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Politicized Intelligence Kneecapping Trump

By Alastair Crooke | Consortium News | December 16, 2016

It is not difficult to understand the dynamics of the recent U.S. presidential election. These same dynamics played a part in Brexit, and continue to unfold throughout Europe: there has been little or no real “growth” since 2005 – for many Americans and Europeans. Good quality jobs for native-born Americans and Europeans are rare, and those employment increases that have occurred, are mostly in the minimum wage sector – and have been filled by recent immigrants.

Many native-born Americans and Europeans are feeling the economic pips squeezed to the limit, at the same time that zero or negative interest rates have eviscerated savings income, and are threatening their pensions.

This is the economic malaise. And on top of this has been the political malaise and widespread reaction against the center-leftist “values-based,” identity politics that stressed the rights and interests of a growing spectrum of “victims” in society: specifically defined in polar opposition to the mainstream American and European way-of-life.

The aggressiveness behind this polar oppositional positioning, intentionally demonizes and weakens the cultural mainstream: in effect, ordinary people who worked, had loving wives or husbands and children, and attended church, became the “deplorables,” bigots or racists. It was against this supposed cultural “tyranny” that identity victims needed to be supported.

Gender relations were twisted as new genders proliferated, the propaganda of gender diversity exploded, and parent-children relations eroded. Indeed, “white,” “male” and “Christian” are the only identities you may freely and gratuitously abuse in the U.S. and Europe today. Many ordinary Americans and Europeans find this intolerable. They are pushing-back.

Nothing About Russia

None of these dynamics have anything at all to do with Russia or President Vladimir Putin – except that many Russians express bewilderment that Europe has become so embroiled in this gender politics, and in a war against traditional cultural and moral values.

But today, certain Western intelligence services – the CIA and MI6 – want to suggest that Putin had his “thumb on the scales” of the U.S. election, and “may manipulate a series of key elections [to be held] in Europe next year” too.  The narrative has evolved from one of Russian influence in U.S. elections, to that of a decisive influence.

As one former CIA officer and U.S. national intelligence co-ordinator, Graham Fuller puts it: “And now, in perhaps the most volatile delegitimization gambit ever, Trump is now whispered to be ‘Putin’s candidate,’ a Russian pawn who has infiltrated the White House itself …

“This is all very ugly stuff. Worse, it looks like questioning the electoral process and the legitimacy of the election itself may become a permanent feature of our domestic politics, inciting further divisiveness and bitterness on both sides of the political divide, rendering the country (even more) ungovernable.”

Indeed, it is ugly stuff. The politicization of intelligence has reached new heights. Russia is not responsible for the widespread opposition to globalization in the U.S. and Europe: simply, the original theory behind globalization (David Ricardo’s comparative advantage theory) no longer retains validity or meaning in the changed reality of today’s world (see here, for an explanation).

And economic growth is proving elusive for a number of reasons, which reflect deep-seated changes under way in the world today (aging demography, China’s stall, and more generally, the failure of debt-led growth policies to work any more, inter alia). For sure, the leadership of the CIA understands these longer-term dynamics at work in recent U.S. and European elections.

A recent Pew survey, for example, shows: “The Republican Party made deep inroads into America’s middle-class communities in 2016. Although many middle-class areas voted for Barack Obama in 2008, they overwhelmingly favored Donald Trump in 2016, a shift that was a key to his victory … In 2016, Trump successfully defended all 27 middle-class areas won by Republicans in 2008. In a dramatic shift, however, Hillary Clinton lost in 18 of the 30 middle-class areas won by Democrats in 2008 … Overall, Democrats experienced widespread erosion in support from 2008 to 2016. Their share of the vote fell in 196 of the 221 metropolitan areas examined. The loss in support was sufficiently large to move 37 areas from the Democratic column to the Republican column …”.

A Charge Lacking Evidence

And, so far, the American officials have stated explicitly that there is no evidence to sustain their claim of Russian involvement – and the National Security Agency, which, alone, might have such evidence – were it to exist – has not come forward to confirm the CIA “assessment.” Other American intelligence agencies have directly contested the leaked CIA “finding.”

In short, we are told that the CIA claims are based on “inference”: which is to say that the CIA officials are “confident,” based on their psychological profile of President Putin, that the latter would prefer Mr. Trump as President; that since it was the Democrats who experienced leaks – and not the Republicans – it may be inferred that a hostile power was behind the leaks; and since Putin lies at the apex of Russian power, it may “confidently” be inferred that he personally would have authorized and directed such leaks.

Of course, this is not intelligence. This is simply a given conceptual framework (or group think), which may be right or may be wrong, being played out. It is blatantly political – unless sustained by hard intelligence.

And it is pernicious. Regardless of what may be said officially, in due course, in respect to the CIA claims, a cloud of illegitimacy will hang over the Trump Administration, and, as Graham Fuller rightly observes, this supposed illegitimacy, derived from the decisive influence of Russia on the election, may not be ephemeral, but rather continue to haunt the President throughout his incumbency. (It is hard to lay to rest CIA inferences once made, beyond repeating that there is no definite evidence to support them.) Such a finding would hardly dissipate the smoldering antipathies.

The allegation of Russian malfeasance may also derail the confirmation of Rex Tillerson, official “friend of Russia,” as Secretary of State. It may thus hobble Trump’s ability to reach détente with Russia – and may taint any détente that subsequently may be reached with Russia.

It is likely too, to make President Putin more wary of reaching any accord with Tillerson – suspecting that any new détente with the U.S. will unleash a further torrent of abuse of Russia from a polarized America. Even were Putin personally to welcome a Trump political initiative, further abuse of Russia in America and Europe might not be judged by President Putin to be worth the candle. No people, and not least the Russian people, like to see their country traduced publicly, and at length, in the world press. The onslaught is already having its impact: Russians will be asking themselves can Trump command such a divided and soured country.

Delegitimizing a President

Can one conclude that this outcome (a delegitimized Presidency) was somehow other than that which the CIA intended? Pat Buchanan (himself a thrice-time U.S. Presidential candidate) has no doubts: “The [New York] Times editorial spoke of a ‘darkening cloud’ already over the Trump presidency, and warned that a failure to investigate and discover the full truth of Russia’s hacking could only ‘feed suspicion among millions of Americans that … (t)he election was indeed rigged.’

“Behind the effort to smear Tillerson and delegitimize Trump lies a larger motive. Trump has antagonists in both parties who are alarmed at his triumph, because it imperils the foreign policy agenda that is their raison d’être, their reason ‘for being.’

These people do not want to lift sanctions on Moscow. They do not want an end to the confrontation with Russia. As is seen by their bringing in tiny Montenegro, they want to enlarge NATO to encompass Sweden, Finland, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.

They have in mind the permanent U.S. encirclement of Russia … Their goal is to bring down Putin and bring about ‘regime change’ in Moscow.”

In short, the Russia “hype” is about blocking Trump from making his foreshadowed shift away from the new Cold War, pursued by the present U.S. establishment, and towards initiating détente instead, and perhaps the playing up of the Russian “threat” extends even to hoping to frighten enough presidential electors to change their vote on Dec. 19 (though that prospect seems improbable).

If there are indeed foreign intelligence services with their “thumb” in the American election, arguably it is those European services that are feeding the “profound” propaganda threat from Russia meme – and thereby helping in the delegitimization of the U.S. President-elect, and to keeping the new Cold War alive. (There are European states deeply opposed to any rapprochement between the U.S. and Russia).

But this politicization of intelligence is pernicious in another way – to which Graham Fuller also alludes. The allegations that Trump is a knowing or unknowing pawn of Russia is explosive emotional material thrown into an already enflamed, splintered and embittered American national psyche.  The “not my President” meme may make it impossible for Trump to operationalize his policies – as polarized government departments turn upon each other (as is already occurring amongst the intelligence agencies). In short, it can paralyze the very operationality of government.

Buchanan states the obvious conclusion, when he writes: “early in his presidency, if not before, Trump is going to have to impose his foreign policy upon his own party and, indeed, upon his own government. Or his presidency will be broken, as was Lyndon Johnson’s.”

Profound Polarization

But let us be clear: de-legitimation can be a two-edged sword. Were, by some pretty unimaginable event, Hillary Clinton to be enacted as President vice Trump, she would find her ability to command the authority of the state as hobbled by the bitterness and anger – as would a delegitimized Trump.

Politicization of intelligence services is not new, nor are “black” (i.e. false-flagged) information operations conducted by Western services, but the scale of the present assault on a U.S. President-elect marks, perhaps, a different order of potential consequences.

How can this have happened? The war in Syria has had, it seems, a hugely corrosive effect on services such as CIA and MI6. Firstly, there was the tension of contradiction: the deceit to be maintained of ostensibly fighting terrorism, while secretly supporting such bloody forces (in order to weaken President Bashar al-Assad and subsequently Russia).

Secondly, that of pretending to be pursuing a “principled” policy of off-shored “identity politics” (Sunnis as victims), while quietly accepting – and becoming dependent on – the “off-balance sheet” subventions flowing from the very patrons of such forces (shades of Clinton Foundation pay-to-play ethos).

And thirdly, by becoming the echo chamber of claims, however improbable, however false, thrown up by sundry armed movements and their paymasters – with the intent to force the hand of Western military intervention. In short, these services cease to be observers; they became investors. They become lost in a maze of contorted realities, false propaganda, and of acquired hubris. Like Prometheus, they think to secretly steal from Zeus, the god of war: they aspire to dictate war and peace.

Into this heady world of “strategic communication” warfare, has intruded Mr. Trump, spoiling their Syria gambit – and promising détente with Russia. It must indeed seem intolerable.

Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum.

December 16, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

‘CIA provides info to media but not Congress’ – Homeland Security Committee on Russia hacking claims

RT | December 16, 2016

The chairman of the US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has slammed the CIA’s refusal to brief Congress on allegations of Russian hacking.

“It is disappointing that the CIA would provide information on this issue to the Washington Post and NBC but will not provide information to elected members of Congress,” Homeland Security Chairman Senator Ron Johnson said on Friday.

Citing concerns over a “growing threat to our security” said to be posed by “the cyberattack capabilities of America’s rivals and adversaries,” Johnson said he arrived to Washington this week and requested that the intelligence agency provide a briefing on Russia’s alleged involvement in the recent US presidential elections.

“The CIA refused this request,” Johnson’s statement read, with the senator expressing his “disappointment” over who the CIA decides to share its information with first of all.

On Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee had planned a meeting with the agency on the issue, but the CIA failed to participate. Its director, John Brennan, declined to provide a briefing, saying he was occupied with a review ordered by the president, according to Fox News.

The US Intelligence Community had claimed it was busy working on a review on the topic of ‘foreign influence on US elections’ requested by President Barack Obama. The Director of National Intelligence said his community would brief senators and “make those findings available to the public consistent with protecting intelligence sources and methods” after it finishes the Obama-ordered review. “We will not offer any comment until the review is complete,” the statement said.

Read more:

WikiLeaks envoy: Leaked DNC emails came from ‘disgusted’ whistleblower, not Russian hackers

Media reporting on hacked DNC emails acted as ‘arms of Russian intelligence’ – White House

December 16, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Making Russia ‘The Enemy’

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | December 15, 2016

The rising hysteria about Russia is best understood as fulfilling two needs for Official Washington: the Military Industrial Complex’s transitioning from the “war on terror” to a more lucrative “new cold war” – and blunting the threat that a President Trump poses to the neoconservative/liberal-interventionist foreign-policy establishment.

By hyping the Russian “threat,” the neocons and their liberal-hawk sidekicks, who include much of the mainstream U.S. news media, can guarantee bigger military budgets from Congress. The hype also sets in motion a blocking maneuver to impinge on any significant change in direction for U.S. foreign policy under Trump.

Some Democrats even hope to stop Trump from ascending to the White House by having the Central Intelligence Agency, in effect, lobby the electors in the Electoral College with scary tales about Russia trying to fix the election for Trump.

The electors meet on Dec. 19 when they will formally cast their votes, supposedly reflecting the judgments of each state’s voters, but conceivably individual electors could switch their ballots from Trump to Hillary Clinton or someone else.

On Thursday, liberal columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. joined the call for electors to flip, writing: “The question is whether Trump, Vladimir Putin and, perhaps, Clinton’s popular-vote advantage give you sufficient reason to blow up the system.”

That Democrats would want the CIA, which is forbidden to operate domestically in part because of its historic role in influencing elections in other countries, to play a similar role in the United States shows how desperate the Democratic Party has become.

And, even though The New York Times and other big news outlets are reporting as flat fact that Russia hacked the Democratic email accounts and gave the information to WikiLeaks, former British Ambassador Craig Murray, a close associate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, told the London Daily Mail that he personally received the email data from a “disgusted” Democrat.

Murray said he flew from London to Washington for a clandestine handoff from one of the email sources in September, receiving the package in a wooded area near American University.

“Neither of [the leaks, from the Democratic National Committee or Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta] came from the Russians,” Murray said, adding: “the source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.”

Murray said the insider felt “disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders.” Murray added that his meeting was with an intermediary for the Democratic leaker, not the leaker directly.

If Murray’s story is true, it raises several alternative scenarios: that the U.S. intelligence community’s claims about a Russian hack are false; that Russians hacked the Democrats’ emails for their own intelligence gathering without giving the material to WikiLeaks; or that Murray was deceived about the identity of the original leaker.

But the uncertainty creates the possibility that the Democrats are using a dubious CIA assessment to reverse the outcome of an American presidential election, in effect, making the CIA party to a preemptive domestic “regime change.”

Delayed Autopsy

All of this maneuvering also is delaying the Democratic Party’s self-examination into why it lost so many white working-class voters in normally Democratic strongholds, such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Rather than national party leaders taking the blame for pre-selecting a very flawed candidate and ignoring all the warning signs about the public’s resistance to this establishment choice, Democrats have pointed fingers at almost everyone else – from FBI Director James Comey for briefly reviving Clinton’s email investigation, to third-party candidates who siphoned off votes, to the archaic Electoral College which negates the fact that Clinton did win the national popular vote – and now to the Russians.

While there may be some validity to these various complaints, the excessive frenzy that has surrounded the still-unproven claims that the Russian government surreptitiously tilted the election in Trump’s favor creates an especially dangerous dynamic.

On one level, it has led Democrats to support Orwellian/ McCarthyistic concepts, such as establishing “black lists” for Internet sites that question Official Washington’s “conventional wisdom” and thus are deemed purveyors of “Russian propaganda” or “fake news.”

On another level, it cements the Democratic Party as America’s preeminent “war party,” favoring an escalating New Cold War with Russia by ratcheting up economic sanctions against Moscow, and even seeking military challenges to Russia in conflict zones such as Syria and Ukraine.

One of the most dangerous aspects of a prospective Hillary Clinton presidency was that she would have appointed neocons, such as Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and her husband, Project for the New American Century co-founder Robert Kagan, to high-level foreign policy positions.

Though that risk may have passed assuming Clinton’s Electoral College defeat on Monday, Democrats now are excitedly joining the bash-Russia movement, making it harder to envision how the party can transition back into its more recent role as the “peace party” (at least relative to the extremely hawkish Republicans).

Trading Places

The potential trading places of the two parties in that regard – with Trump favoring geopolitical détente and the Democrats beating the drums for more military confrontations – augurs poorly for the Democrats regaining their political footing anytime soon.

If Democratic leaders press ahead, in alliance with neoconservative Republicans, on demands for escalating the New Cold War with Russia, they could precipitate a party split between Democratic hawks and doves, a schism that likely would have occurred if Clinton had been elected but now may happen anyway, albeit without the benefit of the party holding the White House.

The first test of this emerging Democratic-neocon alliance may come over Trump’s choice for Secretary of State, Exxon-Mobil’s chief executive Rex Tillerson, who doesn’t exhibit the visceral hatred of Russian President Vladimir Putin that Democrats are encouraging.

As an international business executive, Tillerson appears to share Trump’s real-politik take on the world, the idea that doing business with rivals makes more sense than conspiring to force “regime change” after “regime change.”

Over the past several decades, the “regime change” approach has been embraced by both neocons and liberal interventionists and has been implemented by both Republican and Democratic administrations. Sometimes, it’s done through war and other times through “color revolutions” – always under the idealistic guise of “democracy promotion” or “protecting human rights.”

But the problem with this neo-imperialist strategy has been that it has failed miserably to improve the lives of the people living in the “regime-changed” countries. Instead, it has spread chaos across wide swaths of the globe and has now even destabilized Europe.

Yet, the solution, as envisioned by the neocons and their liberal-hawk understudies, is simply to force more “regime change” medicine down the throats of the world’s population. The new “great” idea is to destabilize nuclear-armed Russia by making its economy scream and by funding as many anti-Putin elements as possible to create the nucleus for a “color revolution” in Moscow.

To justify that risky scheme, there has been a broad expansion of anti-Russian propaganda now being funded with tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money as well as being pushed by government officials giving off-the-record briefings to mainstream media outlets.

However, as with earlier “regime change” plans, the neocons and liberal hawks never think through the scenario to the end. They always assume that everything is going to work out fine and some well-dressed “opposition leader” who has been to their think-tank conferences will simply ascend to the top job.

Remember, in Iraq, it was going to be Ahmed Chalabi who was beloved in Official Washington but broadly rejected by the Iraqi people. In Libya, there has been a parade of U.S.-approved “unity” leaders who have failed to pull that country together.

In Ukraine, Nuland’s choice – Arseniy “Yats is the guy” Yatsenyuk – resigned amid broad public disapproval  earlier this year after pushing through harsh cuts in social programs, even as the U.S.-backed regime officials in Kiev continued to plunder Ukraine’s treasury and misappropriate Western economic aid.

Nuclear-Armed Destabilization

But the notion of destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia is even more hare-brained than those other fiascos. The neocon/liberal-hawk assumption is that Russians – pushed to the brink of starvation by crippling Western sanctions – will overthrow Putin and install a new version of Boris Yeltsin who would then let U.S. financial advisers return with their neoliberal “shock therapy” of the 1990s and again exploit Russia’s vast resources.

Indeed, it was the Yeltsin era and its Western-beloved “shock therapy” that created the desperate conditions before the rise of Putin with his autocratic nationalism, which, for all its faults, has dramatically improved the lives of most Russians.

So, the more likely result from the neocon/liberal-hawk “regime change” plans for Moscow would be the emergence of someone even more nationalistic – and likely far less stable – than Putin, who is regarded even by his critics as cold and calculating.

The prospect of an extreme Russian nationalist getting his or her hands on the Kremlin’s nuclear codes should send chills up and down the spines of every American, indeed every human being on the planet. But it is the course that key national Democrats appear to be on with their increasingly hysterical comments about Russia.

The Democratic National Committee issued a statement on Wednesday accusing Trump of giving Russia “an early holiday gift that smells like a payoff. … It’s rather easy to connect the dots. Russia meddled in the U.S. election in order to benefit Trump and now he’s repaying Vladimir Putin by nominating Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.”

Besides delaying a desperately needed autopsy on why Democrats did so badly in an election against the also-widely-disliked Donald Trump, the new blame-Russia gambit threatens to hurt the Democrats and their preferred policies in another way.

If Democrats vote in bloc against Tillerson or other Trump foreign-policy nominees – demanding that he appoint people acceptable to the neocons and the liberal hawks – Trump might well be pushed deeper into the arms of right-wing Republicans, giving them more on domestic issues to solidify their support on his foreign-policy goals.

That could end up redounding against the Democrats as they watch important social programs gutted in exchange for their own dubious Democratic alliance with the neocons.

Since the presidency of Bill Clinton, the Democrats have courted factions of the neocons, apparently thinking they are influential because they dominate many mainstream op-ed pages and Washington think tanks. In 1993, as a thank-you gift to the neocon editors of The New Republic for endorsing him, Clinton appointed neocon ideologue James Woolsey as head of the CIA, one of Clinton’s more disastrous personnel decisions.

But the truth appears to be that the neocons have much less influence across the U.S. electoral map than the Clintons think. Arguably, their pandering to a clique of Washington insiders who are viewed as warmongers by many peace-oriented Democrats may even represent a net negative when it comes to winning votes.

I’ve communicated with a number of traditional Democrats who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton because they feared she would pursue a dangerous neocon foreign policy. Obviously, that’s not a scientific survey, but the anecdotal evidence suggests that Clinton’s neocon connections could have been another drag on her campaign.

Assessing Russia

I also undertook a limited personal test regarding whether Russia is the police state that U.S. propaganda depicts, a country yearning to break free from the harsh grip of Vladimir Putin (although he registers 80 or so percent approval in polls).

Wintery scene at Red Square in Moscow, Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo by Robert Parry)

Red Square in Moscow, Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo by R. Parry)

During my trip last week to Europe, which included stops in Brussels and Copenhagen, I decided to take a side trip to Moscow, which I had never visited before. What I encountered was an impressive, surprisingly (to me at least) Westernized city with plenty of American and European franchises, including the ubiquitous McDonald’s and Starbucks. (Russians serve the Starbucks gingerbread latte with a small ginger cookie.)

Though senior Russian officials proved unwilling to meet with me, an American reporter, at this time of tensions, Russia had little appearance of a harshly repressive society. In my years covering U.S. policies in El Salvador in the 1980s and Haiti in the 1990s, I have experienced what police states look and feel like, where death squads dump bodies in the streets. That was not what I sensed in Moscow, just a modern city with people bustling about their business under early December snowfalls.

The police presence in Red Square near the Kremlin was not even as heavy-handed as it is near the government buildings of Washington. Instead, there was a pre-Christmas festive air to the brightly lit Red Square, featuring a large skating rink surrounded by small stands selling hot chocolate, toys, warm clothing and other goods.

Granted, my time and contact with Russians were limited – since I don’t speak Russian and most of them don’t speak English – but I was struck by the contrast between the grim images created by Western media and the Russia that I saw.

It reminded me of how President Ronald Reagan depicted Sandinista-ruled Nicaragua as a “totalitarian dungeon” with a militarized state ready to march on Texas, but what I found when I traveled to Managua was a third-world country still recovering from an earthquake and with a weak security structure despite the Contra war that Reagan had unleashed against Nicaragua.

In other words, “perception management” remains the guiding principle of how the U.S. government deals with the American people, scaring us with exaggerated tales of foreign threats and then manipulating our fears and our misperceptions.

As dangerous as that can be when we’re talking about Nicaragua or Iraq or Libya, the risks are exponentially higher regarding Russia. If the American people are stampeded into a New Cold War based more on myths than reality, the minimal cost could be the trillions of dollars diverted from domestic needs into the Military Industrial Complex. The far-greater cost could be some miscalculation by either side that could end life on the planet.

So, as the Democrats chart their future, they need to decide if they want to leapfrog the Republicans as America’s “war party” or whether they want to pull back from the escalation of tensions with Russia and start addressing the pressing needs of the American people.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

December 16, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mainstream Assumptions: The CIA, Presidential Elections, and the Russian Connection

By Binoy Kampmark | Dissident Voice | December 15, 2016

Intent and causation are important features in the course of history. The former envisages motive and hope, irrespective of outcome; the latter envisages consequence. Often, these get muddled in the jumbled process of reasoning. An intervention in the affairs of another state goes awry; a historical incident goes belly up with ferocious consequences. Suddenly, in the aftermath, we are wise, we knew better, and we can categorise plans as venal and characters as wicked.

In a world of Clinton-Trump machinations, distinctions about intent and causation have fallen into a soup of conjecture. The stakes to win in November were so high for either candidate, mendacity and assumptions were bound to take centre stage.

From fake news to false modesty, from traditional deception to the exotica of dissimulation, it was a contest that furnished the US political landscape with greater punch and interest than anything offered since the infant days of the Republic.

Central to one allegation of the 2016 presidential election was that Russian hacking efforts, supposedly directed by Moscow’s intelligence managers, had a direct effect on the outcome of the election. WikiLeaks had been roped into the cause, and was duly accused of being a Russian front, or an infatuate of Trump.

Trump has done his bit, as is his wont, to sink these propositions. To begin with, he told Time that he did not believe them as credible. “I don’t believe [Russia] interfered.” Nor did he find CIA assessments in general that credible. He specifically pointed out CIA incompetence, notably in its assessment of Iraq’s famed, and subsequently non-existent stockpile of weapons prior to the invasion of 2003. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.”

Behind him is Trump’s national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn. The CIA, according to Flynn in an interview with the New York Times in October 2015, “lost sight of who they actually work for. They work for the American people. They don’t work for the president of the United States.” In its declining utility, the organisation had become “a very political organisation”.

The intelligence cognoscenti were quick to wonder whether his presidency would be more than troubling for the 16 spying agencies he will have to cope with. “Given his proclivity for revenge combined with his notorious thin skin,” claimed Paul Pillar, former deputy director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism centre, “this threatens to result in a lasting relationship of distrust and ill will between the president and the intelligence community.”

This, at best, is a claim of the disgruntled, but it is one that has attracted its adherents. Linked to the causation argument is the notion that Russia’s Vladimir Putin envisaged the electoral outcome, backing a more sympathetic horse in a far from sympathetic race.

The impact of these claims has been furthered by unquestioning media outlets now termed, euphemistically, the mainstream. These mainstreamers have been keeping a rather pedestrian line on matters, taking a few choice notes from various official sources to build an empire of speculation.

The Washington Post delved out one example last week, engaging in what Glenn Greenwald regarded as “classic American journalism of the worst sort”. This entailed claims from “unverified assertions of anonymous officials, who in turn are disseminating their own claims about what the CIA purportedly believes, all based on evidence that remains completely secret.”

With one step, possibly two removed from the official CIA report, we were left with the view that the agency had “concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the US electoral system.”

This aptly perverse manoeuvre suggests that the very outlets keen to condemn fake news sites themselves become the incubators, and unquestioning disseminators, of unreliable material.

Within the intelligence community, the material on hacking – in so far as it pertains to goals – has also been questioned. Not all have jumped onto the CIA assisted narrative that the Kremlin was dabbling in its own gambling variant of regime change.

According to the Office of the Director of National intelligence (ODNI), more is needed. Yes, there may well have been hacking, but the issue of a Moscow-directed drive to benefit Trump over Clinton in the presidential race would require more heft.

According to Reuters, which similarly adopted the Washington recipe in interviewing three unnamed American officials on Monday, albeit more sceptical ones, “ODNI is not arguing that the agency (CIA) is wrong, only that they can’t prove intent. Of course they can’t, absent agents in on the decision-making in Moscow.” At the very least, such views add a sliver of needed context.

The CIA conclusion had a broader context to it, suggesting a pattern of hacking and penetration that was far from specific to Clinton. In other words, it was, again in the words of one of the three officials, a “judgment based on the fact that Russian entities hacked both Democrats and Republicans and only the Democratic information was leaked.” It was, to that end, “a thin reed upon which to base an analytical judgment.”

When all these factors are considered, Trump’s dismissiveness of the intelligence community, while seemingly flippant, makes that much more sense. Predictably, it has been done by the wave of the hand, a contemptuous move that we will come to see as normal in due course. The intelligence bunglers will be having to do much more to earn their keep.

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne and can be reached at:

December 16, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment


Xymphora | December 16, 2016

You need to remember the names Chuck Schumer, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Steve Israel. These are all blood-pouring-from-the-fangs Zionists, and, not coincidentally, recently in charge of the people who run as Democrats in national American politics. They have consistently picked extreme right-wing candidates to run, so right-wing that they are not acceptable to most Democrat voters. If these ridiculous candidates win, they vote as ‘blue dogs’, mostly with the Republicans. If they lose, which recently has been the trend, a Republican is elected. The Zionists don’t care. Their only criterion of electoral success is if a hard-line Zionist ends up elected. The result of years of this treason has been the apotheosis of the Republican Party, and too many Wars For The Jews to count, with the accompanying impoverishment of the country.

Hillary was picked by the ‘donors’ – code for Jewish billionaire ‘one issue guys’ – as the candidate who would most reliably support extreme Zionist goals, including expansion of the Zionist Empire across the Middle East employing more Wars For The Jews and general Yinon state-splitting techniques. Russia is perceived as the only real impediment to extreme Zionism, as the kind of terrorist states which are to be constructed through Yinon techniques are correctly perceived by the Russians as an existential threat. Thus, Hillary’s main job was to tie up Russian actions by rapidly increasing cold war tensions leading to WWIII and, hopefully, regime change in Russia replacing Putin with Zionist stooges.

I pause to note that no ‘respectable’ person can possibly notice any of this, let alone write it, as utterly obvious as it is.

These . . . contradictions . . . in the Democrats have now led to electoral disaster. The problem is that there can be no fault in the institutional structure of the party as that would lead to reforms which would upset the Zionist apple-cart. Scapegoats must be found outside of the party. The FBI, ‘fake news’, and, of course, Putin’s personal disruption of the American political system by providing accurate information to American voters. ‘Fake news’ is the information provided largely by the social media which the Jewish billionaires have not yet been able to stifle. Of course, the Jewish billionaires own most of the American mainstream media, and are hemorrhaging money largely because the obvious truths provided by the social media are driving out the obvious lies provided by the mainstream media. People have noticed that their lives are wrecked largely as a result of political decisions based on these lies. Thus Trump. I note that Trump’s win with much less money spent has broken the Jewish billionaire model that elections must be won by funneling political donations – aka bribes – to media outlets owned by Jewish billionaires.

You may say that such an explanation is simplistic, not to mention ‘anti-Semitic’, but it explains everything, the collapse of the Democratic Party, the odd inability to acknowledge that there might be a problem so something might be done to fix it (remember everything is fine because of ‘demographics’), the specific nature of the scapegoats provided in lieu of taking responsibility, and the general collapse of the United States, and the destruction of the lives of so many of its citizens, under the weight of so many Wars For The Jews with no conceivable American imperial advantage.

December 16, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Obama vows ‘action’ in response to alleged Russian hacking

RT | December 16, 2016

Barack Obama has vowed to take retaliatory measures against Russia, both public and covert, accusing Moscow of compromising the “integrity” of the US elections through the DNC email hacks. US intelligence has yet to provide any evidence of Russian involvement.

“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action. And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing,” President Obama said in an interview with NPR on Friday.

The US leader did not elaborate on whether the steps would be taken in the five weeks he has left in office.

Neither did he specify what type of action might be taken, saying only that “some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.”

While Obama spoke of the Russian government’s alleged role in the hacking of Democratic National Committee (DNC) communications as a proven fact, he fell short of accusing Moscow of purposefully aiding US President-elect Donald Trump without a “final report” from US intelligence agencies.

“And so when I receive a final report, you know, we’ll be able to, I think, give us a comprehensive and best guess as to those motivations,” he said.

Obama argued, however, that even without a comprehensive report it should be obvious that “what the Russian hack had done was create more problems for the [Hillary] Clinton campaign than it had for the Trump campaign.”

At the same time, the outgoing president admitted that although the scandal that ensued from the leaks – and the subsequent way it was reported in the media – “had some impact” on the election campaign, “you never know which factors are going to make a difference.”

Earlier, Trump dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” claims made by anonymous CIA officials, and reported by the Washington Post, that Russian intelligence hacked the DNC emails to propel him to the presidency.

Obama was also wary of accusing the Trump campaign of having anything to do with the leaks, refusing to feed into conspiracy theories, while saying that the Republican candidate’s camp had simply exploited the incident to its maximum benefit.

“They understood what everybody else understood, which was that this was not good for Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Obama said.

Obama is not the first senior US official to threaten Russia with countermeasures to avenge the alleged hack, involvement in which the Russian government vehemently denies.

Back in October, US Vice President Joe Biden told NBC that Washington would be “sending a message to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin” that “will be executed at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact.”

At the time, NBC also cited intelligence officials with “direct knowledge of the situation” as saying that the CIA had been ordered to devise a plan for a “clandestine” cyber strike against Russia in order to “embarrass” Moscow. The outlet reported that the agents had already embarked on preparations for a large-scale attack.

On Thursday, “anonymous CIA officials with direct access to information” went as far as to claim that the Russian president himself might have authorized the alleged hacks.

Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ban Rhodes, reiterated the claims to MSNBC, saying he doesn’t think “things happen in the Russian government of this consequence without Vladimir Putin knowing about it.”

These latest allegations were dismissed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as nonsensical.

“I think that the stupidity and hopelessness of such an attempt to convince people of this is obvious,” he said on Thursday.

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a group of former CIA and NSA agents, doubt the credibility of this version, adding that “harder evidence of a technical nature” suggests it was an inside job and not a hack by “Russians or anyone else.”

VIPS signed a memorandum published by Consortium News on Thursday. One of the letter’s authors, former NSA technician and whistleblower Bill Binney, told RT that “all points point to leaking, not hacking,” noting that if it was indeed a hack, the NSA would have long ago found a trace route.

Taking into account the scope of the NSA’s “extensive domestic data-collection network” uncovered in Edward Snowden’s revelations, “it beggars belief that NSA would be unable to identify anyone – Russian or not – attempting to interfere in a US election by hacking,” the veterans wrote, adding that such proof, if it existed, could be presented by the NSA “without any danger to sources or methods.”

Binney recalled that on a similar occasion with Chinese hackers, the NSA was able to trace the route of the hack to the specific building from which it was launched, which made him think that the accusations against Russia put forward by military intelligence were politically motivated.

Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan-turned-WikiLeaks operative Craig Murray also challenged the official US version of events, claiming the source of the hacks was an insider who “had legal access to information.”

“The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks,” he told the Daily Mail, claiming that he himself took part in the handover operation in the woods in northwest Washington DC, where a representative of the source of the leaks allegedly gave him a package with the data.

Read more:

Media reporting on hacked DNC emails acted as ‘arms of Russian intelligence’ – White House

DNC docs were leaked, not hacked, intelligence veterans say

December 16, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 1 Comment

Give proof or end hacking accusations, Russia tells US

Press TV – December 16, 2016

Russia has rejected allegations by the United States government that Russia interfered in the recent presidential race in the US.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned US officials on Friday that they should either prove the claims or stop “indecently” accusing Russia.

“Either stop talking about it or finally provide some evidence. Otherwise it looks indecent,” Peskov said to reporters in Japanese capital, Tokyo, on Friday.

Peskov’s remarks came after the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest claimed on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had played a direct role in attempt to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election, which was held on November 8.

Earnest said Putin had personally ordered Russian agents to hack the Democratic Party organizations.

Earnest’s comments came after NBC News reported on Wednesday, citing anonymous US intelligence sources, that Putin became involved in the hacking operation during the election campaign as part of a “vendetta” against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

In 2011, when she was US Secretary of State, Clinton had undermined the legitimacy of the Russian parliamentary elections and reportedly attempted to incite anti-government protests.

Russia has denied the hacking allegations. On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said in a Facebook post that the allegations of hacking by Russia looked like “banal infighting between US security services.

December 16, 2016 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

FB’s new ‘Ministry of Truth’? Controversial 3rd party outlets among those to filter out ‘fake news’

RT | December 16, 2016

Facebook’s News Feed will defer to third parties such as ABC and AP to more closely police for hoaxes and fake news posts, but there are no Russian companies among the fact-checkers, that include two Ukrainian groups, one of which is hardline Russophobic.

The list of fact-checkers published online includes news corporations and agencies such as AP, ABC News, and the Washington Post, as well as some controversial choices such VoxUkraine.

And the list isn’t going to be updated anytime soon, a statement said.

“We are currently rethinking the application and compliance process. Due to our limited staff, we won’t be adding new signatories until the new process is concluded in the coming weeks,” Poynter wrote.

On Thursday, the social network unveiled “some updates we’re testing and starting to roll out” that include cracking down on spammers, making it easier for users to flag content, and teaming up with third party organizations to prevent false stories from making it onto the site’s News Feed.

“We’ve focused our efforts on the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain, and on engaging both our community and third party organizations,” Facebook’s News Feed vice president, Adam Mosseri, said in a Newsroom blog post.

Among the 43 news companies that may be involved in fact-checking linked posts are ABC News,, Politifact and Snopes, which will be the first four organizations to test the new procedures, according to the Business Insider. Fact-checkers will not be compensated, a Facebook representative told the news agency.

The Associated Press was also reported to be joining the effort, which will be based at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a nonprofit journalism school in St. Petersburg, Florida. The school is soliciting for sources to sign its “International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles.”

Ironically, one of the fact-checkers has recently been spotted publishing fake news. At the end of November, the Washington Post cited “independent researchers” who claimed that Russian state media, including RT and Sputnik News, produced “misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy.”

The Washington Post was later forced to publish an editor’s note distancing itself from one of the main “independent researchers” it used as sources for the article, the website PropOrNot, which has proven to be a very questionable source.

Following its publication, quite a few renowned journalists and activists, as well as social media users, expressed outrage over the article. Glenn Greenwald, an essential figure in getting out the Snowden revelations, dubbed it “total journalistic garbage,” and many Twitter users fingered the Washington Post as the “real propaganda peddler,” accused the newspaper of publishing “crazy lies.”

In addition to Facebook’s third party monitors, Facebook users will also have a bigger role in content policing themselves, both when perusing or posting on the News Feed. Currently, there is a three-step process to report a post as “fake news,” but a small percentage of Facebook users in the US will reportedly be the first to notice a change, allowing them to report news as fake in just two steps. It should be noted that even just 1 percent of Facebook users in the US amounts to nearly 2 million people.

When it comes to posting articles, if the content has already been marked fake by more than one third-party fact-checker, the user will be warned that it is in dispute before being asked to “cancel” or “continue” the post. Once a story is recognized as fake by Facebook, it will be buried in the News Feed.

Algorithms will also be a factor in identifying chicanery. They may signal to Facebook when people click and read an article, within the Facebook app, but then decide not to share. Another suspicious act might be a user deleting a post, The Verge reported.

Furthermore, Facebook employees will have a hand in the endeavor. They will help determine whether a domain is masquerading as a well-known news source, such as “,” which is not actually ABC News. These phony pages will be barred from taking advantage of the advertising opportunities promoted by the social network.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, chairman and co-founder, posted from his account Thursday, saying that his company “is a new kind of platform different from anything before it.”

“While we don’t write the news stories you read and share, we also recognize we’re more than just a distributor of news,” he added. “We’re a new kind of platform for public discourse — and that means we have a new kind of responsibility to enable people to have the most meaningful conversations, and to build a space where people can be informed.”

Facebook’s News Feed vice president Mosseri also wrote Thursday: “We know there’s more to be done. We’re going to keep working on this problem for as long as it takes to get it right.”

December 16, 2016 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 2 Comments