic.
pfed , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:54 am
The Ukrainian president wasn't toppled; he fled,doubting the loyalty of his own security forces and despite an agreement with the opposition to stay in power pending a new election within 10 months.
implications , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:59 am
@celery "Was the Russian election meddling a blunder? It was certainly successful. It has fractured our society. I believe we will come back stronger from this, but it showed the rot in society, in our religious institutions, and our political institutions. You have to identify the rot to get in there and clean it out, so the Russians gave us that advantage, but it has brought us to the brink. "

An apt comment. And in this connection it's crucially important that henceforth we hold other countries to the standards we're holding Russia.

I'm thinking of Israel in particular, which has meddled in and distorted American politics to a degree that the Russians can only dream of. One need say only "Sheldon Adelson" to suggest its corrupting, distorting influence. What if a Russian oligarch came here and did for Russia what Adelson and so many others do for Israel? Would we have American politicians grovelling for the millions that a Russian oligarch could lavish on those who promise to do Putin's bidding – as they already do for Adelson and Netanyahu?

If the end result of this "Russian meddling" case is criminalization of this behavior (or even just reinvigorated enforcement of existing laws, like FARA and the Espionage Act), and if that serves to end Israeli meddling in our political process, then all to the good. Meddling by foreign countries in our political process is indeed "rot", as you put it – and as George Washington urgently warned in his Farewell Address. It must be stopped at all costs, for reasons so obvious that we shouldn't even have to discuss them.

SteveK9 , says: February 19, 2018 at 10:05 am
Sorry, there is still no 'Russian Meddling' of any kind. The indictments were against a commercial marketing scheme, using clickbait to build reputations that could be used to sell ads. That is why the posts have no coherence. Some are for Trump, some against, some for Hillary, some against, and of course there is the post that is definitely for, puppies.

Again, there is nothing here, about 'Russia'. Even Mueller's team of liars did not claim any involvement by the Russian government.

What these indictments mean is that being a foreigner, and posting opinions during an election, without registering as a foreign agent, means you can be indicted for 'defrauding' the US.

It's just another step towards censorship.

Oshell , says: February 19, 2018 at 10:15 am
Hillary supposedly received most of the popular vote. So exactly what effect did the Russians have?
Fran Macadam , says: February 19, 2018 at 10:40 am
Since Washington is rolling in a slush fund of billions in foreign lobbying money from countries overwhelmingly not Russia, why is this influence peddling not the real issue? One guy with a million bucks has more influence with Washington than a million guys with one buck, and there are thousands of former elected and unelected government officials flush with their cash doing the bidding of well moneyed foreign states other than Russia, not that of the hundreds of millions of ordinary Americans.

Now we have the chimera of an indictment against 13 ham sandwiches with Russian dressing which can never be eaten – there will be no actual trials as the people accused are people in a foreign country. So, as has become the new standard for public belief in this and other politicized matters, such findings of fact are unnecessary – accusations become the same as proof, the very definition of witch hunt hysterias, from McCarthy to McMartin preschool.

Fran Macadam , says: February 19, 2018 at 10:51 am
Far from benign foreign influences with far more effective and vast resources were bent on running interference to make sure that Hillary Clinton was elected, since they believed her ascendancy was in their best interests. Because millions of Americans knew that her policy predilections were not in their own best interests, does that make them unwitting tools of a Russian conspiracy? It's a witch hunt by powerful domestic forces not acting in Americans' best interests, but those of elites who feel threatened by their own country's heartland and its increasingly dispossessed.
Michael Kenny , says: February 19, 2018 at 10:55 am
This, I assume, is the latest pro-Putin propaganda line. With Putin openly interfering in the Italian election in favour of the Lega Nord, it is now impossible to deny his interference in the US election. So now the interference is admitted but of course it couldn't possibly be nice Mr Putin's fault. It was just a blunder and, as we've come to expect, it was all provoked anyway by the ever dastardly US! The rest is just a re-has of the "let Putin win in Ukraine" pretexts that we've all heard a thousand times.
Will Harrington , says: February 19, 2018 at 11:15 am
I'll say it again. One of the oldest tricks any regime uses when it begins to feel insecure is to create an enemy for its people to focus on. Our oligarchy has chosen Russia, probably because China makes them too much money.
connecticut farmer , says: February 19, 2018 at 11:46 am
Who, specifically, was indicted? Let's hear some names! From whom did they get their marching orders? How did they "meddle" in the election? Examples please. And, most importantly, where are they? If ( as rumor has it) they are in Russia then those indictments aren't worth the paper they're written on.
four alarmer , says: February 19, 2018 at 11:47 am
Yes, please stop the Russian meddling! And please stop all the other foreign meddling while you're at it. We're sick of doing the spending, fighting, and dying for foreign countries.
Fran Macadam , says: February 19, 2018 at 11:57 am
Will Harrington, so right. The ancien regime doesn't want to do anything for the heartland, except to drive a stake through our hearts.
Chris in Appalachia , says: February 19, 2018 at 12:14 pm
An American here. How can I think the Russians for interfering in American elections? I trust Putin more than our own so-called "leaders." I say, interfere away (and let Hungary and Poland join in)! Maybe then Americans will have the chance to break free of the chains of the two-party sham, neocon foreign policy, and corporate globalism.
SteveM , says: February 19, 2018 at 12:18 pm
The always insightful (and sometimes TAC contributor) Charles Hugh Smith has an excellent related essay on this:

https://www.oftwominds.com/blogfeb18/russia-irony2-18.html

David Nash , says: February 19, 2018 at 12:28 pm
Interesting how the Trumpeteers have gone so swiftly from "Fake News" to "So What!". (I guess Oceania has Always been at war with Eurasia.)

What people are missing, including the NeverTrumpers and the ForeverTrumpers is this even betting there was no collusion (because not even ham-fisted Ruskies would cozy up too close with such a band of inept jerks as the Trump Campaign) it shows Trump is a Chump.

Donnie the Strong Man is a clueless loser who was USED by the Russian troll factory because he would be pliable (ie easily manipulated) to give them what they wanted.

Trump has SUCKER written all over his face. He should go play a round of golf and tweet out pathetic insults to everyone. What else has he left.

For those who have projected their own agenda onto Trump's blatherings (just like the Lefties did with Obama's vague platitudes), when will it occur to you that if you have to keep making excuses and attacking those who point out the obvious, you have backed the wrong horse's ***.

I know he can put on his Admiral-General uniform and review the troops, just like the Ruskie leadership. Tanks, rocket launchers, ICBMs and goose-stepping soldiery (just like the Russians). That will Prove he has *large hands*. "I'll Show You!"

Siarlys Jenkins , says: February 19, 2018 at 12:35 pm
An excellent overview. Merry has stepped on a lot of people's preferred narratives, left, right and center, but he is pitilessly accurate.
Dee , says: February 19, 2018 at 12:38 pm
Putin got elected because Russians were tired of Western rapacious capitalists trying to use the broken Soviet Union to make money.. Putin then used his KGB thugs to turn the Russian government into a mafioso.. The chosen, Putin enablers, looted the country.. The looters want to free their stolen money to buy things in the west, cause who wants old soviet crap.. Western capitalists who dont care are more than willing to take their cut.. This is Trump, who could not get a loan in this country.. This article is repugnant, it reduces the USA to the level of these thieves in Russia.. God help us all.
connecticut farmer , says: February 19, 2018 at 1:32 pm
@ Jim Jatras

"All that said, it would have been nice to explain who 'the Russians' are we're talking about."

Bingo! I'd like to see names, who their bosses were (if they had any), places from which they did their deeds. I'd like more specifics on exactly "what" they did and how. Most importantly, and to paraphrase the Fermi (UFO) Paradox, "where are they?" Rumor has it they're in Rooshia. If so, fuggedaboudit! We ain't EVER gonna seem them.

Indictment! As the saying goes "you can indict a ham sandwich."

Interguru , says: February 19, 2018 at 1:33 pm
@Jim Jatras

"All that said, it would have been nice to explain who "the Russians" are we're talking about. This looks less like a government op than a clickbait scam of the sort hundreds of firms in dozens of countries engage in:"

Russia has very tight control of net communications within its borders. This could not have happened without their support, or at least their tacit approval.

That being said, I agree with the article.

LouisM , says: February 19, 2018 at 1:35 pm
This is falling right into the trap of the neocon and neoliberal warmongerers.
1) No I don't believe Russia wants to reconstitute either the Russian Empire or the Soviet Empire. Its about territorial integrity and relevancy on the world stage.
2) The US and EU backed Russia into the corner with the tug of war in Ukrainian elections between pro-Russian candidates and pro-EU candidates then threatening Ukraine to take Crimea away from the Russian navy. A clear threat to Russian territorial integrity and Russia would be irrelevant without its warm water port in the Black Sea.
3) US and EU and Israel spy and influence elections around the world. Its concerning yes, but does the US and EU expect Russia not to reciprocate?
4) I don't care what anyone says, everyone in the US owes Russia a debt of gratitude. I will thank any nation that tried to tell the US citizenry what an evil, shrill, bipolar, incompetent, traitorous woman Hillary Clinton was and still is! Hillary and Obama and their administration should be in jail for murder, corruption and collusion.

This blunder will force a further deterioration between the US and Russia when both the US and EU need friendly relations with Russia now more than ever. There are threats in this world far greater than Russia like terrorism and nuclear proliferation and radical islam etc. This means the US will have to tackle these issues without the help of Russia because it will be punishing Russia. Mr. Trump, we need a master negotiator now more than ever to get Russia out past this scandal and build a better relationship with them.

Room 237 , says: February 19, 2018 at 1:48 pm
What is distressing is not that it happened. We are an open society (and I use that term in a general sense, not teh Karl Popper sense). So it is easy to do so.

What is distressing to me is that it may have worked.

Ken T , says: February 19, 2018 at 1:53 pm
One of the strangest things about this whole matter is that it was just a few years ago that Obama and Clinton were talking about trying to have a "reset" in our relations with Russia, and the Right was apoplectic that they would even consider trying to talk to the implacable enemy that was just waiting for the chance to destroy us. Now, with clear evidence that Russia has in fact caused us harm, those exact same people are the ones saying "No problem, nothing to see here. We trust Putin implicitly, he would never do anything to hurt us."
andy , says: February 19, 2018 at 2:11 pm
A very timely article indeed- one only needs the most basic outline of Russian history of the last millennium to understand that their foreign policy has always been primarily defensive.
One thing, though, needs to be corrected: The next president will indeed have an opportunity to demonstrate a broad understanding of the situation and stretch out a cautiously friendly hand.
This can't happen with Trump for two reasons- he hasn't demonstrated any understanding of the context of the issue, and he has thoroughly poisoned the well by only seeing recent events in terms of his own personal repuatation, not of the nation that he was hired to represent.

[Feb 20, 2018] a 37 page document

Notable quotes:
"... self-enrichment ..."
"... Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org. ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.politico.com

inter alia allegedly later ran a clandestine operation seeking to influence opinion in the United States regarding the candidates in the 2016 election in which it favored Donald Trump and denigrated Hillary Clinton. The Russians identified by name are all back in Russia and cannot be extradited to the U.S., so the indictment is, to a certain extent, political theater as the accused's defense will never be heard.

In presenting the document, Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General, stressed that there was no evidence to suggest that the alleged Russian activity actually changed the result of the 2016 presidential election or that any actual votes were altered or tampered with. Nor was there any direct link to either the Russian government or its officials or to the Donald Trump campaign developed as a result of the nine-month long investigation. There was also lacking any mention in the indictment of the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton and Panetta e-mails, so it is to be presumed that the activity described in the document was unrelated to the WikiLeaks disclosures.

Those of the "okay, there's smoke but where's the fire" school of thought immediately noted the significant elephant in the room, namely that the document did not include any suggestion that there had been collusion between Team Trump and Moscow. As that narrative has become the very raison d'etre driving the Mueller investigation, its omission is noteworthy. Meanwhile, those who see more substance in what was revealed by the evidence provided in the indictment and who, for political reasons, would like to see Trump damaged, will surely be encouraged by their belief that the noose is tightening around the president.

Assuming the indictment is accurate, I would agree that the activity of the Internet Research Agency does indeed have some of the hallmarks of a covert action intelligence operation in terms how it used some spying tradecraft to support its organization, targeting and activity. But its employees also displayed considerable amateur behavior, suggesting that they were not professional spies, supporting the argument that it was not a government intelligence operation or an initiative under Kremlin control. And beyond that, so what? Even on a worst-case basis, stirring things up is what intelligence agencies do, and no one is more active in interfering in foreign governments and elections than the United States of America, most notably in Russia for the election of Boris Yeltsin in 1996, which was arranged by Washington, and more recently in Ukraine in 2014. From my own experience I can cite Italy's 1976 national election in which the CIA went all out to keep the communists out of government. Couriers were discreetly dispatched to the headquarters of all the Italian right wing parties dropping off bags of money for "expenses" while the Italian newspapers were full of articles written by Agency-paid hacks warning of the dangers of communism. And this all went on clandestinely even though Italy was a democracy, an ally and NATO member.

Does that mean that Washington should do nothing in response? No, not at all. Russia, if the indictment is accurate, may have run an influencing operation and gotten caught with its hand in the cookie jar. Or maybe not. And Washington might also actually have information suggesting that Russia is preparing to engage in further interference in the 2018 and 2020 elections, as claimed by the heads of the intelligence agencies, though, as usual, evidence for the claim is lacking. There has to be bilateral, confidential discussion of such activity between Washington and Moscow and a warning given that such behavior will not be tolerated in the future, but only based on irrefutable, solid evidence. The leadership in both countries should be made to understand very clearly that there are more compelling reasons to maintain good bilateral working relations than not.

With that in mind, it is important not to overreact and to base any U.S. response on the actual damage that was inflicted. The indictment suggests that Russia is out to destroy American democracy by promoting "distrust" of government as well as sowing "discord" in the U.S. political system while also encouraging "divisiveness" among the American people. I would suggest in Russia's defense that the U.S. political system is already doing a good job at self-destructing and the difficult-to-prove accusations being hurled at Moscow are the type one flings when there is not really anything important to say.

I would suggest that Moscow might well want to destroy American democracy but there is no evidence in the indictment to support that hypothesis. I particularly note that the document makes a number of assumptions which appear to be purely speculative for which it provides no evidence. It describes the Russian company Internet Research Agency as "engaged in operations to interfere with elections and political processes." Its employees were involved in

"interference operations targeting the United States. From in or around 2014 to the present, Defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016."

The theme of Russian subversion is repeated throughout the indictment without any compelling evidence to explain how Mueller knows what he asserts to be true, suggesting either that the document would have benefited from a good editor or that whoever drafted it was making things up. Internet Research Agency allegedly "conduct[ed] what it called 'information warfare against the United States of America' through fictitious U.S. personas on social media platforms and other Internet-based media." The indictment goes on to assert that

"By in or around May 2014, the ORGANIZATION's strategy included interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with the stated goal of 'spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general'"

with a

"strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants' operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ("Trump Campaign") and disparaging Hillary Clinton. Defendants made various expenditures to carry out those activities, including buying political advertisements on social media in the name of U.S. persons and entities. Defendants also staged political rallies inside the United States, and while posing as U.S. grassroots entities and U.S. persons, and without revealing their Russian identities and ORGANIZATION affiliation, solicited and compensated real U.S. persons to promote or disparage candidates. Some Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities."

Two company associates

"traveled in and around the United States, including stops in Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, and New York to gather intelligence. After the trip, [they] exchanged an intelligence report regarding the trip. The conspiracy had as its object the opening of accounts under false names at U.S. financial institutions and a digital payments company in order to receive and send money into and out of the United States to support the ORGANIZATION's operations in the United States and for self-enrichment . 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. All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349."

Note particularly the money laundering and for-profit aspects of the Internet Research scheme, something that would be eschewed if it were an actual intelligence operation. There is some speculation that it all might have been what is referred to as a click-bait commercial marketing scheme set up to make money from advertising fees. Also note how small the entire operation was. It focused on limited social media activity while spending an estimated $1 million on the entire venture, with Facebook admitting to a total of $100,000 in total ad buys, only half of which were before the election. It doesn't smell like a major foreign government intelligence/influence initiative intended to "overthrow democracy." And who attended the phony political rallies? How many votes did the whole thing cause to change? Impossible to know, but given a campaign in which billions were spent and both fake and real news were flying in all directions, one would have to assume that the Russian effort was largely a waste of time if it indeed was even as described or serious in the first place.

And apart from the money laundering aspect of the alleged campaign was it even illegal apart from the allegations of possible visa fraud and money laundering? If the Russians involved were getting their financial support from the Moscow government then it would be necessary to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938, but if not, they would be protected by the Constitution and have the same First Amendment right to express their opinions of Hillary Clinton on blogs and websites while also associating with others politically as do all other residents of the United States. Many of the commenters on this Unz site are foreign and are not required either by law or custom to state where they come from.

And, of course, there is one other thing. There always is. One major media outlet is already suggesting that there could be consequences for American citizens who wittingly or unwittingly helped the Russians, identified in the indictment as "persons known and unknown." A former federal prosecutor put it another way, saying "While they went to great pains to say they are not indicting any Americans today, if I was an American and I did cooperate with Russians I would be extremely frightened " Politico speculates that "Now, a legal framework exists for criminal charges against Americans " and cites a former U.S. district attorney's observation that "Think of a conspiracy indicting parties ' known and unknown' as a Matroyshka doll. There are many more layers to be successively revealed over time."

Under normal circumstances, an American citizen colluding with a foreign country would have to be convicted of engaging in an illegal conspiracy, which would require being aware that the foreigners were involved in criminal behavior and knowingly aiding them. But today's overheated atmosphere in Washington is anything but normal. Russia's two major media outlets that operate in the U.S., Sputnik and RT America, have been forced to register under FARA. Does that mean that the hundreds of American citizens who appeared on their programs prior to the 2016 election to talk about national politics will be next in line for punishment? Stay tuned.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

[Feb 19, 2018] Internet Marketing - Why Is This Smelly Fish Priceless (updated)

Interesting illustration of how bots (in this case sole sleazy Dems operative with Slavic last name, not Russians ;-) work.
Notable quotes:
"... Democratic Coalition ..."
"... Progressive Army ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
about the Mueller indictment on Twitter some seemingly automated accounts retweeted my promotion.

The original piece is about an internet marketing scheme that is supposed to have influenced U.S. elections. It is thus amusing that the retweeting bots are part of an internet marketing scheme that is supposed to influence U.S. elections.

But why do they use the line "Omg. Fish is priceless"?

My original tweet:


WorldBLee , Feb 19, 2018 11:58:10 AM | 25

Commentators pointed out:

1. The first retweet shown above, which introduced the 'fish' line, is from a real person. Debbie Lusigman, the @saneprogessive , who has her own video channel with lots of legit content. The other tweets though are copies (not regular retweets) of the first retweet.
(h/t oldandyoung and integer )

2. The other personalities are likely bots that may well be run by one Scott Dworkin , a grifter who runs the fundraising campaign Democratic Coalition and channels most of the funds to a company he owns. Geoff Miami found the connection and reported on it at Progressive Army .
(h/t Demeter )

Posted by b on February 19, 2018 at 07:36 AM | Permalink

@saneprogressive is a real account; the rest appear to be bots. The bots RT some posts and appropriate others as their own. For instance, another one of @saneprogressives posts was also posted by @SenWarren2020 as its own yesterday. These are simple bots that attach themselves to certain accounts that have been deemed to be in the right ideological sphere, one suspects.

Demeter , Feb 19, 2018 12:01:23 PM | 26
I know those bots. @GeoffMiami has called them out as accounts controlled by Scott Dowrkin (@funder) and his "resistance organization" The Dem Coalition (@TheDemCoalition). "They hope to grift off Bernie supporters by using Bernie-themed bot accounts to push their propaganda."


More here - exposing Dworkin as a grifter Resistance Grift – How Scott Dworkin Turned the Resistance into a Personal Payday

Dworkin's Super PAC promotes fear through a repeating cycle of Russian-based propaganda, which garners donations, which pay consultants that generate those stories over and over again, garnering yet more donations. As to what purpose his Super PAC actually serves, it appears to be little more than a Möbius strip of self-serving opportunism.

b , Feb 19, 2018 12:16:49 PM | 27
@Bobby Mueller @6
"because they are not re-tweeting your post from MOA - they are re-tweeting @saneprogressive's re-tweet of your MOA post."

No - the 2nd to 8th account are not "retweeting" the 1st. They copied and reposted its content.
If those were legit one click "retweets" a la normal Twitter it would says so (XYZ retweeted ABC) and lock different. The form they used as shown above would require several clicks to 1. go to my original tweet, 2. retweet that with comment, 3. type (or copy) the fish line, 4. send.

These are for sure bots running on some script.

psychohistorian , Feb 19, 2018 1:00:03 PM | 28
I am not sure that I have taken enough of the right drugs but here goes

1. The retweets are secret messages from "saneprogressive" that bots are trained to retweet so others know to read your posting as it is priceless

2. The retweets are NSA manipulation to deprecate and make light of your posting by making it unserious

3. Twitter/NSA has developed bots behind the scene to manipulate public focus and it is just coming out of Beta testing

4. Some blogs have weekly cat pictures but this is clear evidence that MoA needs to have at least weekly sock puppet pictures.

5. All this focus on sock puppets and fish on America's president's day is unpatriotic and taking focus away from the current president's tweets which cannot be tolerated.

6. If this fish is so priceless, why is it stealing focus from humanity's more pressing problems like determining if this persons G in OMG is the same as that persons G in their OMG

It is just at freezing in Portland OR with a light dusting of snow from last night on all but the roads and the sun is shining.....Happy day/life to all!

b , Feb 19, 2018 1:00:16 PM | 29
@all -

I updated the piece above with the information provided by oldandyoung, integer, and Demeter.
Thanks folks!

Sebastian Dangerfield , Feb 19, 2018 1:57:44 PM | 30
This is an absolutely hilarious illustration of your argument. While I don't think the argument that the Internet Research Agency was a marketing endeavor is conclusive, it certainly is a compelling explanation, especially given the ridiculous nature of the content that it produced. It's like everyone simply ignored the fact that there are gazillions of these click-harvesting schemes and that the 2016 election, being a perpetual internet outrage machine, was especially fertile ground for them. They all (probably deliberately) ignored the reporting about, say, the Macedonian bullshit farm, which was generating mostly pro-Trump posts in order to harvest clicks. https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/how-macedonia-became-a-global-hub-for-pro-trump-misinfo?utm_term=.ynwo9nn2#.rvBVyoo3
Jen , Feb 19, 2018 4:02:14 PM | 33
The sock puppet does look a bit like a fish and maybe Debbie Lusignan saw a pun in there that is lost on the bots retweeting her Tweet.

"Fish" is good for "fishing" and "phishing" = collecting clicks (and possibly personal information attached to metadata generated by clicks) to forward on to third parties willing to pay for that information.

Kat C , Feb 19, 2018 5:12:04 PM | 34
I have been tweeting your article, not the fish picture, frequently, as I am tired of even supporters of Trump spouting a false narrative. #IamnotaRussianbot or bot of any sort, just a human who wants to pass on the excellent info you wrote. I hope it gets new followers to your blog!
Daniel , Feb 19, 2018 5:31:41 PM | 35
I've been following Debbie Lusignan since early in the 2015/2016 Primaries. She was a Bernie supporter who documented the election fraud better than any other source. She has since come to see Bernie as a sell-out at least, if not a sheep dog from the start. And her focus since has been on discarding the "right/left paradigm" and joining in common causes against the global, plutocratic, warmongering powers.

I've posted links to MoA articles on her sites several times, so maybe her following b is my fault. ;-)

This is her Twitter feed:

https://twitter.com/saneprogressive

daffyDuct , Feb 19, 2018 8:42:02 PM | 42
Demeter@26

"Resistance Grift – How Scott Dworkin Turned the Resistance into a Personal Payday"

So he's kind of like the IRA chef?

[Feb 19, 2018] Goofy Indictments divert attention from Criminal Abuses at the FBI and DOJ by Mike Whitney

The fact that Mueller politicized the action of Russian Internet scammers (who are at best petty criminals) suggest that he has nothing more significant to offer hungry US Russophobes.
At this point Mueller turned his investigation into pure political propaganda
Notable quotes:
"... My impression has been that the "fake news" of dubious sources that circulates on social media is much better at generating money through clicks and shares in appealing to existing bias than it is at changing opinions. ..."
"... information that is true & irrefutable can hardly be considered harmful to the function of democracy, no matter the self-interested motive of the source: the electorate will consider it with their own self-interest in mind. And if any meaningful number of the American electorate – reaching up, say, to triple or even quadruple digits – was duped into texting their vote instead of going to their precinct then we need to resolve to get wise to this trick and not get fooled again. ..."
"... Poor Russia cant get a break, neither can Americans get a break from this USA 'get Russia' monkey circus. The monkeys now reach back a year ago to get Russia on a cyber attack. ..."
"... This a great article: it summarizes the poverty of the entire "Russians done it" meme. Let's not forget: this is another BIG LIE, on par, if not worse than the Iraq fiasco LIES ..."
"... "U.S. law bans foreign nationals from making certain expenditures or financial disbursements for the purpose of influencing federal elections. U.S. law also bars agents of any foreign entity from engaging in political activities within the United States without first registering with the Attorney General." When are we going to indict Israeli nationals for the above-mentioned crimes? When are we going to single out Bibi as a foreign national who engages with childlike enthusiasm in political activities within the United States? ..."
"... It's even more depressing than that. The indictments are against what is probably just (one of a million) commercial marketing scams. That is why the posts have no coherence. Some are for Trump, some against, some are for Hillary and some against, and of course there is the post that is for puppies. These are clickbait to establish the trolls as leaders so they can get advertisers to purchase ads. ..."
"... The word Lügenpresse has has entered German dictionaries, 'lying press', I hope a similar expression will enter USA dictionaries soon. In Germany this expression also is used with regard to TV. ..."
"... How creepy these pyschopaths are is hard for most people to understand, but gradually they are. Also, Trump has powerful opponents, one of which is the inability of most people to politically wake up quickly. He is the front man for a Military, Political, and Scientific Alliance making war against entrenched elitist, sociopathic, self-centered, control freak cabals that almost seized complete power in our country. Give him some slack okay. He's / they are doing pretty good considering the incredibly dangerous situation they took over. Keep writing Mike Whitney! ..."
"... It appears that Mueller is intent on prolonging his little fishing trip. My own cynicism suggests to me that his motive is, at least partially, financial. Sure, the media has said that he's being paid what will amount to only $200k or so per year for his "service" and that he has given up a position that pays him closer to $3 million for the same amount of time in order to act as Special Counsel. ..."
"... This indictment has publicised for the whole world that US has a 'law' that prohibits free speech by foreigners in foreign countries if they dare to speak disparagingly of US politicians. That is a PR disaster. People will be laughing about this for decades. Why do something so obviously stupid? ..."
"... Many countries have bad laws – in Thailand people can go to jail for offending the king. But to apply it to free speech by foreign people living abroad is self-destructive. To my best knowledge no country has ever attempted to charge people living abroad with 'disparaging comments' about their politicians. By that standard, literally millions of people are daily breaking the 'law' – e.g. all the bad stuff people say about Trump. During 2016 election there were literally millions of people in foreign countries who expressed 'disparaging' views about Trump. And some about Clinton. ..."
"... Doing nothing would had been better than becoming a laughing stock. How is Washington going to preach freedom of speech and internet after this self-inflicted fiasco? What if Russia starts 'indicting' millions of people who expressed negative comments about Putin? ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

Robert Mueller's Friday night indictment-spree, is a flagrant and infuriating attempt to divert attention from the damning revelations in the Nunes memo (and the Graham-Grassley "criminal referral") which prove that senior-level officials at the FBI and DOJ were engaged in an expansive conspiracy to subvert the presidential elections by spying on members of the Trump campaign. The evidence that the FBI and DOJ "improperly obtained" FISA warrants to spy on Trump campaign affiliate, Carter Page, has now been overshadowed by the tragic massacre in Parkland, Florida and the obfuscating indictments of 13 Internet "trolls" who have not been linked to the Russian government and who are being used to conceal the fact that the 18 month-long witch hunt has not yet produced even one scintilla of hard evidence related to the original claims of "hacking or collusion".

Think about what's Mueller is really up to: He's not just moving the goalposts, he's loading them onto a spaceship and putting them on another planet. Where's the evidence that Russia hacked the DNC computers and stole their emails? Where's the proof that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia? That's what we want to know, not whether some goofy Russian troll was spreading false information on Facebook. That has nothing to do with the original charges. It's just politically-motivated gibberish that proves Mueller has nothing to support his case. After a full year, the investigation has failed to produce anything but a big goose egg.

According to the indictment, the alleged Russian trolls "posted derogatory information about a number of candidates" and its "operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Clinton."

Big whoop. If people are so malleable that they can be brainwashed by some suggestive posting on Facebook, then maybe we should abandon democracy altogether. But that's not what this is really about, is it? Because if it was, Mueller would have posted the contents of those nefarious Russian comments in the indictment WHICH HE DIDN'T because he knows it's all obfuscating bullsh** designed to make the sheeple think evil Putin is dabbling in our precious elections.

Oh, and here's a little tidbit the MSM managed to overlook in their typically-hysterical coverage. This is from journalist Alexander Mercouris at the pro-Russia website, The Duran: (If you think your delicate mind might be brainwashed by Russian propaganda, please, shield your eyes!)

"The third thing to say about the indictment – and a point which has been almost universally overlooked in all the feverish commentary about it – is that it makes no claim that the Russian government was in any way involved in any of the activities of the persons indicted.

Nowhere in the indictment is the Russian government or any official of the Russian government or any agency of the Russian government mentioned at all. Nor at any point in the indictment is it suggested that any of the persons indicted were employed by the Russian government or were acting under its instructions or on its behalf ." (The Duran, Alexander Mercouris)

No Ruskis involved? But how can that be? We were assured that diabolical Russia is behind everything bad that happens in America. Has evil Putin been sleeping on the job??

Yes, it's true that the Internet Research Agency, LLC, is in fact located in St. Petersburg but–as yet–there is no known connection between the company and the government. And, if there was, you can bet that Mueller would have exploited it for all it's worth.

By the way, Mueller's presumption that the hackers were trying to influence the election, is just that, a presumption. It has no basis in fact whatsoever. It is mere speculation like the rest of the claptrap he's come up with. The more reasonable explanation is that the hackers were trying to make a little dough on "pageviews or clicks" rather than trying to persuade voters to vote for one candidate or the other. Here's more from the indictment:

" Defendants and their co-conspirators began to track and study groups on U.S. social media sites dedicated to U.S. politics and social issues. In order to gauge the performance of various groups on social media sites, the organization tracked certain metrics like the group's size, the frequency of content placed by the group, and the level of audience engagement with that content, such as the average number of comments or responses to a post."

WTF! Isn't this what everyone is doing, including the Intel agencies, advertisers, media and corporations? So now it's a crime? Give me a break!

Here's a blurb from the comments-line at Sic Semper Tyrannis:

"The "conspiracy" started in 2014, and cost a whopping $1.2 MILLION, which includes salaries, tech support, and bonuses. The indictment includes info that the Russians ran ads supporting Black Lives Matter, Muslims, Jill Stein, Ted Cruz, Rubio, and Trump. They also organized rallies in support of, and in opposition to Trump and Hillary Clinton. They continued their activities up into 2017, still organizing pro-Clinton and pro-Trump rallies. At one point, the indictment says that the Russians ran an ad that reached 59,000 people, which is laughable, people with a camera in their kitchen get more views than that. Essentially, after about 1.5 years of investigating "Russian collusion" this is all they've come up with." –London Bob, Sic Semper Tyrannis

And here's more from the indictment:

"U.S. law bans foreign nationals from making certain expenditures or financial disbursements for the purpose of influencing federal elections. U.S. law also bars agents of any foreign entity from engaging in political activities within the United States without first registering with the Attorney General."

This is mind-numbingly stupid. Does Mueller really think he can cobble together a case against 13 foreign-born defendants based on the thin gruel of Russian support for "Black Lives Matter, Jill Stein and Donald Trump?" Good luck with that, Bob.

Political analyst Paul Craig Roberts summarizes how absurd the indictments are in a Friday article tiled "The Result of Mueller's Investigation: Nothing":

"How did the 13 Russians go about sowing discord? Are you ready for this? They held political rallies posing as Americans and they paid one person (unidentified) to build a cage aboard a flatbed pickup truck and another person to wear a costume portraying Hillary in prison clothes ."

The whole thing is ridiculous and anyone with half a brain knows it's ridiculous. The only reason this fiasco continues to drag on, is because the mandarins in the US National Security State run everything in America and they've decided that they can invent whatever reality suits their foreign policy agenda and the rest of us will simply accept it in silence or be denounced as "Putin apologists" or "Kremlin stooges". Fortunately, facts and reason appear to be getting the upper hand which why the deep state powerbrokers are getting so desperate. They're now genuinely concerned about what might "come out" and who might be exposed.

Do the names John Brennan or Barack Obama ring a bell?

Indeed. I'm sure both names would factor quite large in any seriously impartial and thorough investigation of the Russiagate conspiracy.

One last thing for all you supporters of Donald Trump. I suggest you carefully examine his latest tweet on the topic. Here it is:

"Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!" Donald Trump, Twitter

As I expected, Trump is going to save his own skin, but allow the "Bigger Lie" to persist. It looks to me that Trump may have cut a deal with his deep state antagonists to support their spurious claims of Russian meddling as long as they exonerate him on the charges of collusion. That means, he will NOT use his power as President to try to uncover the roots of Russia-gate fabrication. (that would probably expose the former Directors of the CIA and NSA and, perhaps, even the former president of the United States, who likely gave Brennan the greenlight to set the wheels in motion.) All of these suspects will go uninvestigated, unindicted, and unpunished just like the perpetrators of the Iraq War, just like the perpetrators of the Financial Meltdown, and just like the perpetrators of all the major crimes against the American people. As always, it is complete and total immunity for Parasite Class while the rest of us have to play by the rules. But you probably already knew that.

Trump will get off the hook while the rest of us languish in permanent ignorance of how the shadow government really works. You heard it first here.


Svigor , February 18, 2018 at 6:23 am GMT

http://www.unz.com/proberts/rosenstein-and-mueller-running-for-cover-leaving-brennan-exposed/

What perhaps has surely happened

Now there's some tight writing. No wonder he insisted on disabling comments on his pieces.

El Dato , February 18, 2018 at 2:08 pm GMT
@Svigor

This is a perfectly valid and understandable turn of phrase for NuMerica 2018

https://imgur.com/DIVoxL5

fenster , February 18, 2018 at 2:31 pm GMT
<>

Beat you by one day, though you have more readers . . .

https://uncouthreflections.com/2018/02/17/wonton-speculation/

John Achterhof , February 18, 2018 at 6:48 pm GMT
After all of the concern expressed in the abstract I'd like to see some concrete examples of the material used to change opinions of American voters. My impression has been that the "fake news" of dubious sources that circulates on social media is much better at generating money through clicks and shares in appealing to existing bias than it is at changing opinions.

In any event, in this new environment – absent some form of censorship as with authoritarian states – any interested party such as a foreign government may introduce anonymously, by way of levels of remove, political content intended to change opinion. Of course, information that is true & irrefutable can hardly be considered harmful to the function of democracy, no matter the self-interested motive of the source: the electorate will consider it with their own self-interest in mind. And if any meaningful number of the American electorate – reaching up, say, to triple or even quadruple digits – was duped into texting their vote instead of going to their precinct then we need to resolve to get wise to this trick and not get fooled again.

Now, if this Mueller investigation would set out anew with a determination to find some Russian government involvement in fomenting the red hot molten lava of Identity Politics bubbling out of our universities – the obscene notion that a "patriarchy" of white males, acting as some kind of an informal fraternity in favoring themselves in the economy to the detriment of the outsiders, needs to get taken down in status in order to make America great – then they'd be cooking with gas toward the concern of harming the bonds of our civil union.

renfro , February 19, 2018 at 7:38 am GMT
Poor Russia cant get a break, neither can Americans get a break from this USA 'get Russia' monkey circus. The monkeys now reach back a year ago to get Russia on a cyber attack.

White House blames Russia for 'reckless' NotPetya cyber attack

https://www.reuters.com/ russia /white-house-blames-russia-for-reckless-notpetya-c&#8230 ;

3 days ago – WASHINGTON/LONDON (Reuters) – The White House on Thursday blamed Russia for the devastating 'NotPetya' cyber attack last year , joining the British government in condemning Moscow for unleashing a virus that crippled parts of Ukraine's infrastructure and damaged computers in countries across the

Best advice for Americans believe nothing, trust nothing that issues from a government.

The experts:

John McAfee, founder of an anti-virus firm, said: "When the FBI or when any other agency says the Russians did it or the Chinese did something or the Iranians did something – that's a fallacy," said McAfee.

"Any hacker capable of breaking into something is extraordinarily capable of hiding their tracks. If I were the Chinese and I wanted to make it look like the Russians did it I would use Russian language within the code. "I would use Russian techniques of breaking into organisations so there is simply no way to assign a source for any attack – this is a fallacy."

I can promise you – if it looks like the Russians did it, then I can guarantee you it was not the Russians."

Wikileaks has released a number of CIA cyber tools it had obtained. These included software specifically designed to create false attributions.

Ronald Thomas West , Website February 19, 2018 at 7:38 am GMT
Naw, we didn't hear it here first, it's been glaringly obvious to about everyone outside of the USA propaganda loop, here's just one example:

http://ian56.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-spuious-mueller-indictments-of-13.html

Per the preceding, my own observation would be, when your lead investigator/special prosecutor's known history is framing people for crimes they didn't commit, sandbagging & sinking criminal investigations into international narcotics & arms trafficking, protecting related money laundering & hired killers, and providing cover for the perpetrators (intelligence agencies), we know why any reasonably honest & intelligent person wouldn't give two cents credibility to, and possess a rat's ass level of sympathy for, 'special' counsel Robert Mueller. The real question is, why the Boyd Cathy and Mike Whitney types don't go after these guys at the level the deserve; pointing to their established international criminal mafioso (read intelligence agency) crimes sprees and history of impunity:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/02/07/bob-manson-charlie-mueller/

^ It's 'alternative news' cowards won't take this s ** t on

Anonymous Disclaimer , February 19, 2018 at 7:45 am GMT
From a different Anonymous ..Mr. Whitney I can see the point of Donald Trump doing the kind of deal you suggest if there was enough for him to fear as you suggest but do not demonstrate. Why shouldn't we believe that it's all over, the indictments show there's nothing to be concrrned about?

Before your suggestion of the deal I had already concluded that you had not made a case against the indictments. Are you in fact willing to say that they should not have been instituted? If so, why?

Are they so completely hopeless in law, or as a matter of practicality in terms of their ever being got to court that it is an abuse if Mueller's position to support them? And if, as seems likely, nothing will come of them (certainly Russia won't help with extradition), is there not a case for using these indictments to clear the air on the law and, possibly, by the courts throwing the cases out on weakness of the matters of fact alleged? Could there even be a Machiavellian desire to have arguments put which would embarrass the Israel Lobby?

renfro , February 19, 2018 at 7:56 am GMT
@Anonymous

This should not be allowed either. CNN . 'Israel has 200,000 eligible American voters, according to the non-partisan organization IVoteIsrael, which registers American Israelis to vote.

Wizard of Oz , February 19, 2018 at 8:15 am GMT
Mike Whitney. Do you think Mueller should have avoided bringing the indictments even though US law appears to make what was done illegal? If so, why?

Could Mueller be justified by thinking it could help to sort out a bad law, especially if lawyers appear for the named defendants and move for the dismissal of the case on the facts alleged. Or, as has also been suggested, ia this a move which might allow the defendant's case to embarrass the Lobby? Would Mueller or the FBI be upset by that.

Tom Welsh , February 19, 2018 at 10:22 am GMT
"Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media
"Military's 'sock puppet' software creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propaganda

"Jeff Jarvis: Washington shows the morals of a clumsy spammer"

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/mar/17/us-spy-operation-social-networks

Yet again, Washington is projecting its own vile schemes onto other countries.

jacques sheete , February 19, 2018 at 11:22 am GMT

Goofy Indictments Divert Attention from Criminal Abuses at the FBI and DOJ

I wonder how much of the Syrian troubles are diverting attention away from Netanyahoo's legal problems.

animalogic , February 19, 2018 at 12:31 pm GMT
This a great article: it summarizes the poverty of the entire "Russians done it" meme. Let's not forget: this is another BIG LIE, on par, if not worse than the Iraq fiasco LIES.

Nor is it, per se, about Trump. This is about State &political actors using State agencies & the MSM to prevent/ bring down an elected president. Its a plain unadorned assault on what's left of US democracy. (The fact that the vast majority of DNC voters can't -- WONT see this demonstrates how successful Elites have been in morally & psychologically corrupting the US public.

How many BIG LIE narratives can a State take ? Or do we just whistle & say " oh, but we live in a post truth age" as if that's not somehow morally equivalent to being a Moloch worshipper out for sunny day icecream.

journey80 , February 19, 2018 at 1:06 pm GMT
"U.S. law bans foreign nationals from making certain expenditures or financial disbursements for the purpose of influencing federal elections. U.S. law also bars agents of any foreign entity from engaging in political activities within the United States without first registering with the Attorney General." When are we going to indict Israeli nationals for the above-mentioned crimes? When are we going to single out Bibi as a foreign national who engages with childlike enthusiasm in political activities within the United States?
Redman , February 19, 2018 at 1:32 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz

Law enforcement of course doesn't bring every case which meets the definition of a crime. If it did, nearly everyone would be involved in the criminal justice system.

Discretion is used. And here, the evidence points directly to Mueller's discretion being used to protect the asses of the FBI and security state.

This indictment will not see the light of day. It's a bit like declaring faux victory in Iraq and leaving (what should have been done in that case). No lawyer will have the opportunity to refute th bull shit.

This is also why Meuller just indicted Gates, to strengthen the Manafort case. The only thing of note that will come out of this debacle of an investigation. He's giving up on Russia and going after Manafort, the low hanging fruit.

tjm , February 19, 2018 at 1:57 pm GMT
This is all nonsense, The very idea that Trump, or Clinton is being attacked by the FBI or CIA, or "Deep State", while doing exactly what he was hired to do, is ludicrous. Trump is a PRODUCT, just like Obama, and Clinton, all paid whores of the Zionist money machine.

The CIA and FBI are merely players in this game of distraction. The whole Russia gate BS was a cleaver rouse to further Zionists goals: Distract Americans from the real foreign interference by Zionist Jews, and to further demonize Christian Russia to the left, opening up the support for war with Russia.

Washington, Trump, Congress all lie, the media all lies, yet time and time again I see their lies playing as truth. Are you just stupid or part of the problem? Nothing comes form any of this, just distraction and divide and conquer. Trump continues to ACT like an Israeli firster while he TALKS about Ameirca first, and idiots keep focusing on his words and NOT HIS ACTIONS!

tjm , February 19, 2018 at 2:05 pm GMT
Trump ran on anti-immigration, building a wall, and getting out of conflicts. Yet, Trump is pushing for AMNESTY FOR DREAMERS, is building no wall, and is pushing conflict in the Middle East. Seems to me, this should be the ONLY topics of conversation. Trump is a wolf in sheep's clothing, a Zionist traitor, and these FBI/Russia/Clinton back and forth accusations are just the Zionist Jews giving Trump cover.

This is all theater, the Zionists rule DC, 9/11 was the culmination of their control over DC, and now they play is like a Hollywood movie, full of intrigue and misdirection. None of this amounts to anything, yet, time and again it is front page news, while TRUMP's TREASON, HIS AMNESTY GO IGNORED???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It seems there is very little Zionist money cannot buy

LoodohLeaky , February 19, 2018 at 2:31 pm GMT
Does the writer want us to believe that a bunch of private Russians, with no connection to the government, decided for their own amusement to spend millions of dollars to play games with American voters' heads?
SteveK9 , February 19, 2018 at 2:40 pm GMT
It's even more depressing than that. The indictments are against what is probably just (one of a million) commercial marketing scams. That is why the posts have no coherence. Some are for Trump, some against, some are for Hillary and some against, and of course there is the post that is for puppies. These are clickbait to establish the trolls as leaders so they can get advertisers to purchase ads.

There is a lot of interesting detail here:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02/mueller-indictement-the-russian-influence-is-a-commercial-marketing-scheme.html

jilles dykstra , February 19, 2018 at 2:45 pm GMT
I think and hope that USA citizens have not lost their minds, but are using it, maybe just for the second time.
The first time then was when the USA refused to ratify Versailles, after USA citizens had discovered that their sons had die overseas for JP Morgan and British imperialism.

The word Lügenpresse has has entered German dictionaries, 'lying press', I hope a similar expression will enter USA dictionaries soon. In Germany this expression also is used with regard to TV.

Here in the Netherlands our Minister of Foreign Affairs Halbe Zijlstra had to resign after the newspaper Volkskrant, in very unusual opening a can of worms, publicised that Zijlstra never had been in Putin's dacha where Putin had explained what 'greater Russia' was: including White Russia, Ukraine, Baltic states and Khazakstan.
USA press, this time hitting the mark, called him 'the lying Dutchman'.

Zijlstra's friend, prime minister Rutte, already for years has the nickname Pinochio, his lies are well known.
Rutte must have known that Zijlstra lied at his party's congress, VVD, in 2016.
A poll now seems to show that more than half the Dutch have had enough with Rutte.

This seems to be the era in which nothing is trusted any more, politicians, media, experts, and so on.

jilles dykstra , February 19, 2018 at 2:56 pm GMT
@John Achterhof

For me one of the greatest nations on this earth is small insignificant Denmark.
It does not wage wars far from home, it does not allow foreigners to buy houses or land, it has an excellent pension system and social security system, and an excellent health care system.
It does not welcome large numbers of migrants, has a very low crime rate.
There may be very rich Danes, but they do not display their wealth.
The only thing I blame Denmark for is the oversized and luxurious post offices.
The country side is not impressive, nor what farmers produce, sugar beets.
And so the Danes are the happiest people on earth, surveys conclude.

Jake , February 19, 2018 at 3:00 pm GMT
"According to the indictment, the alleged Russian trolls "posted derogatory information about a number of candidates" and its "operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Clinton."

This is straight out of the Stalin and/or Mao playbook: those people thought bad thoughts and said some things that did not support us, which proves they are EVIL and must be destroyed for the good of all.

Jake , February 19, 2018 at 3:02 pm GMT
@LoodohLeaky

Do you mean the way that private Israelis, and Saudis, do that very thing, year after year? And with much, much more money?

Jake , February 19, 2018 at 3:06 pm GMT
@tjm

Jewish money 'bought' Oliver Cromwell, the chief epitome of WASP culture, not because it was an impossible offer to resist, but because Anglo-Saxon Puritanism was a Judiaizing heresy, and Cromwell naturally saw Jews as the best allies for WASPs.

You cannot solve the Jewish problem without also solving the WASP problem.

Joe Hide , February 19, 2018 at 3:33 pm GMT
To Mike Whitney,

Good article and thank you for keeping your presentation a reasonable length. Unreasonable length is a problem for many authors and preachers!

The Florida school massacre, can be orchestrated by simply ignoring significant warnings. For instance, a rogue FBI leadership intentionally ignores warnings from many different locations on the likely danger, and just waits for it to happen. When it does happen the rogue FBI cell can claim plausible deniability, claiming incompetence or stupidity, instead of intention. Then tens of millions of Americans are distracted from recently released information exposing the rogue FBI cell.

How creepy these pyschopaths are is hard for most people to understand, but gradually they are. Also, Trump has powerful opponents, one of which is the inability of most people to politically wake up quickly. He is the front man for a Military, Political, and Scientific Alliance making war against entrenched elitist, sociopathic, self-centered, control freak cabals that almost seized complete power in our country. Give him some slack okay. He's / they are doing pretty good considering the incredibly dangerous situation they took over. Keep writing Mike Whitney!

Anonymous Disclaimer , Website February 19, 2018 at 3:57 pm GMT
@anon

It's wide open, your packets are shooting all over the place, nice n' secure. Hail Fatherland Security! When you read propaganda, they know all about you and what you're reading in advance. Us, them, Russians – to the farm junior!

Twodees Partain , February 19, 2018 at 4:36 pm GMT
It appears that Mueller is intent on prolonging his little fishing trip. My own cynicism suggests to me that his motive is, at least partially, financial. Sure, the media has said that he's being paid what will amount to only $200k or so per year for his "service" and that he has given up a position that pays him closer to $3 million for the same amount of time in order to act as Special Counsel.

Still, the total cost of his exploration has been over $6.5 million so far. This, I would have to guess, is all in legal costs, fees paid to attorneys he has selected to do the investigative work. That amount of money is in excess of what he is supposedly giving up in order to conduct this investigation.

Looking at his motivation from this angle, it would make sense that a lawyer, especially a greedy, power hungry lawyer, would set up a system of kickbacks for attorneys he appoints to do the work. Mueller may be suspected of ensuring himself an equal income to what he is supposed to have given up.

Any time his fishing trip comes under fire for failing to catch any fish big enough for a meal, he issues indictments. This time he has indicted some foreign nationals who will probably never even be arrested, let alone prosecuted. Still, he's allowed to keep fishing.

phil , February 19, 2018 at 4:54 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

All true. Good comment. Also, Denmark appears to have a genetic advantage when it comes to happiness, its lousy weather notwithstanding! See "National Happiness and Genetic Distance: A Cautious Exploration," by Eugenio Proto and Andrew J. Oswald, University of Warwick.

Abstract
This paper studies a famous unsolved puzzle in quantitative social science. Why do some nations report such high levels of mental well-being? Denmark, for instance, regularly tops the league table of rich countries' happiness; Britain and the US enter further down; some nations do unexpectedly poorly. The explanation for the long observed ranking -- one that holds after adjustment for GDP and other socioeconomic variables -- is currently unknown. Using data on 131 countries, the paper cautiously explores a new approach. It documents three forms of evidence consistent with the hypothesis that some nations may have a genetic advantage in well-being.

Anon Disclaimer , February 19, 2018 at 4:56 pm GMT
Anon from TN
People who generated lies have vested interest in perpetuating them. They will gladly use new lies to "confirm" the old ones. Even Trump figured that the red herring of Russian interference in the elections made the US a laughing stock in Russia. That's an understatement, though: this red herring made the US a laughing stock of 90% of the world population (the remaining 10% have no sense of humor).
Patriot Paddy , February 19, 2018 at 6:39 pm GMT
Where are the indictments of the foreign nationals in California, who openly attacked Trump supporters in San Jose? They attempted to affect the election through criminal assaults and batteries, much more than a simple Facebook post. This is the newly unveiled America, the citizens are not running anything, we are bought and paid for by interests that Gen. Washington would have deemed treasonous.
Verymuchalive , February 19, 2018 at 6:41 pm GMT

Goofy Indictments Divert Attention from Criminal Abuses at the FBI and DOJ

Lets be honest, Goofy would have done a better job. Mickey Mouse indictments seem more apt.

Jasken , February 19, 2018 at 6:57 pm GMT
How do US Courts have jurisdiction to prosecute speech originating in another country?

If is was said here out in public, fine, but saying something on the internet in another country does not seem to be prosecutable. Some countries have speech laws, and I would hate to find myself in their court system for something I say here that violates their deal.

Also, First Amendment?

Beckow , February 19, 2018 at 7:14 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz

Do you think Mueller should have avoided bringing the indictments even though US law appears to make what was done illegal?

This indictment has publicised for the whole world that US has a 'law' that prohibits free speech by foreigners in foreign countries if they dare to speak disparagingly of US politicians. That is a PR disaster. People will be laughing about this for decades. Why do something so obviously stupid?

Many countries have bad laws – in Thailand people can go to jail for offending the king. But to apply it to free speech by foreign people living abroad is self-destructive. To my best knowledge no country has ever attempted to charge people living abroad with 'disparaging comments' about their politicians. By that standard, literally millions of people are daily breaking the 'law' – e.g. all the bad stuff people say about Trump. During 2016 election there were literally millions of people in foreign countries who expressed 'disparaging' views about Trump. And some about Clinton.

Doing nothing would had been better than becoming a laughing stock. How is Washington going to preach freedom of speech and internet after this self-inflicted fiasco? What if Russia starts 'indicting' millions of people who expressed negative comments about Putin?

[Feb 19, 2018] What the Arrest of the Russian Intel top Cyber-Crime Expert Has to Do With American elections

Feb 19, 2018 | thebell.io

Sergei Mikhailov was arrested one year ago, on Dec. 5, 2016. Officers of the agency's internal security division seized him at his office and led him away with a sack over his head. Mikhailov is a black belt in karate and the officers feared that he might resist, explained one of the colonel's acquaintances.

Prior to his arrest, Mikhailov was head of the 2nd Directorate of the FSB's Information Security Center (TsIB) and within Russian intelligence circles he was considered the main authority on cybercrime.

Now he and three other men -- Dmitry Dokuchayev , an FSB major and former criminal hacker, accused in the U.S. of hacking 500 million Yahoo! accounts in 2014; Ruslan Stoyanov , a former Kaspersky Lab employee; and Georgy Fomchenkov , a little-known internet entrepreneur -- are suspected of state treason. The four are being held in Moscow's high-security Lefortovo Prison

[Feb 19, 2018] The FSB breaks up Russia's most notorious hacker group

Notable quotes:
"... Rosbalt said that when Anikeyev's business reached national levels, he started using new techniques. For example, Anikeyev would go to restaurants and cafes popular among officials, and with the help of sophisticated equipment he created fake Wi-Fi and mobile phone connections. ..."
"... Unsuspecting officials would connect to the network through the channel created by the hacker and he would have access to the information on their devices. ..."
"... Through the Looking Glass, ..."
"... The Anonymous International website was opened in 2013 and content stolen from the phones and emails of Russian politicians immediately started appearing on it. According to Life News , only the correspondence of the public officials and businessmen who refused to pay was published. At the same time members of Shaltai-Boltai positioned themselves as people with an active civil stance. ..."
"... Mikhailov tracked down Anonymous International at the beginning of 2016 and decided to take it under his control, as well as make some money from blackmail along the way. According to Life News , there is another theory - that Mikhailov had been managing the Shaltai-Boltai business from the start. ..."
"... Whatever the truth, Mikhailov and Dokuchayev have now been charged with treason. Anikeyev and Stoyanov will be prosecuted under a different charge - "unauthorized access to computer information." According to Rosbalt , the treason charges against Mikhailov and Dokuchayev are to do with Anonymous International's involvement in leaking to Ukraine the private correspondence of presidential aide Vladislav Surkov. ..."
"... Shaltai-Boltai's website has not been updated since Nov. 26 and its Twitter account since Dec. 12. The group's remaining members, who are believed to live in Thailand and the Baltic States, have been put on an FSB wanted list. ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | www.rbth.com

The alleged leader of the Anonymous International hacker group, also known as Shaltai-Boltai, has been arrested along with important officials in the security services who collaborated with the group. For several years Shaltai-Boltai terrorized state officials, businessmen and media figures by hacking their emails and telephones, and threatening to post their private information online unless blackmail payments were made. "The price tag for our work starts at several tens of thousands of dollars, and I am not going to talk about the upper limit," said a man who calls himself Lewis during an interview with the news website, Meduza , in January 2015.

Lewis, whose name pays hommage to the author Lewis Carroll, is the leader of Anonymous International, the hacker group specializing in hacking the accounts of officials and businessmen. Another name for Anonymous International is Shaltai-Boltai, Russian for "Humpty-Dumpty."

Several years ago Lewis and his colleagues prospered thanks to extortion. They offered their victims the chance to pay a handsome price to buy back their personal information that had been stolen. Otherwise their information would be sold to third persons and even posted online. In the end, Russian law-enforcement tracked down Lewis, and in November he was arrested and now awaits trial . His real name is Vladimir Anikeyev.

Shaltai-Boltai's founding father

"One's own success is good but other people's failure is not bad either," said the profile quote on Vladimir Anikeyev's page on VKontakte , Russia's most popular social network.

Vladimir Anikeyev / Photo: anikeevv/vk.com

Rosbalt news website said that in the 1990s Lewis worked as a journalist in St. Petersburg and specialized in collecting information through various methods, including dubious ones. "He could go for a drink with someone or have an affair with someone's secretary or bribe people," Rosbalt's source said.

In the 2000s Anikeyev switched to collecting kompromat (compromising material). Using his connections, he would find the personal email addresses of officials and entrepreneurs and break into them using hackers in St. Petersburg, and then blackmail the victims. They had to pay to prevent their personal information from ending up on the Internet.

Fake Wi-Fi

Rosbalt said that when Anikeyev's business reached national levels, he started using new techniques. For example, Anikeyev would go to restaurants and cafes popular among officials, and with the help of sophisticated equipment he created fake Wi-Fi and mobile phone connections.

Unsuspecting officials would connect to the network through the channel created by the hacker and he would have access to the information on their devices.

In the beginning Anikeyev was personally involved in the theft of information but later he created a network of agents.

The business grew quickly; enormous amounts of information were at Anikeyev's disposal that had to be sorted and selected for suitability as material for blackmail. In the end, according to Rosbalt, Anonymous International arose as a handy tool for downloading the obtained information.

Trying to change the world

The second name of the group refers to the works of Lewis Carroll, according to Shaltai-Boltai members. The crazy world of Through the Looking Glass, with its inverted logic, is the most apt metaphor for Russian political life. Apart from Lewis Anikeyev, the team has several other members: Alice; Shaltai, Boltai (these two acted as press secretaries, and as a result of a mix-up, the media started calling the whole project, Shaltai-Boltai); and several others, including "technicians," or specialist hackers.

The Anonymous International website was opened in 2013 and content stolen from the phones and emails of Russian politicians immediately started appearing on it. According to Life News , only the correspondence of the public officials and businessmen who refused to pay was published. At the same time members of Shaltai-Boltai positioned themselves as people with an active civil stance.

"We can be called campaigners. We are trying to change the world. To change it for the better," Shaltai told the Apparat website. In interviews members of the group repeatedly complained about Russian officials who restricted Internet freedom, the country's foreign policy and barriers to participation in elections.

Hacker exploits

Shaltai-Boltai's most notorious hack was of an explicitly political nature and not about making money. It hacked Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's Twitter account. On Aug. 14, 2014 tweets were posted on the account saying that Medvedev was resigning because he was ashamed of the government's actions. The `prime minister' also had time to write that Putin was wrong, that the government had problems with common sense, and that the authorities were taking the country back to the past.

The scourge of banks and politicians: 4 famous Russian hackers

On the same day Anonymous International posted part of the prime minister's stolen archive, admitting that, "there is nothing particularly interesting in it."

"The posted material was provided by a certain highly-placed reptilian of our acquaintance," the hackers joked .

Medvedev is far from being Shaltai-Boltai's only victim. The hackers published the private correspondence of officials in the presidential administration: Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman close to Vladimir Putin; Aram Gabrelyanov, head of the pro-Kremlin News Media holding company; and of Igor Strelkov, one of the leaders of the uprising in east Ukraine. Lewis, however, insisted that only material that had failed to sell ended up on the Internet.

Law-enforcement links

Anikeyev was detained in November, and the following month Sergei Mikhailov, head of the 2nd operations directorate of the FSB Information Security Center, was also arrested. According to Kommersant , Mikhailov was a major figure in the security services who, "was essentially overseeing the country's entire internet business."

Mikhailov's aide, FSB Major Dmitry Dokuchayev, and a former hacker known as Forb, was also arrested. Shortly after, Ruslan Stoyanov, head of the department for investigating cybercrime at the antivirus software company Kaspersky Lab, was also detained. Stoyanov also worked closely with the secret services.

According to Rosbalt , Anikeyev revealed information about the FSB officers and the Kaspersky Lab computer expert and their close involvement with Shaltai-Boltai.

Mikhailov tracked down Anonymous International at the beginning of 2016 and decided to take it under his control, as well as make some money from blackmail along the way. According to Life News , there is another theory - that Mikhailov had been managing the Shaltai-Boltai business from the start.

Shaltai-Boltai had a big fall

Whatever the truth, Mikhailov and Dokuchayev have now been charged with treason. Anikeyev and Stoyanov will be prosecuted under a different charge - "unauthorized access to computer information." According to Rosbalt , the treason charges against Mikhailov and Dokuchayev are to do with Anonymous International's involvement in leaking to Ukraine the private correspondence of presidential aide Vladislav Surkov.

Shaltai-Boltai's website has not been updated since Nov. 26 and its Twitter account since Dec. 12. The group's remaining members, who are believed to live in Thailand and the Baltic States, have been put on an FSB wanted list.

Anyway, Shaltai-Boltai anticipated this outcome. "What awaits us if we are uncovered? Criminal charges and most likely a prison sentence. Each member of the team is aware of the risks," they said dispassionately in the interview with Apparat in 2015.

[Feb 19, 2018] Shaltai-Boltai's leader arrested by the FSB Crime

Notable quotes:
"... Anikeev immediately began to cooperate with the investigation and provide detailed evidence, which repeatedly mentioned Mikhailov as being associated with the Shaltai-Boltai's team," said the source of Rosbalt. And in December 2016, Mikhailov and his "right hand," another official of the Information Security Center, Dmitry Dokuchaev, were arrested. The Court took a decision on their arrest. Another ISC official was also detained, but after questioning, no preventive measures involving deprivation of liberty were applied to him. ..."
"... After the summer, Shaltai-Boltai began to work exclusively with the content given to it by the curator. ..."
"... later it switched to civil servants' email that contained information that could bring serious trouble. When it became known that Surkov's correspondence "leaked" to Ukraine, it broke the camel's back. "Mikhailov's a magnificent expert. Best in his business. One can say that the ISC is Mikhailov.. But he crossed all possible borders," told a source of Rosbalt. ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | rusletter.com

RusLetter

The story around the arrest of a high-ranking ISC official, Sergey Mikhailov, is becoming an actual thriller.

The creator of Shaltai-Boltai (Humpty Dumpty) website, which containted the correspondence of officials, journalist Vladimir Anikeev, better known in some circles as Lewis, was arrested on arrival from Ukraine, where he is supposed to have been involved in the publishing on a local site of presidential aide Vladislav Surkov's correspondence. In his testimony, Lewis said about the employee of the Information Security Center, Mikhailov.

As a source familiar with the situation told Rosbalt, Vladimir Anikeev was detained by the FSB officers at the end of October 2016, when he arrived in St. Petersburg from Ukraine. "The operation was the result of a long work. There was a complicated operative combination with the aim to lure Lewis from Ukraine, which he didn't indend to leave," said the source to the news agency. Anikeev was taken to Moscow, where the Investigation department of the FSB charged him under Article 272 of the Criminal Code (Illegal access to computer information).

First and foremost the counterintelligence was interested in the situation with the "leakage" of Vladislav Surkov's correspondence: by the time it was known that it was in the hands of the Shaltai-Boltai's team. Since it was e-mail with from the .gov domain, the situation caused great concern in theFSO. As a result of this, the correspondence was published on the website of a Ukrainian association of hackers called Cyber-Junta. In reality, it is suspected that Anikeev was involved in that affair. He'd been constantly visiting this country, his girlfriend lived there, and, according to available data, he was not going to return to Russia. Lewis was also asked about other officials' correspondence, which already appeared on the Shaltai-Boltai website.

" Anikeev immediately began to cooperate with the investigation and provide detailed evidence, which repeatedly mentioned Mikhailov as being associated with the Shaltai-Boltai's team," said the source of Rosbalt. And in December 2016, Mikhailov and his "right hand," another official of the Information Security Center, Dmitry Dokuchaev, were arrested. The Court took a decision on their arrest. Another ISC official was also detained, but after questioning, no preventive measures involving deprivation of liberty were applied to him.

According to the version of the agency's source, the situation developed as follows. At the beginning of 2016, the department headed by Mikhailov received an order to "work" with Shaltai-Boltai's website, which published the correspondence of civil servants. The immediate executor was Dokuchaev. Officers of the ISC were able to find out the team of Shaltai-Boltai, which participants nicknamed themselves after Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland": Alice, the March Hare, etc. The website creator and organizer, Anikeev, was nicknamed Lewis. In the summer there were searching raids in St. Petersburg, although formally for other reasons.

According to the Rosbalt's source, just after the summer attack the team of Shaltai-Boltai appeared to have the owner, or, to be exact, the curator. According to the source, it could be Sergey Mikhailov. As the result, the working methods of the Lewis's team also changed, just as the objects whose correspondence was being published for public access. Previously, Lewis's people figured out objects in places where mobile phone was used. They were given access to the phone contents by means of a false cell (when it came to mobile internet) or using a false-Wi-FI (if the person was connected to Wi-FI). Then the downloaded content was sent to member of the Lewis's team, residing in Estonia. He analyzed to to select what's to be put in the open access and what's to be sold for Bitcoins. The whole financial part of the Shaltai-Boltai involved a few people living in Thailand. These Bitcoins were cashed in Ukraine. Occasionally the Lewis published emails previously stolen by other hackers.

After the summer, Shaltai-Boltai began to work exclusively with the content given to it by the curator. Earlier, it published correspondence of rather an "entertaining" character, as well as officials whose "secrets" would do no special harm; but later it switched to civil servants' email that contained information that could bring serious trouble. When it became known that Surkov's correspondence "leaked" to Ukraine, it broke the camel's back. "Mikhailov's a magnificent expert. Best in his business. One can say that the ISC is Mikhailov.. But he crossed all possible borders," told a source of Rosbalt.

[Feb 19, 2018] Russian Lawyer Says FSB Officers, Kaspersky Manager Charged With Treason

Feb 19, 2018 | www.rferl.org

At the time of their arrests in December, Sergei Mikhailov and Dmitry Dokuchayev were officers with the FSB's Center for Information Security, a leading unit within the FSB involved in cyberactivities.

Pavlov confirmed to RFE/RL the arrest of Mikhailov and Dokuchayev, along with Ruslan Stoyanov, a former employee of the Interior Ministry who had worked for Kaspersky Labs, a well-known private cyber-research company, which announced Stoyanov's arrest last month.

The newspaper Kommersant reported that Mikhailov was arrested at a meeting of FSB officers and was taken from the meeting after a sack was put on his head.

The independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, meanwhile, said that a total of six suspects -- including Mikhailov, Dokuchayev, and Stoyanov -- had been arrested. The state news agency TASS reported on February 1 that two men associated with a well-known hacking group had also been arrested in November, but it wasn't immediately clear if those arrests were related to the FSB case.

There has been no public detail as to the nature of the treason charges against Mikhailov, Dokuchayev, and Stoyanov. The Interfax news agency on January 31 quoted "sources familiar with the situation" as saying that Mikhailov and Dokuchayev were suspected of relaying confidential information to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Pavlov told RFE/RL the individuals were suspected of passing on classified information to U.S. intelligence, but not necessarily the CIA.

[Feb 19, 2018] So "Russian interference" in our elections are some Facebook trolls?

Notable quotes:
"... Bottom line if Hillary was not such an abysmal candidate the Russians couldn't have affected anything. Any traction any narrative gained was a reflection of the dismal status of maybe the most corrupt candidate in American political history. ..."
"... This Russian gambit is to forestall prosecutions of Treason. Hillary was engaged in a Conspiracy to defraud a Federal election. Her campaign gave money to foreign nationals against the law. Conspiracy not collusion. From Brennan and Clapper and Comey in down you have obvious perjury. ..."
"... The Schiffs and the Warners have committed Treason by promulgating this patently false fairy tale to the detriment of the American people. ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

whosyerdaddy Sun, 02/18/2018 - 13:47 Permalink

So "Russian interference" in our elections are some Facebook trolls? Are you freakin' kiddin' me? After 18 months of investigation not one shred of evidence has been presented. Has even one voting machine been hacked?

I seem to remember Nuland and McBraintumor on the barricades in the Ukraine.

These Russian trolls are exercising what used to be called Political speech. Good or bad I don't think you will be able to stop it.

Bottom line if Hillary was not such an abysmal candidate the Russians couldn't have affected anything. Any traction any narrative gained was a reflection of the dismal status of maybe the most corrupt candidate in American political history.

This Russian gambit is to forestall prosecutions of Treason. Hillary was engaged in a Conspiracy to defraud a Federal election. Her campaign gave money to foreign nationals against the law. Conspiracy not collusion. From Brennan and Clapper and Comey in down you have obvious perjury.

The Schiffs and the Warners have committed Treason by promulgating this patently false fairy tale to the detriment of the American people.

[Feb 19, 2018] Mueller's Investigation A Farce Files Joke Indictment Against Russian Trolls

Feb 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Via Disobedient Media

If one needed proof that Mueller's investigation was an utter farce, they were in for a treat this morning when the Deputy Attorney General announced the indictment of indicted 13 "Russian trolls," for allegedly interfering in the 2016 Presidential election by posting on social media accounts.

Laying Mueller's disregard of the First Amendment aside, the indictment is blatantly hypocritical in light of active social media intervention by pro-Clinton David Brock and his multi-million dollar efforts to 'Correct The Record.' Julian Assange tweeted on the matter:

The indictment alleges that: "Beginning in or around June 2014, the ORGANIZATION obscured its conduct by operating through a number of Russian entities, including Internet Research LLC, MediaSintez LLC, GlavSet LLC, MixInfo LLC, Azimut LLC, and NovInfo LLC."

The indictment further alleges that: "The ORGANIZATION sought, in part, to conduct what it called information warfare against the United States of America through fictitious U.S. personas on social media platforms and other Internet-based media."

According to the indictment, the co-conspirators "engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump."

The indictment represents the latest mutation of Russian interference allegations that have dragged on for over a year. As this author previously noted , the definition of Russian interference has shifted from unsubstantiated claims of Russian hacking, to Russian collusion, and finally to Russian social media trolling. Wikileaks tweeted on the subject:

The Washington Post reported in 2015 that David Brock's Correct The Record would work directly with the Clinton Campaign, "testing the legal limits" of campaign finance in the process. How did Correct The Record skirt campaign finance law? The Washington Post tells us: "by relying on a 2006 Federal Election Commission regulation that declared that content posted online for free, such as blogs, is off-limits from regulation." And post online, Brock's PAC did: "disseminating information about Clinton on its Web site and through its Facebook and Twitter accounts, officials said."

Time reported the opinion of a lawyer at the Campaign Legal Center who characterized Correct The Record as: "creating new ways to undermine campaign regulation." Meanwhile, The New York Times detailed the "outrage machine" that Brock and fellow Clinton supporter Peter Daou had created:

"Peter Daou sat with his team at a long wooden table last week, pushing the buttons that activate Mrs. Clinton's outrage machine. Mr. Daou's operation, called Shareblue , had published the article on Mr. Trump's comment on its website and created the accompanying hashtag. "They will put that pressure right on the media outlets in a very intense way," Mr. Daou, the chief executive of Shareblue, said of the Twitter army he had galvanized. "By the thousands."

Going further, the New York Times details fervently the $2 million budget of Daou's Shareblue and admits that the intent of the entire operation is interference in the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election in favor of Hillary Clinton: "Beyond creating a boisterous echo chamber, the real metric of success for Shareblue, which Mr. Brock said has a budget of $2 million supplied by his political donors, is getting Mrs. Clinton elected. Mr. Daou's role is deploying a band of committed, outraged followers to harangue Mrs. Clinton's opponents."

The New York Daily News put the matter most bluntly: "Hillary Clinton camp now paying online trolls to attack anyone who disparages her online." The LA Times described the active election interference: "It is meant to appear to be coming organically from people and their social media networks in a groundswell of activism, when in fact it is highly paid and highly tactical."

Despite the millions of dollars poured into a pro-Clinton 'outrage machine' bent on her support, Clinton inexplicably lost the election to Donald Trump, a fact which still seems not to have sunk in for the former First Lady and Secretary of State.

But why bring up this apparently old news, in the face of Mueller's latest mockery of the American judicial process and the First Amendment? Because it reveals in the words of the legacy press that by definition Mueller's circus has zero interest in campaign or election integrity and is solely interested in getting scalps for Clinton and for the unelected powers she represented.

Despite obvious hypocrisy given the actions of Shareblue and David Brock's Correct The Record, corporate media ignored all double standards and attempted to report on "Russian twitter trolling" with a straight face. Business Insider wrote: "Russian Twitter Trolls Tried To Bury Or Spin Negative Trump News Just Before Election," as if that wasn't what Correct The Record spent millions on doing for the benefit of Clinton.

The double standards applied to Clinton for her benefit goes beyond hypocrisy. Many have claimed that constantly metamorphosing allegations of Russian interference represents an insidious effort to silence dissent and anti-establishment political discourse: for example, by turning third-party, anti-establishment or conservative voices into "Russians" by proxy of their opposition to Clinton.

By converting legitimate American free speech into insidious "Russian bots," a pretext is created to silence dissent across the board. Without the Russian interference circus, the efforts to breach the First Amendment would be overtly authoritarian and would be inexcusable even by the most corrupt establishment media standards.

The results of such a clamp-down on free and effective speech have manifested in censorship crackdowns across large social media platforms including Twitter , Youtube, and Facebook , with Twitter admitting to actively censoring roughly 48% of tweets that included the "#DNCEmails" hashtag. It seems anyone with an opinion the establishment doesn't like is liable to be memory-holed.

This article was co-authored with Kenneth Whittle


Boscovius Fri, 02/16/2018 - 19:29 Permalink

These indictments are the worthless filler in your nothingburger. Mueller is covering his ass. That is all.

CuttingEdge -> are we there yet Sat, 02/17/2018 - 03:15 Permalink

Can we have a virtual standing ovation for our very own Boris avoiding Mueller's attentions (thus far)?

CuttingEdge -> CuttingEdge Sat, 02/17/2018 - 03:25 Permalink

This:

"The ORGANIZATION sought, in part, to conduct what it called information warfare against the United States of America through fictitious U.S. personas on social media platforms and other Internet-based media."

What in the statement hasn't been going on since the internet came into existence? The social internet was founded on bullshit personas. When you can open a Faecesbook account, and become an internet sensation as a fucking dog, what about the above doesn't look patently ridiculous?

These twats are living in La La Land, and its getting beyond disturbing.

nmewn -> Kayman Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:46 Permalink

And another thing, from what I understand Grand Inquisitor Mueller indicted these 13 Russian internet trolls for being "foreign agents" trying to affect the outcome of the 2016 election.

So when is he going to indict Christopher Steele for being an actual bonafide foreign agent trying to affect the outcome of the 2016 election? ;-)

DPLETTENBERG -> nmewn Sat, 02/17/2018 - 18:53 Permalink

Mueller has to know that none of these people will respond to his indictment, so why indict them them at all?

The only possible reason is to make it look like he is doing something as he knows no one in the MSM will question his actions

nmewn -> DPLETTENBERG Sat, 02/17/2018 - 20:26 Permalink

He knows.

None of them will be hopping on a plane to come here and I doubt very seriously that Vlad will play along with this kind of stupidity...although it would be a fun trial to have...lol.

Defense counsel opening statement: "My clients have voluntarily come here to America to assert their universal free speech rights in much the same way that Hillary crony David Brocks "Correct the Record" paid internet troll army from India did and we look forward to exposing all of Hillary's and Obama's astroturfing paid bots in this venue.

Grand Inquisitor Mueller: "Ahem. Your honor, may we approach the bench?"

And the rest as they say, would be jurisprudence history.

It was nothing but a contrived media ploy by Mueller to say he had found...RUSSIANS!...(insert audible gasp here) "somewhere" and surprisingly enough, he found them, in of all places, Russia...lol.

Its stupid to the tenth power...he's losing. Badly ;-)

Dame Ednas Possum -> nmewn Sun, 02/18/2018 - 05:44 Permalink

How about Israeli Zionist interference?

The Voldermort that cannot be mentioned.

nmewn -> Dame Ednas Possum Sun, 02/18/2018 - 08:25 Permalink

Well, I don't run my life trying to keep up with the comings & goings of Jews and what they may want or don't want but...

Weinstein raised money for Hillary. This crooked as a dogs hind leg Weissmann is Muellers lead attack dog and Rosenstein appointed Mueller.

On the other hand, Trumps son-in-law is Jewish so really to me this is more about left vs right...statists vs individuals.

Now I'm sure someone more consumed with "Just what the hell are (((they))) up to today?!" (lol) can pick my statement apart and call me a rabbi or hasbra troll or any other damned thing they want but I just don't live in that Catholic vs Protestant vs Black vs White vs Aryan vs Slav etc Balkanized world.

Not to the degree they do anyways.

It's clear to me a gross miscarriage of justice is happening (and has been happening) and those are just the facts, regardless of any skulking Israeli or Russian supermen others may see hiding behind every blade of grass who seem to "control everything" because clearly they do not or we wouldn't be having this conversation ;-)