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NeoMcCartyism as a smoke screen to hide the crisis of neoliberalism

Election of Trump is the sign of crisis of neoliberal ideology and decadence of US elite; warmongering neocon Hillary was the establishment candidate that was rejected by votes and which represented a grave threat to the US national security

A case study of state-fuelled paranoia designed to provide a smoke screen over crisis of neoliberalism in the USA which led to Trump victory.

News Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Links Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump DNC and Podesta emails leak: blaming Vladimir Putin Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Nation under attack meme Steele dossier Putin-did-it fiasco
Fake news hysteria in US MSM as a method of suppressing dissent against neoliberalism and militarism Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative Control of the MSM during color revolution is like air superiority in the war Media as a weapon of mass deception MSM as fake news industry US and British media are servants of security apparatus Anti Trump Hysteria in MSM Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections? Coordinated set of leaks as a color revolution tool
Pathological Russophobia of the US elite National Security State The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies How FBI swiped under the carpet Hillary Clinton email scandal Trump vs. Deep State Special Prosecutor Mueller and his fishing expedition Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite MSM as an attack dogs of color revolution  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
Wiretaps of Trump and his associates during Presidential elections Color revolutions "Seventeen agencies" memo about Russian influence on elections Conspiracy theory label as a subtle form of censorship Brennan elections machinations Appointment of a Special Prosecutor gambit Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Two Party System as polyarchy Frustrated underachievers
Conversion of Democratic Party into War Party and Hillary Clinton policy toward Russia History of American False Flag Operations Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neoconservatism New American Militarism FBI Mayberry Machiavellians PeterStrzok and Strzok-gate Andrew McCabe James Comey role in preventing election of Sanders
Machiavellism Mayberry Machiavellians Neocons Credibility Scam Doublespeak Leo Straus as the godfather of neocons Demonization of Putin Cold War II Predator state Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite
Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA The Deep State The Iron Law of Oligarchy Diplomacy by deception Obama: a yet another Neocon Militarism and reckless jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Skeptic Quotations Politically Incorrect Humor Hypocrisy and Pseudo-democracy

Introduction

  It is impossible to overstate the stakes involved in the latest controversy over Russia. They involve trillions of dollars in warfare largess to the tens of thousands of bureaucratic warfare-state parasites who are sucking the lifeblood out of the American people.

Jacob G. Hornberger, December 15, 2016

We must remember that in time of war what is said on the enemy’s side of the front is always propaganda, and what is said on our side of the front is truth and righteousness, the cause of humanity and a crusade for peace.

Walter Lippmann

"Trump is somewhat less thrilled with tilting with Russia for the American empire which is as moral as Nero's Rome." And that annoys neocons, including a part of CIA, Pentagon, and a large part of State Department. Dumping Kristol's PNAC crowd will definitely strengthen the republic. But it is not an easy teas as all those national security parasites are well entrenched in Washington, DC. The classic question is "Who, whom ?" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who,_whom%3F

Economist's View   comment

"... The American public is now experiencing mass paranoia that is called Russia-gate. Obnoxious and dangerous as this officially encouraged madness may be, it is, alas, nothing new. As from 9/11, the same kind of group hypnosis was administered from the Nation's Capital on the body politic to serve the then agenda of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, turning back civil liberties that had accrued over generations without so much as a whimper from Congress, our political elites and the country at large. ..."

Gilbert Doctorow

 

While there might be better labels, we will call this new Anti-Russian hysteria neo-McCarthyism, because it is pretty diligent replication of "Red Scare" (which BTW lasted a decade)  in which Communist agents are replaced with "Russian agents" who are everywhere. It might well be a symptom of the USA society getting  a dangerous political auto-immune disease.

This new McCarthyism-style campaign against Russia symbolizes the crisis of neoliberalism in the USA.  A strong and confident ruling class welcomes criticism and is ready to brush it all off with a smile and a shrug. When they start running scared and pretending that the level of dissent is the work of "foreign enemies", well, this is a sign of decadence of elite and profound weakness of neoliberal ideology.  As Professor Cohen noted this is a real threat to the USA national security:

This is unprecedented, preposterous, and dangerous, potentially more so than even Joe McCarthy's search for "Communist" connections. It would suggest, for example, that scores of American corporations doing business in Russia today are engaged in criminal enterprise.

More to the point, advisers to U.S. policy-makers and even media commentators on Russia must have many and various contacts with Russia if they are to understand anything about the dynamics of Kremlin policy-making. I myself, to take an individual example, was an adviser to two (unsuccessful) presidential campaigns, which considered my wide-ranging and longstanding "contacts" with Russia to be an important credential, as did the one sitting president whom I advised.

To suggest that such contacts are in any way criminal is to slur hundreds of reputations and to leave U.S. policy-makers with advisers laden with ideology and no actual expertise. It is also to suggest that any quest for better relations with Russia, or détente, is somehow suspicious, illegitimate, or impossible, as expressed recently by Andrew Weiss in The Wall Street Journal and by The Washington Post , in an editorial . This is one reason why I have, in a previous commentary , argued that Russia-gate and its promoters have become the gravest threat to American national security.

This is  the sign the  US elite is losing the battle of ideas can't find solutions to the US problems. All that really stands between them and a social revolution is a thin veneer of 'authority' and status (as well as 18 intelligence agencies), and that's really not enough anymore. So fueling paranoia is a defensive  move, that allow to shift the focus to "external enemy" and rally the nation under the flag.

Samuel Johnson saying  "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. " can be modified to "McCarthyism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

That why the Russian threat argument is not only popular, but became one of the main "themes" within the MSM and the American political establishment. This witch  hunt is encouraged by foreign governments who, for reasons of self-interest, want to see Washington embroiled in the confrontation (Israel as well as Polish, Baltic and Ukrainian nationalists comes to mind). The result is the construction of the new peril, a process similar to re-construction (actually more realistic, as technology of propaganda improved since 50th) of Red Menace.

This process which  we will call neo-McCarthyism has its own logic and rules.  Red scare was actually greatly beneficial to the USA in 50th as along with crushing of dissent it helped to kept cannibalistic instinct of the US elite in check.  The fear of the USSR prevented looting of middle class  till 1980th. In other word the mere existence of the USSR on the world scene suppressed cannibalistic instinct of the US elite for more than a half the century. That why the post-war period as a the real gold-age period for the US middle class an population in general.  Cannibalistic instincts of the US elite returned only after the collapse of the USSR.  Fueled by ascendance of neoliberalism.

The analogy of "Russiagate" with McCarthy witch hunt in very strong indeed but is incomplete. Here in addition to the attempt to crush the opposition to neoliberal globalization painting tit as Russian stooges and suppress disappointment with neoliberalism by rallying that nation around the flag, there is a distinct smell of color revolution against President Trump.  There are several facts which suggest that employees of CIA, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sympathetic to the neoliberal/globalist wing of Democrat Party (Clinton wing), used the power of their offices and (with the assistance of foreign nationals) tried to influence the 2016 election in favor of Hillary Clinton, first to exonerate her and then obtain information to prevent the election of Donald Trump, to collect "insurance" -- compromising materials on him in case he win, and  after his surprise win, to provide a basis for his impeachment and removal from the Office by forcing on his  administration the Special Prosecutor.

Like in any color revolution the hysteria in MSM plays very important role in demonizing Russian and by extension the current administration. Similar to "Red Menace" witch hunt  opposing to neoliberalism ideas are perceived as a cancer spreading around the globe, undermining the legitimacy of Western values and political systems.  That's why we see frantic attempt to raise anti-Russian sentiments in the USA to this level of nation-wide paranoia ("Russians under  every bed" level) too. To fake it as the "battle of ideas (BTW Russia is just another neoliberal state; it just wants to be less dependent for Washington, not a pitiful vassal like Western Europeans countries) and make it "strategic" confrontation. Russian policies are distorted to the level which make them a caricature completely detached  from the reality. And the assumption the the US President can unilaterally change the USA foreign policy actually is an insult to intelligence.

Under the cover of this hysteria Washington is trying to adopt a long term diplomatic and military strategy of containing Russia; to forge new alliances which might slow down or prevent ascendance of the economic block of Russia and China (with Iran, turkey and India as possible members). And like in  in Orwell 1984 novel to prepare the American people for a never ending struggle of "good and evil".

Neo-McCarthyism undermines the USA security

The problem with the USA neoliberal elite  and neoliberal MSM is that the last thing US neoliberals are interested in  is how the world outside the bubble of "full spectrum dominance" they inhabit after 1980 operates, and their absolutely contempt for 'deplorables', be they Russian, British, Arab or American. This can lead to political misjudgements like invasion of Libya,  and support of jihadists to partition Syria. 

The whole situation with Russia, including but not limited her economy, history, military, culture etc., is not known to those people. And this represent a strong empirical evidence of a complete professional inadequacy of most people populating this neoliberal/neocon  "full spectrum dominance" bubble. Which makes them a bunch of seedy, squalid bastards selling the security of the USA and  balancing on the edge of nuclear war for 20 silver coins for themselves and their  families. Many of the them look like (and most probably are) little men, drunkards, henpecked husbands, or civil servants playing cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten little lives or present to be a stong men in the yeys of thier  mistresses.  Do you think they sit like monks balancing right against wrong in such tricky subject as relations with Russia ? No. Thier approach is simplistick and wrong "Russia is an aurotirarisnce state" so  "Carnage should be destroyed." And they are playing this game for their petty and selfish motive.  Steele dossier attests that in the USA there is a fully formed and influences caste of "national security parasites." The caste that is deeply interested in keeping the heat in Russiagate as it brings them money, influence as well as personal security in their lucrative positions in State Department,  US papers or TV channels at the expense of security of the USA as a country.

The US and British neoliberal MSM now have fallen below any journalistic standard. It is prudent to view them as evil propaganda tools used by rogue elements in the US and British intelligence agencies. They do not have their own opinions. Puppets. All of them.  And as somebody aptly said those overzealous "journalists" like Rachel Madcow  or "analysts" like Max Boot "should be demoted to painting houses, instead of painting Russia black".

That might be just my old age problem, that  that's how I see it ;-)

And as far as I cal tell most of those people are badly educated  by  European standards (I am not talking about worthless formal degrees they hold), they are deeply provincial, and often clueless Mayberry Machiavellians. They actually enjoy their "confirmation bias"  toward Russia (which to me is a modern form of anti-Semitism, displacement of hatred to Jews if you wish, which is so common among Irish Catholics ;-). In a simple human terms I would call them ignorant snobs. That is why this neoliberal academic-political-media "environment" prefers openly anti-Russian "sources" because those "sources" reiterate to them what they want to hear to start with. Thus is classic "Chalabi Moment" reproduced with a quite different, nuclear armed  country and as such much more dangerous.

In case of Iraq it was and  still is a tragedy (that cost life of million or more of Iraqis), but at least the world is relatively safe. With Russia, as I stated many times for years -- they simply have no idea what they are dealing with.  Those guy know how to fight. But they are  briefed by "sources" such as Russian fugitives in London (who buy this way their non-extradition to Russia for their crimes) and are happy to get the confirmation of their biases.  Also they have information form fringe urban Russian fifth column, especially feminists and lesbians (Masha Gessen is a good example here; although even she has now reservations about Russiagate) 

Again, the level of "Russian Studies" in the Anglophone world in general and in the USA in particular is appalling. And this dismal level represents a  "clear and present danger"  since removes or misinterprets crucial information about the only nation in the world which can completely annihilate the USA. And dramatically increases the  danger of a disastrous military confrontation which can easily slide into full scale nuclear war. they are constantly baiting and humiliating Russia, which so far (to be fare to Putin) did not bite the bait. But a more stupid and more nationalistic person can come to power after Putin, kind of Russian Trump.   And then what ?

I would say that US military brass on average is much better aware of Russia and not only in purely military terms.  Current trends in the USA foreign policy (and they are not new) are so  worrisome that, paradoxically, the US military are my only hope.

Some notes on history of the present Neo-McCarthysim compaign

The key reason for this propaganda campaign is that Putin stance on international relations (multi-polar world) is in conflict that neoliberals/neocons idea of the USA full spectrum domination. Also the alliance of China  and Russia represents  geo-political thereat to the neoliberal empire led by USA. And Russia is a weaker link is this fledging alliance with stronger and more numerous fifth column (which in China is much weaker outside Hong Cong). Also Russia is less nationalistic then China and has traditionally strong pro-Europeian faction of the elite which can be used as the fifth column. So logically this is a country which can be attached first. 

Subduing, of better, dismembering of Russia, also cuts an important source of hydrocarbons to China and fully encircles China. And  the idea to appropriate Russian hydrocarbons was the idea fix of the Us neoliberal elite since Clinton. And during "Drunken Yeltsin" presidency they almost succeeded (Khodorkovsky was on the wedge of selling his holdings to the USA when he was arrested), but them this success was partially reversed with the ascendance of Putin. So this McCarthyism campaign and Putin demonization has a stamp on it "Nothing personal, only business."

The problem with such a policy which is consistent for all administration starting with Bush II (probably the first in a long string of former CIA operatives who became the USA presidents) is that Russia is a nuclear armed state and such tactics literally means balancing on the edge of nuclear war. 

The campaign started in late 2013 and early 2014 around the time of Sochi Olympics. After Maydan color revolution in Ukraine Russia was hit with sanctions for not obeying Washington dictat and geo-political interests. But that was only a start. At this time full scale campaign for demonization of President Putin and  successfully associating him with the word "thug" started . In three year this campaign brought pretty amazing result:  over 80% of population is now completely brainwashed and view Putin as evil kleptocrat, who should be deposed by all means possible. While in reality he is just a very moderate Russian nationalist and  pretty talented and reserved politician  who avoids open confrontation with the USA despite constant and un-relenting bating.  This demonization of Putin is one of the most visible successes of neo-McCarthyism campaign in the USA and GB (to lesser extent in France and Germany, as well) 

The next wave stated in 2016. First with the accusation that Kremlin  hacked Hillary Clinton bathroom  server and then it  reached full speed with the attempt to blame DNC hacks on Russians (which now looks like false flag operation by Crowdstrike to to present internal leak as a Russian hack)

The third wave which reached really hysterical pitch started with the election of Trump as "insurance policy" to prevent his cabinet from implementing any measure that can hurt neoliberal globalization and neocon foreign policy.

They are constantly developing new containment policies, new doctrines. The side effect of all this frantic activities is feeding of MIC as well as a group of people, who we call "national security parasites".  This new cadre of Russophobes are recruited mostly from neocons ( "dirty scoundrels of Washington" ) and neoliberal (Clinton) wing of Democratic  Party. There is also a large strata of politicians, who more than willing to exploit this opportunity to feed military industrial complex, such as Senator McCain.  In any case they now constitute the dominant faction of the US elite and dominate the USA foreign policy. So this is another iteration of "Carnage needs to be destroyed" hysteria with a specific for Washington set of cheerleaders and "experts."

Since around  late November 2017 there is some oppostion to this neo-McCarthyism wave. Opposition is much weaker and compaign still proceed at full speed, but certain  elements of Republican Party now oppose this witch hunt, if for purely partisan reasons. And that was clearly demonstrated by recent hearings of the Capitol Hill, especially Rosenstein testimony  before  House Judiciary Committee called over concern about possible bias of Mueller investigation (surprise, surprise).

Who was behind ne "Red Perl" hysteria

The central role in the creation of the new "Red  peril" is played by US intelligence agencies. They word using time tested patterns of war propaganda. Demonization of the enemy is the task number one in this  game. The fueling of this hysteria  usually starts with mysterious "sources" and unnamed "intelligence officials" who leak information, float trial balloons, and warn about the coming threat. Their information is then augmented by colorful intelligence reports that finger exotic cybersecurity threats and retired CIA brass like Michael Morell, John O. Brennan, supported by several other figures from the US intelligence community like old Cold War warrior James Clapper and  neocons in Pentagon such as Ashton Carter (neocons were extremely well represented in Obama administration, starting with Hillary Clinton as the Secretary of State):

3 Dec 2014 18:41
Ashton Carter was one of the most extreme of the neocon hawks in the upper levels of the Bush Admin. His specific assignment was to ensure there could never be a "peer competitor" by throwing money at the bleeding cutting edge of weapons technology.

Along the way, he was one of only two senior people openly advocated for a pre-emptive attack on N. Korea. Even Bush thought that was too much, and even Cheney did not support it, but Carter pushed it. One can wonder how a neocon, wife of a leading neocon, came to be in charge in Ukraine, to declaim "f-the-EU" and boast of spending billions to promote this second color revolution, giving cookies to open Nazis along the way.

However, now with Carter we see that the neocons have captured the policy part of the Obama Admin -- it wasn't an accident, it was design that we did that, and now will go back into Iraq, attack Syria, and attack Iran.

Anti-Russia stories are instantly get the front coverage in NYT, WaPo and other prominent neoliberal publications as well as neoliberal channels sympathetic to Democrats (CNN, MSNBC, CBS). Journalists then search for the people named by those leaks. This part of media (which remains under control of 5 corporation and CIA) forms an informal coalition with the sources within the US intelligence agances and plays important role in fueling color revolution against President Trump.

This process actually was very similar to creation of Green Peril  after the collapse of the USSR, which proved to be self-fulfilling prophecy and culminated in 9/11 (see, for example, https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/green-peril-creating-islamic-fundamentalist-threat The "Green Peril": Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist Threat By Leon T. Hadar August 27, 1992)

In addition, think tanks launch another "frontal propaganda attack" producing all kind of position papers, op-ed pieces, interviews, and such which adds momentum to the official spin. Their publication is followed by congressional hearings, policy conferences, and public press briefings. A governmental policy debate ensues, producing studies, working papers, and eventually doctrines and policies that become part of the media's spin. The new villain is now ready to be integrated into the popular culture to help to mobilize public support for a new crusade. In the case of the Russian threat this process has been under way for more then a year. The current anti-Russian witch hunt in the media was started by Hillary campaign in early 2016 as a smoke screen to shadow weakness of their candidate.

The Democratic Party nomenklatura is embarked on a massive media campaign to divert and reframe the election issues away from the economic and inequality concerns expressed by the Sanders campaign. No to "break up the banks", no to "free public college", no to "Medicare for all", no campaign funding reform. Now it reached the intensity of a new "Red Scare" hysteria of McCarthyism years. What is interesting is the propaganda behaves exactly like brainwashing in high demand cult -- they do not care if it is true of not -- they just force feed you with it until you internalize it (which is the definition of being brainwashed). 

MSM role in the witch hunt

Official narrative dominates MSM and is endlessly repeated (http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/13/why-ridiculous-official-propaganda-still-works/):

The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an “official narrative” that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point. The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between “the truth” as defined by the ruling classes and any other “truth” that contradicts their narrative.

The current “Russian hacking” hysteria is a perfect example of how this works. No one aside from total morons actually believes this official narrative (the substance of which is beyond ridiculous), not even the stooges selling it to us. This, however, is not a problem, because it isn’t intended to be believed … it is intended to be accepted and repeated, more or less like religious dogma.

If Russian hackers did not exist, it would be necessary for the CIA to invent them via some kind of false operation.  As long as the neoliberal empire's geopolitical agenda of putting Russia in its place is thereby advanced, the truth of the allegations is irrelevant. And they skillfully played the fact that nobody wants any foreign power influencing a US election. But along with Russia there were definitely other players with strong interest in particular outcome and wast capabilities in this area. For example, Israel, GB, KSA, Iran, China, Pakistan, and India. To name just a few. They probably should be investigated with the same vigor (How the Israel Lobby Works - The Unz Review):

norman ravitch June 3, 2014 at 12:11 pm GMT
The unholy alliance of Evangelicals and Zionists dominates our foreign policy in the Middle East. The first group has fantastic notions from the Books of Revelations and Daniel about the coming war between good and evil. The second group, whose ideology is based on integral nationalism which easily metasthesizes into Fascism, cares nothing about US interests.

It is not the first time that groups in American favor anti-American policies in favor of another country; think only of pro-IRA politicians in the Northeast, beginning with Congressman Peter King. But it is time to reject the irrationality of Evangelicals and Zionists and strive for an American foreign policy. Israel should be no more no less important to us than, say, Finland.

laurais says: June 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm GMT

We hear constantly of the power of the so-called Jewish Lobby, but no one ever explains how and why the Lobby has dome to have such power.

If this Lobby weren’t useful to interests that transcend and ultimately have little to do with Jewish/Israeli interests, few politicians would pay the Lobby any mind. Geopolitically, Israel is a useful tool of global elites. If the Israeli government were to make serious peace overtures to the Palestinian factions and if these factions were to respond favorably, any peace effort would be nipped in the bud by those who have a strong interest in keeping these entities from cooperating with one another. Many Israelis know this. In fact, their alternative media shout it from the rooftops.

How the Israel Lobby Works | Council for the National Interest says: June 3, 2014 at 6:09 pm GMT 

[…] The major organizations that comprise the Israel Lobby are well known: the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and Christians United For Israel (CUFI). All are well known, benefiting from large budgets and staffs. They are extremely effective, having excellent access to politicians and the media to promote their points of view, and are, as a group, regular visitors to the White House. AIPAC is without doubt the most powerful lobby in the United States that is focused on a foreign policy issue. […] 

Painting Russia as the principal US enemy was a typical neoliberal elites trick that help them to push for the New World Order

Painting Russia as the principal US enemy was a typical neoliberal elites trick that help them to push for the New World Order (the US led global neoliberal empire, which is way resembles the dream of Trotsky about "World Revolution" which would create "World Communist State"). And it is not the first time they use intelligence agencies as their propaganda machine. The fake news chant is just an addition to the anti-Russian BS. The goal like with original McCarthyism is to delegitimize any voice other than neocon war mongers (original McCarthyism also probably served as a smoke screen to hide large influx of specialists from Nazi Germany in the US. switch the public attention to "communists infiltrators"; communism as an ideology was dead after 1945, when soviet solders saw the standard of living of common folks in "capitalist" Central and Western Europe; it took another 45 years for it to collapse this quasi-religious society aka theocrathy called the USSR ). 

Yellowcake was probably the most well know recent case of fake news propagated by US government, the company of mass disinformation of American people for nefarious ends.  If involved  a prominent US neocon Michael Ledeen (the author of Ledeen doctrine "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business"):

Yellowcake forgery allegations[edit]

Main article: Niger uranium forgeries

According to a September 2004 article by Joshua Micah Marshall, Laura Rozen, and Paul Glastris in Washington Monthly:[10]

"The first meeting occurred in Rome in December, 2001. It included Franklin, Rhode, and another American, the neoconservative writer and operative Michael Ledeen, who organized the meeting. (According to UPI, Ledeen was then working for Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith as a consultant.) Also in attendance was Ghorbanifar and a number of other Iranians."
... ... ...
Regarding the "pre-emptive" invasion of Iraq, in 2002 Ledeen criticized the views of former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, writing:[12]
He fears that if we attack Iraq "I think we could have an explosion in the Middle East. It could turn the whole region into a cauldron and destroy the War on Terror."
One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster, please. If ever there were a region that richly deserved being cauldronized, it is the Middle East today. If we wage the war effectively, we will bring down the terror regimes in Iraq, Iran, and Syria, and either bring down the Saudi monarchy or force it to abandon its global assembly line to indoctrinate young terrorists.
That's our mission in the war against terror.

This whole "Russian hacking" storyline looks so infantile that it is demeaning to the dignity of the United States.  If would be especially funny if this Russiagate operation was hatched in CIA, or Israel or some other state, as a false flag. another question here is: "Is the United States the victim of an unprovoked cyber and media attack by Russia, or are the chickens coming home to roost after Washington’s own promotion of such activity worldwide?" What was the role of the USA in Russia presidential elections of 2011-2012 after which Ambassador McFaul left the country and NED was expelled?

Field Marshall Montgomery said that the first rule of war is "Don't march on Moscow". But those who rule America ignore the wise. Russia is a peaceful and friendly nation, but its elite does although converted to neoliberalism does not want vassal status (and Russia briefly was the vassal of the USA  under Yeltsin.)

We had the Russian hacking accusations for for over a year ( stemming mainly from Hillary campaign operatives),  but in 2017 they reached fervent pitch.  The globalists and Democratic Party nomenklatura launched massive media campaign to divert and reframe the election issues to save Clinton clan skin after election fiasco. This campaign is designed to distract the population and specifically democratic electorate away from the economic and inequality concerns expressed by the Sanders campaign and prevent shedding Clinton nomenklarura to the dustbin of history. Clinton clan want to preserver their power over Democratic Party at all costs, even war with Russia is a the right price for them. 

During Hillary campaign those accusations served as a shrewd deflection maneuver which helped to swipe her "private email server" and "DNC corruption scandal" under the carpet. "Look, its Russians, who brought you those news. They are evil. Dismiss them" was the message.

Now this is amplified by the reaction of neocon lobby and other "national security parasites" (the  fastest growing part of the US military industrial complex with annual budget over 66 billions) to the new, less comfortable for them, political reality. In which some of their current lucrative positions in national security establishment and as MIC lobbyists might no longer be available.  thee are jointed the gorwing part of the US elite which directly depends on the existence of global neoliberal empire led by the USA.  The fear (proved to be unfounded, like it was the case with Obama ;-) initially was that this "change we can believe in", if implemented by Trump, also signifies career end of many prominent neocons such as Victoria Nuland in State Department, or Ashton B. Carter  in Pentagon.

In both cases this is a smoke screen to distract voters from the real problems facing the neoliberalism in USA and the rejection of neoliberal globalization by the US population. The rejection of Hillary is tied to the fact that the American people are finally becoming sick and tired of rampant militarism (aka New American Militarism, as Professor Bacevich called it) with the costs in people lives and treasure.  In this sense for some in Washington, the new Cold War looks like a viable solution of problems that the USA faces now. Nothing personal, just business, Mr. Putin (The Unz Review):

In our recent history, however, the most dangerous moment of all may have been one of next to no fears, only of expectations for the glories of an all-American world. I’m thinking of the years TomDispatch regular Andrew Bacevich, author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History, returns to today, the ones after the Berlin Wall was first breeched and the Soviet Union, that “evil empire” of Cold War fame, simply vanished, leaving behind only… well, us.

That was the moment when the political and intellectual elite who had fought the Cold War and the corporate elite, including the warrior corporations of the military-industrial complex who had risen to power and fortune inside it, were suddenly staggered to discover that there seemed to be no one left to oppose them, nothing to stop them from doing their damnedest.

They no longer support the neocon attempt to create global neoliberal empire led by the USA.  They want to solve domestic problems first and especially the problem of unemployment, which became rampant under neoliberalism. While "Obama recovery created some jobs", it produced mostly McJobs in the service sector as well as "perma-temp" --  contractor jobs without benefits and health insurance within the USA, while continuing shipping previous highly paid permanent jobs to other countries. this is how IT was outsourced (with disastrous results, which are swiped under the carpet as the top brass does not care about negative consequences,  as long as annual bonuses increase or at least stay the same). 

The USA needs to find the way out of the hole, which neoliberals dug for the majority of the US population

The real problem that the country faces is that neoliberalism (aka Trotskyism for the rich) after around 40 years of world dominance, like Bolshevism previously,  had run its course. Ideology was discredited by events of 2008 but neoliberal state is still strong (but without viable ideology it is like a zombie, equally bloodthirsty and dangerous).

The USA needs to find the way out of the hole, which neoliberals dug for the majority of the US population.  the election of Trump signifies among other thing, that people reject status quo.  May we need be to restore major parts of New Deal (neo New Deal).   After 2008, neoliberal rationality is suspect and there is a strong blowback against continuation of neoliberal globalization which demonstrated itself in Brexitelection of Trump, and Renzi defeat in Italian referendum, which is huge win for EuroSkeptics.  This disillusionment with the neoliberalism is very deep for at least lower 80% of the US population.

There is no realistic way to establish where hacks came from after the fact, unless NSA did it when the hack occurred due to multiple levels of indirection via zombie computers in various countries. There are botnets, which are definitely assessable to many hackers with thousands, if not millions of computers in them.

All those insinuations that are published are really low level rumors reflecting the agenda of interested parties, as well as attempts to deceive gullible public. They do not look convincing and many security professionals provided devastating critique of their content and implied methodology (mainly IP space based).

Unless you understand that there is a larger agenda behind all this propaganda campaign, this level of concentration of MSM hype on Russians looks strange,  as if other pretty capable players (including some agencies in the USA and Israel, the supposed countries of origin for Flame and Stuxnet).

Moreover Hillary (and, especially, Bill) did not inspire much love in a lot of people, including probably some people within NSA. 

Also the hypothesis that this is a hack, not a leak is rather weak and was refute by research by Intelligence  professionals for sanity.  The death of one of DNC staffer also was pretty suspicious and might be connected with the case. There was no open investigation whether the death was connected with the leaks of DNC emails to Wikileaks, but Seth Rich was definitely was in position to be a source the leak.

The fact the DNC computer security level (like Hillary personal email server) was dismal is well established -- they simply did not pay the necessary amount of money to people and for the equipment to create a secure (even by weak standards of NIST guidelines)  infrastructure for running the campaign. They were operating mostly as a regular non-profit IT-wise. And that's while spending over billion bucks on Hillary campaign. If someone is that stupid, he/she needs to face consequences.

And if you can't prove something it is better to shut up, not to incite anti-Russian hysteria to shade unpleasant facts revealed, Among them the fact that DNC was a part of Hillary campaign and essentially had thrown Sanders under the bus.

And BTW the US government did tried to interfere in Russian Presidential election in 2011-2012. At least one US NGO (National Endowment for Democracy - NED ) was kicked out the country after the elections exactly for this activity.

McCarthyism as political auto-immune disease

Each state has the right to defend itself from attempt to destabilize it, especially by external forces, which can guide internal fifth column (in case of neoliberal it is neoliberal fifth column and the type of government destabilization used is known as color revolutions). In a typical color revolution scenario their are set of efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the government.  The USA was one of the first recognizing this threat at time fascism was such a danger, with enacting Sedition act and Foreign Agents Registration Act.

But like with human body sometime immune system starts to dysfunction. That's why we have allergies and auto-immune diseases. In those case the immune system attacks and kills healthy cells.  I view McCarthyism as modern political auto-immune disease.  In no way a skeptical view of the US neoliberal society and critique of neoliberalism, even a sharp one,  is equivalent to pro-Russian propaganda. 

Also Russia as a target is suspect, unless we subscribe to neocon agenda.  Russia is just another Westernized neoliberal society.  They watch the same Hollywood junk and US citizens ;-).  Major western propaganda channels like BCC are freely available in Russia for anybody to view. They are not jammed, like in days of the USSR (which actually only increased their popularity).  Unlike KSA they do not behead over 100 people a year and prohibit woman to drive. And KSA is considered to be an ally. 

All it does is weakly resist attempts to convert it into Washington vassal. In no way it challenges neoliberalism as a social system. Putin brought Russia in WTO and Medvedev government is hell-bent of privatization of state assets. The fact that they do not want to feed NYC financial sharks is of secondary importance.

Rumors as improvised news and a symptom of loss of trust in establishment and official communication channels

Fake news is modern day rumors spread via Internet. The rise of rumors (aka "improvised news") signify a dramatic fall in the trust to the establishment and official channel of distribution of information. This phenomenon is well known for anybody who studying Brezhnev's rule in the USSR.   Tamotsu Shibutani pioneered the study of this sociological phenomenon in his book Improvised News A Sociological Study of Rumor - Tamotsu Shibutani (1966).  Here is the TOC:

1. ALTERNATIVE CONCEPTIONS OF RUMOR I

2. THE FAILURE OF FORMAL NEWS CHANNELS 31

3. PROBLEM-SOLVING THROUGH DELIBERATION 63

4. SUGGESTIBILITY AND BEHAVIORAL CONTAGION 95

5. THE FORMATION OF POPULAR BELIEFS

6. A SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY OF RUMOR

7. THE POLITICAL MANIPULATION OF RUMOR

Later this pioneering study was continued in a (much weaker) book The Global Grapevine: Why Rumors of Terrorism, Immigration, and Trade Matter by By Gary Alan Fine, Bill Ellis (2010)

Far from mere idle tales, rumors are a valuable window into our anxieties and fears. Rumors let us talk as a community about some very inflammatory issues--issues that may be embarrassing or disturbing to discuss-allowing us to act as if we are talking about real events, not personal beliefs. We can air our hidden fears and desires without claiming these attitudes as our own.

Contemporary rumors can provide us with important information about the fears and pressures of globalization that the US population now experiences. According to Fine&Ellix there are several connected with neoliberal globalization themes that emerge over and over again:

I would add to it persistent rumors about sexual perversion of the elite, including pedophilia (for example, "pizzagate").  Rumors, which in view of existing conviction in "Lolita express" case, are not completely without substance.

Various rumors tell us how Americans react to perceived global threats, how much they trust their own government (9/11 and especially the sub-story of  "Collapse of Building 7" are pretty telling examples here), how they interpret covert CIA actions that became known (Operation Mockingbird, JFK assasination) and deception that cost the US so dearly (Iraq WMD scare). And most importantly how they interpret decimation of the "New Deal" and the new, much less charitable to lower 90% of population neoliberal society in which they are now forced to live. As "New Deal" society is almost completely dismantled with Medicare and Social Security being two major leftovers, which are under attack from neoliberals and constant attempts to privatize them.

In their book authors argue that rumors also reflect our anxieties and fears about contact with foreign cultures -- whether we believe foreign competition to be poisoning the domestic economy or that foreign immigration to be eroding American values. That's why immigration theme was so hot in the recent Presidential elections.

The dramatic collapse of Hillary Clinton campaign that had led to the election of Trump led to attempt to erect a post-election smokescreen of this historic defeat of neoliberal establishment candidate supported by the leadership both parties in Congress and all major MSM.  And instead of analyzing the problems facing the US society, the problems which led to the election of Trump, Democrats and Obama administration decided to play  "Russians are coming" smoke screen.  

With the concentration of DNC leak and Podesta email hack (the latter is due to the blunder, committed by Podesta  himself, who make a blunder and essentially provided his password to attackers on the plate. In reality, the real issue with DNC leaks is the fact that Sanders campaign was sabotaged by crooks in DNC. 

Those who wipe up anti-Russian hysteria should probably reread materials of Church commission and history of interference of the US intelligence agencies into the domestic politics. They might also and ask themselves a simple question:  "Do they have any moral right to to be sp indignant about supposed (not proved, but supposed)  foreign interference in the US elections, if such an interference is the cornerstone of the US foreign policy?"

Those who wipe up Russian hacking hysteria should probably reread materials of Church commission and history of interference of the US intelligence agencies into the domestic politics, including, but not limited to JFK assassination  

While Russia represents an obstacle on the path of establishing global neoliberal empire led by the USA, it is not a threat. Unlike the USSR it just another neoliberal society and Putin can be  viewed as "soft globalist", not as isolationalist. He does want to work with Western nation, but on more equal terms then the USA and EU prefer.  He does not want Russia to became EU protectorate, or the USA vassal (as it was under drunkard Yeltsin). The latter is unacceptable for the US neoliberal elite which is hell-bent on world domination.  Many positions in the Russian government  are occupied by staunch, even by the USA standard, neoliberals, determined to conduct the privatizing of government property and government companies, cutting social services to the bones, and generally adhering to the postulates of Washington consensus as much as Chicago boys in the past.

Relations with Russia deteriorated after the USA launched in best Trotskyites style of (World Communist Revolution) the "Great World Neoliberal Revolution", a series of  "color revolutions" (starting with attack on Serbia) initiating "regime change" for  "not neoliberal enough" governments of countries with natural resources, or of some geopolitical value. All this under the smoke screen promoting the democracy, as it it exist in the USA (which became a typical oligarchic republic (a democracy but only for the top 1% or 10%, who are the only one able to select the candidate from two major parties), with two party system undistinguishable in its major aspects from Soviet one party system; see  Two Party System as Polyarchy )   Also it is not clear why Russia would prefer Trump to Hillary. They definitely have a lot of dirt of Hillary, and, especially, Clinton Foundation,  probably much more then on Trump. Here is one post that addresses this issues (Economist's View What’s Behind a Rise in Ethnic Nationalism Maybe the Economy, Oct 14, 2016):

likbez -> pgl... , Friday, October 14, 2016 at 07:43 PM
Paradoxically Pravda in old times did have real insights into the US political system and for this reason was widely read by specialists. Especially materials published by the Institute of the USA and Canada -- a powerful Russian think tank somewhat similar to the Council on Foreign Relations.

As for your remark I think for many people in the USA Russophobia is just displaced Anti-Semitism.

JohnH remark is actually very apt and you should not "misunderestimate" the level of understanding of the US political system by Russians. They did learn a lot about machinations of the neoliberal foreign policy, especially about so called "color revolutions."

Hillary&Obama has had a bloody nose when they tried to stage a "color revolution" in 2011-2012 in Russia (so called "white revolution). A typical US citizen probably never heard about it or heard only about "Pussy riot", Navalny and couple of other minor figures. At the end poor ambassador Michael McFaul was recalled. NED was expelled. Of course Russia is just a pale shadow of the USSR power-wise, so Obama later put her on sanctions using MH17 incident as a pretext with no chances of retaliation. They also successfully implemented regime change in Ukraine -- blooding Putin nose in return.

But I actually disagree with JohnH. First of all Putin does not need to interfere in a way like the USA did [in Russian Presidential elections] in 2011-2012. It would be a waist of resources as both candidates are probably equally bad for Russia (and it is the "deep state" which actually dictate the US foreign policy, not POTUS.)

The US political system is already the can of worms and the deterioration of neoliberal society this time created almost revolutionary situation in Marxists terms, when Repug elite was not able to control the nomination. Democratic establishment still did OK and managed to squash the rebellion, but here the level of degeneration demonstrated itself in the selection of the candidate.

Taking into account the level of dysfunction of the US political system, I am not so sure the Trump is preferable to Hillary for Russians. I would say he is more unpredictable and more dangerous. The main danger of Hillary is Syria war escalation, but the same is true for Trump who can turn into the second John McCain on a dime.

Also the difference between two should not be exaggerated. Both are puppets of the forces the brought them to the current level and in their POTUS role will need to be subservient to the "deep state". Or at least to take into account its existence and power. And that makes them more of prisoners of the position they want so much.

Trump probably to lesser extent then Hillary, but he also can't ignore the deep state. Both require the support of Republican Congress for major legislative initiatives. And it would be very hostile to Hillary. Which is a major advantage for Russians, as this excludes the possibility of some very stupid moves.

Again, IMHO in no way any of them will control the US foreign policy. In this area the deep state is in charge since Allen Dulles and those who try to deviate too much might end as badly as JFK. I think Obama understood this very well and did not try to rock the boat. And there are people who will promptly explain this to Trump in a way that he understands.

In other words, neither of them will escape the limit on their power that "deep state" enforces. And that virtually guarantee the continuity of the foreign policy, with just slight tactical variations.

So why Russians should prefer one to another? You can elect a dog as POTUS and the foreign policy of the USA will be virtually the same as with Hillary or Trump.

In internal policy Trump looks more dangerous and more willing to experiment, while Hillary is definitely a "status quo" candidate. The last thing Russians needs is the US stock market crush. So from the point of internal economic policy Hillary is also preferable.

A lot of pundits stress the danger of war with Russia, and that might be true as women in high political position try to outdo men in hawkishness. But here Hillary jingoism probably will be tightly controlled by the "deep state". Hillary definitely tried to be "More Catholic then the Pope" in this area while being the Secretary of State. That did not end well for her and she might learn the lesson.

But if you think about the amount of "compromat" (Russian term ;-) on Hillary and Bill that Russians may well already collected, in "normal circumstances" she might be a preferable counterpart for Russians. As in "devil that we know". Both Lavrov and Putin met Hillary. Medvedev was burned by Hillary. Taking into account the level of greed Hillary displayed during her career, I would be worried what Russians have on her , as well as on Bill "transgressions" and RICO-style actions of Clinton Foundation.

And taking into account the level of disgust amount the government officials with Hillary (and this is not limited to Secret Service) , new leaks are quite possible, which might further complicate her position as POTUS.

In worst case, the first year (or two) leaks will continue. Especially if damaging DNC leaks were the work of some disgruntled person within the USA intelligence and not of some foreign hacker group. That might be a plus for Russians as such a constant distraction might limit her possibility to make some stupid move in Syria. Or not.

As you know personal emails boxes for all major Web mail providers are just one click away for NSA analysts. So "Snowden II" hypothesis might have the right to exist.

Also it is quite probably that impeachment process for Hillary will start soon after her election. In the House Republicans have enough votes to try it. That also might be a plus for s for both Russia and China. Trump is extremely jingoistic as for Iran, and that might be another area were Hillary is preferable to Russians and Chinese over Trump.

Also do not discount her health problems. She does have some serious neurological disease, which eventually might kill her. How fast she will deteriorate is not known but in a year or two the current symptoms might become more pronounced. If Bill have STD (and sometime he looks like a person with HIV; http://joeforamerica.com/2016/07/bill-clinton-aids/) that further complicates that picture (this is just a rumor, but he really looks bad).

I think that all those factors make her an equal, or even preferable candidate for such states as Russia and China.

This is the situation of "king is naked" -- the state that teaches other countries about democracy has a completely corrupted election process within each party, like a typical banana republic. That what  Wikileak revelations proved. In his post Is Russia our enemy?  Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets) aptly stated:

The Democratic Party convention and the media are full of the assumption that Russia is the enemy of the United States.  What is the basis for that assumption?

The Obama Administration is apparently committed to a pre-emptive assertion that Russia is a world class committed enemy of the United States. The Borgist media fully support that.

We should all sober up.

The anti-Russian theme has  been such an most important in Hillary presidential campaign that the subsequent full-scale anti-Russian hysteria after her defeat is not surprising. 
Hillary always preferred to join ranks with neocons, military-industrial complex and plain-vanilla Russophobes (katehon.com, Jul 28. 2016) and neocon are afraid of losing some power and lucrative, well paid positions. Look how easily Robert Kagan defected to Democratic Party. Several important US Departments such as Department of State, Department of Defense, and CIA are staffed mainly with neocons:. They will fight the idea of normalization of relations with Russia until better end:

Speaking at a press conference in Florida, Trump called on Russia to hand over the 30,000 emails "missing" from the Hillary Clinton's email server in the US. Their absence is a clear sign that Clinton destroyed evidence proving that she used her personal e-mail server to send sensitive information. Democrats immediately accused Trump of pandering to Russian hackers, although in reality the multi-billionaire rhetorically hinted that the data that Clinton hid from the American investigation is in the hands of foreign intelligence services. So, Clinton is a possible target for blackmail.

Trump's statement that he is ready to discuss the status of Crimea and the removal of anti-Russian sanctions caused even more noise. This view is not accepted either in the Democrat or in the Republican mainstream. Trump also said that Vladimir Putin does not respect Clinton and Obama, while Trump himself hopes to find a common language with him. Trump appreciates Putin's leadership and believes that the US must work together with Russia to deal with common threats, particularly against Islamic extremism.
Hide The establishment's tantrum

Both Democrats and Republicans are taking aim at Trump. The vice-presidential candidate, Mike Pence, made threats to Russia. The head of the Republican majority in Congress, Paul Ryan, became somewhat hysterical. He said that Putin is "a thug and should stay out of these elections."

It is Putin personally, and the Russian security services, who are accused of leaking correspondences of top employees of the National Committee of the Democratic Party. This unverified story united part of the Republicans and all of the Democrats, including the Clinton and Barack Obama themselves. Trump supporters note that the Russian threat is used to divert attention from the content of these letters. And these show the fraud carried out during the primaries which favored Hillary Clinton.
Hide The pro-American candidate

The "Russian scandal" demonstrates that on the one hand the thesis of the normalization of relations with Russia, despite the propaganda, is becoming popular in US society. It is unlikely that Donald Trump has made campaign statements that are not designed to gain the support of the public in this election. On the other hand - Trump - a hard realist, like Putin, is not pro-Russian, but a pro-American politician, and therefore the improvement of relations with Russia in his eyes corresponds to the US's national interests. Trump has never to date done anything that would not be to his advantage. Sometimes he even said he would order US fighter jets to engage with Russian ones, and declared he would have a hard stance in relations with Russia.

Another thing is that his understanding of US national interests is fundamentally different from the dominant American globalist elite consensus. For Trump, the US should not be the source of a global liberal remaking of the world, but a national power, which optimizes its position just as efficiently as any commercial project. And in terms of optimizing the position of the United States, he says there should be a normal American interaction with Putin and Russia in the field of combating terrorism and preventing the sliding of the two countries into a global war. He claims this is to be the priority instead of issues relating to the promotion of democracy and the so-called fight against "authoritarian regimes".
 

While Congress now is trying to create "ministry of Truth", the fearmonring that the US MSM are now propagating is a variation of the well known McCarthyism theme  "The Russians are Coming".  And can be legitimately called Neo-McCartyism.  Here is nice satire on the topic (washingtonsblog.com):

MC: President Putin, did the Russian government hack the DNC email server and then publically release those emails through Wikileaks the day before the Democratic convention?

Putin: Yes.

MC: Yes! Are you serious?

Putin: I’m quite serious.

MC: How can you justify this open meddling in United States politics?

Putin: Your question should be what took Russia so long. The US oligarchs and their minions surround us with military bases and nuclear missiles, damage our trade to Europe, and seek to destabilize our domestic politics.  These emails are nothing in the big picture. But they’re sort of funny, don’t you agree?

MC: I’m not sure that funny is the right word.  What do you mean by that?

Putin:   You’ve got Hillary Clinton running as a strong and independent woman. Of course, nobody would know who she is had she not married Bill Clinton. She’s not independent. Quite the contrary. She had to marry a philandering redneck to get to where she is. When it comes to strength, I can say only this. How strong can you be if you have to cheat and create a rigged game to win the nomination?

MC: Anything else about your leak to cheer us up?

Putin: This situation is the epitome of ironic humor. After the emails were released, the focus was all on DNC Chair and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. That’s fine for now but what happens when people start asking why Wasserman-Schultz had the DNC screw Sanders and boost Hillary? Did she just wake up one day and decide this on her own?. Not likely. She was and remains Hillary’s agent.   It will take people a while to arrive that answer. When enough people hear about Wasserman-Schultz’s key role in the Clinton campaign, everything will be clear.   It’s adios Hillary. That inevitable conclusion, by the way, is the reason the DNC made such a big deal about Russia hacking the DNC.  That was diversion one right out of the gate.

DNC hack or DNC leak ?

As for DNC hack (or was it a leak ?) there is no realistic way to establish where hacks came from after the fact. All those insinuations that are published are really low level crap, attempts to deceive gullible public. I do not understand this level of concentration of MSM hype on Russians, as if other pretty capable players (including some in the USA) do not exist and do not have any motivation to look closely into DNC files. Hillary (and, especially, Bill) did not inspire much love in a lot of people.

Also the hypothesis that this is a hack, not a leak is rather weak. The death of one of DNC staffer was pretty suspicious and might be connected with the case.

likbez said in reply to im1dc... , December 18, 2016 at 07:15 PM

Can you please explain to me why you are thinking that this was a hack, not a leak by an insider?

One DNC staffer, 27-year-old Seth Rich, the DNC’s director of voter expansion, was killed around this time in pretty strange circumstances. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/07/12/democratic-national-committee-staffer-shot-and-killed-in-washington.html

Former British Ambassador and current Wikileaks operative Craig Murray recently said he has met the person who leaked DNC and Clinton campaign emails, and they aren’t Russian.

http://www.thepoliticalinsider.com/bombshell-wikileaks-figure-says-insider-russia-hack/

Or it can come from a dissident within the US agency that did have access to all emails.

Do you remember such a person as Edward Snowden ? It might be very educational for you to read his opinion about this case:

While he is highly critical of Wikileaks, he suggests that without NSA coming forward with hard data obtained via special program that uncover multiple levels of indirection, those charges are just propaganda and insinuations. And BTW after the fact it is usually impossible to discover who obtained the information, as they use multiple levels of indirection and Russia might be just one of those indirection levels. Use of Russian IP-space or Russian IPS might be just an attempt to create a false trail and to implicate a wrong party.

As in any complex case you should not jump to conclusions so easily.

The fact the DNS computer security level (like Hillary personal email server) was dismal is well established -- they simply did not pay the necessary amount of money to people and for the equipment to created a viable (according to NIST guidelines) secure infrastructure for running the campaign. They were operating mostly as a non-profit IT-wise. And that's while spending  over billion bucks on Hillary campaign. If somebody is that stupid, he/she needs to face consequences.

And if you can't prove something it is better to shut up, not to incite anti-Russian hysteria to hide under this smokescreen very unpleasant facts revealed -- that DNC was a part of Hillary campaign and essentially had thrown Sanders under the bus.

And BTW the US government did tried to interfere in Russian Presidential election in 2011-2012. At least one US NGO was kicked out the country after the elections exactly for this.

DNC and Clinton pushed the Russian card very hard in anticipation of further stories and revelations of corruption, money laundering, etc.  See DNC emails leak

Technical analysis of this "hack" (which can well be, and probably is a "leak") provided by MSM is by-and-large idiotic, entry level nonsense. The fact that hacking case are complex and fuzzy makes them perfect smokescreen -- powerful tools for deflecting attention from a read content of messages revealed as well as the most plausible source to Russians. Such scapegoating achieve two goals: unite the population swiping important differences under the carpet and an accepting inferior candidate in the name of "unity" in the face of powerful and ruthless enemy, and deflecting unpleased questions revealed by email as enemy propaganda.

BTW stories about Russian codepage used, ec are very suspect. In such cases the originator might deside to use to provide a direct the investigation in the wrong direction. also many countries on the globe such as Germany, Israel, GB and USA has a large Russian speaking population, that is well represented in IT industry (and by extension in corresponding part of three letter agencies).

When the USA (or Israel) opened this can of worm with Stixnet (discovered around mid 2010) and Flame (discovered around 2012), they did not expect a powerful blowback. Now it start coming: those days it is simply impossible to secure "normal" Microsoft-based IT system against any sophisticated adversary.  Not very difficult, but impossible.

To say nothing about stock systems that DNC and Hillary used (as if they have not money to harden them to the level recommended by at least NIST guidelines). They also did not have adequate intrusion alarm system and restricted IP space for clients (client of such systems should exist only on VPN).

Remember that we live in the period when developed by NSA and probably their foreign "friends" Flame and Stixnet worm are part of the recorded history of malware.  And  technologies used in them are well studied by all major world three letter agencies. They means that  methods of this level of complexity became a part of their workbook.  And the response to their devilishness they generated even more devilish methods of attack of any IT infrastructure based on Microsoft technologies, to say nothing about such low hanging fruit as stock Microsoft software installation with semi-competent IT staff using Microsoft Exchange based email system on public network: (naked capitalism):

However, in this short post I want to focus on a much narrower question: Can we ever know who hacked the DNC email? Because if we can't, then clearly we can't know the Russians did. And so I want to hoist this by alert reader JacobiteInTraining from comments :

Yup, as a former server admin it is patently absurd to attribute a hack to anyone in particular until a substantial amount of forensic work has been done. (read, poring over multiple internal log files…gathering yet more log files of yet more internal devices, poring over them, then – once the request hops out of your org – requesting logfiles from remote entities, poring over *those* log files, requesting further log files from yet more upstream entities, wash rinse repeat ad infinitum).

For example, at its simplest, I would expect a middling-competency hacker to find an open wifi hub across town to connect to, then VPN to server in, say, Tonga, then VPN from there to another box in Sweden, then connect to a PC previously compromised in Iowa, then VPN to yet another anonymous cloud server in Latvia, and (assuming the mountain dew is running low, gotta get cracking) then RDP to the target server and grab as many docs as possible. RAR those up and encrypt them, FTP them to a compromised media server in South Korea, email them from there to someones gmail account previously hacked, xfer them to a P2P file sharing app, and then finally access them later from a completely different set of servers.

In many cases where I did this sort of analysis I still ended up with a complete dead end: some sysadmins at remote companies or orgs would be sympathetic and give me actual related log files. Others would be sympathetic but would not give files, and instead do their own analysis to give me tips. Many never responded, and most IPs ended up at unknown (compromised) personal PCs, or devices where the owner could not be found anyway.

If the hacker was sloppy and left other types of circumstantial evidence you might get lucky – but that demographic mostly points back to script kiddies and/or criminal dweebs – i.e., rather then just surreptitiously exfiltrating the goods they instead left messages or altered things that seemed to indicate their own backgrounds or prejudices, or left a message that was more easily 'traced'. If, of course, you took that evidence at face value and it was not itself an attempt at obfuscation.

Short of a state actor such as an NSA who captures it ALL anyway, and/or can access any log files at any public or private network at its own whim – its completely silly to attribute a hack to anyone at this point.

So, I guess I am reduced to LOL OMG WTF its fer the LULZ!!!!!

And :

Just to clarify on the "…If the hacker was sloppy and left other types of circumstantial evidence…" – this is basically what I have seen reported as 'evidence' pointing to Russia: the Cyrillic keyboard signature, the 'appeared to cease work on Russian holidays' stuff, and the association with 'known Russian hacking groups'.

That's great and all, but in past work I am sure my own 'research' could easily have gotten me 'associated' with known hacking groups. Presumably various 'sophisticated' methods and tools get you closer to possible suspects…but that kind of stuff is cycled and recycled throughout the community worldwide – as soon as anything like that is known and published, any reasonably competent hacker (or org of hackers) is learning how to do the same thing and incorporating such things into their own methods. (imitation being the sincerest form of flattery)

I guess I have a lot more respect for the kinds of people I expect to be getting a paycheck from foreign Intelligence agencies then to believe that they would leave such obvious clues behind 'accidentally'. But if we are going to be starting wars over this stuff w/Russia, or China, I guess I would hope the adults in the room don't go all apesh*t and start chanting COMMIES, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!, etc. before the ink is dry on the 'crime'.

The whole episode reminds me of the Sony hack , for which Obama also blamed a demonized foreign power. Interestingly - to beg the question here - the blaming was also based on a foreign character set in the data (though Hangul, not Korean). Look! A clue!

JacobiteInTraining's methodology also reminds me of NC's coverage of Grexit. Symbol manipulators - like those in the Democrat-leaning creative class - often believe that real economy systems are as easy to manipulate as symbol systems are. In Greece, for example, it really was a difficult technical challenge for Greece to reintroduce the drachma, especially given the time-frame, as contributor Clive remorselessly showed. Similarly, it's really not credible to hire a consultant and get a hacking report with a turnaround time of less than a week, even leaving aside the idea that the DNC just might have hired a consultant that would give them the result they wanted (because who among us, etc.) What JacobiteInTraining shows us is that computer forensics is laborious, takes time, and is very unlikely to yield results suitable for framing in the narratives proffered by the political class. Of course, that does confirm all my priors!

Readers, thoughts?

Update Addition by Yves:

Another reader, Hacker, observed (emphasis original):

There is a problem with those who argue that these are sophisticated Nation State attackers and then point to the most basic circumstantial evidence to support their case. I'd bet that, among others, the Israelis have hacked some Russian servers to launch attacks from and have some of their workers on a Russian holiday schedule. Those things have been written about in attack analysis so much over the last 15-20 years that they'd be stupid not to.

Now, I'm not saying the Israelis did it. I'm saying that the evidence provided so far by those arguing it is Russia is so flaky as to prove that the Russia accusers are blinded or corrupted by their own political agenda.

Update [Yves, courtesy Richard Smith] 7:45 AM. Another Medium piece by Jeffrey Carr, Can Facts Slow The DNC Breach Runaway Train? who has been fact-checking this story and comes away Not Happy. For instance:

Thomas Rid wrote:

One of the strongest pieces of evidence linking GRU to the DNC hack is the equivalent of identical fingerprints found in two burglarized buildings: a reused command-and-control address - 176.31.112[.]10 - that was hard coded in a piece of malware found both in the German parliament as well as on the DNC's servers. Russian military intelligence was identified by the German domestic security agency BfV as the actor responsible for the Bundestag breach. The infrastructure behind the fake MIS Department domain was also linked to the Berlin intrusion through at least one other element, a shared SSL certificate.

This paragraph sounds quite damning if you take it at face value, but if you invest a little time into checking the source material, its carefully constructed narrative falls apart.

Problem #1: The IP address 176.31.112[.]10 used in the Bundestag breach as a Command and Control server has never been connected to the Russian intelligence services. In fact, Claudio Guarnieri , a highly regarded security researcher, whose technical analysis was referenced by Rid, stated that "no evidence allows to tie the attacks to governments of any particular country."

Mind you, he has two additional problems with that claim alone. This piece is a must read if you want to dig further into this topic.

NOTES

[1] More than a talking point but, really, less than a narrative. It's like we need a new word for these bite-sized, meme-ready, disposable, "throw 'em against the wall and see if they stick" stories; mini-narrative, or narrativelette, perhaps. "All the crunch of a real narrative, but none of the nutrition!"

[2] This post is not about today's Trump moral panic, where the political class is frothing and stamping about The Donald's humorous (or ballbusting, take your pick) statement that he "hoped" the Russians had hacked the 30,000 emails that Clinton supposedly deleted from the email server she privatized in her public capacity as Secretary of State before handing the whole flaming and steaming mess over to investigators. First, who cares? Those emails are all about yoga lessons and Chelsea's wedding. Right? Second, Clinton didn't secure the server for three months. What did she expect? Third, Trump's suggestion is just dumb; the NSA has to have that data, so just ask them? Finally, to be fair, Trump shouldn't have uttered the word "Russia." He should have said "Liechtenstein," or "Tonga," because it's hard to believe that there's a country too small to hack as fat a target as Clinton presented; Trump was being inflammatory. Points off. Bad show.

Pavel , July 28, 2016 at 4:01 am

For those interested, the excellent interviewer Scott Horton just spoke with Jeffrey Carr, an IT security expert about all this. It's about 30 mins:

Jeffrey Carr, a cyber intelligence expert and CEO of Taia Global, Inc., discusses his fact-checking of Josh Marshall's TalkingPointsMemo article that claims a close alliance between Trump and Putin; and why the individuals blaming Russia for the DNC email hack are more motivated by politics than solid evidence.

–The Scott Horton Show: 7/25/16 Jeffrey Carr

Carr makes the point that even supposed clues about Russian involvement ("the default language is Cyrillic!") are meaningless as all these could be spoofed by another party.

Separately it just shows again Team Clinton's (and DNC's) political deviousness and expertise how they –with the full support of the MSM of course –have managed to deflect the discussion to Trump and Russia from how the DNC subverted US democracy.

pretzelattack , July 28, 2016 at 4:15 am

and again, we see the cavalier attitude about national security from the clinton camp, aggravating the already tense relationship with russia over this bullshit, all to avoid some political disadvantage. clinton doesn't care if russia gets the nuclear launch codes seemingly, but impact her chances to win the race and it's all guns firing.

dk , July 28, 2016 at 4:59 am

"… all these could be spoofed by another party."

Well yeah, and I could be a bot, how do you know I'm not?

Absent any other evidence to work with, I can accept it as credible that a clumsy Russian or Baltic user posted viewed and saved docs instead of the originals; par for the course in public and private bureaucracies the world over. It would have been useful to see the original Properties metadata; instead we get crapped up copies. That only tells me the poster is something of a lightweight, and it at least somewhat suggests that these docs passed through multiple hands.

But that doesn't mean A) the original penetration occurred under state control (or even in Russia proper), much less B) that Putin Himself ordered the hack attempts, which is the searing retinal afterimage that the the media name-dropping and photo-illustrating conflation produces.

Unspoofed, the Cyrillic fingerprints still do not closely constrain conclusion to A, and even less to B.

Another name for the trick DNC used is "Catch a chief" -- a deflection of attention from their own criminal behaviour. But they should now be really afraid about what can come next from Wikileaks or elsewhere. I don't think Hillary was capable to understand how easy it is to find corruption, especially when there's a email trail.  And this lack of understanding is a typical feature of a sociopath (http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/could-hillary-clinton-be-a-sociopath/ ). As Guardian reported (The Guardian) Clinton campaign also tried old "dog eat my homework" trick blaming everything on Putin and trying to ignore the content of them and the dirty laundry they expose:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 presidential election, saying its hackers stole Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails and released them to foment disunity in the party and aid Donald Trump.

Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said on Sunday that “experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, [and are] releasing these emails for the purpose of helping Donald Trump”.

“I don’t think it’s coincidental that these emails are being released on the eve of our convention here,” he told CNN’s State of the Union, alluding to the party’s four-day exercise in unification which is set to take place this week in Philadelphia.

“This isn’t my assertion,” Mook said. “This is what experts are telling us.”

In a statement, the Clinton campaign repeated the accusation: “This is further evidence the Russian government is trying to influence the outcome of the election.”

Classic scapegoating. As Guardian commenter noted "Why is the (potential) perpetrator of the leak more significant than the content of the leak?? "As life exceeds satire, one can Wikileaks later produced large parts of Hillary's Wall Street speeches, following the appeal from Trump.

In any case a major US establishment party explicitly levied it's resources against a candidate it didn't like behaviors like a Mafioso clan, and when caught red handed start to deflect attention via corrupt and subservant MSM, changing focus into Russia and Putin instead. Great journalism!" The Guardian

 atopic 

I find very I interesting that, somehow, the initial DNC leak story failed to make a headline position (a day late, at that) on the Guardian, but now that it's blown up on other channels, the DNC's ridiculous conspiracy theory/distraction attempt gets top billing here. Ridiculous.

Why is the (potential) perpetrator of the leak more significant than the content of the leak?? A major US establishment party explicitly levied it's resources against a candidate it didn't like, and somehow we're talking about Putin instead. Great journalism.

 
Chanze Jennings ->  atopic

The Guardian has sunk to a new low and has entirely no shame. It's a sad day for journalism when Twitter has more integrity than most news outlets. And they wonder why newspapers are going the way of the Dodo. Remember when real journalists presented stories with little bias and tried hard to stick to the facts?

BTW there are some real experts on this and they have a different opinion. Check comments for the blog post: 

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/07/nsa-whistleblower-not-so-fast-on-claims-russia-behind-dnc-email-hack.html

Corrupt to the core MSM ignore the event and try to distract readers with scapegoating nonsense

ABC and CNN during this Presidential compaisn were essentially the DNC propaganda wing. They and most other MSM were trying to reshape this mess to reduce the amount of damage.  Stephanopolis worked for Bill Clinton. And donated $75,000 to Hillary's campaign. And now he is trying to paint Trump as having ties to the Putin regime.

They try do not touch Hillary connections with Saudi, revive email scandal, touch Clinton cash scandal,  etc. They really behave like they are part of Clinton campaign. And readers noticed that as is evident from comments (The 4 Most Damaging Emails From the DNC WikiLeaks Dump - ABC News):

Kintbury  -> Mr. Fusion 21 hours ago

You are going to have to do a heck of a lot better than that. A Saudi Prince has admitted to funding a large portion of Hillary's campaign. That is a tie. All the money she took from those countries while benefiting them as Secretary of State is a tie.

Know Mei > deanbob
"Spoken like someone who has never been a member of the Democratic Party and has no understanding of what we do," Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Oh, believe me, Debbie, the American people know what the Democratic Party and the Republican Party does. Both parties embellish, manipulate, grant high positions to big donors, plot, backstab and railroad the vote of the American electorate. However, business as usual did not work well for the Republican Party elitists this primary season. Donald Trump beat the Republican Party elitists at their game. Bernie Sanders attempted to do the same to the Democratic Party.
Alti  -> ADLives 2 days ago

I think they are being short-sighted. Trump will in all likelihood win now and I don't see him sticking to the script. The media has completely betrayed the American public on this story. From Facebook and Twitter blocking and deleting stories re: same initially - to now with the non-articles we are getting from the big news agencies. Finding decent, honest news coverage shouldn't be so hard. see more

William Carr > Know Mei •

“Both parties embellish, manipulate, grant high positions to big donors, plot, backstab and railroad the vote of the American electorate”

America needs international monitors to oversee our elections

In reality Wikileaks exposed the blatant corruption of the primary process for voters. The elephant was in the room, but the real situation with Democratic Party primary process is now  suppressed.

What the USA really needs is international observers on the next Presidential elections. Instead the US Congress adopted  S. 3274 “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act”  which essentially create the US variant of the USSR "Ministry of Propaganda and Agitation". As if NED, USAID, State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Center for Independent Private Enterprise (CIPE), and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity ("Solidarity Center") are not enough (Soft Power Democracy-Promotion and U.S. NGOs - Council on Foreign Relations)

That suggests that the US lawmakers at last realized that promoted by them color revolution techniques practiced by the USA on xUSSR and other countries may come home  to roost but reacted to this threat the way that bureaucracy typically react to such things -- creating a new organization (in this case the USSR style Ministry of Propaganda and Agitation)  that should address this issue:

114th CONGRESS
2d Session S. 3274

To counter foreign disinformation and propaganda, and for other purposes. IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES July 14, 2016 Mr. Portman (for himself and Mr. Murphy) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations A BILL To counter foreign disinformation and propaganda, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,  

SECTION 1. Short title. 

This Act may be cited as the “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act”.

SEC. 2. Center for information analysis and response.

(a) Establishment.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall establish a Center for Information Analysis and Response (in this section referred to as the “Center”). The purposes of the Center are— (1) to coordinate the sharing among government agencies of information on foreign government information warfare efforts, including information provided by recipients of information access fund grants awarded using funds made available under subsection (e) and from other sources, subject to the appropriate classification guidelines;

(2) to establish a process for integrating information on foreign propaganda and disinformation efforts into national strategy; and

(3) to develop, plan, and synchronize interagency activities to expose and counter foreign information operations directed against United States national security interests and advance narratives that support United States allies and interests.

(b) Functions.—The Center shall carry out the following functions:

(1) Integrating interagency efforts to track and evaluate counterfactual narratives abroad that threaten the national security interests of the United States and United States allies, subject to appropriate regulations governing the dissemination of classified information and programs.

(2) Analyzing relevant information from United States Government agencies, allied nations, think-tanks, academic institutions, civil society groups, and other nongovernmental organizations.

(3) Developing and disseminating thematic narratives and analysis to counter propaganda and disinformation directed at United States allies and partners in order to safeguard United States allies and interests.

(4) Identifying current and emerging trends in foreign propaganda and disinformation, including the use of print, broadcast, online and social media, support for third-party outlets such as think tanks, political parties, and nongovernmental organizations, in order to coordinate and shape the development of tactics, techniques, and procedures to expose and refute foreign misinformation and disinformation and proactively promote fact-based narratives and policies to audiences outside the United States.

(5) Facilitating the use of a wide range of information-related technologies and techniques to counter foreign disinformation by sharing expertise among agencies, seeking expertise from external sources, and implementing best practices.

(6) Identifying gaps in United States capabilities in areas relevant to the Center’s mission and recommending necessary enhancements or changes.

(7) Identifying the countries and populations most susceptible to foreign government propaganda and disinformation.

(8) Administering and expending funds made available pursuant to subsection (e).

(9) Coordinating with allied and partner nations, particularly those frequently targeted by foreign disinformation operations, and international organizations and entities such as the NATO Center of Excellence on Strategic Communications, the European Endowment for Democracy, and the European External Action Service Task Force on Strategic Communications, in order to amplify the Center’s efforts and avoid duplication.

(c) Interagency manager.— (1) IN GENERAL.—The President is authorized to designate an official of the United States Government to lead an interagency team and to manage the Center. The President shall delegate to the manager of the Center responsibility for and presumptive authority to direct and coordinate the activities and operations of all departments, agencies, and elements of the United States Government in so far as their support is required to ensure the successful implementation of a strategy approved by the President for accomplishing the mission. The official so designated shall be serving in a position in the executive branch by appointment, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(2) INTERAGENCY STEERING COMMITTEE.—

(A) COMPOSITION.—The Interagency Manager shall establish a Steering Committee composed of senior representatives of agencies relevant to the Center’s mission to provide advice to the Manager on the operations and strategic orientation of the Center and to ensure adequate support for the Center. The Steering Committee shall include one senior representative designated by each of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors .

(B) MEETINGS.—The Interagency Steering Committee shall meet not less than every 3 months.

(C) PARTICIPATION AND INDEPENDENCE.—The Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors shall not compromise the journalistic freedom or integrity of relevant media organizations. Other Federal agencies may be invited to participate in the Center and Steering Committee at the discretion of the Interagency Manager.

(3) SCOPE OF RESPONSIBILITY AND AUTHORITY.—

(A) LIMITATION ON SCOPE.—The delegated responsibility and authority provided pursuant to paragraph (1) may not extend beyond the requirements for successful implementation of the mission and strategy described in that paragraph.

(B) APPEAL OF EXECUTION OF ACTIVITIES.—The head of any department, agency, or other element of the United States Government may appeal to the President a requirement or direction by the official designated pursuant to paragraph (1) for activities otherwise in support of the mission and strategy described in that paragraph if such head determines that there is a compelling case that executing such activities would do undue harm to other missions of national importance to the United States.

(4) TARGETED FOREIGN AUDIENCES.— (A) IN GENERAL.—The activities under this subsection of the Center described in paragraph (1) shall be done only with the intent to influence foreign audiences. No funds for the activities of the team under this section may be used with the intent to influence public opinion in the United States.

(B) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this subsection may be construed to prohibit the team described in paragraph (1) from engaging in any form of communication or medium, either directly or indirectly, or coordinating with any other department or agency of the United States Government, a State government, or any other public or private organization or institution because a United States domestic audience is or may be thereby exposed to activities or communications of the team under this subsection, or based on a presumption of such exposure.

(d) Staff.— (1) COMPENSATION.—The President may fix the compensation of the manager of the Center and other personnel without regard to chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, relating to classification of positions and General Schedule pay rates, except that the rate of pay for the executive director and other personnel may not exceed the rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of that title.

(2) DETAIL OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES.—Any Federal Government employee may be detailed to the Center without reimbursement, and such detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status or privilege.

(3) PROCUREMENT OF TEMPORARY AND INTERMITTENT SERVICES.—The President may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, at rates for individuals which do not exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of that title.

(e) Funds.—Of amounts authorized to be appropriated for fiscal year 2017 for the Department of Defense and identified as undistributed fuel cost savings, up to $250,000,000 may be available for purposes of carrying out this section and the grant program established under section 3. Once obligated, such funds shall remain available for such purposes until expended.

SEC. 3. Information access funds.

(a) Grants and contracts of financial support.—The Center may provide grants or contracts of financial support to civil society groups, journalists, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions for the following purposes: (1) To support local independent media who are best placed to refute foreign disinformation and manipulation in their own communities.

(2) To collect and store examples in print, online, and social media of disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda directed at the United States and its allies and partners.

(3) To analyze tactics, techniques, and procedures of foreign government information warfare with respect to disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda.

(4) To support efforts by the Center to counter efforts by foreign governments to use disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability of the United States and United States allies and partners.

(b) Funding availability and limitations.—All organizations that apply to receive funds under this section must undergo a vetting process in accordance with the relevant existing regulations to ensure their bona fides, capability, and experience, and their compatibility with United States interests and objectives.

SEC. 4. Inclusion in Department of State education and cultural exchange programs of foreign students and community leaders from countries and populations susceptible to foreign manipulation. The President shall ensure that when the Secretary of State is selecting participants for United States educational and cultural exchange programs, the Secretary of State gives special consideration to students and community leaders from populations and countries the Secretary deems vulnerable to foreign propaganda and disinformation campaigns.

SEC. 5. Reports.

(a) In general.—Not later than one year after the establishment of the Center, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report evaluating the success of the Center in fulfilling the purposes for which it was authorized and outlining steps to improve any areas of deficiency.

(b) Appropriate congressional committees defined.—In this section, the term “appropriate congressional committees” means— (1) the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; and

(2) the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Homeland Security, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.

SEC. 6. Termination of center and steering committee. The Center for Information Analysis and Response and the interagency team established under section 2(c) shall terminate 15 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 7. Rule of construction regarding relationship to intelligence authorities and activities. Nothing in this Act shall be construed as superseding or modifying any existing authorities governing the collection, sharing, and implementation of intelligence programs and activities or existing regulations governing the sharing of classified information and programs.


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[Feb 23, 2018] Julian Assange explains how troll farm in St. Petersburg was nothing more than social media spam business (Video) by Alex Christoforou

Feb 22, 2018 | theduran.com

The "Russian troll" farm was a marketing/spam business.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange weighed in on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's "13 Russian troll" indictment noting that the Russians bots from The Internet Research Agency, spent thousands of dollars on Facebook ads to grow their audiences something that is very common and encouraged by Facebook.

Mueller "troll farm" indictment today
– explicitly states no collusion
– does not mention WikiLeaks
– states trolls intent to support Trump & Sanders, oppose Clinton, Cruz
– states trolls intent on anti-Trump AND pro-Trump rallies post electionhttps://t.co/uMxBAwOeOY

Click here for the best news on Russia >>

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 16, 2018

This is how Facebook makes money, and how groups build an audience, which can then be sold to advertisers who wish to target such groups.

In other words, the IRA was and is operating a run-of-the-mill marketing and social media spam business, not a "sow American discord" operation.

Via The Gateway Pundit

The Russian ads mentioned in Mueller's indictment were already released by the House Intelligence Committee in November 2017.

Facebook previously announced the Russian ads comprised .004% of their advertising during the election.

Assange tweeted all this out on Friday, but of course the mainstream media failed to note any of this while reporting its propaganda to those who naively listen and believe in the nonsense (courtesy The Gateway Pundit)

Buried in the Mueller astro-turfing indictment is something that we have long suspected. The Internet Research Agency's "troll farm" is geared to develop audience in socially active communities (e.g through aligned memes), in order to spam them on behalf of anyone willing to pay: pic.twitter.com/sms0YAKB3j

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: Buried in the Mueller astro-turfing indictment is something that we have long suspected. The Internet Research Agency's "troll farm" is geared to develop audience in socially active communities (e.g through aligned memes), in order to spam them on behalf of anyone willing to pay.

Before advertising networks can advertise they must build audience. How much of IRA's activities were simply trying to build audience by gaining followers using tweets and memes likely to be shared in those communities?

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: Before advertising networks can advertise they must build audience. How much of IRA's activities were simply trying to build audience by gaining followers using tweets and memes likely to be shared in those communities?

IRA allegedly also ran kitten appreciation groups. Are we also to believe that these kittens were also a plot to divide America? To not distinguish between audience building and customer advertising payload is sketchy.

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: IRA allegedly also ran kitten appreciation groups. Are we also to believe that these kittens were also a plot to divide America? To not distinguish between audience building and customer advertising payload is sketchy.

The US has 320 million people with a trillion dollar media and cultural sector that employees over a million people. I do not assess that it is possible whatsoever to divide America by trying to "heighten the differences" with a hundred trolls.

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: The US has 320 million people with a trillion dollar media and cultural sector that employees over a million people. I do not assess that it is possible whatsoever to divide America by trying to "heighten the differences" with a hundred trolls.

Re-enforcing audience bias is exactly what Facebook & Google have been doing at a vast scale by algorithmically preying on people's existing biases to increase engagement. In a more traditional manner, FOX, MSNBC, CNN, NYTimes, WaPO etc, are doing the same thing.

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: Re-enforcing audience bias is exactly what Facebook & Google have been doing at a vast scale by algorithmically preying on people's existing biases to increase engagement. In a more traditional manner, FOX, MSNBC, CNN, NYTimes, WaPO etc, are doing the same thing.

Regardless of whether IRA's activities were audience building through pandering to communities or whether a hare-brained Russian government plan to "heighten the differences" existed, its activities are clearly strategically insignificant compared to the other forces at play.

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: Regardless of whether IRA's activities were audience building through pandering to communities or whether a hare-brained Russian government plan to "heighten the differences" existed, its activities are clearly strategically insignificant compared to the other forces at play.

Jimmy Dore did catch on to Assange's explanation as to what exactly was happening at IRA's HQ in St, Petersburg, which can be summed up as just another social media spam business, which had the misfortune of operating in Russia at a time when American swamp creatures are trying to find any scintilla of evidence to demonize Russia, and drag on a falling apart "Trump-Russia" collusion investigation.

[Feb 23, 2018] the unbalanced evolution of homo sapiens Something for everyone Mueller indictment a boon for partisan status quo by Whitney Webb

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

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

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

Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 23, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imagine this:

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

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

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

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

Can you imagine anything more ridiculous?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Duh.

[Feb 23, 2018] NSA Genius Debunks Russiagate Once For All

Highly recommended!
Interesting information Guccifer II. He falsified the evidence.
Follow the money. Along with a smoke screen for Hillary political fiasco, Russiagate is a swindle to get more money for intelligence agencies and MIC. For about 15 companies who run the US foreign policy.
Notable quotes:
"... The CIA and NSA, and other intelligence agencies all work on behalf of these corporate entities. There main objective is to keep us all uninformed and dumber than a bag of hammers, so they can extort all the wealth from our great nation ..."
"... If this video won't stop the brainless McCarthyist regressives from knowing the truth about Russiagate, nothing will. And I mean absolutely nothing. Except maybe if they come here to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, NYC. We got lots of Russian immigrants here and they are just normal people ..."
"... Russiagate is an excuse to spend more on the military. Wow- surprising, yet somehow not surprising. American Empire is the biggest destabilizing force in the world ..."
"... Guccifer 2.0 is the United States government. Either the CIA, FBI, NSA or DHS. I'd say it was the CIA with the NSA being a close second ..."
Feb 23, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Art Dehls , 2 months ago

Also, when did Russian hackers become so stupid? Since when has the GRU being unable to get even the basics like the up to date email list for the Clinton campaign, started using two-year-old obsolete malware instead of 0-day exploits, completely forgetting that VPN's exist and how to spoof an IP address, and on and on and on. These aren't the guys who cloned Nasdaq!

SeaRose , 2 months ago

Wish I could give this 1000.

Thank you jimmy so much for doing this interview and thank you Bill Binney for so clearly explaining the technical and structural reasons why Russiagate is both false and ceaselessly pushed. Amazing interview!

David Schnell , 2 months ago

My experience working on the Mississippi democratic party executive committee, the Hinds county Executive committee, and working for the state employees union here in Mississippi has educated me on the fact that democratic reps and republican reps work together to pass legislation to benefit the corporate class i.e. business. All you who have replied to my comment make sense, but we must remember that there is no difference between the Democratic and Republician parties, they all work for their corporate masters.

The CIA and NSA, and other intelligence agencies all work on behalf of these corporate entities. There main objective is to keep us all uninformed and dumber than a bag of hammers, so they can extort all the wealth from our great nation. In other words they our commiting treason upon the American people and our constitution and all should be through in prison for the rest of their lives and all ill-gotten wealth given back to the people of these great nation by rebuilding the infrastructure of America, investing in the education of our people to secure a prosperous future, and provide healthcare for all Americans. We can ensure this happens in two ways, pass the 28th amendment and pass FDR's 2nd bill of rights(worker's bill of rights). This will ensure that corporations will never take control of our country again.

hamdoggius , 2 months ago

Can we please now move onto whom the person was that stole the data from the DNC? Can I take a stab in the dark (or maybe two shots to the back of the head?) and guess his name was Seth Rich?

James Williamson , 2 months ago

The fraudulent "war on terror" is a big money-making scam. I've been saying this for the past three years.

P , 2 months ago

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." Goethe (requote for google... best line)

Atze Peng Bar , 2 months ago

I know I commented this already in the last segment, but this guy is absolutely awesome. Everything he says is substantial, non-speculative and supported by facts. You're becoming a proper journalist Jimmy. More of people like this please. I got my credit card again. I will donate shortly. Keep up.

Laura Cortez , 2 months ago (edited)

Russia didn't hack USA democracy .. AIPAC did long time ago and you didn't even know it.

Tommy O Donovan , 2 months ago

This is earth shaking news. World class Jimmy....I never thought you had it in you.

tesscot , 2 months ago

As long as they keep lying about Russia they can continue the sanctions against Russia. Russia is holding it's own even with the sanctions but originally under Putin Russia had paid off all it's debt to the IMF (World Bank). Now their debt is increasing, partly because of the sanctions and partly because of helping Syria and preparing for the US to cause a great war. Russia is a threat to the IMF (World Bank). Russia and China want trade outside of the Petrol Dollar. When Russia was debt free from the IMF (World Bank) it was completely independent of them. Russia did not have to take orders from the international bankers. That is why they lie about Russia.

Amateur Professional , 2 months ago

If this video won't stop the brainless McCarthyist regressives from knowing the truth about Russiagate, nothing will. And I mean absolutely nothing. Except maybe if they come here to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, NYC. We got lots of Russian immigrants here and they are just normal people.

stephen0793 , 2 months ago (edited)

Russiagate is an excuse to spend more on the military. Wow- surprising, yet somehow not surprising. American Empire is the biggest destabilizing force in the world

branden burks , 2 months ago

Guccifer 2.0 is the United States government. Either the CIA, FBI, NSA or DHS. I'd say it was the CIA with the NSA being a close second.

branden burks , 2 months ago

A war on terror is a war on ourselves since the United States are the largest terrorists in the world and fund and arm terrorists around the world.

jennings mills , 2 months ago

So you would need a Internet speed of 392 mbps from Russia to Washington. yeah there was no hack. R.I.P Seth Rich,

Matt Erbst , 2 months ago

As I tried to tell you the previous time you had referenced the "conclusions" of the CIA groups, this data nonsense he is handwaving about is all quite feasible, by using a nearby national server, and much skepticism is deserved! Also he doesn't seem to know what he is talking about, from all of the paraphrasing.

I am also quite reminded of the psychological incorporation into personal behaviors by habit of the standards and policies of the industry or professional standards, which for the US Intelligence community includes an explicit policy of disinformation and dishonesty.

How the hell would the NSA's "man in the middle" logging servers see that the transfer occurs to a local USB2 drive (he assumes this is the case because 40 megabytes per second is approximately the rate of the USB2 protocol of 400 megabits per second... Very few USB flash drives were manufactured with solid state storage chips fast enough to reach that full transfer rate before the widespread adoption of USB3, or the modern USB3.1. Essentially, your chosen headline title is a false clickbait, because as of today there is insufficient evidence to draw ANY conclusion

earthie48 Johnson , 2 months ago

Just as they smeared Joe Wilson & his wife, and other great Courageous Americans that came out AGAINST the invasion of Iraq! Until we start DEMANDING those LIARS leave their seats in Washington, put on the Military Gear, and GO to the Countries they want to invade! I am past FED UP with them sacrificing our Troops, they return home to be MISTREATED, and kicked to the curb! Americans, wake up and DEMAND that they GO!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John, 10 months ago

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

Nancy M, 10 months ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like Sisyphus Up the Media Mountain

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

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

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

The Paper of (Dubious) Record

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

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

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

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

Sources

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

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

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

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

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

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

End of Day One

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

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

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

And that will probably be enough for Day One.

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

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

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

There's no defense like a good offense.

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

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

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

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

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

What to do, what to do . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notable quotes:
"... But the indictments themselves suggest that Mueller's narrative is wrong. The objective was not to influence the election, but make money by getting viewers to "click on" advertisements. Check it out: ..."
"... It's worth noting, that if Mueller really wanted to get to the bottom of the Russia-gate allegations, he would interview the people who have first-hand knowledge what actually happened. He would question Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) and Craig Murray, both of whom have stated publicly that they know who stole the Podesta emails. ..."
"... Mueller hasn't done that, nor has he contacted the VIPs (Ray McGovern, William Binney, Skip Folden, etc) who did extensive forensic investigation of the "hacking" allegations and proved that the emails were not hacked but leaked. Mueller has not pursued that line of inquiry either. ..."
"... The above statement helps to prove my point that the indictments are not a vehicle for criminal prosecution, but part of a politically-motivated information campaign to damage Trump and vilify Russia. No one seriously believes that Mueller would ever try to prosecute this case based on the spurious and looney claims of a criminal conspiracy. The whole idea is laughable. ..."
"... We found it interesting that Rob Goldman, who is the Vice President of Facebook Ads, tweeted this revealing disclaimer on Monday which Trump posted on Twitter: ..."
"... Bottom line: The indictments were very good news for Donald Trump, but very bad news for Robert Mueller who appears to have run into a brick wall. But has he? Has Mueller abandoned the attacks on Trump or is there something else going on just below the surface? ..."
"... I can only guess at the answer, but it looks to me like Trump may have made a deal to support the attacks on Russia provided he is acquitted on charges of collusion. That's what he's wanted from the beginning, so, maybe he won this round? Here's one of his recent tweets that helps to support my theory: ..."
"... What's wrong with that? If Trump's enemies want to provide him with a Get-Outta-Jail-Free card, then why shouldn't he snatch it up and put this whole goofy probe behind him? That's what most people would do. ..."
"... The problem is that Trump's biggest supporters want him to continue struggle against "The Swamp". They want him to fight for their interests and expose the crooked goings-on behind the Russiagate scandal. They want him to lift up the rock that conceals the activities of the National Security State so everyone can see the maggots squirming below. That's what they want, a modern-day Samson who shakes the temple's pillars and brings the whole crooked system crashing down around him. ..."
"... These same people are hopeful that the Nunes memo and the Grassley-Graham "criminal referral" are just the tip of the iceberg that will inevitably lead to the bigger fish involved in this deep-state conspiracy, namely former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Former FBI Director James Comey, and very likely, Barack Hussein Obama himself. What role did these men play in spying on the Trump campaign? Were they actively trying to sabotage the elections by giving Hillary an edge? Should a second Special Counsel be appointed to investigate whether crimes were committed in their targeting of the Trump team? ..."
"... There is no crime called "collusion". So Trump cannot be "acquitted", let alone be charged with something that is not a crime. Apparently the deep state and media's repetition of "collusion" has duped not just the public, but this author with thinking it is some kind of crime. ..."
"... Trump needs the swamp to produce politicized intel for his campaigns against Iran and Venezuela (plus a dozen other countries which don't threaten the US). He needs the hated MSM (not much more than the swamp's media branch) to sell the Iran war to his voters, who are supposed to pay for it. He needs his shady relatives to stay OUT of prison, where several of them seem to belong (of course, papa Kushner has already spent time inside). So appeasement it is. ..."
"... Sorry, but on the whole Trump voters are too dumb to pose much of an obstacle. They like the campaigns against Iran because of religion, and against Venezuela because of "socialism". They didn't raise a peep when it became clear that THEIR money would all go to the Armies of Mordor. That this is "Saddam-WMD-9/11″ all over again just hasn't registered with them, and never will. Just like Trump winning his primary running against outside money, and immediately afterwards selling out for Adelson's shekels–it exceeds the deplorables' attention span, so it never happened. Keep harping on immigrants and it's all good; razzle-dazzle them, as it was called in the Chicago movie. ..."
"... So on the whole, yes, already since his inauguration it has been clear that The Donald is mostly playing along, as long as he'll be allowed to stay president ..."
"... So Trump is not opposed to demonizing Russia, he's just opposed to demonizing Donald John Trump. That's where he draws the line. ..."
"... Well guys, if there's anyone here who still abides by the '5-D chess' theory, I think it's time to face facts: Trump has thrown us all under the bust to save himself. Expect a war in Syria, or Ukraine, or maybe both. ..."
"... The indictments have no legal merit, they are a form of domestic propaganda and disinformation. The real target is the American people. ..."
"... That's pretty much what this banana republic's government is all about. One way or another, everything they do is designed to ultimately squeeze something out of us dumb 'Merkin proles and peasants ..."
"... I was expecting more of a profile in courage under the tutelage of someone smarter than Trump; instead we are seeing another profile in venality and stupidity. ..."
"... US has too many laws that are ambiguous beyond belief, almost anything can be declared a 'crime'. Plus you have limited disclosure due to national security ('methods and sources subterfuge always works). Volunteering for a political show trial doesn't work. ..."
"... Pentagon vs neoliberal CIA for upper hand at the White House with Bibi (via AIPAC) solidly on the side of Pence, probably not if, but much more likely when, Trump is taken down. ..."
"... The RussiaGate affairs and collusion charge are the obvious "Banksters United" coup run with a stunning degree of incompetence. Russia must be demonized because of her mineral resources, which are still not available for free, and because of her "wrong" behavior in Syria. Bansksters need this war. Arm producers and dealers need this war. Only the apparent danger of suicide by nuclear answer stops the banksters and other war profiteers from an immediate attack against Russian Federation. ..."
"... The FBI and the CIA are the hired gangster organizations for the banksters. If the FBI and the CIA cared about national security, the US would not suffer the infamy of Awan affair, CrowdStrike "conclusions," and the US support for Daesh/ISIS/Al Qaida in the Middle East, as well as the US support for neo-Nazis in Ukraine. The US taxpayers have been financing both ISIS and neo-Nazis because banksters decided so. ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | www.unz.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay, so now Trump is turning the tables and saying, 'Yeah, maybe Russia has been 'sowing discord', but the Democrats are the ones you should be blaming not me.'

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

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

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

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

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


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

Goldman, an executive at Zucc's Book, displayed evidence at a House Committee hearing of Russian bots trolling the US by portraying Sanders as 'sexy' and Trump as a hero. These memes were generally amusing but largely ineffectual. The idea of election meddling by Russia to elect Trump has largely been debunked, and both the Left and the Right now see it as a distraction to the real issue: Deep State malfeasance. Those Never Trumpers in the Dems and McCain camps are now left disgraced and humiliated and their only allies are WaPo, NYT, CNN and a few other fake news outlets. The test for Trump will be whether he can take a wrecking ball to the FBI and Department of State and to truly cleanse the bureaucracy of ne'er-do-wells who have constantly been undermining him from the beginning.
exiled off mainstreet , February 22, 2018 at 6:25 am GMT
I think the author is correct in his assumptions. One area of hope, though, is that the allegations are so ridiculous and others have pointed out, for instance, that the Australian Labor party sent operatives to the US to help defeat Trump, and Trump has to realize that he would be neutered by the continuance of the Mueller witchhunt, so I think that if it is a deal, it is tactical for the present.

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

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

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

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

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

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2017/09/16/incompetent-espionage-wikileaks-iii/

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/02/07/bob-manson-charlie-mueller/

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

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

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

Ron West

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The Middle East as seen by Berlin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Feb 22, 2018] Russiagate-Trump Gets Solved by Giant of American Investigative Journalism

Feb 22, 2018 | theduran.com

in Analysis , Latest Russiagate-Trump Gets Solved by Giant of American Investigative Journalism Some people's greed, apparently, knows no limits -- not even when it could produce a world-ending nuclear war.

by Eric Zuesse February 22, 2018, 07:51 1.9k Views

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How childish and self absorbed we are! pl


JohnH , 21 February 2018 at 12:25 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INDY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 02:49 PM
All

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 02:54 PM
joe100

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

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

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

Steve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Trick is gaining said Patronage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:01 PM
LondonBob

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

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

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

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

Self serving but true.

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:11 PM
james

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

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:13 PM
LondonBob

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:21 PM
james

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

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

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

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:28 PM
joe100

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

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:30 PM
grazdanochka

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

turcopolier , 21 February 2018 at 05:44 PM
lars

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

[Feb 21, 2018] Russian bots - How An Anti-Russian Lobby Creates Fake News

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

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

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

See for example these three stories:

From the last link:

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

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

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

Those claims are based on this propaganda project:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


bigger

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

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

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

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

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

The same is presumably true for the other hashtags.

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

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

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

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

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


bigger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is nuts.

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

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

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

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

How long will it take until people die from it?

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

Comments


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

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

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

[Trentino enters]

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

[slaps Trentino with his glove]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

not true.

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

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

An American people is in perfect harmony with its regime.

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

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

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

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

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

"Freedom of speech"...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We really do not need another one of their disasters

regards

OY

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

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

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

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

Just a thought.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 21, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

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

About that troll farm...

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

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

Watch:

me frameborder=

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

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

me title=

A brief review:

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

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

Tags Politics Apparel & Accessories Retailers - NEC Commercial Aircraft Manufacturing

Vote up! 7 Vote down! 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interference in elections

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

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

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

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

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

The United States has continued democracy programs despite local prohibitions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, this is a very important grave mark.

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

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

[Feb 21, 2018] Special Counsel Robert Mueller MUST Step Down

Notable quotes:
"... "Mr. Mueller, due to his direct involvement as former FBI Director and his role in covering up and protecting Gulen Networks' criminal operations within the United States, by shutting down pertinent FBI investigative operations and by transferring certain terrorism related Gulen files to the counterintelligence division, has a major conflict of interest as Special Counsel targeting Flynn's case as it pertains to exposing the Gulen network and his relationship with Turkish entities sharing the same interest in exposing and extraditing Fethullah Gulen. Thus, Mr. Mueller must step down from his position as Special Counsel in this case- a case targeting and probing Lt. General Michael Flynn." ..."
Feb 21, 2018 | www.unz.com

H. S. , February 21, 2018 at 3:57 am GMT

Special Counsel Robert Mueller MUST Step Down

"Mr. Mueller, due to his direct involvement as former FBI Director and his role in covering up and protecting Gulen Networks' criminal operations within the United States, by shutting down pertinent FBI investigative operations and by transferring certain terrorism related Gulen files to the counterintelligence division, has a major conflict of interest as Special Counsel targeting Flynn's case as it pertains to exposing the Gulen network and his relationship with Turkish entities sharing the same interest in exposing and extraditing Fethullah Gulen. Thus, Mr. Mueller must step down from his position as Special Counsel in this case- a case targeting and probing Lt. General Michael Flynn."

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

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

VikingLS February 19, 2018 at 10:17 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you ever read any of his books?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Feb 20, 2018] For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See for example these three stories:


Russian bot with ancient regalia

From the last link:

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

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

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

Those claims are based on this propaganda project:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


bigger

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

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

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

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

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

The same is presumably true for the other hashtags.

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

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

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

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

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


bigger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is nuts.

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

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

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

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

How long will it take until people die from it?

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

Comments


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

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

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

[Trentino enters]

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

[slaps Trentino with his glove]

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

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

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

Keep up the excellent work b.

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

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

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

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

as long as it takes to flog a dead horse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

not true.

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

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

An American people is in perfect harmony with its regime.


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

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

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

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

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

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

"Freedom of speech"...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We really do not need another one of their disasters

regards

OY

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

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

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

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

Just a thought.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XXX February 20, 2018 at 4:19 pm

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

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

todde , February 20, 2018 at 12:43 pm

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

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

Anon , February 20, 2018 at 12:46 pm

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

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

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

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

sgt_doom , February 20, 2018 at 4:25 pm

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

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

And so it goes . . .

OldBear , February 20, 2018 at 4:47 pm

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

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

Expat , February 20, 2018 at 6:17 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clif , February 20, 2018 at 2:50 pm

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

Your tone of confidence betrays credibility.

NotTimothyGeithner , February 20, 2018 at 4:38 pm

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

Harry , February 20, 2018 at 3:45 pm

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

NotTimothyGeithner , February 20, 2018 at 4:06 pm

"to sow dissent in American politics "

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

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

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

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

oh , February 20, 2018 at 8:15 pm

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

Oregoncharles , February 20, 2018 at 5:07 pm

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

will_f , February 20, 2018 at 5:19 pm

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

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

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

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

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

NYT headline today:

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

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

blennylips , February 20, 2018 at 4:58 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Montanamaven , February 20, 2018 at 5:01 pm

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

marym , February 20, 2018 at 5:18 pm

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

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

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

integer , February 20, 2018 at 7:42 pm

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

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

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

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

jsn , February 20, 2018 at 12:06 pm

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

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

Until then it is simple intimidation.

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

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

OldBear , February 20, 2018 at 5:05 pm

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

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

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

RandyM , February 20, 2018 at 10:41 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

JTMcPhee , February 20, 2018 at 11:26 am

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

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

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

JustAnObserver , February 20, 2018 at 1:05 pm

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

(*) Strictly the USSR.

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

rd , February 20, 2018 at 1:21 pm

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

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

War is bad. Sometimes peace can be worse.

Clif , February 20, 2018 at 3:04 pm

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

NotTimothyGeithner , February 20, 2018 at 4:34 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald , February 20, 2018 at 4:56 pm

The larger figures attributed to Stalin are bogus.

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

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

sgt_doom , February 20, 2018 at 4:26 pm

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

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

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

He's got nothing.

Montanamaven , February 20, 2018 at 5:22 pm

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

JerryDenim , February 20, 2018 at 4:02 pm

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

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

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

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

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

ChrisPacific , February 20, 2018 at 4:04 pm

I just about choked when I read this bit:

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

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

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

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

zagonostra , February 20, 2018 at 10:59 am

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

flora , February 20, 2018 at 1:17 pm

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

Also, from 2013:

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

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

Thanks, Obama.

Zagonostra , February 20, 2018 at 5:35 pm

Thanks for link Flora, I posted at Zagonostra.

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

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

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

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

"There's always one " – Spike Lee

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

And who can blame them for being desperate?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stormcrow , February 20, 2018 at 11:20 am

Do the Skeptics Go Too Far?

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

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

Here's her latest.

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

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

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

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

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 12:24 pm

goddamn i miss robert parry.

sgt_doom , February 20, 2018 at 4:29 pm

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

hemeantwell , February 20, 2018 at 2:37 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bittercup , February 20, 2018 at 5:59 pm

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

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

Carolinian , February 20, 2018 at 11:20 am

Feffer's argument boiled down

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

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

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

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

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

integer , February 20, 2018 at 12:52 pm

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

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

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

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

integer , February 20, 2018 at 1:08 pm

From commenter danny j at TRNN:

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

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

Watt4Bob , February 20, 2018 at 1:15 pm

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

shinola , February 20, 2018 at 11:29 am

Lions and tigers and Russian bears, oh my!

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

If that gets your panties in a wad, then hang onto your hat because I've some shocking news for you: Ice is cold & fire is hot!

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 11:54 am

and most of whatever it was came after the election, not sure how that worked.

Bill Smith , February 20, 2018 at 12:39 pm

The Soviets and now the Russians have been messing about with the US for 70 years. Nothing new about it. Read "The Sword and the Shield" which is sourced from the KGB archives when they were briefly opened to the west after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Things are just easier now than then. "The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the the Third World" is also sourced from the KGB archives has details about what they did then.

The US messed with the Soviet Union and Russia when they could. See the stories about Yeltsin's reelection. Or the Ukraine in 2014.

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 1:15 pm

this was reportedly a commercial venture. still awaiting evidence that the election was in any way affected by some online scam that may have originated in russia. the us has interfered, as you point out, much more effectively in russia. other countries do it to us, but there is no evidence that russia effected clinton's loss to trump, or colluded in effecting it.

lyman alpha blob , February 20, 2018 at 2:00 pm

A commercial venture, as opposed to David Brock's pro-Clinton paid trolls which was definitely not a commercial venture and designed solely to influence the election. Also illegal by the way but he's a Murican so who cares?

Loblolly , February 20, 2018 at 11:45 am

This is the mental equivalent of the sunk cost fallacy. At this point the media, the Dems and legions of David Brock led trolls have invested so much time and energy into "Muh Russia" that they can't write off their investment.

Keep going. You're doing fine. It's down there somewhere. You can endure another season of Persist, the payoff is right around the corner. There is nothing more important right now than ignoring inconvenient facts.

I might suggest that things would go faster if you give up just a little more of your critical thinking skills. To be honest they just get in the way at times like these when the narrative gets tenuous.

Roquentin , February 20, 2018 at 11:46 am

No one outside of the Dem party faithful really cares about the Russiagate nonsense. The rest of the world has watched the US meddle in and outright rig elections in more countries than I have the time to list for decades, a list with very ironically includes Russia in 1996. If a troll factory is the best they have, it's a straight up joke. They better have more to go along with it, because as it stands now buying a few ads and paying people to post online, standard PR practice, is incredibly weak. At this stage in the game, it feels kind of pathetic, an attempt by a party elite still unable to admit they lost, grasping at straws and still in this late hour desperately trying to make it seem like Hillary was the rightful winner.

It also, not coincidentally, works to taint the criticism of anyone, right or left, who disagrees. Not only that, it further casts doubt on all news sources which aren't the Democrat party approved corporate sources, another bonus. One could make a good case this was the goal all along: absolve themselves for bungling the 2016 election and discredit any information sources they don't control lock, stock, and barrel.

Jim Haygood , February 20, 2018 at 2:05 pm

'The rest of the world has watched the US meddle in and outright rig elections in more countries than I have the time to list.'

Not only has the US been hollering "regime change" since the infamous neocon Project for a New American Century began in 1997, it actually invaded and plundered several countries -- Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan -- for the express purpose of replacing their governments with US-backed ones.

Check out ex-CIA douchebag James Woolsey making weird barnyard noises when MSM anchorette Laura Ingraham asks him whether "we" still meddle in other countries' elections, before admitting on the record that it's "only for a very good cause" [yuk, yuk]

https://tinyurl.com/yded4ugt

With waving arms and hair on fire, Rep. Jerrold Nadler claimed on MSNBC that the Russian troll farm is "the equivalent of Pearl Harbor." If special snowflake America's democracy is so fragile that a bunch of amateurish Boris & Natasha trolls can bring it down, then let it bleed [and share the Stoli, comrades].

shinola , February 20, 2018 at 3:36 pm

" If special snowflake America's democracy is so fragile that a bunch of amateurish Boris & Natasha trolls can bring it down, then let it bleed [and share the Stoli, comrades]."

I like that framing. I am so gonna steal it.

FluffytheObeseCat , February 20, 2018 at 2:10 pm

Your second paragraph is I think all that matters at this point. The Russian trolls (who are probably still active online, albeit with less vigor) are pikers compared to the native manipulators who swarm the 'liberal' ring of our 2-ring media circus. The latter are devoted to squelching dissent, and unconcerned about sounding like idiots while they do it. Of course the only people they are aiming to shame are waverers on their 'own side'. Republican flyover types are unpeople in their eyes; their target audience is pretty select -- mainly those who don't want to be out of place among the youthful hipster elite. I.e. former Sanderistas who might pay attention to establishment Democrat perfidy if the noise machine stops howling for a second.

I'd love to know where these frantic fellows were when the New York Times comments sections were overtaken by Correct the Record trolls 2 years ago. That Brockian anti-Sanders effort was more effective and Orwellian than anything they've since tagged as Russia-generated. So much of the furor now seems to be coming from men who fear they may be getting bested at their own game!

drumlin woodchuckles , February 20, 2018 at 3:29 pm

"Tainting the criticism" of anyone who disagrees is the primary mid-range goal of the Russiagate Information Operation. The long range goal is to pass Patriot Act type laws to suppress and control all expression on all media; digital, analog or other.

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 11:53 am

feffer keeps saying "who hacked the dnc" but there is no evidence anybody did. it's like the repeated assertions made about saddam's "wmd's" in the runup to iraq 2.

False Solace , February 20, 2018 at 1:19 pm

Timestamps on the DNC data show the files were copied locally, not over a network. That means they were leaked. Not hacked. Leaked by someone with physical access to the data. This came out back in July . Maybe Mate isn't "convinced" but I haven't seen anything, ever, that convincingly refutes the analysis.

So if someone wants me to believe in Russiagate they need to show me some damn evidence. I'm not going to believe something simply because every flexian apparatchik in the press parrots it 24/7 (90% of whom were in the tank for Hillary and personally devastated when she lost and more than happy to blame evil foreigners for how they called the election wrong). What we're seeing is a serious mental breakdown on the part of Democrats. What happened to these people? Back when GWB was in office they were supposedly the party of reality, the rational people who didn't make things up to justify a convenient war. It appears that only lasted as long as elections went in their favor. Now we see them for the dishonest hysterical fantasists they really are. Just like Republicans.

So where does that leave us? At the dawn of a Second Cold War with a psychopathic party on either side. Well, that's just awesome.

Bill Smith , February 20, 2018 at 5:39 pm

How do we know that the time stamps where created on the DNC's computer and not some other computer later on? It's easy to change the date backwards and make those time stamps be anything.

blennylips , February 20, 2018 at 8:57 pm

I had occasion to view a Podesta email recently: https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/11409 Big banner across the top: This email has also been verified by Google DKIM 2048-bit RSA key. Like a blockchain transaction, this DKIM algo was designed to prove cryptographically that you are viewing what existed when the user clicked send.

Click on the DKIM link in that banner for a full explanation.

Domain Keys Identified Mail, or DKIM, is a highly regarded email security system that can be used to independently authenticate the contents and sender of an email that uses it.

JTMcPhee , February 20, 2018 at 8:46 pm

Some folks just can't keep themselves from pushing the Narrative. I wonder how many of those people have been involved in "interfering with elections," as part of the Great American Enterprise

Just for a little fun, here's a list of actual "interference" done by the good old US of C.I.A, attempts and actual overthrows of various governments, including democratically elected ones: http://theduran.com/list-of-foreign-governments-overthrown-by-the-cia-is-massive/

DJG , February 20, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Yves Smith: You yourself have written that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. What we are getting is flimsy hearsay and calls for war. It is all Remember the Maine (and don't remember that the Democrats, in particular, brought this on themselves).

Feffer's typical in not being able to keep control of the simplest of facts:
"It's not a surprise that neo-Nazi groups and white supremacy groups have identified Russia as one of their key allies, in part because Russia is home to so many white people, and that the Putin government has identified these movements of key allies as well."

So now Russia is the international source of white people? What can this possibly mean? And don't tell the Volga Tatars or the Mari or the Yakuts or any of the many peoples who aren't "white" by U.S. standards. (Many of the Mari are among the last pagan Europeans.) The comment is worthy of Sarah Palin, well-known foreign-policy expert and Chunky Monkey shoes fancier.

I am reminded of the Watergate crisis. By all means, let's have indictments for real crimes (besides lying to the FBI) of people who are living within American jurisdictions or can be extradited. Then have a trial(s) with a judge of the quality of John Sirica.

But that isn't what the powerful want, particularly because establishment figures soon will be dragged in. They want confrontation, more looting, and more war. And if we are all suddenly worried about Putin being morally stinky, what should we do with Erdogan, Netanyahu, Viktor Orban of Hungary, Brazilian President Temer, and Aung San Suu Kyi, all of whom are considered "friends" of the U S of A?

And as to sowing discord: Someone should have noticed that 50 years ago with Nixon and the Southern Strategy.

Paul Cardan , February 20, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Seems to me that Maté did just fine. I'm not sure of what else you can do with someone like Feffer. When presented with good reasons for doubting his purported evidence, Feffer pretty much concedes the point every time. But then he insists that he finds the evidence convincing. In other words, he insists that he's going to go on treating it as good evidence, drawing the relevant conclusions, and asserting as much. That means he's a gullible person, and rather dogmatic to boot. Arguing with such people won't get you very far.

I did find Feffer's repeated demand for a counter-narrative interesting. This seems to be a way of simultaneously lowering the bar for knowledge and raising the bar for doubt. He's trying to say that doubt is only reasonable if the skeptic can produce a better theory than the believer. Absent such a theory, doubt isn't reasonable and everyone should believe. In other words, having conceded that the evidence isn't very good by ordinary epistemic standards, he's decided to switch to extra-ordinary standards. Roughly, I think the ordinary standard for doubt goes something like this: I can correctly say I doubt something when I can explain why the supposed evidence doesn't provide sufficient support for the claim in question. I'm not required, as a skeptic, to produce a superior argument for a different, incompatible claim about the same issue.

And now, having written that, it looks to me like Feffer is just engaging in a bit of argumentum ad ignorantium , a fallacy so old they named it in Latin.

Susan the other , February 20, 2018 at 1:48 pm

Exactly. Thank you for this ancient nutshell: argumentum ad ignorantium.

Paul Cardan , February 20, 2018 at 2:13 pm

You're welcome. But I misspelled it: argumentum ad ignorantiam .

Mattski , February 20, 2018 at 3:35 pm

The counter-narrative, IMO, is this: The avaricious and foolhardy Trump wanted to build more onanistic monuments to himself in Moscow, to slurp oysters there and cavort with Russian women. He threatened to upset decades of planning by both Dems and Republicans alike to encircle Russia, expand NATO, and SELL BILLIONS AND BILLIONS WORTH OF ARMS, often to dictators, with kickbacks on the side (legal and illegal) to ours truly. The powers that be in the CIA and FBI decided that intervention was needed, even if the cost was democracy itself. Trump has enough irons in the fire with Russia, enough outstanding loans and dirty dealings, that such a clear-eyed narrative may never get its head above water, but that is as close as we may come to nutshelling it.

witters , February 20, 2018 at 5:26 pm

"That means he's a gullible person, and rather dogmatic to boot. Arguing with such people won't get you very far."

Which also means, surely, that his demand that others who refuse to endorse his gullible dogmatism must meet "extra-ordinary epistemic demands" is – at best – mere sounding off. For who could be a worse pick for assessing both the required standards and their being met?

I think the kindest thing to say here, epistemically, is that the man is in a terrible mess. It is a sad thing to see. But then there are a lot of sad things to see in the "progressive reality-based community" today.

Paul Cardan , February 20, 2018 at 8:05 pm

Makes me wonder what's to be done about it. When I hit upon the idea that he's just arguing from ignorance, I started thinking about informal logic courses, the ones called Critical Thinking hereabouts. Perhaps more of those would help.

By the way, I was talking with a colleague who does Ancient yesterday, specifically the philosophy of Socrates, and I mentioned the question you raised about the Noble Lie. He told me that it's quite similar to a myth recounted by Hesiod. That was news to me. He also said that Greek colonists, prior to departure, would settle on a constitution for the new city together with a founding myth. As for the bit about the whole of one's childhood having been a dream, he guessed that this was a story that was intended to be told repeatedly, to successive generations. Now, the first generation was unlikely to believe, granted. But later generations would believe it of the first , the founding generation. He noted that this would be quite similar to what a number of native American peoples believed about the first of their kind. Oh, and one more thing occurred to me: earth mother goddess myths were common to the region back then, dating back at least to the Minoan civilization. Altogether, to me this makes the Myth of Metals seem a good deal more plausible relative to the people for whom it was intended.

This also makes me think that education in the humanities could be part of the solution to widespread credulity and dogmatism. Studying Plato can, for instance, inoculate against myth, something which is still with us. Knowing myth when you see it, it's possible to appreciate it without being taken in. There's much to be gained, too, from thinking like Thucydides from time to time. It's good to recall that both Sparta and Athens claimed to be fighting for freedom. And every time I hear about how we're going to use better, more powerful tools to finally vanquish the things we find most threatening, whether those things are "enemy" states or tactics (terrorism) or catastrophic ecological processes that we have ourselves set in motion, I can't help but recall Lucretius' account of what happened when bulls and boars and lions were trained up for war and loosed upon the enemy. "Don't believe what I've just told you about all this," he says, "for no one would be so foolish as to think they could ever really control such beasts." I don't often use the word, but there's wisdom here, or so it seems to me. We'd profit from knowing it. But, by and large, we don't.

JohnnyGL , February 20, 2018 at 12:32 pm

If I take my young kids and have an easter egg hunt with those plastic eggs and tell them that there's candy inside, and they keep finding them, opening them and there's just candy wrappers with no candy, then my kids are going to quickly grow tired of looking for the eggs since they're not delivering the promised candy.

This is what Russiagate feels like. We keep finding eggs, getting excited, then, no candy. But we're told to keep at it .eventually SOME of those eggs will have some candy. Other people who are really good at finding eggs have said they found some eggs with candy in them, even though we know they're habitual liars.

Feffer and the others who believe in this story are going to need some SERIOUS F-ING CANDY at this point to justify this unshakable belief they have that THERE IS CANDY SOMEWHERE IN THESE STUPID, PLASTIC EASTER EGGS!?!?!?!

Mo's Bike Shop , February 20, 2018 at 9:06 pm

I won't get my hopes up, some people like that kind of thing. The internet can always bring them together. /oi

John Merryman , February 20, 2018 at 12:32 pm

It reminds me of that iceberg that broke off Antarctica last year. The enormity and extent of the hypocrisy and global delusion it represents. If anyone wants to understand the level of breakdown, consider the amount of debt being issued today. That is the real source of cognitive dissonance.

Susan the other , February 20, 2018 at 1:58 pm

I certainly agree. When politics gets this chaotic and confusing there is some far more important hidden agenda being guarded by a "bodyguard of lies." The turn of this century will go down in history as the beginning of the energy wars. When the stakes are this high everybody pretends to be innocent. My knowledge is scant – I assume Russia's lifeblood is natural gas and LNG and they want to sell it to Europe. We claim Europe as our URally and do not want this to happen. Unless we can strong arm our way into some of the action. To that end we have been pushing US natural gas/LNG exports regardless of the expense and short returns of fracking. The dead silence on global warming and the energy crisis should be the first give-away.

Clive , February 20, 2018 at 3:48 pm

A hugely important point which is seldom ever if ever covered in the media here (umm scratching his head, I wonder if it could be for any particular reason) -- Europe is highly dependent on natural gas from Russia. We're forecast to have a big, late cold sna p and suddenly everyone starts getting a little twitchy about energy security.

Of course, us gas consumers here (well, our governments, anyway) resent their dependence and the self-loathing which it engenders. But that dependence in fact increases geopolitical security because neither "side" wants to do anything which upsets the energy apple cart.

Shale gas and LNG exports from the US threatens this equilibrium. But there's no economic (cost of production) advantage for US shale gas over pipeable Russian gas. Wouldn't it be nice for the US shale gas industry if, oh, I don't know, there were some shenanigans which gave a voice to anti-Russia sentiment and a clamour for, maybe eventually, economic sanctions?

Cynical, moi?

Elizabeth Burton , February 20, 2018 at 7:23 pm

And during the last cold snap in the US, several tankers full of Russian LNG made port here to make up a shortage. So, having prohibited Europe from buying Russian gas in favor of importing the US version, we ended up not having enough for our own people and got it from Russia.

The farce be with you.

Rob P , February 20, 2018 at 12:37 pm

>We have the report from the intelligence community here in the United States that provides at least a trail. It's been challenged, but I find the narrative that's been put forward to be honestly more convincing than the counter narrative.

I agree that the 'Russia hacked the DNC' theory is more likely to be true than any other individual theory, although there still isn't any hard proof available to the public. But that's hardly a good defense of 'Russiagate'. Not having a better suspect isn't really a justification for sanctioning Russia (or more, if the Russiagaters get their way).

voteforno6 , February 20, 2018 at 1:19 pm

I disagree that the report provides a trail. It lists a number of APTs that conducted the hacking, and states that they are tied to Russia. However, it provides zero underlying evidence that the hacking was conducted by those APTs, and that they were related to Russia in any way.

Another possibility is that, yes, Russia did hack the DNC for intelligence-gathering purposes, but didn't provide the emails to WikiLeaks. It's entirely possible that more than one entity hacked into them (if anyone did at all). As flimsy as the narrative is with Russia doing the hack, it's even thinner when it comes to transmitting the emails to Russia.

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 1:59 pm

thanks for this summary. just more assertions sans evidence from the people that brought you the iraq war (republicans and democrats, working together like the harlem globetrotters and the washington (hmm) generals.

False Solace , February 20, 2018 at 1:27 pm

That's like saying the most popular theory is correct, on the basis that it's the most popular. Truth doesn't work that way. Supply some evidence. Otherwise you're operating on the basis of what feels true. "Truthiness", not truth.

Why did the FBI never examine the server?
Why do the timestamps show the data was copied locally by someone with physical access to the machine?
Why did the NSA decline to back the whitepaper when we know they have every single network intercept and can literally prove what happened?

All we have is a bunch of handwaving and people who don't know much about computers repeating things they heard from people with a track record of lying.

JohnnyGL , February 20, 2018 at 12:42 pm

I think it's worth looking at the Russia-gate believers, on this. If they all agreed on one narrative, that'd be something, but they don't even agree among themselves, which I'd argue is actually really problematic.

I may be off on one or more of the details above, but all of these "serious" believers in Russia-gate don't even agree with one another.

I'm growing increasingly tired of watching Aaron Mate disembowel these people one-by-one but I'd agree it needs to be done because this story just .won't .go .away .

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 12:47 pm

it's like global warming deniers, they often take contradictory positions in coming to the preordained conclusion that it isn't happening.

JohnnyGL , February 20, 2018 at 1:24 pm

Exactly .I've heard

Climate change is real, but not caused by humans .not real ..real, but caused by solar activity .real, but planet is getting colder and risking new ice age .maybe real, but don't have enough evidence .

almost like it's an organized campaign to spread DIS-information?!?!?!?

Mo's Bike Shop , February 20, 2018 at 9:20 pm

If anyone has a fun link to someone trying to tackle where the secret volcanoes spewing CO2 are, I'd appreciate it. Because it's become a meme-earworm to me: "Which volcanoes?!?"

FluffytheObeseCat , February 20, 2018 at 2:35 pm

The people you've mentioned are not perfectly mainstream. At least they were not until quite recently. They are members of the (formerly) 'left' wing blogosphere. A group that contains many natural contrarians, who each have cultivated slightly different views of things over the years.

Although they sure seem pretty lockstep now, on this matter, don't they? I suspect most of them cannot not allow themselves to accept why it is that a skank like Trump was elected. The 'left' blogosphere was completely neutered over the past decade, and it's leading lights now have little value to add to anyone's thinking on current affairs.

HotFlash , February 20, 2018 at 3:47 pm

Perhaps they are applying for the gravy train?

Dwight , February 20, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Feffer says that progressives don't take Russiagate as seriously as they should. I think critical thinkers are taking it very seriously, because of potential censorship of dissenting voices that favor peace over war, and that favor productive social spending over wasteful military spending.

Even absent such concerns, the Russiagate hysteria is obviously a partisan power struggle that sucks the air out of the room for productive political discourse to address real social, economic, and environmental problems.

How seriously to take Russiagate is a separate question from skepticism over evidence we have yet to be shown. The bigger question that Feffer doesn't address is "So what?" Even if the facts stated in the 3-agency report and the DOJ indictment are true, do they really justify all this hysteria?

If the Russian state is actually interfering in our elections, then quietly take measures to stop it. Instead, over the past 15 years, the federal government has promoted hackable computers and voting systems.

Moreover, even if the Russian state did interfere for geopolitical goals, treat it as the actions of an adversary and quietly take countermeasures. This should not be a political issue.

The Russiagate narrative has gone far beyond authentic reaction to Russia's actions, which many experts such as Cohen and Mearsheimer consider to be reactions to NATO actions.

Feffer's concern is that Putin and Trump are colluding to promote white supremacy. That's his big picture, and would be concerning if true. However, even if true that doesn't address the concerns I raise above.

sgt_doom , February 20, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Would recommend a recently published book by investigative journalist, Michele McPhee: Maximum Harm: The Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI, and the Road to the Marathon Bombing. Highly recommended

moving left , February 20, 2018 at 5:11 pm

All good points, Dwight. We need to separate the discussion/investigation of Russian influence from the ridiculous and dangerous hyperbolic reaction to it. We need to take steps to make the election process fair and transparent and un-hackable as far as possible (paper ballots, hand-counted) as much or more for domestic reasons. I care far more about voter suppression (legal and illegal) and about domestic players monkeying around with electronic voting systems than I care about a tiny amount of crude ads and trolling on social media.

Code Name D , February 20, 2018 at 12:52 pm

Democrats have just strangled the "Blue wave" in the cradle. Political tides are turning, and the Democratic Establishment is starting to feel the pressure from Progressive primary challengers. And evidence is mounting that Progressives win elections, even in "red districts" while corporate Democrats still manage to lose even in blue ones. And on the horizon, is a Sanders run in 2020.

So, the 13 incitements, in addition to keeps the Russian narrative alive for another few weeks, is providing political cover for the establishment to clean house as it were, and clear out the Progressive infestation threatening to cripple the money train the establishment has become accustomed too.

The "Do Russia-gate skeptics go too far" is a part of that narrative. Interesting to note that "Russia-gate skeptics" don't actually get much air-time to challenge the narrative. So, the notion that they have gone "too far" is a bit laudable. No, the point here is to justify further squelching independent media and to silence the few individuals out there who still dare to speak out over watercoolers.

Already, more assertive smears have been made against Jill Stine and Birney Sanders as receiving "Russian aid" in their campaigns. The end game is to knock them out of the running in 2020, justifying even more extreme steps.

Democratic Establishment being challenged in primaries will start to invoke a kind of "don't change horses" privileges for their primaries in response to this new "9-11". They might even go so far as to accuse the primary challengers as receiving "aid from Russia." This will cripple their primary efforts. And failing that, justifies simply locking them out of the primary all together in the name of "election integrity."

Their thinking is that if they lock out the progressives, then the establishment can rise the wave for another cycle. But in so doing, they squelch the issues progressives are trying to represent, and makes Russia-gate more prominent in the 2018 strategy.

It plays right into the hands of the Republicans. Giving them the intellectual high ground when it comes to rallying around the president. While at the same time de-mobilizing the progressive vote, ending the blue wave before it gets started.

The Dem-establishment are finished, they just don't know it yet. It's just a mater of time before they fade away completely. What remains undecided is whether a progressive moment will take their place, either by taking over the Democratic Party or forming a new third party to take its place. Or weather America becomes a single party state under Republican Rule.

The 13 indictments is a step closer to the later.

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 1:17 pm

yes, i think it's a twofer, clean house in the democratic party to preserve their control and maintain their grift, and support the neocons who haven't had enough wars lately.

MichaelSF , February 20, 2018 at 3:29 pm

So, the 13 incitements, . . .

I think that is an apt term to use instead of indictments, as it seems to cut to the heart of why this is happening.

drumlin woodchuckles , February 20, 2018 at 6:52 pm

The answer is to defeat every single mainstream Democrat in every single race, every single time. Loss by loss, the Mainstream Democrats can be exterminated from political existence.

Tobin Paz , February 20, 2018 at 1:08 pm

Clinton paid for the dossier

Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump's connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.

which included Russian sources

How Ex-Spy Christopher Steele Compiled His Explosive Trump-Russia Dossier

How good were these sources? Consider what Steele would write in the memos he filed with Simpson: Source A -- to use the careful nomenclature of his dossier -- was " a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure. " Source B was " a former top level intelligence officer still active in the Kremlin. " And both of these insiders, after "speaking to a trusted compatriot," would claim that the Kremlin had spent years getting its hooks into Donald Trump.

lied about it

Hillary Clinton's Campaign Wasn't Honest About Paying for Trump Dossier, Watchdog Says

The Washington-based Campaign Legal Center (CLC) said in a Wednesday complaint to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that Hillary for America and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) broke campaign finance law by trying to hide payments related to the dossier, which included graphic, unproven claims about the current president's sexual habits.

and the FBI used it:

FBI used dossier allegations to bolster Trump-Russia investigation

The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump's campaign as part of the justification to win approval to secretly monitor a Trump associate, according to US officials briefed on the investigation.

And what is the origin of all this Russia BS?

Political Strategy: The Origins Of The Trump/Russia Nonsense & Hysteria

Thanks to the Podesta Emails available on Wikileaks, we can have a clear view of what research and polling was done to try to come up with a good strategy for the Clinton campaign.

Secretary Clinton's top vulnerability tested in this poll is the attack that claims as Secretary of State she signed off on a deal that gave the Russian government control over 20% of America's uranium production, after investors in the deal donated over $140 million to the Clinton Foundation. Half of all likely voters (53%) are less likely to support Clinton after hearing that statement and 17% are much less likely to support her after that statement.

And guess who was the FBI director at that time:

FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin's atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

The connections to the current Russia case are many. The Mikerin probe began in 2009 when Robert Mueller , now the special counsel in charge of the Trump case, was still FBI director. And it ended in late 2015 under the direction of then-FBI Director James Comey , whom Trump fired earlier this year.

voteforno6 , February 20, 2018 at 1:14 pm

I found the intelligence agency report on the DNC hacking to be rather flimsy. I think the tell for me was that roughly half of it consisted of some very generic, boilerplate cybersecurity tips – the kind that you'll find in your agency's annual security refresher training. The only thing that would've made it more obvious, I think, is if they had changed around the font size and margins, in order to drive up the page count. What does that say about their confidence in the rest of the report, that they felt the need to add fluff to it?

todde , February 20, 2018 at 9:48 pm

You have no chain of evidence to convict anyone in a court of law for the hack. The FBI was called in months later, and the already deemed guilty party just so happened to collude with her election opponent.

cocomaan , February 20, 2018 at 1:18 pm

Lee Camp's takedown of the Mueller indictments is incredible:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8ccn2oE3v4

Ranger Rick , February 20, 2018 at 1:24 pm

I often get called a supporter of "fake news" for ignoring any and all reports on Russian election interference and Russian twitter bots as profoundly not interesting or important. No evidence has ever surfaced that votes were changed, fabricated or deleted. The electoral process itself was untouched. The candidates were not bribed (for a given value of 'bribed' -- i.e. 'quid pro quo'). Thus, there was no interference.

I was especially ridiculed for claiming that the recent four-alarm fire at Wired about Russian Twitter posts following the Parkland school shooting was crisis exploitation at its most disgusting. I do not dispute that posts by Russian government employees exist. I just fail to see them as a threat or even a meaningful fact to report about.

cocomaan , February 20, 2018 at 1:54 pm

You CLEARLY don't spend your whole life on twitter. If you DID you'd UNDERSTAND.

What are you, some kind of shut in?

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 1:27 pm

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/19/mueller-the-politician/
https://theintercept.com/2018/02/19/a-consensus-emerges-russia-committed-an-act-of-war-on-par-with-pearl-harbor-and-911-should-the-u-s-response-be-similar/

I'm sure the second article has been linked here, but bears repeating.
h/t to Sonja commenting on it for the counterpunch link.

Tomonthebeach , February 20, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Why would Putin prefer Trump to Clinton? SABOTAGE.

The term sabotage derives from the practice of throwing "sabots" (clogs) into machines to break them. It's Luddites 101. Tossing Trump into the machinery of Democracy has clearly achieved precisely the same thing. Since Trump, many headlines continue to assert that democracy in the USA is broken.

To Putin, the beauty of it is that he did it so easily and for so little money.

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 1:39 pm

clinton sabotaging the primaries broke our democracy, and so did the supreme ct in citizens united. are the justices and clinton controlled by putin, too? i understand clinton has a higher price tag than the average russian troll.

Massinissa , February 20, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Yeah, sorry, but if we lost our 'democracy', we lost it some good number of years before Trump. Perhaps when George W Bush beat Gore, if not before that. Trump is just the latest right wing sh*tlord president we have had in succession, including supposed leftists Obama and Clinton. The only reason Democrats hate Trump more than they hated Bush (whose image by the way has since been rehabilitated by the Democratic establishment!) is that he is rude and goes against social norms.

Also, do you really think a few hundred thousand dollars worth of shitty advertisements comparing Hillary to the Devil is really enough to actually affect the election in any significant way?

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 1:47 pm

yeah love it when shrub is now getting brought back into the fold, assuming their disdain for him ever was real. and ronnie was often complimented by obama.

Arizona Slim , February 20, 2018 at 3:51 pm

Trump is hated because he is rude and goes against social norms? Well, I'll bet that the Democrats would have hated Lyndon Johnson too. Oh, wait

Taras 77 , February 20, 2018 at 1:54 pm

The extent of the hysteria is mind boggling-do people believe this? another pearl harbor, worst atk sincie 9-11?
The head of these 13 people, yes just 13, was a former hot dog vendor in St Pete. The $1.2 mil also covered ads to internal Russian markets. Moon over alabama says it was a commercial exercise-VP of Facbook says most ot the russian sourced ads were place after the election.

i agree with kuntzler that the us has collectively lost its mind-it really is beyond hysteria, it goes to "can you top this." I think "worst atk since 9-11" gets us close to the top but I have never credited scarborough with any ability to think-just keep repeated the mantra. I do not know where this will wind up but clearly the neo cons have won big time and america has embarassed itself beyond what anyone could conceiveably imagine. I hold my head and try not to completely dispair.

Buck Eschaton , February 20, 2018 at 2:06 pm

It's the blatant in your face lies and it's the ludicrousness of the lies. I recently saw Dr.Strangelove at the theater, and what do you do when confronted with people who are crazed or possessed by something? To say things in all seriousness that would make you spit your drink out in laughter. There's got to be something going on for this many people in "serious" media outlets to be saying the most lunatic and bizarre things in unison.

pretzelattack , February 20, 2018 at 2:11 pm

i'm afraid it's a push for another war, syria, iran, russia, you name it. it's just about as bad as the extended propaganda campaign before we attacked iraq for nonexistent (and very obviously nonexistent, as hans blix and mohammed elbarridei shot down each and every report of wmd's) weapons. i just hope and pray to the gods of randomness that this one doesn't work as well.

NotTimothyGeithner , February 20, 2018 at 5:12 pm

A few thoughts: Cord cutting. Who watches cable news? In the end people who are older and towards the more comfortable end of the spectrum, the last eight or sixteen years, weren't terrible. Trump might be more upsetting to them that the Iraq War, hence the new found admiration for Shrub.

We should remember the rightward shift of the media in the 90's to chase after the audience being lost to cable news and talk radio. Rush harped endlessly on the liberal media. It was grossly inaccurate, but newspapers shifted right in response as conservatives stopped buying newspapers.

Who is the most likely to be a cable news viewer of the next few years? A kid who went to an Occupy rally? No, I don't think so. The networks have been furiously fear mongering to keep the election viewership watching because in the long term they won't pick up new people. After all, what does Maddow do in an hour (imagine she never went full Glenn Beck) that you couldn't read in under five minutes? They are pulling out all of FoxNews tricks to win old people over. Look at the graphics on MSNBC and CNN. In years past, the three cable networks had different acts, but they look almost interchangeable. Everything, even opinion pieces, get the "breaking news" chyron. Turn on MSNBC. I guarantee you, you will see "breaking news" in a frightening form over something entirely trivial.

http://www.adweek.com/tvnewser/heres-the-median-age-of-the-typical-cable-news-viewer/355379

Senior citizens viewership. Anathema to advertisers. Seniors even the ones with money already have loyalty to brands. Ads are a waste on them.

Then of course, there is the basic problem with "access journalism." The msm "press" revolves around the need for "interviews" and access to subjects. For example, Trump and the NYT have the strangest relationship. The snipe at each other non-stop, and then hold weird public love fests when Trump does an interview. Instead of "following the money," the media looks for Deep Throat to provide answers. The Bush and Clinton courtiers dominate Washington (Obama just kept whoever was around in power), but going forward, what good is a useless Clinton lackey to a corporate board? A Bush family endorsement? They are still in Washington, but they desperately need for the paymasters to believe the Clinton/Bush apparatus are still marketable. They provide the press with a story, and their story of "OMG Russia" excuses their own losses. Lets not forget $125 million Jeb lit on fire and promises of how Trump couldn't down to Bush Country and defeat Jeb after the Southern Dandy's endorsement in SC.

At the end of the day, it still goes back to "What Happened?" The political elites in this country are so effed up that they allowed Jeb vs. Hillary to be a real possibility. The future of the GOP is a clownshow, and the Democrats have Bernie Sanders and a drooling Kennedy or whoever their desperate attempt to block a candidate having to make promises is. Who is at fault? It can't be "Mother." It can't be people with fancy titles. No, its foreigners.

albert , February 20, 2018 at 2:04 pm

Lee Camp sums it up quite well:

IT'S INSANE!

. .. . .. -- .

Taras 77 , February 20, 2018 at 2:31 pm

To cap things off, CNN, yes that CNN, dispatched one of their reporters to St Pete to go through the garbage of the troll farm; he tried to enter the building and was asked to leave.

This was all on video presented by cnn.

Buck Eschaton , February 20, 2018 at 3:07 pm

I can't help thinking of Zizek and his trash can of ideology.
https://youtu.be/j28DtHJCamA

Rob P , February 20, 2018 at 2:14 pm

I think the most recent Mueller indictments are more dangerous than many people realize. Claims that Bernie was supported by 'Russian bots' in the primaries are already being used against him. Assuming most Democratic primary voters still believe in Russiagate in 2020, it would be very easy for Trump to use the Russia conspiracy against Bernie or another progressive that had a good chance of beating him. His intel heads are all Russia hawks who have vowed to help prevent 'Russian interference in our elections'. There's guaranteed to be at least a few Russian internet trolls supporting the campaign, or some minor official with some vague connection to Russia, so all they have to do is open an investigation, and leak that investigation to the press.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , February 20, 2018 at 4:24 pm

Ironically, Sanders said we needed to investigate Russian collusion.

petal , February 20, 2018 at 2:16 pm

I was just at a talk and Q&A session given by NH senior Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. There will be an article in the local paper tomorrow that I'll post, but in the meantime I will do my best to write up the highlights here today, so please bear with me. I was scribbling furiously. Unfortunately it was not videotaped.

She gave a 15-20 minute talk at a podium and then the rest was Q&A with the crowd and a professor moderated it. There were 168 chairs set out but from a quick head count only a little over 100 people attended- most were retirees, and then students made up the rest. It was at 11am, so not a very good time of day for normal people.

Okay so for her talk: she said she looks at the cybersecurity threat through a lens of global security, and that the Kremlin has used these tactics versus Ukraine and in the lead up to Brexit. She said this isn't a new Cold War because technology has rendered countries borderless, and only recently has the US become aware that it's been targeted by cyberattacks, especially spread through social media. She said our efforts in Syria were damaged by these cyberattacks. She kept mentioning Kaspersky over and over again, how he's a major buddy of Putin and does his bidding, said Kaspersky Labs is Kremlin-linked, and that under Russian law it is required to have all servers located in Moscow available/all info shared with the FSB. She used the term "Russia's hybrid warfare" at least a few times, and said that our government has to "protect Americans from threats". She wants to establish a clear command structure for cybersecurity at the federal government level. And that it's crucial for younger generations to be taught how to identify fake news and disinformation.

She thinks Putin is doing this to manipulate our open media in order to turn Americans against each other, and reiterated that all 17 intel agencies have incontrovertible evidence of Russian interference. She brought up that Dan Coates repeated Pompeo's statement that the US is under attack. Sanctions against Russia were brought up and she repeated how the bill was bipartisan, and it sends a strong message to the Kremlin and that Trump won't okay these sanctions. She said there have been partisan attacks on Mueller, the DoJ, and FBI in order to undermine the investigations, and that this would help achieve the Kremlin's goal of turning Americans against each other. She said elections here in the US and "all across Europe" have been threatened.

The "misleading" Nunez memo was mentioned and she said trolls and bots using facebord and twitter led to its release, that the Russians are pushing the deep state narrative along with anti-Obama messages in order to enflame social divisions in the US, and that the Russians are pushing messaging about Ukraine and Syria. She said "a hostile foreign power interfered in our election", that the Russians are trying to undermine American democracy, that we have to fight back because "It's about Patriotism"(yeah, she actually said this-it was all I could do to not throw up at that point), and how important the independence of the FBI is and that the Mueller MUST be allowed to complete his investigation. She said the US is being eroded from within and trotted out a JFK quote about defending freedom "against Putin's methods". Unity unity unity! Felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

She accused the Russians of building up their military might and extending it to Ukraine and Syria, that they caused the Brexit vote result, fomented and stirred up Catalonia's secessionist movement the other month, and caused a certain Czech leader to be elected(I'm not up on Czech politics).

She brought up the idea of using paper ballots again and admitted there had been no hacks to voting machines. She said the Russians were trying to undermine people's(not just Americans) faith in democracy, getting folks to think elections are rigged, and that their vote doesn't count (yeah yeah I know, right?!).

During the Q&A session, she said how they were talking to Treasury and others to find out ways to force the sanctions through, brought up the Magnitsky Act(and his murder in jail). Someone asked about the Korea troubles and she said how she completely believes McMaster and other military leaders that the bloody nose strategy isn't on the table even though "Trump has pleaded for it". She stated that she thinks an AUMF from Congress is only necessary when 10s of thousands of soldiers would be sent somewhere for an extended period , and she mentioned how the Syria situation deteriorated because Obama drew a red line and then didn't back it up.

She thinks the Russians are trying to undermine The West in order to create a new Russian Empire. She actually said this out loud. A student called out the US's efforts influencing the elections of other countries(he brought up a recent Carnegie Mellon paper about how the US meddled in 80 countries), coups, propping up dictators, etc and you could hear a pin drop. I think she looked like a deer in headlights and then she spurted out she thinks we shouldn't be doing that. It was awesome and I thanked the kid on the way out.

Anyway, sorry for the super long post, but that's how it went down. She seemed not very intelligent, like she was just mindlessly repeating what someone above had told her to say, kept repeating certain terms and statements like Russian hybrid warfare, etc. She sounded like a crackpot, to be honest with you-I couldn't believe some of the stuff she was saying. It was very concerning-this is a US senator and there must be a lot more like her, and they are leading the Dems. She seemed very uncomfortable and not very knowledgeable talking about this stuff, even though that's why she was here and it's supposed to be her thing. It's like for example when you didn't actually do the work but you're talking about it-you memorize the answers or what you're supposed to say and that's it-no depth, just repeat certain terms over and over. I got the feeling she doesn't know much geography or history, too. It was scary. These are the people in control and driving this agenda. Cheers.

tegnost , February 20, 2018 at 3:06 pm

Thanks petal

hemeantwell , February 20, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Thanks for the report.
The public gutlessness and corresponding stupidity of most senior US elected officials regarding relations with major competitive powers is like a bizarre form of patriotic observance in which the speaker proudly announces the sacrifice of their critical faculties in the service of the nation. It's as though there are no constituents who will reward analytic honesty and the corresponding lives and resources saved. One wonders if her interactions with staff on these matters amount to anything more than a selection of camouflage statements that allow her position to become indistinguishable from the modal patriotic dimwit her fellow elected officials aspire to be. It's like watching high schoolers try out team cheers.

flora , February 20, 2018 at 3:45 pm

Thanks for this report.

todde , February 20, 2018 at 4:05 pm

Did we repeal the War Powers Act and I missed it? Why are we confused about when we can send troops abroad?

Russia can't dominate more than one province in the Ukraine. I think we are safe from the Russian Empire for the time being.

todde , February 20, 2018 at 4:13 pm

anyway, left a tweet on her twitter, for all the good that'll do

petal , February 20, 2018 at 7:16 pm

After today, I'm not confident she knows what the Twitter actually is. And bots this, bots that, bots bots bots. It was a lot to digest, and makes me appreciate Lambert and his yellow waders even more. I tried to write down as much as I could word for word what she said, especially the Russian Empire thing. It seemed like she really thinks the Russians are trying to take over the whole world to create a new Russian Empire with Tsar Putin at the helm, and that this supposed meddling is truly an act of war. It's scary. Walking out of there, I felt like a (family blog) genius. What she said about congressional authorisation needed only when 10,000s of troops are being sent for an extended period, my head exploded. Like I said before, caught in a Twilight Zone episode.

petal , February 20, 2018 at 7:25 pm

The D party is pushing this Russia! thing whole hog-this is what they're going with for the long haul instead of focusing on real issues. They are 100% sure Mueller's going to find something that takes down Trump. That's their whole plan.

petal , February 20, 2018 at 7:47 pm

So I must have missed a page in my notebook earlier, sorry-just remembered how she made a point to crow about forcing the Kremlin-backed and very well-funded RT to register as a foreign agent, and talked about how if RT's on in a hotel in the US and you watch a few minutes of it, it's very subtly biased(those sneaky Russians!) and the delivery is a little different than on CNN and other mainstream US news stations and this is in order trick American viewers and to subtly sow discord amongst the American public. It was epic stuff today, so much to try to keep track of and remember.

grizziz , February 20, 2018 at 2:33 pm

John Feffer, "the reason we take it seriously is twofold." (What do you mean we , kemo sabe?)

"One, because we're worried about our U.S. democracy and whether it can function in a fair way." (We live in a Republic which by design favors the moneyed classes primarily through the Senate and Electoral College. Fairness has been in retreat since Buckley v. Valeo and Citizens United v. FEC.)

"And the threats to U.S. democracy, by the way, are not, you know, specific to Russia." (I'm afraid and you should be, too.)

Anonymous , February 20, 2018 at 2:57 pm

It sure doesn't help cybersecurity when top US officials (e.g. a former 2016 POTUS candidate) do not even bother to follow basic government cybersecurity protocols.

Clif , February 20, 2018 at 3:17 pm

i just did something fun. Google 'Evidence of Russian meddling', or 'Why can't Google find evidence of Russian meddling?'. One gets links to GWB and McMaster's claims of 'clear evidence' and 'incontrovertible', but no actual evidence.

Good times.

Anonymous , February 20, 2018 at 3:17 pm

What was up with Feffer's wall art? Not exactly confidence inspiring images.

John , February 20, 2018 at 3:32 pm

The American electoral system has always been open to the corrupt current flavor of the day. George Washington passed out free whiskey,poll taxes, Jim Crow, voter suppression, gerrymandering, Citizens United, secret money, hackable computerization and so on. We leave the barn door open and are surprised when stuff happens.
I would be shocked if the Russians did not try to stick a toe in the door and create a little chaos if for nothing else than our hypocritic and insufferable claims to exceptionalism, freedom fries and all things bright and beautiful. Especially using a tool as perfect as the web and social media the Americans own creation.
We have lost all sense of racketeering though sort of on the books, it is not really a crime any more in this country. I think Russia and the USA are organized as competing racketeering oligarchies. The cold war was about the commies and the commissars. This is just about your basic Sicilian mob activity.
Very muddled and gray.
Average Americans do not understand cultures where the lie is the first response in most discourse. We are working on it, but we are not really there in comparison to the older cultures.
So while I am certain that elements within Russia have been sowing chaos wherever possible and that there is some truth in Russia Gate I also recognize that it mirrors the chaos that the US has sowed throughout the world. Mostly motivated by an ideology of greed and naked power on both sides.
Donald Trump was for sure laundering money in New York real estate and saved by mob money in everyone of his bankruptcies. We know Sheldon Adelson was in collusion with the Chinese mob and got a "cost of doing business" penalty from the government. Grrr. Rant. corrupt.corrupt.corrupt

John , February 20, 2018 at 3:37 pm

Did the finagling around the election have any effect on the outcome? As far as I can see, no it did not. Worse than Pearl Harbor? Worse than 9/11? Of course not. The hysterical posturing became tedious long ago. Wake me if you find anything.

Why is Trump trumpeting? I would follow the money.

RMO , February 20, 2018 at 3:44 pm

A minor point but perhaps someone could point out to Feffer that Nazis (both the ur-example and those currently U.S. favored Ukranian ones) consider Russians to be sub-human?

Fastball , February 20, 2018 at 3:50 pm

I get labeled a Trump supporter by decrying Russiagate.

Frankly I couldn't care less what Mueller does to Trump. This bothers me on several different fronts.

1. This is demonstrably a McCarthyite witch hunt with goals at clear divergence from what Mueller was originally appointed for, which was to investigate "collusion" (whatever that means) between Putin and Trump. We know because of one Adam Schiff (D-McCarthy) and similar Democrats and their Russian demagoguing anyone who dares to disagree with them.

2. These indictments are clearly exaggerated in their impact on the American system. Why? I can think of one major effect of the witch hunt: The attempt by the establishment to roll up dissent of any kind. We now have this media fueled hysteria going on by proven liars in the establishment to suppress what they call "fake news". We saw efforts such as the infamous "PropOrNot" anonymous troll cavalcade to try to censor sites. Now Google and Facebook are doing the censoring for them by ranking non-establishment sources as somehow untrustworthy -- as if the establishment press was ever trustworthy.

3. The hypocrisy. No one in the corporate media establishment ever seems to note that this cyber behavior and other types of regime undermining is completely typical of the U.S., which mere hypocrisy might not be so bad, except it leads directly to #4:

4. The warmongering. People have openly talked about Russia engaged in acts of war (as if the U.S. is pure as a crystal snowflake in this regard). This exaggeration and hypocrisy are a direct threat to world peace and my own personal survival as a human being.

These are the things I fear: Being silenced by authoritarians who call themselves "liberal" and getting nuked. That's it. People who accuse everyone of being "Russian dupes" or "supporting Trump" are IMHO engaged in sheer demagoguery. The influence of the Russians on the American system, whatever you call it, can be described as ephemeral at best, but the censorship and warmongering are very real and dangerous.

That our politicians and media are being grossly irresponsible in a supposed effort to get Trump (the real effort is much more than that) is an understatement.

Expat , February 20, 2018 at 6:23 pm

That the US is hypocritical is not news. But that we should call this a witch hunt because we are guilty of tampering and worse is not fair to either our constitution or the American people.
The costs of this investigation are small in the grand scheme and tiny compared to the principles it purports to protect. Mueller is far from done. Writing this off now smacks of partisanship. If there is something there, then it will out. If not, then a few will hang anyway. I, for one, am quite happy that the likes of Manafort and Gates got caught. I think hillary should swing as well, so don't tar me with a red or blue brush. But the Republicans had their chance to investigate her and never did, so that tells me something.

Remember that this is a 100% Republican administration carrying out this investigation. Everyone involved is Republican from Potus to Congress to Mueller.
Frankly, if this keeps Trump from doing too many stupid things, it's time and money well spent.

Procopius , February 20, 2018 at 8:03 pm

I may be wrong, but I seem to recall they investigated her AND Bill many, many times over the years, starting when he was governor of Arkansas, and never found any evidence they could take to a prosecutor. Do you happen to recall how many discrete investigations of Benghazi there were?

Donald , February 20, 2018 at 9:48 pm

It's pressuring Trump to do stupid things. Russiagate is hyped to justify a more militaristic and hardline policy towards Russia and Syria.

Trump is a fool, but it seems difficult for some people to understand that both sides of the Russiagate controversy have bad motives.

rps , February 20, 2018 at 3:57 pm

"Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations for allegedly using social media to sow discord in the U.S. and support the candidacy of Donald Trump"

The 13 Russian national stooges social media talking points show is all smoke and mirrors to distract from the DNC and Clinton campaign tactics that did intentionally interfere with a presidential election. Considering the enormous amount of actual evidence in the complicity of the DNC, a foreign ex-spook national- Christopher Steele is fed 'info-mation' by Clinton buddies Trey Gowdy and Sidney Blumenthal, Fusion GPS, Hillary Clinton campaign, FBI surveillance and FISA memo to spy on the opposing presidential candidate (Trump) is the real show. All based upon a dubious paid for foreign dossier filled with hearsay of anonymous sources used to undermine and destroy an american presidential candidate during an election year is the real crime of complicity Mueller is trying to avoid.

Throwing a ruskie sheet over the 800lb elephant sitting in the middle of the room doesn't hide the facts and more than likely brings into question the Clinton campaign influences and connections with the NSA.

Onto more relevant news: Lucky Charms has added marshmallow unicorns to its cereal.

rps , February 20, 2018 at 4:30 pm

Lynn de Rothschild has been howling a tweeter Trump hate-storm since her bff Hillary lost. One minute she's congratulating Mueller on Russiagate, the next tweet reprimanding the FBI failure in Parkland Florida . Doesn't she have a bilderberg polo match to attend somewhere in the world and annoy them?
Hillary Clinton's Intimate Relationship with the Rothschild Banking Dynasty, The Shadowy Network of Super-Elites

OldBear , February 20, 2018 at 5:15 pm

This actually makes me a little sad. I am only skimming the transcript so far and I don't think I could stand to watch the video, even though I really like Aaron Maté. I didn't care when he took apart that Luke Harding fool, but John Feffer always seemed like a pretty smart guy and a good writer. I was dismayed a few days ago when he went off in this direction in one of his posts. If Aaron is holding back, maybe he feels a little sorry about him, too.

John Feffer, one more decent person lost to the McCarthyite pod people, for whom I can no longer have a shred of respect. Is that going too far?

Angry Panda , February 20, 2018 at 5:46 pm

Why .is this here?

I could have gotten the same exact "depth" of analysis from watching CNN. Or MSNBC. Or what have you.

Even the interviewer was off the ball – by the time he identified KASPERSKY as a "Russian hacker" I was essentially howling with laughter. And by the time the interviewee started insinuating that Russia is supporting far-right neo-nazi type groups in the West yeah. No. Incidentally, the West [i]is[/i] doing just that in specific places, but that is a different conversation.

Finally the stamement: "So I don't think anybody, much less Vladimir Putin, could have predicted the turn U.S.-Russian relations would take " pretty much discredits the interviewee as any kind of analyst or expert on the subject. Because on every single US-Russia flashpoint 2017 was a direct continuation of 2016 (and 2015, and 2014 ) – and that was pretty much the "base case" to begin with, since it is silly to imagine that either nation will just "surrender" and stop pursuing its policies whether in Europe, Asia or the Middle East. The "Trump == unpredictable-loose-cannon-maverick" talking point, much as it has been bandied about, applies mainly to Trump's twitter account and decidedly not the ACTUAL foreign policy steps taken by the US.

And so I reiterate the point – why is this blog suddenly carrying MSNBC-level content? Because that's why we come here in the first place?

oaf , February 20, 2018 at 6:14 pm

"we're worried about our U.S. democracy and whether it can function in a fair way."

WTF???

Very high entertainment value .

The Rev Kev , February 20, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Sometimes when this whole things goes several shades of crazy you have to pull back and try to look at it from a historical level. I try to imagine what people will be saying some 20 years from now when there is a new generation in place. What will their text books say about what is happening now. And I realize that we are going to be mocked but hard by them. Can you imagine what comedians routines on us will say? It will be embarrassing. So, getting back to the present, I pull up the news this morning and I find a CNN reporter checking out trash dumpsters next to the 'troll farm' in Russia – which is no longer even there. Uh, OK.

Maybe some people in government and the media should go back on their meds again and have a nice warm cup of shut-the-xxxx-up. Just because Trump won the election does not mean that the 'establishment' gets to have an epic triggering – and take the rest of the country with it. Are there criminal charges to be laid against certain people? Absolutely. Thing is, they don't have Russian addresses but more likely American ones and I think that a lot of people are starting to realize this which may partially explain the increasing support for the GOP. You can only keep up evidence free accusations so long until somebody shout "Call!".

If you want to know about election meddling, ask the Russians ( https://www.rt.com/op-ed/419371-election-meddling-us-russia/ ) as they have much experience here. And that story doesn't cover even half of what went on. Getting back to seeing things from a historical level, my own idea is that what we are seeing is a power that has dominated the world for decades now finding itself with peer competitors arising and the people in charge are unable to deal with this. There are far too many careers at stake. Too many lucrative contracts at risk. Too many rice bowls to be broken. It's too many powerful people not being able to get their way – and being unable to handle it. This is what I think that we are seeing.

todde , February 20, 2018 at 7:57 pm

Historically speaking, America peaked at the moon landing.

Clark Landwehr , February 20, 2018 at 7:51 pm

Foreign interference in the U.S. is nothing new. Its why we are so divided.

"The division of the United States into federations of equal force was decided long before the Civil War by the high financial powers of Europe. These bankers were afraid that the United States, if they remained in one block and as one nation, would attain economic and financial independence, which would upset their financial domination over the world. The voice of the Rothschilds prevailed Therefore they sent their emissaries into the field to exploit the question of slavery and to open an abyss between the two sections of the Union."
Otto von Bismarck, German chancellor, 1865

Procopius , February 20, 2018 at 7:53 pm

This is a great example of why I think I've gone crazy. This guy Feffer seems more reasonable than most of the Russiagaters I see on other blogs, but when Mate points out the lack of evidence he acknowledges that and then goes right on as if he had refuted it. He acknowledges that the Dutch "revelation" is unsupported, and regrets that, and then goes right ahead as if that is irrelevant. His whole method of argument seems to be, "Well, we have a pattern of other Russian involvement, " and then cites speeches by Putin that probably are not relevant to the case. I mean, supporting white nationalism? This is something you want to blame Russia for? Spreading divisiveness? Undermining confidence? Kill me now.

[Feb 20, 2018] Is That Russia Troll Farm an Act of War by Pat Buchanan

Jerrold Lewis Nadler is an American attorney and politician who serves as the US Representative from New York's 10th congressional district. So it is reasonable to assume that this guy is a stooge of financial oligarchy and as such died in the wool globalist
When Congressman Jerrold Nadler equated Internet Trolls with Pearl Harbor that does not mean that his a paranoiac. That means that he is a sleazy opportunist, for whom Party line is more important then truth. That's why he repeated DemoRats Party like in the color revolution against Trump. In which NeoMcCartyism is a fundamental component, creating the necessary prerequisites for the witch hunt on Trump conducted by Mueller. He just can' deviate from the story.
"Have you no decency left, sir? At long last, have you no decency left?" applies
This "slash and burn" style of internal politician debates is another sign of the deep crisis of neoliberalism in the USA. The crisis that led to election of Trump.
Tactically all this noise is a preemptive move to save Strzokgate participants scalps by putting a smoke screen on Nunes memo as well as the forthcoming report of Inspector General.
Notable quotes:
"... When MSNBC's Chris Hayes pressed, Nadler doubled down: The Russians "are destroying our democratic process." While the Russian trolling may not equal Pearl Harbor in its violence, said Nadler, in its "seriousness, it is very much on a par" with Japan's surprise attack. Trump's reaction to the hysteria that broke out after the Russian indictments: "They are laughing their (expletives) off in Moscow." ..."
"... While Mueller's indictments confirm that Russians meddled in the U.S. election, what explains the shock and the fear for "our democracy"? Is the Great Republic about to fall because a bunch of trolls tweeted in our election? Is this generation ignorant of its own history? Before and after World War II, we had Stalinists and Soviet spies at the highest levels of American culture and government. ..."
"... As for Russian trolling in our election, do we really have clean hands when it comes to meddling in elections and the internal politics of regimes we dislike? ..."
"... Sen. John McCain and Victoria Nuland of State egged on the Maidan Square crowds in Kiev that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine. ..."
"... "Have we ever tried to meddle in other countries' elections?" Laura Ingraham asked former CIA Director James Woolsey this weekend. With a grin, Woolsey replied, "Oh, probably." "We don't do that anymore though?" Ingraham interrupted. "We don't mess around in other people's elections, Jim?" "Well," Woolsey said with a smile. "Only for a very good cause." Indeed, what is the National Endowment for Democracy all about, if not aiding the pro-American side in foreign nations and their elections? ..."
"... "One cannot observe democracy objectively without being impressed by its curious distrust of itself -- it's apparent ineradicable tendency to abandon its philosophy at the first sign of strain. I need not point to what invariably happens in democratic states when the national safety is menaced. All the great tribunes of democracy, on such occasions, convert themselves into instant despots of an almost fabulous ferocity." H.L. Mencken ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

According to the indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Russian trolls, operating out of St. Petersburg, took American identities on social media and became players in our 2016 election. On divisive racial and religious issues, the trolls took both sides. In the presidential election, the trolls favored Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein and Donald Trump, and almost never Hillary Clinton.

One imaginative Russian troll urged Trumpsters to dress up a female volunteer in an orange prison jump suit, put her in a cage on a flatbed truck, then append the slogan, "Lock Her Up!"

How grave a matter is this?

This Russian troll farm is "the equivalent (of) Pearl Harbor," says Cong. Jerrold Nadler, who would head up the House Judiciary Committee, handling any impeachment, if Democrats retake the House.

When MSNBC's Chris Hayes pressed, Nadler doubled down: The Russians "are destroying our democratic process." While the Russian trolling may not equal Pearl Harbor in its violence, said Nadler, in its "seriousness, it is very much on a par" with Japan's surprise attack. Trump's reaction to the hysteria that broke out after the Russian indictments: "They are laughing their (expletives) off in Moscow."

According to Sunday's Washington Post, the troll story is old news in Russia, where reporters uncovered it last year and it was no big deal.

While Mueller's indictments confirm that Russians meddled in the U.S. election, what explains the shock and the fear for "our democracy"? Is the Great Republic about to fall because a bunch of trolls tweeted in our election? Is this generation ignorant of its own history? Before and after World War II, we had Stalinists and Soviet spies at the highest levels of American culture and government.

The Hollywood Ten, who went to prison for contempt of Congress, were secret members of a Communist Party that, directed from Moscow, controlled the Progressive Party in Philadelphia in 1948 that nominated former Vice President Henry Wallace to run against Harry Truman.

Soviet spies infiltrated the U.S. atom bomb project and shortened the time Stalin needed to explode a Soviet bomb in 1949.

As for Russian trolling in our election, do we really have clean hands when it comes to meddling in elections and the internal politics of regimes we dislike?

Sen. John McCain and Victoria Nuland of State egged on the Maidan Square crowds in Kiev that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine. When the democratically elected regime of Mohammed Morsi was overthrown, the U.S. readily accepted the coup as a victory for our side and continued aid to Egypt as tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members were imprisoned.

Are the CIA and National Endowment for Democracy under orders not to try to influence the outcome of elections in nations in whose ruling regimes we believe we have a stake?

"Have we ever tried to meddle in other countries' elections?" Laura Ingraham asked former CIA Director James Woolsey this weekend. With a grin, Woolsey replied, "Oh, probably." "We don't do that anymore though?" Ingraham interrupted. "We don't mess around in other people's elections, Jim?" "Well," Woolsey said with a smile. "Only for a very good cause." Indeed, what is the National Endowment for Democracy all about, if not aiding the pro-American side in foreign nations and their elections?

Did America have no active role in the "color-coded revolutions" that have changed regimes from Serbia to Ukraine to Georgia?

When Republicans discuss Iran on Capitol Hill, the phrase "regime change" is frequently heard. When the "Green Revolution" took to the streets of Tehran to protest massively the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, Republicans denounced President Obama for not intervening more energetically to alter the outcome.

When China, Russia and Egypt expel NGOs, are their suspicions that some have been seeded with U.S. agents merely marks of paranoia?

The U.S. role in the overthrow of Premier Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, and of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, and of President Ngo Dinh Diem in Saigon in 1963 are established facts.

... ... ...


Randal , February 20, 2018 at 9:23 am GMT

This "hysteria" as Buchanan accurately describes it is very characteristically American, in its sheer hypocritical dishonesty.

The US has made a regular practice for a century or more of pushing and attacking others, via political interference, subversion, diplomacy or outright military aggression, until they respond, and then screaming hysterically about "unprovoked aggression" against America.

It's who they are.

Ronald Thomas West , Website February 20, 2018 at 9:45 am GMT
Of several factual mistakes in your piece, Pat, why do you slip in crap like this

"Yet we do have evidence that a senior British spy and Trump hater, Christopher Steele, paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC to dig up dirt on Trump, colluded with Kremlin agents to produce a dossier of scurrilous and unsubstantiated charges, to destroy the candidacy of Donald Trump"

bs claiming 'Kremlin agents' when it would appear the entire hit job on Trump originated with s ** t made up on the USA end, and Steele was little more than a cut-out to give the USA's DoJ (and more likely CIA) cover? Isn't that more than just a bit like playing the insider game? If you"re going to take a shot at Hillary, why not bring up the actual Russia collusion concerning uranium?

And pushing the 'hack' line

"What do these indictments of Russians tell us? After 18 months, the James Comey-Robert Mueller FBI investigation into the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta emails has yet to produce evidence of collusion"

giving cover to the 'Russians did it' hack bs when it is clear the DNC 'hack' was actually an insider leak? You're no better than yellow rag Marcy Wheeler's 'empty wheel' blog:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/01/31/the-wheel-is-indeed-empty/

You're both disgusting, limited-hangout-sellouts.

NoseytheDuke , February 20, 2018 at 11:29 am GMT
Destroying the democratic process? A president was shot dead in full view of the nation and it was never properly investigated, the same goes for 9/11. Endless and unconstitutional wars that have bankrupted the nation. I'd say that it was destroyed a long time ago and all that remains is nostalgia. Buckle up my colonial cousins!
anonymous Disclaimer , February 20, 2018 at 1:05 pm GMT
@anonymous

Addendum, lifted from comment (#3) of Ronald Thomas West:

"What do these indictments of Russians tell us? After 18 months, the James Comey-Robert Mueller FBI investigation into the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta emails has yet to produce evidence of collusion." Are you still unaware of the forensic evidence and credible analysis of people like Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity that the DNC emails were leaked, not hacked?

Columnists like Pat Buchanan and Andrew Napolitano may help people find this website, but week in and week out they show themselves as sloppy, at best. There may be something to be said for putting them up here, where they can be compared to Dinh, Giraldi, Hopkins, Sailer, Whitney, et al.

I read their columns closely when it comes to Russia, and comment when I see them serving the Establishment line. It has become apparent that "Judge" is purposeful in his Eastasia bulls ** t. I am reaching the same conclusion about Mr. Buchanan.

Jason Liu , February 20, 2018 at 1:14 pm GMT
Read this NYT article about American interference in other countries' elections. Makes Russia look like an amateur.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/17/sunday-review/russia-isnt-the-only-one-meddling-in-elections-we-do-it-too.html

And it's still going on under the guise of NGOs. So if Russians tweeting stuff is an act of war, then the US is already at war with a bunch of countries.

jacques sheete , February 20, 2018 at 2:45 pm GMT

Before and after World War II, we had Stalinists and Soviet spies at the highest levels of American culture and government.

During WW2, too.

They were running some of the biggest banks and corporations, too. It was fashionable for the trust fund kiddies and some of the money bags "upper crust" to play commie as well. Still is, apparently.

Famous names, Vanderbilt, Lamont, Whitney, Morgan, mingled with those of communist leaders. The Russian Institute was so respectable that it was allowed to give in-service courses to New York City schoolteachers for credit.

-Bella Dodd, School of Darkness, Chap 11

Carroll Price , February 20, 2018 at 3:42 pm GMT

When MSNBC's Chris Hayes pressed, Nadler doubled down: The Russians "are destroying our democratic process." While the Russian trolling may not equal Pearl Harbor in its violence, said Nadler, in its "seriousness, it is very much on a par" with Japan's surprise attack.

"One cannot observe democracy objectively without being impressed by its curious distrust of itself -- it's apparent ineradicable tendency to abandon its philosophy at the first sign of strain. I need not point to what invariably happens in democratic states when the national safety is menaced. All the great tribunes of democracy, on such occasions, convert themselves into instant despots of an almost fabulous ferocity." H.L. Mencken

exiled off mainstreet , February 20, 2018 at 8:42 pm GMT
This is an excellent article summarizing the major issues presented. Though I have views which vary somewhat about the postwar witchhunt in the US which sort of sets the beginning precedent for this one the fact situation described is correct. As for whether it is an act of war, I say that it is, but not by the Russians. It is an act of war by out of control extra-legal yankee authorities against any individual, foreign or domestic, who would choose to resist them in any fashion, including those just trying to make money like the Russians in this case from farming US internet subscribers.
mark green , February 20, 2018 at 9:56 pm GMT
Russiagate is a starched and stuffed empty suit. Buchanan is right to demean its significance. And yes, there is the shameful fact of rank US hypocrisy in all this. No doubt. But the relatively modest impact of Russian 'meddling' in the last US election, coupled with the moral emptiness within the entire Russiagate investigation, is what's most revealing.

Indeed, not only does the US routinely interfere (and even overthrow) other sovereign states, but Russian machinations in America pales besides other extranational interference, particularly Israel's.

When it comes to pushing around Washington and shaping US public opinion, Israel is in a class by itself. You haven't noticed?

Not only do crypto-Israelis own or supervise most American mass media (including hard news) but hundreds of young, paid Jewish/Israeli trolls regularly clog US social media sites, American internet news comments sections, and Wikipedia entries.

Israelis (and their US-based cousins) are the masters of political chicanery. No one else comes close.

Then there's the overbearing influence of AIPAC, the ADL, and dozens of other crypto-Israeli pressure groups. These highfalutin lobbies have managed to buy their way into the halls of Congress, the White House, and onto national TV. It's a continuous phenomena. But we're not supposed to notice or be concerned. After all, they're our best friends!

By comparison, Russian access and interference in American life is infantesimal.

Does this shock you? It shouldn't. It's been this way in America for decades.

Incredibly, it's publicly examining, discussing, and criticizing this odd situation that becomes 'shocking' (and career-ending). That's the scary part.

Crypto-Israelis have dominated, and continue to dominate, a vast swath of American culture; especially news and entertainment.

Henry Ford, Charles Lindburgh, and Marlon Brando all complained about this unique and dangerous situation. And conditions have not improved since they did. If anything, Zionist power in America has only hardened.

This makes far-away Russia even more of a bit player in our corrupt political circus. And this is why Russiagate is such a farce.

In Hollywood, on Wall Street, as well as in Washington, the top dog (and most sacred cause) involves Israel. Every US politician recognizes this unpublicized fact. Just read their speeches. See how they vote. And those public servants who don't recognize Israel's unique status in Washington tend to fade rapidly into oblivion. This is Jewish power.

Zio-Americans helped steer Washington into its preemptive and criminal annihilation of Libya and Iraq and, if they have their way again, there will be additional American wars fought on behalf of the Jewish state.

Due in large part to Zionist dictates, Assad's Syria is being targeted by Washington right now. Iran is next. All foes of Israel end up in Washington's crosshairs.

America has been quietly captured and domesticated by Zionists.

Sadly, even referring to the overriding impact of Zionist power in America is taboo. Buchanan and others have learned this lesson the hard way. But this explosive fact ultimately renders the entire Russiagate 'scandal' little more than a contrived distraction.

Call it Jewish political theater if you like. But it's mostly a charade.

Randal , February 20, 2018 at 10:27 pm GMT
@International Jew

Mr. Buchanan is correct, of course, that we interfere in other countries. But defending foreign hostility to America by pointing to America's own misdeeds is a traditional leftist line.

It's not a "leftist line" (at least in this case), it's one that's basic to human nature – don't dish it out if you can't take it in turn, and don't whine like a hypocritical two year old when you do get some back. Nothing "left wing" about that.

There's nothing wrong with us taking our own country's side.

No, not if you don't mind being a hypocrite.

But hypocrisy is a very American thing – throughout your history you've been manipulated into wars by the very weakness you adhere to here. "We can do it but if anyone does it back to us that's unacceptable, because we're special" has been pretty much the way the US has been kept interfering around the world for decades.

The answer is to stop doing it yourself, then complain about other people doing it. But that isn't going to happen, is it? Your lords and masters are going to keep poking their noses into other countries' affairs all over the world, and people like you are going to complain like bitches if you get any back, and those complaints will justify further aggression in response to supposedly unacceptable foreign "unprovoked" aggression/interference against your country.

And I write that while being pretty much the very opposite of anything that could be described as "left wing", just as a foreigner weighing US behaviour.

SteveK9 , February 21, 2018 at 12:15 am GMT
'Yet we do have evidence that a senior British spy and Trump hater, Christopher Steele, paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC to dig up dirt on Trump, colluded with Kremlin agents to produce a dossier of scurrilous and unsubstantiated charges, to destroy the candidacy of Donald Trump. And the FBI used this disinformation to get FISA Court warrants to surveil and wiretap the Trump campaign.'

Correct except for 'Kremlin agents' Steele hadn't been to Russia in more than 20 years. The 'dossier' is full of ridiculous mistakes about Russia. It's just as likely he made the whole thing up, or was fed stuff by the CIA, not the Kremlin.

[Feb 20, 2018] Russia's Election Meddling Worse Than a Crime; a Blunder

Notable quotes:
"... The National Interest ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

When Napoleon Bonaparte executed the Duc d'Enghien in 1804 for what seemed like trumped-up treason charges, the implications extended far beyond questions of French justice and even beyond the borders of France. European leaders were shocked, and the episode helped crystallize anti-Bonaparte sentiment throughout the Continent and in Britain. The famous French diplomat Charles de Talleyrand captured the moment when he said: "It was worse than a crime; it was a blunder."

That might well be said now about the Russian effort to manipulate the 2016 presidential election by using social media to undermine Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, promote the candidacy of Donald Trump, and generally sow discord throughout the American body politic. Three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens were indicted by U.S. authorities Friday on charges of engaging in a three-year, multimillion-dollar effort to interfere in the election. Americans naturally are shocked at this brazen effort to unravel the political fabric of their country.

But it isn't really all that shocking. To understand why it was more of a blunder than a crime -- and a blunder with likely tragic consequences -- it is important to absorb five fundamental realities surrounding this important development in U.S.-Russian relations.

First, countries have been doing this sort of thing for centuries. It is a fundamental part of tradecraft -- the use of covert actions to undermine the internal workings of rival nations. No country likes being on the receiving end, but few refrain from such activity when they think it will thwart national security threats.

Second, no nation has been more aggressive than the United States in pursuing efforts, covert and even overt, to destabilize other regimes. In part that's because, as the leading global power since World War II, the Unites States has had more at stake in events of significance throughout the world. In part also, it's because America has had the greatest capacity for bringing the latest technology and the greatest covert capabilities to meet the challenge.

In any event, the U.S. record in this area is beyond dispute. A New York Times piece by Scott Shane over the weekend quoted a University of Georgia professor named Loch Johnson as saying, "We've been doing this kind of thing since the CIA was created in '47. We've used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners -- you name it." Among other things, he adds, the United States has planted false information in foreign newspapers and distributed "suitcases of cash" to influence foreign elections. Steven L. Hall, a 30-year CIA veteran (now retired) with extensive experience leading the Russia desk, told Shane that the United States "absolutely" engaged in such activities, "and I hope we keep doing it."

Shane cites a study by Dov H. Levin of Carnegie Mellon that sought to quantify "election influence operations" by the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia between 1946 and 2000. He counts 81 by the United States and 36 by the Soviet Union or Russia (though he figures there were more ops initiated from Russian soil than we know about).

Beyond that, there is what has become known as the "democracy industry" -- legions of U.S. NGOs, many funded with federal money, that fan out through the world to remake regimes they consider insufficiently imbued with Western values. Writer and thinker David Rieff, writing in The National Interest a few years ago, attacked these democracy promotion adherents as people who "will not or cannot acknowledge either the ideological or the revolutionary character of their enterprise." He likened the democracy promoters in propaganda terms to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 boast to America that "we will bury you."

Third, the greatest interference in the internal affairs of foreign nations, aside from invasion, is regime change, and here the United States is by far the leader in the post-World War II era. We know of major efforts -- covert or overt, successful or not -- by America to upend regimes in Iran, Guatemala, South Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua, Grenada, Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.

Leaving aside the case-by-case merits, this is a powerful record, and it has implications far beyond U.S. domestic politics. Like Bonaparte's execution of the Duc d'Enghien, it generates concerns and fears among foreign leaders. In the case of America's regime change zest, it sends chills down the spines of leaders fearful that they may be next on the list of U.S. regime change targets. Certainly the resolve of North Korea's Kim Jong-un to develop nuclear weapons with a delivery capacity to the United States is partly a product of such fears.

Fourth, America and its allies bear by far the greater share of the blame for the current tensions between the West and Russia. It was all predictable back in 1998 when NATO fashioned its policy of aggressive eastward expansion toward the Russian border. George F. Kennan, the highly respected U.S. diplomat and Russia expert, predicted the outcome in particularly stark terms. He called it "the beginning of a new cold war a tragic mistake." He foresaw that of course the Russians would react badly, as any nation would, and then the NATO expansionists would say, see, we always said the Russians were aggressive and couldn't be trusted. "This is just wrong," Kennan warned.

But if NATO expansion was a provocative policy destined to elicit a strong Russian response, the provocation was heightened hugely when America helped perpetrate a regime change initiative in Ukraine, which is not only next door to Russia but has been a crucial part of Russia's sphere of influence going back to the mid-17th century. Further, Russia lies vulnerable to invasion. The unremitting grassy steppes of the nation, extending from Europe all the way to the Far East, with hardly a mountain range or seashore or major forest to hinder encroachment by army or horde, has fostered a national obsession over the need to control territory as a hedge against incursion. Such incursions from the West occurred three times in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Ukraine is crucial in this Russian sense of territorial imperative. It's a tragically split country, with part tilting toward the West and part facing eastward toward Russia. That makes for a delicate political and geopolitical situation, but for centuries that delicate political and geopolitical situation has been overseen by Russia. Now the West wants to end that. Upending a duly elected (though corrupt) Ukrainian president was part of the plan. Getting Ukraine into NATO is the endgame.

Note that the Ukrainian revolution occurred in 2014, which just happened to be the year, according to the U.S. indictments, that Russia initiated its grand program to influence America's 2016 elections. Kennan was right: Russia inevitably would react badly to the NATO encirclement policy, and then America's anti-Russian cadres would cite that as evidence that the encirclement was necessary all along. That's precisely what's happening now.

Which brings us to the fifth and final fundamental reality surrounding the revelation of Russia's grand effort to influence the U.S. election. It was an incredible blunder. Given all that's happened in U.S.-Russian relations this century, there probably wasn't much prospect that those relations could ever be normalized, much less made cordial. But that is now utterly impossible.

Donald Trump campaigned on a platform of seeking better relations with Russia. After getting elected he repeatedly asserted in his first news conference that it would be "positive," "good," or "great" if "we could get along with Russia." Unlike most of America's elites, he vowed to seek Moscow's cooperation on global issues, accepted some U.S. share of blame for the two countries' sour relations, and acknowledged "the right of all nations to put their interests first."

This suggested a possible dramatic turn in U.S.-Russian relations -- an end to the encirclement push, curtailment of the hostile rhetoric, a pullback on economic sanctions, and serious efforts to work with Russia on such nettlesome matters as Syria and Ukraine. That was largely put on hold with the narrative of Russian meddling in the U.S. election and vague allegations of campaign "collusion" with Russia on behalf of Trump's presidential ambitions.

It doesn't appear likely that investigators will turn up any evidence of collusion that rises to any kind of criminality. But it doesn't matter now, in terms of U.S.-Russian relations, because these indictments will cement the anti-Russian sentiment of Americans for the foreseeable future. No overtures of the kind envisioned by Trump will be possible for any president for a long time. It won't matter that every nation does it or that America in particular has done it or that the West's aggressive encirclement contributed to the Russian actions. The U.S.-Russian hostility is set. Where it leads is impossible to predict, but it won't be good. It could be tragic.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington, D.C., journalist and publishing executive, is editor of The American Conservative . His latest book, President McKinley: Architect of the American Century , was released in September.


Gazza February 18, 2018 at 10:12 pm

I'm disgusted that people are taking this garbage indictment seriously A bunch of Russian private citizens working for a privately-funded NGO (allegedly funded by an owner of a restaurant chain) using faked social media accounts to carry out political activism, and no evidence of Russian government involvement, and this clown Mueller thinks this is some evidence for "Russian meddling" in elections? It wouldn't be so laughable except that the US spook agencies do this sort of thing as a routine .

This is just Mueller doing as he was told to do by his Establishment leash-holders, and come up with any old steaming pile of garbage to be packaged as "evidence" to support this Cold War 2 paranoia mindset and promote the unfounded allegation of Trumps "collusion" with Russians in order to undermine his Presidency.

The US continues to disappoint me This country seems to be utterly incapable of getting things into perspective or acting rationally. A nation run by amoral psychopaths who are completely obsessed with power and wealth and control, and who will stoop to anything in order to achieve their unspoken power agendas.

VikingLS , says: February 18, 2018 at 10:29 pm
Perfectly written. Unless the Russians come up wit ha very good explanation (which most people won't believe) this was a serious screw-up.
Jim Jatras , says: February 18, 2018 at 10:41 pm
The sad fact is the Mr. Merry is probably right. The die is cast. Enmity is almost certainly now permanent, with the increasingly likely result indeed tragic.

With this latest indictment, the bogus "Russian collusion" charge has finally achieved its primary goal -- which was not to remove Trump (that's 3; goal 2 was to elect Hillary), but to ensure unchangeable hostility towards Russia. The fact that Trump even now controverts what H.R. McMaster calls "incontrovertible" is nice but irrelevant. It hardly matters what the president thinks at all. (Besides, for whom does McMaster work, Trump or Mueller?)

Everybody now agrees that "Romney was right." There's nothing Trump can do about it. Ruthenia delenda est. The madness may now become terminal – for everybody.

Notice too how everyone, including Trump's cheering section at Fox News, has immediately lost sight of the REAL collusion within the US government (with a little help from "hands across the water"): Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, James Comey, Bruce Ohr, Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein (remember, he signed one of the FISA requests to spy on the Trump team), John O. Brennan, Christopher Steele, Andrew Wood (former British ambassador to Russia who peddled the Steele dossier), Loretta Lynch, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, and of course Barack Obama. They'll all skate. No surprise there.

All that said, it would have been nice to explain who "the Russians" are we're talking about. This looks less like a government op than a clickbait scam of the sort hundreds of firms in dozens of countries engage in:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02/mueller-indictement-the-russian-influence-is-a-commercial-marketing-scheme.html#more

AG , says: February 18, 2018 at 11:04 pm
Donald Trump campaigned on having better relations with Russia(?). Ok, why? A) Is he a deep well read strategic thinker on Russian US relations and envisioned better relations as a positive step towards world peace or B) he admires Putin for being a white right nationalist that he is coupled with his deep business ties to Russian oligarchs which have the potential of being un earthed by that Witcher hunter himself Robert Mueller?

I'm inclined to go with B.

RichterRox , says: February 18, 2018 at 11:30 pm
The man on street doesn't give a squat about the Russians, it's a purely media driven event .
Alexander , says: February 18, 2018 at 11:31 pm
This is a good article, but I feel that it would have been stronger if Mr. Merry had elaborated on the reasons why elevated hostility between Russia and the West represents a tragedy for both parties.

The geopolitical argument for a modus vivendi between America and Russia can be summarised with a single phrase: 'the rise of China'. As an immense body of commentators have argued for years, the #1 geostrategic imperative for the U.S. in the foreseeable future is thwarting Chinese ambitions to become the military, political, and economic hegemon of Asia. China also threatens to displace Russia's influence in Central Asia, and menaces the security of its hold on the thinly populated territories of Siberia. So it would seem that there is a common interest to build on.

Unfortunately, Russia will always value the security of its western lands above all other priorities, and so Eastern Europe remains an enduring sticking point in its relations with the U.S.A. Regardless of whether or not the expansion of NATO back in the 1990s was wise or not, America cannot let go of its commitments there without incurring an unacceptable loss in prestige and credibility. An adversarial relationship appears to be locked in on both sides.

Even if Russia hadn't attempted to influence the 2016 election, I suspect that attempts to forge a new detente would have proven unavailing – just like the infamous 'reset' attempted by Obama. What neither Obama or Trump seem to have understood is the first rule of successful diplomatic resets: 'Only Nixon can go to China'. It takes a leader with genuine credibility on the issue to make such a thing stick. Otherwise the whole thing collapses as soon as the political cycle rotates.

Taras 77 , says: February 19, 2018 at 12:31 am
"Which brings us to the fifth and final fundamental reality surrounding the revelation of Russia's grand effort to influence the U.S. election. It was an incredible blunder."
_________________________________
I'm not all sure what we are talking about here in the grand effort: the troll army, thefacebook/twitter "massive" campaign, the DNC "hacking" which by all accounts did not happen?

I fear that we are falling into the trap of actually believing the press and the hysterical democrats.

My sense is that it was a minor effort in terms of financial expenditures and people involved-I am very skeptical that any votes were influenced to any degree.

So where is the there in all of this smoke and hoopala?

Cornel Lencar , says: February 19, 2018 at 12:52 am
There is a worst outcome of these events, never mind the massive hypocrisy of the US establishment. It will not be possible to have another Bernie Sanders, or even Trump movement in the US, because such movements will be blamed on Russia.

Pro-social ideas and more political diversity in the US are dead and the country will be even more overtly move towards a corporatism, militarist regime.

The time will come that even TAC and likes of Daniel Larson will be accused of being Russian puppets.

JEinCA , says: February 19, 2018 at 2:37 am
My Grandfather (God rest his soul) was born in 1910 and was a brutally honest (and frank) man who never shied away from giving you his opinion on anything. When I was a teenager in the mid 1990's we'd watch the CBS evening news together. Him on his recliner and me on the couch we'd watch the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and he'd turn to me and say, "You know why every other country hates America?". Of course I'd say I didn't know and he'd say to me, "it's because we've got our nose up everybody's ass. We should mind our own Goddamn business!". That was my Grandfather's take on foreign policy. Most might try to dismiss it out of simplicity but his opinion on the matter was not without wisdom. My Grandfather lived through two World Wars (and served in the US Navy during WWII and the Korean War) and worked for the VA hospital during the Vietnam War. Had Washington followed my Grandfather's advice (which has been echoed here at TAC by Patrick J. Buchanan and the rest of the gang for almost two decades now) then there wouldn't be a New Cold War with Russia or China.
Celery , says: February 19, 2018 at 3:28 am
Trump's constant assertions of "nothing to see here" are certainly the acts of someone guilty. Hard to believe there is nothing there. Too many around him have been shown to have ties to Russia, Trump wasn't even in office yet when he promised to remove sanctions on Russia, and his loyalty to Russia over the US in the election meddling is telling. If large numbers of Republicans want to be useful idiots, that's their business, but ducks that quack and walk, and all that

Was the Russian election meddling a blunder? It was certainly successful. It has fractured our society. I believe we will come back stronger from this, but it showed the rot in society, in our religious institutions, and our political institutions. You have to identify the rot to get in there and clean it out, so the Russians gave us that advantage, but it has brought us to the brink.

Again, a blunder? Were we really going to get closer to Russia? I don't think so. Trump tried his best and it didn't work. Not being politically minded, he had to have personal gain as a motivation to promote closer ties with Russia. So if the odds politically of having better ties with Russia were next to nothing at this time, again, Russia won with their troll campaign. While the duped continue to refuse to admit they were duped, Russian influence remains strong, and the duped can be duped again.

Adriel Kasonta , says: February 19, 2018 at 4:54 am
For God's sake, this is madness. There are no winners in this situation. All of us are losers, because we couldn't prevent it from occurring.
Terrence Moloney , says: February 19, 2018 at 6:29 am
This article trots out the usual inaccuracies about NATO expansion and Eastern European history. There is no conceivable scenario in which the Eastern European countries admitted to NATO threaten Russia. Estonia has no invasion plans. NATO does not war game invading Russia and has no capacity to do so. Russia is not by any reasonable measure encircled by anyone. She is the largest country in the world and has managed to survive with Turkey as a NATO member at its doorstep for years.
It's also absurd to make the case that having been invaded three times in the past two centuries makes Russia especially sensitive to invasion. Many European countries have had that experience and aren't annexing bits and bobs of their neighbors if things don't go their way. The Baltic States were invaded three times in FIVE years in World War II, twice by Russia. Now, they have cause for paranoia.
For that matter, Russia hasn't been invaded three times in the 19th and 20th century. In WWI, Russia invaded East Prussia. Most of the war took place in what is now Poland and Belarus, not Russia.
Please stop trying to buttress your commitment to a non-aligned US with dubious statements about Eastern Europe.
PAX , says: February 19, 2018 at 6:29 am
Why can't we trade and exchange with Russia and just get along? Why so much hostility to a country that did the heavy lifting in WW2? Why not call out Isreal (mainly) and Saudi Arabia for trying to manipulate us as their attack dog on a very short and disciplined leash? Recall when Netanyahu addressed the full U.S.Congress (screaming and yelling like rabid fans at a Beatles concert) and a sitting president was forced to watch on TV? Recall how Johnson let Israel attack the USS Liberty for hours and would not let our planes splash the aggressors? What has happened to our values of democracy, dignity, international human rights and above all national independence, especially from relatively client states? P.T. Barnum's "You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all of the time will take hold." Enough dying and resource wasting on designer wars, not in our interest.
Dan Green , says: February 19, 2018 at 7:06 am
Post WW 2 we have a history of cozing up to Dictators or questionable regimes, then turning on them. Our adversaries especially China and Russia understand this very well.
Michael Antony , says: February 19, 2018 at 7:50 am
Excellent analysis of America's foolish and perhaps fateful policy of encirclement, encroachment and permanent alienation of Russia. Buy why expect Russia to remain passive? Surely they could be forgiven for picking out Trump as a possible source of a more rational and peaceable policy, and saying: let's help this guy get elected. And doing it with their usual clumsiness. Why would they stand by and let the warmongering Hillary push the policy to its ultimate conclusion: war?
Mel Profit , says: February 19, 2018 at 8:01 am
Mr. Merry does a brilliant job–the best I have read–of contextualizing the Russia election interference story. But his analysis is also telling, and typical, in what it omits: any consideration of what in fact the Russians did, and how and to what extent it mattered. And this for a reason that says everything that does matter in our time: the truth of the allegations is irrelevant. Everything is the "narrative".

So, he is correct. Relations will be poisoned for decades. We may even go to war. And the underlying cause will be something that may or may not have happened and, if it did, was–relative to the actual presidential election–inconsequential.

I would only add that in a world more than ever shaped and driven by contesting narratives, the question should be: who benefits most from the Russia indictments, evidence-based or not?

The answer is the dominance of American hawkishness and interventionism, which can now accelerate and expand, unopposed, out to infinity.

Johann , says: February 19, 2018 at 8:50 am
@Terrence Maloney. Expansion of NATO to the Baltics puts OUR troops on Russia's border.

The Washington Post put out an article yesterday interviews a Russian journalist who published a detailed report on the Russian troll factory back in October.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/02/18/the-russian-journalist-who-helped-uncover-election-meddling-is-confounded-by-the-mueller-indictments/?utm_term=.aa9cdb79d885

"Zakharov (the journalist) explained how it was a strange feeling seeing something he had so closely investigated become a major issue in the United States, when it had not been a "bombshell" when he published his report at home."

You would think the major news organizations like NYT and WaPo would have the resources to constantly research foreign publications. Evidently not, because if the MSM thinks that an indictment of 13 Russian trolls is a bombshell, surely they would think 90 Russian Trolls, as described in the Russian news report and $2M would be an even bigger bombshell. And yet it was never picked up on in this country. It goes to show our big media are navel gazers.

But in any event its NOT a bombshell at all. 90 trolls with $2M in a multi-billion election? I believe what really upsets our self-proclaimed adults, is that the vast unwashed masses' opinions can be changed by comments on facebook or any other outlets where they cannot control the message.

This whole "Russia ate our homework" thing is to divert attention from the corrupt use of the Justice Department and intelligence agencies to spy on political opponents.

Christian Chuba , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:02 am
@Terrence Moloney, it's not an issue of Latvia invading Russia it's an issue of those countries being used as missile platforms and choke points against their navy.

The game goes like this, the U.S. keeps encircling Russia with NATO expansion. If Russia doesn't resist, great, it continues. If Russia resists then that is evidence of 'aggression' that justifies a military buildup on existing NATO countries.

Russia lost an area the size of the United States when the Soviet Union collapsed 1991. After an earthquake there are after shocks.

Crimea never wanted to be part of Ukraine. In 1992 they created their own constitution only to have it nullified by Ukraine. Ossetia declared independence from Georgia in 1992. Is 1992 early enough for you? You act like Moses created these boundaries.

Putin has stated that Russia will not invade the Baltics or Kiev. That it is wrong to try to rule over an unwilling population, that Russia has more than enough land for their people. The premise behind the Crimean annexation was that it was the population's will.

collin , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:19 am
There is a part of me that agrees with you. But.

So Democrats are suppose to simply turn a blind eye towards the Trump campaign then? After years of Benghazi! and Birtherism during Obama. And do you think Russians would have been as effective with Marco Rubio running? Or how the Russian activity started against Democrats Congress in the late election?

Or how the Republican fought against Obama on announcing this activity to the country?

2016 was a God-awful election and conservative have been incredibly smug on their slight victory. And President Trump is DOING NOTHING on this activity so I assume he is hoping for their assistance in 2018. (And notice how much they were active they were on the David Nune memo.)

Why don't Republicans do anything now?

John Gruskos , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:27 am
13 Russians illegally volunteered for Trump's campaign?

So what!

The establishment is straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel.

Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans illegally voted for Hillary Clinton.

Worse, billionaires whose first loyalty is to Israel, such as Haim Shaban and Paul Singer, exercise immense influence over American foreign policy.

Immense resources are being devoted to investigating minuscule Russian activity. Why?

1. Because the establishment wants to overturn the results of the 2016 Presidential election.

2. They also hope to find some connection between the Russian government and the American hard right (via Dugin) which can be used to jail the leading figures of the American hard right, thus doing what the ADL, SPLC and Antifa have failed to do – nullify the First Amendment.

This is arguably the most serious assault ever on the Constitution of the United States.

ARGON , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:37 am
Putin requires hostility with the west in order to remain in power. He doesn't want a war, he just needs Russian citizens to feel aggrieved against outsiders so that they don't react to the kleptocrats running the country. It's classic 'strong man' strategy.
Nathan , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:49 am
"Which brings us to the fifth and final fundamental reality surrounding the revelation of Russia's grand effort to influence the U.S. election. It was an incredible blunder."

What a second. You call that a "grand effort?" A few Facebook accounts and some organized trolling? That is anything but a "grand effort" and I question why anyone would characterize it as such. Especially in the context of what we Americans have done and do (which you touch on).

Fred Bowman , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:50 am
At some point the US needs to turn away from it's "Do as we say, not as we do" mentality. Only thing it's gotten us is a world that doesn't trust us anymore. Unfortunately that day won't come until the day the American Empire collapses and America returns to it's roots as a Republic.
pfed , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:54 am
The Ukrainian president wasn't toppled; he fled,doubting the loyalty of his own security forces and despite an agreement with the opposition to stay in power pending a new election within 10 months.
implications , says: February 19, 2018 at 9:59 am
@celery "Was the Russian election meddling a blunder? It was certainly successful. It has fractured our society. I believe we will come back stronger from this, but it showed the rot in society, in our religious institutions, and our political institutions. You have to identify the rot to get in there and clean it out, so the Russians gave us that advantage, but it has brought us to the brink. "

An apt comment. And in this connection it's crucially important that henceforth we hold other countries to the standards we're holding Russia.

I'm thinking of Israel in particular, which has meddled in and distorted American politics to a degree that the Russians can only dream of. One need say only "Sheldon Adelson" to suggest its corrupting, distorting influence. What if a Russian oligarch came here and did for Russia what Adelson and so many others do for Israel? Would we have American politicians grovelling for the millions that a Russian oligarch could lavish on those who promise to do Putin's bidding – as they already do for Adelson and Netanyahu?

If the end result of this "Russian meddling" case is criminalization of this behavior (or even just reinvigorated enforcement of existing laws, like FARA and the Espionage Act), and if that serves to end Israeli meddling in our political process, then all to the good. Meddling by foreign countries in our political process is indeed "rot", as you put it – and as George Washington urgently warned in his Farewell Address. It must be stopped at all costs, for reasons so obvious that we shouldn't even have to discuss them.

SteveK9 , says: February 19, 2018 at 10:05 am
Sorry, there is still no 'Russian Meddling' of any kind. The indictments were against a commercial marketing scheme, using clickbait to build reputations that could be used to sell ads. That is why the posts have no coherence. Some are for Trump, some against, some for Hillary, some against, and of course there is the post that is definitely for, puppies.

Again, there is nothing here, about 'Russia'. Even Mueller's team of liars did not claim any involvement by the Russian government.

What these indictments mean is that being a foreigner, and posting opinions during an election, without registering as a foreign agent, means you can be indicted for 'defrauding' the US.

It's just another step towards censorship.

Oshell , says: February 19, 2018 at 10:15 am
Hillary supposedly received most of the popular vote. So exactly what effect did the Russians have?
Fran Macadam , says: February 19, 2018 at 10:40 am
Since Washington is rolling in a slush fund of billions in foreign lobbying money from countries overwhelmingly not Russia, why is this influence peddling not the real issue? One guy with a million bucks has more influence with Washington than a million guys with one buck, and there are thousands of former elected and unelected government officials flush with their cash doing the bidding of well moneyed foreign states other than Russia, not that of the hundreds of millions of ordinary Americans.

Now we have the chimera of an indictment against 13 ham sandwiches with Russian dressing which can never be eaten – there will be no actual trials as the people accused are people in a foreign country. So, as has become the new standard for public belief in this and other politicized matters, such findings of fact are unnecessary – accusations become the same as proof, the very definition of witch hunt hysterias, from McCarthy to McMartin preschool.

Fran Macadam , says: February 19, 2018 at 10:51 am
Far from benign foreign influences with far more effective and vast resources were bent on running interference to make sure that Hillary Clinton was elected, since they believed her ascendancy was in their best interests. Because millions of Americans knew that her policy predilections were not in their own best interests, does that make them unwitting tools of a Russian conspiracy? It's a witch hunt by powerful domestic forces not acting in Americans' best interests, but those of elites who feel threatened by their own country's heartland and its increasingly dispossessed.
Michael Kenny , says: February 19, 2018 at 10:55 am
This, I assume, is the latest pro-Putin propaganda line. With Putin openly interfering in the Italian election in favour of the Lega Nord, it is now impossible to deny his interference in the US election. So now the interference is admitted but of course it couldn't possibly be nice Mr Putin's fault. It was just a blunder and, as we've come to expect, it was all provoked anyway by the ever dastardly US! The rest is just a re-has of the "let Putin win in Ukraine" pretexts that we've all heard a thousand times.
Will Harrington , says: February 19, 2018 at 11:15 am
I'll say it again. One of the oldest tricks any regime uses when it begins to feel insecure is to create an enemy for its people to focus on. Our oligarchy has chosen Russia, probably because China makes them too much money.
connecticut farmer , says: February 19, 2018 at 11:46 am
Who, specifically, was indicted? Let's hear some names! From whom did they get their marching orders? How did they "meddle" in the election? Examples please. And, most importantly, where are they? If ( as rumor has it) they are in Russia then those indictments aren't worth the paper they're written on.
four alarmer , says: February 19, 2018 at 11:47 am
Yes, please stop the Russian meddling! And please stop all the other foreign meddling while you're at it. We're sick of doing the spending, fighting, and dying for foreign countries.
Fran Macadam , says: February 19, 2018 at 11:57 am
Will Harrington, so right. The ancien regime doesn't want to do anything for the heartland, except to drive a stake through our hearts.
Chris in Appalachia , says: February 19, 2018 at 12:14 pm
An American here. How can I think the Russians for interfering in American elections? I trust Putin more than our own so-called "leaders." I say, interfere away (and let Hungary and Poland join in)! Maybe then Americans will have the chance to break free of the chains of the two-party sham, neocon foreign policy, and corporate globalism.
SteveM , says: February 19, 2018 at 12:18 pm
The always insightful (and sometimes TAC contributor) Charles Hugh Smith has an excellent related essay on this:

https://www.oftwominds.com/blogfeb18/russia-irony2-18.html

David Nash , says: February 19, 2018 at 12:28 pm
Interesting how the Trumpeteers have gone so swiftly from "Fake News" to "So What!". (I guess Oceania has Always been at war with Eurasia.)

What people are missing, including the NeverTrumpers and the ForeverTrumpers is this even betting there was no collusion (because not even ham-fisted Ruskies would cozy up too close with such a band of inept jerks as the Trump Campaign) it shows Trump is a Chump.

Donnie the Strong Man is a clueless loser who was USED by the Russian troll factory because he would be pliable (ie easily manipulated) to give them what they wanted.

Trump has SUCKER written all over his face. He should go play a round of golf and tweet out pathetic insults to everyone. What else has he left.

For those who have projected their own agenda onto Trump's blatherings (just like the Lefties did with Obama's vague platitudes), when will it occur to you that if you have to keep making excuses and attacking those who point out the obvious, you have backed the wrong horse's ***.

I know he can put on his Admiral-General uniform and review the troops, just like the Ruskie leadership. Tanks, rocket launchers, ICBMs and goose-stepping soldiery (just like the Russians). That will Prove he has *large hands*. "I'll Show You!"

Siarlys Jenkins , says: February 19, 2018 at 12:35 pm
An excellent overview. Merry has stepped on a lot of people's preferred narratives, left, right and center, but he is pitilessly accurate.
Dee , says: February 19, 2018 at 12:38 pm
Putin got elected because Russians were tired of Western rapacious capitalists trying to use the broken Soviet Union to make money.. Putin then used his KGB thugs to turn the Russian government into a mafioso.. The chosen, Putin enablers, looted the country.. The looters want to free their stolen money to buy things in the west, cause who wants old soviet crap.. Western capitalists who dont care are more than willing to take their cut.. This is Trump, who could not get a loan in this country.. This article is repugnant, it reduces the USA to the level of these thieves in Russia.. God help us all.
connecticut farmer , says: February 19, 2018 at 1:32 pm
@ Jim Jatras

"All that said, it would have been nice to explain who 'the Russians' are we're talking about."

Bingo! I'd like to see names, who their bosses were (if they had any), places from which they did their deeds. I'd like more specifics on exactly "what" they did and how. Most importantly, and to paraphrase the Fermi (UFO) Paradox, "where are they?" Rumor has it they're in Rooshia. If so, fuggedaboudit! We ain't EVER gonna seem them.

Indictment! As the saying goes "you can indict a ham sandwich."

Interguru , says: February 19, 2018 at 1:33 pm
@Jim Jatras

"All that said, it would have been nice to explain who "the Russians" are we're talking about. This looks less like a government op than a clickbait scam of the sort hundreds of firms in dozens of countries engage in:"

Russia has very tight control of net communications within its borders. This could not have happened without their support, or at least their tacit approval.

That being said, I agree with the article.

LouisM , says: February 19, 2018 at 1:35 pm
This is falling right into the trap of the neocon and neoliberal warmongerers.
1) No I don't believe Russia wants to reconstitute either the Russian Empire or the Soviet Empire. Its about territorial integrity and relevancy on the world stage.
2) The US and EU backed Russia into the corner with the tug of war in Ukrainian elections between pro-Russian candidates and pro-EU candidates then threatening Ukraine to take Crimea away from the Russian navy. A clear threat to Russian territorial integrity and Russia would be irrelevant without its warm water port in the Black Sea.
3) US and EU and Israel spy and influence elections around the world. Its concerning yes, but does the US and EU expect Russia not to reciprocate?
4) I don't care what anyone says, everyone in the US owes Russia a debt of gratitude. I will thank any nation that tried to tell the US citizenry what an evil, shrill, bipolar, incompetent, traitorous woman Hillary Clinton was and still is! Hillary and Obama and their administration should be in jail for murder, corruption and collusion.

This blunder will force a further deterioration between the US and Russia when both the US and EU need friendly relations with Russia now more than ever. There are threats in this world far greater than Russia like terrorism and nuclear proliferation and radical islam etc. This means the US will have to tackle these issues without the help of Russia because it will be punishing Russia. Mr. Trump, we need a master negotiator now more than ever to get Russia out past this scandal and build a better relationship with them.

Room 237 , says: February 19, 2018 at 1:48 pm
What is distressing is not that it happened. We are an open society (and I use that term in a general sense, not teh Karl Popper sense). So it is easy to do so.

What is distressing to me is that it may have worked.

Ken T , says: February 19, 2018 at 1:53 pm
One of the strangest things about this whole matter is that it was just a few years ago that Obama and Clinton were talking about trying to have a "reset" in our relations with Russia, and the Right was apoplectic that they would even consider trying to talk to the implacable enemy that was just waiting for the chance to destroy us. Now, with clear evidence that Russia has in fact caused us harm, those exact same people are the ones saying "No problem, nothing to see here. We trust Putin implicitly, he would never do anything to hurt us."
andy , says: February 19, 2018 at 2:11 pm
A very timely article indeed- one only needs the most basic outline of Russian history of the last millennium to understand that their foreign policy has always been primarily defensive.
One thing, though, needs to be corrected: The next president will indeed have an opportunity to demonstrate a broad understanding of the situation and stretch out a cautiously friendly hand.
This can't happen with Trump for two reasons- he hasn't demonstrated any understanding of the context of the issue, and he has thoroughly poisoned the well by only seeing recent events in terms of his own personal repuatation, not of the nation that he was hired to represent.

[Feb 20, 2018] a 37 page document

Notable quotes:
"... self-enrichment ..."
"... Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org. ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.politico.com

inter alia allegedly later ran a clandestine operation seeking to influence opinion in the United States regarding the candidates in the 2016 election in which it favored Donald Trump and denigrated Hillary Clinton. The Russians identified by name are all back in Russia and cannot be extradited to the U.S., so the indictment is, to a certain extent, political theater as the accused's defense will never be heard.

In presenting the document, Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General, stressed that there was no evidence to suggest that the alleged Russian activity actually changed the result of the 2016 presidential election or that any actual votes were altered or tampered with. Nor was there any direct link to either the Russian government or its officials or to the Donald Trump campaign developed as a result of the nine-month long investigation. There was also lacking any mention in the indictment of the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton and Panetta e-mails, so it is to be presumed that the activity described in the document was unrelated to the WikiLeaks disclosures.

Those of the "okay, there's smoke but where's the fire" school of thought immediately noted the significant elephant in the room, namely that the document did not include any suggestion that there had been collusion between Team Trump and Moscow. As that narrative has become the very raison d'etre driving the Mueller investigation, its omission is noteworthy. Meanwhile, those who see more substance in what was revealed by the evidence provided in the indictment and who, for political reasons, would like to see Trump damaged, will surely be encouraged by their belief that the noose is tightening around the president.

Assuming the indictment is accurate, I would agree that the activity of the Internet Research Agency does indeed have some of the hallmarks of a covert action intelligence operation in terms how it used some spying tradecraft to support its organization, targeting and activity. But its employees also displayed considerable amateur behavior, suggesting that they were not professional spies, supporting the argument that it was not a government intelligence operation or an initiative under Kremlin control. And beyond that, so what? Even on a worst-case basis, stirring things up is what intelligence agencies do, and no one is more active in interfering in foreign governments and elections than the United States of America, most notably in Russia for the election of Boris Yeltsin in 1996, which was arranged by Washington, and more recently in Ukraine in 2014. From my own experience I can cite Italy's 1976 national election in which the CIA went all out to keep the communists out of government. Couriers were discreetly dispatched to the headquarters of all the Italian right wing parties dropping off bags of money for "expenses" while the Italian newspapers were full of articles written by Agency-paid hacks warning of the dangers of communism. And this all went on clandestinely even though Italy was a democracy, an ally and NATO member.

Does that mean that Washington should do nothing in response? No, not at all. Russia, if the indictment is accurate, may have run an influencing operation and gotten caught with its hand in the cookie jar. Or maybe not. And Washington might also actually have information suggesting that Russia is preparing to engage in further interference in the 2018 and 2020 elections, as claimed by the heads of the intelligence agencies, though, as usual, evidence for the claim is lacking. There has to be bilateral, confidential discussion of such activity between Washington and Moscow and a warning given that such behavior will not be tolerated in the future, but only based on irrefutable, solid evidence. The leadership in both countries should be made to understand very clearly that there are more compelling reasons to maintain good bilateral working relations than not.

With that in mind, it is important not to overreact and to base any U.S. response on the actual damage that was inflicted. The indictment suggests that Russia is out to destroy American democracy by promoting "distrust" of government as well as sowing "discord" in the U.S. political system while also encouraging "divisiveness" among the American people. I would suggest in Russia's defense that the U.S. political system is already doing a good job at self-destructing and the difficult-to-prove accusations being hurled at Moscow are the type one flings when there is not really anything important to say.

I would suggest that Moscow might well want to destroy American democracy but there is no evidence in the indictment to support that hypothesis. I particularly note that the document makes a number of assumptions which appear to be purely speculative for which it provides no evidence. It describes the Russian company Internet Research Agency as "engaged in operations to interfere with elections and political processes." Its employees were involved in

"interference operations targeting the United States. From in or around 2014 to the present, Defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016."

The theme of Russian subversion is repeated throughout the indictment without any compelling evidence to explain how Mueller knows what he asserts to be true, suggesting either that the document would have benefited from a good editor or that whoever drafted it was making things up. Internet Research Agency allegedly "conduct[ed] what it called 'information warfare against the United States of America' through fictitious U.S. personas on social media platforms and other Internet-based media." The indictment goes on to assert that

"By in or around May 2014, the ORGANIZATION's strategy included interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with the stated goal of 'spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general'"

with a

"strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants' operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ("Trump Campaign") and disparaging Hillary Clinton. Defendants made various expenditures to carry out those activities, including buying political advertisements on social media in the name of U.S. persons and entities. Defendants also staged political rallies inside the United States, and while posing as U.S. grassroots entities and U.S. persons, and without revealing their Russian identities and ORGANIZATION affiliation, solicited and compensated real U.S. persons to promote or disparage candidates. Some Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities."

Two company associates

"traveled in and around the United States, including stops in Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, and New York to gather intelligence. After the trip, [they] exchanged an intelligence report regarding the trip. The conspiracy had as its object the opening of accounts under false names at U.S. financial institutions and a digital payments company in order to receive and send money into and out of the United States to support the ORGANIZATION's operations in the United States and for self-enrichment . Defendants and their co-conspirators also used the accounts to receive money from real U.S. persons in exchange for posting promotions and advertisements on the ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages. Defendants and their co-conspirators typically charged certain U.S. merchants and U.S. social media sites between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content on their popular false U.S. persona accounts, including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist. All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349."

Note particularly the money laundering and for-profit aspects of the Internet Research scheme, something that would be eschewed if it were an actual intelligence operation. There is some speculation that it all might have been what is referred to as a click-bait commercial marketing scheme set up to make money from advertising fees. Also note how small the entire operation was. It focused on limited social media activity while spending an estimated $1 million on the entire venture, with Facebook admitting to a total of $100,000 in total ad buys, only half of which were before the election. It doesn't smell like a major foreign government intelligence/influence initiative intended to "overthrow democracy." And who attended the phony political rallies? How many votes did the whole thing cause to change? Impossible to know, but given a campaign in which billions were spent and both fake and real news were flying in all directions, one would have to assume that the Russian effort was largely a waste of time if it indeed was even as described or serious in the first place.

And apart from the money laundering aspect of the alleged campaign was it even illegal apart from the allegations of possible visa fraud and money laundering? If the Russians involved were getting their financial support from the Moscow government then it would be necessary to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938, but if not, they would be protected by the Constitution and have the same First Amendment right to express their opinions of Hillary Clinton on blogs and websites while also associating with others politically as do all other residents of the United States. Many of the commenters on this Unz site are foreign and are not required either by law or custom to state where they come from.

And, of course, there is one other thing. There always is. One major media outlet is already suggesting that there could be consequences for American citizens who wittingly or unwittingly helped the Russians, identified in the indictment as "persons known and unknown." A former federal prosecutor put it another way, saying "While they went to great pains to say they are not indicting any Americans today, if I was an American and I did cooperate with Russians I would be extremely frightened " Politico speculates that "Now, a legal framework exists for criminal charges against Americans " and cites a former U.S. district attorney's observation that "Think of a conspiracy indicting parties ' known and unknown' as a Matroyshka doll. There are many more layers to be successively revealed over time."

Under normal circumstances, an American citizen colluding with a foreign country would have to be convicted of engaging in an illegal conspiracy, which would require being aware that the foreigners were involved in criminal behavior and knowingly aiding them. But today's overheated atmosphere in Washington is anything but normal. Russia's two major media outlets that operate in the U.S., Sputnik and RT America, have been forced to register under FARA. Does that mean that the hundreds of American citizens who appeared on their programs prior to the 2016 election to talk about national politics will be next in line for punishment? Stay tuned.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

[Feb 20, 2018] Nunes FBI and DOJ Perps Could Be Put on Trial

Feb 20, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , February 19, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Related news: Kim Dotcom: "Let Me Assure You, The DNC Hack Wasn't Even A Hack", https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-02-18/kim-dotcom-let-me-assure-you-dnc-hack-wasnt-even-hack (Kim Dot Com claims personal knowledge on who took the DNC emails (Seth Rich) and his lawyers wrote to Mueller twice, offering his testimony, but never heard back from Mueller).

Bob Van Noy , February 19, 2018 at 7:18 pm

Thank you Paul E. Merrell, J.D. I have been convinced from the beginning of all of this that this was the line to Wikileaks. Now if we could only get a real investigation into Seth's murder.

Stop Bush and Clinton , February 19, 2018 at 7:34 pm

"We found that they broke a vast number of laws, did surveillance of a competitor with a warrant based on fake evidence, all adding up to treason worse than Watergate. But we think that no reasonable prosecutor would file charges .." -- The FBI

[Feb 20, 2018] Russophobia is a futile bid to conceal US, European demise by Finian Cunningham

Highly recommended!
This is an old method to unite the nation against external enemy. Carnage (with so much oil and gas) needs to be destroyed. And it's working only partially with the major divisions between Trump and Hillary supporters remaining open and unaffected by Russiagate witch hunt.
Notable quotes:
"... It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances. ..."
"... The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media. ..."
"... A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together." ..."
"... He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning." ..."
"... The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law. ..."
"... The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies? ..."
"... The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference". ..."
"... Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV. ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.rt.com

Russophobia - "blame it all on Russia" - is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances

It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union.

But the truth is Western states are challenged by internal problems. Ironically, by denying their own internal democratic challenges, Western authorities are only hastening their institutional demise.

Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances.

The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media.

This narrative has shifted up a gear since the election of Donald Trump to the White House in 2016, with accusations that the Kremlin somehow ran "influence operations" to help get him into office. This outlandish yarn defies common sense. It is also running out of thread to keep spinning.

Paradoxically, even though President Trump has rightly rebuffed such dubious claims of "Russiagate" interference as "fake news", he has at other times undermined himself by subscribing to the notion that Moscow is projecting a campaign of "subversion against the US and its European allies." See for example the National Security Strategy he signed off in December.

Pathetically, it's become indoctrinated belief among the Western political class that "devious Russians" are out to "collapse" Western democracies by "weaponizing disinformation" and spreading "fake news" through Russia-based news outlets like RT and Sputnik.

Totalitarian-like, there seems no room for intelligent dissent among political or media figures.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has chimed in to accuse Moscow of "sowing division;" Dutch state intelligence claim Russia destabilized the US presidential election; the European Union commissioner for security, Sir Julian King, casually lampoons Russian news media as "Kremlin-orchestrated disinformation" to destabilize the 28-nation bloc; CIA chief Mike Pompeo recently warned that Russia is stepping up its efforts to tarnish the Congressional mid-term elections later this year.

On and on goes the narrative that Western states are essentially victims of a nefarious Russian assault to bring about collapse.

A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together."

Congressman Hurd asserts: "Russia has one simple goal: to erode trust in our democratic institutions It has weaponized disinformation to achieve this goal for decades in Eastern and Central Europe; in 2016, Western Europe and America were aggressively targeted as well."

Lamentably, all these claims above are made with scant, or no, verifiable evidence. It is simply a Big Lie technique of relentless repetition transforming itself into "fact" .

It's instructive to follow Congressman Hurd's thought-process a bit further.

He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning."

As a putative solution, Representative Hurd calls for "a national counter-disinformation strategy" against Russian "influence operations" , adding, "Americans must stop contributing to a corrosive political environment".

The latter is a chilling advocacy of uniformity tantamount to a police state whereby any dissent or criticism is a "thought-crime."

It is, however, such anti-democratic and paranoid thinking by Western politicians -- aided and abetted by dutiful media -- that is killing democracy from within, not some supposed foreign enemy.

There is evidently a foreboding sense of demise in authority and legitimacy among Western states, even if the real cause for the demise is ignored or denied. Systems of governance, politicians of all stripes, and institutions like the established media and intelligence services are increasingly held in contempt and distrust by the public.

Whose fault is that loss of political and moral authority? Western governments and institutions need to take a look in the mirror.

The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law.

The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies?

How then can properly informed citizens be expected to have respect for such criminal government policies and the complicit news media covering up for their crimes?

Western public disaffection with governments, politicians and media surely stems also from the grotesque gulf in social inequality and poverty among citizens from slavish adherence to economic policies that enrich the wealthy while consigning the vast majority to unrelenting austerity.

The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference".

Yet the Western media indulge this fantastical "Russiagate" escapism instead of campaigning on real social problems facing ordinary citizens. No wonder such media are then viewed with disdain and distrust. Adding insult to injury, these media want the public to believe Russia is the enemy?

Instead of acknowledging and addressing real threats to citizens: economic insecurity, eroding education and health services, lost career opportunities for future generations, the looming dangers of ecological adversity, wars prompted by Western governments trashing international and diplomacy, and so on -- the Western public is insultingly plied with corny tales of Russia's "malign influence" and "assault on democracy."

Just think of the disproportionate amount of media attention and public resources wasted on the Russiagate scandal over the past year. And now gradually emerging is the real scandal that the American FBI probably colluded with the Obama administration to corrupt the democratic process against Trump.

Again, is there any wonder the public has sheer contempt and distrust for "authorities" that have been lying through their teeth and playing them for fools?

The collapsing state of Western democracies has got nothing to do with Russia. The Russophobia of blaming Russia for the demise of Western institutions is an attempt at scapegoating for the very real problems facing governments and institutions like the news media. Those problems are inherent and wholly owned by these governments owing to chronic anti-democratic functioning, as well as systematic violation of international law in their pursuit of criminal wars and other subterfuges for regime-change objectives.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

[Feb 19, 2018] Nunes FBI and DOJ Perps Could Be Put on Trial by Ray McGovern

Highly recommended!
Nunes chances to bring perpetrators to justice are close to zero. The Deep State controls the Washington, DC and can withstand sporadic attacks.
It is an extremly courageous of Devin Nunes to give this interview.
Notable quotes:
"... Throwing down the gauntlet on alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the Department of Justice and the FBI, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) stated that there could be legal consequences for officials who may have misled the FISA court. "If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial," he said. "The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created." ..."
"... Nunes took this highly unusual, no-holds-barred stance during an interview with Emmy-award winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson , which aired on Sunday. ..."
"... He unapologetically averred that, yes, a criminal trial might well be the outcome. "DOJ and FBI are not above the law," he stated emphatically. "If they are committing abuse before a secret court getting warrants on American citizens, you're darn right that we're going to put them on trial." ..."
"... The stakes are very high. Current and former senior officials -- and not only from DOJ and FBI, but from other agencies like the CIA and NSA, whom documents and testimony show were involved in providing faulty information to justify a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign official Carter Page -- may suddenly find themselves in considerable legal jeopardy. Like, felony territory. ..."
"... On the other hand, the presumptive perps have not run into a chairman like Nunes in four decades, since Congressmen Lucien Nedzi (D-Mich.), Otis Pike (D-NY), and Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) ran tough, explosive hearings on the abuses of a previous generation deep state, including massive domestic spying revealed by quintessential investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in December 1974. (Actually, this is largely why the congressional intelligence oversight committees were later established, and why the FISA law was passed in 1978.) ..."
"... At this point, one is tempted to say plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose ..."
"... One glaring sign of the media's unwillingness to displease corporate masters and Official Washington is the harsh reality that Hersh's most recent explosive investigations, using his large array of government sources to explore front-burner issues, have not been able to find a home in any English-speaking newspaper or journal. ..."
"... On this point, Nunes said, "In the last administration they were unmasking hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of Americans' names. They were unmasking for what I would say, for lack of a better definition, were for political purposes." ..."
"... It is real courageous of Devin Nunes to give this interview. It is not only the accountability to law that is at stake in U.S., but the Whole World is imperiled with what happens in Washington. But as many have written before in comments about this complete moral collapse of the Entire West, I am afraid, it is all going to be swept under the rug. We have to just keep the fingers crossed. ..."
"... I have never seen such media bias against a sitting president in my lifetime, not even against Richard Nixon when they at least practiced decorum and feigned objectivity even if they were secretly cheering on his demise. I will reiterate here that I do not champion the man but rather due process under our constitution, which has been made a travesty from the moment of Clinton's loss at the polls. ..."
"... I completely agree with you Realist. I am not Trump's fan or supporter of his agenda, in fact, in many things quite the opposite of it. However, he raised some very valid points about the the domestic economy and other issues, and about the need to stop interventions in foreign countries, and getting along Russia, and the need to rebuild country's manufacturing system again. He was duly elected by the people, and he should have been given the support to pursue what he promised. But it did not happen. ..."
"... Although it's being done for the wrong reasons, I am nevertheless looking forward to seeing our out-of-control intelligence agencies being put in their place. If I were president and my party controlled both houses of Congress, you'd better believe I'd be looking to dismantle the national surveillance state and reduce the military budget to a "mere" $250 billion annually. ..."
"... The post 9-11 wars of aggression, massive surveillance, torture and other war crimes were sold to the American public as only to be inflicted on foreigners, i.e. "we fight them over there so we don't fight them here." But the blowback has now turned America's schools, malls, workplaces, concerts and churches into war zones and little by little, the disinformation ops, "regime change" know-how and other accoutrements of perpetual war (the fool's errand of gaining full spectrum dominance over the rest of the world) have been turned inward on the American people, including powerful American officials themselves. So it would seem to be a good thing that some politicians like Nunes have finally seen the light exactly as Frank Church did -- only when they themselves began to reap the negative consequences of what they thought would only negatively impact other, lesser people. ..."
"... But there is more to it, as some have pointed out in comments above, there are some intra-party quarrels going on in Washington to take the upper hand. Regarding foreign policy, National Security State and surveillance, and other such issues, both parties are joined at the hip. ..."
"... It is instructive to read the comments on any NYT article on this subject. The comments are clearly written by intelligent, well-educated individuals – who parrot the Deep State's anti-Russian propaganda as if they were the dumbest of the "Better dead than Red!" 50s McCarthyites. ..."
"... The new McCarthyites are actually stupider and more authoritarian than their sad fore-bearers, because they could pierce the Deep States lies with 30 minutes of online research, but they prefer tribalism and ignorance, instead. ..."
"... Trump started going head to head with the intel folks, but has backed down a lot now. Let's hope Nunes et al hang in there and keep the pressure on these despicable criminals who hide behind governmental powers. ..."
"... Somehow I don't think Nunes or his committee is capable of reigning in Frankenstein. His "constitutuents"" are not likely to allow it and although the monster was pieced together from many body parts its instincts for self-preservation are formidable. Nevertheless, I would applaud anyone who makes the effort. ..."
"... Note that after saying the Russians are indicted for interfering in the election, and spending 5 minutes on this, at the 5 minute 20 second mark Rosenstein says there is no evidence that the Russians had any affect [sic] on the election! So what we have is the Deputy Attorney General of the United States announcing an indictment for which he says there is no evidence! ..."
"... In the world of cypher espionage I have no knowledge, but if Russia does hang out in it well then I'm sure the U.S. is already there to do what it must to defend it's cypher security. So that's a wash, but this insane Russia-Gate distraction was originally a way to deflect attention from Hillary & Debbie's putting the screws to Socialist Sanders . then Russia-Gate became a MSM driven coup to oust Trump from his Electoral won presidential office. ..."
"... Impossible to get the whole Gorgon's head, anyway, in such a corrupt system as we have ..."
"... Ray, do you think Trump has made a deal: he'll allow escalations against Russia, and in return the Deep State will leave him alone? If so, does that portend that this will fizzle out? ..."
"... While the shiny ball, smoke and mirrors psychological operation known as "Russiagate" has begun running on fumes before the gas tank finally runs dry, the major revelation of the Clinton WikiLeaks emails describing Saudi/Qatari financing of ISIS drops further down the memory hole. There's nothing like success ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes has stated that "DOJ and FBI are not above the law," and could face legal consequences for alleged abuses of the FISA court, reports Ray McGovern.

Throwing down the gauntlet on alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the Department of Justice and the FBI, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) stated that there could be legal consequences for officials who may have misled the FISA court. "If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial," he said. "The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created."

Nunes took this highly unusual, no-holds-barred stance during an interview with Emmy-award winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson , which aired on Sunday.

Attkisson said she had invited both Nunes and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) but that only Nunes agreed. She asked him about Schiff's charge that Nunes' goal was "to put the FBI and DOJ on trial." What followed was very atypical bluntness -- candor normally considered quite unacceptable in polite circles of the Washington Establishment.

Rather than play the diplomat and disavow what Schiff contended was Nunes' goal, Nunes said, in effect, let the chips fall where they may. He unapologetically averred that, yes, a criminal trial might well be the outcome. "DOJ and FBI are not above the law," he stated emphatically. "If they are committing abuse before a secret court getting warrants on American citizens, you're darn right that we're going to put them on trial."

Die Is Cast

The stakes are very high. Current and former senior officials -- and not only from DOJ and FBI, but from other agencies like the CIA and NSA, whom documents and testimony show were involved in providing faulty information to justify a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign official Carter Page -- may suddenly find themselves in considerable legal jeopardy. Like, felony territory.

This was not supposed to happen. Mrs. Clinton was a shoo-in, remember? Back when the FISA surveillance warrant of Page was obtained, just weeks before the November 2016 election, there seemed to be no need to hide tracks, because, even if these extracurricular activities were discovered, the perps would have looked forward to award certificates rather than legal problems under a Trump presidency.

Thus, the knives will be coming out. Mostly because the mainstream media will make a major effort -- together with Schiff-mates in the Democratic Party -- to marginalize Nunes, those who find themselves in jeopardy can be expected to push back strongly.

If past is precedent, they will be confident that, with their powerful allies within the FBI/DOJ/CIA "Deep State" they will be able to counter Nunes and show him and the other congressional investigation committee chairs, where the power lies. The conventional wisdom is that Nunes and the others have bit off far more than they can chew. And the odds do not favor folks, including oversight committee chairs, who buck the system.

Staying Power

On the other hand, the presumptive perps have not run into a chairman like Nunes in four decades, since Congressmen Lucien Nedzi (D-Mich.), Otis Pike (D-NY), and Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) ran tough, explosive hearings on the abuses of a previous generation deep state, including massive domestic spying revealed by quintessential investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in December 1974. (Actually, this is largely why the congressional intelligence oversight committees were later established, and why the FISA law was passed in 1978.)

At this point, one is tempted to say plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose -- or the more things change, the more they stay the same -- but that would be only half correct in this context. Yes, scoundrels will always take liberties with the law to spy on others. But the huge difference today is that mainstream media have no room for those who uncover government crimes and abuse. And this will be a major impediment to efforts by Nunes and other committee chairs to inform the public.

One glaring sign of the media's unwillingness to displease corporate masters and Official Washington is the harsh reality that Hersh's most recent explosive investigations, using his large array of government sources to explore front-burner issues, have not been able to find a home in any English-speaking newspaper or journal. In a sense, this provides what might be called a "confidence-building" factor, giving some assurance to deep-state perps that they will be able to ride this out, and that congressional committee chairs will once again learn to know their (subservient) place.

Much will depend on whether top DOJ and FBI officials can bring themselves to reverse course and give priority to the oath they took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. This should not be too much to hope for, but it will require uncommon courage in facing up honestly to the major misdeeds appear to have occurred -- and letting the chips fall where they may. Besides, it would be the right thing to do.

Nunes is projecting calm confidence that once he and Trey Gowdey (R-Tenn.), chair of the House Oversight Committee, release documentary evidence showing what their investigations have turned up, it will be hard for DOJ and FBI officials to dissimulate.

In Other News

In the interview with Attkisson, Nunes covered a number of other significant issues:

The committee is closing down its investigation into possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign; no evidence of collusion was found. The apparently widespread practice of "unmasking" the identities of Americans under surveillance. On this point, Nunes said, "In the last administration they were unmasking hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of Americans' names. They were unmasking for what I would say, for lack of a better definition, were for political purposes." Asked about Schiff's criticism that Nunes behaved improperly on what he called the "midnight run to the White House," Nunes responded that the stories were untrue. "Well, most of the time I ignore political nonsense in this town," he said. "What I will say is that all of those stories were totally fake from the beginning."

Not since Watergate has there been so high a degree of political tension here in Washington but the stakes for our Republic are even higher this time. Assuming abuse of FISA court procedures is documented and those responsible for playing fast and loose with the required justification for legal warrants are not held to account, the division of powers enshrined in the Constitution will be in peril.

A denouement of some kind can be expected in the coming months. Stay tuned.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Savior in inner-city Washington. He was a CIA analyst for 27 years and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).


Skip Scott , February 19, 2018 at 9:38 am

Thanks Ray for another great article. One can only hope that Nunes is successful. However, like you say, the MSM is now complicit with the "Deep State", so the fight for justice becomes much harder. One also has to remember Schumer's "six ways from Sunday" applies equally to the congress as it does to the president. I hardly ever watch TV news, but recently I've been subjected to it, and I've seen a deluge of fluff pieces on our so-called Intelligence Agencies. I would love to see Trump give a speech (instead of a tweet) directly to the American people letting them know what rascals like Brennan, Clapper, et al have been up to.

Bob Van Noy , February 19, 2018 at 12:51 pm

This may be the best broadcast tv journalism in many years, read Sharyl Attkisson's story, "Stonewalled" (I will link the commentary page to that book for thorough readers). And thank you Nat, Ray McGovern & CN

https://www.amazon.com/Stonewalled-Obstruction-Intimidation-Harassment-Washington/dp/0062322850/ref=sr_1_1/140-4375232-2286101?ie=UTF8&qid=1519058613&sr=8-1&keywords=stonewalled#customerReviews

Dave P. , February 19, 2018 at 2:29 pm

An excellent and very timely article by Ray McGovern. Lawlessness, greed, complete subservience to Wall Street Finance and other Powers, insanity, and utter inhumanity prevails in present day Ruling Establishment in Washington. Obama, "the hope and change" Con Artist for whose election, being democrats we worked so hard in 2008 turned to be the biggest perpetrator of this lawlessness and responsible for fanning the flames still further in starting a new Cold War.

It is real courageous of Devin Nunes to give this interview. It is not only the accountability to law that is at stake in U.S., but the Whole World is imperiled with what happens in Washington. But as many have written before in comments about this complete moral collapse of the Entire West, I am afraid, it is all going to be swept under the rug. We have to just keep the fingers crossed.

Howard Dean just said yesterday that Nunes and people like him belong in jail. Now can you believe it, how low these so called liberal democrats have come to? Looking at the pictures of Adam Schiff, Howard Dean, and others in their company, I literally feel sick in the stomach. And one asks the essential question: "did not their parents teach them any honesty or moral principles in young age?".

Abbybwood , February 19, 2018 at 3:54 pm

But what he said is very confusing. First he says that Congress has no way to prosecute the DOJ/FBI for wrong doing then at the end he says Congress will need to prosecute the DOJ/FBI if necessary. Either Congress has the ability to prosecute the DOJ/FBI and issue indictments and set up Grand Juries or they don't.

Somebody needs to find out, Constitutionally, what the solution is when the DOJ/FBI at the highest levels become the criminals. WHO has the power to indict/convict these individuals??

Sam F , February 19, 2018 at 10:36 pm

A special prosecutor (Mueller's position) is appointed by the Pres or AG.

Annie , February 19, 2018 at 3:20 pm

From what I've heard expressed by a few FBI people, you don't come before a court, but a judge, one person, and they are known to rubber stamp almost everything. So they should be investigated too.

Realist , February 19, 2018 at 5:02 pm

I have never seen such media bias against a sitting president in my lifetime, not even against Richard Nixon when they at least practiced decorum and feigned objectivity even if they were secretly cheering on his demise. I will reiterate here that I do not champion the man but rather due process under our constitution, which has been made a travesty from the moment of Clinton's loss at the polls.

Dave P. , February 19, 2018 at 7:56 pm

I completely agree with you Realist. I am not Trump's fan or supporter of his agenda, in fact, in many things quite the opposite of it. However, he raised some very valid points about the the domestic economy and other issues, and about the need to stop interventions in foreign countries, and getting along Russia, and the need to rebuild country's manufacturing system again. He was duly elected by the people, and he should have been given the support to pursue what he promised. But it did not happen. We would not know now what he actually wanted to accomplish.

Sam F , February 19, 2018 at 10:41 pm

Yes, neither party nor the mass media shows concern for the Constitution or for the people. As the propaganda agency, the mass media are primarily responsible. The zionist/WallSt/MIC oligarchy have consolidated control over mass media, secret agencies, and elections, but not without factions.

Michael , February 19, 2018 at 10:00 am

Although it's being done for the wrong reasons, I am nevertheless looking forward to seeing our out-of-control intelligence agencies being put in their place. If I were president and my party controlled both houses of Congress, you'd better believe I'd be looking to dismantle the national surveillance state and reduce the military budget to a "mere" $250 billion annually.

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 11:09 am

Michael I hear ya. Yes, there is a civil war of sorts going on in DC, and yes it would be a wonderful thing to rid our bureaucracy of all the slim that is in it, but taking Jiminy Cricket's good advice to heart would be so much more fruitful to if you and I would only sing;

'When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you"

Now that song will be stuck in my head all day .got any Journey? Joe

Coleen Rowley , February 19, 2018 at 3:27 pm

It's true that people generally do not care when bad practices, policies or violence is inflicted on others and not on themselves. Of course that's stupid because it's just a matter of time before "blowback" occurs (as the CIA euphemistically labeled how doing unto others eventually boomerangs back on perpetrators). Going back to the Church Committee and how that bit of accountability finally happened, it only got off the ground when Frank Church and other Senators found THEMSELVES in the crosshairs of FBI Cointelpro; CIA's "CHAOS" and NSA's "Minaret" surveillance. http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/09/25/secret-cold-war-documents-reveal-nsa-spied-on-senators/ (To this day, only 7 of the 1000 or so Americans targeted by the NSA during the Vietnam War have been discovered but their identities are telling.)

The post 9-11 wars of aggression, massive surveillance, torture and other war crimes were sold to the American public as only to be inflicted on foreigners, i.e. "we fight them over there so we don't fight them here." But the blowback has now turned America's schools, malls, workplaces, concerts and churches into war zones and little by little, the disinformation ops, "regime change" know-how and other accoutrements of perpetual war (the fool's errand of gaining full spectrum dominance over the rest of the world) have been turned inward on the American people, including powerful American officials themselves. So it would seem to be a good thing that some politicians like Nunes have finally seen the light exactly as Frank Church did -- only when they themselves began to reap the negative consequences of what they thought would only negatively impact other, lesser people.

BobS , February 19, 2018 at 4:50 pm

" the blowback has now turned America's schools, malls, workplaces, concerts and churches into war zones"

"blowback" is doing a lot of work in that sentence, if you're referring specifically to "post 9-11 wars of aggression, massive surveillance, torture and other war crimes". Whenever the incidents have had a political agenda attached, it's more often than not been of the domestic right-wing variety. And of course, all of them have been facilitated by easy civilian access to hardware that was originally developed by the military (ours and the Soviets) to efficiently kill/incapacitate large numbers of enemy fighters.

Gregory Herr , February 19, 2018 at 7:30 pm

BobS fails to understand that blowback encapsulates more than "revenge". "Forever war" and all Colleen mentions that goes with it has had societal impact because violence is glorified as a "solution" and feelings of suspicion and antagonism become part of the dark undertow.

Sam F , February 19, 2018 at 10:54 pm

Well said, Colleen. Let us hope that Nunes is not merely acting the part. I wonder whether the greatest secrets of domestic spying are now so compartmentalized and controlled that only those most dependent upon their agency could blow the whistle.

Annie , February 19, 2018 at 4:23 pm

This is not to be compared to spying on citizens, which is unacceptable, but they tried to undermine a presidency, whether you like Trump or not, and at the same time it allowed them to push their cold war agenda. I remember Clinton's campaign manager coming out right after the e-mail dump that said the Russians did it. And didn't Obama send a lot of those Russian ambassadors packing? They should be investigated, as should the FISA court itself. Perhaps if Trump didn't have this charge of colluding with Russia he might have been able to be more diplomatic on that score. Now, they made sure he would never be getting along with Russia. What they have now is a bunch of Russians acting on their own that allegedly interfered in our elections and created political discord, which is absurd, since the democrats are mainly responsible for this nonsense, as is the FBI and DOJ. I was a democrat, but no more.

Dave P. , February 19, 2018 at 4:52 pm

Annie, you are right on that. However, Coleen Rowely has also made some very good observations in her comments. But there is more to it, as some have pointed out in comments above, there are some intra-party quarrels going on in Washington to take the upper hand. Regarding foreign policy, National Security State and surveillance, and other such issues, both parties are joined at the hip.

Gregory Herr , February 19, 2018 at 7:42 pm

I wouldn't completely discount the idea that Nunes' sense of responsibility has been activated by being a close witness to what is blatant wrongdoing. But then my cynicism is still tempered by the belief that sometimes people are compelled to do what's right just because it's what's right. Silly me.

Virginia , February 19, 2018 at 10:34 am

Me, too, Michael, to " dismantle the national surveillance state and reduce the military budget to a 'mere' $250 billion annually."

Thanks to Ray McGovern for another good article with link to interview. Good to hear they will finally be closing the Mueller investigation (Nunes was straightforward about that, no there there) and will likely be investigating the FBI and DOJ.

Applause goes to David Nunes. Keep up the good work.

Abbybwood , February 19, 2018 at 4:03 pm

But I see where Trump asked for nearly one TRILLION dollars for the military and got it.

Pandas4peace , February 19, 2018 at 10:24 am

Where can we get access to Seymour Hersh's "recent explosive investigations" even if they are written in German?

Cherrycoke , February 19, 2018 at 11:57 am

https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article165905578/Trump-s-Red-Line.html

There is more at the bottom of the page.

Ray McGovern , February 19, 2018 at 12:11 pm

Try this link: http://raymcgovern.com/?s=hersh+welt or simply search on consortiumnews.com webpage.

ray

mike k , February 19, 2018 at 2:54 pm

"On June 25th 2017 the German newspaper, Welt, published the latest piece by Seymour Hersh, countering the "mainstream" narrative around the April 4th 2017 Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack in Syria."

Ray McGovern , February 19, 2018 at 9:35 pm

Ranney,

Please have a look at this: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/25/intel-behind-trumps-syria-attack-questioned/

Consortiumnews.com publishes and comments on everything Pulitzer Prize winning Sy Hersh does. The problem is that he is BANNED from English-language pubs -- simply banned and even kept off erstwhile "liberal" TV and radio programs. Amy Goodman, for example, has ALWAYS had Sy on when he had a new story until this one. She would not touch it; these days prefers to go with the "White Helmets" of this world. O Tempora, O Mores. Sad.

So, in sum, the problem is a very basic one. Sy does not publish until he has nailed down every significant detail and, since he is so well plugged in with many longtime, trusted sources to sift through, that takes a while for a bit story -- as all of them are. And when he is ready to publish, he hears folks whisper "Leper" as he gets close to an editorial office. It really IS that bad. We owe the op-ed editor at die Welt our thanks.

Btw: The Consortiumnews.com main page has a SEARCH button that I find very handy. Try to search on Seymour Hersh. Same goes for easily searchable raymcgovern.com, my website.

Ray

David Otness , February 19, 2018 at 5:37 pm

The London Review of Books has been publishing Hersh's work. That's one source.

Ray McGovern , February 19, 2018 at 9:51 pm

David,

Not for his latest of last June. See explanation of LRB cave in at: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/25/intel-behind-trumps-syria-attack-questioned/

The ostracizing of Sy Hersh is a major -- if highly depressing -- story in and of itself. But he is irrepressible. I do not think he is going to silently steal away any time soon.

Ray McGovern

Kim Dixon , February 19, 2018 at 10:32 am

Can anyone imagine the Neocon WashPo, or the NYT (or CBS, or CNN, or ) committing actual journalism, as this story progresses?

That, and the DNC's commitment to the DNC to the Russia Did It!™ canard, will ensure that real revelations go nowhere.

It is instructive to read the comments on any NYT article on this subject. The comments are clearly written by intelligent, well-educated individuals – who parrot the Deep State's anti-Russian propaganda as if they were the dumbest of the "Better dead than Red!" 50s McCarthyites.

The new McCarthyites are actually stupider and more authoritarian than their sad fore-bearers, because they could pierce the Deep States lies with 30 minutes of online research, but they prefer tribalism and ignorance, instead.

Lois Gagnon , February 19, 2018 at 1:01 pm

You got that right! I live in the 5 college area in Massachusetts. Plenty of those types around here playing activists. They fit your description. I can't stand to be in the same room with any of them. They may as well be from Mars.

Nancy , February 19, 2018 at 2:47 pm

I agree. The average working person has more common sense than the so-called intelligent, educated class. I suspect their views reflect the fact that they are very comfortable, financially, with the status quo, and don't want any real change.

mike k , February 19, 2018 at 10:35 am

Trump started going head to head with the intel folks, but has backed down a lot now. Let's hope Nunes et al hang in there and keep the pressure on these despicable criminals who hide behind governmental powers. When you allow people to do whatever they want in secret with no oversight, you can expect them to abuse their power. The basic question all this leads to is "who is running this country and making crucial decisions about war and peace, or fascism and democracy"?

BobH , February 19, 2018 at 10:52 am

Somehow I don't think Nunes or his committee is capable of reigning in Frankenstein. His "constitutuents"" are not likely to allow it and although the monster was pieced together from many body parts its instincts for self-preservation are formidable. Nevertheless, I would applaud anyone who makes the effort.

BobH , February 19, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Here's where Mueller's investigation didn't go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-2_Bc_7Pos

Bob Van Noy , February 19, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Thanks BobH, that's an excellent rant, thanks for passing it along.

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 10:58 am

The only way any trail that Nunes could even begin to make magically appear to happen before our weary eyes will happen only, and I say only, will appear because it will be good for tv ratings. Enforcing Constitutional law, I mean who does that anymore? Why today in our nation's capital we have congressional people asking the opposite of what Ben Franklin warned us good citizens about as the swamp critters are saying, 'Constitution how can we lose it'. You know this Ray that these crooks and crookettes in DC think that the U.S. Constitution is so passé and so anciently colonial that they hear Jefferson saying, 'ignore this stupid document, I was drunk with Adams and Franklin when I wrote it. It was all a big mistake.' Or something like that, but Constitutional law we don't need no stink'n Constitutional law, now get back to your part time work. (Whip cracking sound)

Hey Ray this whole fiasco does what is most important in this new American century, this fiasco is entertaining and the ratings are going through the roof so with that what more could a red blooded good American ask for now pass the tv remote.

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 11:29 am