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Total Surveillance Regime: Big Uncle is Watching You

Mass surveillance is equal to totalitarism. As Joseph Goebbels professed:
"if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear"

The slide above is courtesy of The Guardian

Version 2.0, Oct 17, 2017

News National Security State Recommended Links Edward Snowden as Symbol of resistance to National Security State Privacy is Dead – Get Over It Vault 7 scandal NSA revelations fallout William Binney
Assange and Wikileaks Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? NSA Surveillance Industrial Espionage Data Stealing Trojans Flame Duqu Trojan Cyberstalking
Interception of "in-transit" traffic as violation of human rights Search engines privacy Google Toolbar Is Google evil? Keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance Facebook as Giant Database about Users The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies  
Damage to the US tech companies "Everything in the Cloud" Utopia Issues of security and trust in "cloud" env Email security How to analyze your own Web activity Interception of "in-transit" traffic as violation of human rights Steganography Building Snort-based IDS Infrastructure
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few   Nineteen Eighty-Four Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Cyberwarfare History of the USA total surveillance efforts Prizm-related humor Etc
 

Introduction

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

- Goethe

1984 is supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual

The troubling aspect about these disclosures is not so much their significance today, but what surveillance on the nation bodes for the future. Given human nature I am not optimistic.

Bill N. Cambridge MA, NYT.

NSA staff and private contractors have unfettered access to this information. I have a hard time believing that not one of them has used that access to information for personal or political gain. This system makes insider trading, industrial espionage, blackmail, and extortion an almost inevitable outcome. -- The Guardian (from comments).

A new round of debates about the dominance of military industrial complex and the level of control it exerts over the US civil society was caused by recent revelations about NSA activities in the USA.

It might well be the Rubicon was crossed around JFK assassination time. On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA (Church Committee - Wikipedia ):

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

In other words expansionism  and mission creep are immanent qualities, the second nature of large bureaucracies, and unless there is countervailing force. In the absence of countervailing forces they tend to escape from civil control and form a state within a state. In a way any state with powerful three-letter agencies stand with one leg in a tyranny, even if it calls itself a democracy. And that fact was already known to everybody in 1975 (Church Committee).  Actually just after president Kennedy assassination, which, no matter which version of events you adopt, in all cases indirectly pointed out that three letter agencies jumped out of control of civil government. As one Guardian reader commented "The pernicious thing is that it is in the nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular to expand beyond reason unless there is effective oversight."

The nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular to expand beyond reason unless there is effective oversight. In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven impossible for civil authorities to control them. Recent stories about CIA spying on the US Senate Intelligence Committee  just prove this. 

In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven impossible to control them.  Recent stories about CIA spying on the US Senate Intelligence Committee (which is tasked with the oversight of the agency) just prove this simple fact (CIA apologizes for spying on Senate committee - CNNPolitics July 31, 2014 ). As NYT reported (Inquiry by C.I.A. Affirms It Spied on Senate Panel,  

A statement issued Thursday morning by a C.I.A. spokesman said that John O. Brennan, the agency’s director, had apologized to Ms. Feinstein and the committee’s ranking Republican, Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and would set up an internal accountability board to review the issue. The statement said that the board, which will be led by a former Democratic senator, Evan Bayh of Indiana, could recommend “potential disciplinary measures” and “steps to address systemic issues.”

But anger among lawmakers grew throughout the day. Leaving a nearly three-hour briefing about the report in a Senate conference room, members of both parties called for the C.I.A. officers to be held accountable, and some said they had lost confidence in Mr. Brennan’s leadership. “This is a serious situation and there are serious violations,” said Mr. Chambliss, generally a staunch ally of the intelligence community. He called for the C.I.A. employees to be “dealt with very harshly.”

Senator Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado and another member of the Intelligence Committee, demanded Mr. Brennan’s resignation. “The C.I.A. unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking into the Senate Intelligence Committee computers,” he said in a written statement. “This grave misconduct not only is illegal but it violates the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of separation of powers.

You can't get a more solid proof of total surveillance...  Please note that Brennan continued his tenure as the head of CIA; attempts to depose him after the incident by some Senators failed. That suggest who was the winner in this skirmish.

That also means that contrary to common perception intelligence agencies are political players and as such are quite capable to defend their staffing and resource consumption levels, despite inefficient waist of resources as typical for large bureaucracies. In other words they are no longer technocratic, but tend to emerge as political bodies, the core of the "deep state" (see Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition). The story of John Brennan the former head of CIA in Obama administration tell volumes about such tendencies. During and after 2016 Presidential elections he emerged as a powerful political broker, later aligning with Hillary Clinton in efforts to form a political coalition capable of deposing President Trump.

We can admire the immortal foresight and moral courage of Secretary of State Henry Stimson's  who closed the Cipher Bureau in 1929.  But this highly ethical, moral and courageous act deprived the US of the capacity to read foreign diplomatic cables as world-wide threats grew.  So it was quickly reversed.

In a way technology dictates the level of government surveillance in the society and in "Internet society" it looks like this level is permanently set on "high". That does not mean that we can't fight it. Yes, we can and one factor that played into the hands of defenders of personal privacy is the you can't drink from a fire hose: as soon as you connect too much information it devalues itself. Also methods of "injecting" false metadata into your profile are reality available. for example for Internet browsing anybody with programmable keyboard can do that. That means that you the set of sites you visited no longer can be considered authentic in "Post-Snowden" world. That dooms effort to assign you a level of "loyalty" based on your browsing history, which is very temping for three letter agencies to do.  Recent failed attempt to create a site that claffies some sites are "Russian propaganda" sites belong to this category (Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, and Very Shady Group.) But such attempts were just shifted to another domain -- "leak prevention" training:

Part of the “Unauthorized Disclosure” training includes watching a Fox News clip on the crackdown on leaks and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ statement announcing an increase in criminal leak investigations. A student guide from the Insider Threat Awareness training includes the McCarthyesque request that employees report on each other for “general suspicious behaviors,” including “Questionable national loyalty” such as “Displaying questionable loyalty to US government or company” or “Making anti-U.S. comments.” Never mind that the only oath government employees take is to the US Constitution, not to any government official or the US government itself and certainly not to a private company.

This also opens people to browsing blackmail.  In this sense post-snowmen world is inherently more difficult for three-letter agencies to navigate.

Computer technology and digital communication as new frontiers for intelligence  agencies

Technology changes can really change the society. And not always in a beneficial for the society way. There is such thing as "blowback" in technologies. We can view recent NSA activities revealed by Snowden as a classic example of such blowback connected with the spread of Internet and cloud based technologies.  In a way Internet begets surveillance. And you can do nothing about it.  As former Sun CEO Scott McNealy (born November 13, 1954)  said  "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it." (see also Privacy is Dead – Get Over It).  

I think that the first attempt to create a comprehensive nation-wide intelligence network that monitors sentiments of the citizens and hunt enemies of the state goes as far back as Napoleon and his famous minister of police Joseph Fouché. Or may be it even goes as far back as to Byzantine Empire with its first in history organized network of spies. As for recording of mail envelopes, we can even claim that this function for international mail (in a form of "black chambers") is as old as states are. In the USA it started in full force in August 1919 when J. Edgar Hoover became head of the Bureau of Investigation's new General Intelligence Division—also known as the Radical Division because its explicit goal was to monitor and disrupt the work of domestic radicals.

Recording of all email envelopes started long before email was invented and became established practice since the WWII for all regular mail entering or leaving the country.  It just got a new name now -- collection of metadata and the technology that allow correlation of multiple sets of metadata exposing hidden "networks".  Recording metadata of phone calls and often the calls themselves first started before WWII and technology was first polished on international calls, which for obvious reasons are of great interest to all governments.  As intelligence agencies were one of the first to deploy computers after WWII it would be naive to assume that IBM/360 mainframes were not used to analyze collection of metadata of international calls as early as in 1960th.

Hoover and his chosen assistant, George Ruch monitored a variety of U.S. radicals with the intent to punish, arrest, or deport them. Targets during this period included Marcus Garvey; Rose Pastor Stokes and Cyril Briggs; Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman; and future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter, whom Hoover nicknamed as "the most dangerous man in the United States". So those radicals served a guinea pigs for polishing methods of collection of communications using electronic means of surveillance.

So it would be a mistake to assume that such activities started with 9/11 events and that Bush II was totally responsible for converting the USA into national-security state.  The technology was ready at least 15 years before 9/11 (explosive growth of internet in the USA started in 1996) and new methods of collection of information that are technically available are always adopted and used by clandestine agencies.  They tend to adopt technology as soon as it is available, being, in a pervert way,  classic "early adopters" of any communication or computer technology. And this happens not only in the USA,  although the USA as the  technological leader was probably most profoundly affected.

The creation and use of databases of personal information and the systematic records (archives) of communications of citizens started simultaneously with NSA creation. The first targets were mail and telegraph. Some of this experience came from specialists of Third Reich who were brought to the country after the WWII. At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, law enforcement and intelligence leaders like J. Edgar Hoover at the FBI. and Allen Dulles at the CIA. aggressively recruited former Nazis of all ranks as secret, anti-Soviet “assets,” declassified records show. They believed the ex-Nazis’ intelligence value against the Russians outweighed what one official called “moral lapses” in their service to the Third Reich. The agency hired one former SS officer as a spy in the 1950s, for instance, even after concluding he was probably guilty of “minor war crimes.” And in 1994, a lawyer with the CIA pressured prosecutors to drop an investigation into an ex-spy outside Boston implicated in the Nazis’ massacre of tens of thousands of Jews in Lithuania, according to a government official (In Cold War, U.S. Spy Agencies Used 1,000 Nazis - NYTimes.com).

We don't know when it was extended on domestic calls, but from purely technical perspective this was a trivial extension of already existing and polished capacity and probably abuse was stated gradually as soon as power of computers allow that. 

But what is true is that after 9/11 and the passage of the USA Patriot Act, the USA government got all the pre-conditions necessary for installing a regime of aggressive total surveillance. Which actually was a hidden intent and 9/11 was just a convenient pretext much like Tonkin incident in Vietnam war. And in this respect Ed Snowden, whatever is his motivation (which might be not as simple as most people assume), did the right thing, when he with the risk to his life informed the US public and the world about those activities. You may approve those revelations, you may disapprove them (and they did damage the USA as a state and devalue many methods which were extremely effective before the revelations), but keeping them secret from the US public is a crime.

NSA technically is a data collection agency. While it has legitimate function to monitor information that is crossing the national border as well as intercept communication of the US adversaries (which is a very flexible category those days ;-), we need to understand that the abuse of this function is inevitable. That actually the nature of the beast -- like any bureaucratic organizations they tend to expand their sphere of activities and escape form control -- and in this sense existence of powerful state intelligence agencies is incompatible with the democracy.  In this sense the appointment of Allan Dulles (who paradoxically was appointed the director under Eisenhower administration in 1952; Eisenhower warnings about the danger of military-industrial complex notwithstanding)  was really unfortunate.

But the capacities to do this type of work had grown dramatically over last four decades. In a way NSA became a victim of growing power of computers as well inherent tendency of bureaucracies, especially government bureaucracies to expand and self-justify their expansion. The classic case was the USSR where KGB was a real "state within the state" and sometimes it was not completely clear whether the Party controls KGB or KGB controls the Party.

But the capacities to do this type of work had grown dramatically over last four decades. In a way NSA became a victim of growing power of computers and as well inherent tendency of bureaucracies, especially government bureaucracies to expand and self-justify their expansion. The classic case was the USSR where KGB was a real "state within the state" and sometimes it was not completely clear whether the Party controls KGB or KGB controls the Party.

The immanent tendency of intelligence agencies to escape civil control
and in turn to establish indirect control of the government

There is deep analogy between financial services and intelligence services. Both try to escape from the control of democratic society. Both try to control the society instead of serve it. As they operate with large and uncontrolled amount of money soon after their creation inevitably the "the tail wagging the dog" (Merriam-Webster):

the tail wagging the dog used to describe a situation in which an important or powerful person, organization, etc., is being controlled by someone or something that is much less important or powerful

At some point the permanent unelected bureaucracy, became the shadow government instead of facilitating the decisions of elected officials. This process proceeds quicker if a sociopath manage to slip to the role of the head of such an organization. That's what the term "deep state" is about. Some authors such as  Douglas Horne view JFK assassination as a political coup d'état launched from the highest levels of US leadership (JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment Why Kennedy Was Assassinated). Here is a quote from the foreword by Jacob G. Hornberger:

By the end of November 1961, profoundly dissatisfied with his own national security advisory apparatus, President Kennedy had firmly pushed back against the national security establishment (in this case the NSC, the State Department, and the CIA) by purging and/or reshuffling many of the civilian hawks in his own administration into other positions, and by placing officials more in line with his own views into key positions. [A change in the top leadership at the Pentagon was to come later, in 1962.] Throughout 1961, the new President had painfully but quickly learned to be quite skeptical of the advice he was receiving, pertaining to matters of war and peace, from his hawkish advisors; and as 1961 progressed, John F. Kennedy repeatedly demonstrated what the hawks in government (the majority) no doubt considered a disturbingly independent (and increasingly all-too-predictable) frame of mind in regard to the national security recommendations he was receiving from the “sacred cows” and “wise men” in Washington, D.C. As I shall demonstrate in these essays, by the end of 1962, the national security establishment in Washington D.C., which had quickly come to know JFK as a skeptic during 1961, had come to view him as a heretic; and by November of 1963, the month he was assassinated, they no doubt considered him an apostate, for he no longer supported most of the so-called “orthodox” views of the Cold War priesthood. Increasingly alone in his foreign policy judgments as 1963 progressed, JFK was nevertheless proceeding boldly to end our “Holy War” against Communism, instead of trying to win it. In retrospect it is clear that the national security establishment wanted to win our own particular “jihad” of the post-WW II era by turning the Cold War against the USSR into a “hot war,” so that we could inflict punishing and fatal blows upon our Communist adversaries (and any other forces we equated with them) on the battlefield. It was this desire for “hot war” by so many within the establishment — their belief that conventional “proxy wars” with the Soviet Bloc were an urgent necessity, and that nuclear war with the USSR was probably inevitable — to which President Kennedy was so adamantly opposed. And it was JFK’s profound determination to avoid nuclear war by miscalculation, and to eschew combat with conventional arms unless it was truly necessary, that separated him from almost everyone else in his administration from 1961 throughout 1963, as events have shown us.

 

Against whom total surveillance is directed

Total surveillance is not so much about terrorism. It's also and mainly about the control of the society by unelected elite. Terrorism is a false pretext -- a smoke screen, if you like. Let's state clearly -- the main goal of total surveillance was the same since it was introduced in Nazi Germany: "Let them be afraid". It's the same as in former German Democratic Republic (with its famous Stasi). In all cases it is to prevent any challenge to the ruling elite or in the terminology of neoliberal "color revolutions" prevent  "regime change", unless it is initiated by more powerful foreign three letter agencies and significantly higher level of financial resources (that's why three letter agencies of newly minted xUSSR state in several cases were unable to prevent color revolutions of their territories).  

In other words surveillance and intelligence agencies are part and parcel of the totalitarian state. And Sheldon Volin actually created a term for such "pseudo-democratic" regime --  inverted totalitarism.  Unlike  classic totalitarism it generally tend to avoid using violence  to crush the dissidents and opposition to the current elite. More "soft" subversive methods are enough. In this sense the  story of crushing "of "Occupy Wall Street" movement is a testament of their efficiency. 

State actors and well funded terrorist organization are a difficult nut to crack.  Any "custom" encrypted communication is far more difficult for intercepting party to decode, then "standard" encryption methods.  Some encryption methods virtually guarantee that it is impossible without stealing the key. Even detecting the fact of communication for such parties nowadays is very difficult as it can be hidden in  some "carrier" transmission (steganography) or split into multiple channels.   Those who have access to technology and to "know how" including the most recent exploits are well armed to resist attempt to intercept their communication. That includes most powerful foreign states. 

That means that NSA has great difficulties intercepting and decoding traffic that is intended to be hidden from state actors.  Modern encryption systems such One-Time-Pad virtually guarantee that you get the "insider information" of the pad used (typically from a mole) they are impenetrable. Even regular encryption methods can be enhanced by additional step of compressing the files transmitted (which by and large eliminates redundancy if done properly and do not leave "tell" sign  of the method encryption used) . Decoding is easier when standard algorithms with possible backdoors are used but  even in this case I have doubts (Triple DEC).  That's why attempts to compensate this deficiency are being developed and one obvious path is intercepting regular citizen communication  of foreign countries which are considered to be unfriendly or adversarial to current the US foreign policy goals (which is the expansion and maintenance of global the Us-led neoliberal empire).

But the situation with  "open" traffic is completely different. Million of people outside the USA use Facebook, Amazon, Gmail and similar platforms. Which makes them a low hanging fruit and here NSA is the king of the hill.  Government officials also sometimes use regular  email and social sites (see Hillary Clinton email scandal). So intelligence agencies were provided with an important opening (and it might well be that the dramatic growth  of Webmail has something to do with their interests)

At the same time the abundance of information, as Biney mentioned, creates another problem --  the problem of "drinking from a fire hose" -- they tend to collect too much information and are swamped with the volume.  Of cause correlation of open traffic of "suspicious persons" can reveal some hidden information, but this is a pretty expensive undertaking, because by definition (unless this is Hillary Clinton ;-) those persons are aware that they are watched, typically are trained to avoid surveillance (including electronic) and behave accordingly.  for example General Petraeus used an interesting method to communicate with his biographer and mistress (The Washington Post) :

They wrote their "intimate messages" as draft e-mails in a shared Gmail account, according to the AP, allowing them to see one anothers' messages while leaving a much fainter data trail. When messages are sent and received, both accounts record the transmission as well as such metadata as the IP addresses on either end, something the two seemed to be seeking to avoid. 

Petraeus and Broadwell apparently used a trick, known to terrorists and teen-agers alike, to conceal their email traffic, one of the law enforcement officials said.

Rather than transmitting emails to the other's inbox, they composed at least some messages and instead of transmitting them, left them in a draft folder or in an electronic "dropbox," the official said. Then the other person could log onto the same account and read the draft emails there. This avoids creating an email trail that is easier to trace.

With the power of modern computers, decoys and steganography offer almost unlimited possibility to obscure the traffic. 

The real questions about NSA activities


Concern about the NSA assault on our privacy is no paranoid fantasy. In the words of an agency PowerPoint slide released by Snowden, the goal is to "collect it all", "process it all" and "know it all". The massive surveillance program is a clear violation of the Forth amendment prohibiting "unreasonable searches" of "persons, houses, papers, and effects" without "probable cause."

- Gene Epstein. "In defence of Snowden",
review of "No Place to Hide" Barrons, Jan 5, 2015, p 17

According to UN Human Right Council Report (17 April 2013) innovations in technology not only have increased the possibilities for communication and protections of free expression and opinion, enabling anonymity, rapid information-sharing and cross-cultural dialogues. They also simultaneously increased opportunities for State surveillance and interventions into individuals’ private communications facilitating to transformation of the state into National Security State, a form of corporatism characterized by continued and encompassing all forms of electronic communication electronic surveillance of all citizens.

Now every Internet or smartphone users probably understand that since probably 2003 or even earlier that that he/she is watched 24 by 7, or as Soviet dissidents called it "Was placed under the [surveillance] dome". Some question that we need to ask ourselves are:

All-in-all it's a good time to smell the coffee and talk about the rise of a new mutation of totalitarism (or may be even neofascism -- as it is, essentially, the merger of corporate and state interests) in the US after 9/11. That's exactly what this "Internet-inspired" flavor of total surveillance due to modern technical capabilities means. There is also distinct shadow of STASI in all those activities. And some countries got into similar trap before, so nothing is new under the sun. As Reinhold Niebuhr noted:

"Communism is a vivid object lesson in the monstrous consequences of moral complacency about the relation of dubious means to supposedly good ends."

There is actually little difference between total surveillance as practiced by NSA and what was practiced by three letters agencies of Eastern block dictatorships such as STASI and KGB. The key goal in both cases is protection and preservation of power of existing elite against the will of common people. So this is more about oppression of 99.9% from top 0.1% then surveillance per see.

Militarization of cyberspace makes Internet a very dangerous medium

We should view Snowden revelations in a larger context. Much of what he revealed about militarization of cyberspace was already known at the time when Flame and Stuxnet worms were discovered in 2011. He just dot the i's and cross the t's , so speak. As a result of his revelations, as The National Interest noted:

An increasing number of adversaries and even allies are coming to believe that the United States is militarizing cyberspace — and that impression of hubris and irresponsibility is beginning to have a real-world impact.

...The Snowden leaks have brought Stuxnet, the U.S.-Israeli program allegedly used to attack Iranian computer systems, back into public debate — and reminded us that the real damage of the Snowden revelations will be international.

...the perception that the United States has become a danger to the global internet is a cause for concern. In their understandable anger at the considerable damage Snowden has done (in the near term at the very least) to the operations of NSA and their allies, U.S. security officials should not lose sight of this fact.

Snowden’s claims build on the Stuxnet revelations. In doing so, they reinforce an impression of overbearing U.S. cyberpower (military and commercial) being used irresponsibly. That is strikingly at odds with the U.S. self-image as a standard bearer of internet freedom and “borderless” exchange, but it is a view that resonates around the world.

In fact the USA policies are stimulating economic and political rivals around the globe to organize and present unified front against this new and dangerous form of total surveillance. As well as implement similar domestic systems. In other words a new arm race started.

As methods and infrastructure of those activities are now revealed, the genie is out of the bottle and can't be put back -- the US now should expect the same or worse treatment from other nations. Which can be no less inventive, or even more inventive the USA specialists in this area. And in this new arm race economically weaker nations actually has some leverage. Blowback, a CIA term for unintended consequences of foreign, military, or clandestine policies, can be similar to the blowback of politically organizing Islamic radicals to fight Soviets in Afghanistan in the past.

Nemesis, the goddess of retribution and vengeance, the punisher of pride and hubris, probably already waits patiently for her meeting with the NSA brass.

Blowback can irreparably damage the ability of the United States to obtain crucial information in foreign environments that are poorly understood in Washington. The cultural divide that exists when operating away from home means that CIA and NSA frequently work overseas through a network of liaison contacts. This in theory limits their activity, but it broadens their ability to collect information that can only be plausibly obtained by a local organization with local capabilities. Though nearly everyone also operates clandestinely outside the parameters of the established relationships insofar as it is possible or expedient to do so, there is an awareness that being caught can cause grave damage to the liaison relationship. Because being exposed is nearly always very painful, such operations are normally limited to collection of critical information that the liaison partner would be unwilling to reveal.

So while it might be comforting to claim that “everyone does it” at least some of the time, and it may even be true that local spy agencies sometimes collaborated with NSA, the United States has a great deal to lose by spying on its friends. This is particularly true as Washington, uniquely, spies on everyone, all the time, even when there is no good reason for doing so.

NSA Blowback The American Conservative

Centralization of user activities on sites like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, with email account mainly at Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail along with many positive aspects has tremendous negative side effects. The most significant is that it created a way too easy opportunity both for those organizations as well as government agencies and large corporations to data mine email and Web communications of millions of Americans critical about government (see Total control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance) and all foreigners who use those services (and that includes a significant part of European population and Russia, who have Gmail, Facebook or Yahoo accounts). The history of "total surveillance" suggests that it tends to be abused. It is also huge, irreparable breach on trust in relation to allies. Closely resembles the situation in family when wife or husband learn that the other hired detective to snoop on you.

The analogy with KGB surveillance of dissidents (the Soviet term for total surveillance was "to be under the 'dome' ") and, especially, Stasi (viewing the film "The Lives of Others" might help to understand the phenomenon of "total surveillance") are way too close. At the same time there is an important difference: while such regime does mean indirect (and pretty effective) intimidation of dissidents, cases of prosecution on the base of the those data are either few or non existent, which is a big difference with KGB or Stasi practice. The latter aggressively pursued those who got in their net trying either to convert them into informers or charge them with the some suitable article of Criminal Code. In some cases that practice lead to suicides. So here we can talk more properly talk about total surveillance an instrument of Inverted Totalitarism, or totalitarism in velvet gloves.

We are talking about "passive total surveillance" and temporary (which might be several years or your lifetime) storage of all intercepted data. But in a way, Senator McCartney was probably right about "Communists sympathizers" and communist infiltration, he just was completely wrong about who they are ;-).

Every Breath You Take

Ich bin ein Berliner
J. F. Kennedy

The famous The Police hit Every Breath You Take should probably be the theme song for the NSA. As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us in his famous speech:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Snowden revelations are not something new. The only real revelation was how much of it was going on domestically and gory details of such activities. Before 9/11 the NSA was basically prohibited from operating domestically. Of course it violates those prohibitions, but there were no systematic internal, all encompassing technical surveillance infrastructure in place. Now it is build and is deployed nation-wide. And that's a big change, big difference. Due to "novel" interpretation of a few provisions in the Patriot Act they created domestic dragnet which encompass most types of Internet communications. In addition to intercepting more then 70% of Internet traffic they also enjoy direct access to major cloud providers.

Total continued surveillance even without taking any action on collected data is totalitarian by its nature as it put severe restrictions of the freedom of expression. And like in the USSR, it does change people behavior on the Web. People start thinking about consequences and this page is one of attempts to collect information that might help you to see "bigger picture".

The key mechanism here, well known to those who used to live in the USSR before its dissolution is that people do react on the fact that everything they email, visit, buy on Amazon, etc is registered in giant database outside of their control. Internet will never be the same for most people after Snowden revelations...

The key mechanism here, well known to those who used to live in the USSR before its dissolution is that people do react on the fact that everything they email, visit, buy on Amazon, etc is registered in giant database outside of their control. Internet will never be the same for most people after Snowden revelations...

For example, no one in sound mind can now trust "cloud services" provided by Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. So attractiveness of Gmail, Hotmail and such are now different, then it was before. And separation of mail accounts between "junk mail" account and important mail account is something to think about. With the latter never in the cloud. In a way excessive using cloud services from a fashionable trend now became kind of indication of a person stupidity.

In a way excessive using of cloud services from a fashionable trend now became an indication of a person stupidity. There is no real justification of providing all your emails and address book to strangers who can abuse this information without your knowledge.

At the same time it is stupid to dramatize the situation. Still, what is really striking is the grotesque disproportionally of all this NSA surveillance "superdome" to the task of keeping the country safe from foreign enemies (NSA statute is about watching foreign communications), begging obvious questions of institutional sanity and competence. They turned all their super powerful collection mechanisms inside the country and now they drink from a firehouse. That means that the results and possibilities of abuse are pretty much predictable. Too many false positives create real danger of not to picking up weak signal. So the other question is "Who the hell made these decisions?" That's a lot of taxpayers money and I am not sure that they are well spend.

As for breach of privacy anyone with connected to Internet PC,  the first thing to understand that if somebody stores data in the cloud they should not expect any privacy, unless they encrypt them. Expecting that your unencrypted data are private is a sign of personal stupidity, no more no less. If somebody, who is keeping his address book in Google assumes that it remains private, that his own illusion. That has nothing to do with the reality.

And it not that only NSA threatens our privacy. After all there are millions of PC users that have computer(s) infected by spyware, which turns them into zombies, externally controlled monitoring devices. And such software BTW can pick up and offload, or encrypt for ransom all your data. I do not see much protest over this situation iether. Microsoft greed and stupidity is one reason for this dismal situation, but essentially any OS is vulnerable if enough money is invested in finding exploits.  And NSA actually created a market for such exploits. Now there are multiple "security firms" that do nothing then find "zero day" exploits and sell them to the highest bidder (which is of course government agencies).  Does not this reminds you 'war on drugs"?

In a way, any networked computer is an unsecure computer and should be treated as such. See Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. The same thing can be mentioned about a cell phone that is outside some metal box. That's two basic "laws of security" in the current environment.

But more important problem here is not snooping per se, but its interaction with self-profiling that you provide via social sites. If you are too enthusiastic about Facebook or Google++ or any similar site and engage regularly and indiscriminately in this "vanity fair" activity that simply means Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. You killed it yourself. The essence of the situation was exposed well in a humorous form in the following Amazon review of Orwell's novel 1984

Bjørn Anders See all my reviews

This is not an instruction manual!, June 14, 2013

This review is from: 1984: 60th-Anniversary Edition (Plume) (Paperback)

Note to US Congress and house of representatives: This is a fictional book, not an instruction manual...

Now we know what would a perfect prototype of Bid Brother ;-). The song (Every Breath You Take ) should probably be the theme song for the NSA. And not only NSA, but its counterparts in other parts of the globe; I think, other things equal, citizens of some other countries would greatly prefer NSA to their domestic counterparts.

Cell phones, laptops, Facebook, Skype, chat-rooms: all allow the NSA and other similar agencies to build a dossier, a detailed profile of a target and anyone associated with him/her. And the number of people caught up in this dragnet can be huge. The NSA say it needs all this data to help prevent another terrorist attack like 9/11. They lie. In order to find the needle in the haystack, they argue, they need access to the whole haystack. But one interesting side effect is that now they are drinking from the fire hose, so to speak.

The power of meta data collection

Another interesting side-effect of the Snowden disclosures that the term ‘metadata’ became a common word in English language. With the growing understanding that metadata includes enough personal information to built a detailed profile of a person without even listening into content of communications. This technology was invented in Iraq war for fighting insurgents (were phone companies were controlled by US) and now is applied at home. In fact, by just using electronic communications, you are sharing a lot more personal information than you think. It's a reflection of a fact that it is very cheap to collect and analyses information about your electronic communications. The digital revolution which led to an explosion in cell phone and internet use, also led to an explosion of snooping after you by the governments.

We need to distinguish "total collection" of data from "total analysis" (or creation of dossiers on everybody as was practiced by STASI and friends). Raw data contain both "signal" and "noise". Analysis or data mining of those raw data is the process of extraction of useful signal from the noise. Of course we should be so naive that to assume that "signal" is related to purely terrorist activities. As recently published documents had shown, the NSA interests are much wider ;-). In bald terms, it sets out its mission:

“Leverage unique key corporate partnerships to gain access to high-capacity international fiber-optic cables, switches and/or routes throughout the world.”

Along with major fiber-optic cables in the US, the NSA has access to data gathered by close intelligence partners such as Britain’s GCHQ.

Sometimes it appear to me that like Uncle Sam got "red disease" and now is trying to imitate "total surveillance" mantra of KGB, STASI and similar agencies on a new technological level. And the key lesson from Soviet experience is fully applicable to the current situation in the USA: when government consider everybody as a potential enemy you better watch your back. And having a cyberstooge following your every step more closely that it was possible for STASI spooks and informers is something you need to react to. Reading your address book, mail, list of books that you bought or borrowed from the library, analyzing your circuit of friends is what STASI was really good at. And it might well be that some unemployed specialists have found a new territory to apply their substantial talents.

The Snowden documents show that the NSA runs these surveillance programs through “partnerships” with major US telecom and internet companies. That means that if you are customer of those major telecom and Internet companies you are like a bug under the microscope.

It is important to understand that metadata of your communications will always be exposed (it other words you are always walking "naked" on the Internet) because those new surveillance capabilities are immanent properties of Internet protocols, as we known it. There is no way to encrypt connection metadata: this is technically impossible unless you owns a vast private VPN network (some large corporations do), but even in this case I have doubts. Even snail-mail metadata are collected (and from 50th to 80th letters were opened and selectively copied by CIA). Diplomatic mail might still be secure, but that's about it.

Technological blowback

Like with any new development there are countervailing trends that after Snowden revelation went in overdrive and can seriously affect NSA capabilities.

One is switching to encrypting communication with most websites such as YouTube. That prevent simple harvesting of video that you watched from HTTP logs (but does not prevent harvesting -- it can be done using other methods)

The second is usage of software like Tor, although I think all connection to Tor sites are closely monitored by NSA.

The third is usage of your own cashing DNS proxy to limit number of DNS requests you make.  

I also think that all those development might give steganography a huge boost.

The other areas of technology that might get huge boost due to Snowden revelations is "Browsing imitating internet robots" technology which permit to drown NSA collection devices in spam -- fake accesses to web sites that is very difficult to distinguish from real browsing, but that make all statistical metrics applied to your Web traffic useless.  For example top visited pages became completely bogus. 

Currently this requires some level of technical sophistication and available mostly to programmers and system administrators interested in "beating NSA back". Programs that have those capabilities are often marketed as proxy logs replayers,  or Apache logs replayers or debugging tools. See for example  Load Testing with JMeter Part 3 - Replaying Apache Logs and Charles Web Debugging Proxy  ( and http - Replaying a Charles proxy session and recording the results - Stack Overflow ). Actually good old Expect can do wonders here if logs are converted into expect scripts. Especially in combination with Javascript (Scalable, Flexible Performance Testing Replaying web server log)

Another danger to society: Lord Acton warning as applied to NSA

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

Lord Acton(1834–1902)

As Lord Acton(1834–1902) noted long before NSA started collecting all Internet communications "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely". The history of "total surveillance" suggests that this is unavoidable side effect on the very institution that conducts: such an institution tends to escape the control of civil society and became a shadow power, the element of "deep state". 

The first grave consequence of total surveillance is that it tends to be abused. The history of "total surveillance" suggests that this is unavoidable side effect on the very institution that conducts: such an institution tends to escape the control of civil society and became a shadow power, the element of "deep state".  

And the ability to intercept electronic communications gives those who are in charge of such collection  tremendous political power. Please remember that J. Edgar Hoover was director of FBI very long time partially because he dug a lot of dirt on politicians of his time including both Kennedys. According to President Harry S Truman, Hoover transformed the FBI into his private secret police force. He used the FBI to harass political dissenters and activists, to amass secret files on political leaders, and to collect evidence using illegal methods. Essentially for half of the century he and his organization were out of control "state within the state" and nobody could do anything about it. Only after his death some measures were taken.

It's not that expanding bureaucracy per se is a problem. I doubt that those in the bureaucracy of those agencies do not think about larger consequences for societies of their attempts to expand their sphere of influence. It is much worse: they definitely knew about possible consequences, but go "full forward' anyway preferring job promotions and expansion of their influence. Like bureaucrats often do, they betrayed their nations like nomenklatura betrayed the people of the USSR (with a similar fig leaf of nice slogans about freedom as a smoke screen for pretty nefarious activities).

Elimination of possibility of opposition to the current regime

In case of NSA, this data on you, or particular political or social movement (for example "Occupy Wall Street") can be mined at any time, and what is even worse can be used to destroy any new political movement. And please remember that NSA is a just part of military-industrial complex, an entity that has some interesting political characteristics related to the term "the acquisition of unwarranted influence" . As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us in his famous farewell speech (which introduced the term "military-industrial complex"):

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

People seldom understand that all three letter agencies are not just part of military industrial complex, but are the key parts. While ability of weapon manufactures to buy or just simply control Congress members matters, three-letter agencies is where "unwarranted influence" fully materialize. By definition they are out of control and as any bureaucracy they want to grow. That was clear to Senator Frank Church who stated on August 17, 1975 NBC's Meet the Press:

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

We can applaud his personal courage, but at this point it does not matter. The horse has left the barn. As sgtdoom commented The Guardian article NSA analysts 'willfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):

...let us be realistic and not fall for the usual story of this being a discrete event (all the latest surveillance, that is).

This dates back to the founding of the Financial-Intelligence-Complex during and in the aftermath of World War II, by the Wall Streeters for their super-rich bosses, the Rockefellers, Morgans, du Ponts, Mellons, Harrimans (now Mortimers), etc.

The most important factor that needs to be taken into account is the total surveillance make organized opposition to the regime impossible. So welcome to nicer, gentler, but no less totalitarian world of 1984 (aka "Back in USSR"). The key equation is very simple:

total surveillance = total control

That simple fact was well understood by various dictators and totalitarian regimes long ago, but none of them has had even a tiny fraction of technical capabilities NSA has now. I think one of the reason that Occupy movement completely dissipated so fast was that they were like a bug under microscope of the government. And government want them to stop harassing Wall Street sharks for their 2008 crisis misdeeds.

Instilling fear

Another important effect of "total surveillance" is instilling fear in the citizenry; fear that our thoughts, words and relationships are subject of interception and analysis; fear that all the content we access on the internet will be exposed. This fear can cause us to withdraw from public spaces like producing this website, censor our communications, refrain from accessing certain sites, buying certain books, etc.

An important effect of "total surveillance" is instilling fear in the citizenry; fear that our thoughts, words and relationships are subject of interception and analysis; fear that all the content we access on the internet will be exposed. This fear can cause us to withdraw from public spaces like producing this website, censor our communications, refrain from accessing certain sites, buying certain books, etc.

In other words understanding that you are watched on 24 x 7 basis modifies behavior and makes self-censorship your second nature exactly the same way as in any totalitarian state, but without any physical coercion. Here is one telling comment from Secret to Prism program Even bigger data seizure

wtpayne

Indeed: The intentions and motivations of the agencies in question; the degree of oversight and so on; is almost irrelevant. To a certain extent, I am content to believe that the intentions of the perpetrators is good; and that the oversight and abuse prevention systems that they have in place are strong.

However, none of that matters if people self-censor; if people worry, not about what the government of today will find objectionable, but what the government of tomorrow will not like. In effect, we end up censoring ourselves from a hypothetical worst-case future government.

Loss of privacy as a side effect of cloud-based Internet technologies

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Maybe Dante had some serious vision.

The Guardian

We will concentrate on technical side of the this operation, trying to understand how much information can be stored about a regular "Joe Doer" based on technical capabilities that are available. Let's assume that we deal with mostly "passive surveillance": collection and storage of vast amount of Internet traffic on special computers using either mirrored ports on the key routers or special access to key providers of cloud services.

We can probably assume that several layers of storage of those data exist:

Technology development creates new types of communications as well as new types of government surveillance mechanisms (you can call them "externalities" of new methods of communication). Those externalities, especially low cost of mass surveillance (Wikipedia), unfortunately, bring us closer to the Electronic police state (Wikipedia) or National Security State whether we want it or not. A crucial element of such a state is that its data gathering, sorting and correlation on individual citizens are continuous, cover a large number of citizens and all foreigners, and those activities are seldom exposed.

Cloud computing as a technology that presuppose storing the data "offsite" have several security problems, and one of them is that it is way too much "surveillance friendly" (Misunderstanding of issues of security and trust). With cloud computing powers that be do not need to do complex job of recreating TCP/IP conversations on router level to capture, say, all the emails. You can access Web-based email mailbox directly with all mails in appropriate mailboxes and spam filtered. This is a huge saving of computational efforts ;-).

It means two things:

It puts you essentially in a situation of a bug under microscope on Big Brother. And please understand that modern storage capabilities are such that it is easy to store several years of at least some of your communications, especially emails.

The same is true about your phone calls metadata, credit card transactions and your activities on major shopping sites such as Amazon, and eBay. But here you can do almost nothing. Still I think our support of "brick" merchants is long overdue. Phones are traditional target of government three letter agencies (WSJ) since the WWII. Smartphones with GPS in addition to land line metadata also provide your current geo location. Some point out that using basic phone slightly preferable to smartphone (both in a sense of absence of geodata and the possibility to install spyware on it -- there is simply no RAM to do anything sophisticated). But I do not think you can do much here

I think our support of "brick" merchants is long overdue. And paying cash in the store in not something that you should try to avoid because credit card returns you 1% of the cost of the purchase. This 1% is actually a privacy tax ;-)

Total continued surveillance even without taking any action on collected data is totalitarian by its nature as it put severe restrictions of the freedom of expression and it changes people behavior on the Web. In this sense, Senator McCartney was probably right about "Communists sympathizers" and "KGB infiltration", he just was completely wrong about who they are ;-).

The centralization of searches on Google (and to a lesser extent on Bing -- the latter is standard with new Windows installation) are also serious threats to your privacy. Here diversification between three or more search engines might help a bit.  But limited your time behind the computer is probably more efficient. Generally here I do not think much can be done. Growth of popularity of Duckduckgo suggests that people are vary of Google monopolizing the search, but it is unclear how big are the advantages. You can also save searches as many searches are recurrent and generally you can benefit from using your personal Web proxy with private cashing DNS server. This way to can "shrink" your radar picture, but that's about it. If you are conserved with you "search" profile, you can replay some searches to distort it. In any case,  search engines are now an integral part of our civilization, whether we want it or not.

Collection of your searches for the last several years can pretty precisely outline sphere of your interests. And again technical constrains on storage of data no longer exists: how we can talk about privacy at the age of 3 TB harddrives for $99. There are approximately 314 million of the US citizens and residents, so storing one gigabyte of information for each citizen requires just 400 petabytes.  Which is clearly within the current capabilities of storage technology. For comparison

Films to Understand the Phenomenon

The analogy with KGB surveillance of dissidents (the term was "to be under the "kolpak" (dome) ") and, especially, Stasi (viewing the film "The Lives of Others" might help to understand the phenomenon of "total surveillance") are way too close. And psychological effects of anticipating that you are under total surveillance are well depicted in the final of the film The Conversation (1974) directed by famous Francis Ford Coppola

At the same time there is an important difference: while both regimes creates implicit intimidation and squash dissent, cases of prosecution on the base of the those data are either few or non existent. Which is a big difference with KGB or Stasi practice, which aggressively pursued those dissidents who got in their net, trying either to convert them into informers, or prosecute them using the existing articles of Criminal Code. In some cases that led to suicides. So here we can talk more about Inverted Totalitarism, a velvet gloves mode of suppressing of dissent.

Your email in toxic cloud

Still it is now dramatically more clear then before that centralization of email accounts and user activities on sites like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, with email accounts mainly at Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail is far from being a positive development. Along with many positive aspects has tremendous negative side effects. Essentially it turns users into spies on themselves in a way that would be a dream by Stasi. The most significant is that it created an easy opportunities to data mine email databases both for those organizations as well as various government agencies and, possibly (in a limited way for special payment) by large corporations.

Those tendencies probably should be at least resisted, but we do not have means to reverse them.

Attempts to data mine email and Web communications of millions of Americans critical about government (see Total control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance) and all foreigners who use those services (and that includes a significant part of European population and xUSSR area, who often use Gmail, Facebook or Yahoo accounts) means that the country became a National Security State. With all relevant consequences of such a transformation.

And interest in content of your "cloud based" email is not limited to the government:

A sweeping Wall Street Journal investigation in 2010 found that the biggest U.S. websites have technologies tracking people who visit their pages, sometimes upwards of 100 tools per site. One intrusive string of code even recorded users’ keystrokes and transmitted them to a data-gathering firm for analysis.

“A digital dossier over time is built up about you by that site or third-party service or data brokers,” says Adam Thierer, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center’s Technology Policy Program at George Mason University. “They collect these data profiles and utilize them to sell you or market you better services or goods.”

This is what powers the free Internet we know and love; users pay nothing or next to nothing for services — and give up pieces of personal information for advertisers in exchange. If you search for a Mini Cooper on one website, you’re likely to see ads elsewhere for lightweight, fuel-efficient cars. Companies robotically categorize users with descriptions such as “urban upscale” to “rural NASCAR” to tailor the advertising experience, says Jim Harper of the libertarian Cato Institute. “They’ll use ZIP codes and census data to figure out what their lifestyle profile is.”

Tracking your Web access

Most of the site you visit those days was found via search engine, often Google. But Google is interested in more then search terms you use and sometimes plays with you a nasty trick: "Google may choose to exhibit its search results in the form of a 'URL redirector,'" reads Google's main privacy policy. That means that any time it wishes Google can spy on your Web activity:

"When Google uses a URL redirector, if you click on a URL from a search result, information about the click is sent to Google."

Few people check the URL before clicking on Google search results, so in a way this is perfect spying tool.

But there is another powerful spying tool in Google arsenal -- Google toolbar, and I am not sure that all those trick were not reused in Google browser. Google Toolbar sends all user clicks to Google, if advanced mode is enabled (and many people do enable it because they want to have spelling correction available which, conveniently for Google, belongs to the set of advanced features). This way you voluntarily subscribe to a 24x7 monitoring of your web activity using spyware that is installed on your computer with your consent. For the same reason recent smartphones fashion looks greatly misguided. It is better to use regular phone, then smartphone, and the last thing you probably want on your smartphone is Android OS or iOS, or windows 8 OS. In some deep way unlocked Nokia 1280 looks now much more attractive (and is way cheaper ;-).

Google Toolbar in advanced mode is another common snooping tool about your activities. It send each URL you visit to Google and you can be sure that from Google several three letter agencies get this information as well. After all Google has links to them from the very beginning:

Effects on behavior

As soon as they realize that they are watched, people start thinking about consequences and this article is a pretty telling (albeit slightly paranoid ;-) illustration of the effect. The key mechanism here, well known to those who used to live in the USSR before its dissolution is that people preemptively change their behavior, if they know or suspect that they got "under the dome" of government surveillance, that all their emails are intercepted, all web site visits recorded, anything they buy on Amazon, etc is registered in giant database outside of their control.

The angle under which will we try to cover the story is: the situation is such and such, now what? What are the most appropriate actions and strategy of behavior of people who are concerned about their privacy and no longer trust "cloud services" provided by Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc ( and those who trust those providers should probably stop reading at this point). It is impossible to close all those accounts. But some can and should be closed; for example POP3 mail can replace web mail for all "important" mail; this way you avoid "cloud storage" of all your important correspondence. It is impossible not to use search engines, but you can chose which search language to use. It is impractical not to use smartphone and for Android phone you can't avoid registration -- that's the only way to get updates from Google, but you can root the phone, remove some snooping components and use Firefox instead of Chrome. But not it is clear that if mobile web browsing and checking email on your phone is not your thing you are better off with a very simple phone such as Nokia 1280.

The first and the most obvious "change we can believe in" is that we need to change our attitude toward cloud services and especially cloud services from large providers. Now the most reasonable assumption is that most national cloud providers including major retailers are in bed with the government three letter agencies. So you need to be careful what you browse for on Amazon, similarly to what you write from Gmail and Hotmail.

In a way, excessive usage of cloud services from a fashionable trend now became kind of indication of a person stupidity. It is important to understand that for anybody more or less competent with computers (or willing to learn), anything Facebook or Gmail or Hotmail can offer, regular small ISP account with Cpanel can offer with less risk for your privacy for, say, $5 a month or less. And your privacy definitely cost more then $60 a year.

In a way excessive using of cloud services from a fashionable trend now became an indication of a person stupidity. For anybody more or less competent with computers (or willing to learn), anything Facebook or Gmail can offer, regular ISP account with Cpanel can offer too with less risk for your privacy.

At the same time it is also stupid to over-dramatize the situation and isolate yourself by abandoning Internet communications and restricting usage of cell-phone. The reasonable hypothesis is that today’s surveillance is a side effect of new technological developments and it is a new fact of life. It is just a new level of information gathering, which has been going on since the Byzantine Empire. And it is still limited by technological capabilities of sifting through mass of communications. But at the same time, quantity does at one point turns into quality, so the danger is real and as such could providers are suspect by definition. In no way they are new level of technological development. In sense they are one step forward, two sets back.

Also being engages in foreign wars has an interesting side effect that technologies invented come home and used against citizens (naked capitalism). That's actually the origin of indiscriminant collection of metadata used now.

But at the same time we need to understand that there are millions of PC users that have computer(s) infected by spyware, which can make your computer a zombie. And world did not perished due to that.

Still the key lesson is unmistakable: from now on, any networked computer is an unsecure computer that can't be trusted really confidential information, unless it is isolated by firewall and proxy. And if we assume that it is unsecured computer, them it should be treated it as such. The first step is that all confidential data should be deleted and moved to removable storage. In case you need to work with it as much as possible should be done on non-networked computers, limiting the exposure of your data to bare minimum. And the less powerful computer you use for processing you confidential data, the best; the less powerful OS you use, the best (what about using Windows 98 or DOS for those who can still remember it ? ;-). From now on "retro-computing" movement now is inherently linked with the issues of security and privacy and might get a new life.

This retro-computing idea might create a new life for abandoned computers that are in excess in almost every family ;-) See Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. The same thing can be mentioned about a cell phone, which should be as simple as possible. Not all people really benefit from browsing the Web from their smartphones. If you are really paranoid you can think storing you cell phone at home in a metal box ;-).

In other words there are two new "laws of computer security":

But more important problem here is not snooping per se, but voluntarily self-profiling that you provide via social sites. If you are way too enthusiastic about Facebook or Google++ or any similar site and engage regularly and indiscriminately in this "vanity fair" activity you put yourselves voluntarily under surveillance. So not only Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. You killed it yourself. The essence of the situation was exposed well in a humorous form in the following Amazon review of Orwell's novel 1984

Bjørn Anders See all my reviews

This is not an instruction manual!, June 14, 2013

This review is from: 1984: 60th-Anniversary Edition (Plume) (Paperback)

Note to US Congress and house of representatives: This is a fictional book, not an instruction manual...

BTW just after Prism program was revealed in June 2013, Nineteen Eighty-Four became a bestseller on Amazon. As of June 15, 2013 it was #87 in Fiction. If you never have a chance to read it, please do it now. and again, if you think that this revelation of Prism program is a big news, you probably are mistaken. Many people understood that as soon new technical capabilities of surveillance are available they are instantly put to use. As John H. Summers noted in his review (The Deciders - New York Times) of John Mill "Power elite":

...official secrecy steadily expanded its reach.

"For the first time in American history, men in authority are talking about an 'emergency' without a foreseeable end,"

Mills wrote in a sentence that remains as powerful and unsettling as it was 50 years ago.

"Such men as these are crackpot realists: in the name of realism they have constructed a paranoid reality all their own."

Adding insult to injury: Self-profiling

Facebook has nothing without people
silly enough to exchange privacy for photosharing

The key problem with social sites is that many people voluntarily post excessive amount of personal data about themselves, including keeping their photo archives online, etc. So while East Germany analog of the Department of Homeland Security called Ministry for State Security (Stasi) needed to recruit people to spy about you, now you yourself serves as a informer voluntarily providing all the tracking information about your activities ;-).

Scientella, palo alto

...Facebook always had a very low opinion of peoples intelligence - and rightly so!

I can tell you Silicon Valley is scared. Facebook's very existence depends upon trusting young persons, their celebrity wannabee parents and other inconsequential people being prepared to give up their private information to Facebook.

Google, now that SOCIAL IS DEAD, at least has their day job also, of paid referral advertising where someone can without divulging their "social" identity, and not linking their accounts, can look for a product on line and see next to it some useful ads.

But Facebook has nothing without people silly enough to exchange privacy for photosharing.

... ... ...

Steve Fankuchen, Oakland CA

Cook, Brin, Gates, Zuckerberg, et al most certainly have lawyers and public relations hacks that have taught them the role of "plausible deniability."

Just as in the government, eventually some low or mid-level flunkie will likely be hung out to dry, when it becomes evident that the institution knew exactly what was going on and did nothing to oppose it. To believe any of these companies care about their users as anything other than cash cows is to believe in the tooth fairy.

The amount of personal data which users of site like Facebook put voluntarily on the Web is truly astonishing. Now anybody using just Google search can get quit substantial information about anybody who actively using social sites and post messages in discussion he/she particulates under his/her own name instead of a nickname. Just try to see what is available about you and most probably your jaw would drop...

This is probably right time for the users of social sites like Facebook, Google search, and Amazon (that means most of us ;-) to think a little bit more about the risks we are exposing ourselves. We all should became more aware about the risks involved as well as real implications of the catch phase Privacy is Dead – Get Over It.

This is probably right time for the users of social sites like Facebook, Google search, and Amazon (that means most of us ;-) to think a little bit more about the risks we are exposing ourselves.

As Peter Ludlow noted in NYT (The Real War on Reality):

If there is one thing we can take away from the news of recent weeks it is this: the modern American surveillance state is not really the stuff of paranoid fantasies; it has arrived.

Citizens of foreign countries have accounts at Facebook and mail accounts in Gmail, hotmail and Yahoo mail are even in less enviable position then the US citizens. They are legitimate prey. No legal protection for them exists, if they use those services. That means that they voluntarily open all the information they posted about themselves to the US government in addition to their own government. And the net is probably more wide then information leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggests. For any large company, especially a telecom corporation, operating is the USA it might be dangerous to refuse to cooperate (Qwest case).

Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio, convicted of insider trading in April 2007, alleged in appeal documents that the NSA requested that Qwest participate in its wiretapping program more than six months before September 11, 2001. Nacchio recalls the meeting as occurring on February 27, 2001. Nacchio further claims that the NSA cancelled a lucrative contract with Qwest as a result of Qwest's refusal to participate in the wiretapping program.[13] Nacchio surrendered April 14, 2009 to a federal prison camp in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania to begin serving a six-year sentence for the insider trading conviction. The United States Supreme Court denied bail pending appeal the same day.[15]

It is not the case of some special evilness of the US government. It simply is more agile to understand and capitalize on those new technical opportunities. It is also conveniently located at the center of Internet universe with most traffic is flowing via US owned or controlled routers (67% or more). But it goes without saying that several other national governments and a bunch of large corporations also try to mine this new gold throve of private information on citizens. Probably with less sophistication and having less financial resources.

In many cases corporations themselves are interested in partnership with the government. Here is one telling comment:

jrs says on June 8, 2013

Yea in my experience that’s how “public/private partnerships” really work:

  1. Companies DO need protection FROM the government. An ill-conceived piece of legislation can put a perfectly decent out of business. Building ties with the government is protection.
  2. Government represents a huge market and eventually becomes one of the top customers for I think most businesses (of course the very fact that a government agency is a main customer is often kept hush hush even within the company and something you are not supposed to speak of as an employee even though you are aware of it)
  3. Of course not every company proceeds to step 3 -- being basically an arm of the government but ..

That means that not only Chinese citizens already operate on the Internet without any real sense of privacy. Even if you live outside the USA the chances are high that you automatically profiled by the USA instead of or in addition to your own government. Kind of neoliberalism in overdrive mode: looks like we all are already citizens of a global empire (Let's call it " Empire of Peace" ) with the capital in Washington.

It is reasonable to assume that a massive eavesdropping apparatus now tracks at least an "envelope" of every electronic communication you made during your lifetime. No need for somebody reporting about you like in "old" totalitarian state like East Germany with its analog of the Department of Homeland Security called the Ministry for State Security (Stasi). So in this new environment, you are like Russians used to say about dissidents who got under KGB surveillance is always "under the dome". In this sense this is just an old vine in a new bottles. But the global scope and lifetime storage of huge amount of personal information for each and every citizen is something new and was made possible the first time in world history by new technologies.

It goes without saying that records about time, sender and receiver of all your phone calls, emails, Amazon purchases, credit card transactions, and Web activities for the last decade are stored somewhere in a database and not necessary only government computers. And that means that your social circle (the set of people you associate with), books and films that you bought, your favorite websites, etc can be easily deducted from those records.

That brings us to an important question about whether we as consumers should support such ventures as Facebook and Google++ which profile you and after several years have a huge amount of pretty private and pretty damaging information about you, information which can get into wrong hands.

Recent discoveries about Prism program: quantity turned into quality.

The most constructive approach to NSA is to view is a large government bureaucracy that expanded to the extent that quantity turned into quality.

Any large bureaucracy is a political coalition with the primary goal of preserving and enhancing of its own power, no matter what are official declarations. And if breaching your privacy helps they will do it. Which is what Bush government did after 9/11. The question is how much bureaucratic bloat resulting in classic dynamics of organizational self-aggrandizement and expansionism happened in NSA. We don't know how much we got in exchange for undermining internet security and US constitution. But we do know the intelligence establishment happily appropriated billions of dollars, had grown by thousand of employees and got substantial "face lift" and additional power within the executive branch of government. To the extent that something it looks like a shadow government. And now they will fight tooth-and nail to protect the fruits of a decade long bureaucratic expansion. Now it is an Intelligence Church and like any religious organization they do not need fact to support their doctrine and influence.

Typically there is an infighting and many factions within any large hierarchical organization, some with and some without factual awareness of the rest. Basically any hierarchical institution corporate, religious, military will abuse available resources for internal political infighting. And with NSA "big data" push this is either happening or just waiting to happen. This is a danger of any warrantless wiretapping program: it naturally convert itself into a saga of eroding checks and disappearing balance. And this already happened in the past, so in a way it is just act two of the same drama (WhoWhatWhy):

After media revelations of intelligence abuses by the Nixon administration began to mount in the wake of Watergate, NSA became the subject of Congressional ire in the form of the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities—commonly known as the “Church Committee” after its chair, Senator Frank Church (D-ID)—established on January 17, 1975. This ad-hoc investigative body found itself unearthing troves of classified records from the FBI, NSA, CIA and Pentagon that detailed the murky pursuits of each during the first decades of the Cold War. Under the mantle of defeating communism, internal documents confirmed the executive branch’s use of said agencies in some of the most fiendish acts of human imagination (including refined psychological torture techniques), particularly by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Cold War mindset had incurably infected the nation’s security apparatus, establishing extralegal subversion efforts at home and brutish control abroad. It was revealed that the FBI undertook a war to destroy homegrown movements such as the Black Liberation Movement (including Martin Luther King, Jr.), and that NSA had indiscriminately intercepted the communications of Americans without warrant, even without the President’s knowledge. When confronted with such nefarious enterprises, Congress sought to rein in the excesses of the intelligence community, notably those directed at the American public.

The committee chair, Senator Frank Church, then issued this warning about NSA’s power:

That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. Telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology. I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capability that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

The reforms that followed, as enshrined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, included the establishment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC): a specially-designated panel of judges who are allowed to review evidence before giving NSA a warrant to spy on Americans (only in the case of overseas communication). Hardly a contentious check or balance, FISC rejected zero warrant requests between its inception in 1979 and 2000, only asking that two warrants be “modified” out of an estimated 13,000.

In spite of FISC’s rubberstamping, following 9/11 the Bush administration began deliberately bypassing the court, because even its minimal evidentiary standard was too high a burden of proof for the blanket surveillance they wanted. So began the dragnet monitoring of the American public by tapping the country’s major electronic communication chokepoints in collusion with the nation’s largest telecommunications companies.

When confronted with the criminal conspiracy undertaken by the Bush administration and telecoms, Congress confirmed why it retains the lowest approval rating of any major American institution by “reforming” the statute to accommodate the massive law breaking. The 2008 FISA Amendments Act [FAA] entrenched the policy of mass eavesdropping and granted the telecoms retroactive immunity for their criminality, withdrawing even the negligible individual protections in effect since 1979. Despite initial opposition, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama voted for the act as one of his last deeds in the Senate. A few brave (and unsuccessful) lawsuits later, this policy remains the status quo.

Similarly we should naturally expect that the notion of "terrorist" is flexible and in certain cases can be equal to "any opponent of regime". While I sympathize NYT readers reaction to this incident (see below), I think it is somewhat naive. They forget that they are living under neoliberal regime which like any rule of top 0.01% is afraid of and does not trust its own citizens. So massive surveillance program is a self-preservation measure which allow to crush or subvert the opposition at early stages. This is the same situation as existed with Soviet nomenklatura, with the only difference that Soviet nomenklatura was more modest pushing the USSR as a beacon of progress and bright hope of all mankind ;-). As Ron Paul noted:

Many of us are not so surprised.

Some of us were arguing back in 2001 with the introduction of the so-called PATRIOT Act that it would pave the way for massive US government surveillance—not targeting terrorists but rather aimed against American citizens. We were told we must accept this temporary measure to provide government the tools to catch those responsible for 9/11. That was nearly twelve years and at least four wars ago.

We should know by now that when it comes to government power-grabs, we never go back to the status quo even when the “crisis” has passed. That part of our freedom and civil liberties once lost is never regained. How many times did the PATRIOT Act need renewed? How many times did FISA authority need expanded? Why did we have to pass a law to grant immunity to companies who hand over our personal information to the government?

And while revealed sources of NSA Prism program include Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and others major Internet players, that's probably just a tip of the iceberg. Ask yourself a question, why Amazon and VISA and MasterCard are not on the list? According to The Guardian:

The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

... ... ...

Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan "Your privacy is our priority" – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007. It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online.

Collectively, the companies cover the vast majority of online email, search, video and communications networks

... ... ...

A chart prepared by the NSA, contained within the top-secret document obtained by the Guardian, underscores the breadth of the data it is able to obtain: email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype, for example) chats, file transfers, social networking details, and more.

So while the document does not list Amazon, but I would keep fingers crossed.

Questions that arise

To be aware about a situation you need to be able to formulate and answer key questions about it. The first and the most important question is whether the government is engaged in cyberstalking of law abiding citizens. Unfortunately the answer is definite yes, as oligarchy needs total control of prols. As a result National Security State rise to prominence as a dominant social organization of neoliberal societies, the societies which characterized by very high level of inequality.

But there are some additional, albeit less important questions. The answers to them determine utility or futility of small changes of our own behavior in view of uncovered evidence. Among possible set of such question I would list the following:

There are also some minor questions about efficiency of "total surveillance approach". Among them:

The other part of understand the threat is understanding is what data are collected. The short answer is all your phone records and Internet activity (RT USA):

The National Security Agency is collecting information on the Internet habits of millions of innocent Americans never suspected of criminal involvement, new NSA documents leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden suggest.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported Monday that top-secret documents included in the trove of files supplied by the NSA contractor-turned-leaker Edward Snowden reveal that the US intelligence community obtains and keeps information on American citizens accumulated off the Internet without ever issuing a search warrant or opening an investigation into that person.

The information is obtained using a program codenamed Marina, the documents suggest, and is kept by the government for up to a full year without investigators ever having to explain why the subject is being surveilled.

Marina has the ability to look back on the last 365 days' worth of DNI metadata seen by the Sigint collection system, regardless whether or not it was tasked for collection,” the Guardian’s James Ball quotes from the documents.

According to a guide for intelligence analysts supplied by Mr. Snowden, “The Marina metadata application tracks a user's browser experience, gathers contact information/content and develops summaries of target.”

"This tool offers the ability to export the data in a variety of formats, as well as create various charts to assist in pattern-of-life development,” it continues.

Ball writes that the program collects “almost anything” a Web user does online, “from browsing history – such as map searches and websites visited – to account details, email activity, and even some account passwords.”

Only days earlier, separate disclosures attributed to Snowden revealed that the NSA was using a massive collection of metadata to create complex graphs of social connections for foreign intelligence purposes, although that program had pulled in intelligence about Americans as well.

After the New York Times broke news of that program, a NSA spokesperson said that “All data queries must include a foreign intelligence justification, period.” As Snowden documents continue to surface, however, it’s becoming clear that personal information pertaining to millions of US citizens is routinely raked in by the NSA and other agencies as the intelligence community collects as much data as possible.

In June, a top-secret document also attributed to Mr. Snowden revealed that the NSA was collecting the telephony metadata for millions of Americans from their telecom providers. The government has defended this practice by saying that the metadata — rough information that does not include the content of communications — is not protected by the US Constitution’s prohibition against unlawful search and seizure.

Metadata can be very revealing,” George Washington University law professor Orin S. Kerr told the Times this week. “Knowing things like the number someone just dialed or the location of the person’s cellphone is going to allow them to assemble a picture of what someone is up to. It’s the digital equivalent of tailing a suspect.”

According to the Guardian’s Ball, Internet metadata picked up by the NSA is routed to the Marina database, which is kept separate from the servers where telephony metadata is stored.

Only moments after the Guardian wrote of its latest leak on Monday, Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project read a statement before the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs penned by none other than Snowden himself.

When I began my work, it was with the sole intention of making possible the debate we see occurring here in this body,” Snowden said.

Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia after being charged with espionage in the US, said through Raddack that “The cost for one in my position of returning public knowledge to public hands has been persecution and exile.”

Limits to spying via data collected about you

If the NSA's mining of data traffic is so effective, why weren't Tsarnaev's family's overseas calls predictive of a bombing at the Boston Marathon?

-Helen Corey WSJ.com

There are limits of this "powerful analytical software" as it currently used. As we mentioned above, even if NSA algorithms are incredibly clever they can't avoid producing large number of false positives. After two year investigation into the post 9/11 intelligence agencies, the Washington Post came to conclusion that they are collecting more information than anyone can comprehend ("drinking from a firehose" or "drowning is a sea of data"):

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billions e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases"

First of all there is a classic problem of "signal vs. noise" (infoglut) in any large scale data collection and presence of noise in the channel makes signal much more difficult to detect.

Analysts who make sense of document and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year -- a volume so large that many are routinely ignored

The enormity of the database exacerbate the problem. That's why NSA is hunting for email on cloud providers, where they are already filtered from spam, and processing required is much less then for emails intercepted from the wire data. Still even with the direct access to user accounts, the volume of data, especially graphic (pictures) and video data, is really huge and that stress the limits of processing capabilities and storage.

Existence of Snowden saga when a single analyst was able to penetrate the system and extract considerable amount information with impunity suggests that the whole Agency is mess, probably like is typical for any large organization with a lot of incompetents or, worse, careerists and psychopaths  at the helm (see Toxic Managers). Which is typical for government agencies and large corporations.

Still the level of logs collection and internal monitoring in NSA proved to be surprisingly weak, as there are indirect signs that the agency does not even know what reports Snowden get into his hands. In any case we, unless this is a very clever inside operation, we need to assume that Edward Snowden stole thousands of documents, abused his sysadmin position in the NSA, and was never caught. Here is one relevant comment from The Guardian

carlitoontour

Oh NSA......that´s fine that you cannot find something......what did you tell us, the World and the US Congress about the "intelligence" of Edward Snowden and the low access he had?

SNOWDEN SUSPECTED OF BYPASSING ELECTRONIC LOGS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. government's efforts to determine which highly classified materials leaker Edward Snowden took from the National Security Agency have been frustrated by Snowden's sophisticated efforts to cover his digital trail by deleting or bypassing electronic logs, government officials told The Associated Press. Such logs would have showed what information Snowden viewed or downloaded.

The government's forensic investigation is wrestling with Snowden's apparent ability to defeat safeguards established to monitor and deter people looking at information without proper permission, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the sensitive developments publicly.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NSA_SURVEILLANCE_SNOWDEN?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-08-24-09-41-24

On the other hand government agencies were never good in making huge and complex software projects work. And large software projects are a very difficult undertaking in any case. Even in industry 50% of software projects fail, and anybody who works in the industry knows, that the more complex the project is the higher are chances that it will be mismanaged and its functionality crippled due to architectural defects ("a camel is a horse designed by a committee"). It is given that such project will be over budget. Possibly several times over...

But if money is not a problem such system will eventually be completed ("with enough thrust pigs can fly"). Still there’s no particular reason to think that corruption (major work was probably outsourced) and incompetence (on higher management levels and, especially on architectural level as in "camel is a horse designed by a committee") don't affect the design and functionality of such government projects. Now when this activity come under fire some adjustments might be especially badly thought out and potentially cripple the existing functionality.

As J. Kirk Wiebe, a NSA insider, noted

"The way the government was going about those digital data flows was poor formed, uninformed. There seen to be more of a desire to contract out and capture money flow then there was a [desire} to actually perform the mission".

See the interview of a trio of former National Security Agency whistle-blowers to USA TODAY ( J. Kirk Wiebe remarks starts at 2:06 and the second half of it continues from 6:10):

In military organizations the problem is seldom with the talent (or lack of thereof) of individual contributors. The problem is with the bureaucracy that is very effective in preventing people from exercising their talents at the service of their country. Such system is deformed in such a way that it hamstrings the men who are serving in it. As a results, more often then not the talents are squandered or misused by patching holes created by incompetence of higher-up or or just pushed aside in the interdepartmental warfare.

In a way, incompetence can be defined as the inability to avoid mistakes which, in a "normal" course of project development could and should be avoided. And that's the nature of military bureaucracy with its multiple layer of command and compete lack of accountability on higher levels.

In addition, despite the respectable name of the organization many members of technical staff are amateurs. They never managed to sharpen their technical skills, while at the same time acquiring the skills necessary to survive the bureaucracy. Many do not have basic academic education and are self-taught hackers and/or "grow on the job". Typically people at higher level of hierarchy, are simply not experts in software engineering, but more like typical corporate "PowerPoint" warriors. They can be very shred managers and accomplished political fighters, but that's it.

This is the same situation that exists in security departments of large multinationals, so we can extrapolate from that. The word of Admiral Nelson "If the enemy would know what officer corps will confront them, it will be trembling, like I am". Here is Bill Gross apt recollection of his service as naval officer (The Tipping Point) that illustrate the problems:

A few years ago I wrote about the time that our ship (on my watch) was almost cut in half by an auto-piloted tanker at midnight, but never have I divulged the day that the USS Diachenko came within one degree of heeling over during a typhoon in the South China Sea. “Engage emergency ballast,” the Captain roared at yours truly – the one and only chief engineer. Little did he know that Ensign Gross had slept through his classes at Philadelphia’s damage control school and had no idea what he was talking about. I could hardly find the oil dipstick on my car back in San Diego, let alone conceive of emergency ballast procedures in 50 foot seas. And so…the ship rolled to starboard, the ship rolled to port, the ship heeled at the extreme to 36 degrees (within 1 degree, as I later read in the ship’s manual, of the ultimate tipping point). One hundred sailors at risk, because of one twenty-three-year-old mechanically challenged officer, and a Captain who should have known better than to trust him.

Huge part of this work is outsourced to various contractors and this is where corruption really creeps in. So the system might be not as powerful as many people automatically assume when they hear the abbreviation of NSA. So in a way when news about such system reaches public it might serve not weakening but strengthening of the capabilities of the system. Moreover, nobody would question the ability of such system to store huge amount of raw or semi-processed data including all metadata for your transactions on the Internet.

Also while it is a large agency with a lot of top mathematic talent, NSA is not NASA and motivation of the people (and probably quality of architectural thinking about software projects involved) is different despite much better financing. While they do have high quality people, like most US agencies in general, large bureaucracies usually are unable to utilize their talent. Mediocrities with sharp elbows, political talent, as well as sociopaths typically rule the show.

That means two things:

So even with huge amount of subcontractors that can chase mostly "big fish". Although one open question is why with all those treasure trove of data organized crime is so hard to defeat. Having dataset like this should generally expose all the members of any gang. Or, say, network of blue collar insider traders. So in an indirect way the fact that organized crime not only exists and in some cities even flourish can suggest one of two things:

There is also a question of complexity of analysis:

Possibility of abuses of collected data

Errors in algorithms and bugs in those programs can bite some people in a different way then branding them as "terrorists". Such people have no way of knowing why all of a sudden, for example, they are paying a more for insurance, why their credit score is so low no matter what they do, etc. In no way government in the only one who are using the mass of data collected via Google / Facebook / Yahoo / Microsoft / Verizon / Optonline / AT&T / Comcast, etc. It also can lead to certain subtle types of bias if not error. And there are always problems of intentional misuse of data sets having extremely intimate knowledge about you.

Corporate corruption can lead to those data that are shared with the government can also be shared for money with private actors. Inept use of this unconstitutionally obtained data is a threat to all of us.

Then there can be cases when you can be targeted just because you are critical to the particular area of government policy, for example the US foreign policy. This is "Back in the USSR" situation in full swing, with its prosecution of dissidents. Labeling you as a "disloyal/suspicious element" in one of government "terrorism tracking" databases can have drastic result to your career and you never even realize whats happened. Kind of Internet era McCarthyism .

Obama claims that the government is aware about this danger and tried not to overstep, but he is an interested party in this discussion. In a way government is pushed in this area by the new technologies that open tremendous opportunities for collecting data and making some correlations.

That's why even if you are doing nothing wrong, it is still important to know your enemy, as well as avoid getting into some traps. One typical trap is excessive centralization of your email on social sites, including using a single Webmail provider. It is much safer to have mail delivery to your computer via POP3 and to use Thunderbird or other email client. If your computer is a laptop, you achieve, say, 80% of portability that Web-based email providers like Google Gmail offers. That does not mean that you should close your Gmail or Yahoo account. More important is separating email accounts into "important" and "everything else". "Junk mail" can be stored on Web-based email providers without any problems. Personal emails is completely another matter.

Conclusions

#14 Gus Hunt, the chief technology officer at the CIA: "We fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever."

New Internet technology developments has huge "Externality":
Profiling is now really easy and almost automatic, especially with your own help

Technology development create new types of communications as well as new types of government surveillance mechanisms (you can call them "externalities" of new methods of communication). Those externalities, especially low cost of mass surveillance (Wikipedia), unfortunately, bring us closer to the Electronic police state (Wikipedia) or National Security State whether we want it or not. A crucial element of such a state is that its data gathering, sorting and correlation are continuous, cover a large number of citizens and all foreigners and those activities are seldom exposed.

Cloud computing as a technology that presuppose storing the data "offsite" on third party servers have several security problems, and one of them is that it is way too much "surveillance friendly" (Misunderstanding of issues of security and trust). With cloud computing powers that be do not need to do complex job of recreating TCP/IP conversations on router level to capture, say, all the emails. You can access Web-based email mailbox directly with all mails in appropriate mailboxes and spam filtered. Your address book is a bonus ;-). This is huge saving of computational efforts.

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[Apr 21, 2019] NYT The Tables Have Turned -- Time To Investigate The FBI, Steele And The Rest Of The Witch Hunters

The country was divided before Mueller Report. Now it is even more divided.
Notable quotes:
"... We wouldn't know that a Clinton-linked operative, Joseph Mifsud, seeded Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos with the rumor that Russia had 'Dirt' on Hillary Clinton - which would later be coaxed out of Papadopoulos by a Clinton-linked Australian ambassador, Alexander Downer, and that this apparent 'setup' would be the genesis of the FBI's " operation crossfire hurricane " operation against the Trump campaign. ..."
"... We wouldn't know about the role of Fusion GPS - the opposition research firm hired by Hillary Clinton's campaign to commission the Steele dossier. Fusion is also linked to the infamous Trump Tower meeting , and hired Nellie Ohr - the CIA-linked wife of the DOJ's then-#4 employee, Bruce Ohr. Nellie fed her husband Bruce intelligence she had gathered against Trump while working for Fusion , according to transcripts of her closed-door Congressional testimony. ..."
"... Now the dossier -- financed by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee , and compiled by the former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele -- is likely to face new, possibly harsh scrutiny from multiple inquiries . - NYT ..."
"... The report was debunked after internet sleuths traced the IP address to a marketing server located outside Philadelphia, leading Alfa Bank executives to file a lawsuit against Fusion GPS in October 2017, claiming their reputations were harmed by the Steele Dossier. ..."
"... And who placed the Trump-Alfa theory with various media outlets? None other than former FBI counterintelligence officer and Dianne Feinstein aide Dan Jones - who is currently working with Fusion GPS and Steele to continue their Trump-Russia investigation funded in part by George Soros . ..."
"... Of course, when one stops painting with broad brush strokes, it's clear that the dossier was fabricated bullshit. ..."
"... after a nearly two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller and roughly 40 FBI agents and other specialists, no evidence was found to support the dossier's wild claims of "DNC moles, Romanian hackers, Russian pensioners, or years of Trump-Putin intelligence trading ," as the Times puts it. ..."
"... As there was spying, there must necessarily also have been channels to get the information thus gathered back to its original buyer - the Clinton campaign. Who passed the information back to Clinton, and what got passed? ..."
"... the NYTt prints all the news a scumbag would. remember Judith Miller, the Zionazi reporter the NYT ..."
"... There was no 'hack.' That is the big, anti-Russia, pro-MIC lie which all the other lies serve. ..."
"... Seth Rich had the means and the motive. So did Imran Awan, but it would make no sense for Awan to turn anything over to wikileaks . . .he would have kept them as insurance. ..."
"... Until the real criminals are processed and the media can be restored you don't have a United States. This corruption is beyond comprehension. You had the (((media)) providing kickbacks to the FBI for leaked information. These bribes are how CNN was on site during Roger Stones invasion. ..."
"... So now the narrative is, "We were wrong about Russian collusion, and that's Russia's fault"?! ..."
Apr 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

As we now shift from the "witch hunt" against Trump to 'investigating the investigators' who spied on him - remember this; Donald Trump was supposed to lose the 2016 election by almost all accounts. And had Hillary won, as expected, none of this would have seen the light of day .

We wouldn't know that a hyper-partisan FBI had spied on the Trump campaign , as Attorney General William Barr put it during his April 10 Congressional testimony .

We wouldn't know that a Clinton-linked operative, Joseph Mifsud, seeded Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos with the rumor that Russia had 'Dirt' on Hillary Clinton - which would later be coaxed out of Papadopoulos by a Clinton-linked Australian ambassador, Alexander Downer, and that this apparent 'setup' would be the genesis of the FBI's " operation crossfire hurricane " operation against the Trump campaign.

We wouldn't know about the role of Fusion GPS - the opposition research firm hired by Hillary Clinton's campaign to commission the Steele dossier. Fusion is also linked to the infamous Trump Tower meeting , and hired Nellie Ohr - the CIA-linked wife of the DOJ's then-#4 employee, Bruce Ohr. Nellie fed her husband Bruce intelligence she had gathered against Trump while working for Fusion , according to transcripts of her closed-door Congressional testimony.

And if not for reporting by the Daily Caller 's Chuck Ross and others, we wouldn't know that the FBI sent a longtime spook, Stefan Halper, to infiltrate and spy on the Trump campaign - after the Obama DOJ paid him over $400,000 right before the 2016 US election (out of more than $1 million he received while Obama was president).

According to the New York Times , the tables are turning, starting with the Steele Dossier.

[T]he release on Thursday of the report by the special counsel , Robert S. Mueller III, underscored what had grown clearer for months -- that while many Trump aides had welcomed contacts with the Russians, some of the most sensational claims in the dossier appeared to be false, and others were impossible to prove . Mr. Mueller's report contained over a dozen passing references to the document's claims but no overall assessment of why so much did not check out.

Now the dossier -- financed by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee , and compiled by the former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele -- is likely to face new, possibly harsh scrutiny from multiple inquiries . - NYT

While Congressional Republicans have vowed to investigate, the DOJ's Inspector General is considering whether the FBI improperly relied on the dossier when they used it to apply for a surveillance warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The IG also wants to know about Steele's sources and whether the FBI disclosed any doubts as to the veracity of the dossier .

Attorney General Barr, meanwhile, said he will review the FBI's conduct in the Russia investigation after saying the agency spied on the Trump campaign .

Doubts over the dossier

The FBI's scramble to vet the dossier's claims are well known. According to an April, 2017 NYT report , the FBI agreed to pay Steele $50,000 for "solid corroboration" of his claims . Steele was apparently unable to produce satisfactory evidence - and was ultimately not paid for his efforts:

Mr. Steele met his F.B.I. contact in Rome in early October, bringing a stack of new intelligence reports. One, dated Sept. 14, said that Mr. Putin was facing "fallout" over his apparent involvement in the D.N.C. hack and was receiving "conflicting advice" on what to do.

The agent said that if Mr. Steele could get solid corroboration of his reports, the F.B.I. would pay him $50,000 for his efforts, according to two people familiar with the offer. Ultimately, he was not paid . - NYT

Still, the FBI used the dossier to obtain the FISA warrant on Page - while the document itself was heavily shopped around to various media outlets . The late Sen. John McCain provided a copy to Former FBI Director James Comey, who already had a version, and briefed President Trump on the salacious document. Comey's briefing to Trump was then used by CNN and BuzzFeed to justify reporting on and publishing the dossier following the election.

Let's not forget that in October, 2016, both Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman John Podesta promoted the conspiracy theory that a secret Russian server was communicating with Trump Tower.

The report was debunked after internet sleuths traced the IP address to a marketing server located outside Philadelphia, leading Alfa Bank executives to file a lawsuit against Fusion GPS in October 2017, claiming their reputations were harmed by the Steele Dossier.

And who placed the Trump-Alfa theory with various media outlets? None other than former FBI counterintelligence officer and Dianne Feinstein aide Dan Jones - who is currently working with Fusion GPS and Steele to continue their Trump-Russia investigation funded in part by George Soros .

Dan Jones, George Soros, Glenn Simpson

Russian tricks? The Times notes that Steele "has not ruled out" that he may have been fed Russian disinformation while assembling his dossier.

That would mean that in addition to carrying out an effective attack on the Clinton campaign, Russian spymasters hedged their bets and placed a few land mines under Mr. Trump's presidency as well.

Oleg D. Kalugin, a former K.G.B. general who now lives outside Washington, saw that as plausible. "Russia has huge experience in spreading false information," he said. - NYT

In short, Steele is being given an 'out' with this admission.

A lawyer for Fusion GPS, Joshua Levy, says that the Mueller report substantiated the "core reporting" in the Steele memos - namely that "Trump campaign figures were secretly meeting Kremlin figures," and that Russia's president, Vladimir V. Putin, had directed "a covert operation to elect Donald J. Trump."

Of course, when one stops painting with broad brush strokes, it's clear that the dossier was fabricated bullshit.

The dossier tantalized Mr. Trump's opponents with a worst-case account of the president's conduct. And for those trying to make sense of the Trump-Russia saga, the dossier infused the quest for understanding with urgency.

In blunt prose, it suggested that a foreign power had fully compromised the man who would become the next president of the United States.

The Russians, it asserted, had tried winning over Mr. Trump with real estate deals in Moscow -- which he had not taken up -- and set him up with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel in 2013, filming the proceedings for future exploitation. A handful of aides were described as conspiring with the Russians at every turn.

Mr. Trump, it said, had moles inside the D.N.C. The memos claimed that he and the Kremlin had been exchanging intelligence for eight years and were using Romanian hackers against the Democrats , and that Russian pensioners in the United States were running a covert communications network . - NYT

And after a nearly two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller and roughly 40 FBI agents and other specialists, no evidence was found to support the dossier's wild claims of "DNC moles, Romanian hackers, Russian pensioners, or years of Trump-Putin intelligence trading ," as the Times puts it.

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, and key Democrats backing away from talks of impeachment, let's see if lady justice will follow the rest of us down the rabbit hole.


Yippie21 , 2 minutes ago link

This is why the whole FISA court is a joke. What is their remedy if their power is abused? What happens. Well,... the FISA courts was lied to and found out about it in the early 2000's. Mueller was FBI chief. So they got a strongly worded dressing-down, a mark in their permanent record from high school, and NO ONE was fired... no one was sanctioned, no agent was transferred to Alaska.

Fast forward 10 or 12 years and the FBI is doing this **** again. Lying to the court... you know the court where there are no Democrat judges or Republican judges.. they are all super awesome.... and what is the remedy when the FISA court is told they've been lied to by the FBI and used in a intel operation with MI6, inserting assets, into a freaking domestic Presidential campaign!!! and then they WON. Good god.

And what do we hear from our court? Nadda. Do we hear of some Federal Judges hauling FBI and DOJ folks in front of them and throwing them in jail? Nope. It appears from here... that our Federal Justices are corrupt and have no problem letting illegal police-state actions go on with ZERO accountability or recourse. They could care less evidently. It's all secret you know... trust us they say.. Why aren't these judges publicly making loud noises about how the judiciary is complicit , with the press, in wholesale spying and leaking for political reasons AND a coup attempt when the wrong guy won.???

Where is awesome Justice Roberts? Why isn't he throwing down some truth on just how compromised the rule of law in his courts clearly are in the last 10 years? The FISA court is his baby. It does no good for them to assure us they are concerned too, and they've taken action and sent strongly worded letters. Pisses me off. ? Right? heck of rant...

San Pedro , 2 minutes ago link

When did Russians interfere in our elections?? 2016. Who was president when Russians interfered with elections?? oobama. Who was head of the CIA?? Brennan. Who was National Intelligence director?? Clapper. Who was head of the FBI when the Russians interfered in our elections?? Comey. The pattern is obvious. When Trump was a private citizen the oobama and all his cabinet appointees and Intel Managers had their hands on all the levers and instruments of Government..and did nothing . Your oobama is guilty of treason and failing his Oath Of Office...everybody knows this.

Scipio Africanuz , 4 minutes ago link

This article is still a roundabout gambit to blame Russia.

Fair enough, where's Bill Browder? In England. Browder's allegations were utilized to try and damage Russia, even though Russia (not the USSR), is about the most reliable friend America has.

Russia helped Lincoln, and were it not for that crucial help, there'd be no America to sanction Russia today. The Tsar paid for that help with his dynasty, when Nicholas II was murdered, and dethroned.

Americans are truly ungrateful brutes..

Now, sanctions, opprobrium, and hatred are heaped on Russia, most cogently by chauvinistic racists, who look down their noses at Rus (Russ) and yet, cannot sacrifice 25 millions of their own people, for the sake of others.

Russians are considered subhuman, and yet, the divine spark of humanity resides solely in their breasts. The zionists claim a false figure of 6 million for a faux holocaust, and yet, nobody pays attention to the true holocaust of 25 millions, or the many millions before that disastrous instigated war.

That the Russians are childlike, believing others to be like them, loyal, self sacrificing, and generous, has now brought the world to the brink of armageddon, and still, they bear the burden of proof, though their accusers, who ought provide the evidence, are bereft of any..

Thomas Jefferson it was, who observing whatever he observed, exclaimed in cogent agitation, that "I fear for my countrymen, when I remember that God is Just, and His Justice does not repose forever".

Investigate Jared and Ivanka Kushner, along with Charles Kushner, and much ought be clear, no cheers...

King of Ruperts Land , 5 minutes ago link

I don't buy that "Few bad apples at the top", "Good rank and file" Argument. I have never seen one. We should assume everyone from the top to the bottom of FBI, DOJ, and State, just to get started, probably every other three better agency is bad. At least incompotent, at worst treasonous.

Sanity Bear , 15 minutes ago link

As there was spying, there must necessarily also have been channels to get the information thus gathered back to its original buyer - the Clinton campaign. Who passed the information back to Clinton, and what got passed?

besnook , 20 minutes ago link

the NYTt prints all the news a scumbag would. remember Judith Miller, the Zionazi reporter the NYT used to push the Iraq war with all sorts of ********? after the war was determined to be started under a false premise and became common knowledge there were no wmds in iraq the nyt came forward and reported the war was ******** as if they were reporting breaking news.

they have done the same thing here. they pushed the russiagate story with both barrels even though the informed populace knew it was ******** before trump was sworn in as potus. now that the all the holes in the story are readily apparent the nyt comes forward with breaking revelation that something is wrong with the story.

ClickNLook , 23 minutes ago link

Now we will have another 2 years of investigation and another expensive and meaningless report. WWE Soup Opera continues. Plot sickens.

I Am Jack's Macroaggression , 30 minutes ago link

There was no 'hack.' That is the big, anti-Russia, pro-MIC lie which all the other lies serve.

I Am Jack's Macroaggression , 30 minutes ago link

There was no 'hack.' That is the big, anti-Russia, pro-MIC lie which all the other lies serve.

His name is Seth Rich.

DaBard51 , 24 minutes ago link

The Seth Rich investigation; where is it now? Murder of a campaign staffer; tampering with or influencing an election, is it not? Hmmm... When nine hundred years old you become, look this good you will not.

ClickNLook , 19 minutes ago link

Once upon a time there was a Bernie supporter. And his name was Seth Rich. Then there was a "botched robbery", which evidence that was concluded on, I have no idea. Do you? Anyhow, The End.

Amy G. Dala , 22 minutes ago link

Seth Rich had the means and the motive. So did Imran Awan, but it would make no sense for Awan to turn anything over to wikileaks . . .he would have kept them as insurance.

Why wouldn't Assange name the source for the DNC emails? Is this a future bargaining chip? And what if he did name Seth Rich? He would have to prove it. Could he?

ComeAndTakeIt , 10 minutes ago link

They've got Assange now...Maybe they should ask him if it was Seth Rich who gave him the emails?

Maybe even do it under oath and on national television. I don't think it's still considered "burning a source" if your source has already been murdered....

Bricker , 32 minutes ago link

Until the real criminals are processed and the media can be restored you don't have a United States. This corruption is beyond comprehension. You had the (((media)) providing kickbacks to the FBI for leaked information. These bribes are how CNN was on site during Roger Stones invasion.

Treason and Sedition is rampant in America and all SPY roads lead to Clapper, Brennan and Obama...This needs attention.

The media is abusive and narrating attacks on a dully elected president

Mike Rotsch , 35 minutes ago link

Oleg D. Kalugin, a former K.G.B. general who now lives outside Washington, saw that as plausible. "Russia has huge experience in spreading false information," he said. - NYT

You have got to be ******* kidding me. So now the narrative is, "We were wrong about Russian collusion, and that's Russia's fault"?!

[Apr 21, 2019] Escobar The Deep State Vs. WikiLeaks by Pepe Escobar

Notable quotes:
"... John Pilger, among few others, has already stressed how a plan to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was laid out as far back as 2008 – at the tail end of the Cheney regime – concocted by the Pentagon's shady Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch. ..."
"... But it was only in 2017, in the Trump era, that the Deep State went totally ballistic; that's when WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files – detailing the CIA's vast hacking/cyber espionage repertoire. ..."
"... This was the CIA as a Naked Emperor like never before – including the dodgy overseeing ops of the Center for Cyber Intelligence, an ultra-secret NSA counterpart. ..."
"... The monolithic narrative by the Deep State faction aligned with the Clinton machine was that "the Russians" hacked the DNC servers. Assange was always adamant; that was not the work of a state actor – and he could prove it technically. ..."
"... The DoJ wanted a deal – and they did make an offer to WikiLeaks. But then FBI director James Comey killed it. The question is why. ..."
"... Some theoretically sound reconstructions of Comey's move are available. But the key fact is Comey already knew – via his close connections to the top of the DNC – that this was not a hack; it was a leak. ..."
"... Ambassador Craig Murray has stressed, over and over again (see here ) how the DNC/Podesta files published by WikiLeaks came from two different US sources; one from within the DNC and the other from within US intel. ..."
"... he release by WikiLeaks in April 2017 of the malware mechanisms inbuilt in "Grasshopper" and the "Marble Framework" were indeed a bombshell. This is how the CIA inserts foreign language strings in source code to disguise them as originating from Russia, from Iran, or from China. The inestimable Ray McGovern, a VIPS member, stressed how Marble Framework "destroys this story about Russian hacking." ..."
"... No wonder then CIA director Mike Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of being a "non-state hostile intelligence agency" ..."
"... Joshua Schulte, the alleged leaker of Vault 7, has not faced a US court yet. There's no question he will be offered a deal by the USG if he aggress to testify against Julian Assange. ..."
"... George Galloway has a guest who explains it all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VvPFMyPvHM&t=8s ..."
"... Escobar is brain dead if he can't figure out that Trumpenstein is totally on board with destroying Assange. As if bringing on pukes like PompAss, BoltON, and Abrams doesn't scream it. ..."
Apr 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Made-by-FBI indictment of Julian Assange does look like a dead man walking. No evidence. No documents. No surefire testimony. Just a crossfire of conditionals...

But never underestimate the legalese contortionism of US government (USG) functionaries. As much as Assange may not be characterized as a journalist and publisher, the thrust of the affidavit is to accuse him of conspiring to commit espionage.

In fact the charge is not even that Assange hacked a USG computer and obtained classified information; it's that he may have discussed it with Chelsea Manning and may have had the intention to go for a hack. Orwellian-style thought crime charges don't get any better than that. Now the only thing missing is an AI software to detect them.

https://www.rt.com/shows/going-underground/456414-assange-wkileaks-asylum-london/video/5cb1c797dda4c822558b463f

Assange legal adviser Geoffrey Robertson – who also happens to represent another stellar political prisoner, Brazil's Lula – cut straight to the chase (at 19:22 minutes);

"The justice he is facing is justice, or injustice, in America I would hope the British judges would have enough belief in freedom of information to throw out the extradition request."

That's far from a done deal. Thus the inevitable consequence; Assange's legal team is getting ready to prove, no holds barred, in a British court, that this USG indictment for conspiracy to commit computer hacking is just an hors d'oeuvre for subsequent espionage charges, in case Assange is extradited to US soil.

All about Vault 7

John Pilger, among few others, has already stressed how a plan to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was laid out as far back as 2008 – at the tail end of the Cheney regime – concocted by the Pentagon's shady Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch.

It was all about criminalizing WikiLeaks and personally smearing Assange, using "shock troops enlisted in the media -- those who are meant to keep the record straight and tell us the truth."

This plan remains more than active – considering how Assange's arrest has been covered by the bulk of US/UK mainstream media.

By 2012, already in the Obama era, WikiLeaks detailed the astonishing "scale of the US Grand Jury Investigation" of itself. The USG always denied such a grand jury existed.

"The US Government has stood up and coordinated a joint interagency criminal investigation of Wikileaks comprised of a partnership between the Department of Defense (DOD) including: CENTCOM; SOUTHCOM; the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA); Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA); US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) for USFI (US Forces Iraq) and 1st Armored Division (AD); US Army Computer Crimes Investigative Unit (CCIU); 2nd Army (US Army Cyber Command); Within that or in addition, three military intelligence investigations were conducted. Department of Justice (DOJ) Grand Jury and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of State (DOS) and Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). In addition, Wikileaks has been investigated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Office of the National CounterIntelligence Executive (ONCIX), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); the House Oversight Committee; the National Security Staff Interagency Committee, and the PIAB (President's Intelligence Advisory Board)."

But it was only in 2017, in the Trump era, that the Deep State went totally ballistic; that's when WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files – detailing the CIA's vast hacking/cyber espionage repertoire.

This was the CIA as a Naked Emperor like never before – including the dodgy overseeing ops of the Center for Cyber Intelligence, an ultra-secret NSA counterpart.

WikiLeaks got Vault 7 in early 2017. At the time WikiLeaks had already published the DNC files – which the unimpeachable Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) systematically proved was a leak, not a hack.

The monolithic narrative by the Deep State faction aligned with the Clinton machine was that "the Russians" hacked the DNC servers. Assange was always adamant; that was not the work of a state actor – and he could prove it technically.

There was some movement towards a deal, brokered by one of Assange's lawyers; WikiLeaks would not publish the most damning Vault 7 information in exchange for Assange's safe passage to be interviewed by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

The DoJ wanted a deal – and they did make an offer to WikiLeaks. But then FBI director James Comey killed it. The question is why.

It's a leak, not a hack

Some theoretically sound reconstructions of Comey's move are available. But the key fact is Comey already knew – via his close connections to the top of the DNC – that this was not a hack; it was a leak.

Ambassador Craig Murray has stressed, over and over again (see here ) how the DNC/Podesta files published by WikiLeaks came from two different US sources; one from within the DNC and the other from within US intel.

There was nothing for Comey to "investigate". Or there would have, if Comey had ordered the FBI to examine the DNC servers. So why talk to Julian Assange?

T he release by WikiLeaks in April 2017 of the malware mechanisms inbuilt in "Grasshopper" and the "Marble Framework" were indeed a bombshell. This is how the CIA inserts foreign language strings in source code to disguise them as originating from Russia, from Iran, or from China. The inestimable Ray McGovern, a VIPS member, stressed how Marble Framework "destroys this story about Russian hacking."

No wonder then CIA director Mike Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of being a "non-state hostile intelligence agency", usually manipulated by Russia.

Joshua Schulte, the alleged leaker of Vault 7, has not faced a US court yet. There's no question he will be offered a deal by the USG if he aggress to testify against Julian Assange.

It's a long and winding road, to be traversed in at least two years, if Julian Assange is ever to be extradited to the US. Two things for the moment are already crystal clear. The USG is obsessed to shut down WikiLeaks once and for all. And because of that, Julian Assange will never get a fair trial in the "so-called 'Espionage Court'" of the Eastern District of Virginia, as detailed by former CIA counterterrorism officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou.

Meanwhile, the non-stop demonization of Julian Assange will proceed unabated, faithful to guidelines established over a decade ago. Assange is even accused of being a US intel op, and WikiLeaks a splinter Deep State deep cover op.

Maybe President Trump will maneuver the hegemonic Deep State into having Assange testify against the corruption of the DNC; or maybe Trump caved in completely to "hostile intelligence agency" Pompeo and his CIA gang baying for blood. It's all ultra-high-stakes shadow play – and the show has not even begun.


JailBanksters , 40 minutes ago link

Not to mention the Pentagram has silenced 100,000 whistleblower complaints by Intimidation, threats, money or accidents over 5 years . A Whistleblower only does this when know there is something seriously wrong. Just Imagine how many knew something was wrong but looked the other way.

ExPat2018 , 47 minutes ago link

George Galloway has a guest who explains it all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VvPFMyPvHM&t=8s

Betrayed , 2 hours ago link

Maybe President Trump will maneuver the hegemonic Deep State into having Assange testify against the corruption of the DNC; or maybe Trump caved in completely to "hostile intelligence agency" Pompeo and his CIA gang baying for blood.

Escobar is brain dead if he can't figure out that Trumpenstein is totally on board with destroying Assange. As if bringing on pukes like PompAss, BoltON, and Abrams doesn't scream it.

besnook , 2 hours ago link

assange and wikileaks are the real criminals despite being crimeless. the **** is a sanctioned criminal, allowed to be criminal with the system because the rest of the sanctioned criminals would be exposed if she was investigated.

this is not the rule of laws. this is the law of rulers.

_triplesix_ , 2 hours ago link

Anyone seen Imran Awan lately?

Four chan , 34 minutes ago link

yeah those ***** go free because they got everything on the stupid dems and they are muslim.

assange exposes the podesta dws and clinton fraud against bernie voters+++ and hes the bad guy. yeah right

hillary clinton murdered seth rich sure as **** too.

[Apr 21, 2019] Is the CIA Reformable by Melvin A. Goodman

Notable quotes:
"... The debate over whether Snowden was a traitor is fatuous. As a result of Snowden's revelations, we learned that the National Security Agency logged domestic phone calls and emails for years, recorded the metadata of correspondence between Americans, and, in some cases, exploited the content of emails. The case against Private Manning was similarly fatuous. Manning provided evidence of the US cover-up of torture by our Iraqi allies; a US Army helicopter opening fire on a group of civilians, including two Reuters journalists; and the use of an air strike to cover up the execution of civilians. Some of these acts were war crimes. ..."
"... According to US law, the term "whistleblower" applies to anyone who "reasonably believes" he or she is disclosing a violation of law or gross mismanagement, gross waste, or abuse of authority. My testimony documented for the first time the intentional distortion of intelligence by CIA director William Casey and Deputy Director Gates in order to serve the agenda of Ronald Reagan and his administration. ..."
"... Being a contrarian was easy and natural for me. In fact, no one should think about entering the intelligence profession without good contrarian instincts. Such instincts would include an innate skepticism, the doubting of conventional wisdom and a willingness to challenge authority, which translates to an ability to tell truth to power. These contrarian instincts are essential to the success of any intelligence organization. As Rogers and Hammerstein would have it, it was "doing what comes naturally!" ..."
"... My book The Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA was the first insider account from an intelligence analyst regarding the skewed and politicized assessments of the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence -- the Agency's analytic arm. I also exposed the strategic failure of covert actions that were never intended to be a part of President Harry Truman's CIA ..."
"... The political pliancy of these directors fully compromised the intelligence mission of the CIA, and it was political pliancy that made directors such as Gates and Tenet so attractive to Presidents Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. ..."
"... In December 1963, less than a month after the assassination of President Kennedy, Truman wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post to document the wrongs of the CIA He concluded that his efforts to "create the quiet intelligence arm of the Presidency" had been subverted by a "sinister" and "mysterious" agency that was conducting far too many clandestine activities in peacetime. I lectured at the Truman Library in the summer of 2014, and found a note in Truman's hand that stated the CIA was not designed to "initiate policy or to act as a spy organization. That was never the intention when it was organized." ..."
"... In The Failure of Intelligence , I documented the CIA's resistance to reform and the corruption in both the analytical and operational directorates. I made a case for starting over at the CIA, not dissimilar from the case made by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan 25 years ago as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Not every agency or department of government can be reformed, and it is possible that the intricate web of habits, procedures, and culture places the CIA in the non-reformable category. Once the political culture of an institution such as the CIA has been broken, it is extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- to rebuild or repair it. ..."
Jul 21, 2017 | www.truth-out.org

The CIA's mission has gone dangerously and lethally astray, argues Melvin A. Goodman, former CIA intelligence analyst.

Whistleblower at the CIA tells the story of the corruption Melvin A. Goodman observed within the intelligence agency and what he did to expose it. NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake says this book "serves in the public interest as a warning and wake-up call for what's at stake and why we cannot trust the CIA or the intelligence establishment to do the right thing." Click here to order a copy today by making a donation to Truthout!

In this excerpt, , former CIA intelligence analyst Melvin A. Goodman ponders the meanings of the words whistleblower, dissident and contrarian, how they apply to himself and others, and whether the CIA can ever be repaired or rebuilt.

Whistleblowers. Dissidents. Contrarians.

The terms are used synonymously by pundits and the public, and I've been all three at one time or another in order to expose improprieties and illegalities in the secret government, and to inform the American public of policies that compromise the freedom and security of US citizens and weaken US standing in the global community.

I have never liked the terms contrarian or dissident. I've always believed that my criticism should be conventional wisdom. The term whistleblower is more complex because it often raises questions of patriotism or sedition. Chelsea Manning received commutation from her 35-year prison sentence for revealing so-called secrets that documented the terror and violence of the baseless US war in Iraq. Members of the Bush administration who launched the invasion of Iraq in 2003 are considered honorable members of our society, although their acts involved the corruption of intelligence; caused the death of thousands of US soldiers and foreign civilians; terrorized civilian populations; perpetrated the criminal use of torture and abuse; sanctioned use of secret prisons and extraordinary rendition; and caused the destabilization of the region that has set the stage for strategic advances by Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Edward Snowden, if he had remained in the United States, would have faced an even longer prison sentence because he revealed the massive NSA surveillance program that was illegal and immoral, and that violated the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal seizures and searches. Manning and Snowden admit to breaking US laws, but their actions were never as serious as the law-breaking, including massive violations of privacy, that they exposed.

The debate over whether Snowden was a traitor is fatuous. As a result of Snowden's revelations, we learned that the National Security Agency logged domestic phone calls and emails for years, recorded the metadata of correspondence between Americans, and, in some cases, exploited the content of emails. The case against Private Manning was similarly fatuous. Manning provided evidence of the US cover-up of torture by our Iraqi allies; a US Army helicopter opening fire on a group of civilians, including two Reuters journalists; and the use of an air strike to cover up the execution of civilians. Some of these acts were war crimes.

There is no more compelling evidence of the unconscionable behavior of US personnel in Iraq than the callous dialogue between the crew members of the helicopter regarding the civilian deaths and particularly the firing on those Iraqis who came to recover the dead bodies of Iraqi civilians. Manning's documents exposed this behavior, but her efforts were ridiculed by former secretary of defense Robert Gates, who described it as examining war by "looking through a straw."

To make matters worse, American journalists have criticized their colleagues (Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and Glenn Greenwald [then of The Guardian]) who brought the Snowden-Manning revelations to the attention of the public. David Gregory, then host of the venerable "Meet the Press" on NBC, asked Greenwald "to the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden ... why shouldn't you ... be charged with a crime?"

Jeffrey Toobin, a lawyer who labors for CNN and The New Yorker, called Snowden a "grandiose narcissist who belongs in prison" and referred to Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, who was detained by British authorities for nine hours under anti-terror laws, the equivalent of a "drug mule."

The king of calumny is Michael Grunwald, a senior correspondent for Time, who wrote on Twitter that he couldn't "wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange." The New York Times also targeted Assange, although the paper cooperated with WikiLeaks in 2010 in publishing reams of information from Private Manning's revelations. Of course, if Time or the New York Times had broken these stories, they would have built new shelves to hold their Pulitzer Prizes.

Their hypocrisy was exposed by David Carr of the New York Times, who expressed shock at finding Assange and Greenwald "under attack, not just from a government bent on keeping its secrets, but from friendly fire by fellow journalists."

I didn't reveal abuses as great as those revealed by Manning and Snowden or Daniel Ellsberg, but I do claim status as a whistleblower because of my revelations before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during confirmation hearings for Bob Gates, who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 to be director of central intelligence.

According to US law, the term "whistleblower" applies to anyone who "reasonably believes" he or she is disclosing a violation of law or gross mismanagement, gross waste, or abuse of authority. My testimony documented for the first time the intentional distortion of intelligence by CIA director William Casey and Deputy Director Gates in order to serve the agenda of Ronald Reagan and his administration.

Bob Gates was an old friend, but the friendship ended when he routinely distorted intelligence throughout the 1980s as deputy director for intelligence and deputy director of the CIA In destroying the political culture of the CIA, he created a toxic and corrupt environment at the Agency, and the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA detention and torture reminds us that the Agency hasn't recovered.

Being a contrarian was easy and natural for me. In fact, no one should think about entering the intelligence profession without good contrarian instincts. Such instincts would include an innate skepticism, the doubting of conventional wisdom and a willingness to challenge authority, which translates to an ability to tell truth to power. These contrarian instincts are essential to the success of any intelligence organization. As Rogers and Hammerstein would have it, it was "doing what comes naturally!"

My book The Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA was the first insider account from an intelligence analyst regarding the skewed and politicized assessments of the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence -- the Agency's analytic arm. I also exposed the strategic failure of covert actions that were never intended to be a part of President Harry Truman's CIA

I wrote the book for many reasons, including the need to describe the inability of journalists to take into account, let alone understand, the dangers of politicization and the actions of CIA directors such as Casey, Gates, and more recently Goss and Tenet. The political pliancy of these directors fully compromised the intelligence mission of the CIA, and it was political pliancy that made directors such as Gates and Tenet so attractive to Presidents Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II.

Truthout Progressive Pick
Whistleblower at the CIA: An Insider's Account of the Politics of Intelligence

"Urgent, timely, and deeply recommended." -- Daniel Ellsberg. Click here now to get the book!


For the past quarter century, my testimony and writings have exposed the failure to honor President Truman's purpose in creating a CIA to provide policymakers with accurate, unbiased accounts of international developments, and have highlighted the CIA's readiness to cater to the White House. This view is not original with me; in fact, it was President Truman who first acknowledged that the CIA he created in 1947 had gotten off the tracks under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy in the 1950s and early 1960s.

In December 1963, less than a month after the assassination of President Kennedy, Truman wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post to document the wrongs of the CIA He concluded that his efforts to "create the quiet intelligence arm of the Presidency" had been subverted by a "sinister" and "mysterious" agency that was conducting far too many clandestine activities in peacetime. I lectured at the Truman Library in the summer of 2014, and found a note in Truman's hand that stated the CIA was not designed to "initiate policy or to act as a spy organization. That was never the intention when it was organized."

In The Failure of Intelligence , I documented the CIA's resistance to reform and the corruption in both the analytical and operational directorates. I made a case for starting over at the CIA, not dissimilar from the case made by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan 25 years ago as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Not every agency or department of government can be reformed, and it is possible that the intricate web of habits, procedures, and culture places the CIA in the non-reformable category. Once the political culture of an institution such as the CIA has been broken, it is extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- to rebuild or repair it.

Copyright (2017) by Melvin A. Goodman. Not be reprinted without permission of the publisher, City Lights Books. Melvin A. Goodman Melvin A. Goodman served as a senior analyst and Division Chief at the CIA from 1966 to 1990. An expert on US relations with Russia, his writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper's and many others. He is author of six books on US intelligence and international security. Related Stories CIA Asked to Release Documents Related to Massacre in El Salvador By Carmen Rodriguez, CIP Americas Program | Report CIA Watchdog "Mistakenly" Destroys Its Sole Copy of Senate Torture Report By Sarah Lazare, AlterNet | News Analysis CIA Cables Detail Its New Deputy Director's Role in Torture By Raymond Bonner, ProPublica | Report

[Apr 20, 2019] The Guccifer 2.0 Gaps in Mueller s Full Report undermine the validity of findings

Apr 10, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Originally from: The 'Guccifer 2.0' Gaps in Mueller's Full Report April 18, 2019 • 12 Commentsave

Like Team Mueller's indictment last July of Russian agents, the full report reveals questions about Wikileaks' role that much of the media has been ignoring, writes Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare
Special to Consortium News

<img src="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Daniel-Lazare-150x150.jpg" alt="" width="100" height="100" /> A s official Washington pores over the Gospel According to Saint Robert, an all-important fact about the Mueller report has gotten lost in the shuffle. Just as the Christian gospels were filled with holes , the latest version is too – particularly with regard to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

The five pages that the special prosecutor's report devotes to WikiLeaks are essentially lifted from Mueller's indictment last July of 12 members of the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU. It charges that after hacking the Democratic National Committee, the GRU used a specially-created online persona known as Guccifer 2.0 to transfer a gigabyte's worth of stolen emails to WikiLeaks just as the 2016 Democratic National Convention was approaching. Four days after opening the encrypted file, the indictment says, "Organization 1 [i.e. WikiLeaks] released over 20,000 emails and other documents stolen from the DNC network by the Conspirators [i.e. the GRU]."

<img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-35305" src="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM.png" alt="Barr holding press conference on full Mueller report, April 18, 2019. (YouTube)" width="1248" height="612" srcset="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM.png 848w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM-400x196.png 400w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM-768x377.png 768w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM-700x343.png 700w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM-160x78.png 160w" sizes="(max-width: 1248px) 100vw, 1248px" />

Attorney General William Barr holding press conference on full Mueller report, April 18, 2019. (YouTube)

Mueller's report says the same thing, but with the added twist that Assange then tried to cover up the GRU's role by suggesting that murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich may have been the source and by telling a congressman that the DNC email heist was an "inside job" and that he had "physical proof" that the material was not from Russian.

All of which is manna from heaven for corporate news outlets eager to pile on Assange, now behind bars in London. An April 11, 2019, New York Times news analysis , for instance, declared that "[c]ourt documents have revealed that it was Russian intelligence – using the Guccifer persona – that provided Mr. Assange thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee," while another Times article published shortly after his arrest accuses the WikiLeaks founder of "promoting a false cover story about the source of the leaks."

But there's a problem: it ain't necessarily so. The official story that the GRU is the source doesn't hold water, as a timeline from mid-2016 shows. Here are the key events based on the GRU indictment and the Mueller report:

June 12: Assange tells Britain's ITV that another round of Democratic Party disclosures is on the way: "We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton, which is great. WikiLeaks is having a very big year." June 14: The Democratic National Committee accuses Russia of hacking its computers. June 15: Guccifer 2.0 claims credit for the hack. "The main part of the papers, thousands of files and mails, I gave to WikiLeaks ," he brags . "They will publish them soon." June 22: WikiLeaks tells Guccifer via email: "Send any new material here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing." July 6: WikiLeaks sends Guccifer another email: "if you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tweo [ sic ] days prefable [ sic ] because the DNC [Democratic National Convention] is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after."Replies Guccifer: "ok . . . i " July 14: Guccifer sends WikiLeaks an encrypted file titled "wk dnc link1.txt.gpg." July 18: WikiLeaks confirms it has opened "the 1Gb or so archive" and will release documents "this week." July 22: WikiLeaks releases more than 20,000 DNC emails and 8,000 other attachments.

According to Mueller and obsequious news outlets like the Times , the sequence is clear: Guccifer sends archive, WikiLeaks receives archive, WikiLeaks accesses archive, WikiLeaks publishes archive. Donald Trump may not have colluded with Russia, but Julian Assange plainly did. [Attorney General Will Barr, significantly calling WikiLeaks a publisher, said at his Thursday press conference: " Under applicable law, publication of these types of materials would not be criminal unless the publisher also participated in the underlying hacking conspiracy."]

<img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-35300" src="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM.png" alt="Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announcing in 2018 a grand jury indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking offenses related to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (Wikimedia Commons) " width="1236" height="611" srcset="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM.png 973w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM-400x198.png 400w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM-768x380.png 768w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM-700x346.png 700w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM-160x79.png 160w" sizes="(max-width: 1236px) 100vw, 1236px" />

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announcing in 2018 the grand jury indictment of 12 GRU agents. (Wikimedia Commons)

Avoiding Questions

The narrative raises questions that the press studiously avoids. Why, for instance, would Assange announce on June 12 that a big disclosure is on the way before hearing from the supposed source? Was there a prior communication that Mueller has not disclosed? What about the reference to "new material" on June 22 – does that mean Assange already had other material in hand? After opening the Guccifer file on July 18, why would he publish it just four days later? Would that give WikiLeaks enough time to review some 28,000 documents to insure they're genuine?

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"If a single one of those emails had been shown to be maliciously altered," blogger Mark F. McCarty observes , "Wikileaks' reputation would have been in tatters." There's also the question that an investigator known as Adam Carter poses in Disobedient Media : why would Guccifer brag about giving WikiLeaks "thousands of files" that he wouldn't send for another month?

The narrative doesn't make sense – a fact that is crucially important now that Assange is fighting for his freedom in the U.K. New Yorker staff writer Raffi Khatchadourian sounded a rare note of caution last summer when he warned that little about Guccifer 2.0 adds up. While claiming to be the source for some of WikiLeaks ' most explosive emails, the material he released on his own had proved mostly worthless – 20 documents that he "said were from the DNC but which were almost surely not," as Khatchadourian puts it, a purported Hillary Clinton dossier that "was nothing of the sort," screenshots of emails so blurry as to be "unreadable," and so forth.

<img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-35303" src="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/John_Podesta_at_2nd_debate_full_image.jpg" alt="John Podesta at the spin room of the second presidential debate of 2016. (Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons)" width="500" height="341" srcset="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/John_Podesta_at_2nd_debate_full_image.jpg 650w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/John_Podesta_at_2nd_debate_full_image-400x273.jpg 400w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/John_Podesta_at_2nd_debate_full_image-160x109.jpg 160w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" />

John Podesta: Target of a phishing expedition. (Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons)

While insisting that "our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party, Assange told Khatchadourian that the source was not Guccifer either. "We received quite a lot of submissions of material that was already published in the rest of the press, and people seemingly submitted the Guccifer archives," he said somewhat cryptically. "We didn't publish them. They were already published." When Khatchadourian asked why he didn't put the material out regardless, he replied that "the material from Guccifer 2.0 – or on WordPress – we didn't have the resources to independently verify."

No Time for Vetting

So four days was indeed too short a time to subject the Guccifer file to proper vetting. Of course, Mueller no doubt regards this as more "dissembling," as his report describes it. Yet WikiLeaks has never been caught in a lie for the simple reason that honesty and credibility are all-important for a group that promises to protect anonymous leakers who supply it with official secrets. (See "Inside WikiLeaks : Working with the Publisher that Changed the World," Consortium News , July 19, 2018.) Mueller, by contrast, has a rich history of mendacity going back to his days as FBI director when he sought to cover up the Saudi role in 9/11 and assured Congress on the eve of the 2003 invasion that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction pose "a clear threat to our national security."

<img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-35301" src="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/MuellerBushImage.jpg" alt="Mueller with President George W. Bush on July 5, 2001, as he is being appointed FBI director. (White House)" width="501" height="373" srcset="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/MuellerBushImage.jpg 600w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/MuellerBushImage-400x298.jpg 400w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/MuellerBushImage-160x119.jpg 160w" sizes="(max-width: 501px) 100vw, 501px" />

Mueller with President George W. Bush on July 5, 2001, as he is being appointed FBI director. (White House)

So if the Mueller narrative doesn't hold up, the charge of dissembling doesn't either. Indeed , as ex-federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy observes in The National Review , the fact that the feds have charged Assange with unauthorized access to a government computer rather than conspiring with the Kremlin could be a sign that Team Mueller is less than confident it can prove collusion beyond a reasonable doubt. As he puts it, the GRU indictment "was more like a press release than a charging instrument" because the special prosecutor knew that the chances were zero that Russian intelligence agents would surrender to a U.S. court.

Indeed, when Mueller charged 13 employees and three companies owned by Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin with interfering in the 2016 election, he clearly didn't expect them to surrender either. Thus , his team seemed taken aback when one of the alleged " troll farms " showed up in Washington asking to be heard. The prosecution's initial response, as McCarthy put it , was to seek a delay "on the astonishing ground that the defendant has not been properly served – notwithstanding that the defendant has shown up in court and asked to be arraigned." When that didn't work, prosecutors tried to limit Concord's access to some 3.2 million pieces of evidence on the grounds that the documents are too " sensitive " for Russian eyes to see. If they are again unsuccessful, they may have no choice but to drop the charges entirely, resulting in yet another " public relations disaster " for the Russia-gate investigation.

None of which bodes well for Mueller or the news organizations that worship at his shrine. After blowing the Russia-gate story all these years, why does the Times continue to slander the one news organization that tells the truth?

Daniel Lazare is the author of "The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy" (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics. He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique and blogs about the Constitution and related matters at D aniellazare.com .

[Apr 19, 2019] The connection between pro-Israel Lobby efforts and the covert operations and overt invasions of America's national security state.

Notable quotes:
"... Blumenthal does chronicle a decades-long panoply of active measures by numerous pro-Israel Lobby figures, groups and think tanks. Yet he fails to explicitly recognize the connection between pro-Israel Lobby efforts and the covert operations and overt invasions of America's national security state. ..."
"... Julian Assange of Wikileaks was more explicit. Assange named the "country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America's legislative and executive branches. It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favorable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American technology and military secrets. Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby [ ] That country is, of course, Israel." ..."
Apr 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Abe , April 18, 2019 at 23:23

Behind the Omar Outrage: Suppressed History of the pro-Israel Lobby

Max Blumenthal's article and his 2019 book, The Management of Savagery: How America's National Security State Fueled the Rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump (2019), is an impressive exercise in burying the lede.

Blumenthal does chronicle a decades-long panoply of active measures by numerous pro-Israel Lobby figures, groups and think tanks. Yet he fails to explicitly recognize the connection between pro-Israel Lobby efforts and the covert operations and overt invasions of America's national security state.

Julian Assange of Wikileaks was more explicit. Assange named the "country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America's legislative and executive branches. It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favorable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American technology and military secrets. Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby [ ] That country is, of course, Israel."

[Apr 18, 2019] Honest Government Ad on Julian Assange (hilarious video!)

Notable quotes:
"... "Authorized by the united bitches of america. ..."
Apr 18, 2019 | thesaker.is

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1efOs0BsE0g


worldblee on April 16, 2019 , · at 3:56 pm EST/EDT

That video is on fire! Good stuff!
Павел (Paul) on April 17, 2019 , · at 9:43 am EST/EDT
It is funny but the problem remains... I want to see serious hard hitting justice whatever it takes.
vot tak on April 17, 2019 , · at 8:28 pm EST/EDT
Oops, wrong "button".

Kruto.

"Authorized by the united bitches of america." Yeah, israel's bitches.

[Apr 17, 2019] Six US Agencies Conspired ...

Highly recommended!
Apr 17, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"Here is what we now know, per intelligence gleaned form federal law enforcement sources with insider knowledge of what amounts to a plot by U.S. intelligence agencies to secure back door and illegal wiretaps of President Trump's associates:

Six U.S. agencies created a stealth task force, spearhead by CIA’s Brennan, to run domestic surveillance on Trump associates and possibly Trump himself. To feign ignorance and to seemingly operate within U.S. laws, the agencies freelanced the wiretapping of Trump associates to the British spy agency GCHQ. The decision to insert GCHQ as a back door to eavesdrop was sparked by the denial of two FISA Court warrant applications filed by the FBI to seek wiretaps of Trump associates. GCHQ did not work from London or the UK. In fact the spy agency worked from NSA’s headquarters in Fort Meade, MD with direct NSA supervision and guidance to conduct sweeping surveillance on Trump associates. The illegal wiretaps were initiated months before the controversial Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele. The Justice Department and FBI set up the meeting at Trump Tower between Trump Jr., Manafort and Kushner with controversial Russian officials to make Trump’s associates appear compromised. Following the Trump Tower sit down, GCHQ began digitally wiretapping Manafort, Trump Jr., and Kushner. After the concocted meeting by the Deep State, the British spy agency could officially justify wiretapping Trump associates as an intelligence front for NSA because the Russian lawyer at the meeting Natalia Veselnitskaya was considered an international security risk and prior to the June sit down was not even allowed entry into the United States or the UK, federal sources said. By using GCHQ, the NSA and its intelligence partners had carved out a loophole to wiretap Trump without a warrant. While it is illegal for U.S. agencies to monitor phones and emails of U.S. citizens inside the United States absent a warrant, it is not illegal for British intelligence to do so. Even if the GCHQ was tapping Trump on U.S. soil at Fort Meade. The wiretaps, secured through illicit scheming, have been used by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 election, even though the evidence is considered “poisoned fruit.”

-----------.

Someone left this link in a comment to LJ, but as ringmaster of this circus, I choose to publish this as the best summary of all the threads of the supposed conspiracy that I have seen thus far. pl

https://truepundit.com/exclusive-six-u-s-agencies-conspired-to-illegally-wiretap-trump-british-intel-used-as-front-to-spy-on-campaign-for-nsa/

Chris Fahlman said...

Wikipedia page on Paul Manafort says that the FBI began a criminal investigation into him in 2014, associated with his previous dealings in Ukraine. He could have been a target of surveillance and wiretapping since then.

I therefore think Manafort was the key the intelligence agencies used to get to into Trump's organisation. It may have been initially incidental to their ongoing, and much earlier surveillance of Manafort.

Robert Poling said...

Thank-you for this summary. If confirmed, Brennan (and others in the group he formed to spy on Trump and Trump's campaign) should go to jail. Congress specifically forbid American spy agencies spying on American citizens in the U.S. Since that Congressional action, the CIA and NSA have gotten around it by having foreign partners among the 'five eyes' do the collecting and then passing the information back to us.

The spying on Trump was done at the behest of Obama and his minions. I'm reminded of an American president who was hounded from office by the mainstream press for sending minions to spy and collect dirt at the opposition's political headquarters. He had to resign and leave office. Several involved in the burglary went to jail and lost their livelihoods. Why is this situation today any different and why is there a delay in prosecuting them? It's because the major media is bought out and controlled by Trump's political opponents and not demanding justice, indeed is providing cover and excuses for them

[Apr 16, 2019] Trump as a useful idiot of the Deep State

Apr 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Anunnaki , 11 hours ago link

If Trump pardoned Assange, I would consider that draining the swamp. But Orange Jewlius is a Deep State **** socket, so the swamp has grown to a lagoon

Anunnaki , 11 hours ago link

Jimmy Dore and Tucker Carlson nail it

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SnwC_1Pf9VQ

rtb61 , 12 hours ago link

Clearly the US government has zero respect for Australia, Australian Law or Australian citizens. The case is shite, else they would allow Assange to be deported to Australia and the extradition hearing to be heard there. They refuse because they know their case is shite and they would have to prove it in Australia before they could get extradition.

The USA is not an ally of Australia because it does not respect Australian law, not in the least. Prove US respect of Australians by deporting Assange to Australia and holding the extradition hearings there, else look as guilty as shite and never ever to be trusted by Australians.

OZZIDOWNUNDER , 9 hours ago link

The US Govt respects NOBODY but its own Interests. It's the Australian Govt that's complicit in this travesty of Nil justice. The Gutless Australian Govt has NO interest in helping Julian Assange because they were persuaded NOT to by their American masters. It hurts that your own Govt are total A$$holes & follow USA into Crimes with out question. The Australian Govt has a History of lip service only when assistance Overseas is required. **** them !

NYC80 , 13 hours ago link

Assange probably is a narcissist. So what? All the people criticizing him are, too. At least he's an honest narcissist. In everything he's published, not a single item has even been allegedly false. Can any of these other so-called "journalists" demonstrate that level of accuracy?

Ms No , 14 hours ago link

Here is a good article on Assange. Explains the cat. Things were okay for him under the real elected president of Ecuador, except no sunlight thanks to US spooks.

https://www.sott.net/article/411173-My-friend-Julian-Assange-Alicia-Castro-former-ambassador-for-Argentina

[Apr 16, 2019] Andrew O'Hagan Ghosting Julian Assange LRB 6 March 2014

Apr 16, 2019 | lrb.co.uk

There were two last visits. During the first I was led in by a new young assistant, Ethan, who was keen to agree with everything being said. Our conversation was mainly about Edward Snowden. There are few subjects on which Julian would be reluctant to take what you might call a paternalistic position, but over Snowden, whom he's never met but has chatted with and feels largely responsible for, he expressed a kind of irritable admiration. 'Just how good is he?' I asked.

'He's number nine,' he said.

'In the world? Among computer hackers? And where are you?'

'I'm number three.' He went on to say that he wondered whether Snowden was calm enough, intelligent enough, and added that he should have come to them for advice before fleeing to Hong Kong.

A fair reading of the situation might conclude, without prejudice, that Assange, like an ageing movie star, was a little put out by the global superstardom of Snowden. He has always cared too much about the fame and too much about the credit, while real relationships and real action often fade to nothing. Snowden was now the central hub and Julian was keen to help him and keen to be seen to be helping him. It's how the ego works and the ego always comes first. Snowden, while grateful for the advice and the comradeship, was meanwhile playing a cannier game than Julian. He was eager for credit, too, but behaving more subtly, more amiably, and playing with bigger secrets. Julian said he hoped that others, I took him to mean the Guardian and Glenn Greenwald, didn't claim too much credit for the flow of secrets. He said he wanted me to help him get a film going, an account of what actually happened in Hong Kong, how he helped Snowden. He said he had all the inside information and connections and it would make a fantastic thriller. We discussed it at length and I told him the way to get movie interest in such a thing was to get behind a big piece in Vanity Fair . He agreed and said he would set aside time to get down to it. But I knew he wouldn't. It was odd the way he spoke about Snowden, almost jealously, as if the younger man didn't quite understand what he was about, needing much more from Julian than he knew how to ask for. I recognised the familiar anxiety about non-influence: 'Snowden should have been with us from the beginning,' he said. 'He's flailing.' But they were now making up for lost time. As we spoke, Sarah was in Moscow Airport, where Snowden was being held without a passport. 'I sent Sarah over,' said Julian in his favourite mode. All he needed at that point was a white cat to stroke.

Snowden was everywhere in the news the last time I decided to drop in on Julian after I'd been out in his neighbourhood. The embassy was quiet. I brought a couple of bottles of beer up from the street and we sat in the dark room. It was a Friday night and Julian had never seemed more alone. We laughed a lot and then he went very deeply into himself. He drank his beer and then lifted mine and drank that. 'We've got some really historic things going on,' he said. Then he opened his laptop and the blue screen lit his face and he hardly noticed me leaving.

[Apr 15, 2019] We have confirmation of" Obama's administration supporting, not fighting terrorism, Patrushev explained. Changing this policy is essential for improving Russian/US relations.

Apr 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Justin Case , 50 minutes ago link

Washington recklessly accuses Russia and China of hacking while providing no evidence backing its claims.

At the same time, it's silent about most Internet servers located in America, facilitating its espionage, including hacking to obtain unauthorized data. Washington rules mandate doing what "we" say, not what "we" do.

Russian Security Council secretary explained the problem, saying "(w)e have been fixing growing attempts from external forces to damage Russian information systems. Those are cases of hacking, and also unauthorized collection of data."

"This is done with active involvement of global operators and providers, and the methods used are constantly evolving."

"For example, the Obama administration groundlessly accuses Russia of hacking attacks, deliberately ignoring the fact that most Internet servers are located inside the US, and are used by Washington for spying and other purposes aimed at protecting that country's dominant position in the world."

Patrushev hopes Trump will change things responsibly, Moscow and Washington cooperating in combating terrorism instead of pursuing opposite objectives for so long.

"We have confirmation of" Obama's administration supporting, not fighting terrorism, Patrushev explained. Changing this policy is essential for improving Russian/US relations.

If Trump governs responsibly, Moscow welcomes an ally in counterterrorism activities, information security, trade and other areas of mutual interest.

If Trump wants improved ties, "we will be ready to resume full-format consultations with US partners of the Russian Security Council," Patrushev explained.

"The Obama administration sought domina(nce) (internationally, its policies amounting to) reckless schemes."

"Unfriendly actions (violating) international law resulted in a frenzy of terrorism (causing) humanitarian disasters in certain states and regions."

Does Trump intend changing things or continuing Obama's reckless agenda? Will he wage endless wars or responsibly work with Russia and other nations in resolving ongoing ones?

Aussiestirrer , 1 hour ago link

The headline sums up western hypocricy aptly

Justin Case , 50 minutes ago link

Exactly. " keep democracy safe" while supporting the erection of a Gov't by coup for Venezuelans. He's talking out of both sides of his mouth the hypocrite.

Russian interference in elections. LOL

pinkfloyd , 44 minutes ago link

you said erection...tee hee,

Fluff The Cat , 1 hour ago link

Wait, let me guess... another pro-Zionist sell-out harping on about how evil Russia is. Am I right?

[Apr 14, 2019] Edward Snowden: Surveillance Is About Power

Now a lot of unpleasant question arise for Trump administration. Assange case is rather difficult to handle without spilling the beans.
Apr 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

wayfarer , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:47 pm GMT

"Edward Snowden: Surveillance Is About Power."
https://www.youtube.com/embed/RSc_IlFBWkw?feature=oembed
jim jones , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:54 pm GMT
The Assange arrest has strengthened my resolve never to vote Conservative again
Agent76 , says: April 13, 2019 at 3:07 pm GMT
@wayfarer Good share wayfarer. January 10, 2014 *500* Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent *It's Never to Protect Us From Bad Guys*

No matter which government conducts mass surveillance, they also do it to crush dissent, and then give a false rationale for why they're doing it.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/500-years-of-history-shows-that-mass-spying-is-always-aimed-at-crushing-dissent/5364462

[Apr 14, 2019] Assange rendition might backfire for Trump administration

Vindictiveness not always play in the vindictive party favour.
You may love Assange you may hate Assange for his WikiLeaks revelation (And Vault 7 was a real bombshell), but it is clear that it will cost Trump some reputation out of tini share that still left, especially in view of Trump declaration "I love Wikileaks"
Apr 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

For seven years, we have had to listen to a chorus of journalists, politicians and "experts" telling us that Assange was nothing more than a fugitive from justice, and that the British and Swedish legal systems could be relied on to handle his case in full accordance with the law. Barely a "mainstream" voice was raised in his defence in all that time.

... ... ...

The political and media establishment ignored the mounting evidence of a secret grand jury in Virginia formulating charges against Assange, and ridiculed Wikileaks' concerns that the Swedish case might be cover for a more sinister attempt by the US to extradite Assange and lock him away in a high-security prison, as had happened to whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

... ... ...

Equally, they ignored the fact that Assange had been given diplomatic status by Ecuador, as well as Ecuadorean citizenship. Britain was obligated to allow him to leave the embassy, using his diplomatic immunity, to travel unhindered to Ecuador. No "mainstream" journalist or politician thought this significant either.

... ... ...

They turned a blind eye to the news that, after refusing to question Assange in the UK, Swedish prosecutors had decided to quietly drop the case against him in 2015. Sweden had kept the decision under wraps for more than two years.

... ... ...

Most of the other documents relating to these conversations were unavailable. They had been destroyed by the UK's Crown Prosecution Service in violation of protocol. But no one in the political and media establishment cared, of course.

Similarly, they ignored the fact that Assange was forced to hole up for years in the embassy, under the most intense form of house arrest, even though he no longer had a case to answer in Sweden. They told us -- apparently in all seriousness -- that he had to be arrested for his bail infraction, something that would normally be dealt with by a fine.

... ... ...

This was never about Sweden or bail violations, or even about the discredited Russiagate narrative, as anyone who was paying the vaguest attention should have been able to work out. It was about the US Deep State doing everything in its power to crush Wikileaks and make an example of its founder.

It was about making sure there would never again be a leak like that of Collateral Murder, the military video released by Wikileaks in 2007 that showed US soldiers celebrating as they murdered Iraqi civilians. It was about making sure there would never again be a dump of US diplomatic cables, like those released in 2010 that revealed the secret machinations of the US empire to dominate the planet whatever the cost in human rights violations.

Now the pretence is over. The British police invaded the diplomatic territory of Ecuador -- invited in by Ecuador after it tore up Assange's asylum status -- to smuggle him off to jail. Two vassal states cooperating to do the bidding of the US empire. The arrest was not to help two women in Sweden or to enforce a minor bail infraction.

No, the British authorities were acting on an extradition warrant from the US. And the charges the US authorities have concocted relate to Wikileaks' earliest work exposing the US military's war crimes in Iraq -- the stuff that we all once agreed was in the public interest, that British and US media clamoured to publish themselves.

Still the media and political class is turning a blind eye. Where is the outrage at the lies we have been served up for these past seven years? Where is the contrition at having been gulled for so long? Where is the fury at the most basic press freedom -- the right to publish -- being trashed to silence Assange? Where is the willingness finally to speak up in Assange's defence?

It's not there. There will be no indignation at the BBC, or the Guardian, or CNN. Just curious, impassive -- even gently mocking -- reporting of Assange's fate.

And that is because these journalists, politicians and experts never really believed anything they said. They knew all along that the US wanted to silence Assange and to crush Wikileaks. They knew that all along and they didn't care. In fact, they happily conspired in paving the way for today's kidnapping of Assange.

They did so because they are not there to represent the truth, or to stand up for ordinary people, or to protect a free press, or even to enforce the rule of law. They don't care about any of that. They are there to protect their careers, and the system that rewards them with money and influence. They don't want an upstart like Assange kicking over their applecart.

Now they will spin us a whole new set of deceptions and distractions about Assange to keep us anaesthetised, to keep us from being incensed as our rights are whittled away, and to prevent us from realising that Assange's rights and our own are indivisible. We stand or fall together.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net .


anonymous [340] • Disclaimer , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:41 am GMT

Thank you.

This should be an uncomfortable time for the “journalists” of the Establishment. Very few will speak up as does Mr. Cook. Watch how little is said about the recent Manning re-imprisonment to sweat out grand jury testimony. Things may have grown so craven that we’ll even see efforts to revoke Mr. Assange’s awards.

This is also a good column for us to share with those people who just might want not to play along with the lies that define Exceptionalia.

Digital Samizdat , says: April 12, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT

… from the moment Julian Assange first sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, they have been telling us we were wrong, that we were paranoid conspiracy theorists. We were told there was no real threat of Assange’s extradition to the United States, that it was all in our fevered imaginations.

It all reminds me of Rod Dreher’s Law of Merited Impossibility: “That’ll never happen. And when it does , boy won’t you deserve it!”

Equally, they ignored the fact that Assange had been given diplomatic status by Ecuador, as well as Ecuadorean citizenship. Britain was obligated to allow him to leave the embassy, using his diplomatic immunity, to travel unhindered to Ecuador. No “mainstream” journalist or politician thought this significant either.

Why would they? They don’t even recognize diplomatic status for heads of state who get in their way! Remember what they did to President Evo Morales of Bolivia back when he was threatening to grant asylum to Ed Snowden? Here’s a refresher:

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

Any way you slice, this is a sad for liberty.

Carlton Meyer , says: • Website April 13, 2019 at 4:32 am GMT
From my blog:

Apr 13, 2019 – Julian Assange

People who just watch corporate media think Julian Assange is a bad guy who deserves life in prison, except those who watch the great Tucker Carlson. Watch his recent show where he explains why our corporate media and political class hate Assange.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZE7OfU71Sbk?feature=oembed

He is charged with encouraging Army Private Chelsea Manning to send him embarrassing information, specifically this video of a US Army Apache helicopter gunning down civilians in broad daylight in Baghdad.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/25EWUUBjPMo?feature=oembed

But there is no proof of this, and Manning has repeatedly said he never communicated to Assange about anything. Manning got eight years in prison for this crime; the Apache pilots were never charged. and now they want to hang Assange for exposing a war crime. I have recommend this great 2016 interview twice, where Assange calmly explains the massive corruption that patriotic FBI agents refer to as the “Clinton Crime Family.”

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_sbT3_9dJY4?feature=oembed

This gang is so powerful that it ordered federal agents to spy on the Trump political campaign, and indicted and imprisoned some participants in an attempt to pressure President Trump to step down. It seems Trump still fears this gang, otherwise he would order his attorney general to drop this bogus charge against Assange, then pardon him forever and invite him to speak at White House press conferences.

The Alarmist , says: April 13, 2019 at 5:01 am GMT

“… they ignored the fact that Assange was forced to hole up for years in the embassy, under the most intense form of house arrest, even though he no longer had a case to answer in Sweden.”

Meh! Assange should have walked out the door of the embassy years ago. He might have ended up in the same place, but he could have seized the moral high ground by seeking asylum in Britain for fear of the death penalty in the US, which was a credible fear given public comments by various US officials. By rotting away in the Ecuadorian embassy, be greatly diminished any credibility he might have had to turn the UK judicial system inside out to his favour. Now he’s just a creepy looking bail jumper who flung faeces against the wall, rather than being a persecuted journalist.

Endgame Napoleon , says: April 13, 2019 at 6:14 am GMT
@Johnny Rottenborough Millionaire politicians on both sides of the political fence get very emotional about anything that impacts their own privacy & safety and the privacy & safety of their kin, while ignoring the issues that jeopardize the privacy & safety of ordinary voters. While corporate-owned politicians get a lot out of this game, ordinary voters who have never had less in the way of Fourth Amendment privacy rights, and whose First Amendment rights are quickly shrinking to the size of Assange’s, do not get the consolation of riches without risk granted to bought-off politicians in this era’s pay-to-play version of democracy. It’s a lose / lose for average voters.
Tom Welsh , says: April 13, 2019 at 9:31 am GMT
Mr Cook’s criticism of the mainstream media (MSM) is absolutely justified.

It seems to me that their hatred of Mr Assange reflects the unfortunate fact that, while he is a real journalist, they actually aren’t. Instead, they are stenographers for power: what Paul Craig Roberts calls “presstitutes” (a very happy coinage which exactly hits the bull’s eye).

The difference is that real journalists, like Mr Assange, Mr Roberts and Mr Cook, are mainly motivated by the search for objective truth – which they then publish, as far as they are able.

Whereas those people who go by the spurious names of “journalist”, “reporter”, “editor”, etc. are motivated by the desire to go on earning their salaries, and to gain promotion and “distinction” in society. (Sad but true: social distinction is often gained by performing acts of dishonesty and downright wickedness).

Here are some interesting quotations that cast some light on this disheartening state of affairs. If you look carefully at their dates you may be surprised to find that nothing has changed very much since the mid-19th century.

‘Marr: “How can you know that I’m self-censoring? How can you know that journalists are…”

‘Chomsky: “I’m not saying you’re self censoring. I’m sure you believe everything you’re saying. But what I’m saying is that if you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting where you’re sitting”’.

– Transcript of interview between Noam Chomsky and Andrew Marr (Feb. 14, 1996) https://scratchindog.blogspot.com/2015/07/transcript-of-interview-between-noam.html

‘If something goes wrong with the government, a free press will ferret it out and it will get fixed. But if something goes wrong with our free press, the country will go straight to hell’.

– I. F. Stone (as reported by his son Dr Jeremy J Stone) http://russia-insider.com/en/media-criticism/hey-corporate-media-glenn-greenwald-video-can-teach-you-what-real-journalism/ri6669

‘There is no such a thing in America as an independent press, unless it is out in country towns. You are all slaves. You know it, and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to express an honest opinion. If you expressed it, you would know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid $150 for keeping honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for doing similar things. If I should allow honest opinions to be printed in one issue of my paper, I would be like Othello before twenty-four hours: my occupation would be gone. The man who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the street hunting for another job. The business of a New York journalist is to distort the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread, or for what is about the same — his salary. You know this, and I know it; and what foolery to be toasting an “Independent Press”! We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are jumping-jacks. They pull the string and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives, our possibilities, are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes’.

– John Swinton (1829–1901), Scottish-American journalist, newspaper publisher, and orator. https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Swinton http://www.rense.com/general20/yes.htm

‘The press today is an army with carefully organized arms and branches, with journalists as officers, and readers as soldiers. But here, as in every army, the soldier obeys blindly, and war-aims and operation-plans change without his knowledge. The reader neither knows, nor is allowed to know, the purposes for which he is used, nor even the role that he is to play. A more appalling caricature of freedom of thought cannot be imagined. Formerly a man did not dare to think freely. Now he dares, but cannot; his will to think is only a willingness to think to order, and this is what he feels as his liberty’.

– Oswald Spengler, “The Decline of the West” Vol. II, trans. C.F. Atkinson (1928), p. 462

‘How do wars start? Wars start when politicians lie to journalists, then believe what they read in the press’.

– Karl Kraus, “Through Western Eyes – Russia Misconstrued” http://www.hellevig.net/ebook/Putin’s%20new%20Russia.pdf

And finally, two quotations from classic novels which go to the heart of the matter.

‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it’.

– Upton Sinclair

‘Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids’.

– John Steinbeck (“East of Eden”)

UncommonGround , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:13 am GMT
Very good article. There is one point that I would like to make: Assange asked for asyl before he went to the embassy of Ecuador and Ecuador gave him asylum. This meant that they had an obligation to protect him. It’s really unbeliavable that a country gives asylum to someone and half way tells that they have changed their mind and will let the person be arrested. ” We told you you would be safe with us, but now we just changed our mind”. Assange also became a citizen of Ecuador and this possibly means that Ecuador couldn’t have let him been arrested in their embassy by the police of another country without a process against him in Ecuador and without him having the right to defend himself in a court. Many countries don’t extradit their citizens to other countries.

Another remark. For years there were uncountable articles about Assange in The Guardian. Those articles were read by many people and got really many comments. There were very fierce discussions about him with thousends of comments. With time The Guardian turned decisively against him and published articles againt him. There were people there who seemed to hate him. In the last days there were again many articles about him. They pronounce themselves discretely against his extradition to the US even if showing themselves to be critical of him as if trying to justify their years of attacks against him. But one detail: I didn’t find even one article in The Guardian where you can comment the case. Today for instance you can comment an article by Gaby Hinsliff about Kim Kardashian. Marina Hyde talks in an article about washing her hair (whatever else she wants to say, with 2831 comments at this moment). But you don’t find any article about Assange that you can comment. 10 or 8 or 5 years ago there were hundreds of articles about him that you could comment.

EliteCommInc. , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:59 am GMT
The game afoot here is obvious.

https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2017/04/03/ecuador-next-venezuela/

Pressure relief

Tsar Nicholas , says: April 13, 2019 at 11:38 am GMT
@Art

UK PM May said about Assange – “no one is above the law” – proving she is a weak sister without a clue.

No one is above the law except the British government, which ignored the provisions of the EU Withdrawal Act requiring us to leave on March 29th.

No one is above the law except for the US and the UK which have illegally deployed forces to Syria against the wishes of the government in Damascus.

And Tony Blair, a million dead thanks to his corruption. He should be doing time in a Gulag for his evil crimes.

And of course, the black MP for Peterborough – Fiona Onasanya – served a mere three weeks in jail for perverting the course of justice, normally regarded as a very serious offence. But she was out in time – electronic tag and curfew notwithstanding – to vote in the House of Commons against leaving the EU.

[Apr 12, 2019] Did Max Boot and Commentary Magazine Lie About Edward Snowden You Decide by Glenn Greenwald

Notable quotes:
"... It is literally the supreme act of projection for Max Boot to accuse anyone of lacking courage, as this particular think tank warmonger is the living, breathing personification of the unique strain of American neocon cowardice . Unlike Snowden -- who sacrificed his liberty and unraveled his life in pursuit of his beliefs -- the 45-year-old Boot has spent most of his adult life advocating for one war after the next, but always wanting to send his fellow citizens of his generation to die in them, while he hides in the comfort of Washington think tanks, never fighting them himself. ..."
"... All of that is just garden-variety neocon cowardice, and it's of course grotesque to watch someone like this call someone else a coward. ..."
"... It's not surprising that someone whose entire adult life is shaped by extreme cowardice would want to accuse others of lacking courage, as it distracts attention away from oneself and provides the comfort of company. Nor is it surprising that government-loyal journalists spew outright falsehoods to smear whistleblowers. But even neocon rags like Commentary shouldn't be able to get away with this level of blatant lying. ..."
"... Being a neocon coward means never having to admit error. ..."
Jun 05, 2015 | theintercept.com

In the neocon journal Commentary , Max Boot today complains that the New York Times published an op-ed by Edward Snowden . Boot's objection rests on his accusation that the NSA whistleblower is actually a "traitor." In objecting, Boot made these claims:

Oddly enough nowhere in his article -- which is datelined Moscow -- does he mention the surveillance apparatus of his host, Vladimir Putin , which far exceeds in scope anything created by any Western country. . . .That would be the same FSB that has taken Snowden into its bosom as it has previously done (in its earlier incarnation as the KGB) with previous turncoats such as Kim Philby. . . .

But of course Ed Snowden is not courageous enough, or stupid enough, to criticize the dictatorship that he has defected to. It's much easier and safer to criticize the country he betrayed from behind the protection provided by the FSB's thugs. The only mystery is why the Times is giving this traitor a platform.

It is literally the supreme act of projection for Max Boot to accuse anyone of lacking courage, as this particular think tank warmonger is the living, breathing personification of the unique strain of American neocon cowardice . Unlike Snowden -- who sacrificed his liberty and unraveled his life in pursuit of his beliefs -- the 45-year-old Boot has spent most of his adult life advocating for one war after the next, but always wanting to send his fellow citizens of his generation to die in them, while he hides in the comfort of Washington think tanks, never fighting them himself.

All of that is just garden-variety neocon cowardice, and it's of course grotesque to watch someone like this call someone else a coward. But it's so much worse if he lies when doing so. Did he do so here? You decide. From Snowden's NYT op-ed today:

Basic technical safeguards such as encryption -- once considered esoteric and unnecessary -- are now enabled by default in the products of pioneering companies like Apple, ensuring that even if your phone is stolen, your private life remains private. Such structural technological changes can ensure access to basic privacies beyond borders, insulating ordinary citizens from the arbitrary passage of anti­ privacy laws, such as those now descending upon Russia.

The meaning of that passage -- criticisms of Russia's attack on privacy -- is so clear and glaring that it caused even Time magazine to publish this today :

The first sentence of Time 's article: "Former CIA officer and NSA contractor Ed Snowden has taken a surprising swing at his new home, accusing Russia of 'arbitrarily passing' new anti-privacy laws ." In other words, in the very op-ed to which Boot objects, Snowden did exactly that which Boot accused him of lacking the courage to do: "criticize" the country that has given him asylum.

This is far from the first time Snowden has done exactly that which the Tough and Swaggering Think Tank Warrior proclaimed Snowden would never do. In April, 2014, Snowden wrote an op-ed in The Guardian under this headline:

With Max Boot's above-printed accusations in mind, just re-read that. Did Boot lie? To pose the question is to answer it. Here's part of what Snowden wrote in that op-ed:

On Thursday, I questioned Russia's involvement in mass surveillance on live television. . . . I went on to challenge whether, even if such a mass surveillance program were effective and technically legal, it could ever be morally justified. . . . In his response, Putin denied the first part of the question and dodged on the latter. There are serious inconsistencies in his denial.

In countless speeches, Snowden has said much the same thing: that Russian spying is a serious problem that needs investigation and reform, and that Putin's denials are not credible. Boot simply lied about Snowden.

It's not surprising that someone whose entire adult life is shaped by extreme cowardice would want to accuse others of lacking courage, as it distracts attention away from oneself and provides the comfort of company. Nor is it surprising that government-loyal journalists spew outright falsehoods to smear whistleblowers. But even neocon rags like Commentary shouldn't be able to get away with this level of blatant lying.

UPDATE : In typical neocon fashion, Boot first replies by minimizing his own error to a mere innocent oversight, and implying that only hysteria could cause anyone to find what he did to be problematic. Even then, the facts negate his self-justification. But then he says he was actually right all along and his "point stands":

Being a neocon coward means never having to admit error.

[Apr 12, 2019] Met Police Arrests Julian Assange

Apr 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

SteveK9 , Apr 11, 2019 8:29:52 AM | link

With Bolsanaro in charge in Brazil, Glenn Greenwald could be next. Something I am sure he is very aware. It's also curious that no more of Snowden's documents have been published. I've wondered if they have threatened Greenwald and he is withholding the information, to keep himself out of some dungeon somewhere.

Russ , Apr 11, 2019 8:37:22 AM | link

Posted by: SteveK9 | Apr 11, 2019 8:29:52 AM | 33

"I've wondered if they have threatened Greenwald and he is withholding the information, to keep himself out of some dungeon somewhere."

No one needs to threaten Greenwald to get him to withhold information. He withholds out of elitist conviction. In his way he's just as much of an elite gatekeeper as anyone at any MSM outlet. (And really an outfit like the Intercept is just a thinly veiled extension of the MSM.)

It's amazing how for many people, even going to work for a predatory billionaire as Greenwald has, or collaborating as part of that billionaire's project as Snowden has, doesn't automatically peg one as a system stooge.

Cynica , Apr 11, 2019 8:38:05 AM | link
@SteveK9 #33

1. Information "piracy" may have to take to the high seas.
2. Maybe it would be best to release the rest of Snowden's documents now. Tit for tat.

vk , Apr 11, 2019 8:39:08 AM | link
The best Assange can hope for, after the judicial process ran its course, is a pardon by the president of the United States.

Which, whoever will be, will be the smart thing to do if he/she wants to keep America's soft power from continuing to bleed out.

GeorgeSmiley , Apr 11, 2019 8:46:18 AM | link
@SteveK9 #33

1. Information "piracy" may have to take to the high seas.
2. Maybe it would be best to release the rest of Snowden's documents now. Tit for tat.

Posted by: Cynica | Apr 11, 2019 8:38:05 AM | 35


This WILL NOT happen. Greenwald, his billionaire backer (who owns the docs technically as crazy as that sounds) and his website are all an example of the "acceptable" counter narrative. Greenwald should deserve no respect, he chose money and fame over integrity. That much has become clear. I think the same of Scahill and a few others, though I hear little from him now.

Sad days. Money will buy a LOT of people. Even those we believe it won't as they are "principled" or once carried conviction . Hell, I imagine most of us are vulnerable to that as well.

Cynica , Apr 11, 2019 8:38:05 AM | link
@SteveK9 #33

1. Information "piracy" may have to take to the high seas.
2. Maybe it would be best to release the rest of Snowden's documents now. Tit for tat.

vk , Apr 11, 2019 8:39:08 AM | link
The best Assange can hope for, after the judicial process ran its course, is a pardon by the president of the United States.

Which, whoever will be, will be the smart thing to do if he/she wants to keep America's soft power from continuing to bleed out.

GeorgeSmiley , Apr 11, 2019 8:46:18 AM | link
@SteveK9 #33

1. Information "piracy" may have to take to the high seas.
2. Maybe it would be best to release the rest of Snowden's documents now. Tit for tat.

Posted by: Cynica | Apr 11, 2019 8:38:05 AM | 35


This WILL NOT happen. Greenwald, his billionaire backer (who owns the docs technically as crazy as that sounds) and his website are all an example of the "acceptable" counter narrative. Greenwald should deserve no respect, he chose money and fame over integrity. That much has become clear. I think the same of Scahill and a few others, though I hear little from him now.

Sad days. Money will buy a LOT of people. Even those we believe it won't as they are "principled" or once carried conviction . Hell, I imagine most of us are vulnerable to that as well.

arby , Apr 11, 2019 8:47:14 AM | link
It's amazing how for many people, even going to work for a predatory billionaire as Greenwald has, or collaborating as part of that billionaire's project as Snowden has, doesn't automatically peg one as a system stooge.

Posted by: Russ | Apr 11, 2019 8:37:22 AM | 34

I don't know. I still read Greenwald on twitter. You just have to pick through where he is dancing on a thin line and in some places openly speaking truth.
Pretty hard to live on next to nothing and get heard and also enjoy a bit of life as well.
Obviously he is getting paid very well but I don't see him as a MSM stooge and propagandist.
I don't bother with the intercept.

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 11, 2019 8:49:21 AM | link
I doubt that Trump will have to intervene. If we cast our minds back to David Hicks and Chelsea Manning, the Yanks wanted both of them to rot in jail for Eternity but 'time served' for both was considerably less. There was also a swarthy, savvy, well-educated bespectacled Brit picked up about the same time as Hicks. I've forgotten his name but he was released in response to strident demands from UK.gov. Ozzies were very pissed off with the Liberal Govt for not following UK.gov's example re David Hicks.

Superficially, at least, it seems that the US is happy to 'prove' its relentless invincibility, to as wide an audience as possible, when pursuing The AmeriKKKan Way regarding certain 'evildoers' and then going back to sleep.

If there's a short-term bright note to this story it's the fact that Scum Mo announced the start of Oz Federal Election campaign yesterday and Assange will become an election issue. Scum Mo's Liberals are already in deep doodoo with the electorate for delaying the Banking Royal Commission for almost 2 years. The RC found that all of the big banks and other financial institutions had been engaged in widespread deception, theft and fraudulent behavior. The Royal Commission was given a limited time to produce a report and did NOT set up a compensation body or procedure for the tens of thousands of victims of bank malfeasance.
So Scum Mo will be tempted to grow a pair and demand that Trump send Assange back to Oz because the Libs were going to be toast anyway and Saving Julian might help some people to forget what greedy dishonest assholes the Libs are.

Ghost Ship , Apr 11, 2019 8:53:04 AM | link
I'm not sure Assange will end up in solitary in a U.S. Supermax prison as many so-called progressive Clintonists are hoping and gloating over. From memory the ECHR regards solitary as torture particularly over long periods and the United Kingdom judiciary (who will make the decision) have an established policy of not extraditing prisoners who will be tortured. So, my assessment is, he will be extradited once the US DoJ has given assurances he will not be held in solitary, but it will be a very sad day for press freedom in the United Kingdom.
Russ , Apr 11, 2019 8:58:29 AM | link
Posted by: arby | Apr 11, 2019 8:47:14 AM | 38

"Pretty hard to live on next to nothing and get heard and also enjoy a bit of life as well."

I've heard about the lavish "next to nothing" Greenwald lives on. Doesn't quite sound the same as my next-to-nothing. As for getting heard, that's mathematical: There's an direct relationship between one's utility to the empire and how much one "gets heard".

In this case, Greenwald collaborated with the NYT, WaPo and Guardian to curate Snowden's alleged trove (which stopped appearing at all long before it was supposed to be exhausted), in order to release heavily censored portions in a form these MSM elitists judged was suitable for the people to see.

The basic message, which Snowden himself also has spewed in many speeches, is that the Deep State is basically good, and certainly necessary, it just has committed some abuses and needs "reform" and "oversight".

That's Greenwald's #1 service for the empire so far, to be the lead man in co-opting the whole Wikileaks-whistleblower movement, since so many people are so interested in "leaks" (even though they never tell us anything we didn't already know from plain sight).

Zanon , Apr 11, 2019 9:11:08 AM | link
There we have it! Extradition will (most likely) occur..

Assange indicted over 'conspiracy with Chelsea Manning in 2010' – DOJ statement
https://www.rt.com/usa/456244-assange-manning-us-indictment/

Josh , Apr 11, 2019 9:18:26 AM | link
We do all hope that Assange's arrest will motivate all those with access to other incriminating data to release those, via Wikileaks or other. The first comment here accurately describes it: (the UK and) the US - and let's add the whole silly 'five eyes' and western front - has become the new Soviet Union. Roles have reversed; it's not about ideology but about power structure.
Here's for Assange to become the Sakharov of our time. However, that would mean we foster the hope or expect that our western hemisphere could birth a Gorbachev-type idealist who can attain power long enough to destroy the power base.
Christian J Chuba , Apr 11, 2019 9:57:12 AM | link
Reading the user comments on Assange's arrest in the 'Washington Post' story, all I can say is that we in the U.S. are a bunch of jingoistic morons. We are exceptionally narcissistic and small minded.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/wikileakss-julian-assange-evicted-from-ecuador-embassy-in-london/2019/04/11/1bd87b58-8f5f-11e8-ae59-01880eac5f1d_story.html?utm_term=.82cc871b70df

Barovsky , Apr 11, 2019 10:22:46 AM | link
I had a feeling this would be the tack the USG would take. Stops them getting tangled up with issues around the 1st Amendment:

WikiLeaks Founder Charged in Computer Hacking Conspiracy
https://www.justice.gov/usao-edva/pr/wikileaks-founder-charged-computer-hacking-conspiracy

WJ , Apr 11, 2019 10:23:00 AM | link
Russ @43,

Indeed. It's almost as if the Snowden--Greenwald affair were an intended or at least foreseen and allowed limited hangout operation one aim of which was to discredit the "irresponsible" leaking of Assange while establishing Greenwald as paradigm for all correct left-libertarian critiques of the US.

On the other hand, if the Snowden--Greenwald *were* simply a limited hangout thing, then it was far more successfully and realistically contrived than most of our current very mediocre intelligence agency operations have been. The rush to apprehend Snowden en route to Central America, the forced detainment of Greenwald's partner in the UK, the MI5-6 destruction of the Guardian servers and subsequent takeover of the newspaper...all these events really happened and clearly were much more serious endeavors than the obvious staged operations like Steele, Russiagate, Skripal which followed after.

So I think that the Snowden--gGreenwald---Poitras thing started as genuine and then was subsequently coopted and controlled via Greenwald and Omidar's Intercept. What I don't know is whether Greenwald entered the Snowden affair already coopted or whether he became so willingly sometime later. For lots of people like Greenwald--achievement oriented, desirous of public fame and respect, interested in obtaining personal wealth and stability--a very "soft" touch is all that's needed by our intelligence ops to arrive at an understanding between them.

Walter , Apr 11, 2019 10:43:37 AM | link
If one were to change the calendar to 1938 or so, and the names to Goebbels et al, one would recognize the character of the criminals.
This is a typical nazi "action" against people who have failed to conceal evidence of major war crimes. Their "crime" is reporting crime.

One sees clearly where the heart of the nazi has always been> and an interesting paper on this @ http://katehon.com/article/hub-world-evil-british-deep-state

The German nazis were curated by CoL and Wall-Street bankers to ruin USSR and loot Russia. As we see this remains a basic, essential, nazi goal of the Anglo-Saxon nazi heartland, er. "Heimat" - England and their servile willing US accomplices.


WJ , Apr 11, 2019 10:50:43 AM | link
apanaz @63,

Alas, states use propaganda for a reason. It works.

Jackrabbit , Apr 11, 2019 11:03:31 AM | link
The real Iraq War criminals are free.

- Madeline Albright: "We think it's worth it" to kill 500,000 children.
- Bush Admin and neocons lied to start the war a war that cost trillions of dollars wasted; thousands of deaths
- Multiple grievous human rights abuses now engraved in memory: Abu Grave; Faluja; Rendition and Torture; Guantanamo, etc.

And the same lousy criminal asshats brought us the Afghanistan debacle, color revolutions, and the Syrian Jihadi proxy war.

As long as the real criminals walk free, they will continue to drive their criminal agenda.

Circe , Apr 11, 2019 11:09:57 AM | link
In the indictment, the government alleges that Assange worked with Chelsea Manning to obtain classified documents. Prosecutors say that Manning accessed classified government files, provided them to Assange, and later worked with Assange in an attempt to crack the password of a classified government network.

The indictment outlines communications between Manning and Assange from the spring of 2010. WikiLeaks later released a major cache of State Department cables, and

Prosecutors also argue that Assange actively encouraged Manning to access files, at one point saying, "curious eyes never run dry in my experience."

Currently, the only charge Assange faces is one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. The maximum penalty for the violation is five years in prison, but the government could bring additional charges against Assange at a later date.

Assange indictment hacking conspiracy

Trump was pissed Obama commuted Manning's sentence. Now he's after two birds with one stone.

bSirius , Apr 11, 2019 11:25:02 AM | link
A friend of mine is a retired intelligence asset. What he has to say may upset lots of you. So be it. Everyone wants heroes but others say no more heroes anymore.

WikiLeaks is accused of releasing the DNC mails via a Russian hack but the Wikileaks organization denies Russia was the source yet declines to offer proof, allowing the false perception to persevere. Why does Wikileaks persevere in concealing the otherwise well known fact it was the assassinated Seth Rich leaked the DNC mails? Is it because Assange's currency as an intelligence agency asset isn't yet entirely exhausted?

Possibility 1) As stated at this website previously, the point of charging Assange with an older crime could be to bury the prime witness (Assange) in maximum security where any testimony threatening John Brennan's CIA invented DNC 'hack' narrative will never come to light.

Possibility 2) This is part of a staged event by the USA's neocon/Christian Zionist alliance in the CIA, working with MOSSAD (recalling Assange's MOSSAD connections attested to by former CIA clandestine services officer Robert Steele) to sink the neoliberal element of the USA's intelligence establishment; where Trump will pardon Assange for Assange's cooperation with the Justice Department in sinking the Obama/Clinton/John Brennan clique behind 'Russiagate' (finally resolving the DNC mails.)

Consider this: certain alternative media stars either fail to realize or selectively black out the fact Julian Assange was a critical gear in the intelligence agency (primarily CIA & MOSSAD) information operations responsible for the so-called 'Arab Spring' leading to not only revolution and counter-revolution in Egypt but also the overthrow of Gaddafi and the Syrian 'civil war.' How do alternative media stars Glen Greenwald, Chris Hedges, Caitlin Johnstone, Vanessa Beeley and Raul Ilargi Meijer (among others), when defending their perception of Assange as a hero, drive that square peg into the round hole of Wikileaks supported the intelligence agency geopolitical engineering called the Arab Spring?

Babyl-on , Apr 11, 2019 11:32:21 AM | link
Many readers here will be hearing from Glenn Greenwald about the arrest of Assange as if He(Greenwald)just loves Julian so much and is just so upset by his arrest. DO NOT BELIEVE HIM. Take the time to look back at what Greenwald has said - such as claiming that Assange is not a journalist because he does ont "curate" the material he receives for anything other than authenticity.

According to Snowden and Greenwald if a journalist does not contact the government in advance and agreed to censor the material for "sources and methods" then they are not journalists.

Glenn Greenwald has made a fortune off Snowden - including $250 million from Pierre Omidyar an oligarch for The Intercept which clearly supports the oligarchy and its interests. Greenwald has stated clearly in the past that he does not consider Wikileaks a journalistic operation. Greenwald still has perhaps thousands of Snowden documents which he refuses to release - then he gets $250 million from the oligarchy. Sure there is "journalism" as long as the CIA can review what you publish first. One of the founders of the Intercept is Laura Pordris who produced a psyco-hit piece on Assange.

In this environment if you Trust these people without question you are risking being mislead. Like a good propagandist Greenwald is out now singing the tune which will gain him trust so he can slip in the propaganda effectively when the time comes.

[Apr 12, 2019] It appears Assange was able to trigger the kill switch. There's been a massive data dump at Wikileaks

Apr 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

Anon [417] Disclaimer , says: April 12, 2019 at 7:56 pm GMT

Just for the record, it appears Assange was able to trigger the kill switch. There's been a massive data dump at Wikileaks:

https://file.wikileaks.org/file/

Sparkon , says: April 12, 2019 at 8:29 pm GMT
@Anon J ust for a more important record -- no surprise here -- my quick scan of the index of file names of that "massive data dump at Wikileaks" found quite a few files about Scientology, one about tuition increase at "uofa," another concerning Hawaii's announcement about Obama's birth certificate, and a "yes-we-can mp4," but nothing at all about the World Trade Center or 9/11 that I could find.

[Apr 12, 2019] Assange, Snowden and Greenwald

The arrest probably means that WikiLeaks was thoroughly infiltrated and the US authorities are sure that there are no "unexploded bombs" in their arsenal.
Apr 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
WJ , Apr 11, 2019 10:23:00 AM | link

Russ @43,

Indeed. It's almost as if the Snowden--Greenwald affair were an intended or at least foreseen and allowed limited hangout operation one aim of which was to discredit the "irresponsible" leaking of Assange while establishing Greenwald as paradigm for all correct left-libertarian critiques of the US.

On the other hand, if the Snowden--Greenwald *were* simply a limited hangout thing, then it was far more successfully and realistically contrived than most of our current very mediocre intelligence agency operations have been. The rush to apprehend Snowden en route to Central America, the forced detainment of Greenwald's partner in the UK, the MI5-6 destruction of the Guardian servers and subsequent takeover of the newspaper...all these events really happened and clearly were much more serious endeavors than the obvious staged operations like Steele, Russiagate, Skripal which followed after.

So I think that the Snowden--gGreenwald---Poitras thing started as genuine and then was subsequently coopted and controlled via Greenwald and Omidar's Intercept. What I don't know is whether Greenwald entered the Snowden affair already coopted or whether he became so willingly sometime later. For lots of people like Greenwald--achievement oriented, desirous of public fame and respect, interested in obtaining personal wealth and stability--a very "soft" touch is all that's needed by our intelligence ops to arrive at an understanding between them.


Russ , Apr 11, 2019 8:37:22 AM | link

Posted by: SteveK9 | Apr 11, 2019 8:29:52 AM | 33

"I've wondered if they have threatened Greenwald and he is withholding the information, to keep himself out of some dungeon somewhere."

No one needs to threaten Greenwald to get him to withhold information. He withholds out of elitist conviction. In his way he's just as much of an elite gatekeeper as anyone at any MSM outlet. (And really an outfit like the Intercept is just a thinly veiled extension of the MSM.)

It's amazing how for many people, even going to work for a predatory billionaire as Greenwald has, or collaborating as part of that billionaire's project as Snowden has, doesn't automatically peg one as a system stooge.

GeorgeSmiley , Apr 11, 2019 8:46:18 AM | link
@SteveK9 #33

1. Information "piracy" may have to take to the high seas.
2. Maybe it would be best to release the rest of Snowden's documents now. Tit for tat.

Posted by: Cynica | Apr 11, 2019 8:38:05 AM | 35


This WILL NOT happen. Greenwald, his billionaire backer (who owns the docs technically as crazy as that sounds) and his website are all an example of the "acceptable" counter narrative. Greenwald should deserve no respect, he chose money and fame over integrity. That much has become clear. I think the same of Scahill and a few others, though I hear little from him now.

Sad days. Money will buy a LOT of people. Even those we believe it won't as they are "principled" or once carried conviction . Hell, I imagine most of us are vulnerable to that as well.

Zanon , Apr 11, 2019 9:11:08 AM | link
There we have it! Extradition will (most likely) occur..

Assange indicted over 'conspiracy with Chelsea Manning in 2010' – DOJ statement
https://www.rt.com/usa/456244-assange-manning-us-indictment/

Josh , Apr 11, 2019 9:18:26 AM | link
We do all hope that Assange's arrest will motivate all those with access to other incriminating data to release those, via Wikileaks or other. The first comment here accurately describes it: (the UK and) the US - and let's add the whole silly 'five eyes' and western front - has become the new Soviet Union. Roles have reversed; it's not about ideology but about power structure.
Here's for Assange to become the Sakharov of our time. However, that would mean we foster the hope or expect that our western hemisphere could birth a Gorbachev-type idealist who can attain power long enough to destroy the power base.
Jackrabbit , Apr 11, 2019 11:03:31 AM | link
The real Iraq War criminals are free.

- Madeline Albright: "We think it's worth it" to kill 500,000 children.
- Bush Admin and neocons lied to start the war a war that cost trillions of dollars wasted; thousands of deaths
- Multiple grievous human rights abuses now engraved in memory: Abu Grave; Faluja; Rendition and Torture; Guantanamo, etc.

And the same lousy criminal asshats brought us the Afghanistan debacle, color revolutions, and the Syrian Jihadi proxy war.

As long as the real criminals walk free, they will continue to drive their criminal agenda.

Babyl-on , Apr 11, 2019 11:32:21 AM | link
Many readers here will be hearing from Glenn Greenwald about the arrest of Assange as if He(Greenwald)just loves Julian so much and is just so upset by his arrest. DO NOT BELIEVE HIM. Take the time to look back at what Greenwald has said - such as claiming that Assange is not a journalist because he does ont "curate" the material he receives for anything other than authenticity.

According to Snowden and Greenwald if a journalist does not contact the government in advance and agreed to censor the material for "sources and methods" then they are not journalists.

Glenn Greenwald has made a fortune off Snowden - including $250 million from Pierre Omidyar an oligarch for The Intercept which clearly supports the oligarchy and its interests. Greenwald has stated clearly in the past that he does not consider Wikileaks a journalistic operation. Greenwald still has perhaps thousands of Snowden documents which he refuses to release - then he gets $250 million from the oligarchy. Sure there is "journalism" as long as the CIA can review what you publish first. One of the founders of the Intercept is Laura Pordris who produced a psyco-hit piece on Assange.

In this environment if you Trust these people without question you are risking being mislead. Like a good propagandist Greenwald is out now singing the tune which will gain him trust so he can slip in the propaganda effectively when the time comes.

George Lane , Apr 11, 2019 12:00:09 PM | link
Kevin Gosztola and Aaron Mate have good twitter threads analysing the indictment:

https://twitter.com/kgosztola/status/1116341233289396225

https://twitter.com/aaronjmate/status/1116330261321527299

john , Apr 11, 2019 12:59:00 PM | link
But the case against Assange is not about justice. His publication of state secrets was obviously an act of journalism and free speech. But the deep state was embarrassed and demands revenge

Assange gave us graphic video of the US Army shredding a couple of unarmed Iraqi journalists (and others) with 30mm canon fire. memory that can't be deleted.

...

hey, ready for another sclerotic investigation?

Circe , Apr 11, 2019 1:01:58 PM | link
Here it is:

Wikileaks veteran cooperates with grand jury

AriusArmenian , Apr 11, 2019 1:57:51 PM | link
I will repeat what others here have already said:

The US == USSR.

As a US citizen I loath the mendacity and actions of the elites that have left us with nothing to hope for or believe in for some decent future with the US striding across the world sowing fear, hatred, and war. The reality of the depraved elites is such that I am usually right to first assume they are lying whatever they say. This all applies to the UK as well.

John Smith , Apr 11, 2019 2:05:58 PM | link
Trump Says WikiLeaks 141 Times On The Campaign Trail
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H26hVPoCO-o

Did Trump really mention WikiLeaks over 160 times in the last month of the election cycle?
https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/apr/21/jackie-speier/did-trump-really-mention-wikileaks-over-160-times-/
-------------------------

Christina Wilkie :

Trump just now: "I know nothing about Wikileaks. It's not my thing."

Trump Oct 2016: "WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks."

Trump Oct 2016: "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove,"

Trump Nov 2016: "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks."

psychohistorian , Apr 11, 2019 2:26:31 PM | link Circe , Apr 11, 2019 2:29:22 PM | link
Here's the REAL Donald Trump on Wikileaks.:

https://youtu.be/V-pv_3i-dOs

Zanon , Apr 11, 2019 2:32:23 PM | link
'UK, you are America's bitch': Pamela Anderson launches scathing tweetstorm following Assange arrest
https://www.rt.com/news/456243-pamela-anderson-assange-arrest-betrayal/

Damn right but its not only UK but the whole of the western world that have been silent if not supportive of the arrest!

SlapHappy , Apr 11, 2019 2:46:20 PM | link
Here's the guy I was referring to, Circe:

WikiLeaks Editor goes missing in Norway

Zanon , Apr 11, 2019 3:28:40 PM | link
A bit off topic, or is it...

2016: Pompeo wants to execute Snowden
https://youtu.be/DZxu73OJHkI?t=26

karlof1 , Apr 11, 2019 3:55:53 PM | link
Corbyn breaks silence on Assange :

"The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government."

Interesting comments in thread. I think a few here owe mea culpas.

karlof1 , Apr 11, 2019 4:10:06 PM | link
AOC on Assange only went as far as retweeting this:

"This is a real test for the American media. Can they separate their personals feelings toward Assange from the question of whether it is okay to prosecute a publisher for publishing? Matt is right, this is extremely dangerous."

The above was made in reply to Matthew Yglesias who clearly hates Assange:

"Assange sucks but prosecuting publishers seems extremely dangerous and troubling to me." And he calls himself a journalist. He has as much honor as Moreno. The resulting threads are educational and revelatory. Lots of very confused, screwed up minds showing few morals mixed in with a few good eggs.

karlof1 , Apr 11, 2019 4:27:01 PM | link
Senator Mike Gravel & 2020 candidate on Assaange :

"Today, I stand with Julian Assange and Wikileaks."

Please see tweet for entire statement. As with other threads on this topic, the comments are educational and revelatory. It's rather amazing how many utterly weak minds are in positions of responsibility. Some have lapped up so much propaganda Koolaid that they're now delusional.

jayc , Apr 11, 2019 5:30:56 PM | link
Wired has a piece working through the indictment:
https://www.wired.com/story/julian-assange-arrest-indictment-hacking-cfaa/amp

The statute of limitation is overcome by referring this as a "terrorism" case.

The indictment is perhaps selected to ensure the extradition, with further charges waiting once Assange is in possession of the USA.

teri , Apr 11, 2019 5:49:11 PM | link
To those posting about Glenn Greenwald; I don't know what Greenwald really stands for any more and no longer read his stuff, but you might be interested in this pathetic and predictable end to the Greenwald/Omidyar conservatorship of the Snowden documents. A month ago, Greenwald announced via twitter that The Intercept/First Look was now officially shutting down access to the Snowden archives and has laid off the group of employees that secured and curated the cache. (It cost First Look $400,000/year to maintain the files, which is 1.5% of its 2019 budget.)

Greenwald did not even consult Snowden on this decision. So, without much fanfare, the cache is simply disappeared, without ever being fully opened to the public, although Greenwald claims in his tweet that he's looking for the "right partner – an academic institution or research facility – that has the funds to robustly publish." (Which, one might have supposed, would be the sort of funds that a news site such as The Intercept might enjoy given that they have the resources of their own billionaire founder behind them.)

They did not allow Poitras to attend the company meeting held on the subject after they made this announcement, and kept her in the dark until the announcement was rolled out. Poitras, recall, also has a copy of the archives and was one of the founding editors of Intercept. She is objecting to the move. Although given that the Intercept has merely sat on the cache for so long, it hardly matters now.

I thought from the beginning of the Intercept/First Look/Omidyar site that the eventual disappearance of the files was the very purpose behind Omidyar buying off Greenwald (and his valuable Snowden material along with him) in the first place.
Anyway, poof go the Snowden files, without most of the material ever being released to the public.

Two articles on this:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-intercept-shuts-down-access-to-snowden-trove

https://www.thedailybeast.com/laura-poitras-co-founder-of-the-intercept-barred-from-company-meeting-after-snowden-archive-shutdown

Zachary Smith , Apr 11, 2019 6:42:29 PM | link
Jonathan Cook: " The 7 years of lies about Assange won't stop now"
There will be no indignation at the BBC, or the Guardian, or CNN. Just curious, impassive reporting of Assange's fate.

And that is because these journalists, politicians and experts never really believed anything they said. They knew all along that the US wanted to silence Assange and to crush Wikileaks. They knew that all along and they didn't care. In fact, they happily conspired in paving the way for today's kidnapping of Assange.

They did so because they are not there to represent the truth, or to stand up for ordinary people, or to protect a free press, or even to enforce the rule of law. They don't care about any of that. They are there to protect their careers, and the system that rewards them with money and influence. They don't want an upstart like Assange kicking over their applecart.

Razor , Apr 11, 2019 6:49:15 PM | link
@bSirius 80

In fact it seems to me the reason he is being changed with conspiracy is so that they can avoid defence claims that his publishing information is covered by the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution. Any worthwhile lawyer would paste it on thick for the jury that convicting Assange for publication would be a deep betrayal of their much beloved Constitution. It also means that the information on war crimes in the famous video would be once more broadcast to the world, and more importantly to the jury. Imagine what a fiasco and embarrassment US Govt would face if after all the fuss, Assange was acquitted by a US Jury?

Furthermore,in common law countries, such as the UK, a typical court condition of agreement to extradite is that the accused will only be charged with crimes exhibited in the extradition warrant. That being the case, the maximum sentence he would face is 5 and a half years I believe.

arby , Apr 11, 2019 7:27:21 PM | link
Chris Hedges has a good rant on this affair-

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-martyrdom-of-julian-assange/

ADKC , Apr 11, 2019 7:41:25 PM | link
Some posters here criticise Asssange/Wikileaks for not being critical of Israel or supporting Catalonia independence but the Wikileaks website isn't really like that.

Wikileaks is a non-redacted searchable database of documents that have been leaked. Most of these documents are dry and it really depends on what you a looking for and what you find. It is rare to find a single document that by itself clearly reveals a scandal or a plot of some sort. Also, there is no editorial from Wikileaks. It is up to the user to search, find and interpret.

For instance, I just did a search and found a US cable dated 30th Jan 2008 which describes Erdogan's concerns about an armed deep state extra-legal grouping which has a suspected overlap with a cold war Gladio group and which is protected by the Turkish judiciary. So, obviously, subversion was an issue long before the attempted coup in 2016, but it's up to me to make a story out of it.

There is plenty of stuff about Israel, for instance there seems to be quite a number of incidents concerning Obama and/or Clinton trying to get Netanyahu to apologise for something that matters very little and Netanyahu invariable refusing.

The easiest way for a body, such as the CIA, to manipulate Wikileaks is just be selective about what information is leaked.

If you're looking for dirt on Israel, Clinton, Trump, Erdogan, Putin, Catalonia, etc. just go and look for it.

Jezabeel , Apr 11, 2019 8:58:48 PM | link
Wikileaks came up with quat on 9/11. Why?
haze , Apr 11, 2019 9:01:04 PM | link
Bravo Tulsi Gabbard!

"Today's arrest and indictment of Julian Assange undermines freedom of the press, and seeks to silence whistleblowers and the journalists who publish their information. This sets a dangerous precedent of criminal prosecution of journalists or news organizations who publish information the government doesn't like, while also opening the door for other countries to extradite US journalists who publish their country's secrets," said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. "We must protect whistleblowers and freedom of the press, and exercise oversight over our law enforcement and intelligence agencies to ensure our Constitutional rights are upheld."

https://gabbard.house.gov/news/press-releases/rep-tulsi-gabbard-assange-arrest-sets-dangerous-precedent-threatens-freedom

Piotr Berman , Apr 11, 2019 11:29:04 PM | link
Dear Sacha,

"why do you think Assange supported the invasion and destruction of Syria"

This is very simple. Back at the time of Arab Spring, most of the Western opinion, be it left or right, supported overthrowing a dictator. Assange, for better or worse, was in the lopsided majority, hardly strange.

"how do you explain Assange´s strong support for the Independence of Catalonia...."

This was not a majority opinion, but not rare. More importantly, tracing it to the needs of "deep state" is very speculative. On the other hand, the rage of established political circles against the very idea of Wikileaks was palpable, and what Wikileaks did was perceived as "very damaging". Even if independence of Catalonia were in some mysterious ways a priority of the sinister and hardly known deep state that you postulate, Assange had scant influence on that happening. So the putative plan of using leaks to Wikileaks to build up its stature and to use that to further the causes of fragmenting Syria and Spain would be weird indeed: huge losses for speculative gains.

One has to understand the nature of the rage against Wikileaks. Any conceivable deep stater depends on secrecy. To them, secrecy is like air for birds and water for fish -- a necessary element that makes their ecological niche habitable. An organization that facilitates dissemination of secret is, to them, a blasphemous existence.

One has to understand that what we call "deep state" is hardly secret in the outline. Its member go back and forth from private sector (corporations, think tanks, media, academic gig etc.) and the government leaving a large visible trail that is in the public view. That said, they need many secrets because the wide public in democratic countries needs to have pure, trusting, uncomplicated minds. Like making children, implementation of most of policies requires some f...ng activity

imo , Apr 12, 2019 2:08:58 AM | link
Remember George Orwell's "1984" describes a dismal future when most of the world population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and media propaganda. Interesting that Orwell's arch protagonist (Emmanuel Goldstein) and his "Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism" sees the three "opposing" ideologies as functionally identical and each superstate being powerful enough that even shifting alliances (of two against one) only results in a continuing stalemate dynamic.

Are we there yet? I think Julian Assange might be feeling it so and this latest saga looks like an ominous tipping point indicator for those who think they live in a western democracy with press freedom to hold government (by the people) accountable.

truth seeker , Apr 12, 2019 2:23:44 AM | link
Moral to all the truth-seekers of the planet - if you look for salvation, then only in Russia.....

[Apr 12, 2019] Edward Snowden and Julian Assange Betrayed

Feb 24, 2014 | homment.com
Correspondence with Edward Snowden, and the key to freedom for Julian Assange

A member of our Belgian Jewish community is in touch with Edward Snowden in Russia, both sharing the role of being significant global dissidents who used to live in the USA.

We are publishing here a copy of some of that correspondence between those two figures, as it discusses the likelihood of how both Edward Snowden and Julian Assange are being betrayed and actively harmed by the American lawyers and US-UK media companies claiming to 'represent' them, including America's ACLU (America's Civil Liberties Union), the UK Guardian and New York Times newspapers, and Glenn Greenwald.

All these groups and journalists, are apparently hiding thousands of pages of legal files, about the corruption and bribery of US federal (national) judges who are the same judges who would put Julian Assange or Edward Snowden on trial ... even though these lawyers and journalists all know that exposing the crimes of the bribed US judges, is the quick key to releasing Julian Assange from threats that confine him to his refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, and key to more safety and freedom for Snowden as well.

US Attorney General Eric Holder is accused of sponsoring criminal acts of deception against the UK, Sweden, Russia and other countries, hiding 'smoking gun' evidence of US judge bribery, in order to harm and destroy both Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. Google Inc has agreed to censor and hoax the internet and hide dozens of web pages about this.

This bribery is said to be funded by Britain's Pearson plc, with the Guardian and New York Times accused of accepting Pearson-funded bribes to print fake 'news' to obstruct and pervert justice so that the UK will not prosecute Pearson's bribery of US high judges and government.

Mr Snowden is also facing the terrifying possibility that his name is being abused by these parties, New York Times, Guardian and Greenwald, for the sake of entrapping other dissidents and whistleblowers into 'trusting' these journalists, who might then convey dissident names to the US regime in order to silence and murder them. It seems possible the Guardian and New York Times have already given Snowden files back to the US regime.

The correspondence with Edward Snowden makes reference to the police file with several EU countries, who are beginning investigations and prosecutions, starting in Finland, of the CIA-tied Wikipedia website, for fundraising fraud ... that police file significantly discusses the evidence of bribery of US federal judges who are the same judges who would put Edward Snowden and Julian Assange on trial in America, and how Wikipedia, actually an American CIA-controlled 'Trojan horse' for inserting lies on targeted topics, has been used to plant lies about that judicial bribery - the police dossier text is here:

'CIA Wikipedia fraud Finland police report'
http://homment.com/FB3PjBQ2DF

Here is a screenshot of a Google Inc 'search results' page, with tiny text at the bottom admitting that Google is censoring a large number of search results, about Edward Snowden's correspondent, a major witness to the crimes involving the same US judges who would put Edward Snowden or Julian Assange on trial:

'Live Photo: Google Inc. Caught Censoring EU Search Results on US corruption'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22325431@N05/6100668211/in/photostream

- Jewish Community of Flanders

[Apr 11, 2019] Vindicated At Last, Thank You General Barr by Larry C Johnson

Notable quotes:
"... Attorney General Barr stated the obvious--law enforcement and intelligence agencies spied on Donald Trump's campaign ..."
"... I had learned in December 2016 from friends inside the intelligence community that there was collaboration with the Brits to collect and disseminate intel on persons on the Trump campaign. With Trump's tweet making news, I was invited by RT (i.e., Russia Today) to come on one of their news programs and discuss the matter that same afternoon. ..."
"... I then shared what I had learned about British intelligence ops to intercept U.S. communications on people affiliated with the Trump campagin with members of VIPS—i.e., Veteran Intelligence Professionals. One of these colleagues shared my analysis without my knowledge with Judge Andrew Napolitano. ..."
"... The Brits reportedly initiated collection on their own. The “collection” from those intercepted conversations and emails were shared with the Obama Administration through normal intelligence channels—i.e., principally the NSA. It is important to note that the Brits targeting and collecting on Americans is not illegal. We are foreigners as far as they are concerned. They can collect anything. ..."
"... The Independent ..."
"... I felt sorry for the Judge and knew he was being railroaded. But I did not expect a phone call from him, asking for my help. He called and asked me to help. Prior to the phone call on Thursday, March 16, 2017, I had never spoken to the Judge. We were not even casual acquaintances. ..."
"... Grynbaum is a classic example of what is wrong with the journalism today. For starters, he manufactured the “Frederick Forsyth” quote. I said no such thing. Besides fabricating a quote, he refused to address the substance of my information regarding the activities and conduct of British GCHQ. Instead, he went for the “Whitey” smear. ..."
"... This was a dark period for me. People I thought I could rely on abandoned me. I was on my own. But not for long. Rescue came via Judge Napolitano and an unlikely source, The Guardian—a left leaning British newspaper. The Judge was brought back on air at Fox on March 29, 2017 and stood his ground: ..."
"... On Wednesday morning, Napolitano returned to the network, making an appearance on “Fox & Friends.” His first order of business? Doubling down on the claims that got him suspended in the first place. (From the Washington Post, 29 March 2017, Amy Wang). ..."
"... Two weeks later, on April 13 th , The Guardian not only confirmed what I had said about GCHQ (note, in some of my on air interviews I stupidly and mistakenly called the British spy agence GHCQ) but identified other countries as well who were collecting intelligence, i.e., intercepting communications : ..."
"... There is a simple bottomline—My information was accurate and reliable. Also, I had the story before anyone else. Journalists and pundits were unwilling to listen. ..."
"... Former national security adviser Susan Rice privately told House investigators that she unmasked the identities of senior Trump officials to understand why the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates was in New York late last year, multiple sources told CNN. ..."
"... Do you understand what this means? If you have never had a clearance and had access to NSA material then you probably fail to understand how profound this is. Let me explain. There were multiple intelligence reports released by the NSA. I am pretty certain all were classified as Top Secret. Some of these may have been generated by NSA, but most, according to the Guardian piece I mentioned above, were from foreign liaison. The names of the American citizens were initially obscured--e.g., Subject 1 or Subject 2. Hence the "request" to unmask. In other words, identify the nameless person by name. That, boys and girls, is known as spying. ..."
"... Bill Barr is now getting the Larry Johnson treatment for daring to speak a simple, self-evident truth. One big difference. Barr can set in motion the legal process to indict and prosecute those American traitors in the law enforcement and intelligence community who violated their oath to uphold the Constitution and used their positions to launch a political witch-hunt. Stay tuned. ..."
"... Thank you for this clarifying account. I used to read NoQuarter back in the day, and had been mystified when it was taken down. Now I understand, and am glad that Col. Lang has facilitated your return to blogging. ..."
Apr 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Attorney General Barr stated the obvious--law enforcement and intelligence agencies spied on Donald Trump's campaign -- and touched off an incredible display of stupidity and obtuseness among the Trump haters. Me? I was cheering because Bill Barr confirmed what I said two years ago. Unfortunately, for daring to speak a simple truth in the spring of 2017 I immediately was a target of the hate Trump media mob.

I was attacked for telling the public the truth that foreign intelligence--the British to be precise--were spying on the Trump campaign and passing this info along to US intelligence. But the Brits were not acting unilaterally. There was full cooperation and activity by U.S. intelligence agencies and the FBI. Another word for this is "COLLUSION."

My speaking out brought about a furious counter attack by the media. People inside the Department of Justice reached out to my business partner and denounced me as a crank and conspiracy theorist. Because of that backlash I took down my blog, NoQuarter, and "retired" from blogging. Thanks to generosity of Colonel Lang, I eventually climbed back onto the blogging saddle.

Let me take you back to the events that unfolded after Donald Trump tweeted on March 4, 2017 that he was being wiretapped by the FBI. The media establishment erupted in laughter and saw this as just one more piece of evidence proving Trump's mental instability. But I had a different take.

I had learned in December 2016 from friends inside the intelligence community that there was collaboration with the Brits to collect and disseminate intel on persons on the Trump campaign. With Trump's tweet making news, I was invited by RT (i.e., Russia Today) to come on one of their news programs and discuss the matter that same afternoon.

https://youtu.be/gPVkHGmw-7A

Worth noting that my appearance on RT made no waves and generated no pushback. That tells you everything you need to know about RT’s alleged influence over public and punditry opinion as an alleged arm of Russian propaganda.

I then shared what I had learned about British intelligence ops to intercept U.S. communications on people affiliated with the Trump campagin with members of VIPS—i.e., Veteran Intelligence Professionals. One of these colleagues shared my analysis without my knowledge with Judge Andrew Napolitano.

Napolitano went on Fox on Monday, March 13, 2017 and declared:

On Monday, Fox News Channel judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano alleged that three intelligence sources had confirmed to him that the Obama administration used GCHQ (Britain's NSA) to spy on President Trump during the 2016 election so that there would be no paper trail.

"Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the 'chain of command' to conduct the surveillance on Trump," he said. "Obama didn’t use the NSA, he didn’t use the CIA, he didn’t use the FBI, and he didn’t use the Department of Justice."

"What happened to the guy who ordered this? Resigned three days after Trump took office," he added.

The Judge got some key nuances wrong. Obama, to my knowledge, did not ask the Brits/GCHQ to do anything on his behalf. The Brits reportedly initiated collection on their own. The “collection” from those intercepted conversations and emails were shared with the Obama Administration through normal intelligence channels—i.e., principally the NSA. It is important to note that the Brits targeting and collecting on Americans is not illegal. We are foreigners as far as they are concerned. They can collect anything.

The Judge’s comments set off a firestorm. In a matter of hours, Fox News Corporation, responding to pressure from the British Government, took Napolitano off the air. The Independent, a British newspaper, reported as follows:

A legal analyst who claimed British intelligence could have helped spy on Donald Trump during his bid to become US president has been taken off the air.

Andrew Napolitano has been pulled from the Fox News Channel, a source at the organisation said.

The Independent understands that Mr Napolitano is not expected to appear on the Fox News Channel anytime in the near future.

The analyst's claim that GCHQ had helped former president Barack Obama bug Trump Tower was cited last week by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, sparking a diplomatic incident.

I felt sorry for the Judge and knew he was being railroaded. But I did not expect a phone call from him, asking for my help. He called and asked me to help. Prior to the phone call on Thursday, March 16, 2017, I had never spoken to the Judge. We were not even casual acquaintances.

Judge Napolitano, clearly smarting over the public lashing he was receiving, asked if I would be willing to speak to a New York Times reporter, Michael Grynbaum, about the matter. I agreed to do so. That was a mistake. Here is how Grynbaum reported what I did not say:

Mr. Napolitano also has a taste for conspiracy theories, which led him to Larry C. Johnson, a former intelligence officer best known for spreading a hoax about Michelle Obama. . . .

But Mr. Johnson, who was himself once a Fox News contributor, said in a telephone interview that Mr. Napolitano called him on Friday and requested that he speak to The New York Times. Mr. Johnson said he was one of the sources for Mr. Napolitano’s claim about British intelligence.

Mr. Johnson became infamous in political circles after he spread false rumors in 2008 that Michelle Obama had been videotaped using a slur against Caucasians. In the interview on Friday, Mr. Johnson acknowledged his notoriety, but said that his knowledge of surveillance of Mr. Trump came from sources in the American intelligence community. Mr. Napolitano, he said, heard about his information through an intermediary.

“It sounds like a Frederick Forsyth novel,” Mr. Johnson said.

Grynbaum is a classic example of what is wrong with the journalism today. For starters, he manufactured the “Frederick Forsyth” quote. I said no such thing. Besides fabricating a quote, he refused to address the substance of my information regarding the activities and conduct of British GCHQ. Instead, he went for the “Whitey” smear.

If you are not familiar with that episode, permit me to refresh your memory or create a new one for you. It is a simple story—I allowed myself to be used by Clinton campaign, Sid Blumenthal in particular, to spread a rumor that turned out to be untrue.

I was an ardent supporter of Hillary in 2007 and 2008. I had previously briefed her in 2007 on the war in Iraq and found her, at least in a one-on-one setting, to be very intelligent and very well informed. But that was then. Her subsequent conduct as the Secretary of State, especially how she mishandled the Benghazi incident, ended any chance that I would ever support her for any role in which the lives of American military, diplomats or intelligence officers are on the line.

After that briefing, I found myself as an unofficial member of the Clinton for President team via my friendship with Sid Blumenthal. I had enormous respect for Sid and his wife. I thought they were good people. The only thing I now know for certain is that they are fiercely loyal to the Clintons.

As the contest between Hillary and Barach Obama heated up, Sid would call me from time to time with suggestions of articles I could write or pieces that could be run on my now defunct blog--NoQuarterUSa.net. I was more than happy to help. I believed then (and have been vindicated by the passage of time) that Barack Obama was just a pretty face with no significant experience and he would be a terrible President.

Then came the fateful phone call from Sid Blumenthal in late May 2008. He told me he had learned of a tape that was circulating in restricted circles that featured Michelle Obama using the derogatory phrase, “whitey.” Armed with that tidbit of gossip I turned to an old friend in the media community and he too confirmed he had heard the same thing (stupidly, I never considered the possibility that Sid was spreading this far and wide and that I was getting blowback).

When I mentioned the possible existence of this tape to a Republican friend of mine and former CIA colleague in California, I was shocked when he said, “I have a friend who has seen and heard the tape. That was enough for me. Based on these two sources, I wrote the story up at NoQuarterUSA.net.

It went viral. But nothing surfaced. I became uneasy. So I went back to Sid and pressed him for more information. He in turn sent me to David Brock of Media Matters. (I had met Brock previously at the Blumenthal home watching election returns in 2006.) Brock told me that the information came from female friend who insisted she had seen and heard the slur by Michelle Obama.

The matter became more confused when the Obama campaign sent out an email to their campaign workers claiming that Michelle said “WHY DID HE” rather than the pejorative, “WHITEY.” That led me to believe there was substance to the Blumenthal/Brock rumor.

Ultimately the story died out. No tape surfaced, but I bore the blame as the “Whitey” guy. With the benefit of hindsight I now understand that I was an unwitting but willing tool in a David Brock dirty trick. No such tape ever surfaced. I can only conclude that the desperation of the Clinton campaign to win was so extreme that they would stoop to use a racist meme to smear Obama.

I regret what I did in writing the story up. But it did not originate with me. It started with David Brock. Which brings me back to the Napolitano affair.

After Grynbaun identified me as one of Judge Napolitano’s sources, it was open season on me. Not one of the media outlets—except for CNN and the Politico — even took the time to reach out to me and ask me to tell my side of the story. Instead, they recirculated talking points from Media Matters.

Here is what I told Brian Stelter during this period:

https://youtu.be/NRxuzxcOLdM

Talk about Chutzpah. David Brock started the Whitey rumor (I will happily take a polygraph on that point) and then has the audacity to attack me and dismiss my information (via Media Matters) simply because I had passed on rumors where he was the original source:

Media Matters first traced Napolitano's wiretapping conspiracy back to an interview on the state-sponsored Russian television network RT with the former CIA analyst and discredited conspiracy theorist Larry C. Johnson, who previously promoted false claims that Michelle Obama used a racial slur against Caucasian people.

This was a dark period for me. People I thought I could rely on abandoned me. I was on my own. But not for long. Rescue came via Judge Napolitano and an unlikely source, The Guardian—a left leaning British newspaper. The Judge was brought back on air at Fox on March 29, 2017 and stood his ground:

On Wednesday morning, Napolitano returned to the network, making an appearance on “Fox & Friends.” His first order of business? Doubling down on the claims that got him suspended in the first place. (From the Washington Post, 29 March 2017, Amy Wang).

Two weeks later, on April 13th, The Guardian not only confirmed what I had said about GCHQ (note, in some of my on air interviews I stupidly and mistakenly called the British spy agence GHCQ) but identified other countries as well who were collecting intelligence, i.e., intercepting communications:

Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, the Guardian has been told.

GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added.

Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said.

There is a simple bottomline—My information was accurate and reliable. Also, I had the story before anyone else. Journalists and pundits were unwilling to listen.

We know a lot more today then we did in the Spring of 2017. George Papadopoulos was targeted by a MI-6 covert action designed to portray him as a lackey of Russia and promoting Russia to the Trump campaign. Carter Page was spied upon under four separate FISA warrants that were based on the fictitious Steel Dossier. And a CIA "contractor", Stefan Halper, played the role of an agitator trying to lure Papadopoulos into implicating himself in a Russian plot.

And then we have the unmasking of American citizens. Here is but one example:

Former national security adviser Susan Rice privately told House investigators that she unmasked the identities of senior Trump officials to understand why the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates was in New York late last year, multiple sources told CNN.

The New York meeting preceded a separate effort by the UAE to facilitate a back-channel communication between Russia and the incoming Trump White House.

Do you understand what this means? If you have never had a clearance and had access to NSA material then you probably fail to understand how profound this is. Let me explain. There were multiple intelligence reports released by the NSA. I am pretty certain all were classified as Top Secret. Some of these may have been generated by NSA, but most, according to the Guardian piece I mentioned above, were from foreign liaison. The names of the American citizens were initially obscured--e.g., Subject 1 or Subject 2. Hence the "request" to unmask. In other words, identify the nameless person by name. That, boys and girls, is known as spying.

Bill Barr is now getting the Larry Johnson treatment for daring to speak a simple, self-evident truth. One big difference. Barr can set in motion the legal process to indict and prosecute those American traitors in the law enforcement and intelligence community who violated their oath to uphold the Constitution and used their positions to launch a political witch-hunt. Stay tuned.

JerseyJeffersonian , 12 hours ago

Mr. Johnson,

Thank you for this clarifying account. I used to read NoQuarter back in the day, and had been mystified when it was taken down. Now I understand, and am glad that Col. Lang has facilitated your return to blogging.

And just in time to see some of your tormentors - and unsurprisingly the very same tormentors of our constitutional republic - be (hopefully) called to account for their actions.

The Lame Stream Media have much for which to answer concerning their part in all of this; they have abrogated their role as even-handed watchdogs through their open-eyed and monolithic dissemination of hyper-partisan, cultural marxist agitprop, much of it focused on character assassination of those who did not share their beliefs, and yet more noxiously by throttling the expression of contrary argumentation across the board.

But the genuine opprobium should be reserved for those officers and officials, sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution, who determinedly worked to instead disregard and undermine the Constitution, and the constitutional republic which it undergirds.

[Apr 07, 2019] When you couple the voice of the Washington Post with a company so deeply involved with discovering and archiving detailed files and information about individuals and politicians across America you command a great deal of muscle and clout

Apr 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Let it Go , 13 hours ago link

Amazon is rotten to the core. Already no stranger to sweetheart deals, Amazon which has lined the pockets of its CEO Jeff Bezos at taxpayer expense is quietly moving in a direction that is destined to create even more controversy. Amazon through its lobbying efforts is on the verge of winning a multibillion-dollar advantage over rivals by taking over large swaths of federal procurement.

When you couple the voice of the Washington Post with a company so deeply involved with discovering and archiving detailed files and information about individuals and politicians across America you command a great deal of muscle and clout. The article below delves into why it is time to face the fact Amazon needs to be curtailed.

http://Amazon Has Become A Threat To Our Democracy And Capitalism html

[Apr 05, 2019] "Free" Markets and the Attack on Democracy

Notable quotes:
"... Media consolidation itself has played an enormous role in driving up the cost of political campaigns. How did we get to this second Gilded Age and what lessons can we infer regarding our democratic prospects? ..."
"... Notre Dame University 's Philip Mirowski Never Let a Serious Crisis G to Waste has provided a careful and detailed analysis of this neoliberal movement in American politics. ..."
"... Adam Smith and JS Mill saw markets as non-coercive means to allocate resources and produce goods and services. Neoliberals regarded markets as perfect information processing machines that could provide optimal solutions to all social problems ..."
"... Market is miraculous and a boon to many, but paradoxically only a strong state can assure its arrival and maintenance. Sometimes it may appear that the market is yielding iniquitous or unsustainable outcomes, which my lead to premature or disastrous rejection of its wisdom ..."
"... The neoliberal deification of markets has many parents. This mindset encouraged and was encouraged by a revolt against democracy. The wealthy had always been concerned that a propertyless working class might vote to expropriate them, but neoliberalism gave them further reason to bypass democracy. Markets were seen as better indicators of truth than democratic elections, though that point was seldom expressed as directly ..."
"... Here is FA Hayek's oblique expression of this concern: "if we proceed on the assumption that only the exercises of freedom that the majority will practice are important, we would be certain to create a stagnant society with all the characteristics of unfreedom." ..."
Apr 05, 2019 | www.commondreams.org

Why "free" why not "fair". Neoliberals are as dangerious as Big brother in 1994. Actually neoliberal state is as close to Big Brother regine described in 1994. We have total surveillance, with technological capabiltiies which probably exceed anything rulers of 1984 world possessed, Russiagate as "hour of anger", permanent war for permanent people (and total victory of "democracy") , and of course "[neoliberal] freedom is [debt[ slavery..." in neoliberal MSM.

Fast forward from one Gilded Age to another. Citizens United, granting unions and corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts of money to advocate for and against political candidates, is often regarded as a singularly dangerous challenge to our democratic norms, especially with its infamous assertion that money is speech. Less attention, however, is pad to the context in which this decision occurred, including corporate consolidation in most sectors of the economy, obscene levels of economic inequality, and near religious reverence for deregulated markets.

Media consolidation itself has played an enormous role in driving up the cost of political campaigns. How did we get to this second Gilded Age and what lessons can we infer regarding our democratic prospects?

The post World War II decades saw white working class gains in income made possible by unionization, the GI bill, and a federal commitment to full employment. Positive as these gains were, they carried with them unintended consequences. Workers and employers, having less fear of depression, periodically drove wages and prices up.

Bursts of inflation and an unprecedented profit squeeze led to unemployment even in the midst of inflation, an unprecedented and unexpected circumstance. Blacks had been left out of the full benefits of the New Deal welfare state and raised demands not only for political equality but also for economic opportunity, one of Reconstruction's forgotten promises.

These events provided an opening for a group of academics who had long despised the New Deal welfare state. Notre Dame University 's Philip Mirowski Never Let a Serious Crisis G to Waste has provided a careful and detailed analysis of this neoliberal movement in American politics.

These neoliberals shared with their nineteenth- century predecessors a faith in markets, but with an important difference. Adam Smith and JS Mill saw markets as non-coercive means to allocate resources and produce goods and services. Neoliberals regarded markets as perfect information processing machines that could provide optimal solutions to all social problems. Hence a commitment not only to lift rent control on housing but also to privatize prisons, water and sewer systems, and to deregulate all aspects of personal finance and treat education and health care as commodities to be pursued on unregulated markets. An essential part of this faith in markets is the post Reagan view of corporate consolidation. Combinations are to be judged only on the basis of cheap products to the consumer.

Older antitrust concerns about worker welfare or threat to democracy itself are put aside. Corporate mergers and the emergence of monopoly are seen as reflections of the omniscient market. In practice, however as we shall see, such a tolerant attitude is not applied to worker associations.

Neoliberals differ from their classical predecessors in a second important way. Market is miraculous and a boon to many, but paradoxically only a strong state can assure its arrival and maintenance. Sometimes it may appear that the market is yielding iniquitous or unsustainable outcomes, which my lead to premature or disastrous rejection of its wisdom. The answer to this anger is more markets, but that requires a strong state staffed by neoliberals. They would have the capacity and authority to enact and impose these markets and distract the electorate and divert them into more harmless pursuits. Recognition of the need for a powerful state stands in partial contradiction to the neoliberal's professed deification of pure markets and was seldom presented to public gatherings. As Mirowski put it, neoliberals operated on the basis of a dual truth, an esoteric truth for its top scholars and theorists and an exoteric version for then public. Celebration of the spontaneous market was good enough for Fox News, whereas top neoliberal scholars discussed how to reengineer government in order to recast society.

The signs of neoliberalism are all around us. Worried about student debt? There is a widely advertised financial institution that will refinance your loan. Trapped in prison with no money for bail. There are corporations and products that will take care of that. Cancer cures, money for funerals and burial expenses can all be obtained via the market. Any problem the market creates the market can solve. The implications of this view have been ominous for democracy and social justice.

The neoliberal deification of markets has many parents. This mindset encouraged and was encouraged by a revolt against democracy. The wealthy had always been concerned that a propertyless working class might vote to expropriate them, but neoliberalism gave them further reason to bypass democracy. Markets were seen as better indicators of truth than democratic elections, though that point was seldom expressed as directly.

Here is FA Hayek's oblique expression of this concern: "if we proceed on the assumption that only the exercises of freedom that the majority will practice are important, we would be certain to create a stagnant society with all the characteristics of unfreedom."

The revolt against democracy has occurred on several different levels of the political process. The question of who can vote is just as contested as during Reconstruction, and not just in the South. As during Reconstruction, it does not take the form of explicit racial appeals. The strategy includes further limiting the time polls are open, reduction in the number of polling places, voter identification cards that take time and money to obtain. Who can vote is also a function of the racist legacy of our history, with prohibitions on voting by felons serving to exclude large numbers of potential voters, disproportionately minorities. It should be mentioned more than it is that these techniques also work to the disadvantage of poor whites. Political scientists Walter Dean Burnham and Thomas Ferguson point out: "In Georgia in 1942, for example, turnout topped out at 3.4 percent (that's right, 3.4 percent; no misprint). Why is no mystery: the Jim Crow system pushed virtually all African-Americans out of the system, while the network of poll taxes, registration requirements, literacy tests and other obstacles that was part of that locked out most poor whites from voting, too. Since the civil rights revolution, turnouts in the South have risen fitfully to national levels, amid much pushback, such as the raft of new voter ID requirements (though these are not limited to the South)."

Minorities, poor, and even substantial segments of the working class are further disadvantaged by efforts to defund the labor opposition. Unions have been the one big money source that Democrats had available, but as the party from Bill Clinton on increasingly became a kind of neoliberalism light, embracing corporate trade agreements with a little bit of job training assistance thrown in, unions lost members, many corporations forced decertification elections. Democrats lost not only financial resources but also the ground troops that had mobilized their voters.

One result of and partial driving force behind these changes is that both parties become big money parties. Burnham and Ferguson-( December 2014)- The President and the Democratic Party are almost as dependent on big money – defined, for example, in terms of the percentage of contributions (over $500 or $1000) from the 1 percent as the Republicans. To expect top down money-driven political parties to make strong economic appeals to voters is idle. Instead the Golden Rule dominates: Money-driven parties emphasize appeals to particular interest groups instead of the broad interests of working Americans that would lead their donors to shut their wallets.

As David Stockman, President Reagan's Budget Director once all but confessed,

"in the modern era the party has never really pretended to have much of a mass constituency. It wins elections by rolling up huge percentages of votes in the most affluent classes while seeking to divide middle and working class voters with various special appeals and striving to hold down voting by minorities and the poor."

Challenging this bipartisan money driven establishment becomes even more difficult as state level ballot access laws are notoriously hostile to third parties. Add to this the private, deceptively named Presidential Debate Commission, which specializes in depriving even candidates about whom large segment s of the population are curious access to the widely watched debates. Unfortunately the celebrated voting reform proposal, HR1, though containing some democratic initiatives such as early voting and automatic voter registration, makes it own contribution to economic and political consolidation.

Bruce Dixon, editor of Black Agenda Report, maintains that only two provisions of this bill are likely to become law and both are destructive: "by raising the qualifying amount from its current level of $5,000 in each of 20 states to $25,000 in 20 states. HR 1 would cut funding for a Green presidential candidate in half, and by making ballot access for a Green presidential candidate impossible in several states it would also guarantee loss of the party's ability to run for local offices." Dixon also predicts that some Democrats "will cheerfully cross the aisle to institutionalize the Pentagon, spies and cops to produce an annual report on the threat to electoral security.

Dixon maintains:

"Democrats are a capitalist party, they are a government party, and this is how they govern. HR 1 reaches back a hundred years into the Democrat playbook politicians created a foreign menace to herd the population into World War 1, which ended in the Red Scare and a couple of red summers, waves of official and unofficial violence and deportations against US leftists and against black people. The Red Scare led to the founding of the FBI, the core of the nation's permanent political police . Fifty years ago these were the same civil servants who gave us the assassinations, the disinformation and illegality of COINTELPRO, and much, much more before that and since then. HR 1 says let's go to the Pentagon and the cops, let's order them to discover threats to the electoral system posed by Americans working to save themselves and the planet."

Dixon is surely right that both parties are capitalist parties, but capitalism itself has taken different forms. New Deal and neoliberal capitalism had far different implications for working class Americans. The New Deal itself was heavily influenced by Norman Thomas and the socialist tradition. In this regard, if what Paul Wellstone used to call the democratic wing of the Democratic Party wishes to see its ideals translated into practice, it must resist efforts to exclude third parties or to deny primary opponents an even playing field.

I am not claiming that there has been a carefully coordinated conspiracy among the individuals and groups that supported these policies, but leaders did act out of a general animus toward popular movements that further reinforced their reverence for corporate markets, and the faith in markets drove the worries about popular movements.

One positive conclusion to be drawn is that if this attack on democracy exists on several levels, activism might be fruitful in many domains and may have a spillover effect. Unions are still not dead, and there is a fight now for the soul of the Democratic Party and that fight might stimulate voter access and eligibility reforms. These in turn could reshape the party's orientation and ideology. Even at the Federal level Dark money is worrisome to many voters and could be an incentive to mobilize for better disclosure laws. There are ample fronts on which to fight and good reason to keep up the struggle.

Video:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/1CxOpAcViPQ

[Apr 04, 2019] The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012

Apr 04, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012. Prism Photograph: Guardian

The program facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US.

It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants.

Disclosure of the Prism program follows a leak to the Guardian on Wednesday of a top-secret court order compelling telecoms provider Verizon to turn over the telephone records of millions of US customers.

The participation of the internet companies in Prism will add to the debate, ignited by the Verizon revelation, about the scale of surveillance by the intelligence services. Unlike the collection of those call records, this surveillance can include the content of communications and not just the metadata.

Some of the world's largest internet brands are claimed to be part of the information-sharing program since its introduction in 2007. Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan "Your privacy is our priority" – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007.

It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online.

Collectively, the companies cover the vast majority of online email, search, video and communications networks.

[Apr 02, 2019] Shadowbanning

See also Shadow banning - Wikipedia
Shadow banning (also called stealth banning, ghost banning or comment ghosting[1]) is the act of blocking or partially blocking a user or their content from an online community such that it will not be readily apparent to the user that they have been banned.
By making a user's contributions invisible or less prominent to other members of the service, the hope may be that in the absence of reactions to their comments, the problematic or otherwise out-of-favour user will become bored or frustrated and leave the site.
Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lozion , Mar 31, 2019 4:33:21 PM | link

< More and more "resistance" type Twitteratti get shadowbanned, that is, their posts dont appear in the Twitter feed though they are visible on their profiles. Find out if you are shadowbanned here:>

https://shadowban.eu/

Zachary Smith , Mar 31, 2019 5:24:53 PM | link

@ Lozion #12

Until recently I didn't know the word "shadowbanning", but that was what happened to me several years ago. The managers of the Indianapolis Star had given their forum to the tender care of a mix of Libertarians, rightwingnuts, and devoted followers of the Holy Cesspool south of Syria. Gradually I realized nobody was responding to my posts, and only by accident did I learn those posts were invisible to everybody else. Only when I was logged in could I see them myself.

So that's why I have gone cold turkey on the only Indianapolis newspaper. I'd recommend it only for folks whose parakeets need a lining for the bottom of the bird's cage. Their editorial page works best for that application.

Lozion , Mar 31, 2019 7:55:34 PM | link
@12 Zachary.

Yeah I first encountered the phenom during the last days of the 2014 Euromaidan while reposting info on Facebook about sniper fire coming from opp held rooftops. I couldnt understand why interaction on the subject stopped until someone confirmed via the chat that none of my posts with the word "Ukraine" appeared in the feed. They must've triggered FBs early filter algorithm. I have since left the Ministry of Truth..

[Mar 31, 2019] How Google Tracks Your Personal Information – Featured Stories – Medium

Notable quotes:
"... Patrick Berlinquette Founder of a NY digital marketing agency (like we need another). Finding humor in marketing tech's depravity. Send vitriol: patrickberlinsem[at]gmail[dot]com ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | medium.com

Once you click on an ad, your information passes through to search engine marketers, where it's forever stored in an AdWords account, never to be erased.

In case you were starting to feel a semblance of happiness, what with the holidays around the corner, here is a complete checklist of everything Google knows about you -- thereby all the ways you're tracked -- as of December 2018:

* The above targeting methods are made available to search engine marketers by Google within marketers' Ads UI. Info is also freely available here .

For as long as you've been using Google, Google has been building a "citizen profile" on you. This profile contains:


In 2019, we will be coming close to realizing the Holy Grail of search engine marketing: multidevice attribution. When this tech is realized, ads will follow searchers seamlessly -- not only across channels (e.g., social, organic, and email) but across devices (e.g., from mobile to tablet to laptop to TV to desktop).

Depending on your brand loyalty, for example, your TV will emit a hyper-frequency during certain commercials. Undetectable by your obsolete human ear, this signal can only be picked up by a nearby cell phone . If a Nike commercial plays on your TV, and then you pick up your phone and Google "Nike shoes," your conversion path has been linked from TV to phone. Nice.

Despite the surveillance bleeding into nearly every aspect of our lives, there's little information available to the public about what's really going on.

Marketers already know if you're a daily commuter. And they show you ads for products that daily commuters would be interested in buying, like headphones, pre-worn leather laptop bags, and handkerchiefs to hoarsely sob into. How do marketers know you're a commuter? Easy: The frequency your cell phone pings passing cell towers. If the pings occur close together, a marketer can conclude that you're standing in an object moving at a great rate of speed, with infrequent interruptions -- also known as a train. (If it's the Long Island Rail Road you're riding, interruptions might be frequent. Heh.)

Search for a product on your phone and then physically walk into a store. Do that, in that order, and chances are Google used your phone's GPS data to connect your ad click and your in-store purchase.

In order to provide marketers with further detail about your in-store (offline) purchases, Google has acquired ( paid millions for ) Mastercard credit card data. The company has acknowledged it has access to about 70 percent of U.S. credit and debit card sales through "third-party partnerships." We will look back on this number and consider it quaint.


B ack in December 2008, Hal Roberts, a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard, spoke about Google Ads as a form of "gray surveillance." Roberts described Google as "a system of collective intelligence" that, along with marketers, hoarded and exploited your data.

But unlike other forms of surveillance, Google couldn't kill you with it or throw you in jail.

Google Ads was gray surveillance because the exploitation, Roberts said, was hard to detect on the individual level. But, he said, it was already playing "a central role in the creation of social discourse online." And 10 years later, the exploitation on Google Ads is even harder to detect. Despite the surveillance bleeding into nearly every aspect of our lives, there's little information available to the public about what's really going on.

In 2019, I'd like to change that.

People tell Google things they confess nowhere else  --  not to their spouses, doctors, or shrinks.

Through this series, I will reveal everything I know about the dark side of search engine marketing. I will explain, in everyday language, how Google and Google Ads work "under the hood" to track your data.

Then I will expose, from an insider's perspective, what the vast majority of the public doesn't know: how Google Ads is abused by search engine marketers and how people are essentially bought and sold through this platform. I will cover what Google has tried to do to fix Google Ads. Finally, I will provide readers with all the steps they need to protect themselves from exploitation on Google -- including how to take back control of their data from insidious advertisers and those search engine marketers who rig the game.

Today, people tell Google things they confess nowhere else -- not to their spouses, doctors, or shrinks. But Google users would not be so forthright with the search engine if they understood how far down this rabbit hole goes. With the insider information I will provide, I hope readers can return to a place where Google is not the only option available to tell their fears, regrets, hopes, and dreams.

By the end of this series, readers will be equipped with the knowledge to rethink their relationship with Google. And if some readers decide that Google is still their search engine of choice, they'll be able to use the system , instead of the other way around.

Ready for part 2 in the series? It's here .

Patrick Berlinquette Founder of a NY digital marketing agency (like we need another). Finding humor in marketing tech's depravity. Send vitriol: patrickberlinsem[at]gmail[dot]com >

[Mar 26, 2019] When Are We Going To Tackle The For-Profit Monopolies Which Censored RussiaGate Skeptics? by Charles Hugh Smith

Notable quotes:
"... The RussiaGate Narrative has been revealed as a Big Con (a.k.a. Nothing-Burger), but what's dangerously real is the censorship that's being carried out by the for-profit monopolies Facebook and Google on behalf of the status quo's Big Con. ..."
"... The damage to democracy wrought by Facebook and Google is severe: free speech no longer exists except in name, and what individuals see in search and social media feeds is designed to manipulate them without their consent or knowledge--and for a fat profit. Whether Facebook and Google are manipulating users for profit or to buy off Status Quo pressures to start regulating these monopolistic totalitarian regimes or to align what users see with their own virtue-signaling, doesn't matter. ..."
Mar 26, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

We either take down Facebook and Google and turn them into tightly regulated transparent public utilities available to all or they will destroy what little is left of American democracy.

The RussiaGate Narrative has been revealed as a Big Con (a.k.a. Nothing-Burger), but what's dangerously real is the censorship that's being carried out by the for-profit monopolies Facebook and Google on behalf of the status quo's Big Con.

This site got a taste of Facebook-Google-Big-Media's Orwellian Authoritarian-Totalitarian censorship back in 2016 when a shadowy fake-news site called PropOrNot aggregated every major alt-media site that had published anything remotely skeptical of the coronation of Hillary Clinton as president and labeled us all shills for Russian propaganda.

Without any investigation of the perps running the site or their fake-news methodology, The Washington Post (Jeff Bezos' plaything) saw fit to promote the fake-news on Page One as if it were journalistically legitimate. Why would a newspaper that supposedly values the integrity of its content run with such shameless fake-news propaganda? Because it fit the Post's own political agenda and biases.

This is the essence of Facebook-Google-Big-Media's Orwellian Authoritarian-Totalitarian censorship: sacrifice accepted journalistic practice, free speech and transparency to promote an absurdly obvious political and social agenda.

If there was any real justice in America, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai should be wearing prison jumpsuits for what Facebook and Google have done to American democracy. Both of these monopolies have manipulated news feeds, search results and what individuals are shown in complete secret, with zero public oversight or transparency .

The damage to democracy wrought by Facebook and Google is severe: free speech no longer exists except in name, and what individuals see in search and social media feeds is designed to manipulate them without their consent or knowledge--and for a fat profit. Whether Facebook and Google are manipulating users for profit or to buy off Status Quo pressures to start regulating these monopolistic totalitarian regimes or to align what users see with their own virtue-signaling, doesn't matter.

What matters is that no one can possibly know how Facebook and Google have rigged their algorithms and to what purpose. The typical corporation can buy political influence, but Facebook and Google are manipulating the machinery of democracy itself in three ways:

1. They are secretly censoring alternative media and skeptics of the status quo narratives.

2. They are selling data and ads to anyone interested in manipulating voters and public opinion.

3. They are providing data to the National Security organs of the state which can then use this data to compile dossiers on "enemies of the people," i.e. skeptics and dissenters who question the "approved" context and narrative.

That's a much more dangerous type of power than buying political influence or manipulating public opinion by openly publishing biased "commentary."

We all understand how America's traditional Corporate Media undermines democracy: recall how every time Bernie Sanders won a Democratic primary in 2016, The New York Times and The Washington Post "reported" the news in small typeface in a sidebar, while every Hillary Clinton primary win was trumpeted in large headlines at the top of page one.

But this sort of manipulation is visible; what Google and Facebook do is invisible. What their algorithms do is invisible, and the shadow banning and other forms of invisible censorship cannot be easily traced.

A few of us can trace shadow banning because we have access to our site's server data. Please consider the data of Google searches and direct links from Facebook to oftwominds.com from November 2016 and November 2018:

Nov. 2016: Google Searches: 36,779
Nov. 2016: links from Facebook: 9,888

Nov. 2018: Google Searches: 12,671
Nov. 2018: links from Facebook: 859

Oftwominds.com has been around since 2005 and consistently draws around 250,000 page views monthly (via oftwominds.com and my mirror site on blogspot, which is owned/operated by Google. Interestingly, traffic to that site has been less affected by shadow banning ; Coincidence? You decide....).

Given the consistency of my visitor traffic over the years, it's "interesting" how drastically the site's traffic with Google and Facebook has declined in a mere two years. How is this shadow banning not Orwellian Authoritarian-Totalitarian censorship? It's akin to China's Orwellian Social Credit system but for private profit .

It wouldn't surprise me to find my photo airbrushed out of group photos on Facebook and Google just as the Soviet propaganda organs did when someone fell out of favor in the 1930s.

Fortunately, oftwominds.com isn't dependent on Facebook or Google for its traffic; other content creators who were skeptical of RussiaGate are not so fortunate. One of the implicit goals of shadow banning and filters is to destroy the income of dissenting sites without the content creators knowing why their income plummeted.

Strip dissenters of their income and you strip them of the ability to dissent. Yea for "free speech" controlled by for-profit monopolies!

Where's the "level playing field" of free speech? As long as Facebook and Google are free to censor and filter in secret, there is no free speech in America. All we have is a simulacrum of free speech in which parroting "approved" narratives is promoted and dissent is censored/banned--but without anyone noticing or even being able to tell what's been filtered, censored or banned.

So when are we going to tackle privately held monopolies which are selling user data to the highest bidder, obliterating free speech in secret and manipulating news feeds and search to promote hidden agendas? I've argued (see links below) that the solution is very simple:

1. Regulate Facebook and Google as public utilities. Ban them from collecting and selling user data to anyone, including federal agencies.

2. Allow a modest profit to each firm via display adverts that are shown equally to every user.

3. Require any and all search/content filters and algorithms be made public, i.e. published daily.

4. Any executive or employee of these corporations who violates these statutes will face criminal felony charges and be exposed to civil liability lawsuits from users or content providers who were shadow-banned or their right to free speech was proscribed or limited by filters or algorithms.

There is no intrinsic right for privately held corporations to establish monopolies that can manipulate and filter free speech in secret to maximize profits and secret influence. We either take down Facebook and Google and turn them into tightly regulated transparent public utilities available to all or they will destroy what little is left of American democracy.

I recently addressed these invisible (but oh-so profitable) mechanisms in a series of essays:

* * *

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook ): Read the first section for free in PDF format. My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF) . My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com .

[Mar 25, 2019] Spygate The True Story of Collusion (plus Infographic) by Jeff Carlson

Highly recommended!
This is probably the most comprehensive outline of the color revolution against Trump. Bravo, simply bravo !!!
Reads like Agatha Christi Murder on the Orient Express ;-) Rosenstein role is completely revised from a popular narrative. Brennan role clarifies and detailed. Obama personal role hinted. Victoria Nuland role and the role of the State Department in Russiagate is documented for the first time, I think.
Notable quotes:
"... The "insurance policy" appears to have been the effort to legitimize the Trump–Russia collusion narrative so that an FBI investigation, led by McCabe, could continue unhindered. ..."
"... Ohr, one of the highest-ranking officials in the DOJ, was communicating on an ongoing basis with Steele, whom he had known since at least 2006 , well into mid-2017. He is also married to Nellie Ohr, an expert on Russia and Eurasia who began working for Fusion GPS sometime in late 2015 . Nellie Ohr likely played a significant role in the construction of the dossier. ..."
"... The Obama administration provided a simultaneous layer of protection and facilitation for the entire effort. One example is provided by Section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333 , also known as Obama's data-sharing order . With the passage of the order, agencies and individuals were able to ask the NSA for access to specific surveillance simply by claiming the intercepts contained relevant information that was useful to a particular mission. ..."
"... Leaking, including felony leaking of classified information, has been widespread. The Carter Page FISA warrant -- likely the unredacted version -- has been in the possession of The Washington Post and The New York Times since March 2017. Traditionally, the intelligence community leaked to The Washington Post while the DOJ leaked to sources within The New York Times. This was a historical pattern that stood until this election. The leaking became so widespread, even this tradition was broken. ..."
"... The information contained within both articles likely came via felony leaks from James Wolfe, former director of security for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who was arrested on June 7, 2018, and charged with one count of lying to the FBI. Wolfe's indictment alleges that he was leaking classified information to multiple reporters over an extended period of time. ..."
"... The Steele dossier was fed into U.S. channels through several different sources. One such source was Sir Andrew Wood, the former British ambassador to Russia, who had been briefed about the dossier by Steele. Wood later relayed information regarding the dossier to Sen. John McCain, who dispatched David Kramer, a fellow at the McCain Institute, to London to meet with Steele in November 2016. McCain would later admit in a Jan. 11, 2017, statement that he had personally passed on the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey. ..."
"... Trump, after issuing an order for the declassification of documents and text messages related to the Russia-collusion investigations -- including parts of the Carter Page FISA warrant application -- received phone calls from two U.S. allies saying, "Please, can we talk." Those "allies" were almost certainly the UK and Australia. ..."
"... Questions to be asked are why is it that two of our allies would find themselves so opposed to the release of these classified documents that a coordinated plea would be made directly to the president? And why would these same allies have even the slightest idea of what was contained in these classified U.S. documents? ..."
Oct 12, 2018 | www.theepochtimes.com
Spygate: The True Story of Collusion [Infographic] How America's most powerful agencies were weaponized against President Donald Trump

Although the details remain complex, the structure underlying Spygate -- the creation of the false narrative that candidate Donald Trump colluded with Russia, and the spying on his presidential campaign -- remains surprisingly simple:

  1. CIA Director John Brennan, with some assistance from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, gathered foreign intelligence and fed it throughout our domestic Intelligence Community.
  2. The FBI became the handler of Brennan's intelligence and engaged in the more practical elements of surveillance.
  3. The Department of Justice facilitated investigations by the FBI and legal maneuverings, while providing a crucial shield of nondisclosure.
  4. The Department of State became a mechanism of information dissemination and leaks.
  5. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee provided funding, support, and media collusion.
  6. Obama administration officials were complicit, and engaged in unmasking and intelligence gathering and dissemination.
  7. The media was the most corrosive element in many respects. None of these events could have transpired without their willing participation. Stories were pushed, facts were ignored, and narratives were promoted.

Let's start with a simple premise: The candidacy of Trump presented both an opportunity and a threat.

Initially not viewed with any real seriousness, Trump's campaign was seen as an opportunistic wedge in the election process. At the same time, and particularly as the viability of his candidacy increased, Trump was seen as an existential threat to the established political system.

The sudden legitimacy of Trump's candidacy was not welcomed by the U.S. political establishment. Here was a true political outsider who held no traditional allegiances. He was brash and boastful, he ignored political correctness, he couldn't be bought, and he didn't care what others thought of him -- he trusted himself.

Governing bodies in Britain and the European Union were also worried. Candidate Trump was openly challenging monetary policy, regulations, and the power of special interests. He challenged Congress. He challenged the United Nations and the European Union. He questioned everything.

Brennan played a crucial role in the creation of the Russia-collusion narrative and the spying on the Trump campaign. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

Brennan became the point man in the operation to stop a potential Trump presidency. It remains unclear whether his role was self-appointed or came from above. To embark on such a mission without direct presidential authority seems both a stretch of the imagination and particularly foolhardy.

Brennan took unofficial foreign intelligence compiled by contacts, colleagues, and associates -- primarily from the UK , but also from other Five Eyes members, such as Australia.

Individuals in official positions in UK intelligence, such as Robert Hannigan -- head of the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ, Britain's equivalent of the National Security Agency) -- partnered with former UK foreign intelligence members. Former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove , former Ambassador Sir Andrew Wood, and private UK intelligence firm Hakluyt all played a role.

In the summer of 2016, Hannigan traveled to Washington to meet with Brennan regarding alleged communications between the Trump campaign and Moscow. On Jan. 23, 2017 -- three days after Trump's inauguration -- Hannigan abruptly announced his retirement. The Guardian openly speculated that Hannigan's resignation was directly related to the sharing of UK intelligence.

One method used to help establish evidence of collusion was the employment of "spy traps." Prominent among these were ones set for Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. The intent was to provide or establish connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. The content and context mattered little as long as a connection could be established that could then be publicized. The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting was another such attempt.

Western intelligence assets were used to initiate and establish these connections, particularly in the cases of Papadopoulos and Page.

Ultimately, Brennan formed an inter-agency task force comprising an estimated six agencies and/or government departments. The FBI, Treasury, and DOJ handled the domestic inquiry into Trump and possible Russia connections. The CIA, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the National Security Agency (NSA) handled foreign and intelligence aspects.

Brennan's inter-agency task force is not to be confused with the July 2016 FBI counterintelligence investigation, which was formed later at Brennan's urging.

During this time, Brennan also employed the use of reverse targeting , which relates to the targeting of a foreign individual with the intent of capturing data on a U.S. citizen. This effort was uncovered and made public by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) in a March 2017 press conference :

"I have seen intelligence reports that clearly show the president-elect and his team were monitored and disseminated out in intelligence-reporting channels. Details about persons associated with the incoming administration, details with little apparent foreign-intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting.

"From what I know right now, it looks like incidental collection. We don't know exactly how that was picked up but we're trying to get to the bottom of it."

As this foreign intelligence -- unofficial in nature and outside of any traditional channels -- was gathered, Brennan began a process of feeding his gathered intelligence to the FBI. Repeated transfers of foreign intelligence from the CIA director pushed the FBI toward the establishment of a formal counterintelligence investigation. Brennan repeatedly noted this during a May 23, 2017, congressional testimony :

"I made sure that anything that was involving U.S. persons, including anything involving the individuals involved in the Trump campaign, was shared with the [FBI]."

Brennan also admitted that his intelligence helped establish the FBI investigation:

"I was aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion [or] cooperation occurred."

This admission is important, as no official intelligence was used to open the FBI's investigation.

Once the FBI began its counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016, Brennan shifted his focus. Through a series of meetings in August and September 2016, Brennan informed the congressional Gang of Eight regarding intelligence and information he had gathered. Notably, each Gang of Eight member was briefed separately, calling into question whether each of the members received the same information. Efforts to block the release of the transcripts from each meeting remain ongoing.

The last major segment of Brennan's efforts involved a series of three reports and greater participation from Clapper. The first report, the "Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security ," was released on Oct. 7, 2016. The second report, "GRIZZLY STEPPE -- Russian Malicious Cyber Activity ," was released on Dec. 29, 2016. The third report, "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections " -- also known as the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) -- was released on Jan. 6, 2017.

This final report was used to continue pushing the Russia-collusion narrative following the election of President Donald Trump. Notably, Admiral Mike Rogers of the NSA publicly dissented from the findings of the ICA, assigning only a moderate confidence level.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/bMcNbum93cU?wmode=transparent&wmode=opaque

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Although the FBI is technically part of the DOJ, it is best for the purposes of this article that the FBI and DOJ be viewed as separate entities, each with its own related ties.

The FBI itself was comprised of various factions, with a particularly active element that has come to be known as the "insurance policy group." It appears that this faction was led by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and comprised other notable names such as FBI agent Peter Strzok, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, and FBI general counsel James Baker.

The FBI established the counterintelligence investigation into alleged Russia collusion with the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016. Comey initially refused to say whether the FBI was investigating possible connections between members of the Trump campaign and Russia. He would continue to refuse to provide answers until March 20, 2017, when he disclosed the existence of the FBI investigation during congressional testimony.

Comey also testified that he did not provide notification to the Gang of Eight until early March 2017 -- less than one month earlier. This admission was in stark contrast to actions taken by Brennan, who had notified members of the Gang of Eight individually during August and September 2016. It's likely that Brennan never informed Comey that he had briefed the Gang of Eight in 2016. Comey did note that the DOJ "had been aware" of the investigation all along.

Comey opened the counterintelligence investigation into Trump on the urging of CIA Director John Brennan.
Following Comey's firing on May 9, 2017, the FBI's investigation was transferred to special counsel Robert Mueller. The Mueller investigation remains ongoing.

The FBI's formal involvement with the Steele dossier began on July 5, 2016, when Mike Gaeta, an FBI agent and assistant legal attaché at the US Embassy in Rome, was dispatched to visit former MI6 spy Christopher Steele in London. Gaeta would return from this meeting with a copy of Steele's first memo. This memo was given to Victoria Nuland at the State Department, who passed it along to the FBI.

Gaeta, who also headed the FBI's Eurasian Organized Crime unit, had known Steele since at least 2010, when Steele had provided assistance to the FBI's investigation into the FIFA corruption scandal .

Prior to the London meeting, Gaeta may also have met on a less formal basis with Steele several weeks earlier. "In June, Steele flew to Rome to brief the FBI contact with whom he had cooperated over FIFA," The Guardian reported. "His information started to reach the bureau in Washington."

It's worth noting that there was no "dossier" until it was fully compiled in December 2016. There was only a sequence of documents from Steele -- documents that were passed on individually -- as they were created. Therefore, from the FBI's legal perspective, they didn't use the dossier. They used individual documents.

For the next month and a half, there appeared to be little contact between Steele and the FBI. However, the FBI's interest in the dossier suddenly accelerated in late August 2016, when the bureau asked Steele "for all information in his possession and for him to explain how the material had been gathered and to identify his sources."

In September 2016, Steele traveled back to Rome to meet with the FBI's Eurasian squad once again. It's likely that the meeting included several other FBI officials as well. According to a House Intelligence Committee minority memo , Steele's reporting reached the FBI counterintelligence team in mid-September 2016 -- the same time as Steele's September trip to Rome.

The reason for the FBI's renewed interest had to do with an adviser to the Trump campaign -- Carter Page -- who had been in contact with Stefan Halper, a CIA and FBI source, since July 2016. Halper arranged to meet with Page for the first time on July 11, 2016, at a Cambridge symposium , just three days after Page took a trip to Moscow. Speakers at the symposium included Madeleine Albright, Vin Webber, and Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6.

Page was now the FBI's chosen target for a FISA warrant that would be obtained on Oct. 21, 2016. The Steele dossier would be the primary evidence used in obtaining the FISA warrant, which would be renewed three separate times, including after Trump took office, finally expiring in September 2017.

Former volunteer Trump campaign adviser Carter Page on Nov. 2, 2017. The FBI obtained a retroactive FISA spy warrant on Page.

After being in contact with Page for 14 months, Halper stopped contact exactly as the final FISA warrant on Page expired. Page, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence, was never charged with any crime by the FBI. Efforts for the declassification of the Page FISA application are currently ongoing through the DOJ's Office of the Inspector General.

Peter Strzok and Lisa Page

Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were two prominent members of the FBI's "insurance policy" group. Strzok, a senior FBI agent, was the deputy assistant director of FBI's Counterintelligence Division. Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer, served as special counsel to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Strzok was in charge of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server for government business. He helped FBI Director James Comey draft the statement exonerating Clinton and was personally responsible for changing specific wording within that statement that reduced Clinton's legal liability. Specifically, Strzok changed the words "grossly negligent," which could be a criminal offense, to "extremely careless."

Strzok also personally led the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into the alleged Trump–Russia collusion and signed the documents that opened the investigation on July 31, 2016. He was one of the FBI agents who interviewed Trump's national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn. Strzok met multiple times with DOJ official Bruce Ohr and received information from Steele at those meetings.

Following the firing of FBI Director James Comey, Strzok would join the team of special counsel Robert Mueller. Two months later, he was removed from that team after the DOJ inspector general discovered a lengthy series of texts between Strzok and Page that contained politically charged messages. Strzok would be fired from the FBI in August 2018.

Both Strzok and Page engaged in strategic leaking to the press. Page did so at the direction of McCabe, who directly authorized Page to share information with Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett. That information was used in an Oct. 30, 2016, article headlined "FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe ." Page leaked to Barrett thinking she had been granted legal and official authorization to do so.

McCabe would later initially deny providing such authorization to the Office of Inspector General. Page, when confronted with McCabe's denials, produced texts refuting his statement. It was these texts that led to the inspector general uncovering the texts between Strzok and Page.

The two exchanged thousands of texts, some of them indicating surveillance activities, over a two-year period. Texts sent between Aug. 21, 2015, and June 25, 2017, have been made public . The series comes to an end with a final text by Page telling Strzok, "Don't ever text me again."

On Aug. 8, 2016, Stzrok wrote that they would prevent candidate Trump from becoming president:

Page: "[Trump is] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!"

Strzok: "No. No he won't. We'll stop it."

On Aug. 15, 2016, Strzok sent a text referring to an "insurance policy":

"I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way [Trump] gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk. It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40."

The "insurance policy" appears to have been the effort to legitimize the Trump–Russia collusion narrative so that an FBI investigation, led by McCabe, could continue unhindered.

Department of Justice

The Department of Justice, which comprises 60 agencies , was transformed during the Obama years. The department is forbidden by federal law from hiring employees based on political affiliation.

However, a series of investigative articles by PJ Media published during Eric Holder's tenure as attorney general revealed an unsettling pattern of ideological conformity among new hires at the DOJ: Only lawyers from the progressive left were hired. Not one single moderate or conservative lawyer made the cut. This is significant as the DOJ enjoys significant latitude in determining who will be subject to prosecution.

The DOJ's job in Spygate was to facilitate the legal side of surveillance while providing a protective layer of cover for all those involved. The department became a repository of information and provided a protective wall between the investigative efforts of the FBI and the legislative branch. Importantly, it also served as the firewall within the executive branch, serving as the insulating barrier between the FBI and Obama officials. The department had become legendary for its stonewalling tactics with Congress.

DOJ Official Bruce Ohr on Aug. 28, 2018. Ohr passed on information from Christopher Steele to the FBI.

The DOJ, which was fully aware of the actions being taken by James Comey and the FBI, also became an active element acting against members of the Trump campaign. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, along with Mary McCord, the head of the DOJ's National Security Division, was actively involved in efforts to remove Gen. Michael Flynn from his position as national security adviser to President Trump.

To this day, it remains unknown which individual was responsible for making public Flynn's call with the Russian ambassador. Flynn ultimately pleaded guilty to a process crime: lying to the FBI. There have been questions raised in Congress regarding the possible alteration of FD-302s, the written notes of Flynn's FBI interviews. Special counsel Robert Mueller has repeatedly deferred Flynn's sentencing hearing.

David Laufman, deputy assistant attorney general in charge of counterintelligence at the DOJ's National Security Division, played a key role in both the Clinton email server and Russia hacking investigations. Laufman is currently the attorney for Monica McLean, the long-time friend of Christine Blasey Ford, who recently accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while in high school. McLean was also employed by the FBI for 24 years.

Bruce Ohr was a significant DOJ official who played a key role in Spygate. Ohr held two important positions at the DOJ: associate deputy attorney general, and director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. As associate deputy attorney general, Ohr was just four offices away from then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and he reported directly to her. As director of the task force, he was in charge of a program described as "the centerpiece of the attorney general's drug strategy."

Ohr, one of the highest-ranking officials in the DOJ, was communicating on an ongoing basis with Steele, whom he had known since at least 2006 , well into mid-2017. He is also married to Nellie Ohr, an expert on Russia and Eurasia who began working for Fusion GPS sometime in late 2015 . Nellie Ohr likely played a significant role in the construction of the dossier.

According to testimony from FBI agent Peter Strzok, he and Ohr met at least five times during 2016 and 2017. Strzok was working directly with then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

Additionally, Ohr met with the FBI at least 12 times between late November 2016 and May 2017 for a series of interviews. These meetings could have been used to transmit information from Steele to the FBI. This came after the FBI had formally severed contact with Steele in late October or early November 2016.

John Carlin is another notable figure with the DOJ. Carlin was an assistant attorney general and the head of the DOJ's National Security Division until October 2016. His role will be discussed below in the section on FISA abuse.

The Battle Between Rosenstein and McCabe

Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe held a pivotal role in what has become known as "Spygate." He directed the activities of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page and was involved in all aspects of the Russia investigation. He was also mentioned in the infamous "insurance policy" text message.

McCabe was a major component of the insurance policy.

On April 26, 2017, Rosenstein found himself appointed as the new deputy attorney general. He was placed into a somewhat chaotic situation, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from the ongoing Russia investigation a little less than two months earlier, on March 2, 2017. This effectively meant that no one in the Trump administration had any oversight of the ongoing investigation being conducted by the FBI and the DOJ.

Additionally, the leadership of then-FBI Director James Comey was coming under increased scrutiny as the result of actions taken leading up to and following the election, particularly Comey's handling of the Clinton email investigation.

On May 9, 2017, Rosenstein wrote a memorandum recommending that Comey be fired. The subject of the memo was "Restoring Public Confidence in the FBI." Comey was fired that day. McCabe was now the acting director of the FBI and was immediately under consideration for the permanent position.

On the same day Comey was fired, McCabe would lie during an interview with agents from the FBI's Inspection Division (INSD) regarding apparent leaks that were used in an Oct. 30, 2016, Wall Street Journal article, "FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe" by Devlin Barrett. This would later be disclosed in the inspector general report, "A Report of Investigation of Certain Allegations Relating to Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe."

At the time, nobody, including the INSD agents, knew that McCabe had lied, nor were the darker aspects of McCabe's role in Spygate fully known.

In late April or early May 2016, McCabe opened a federal criminal investigation on Sessions, regarding potential lack of candor before Congress in relation to Sessions's contacts with Russians. Sessions was unaware of the investigation.

Sessions would later be cleared of any wrongdoing by special counsel Robert Mueller.

On the morning of May 16, 2017, Rosenstein reportedly suggested to McCabe that he secretly record President Trump. This remark was reported in a New York Times article that was sourced from memos from the now-fired McCabe, along with testimony taken from former FBI general counsel James Baker, who relayed a conversation he had with McCabe about the occurrence. Rosenstein issued a statement denying the accusations.

The alleged comments by Rosenstein occurred at a meeting where McCabe was "pushing for the Justice Department to open an investigation into the president." An unnamed participant at the meeting, in comments to The Washington Post, framed the conversation somewhat differently, noting Rosenstein responded sarcastically to McCabe, saying, "What do you want to do, Andy, wire the president?"

Later, on the same day that Rosenstein had his meetings with McCabe, President Trump met with Mueller, reportedly as an interview for the FBI director job. On May 17, 2017, the day after President Trump's meeting with Mueller -- and the day after Rosenstein's encounters with McCabe -- Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel.

The May 17 appointment of Mueller in effect shifted control of the Russia investigation from the FBI and McCabe to Mueller. Rosenstein would retain ultimate authority for the probe and any expansion of Mueller's investigation required authorization from Rosenstein.

Interestingly, without Comey's memo leaks, a special counsel might not have been appointed -- the FBI, and possibly McCabe, would have remained in charge of the Russia investigation. McCabe was probably not going to become the permanent FBI director, but he was reportedly under consideration. Regardless, without Comey's leak, McCabe would have retained direct involvement and the FBI would have retained control.

On July 28, 2017, McCabe lied to Inspector General Michael Horowitz while under oath regarding authorization of the leaking to The Wall Street Journal. At this point, Horowitz knew McCabe was lying, but did not yet know of the May 9 INSD interview with McCabe.

On Aug. 2, 2017, Rosenstein secretly issued Mueller a revised memo on "the scope of investigation and definition of authority" that remains heavily redacted. The full purpose of this memo remains unknown. On this same day, Christopher Wray was named as the new FBI director.

Two days later, on Aug. 4, 2017, Sessions announced that the FBI had created a new leaks investigation unit. Rosenstein and Wray were tasked with overseeing all leak investigations.

That Aug. 2 memo from Rosenstein to Mueller may have been specifically designed to remove any residual FBI influence -- specifically that of McCabe -- from the Russia investigation. The appointment of Wray as FBI director helped cement this. McCabe was finally completely neutralized.

On March 16, 2018, McCabe was fired for lying under oath at least three different times and is currently the subject of a grand jury investigation.

State Department

The State Department, with its many contacts within foreign governments, became a conduit for the flow of information. The transfer of Christopher Steele's first dossier memo was personally facilitated by Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland gave approval for FBI agent Michael Gaeta to travel to London to obtain the memo from Steele. The memo may have passed directly from her to FBI leadership. Secretary of State John Kerry was also given a copy.

Steele was already well-known within the State Department. Following Steele's involvement in the FIFA scandal investigation, he began to provide reports informally to the State Department. The reports were written for a "private client" but were "shared widely within the U.S. State Department, and sent up to Secretary of State John Kerry and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who was in charge of the U.S. response to Putin's annexation of Crimea and covert invasion of eastern Ukraine," the Guardian reported.

Nuland passed on parts of the Steele dossier to the FBI. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

In July 2016, when the FBI wanted to send Gaeta to visit Steele in London, the bureau sought permission from the office of Nuland, who provided this version of events during a Feb. 4, 2018, appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation":

"In the middle of July, when [Steele] was doing this other work and became concerned, he passed two to four pages of short points of what he was finding and our immediate reaction to that was, this is not in our purview. This needs to go to the FBI if there is any concern here that one candidate or the election as a whole might be influenced by the Russian Federation. That's something for the FBI to investigate."

Steele also met with Jonathan Winer, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for international law enforcement and former special envoy for Libya. Steele and Winer had known each other since at least 2010. In an opinion article in The Washington Post, Winer wrote the following:

"In September 2016, Steele and I met in Washington and discussed the information now known as the 'dossier.' Steele's sources suggested that the Kremlin not only had been behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign but also had compromised Trump and developed ties with his associates and campaign."

In a strange turn of events, Winer also received a separate dossier , very similar to Steele's, from long-time Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal. This "second dossier" had been compiled by another longtime Clinton operative, former journalist Cody Shearer, and echoed claims made in the Steele dossier. Winer then met with Steele in late September 2016 and gave Steele a copy of the "second dossier." Steele went on to share this second dossier with the FBI, which may have used it to corroborate his dossier.

Winer passed on memos from Christopher Steele to Victoria Nuland. (State Department)

Other foreign officials also used conduits into the State Department. Alexander Downer, Australia's high commissioner to the UK, reportedly funneled his conversation with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos -- later used as a reason to open the FBI's counterintelligence investigation -- directly to the U.S. Embassy in London.

"The Downer details landed with the embassy's then-chargé d'affaires, Elizabeth Dibble, who previously served as a principal deputy assistant secretary in Mrs. Clinton's State Department," The Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel wrote in a May 31, 2018, article .

If true, this would mean that neither Australian intelligence nor the Australian government alerted the FBI to the Papadopoulos information. What happened with the Downer details, and to whom they were ultimately relayed, remains unknown.

Curiously, details surprisingly similar to the Papadopoulos–Downer conversation show up in the first memo written by Steele on June 20, 2016:

"A dossier of compromising information on Hillary Clinton has been collated by the Russian Intelligence Services over many years and mainly comprises bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls. It has not yet been distributed abroad, including to Trump."

Clinton Campaign and the DNC

The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee both occupied a unique position. They had the most to gain but they also had the most to lose. And they stood willing and ready to do whatever was necessary to win. Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, is credited with being the first to raise the specter of candidate Donald Trump's alleged collusion with Russia.

The entire Clinton campaign willfully promoted the narrative of Russia–Trump collusion despite the uncomfortable fact that they were the ones who had engaged the services of Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele through their law firm Perkins Coie. Information flowed from the campaign -- sometimes through Perkins Coie, other times through affiliates -- ultimately making its way into the media and sometimes to the FBI. Information from the Clinton campaign may also have ended up in the Steele dossier.

Jennifer Palmieri, the communications director for the Clinton campaign, in tandem with Jake Sullivan, the senior policy adviser to the campaign, took the lead in briefing the press on the Trump–Russia collusion story.

Another example of this behavior can be seen from an instance when Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann leaked information from Steele and Fusion GPS to Franklin Foer of Slate magazine. This event is described in the House Intelligence Committee's final report on Russian active measures , in footnote 43 on page 57. Foer then published the article "Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia? " on Oct. 31, 2016. The article concerns allegations regarding a server in the Trump Tower.

The Slate article managed to attract the immediate attention of Clinton, who posted a tweet on the same day the article was published:

"Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank."

Attached to her tweet was a statement from Sullivan:

"This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow. Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank.

"This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump's ties to Russia. It certainly seems the Trump Organization felt it had something to hide, given that it apparently took steps to conceal the link when it was discovered by journalists."

These statements, which were later proven to be incorrect, are all the more disturbing with the hindsight knowledge that it was a senior Clinton/DNC lawyer who helped plant the story. And given the prepared statement by Sullivan, the Clinton campaign knew this.

This type of behavior would be engaged in repeatedly -- damning leaks leading to media stories, followed by ready attacks from the Clinton campaign.

Alexandra Chalupa is a Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee. Chalupa met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, Paul Manafort, and Russia. Chalupa began investigating Manafort in 2014. In late 2015, Chalupa expanded her opposition research on Manafort to include Trump's ties to Russia. In January 2016, Chalupa shared her information with a senior DNC official.

Chalupa's meetings with DNC and Ukrainian officials would continue. On April 26, 2016, investigative reporter Michael Isikoff published a story on Yahoo News about Manafort's business dealings with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. It was later learned from a DNC email leaked by Wikileaks that Chalupa had been working with Isikoff -- the same journalist Christopher Steele leaked to in September 2016. Manafort would later be indicted for Foreign Agents Registration Act violations that occurred during the Obama administration.

Perkins Coie

International law firm Perkins Coie served as the legal arm for both the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Ties to Perkins Coie extended beyond the DNC into the Obama White House.

Bob Bauer, a partner at the law firm and founder of its political law practice, served as White House counsel to President Barack Obama throughout 2010 and 2011. Bauer was also general counsel to Obama's campaign organization, Obama for America, in 2008 and 2012.

Perkins Coie partners Marc Elias and Michael Sussmann each played critical roles and were the ones who hired Fusion GPS and Steele. Sussmann personally handled the alleged hack of the DNC server. He also transmitted information, likely from Steele and Fusion GPS, to James Baker, then-chief counsel at the FBI, and to several members of the press.

Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann. Sussmann transmitted information to FBI chief counsel James Baker and several journalists. (Courtesy Perkins Coie)

According to a letter dated Oct. 24, 2017, written by Matthew Gehringer, general counsel at Perkins Coie, the firm was approached by Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson in early March 2016 regarding the possibility of hiring Fusion GPS to continue opposition research into the Trump campaign. Simpson's overtures were successful, and in April 2016, Perkins Coie hired Fusion GPS on behalf of the DNC.

Sometime in April or May 2016, Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele. During this same period, Fusion also reportedly hired Nellie Ohr, the wife of Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr. Steele would complete his first memo on June 20, 2016, and send it to Fusion via enciphered mail.

Perkins Coie appears to have also been acting as a conduit between the DNC and the FBI. Documents suggest that Sussmann was feeding information to FBI general counsel James Baker and at least one journalist ahead of the FBI's application for a FISA warrant on the Trump campaign.

The information provided by Sussmann may have been used by the FBI as "corroborating information."

Obama Administration

The Obama administration provided a simultaneous layer of protection and facilitation for the entire effort. One example is provided by Section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333 , also known as Obama's data-sharing order . With the passage of the order, agencies and individuals were able to ask the NSA for access to specific surveillance simply by claiming the intercepts contained relevant information that was useful to a particular mission.

Section 2.3 had been expected to be finalized by early to mid-2016. Instead, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper didn't sign off on Section 2.3 until Dec. 15, 2016. The order was finalized when Attorney General Loretta Lynch signed it on Jan. 3, 2017.

The reason for the delay could relate to the fact that while the executive order made it easier to share intelligence between agencies, it also limited certain types of information from going to the White House.

An example of this was provided by Evelyn Farkas during a March 2, 2017, MSNBC interview , where she detailed how the Obama administration gathered and disseminated intelligence on the Trump team:

"I was urging my former colleagues and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill 'Get as much information as you can. Get as much intelligence as you can before President Obama leaves the administration.'

"The Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about the Trump staff's dealing with Russians, [they] would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. That's why you have the leaking."

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia Evelyn Farkas on May 6, 2014. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Many of the Obama administration's efforts appear to have been structural in nature, such as establishing new procedures or creating impediments to oversight that enabled much of the surveillance abuse to occur.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz was appointed by Obama in 2011. From the very start, he found his duties throttled by the attorney general's office. According to congressional testimony by Horowitz:

"We got access to information up to 2010 in all of these categories. No law changed in 2010. No policy changed. It was simply a decision by the General Counsel's Office in 2010 that they viewed, now, the law differently. And as a result, they weren't going to give us that information."

These new restrictions were put in place by Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

On Aug. 5, 2014, Horowitz and other inspectors general sent a letter to Congress asking for unimpeded access to all records. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates responded on July 20, 2015, with a 58-page memorandum . The memo specifically denied the inspector general access to any information collected under Title III -- including intercepted communications and national security letters.

The New York Times recently disclosed that national security letters were used in the surveillance of the Trump campaign.

At other times, the Obama administration's efforts were more direct. The Intelligence Community assessment was released internally on Jan. 5, 2017. On this same day, Obama held an undisclosed White House meeting to discuss the dossier with national security adviser Susan Rice, FBI Director James Comey, and Yates. Rice would later send herself an email documenting the meeting.

The following day, Brennan, Clapper, and Comey attached a written summary of the Steele dossier to the classified briefing they gave Obama. Comey then met with President-elect Trump to inform him of the dossier. This meeting took place just hours after Comey, Brennan, and Clapper formally briefed Obama on both the Intelligence Community assessment and the Steele dossier.

Comey would only inform Trump of the "salacious" details contained within the dossier. He later explained on CNN in an April 2018 interview why:

"Because that was the part that the leaders of the Intelligence Community agreed he needed to be told about."

Shortly after Comey's meeting with Trump, both the Trump–Comey meeting and the existence of the dossier were leaked to CNN. The significance of the meeting was material, as Comey noted in a Jan. 7 memo he wrote:

"Media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material."

Clapper leaked information to CNN, after which he publicly condemned the leaks. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The media had widely dismissed the dossier as unsubstantiated and, therefore, unreportable. It was only after learning that Comey briefed Trump that CNN reported on the dossier. It was later revealed that DNI James Clapper personally leaked Comey's meeting with Trump to CNN.

The Obama administration also directly participated in a series of intelligence unmaskings , the process whereby a U.S. citizen's identity is revealed from collected surveillance. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power reportedly engaged in hundreds of unmasking requests. Rice has admitted to doing the same.

The Obama administration engaged in the ultimately successful effort to oust Trump's newly appointed national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn. Yates, along with Mary McCord, head of the DOJ's National Security Division, led that effort .

Executive Order 13762

President Barack Obama issued a last-minute executive order on Jan. 13, 2017, that altered the line of succession within the DOJ. The action was not done in consultation with the incoming Trump administration.

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired on Jan. 30, 2017, by a newly inaugurated President Trump for refusing to uphold the president's executive order limiting travel from certain terror-prone countries. Yates was initially supposed to serve in her position until Jeff Sessions was confirmed as attorney general.

Obama's executive order placed the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia next in line behind the department's senior leadership. The attorney at the time was Channing Phillips.

Phillips was first hired by former Attorney General Eric Holder in 1994 for a position in the D.C. U.S. attorney's office. Phillips, after serving as a senior adviser to Holder, stayed on after he was replaced by Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

It appears the Obama administration was hoping the Russia investigation would default to Channing in the event Sessions was forced to recuse himself from the investigation. Sessions, whose confirmation hearings began three days before the order, was already coming under intense scrutiny.

The implementation of the order may also tie into Yates's efforts to remove Gen. Michael Flynn over his call with the Russian ambassador.

Trump ignored the succession order, as he is legally allowed to do, and instead appointed Dana Boente, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, as acting attorney general on Jan. 30, 2017, the same day Yates was fired.

Trump issued a new executive order on Feb. 9, 2017, the same day Sessions was sworn in, reversing Obama's prior order.

On March 10, 2017, Trump fired 46 Obama-era U.S. attorneys, including Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan. These firings appear to have been unexpected.

Media

In some respects, the media has played the most disingenuous of roles. Areas of investigation that historically would have proven irresistible to reporters of the past have been steadfastly ignored. False narratives have been all-too-willingly promoted and facts ignored. Fusion GPS personally made a series of payments to several as-of-yet- unnamed reporters .

The majority of the mainstream media has represented positions of the DNC and the Clinton campaign.

Steele met with members of certain media with relative frequency. In September 2016 , he met with a number of U.S. journalists for "The New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo! News, the New Yorker and CNN," according to The Guardian. It was during this period that Steele met with Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News.

In mid-October 2016, Steele returned to New York and met with reporters again. Toward the end of October, Steele spoke via Skype with Mother Jones reporter David Corn.

Leaking, including felony leaking of classified information, has been widespread. The Carter Page FISA warrant -- likely the unredacted version -- has been in the possession of The Washington Post and The New York Times since March 2017. Traditionally, the intelligence community leaked to The Washington Post while the DOJ leaked to sources within The New York Times. This was a historical pattern that stood until this election. The leaking became so widespread, even this tradition was broken.

On April 3, 2017, BuzzFeed reporter Ali Watkins wrote the article " A Former Trump Adviser Met With a Russian Spy ." In the article, she identified "Male-1," referred to in court documents relating to the case of Russian spy Evgeny Buryakov, as Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, who had provided the FBI with assistance in the case. Just over a week later, on April 11, 2017, a Washington Post article, " FBI Obtained FISA Warrant to Monitor Former Trump Adviser Carter Page ," confirmed the existence of the October 2016 Page FISA warrant.

The information contained within both articles likely came via felony leaks from James Wolfe, former director of security for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who was arrested on June 7, 2018, and charged with one count of lying to the FBI. Wolfe's indictment alleges that he was leaking classified information to multiple reporters over an extended period of time.

Reporter Ali Watkins likely received the undredacted FISA application on Carter Page from James Wolfe.
It appears probable that Wolfe leaked unredacted copies of the Page FISA application. According to the indictment , Wolfe exchanged 82 text messages with Watkins on March 17, 2017. That same evening they engaged in a 28-minute phone call. The original Page FISA application is 83 pages long, including one final signatory page.

In the public version of the application, there are 37 fully redacted pages. In addition to that, several other pages have redactions for all but the header. There are only two pages in the entire document that contain no redactions.

Why would Wolfe bother to send 37 pages of complete redactions? It seems more than plausible that Wolfe took pictures of the original unredacted FISA application and sent them by text to Watkins.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has repeatedly stated that evidence within the FISA application shows the counterintelligence agencies were abused by the Obama administration. Most of the mainstream media has known this.

Despite this, most major news organizations for over two years have promoted the Russia-collusion narrative. Despite ample evidence having come out to the contrary, they have not admitted they were wrong, likely because doing so would mean they would have to admit their complicity.

Foreign Intelligence

UK and Australian intelligence agencies also played meaningful roles during the 2016 presidential election.

Britain's GCHQ was involved in collecting information regarding then-candidate Trump and transmitting it to the United States. In the summer of 2016, Robert Hannigan, the head of GCHQ, flew from London to meet personally with then-CIA Director John Brennan, The Guardian reported.

Former GCHQ head Robert Hannigan in this file photo. Hannigan transmitted information regarding Donald Trump to John Brennan in the summer of 2016. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images)

Hannigan's meeting was noteworthy because Brennan wasn't Hannigan's counterpart. That position belonged to NSA Director Mike Rogers. In the following year, Hannigan abruptly announced his retirement on Jan. 23, 2017 -- three days after Trump's inauguration.

As GCHQ was gathering intelligence, low-level Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos appears to have been targeted after a series of highly coincidental meetings. Maltese professor Josef Mifsud, Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, FBI informant Stefan Halper, and officials from the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) all crossed paths with Papadopoulos -- some repeatedly so.

Christopher Steele, who authored the dossier on Trump, was an MI6 agent while the agency was headed by Sir Richard Dearlove. Steele retains close ties with Dearlove.

Dearlove has ties to most of the parties mentioned. It was he who advised Steele and his business partner, Chris Burrows, to work with a top British government official to pass along information to the FBI in the fall of 2016. He also was a speaker at the July 2016 Cambridge symposium that Halper invited Carter Page to attend.

Dearlove knows Halper through their mutual association at the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar. Dearlove also knows Sir Iain Lobban, a former head of GCHQ, who is an advisory board member at British strategic intelligence and advisory firm Hakluyt , which was founded by former MI6 members and retains close ties to UK intelligence services.

Halper has historical connections to Hakluyt through Jonathan Clarke, with whom he has co-authored two books.

Downer, who met Papadopoulos in a May 2016 meeting established through a chain of two intermediaries, served on the advisory board of Hakluyt from 2008 to 2014. He reportedly still maintains contact with Hakluyt officials. Information from his meeting with Papadopoulos was later used by the FBI to establish the bureau's counterintelligence investigation into Trump–Russia collusion. Downer has changed his version of events multiple times.

The Steele dossier was fed into U.S. channels through several different sources. One such source was Sir Andrew Wood, the former British ambassador to Russia, who had been briefed about the dossier by Steele. Wood later relayed information regarding the dossier to Sen. John McCain, who dispatched David Kramer, a fellow at the McCain Institute, to London to meet with Steele in November 2016. McCain would later admit in a Jan. 11, 2017, statement that he had personally passed on the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey.

Trump, after issuing an order for the declassification of documents and text messages related to the Russia-collusion investigations -- including parts of the Carter Page FISA warrant application -- received phone calls from two U.S. allies saying, "Please, can we talk." Those "allies" were almost certainly the UK and Australia.

In a Twitter post , Trump wrote that the "key Allies called to ask not to release" the documents.

Questions to be asked are why is it that two of our allies would find themselves so opposed to the release of these classified documents that a coordinated plea would be made directly to the president? And why would these same allies have even the slightest idea of what was contained in these classified U.S. documents?

Britain and Australia appear to know full well what those documents contain, and their attempt to prevent their public release appears to be because they don't want their role in events surrounding the 2016 presidential election to be made public.

Fusion GPS/Orbis/Christopher Steele

Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, is co-founder of Fusion GPS, along with Peter Fritsch and Tom Catan. Fusion was hired by the DNC and the Clinton campaign through law firm Perkins Coie to produce and disseminate the Steele dossier used against Trump. The dossier would later be the primary evidence used to obtain a FISA warrant on Carter Page on Oct. 21, 2016.

The company was hired by the Clinton campaign and the DNC–through law firm Perkins Coie–to produce the dossier on Trump.

Christopher Steele, who retains close ties to UK intelligence, worked for MI6 from 1987 until his retirement in 2009, when he and his partner, Chris Burrows, founded Orbis Intelligence. Steele maintains contact with British intelligence, Sir Richard Dearlove , and UK intelligence firm Hakluyt.

Steele appears to have been represented by lawyer Adam Waldman, who also represented Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. We know this from texts sent by Waldman. On April 10, 2017, Waldman sent this to Sen. Mark Warner:

"Hi. Steele: would like to get a bi partisan letter from the committee; Assange: I convinced him to make serious and important concessions and am discussing those w DOJ; Deripaska: willing to testify to congress but interested in state of play w Manafort. I will be with him next tuesday for a week."

Steele also appears to have lobbied on behalf of Deripaska, who was discussed in emails between Bruce Ohr and Steele that were recently disclosed by the Washington Examiner:

"Steele said he was 'circulating some recent sensitive Orbis reporting' on Deripaska that suggested Deripaska was not a 'tool' of the Kremlin. Steele said he would send the reporting to a name that is redacted in the email."

Fusion GPS was also employed by Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in a previous case. Veselnitskaya was involved in litigation pitting Russian firm Prevezon Holdings against British-American financier William Browder. Veselnitskaya hired U.S. law firm BakerHostetler, who, in turn, hired Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Browder. Veselnitskaya was one of the participants at the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, at which she discussed the Magnitsky Act .

Fox News reported on Nov. 9, 2017, that Simpson met with Veselnitskaya immediately before and after the Trump Tower meeting.

A declassified top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court report released on April 26, 2017, revealed that government agencies, including the FBI, CIA, and NSA, had improperly accessed Americans' communications. The FBI specifically provided outside contractors with access to raw surveillance data on American citizens without proper oversight.

Communications and other data of members of the Trump campaign may have been accessed in this way.


Nellie Ohr, the wife of high-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr, was hired by Fusion GPS to work on the dossier on Trump.

Bruce and Nellie Ohr have known Simpson since at least 2010 and have known Steele since at least 2006. The Ohrs and Simpson worked together on a DOJ report in 2010 . In that report, Nellie Ohr's biography lists her as working for Open Source Works, which is part of the CIA. Simpson met with Bruce Ohr before and after the 2016 election.

Bruce Ohr had been in contact repeatedly with Steele during the 2016 presidential campaign -- while Steele was constructing his dossier. Ohr later actively shared information he received from Steele with the FBI, after the agency had terminated Steele as a source. Interactions between Ohr and Steele stretched for months into the first year of Trump's presidency and were documented in a number of FD-302s -- memos that summarize interviews with him by the FBI.

Spy Traps

In an effort to put forth evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, it appears that several different spy traps were set, with varying degrees of success. Many of these efforts appear to center around Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and involve London-based professor Joseph Mifsud, who has ties to Western intelligence, particularly in the UK.

Papadopoulos and Mifsud both worked at the London Centre of International Law Practice (LCILP). Mifsud appears to have joined LCILP around November 2015 . Papadopoulos reportedly joined LCILP sometime in late February 2016 after leaving Ben Carson's presidential campaign. However, some reports indicate Papadopoulos joined LCILP in November or December of 2015. Mifsud and Papadopoulos reportedly never crossed paths until March 14, 2016, in Italy.

Mifsud introduced Papadopoulos to several Russians, including Olga Polonskaya, whom Mifsud introduced as "Putin's niece," and Ivan Timofeev, an official at a state-sponsored think tank called the Russian International Affairs Council. Both Papadopoulos and Mifsud were interviewed by the FBI. Papadopoulos was ultimately charged with a process crime and was recently sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI. Mifsud was never charged by the FBI.

Throughout this period, Papadopoulos continuously pushed for meetings between Trump campaign officials and Russian contacts but was ultimately unsuccessful in establishing any meetings.

Papadopoulos met with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer on May 10, 2016. The Papadopoulos–Downer meeting has been portrayed as a chance encounter in a bar. That does not appear to be the case.

Papadopoulos was introduced to Downer through a chain of two intermediaries who said Downer wanted to meet with Papadopoulos. Another individual happened to be in London at exactly the same time: the FBI's head of counterintelligence, Bill Priestap. The purpose of Priestap's visit remains unknown.

The Papadopoulos–Downer meeting was later used to establish the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into Trump–Russia collusion. It was repeatedly reported that Papadopoulos told Downer that Russia had Hillary Clinton's emails. This is incorrect.

Foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign was approached by several individuals with ties to UK and U.S. intelligence agencies. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

According to Downer, Papadopoulos at some point mentioned the Russians had damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

"During that conversation, he [Papadopoulos] mentioned the Russians might use material that they have on Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the election, which may be damaging,'' Downer told The Australian about the Papadopoulos meeting in an April 2018 article. "He didn't say dirt, he said material that could be damaging to her. No, he said it would be damaging. He didn't say what it was."

Downer, while serving as Australia's foreign minister, was responsible for one of the largest foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation: $25 million from the Australian government.

Unconfirmed media reports, including a Jan. 12, 2017, BBC article , have suggested that the FBI attempted to obtain two FISA warrants in June and July 2016 that were denied by the FISA court. It's likely that Papadopoulos was an intended target of these failed FISAs.

Interestingly, there is no mention of Papadopoulos in the Steele dossier. Paul Manafort, Carter Page, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, Gen. Michael Flynn, and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski are all listed in the Steele dossier.

Papadopoulos may have started out assisting the FBI or CIA and later discovered that he was being set up for surveillance himself.

After failing to obtain a spy warrant on the Trump campaign using Papadopoulos, the FBI set its sights on campaign volunteer Carter Page. By this time, the counterintelligence investigation was in the process of being established, and we know now that it was formalized with no official intelligence. The FBI needed some sort of legal cover. They needed a retroactive warrant. And they got one on Oct. 21, 2016. The Page FISA warrant would be renewed three times and remain in force until September 2017.

Stefan Halper met with Page for the first time on July 11, 2016, at a Cambridge symposium , just three days after Page's July 2016 Moscow trip. As noted previously, former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove was a speaker at the symposium. Halper and Dearlove have known each other for years and maintain several mutual associations.

Page was already known to the FBI. The Page FISA warrant application references the Buryakov spy case and an FBI interview with Page. Current information suggests there was only one meeting between Page and the FBI in 2016. It happened on March 2, 2016. It was in relation to Victor Podobnyy, who was named in the Buryakov case.

Page, who cooperated with the FBI on the case, almost certainly was providing testimony or details against Podobnyy. Page had been contacted by Podobnyy in 2013 and had previously provided information to the FBI. Buryakov pleaded guilty on March 11, 2016 -- nine days after Page met with the FBI on the case -- and was sentenced to 30 months in prison on May 25, 2016. On April 5, 2017, Buryakov was granted early release and was deported to Russia.

FBI informant Stefan Halper approached Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said in August that exculpatory evidence on Page exists that wasn't included by the DOJ and the FBI in the FISA application and subsequent renewals. The exculpatory evidence likely relates specifically to Page's role in the Buryakov case.

If the FBI failed to disclose Page's cooperation with the bureau or materially misrepresented his involvement in its application to the FISA Court, it means that the FBI's Woods procedures, which govern FISA applications, were violated.

Page has not been arrested or charged with any crime related to the investigation.

FISA Abuse

Admiral Mike Rogers, while director of the NSA, was personally responsible for uncovering an unprecedented level of FISA abuse that would later be documented in a 99-page unsealed FISA court ruling . As the FISA court noted in the April 26, 2017, ruling, the abuses had been occurring since at least November 2015:

"The FBI had disclosed raw FISA information, including but not limited to Section 702-acquired information, to private contractors.

"Private contractors had access to raw FISA information on FBI storage systems.

"Contractors had access to raw FISA information that went well beyond what was necessary to respond to the FBI's requests."

The FISA Court report is particularly focused on the FBI:

"The Court is concerned about the FBI's apparent disregard of minimization rules and whether the FBI may be engaging in similar disclosures of raw Section 702 information that have not been reported."

The FISA Court disclosed that illegal NSA database searches were endemic. Private contractors, employed by the FBI, were given full access to the NSA database. Once in the contractors' possession, the data couldn't be traced.

In April 2016, after Rogers became aware of improper contractor access to raw FISA data on March 9, 2016, he directed the NSA's Office of Compliance to conduct a "fundamental baseline review of compliance associated with 702."

On April 18, 2016, Rogers shut down all outside contractor access to raw FISA information -- specifically outside contractors working for the FBI.

Then-NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers on May 23, 2017. Rogers uncovered widespread abuse of FISA data by the FBI. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

DOJ National Security Division (NSD) head John Carlin filed the government's proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications on Sept. 26, 2016. Carlin knew the general status of compliance review by Rogers. The NSD was part of the review. Carlin failed to disclose a critical Jan. 7, 2016, report by the Office of the Inspector General and associated FISA abuse to the FISA Court in his 2016 certification. Carlin also failed to disclose Rogers's ongoing Section 702 compliance review.

The following day, on Sept. 27, 2016, Carlin announced his resignation, effective Oct. 15, 2016.

After receiving a briefing by the NSA compliance officer on Oct. 20, 2016, detailing numerous "about query" violations from the 702 NSA compliance audit, Rogers shut down all "about query" activity the next day and reported his findings to the DOJ. "About queries" are searches based on communications containing a reference "about" a surveillance target but that are not "to" or "from" the target.

On Oct. 21, 2016, the DOJ and the FBI sought and received a Title I FISA probable-cause order authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISA Court.

At this point, the FISA Court was still unaware of the Section 702 violations.

On Oct. 24, 2016, Rogers verbally informed the FISA Court of his findings. On Oct. 26, 2016, Rogers appeared formally before the FISA Court and presented the written findings of his audit.

The FISA Court had been unaware of the query violations until they were presented to the court by Rogers.

Carlin didn't disclose his knowledge of FISA abuse in the annual Section 702 certifications in order to avoid raising suspicions at the FISA Court ahead of receiving the Page FISA warrant.

The FBI and the NSD were literally racing against Rogers's investigation in order to obtain a FISA warrant on Carter Page.

While all this was transpiring, DNI James Clapper and Defense Secretary Ash Carter submitted a recommendation that Rogers be removed from his post as NSA director.

The move to fire Rogers, which ultimately failed, originated sometime in mid-October 2016 -- exactly when Rogers was preparing to present his findings to the FISA Court.

The Insurance Policy

Ever since the release of FBI text messages revealing the existence of an "insurance policy," the term has been the subject of wide speculation.

Some observers have suggested that the insurance policy was the FISA spy warrant used to monitor Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and, by extension, other members of the Trump campaign. This interpretation is too narrow and fails to capture the underlying meaning of the text.

The insurance policy was the actual process of establishing the Trump–Russia collusion narrative.

It encompassed actions undertaken in late 2016 and early 2017, including the leaking of the Steele dossier and James Clapper's leaks of James Comey's briefing to President Trump. The intent behind these actions was simple. The legitimization of the investigation into the Trump campaign.

The strategy involved the recusal of Trump officials with the intent that Andrew McCabe would end up running the investigation.

The Steele dossier, which was paid for by the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee, served as the foundation for the Russia narrative.

The intelligence community, led by CIA Director John Brennan and DNI James Clapper, used the dossier as a launching pad for creating their Intelligence Community assessment.

This report, which was presented to Obama in December 2016, despite NSA Director Mike Rogers having only moderate confidence in its assessment, became one of the core pieces of the narrative that Russia interfered with the 2016 elections.

Through intelligence community leaks, and in collusion with willing media outlets, the narrative that Russia helped Trump win the elections was aggressively pushed throughout 2017.

Spygate

Spygate represents the biggest political scandal in our nation's history. A sitting administration actively colluded with a political campaign to affect the outcome of a U.S. presidential election. Government agencies were weaponized and a complicit media spread intelligence community leaks as facts.

But a larger question remains: How long has the United States been subject to interference from the intelligence community and our political agencies? Was the 2016 presidential election a one-time aberration, or is this episode symptomatic of a larger pattern extending back decades?

The intensity, scale, and coordination suggest something greater than overzealous actions taken during a single election. They represent a unified reaction of the establishment to a threat posed by a true outsider -- a reaction that has come to be known as Spygate.

Jeff Carlson is a regular contributor to The Epoch Times. He also runs the website TheMarketsWork.com and can be followed on Twitter @themarketswork.

[Mar 18, 2019] Journalists who are spies

Highly recommended!
Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services?
Notable quotes:
"... Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? ..."
"... "Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5." ..."
"... Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll. ..."
"... The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants. ..."
"... As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career". ..."
"... Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance. ..."
Mar 03, 2006 | www.nytimes.com

Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? The following extracts are from an article at the excellent Medialens

http://www.medialens.org/alerts/06/060303_hacks_and_spooks.php

HACKS AND SPOOKS

By Professor Richard Keeble

And so to Nottingham University (on Sunday 26 February) for a well-attended conference...

I focus in my talk on the links between journalists and the intelligence services: While it might be difficult to identify precisely the impact of the spooks (variously represented in the press as "intelligence", "security", "Whitehall" or "Home Office" sources) on mainstream politics and media, from the limited evidence it looks to be enormous.

As Roy Greenslade, media specialist at the Telegraph (formerly the Guardian), commented:

"Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5."

Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll.

And in 1991, Richard Norton-Taylor revealed in the Guardian that 500 prominent Britons paid by the CIA and the now defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International, included 90 journalists.

In their analysis of the contemporary secret state, Dorril and Ramsay gave the media a crucial role. The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants.

As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career".

Phillip Knightley, author of a seminal history of the intelligence services, has even claimed that at least one intelligence agent is working on every Fleet Street newspaper.

A brief history

Going as far back as 1945, George Orwell no less became a war correspondent for the Observer - probably as a cover for intelligence work. Significantly most of the men he met in Paris on his assignment, Freddie Ayer, Malcolm Muggeridge, Ernest Hemingway were either working for the intelligence services or had close links to them.

Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance.

The release of Public Record Office documents in 1995 about some of the operations of the MI6-financed propaganda unit, the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office, threw light on this secret body - which even Orwell aided by sending them a list of "crypto-communists". Set up by the Labour government in 1948, it "ran" dozens of Fleet Street journalists and a vast array of news agencies across the globe until it was closed down by Foreign Secretary David Owen in 1977.

According to John Pilger in the anti-colonial struggles in Kenya, Malaya and Cyprus, IRD was so successful that the journalism served up as a record of those episodes was a cocktail of the distorted and false in which the real aims and often atrocious behaviour of the British intelligence agencies was hidden.

And spy novelist John le Carré, who worked for MI6 between 1960 and 1964, has made the amazing statement that the British secret service then controlled large parts of the press – just as they may do today.

In 1975, following Senate hearings on the CIA, the reports of the Senate's Church Committee and the House of Representatives' Pike Committee highlighted the extent of agency recruitment of both British and US journalists.

And sources revealed that half the foreign staff of a British daily were on the MI6 payroll.

David Leigh, in The Wilson Plot, his seminal study of the way in which the secret service smeared through the mainstream media and destabilised the Government of Harold Wilson before his sudden resignation in 1976, quotes an MI5 officer: "We have somebody in every office in Fleet Street"

Leaker King

And the most famous whistleblower of all, Peter (Spycatcher) Wright, revealed that MI5 had agents in newspapers and publishing companies whose main role was to warn them of any forthcoming "embarrassing publications".

Wright also disclosed that the Daily Mirror tycoon, Cecil King, "was a longstanding agent of ours" who "made it clear he would publish anything MI5 might care to leak in his direction".

Selective details about Wilson and his secretary, Marcia Falkender, were leaked by the intelligence services to sympathetic Fleet Street journalists. Wright comments: "No wonder Wilson was later to claim that he was the victim of a plot". King was also closely involved in a scheme in 1968 to oust Prime Minister Harold Wilson and replace him with a coalition headed by Lord Mountbatten.

Hugh Cudlipp, editorial director of the Mirror from 1952 to 1974, was also closely linked to intelligence, according to Chris Horrie, in his recently published history of the newspaper.

David Walker, the Mirror's foreign correspondent in the 1950s, was named as an MI6 agent following a security scandal while another Mirror journalist, Stanley Bonnet, admitted working for MI5 in the 1980s investigating the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Maxwell and Mossad

According to Stephen Dorril, intelligence gathering during the miners' strike of 1984-85 was helped by the fact that during the 1970s MI5's F Branch had made a special effort to recruit industrial correspondents – with great success.

In 1991, just before his mysterious death, Mirror proprietor Robert Maxwell was accused by the US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh of acting for Mossad, the Israeli secret service, though Dorril suggests his links with MI6 were equally as strong.

Following the resignation from the Guardian of Richard Gott, its literary editor in December 1994 in the wake of allegations that he was a paid agent of the KGB, the role of journalists as spies suddenly came under the media spotlight – and many of the leaks were fascinating.

For instance, according to The Times editorial of 16 December 1994: "Many British journalists benefited from CIA or MI6 largesse during the Cold War."

The intimate links between journalists and the secret services were highlighted in the autobiography of the eminent newscaster Sandy Gall. He reports without any qualms how, after returning from one of his reporting assignments to Afghanistan, he was asked to lunch by the head of MI6. "It was very informal, the cook was off so we had cold meat and salad with plenty of wine. He wanted to hear what I had to say about the war in Afghanistan. I was flattered, of course, and anxious to pass on what I could in terms of first-hand knowledge."

And in January 2001, the renegade MI6 officer, Richard Tomlinson, claimed Dominic Lawson, the editor of the Sunday Telegraph and son of the former Tory chancellor, Nigel Lawson, provided journalistic cover for an MI6 officer on a mission to the Baltic to handle and debrief a young Russian diplomat who was spying for Britain.

Lawson strongly denied the allegations.

Similarly in the reporting of Northern Ireland, there have been longstanding concerns over security service disinformation. Susan McKay, Northern editor of the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune, has criticised the reckless reporting of material from "dodgy security services". She told a conference in Belfast in January 2003 organised by the National Union of Journalists and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: "We need to be suspicious when people are so ready to provide information and that we are, in fact, not being used." (www.nuj.org.uk/inner.php?docid=635)

Growing power of secret state

Thus from this evidence alone it is clear there has been a long history of links between hacks and spooks in both the UK and US.

But as the secret state grows in power, through massive resourcing, through a whole raft of legislation – such as the Official Secrets Act, the anti-terrorism legislation, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and so on – and as intelligence moves into the heart of Blair's ruling clique so these links are even more significant.

Since September 11 all of Fleet Street has been awash in warnings by anonymous intelligence sources of terrorist threats.

According to former Labour minister Michael Meacher, much of this disinformation was spread via sympathetic journalists by the Rockingham cell within the MoD.

A parallel exercise, through the office of Special Plans, was set up by Donald Rumsfeld in the US. Thus there have been constant attempts to scare people – and justify still greater powers for the national security apparatus.

Similarly the disinformation about Iraq's WMD was spread by dodgy intelligence sources via gullible journalists.

Thus, to take just one example, Michael Evans, The Times defence correspondent, reported on 29 November 2002: "Saddam Hussein has ordered hundred of his officials to conceal weapons of mass destruction components in their homes to evade the prying eyes of the United Nations inspectors." The source of these "revelations" was said to be "intelligence picked up from within Iraq". Early in 2004, as the battle for control of Iraq continued with mounting casualties on both sides, it was revealed that many of the lies about Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD had been fed to sympathetic journalists in the US, Britain and Australia by the exile group, the Iraqi National Congress.

Sexed up – and missed out

During the controversy that erupted following the end of the "war" and the death of the arms inspector Dr David Kelly (and the ensuing Hutton inquiry) the spotlight fell on BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan and the claim by one of his sources that the government (in collusion with the intelligence services) had "sexed up" a dossier justifying an attack on Iraq.

The Hutton inquiry, its every twist and turn massively covered in the mainstream media, was the archetypal media spectacle that drew attention from the real issue: why did the Bush and Blair governments invade Iraq in the face of massive global opposition? But those facts will be forever secret.

Significantly, too, the broader and more significant issue of mainstream journalists' links with the intelligence services was ignored by the inquiry.

Significantly, on 26 May 2004, the New York Times carried a 1,200-word editorial admitting it had been duped in its coverage of WMD in the lead-up to the invasion by dubious Iraqi defectors, informants and exiles (though it failed to lay any blame on the US President: see Greenslade 2004). Chief among The Times' dodgy informants was Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress and Pentagon favourite before his Baghdad house was raided by US forces on 20 May.

Then, in the Observer of 30 May 2004, David Rose admitted he had been the victim of a "calculated set-up" devised to foster the propaganda case for war. "In the 18 months before the invasion of March 2003, I dealt regularly with Chalabi and the INC and published stories based on interviews with men they said were defectors from Saddam's regime." And he concluded: "The information fog is thicker than in any previous war, as I know now from bitter personal experience. To any journalist being offered apparently sensational disclosures, especially from an anonymous intelligence source, I offer two words of advice: caveat emptor."

Let's not forget no British newspaper has followed the example of the NYT and apologised for being so easily duped by the intelligence services in the run up to the illegal invasion of Iraq.

~

Richard Keeble's publications include Secret State, Silent Press: New Militarism, the Gulf and the Modern Image of Warfare (John Libbey 1997) and The Newspapers Handbook (Routledge, fourth edition, 2005). He is also the editor of Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics. Richard is also a member of the War and Media Network.

[Mar 18, 2019] Doublethink and Newspeak Do We Have a Choice by Greg Guma

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is." ..."
"... Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility. ..."
"... Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form. ..."
"... As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division. ..."
"... In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes. ..."
"... Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution. ..."
"... Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution. ..."
"... This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change . ..."
Aug 21, 2017 | www.globalresearch.ca
Region: USA Theme: Media Disinformation , Police State & Civil Rights

More people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

On the big screens above us beautiful young people demonstrated their prowess. We were sitting in the communications center, waiting for print outs to tell us what they'd done before organizing the material for mass consumption. Outside, people were freezing in the snow as they waited for buses. Their only choice was to attend another event or attempt to get home.

The area was known as the Competition Zone, a corporate state created for the sole purpose of showcasing these gorgeous competitors. Freedom was a foreign idea here; no one was more free than the laminated identification card hanging around your neck allowed.

Visitors were more restricted than anyone. They saw only what they paid for, and had to wait in long lines for food, transport, or tickets to more events. They were often uncomfortable, yet they felt privileged to be admitted to the Zone. Citizens were categorized by their function within the Organizing Committee's bureaucracy. Those who merely served -- in jobs like cooking, driving and cleaning -- wore green and brown tags. They could travel between their homes and work, but were rarely permitted into events. Their contact with visitors was also limited. To visit them from outside the Zone, their friends and family had to be screened.

Most citizens knew little about how the Zone was actually run, about the "inner community" of diplomats, competitors and corporate officials they served. Yet each night they watched the exploits of this same elite on television.

The Zone, a closed and classified place where most bad news went unreported and a tiny elite called the shots through mass media and computers, was no futuristic fantasy. It was Lake Placid for several weeks in early 1980 -- a full four years before 1984.

In a once sleepy little community covered with artificial snow, the Olympics had brought a temporary society into being. Two thousand athletes and their entourage were its royalty, role models for the throngs of spectators, townspeople and journalists. This convergence resulted in an ad hoc police state, managed by public and private forces and a political elite that combined local business honchos with an international governing committee. They dominated a population all too willing to submit to arbitrary authority.

Even back then, Lake Placid's Olympic "village" felt like a preview of things to come. Not quite George Orwell's dark vision, but uncomfortably close.

In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is."

Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility.

Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form.

Our fast food culture is also taking a long-term toll. More and more people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

Much of what penetrates and goes viral further fragments culture and thought, promoting a cynicism that reinforces both rage and inaction. Rather than true diversity, we have the mass illusion that a choice between polarized opinions, shaped and curated by editors and networks, is the essence of free speech and democracy. In reality, original ideas are so constrained and self-censored that what's left is usually as diverse as brands of peppermint toothpaste.

When the Bill of Rights was ratified, the notion that freedom of speech and the press should be protected meant that the personal right of self-expression should not be repressed by the government. James Madison, author of the First Amendment, warned that the greatest danger to liberty was that a majority would use its power to repress everyone else. Yet the evolution of mass media and the corporate domination of economic life have made these "choicest privileges" almost obsolete.

As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division.

In general terms, what most mass media bring the public is a series of images and anecdotes that cumulatively define a way of life. Both news and entertainment contribute to the illusion that competing, consuming and accumulating are at the core of our aspirations. Each day we are repeatedly shown and told that culture and politics are corrupt, that war is imminent or escalating somewhere, that violence is random and pervasive, and yet also that the latest "experts" have the answers. Countless programs meanwhile celebrate youth, violence, frustrated sexuality, and the lives of celebrities.

Between the official program content are a series of intensely packaged sales pitches. These commercial messages wash over us, as if we are wandering in an endless virtual mall, searching in vain for fulfillment as society crumbles.

In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes.

So, is it too late for a rescue? Will menace win this time? Or can we still save the environment, reclaim self-government, restore communities and protect human rights? What does the future hold?

It could be summer in Los Angeles in 2024, the end of Donald Trump's second term. The freeways are slow-moving parking lots for the Olympics. Millions of people hike around in the heat, or use bikes and cycles to get to work. It's difficult with all the checkpoints, not to mention the extra-high security at the airports. Thousands of police, not to mention the military, are on the lookout for terrorists, smugglers, protesters, cultists, gangs, thieves, and anyone who doesn't have money to burn or a ticket to the Games.

Cash isn't much good, and gas has become so expensive that suburban highways are almost empty.

Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution.

... ... ...

Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution.

This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change .

[Mar 18, 2019] The Why are the media playing lapdog and not watchdog – again – on war in Iraq?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children. ..."
"... Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War". ..."
"... The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war. ..."
"... the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces. ..."
"... The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening ..."
"... In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing. ..."
"... The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. ..."
"... Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet. ..."
"... But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day. ..."
Oct 10, 2014 | The Guardian
BradBenson, 10 October 2014 6:14pm
The American Public has gotten exactly what it deserved. They have been dumbed-down in our poor-by-intention school systems. The moronic nonsense that passes for news in this country gets more sensational with each passing day. Over on Fox, they are making the claim that ISIS fighters are bringing Ebola over the Mexican Border, which prompted a reply by the Mexican Embassy that won't be reported on Fox.

We continue to hear and it was even reported in this very fine article by Ms. Benjamin that the American People now support this new war. Really? I'm sorry, but I haven't seen that support anywhere but on the news and I just don't believe it any more.

There is also the little problem of infiltration into key media slots by paid CIA Assets (Scarborough and brainless Mika are two of these double dippers). Others are intermarried. Right-wing Neocon War Criminal Dan Senor is married to "respected" newsperson Campbell Brown who is now involved in privatizing our school system. Victoria Nuland, the slimey State Department Official who was overheard appointing the members of the future Ukrainian Government prior to the Maidan Coup is married to another Neo-Con--Larry Kagan. Even sweet little Andrea Mitchell is actually Mrs. Alan Greenspan.

General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children.

Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War".

Yesterday there was a coordinated action by all of the networks, which was clearly designed to support the idea that the generals want Obama to act and he just won't. The not-so-subtle message was that the generals were right and that the President's "inaction" was somehow out of line-since, after all, the generals have recommended more war. It was as if these people don't remember that the President, sleazy War Criminal that he is, is still the Commander in Chief.

The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war.

Finally, this Sunday every NFL Game will begin with some Patriotic "Honor America" Display, which will include a missing man flyover, flags and fireworks, plenty of uniforms, wounded Vets and soon-to-be-wounded Vets. A giant American Flag will, once again, cover the fields and hundreds of stupid young kids will rush down to their "Military Career Center" right after the game. These are the ones that I pity most.

BaronVonAmericano , 10 October 2014 6:26pm
Let's be frank: powerful interests want war and subsequent puppet regimes in the half dozen nations that the neo-cons have been eyeing (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan). These interests surely include industries like banking, arms and oil-all of whom make a killing on any war, and would stand to do well with friendly governments who could finance more arms purchases and will never nationalize the oil.

So, the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces.

IanB52, 10 October 2014 6:57pm

The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening. When I'm down at the gym they always have CNN on (I can only imagine what FOX is like) which is a pretty much dyed in the wool yellow jingoist station at this point. With all the segments they dedicate to ISIS, a new war, the "imminent" terrorist threat, they seem to favor talking heads who support a full ground war and I have never, not once, heard anyone even speak about the mere possibility of peace. Not ever.

In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing.

I'd imagine that these media companies have a lot stock in and a cozy relationship with the defense contractors.

Damiano Iocovozzi, 10 October 2014 7:04pm

The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. The media doesn't report on anything but relies on repeating manufactured crises, creating manufactured consent & discussing manufactured solutions. Follow the oil, the pipelines & the money. Both R's & D's are left & right cheeks of the same buttock. Thanks to Citizens United & even Hobby Lobby, a compliant Supreme Court, also owned by United States of Corporations, it's a done deal.

ID5868758 , 10 October 2014 10:20pm
Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet.

Let me give you one clear example. A year ago Barack Obama came very close to bombing Syria to kingdom come, the justification used was "Assad gassed his own people", referring to a sarin gas attack near Damascus. Well, it turns out that Assad did not initiate that attack, discovered by research from many sources including the prestigious MIT, it was a false flag attack planned by Turkey and carried out by some of Obama's own "moderate rebels".

But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day.

[Mar 17, 2019] Mueller uses the same old false flag scams, just different packaging of his forensics-free findings

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It appears the FBI, CIA, and NSA have great difficulty in differentiating between Russians and Democrats posing as Russians. ..."
"... Maybe the VIPS should look into the murder of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who had the security clearance required to access the DNC servers, and who was murdered in the same week as the emails were taken. In particular, they should ask why the police were told to stand down and close the murder case without further investigation. ..."
"... What a brilliant article, so logical, methodical & a forensic, scientific breakdown of the phony Russiagate project? And there's no doubt, this was a co-ordinated, determined Intelligence project to reverse the results of the 2016 Election by initiating a soft coup or Regime change op on a elected Leader, a very American Coup, something the American Intelligence Agencies specialise in, everywhere else, on a Global scale, too get Trump impeached & removed from the Whitehouse? ..."
"... Right. Since its purpose is to destroy Trump politically, the investigation should go on as long as Trump is in office. Alternatively, if at this point Trump has completely sold out, that would be another reason to stop the investigation. ..."
"... Nancy Pelosi's announcement two days ago that the Democrats will not seek impeachment for Trump suggests the emptiness of the Mueller investigation on the specific "collusion" issue. ..."
"... We know and Assange has confirmed Seth Rich, assassinated in D.C. for his deed, downloaded the emails and most likely passed them on to former British ambassador Craig Murray in a D.C. park for transport to Wikileaks. ..."
"... This so-called "Russiagate" narrative is an illustration of our "freedom of the press" failure in the US due to groupthink and self censorship. He who pays the piper is apt to call the tune. ..."
"... Barr, Sessions, every congressmen all the corporate MSM war profiteer mouth pieces. They all know that "Russia hacked the DNC" and "Russia meddled" is fabricated garbage. They don't care, because their chosen war beast corporate candidate couldn't beat Donald goofball Trump. So it has to be shown that the war beast only lost because of nefarious reasons. Because they're gonna run another war beast cut from the same cloth as Hillary in 2020. ..."
"... Mar 4, 2019 Tom Fitton: President Trump a 'Crime Victim' by Illegal Deep State DOJ & FBI Abuses: https://youtu.be/ixWMorWAC7c ..."
"... Trump is a willing player in this game. The anti-Russian Crusade was, quite simply, a stunningly reckless, short-sighted effort to overturn the 2016 election, removing Trump to install Hillary Clinton in office. ..."
"... Much ado about nothing. All the talk and chatter and media airplay about "Russian meddling" in the 2016 election only tells me that these liars think the American public is that stupid. ..."
"... Andrew Thomas I'm afraid that huge amounts of our History post 1947 is organized and propagandized disinformation. There is an incredible page that John Simpkin has organized over the years that specifically addresses individuals, click on a name and read about them. https://spartacus-educational.com/USAdisinformation.htm ..."
"... It's pretty astonishing that Mueller was more interested in Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi as credible sources about Wikileaks and the DNC release than Craig Murray! ..."
"... Yes, he has done his job. And his job was to bring his royal Orangeness to heel, and to make sure that detente and co-operation with Russia remained impossible. The forever war continues. Mission Accomplished. ..."
Mar 17, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

O Society , March 16, 2019 at 7:55 am

The Truth is Out There. I Want to Believe!

Same old scams, different packaging. That's New & Improved for you.

http://opensociet.org/2019/03/16/the-return-of-the-hidden-persuaders

Raymond Comeau , March 15, 2019 at 12:35 pm

I could not suffer through reading the whole article. This is mainly because I have watched the news daily about Mueller's Investigation and I sincerely believe that Mueller is Champion of the Democrats who are trying to depose President Donald Trump at any cost.

For what Mueller found any decent lawyer with a Degree and a few years of experience could have found what Mueller found for far far less money. Mueller only found common crimes AND NO COLLUSION BETWEEN PRESIDENT TRUMP AND PUTIN!

The Mueller Investigation should be given to an honest broker to review, and Mueller should be paid only what it would cost to produce the commonplace crimes Mueller, The Democrats, and CNN has tried to convince the people that indeed Trump COLLUDED with RUSSIA. Mueller is, a BIG NOTHING BURGER and THE DEMOCRATS AND CNN ARE MUELLER'S SINGING CANARYS! Mueller should be jailed.

Bogdan Miller , March 15, 2019 at 11:04 am

This article explains why the Mueller Report is already highly suspect. For another thing, we know that since before 2016, Democrats have been studying Russian Internet and hacking tactics, and posing as Russian Bots/Trolls on Facebook and other media outlets, all in an effort to harm President Trump.

It appears the FBI, CIA, and NSA have great difficulty in differentiating between Russians and Democrats posing as Russians.

B.J.M. Former Intelligence Analyst and Humint Collector

vinnieoh , March 15, 2019 at 8:17 am

Moving on: the US House yesterday voted UNANIMOUSLY (remember that word, so foreign these days to US governance?) to "urge" the new AG to release the complete Mueller report.

A non-binding resolution, but you would think that the Democrats can't see the diesel locomotive bearing down on their clown car, about to smash it to pieces. The new AG in turn says he will summarize the report and that is what we will see, not the entire report. And taxation without representation takes a new twist.

... ... ...

Raymond Comeau , March 15, 2019 at 12:38 pm

What else would you expect from two Political Parties who are really branches of the ONE Party which Represents DEEP STATE".

DWS , March 15, 2019 at 5:58 am

Maybe the VIPS should look into the murder of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who had the security clearance required to access the DNC servers, and who was murdered in the same week as the emails were taken. In particular, they should ask why the police were told to stand down and close the murder case without further investigation.

Raymond Comeau , March 15, 2019 at 12:47 pm

EXACTLY! But, Deep State will not allow that. And, it would ruin the USA' plan to continue to invade more sovereign countries and steal their resources such as oil and Minerals. The people of the USA must be Ostriches or are so terrified that they accept anything their Criminal Governments tell them.

Eventually, the chickens will come home to roost and perhaps the USA voters will ROAST when the crimes of the USA sink the whole country. It is time for a few Brave Men and Women to find their backbones and throw out the warmongers and their leading Oligarchs!

KiwiAntz , March 14, 2019 at 6:44 pm

What a brilliant article, so logical, methodical & a forensic, scientific breakdown of the phony Russiagate project? And there's no doubt, this was a co-ordinated, determined Intelligence project to reverse the results of the 2016 Election by initiating a soft coup or Regime change op on a elected Leader, a very American Coup, something the American Intelligence Agencies specialise in, everywhere else, on a Global scale, too get Trump impeached & removed from the Whitehouse?

If you can't get him out via a Election, try & try again, like Maduro in Venezuela, to forcibly remove the targeted person by setting him up with fake, false accusations & fabricated evidence? How very predictable & how very American of Mueller & the Democratic Party. Absolute American Corruption, corrupts absolutely?

Brian Murphy , March 15, 2019 at 10:33 am

Right. Since its purpose is to destroy Trump politically, the investigation should go on as long as Trump is in office. Alternatively, if at this point Trump has completely sold out, that would be another reason to stop the investigation.

If the investigation wraps up and finds nothing, that means Trump has already completely sold out. If the investigation continues, it means someone important still thinks Trump retains some vestige of his balls.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:19 pm

By last June or July the Mueller investigation has resulted in roughly 150 indictments for perjury/financial crimes, and there was a handful of convictions to date. The report did not support the Clinton wing's anti-Russian allegations about the 2016 election, and was largely brushed aside by media. Mueller was then reportedly sent back in to "find something." presumably to support the anti-Russian claims.

mike k , March 14, 2019 at 12:57 pm

From the beginning of the Russia did it story, right after Trump's electoral victory, it was apparent that this was a fraud. The democratic party however has locked onto this preposterous story, and they will go to their graves denying this was a scam to deny their presidential defeat, and somehow reverse the result of Trump's election. My sincere hope is that this blatant lie will be an albatross around the party's neck, that will carry them down into oblivion. They have betrayed those of us who supported them for so many years. They are in many ways now worse than the republican scum they seek to replace.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:26 pm

Trump is almost certain to be re-elected in 2020, and we'll go through this all over again.

Tom , March 14, 2019 at 12:00 pm

The very fact that the FBI never had access to the servers and took the word of a private company that had a history of being anti-Russian is enough to throw the entire ruse out.

LJ , March 14, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Agreed!!!! and don't forget the FBI/Comey gave Hillary and her Campaign a head's up before they moved to seize the evidence. . So too, Comey said he stopped the Investigation , thereby rendering judgement of innocence, even though by his own words 'gross negligence' had a occurred (which is normally considered grounds for prosecution). In doing so he exceeded the FBI's investigative mandate. He rationalized that decision was appropriate because of the appearance of impropriety that resulted from Attorney General Lynch having a private meeting on a plane on a runway with Bill and Hillary . Where was the logic in that. Who called the meeting? All were Lawyers who had served as President, Senator, Attorney General and knew that the meeting was absolutely inappropriate. . Comey should be prosecuted if they want to prosecute anyone else because of this CRAP. PS Trump is an idiot. Uhinfortunately he is just a symptom of the disease at this point. Look at the cover of Rolling Stone magazine , carry a barf bag.

Jane Christ , March 14, 2019 at 6:51 pm

Exactly. This throws doubt on the ability of the FBI to work independently. They are working for those who want to cover -up the Hillary mess . She evidently has sufficient funds to pay them off. I am disgusted with the level of corruption.

hetro , March 14, 2019 at 10:50 am

Nancy Pelosi's announcement two days ago that the Democrats will not seek impeachment for Trump suggests the emptiness of the Mueller investigation on the specific "collusion" issue. If there were something hot and lingering and about to emerge, this decision is highly unlikely, especially with the reasoning she gave at "so as not to divide the American people." Dividing the people hasn't been of much concern throughout this bogus witch hunt on Trump, which has added to his incompetence in leavening a growing hysteria and confusion in this country. If there is something, anything at all, in the Mueller report to support the collusion theory, Pelosi would I'm sure gleefully trot it out to get a lesser candidate like Pence as opposition for 2020.

James Clooney , March 14, 2019 at 11:17 am

We know and Assange has confirmed Seth Rich, assassinated in D.C. for his deed, downloaded the emails and most likely passed them on to former British ambassador Craig Murray in a D.C. park for transport to Wikileaks.

We must also honor Shawn Lucas assassinated for serving DNC with a litigation notice exposing the DNC conspiracy against Sanders.

hetro , March 14, 2019 at 3:18 pm

Where has Assange confirmed this? Assange's long-standing position is NOT to reveal his sources. I believe he has continued to honor this position.

Skip Scott , March 15, 2019 at 7:15 am

It has merely been insinuated by the offering of a reward for info on Seth's murder. In one breath he says wikileaks will never divulge a source, and in the next he offers a $20k reward saying that sources take tremendous risk. Doesn't take much of a logical leap to connect A to B.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Are you aware that Democrats split apart their 0wn voting base in the 1990s, middle class vs. poor? The Obama years merely confirmed that this split is permanent. This is particularly relevant for Democrats, as their voting base had long consisted of the poor and middle class, for the common good. Ignoring this deep split hasn't made it go away.

hetro , March 14, 2019 at 3:24 pm

Even more important is how the Democrats have sold out to an Establishment view favoring neocon theory, since at least Bill Clinton. Pelosi's recent behavior with Ilhan Omar confirms this and the split you're talking about. My point is it is distinctly odd that Pelosi is discouraging impeachment on "dividing the Party" (already divided, of course, as you say), whereas the Russia-gate fantasy was so hot not that long ago. Again it points to a cynical opportunism and manipulation of the electorate. Both parties are a sad excuse to represent ordinary people's interests.

Skip Scott , March 15, 2019 at 7:21 am

She said "dividing the country", not the party. I think she may have concerns over Trump's heavily armed base. That said, the statement may have been a ruse. There are plenty of Republicans that would cross the line in favor of impeachment with the right "conclusions" by Mueller. Pelosi may be setting up for a "bombshell" conclusion by Mueller. One must never forget that we are watching theater, and that Trump was a "mistake" to be controlled or eliminated.

Cindy Haddix , March 14, 2019 at 8:04 am

Mueller should be ashamed that he has made President Trump his main concern!! If all this investigation would stop he could save America millions!!! He needs to quit this witch-hunt and worry about things that really need to be handled!!! If the democrats and Trump haters would stop pushing senseless lies hopefully this would stop ? It's so disgusting that his democrat friend was never really investigated ? stop the witch-hunt and move forward!!!!

torture this , March 14, 2019 at 7:29 am

According to this letter, mistakes might have been made on Rachel Maddow's show. I can't wait to read how she responds. I'd watch her show, myself except that it has the same effect on me as ipecac.

Zhu , March 14, 2019 at 3:37 am

People will cling to "Putin made Trump President!!!" much as many cling "Obama's a Kenyan Muslim! Not a real American!!!". Both nut theories are emotionally satisfying, no matter what the historical facts are. Many Americans just can't admit their mistakes and blaming a scapegoat is a way out.

O Society , March 14, 2019 at 2:03 am

Thank you VIPS for organizing this legit dissent consisting of experts in the field of intelligence and computer forensics.

This so-called "Russiagate" narrative is an illustration of our "freedom of the press" failure in the US due to groupthink and self censorship. He who pays the piper is apt to call the tune.

It is astounding how little skepticism and scientifically-informed reasoning goes on in our media. These folks show themselves to be native advertising rather than authentic journalists at every turn.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:33 pm

But it has been Democrats and the media that market to middle class Dems, who persist in trying to sell the Russian Tale. They excel at ignoring the evidence that utterly contradicts their claims.

O Society , March 15, 2019 at 3:50 pm

Oh, we're well beyond your "Blame the middle class Dems" stage.

The WINNING!!! team sports bullshit drowns the entire country now the latrine's sprung a leak. People pretend to live in bubbles made of blue or red quite like the Three Little Pigs, isn't it? Except instead of a house made of bricks saving the day for the littlepiggies, what we've got here is a purple puddle of piss.

Everyone's more than glad to project all our problems on "THEM" though, aren't we?

Meanwhile, the White House smells like a urinal not washed since the 1950s and simpletons still get their rocks off arguing about whether Mickey Mouse can beat up Ronald McDonald.

T'would be comic except what's so tragic is the desperate need Americans have to believe, oh just believe! in something. Never mind the sound of the jackhammer on your skull dear, there's an app for that or is it a pill?

I don't know, don't ask me, I'm busy watching TV. Have a cheeto.

https://opensociet.org/2018/12/18/the-disneyfication-of-america/

Sam F , March 13, 2019 at 6:45 pm

Very good analysis clearly stated, especially adding the FAT timestamps to the transmission speeds.

Minor corrections: "The emails were copied from the network" should be "from the much faster local network" because this is to Contradict the notion that they were copied over the internet network, which most readers will equate with "network." Also "reportedin" should be "reported in."

Michael , March 13, 2019 at 6:25 pm

It is likely that New Knowledge was actually "the Russians", possibly working in concert with Crowdstrike. Once an intelligence agency gets away with something like pretending to be Russian hackers and bots, they tend to re-use their model; it is too tempting to discard an effective model after a one-off accomplishment. New Knowledge was caught interfering/ determining the outcome in the Alabama Senate race on the side of Democrat Doug Jones, and claimed they were merely trying to mimic Russian methods to see if they worked (they did; not sure of their punishment?). Occam's razor would suggest that New Knowledge would be competent to mimic/ pretend to be "Russians" after the fact of wikileaks' publication of emails. New Knowledge has employees from the NSA and State department sympathetic to/ working with(?) Hillary, and were the "outside" agency hired to evaluate and report on the "Russian" hacking of the DNC emails/ servers.

DH Fabian , March 13, 2019 at 5:48 pm

Mueller released report last summer, which resulted in (the last I checked) roughly 150 indictments, a handful of convictions to date, all for perjury/financial (not political) crimes. This wasn't kept secret. It simply wasn't what Democrats wanted to hear, so although it was mentioned in some lib media (which overwhelmingly supported neoliberal Hillary Clinton), it was essentially swept under the carpet.

Billy , March 13, 2019 at 11:11 pm

Barr, Sessions, every congressmen all the corporate MSM war profiteer mouth pieces. They all know that "Russia hacked the DNC" and "Russia meddled" is fabricated garbage. They don't care, because their chosen war beast corporate candidate couldn't beat Donald goofball Trump. So it has to be shown that the war beast only lost because of nefarious reasons. Because they're gonna run another war beast cut from the same cloth as Hillary in 2020.

Realist , March 14, 2019 at 3:22 am

You betcha. Moreover, who but the Russians do these idiots have left to blame? Everybody else is now off limits due to political correctness. Sigh Those Catholics, Jews, "ethnics" and sundry "deviants" used to be such reliable scapegoats, to say nothing of the "undeveloped" world. As Clapper "authoritatively" says, only this vile lineage still carries the genes for the most extremes of human perfidy. Squirrels in your attic? It must be the damned Russkies! The bastards impudently tried to copy our democracy, economic system and free press and only besmirched those institutions, ruining all of Hillary's glorious plans for a worldwide benevolent dictatorship. All this might be humorous if it weren't so funny.

And those Chinese better not get to thinking they are somehow our equals just because all their trillions invested in U.S. Treasury bonds have paid for all our wars of choice and MIC boondoggles since before the turn of the century. Unless they start delivering Trump some "free stuff" the big man is gonna cut off their water. No more affordable manufactured goods for the American public! So there!

As to the article: impeccable research and analysis by the VIPS crew yet again. They've proven to me that, to a near certainty, the Easter Bunny is not likely to exist. Mueller won't read it. Clapper will still prance around a free man, as will Brennan. The Democrats won't care, that is until November of 2020. And Hillary will continue to skate, unhindered in larding up the Clinton Foundation to purposes one can only imagine.

Joe Tedesky , March 14, 2019 at 10:02 pm

Realist,

I have posted this article 'the Russia they Lost' before and from time to time but once again it seems appropriate to add this link to expound upon for what you've been saying. It's an article written by a Russian who in they're youth growing up in the USSR dreamed of living the American lifestyle if Russia were to ever ditch communism. But . Starting with Kosovo this Russian's youthful dream turned nightmarishly ugly and, as time went by with more and yet even more USA aggression this Russian author loss his admiration and desire for all things American to be proudly envied. This is a story where USA hard power destroyed any hope of American soft power for world unity. But hey that unity business was never part of the plan anyway.

https://slavyangrad.org/2014/09/24/the-russia-they-lost/

Realist , March 15, 2019 at 10:38 pm

right you are, joe. if america was smart rather than arrogant, it would have cooperated with china and russia to see the belt and road initiative succeed by perhaps building a bridge or tunnel from siberia to alaska, and by building its own fleet of icebreakers to open up its part of the northwest passage. but no, it only wants to sabotage what others propose. that's not being a leader, it's being a dick.

i'm gonna have to go on the disabled list here until the sudden neurological problem with my right hand clears up–it's like paralysed. too difficult to do this one-handed using hunt and peck. at least the problem was not in the old bean, according to the scans. carry on, sir.

Brian James , March 13, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Mar 4, 2019 Tom Fitton: President Trump a 'Crime Victim' by Illegal Deep State DOJ & FBI Abuses: https://youtu.be/ixWMorWAC7c

DH Fabian , March 13, 2019 at 5:55 pm

Trump is a willing player in this game. The anti-Russian Crusade was, quite simply, a stunningly reckless, short-sighted effort to overturn the 2016 election, removing Trump to install Hillary Clinton in office. Trump and the Republicans continue to win by default, as Democrats only drive more voters away.

Howard , March 13, 2019 at 4:36 pm

Thank you Ray McGovern and the Other 17 VIPS C0-Signers of your National Security Essay for Truth. Along with Craig Murray and Seymour Hirsch, former Sam Adams Award winners for "shining light into dark places", you are national resources for objectivity in critical survival information matters for our country. It is more than a pity that our mainstream media are so beholden to their corporate task masters that they cannot depart from the company line for fear of losing their livelihoods, and in the process we risk losing life on the planet because of unconstrained nuclear war on the part of the two main adversaries facing off in an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. Let me speak plainly. THEY SHOULD BE TALKING TO YOU AND NOT THE VESTED INTERESTS' MOUTHPIECES. Thank you for your continued leadership!

James Clooney , March 14, 2019 at 11:28 am

Roger Ailes founder of FOX news died, "falling down stairs" within a week of FOX news exposing to the world that the assassinated Seth Rich downloaded the DNC emails.

DH Fabian , March 13, 2019 at 6:03 pm

Google the Mueller investigation report from last June or July. When it was released, the public response was like a deflated balloon. It did not support the "Russian collusion" allegations -- the only thing Democrats still had left to sell. The report resulted in roughly 150 indictments for perjury/financial crimes (not political), and a handful of convictions to date -- none of which had anything to do with the election results.

Hank , March 13, 2019 at 6:19 pm

Much ado about nothing. All the talk and chatter and media airplay about "Russian meddling" in the 2016 election only tells me that these liars think the American public is that stupid. They are probably right, but the REAL reason that Hillary lost is because there ARE enough informed people now in this nation who are quite aware of the Clinton's sordid history where scandals seem to follow every where they go, but indictments and/or investigations don't. There IS an internet nowadays with lots of FACTUAL DOCUMENTED information. That's a lot more than I can say about the mainstream corporate-controlled media!

I know this won't ever happen, but an HONEST investigation into the Democratic Party and their actions during the 2016 election would make ANY collusion with ANY nation look like a mole hill next to a mountain! One of the problems with living in this nation is if you are truly informed and make an effort 24/7 to be that way by doing your own research, you more-than-likely can be considered an "island in a sea of ignorance".

Tom , March 14, 2019 at 12:13 pm

We know that the FBI never had access to the servers and a private company was allowed to handle the evidence. Wasnt it a crime scene? The evidence was tampered with And we will never know what was on the servers.

Mark McCarty , March 13, 2019 at 4:10 pm

As a complement to this excellent analysis, I would like to make 2 further points:

The Mueller indictment of Russian Intelligence for hacking the DNC and transferring their booty to Wikileaks is absurd on its face for this reason: Assange announced on June 12th the impending release of Hillary-related emails. Yet the indictment claims that Guccifer 2.0 did not succeed in transferring the DNC emails to Wikileaks until the time period of July 14-18th – after which they were released online on July 22nd. Are we to suppose that Assange, a publisher of impeccable integrity, publicly announced the publication of emails he had not yet seen, and which he was obtaining from a source of murky provenance? And are we further to suppose that Wikileaks could have processed 20K emails and 20K attachments to insure their genuineness in a period of only several days? As you will recall, Wikileaks subsequently took a number of weeks to process the Podesta emails they released in October.

And another peculiarity merits attention. Assange did not state on June 12th that he was releasing DNC emails – and yet Crowdstrike and the Guccifer 2.0 personna evidently knew that this was in store. A likely resolution of this conundrum is that US intelligence had been monitoring all communications to Wikileaks, and had informed the DNC that their hacked emails had been offered to Wikileaks. A further reasonable prospect is that US intelligence subsequently unmasked the leaker to the DNC; as Assange has strongly hinted, this likely was Seth Rich. This could explain Rich's subsequent murder, as Rich would have been in a position to unmask the Guccifer 2.0 hoax and the entire Russian hacking narrative.

https://medium.com/@markfmccarty/muellers-new-indictment-do-the-feds-take-us-for-idiots-5406ef955406

https://medium.com/@markfmccarty/how-did-crowdstrike-guccifer-2-0-know-that-wikileaks-was-planning-to-release-dnc-emails-42e6db334053

Sam F , March 13, 2019 at 7:06 pm

Curious that Assange has Not explicitly stated that the leaker was Seth Rich, if it was, as this would take pressure from himself and incriminate the DNC in the murder of Rich. Perhaps he doesn't know, and has the honor not to take the opportunity, or perhaps he knows that it was not Rich.

James Clooney , March 14, 2019 at 11:40 am

View the Dutch TV interview with Asssange and there is another interview available on youtube in which Assange DOES subtly confirmed it was Seth Rich.

Assange posted a $10,000 reward for Seth Rich's murders capture.

Abby , March 13, 2019 at 10:11 pm

Another mistaken issue with the "Russia hacked the DNC computers on Trump's command" is that he never asked Russia to do that. His words were, "Russia if you 'find' Hillary's missing emails let us know." He said that after she advised congress that she wouldn't be turning in all of the emails they asked for because she deleted 30,000 of them and said that they were personal.

But if Mueller or the FBI wants to look at all of them they can find them at the NYC FBI office because they are on Weiner's laptop. Why? Because Hillary's aid Huma Abedin, Weiner's wife sent them to it. Just another security risk that Hillary had because of her private email server. This is why Comey had to tell congress that more of them had been found 11 days before the election. If Comey hadn't done that then the FBI would have.

But did Comey or McCabe look at her emails there to see if any of them were classified? No they did not do that. And today we find out that Lisa Page told congress that it was Obama's decision not to charge Hillary for being grossly negligent on using her private email server. This has been known by congress for many months and now we know that the fix was always in for her to get off.

robert e williamson jr , March 13, 2019 at 3:26 pm

I want to thank you folks at VIPS. Like I have been saying for years now the relationship between CIA, NSA and DOJ is an incestuous one at best. A perverse corrupted bond to control the masses. A large group of religious fanatics who want things "ONE WAY". They are the facilitators for the rogue government known as the "DEEP STATE"!

Just ask billy barr.

More truth is a very good thing. I believe DOJ is supporting the intelligence community because of blackmail. They can't come clean because they all risk doing lots of time if a new judicial mechanism replaces them. We are in big trouble here.

Apparently the rule of law is not!

You folks that keep claiming we live in the post truth era! Get off me. Demand the truth and nothing else. Best be getting ready for the fight of your lives. The truth is you have to look yourself in the mirror every morning, deny that truth. The claim you are living in the post truth era is an admission your life is a lie. Now grab a hold of yourself pick a dogdamned side and stand for something,.

Thank You VIPS!

Joe Tedesky , March 13, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Hats off to the VIP's who have investigated this Russian hacking that wasn't a hacking for without them what would we news junkies have otherwise to lift open the hood of Mueller's never ending Russia-gate investigation. Although the one thing this Russia-gate nonsense has accomplished is it has destroyed with our freedom of speech when it comes to how we citizens gather our news. Much like everything else that has been done during these post 9/11 years of continual wars our civil rights have been marginalized down to zero or, a bit above if that's even still an argument to be made for the sake of numbers.

Watching the Manafort sentencing is quite interesting for the fact that Manafort didn't conclude in as much as he played fast and loose with his income. In fact maybe Manafort's case should have been prosecuted by the State Department or, how about the IRS? Also wouldn't it be worth investigating other Geopolitical Rain Makers like Manafort for similar crimes of financial wrongdoing? I mean is it possible Manafort is or was the only one of his type to do such dishonest things? In any case Manafort wasn't charged with concluding with any Russians in regard to the 2016 presidential election and, with that we all fall down.

I guess the best thing (not) that came out of this Russia-gate silliness is Rachel Maddow's tv ratings zoomed upwards. But I hate to tell you that the only ones buying what Ms Maddow is selling are the died in the wool Hillary supporters along with the chicken-hawks who rally to the MIC lobby for more war. It's all a game and yet there are many of us who just don't wish to play it but still we must because no one will listen to the sanity that gets ignored keep up the good work VIP's some of us are listening.

Andrew Thomas , March 13, 2019 at 12:42 pm

The article did not mention something called to my attention for the first time by one of the outstanding members of your commentariat just a couple of days ago- that Ambassador Murray stayed publicly, over two years ago, that he had been given the thumb drive by a go-between in D.C. and had somehow gotten it to Wikileaks. And, that he has NEVER BEEN INTERVIEWED by Mueller &Company. I was blown away by this, and found the original articles just by googling Murray. The excuse given is that Murray "lacks credibility ", or some such, because of his prior relationship with Assange and/or Wikileaks. This is so ludicrous I can't even get my head around it. And now, you have given me a new detail-the meeting with Pompeo, and the complete lack of follow-up thereafter. Here all this time I thought I was the most cynical SOB who existed, and now I feel as naive as when I was 13 and believed what Dean Rusk was saying like it was holy writ. I am in your debt.

Bob Van Noy , March 13, 2019 at 2:33 pm

Andrew Thomas I'm afraid that huge amounts of our History post 1947 is organized and propagandized disinformation. There is an incredible page that John Simpkin has organized over the years that specifically addresses individuals, click on a name and read about them. https://spartacus-educational.com/USAdisinformation.htm

Mark McCarty , March 13, 2019 at 4:18 pm

A small correction: the Daily Mail article regarding Murray claimed that Murray was given a thumbdrive which he subsequently carried back to Wikileaks. On his blog, Murray subsequently disputed this part of the story, indicating that, while he had met with a leaker or confederate of a leaker in Washington DC, the Podesta emails were already in possession of Wikileaks at the time. Murray refused to clarify the reason for his meeting with this source, but he is adamant in maintaining that the DNC and Podesta emails were leaked, not hacked.

And it is indeed ludicrous that Mueller, given the mandate to investigate the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and Podesta, has never attempted to question either Assange or Murray. That in itself is enough for us to conclude that the Mueller investigation is a complete sham.

Ian Brown , March 13, 2019 at 4:43 pm

It's pretty astonishing that Mueller was more interested in Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi as credible sources about Wikileaks and the DNC release than Craig Murray!

LJ , March 13, 2019 at 12:29 pm

A guy comes in with a pedigree like that, """ former FBI head """ to examine and validate if possible an FBI sting manufactured off a phony FISA indictment based on the Steele Report, It immediately reminded me of the 9-11 Commission with Thomas Kean, former Board member of the National Endowment for Democracy, being appointed by GW Bush the Simple to head an investigation that he had previously said he did not want to authorize( and of course bi partisan yes man Lee Hamilton as #2, lest we forget) . Really this should be seen as another low point in our Democracy. Uncle Sam is the Limbo Man, How low can you go?

After Bill and Hillary and Monica and Paula Jones and Blue Dresses well, Golden Showers in a Moscow luxury hotel, I guess that make it just salacious enough.

Mueller looks just like what he is. He has that same phony self important air as Comey . In 2 years this will be forgotten.. I do not think this hurts Trumps chances at re-election as much as the Democrats are hurting themselves. This has already gone on way too long.

Drew Hunkins , March 13, 2019 at 11:59 am

Mueller has nothing and he well knows it. He was willingly roped into this whole pathetic charade and he's left grasping for anything remotely tied to Trump campaign officials and Russians.

Even the most tenuous connections and weak relationships are splashed across the mass media in breathless headlines. Meanwhile, NONE of the supposed skulduggery unearthed by Mueller has anything to do with the Kremlin "hacking" the election to favor Trump, which was the entire raison d'etre behind Rosenstein, Brennan, Podesta and Mueller's crusade on behalf of the deplorable DNC and Washington militarist-imperialists. It will be fascinating to witness how Mueller and his crew ultimately extricate themselves from this giant fraudulent edifice of deceit. Will they even be able to save the most rudimentary amount of face?

So sickening to see the manner in which many DNC sycophants obsequiously genuflect to their godlike Mueller. A damn prosecutor who was likely in bed with the Winter Hill Gang.

Jack , March 13, 2019 at 12:21 pm

You have failed. An investigation is just that, a finding of the facts. What would Mueller have to extricate himself from? If nothing is found, he has still done his job. You are a divisive idiot.

Skip Scott , March 13, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Yes, he has done his job. And his job was to bring his royal Orangeness to heel, and to make sure that detente and co-operation with Russia remained impossible. The forever war continues. Mission Accomplished.

Drew Hunkins , March 13, 2019 at 2:12 pm

@Jack,
Keep running cover for an out of control prosecutor, who, if he had any integrity, would have hit the bully pulpit mos ago declaring there's nothing of substance to one of the most potentially dangerous accusations in world history: the Kremlin hacking the election. Last I checked it puts two nuclear nation-states on the brink of potential war. And you call me divisive? Mueller's now a willing accomplice to this entire McCarthyite smear and disinformation campaign. It's all so pathetic that folks such as yourself try and mislead and feed half-truths to the people.

You're failing Jack, in more ways than you know.

Gregory Herr , March 13, 2019 at 9:13 pm

https://www.kcrw.com/culture/shows/scheer-intelligence/liberals-are-digging-their-own-grave-with-russiagate-2019-03-08

Drew, you might enjoy this discussion Robert Scheer has with Stephen Cohen and Katrina vanden Heuvel.

Realist , March 15, 2019 at 3:38 am

Moreover, as the Saker pointed out in his most recent column in the Unz Review, the entire Deep State conspiracy, in an ad hoc alliance with the embarrassed and embarrassing Democrats, have made an absolute sham of due process in their blatant witch hunt to bag the president. This reached an apex when his personal lawyer, Mr. Cohen, was trotted out before congress to violate Trump's confidentiality in every mortifying way he could even vaguely reconstruct. The man was expected to say anything to mitigate the anticipated tortures to come in the course of this modern day inquisition by our latter day Torquemada. To his credit though, even with his ass in a sling, he could simply not confabulate the smoking gun evidence for the alleged Russian collusion that this whole farce was built around.

Tom , March 14, 2019 at 12:30 pm

Mueller stood with Bush as he lied the world into war based on lies and illegally spied on America and tortured some folks.

George Collins , March 13, 2019 at 2:02 pm

QED: as to the nexus with the Winter Hill gang wasn't there litigation involving the Boston FBI, condonation of murder by the FBI and damages awarded to or on behalf of convicted parties that the FBI had reason to know were innocent? The malfeasance reportedly occurred during Mueller time. Further on the sanctified diligence of Mr. Mueller can be gleaned from the reports of Coleen Rowley, former FBI attorney stationed in Milwaukee??? when the DC FBI office was ignoring warnings sent about 9/11. See also Sibel Edmonds who knew to much and was court order muzzled about FBI mis/malfeasance in the aftermath of 9/11.

I'd say it's game, set, match VIPS and a pox on Clapper and the complicit intelligence folk complicit in the nuclear loaded Russia-gate fibs.

Kiers , March 13, 2019 at 11:47 am

How can we expect the DNC to "hand it " to Trumpf, when, behind the scenes, THEY ARE ONE PARTY. They are throwing faux-scary pillow bombs at each other because they are both complicit in a long chain of corruptions. Business as usual for the "principled" two party system! Democracy! Through the gauze of corporate media! You must be joking!

Skip Scott , March 13, 2019 at 11:28 am

"We believe that there are enough people of integrity in the Department of Justice to prevent the outright manufacture or distortion of "evidence," particularly if they become aware that experienced scientists have completed independent forensic study that yield very different conclusions."

I wish I shared this belief. However, as with Nancy Pelosi's recent statement regarding pursuing impeachment, I smell a rat. I believe with the help of what the late Robert Parry called "the Mighty Wurlitzer", Mueller is going to use coerced false testimony and fabricated forensics to drop a bombshell the size of 911. I think Nancy's statement was just a feint before throwing the knockout punch.

If reason ruled the day, we should have nothing to worry about. But considering all the perfidy that the so-called "Intelligence" Agencies and their MSM lackeys get away with daily, I think we are in for more theater; and I think VIPS will receive a cold shoulder outside of venues like CN.

I pray to God I'm wrong.

Sam F , March 13, 2019 at 7:32 pm

My extensive experience with DOJ and the federal judiciary establishes that at least 98% of them are dedicated career liars, engaged in organized crime to serve political gangs, and make only a fanatical pretense of patriotism or legality. They are loyal to money alone, deeply cynical and opposed to the US Constitution and laws, with no credibility at all beyond any real evidence.

Eric32 , March 14, 2019 at 4:24 pm

As near I can see, Federal Govt. careers at the higher levels depend on having dirt on other players, and helping, not hurting, the money/power schemes of the players above you.

The Clintons (through their foundation) apparently have a lot of corruption dirt on CIA, FBI etc. top players, some of whom somehow became multi-millionaires during their civil service careers.

Trump, who was only running for President as a name brand marketing ploy with little desire to actually win, apparently came into the Presidency with no dirt arsenal and little idea of where to go from there.

Bob Van Noy , March 13, 2019 at 11:09 am

I remember reading with dismay how Russians were propagandized by the Soviet Press Management only to find out later the depth of disbelief within the Russian population itself. We now know what that feels like. The good part of this disastrous scenario for America is that for careful readers, disinformation becomes revelatory. For instance, if one reads an editorial that refers to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or continually refers to Russian interference in the last Presidential election, then one can immediately dismiss the article and question the motivation for the presentation. Of course the problem is how to establish truth in reporting

Jeff Harrison , March 13, 2019 at 10:41 am

Thank you, VIPs. Hopefully, you don't expect this to make a difference. The US has moved into a post truth, post reality existence best characterized by Karl Rove's declaration: "we're an empire now, when we act, we create our own reality." What Mr. Rove in his arrogance fails to appreciate is that it is his reality but not anyone else's. Thus Pompous can claim that Guaido is the democratic leader in Venezuela even though he's never been elected .

Gary Weglarz , March 13, 2019 at 10:21 am

Thank you. The next time one of my friends or family give me that glazed over stare and utters anymore of the "but, RUSSIA" nonsense I will refer them directly to this article. Your collective work and ethical stand on this matter is deeply appreciated by anyone who values the truth.

Russiagate stands with past government propaganda operations that were simply made up out of thin air: i.e. Kuwaiti incubator babies, WMD's, Gaddafi's viagra fueled rape camps, Assad can't sleep at night unless he's gassing his own people, to the latest, "Maduro can't sleep at night unless he's starving his own people."

The complete and utter amorality of the deep state remains on display for all to see with "Russiagate," which is as fact-free a propaganda campaign as any of those just mentioned.

Marc , March 13, 2019 at 10:13 am

I am a computer naif, so I am prepared to accept the VIPS analysis about FAT and transfer rates. However, the presentation here leaves me with several questions. First, do I understand correctly that the FAT rounding to even numbers is introduced by the thumb drive? And if so, does the FAT analysis show only that the DNC data passed through a thumb drive? That is, does the analysis distinguish whether the DNC data were directly transferred to a thumb drive, or whether the data were hacked and then transferred to a thumb drive, eg, to give a copy to Wikileaks? Second, although the transatlantic transfer rate is too slow to fit some time stamps, is it possible that the data were hacked onto a local computer that was under the control of some faraway agent?

Jeff Harrison , March 13, 2019 at 11:12 am

Not quite. FAT is the crappy storage system developed by Microsoft (and not used by UNIX). The metadata associated with any file gets rewritten when it gets moved. If that movement is to a storage device that uses FAT, the timestamp on the file will end in an even number. If it were moved to a unix server (and most of the major servers run Unix) it would be in the UFS (unix file system) and it would be the actual time from the system clock. Every storage device has a utility that tells it where to write the data and what to write. Since it's writing to a storage device using FAT, it'll round the numbers. To get to your real question, yes, you could hack and then transfer the data to a thumb drive but if you did that the dates wouldn't line up.

Skip Scott , March 14, 2019 at 8:05 am

Jeff-

Which dates wouldn't line up? Is there a history of metadata available, or just metadata for the most recent move?

David G , March 13, 2019 at 12:22 pm

Marc asks: "[D]oes the analysis distinguish whether the DNC data were directly transferred to a thumb drive, or whether the data were hacked and then transferred to a thumb drive, eg, to give a copy to Wikileaks?"

I asked that question in comments under a previous CN piece; other people have asked that question elsewhere.

To my knowledge, it hasn't been addressed directly by the VIPS, and I think they should do so. (If they already have, someone please enlighten me.)

Skip Scott , March 13, 2019 at 1:07 pm

I am no computer wiz, but Binney has repeatedly made the point that the NSA scoops up everything. If there had been a hack, they'd know it, and they wouldn't only have had "moderate" confidence in the Jan. assessment. I believe that although farfetched, an argument could be made that a Russian spy got into the DNC, loaded a thumb drive, and gave it to Craig Murray.

David G , March 13, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Respectfully, that's a separate point, which may or may not raise issues of its own.

But I think the question Marc posed stands.

Skip Scott , March 14, 2019 at 7:59 am

Hi David-

I don't see how it's separate. If the NSA scoops up everything, they'd have solid evidence of the hack, and wouldn't have only had "moderate" confidence, which Bill Binney says is equivalent to them saying "we don't have squat". They wouldn't even have needed Mueller at all, except to possibly build a "parallel case" due to classification issues. Also, the FBI not demanding direct access to the DNC server tells you something is fishy. They could easily have gotten a warrant to examine the server, but chose not to. They also purposely refuse to get testimony from Craig Murray and Julian Assange, which rings alarm bells on its own.

As for the technical aspect of Marc's question, I agree that I'd like to see Bill Binney directly answer it.

[Mar 17, 2019] VIPS- Mueller's Forensics-Free Findings

Highly recommended!
Mar 13, 2019 | Consortiumnews

The final Mueller report should be graded "incomplete," says VIPS, whose forensic work proves the speciousness of the story that DNC emails published by WikiLeaks came from Russian hacking.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The Attorney General

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Mueller's Forensics-Free Findings

Executive Summary

Media reports are predicting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is about to give you the findings of his probe into any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump. If Mueller gives you his "completed" report anytime soon, it should be graded "incomplete."

Major deficiencies include depending on a DNC-hired cybersecurity company for forensics and failure to consult with those who have done original forensic work, including us and the independent forensic investigators with whom we have examined the data. We stand ready to help.

We veteran intelligence professionals (VIPS) have done enough detailed forensic work to prove the speciousness of the prevailing story that the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks came from Russian hacking. Given the paucity of evidence to support that story, we believe Mueller may choose to finesse this key issue and leave everyone hanging. That would help sustain the widespread belief that Trump owes his victory to President Vladimir Putin, and strengthen the hand of those who pay little heed to the unpredictable consequences of an increase in tensions with nuclear-armed Russia.

There is an overabundance of "assessments" but a lack of hard evidence to support that prevailing narrative. We believe that there are enough people of integrity in the Department of Justice to prevent the outright manufacture or distortion of "evidence," particularly if they become aware that experienced scientists have completed independent forensic study that yield very different conclusions. We know only too well -- and did our best to expose -- how our former colleagues in the intelligence community manufactured fraudulent "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

We have scrutinized publicly available physical data -- the "trail" that every cyber operation leaves behind. And we have had support from highly experienced independent forensic investigators who, like us, have no axes to grind. We can prove that the conventional-wisdom story about Russian-hacking-DNC-emails-for-WikiLeaks is false. Drawing largely on the unique expertise of two VIPS scientists who worked for a combined total of 70 years at the National Security Agency and became Technical Directors there, we have regularly published our findings. But we have been deprived of a hearing in mainstream media -- an experience painfully reminiscent of what we had to endure when we exposed the corruption of intelligence before the attack on Iraq 16 years ago.

This time, with the principles of physics and forensic science to rely on, we are able to adduce solid evidence exposing mistakes and distortions in the dominant story. We offer you below -- as a kind of aide-memoire -- a discussion of some of the key factors related to what has become known as "Russia-gate." And we include our most recent findings drawn from forensic work on data associated with WikiLeaks' publication of the DNC emails.

We do not claim our conclusions are "irrefutable and undeniable," a la Colin Powell at the UN before the Iraq war. Our judgments, however, are based on the scientific method -- not "assessments." We decided to put this memorandum together in hopes of ensuring that you hear that directly from us.

If the Mueller team remains reluctant to review our work -- or even to interview willing witnesses with direct knowledge, like WikiLeaks' Julian Assange and former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, we fear that many of those yearning earnestly for the truth on Russia-gate will come to the corrosive conclusion that the Mueller investigation was a sham.

In sum, we are concerned that, at this point, an incomplete Mueller report will fall far short of the commitment made by then Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "to ensure a full and thorough investigation," when he appointed Mueller in May 2017. Again, we are at your disposal.

Discussion

The centerpiece accusation of Kremlin "interference" in the 2016 presidential election was the charge that Russia hacked Democratic National Committee emails and gave them to WikiLeaks to embarrass Secretary Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump win. The weeks following the election witnessed multiple leak-based media allegations to that effect. These culminated on January 6, 2017 in an evidence-light, rump report misleadingly labeled "Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA)." Prepared by "handpicked analysts" from only three of the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies (CIA, FBI, and NSA), the assessment expressed "high confidence" in the Russia-hacking-to-WikiLeaks story, but lacked so much as a hint that the authors had sought access to independent forensics to support their "assessment."

The media immediately awarded the ICA the status of Holy Writ, choosing to overlook an assortment of banal, full-disclosure-type caveats included in the assessment itself -- such as:

" When Intelligence Community analysts use words such as 'we assess' or 'we judge,' they are conveying an analytic assessment or judgment. Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong."

To their credit, however, the authors of the ICA did make a highly germane point in introductory remarks on "cyber incident attribution." They noted: "The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation -- malicious or not -- leaves a trail." [Emphasis added.]

Forensics

The imperative is to get on that "trail" -- and quickly, before red herrings can be swept across it. The best way to establish attribution is to apply the methodology and processes of forensic science. Intrusions into computers leave behind discernible physical data that can be examined scientifically by forensic experts. Risk to "sources and methods" is normally not a problem.

Direct access to the actual computers is the first requirement -- the more so when an intrusion is termed "an act of war" and blamed on a nuclear-armed foreign government (the words used by the late Sen. John McCain and other senior officials). In testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in March 2017, former FBI Director James Comey admitted that he did not insist on physical access to the DNC computers even though, as he conceded, "best practices" dictate direct access.

In June 2017, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr asked Comey whether he ever had "access to the actual hardware that was hacked." Comey answered, "In the case of the DNC we did not have access to the devices themselves. We got relevant forensic information from a private party, a high-class entity, that had done the work. " Sen. Burr followed up: "But no content? Isn't content an important part of the forensics from a counterintelligence standpoint?" Comey: "It is, although what was briefed to me by my folks is that they had gotten the information from the private party that they needed to understand the intrusion by the spring of 2016."

The "private party/high-class entity" to which Comey refers is CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm of checkered reputation and multiple conflicts of interest, including very close ties to a number of key anti-Russian organizations. Comey indicated that the DNC hired CrowdStrike in the spring of 2016.

Given the stakes involved in the Russia-gate investigation – including a possible impeachment battle and greatly increased tension between Russia and the U.S. -- it is difficult to understand why Comey did not move quickly to seize the computer hardware so the FBI could perform an independent examination of what quickly became the major predicate for investigating election interference by Russia. Fortunately, enough data remain on the forensic "trail" to arrive at evidence-anchored conclusions. The work we have done shows the prevailing narrative to be false. We have been suggesting this for over two years. Recent forensic work significantly strengthens that conclusion.

We Do Forensics

Recent forensic examination of the Wikileaks DNC files shows they were created on 23, 25 and 26 May 2016. (On June 12, Julian Assange announced he had them; WikiLeaks published them on July 22.) We recently discovered that the files reveal a FAT (File Allocation Table) system property. This shows that the data had been transferred to an external storage device, such as a thumb drive, before WikiLeaks posted them.

FAT is a simple file system named for its method of organization, the File Allocation Table. It is used for storage only and is not related to internet transfers like hacking. Were WikiLeaks to have received the DNC files via a hack, the last modified times on the files would be a random mixture of odd-and even-ending numbers.

Why is that important? The evidence lies in the "last modified" time stamps on the Wikileaks files. When a file is stored under the FAT file system the software rounds the time to the nearest even-numbered second. Every single one of the time stamps in the DNC files on WikiLeaks' site ends in an even number.

We have examined 500 DNC email files stored on the Wikileaks site. All 500 files end in an even number -- 2, 4, 6, 8 or 0. If those files had been hacked over the Internet, there would be an equal probability of the time stamp ending in an odd number. The random probability that FAT was not used is 1 chance in 2 to the 500th power. Thus, these data show that the DNC emails posted by WikiLeaks went through a storage device, like a thumb drive, and were physically moved before Wikileaks posted the emails on the World Wide Web.

This finding alone is enough to raise reasonable doubts, for example, about Mueller's indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking the DNC emails given to WikiLeaks. A defense attorney could easily use the forensics to argue that someone copied the DNC files to a storage device like a USB thumb drive and got them physically to WikiLeaks -- not electronically via a hack.

Role of NSA

For more than two years, we strongly suspected that the DNC emails were copied/leaked in that way, not hacked. And we said so. We remain intrigued by the apparent failure of NSA's dragnet, collect-it-all approach -- including "cast-iron" coverage of WikiLeaks -- to provide forensic evidence (as opposed to "assessments") as to how the DNC emails got to WikiLeaks and who sent them. Well before the telling evidence drawn from the use of FAT, other technical evidence led us to conclude that the DNC emails were not hacked over the network, but rather physically moved over, say, the Atlantic Ocean.

Is it possible that NSA has not yet been asked to produce the collected packets of DNC email data claimed to have been hacked by Russia? Surely, this should be done before Mueller competes his investigation. NSA has taps on all the transoceanic cables leaving the U.S. and would almost certainly have such packets if they exist. (The detailed slides released by Edward Snowden actually show the routes that trace the packets.)

The forensics we examined shed no direct light on who may have been behind the leak. The only thing we know for sure is that the person had to have direct access to the DNC computers or servers in order to copy the emails. The apparent lack of evidence from the most likely source, NSA, regarding a hack may help explain the FBI's curious preference for forensic data from CrowdStrike. No less puzzling is why Comey would choose to call CrowdStrike a "high-class entity."

Comey was one of the intelligence chiefs briefing President Obama on January 5, 2017 on the "Intelligence Community Assessment," which was then briefed to President-elect Trump and published the following day. That Obama found a key part of the ICA narrative less than persuasive became clear at his last press conference (January 18), when he told the media, "The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to how 'the DNC emails that were leaked' got to WikiLeaks.

Is Guccifer 2.0 a Fraud?

There is further compelling technical evidence that undermines the claim that the DNC emails were downloaded over the internet as a result of a spearphishing attack. William Binney, one of VIPS' two former Technical Directors at NSA, along with other former intelligence community experts, examined files posted by Guccifer 2.0 and discovered that those files could not have been downloaded over the internet. It is a simple matter of mathematics and physics.

There was a flurry of activity after Julian Assange announced on June 12, 2016: "We have emails relating to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication." On June 14, DNC contractor CrowdStrike announced that malware was found on the DNC server and claimed there was evidence it was injected by Russians. On June 15, the Guccifer 2.0 persona emerged on the public stage, affirmed the DNC statement, claimed to be responsible for hacking the DNC, claimed to be a WikiLeaks source, and posted a document that forensics show was synthetically tainted with "Russian fingerprints."

Our suspicions about the Guccifer 2.0 persona grew when G-2 claimed responsibility for a "hack" of the DNC on July 5, 2016, which released DNC data that was rather bland compared to what WikiLeaks published 17 days later (showing how the DNC had tipped the primary scales against Sen. Bernie Sanders). As VIPS reported in a wrap-up Memorandum for the President on July 24, 2017 (titled "Intel Vets Challenge 'Russia Hack' Evidence)," forensic examination of the July 5, 2016 cyber intrusion into the DNC showed it NOT to be a hack by the Russians or by anyone else, but rather a copy onto an external storage device. It seemed a good guess that the July 5 intrusion was a contrivance to preemptively taint anything WikiLeaks might later publish from the DNC, by "showing" it came from a "Russian hack." WikiLeaks published the DNC emails on July 22, three days before the Democratic convention.

As we prepared our July 24 memo for the President, we chose to begin by taking Guccifer 2.0 at face value; i. e., that the documents he posted on July 5, 2016 were obtained via a hack over the Internet. Binney conducted a forensic examination of the metadata contained in the posted documents and compared that metadata with the known capacity of Internet connection speeds at the time in the U.S. This analysis showed a transfer rate as high as 49.1 megabytes per second, which is much faster than was possible from a remote online Internet connection. The 49.1 megabytes speed coincided, though, with the rate that copying onto a thumb drive could accommodate.

Binney, assisted by colleagues with relevant technical expertise, then extended the examination and ran various forensic tests from the U.S. to the Netherlands, Albania, Belgrade and the UK. The fastest Internet rate obtained -- from a data center in New Jersey to a data center in the UK -- was 12 megabytes per second, which is less than a fourth of the capacity typical of a copy onto a thumb drive.

The findings from the examination of the Guccifer 2.0 data and the WikiLeaks data does not indicate who copied the information to an external storage device (probably a thumb drive). But our examination does disprove that G.2 hacked into the DNC on July 5, 2016. Forensic evidence for the Guccifer 2.0 data adds to other evidence that the DNC emails were not taken by an internet spearphishing attack. The data breach was local. The emails were copied from the network.

Presidential Interest

After VIPS' July 24, 2017 Memorandum for the President, Binney, one of its principal authors, was invited to share his insights with Mike Pompeo, CIA Director at the time. When Binney arrived in Pompeo's office at CIA Headquarters on October 24, 2017 for an hour-long discussion, the director made no secret of the reason for the invitation: "You are here because the President told me that if I really wanted to know about Russian hacking I needed to talk with you."

Binney warned Pompeo -- to stares of incredulity -- that his people should stop lying about the Russian hacking. Binney then started to explain the VIPS findings that had caught President Trump's attention. Pompeo asked Binney if he would talk to the FBI and NSA. Binney agreed, but has not been contacted by those agencies. With that, Pompeo had done what the President asked. There was no follow-up.

Confronting James Clapper on Forensics

We, the hoi polloi, do not often get a chance to talk to people like Pompeo -- and still less to the former intelligence chiefs who are the leading purveyors of the prevailing Russia-gate narrative. An exception came on November 13, when former National Intelligence Director James Clapper came to the Carnegie Endowment in Washington to hawk his memoir. Answering a question during the Q&A about Russian "hacking" and NSA, Clapper said:

" Well, I have talked with NSA a lot And in my mind, I spent a lot of time in the SIGINT business, the forensic evidence was overwhelming about what the Russians had done. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever." [Emphasis added]

Clapper added: " as a private citizen, understanding the magnitude of what the Russians did and the number of citizens in our country they reached and the different mechanisms that, by which they reached them, to me it stretches credulity to think they didn't have a profound impact on election on the outcome of the election."

(A transcript of the interesting Q&A can be found here and a commentary on Clapper's performance at Carnegie, as well as on his longstanding lack of credibility, is here .)

Normally soft-spoken Ron Wyden, Democratic senator from Oregon, lost his patience with Clapper last week when he learned that Clapper is still denying that he lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee about the extent of NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens. In an unusual outburst, Wyden said: "James Clapper needs to stop making excuses for lying to the American people about mass surveillance. To be clear: I sent him the question in advance. I asked him to correct the record afterward. He chose to let the lie stand."

The materials brought out by Edward Snowden in June 2013 showed Clapper to have lied under oath to the committee on March 12, 2013; he was, nevertheless, allowed to stay on as Director of National Intelligence for three and half more years. Clapper fancies himself an expert on Russia, telling Meet the Press on May 28, 2017 that Russia's history shows that Russians are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever."

Clapper ought to be asked about the "forensics" he said were "overwhelming about what the Russians had done." And that, too, before Mueller completes his investigation.

For the steering group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity:

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) is made up of former intelligence officers, diplomats, military officers and congressional staffers. The organization, founded in 2002, was among the first critics of Washington's justifications for launching a war against Iraq. VIPS advocates a US foreign and national security policy based on genuine national interests rather than contrived threats promoted for largely political reasons. An archive of VIPS memoranda is available at Consortiumnews.com.

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Tags: Bill Binney Donald Trump Hillary Clinton James Clapper James Comey Mike Pompeo Robert Mueller Veteran Intelligence Professional for Sanity VIPS WikiLeaks


[Mar 09, 2019] Zuckerberg's new 'privacy-focused vision' for Facebook is just PR and damage control by Danielle Ryan

Notable quotes:
"... While it's nice that Zuckerberg has suddenly realized that people value their privacy online, and end-to-end encryption for private conversations is obviously a positive step, his critics aren't entirely buying the new image. One technology writer described the move as "a power grab disguised as an act of contrition." ..."
"... Why? Because the long-winded spiel about the importance of privacy masks the fact that Zuckerberg's real motivation for combining the three services is to stave off efforts by US and EU regulators to force the unbundling of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram and introduce new competition to the market. ..."
Mar 09, 2019 | www.rt.com

Mark Zuckerberg is on a mission to rehabilitate Facebook's image. The CEO announced his new "privacy-focused vision" for the social media platform this week – but it looks more like a PR stunt than anything else. "Privacy gives people the freedom to be themselves and connect more naturally, which is why we build social networks," Zuckerberg wrote . Now, is there anyone who really believes Facebook was built to give people "the freedom to be themselves?"

Zuckerberg does understand, however, why people are questioning Facebook's newfound commitment to privacy, "...because frankly we don't currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services." For a company plagued with privacy scandal after privacy scandal, that seems like a bit of an understatement.

Putting "Privacy-focussed" in the headline is a great strategy, but none of the things mentioned stop Facebook knowing who you are, your location, mobile number, who you're connected to, linking this to other data sets, or following you around the web https://t.co/iKhYUtl4CC pic.twitter.com/UeRRpxWzz2

-- Jeremy Burge (@jeremyburge) March 6, 2019

Still, reading through Zuckerberg's grand vision for a new kind of privacy-focused Facebook, we are given the impression that the company is about to completely revamp itself from top to bottom – but the only real concrete change proposed is one that critics are already saying might not enhance privacy that much and isn't even really motivated by privacy concerns at all. Essentially, Zuckerberg plans to integrate Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram direct messages to build a kind of single, end-to-end messaging system (which we've actually known-about since January). This change is because he now believes "the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure."

*LOL* So @facebook merges all the data from #Instagram , #WhatsApp and #Facebook , while only encrypting the content data (not the meta data) of Facebook messages and sells the package as a #privacy move - a PR masterpiece and the media falls for it.. 😜😂

-- Max Schrems (@maxschrems) March 7, 2019

While it's nice that Zuckerberg has suddenly realized that people value their privacy online, and end-to-end encryption for private conversations is obviously a positive step, his critics aren't entirely buying the new image. One technology writer described the move as "a power grab disguised as an act of contrition."

Why? Because the long-winded spiel about the importance of privacy masks the fact that Zuckerberg's real motivation for combining the three services is to stave off efforts by US and EU regulators to force the unbundling of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram and introduce new competition to the market.

Does anybody think that Facebook owning Instagram and WhatsApp is a good thing for America, privacy, journalism, or anything except Zuck & shareholders getting rich?

Breaking up Facebook from Instagram and WhatsApp seems like the least radical idea, and I hope we do it soon.

-- Zephyr Teachout (@ZephyrTeachout) March 7, 2019

Zuckerberg is now firmly on a collision course with regulators around the world. Germany's antitrust body ruled last month that Facebook was abusing its dominant position in the market by combining the three services. Facebook, Zuckerberg wrote, has been "obsessed" with creating an "intimate environment" for WhatsApp users. But an "intimate" feeling "environment" isn't really going to cut it. Facebook has already been fined $122 million by the EU for misleading antitrust regulators when it said its WhatsApp acquisition would not mean user information from the two platforms would be combined (which, of course, it was).

Facebook exists primarily to sell advertisements – and its entire business model rests on mining our data to do just that. So while protecting private conversations is a good thing in and of itself, it doesn't appear that anything else fundamental about Facebook will really be changing. Facebook still has a million other ways to get hold of our data and monitor our online activity – and even with stronger messaging encryption, Facebook can still use metadata to tell who we are talking to and when, which is valuable information in itself.

This wasn't Zuckerberg's first effort to redeem himself and do damage control for Facebook and its multiplying privacy scandals – and it certainly won't be his last. A blog post laying out a blueprint for a "privacy-focused" company that doesn't actually exist doesn't mean much. Zuckerberg has been offering apologies left, right and center for the last year.

He doesn't have a great track record when it comes to keeping his promises, though. Plenty of privacy tools Facebook has promised in the past never came to fruition. Remember that "clear history" button that Zuckerberg promised nearly two years ago and users are still waiting for today?

Anyone who thinks Facebook is really going to put its business model at risk, as it scrambles to shield itself from regulators and maintain its monolithic status is more than likely deluded.

Danielle Ryan, RT

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See also

[Mar 09, 2019] Government-To-Facebook Pipeline Reveals A Corrupt Mix Of Social Media The State

Mar 09, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Government-To-Facebook Pipeline Reveals A Corrupt Mix Of Social Media & The State

by Tyler Durden Fri, 03/08/2019 - 18:40 525 SHARES Authored by Matt Agorist via TheFreeThoughtProject.com,

The next time someone tells you that "Facebook is a private company" ask them if they know about the dozens of government employees who fill its ranks...

As the Free Thought Project has previously reported, the phrase "Facebook is a private company" is not accurate as they have formed a partnership with an insidious neoconservative "think tank" known as the Atlantic Council which is directly funded and made up of groups tied to the pharmaceutical industry, the military industrial complex, and even government itself. The Atlantic Council dictates to Facebook who is allowed on the platform and who is purged.

Because the Atlantic Council is funded in part by the United States government -- and they are making decisions for Facebook -- this negates the claim that the company is private.

Since our six million followers and years of hard work were wiped off the platform during the October purge , TFTP has consistently reported on the Atlantic Council and their ties to the social media giant. This week, however, we've discovered something just as ominous -- the government to Facebook pipeline and revolving door.

It is a telltale sign of a corrupt industry or company when they create a revolving door between themselves and the state. Just like Monsanto has former employees on the Supreme Court and Pharmaceutical industry insiders move back and fourth from the FDA to their companies, we found that Facebook is doing the same thing.

Below are just a few of corrupt connections we've discovered while digging through the list of current and former employees within Facebook.

Facebook's Head of Cybersecurity Policy -- aka, the man who doles out the ban hammer to anyone he wishes -- is Nathaniel Gleicher. Before Gleicher was censoring people at Facebook, he prosecuted cybercrime at the U.S. Department of Justice, and served as Director for Cybersecurity Policy at the National Security Council (NSC) in the Obama White House.

While Facebook may have an interest in seeking out Gleicher's expertise, this man is an outspoken advocate of tyranny.

After deleting the pages of hundreds of antiwar and pro-peace media and activist outlets in October, last month, Facebook made another giant move to silence. This time, they had no problem noting that they went after pages whose specific missions were "anti-corruption" or "protest" movements. And it was all headed up by Gleicher.

"Some of the Pages frequently posted about topics like anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption ," Gleicher wrote in a blog post.

"We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don't want our services to be used to manipulate people."

Seems totally legit, right?

The list goes on.

In 2017, as the Russian/Trump propaganda ramped up, Facebook hired Joel Benenson , a former top adviser to President Barack Obama and the chief strategist for Hillary Clinton's failed 2016 presidential campaign, as a consultant.

While filling team Zuck with Obama and Clinton advisers, Facebook hired Aneesh Raman , a former Obama speechwriter who now heads up Facebook's "economic impact programming."

Highlighting the revolving door aspect of Facebook and the US government is Sarah Feinberg who left the Obama train in 2011 to join Facebook as the director of corporate and strategic communications. She then moved on after and went back to Obama in 2015 to act as the administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

David Recordon also highlights the revolving door between Facebook and the government. Recordon was the former Director of IT for Obama's White House. He was also Engineering Director at Facebook prior to his role at the White House, and returned to the position after the 2016 election. He is currently Engineering Director for the Chan-Zuckerberg initiative.

Starting to see a pattern of political influence here? You should. But just in case you don't, the list goes on.

Meredith Carden -- who, you guessed, came from the Obama administration -- joined the Facebook clan last year to be a part of Facebook's "News Integrity Team." Now, she's battling fake news on the platform and as we've shown, there is a ridiculous amount of selective enforcement of these so-called "standards."

In fact, there are dozens of former Obama staffers, advisers, and campaign associates who quite literally fill Facebook's ranks. It is no wonder the platform has taken such a political shift over the past few years. David Ploufe, Josh W. Higgins, Lauryn Ogbechie, Danielle Cwirko-Godycki , Sarah Pollack, Ben Forer, Bonnie Calvin , and Juliane Sun , are just some of the many Facebook execs hailing out of the Obama era White House.

But fret not right wingers, Facebook likes their neocons too.

Jamie Fly, who was a top adviser to neocon Florida Senator Marco Rubio and who started his career in US political circles as an adviser to the George W. Bush administration, actually took credit for the massive purge of peaceful antiwar pages that took place last October.

"They can invent stories that get repeated and spread through different sites. So we are just starting to push back. Just this last week Facebook began starting to take down sites. So this is just the beginning," Fly said in December.

Fly backs up his words with the fact that he works with Facebook's arm of the Atlantic Council to ensure those dangerous antiwar folks don't keep pushing their propaganda of peace and community.

And yes, this list goes on.

Joel David Kaplan is Facebook's vice president of global public policy. Prior to his major role within Facebook, Kaplan took the place of neocon extraordinaire Karl Rove as the White House Deputy Chief of Staff for George W. Bush. Before that, from 2001 to 2003 he was Special Assistant to the President for Policy within the White House Chief of Staff's office. Then he served as Deputy Director of the Office of Management And Budget (OMB).

Myriah Jordan was a special policy assistant in the Bush White House, who was hired on as a policy manager for Facebook's congressional relations team -- aka, a lobbyist. Jordan has moved back and forth between the private sector and the US government multiple times over his career as he's made millions greasing the skids of the state for his corrupt employers.

So there you have it. Facebook, who claims to be a private entity, is quite literally made up of and advised by dozens of members of government. We're ready for a change, are you?


Jung , 1 hour ago link

As q just posted, FB is backed completely by the CIA, so this is all part of still needs to be drained in this swamp where the CIA calls the shots. A lot of people will have to be replaced, not only in the FBI and DOJ where a lot has already happened.

So far, against my early prejudice against Q, all he posted has come true and it has been a news source where facts have found a place.

StarGate , 3 hours ago link

It's been reported Facebook is the