Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

US and British media are servants of security apparatus, which in turn serves banks oil and military industrial complex

News Who Rules America Recommended Links Media as a weapon of mass deception Edward Lucas as agent provocateur Lewis Powell Memo
The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Patterns of Propaganda The Real War on Reality Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"
Diplomacy by deception British hypocrisy Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources Color revolutions The importance of controlling the narrative What's the Matter with Kansas
Neo-fascism Nation under attack meme False Flag Operations Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Groupthink Big Uncle is Watching You
Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Pussy Riot Provocation and "Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome" MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Manifactured consent Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law
Soft propaganda Classic Papers  Nineteen Eighty-Four Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc
"The truth is that the newspaper is not a place for information to be given, rather it is just hollow content, or more than that, a provoker of content. If it prints lies about atrocities, real atrocities are the result."

Karl Kraus, 1914

WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

1984

We are the world, we are exceptional, we cannot fail. The elite will lie, and the people will pretend to believe them. Heck about 20 percent of the American public will believe almost anything if it is wrapped with the right prejudice and appeal to passion. Have a pleasant evening.

jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com, Feb 04, 2015

Journalists manipulate us in the interest of the Powerful

Do you also have the feeling, that you are often manipulated by the media and  lied to? Then you're like the majority of Germans. Previously it was considered as a "conspiracy theory". Now it revealed by an Insider, who tells us what is really happening under the hood.

The Journalist Udo Ulfkotte ashamed today that he spent 17 years in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. ...he reveals why opinion leaders produce tendentious reports and serve as the extended Arm of the NATO press office. ...the author also was admitted into the networks of American elite organizations, received in return for positive coverage in the US even a certificate of honorary citizenship.

In this book you will learn about industry lobby organisations. The author calls hundreds of names and looks behind the Scenes of those organizations, which exert bias into media, such as: Atlantic bridge, Trilateral Commission, the German Marshall Fund, American Council on Germany, American Academy, Aspen Institute, and the Institute for European politics. Also revealed are the intelligence backgrounds of those lobby groups, the methods and forms of propaganda and financing used, for example, by the US Embassy. Which funds  projects for the targeted influencing of public opinion in Germany 

...You realize how you are being manipulated - and you know from whom and why. At the end it becomes clear that diversity of opinion will now only be simulated. Because our "messages" are often pure brainwashing.

Gekaufte Journalisten - Medienwelt Enthüllungen Bücher - Kopp Verlag

US and British media are servants of security apparatus

Greenwald explains why US and British media are so one sided (Greenwald US, British media are servants of security apparatus, RT, Dec 27, 2013):
Dec 27, 2013 | RT News

...When Greenwald and his colleagues began working with Snowden, he said they realized that they’d have to act in a way that wasn’t on par with how the mainstream media has acted up until now.

We resolved that we were going to have to be very disruptive of the status quo — not only the surveillance and political status quo, but also the journalistic status quo,” Greenwald said. “And I think one of the ways that you can see what it is that we were targeting is in the behavior of the media over the past six months since these revelations have emerged almost entirely without them and despite them.”

[W]e knew in particular that one of our most formidable adversaries was not simply going to be the intelligence agencies on which we were reporting and who we were trying to expose, but also their most loyal, devoted servants, which calls itself the United States and British media.”

It really is the case that the United States and British governments are not only willing but able to engage in any conduct no matter how grotesque,” Greenwald said.

Nevertheless, he added, journalists tasked with reporting on those issues have all too often been compliant with the blatant lies made by officials from those governments.

Halfway through his remarks, Greenwald recalled a recent quip he made while being interviewed by BBC about the necessity of a functioning media in an environment where government officials can spew untruths to reporters without being questioned.

[A]t one point I made what I thought was the very unremarkable and uncontroversial observation that the reason why we have a free press is because national security officials routinely lie to the population in order to shield their power and get their agenda advanced,” recalled Greenwald, who said it is both the “the goal and duty of a journalist is to be adversarial to those people in power.”

According to Greenwald, the BBC reporter met his remark with skepticism.

I just cannot believe that you would suggest that senior officials, generals in the US and the British government, are actually making false claims to the public,” he remembered being told on-air.

It really is the central view of certainly American and British media stars, that when — especially people with medals on their chest who are called generals, but also high officials in the government — make claims that those claims are presumptively treated as true without evidence. And that it’s almost immoral to call them into question or to question their voracity,” he said.

Obviously we went through the Iraq War, in which those very two same governments specifically and deliberately lied repeatedly to the government, to their people, over the course of two years to justify an aggressive war that destroyed a country of 26 million people. But we’ve seen it continuously over the last six months as well.”

From there, he went on to cite the example of US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who earlier this year made remarks to Congress that were quickly proved false by documents leaked to Greenwald by Mr. Snowden. The very first National Security Agency document he was shown, Greenwald said,

revealed that the Obama administration had succeeded in convincing court, a secret court, to compel phone companies to turn over to the NSA every single phone record of every single telephone call.”

Clapper “went to the Senate and lied to their faces...which is at least as serious of a crime as anything Edward Snowden is accused of," Greenwald added.

But DNI Clapper aside, Greenwald said that the established media continues to reject the notion that government officials spew lies. Snowden’s NSA documents have exposed those fibs on more than one occasion, he noted, yet reporters around the world continue to take the word of officials as fact rather than dig from the truth.

Their role is not to be adversarial. Their role is to be loyal spokespeople to those powerful factions that they pretend to exercise oversight,” Greenwald said.

But as the US, UK and other governments continue to feed the media lies, Greenwald said their operations are far from being single-pronged. The US

knows that its only hope for continuing to maintain its regiment of secrecy behind which it engages with radical and corrupt acts is to intimidate and deter and threaten people who are would-be whistleblowers and transparency activists from coming forward and doing what it is that they do by showing them that they’ll be subjected to even the most extreme punishments and there’s nothing that they can do about it,” he said. “And it’s an effective tactic.”

Ironically, he added, those nations are “fueling the fire of this activism with their own abusive behavior.”

... ... ...

The NSA’s goal, Greenwald said, is to “ensure that all forms of human communication . . .are collected, monitored, stored and analyzed by that agency and by their allies.”

A frightening book, but at the right time!

By Christian Döring HALL OF FAME REZENSENTTOP 50 REZENSENTVINE-product tester 18. September 2014
Format: Hardcover

Ulfkotte has in the last few years, several very readable books on social issues. Long ago, I agree with all agree with this now this I agree with him completely!

At the latest since the beginning of the Ukraine-conflict, I am frequently asked, who owns the journalists on the many channels, the me all the absolute truth declare? Sure, each individual with its very subjective truth, and the he also conceded, because, this is human. But journalists against money only say or write, what the donors have to hear or want to read, this is demokratiegefährdend!

Scary is when you read that the author not only describes individual cases, but a whole System just sets. It's called the horse and rider.

After reading it, I am a little helpless around. What can I such a concentrated Power, purchased journalists, in turn, Lobbyistenfilz hang oppose? Ulfkotte advises you to quota and the requirement to spoil. Is this feasible?

In all cases, you should take the information from this book into his brain inside. At the next newscast must be clear: The recently aufgetischte is just one of the many truths! If you really want to be well informed will have today on the way to messages of different channels to compare, so it will have different truths. In my opinion, it is not only a news source to be trusted.

Udo Ulfkotte has my good faith of the sellers to the Guild of journalists thoroughly destroyed!

The Journalist Udo Ulfkotte ashamed today that, he spent 17 years in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has worked. Before the author of the secret networks of Power revealed, he exercises consistently self-criticism. It is documented here for the first Time, as he is for his coverage in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung lubricated and the corruption was promoted. And he reveals why opinion leaders tendentious reports and as the extended Arm of the NATO press office wars medial prepared. As a matter of course was also the author of into the networks of American elite level organizations included, received in return for positive coverage in the US even a certificate of honorary citizenship.

In this book you will learn, in what industry lobby organisations which journalists are represented. The author calls hundreds of names and looks behind the Scenes of those organizations, which our media propaganda one-sided influence, such as: Atlantic bridge, Trilateral Commission, the German Marshall Fund, American Council on Germany, American Academy, Aspen Institute, and the Institute for European politics. To be revealed in addition, the intelligence backgrounds of the lobby groups, the Propagandatechniken and the forms, with which, for example, at the US Embassy funding for projects for the targeted influencing of public opinion in Germany is able to retrieve.

If the CIA pretends to, what is written

Can you imagine that Geheimdienstmitarbeiter in editorial writing, which would then be in the editorial section under the name of well-known journalists to be published? Do you know which journalists which media for their coverage were smeared? And you have a rough idea of how renowned journalism prizes" to be awarded? Because it goes in the Background as the former honors the "heroes of work" in the former East Germany as propaganda work excellent. From the journalists to the propagandists, it is not far. If you read this book, you are our Newspapers with very different eyes to see the TV more often, simply relax and also know what the Radio is still able to believe: almost nothing. Because Ulfkotte also writes a lot of attention to which transmitter which political party and which journalists like to be influenced. You realize how you are being manipulated - and you know from whom and why. At the end it becomes clear that diversity of opinion will now only be simulated. Because our "messages" are often pure brainwashing.

As the networks (and the American influence in this), our messages to manipulate, and how journalists "sold"!
By Stevie ;o) TOP 500 REVIEWER on may 18. September 2014
Format: Hardcover
Perhaps surprised the a* or other why of the "quality media" in certain topics of the same opinion (at best in light shades)?! "The Euro is good for Germany, Eurorettungspakete are necessary to stabilize the Eurozone, We need a free trade agreement, and Germany will benefit the most (Why write the press hardly content about TTIP and not even as good as over TISA!???), USA is good, Russia is bad, sanctions against Russia are necessary ... etc ... also the reporting on the BNP-espionage affair was more than one-sided. Why is mostly written, that politicians are listening – what is with the Monitoring of the whole population???, ...

Here In the present volume: 1 (of a total of 3 planned volumes) is about, what is the secret networks of our flood control. The topic – such as the "quality media" to influence public opinion or to have a massive influence - is for gutinformierte citizens is certainly not new and was also publicly a couple of times already taken up for example by the ZDF-Satiresendung "The institution" (in shipment from the 29. Apri 2014) or in the ARTE documentary "Used and controlled" (2006), or in the doctoral thesis of Uwe Krueger
"Meinungsmacht. The influence of elites on key media and Alpha-journalists - a critical analysis of networks" or in Andreas Elter – The Kriegsverkäufer: history of US Propaganda 1917-2005, etc read more... "

   
more transparency in the media is required
Of champmerle on 6. October 2014
Format: Hardcover
When you Open the newspaper, the reader will hardly be inspired, in the press building a significant degree of corruption present. After the sheet comes with one but unobtrusive presentation, therefore, and is apparently as a reputable, long-established newspaper. But when you read the new book by Ulfkotte turns very quickly, the perceived seriousness as a pure Illusion, as the Fata Morgana.

From autobiographical reasons sets Ulfkotte his Kritikschwerpunkt of what is going on in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, but also in other Newspapers such as the Süddeutsche, the time or the world will remain not ungeschont.

What is it about?

The charge ranges from Compose or approve of Gefälligkeitsberichten bestochener correspondents, concrete influence of the secret service BND, linkages of Zeitungsgrößen with elite circles such as the Atlantic bridge or the Bilderbergern and on the other hand, the prevention of the documentation which is tangible scandals reveal. Also from Overreaching by Advertisers is the speech.

Throughout acts the written composition as a clear provocation, and virtually every accusation put forward in the Annex shows. It is remarkable, that in many cases specific name to be called.

It now remains to be seen whether the German "key media" an open discussion of the criticisms Ulfkottes. An analysis was spared, it would be in my eyes an indication of the Declaration of bankruptcy of the above-mentioned Pressehäuser.
Personally, I wish I was basically the survival of the newspaper publishers, these are a part of our culture, it is also a very important factor the maintenance of employment.

This assumes, however, that immediately a total reorientation in the nature of the information gathering and processing are entering. Interessensunabhängigkeit the content and balance of the published articles are essential, honesty, openness and credibility are the standards.

 

Edgar Hülswitt - All my reviews reputation


This review is from: Bought journalists (Hardcover)

If only the lie can save us, so it is, we are lost." (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Genevan philosopher, educator, writer, and musician 1712 – 1778)

Why is it that now only every 3. German confidence in the so-called "quality media", yet only 15% of us politicians trust, 63% of their Faith in an objective and truthful Ukraine-reporting of German-speaking media have lost and with decreasing tendency, only 37% of the job description of journalists as a trustworthy recognise?

Perhaps the fact that one part of many media − in the sense of Wirtschaftslobbyisten, politicians and other (inter)national sponsors with increasingly zealous umgesetztem Gefälligkeitsjournalismus grossly exaggerated.
UDO ULFKOTTE: Purchased journalists

Perhaps there are many German slowly just suffering, from such quality media ‒ for which you also have to pay expensive must be wrong and/or subjectively informed, lied to and to be influenced? Adults, responsible citizens have a right to factual, unbiased information, and can well and happy on manipulative aufgehübschte interpretations lubricated journalists do without. With disgust and Frighten you can to the disenchantment of our extensively decorated elites to take note of and when you read the reading will be experience blue miracle, if the author step-by-step, page-by-page, line-by-line suggestive power plays and machinations revealed to us before the eyes causes, how shameless us politicians, intelligence agencies, lobbyists and moneyed with the help of Germany's mass media (to Ruin) steer.

The interest in the subject seems obvious unbroken, because since weeks already ranked the non-fiction book by Udo Ulfkotte: Purchased journalists remain on the front seats of the Spiegel bestseller list. Insider Udo Ulfkotte, obviously, has the nerve of the time taken. Never before were so many German citizens, politics and medienverdrossener. If the established media ‒ like the other day, including "THE WORLD" ‒ good advice, also Oil on the fire, pour in the "political" journalists with a platform for lurid provocations offer? Here, z. B. under the title "The German pot is boiling over with pent up anger", across the Board on Fears and Concerns of German citizens, ‒ the top-down as "Putinversteher, Vulgärpazifisten and defender of the Western world" denigrated , made fun of, and to rejoice in the round ridiculed: "The Lunatics in this country are always angry" and the audience smugly recommended that this Crazy easy "wegzulachen". Bad only that many citizens obviously now the last Laugh.
UDO ULFKOTTE: Purchased journalists

While Udo Ulfkotte committed, during his professional journalistic career in serious cover-up of the so-called free press and freedom of expression − from elitist lobbying clients was corrupted to his, wrapping both his partially still in German Medienwesen active former superiors and colleagues, as well as other well-known journalists and publicists, not only in noble Silence. No, you deny even any Motivation with regard to their activities with ignorance. And it gives the media at least at this point Believe, are also our well-established representatives of the people/students continue to conscientiously and diligently and endeavour to unwanted public criticism and Meinungsfindungen to prevent. Use but even their speeches to the turn of the year, especially to moral appeals, all all dissatisfied with care in the future-looking citizens from participating in demonstrations to warn, instead of yourself (self -) critical in itself to go and settle the allegations (even their own party members) after a possible complicity in the displeasure of many people. It does just education on the move - and backgrounds ‒ instead of ignorant paternalism and bürgerferner concealment always conspicuous to days chief problems ‒ Not. Click HERE to read what the author, both to the controversial socio-political issue as such, as well as to the handling of the recent events, has to say.

The interesting, 336 pages strong, demaskierende publication by Udo Ulfkotte: Purchased journalists (ISBN 978-3-86445-143-0) ‒ the chronic non-voters and/or voter apathy-suffering citizens in droves to the ballot should drive, as a hardcover at the Kopp Verlag for the price of € 22,95 appeared. You may also click at the end of the book announced a further two controversial publications on the media industry to be curious about.
lesemehrwert.de

4.0 out of 5 stars Every reader must be his own to figure it out, 30. April 2015

Of

M. Herrmann - All my reviews reputation
(REAL NAME)

Verified purchase(What's this?)

This review is from: Bought journalists (Hardcover)

It is here of many cases reported in which journalistic Output is not by the will to Wahrheitswiedergabe is characterized.

Instead, one finds Gefälligkeitstexte for Powerful from economy and politics. And not only in the newspaper with the bold letters, but also in those times that serious.

The Motivation is clear: career, personal benefits, conceit Elitetum.

What Mr. Ulfkotte reported, seems to me to be credible, especially when you Nachrichtenkonsum yourself open to questions.

One gets from the book is no quantitative statements about the shape: In the period from ... to ... were in the newspaper ... so many percent of the article glossed over. Or: We find an increase / decrease in tendenziöser reporting during ... .... This is also difficult to do, especially by an individual.

Therefore, it remains so up to you to assess whether he/she is equal to the entire German press for corrupt or holds only a share, whatever the size of the may be. A is in any case clear-at the latest after the reading of the "Purchased journalists"- caution and the question of "Who benefits?" is always appropriate.

 


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[Feb 22, 2018] How the Washington Post Missed the Biggest Watergate Story of All Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... This is an abridgement of an article first published by Lobster Magazine ( ..."
"... www.lobster-magazine.co.uk ..."
"... ). Republished with permission. All rights reserved by the author. ..."
"... Setting aside that dubious charge, this author and others supporting this narrative claim that Nixon's actions prevented a peace treaty before the November 1968 elections. IMHO this is a false assertion. ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

There could only be a very small number of White House figures privy to this precise set of information in mid-1974, and perhaps only one. Woodward's source was Nixon's National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. Still alive in 2018, Kissinger has maintained public silence about his knowledge of Nixon's Vietnam treason for half a century.

It is incomprehensible that neither Woodward nor Bernstein appeared to understand the information they were being told by Kissinger: the allegations against Nixon had swirled ever since he won the Presidency. On January 12, 1969, the Washington Post itself had carried a profile of Nixon's go-between, Anna Chennault, which stated: "She reportedly encouraged Saigon to 'delay' in joining the Paris peace talks in hopes of getting a better deal if the Republicans won the White House." Chennault was reported as making no comment on the allegations, which were entirely accurate.

Woodward and Bernstein had been handed the skeleton key that would have unlocked the entire Watergate affair. The reporters had been told – by no less a figure than Nixon's National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger – about the real motive behind Nixon's plan to burgle the Brookings Institute. It was to destroy the evidence that Nixon had conspired to prolong a war with an official enemy of the United States in order to win the presidency in 1968; after which he deliberately prolonged – even escalated – the Vietnam War. And – for reasons that might never be known – Woodward and Bernstein stayed silent.

Bob Woodward and Henry Kissinger were contacted for comment on the specific disclosures made in this article. Neither of them replied.

This is an abridgement of an article first published by Lobster Magazine ( www.lobster-magazine.co.uk ). Republished with permission. All rights reserved by the author.


mike k , February 20, 2018 at 5:13 pm

Professional liars at work. Dirty games of the rich and powerful. Can anyone be so naïve as to think these power players care one bit about the rights and safety of ordinary people, even millions who have been murdered by their scheming? This is the truth about your government in action. These people are the enemies of mankind.

Antiwar7 , February 20, 2018 at 7:27 pm

Here's the great Robert Parry's take on this subject, back in 2014:
https://consortiumnews.com/2014/07/05/an-insiders-view-of-nixons-treason/

David Smith , February 20, 2018 at 8:08 pm

The United States, through The Constitution, has the strictest definition of treason in the world. That is giving aid(material aid) and comfort(in its 18th century meaning) to a nation at war with the US. How Nixon's alleged action constitutes treason is not made clear by this article.

Setting aside that dubious charge, this author and others supporting this narrative claim that Nixon's actions prevented a peace treaty before the November 1968 elections. IMHO this is a false assertion. Certainly, LBJ halted the bombing of N Vietnam as a good faith gesture, and invited the Hanoi regime to peace talks.

However there is no way a treaty could be negotiated in the six months before the Presidential elections. There were numerous issues that were very difficult, and in certain cases impossible to resolve with an agreement by all four parties such as a Ceasefire and agreed lines of control and composition of a Control Commission, future elections in S Vietnam, replacement of critical military equipment to respective parties, the complex particulars of POW exchange, permitted military activities of the US, and perhaps the stickiest, would the NVA agree to leave S Vietnam or would it insist to stay.

This last one was particularly offensive to the Saigon regime. Kissinger could not get the NVA to agree to leave, lied to Saigon about it(Saigon was wise to his lying) and in the end Nixon had to threaten cessation of all aid to get Saigon to sign. The negotiations for the Paris Accords were neccesarily complex and long as the US had to leave Saigon with a structure that gave it a chance for survival. The US violated the Accords by continuing B-52 raids in support of Saigon only halted by Congressional action in August 1973. Nixon was elected in 1968 on the promise to end the war and it is a false charge to accuse him of lying cynically with the intention to prolong the war. His actions in 1969, 1970, and 1971 were an attempt to give Saigon the best position possible. Nixon also had to deal with the rightists in America who would see the Paris Accords as a sellout. Originally, Hanoi proposed signing on October 1972, thinking they were giving Nixon a boost. Nixon however fearing the rightists didn't want the Accords known until after the election so he allowed Saigon to object to several clauses as a delaying tactic. Hanoi then walked out because they thought Nixon was buying time to ram in more materiel. This led to the infamous 1972 Christmas Bombing of Hanoi, to get Hanoi back to the table. In the end it was Saigon that balked, refusing to sign because the Accords left the NVA in the South. Nixon forced their hand by threatening to cease all aid. I have added this final narrative to illustrate the bizarre complexity of the absurd mess, and what mind boggling difficulties Nixon had to face. A simplistic narrative casting Nixon as a traitor and "war prolonger" is not justified by a balanced analysis of the facts.

Mike Lamb , February 20, 2018 at 8:09 pm

Back in April 2014 Lyndon Johnson's daughter Lynda Bird Johnson Robb was on the Pure Bull Shit Newshour (they have gone a long way from the days of McNeill Leher) and she brought up the fact that as her father was attempting to bring peace in Vietnam the South Vietnamese government was being told they would get a better deal under President Nixon.

Gwen Ifill, reporter for PBS essentially did her "Star Wars" line of nothing to see here, move on stating: "So much drama involving Vietnam, so much drama involving the Civil Rights Act. Robert Kimball, you were 24 years old " moving away from Lynda Bird Johnson Robb so she had no change to expand on the treason by Nixon supporters.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/civil-rights-act-opened-door-american-dream

David Smith , February 20, 2018 at 9:20 pm

1) Accurately define treason. 2) Explain how in the six or seven months between April 1968 and the November election LBJ could have negotiated and signed a peace treaty with North Vietnam.

Luke , February 21, 2018 at 5:45 pm

I'm so sick of these egotists who think that aggressively firing stupid questions at a commenter constitutes a reply or a counter argument.
Explain this, define that This isn't the 12th century anymore Gregory..

If we're harassing people into explaining arbitrary assertions, how about you explain how 'to give aid and comfort to the enemy' is the 'strictest definition of treason in the world'. And make sure you list every known definition in your answer.

In case you are capable of reason, here is a rebuttal to your assertions.

" claim that Nixon's actions prevented a peace treaty before the November 1968 elections. IMHO this is a false assertion."

Your logic that a peace treaty is complex and that this complexity is why it was delayed is flawed. You are speaking of practicalities. The article speaks of intent.

"She reportedly encouraged Saigon to 'delay' in joining the Paris peace talks in hopes of getting a better deal if the Republicans won the White house".

Nixon intended to delay peace so he could win election on a platform of calling for peace.

By mine and apparently many others definition, this is treasonous manipulation of the electorate. If it troubles you that this definition doesn't correlate with the definition provided by your precious constitution, go buy a feckin dictionary like everyone else

David Smith , February 21, 2018 at 10:09 pm

Luke, if you want to accuse Nixon of treason, you are stuck with the definition of treason in The United States "precious constitution". Regarding the Paris Accords, practicalities are all that matter, negotiations in the political environment of the Vietnam War would absolutely be long and complex, and the history shows that they were, hence claiming a peace treaty could be signed in the six months before November 1968 is unrealistic, even delusional. In addition to the extreme time constraints, the US was in a poor negotiating position as around July 1968 it was forced to abandon the Khe Son complex, the Khan Duc complex, and many other positions under heavy NVA pressure. These positions near the Laotian border had been key to US plans to interdict NVA reinforcements and return the critical Central Highlands to Saigon control. Certainly not a time for the US to push for a swift settlement. Despite these mind boggling realities, this article claims that peace was lost because the South Vietnam government " delayed" something due to a guy who wasn't President asking Anna Chennault to visit Saigon.

Joe Tedesky , February 20, 2018 at 11:34 pm

Hey mike good of you to point that out, because what Ifill did there was classic redirection of a focal point to another one, which ends up being an omission of where convenient truths get purposely left out. Just thought I'd mention it, because one should really let your comment sink in. Joe

Annie , February 20, 2018 at 10:01 pm

Someone explain this to me. "At the height of the Watergate scandal, in summer 1974, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger tried to tell the world about Nixon's sabotage of the 1968 Paris peace talks, talks which – had they succeeded – could have spared the nation six more years of futile slaughter." Am I missing something?

What happened to the Kissinger, the war criminal, who worked to prolong the Vietnam war, advocating it should continue for as long as possible?.

What happened to the Kissinger who encouraged Nixon to wire tape and intimidate his political enemies?

What happened to the Kissinger who supported secret bombings of Cambodia and Laos, killing thousands, and eventually leading to a regime in Cambodia that killed millions.

What about the Kissinger who said, "Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy."

Lee Campbell , February 20, 2018 at 10:40 pm

Kissinger, knowing Nixon is going down, trying to save his own reputation. Birds of a feather

Annie , February 21, 2018 at 12:11 am

Yes, I agree, but there is something about this article which makes me uncomfortable, and maybe it's because the author does not indicate in any way that Kissinger was protecting his own reputation, or being very self serving. Maybe he was not to believed since his role in that war was notorious, and not the reliable source the author proclaims him to be.

Joe Tedesky , February 20, 2018 at 11:47 pm

Annie, what happened to a elderly Pablo Picasso who had admitted to a Japanese newspaper how he had been in the arts for only for the money? Well first is this statement true? How does little old me corroborate such news? Was Picasso drunk when he said this? So many questions, but where to find the truth.

I'm not doubting Garrick Alder because he does give adequate references to this Kissinger quote, but Annie haven't you on occasion read something by the legendary elite of our past, and sometimes present where they say the most off the wall things like think Joe Biden telling a West Point Class (I think it was there or Harvard) that our Saudi allies are backing ISIS. What goes on, or gets served, at those gushy luncheons they give speeches at.

I also believe that people like Henry are so encased into their own bubble world, that they get caught off guard with the most simplest of secrets. I once had a list of 7 people who either before they died, or on their death bed, had confessed to their knowing to who killed JFK need I tell you who they all singled out?

Broompilot , February 21, 2018 at 4:21 am

I seem to recall Kissinger being very complicit in sabotaging the Paris peace talks, maybe even the instigator. But, Hollywood and history is an oxymoron. Hollywood and truth is an oxymoron.

Fritzi Cohen , February 21, 2018 at 1:10 pm

What about Kissinger and Chile, and the overthrow of Allende. Not to be forgotten. And should we now take Kissinger's word about Dan Ellsberg, somewhat of a narcissist and pervert.

Joe Tedesky , February 20, 2018 at 11:27 pm

I recall Robert Parry speaking to LBJ's envelop marked with a big X, and how it had finally surfaced after being under a mattress, and I'm hard pressed to remember the name of this Johnson Aid who hid it for LBJ there. This envelope was a report on Chennault's goings on at the Paris Peace Talks, and her links to Nixon's campaign. Robert Mueller wasn't old enough to investigate this one.

I always thought of how with LBJ having this peace talk sabotage to hold over Nixon's head that LBJ was using this as insurance to keep Nixon quiet about what he knew of LBJ's secret to hide. This is why nobody in DC is held accountable.

Yes, going back to reveal Nixon's secret regarding Madam Chennault would have been a great starting point for a movie to lead up to not only the Pentagon Papers, but the telling of Watergate as well but then we are talking about our infamous Hollywood, and when did they ever get the story right?

geeyp , February 21, 2018 at 4:12 am

The only item new to me here is Daniel married a millionaires' daughter?

Tom W. , February 21, 2018 at 11:25 am

In a taped call of Nov. 2, 1968, LBJ called Republican Senator E. Dirksen and told him that Nixon was committing treason in regards to the Paris talks. I don't think we've ever seen the underlying intelligence that was the basis of this call.

Jon Dhoe , February 21, 2018 at 12:43 pm

This is not surprising. Woodward is comes from the Navy (Intelligence?). He's not a civilian reporter. And look at his reporting since then. Status quo stuff. The Pentagon Papers were just a distraction?

https://therulingclassobserver.com/2018/02/10/the-great-disparity-and-the-three-primordial-divisions/

xeno , February 21, 2018 at 12:59 pm

There's nothing new about this story, and there's nothing particularly condemnatory about Nixon in it.

US President Johnson wanted his VP (Humphrey) to win the 1968 election, which was very close.

Early in 1968, the US/S Viet side had defeated a Communist "go for broke" offensive (Tet) in which the Communists had expected the South Vietnamese populace to rise up and help defeat the US/South Vietnamese military. The populace did not rise up, and the Communist side took some very heavy losses. It was a big set back for them.

Some months later, US President Johnson, at a key time before the Nov. 1968 election, tried to pressure the S Vietnamese President to give some concessions to the N Vietnamese to get peace talks going.

This would not have stopped the fighting, but would have looked good to anti-war US voters, maybe getting Johnson's VP a victory.

Commonly, in most conflicts, when peace talks begin, both sides step-up fighting as each hopes to make gains to improve their negotiating position.

Nixon probably did take measures to thwart Johnson's pressure on the S. Vietnamese president.

In any case, the war would have gone on, just like it did for a long time after peace talks actually did get going.

nonsense factory , February 21, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Hey, no mention of the Shah of Iran and the Nixon Administration? It's the corporate states of America now, it was alway about the money. If you're not tracking the corporate system, you are irrelevant. At least Eisenhower was honest, about US interests in Vietnamese resources, about controlling Indonesian oil. . . People care about money. Not ideology. But that's more complex, isn't it?

Ullern , February 21, 2018 at 7:17 pm

Robert Parry found out and wrote about this treason by Nixon, of course. Except (?) that W&B's source was the wily Kissinger. Kissinger, 94, could still be tried for not disclosing the treason-crime by candidate Nixon.

Somebody should go for it, before Kissinger dies. Then at least the facts of the matter will be on public record.

Arby , February 22, 2018 at 6:20 pm

Gosh, If we can't nail Kissinger on openly calling for Genocide in Cambodia, then I don't think anything else will work. I'd love to see him official dishonored before he dies (completely), mind you.

peggy , February 21, 2018 at 9:09 pm

LBJ calling Dirksen and telling him Nixon was committing treason is rich considering the treason LBJ committed with the Tonkin incident to say nothing of the USS Liberty cover up.The US has been corrupt since Woodrow Wilson.The CIA controls the country since the Kennedy coup.

exiled off mainstreet , February 22, 2018 at 2:11 am

So they still are cashing in for getting the smaller story while failing to get the treason story that set up the creation of a dangerous world imperium and was a key step in the brushing aside of the rule of law and constitutional rule in the US

[Feb 22, 2018] Bill Binney explodes the rile of 17 agances security assessment memo in launching the Russia witch-hunt

Highly recommended!
A very interesting interview. It is almost one year old.
When intelligence agencies use the phase "with high confidence" means that they do not have evidence. This is one of the biggest lie intelligence agencies resort to. They are all professional liars and should be treated as such.
If DNC email offloading was done over Internet (which means it was a hack not an internal leak) NSA should have the direct evidence. They do not. So this is a progpaganda move by Brennan and Clapper to unleash MSM witch hunt, which is a key part of the color revolution against Trump.
Another question is who downloaded this information to Wikileaks. Here NSA also should have evidence. And again they do not.
They have already to direct attention from the main issues. Oversight of intelligence agencies is joke. They can lie with impunity.
BTW NSA has all Hillary emails, including deleted.
Mar 4, 2017 | www.youtube.com

He also exposes the NSA penchant for "swindles", such as preventing the plugging of holes in software around the world, to preserve their spying access.

John, 10 months ago

It's almost comical to hear that they lie to each other. No wonder why these retards in the mid-east and every other third world country gets the better of us.

Nancy M, 10 months ago

The Clinton campaign to divert attention to Russia instead of her myriad of crimes that were revealed during the election must be stopped and the alt media needs to start talking about her and Obama's crimes again and demand justice...control the dialogue

[Feb 22, 2018] Ray McGovern's First Day as CIA Director

Notable quotes:
"... The low-calorie Jan. 6 ICA was clumsily cobbled together: "We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks." ..."
"... Binney and other highly experienced NSA alumni, as well as other members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), drawing on their intimate familiarity with how the technical systems and hacking work, have been saying for a year and a half that this CIA/FBI/NSA conclusion is a red herring , so to speak. Last summer, the results of forensic investigation enabled VIPs to apply the principles of physics and the known capacity of the internet to confirm that conclusion. ..."
"... Oddly, the FBI chose not to do forensics on the so-called "Russian hack" of the Democratic National Committee computers and, by all appearances, neither did the drafters of the ICA. ..."
"... What troubles me greatly is that the NYT and other mainstream print and TV media seem to be bloated with the thin gruel-cum-Kool Aid they have been slurping at our CIA trough for a year and a half; and then treating the meager fare consumed as some sort of holy sacrament. That goes in spades for media handling of the celebrated ICA of Jan. 6, 2017 cobbled together by those "handpicked" analysts from CIA, FBI, and NSA. It is, in all candor, an embarrassment to the profession of intelligence analysis and yet, for political reasons, it has attained the status of Holy Writ. ..."
"... And Democrats like Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, were kicking the ball hard down the streets of Washington. On Jan. 25, 2017, I had a chance to confront Schiff personally about the lack of evidence -- something that even Obama had acknowledged just before slipping out the door. I think our two-minute conversation speaks volumes. ..."
"... Now I absolutely look forward to dealing with Adam Schiff from my new position as CIA director. I will ask him to show me the evidence of "Russian hacking" that he said he could not show me on Jan. 25, 2017 – on the chance his evidence includes more than reports from the New York Times ..."
"... Intelligence analysts put great weight, of course, on sources. The authors of the lede, banner-headlined NYT article of Jan. 7, 2017 were Michael D. Shear and David E. Sanger; Sanger has had a particularly checkered career, while always landing on his feet. Despite his record of parroting CIA handouts (or perhaps partly because of it), Sanger is now the NYT's chief Washington correspondent. ..."
"... More instructive still, in May 2005, when firsthand documentary evidence from the now-famous "Downing Street Memorandum" showed that President George W. Bush had decided by early summer 2002 to attack Iraq, the NYT ignored it for six weeks until David Sanger rose to the occasion with a tortured report claiming just the opposite. The title given his article of June 13 2005 was "Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn't Made." ..."
"... Against this peculiar reporting record, I was not inclined to take at face value the Jan. 7, 2017 report he co-authored with Michael D. Shear – "Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds." ..."
"... Nor am I inclined to take seriously former National Intelligence Director James Clapper's stated views on the proclivity of Russians to be, well, just really bad people – like it's in their genes. I plan to avail myself of the opportunity to discover whether intelligence analysts who labored under his "aegis" were infected by his quaint view of the Russians. ..."
"... I shall ask any of the "handpicked" analysts who specialize in analysis of Russia (and, hopefully, there are at least a few): Do you share Clapper's view, as he explained it to NBC's Meet the Press on May 30, 2017, that Russians are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever"? I truly do not know what to expect by way of reply. ..."
"... In sum, my priority for Day One is to hear both sides of the story regarding "Russian hacking" with all cards on the table. All cards. That means no questions are out of order, including what, if any, role the "Steele dossier" may have played in the preparation of the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment. ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | www.antiwar.com

Now that I have been nominated again – this time by author Paul Craig Roberts – to be CIA director, I am preparing to hit the ground running.

Last time my name was offered in nomination for the position – by The Nation publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel – I did not hold my breath waiting for a call from the White House. Her nomination came in the afterglow of my fortuitous, four-minute debate with then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, when I confronted him on his lies about the attack on Iraq , on May 4, 2006 on national TV. Since it was abundantly clear that Rumsfeld and I would not get along, I felt confident I had royally disqualified myself.

This time around, on the off-chance I do get the nod, I have taken the time to prepare the agenda for my first few days as CIA director. Here's how Day One looks so far:

Get former National Security Agency Technical Director William Binney back to CIA to join me and the "handpicked" CIA analysts who, with other "handpicked" analysts (as described by former National Intelligence Director James Clapper on May 8, 2017) from the FBI and NSA, prepared the so-called Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of Jan. 6, 2017. That evidence-impoverished assessment argued the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his minions "to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton."

When my predecessor, CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited Binney to his office on Oct. 24, 2017 to discuss cyber-attacks, he told Pompeo that he had been fed a pack of lies on "Russian hacking" and that he could prove it. Why Pompeo left that hanging is puzzling, but I believe this is the kind of low-hanging fruit we should pick pronto.

The low-calorie Jan. 6 ICA was clumsily cobbled together: "We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks."

Binney and other highly experienced NSA alumni, as well as other members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), drawing on their intimate familiarity with how the technical systems and hacking work, have been saying for a year and a half that this CIA/FBI/NSA conclusion is a red herring , so to speak. Last summer, the results of forensic investigation enabled VIPs to apply the principles of physics and the known capacity of the internet to confirm that conclusion.

Oddly, the FBI chose not to do forensics on the so-called "Russian hack" of the Democratic National Committee computers and, by all appearances, neither did the drafters of the ICA.

Again, Binney says that the main conclusions he and his VIPs colleagues reached are based largely on principles of physics – simple ones like fluid dynamics. I want to hear what that's all about, how that applies to the "Russian hack," and hear what my own CIA analysts have to say about that.

I will have Binney's clearances updated to remove any unnecessary barriers to a no-holds-barred discussion at a highly classified level. After which I shall have a transcript prepared, sanitized to protect sources and methods, and promptly released to the media.

Like Sisyphus Up the Media Mountain

At that point things are bound to get very interesting. Far too few people realize that they get a very warped view on such issues from the New York Times . And, no doubt, it would take some time, for the Times and other outlets to get used to some candor from the CIA, instead of the far more common tendentious leaks. In any event, we will try to speak truth to the media – as well as to power.

I happen to share the view of the handful of my predecessor directors who believed we have an important secondary obligation to do what we possibly can to inform/educate the public as well as the rest of the government – especially on such volatile and contentious issues like "Russian hacking."

What troubles me greatly is that the NYT and other mainstream print and TV media seem to be bloated with the thin gruel-cum-Kool Aid they have been slurping at our CIA trough for a year and a half; and then treating the meager fare consumed as some sort of holy sacrament. That goes in spades for media handling of the celebrated ICA of Jan. 6, 2017 cobbled together by those "handpicked" analysts from CIA, FBI, and NSA. It is, in all candor, an embarrassment to the profession of intelligence analysis and yet, for political reasons, it has attained the status of Holy Writ.

The Paper of (Dubious) Record

I recall the banner headline spanning the top of the entire front page of the NYT on Jan. 7, 2017: "Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says;" and the electronic version headed "Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds." I said to myself sarcastically, "Well there you go! That's exactly what Mrs. Clinton – not to mention the NY Times, the Washington Post and The Establishment – have been saying for many months."

Buried in that same edition of the Times was a short paragraph by Scott Shane: "What is missing from the public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies' claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. That is a significant omission."

Omission? No hard evidence? No problem. The publication of the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment got the ball rolling. And Democrats like Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, were kicking the ball hard down the streets of Washington. On Jan. 25, 2017, I had a chance to confront Schiff personally about the lack of evidence -- something that even Obama had acknowledged just before slipping out the door. I think our two-minute conversation speaks volumes.

Now I absolutely look forward to dealing with Adam Schiff from my new position as CIA director. I will ask him to show me the evidence of "Russian hacking" that he said he could not show me on Jan. 25, 2017 – on the chance his evidence includes more than reports from the New York Times .

Sources

Intelligence analysts put great weight, of course, on sources. The authors of the lede, banner-headlined NYT article of Jan. 7, 2017 were Michael D. Shear and David E. Sanger; Sanger has had a particularly checkered career, while always landing on his feet. Despite his record of parroting CIA handouts (or perhaps partly because of it), Sanger is now the NYT's chief Washington correspondent.

Those whose memories go back more than 15 years may recall his promoting weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as flat fact. In a July 29, 2002 article co-written with Them Shanker, for example, Iraq's (nonexistent) "weapons of mass destruction" appear no fewer than seven times as flat fact.

More instructive still, in May 2005, when firsthand documentary evidence from the now-famous "Downing Street Memorandum" showed that President George W. Bush had decided by early summer 2002 to attack Iraq, the NYT ignored it for six weeks until David Sanger rose to the occasion with a tortured report claiming just the opposite. The title given his article of June 13 2005 was "Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn't Made."

Against this peculiar reporting record, I was not inclined to take at face value the Jan. 7, 2017 report he co-authored with Michael D. Shear – "Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds."

Nor am I inclined to take seriously former National Intelligence Director James Clapper's stated views on the proclivity of Russians to be, well, just really bad people – like it's in their genes. I plan to avail myself of the opportunity to discover whether intelligence analysts who labored under his "aegis" were infected by his quaint view of the Russians.

I shall ask any of the "handpicked" analysts who specialize in analysis of Russia (and, hopefully, there are at least a few): Do you share Clapper's view, as he explained it to NBC's Meet the Press on May 30, 2017, that Russians are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever"? I truly do not know what to expect by way of reply.

End of Day One

In sum, my priority for Day One is to hear both sides of the story regarding "Russian hacking" with all cards on the table. All cards. That means no questions are out of order, including what, if any, role the "Steele dossier" may have played in the preparation of the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment.

I may decide to seek some independent, disinterested technical input, as well. But it should not take me very long to figure out which of the two interpretations of alleged "Russian hacking" is more straight-up fact-based and unbiased. That done, in the following days I shall brief both the Chair, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and ranking member Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee, as well as the Chair and ranking member of its counterpart in the Senate. I will then personally brief the NYT's David Sanger and follow closely what he and his masters decide to do with the facts I present.

On the chance that the Times and other media might decide to play it straight, and that the "straight" diverges from the prevailing, Clapperesque narrative of Russian perfidy, the various mainstream outlets will face a formidable problem of their own making. Mark Twain put it this way: "It is easier to fool people than it is to convince them they have been fooled."

And that will probably be enough for Day One.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and now servers on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Reprinted with permission from Consortium News .

[Feb 22, 2018] The US-UK Deep State Empire Strikes Back 'It's Russia! Russia! Russia!'

Notable quotes:
"... For weeks the unfolding story in Washington has been how a cabal of conspirators in the heart of the American federal law enforcement and intelligence apparat ..."
"... Are you reading this commentary? ..."
"... To the extent that Russiagate was less about Trump than ensuring that enmity with Russia will be permanent and will continue to deepen , this latest Mueller indictment is a smashing success already. ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

There's no defense like a good offense.

For weeks the unfolding story in Washington has been how a cabal of conspirators in the heart of the American federal law enforcement and intelligence apparat colluded to ensure the election of Hillary Clinton and, when that failed, to undermine the nascent presidency of Donald Trump. Agencies tainted by this corruption include not only the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) but the Obama White House, the State Department, the NSA, and the CIA, plus their British sister organizations MI6 and GCHQ , possibly along with the British Foreign Office (with the involvement of former British ambassador to Russia Andrew Wood ) and even Number 10 Downing Street.

Those implicated form a regular rogue's gallery of the Deep State: Peter Strzok (formerly Chief of the FBI's Counterespionage Section, then Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division; busy bee Strzok is implicated not only in exonerating Hillary from her email server crimes but initiating the Russiagate investigation in the first place, securing a FISA warrant using the dodgy "Steele Dossier," and nailing erstwhile National Security Adviser General Mike Flynn on a bogus charge of "lying to the FBI "); Lisa Page (Strzok's paramour and a DOJ lawyer formerly assigned to the all-star Democrat lineup on the Robert Mueller Russigate inquisition); former FBI Director James Comey, former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and – let's not forget – current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, himself implicated by having signed at least one of the dubious FISA warrant requests . Finally, there's reason to believe that former CIA Director John O. Brennan may have been the mastermind behind the whole operation .

Not to be overlooked is the possible implication of a pack of former Democratic administration officials, including former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice , and President Barack Obama himself, who according to text communications between Strzok and Page "wants to know everything we're doing." Also involved is the DNC, the Clinton campaign, and Clinton operatives Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer – rendering the ignorance of Hillary herself totally implausible.

On the British side we have "former" (suuure . . . ) MI6 spook Christopher Steele, diplomat Wood, former GCHQ chief Robert Hannigan (who resigned a year ago under mysterious circumstances ), and whoever they answered to in the Prime Minister's office.

The growing sense of panic was palpable. Oh my – this is a curtain that just cannot be allowed to be pulled back!

What to do, what to do . . .

Ah, here's the ticket – come out swinging against the main enemy. That's not even Donald Trump. It's Russia and Vladimir Putin. Russia! Russia! Russia!

Hence the unveiling of an indictment against 13 Russian citizens and three companies for alleged meddling in U.S. elections and various ancillary crimes.

For the sake of discussion, let's assume all the allegations in the indictment are true, however unlikely that is to be the case. (While that would be the American legal rule for a complaint in a civil case, this is a criminal indictment, where there is supposedly a presumption of innocence. Rosenstein even mentioned that in his press conference, pretending not to notice that that presumption doesn't apply to Russian Untermenschen – certainly not to Olympic athletes and really not to Russians at all, who are presumed guilty on "genetic" grounds .)

Based on the public announcement of the indictment by Rosenstein – who is effectively the Attorney General in place of the pro forma holder of that office, Jeff Sessions (R-Recused) – and on an initial examination of the indictment, and we can already draw a few conclusions:

The Mueller indictment against the Russians is a well-timed effort to distract Americans' attention from the real collusion rotting the core of our public life by shifting attention to a foreign enemy. Many of the people behind it are the very officials who are themselves complicit in the rot. But the sad fact is that it will probably work.

[Feb 22, 2018] Did Trump cut a deal on the collusion charge, by Mike Whitney

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 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. ..."
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.

[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 bots - How An Anti-Russian Lobby Creates Fake News

Notable quotes:
"... Atlantic Council ..."
"... Alliance for Securing Democracy. ..."
"... Alliance for Securing Democracy ..."
"... "to publicly document and expose Vladimir Putin's ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe." That's pretty rich, coming from a country and from people who actually genuinely, and in proven ways, have subverted democracy in Europe since the late 1940s - Italy being one of the clearest cases. ..."
"... For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia. I can't believe it has to do with the economy. There's got to be a far better nefarious reason. Even during the real cold war we tried to avoid conflict. Absolute insanity. ..."
"... The cleverest trick used in propaganda against a specific country is to accuse it of what the accuser itself is doing. ..."
"... Clearly, this entire psyop was premeditated and its design was hastily done contemporaneously with Russia's Syria intervention. NSA/CIA/FBI knew of HRC's security breeches and rightly assumed their contents would find their way into the election, so the general plan was ready to go prior to WikiLeaks publications. b has uncovered much, and I hope he's planning to publish a book about the entire affair. ..."
"... Ken @ 4: There doesn't necessarily need to be One Major Reason for going to war. There may be several reasons all feeding and reinforcing one another and creating a psychological climate in which Going To War is seen as the only solution and is inevitable. The reasons are not just economic and political but cultural and historical. ..."
"... In some countries allied with the US, the politicians in power are the ideological descendants of those who collaborated with Nazi Germany - so in a sense they are committed to "correcting" what they see as wrong. In the case of current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he is the grandson of a former prime minister who once served in General Tojo's World War II cabinet. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2012/12/26/national/formed-in-childhood-roots-of-abes-conservatism-go-deep/#.WoyZCG9uaUk ..."
"... The idea is to keep piling the pressure on to countries like Iran and Russia in the hope that their populations will rise up and demand the freedoms that we enjoy in the West....things like uncensored wardrobe malfunctions and transgender washrooms. ..."
"... Media have long agitated for War in US History. Nothing sells newspapers like a good ole war! Demonizing is a way to achieve it. What is sure is that this is a one way street. Once over the cliff, there is no turning back. ..."
"... In that The Narrative is tightly controlled in the corporate media, not matter how strong the proofs or arguments about the falsity of these propaganda campaigns are, little or no circulation of those proofs or arguments wlll reach the general public. ..."
"... Thanks Jen. It still makes no sense. As a veteran of the Vietnam fiasco, I was pretty much government oriented until McNamara outed the whole thing whining about haw sorry he was. 59,000 dead and he's sorry. They were able to hide the Gulf of Tonkin BS until then. After that I researched the reasons for each war/conflict the USA started and could find no logical reasons except hunger for power. But the little sandbox wars won't destroy the world like a major war/conflict with Russia and it goes nuclear. ..."
"... The warmongering is not intended to make any sense - not many people are trained in critical thinking and logic, and even when they are, they can be swamped by their own emotions or other people's emotions. Propaganda is intended to appeal to people's emotions and fears. You can try reading works by Edward Bernays - "Crystallizing Public Opinion" (1923) and "Propaganda" (1928) - to see how he uses his uncle Sigmund Freud's theories of the mind to create strategies for manipulating public opinion. https://archive.org/details/EdwardL.BernaysPropaganda ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

"Russian bots" - How An Anti-Russian Lobby Creates Fake News

The U.S. mainstream media are going nuts. They now make up and report stories based on the uncritical acceptance of the outcome of an algorithm they do not understand and which is know to produce fake results.

See for example these three stories:

From the last link:

SAN FRANCISCO -- One hour after news broke about the school shooting in Florida last week, Twitter accounts suspected of having links to Russia released hundreds of posts taking up the gun control debate.

The accounts addressed the news with the speed of a cable news network. Some adopted the hashtag #guncontrolnow. Others used #gunreformnow and #Parklandshooting. Earlier on Wednesday, before the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., many of those accounts had been focused on the investigation by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

In other words - the "Twitter accounts suspected of having links to Russia" were following the current news just as cable news networks do. When a new sensational event happened they immediately jumped onto it. But the NYT authors go to length to claim that there is some nefarious Russian scheme behind this that uses automated accounts to spread divisive issues.

Those claims are based on this propaganda project:

Last year, the Alliance for Securing Democracy, in conjunction with the German Marshall Fund, a public policy research group in Washington, created a website that tracks hundreds of Twitter accounts of human users and suspected bots that they have linked to a Russian influence campaign.

The "Alliance for Securing Democracy" is run by military lobbyists, CIA minions and neocons. Its claimed task is:

... to publicly document and expose Vladimir Putin's ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe.

There is no evidence that Vladimir Putin made or makes such efforts.

The ASD "Hamilton 68" website shows graphics with rankings of "top items" and "trending items" allegedly used by Russian bots or influence agents. There is nothing complicate behind it. It simply tracks the tweets of 600 Twitter users and aggregates the hashtags they use. It does not say which Twitter accounts its algorithms follows. It claims that the 600 were selected by one of three criteria: 1. People who often tweet news that also appears on RT (Russia Today) and Sputnik News , two general news sites sponsored by the Russian government; 2. People who "openly profess to be pro-Russian"; 3. accounts that "appear to use automation" to boost the same themes that people in group 1 and 2 tweet about.

Nowhere does the group say how many of the 600 accounts it claims to track belong to which group. Are their 10 assumed bots or 590 in the surveyed 600 accounts? And how please does one "openly profess" to be pro-Russian? We don't know and the ASD won't say.

On December 25 2017 the "Russian influence" agents or bots who, according to NYT, want to sow divisiveness, wished everyone a Merry Christmas.


bigger

The real method the Hamilton 68 group used to select the 600 accounts it tracks is unknown. The group does not say or show how it made it up. Despite that the NYT reporters, Sheera Frenkel and Daisuke Wakabayashi, continue with the false assumptions that most or all the accounts are automated, have something to do with Russia and are presumably nefarious:

Russian-linked bots have rallied around other divisive issues, often ones that President Trump has tweeted about. They promoted Twitter hashtags like #boycottnfl, #standforouranthem and #takeaknee after some National Football League players started kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.

The automated Twitter accounts helped popularize the #releasethememo hashtag , ...

The Daily Beast reported earlier that the emphasized claim is definitely false :

Twitter's internal analysis has thus far found that authentic American accounts, and not Russian imposters or automated bots, are driving #ReleaseTheMemo. There are no preliminary indications that the Twitter activity either driving the hashtag or engaging with it is either predominantly Russian.

The same is presumably true for the other hashtags.

The Dutch IT specialist and blogger Marcel van den Berg was wondering how Dutch keywords and hashtags showed up in on the Hamilton 68 "Russian bots" dashboard. He found ( Dutch , English auto translation) that the dashboard is a total fraud:

In recent weeks, I have been keeping a close eye on Hamilton 68. Every time a Dutch hashtag was shown on the website, I made a screenshot. Then I noted what was playing at that moment and I watched the Tweets with this hashtag. Again I could not find any Tweet that seemed to be from a Russian troll.

In all cases, the hash tags that Hamilton 68 reported were trending topics in the Netherlands. In all cases there was much to do around the subject of the hashtag in the Netherlands. Many people were angry or shared their opinion on the subject on Twitter. And even if there were a few tweets with Russian connections between them, the effect is zero. Because they do not stand out among the many other, authentic Tweets.

Van den Berg lists a dozen examples he analyzed in depth.

The anti-Russian Bellingcat group around couch blogger Eliot Higgins is sponsored by the NATO propaganda shop Atlantic Council . It sniffs through open source stuff to blame Russia or Syria wherever possible. Bellingcat were recently a victim of the "Russian bots" - or rather of the ASD website. On February 10 the hashtag #bellingcat trended to rank 2 of the dashboard.


bigger

Bellingcat was thus, according to the Hamilton 68 claims, under assault of hordes of nefarious Russian government sponsored bots.

The Bellingcat folks looked into the issue and found that only six people on Twitter, none of them an automated account, had used the #bellingcat hashtag in the last 48 hours. Some of the six may have opinions that may be "pro Russian", but as Higgins himself says :

[I]n my opinion, it's extremely unlikely the people listed are Russian agents

The pro-NATO propaganda shop Bellingcat thus debunked the pro NATO propaganda shop Alliance for Securing Democracy.

The fraudsters who created the Hamilton 68 crap seem to have filled their database with rather normal people who's opinions they personally dislike. Those then are the "Russian bots" who spread "Russian influence" and divisiveness.

Moreover - what is the value of its information when six normal people out of millions of active Twitter users can push a hashtag with a handful of tweets to the top of the dashboard?

But the U.S. media writes long gushing stories about the dashboard and how it somehow shows automated Russian propaganda. They go to length to explain that this shows "Russian influence" and a "Russian" attempt to sow "divisiveness" into people's minds.

This is nuts.

Last August, when the Hamilton 68 project was first released, the Nation was the only site critical of it. It predicted :

The import of GMF's project is clear: Reporting on anything that might put the US in a bad light is now tantamount to spreading Russian propaganda.

It is now even worse than that. The top ranking of the #merrychristmas hashtag shows that the algorithm does not even care about good or bad news. The tracked twitter accounts are normal people.

The whole project is just a means to push fake stories about alleged "Russian influence" into U.S. medias. Whenever some issue creeps up on its dashboard that somehow fits its false "Russian bots" and "divisiveness" narrative the Alliance for Securing Democracy contacts the media to spread its poison. The U.S. media, - CNN, Wired, the New York Times - are by now obviously devoid of thinking journalists and fact checkers. They simple re-package the venom and spread it to the public.

How long will it take until people die from it?

Posted by b on February 20, 2018 at 03:15 PM | Permalink

Comments


nhs , Feb 20, 2018 3:24:03 PM | 1

The truth about 'Russiagate'
Lohmann , Feb 20, 2018 3:32:49 PM | 2
It's all too reminiscent of Duck Soup:

Rufus T. Firefly: I'd be unworthy of the high trust that's been placed in me if I didn't do everything in my power to keep our beloved Freedonia in peace with the world. I'd be only too happy to meet with Ambassador Trentino, and offer him on behalf of my country the right hand of good fellowship. And I feel sure he will accept this gesture in the spirit of which it is offered. But suppose he doesn't. A fine thing that'll be. I hold out my hand and he refuses to accept. That'll add a lot to my prestige, won't it? Me, the head of a country, snubbed by a foreign ambassador. Who does he think he is, that he can come here, and make a sap of me in front of all my people? Think of it - I hold out my hand and that hyena refuses to accept. Why, the cheap four-flushing swine, he'll never get away with it I tell you, he'll never get away with it.

[Trentino enters]

Rufus T. Firefly: So, you refuse to shake hands with me, eh?

[slaps Trentino with his glove]

Ambassador Trentino: Mrs. Teasdale, this is the last straw. There's no turning back now! This means war!

Rufus T. Firefly: Then it's war! Then it's war! Gather the forces. Harness the horses. Then it's war!

Clueless Joe , Feb 20, 2018 3:45:14 PM | 3
"to publicly document and expose Vladimir Putin's ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe." That's pretty rich, coming from a country and from people who actually genuinely, and in proven ways, have subverted democracy in Europe since the late 1940s - Italy being one of the clearest cases.
ken , Feb 20, 2018 3:46:05 PM | 4
For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia. I can't believe it has to do with the economy. There's got to be a far better nefarious reason. Even during the real cold war we tried to avoid conflict. Absolute insanity.
xor , Feb 20, 2018 4:11:10 PM | 6
The cleverest trick used in propaganda against a specific country is to accuse it of what the accuser itself is doing.
karlof1 , Feb 20, 2018 4:30:11 PM | 8
Gee, what could go wrong formulating policy founded upon a series of Big Lies? Kim Dotcom says he has important info the FBI refuses to hear. At the Munich Security Conference , neocon Nicholas Burns, former US Ambassador to NATO, details my assertion's factual basis that current policy is being formed on a series of Big Lies: "Will NATO strengthen itself to contain Russian power in Eastern Europe giving what Russian [sic] has done illegally in Crimea, in the Donbass, and in Georgia ?" [Bolded text are the Big Lies.]

Clearly, this entire psyop was premeditated and its design was hastily done contemporaneously with Russia's Syria intervention. NSA/CIA/FBI knew of HRC's security breeches and rightly assumed their contents would find their way into the election, so the general plan was ready to go prior to WikiLeaks publications. b has uncovered much, and I hope he's planning to publish a book about the entire affair.

Jen , Feb 20, 2018 4:54:59 PM | 10
Ken @ 4: There doesn't necessarily need to be One Major Reason for going to war. There may be several reasons all feeding and reinforcing one another and creating a psychological climate in which Going To War is seen as the only solution and is inevitable. The reasons are not just economic and political but cultural and historical.

In some countries allied with the US, the politicians in power are the ideological descendants of those who collaborated with Nazi Germany - so in a sense they are committed to "correcting" what they see as wrong. In the case of current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he is the grandson of a former prime minister who once served in General Tojo's World War II cabinet.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2012/12/26/national/formed-in-childhood-roots-of-abes-conservatism-go-deep/#.WoyZCG9uaUk

That's why pinning down the reason for wanting a war against Russia is so difficult.

Partisan , Feb 20, 2018 5:06:58 PM | 11

The whole piece is just hilarious and I laughed out loud all time while reading it.

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/16/nyts-really-weird-russiagate-story/

Since the FBI never inspected the DNC's computers first-hand, the only evidence comes from an Irvine, California, cyber-security firm known as CrowdStrike whose chief technical officer, Dmitri Alperovitch, a well-known Putin-phobe, is a fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank that is also vehemently anti-Russian as well as a close Hillary Clinton ally.

Thus, Putin-basher Clinton hired Putin-basher Alperovitch to investigate an alleged electronic heist, and to absolutely no one's surprise, his company concluded that guilty party was Vladimir Putin. Amazing! Since then, a small army of internet critics has chipped away at CrowdStrike for praising the hackers as among the best in the business yet declaring in the same breath that they gave themselves away by uploading a document in the name of "Felix Edmundovich," i.e. Felix E. Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Soviet secret police.

As noted cyber-security expert Jeffrey Carr observed with regard to Russia's two main intelligence agencies: "Raise your hand if you think that a GRU or FSB officer would add Iron Felix's name to the metadata of a stolen document before he released it to the world while pretending to be a Romanian hacker. Someone clearly had a wicked sense of humor."

james , Feb 20, 2018 5:17:19 PM | 12
thanks b!

muddy waters.. paid for propaganda.... look at all the russian bots, lol... cold war 2 / mccarthyism 2 is in effect... the historic parallels are marked. thank you neo cons! it's working... the ordinary person in the usa can't be this stupid can they? when does ww3 kick in? is that really what these idiots want? or is it just to prolong the huge defense budget?

Mike Maloney , Feb 20, 2018 5:24:03 PM | 13
This is about conditioning voters in Europe and the United States for a long war with Russia and China. In other words, a return to the 1950s. It is not working and becoming increasingly hysterical because societies are not nearly as cohesive as they once were, and the mainstream political parties, while better funded and more top-down organized, are basically hollow. The collapse is coming. Four years or ten, take your pick.
dh , Feb 20, 2018 5:32:10 PM | 14
@4 "For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia."

Most Americans probably don't. Just the chosen few with the deepest fall-out shelters. The idea is to keep piling the pressure on to countries like Iran and Russia in the hope that their populations will rise up and demand the freedoms that we enjoy in the West....things like uncensored wardrobe malfunctions and transgender washrooms.

Partisan , Feb 20, 2018 6:02:58 PM | 15
"Most Americans probably don't."

not true.

let's imagine that we have the pyramid of evilness, by which we measure bestiality of one regime and its constituency. my firm belief is that us would be on the top of that pyramid. Only dilemma would be between Zionist entity and the US.

"How could the masses be made to desire their own repression?" was the question Wilhelm Reich famously asked in the wake of the Reichstagsbrandverordnung (Reichstag Fire Decree, February 28, 1933), which suspended the civil rights protections afforded by the Weimar Republic's democratic constitution.Hitler had been appointed chancellor on January 30, 1933 and Reich was trying to grapple with the fact that the German people had apparently chosen the authoritarian politics promoted by National Socialism against their own political interests. Ever since, the question of fascism, or rather the question of why might people vote for their own oppression, has never ceased to haunt political philosophy.2 With Trump openly campaigning for less democracy in America -- and with the continued electoral success of far-right antiliberal movements across Europe -- this question has again become a pressing one.

An American people is in perfect harmony with its regime.

CarlD , Feb 20, 2018 6:06:06 PM | 16
Remember the "USS MAINE"!

Media have long agitated for War in US History. Nothing sells newspapers like a good ole war! Demonizing is a way to achieve it. What is sure is that this is a one way street. Once over the cliff, there is no turning back.

How do you tell people that, at the flick of your magic switch, Putin is in fact a swell guy and wonderful human being? Once love is gone who goes back to the filthy, abhorrent and estranged spouse?

Surely the US establishment is playing with fire thinking they will successfully ride out any conflict and come out on top secure in their newly reestablished hegemony on the smoldering ruins of Humanity.

Make no mistake, we are all on the road to hell. Better enjoy todays peace as tomorrow word will be filled with the sweet music of cemeteries.

"Freedom of speech"...

CarlD , Feb 20, 2018 6:12:52 PM | 17
re 16
correction:

Make no mistake, we are all on the road to hell. Better enjoy todays peace as tomorrow's world will be filled with the sweet music of cemeteries.

dh , Feb 20, 2018 6:14:14 PM | 18
@15 "An American people is in perfect harmony with its regime."

I'm not so sure. I think there are many Americans who deeply distrust their government. But of course they don't want to appear unpatriotic. There are also many who are apathetic and many simply don't know how to change things.

SteveK9 , Feb 20, 2018 6:35:58 PM | 19
It's horrible I know to quote a Nazi, but Goring had this right:

Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

WorldBLee , Feb 20, 2018 6:36:51 PM | 20
American media has graduated from simply repeating the lies of "unnamed government sources" to repeating the lies of any organization unofficially blessed by the powers that be. The skills required to repeat the text verbatim serve them well in both cases. Skepticism is only reserved to anyone who tries to introduce logic or facts into the equation--such as when Jill Stein was interviewed on MSNBC recently. How dare Ms. Stein try to bring FACTS into the discussion!
chet380 , Feb 20, 2018 6:41:04 PM | 21
In that The Narrative is tightly controlled in the corporate media, not matter how strong the proofs or arguments about the falsity of these propaganda campaigns are, little or no circulation of those proofs or arguments wlll reach the general public.
Sinc , Feb 20, 2018 6:41:57 PM | 22
See info on US 'Twitter' manipulation campaign
Sinc , Feb 20, 2018 6:44:16 PM | 23
Sorry, link here
ken , Feb 20, 2018 6:59:01 PM | 24
Thanks Jen. It still makes no sense. As a veteran of the Vietnam fiasco, I was pretty much government oriented until McNamara outed the whole thing whining about haw sorry he was. 59,000 dead and he's sorry. They were able to hide the Gulf of Tonkin BS until then. After that I researched the reasons for each war/conflict the USA started and could find no logical reasons except hunger for power. But the little sandbox wars won't destroy the world like a major war/conflict with Russia and it goes nuclear. Almost every politician, and major news organizations are pushing for a war/conflict with Russia. This is insanity as no one will win a war like this and I am sure they know that,,, but they keep the war drums beating anyhow. It simply doesn't make sense. But Thanks again.

Same for dh, #14. Things are soooo stupid, your joking may be closer to the truth than you know. :-)

Skip , Feb 20, 2018 6:59:35 PM | 25
@SteveK9 #19

Thank you for the post. I will save it and use it liberally, with proper attributions. When one challenges the tribe on places like Twitter, it is hard to tell who is a real idiot and who is a bot. How do you know? Maybe that the bots go away fairly quickly and the idiots hang around to argue ad infinitum.

oldenyoung , Feb 20, 2018 7:06:23 PM | 26
The thing that bothers me, is the fact that the MICGlobalists dont care what we think or how poor their deceptions are. The public perception that "russia did it!!" continues to rise. I wonder what the public acceptance level needs to be for them to execute a MAJOR false flag event. They seem to think they are still on target, and its just a short matter or time...

They are going to do this when the perception management is complete...

We really do not need another one of their disasters

regards

OY

Grieved , Feb 20, 2018 7:37:47 PM | 27
The bully pushes and pushes until stopped by the first serious push back. The dynamic of the west and the neocon/Zionists at the core is essentially that of the bully. Nations like Venezuela and the Philippines have started to push back, and I hope and feel fairly confident that they will both survive the rage of the US. In some part, they have begun to show the actual powerlessness of the bully.

But the really killer nations - Russia and China - are holding their water as they strengthen their force. I believe that one very serious push back from either of them in the right circumstances will stop the bully. And yet, as they bide their time, we see a curious phenomenon wherein the US is destroying itself from the inside.

It's as if all of the forces that exist to control the country - the lockstep media, the fully rigged markets, the hysterical military, the bought legislature and the crooked courts - are all acting far more strongly than should be necessary. The entire system is over-reacting, over-reaching, over-boiling. And in the course of this, the US is actually shedding power, and at an amazing rate. But not from the action of Russia but from its non-action, the empty space that that allows the bully's dynamic to over-reach, all the way to complete failure.

Is it possible that deep in the security states of Russia and China there's even a study and a model for this? Is the collapse of the US actually being gamed by Russia and China - and through the totally counter-intuitive action of non-action?

Just a thought.

Ghost Ship , Feb 20, 2018 7:51:03 PM | 28
>>>> xor | Feb 20, 2018 4:11:10 PM | 6
The cleverest trick used in propaganda against a specific country is to accuse it of what the accuser itself is doing.

I've always put it down to the Washington Establishment having a severe case of psychological projection.

WG , Feb 20, 2018 7:52:38 PM | 29
Hey b,
Just wanted to let you know that Joe Lauria mentioned your blog and the article you wrote on the indictment of the 13 Russians. He was on Loud and Clear (Sputnik Radio, Washington DC) today and brought you up at the start of the program.
Glad to see you get some recognition for all the great work you've been doing :)
Mike , Feb 20, 2018 7:53:24 PM | 30
Meanwhile, back in 2010:
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/11/when-campaigns-manipulate-social-media/66351/
Jen , Feb 20, 2018 7:53:43 PM | 31
Ken @ 24: The warmongering is not intended to make any sense - not many people are trained in critical thinking and logic, and even when they are, they can be swamped by their own emotions or other people's emotions. Propaganda is intended to appeal to people's emotions and fears. You can try reading works by Edward Bernays - "Crystallizing Public Opinion" (1923) and "Propaganda" (1928) - to see how he uses his uncle Sigmund Freud's theories of the mind to create strategies for manipulating public opinion.
https://archive.org/details/EdwardL.BernaysPropaganda

Bernays' books influenced Nazi and Soviet propaganda and Bernays himself was hired by the US government to justify in the public mind the 1954 US invasion of Guatemala.

You may be aware that Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corporation which owns the Wall Street Journal, FOX News and 20th Century Fox studios, is also on the Board of Directors of Genie Energy which owns a subsidiary firm that was granted a licence by an Israeli court to explore and drill for oil and natural gas in Syria's (and Israeli-occupied) Golan Heights.

simjam , Feb 20, 2018 7:59:21 PM | 32
The national media speaks as one -with one consistent melody day after day. Who is the conductor?

When will one representative of the mainstream media sing solo? There must be a Ray McGovern somewhere among the flock.

V. Arnold , Feb 20, 2018 8:05:33 PM | 33
Grieved | Feb 20, 2018 7:37:47 PM | 27

Many of my thoughts as well.The U.S.'s greatest fault is its tacit misunderstanding of just what russia is in fact. They utterly fail to understand the Russian character; forged over 800 years culminating with the defeat of Nazi Germany, absorbing horrific losses; the U.S. fails to understand the effect upon the then Soviets, become todays Russians. Even the god's have abandoned the west...

Palloy , Feb 20, 2018 8:52:02 PM | 34
@4 "For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia."

Ever since US Crude Oil peaked its production in 1970, the US has known that at some point the oil majors would have their profitability damaged, "assets" downgraded, and borrowing capacity destroyed. At this point their shares would become worthless and they would become bankrupt. The contagion from this would spread to transport businesses, plastics manufacture, herbicides and pesticide production and a total collapse of Industrial Civilisation.

In anticipation of increasing Crude Oil imports, Nixon stopped the convertibility of Dollars into Gold, thus making the Dollar entirely fiat, allowing them to print as much of the currency as they needed.

They also began a system of obscuring oil production data, involving the DoE's EIA and the OECD's IEA, by inventing an ever-increasing category of Undiscovered Oilfields in their predictions, and combining Crude Oil and Condensate (from gas fields) into one category (C+C) as if they were the same thing. As well the support of the ethanol-from-corn industry began, even though it was uneconomic. The Global Warming problem had to be debunked, despite its sound scientific basis. Energy-intensive manufacturing work was off-shored to cheap labour+energy countries, and Just-in-Time delivery systems were honed.

In 2004 the price of Crude Oil rose from $28 /barrel up to $143 /b in mid-2008. This demonstrated that there is a limit to how much business can pay for oil (around $100 /b). Fracking became marginally economic at these prices, but the frackers never made a profit as over-production meant prices fell to about $60 /b. The Government encourages this destructive industry despite the fact it doesn't make any money, because the alternative is the end of Industrial Civilisation.

Eventually though, there must come a time when there is not enough oil to power all the cars and trucks, bulldozers, farm tractors, airplanes and ships, as well as manufacture all the wind turbines and solar panels and electric vehicles, as well as the upgraded transmission grid. At that point, the game will be up, and it will be time for WW3. So we need to line up some really big enemies, and develop lots of reasons to hate them.

Thus you see the demonisation of Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela for reasons that don't make sense from a normal perspective.

Debsisdead , Feb 20, 2018 8:53:42 PM | 35
I watched bbc news this am in the hope that I would get to see the most awful creature at the 2018 olympics cry her croc tears (long story - a speed skater who cuts off the opposition but has been found out so now when she swoops in front of the others they either skate over her leading to tearful whines from perp about having been 'pushed', or gets disqualified for barging. Last night she got disqualified so as part of my study on whether types like this believe their own bullshit I thought I'd tune in but didn't get that far into the beebs lies)
The bulk of the bulletin was devoted to a 'lets hate Russia' session which featured a quisling who works for the russian arm of BBC (prolly just like cold war days staffed exclusively by MI6/SIS types). This chap, using almost unintelligible english, claimed he had proof at least 50 Russian Mercenaries (question - why are amerikan guns for hire called contractors [remember the Fallujah massacre of 100,000 civilians because amerikan contractors were stupid] yet Russian contractors are called mercenaries by the media?) had been killed in Syria last week. The bloke had evidence of one contractor's death not 50 - the proof was a letter from the Russian government to the guy's mother telling her he didn't qualify for any honours because he wasn't in the Russian military.
The quisling (likely a Ukranian I would say) went on to rabbit about the bloke having also fought in Donbass under contract - to which the 'interviewer (don't ya love it when media 'interview' their own journos - a sure sign that a snippet of toxic nonsense is being delivered) led about how the deceitful Russians had claimed the only Russians fighting in Donbass were contractors - yeah well this bloke was a contractor surely that proves the Russians were telling the truth.
It's not what these propagandists say; they adopt a tone and the audience is meant to hate based on that even when the facts as stated conflict with the media outlet's point of view. Remember the childhood trick of saying "bad dog" ter yer mutt in loving tones - the dog comes to ya tail wagging & licks yer hand. This is that.

The next item was more Syria lies - white helmets footage (altho the beeb is now mostly giving them an alternative name to dodge the facts about white helmets) of bandaged children with flour tipped on their heads.
The evil Syrians and Russians are bombarding Gouta - nary a word about the continuous artillery barrage Gouta has subjected the citizens of Damascus to for the past 4 years, or that the Syrians have repeatedly offered truces and safe passage for civilians. Any injured children need to ask their parents why they weren't allowed to take advantage of the frequent offers of transport out. Maybe the parents are worried 'the resistance' will do its usual and blow up the busloads of children after luring them over with candy.

Anyway I switched off after that so never did learn if little miss cheat had a cry.

[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] For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia

Highly recommended!
This post summaries several "alternative" views that many suspect, but can't express as clearly as here.
Feb 20, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Palloy | Feb 20, 2018 8:52:02 PM | 34

@4 "For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia."

Ever since US Crude Oil peaked its production in 1970, the US has known that at some point the oil majors would have their profitability damaged, "assets" downgraded, and borrowing capacity destroyed. At this point their shares would become worthless and they would become bankrupt. The contagion from this would spread to transport businesses, plastics manufacture, herbicides and pesticide production and a total collapse of Industrial Civilisation.

In anticipation of increasing Crude Oil imports, Nixon stopped the convertibility of Dollars into Gold, thus making the Dollar entirely fiat, allowing them to print as much of the currency as they needed.

They also began a system of obscuring oil production data, involving the DoE's EIA and the OECD's IEA, by inventing an ever-increasing category of Undiscovered Oilfields in their predictions, and combining Crude Oil and Condensate (from gas fields) into one category (C+C) as if they were the same thing. As well the support of the ethanol-from-corn industry began, even though it was uneconomic. The Global Warming problem had to be debunked, despite its sound scientific basis. Energy-intensive manufacturing work was off-shored to cheap labour+energy countries, and Just-in-Time delivery systems were honed.

In 2004 the price of Crude Oil rose from $28 /barrel up to $143 /b in mid-2008. This demonstrated that there is a limit to how much business can pay for oil (around $100 /b). Fracking became marginally economic at these prices, but the frackers never made a profit as over-production meant prices fell to about $60 /b. The Government encourages this destructive industry despite the fact it doesn't make any money, because the alternative is the end of Industrial Civilisation.

Eventually though, there must come a time when there is not enough oil to power all the cars and trucks, bulldozers, farm tractors, airplanes and ships, as well as manufacture all the wind turbines and solar panels and electric vehicles, as well as the upgraded transmission grid. At that point, the game will be up, and it will be time for WW3. So we need to line up some really big enemies, and develop lots of reasons to hate them.

Thus you see the demonisation of Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela for reasons that don't make sense from a normal perspective.

[Feb 20, 2018] MoA - Russian bots - How An Anti-Russian Lobby Creates Fake News

Notable quotes:
"... Atlantic Council ..."
"... Alliance for Securing Democracy. ..."
"... Alliance for Securing Democracy ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

"Russian bots" - How An Anti-Russian Lobby Creates Fake News

The U.S. mainstream media are going nuts. They now make up and report stories based on the uncritical acceptance of the outcome of an algorithm they do not understand and which is know to produce fake results.

See for example these three stories:


Russian bot with ancient regalia

From the last link:

SAN FRANCISCO -- One hour after news broke about the school shooting in Florida last week, Twitter accounts suspected of having links to Russia released hundreds of posts taking up the gun control debate.

The accounts addressed the news with the speed of a cable news network. Some adopted the hashtag #guncontrolnow. Others used #gunreformnow and #Parklandshooting. Earlier on Wednesday, before the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., many of those accounts had been focused on the investigation by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

In other words - the "Twitter accounts suspected of having links to Russia" were following the current news just as cable news networks do. When a new sensational event happened they immediately jumped onto it. But the NYT authors go to length to claim that there is some nefarious Russian scheme behind this that uses automated accounts to spread divisive issues.

Those claims are based on this propaganda project:

Last year, the Alliance for Securing Democracy, in conjunction with the German Marshall Fund, a public policy research group in Washington, created a website that tracks hundreds of Twitter accounts of human users and suspected bots that they have linked to a Russian influence campaign.

The "Alliance for Securing Democracy" is run by military lobbyists, CIA minions and neocons. Its claimed task is:

... to publicly document and expose Vladimir Putin's ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe.

There is no evidence that Vladimir Putin made or makes such efforts.

The ASD "Hamilton 68" website shows graphics with rankings of "top items" and "trending items" allegedly used by Russian bots or influence agents. There is nothing complicate behind it. It simply tracks the tweets of 600 Twitter users and aggregates the hashtags they use. It does not say which Twitter accounts its algorithms follows. It claims that the 600 were selected by one of three criteria: 1. People who often tweet news that also appears on RT (Russia Today) and Sputnik News , two general news sites sponsored by the Russian government; 2. People who "openly profess to be pro-Russian"; 3. accounts that "appear to use automation" to boost the same themes that people in group 1 and 2 tweet about.

Nowhere does the group say how many of the 600 accounts it claims to track belong to which group. Are their 10 assumed bots or 590 in the surveyed 600 accounts? And how please does one "openly profess" to be pro-Russian? We don't know and the ASD won't say.

On December 25 2017 the "Russian influence" agents or bots who, according to NYT, want to sow divisiveness, wished everyone a Merry Christmas.


bigger

The real method the Hamilton 68 group used to select the 600 accounts it tracks is unknown. The group does not say or show how it made it up. Despite that the NYT reporters, Sheera Frenkel and Daisuke Wakabayashi, continue with the false assumptions that most or all the accounts are automated, have something to do with Russia and are presumably nefarious:

Russian-linked bots have rallied around other divisive issues, often ones that President Trump has tweeted about. They promoted Twitter hashtags like #boycottnfl, #standforouranthem and #takeaknee after some National Football League players started kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.

The automated Twitter accounts helped popularize the #releasethememo hashtag , ...

The Daily Beast reported earlier that the emphasized claim is definitely false :

Twitter's internal analysis has thus far found that authentic American accounts, and not Russian imposters or automated bots, are driving #ReleaseTheMemo. There are no preliminary indications that the Twitter activity either driving the hashtag or engaging with it is either predominantly Russian.

The same is presumably true for the other hashtags.

The Dutch IT specialist and blogger Marcel van den Berg was wondering how Dutch keywords and hashtags showed up in on the Hamilton 68 "Russian bots" dashboard. He found ( Dutch , English auto translation) that the dashboard is a total fraud:

In recent weeks, I have been keeping a close eye on Hamilton 68. Every time a Dutch hashtag was shown on the website, I made a screenshot. Then I noted what was playing at that moment and I watched the Tweets with this hashtag. Again I could not find any Tweet that seemed to be from a Russian troll.

In all cases, the hash tags that Hamilton 68 reported were trending topics in the Netherlands. In all cases there was much to do around the subject of the hashtag in the Netherlands. Many people were angry or shared their opinion on the subject on Twitter. And even if there were a few tweets with Russian connections between them, the effect is zero. Because they do not stand out among the many other, authentic Tweets.

Van den Berg lists a dozen examples he analyzed in depth.

The anti-Russian Bellingcat group around couch blogger Eliot Higgins is sponsored by the NATO propaganda shop Atlantic Council . It sniffs through open source stuff to blame Russia or Syria wherever possible. Bellingcat were recently a victim of the "Russian bots" - or rather of the ASD website. On February 10 the hashtag #bellingcat trended to rank 2 of the dashboard.


bigger

Bellingcat was thus, according to the Hamilton 68 claims, under assault of hordes of nefarious Russian government sponsored bots.

The Bellingcat folks looked into the issue and found that only six people on Twitter, none of them an automated account, had used the #bellingcat hashtag in the last 48 hours. Some of the six may have opinions that may be "pro Russian", but as Higgins himself says :

[I]n my opinion, it's extremely unlikely the people listed are Russian agents

The pro-NATO propaganda shop Bellingcat thus debunked the pro NATO propaganda shop Alliance for Securing Democracy.

The fraudsters who created the Hamilton 68 crap seem to have filled their database with rather normal people who's opinions they personally dislike. Those then are the "Russian bots" who spread "Russian influence" and divisiveness.

Moreover - what is the value of its information when six normal people out of millions of active Twitter users can push a hashtag with a handful of tweets to the top of the dashboard?

But the U.S. media writes long gushing stories about the dashboard and how it somehow shows automated Russian propaganda. They go to length to explain that this shows "Russian influence" and a "Russian" attempt to sow "divisiveness" into people's minds.

This is nuts.

Last August, when the Hamilton 68 project was first released, the Nation was the only site critical of it. It predicted :

The import of GMF's project is clear: Reporting on anything that might put the US in a bad light is now tantamount to spreading Russian propaganda.

It is now even worse than that. The top ranking of the #merrychristmas hashtag shows that the algorithm does not even care about good or bad news. The tracked twitter accounts are normal people.

The whole project is just a means to push fake stories about alleged "Russian influence" into U.S. medias. Whenever some issue creeps up on its dashboard that somehow fits its false "Russian bots" and "divisiveness" narrative the Alliance for Securing Democracy contacts the media to spread its poison. The U.S. media, - CNN, Wired, the New York Times - are by now obviously devoid of thinking journalists and fact checkers. They simple re-package the venom and spread it to the public.

How long will it take until people die from it?

Posted by b on February 20, 2018 at 03:15 PM | Permalink

Comments


nhs , Feb 20, 2018 3:24:03 PM | 1

The truth about 'Russiagate'
Lohmann , Feb 20, 2018 3:32:49 PM | 2
It's all too reminiscent of Duck Soup:

Rufus T. Firefly: I'd be unworthy of the high trust that's been placed in me if I didn't do everything in my power to keep our beloved Freedonia in peace with the world. I'd be only too happy to meet with Ambassador Trentino, and offer him on behalf of my country the right hand of good fellowship. And I feel sure he will accept this gesture in the spirit of which it is offered. But suppose he doesn't. A fine thing that'll be. I hold out my hand and he refuses to accept. That'll add a lot to my prestige, won't it? Me, the head of a country, snubbed by a foreign ambassador. Who does he think he is, that he can come here, and make a sap of me in front of all my people? Think of it - I hold out my hand and that hyena refuses to accept. Why, the cheap four-flushing swine, he'll never get away with it I tell you, he'll never get away with it.

[Trentino enters]

Rufus T. Firefly: So, you refuse to shake hands with me, eh?

[slaps Trentino with his glove]

Ambassador Trentino: Mrs. Teasdale, this is the last straw. There's no turning back now! This means war!

Rufus T. Firefly: Then it's war! Then it's war! Gather the forces. Harness the horses. Then it's war!

Clueless Joe , Feb 20, 2018 3:45:14 PM | 3
"to publicly document and expose Vladimir Putin's ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe."
That's pretty rich, coming from a country and from people who actually genuinely, and in proven ways, have subverted democracy in Europe since the late 1940s - Italy being one of the clearest cases.
ken , Feb 20, 2018 3:46:05 PM | 4
For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia. I can't believe it has to do with the economy. There's got to be a far better nefarious reason. Even during the real cold war we tried to avoid conflict. Absolute insanity.
foo , Feb 20, 2018 3:59:22 PM | 5
Zomg! Pricey robot!

Keep up the excellent work b.

xor , Feb 20, 2018 4:11:10 PM | 6
The cleverest trick used in propaganda against a specific country is to accuse it of what the accuser itself is doing.
Bart Hansen , Feb 20, 2018 4:14:00 PM | 7

How much time might the "Alliance for Securing Democracy" spend on uncovering voter suppression and purges, dis-enfrancisement of felons, the closing of polling places, restrictions of early voting, the influence of billionaires, gerrymandering and so on?
karlof1 , Feb 20, 2018 4:30:11 PM | 8
Gee, what could go wrong formulating policy founded upon a series of Big Lies? Kim Dotcom says he has important info the FBI refuses to hear. At the Munich Security Conference , neocon Nicholas Burns, former US Ambassador to NATO, details my assertion's factual basis that current policy is being formed on a series of Big Lies: "Will NATO strengthen itself to contain Russian power in Eastern Europe giving what Russian [sic] has done illegally in Crimea, in the Donbass, and in Georgia ?" [Bolded text are the Big Lies.]

Clearly, this entire psyop was premeditated and its design was hastily done contemporaneously with Russia's Syria intervention. NSA/CIA/FBI knew of HRC's security breeches and rightly assumed their contents would find their way into the election, so the general plan was ready to go prior to WikiLeaks publications. b has uncovered much, and I hope he's planning to publish a book about the entire affair.

john , Feb 20, 2018 4:34:32 PM | 9
How long will it take until people die from it

as long as it takes to flog a dead horse

Jen , Feb 20, 2018 4:54:59 PM | 10
Ken @ 4: There doesn't necessarily need to be One Major Reason for going to war. There may be several reasons all feeding and reinforcing one another and creating a psychological climate in which Going To War is seen as the only solution and is inevitable. The reasons are not just economic and political but cultural and historical.

In some countries allied with the US, the politicians in power are the ideological descendants of those who collaborated with Nazi Germany - so in a sense they are committed to "correcting" what they see as wrong. In the case of current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he is the grandson of a former prime minister who once served in General Tojo's World War II cabinet.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2012/12/26/national/formed-in-childhood-roots-of-abes-conservatism-go-deep/#.WoyZCG9uaUk

That's why pinning down the reason for wanting a war against Russia is so difficult.

Partisan , Feb 20, 2018 5:06:58 PM | 11

The whole piece is just hilarious and I laughed out loud all time while reading it.

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/16/nyts-really-weird-russiagate-story/

Since the FBI never inspected the DNC's computers first-hand, the only evidence comes from an Irvine, California, cyber-security firm known as CrowdStrike whose chief technical officer, Dmitri Alperovitch, a well-known Putin-phobe, is a fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank that is also vehemently anti-Russian as well as a close Hillary Clinton ally.

Thus, Putin-basher Clinton hired Putin-basher Alperovitch to investigate an alleged electronic heist, and to absolutely no one's surprise, his company concluded that guilty party was Vladimir Putin. Amazing! Since then, a small army of internet critics has chipped away at CrowdStrike for praising the hackers as among the best in the business yet declaring in the same breath that they gave themselves away by uploading a document in the name of "Felix Edmundovich," i.e. Felix E. Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Soviet secret police.

As noted cyber-security expert Jeffrey Carr observed with regard to Russia's two main intelligence agencies: "Raise your hand if you think that a GRU or FSB officer would add Iron Felix's name to the metadata of a stolen document before he released it to the world while pretending to be a Romanian hacker. Someone clearly had a wicked sense of humor."

james , Feb 20, 2018 5:17:19 PM | 12
thanks b!

muddy waters.. paid for propaganda.... look at all the russian bots, lol...

cold war 2 / mccarthyism 2 is in effect... the historic parallels are marked. thank you neo cons!

it's working... the ordinary person in the usa can't be this stupid can they?

when does ww3 kick in? is that really what these idiots want? or is it just to prolong the huge defense budget?

Mike Maloney , Feb 20, 2018 5:24:03 PM | 13
This is about conditioning voters in Europe and the United States for a long war with Russia and China. In other words, a return to the 1950s. It is not working and becoming increasingly hysterical because societies are not nearly as cohesive as they once were, and the mainstream political parties, while better funded and more top-down organized, are basically hollow. The collapse is coming. Four years or ten, take your pick.
dh , Feb 20, 2018 5:32:10 PM | 14
@4 "For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia."

Most Americans probably don't. Just the chosen few with the deepest fall-out shelters. The idea is to keep piling the pressure on to countries like Iran and Russia in the hope that their populations will rise up and demand the freedoms that we enjoy in the West....things like uncensored wardrobe malfunctions and transgender washrooms.

Partisan , Feb 20, 2018 6:02:58 PM | 15
"Most Americans probably don't."

not true.

let's imagine that we have the pyramid of evilness, by which we measure bestiality of one regime and its constituency. my firm belief is that us would be on the top of that pyramid. Only dilemma would be between Zionist entity and the US.

"How could the masses be made to desire their own repression?" was the question Wilhelm Reich famously asked in the wake of the Reichstagsbrandverordnung (Reichstag Fire Decree, February 28, 1933), which suspended the civil rights protections afforded by the Weimar Republic's democratic constitution.Hitler had been appointed chancellor on January 30, 1933 and Reich was trying to grapple with the fact that the German people had apparently chosen the authoritarian politics promoted by National Socialism against their own political interests. Ever since, the question of fascism, or rather the question of why might people vote for their own oppression, has never ceased to haunt political philosophy.2 With Trump openly campaigning for less democracy in America -- and with the continued electoral success of far-right antiliberal movements across Europe -- this question has again become a pressing one.

An American people is in perfect harmony with its regime.


CarlD , Feb 20, 2018 6:06:06 PM | 16
Remember the "USS MAINE"!

Media have long agitated for War in US History. Nothing sells newspapers
like a good ole war!

Demonizing is a way to achieve it. What is sure is that this is a one way street.
Once over the cliff, there is no turning back.

How do you tell people that, at the flick of your magic switch, Putin is in fact
a swell guy and wonderful human being? Once love is gone who goes back
to the filthy, abhorrent and estranged spouse?

Surely the US establishment is playing with fire thinking they will successfully
ride out any conflict and come out on top secure in their newly reestablished
hegemony on the smoldering ruins of Humanity.

Make no mistake, we are all on the road to hell. Better enjoy todays peace as
tomorrow word will be filled with the sweet music of cemeteries.

"Freedom of speech"...

CarlD , Feb 20, 2018 6:12:52 PM | 17
re 16
correction:

Make no mistake, we are all on the road to hell. Better enjoy todays peace as
tomorrow's world will be filled with the sweet music of cemeteries.

dh , Feb 20, 2018 6:14:14 PM | 18
@15 "An American people is in perfect harmony with its regime."

I'm not so sure. I think there are many Americans who deeply distrust their government. But of course they don't want to appear unpatriotic. There are also many who are apathetic and many simply don't know how to change things.

SteveK9 , Feb 20, 2018 6:35:58 PM | 19
It's horrible I know to quote a Nazi, but Goring had this right:

Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

WorldBLee , Feb 20, 2018 6:36:51 PM | 20
American media has graduated from simply repeating the lies of "unnamed government sources" to repeating the lies of any organization unofficially blessed by the powers that be. The skills required to repeat the text verbatim serve them well in both cases. Skepticism is only reserved to anyone who tries to introduce logic or facts into the equation--such as when Jill Stein was interviewed on MSNBC recently. How dare Ms. Stein try to bring FACTS into the discussion!
chet380 , Feb 20, 2018 6:41:04 PM | 21
In that The Narrative is tightly controlled in the corporate media, not matter how strong the proofs or arguments about the falsity of these propaganda campaigns are, little or no circulation of those proofs or arguments wlll reach the general public.
Sinc , Feb 20, 2018 6:41:57 PM | 22
See info on US 'Twitter' manipulation campaign
Sinc , Feb 20, 2018 6:44:16 PM | 23
Sorry, link here
ken , Feb 20, 2018 6:59:01 PM | 24
Thanks Jen. It still makes no sense. As a veteran of the Vietnam fiasco, I was pretty much government oriented until McNamara outed the whole thing whining about haw sorry he was. 59,000 dead and he's sorry. They were able to hide the Gulf of Tonkin BS until then. After that I researched the reasons for each war/conflict the USA started and could find no logical reasons except hunger for power. But the little sandbox wars won't destroy the world like a major war/conflict with Russia and it goes nuclear. Almost every politician, and major news organizations are pushing for a war/conflict with Russia. This is insanity as no one will win a war like this and I am sure they know that,,, but they keep the war drums beating anyhow. It simply doesn't make sense. But Thanks again.

Same for dh, #14. Things are soooo stupid, your joking may be closer to the truth than you know. :-)

Skip , Feb 20, 2018 6:59:35 PM | 25
@SteveK9 #19

Thank you for the post. I will save it and use it liberally, with proper attributions. When one challenges the tribe on places like Twitter, it is hard to tell who is a real idiot and who is a bot. How do you know? Maybe that the bots go away fairly quickly and the idiots hang around to argue ad infinitum.

oldenyoung , Feb 20, 2018 7:06:23 PM | 26
The thing that bothers me, is the fact that the MICGlobalists dont care what we think or how poor their deceptions are. The public perception that "russia did it!!" continues to rise. I wonder what the public acceptance level needs to be for them to execute a MAJOR false flag event. They seem to think they are still on target, and its just a short matter or time...

They are going to do this when the perception management is complete...

We really do not need another one of their disasters

regards

OY

Grieved , Feb 20, 2018 7:37:47 PM | 27
The bully pushes and pushes until stopped by the first serious push back. The dynamic of the west and the neocon/Zionists at the core is essentially that of the bully. Nations like Venezuela and the Philippines have started to push back, and I hope and feel fairly confident that they will both survive the rage of the US. In some part, they have begun to show the actual powerlessness of the bully.

But the really killer nations - Russia and China - are holding their water as they strengthen their force. I believe that one very serious push back from either of them in the right circumstances will stop the bully. And yet, as they bide their time, we see a curious phenomenon wherein the US is destroying itself from the inside.

It's as if all of the forces that exist to control the country - the lockstep media, the fully rigged markets, the hysterical military, the bought legislature and the crooked courts - are all acting far more strongly than should be necessary. The entire system is over-reacting, over-reaching, over-boiling. And in the course of this, the US is actually shedding power, and at an amazing rate. But not from the action of Russia but from its non-action, the empty space that that allows the bully's dynamic to over-reach, all the way to complete failure.

Is it possible that deep in the security states of Russia and China there's even a study and a model for this? Is the collapse of the US actually being gamed by Russia and China - and through the totally counter-intuitive action of non-action?

Just a thought.

Ghost Ship , Feb 20, 2018 7:51:03 PM | 28
>>>> xor | Feb 20, 2018 4:11:10 PM | 6
The cleverest trick used in propaganda against a specific country is to accuse it of what the accuser itself is doing.

I've always put it down to the Washington Establishment having a severe case of psychological projection.

WG , Feb 20, 2018 7:52:38 PM | 29
Hey b,
Just wanted to let you know that Joe Lauria mentioned your blog and the article you wrote on the indictment of the 13 Russians. He was on Loud and Clear (Sputnik Radio, Washington DC) today and brought you up at the start of the program.
Glad to see you get some recognition for all the great work you've been doing :)
Mike , Feb 20, 2018 7:53:24 PM | 30
Meanwhile, back in 2010:
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/11/when-campaigns-manipulate-social-media/66351/
Jen , Feb 20, 2018 7:53:43 PM | 31
Ken @ 24: The warmongering is not intended to make any sense - not many people are trained in critical thinking and logic, and even when they are, they can be swamped by their own emotions or other people's emotions. Propaganda is intended to appeal to people's emotions and fears. You can try reading works by Edward Bernays - "Crystallizing Public Opinion" (1923) and "Propaganda" (1928) - to see how he uses his uncle Sigmund Freud's theories of the mind to create strategies for manipulating public opinion.
https://archive.org/details/EdwardL.BernaysPropaganda

Bernays' books influenced Nazi and Soviet propaganda and Bernays himself was hired by the US government to justify in the public mind the 1954 US invasion of Guatemala.

You may be aware that Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corporation which owns the Wall Street Journal, FOX News and 20th Century Fox studios, is also on the Board of Directors of Genie Energy which owns a subsidiary firm that was granted a licence by an Israeli court to explore and drill for oil and natural gas in Syria's (and Israeli-occupied) Golan Heights.

simjam , Feb 20, 2018 7:59:21 PM | 32
The national media speaks as one -with one consistent melody day after day. Who is the conductor?

When will one representative of the mainstream media sing solo? There must be a Ray McGovern somewhere among the flock.

V. Arnold , Feb 20, 2018 8:05:33 PM | 33
Grieved | Feb 20, 2018 7:37:47 PM | 27

Many of my thoughts as well.
The U.S.'s greatest fault is its tacit misunderstanding of just what russia is in fact.
They utterly fail to understand the Russian character; forged over 800 years culminating with the defeat of Nazi Germany, absorbing horrific losses; the U.S. fails to understand the effect upon the then Soviets, become todays Russians.
Even the god's have abandoned the west...

Palloy , Feb 20, 2018 8:52:02 PM | 34
@4 "For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia."

Ever since US Crude Oil peaked its production in 1970, the US has known that at some point the oil majors would have their profitability damaged, "assets" downgraded, and borrowing capacity destroyed. At this point their shares would become worthless and they would become bankrupt. The contagion from this would spread to transport businesses, plastics manufacture, herbicides and pesticide production and a total collapse of Industrial Civilisation.

In anticipation of increasing Crude Oil imports, Nixon stopped the convertibility of Dollars into Gold, thus making the Dollar entirely fiat, allowing them to print as much of the currency as they needed.

They also began a system of obscuring oil production data, involving the DoE's EIA and the OECD's IEA, by inventing an ever-increasing category of Undiscovered Oilfields in their predictions, and combining Crude Oil and Condensate (from gas fields) into one category (C+C) as if they were the same thing. As well the support of the ethanol-from-corn industry began, even though it was uneconomic. The Global Warming problem had to be debunked, despite its sound scientific basis. Energy-intensive manufacturing work was off-shored to cheap labour+energy countries, and Just-in-Time delivery systems were honed.

In 2004 the price of Crude Oil rose from $28 /barrel up to $143 /b in mid-2008. This demonstrated that there is a limit to how much business can pay for oil (around $100 /b). Fracking became marginally economic at these prices, but the frackers never made a profit as over-production meant prices fell to about $60 /b. The Government encourages this destructive industry despite the fact it doesn't make any money, because the alternative is the end of Industrial Civilisation.

Eventually though, there must come a time when there is not enough oil to power all the cars and trucks, bulldozers, farm tractors, airplanes and ships, as well as manufacture all the wind turbines and solar panels and electric vehicles, as well as the upgraded transmission grid. At that point, the game will be up, and it will be time for WW3. So we need to line up some really big enemies, and develop lots of reasons to hate them.

Thus you see the demonisation of Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela for reasons that don't make sense from a normal perspective.

Debsisdead , Feb 20, 2018 8:53:42 PM | 35
I watched bbc news this am in the hope that I would get to see the most awful creature at the 2018 olympics cry her croc tears (long story - a speed skater who cuts off the opposition but has been found out so now when she swoops in front of the others they either skate over her leading to tearful whines from perp about having been 'pushed', or gets disqualified for barging. Last night she got disqualified so as part of my study on whether types like this believe their own bullshit I thought I'd tune in but didn't get that far into the beebs lies)
The bulk of the bulletin was devoted to a 'lets hate Russia' session which featured a quisling who works for the russian arm of BBC (prolly just like cold war days staffed exclusively by MI6/SIS types). This chap, using almost unintelligible english, claimed he had proof at least 50 Russian Mercenaries (question - why are amerikan guns for hire called contractors [remember the Fallujah massacre of 100,000 civilians because amerikan contractors were stupid] yet Russian contractors are called mercenaries by the media?) had been killed in Syria last week. The bloke had evidence of one contractor's death not 50 - the proof was a letter from the Russian government to the guy's mother telling her he didn't qualify for any honours because he wasn't in the Russian military.
The quisling (likely a Ukranian I would say) went on to rabbit about the bloke having also fought in Donbass under contract - to which the 'interviewer (don't ya love it when media 'interview' their own journos - a sure sign that a snippet of toxic nonsense is being delivered) led about how the deceitful Russians had claimed the only Russians fighting in Donbass were contractors - yeah well this bloke was a contractor surely that proves the Russians were telling the truth.
It's not what these propagandists say; they adopt a tone and the audience is meant to hate based on that even when the facts as stated conflict with the media outlet's point of view. Remember the childhood trick of saying "bad dog" ter yer mutt in loving tones - the dog comes to ya tail wagging & licks yer hand. This is that.

The next item was more Syria lies - white helmets footage (altho the beeb is now mostly giving them an alternative name to dodge the facts about white helmets) of bandaged children with flour tipped on their heads.
The evil Syrians and Russians are bombarding Gouta - nary a word about the continuous artillery barrage Gouta has subjected the citizens of Damascus to for the past 4 years, or that the Syrians have repeatedly offered truces and safe passage for civilians. Any injured children need to ask their parents why they weren't allowed to take advantage of the frequent offers of transport out. Maybe the parents are worried 'the resistance' will do its usual and blow up the busloads of children after luring them over with candy.

Anyway I switched off after that so never did learn if little miss cheat had a cry.

[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 20, 2018] ISIS Beheadings of Journalists CIA Admitted to Staging Fake Jihadist Videos in 2010 Global Research - Centre for Research on

Notable quotes:
"... This article was first published by Global Research on September 4, 2014. It sheds light on the role of US intelligence in "war on terrorism" propaganda and the hate campaign against Muslims. ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

ISIS Beheadings of Journalists: CIA Admitted to Staging Fake Jihadist Videos in 2010 Questions arise after experts say Foley ISIS beheading video likely "staged" By Mikael Thalen Global Research, February 19, 2018 Infowars 3 September 2014 Region: Middle East & North Africa Theme: Intelligence , Terrorism , US NATO War Agenda In-depth Report: IRAQ REPORT , SYRIA

This article was first published by Global Research on September 4, 2014. It sheds light on the role of US intelligence in "war on terrorism" propaganda and the hate campaign against Muslims.

***

A 2010 Washington Post article authored by former Army Intelligence Officer Jeff Stein features a detailed account of how the CIA admittedly filmed a fake Bin Laden video during the run up to the 2003 Iraq war.

The article , which includes comments from multiple sources within the CIA's Iraq Operations Group, explains how the agency had planned to "flood Iraq with the videos" depicting several controversial scenarios.

"The agency actually did make a video purporting to show Osama bin Laden and his cronies sitting around a campfire swigging bottles of liquor and savoring their conquests with boys, one of the former CIA officers recalled, chuckling at the memory," the article states. "The actors were drawn from 'some of us darker-skinned employees.'"

Other CIA officials admitted to planning several fake videos featuring former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, one of which would depict the leader engaged in sexual acts with a teenage boy.

"It would look like it was taken by a hidden camera," said one of the former officials. "Very grainy, like it was a secret videotaping of a sex session."

According to one official, the video ideas were eventually scrapped due to the CIA officers, who spent their careers in Latin America and East Asia, not understanding "the cultural nuances of the region."

"Saddam playing with boys would have no resonance in the Middle East -- nobody cares," a third former CIA official said. "Trying to mount such a campaign would show a total misunderstanding of the target. We always mistake our own taboos as universal when, in fact, they are just our taboos."

The article does however admit that one specific psyop was successfully implemented, linking to a document from the Rand Corporation that explains the program.

"According to histories of the 2003 invasion, the single most effective 'information warfare' project, which originated in the Pentagon, was to send faxes and e-mails to Iraqi unit commanders as the fighting began, telling them their situation was hopeless, to round up their tanks, artillery and men, and go home," the article states. "Many did."

While the aforementioned videos were never released, the much looked over admission of such psychological operations raises questions in light of the recent ISIS beheading videos.

Only days after Infowars' questioned several discrepancies in the James Foley beheading video, top British forensic experts concluded that the video was likely staged using "camera trickery and slick post-production techniques."

"After enhancements, the knife can be seen to be drawn across the upper neck at least six times, with no blood evidence to the point the picture fades to black," an analyst said."I think it has been staged. My feeling is that the execution may have happened after the camera was stopped."

Given the brutality seen in many of ISIS' grainy, low quality cell phone videos from Iraq and Syria, many have also begun questioning why the "beheading" video's hide the actual beheading while also exhibiting more advanced editing techniques and high definition cameras.

While no one questions the tragic fate of both James Foley and Steven Sotloff, other questions have been raised in light of who discovered the most recent video: the SITE Intelligence Group (Search for International Terrorist Entities).

"One of SITE's founders, Rita Katz, is a government insider with close connections to former terrorism czar Richard Clarke and his staff in the White House, as well as investigators in the Department of Justice, Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Homeland Security according to SourceWatch ," notes Infowars' Kurt Nimmo.

The most glaring issue still remains the United States government's involvement in creating ISIS , recently pointed out by General Thomas McInerney .

"We backed I believe in some cases, some of the wrong people and not in the right part of the Free Syrian Army and that's a little confusing to people, so I've always maintained .that we were backing the wrong types," McInerney said.

While the Obama Administration admits to having no strategy against ISIS, internal sources claim the President has received intelligence on their rise for more than a year. Even as reports come in on possible ISIS attacks in the Southern US , the President still refuses to secure the border as border gates are left wide open .

https://www.youtube.com/embed/L-Ug6M0bICs

The original source of this article is Infowars Copyright © Mikael Thalen , Infowars , 2018

[Feb 20, 2018] War Propaganda "Fake News" and the Pentagon's Office of Strategic Influence (OSI) Global Research - Centre for Research on G

Notable quotes:
"... Air Force Magazine ..."
"... Military planners in the Pentagon are acutely aware of the central role of war propaganda. Waged from the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA, a fear and disinformation campaign (FDC) has been launched. The blatant distortion of the truth and the systematic manipulation of all sources of information is an integral part of war planning. In the wake of 9/11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld created to the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), or "Office of Disinformation" as it was labeled by its critics: ..."
"... its purpose was to deliberately lie ..."
"... this is embarrassing ..."
"... Disinformation in military propaganda is part of war ..."
"... Air Force Magazine ..."
"... The Sunday Herald ..."
"... Global Outlook, ..."
"... Insight on the News ..."
"... Christian Science Monitor ..."
"... Featured image is from Collective Evolution . ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

War Propaganda: "Fake News" and the Pentagon's Office of Strategic Influence (OSI) By Prof Michel Chossudovsky Global Research, December 17, 2017 Global Research 16 January 2003 Region: USA Theme: Intelligence , Media Disinformation , US NATO War Agenda

Author's note

The following text on Rumsfeld's "Office of Strategic Influence" (OSI) was first published by Global Research in January 2003 two months before the onslaught of the war on Iraq. The analysis largely pertained to the role of the Pentagon in planting fake stories in the news chain with a view to providing a "human face" to US-led military interventions.

Already in 2002, the "Militarization of the Media" was on the drawing board of the Pentagon. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld created the OSI with a view to influencing public opinion in the months leading up to the war on Iraq in March 2003. "The purpose [of the OSI] was to deliberately lie to advance American interests," (quoted in Air Force Magazine , January 2003). It consisted in feeding disinformation into the news chain as well as seeking the support of the corporate media. Acknowledged by the New York Times:

"The Defense Department is considering issuing a secret directive to the American military to conduct covert operations aimed at influencing public opinion and policy makers in friendly and neutral countries [Germany, France, etc], senior Pentagon and administration officials say.

The fight, one Pentagon official said, is over "the strategic communications for our nation , the message we want to send for long-term influence, and how we do it."

As a military officer put it: "We have the assets and the capabilities and the training to go into friendly and neutral nations to influence public opinion. We could do it and get away with it. That doesn't mean we should."

In February [2002], Mr. Rumsfeld had to disband the Pentagon's Office of Strategic Influence, ending a short-lived plan to provide news items, and possibly false ones, to foreign journalists to influence public sentiment abroad. Senior Pentagon officials say Mr. Rumsfeld is deeply frustrated that the United States government has no coherent plan for molding public opinion worldwide in favor of America in its global campaign against terrorism and militancy.(NYT, December 10, 2002)

Many administration officials agree that there is a role for the military in carrying out what it calls information operations against adversaries , especially before and during war, as well as routine public relations work in friendly nations like Colombia, the Philippines or Bosnia, whose governments have welcomed American troops.

But the idea of ordering the military to take psychological aim at allies has divided the Pentagon -- with civilians and uniformed officers on both sides of the debate.

Some are troubled by suggestions that the military might pay journalists to write stories favorable to American policies or hire outside contractors without obvious ties to the Pentagon to organize rallies in support of American policies. (NYT, December 16, 2002)

The Ongoing "Militarization of the Media"

Most people do not even know that an Office of Strategic Influence (tantamount to a "Ministry of Truth") existed within the confines of the Pentagon. Why? Rumsfeld decided to abolish the OSI. In reality, it was never abolished. They just changed the name to something else (as confirmed by Rumsfeld in a November 2002 Press Conference):

Rumsfeld: And then there was the office of strategic influence . I went down that next day and said fine, if you want to savage this thing fine I'll give you the corpse. There's the name. You can have the name, but I'm gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have.

That was intended to be done by that office is being done by that office , NOT by that office in other ways.

DARPA Press Conference (Dept of Defense, November 18, 2002 emphasis added)

Flash Forward: 2002- 2017

While the OSI process launched by the Pentagon in 2002 is still functional as intimated by Rumsfeld, it has become increasingly sophisticated. Moreover, the media environment has changed dramatically since 2002 with the rapid development of social media.

Harper Magazine, Screenshot

Today, t he Militarization of the Media is accepted. It is part of a "New Normal". The actions of both by the Pentagon and NATO are now largely directed against the Blogosphere integrated by social media and independent online news and analysis.

"Strategic Influence" seeks to undermine critique or opinion by the alternative online media directed against (illegal) acts of war. Since 2001, a firm relationship has developed between the mainstream media and the Military establishment. War crimes are tacitly ignored. US-NATO "acts of war" are routinely upheld by the corporate media as humanitarian endeavors, i.e. a so-called "Responsibility to Protect"(R2P).

"America is Under Attack"

On September 11, 2001, Afghanistan had allegedly attacked America, according to NATO's North Atlantic Council. The legal argument was that the September 11 attacks constituted an undeclared "armed attack" "from abroad" by an unnamed foreign power.

In the months leading up to the announced 2003 invasion of Iraq, the propaganda campaign consisted in sustaining the illusion that "America was under attack".

A similar logic prevails today: America's is allegedly being threatened by "rogue states": Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

"Information Operations" are now envisaged by the Pentagon against alternative media which refuse to acknowledge that "America is under attack". The online independent media are tagged as "adversaries". Countering (critical) social media is part of a US-NATO's agenda. NATO points to the " weaponization of disinformation" , suggesting that online media directed against US-NATO constitutes a "weapon".

Both the US DoD and NATO consider that online "false information" (published by independent and alternative media) has "security implications". The objective is ultimately to dismantle all civil society media and movements which are opposed to America's global war agenda.

Below is the text on the failed Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), written 15 years ago, published in January 2003.

Michel Chossudovsky, December 17, 2017

***

War Propaganda

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, January 16, 2003

Military planners in the Pentagon are acutely aware of the central role of war propaganda. Waged from the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA, a fear and disinformation campaign (FDC) has been launched. The blatant distortion of the truth and the systematic manipulation of all sources of information is an integral part of war planning. In the wake of 9/11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld created to the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), or "Office of Disinformation" as it was labeled by its critics:

"The Department of Defense said they needed to do this, and they were going to actually plant stories that were false in foreign countries -- as an effort to influence public opinion across the world.1

And, all of a sudden, the OSI was formally disbanded following political pressures and "troublesome" media stories that " its purpose was to deliberately lie to advance American interests."2 "Rumsfeld backed off and said this is embarrassing ."3 Yet despite this apparent about-turn, the Pentagon's Orwellian disinformation campaign remains functionally intact: "[T]he secretary of defense is not being particularly candid here. Disinformation in military propaganda is part of war ."4

Rumsfeld later confirmed in a press interview that while the OSI no longer exists in name, the "Office's intended functions are being carried out" 5 (Rumsfeld's precise words can be consulted here ).

A number of government agencies and intelligence units –with links to the Pentagon– are involved in various components of the propaganda campaign. Realities are turned upside down. Acts of war are heralded as "humanitarian interventions" geared towards "regime change" and "the restoration of democracy". Military occupation and the killing of civilians are presented as "peace-keeping". The derogation of civil liberties –in the context of the so-called "anti-terrorist legislation"– is portrayed as a means to providing "domestic security" and upholding civil liberties. And underlying these manipulated realties, "Osama bin Laden" and "Weapons of Mass Destruction" statements, which circulate profusely in the news chain, are upheld as the basis for an understanding of World events.

In the critical "planning stages" leading up to an invasion of Iraq, the twisting of public opinion at home and around the World, is an integral part of the War agenda, War propaganda is pursued at all stages: before, during the military operation as well as in its cruel aftermath. War propaganda serves to drown the real causes and consequences of war.

A few months after the OSI was disbanded amidst controversy (February 2002), The New York Times confirmed that the disinformation campaign was running strong and that the Pentagon was:

" considering issuing a secret directive to American military to conduct covert operations aimed at influencing public opinion and policymakers in friendly and neutral nations The proposal has ignited a fierce battle throughout the Bush administration over whether the military should carry out secret propaganda missions in friendly nations like Germany The fight, one Pentagon official said, is over 'the strategic communications for our nation, the message we want to send for long-term influence, and how we do it .' We have the assets and the capabilities and the training to go into friendly and neutral nations to influence public opinion. We could do it and get away with it. That doesn't mean we should. '6

Fabricating the Truth

To sustain the war agenda, these "fabricated realities", funneled on a day to day basis into the news chain must become indelible truths, which form part of a broad political and media consensus. In this regard, the corporate media –although acting independently of the military-intelligence apparatus, is an instrument of this evolving totalitarian system.

In close liaison with the Pentagon and the CIA, the State Department has also set up its own "soft-sell" (civilian) propaganda unit, headed by Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Charlotte Beers , a powerful figure in the advertising industry. Working in liaison with the Pentagon, Beers was appointed to head the State Department's propaganda unit in the immediate wake of 9/11. Her mandate is "to counteract anti-Americanism abroad."7 Her office at the State department is to:

"ensure that public diplomacy (engaging, informing, and influencing key international audiences) is practiced in harmony with public affairs (outreach to Americans) and traditional diplomacy to advance U.S. interests and security and to provide the moral basis for U.S. leadership in the world." ( Source )

The Role of the CIA

The most powerful component of the Fear and Disinformation Campaign (FDI) rests with the CIA, which, secretly subsidizes authors, journalists and media critics, through a web of private foundations and CIA sponsored front organizations. The CIA also influences the scope and direction of many Hollywood productions. Since 9/11, one third of Hollywood productions are war movies. "Hollywood stars and scriptwriters are rushing to bolster the new message of patriotism, conferring with the CIA and brainstorming with the military about possible real-life terrorist attacks."8 "The Sum of All Fears" directed by Phil Alden Robinson, which depicts the scenario of a nuclear war, received the endorsement and support of both the Pentagon and the CIA.9

Disinformation is routinely "planted" by CIA operatives in the newsroom of major dailies, magazines and TV channels. Outside public relations firms are often used to create "fake stories" Carefully documented by Chaim Kupferberg in relation to the events of September 11: "A relatively few well-connected correspondents provide the scoops, that get the coverage in the relatively few mainstream news sources, where the parameters of debate are set and the "official reality" is consecrated for the bottom feeders in the news chain."10

Covert disinformation initiatives under CIA auspices are also funneled through various intelligence proxies in other countries. Since 9/11, they have resulted in the day-to-day dissemination of false information concerning alleged "terrorist attacks". In virtually all of the reported cases (Britain, France, Indonesia, India, Philippines, etc.) the "alleged terrorist groups" are said to have "links to Osama bin Laden 's Al Qaeda", without of course acknowledging the fact (amply documented by intelligence reports and official documents) that Al Qaeda is a creation of CIA.

The Doctrine of "Self Defense"

At this critical juncture, in the month(s) leading up to the announced invasion of Iraq, the propaganda campaign is geared towards sustaining the illusion that "America is under attack". Relayed not only through the mainstream media but also through a number of alternative internet media sites, these "fabricated realities" portray the war as a bona fide act of self-defense, while carefully concealing the broad strategic and economic objectives of the war.

In turn, the propaganda campaign develops a casus belli , "a justification", a political legitimacy for waging war. The "official reality" (conveyed profusely in George W's speeches) rests on the broad "humanitarian" premise of a so-called "preemptive", namely "defensive war", "a war to protect freedom":

"We're under attack because we love freedom And as long as we love freedom and love liberty and value every human life, they're going to try to hurt us." 11

Spelled out in the National Security Strategy (NSS), the preemptive "defensive war" doctrine and the "war on terrorism" against Al Qaeda constitute the two essential building blocks of the Pentagon's propaganda campaign. The objective is to present "preemptive military action" –meaning war as an act of "self-defense" against two categories of enemies, "rogue States" and "Islamic terrorists":

"The war against terrorists of global reach is a global enterprise of uncertain duration. America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed.

Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction ( )

The targets of these attacks are our military forces and our civilian population, in direct violation of one of the principal norms of the law of warfare. As was demonstrated by the losses on September 11, 2001, mass civilian casualties is the specific objective of terrorists and these losses would be exponentially more severe if terrorists acquired and used weapons of mass destruction.

The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction -- and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, ( ). To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively."12 ( National Security Strategy, White House , 2002)

Feeding Disinformation into the News Chain

How is war propaganda carried out? Two sets of "eye popping" "statements" emanating from a variety of sources (including official National Security statements, media, Washington-based think tanks, etc.) are fed on a daily basis into the news chain. Some of the events (including news regarding presumed terrorists) are blatantly fabricated by the intelligence agencies. These statements are supported by simple and catchy "buzzwords", which set the stage for fabricating the news:

Buzzword no. 1. "Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda" (Osama) is behind most news stories regarding the "war on terrorism" including "alleged", "future" "presumed", and "actual" terrorist attacks. What is rarely mentioned is that this outside enemy Al Qaeda is a CIA "intelligence asset", used in covert operations.

Buzzword no. 2. The "Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)" statement is used to justify the "pre-emptive war" against the "State sponsors of terror", –i.e. countries such as Iraq, Iran and North Korea which allegedly possess WMD. Amply documented in the case of Iraq, a large body of news on WMD and biological attacks, are fabricated.

The "WMD" and "Osama bin Laden" statements become part of day to day debate, embodied in routine conversations between citizens. Repeated ad nauseam, they penetrate the inner consciousness of ordinary people molding their individual perceptions on current events. Through deception and manipulation, this shaping of the minds of entire populations, sets the stage –under the façade of a functioning democracy -- for the installation of a de facto police State. Needless to say, war propaganda weakens the antiwar movement.

In turn, the disinformation regarding alleged "terrorist attacks" or "weapons of mass destruction" instils an atmosphere of fear, which mobilizes unswerving patriotism and support for the State, and its main political and military actors.

Repeated in virtually every national news report, this stigmatic focus on WMD-Al Qaeda essentially serves as a dogma, to blind people on the causes and consequences of America's war of conquest, while providing a simple, unquestioned and authoritative justification for "self defense."

More recently, both in speeches by President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, as well as in the news, WMD statements are now carefully blended into Osama statements. UK Defense Minister Jack Straw warned in early January "that 'rogue regimes' such as Iraq were the most likely source of WMD technology for groups like al-Qaeda."13 Also, in January, a presumed al Qaeda cell "with links to Iraq" was discovered in Edinburgh, allegedly involved in the use of biological weapons against people in the UK. The hidden agenda of "the links to Iraq" statement is blatantly obvious. The objective is to discredit Iraq in the months leading up to the war: the so-called "State sponsors of terror" are said to support Osama bin Laden, Conversely, Osama is said to collaborate with Iraq in the use of weapons of mass destruction.

In recent months, several thousand news reports have woven "WMD-Osama stories" of which a couple of excerpts are provided below:

"Skeptics will argue that the inconsistencies don't prove the Iraqis have continued developing weapons of mass destruction. It also leaves Washington casting about for other damning material and charges, including the midweek claim, again unproved, that Islamic extremists affiliated with al-Qaeda took possession of a chemical weapon in Iraq last November or late October."14

North Korea has admitted it lied about that and is brazenly cranking up its nuclear program again. Iraq has almost certainly lied about it, but won't admit it. Meanwhile Al Qaeda, although dispersed, remains a shadowy, threatening force, and along with other terrorist groups, a potential recipient of the deadly weaponry that could emerge from Iraq and North Korea.15

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair listed Iraq, North Korea, the Middle East and al-Qaeda among "difficult and dangerous" problems Britain faced in the coming year.16

The WMD-Osama statements are used profusely by the mainstream media. In the wake of 9/11, these stylized statements have also become an integral part of day to day political discourse. They have also permeated the workings of international diplomacy and the functioning of the United Nations.

Notes

1. Interview with Steve Adubato, Fox News, 26 December 2002.

2. Air Force Magazine , January 2003, italics added..

3. Adubato , op. cit . italics added

4. Ibid , italics added.

5. Quoted in Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Secrecy News, http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/2002/11/112702.html , Rumsfeld's press interview can be consulted at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2002/11/dod111802.html .

6. New York Times , 16 December 2002.

7. Sunday Times , London 5 January 2003.

8. Ros Davidson, Stars earn their Stripes, The Sunday Herald (Scotland), 11 November 2001).

9. See Samuel Blumenfeld, Le Pentagone et la CIA enrôlent Hollywood, Le Monde , 24 July 2002, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/BLU207A.html .

10. Chaim Kupferberg, The Propaganda Preparation for 9/11, Global Outlook, No. 3, 2003, p. 19, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/KUP206A.html .

11. Remarks by President Bush in Trenton, New Jersey, "Welcome Army National Guard Aviation Support Facility, Trenton, New Jersey ", 23 September 2002.

12. National Security Strategy, White House, 2002, http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html

13. Agence France Presse (AFP), 7 January 2003.

14. Insight on the News , 20 January 2003.

15. Christian Science Monitor , 8 January 2003

16. Agence France Presse (AFP), 1 January 2003

Featured image is from Collective Evolution .

[Feb 20, 2018] Russophobia is a futile bid to conceal US, European demise by Finian Cunningham

Highly recommended!
This is an old method to unite the nation against external enemy. Carnage (with so much oil and gas) needs to be destroyed. And it's working only partially with the major divisions between Trump and Hillary supporters remaining open and unaffected by Russiagate witch hunt.
Notable quotes:
"... It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances. ..."
"... The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media. ..."
"... A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together." ..."
"... He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning." ..."
"... The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law. ..."
"... The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies? ..."
"... The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference". ..."
"... Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV. ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.rt.com

Russophobia - "blame it all on Russia" - is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances

It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union.

But the truth is Western states are challenged by internal problems. Ironically, by denying their own internal democratic challenges, Western authorities are only hastening their institutional demise.

Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances.

The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media.

This narrative has shifted up a gear since the election of Donald Trump to the White House in 2016, with accusations that the Kremlin somehow ran "influence operations" to help get him into office. This outlandish yarn defies common sense. It is also running out of thread to keep spinning.

Paradoxically, even though President Trump has rightly rebuffed such dubious claims of "Russiagate" interference as "fake news", he has at other times undermined himself by subscribing to the notion that Moscow is projecting a campaign of "subversion against the US and its European allies." See for example the National Security Strategy he signed off in December.

Pathetically, it's become indoctrinated belief among the Western political class that "devious Russians" are out to "collapse" Western democracies by "weaponizing disinformation" and spreading "fake news" through Russia-based news outlets like RT and Sputnik.

Totalitarian-like, there seems no room for intelligent dissent among political or media figures.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has chimed in to accuse Moscow of "sowing division;" Dutch state intelligence claim Russia destabilized the US presidential election; the European Union commissioner for security, Sir Julian King, casually lampoons Russian news media as "Kremlin-orchestrated disinformation" to destabilize the 28-nation bloc; CIA chief Mike Pompeo recently warned that Russia is stepping up its efforts to tarnish the Congressional mid-term elections later this year.

On and on goes the narrative that Western states are essentially victims of a nefarious Russian assault to bring about collapse.

A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together."

Congressman Hurd asserts: "Russia has one simple goal: to erode trust in our democratic institutions It has weaponized disinformation to achieve this goal for decades in Eastern and Central Europe; in 2016, Western Europe and America were aggressively targeted as well."

Lamentably, all these claims above are made with scant, or no, verifiable evidence. It is simply a Big Lie technique of relentless repetition transforming itself into "fact" .

It's instructive to follow Congressman Hurd's thought-process a bit further.

He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning."

As a putative solution, Representative Hurd calls for "a national counter-disinformation strategy" against Russian "influence operations" , adding, "Americans must stop contributing to a corrosive political environment".

The latter is a chilling advocacy of uniformity tantamount to a police state whereby any dissent or criticism is a "thought-crime."

It is, however, such anti-democratic and paranoid thinking by Western politicians -- aided and abetted by dutiful media -- that is killing democracy from within, not some supposed foreign enemy.

There is evidently a foreboding sense of demise in authority and legitimacy among Western states, even if the real cause for the demise is ignored or denied. Systems of governance, politicians of all stripes, and institutions like the established media and intelligence services are increasingly held in contempt and distrust by the public.

Whose fault is that loss of political and moral authority? Western governments and institutions need to take a look in the mirror.

The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law.

The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies?

How then can properly informed citizens be expected to have respect for such criminal government policies and the complicit news media covering up for their crimes?

Western public disaffection with governments, politicians and media surely stems also from the grotesque gulf in social inequality and poverty among citizens from slavish adherence to economic policies that enrich the wealthy while consigning the vast majority to unrelenting austerity.

The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference".

Yet the Western media indulge this fantastical "Russiagate" escapism instead of campaigning on real social problems facing ordinary citizens. No wonder such media are then viewed with disdain and distrust. Adding insult to injury, these media want the public to believe Russia is the enemy?

Instead of acknowledging and addressing real threats to citizens: economic insecurity, eroding education and health services, lost career opportunities for future generations, the looming dangers of ecological adversity, wars prompted by Western governments trashing international and diplomacy, and so on -- the Western public is insultingly plied with corny tales of Russia's "malign influence" and "assault on democracy."

Just think of the disproportionate amount of media attention and public resources wasted on the Russiagate scandal over the past year. And now gradually emerging is the real scandal that the American FBI probably colluded with the Obama administration to corrupt the democratic process against Trump.

Again, is there any wonder the public has sheer contempt and distrust for "authorities" that have been lying through their teeth and playing them for fools?

The collapsing state of Western democracies has got nothing to do with Russia. The Russophobia of blaming Russia for the demise of Western institutions is an attempt at scapegoating for the very real problems facing governments and institutions like the news media. Those problems are inherent and wholly owned by these governments owing to chronic anti-democratic functioning, as well as systematic violation of international law in their pursuit of criminal wars and other subterfuges for regime-change objectives.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

[Feb 19, 2018] Nunes FBI and DOJ Perps Could Be Put on Trial by Ray McGovern

Highly recommended!
Nunes chances to bring perpetrators to justice are close to zero. The Deep State controls the Washington, DC and can withstand sporadic attacks.
It is an extremly courageous of Devin Nunes to give this interview.
Notable quotes:
"... Throwing down the gauntlet on alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the Department of Justice and the FBI, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) stated that there could be legal consequences for officials who may have misled the FISA court. "If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial," he said. "The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created." ..."
"... Nunes took this highly unusual, no-holds-barred stance during an interview with Emmy-award winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson , which aired on Sunday. ..."
"... He unapologetically averred that, yes, a criminal trial might well be the outcome. "DOJ and FBI are not above the law," he stated emphatically. "If they are committing abuse before a secret court getting warrants on American citizens, you're darn right that we're going to put them on trial." ..."
"... The stakes are very high. Current and former senior officials -- and not only from DOJ and FBI, but from other agencies like the CIA and NSA, whom documents and testimony show were involved in providing faulty information to justify a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign official Carter Page -- may suddenly find themselves in considerable legal jeopardy. Like, felony territory. ..."
"... On the other hand, the presumptive perps have not run into a chairman like Nunes in four decades, since Congressmen Lucien Nedzi (D-Mich.), Otis Pike (D-NY), and Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) ran tough, explosive hearings on the abuses of a previous generation deep state, including massive domestic spying revealed by quintessential investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in December 1974. (Actually, this is largely why the congressional intelligence oversight committees were later established, and why the FISA law was passed in 1978.) ..."
"... At this point, one is tempted to say plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose ..."
"... One glaring sign of the media's unwillingness to displease corporate masters and Official Washington is the harsh reality that Hersh's most recent explosive investigations, using his large array of government sources to explore front-burner issues, have not been able to find a home in any English-speaking newspaper or journal. ..."
"... On this point, Nunes said, "In the last administration they were unmasking hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of Americans' names. They were unmasking for what I would say, for lack of a better definition, were for political purposes." ..."
"... It is real courageous of Devin Nunes to give this interview. It is not only the accountability to law that is at stake in U.S., but the Whole World is imperiled with what happens in Washington. But as many have written before in comments about this complete moral collapse of the Entire West, I am afraid, it is all going to be swept under the rug. We have to just keep the fingers crossed. ..."
"... I have never seen such media bias against a sitting president in my lifetime, not even against Richard Nixon when they at least practiced decorum and feigned objectivity even if they were secretly cheering on his demise. I will reiterate here that I do not champion the man but rather due process under our constitution, which has been made a travesty from the moment of Clinton's loss at the polls. ..."
"... I completely agree with you Realist. I am not Trump's fan or supporter of his agenda, in fact, in many things quite the opposite of it. However, he raised some very valid points about the the domestic economy and other issues, and about the need to stop interventions in foreign countries, and getting along Russia, and the need to rebuild country's manufacturing system again. He was duly elected by the people, and he should have been given the support to pursue what he promised. But it did not happen. ..."
"... Although it's being done for the wrong reasons, I am nevertheless looking forward to seeing our out-of-control intelligence agencies being put in their place. If I were president and my party controlled both houses of Congress, you'd better believe I'd be looking to dismantle the national surveillance state and reduce the military budget to a "mere" $250 billion annually. ..."
"... The post 9-11 wars of aggression, massive surveillance, torture and other war crimes were sold to the American public as only to be inflicted on foreigners, i.e. "we fight them over there so we don't fight them here." But the blowback has now turned America's schools, malls, workplaces, concerts and churches into war zones and little by little, the disinformation ops, "regime change" know-how and other accoutrements of perpetual war (the fool's errand of gaining full spectrum dominance over the rest of the world) have been turned inward on the American people, including powerful American officials themselves. So it would seem to be a good thing that some politicians like Nunes have finally seen the light exactly as Frank Church did -- only when they themselves began to reap the negative consequences of what they thought would only negatively impact other, lesser people. ..."
"... But there is more to it, as some have pointed out in comments above, there are some intra-party quarrels going on in Washington to take the upper hand. Regarding foreign policy, National Security State and surveillance, and other such issues, both parties are joined at the hip. ..."
"... It is instructive to read the comments on any NYT article on this subject. The comments are clearly written by intelligent, well-educated individuals – who parrot the Deep State's anti-Russian propaganda as if they were the dumbest of the "Better dead than Red!" 50s McCarthyites. ..."
"... The new McCarthyites are actually stupider and more authoritarian than their sad fore-bearers, because they could pierce the Deep States lies with 30 minutes of online research, but they prefer tribalism and ignorance, instead. ..."
"... Trump started going head to head with the intel folks, but has backed down a lot now. Let's hope Nunes et al hang in there and keep the pressure on these despicable criminals who hide behind governmental powers. ..."
"... Somehow I don't think Nunes or his committee is capable of reigning in Frankenstein. His "constitutuents"" are not likely to allow it and although the monster was pieced together from many body parts its instincts for self-preservation are formidable. Nevertheless, I would applaud anyone who makes the effort. ..."
"... Note that after saying the Russians are indicted for interfering in the election, and spending 5 minutes on this, at the 5 minute 20 second mark Rosenstein says there is no evidence that the Russians had any affect [sic] on the election! So what we have is the Deputy Attorney General of the United States announcing an indictment for which he says there is no evidence! ..."
"... In the world of cypher espionage I have no knowledge, but if Russia does hang out in it well then I'm sure the U.S. is already there to do what it must to defend it's cypher security. So that's a wash, but this insane Russia-Gate distraction was originally a way to deflect attention from Hillary & Debbie's putting the screws to Socialist Sanders . then Russia-Gate became a MSM driven coup to oust Trump from his Electoral won presidential office. ..."
"... Impossible to get the whole Gorgon's head, anyway, in such a corrupt system as we have ..."
"... Ray, do you think Trump has made a deal: he'll allow escalations against Russia, and in return the Deep State will leave him alone? If so, does that portend that this will fizzle out? ..."
"... While the shiny ball, smoke and mirrors psychological operation known as "Russiagate" has begun running on fumes before the gas tank finally runs dry, the major revelation of the Clinton WikiLeaks emails describing Saudi/Qatari financing of ISIS drops further down the memory hole. There's nothing like success ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes has stated that "DOJ and FBI are not above the law," and could face legal consequences for alleged abuses of the FISA court, reports Ray McGovern.

Throwing down the gauntlet on alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the Department of Justice and the FBI, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) stated that there could be legal consequences for officials who may have misled the FISA court. "If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial," he said. "The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created."

Nunes took this highly unusual, no-holds-barred stance during an interview with Emmy-award winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson , which aired on Sunday.

Attkisson said she had invited both Nunes and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) but that only Nunes agreed. She asked him about Schiff's charge that Nunes' goal was "to put the FBI and DOJ on trial." What followed was very atypical bluntness -- candor normally considered quite unacceptable in polite circles of the Washington Establishment.

Rather than play the diplomat and disavow what Schiff contended was Nunes' goal, Nunes said, in effect, let the chips fall where they may. He unapologetically averred that, yes, a criminal trial might well be the outcome. "DOJ and FBI are not above the law," he stated emphatically. "If they are committing abuse before a secret court getting warrants on American citizens, you're darn right that we're going to put them on trial."

Die Is Cast

The stakes are very high. Current and former senior officials -- and not only from DOJ and FBI, but from other agencies like the CIA and NSA, whom documents and testimony show were involved in providing faulty information to justify a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign official Carter Page -- may suddenly find themselves in considerable legal jeopardy. Like, felony territory.

This was not supposed to happen. Mrs. Clinton was a shoo-in, remember? Back when the FISA surveillance warrant of Page was obtained, just weeks before the November 2016 election, there seemed to be no need to hide tracks, because, even if these extracurricular activities were discovered, the perps would have looked forward to award certificates rather than legal problems under a Trump presidency.

Thus, the knives will be coming out. Mostly because the mainstream media will make a major effort -- together with Schiff-mates in the Democratic Party -- to marginalize Nunes, those who find themselves in jeopardy can be expected to push back strongly.

If past is precedent, they will be confident that, with their powerful allies within the FBI/DOJ/CIA "Deep State" they will be able to counter Nunes and show him and the other congressional investigation committee chairs, where the power lies. The conventional wisdom is that Nunes and the others have bit off far more than they can chew. And the odds do not favor folks, including oversight committee chairs, who buck the system.

Staying Power

On the other hand, the presumptive perps have not run into a chairman like Nunes in four decades, since Congressmen Lucien Nedzi (D-Mich.), Otis Pike (D-NY), and Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) ran tough, explosive hearings on the abuses of a previous generation deep state, including massive domestic spying revealed by quintessential investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in December 1974. (Actually, this is largely why the congressional intelligence oversight committees were later established, and why the FISA law was passed in 1978.)

At this point, one is tempted to say plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose -- or the more things change, the more they stay the same -- but that would be only half correct in this context. Yes, scoundrels will always take liberties with the law to spy on others. But the huge difference today is that mainstream media have no room for those who uncover government crimes and abuse. And this will be a major impediment to efforts by Nunes and other committee chairs to inform the public.

One glaring sign of the media's unwillingness to displease corporate masters and Official Washington is the harsh reality that Hersh's most recent explosive investigations, using his large array of government sources to explore front-burner issues, have not been able to find a home in any English-speaking newspaper or journal. In a sense, this provides what might be called a "confidence-building" factor, giving some assurance to deep-state perps that they will be able to ride this out, and that congressional committee chairs will once again learn to know their (subservient) place.

Much will depend on whether top DOJ and FBI officials can bring themselves to reverse course and give priority to the oath they took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. This should not be too much to hope for, but it will require uncommon courage in facing up honestly to the major misdeeds appear to have occurred -- and letting the chips fall where they may. Besides, it would be the right thing to do.

Nunes is projecting calm confidence that once he and Trey Gowdey (R-Tenn.), chair of the House Oversight Committee, release documentary evidence showing what their investigations have turned up, it will be hard for DOJ and FBI officials to dissimulate.

In Other News

In the interview with Attkisson, Nunes covered a number of other significant issues:

The committee is closing down its investigation into possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign; no evidence of collusion was found. The apparently widespread practice of "unmasking" the identities of Americans under surveillance. On this point, Nunes said, "In the last administration they were unmasking hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of Americans' names. They were unmasking for what I would say, for lack of a better definition, were for political purposes." Asked about Schiff's criticism that Nunes behaved improperly on what he called the "midnight run to the White House," Nunes responded that the stories were untrue. "Well, most of the time I ignore political nonsense in this town," he said. "What I will say is that all of those stories were totally fake from the beginning."

Not since Watergate has there been so high a degree of political tension here in Washington but the stakes for our Republic are even higher this time. Assuming abuse of FISA court procedures is documented and those responsible for playing fast and loose with the required justification for legal warrants are not held to account, the division of powers enshrined in the Constitution will be in peril.

A denouement of some kind can be expected in the coming months. Stay tuned.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Savior in inner-city Washington. He was a CIA analyst for 27 years and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).


Skip Scott , February 19, 2018 at 9:38 am

Thanks Ray for another great article. One can only hope that Nunes is successful. However, like you say, the MSM is now complicit with the "Deep State", so the fight for justice becomes much harder. One also has to remember Schumer's "six ways from Sunday" applies equally to the congress as it does to the president. I hardly ever watch TV news, but recently I've been subjected to it, and I've seen a deluge of fluff pieces on our so-called Intelligence Agencies. I would love to see Trump give a speech (instead of a tweet) directly to the American people letting them know what rascals like Brennan, Clapper, et al have been up to.

Bob Van Noy , February 19, 2018 at 12:51 pm

This may be the best broadcast tv journalism in many years, read Sharyl Attkisson's story, "Stonewalled" (I will link the commentary page to that book for thorough readers). And thank you Nat, Ray McGovern & CN

https://www.amazon.com/Stonewalled-Obstruction-Intimidation-Harassment-Washington/dp/0062322850/ref=sr_1_1/140-4375232-2286101?ie=UTF8&qid=1519058613&sr=8-1&keywords=stonewalled#customerReviews

Dave P. , February 19, 2018 at 2:29 pm

An excellent and very timely article by Ray McGovern. Lawlessness, greed, complete subservience to Wall Street Finance and other Powers, insanity, and utter inhumanity prevails in present day Ruling Establishment in Washington. Obama, "the hope and change" Con Artist for whose election, being democrats we worked so hard in 2008 turned to be the biggest perpetrator of this lawlessness and responsible for fanning the flames still further in starting a new Cold War.

It is real courageous of Devin Nunes to give this interview. It is not only the accountability to law that is at stake in U.S., but the Whole World is imperiled with what happens in Washington. But as many have written before in comments about this complete moral collapse of the Entire West, I am afraid, it is all going to be swept under the rug. We have to just keep the fingers crossed.

Howard Dean just said yesterday that Nunes and people like him belong in jail. Now can you believe it, how low these so called liberal democrats have come to? Looking at the pictures of Adam Schiff, Howard Dean, and others in their company, I literally feel sick in the stomach. And one asks the essential question: "did not their parents teach them any honesty or moral principles in young age?".

Abbybwood , February 19, 2018 at 3:54 pm

But what he said is very confusing. First he says that Congress has no way to prosecute the DOJ/FBI for wrong doing then at the end he says Congress will need to prosecute the DOJ/FBI if necessary. Either Congress has the ability to prosecute the DOJ/FBI and issue indictments and set up Grand Juries or they don't.

Somebody needs to find out, Constitutionally, what the solution is when the DOJ/FBI at the highest levels become the criminals. WHO has the power to indict/convict these individuals??

Sam F , February 19, 2018 at 10:36 pm

A special prosecutor (Mueller's position) is appointed by the Pres or AG.

Annie , February 19, 2018 at 3:20 pm

From what I've heard expressed by a few FBI people, you don't come before a court, but a judge, one person, and they are known to rubber stamp almost everything. So they should be investigated too.

Realist , February 19, 2018 at 5:02 pm

I have never seen such media bias against a sitting president in my lifetime, not even against Richard Nixon when they at least practiced decorum and feigned objectivity even if they were secretly cheering on his demise. I will reiterate here that I do not champion the man but rather due process under our constitution, which has been made a travesty from the moment of Clinton's loss at the polls.

Dave P. , February 19, 2018 at 7:56 pm

I completely agree with you Realist. I am not Trump's fan or supporter of his agenda, in fact, in many things quite the opposite of it. However, he raised some very valid points about the the domestic economy and other issues, and about the need to stop interventions in foreign countries, and getting along Russia, and the need to rebuild country's manufactur