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Six big lies you have been told about ‘Russiagate’

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | May 12, 2020

Russian ‘meddling’ in the 2016 US presidential election has become an article of faith, not just among Democrats but many Republicans as well, thanks to the endless repetition of vague talking points, none of which hold water.

It all began with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) claiming in June 2016 that Russia hacked their computers, after documents were published revealing the party’s rigging of the primaries. This was followed by Hillary Clinton accusing her rival for the presidency Donald Trump that he was “colluding” with Russia by asking Moscow for her emails – the ones she deleted from a private server she used to conduct State Department business, that is.

With a little help of the mainstream media, which overwhelmingly endorsed Clinton and predicted her victory, her efforts to cover up her email scandal turned into Russia “hacking our democracy,” eventually spawning the ‘Russiagate’ investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and a series of failed attempts to derail Trump’s election and oust him from the White House.

Lie #1: Russia hacked the DNC 

The infamous US intelligence community assessment (ICA) of January 2017, and the Senate Intelligence Committee report based on it – as well as ‘analysis’ by actual election meddlers, among others – all claimed that the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin personally were behind the “hack” and publication of DNC documents. These have always been assertions, and no evidence was ever provided.

Last week’s declassification of 50+ interviews in the probe conducted by the House Intelligence Committee revealed that the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, brought in by the DNC lawyers to fix the “hack,” did not have evidence either.

CrowdStrike’s president, ex-FBI official Shawn Henry, testified that they “saw activity that we believed was consistent with activity we’d seen previously and had associated with the Russian Government.” [emphasis added]

In the same testimony, Henry also testified that CrowdStrike never had any evidence the data was actually “exfiltrated,” i.e. stolen from the DNC servers.

CrowdStrike’s feelings about the hack remain the only “evidence” so far, since the FBI never asked them or the DNC for the actual server, as Henry also confirmed. Meanwhile, former NSA official and whistleblower William Binney argued back in November 2017 that actual evidence showed a leak from the inside, not a hack.

Lie #2: Russia hacked Podesta’s emails and published them in collusion with WikiLeaks

There is likewise zero proof that the Russian government had anything to do with the private email account of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chair, which a staffer admitted had been compromised when someone fell for a phishing scam.

Instead, the key argument that WikiLeaks was somehow ‘colluding’ with Russia over the publication of the emails rests on a conspiracy theory promoted by the Clinton campaign staff, after RT reported on a fresh batch of emails before WikiLeaks got around to tweeting about them – but after they were published on the website and available to anyone willing to do actual journalism.

In fact, the existence of RT has been a major “argument” of Russiagaters; a third of the ICA intended to show ‘Russian meddling’ consisted of a four-year-old appendix about RT that was in no way relevant to the 2016 situation but lamented its coverage of fracking and ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests, for example.

Lie #3: The Steele ‘pee tape’ dossier was irrelevant

As it later emerged, Clinton’s claims about ‘Russian collusion’ were based on a dodgy dossier her campaign commissioned through the DNC and a firm called Fusion GPS from a British spy named Christopher Steele. It said that the Kremlin was blackmailing Trump with a tape of depraved sex acts in a Moscow hotel, with prostitutes supposedly paid to urinate on a bed President Barack Obama had slept on.

It was clearly ridiculous and entirely evidence-free. Democrats claimed it played no role in Russia investigations. Yet the FBI paid Steele for information from the dossier, and used it to justify a FISA warrant for the surveillance of Trump campaign aide Carter Page – and with him the campaign itself – starting right before the election, and renewed three times.

By January 2020, the DOJ had formally disavowed the dossier and all four FISA warrants, along with any information obtained from them, saying “there was insufficient predication to establish probable cause.”

Lie #4: General Michael Flynn treasonously colluded with Russia and lied about it to the FBI

Trump’s first national security adviser was hounded out of the White House after less than two weeks on the job, after media leaks insinuated he had improperly discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, violating the Logan Act, and then lied to the FBI about it.

After FBI Director James Comey was fired by Trump in May 2017, he told the media the president had urged him to drop the investigation of Flynn, which was quickly construed as “obstruction” and used as one of the pretexts to appoint Robert Mueller as special counsel into ‘Russiagate.’

When actual evidence was finally coaxed out of prosecutors, however, it showed that the FBI sought to frame Flynn in a perjury trap, and that the people involved were Comey himself, his deputy Andrew McCabe, disgraced lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and others. All charges against Flynn were dropped.

Flynn didn’t even lie to Strzok and the other agent interviewing him – and the memo of that conversation had been first heavily edited, then destroyed. Basically, everything about the Flynn case has been as false as ABC’s December 2017 bombshell report about his “collusion” with Russia that got Brian Ross fired.

Lie #5: Mueller found collusion, or at least Russian meddling

When Mueller’s final report came out, in the spring of 2019, it found zero evidence of “collusion” but insisted there had been Russian “meddling” in the election. The only trouble was that he had no proof of meddling, basing it entirely on the above-mentioned intelligence “assessments” and his own indictments.

A Russian company named in one of the indictments actually contested it in US court and won. First, a federal judge slapped down Mueller’s prosecutors for violating rules by presenting allegations as “established” and “confirmed” facts and ruling that no link was actually established behind a catering company accused of “sowing discord” on social media – a far cry from hacking the DNC! – and the Russian government.

The DOJ quietly dropped that particular case in March, just as coronavirus shutdowns were starting across the US, using “recent events” and a change in classification of some of its evidence as a face-saving excuse.

Lie #6: Paul Manafort was Trump’s conduit to Russia

Paul Manafort, who ran Trump’s campaign between March and August 2016, was convicted of multiple counts of conspiracy against the US and sentenced to a lengthy prison term. However, despite repeated attempts by the media to present him as some kind of liaison between Trump and Russia, the entirety of things that got him in trouble with the law had to do with tax evasion on money he made lobbying for and in… Ukraine.

During the two trials against Manafort, it emerged that he and his business partner Rick Gates had worked with Podesta’s brother Tony to fleece Ukrainian oligarchs for years, and stash the profits in tax havens.

The Ukrainian officials who leaked the so-called “black ledger” implicating Manafort to the US media were even convicted of election meddling by a court in Kiev, and the whole thing may have been solicited by a Ukrainian-American DNC contractor… The US media have been curiously uninterested in that particular “collusion,” needless to say.

Peel back all these layers of misinformation, like an onion, and what’s left is an empty talking point, endlessly repeated by Democrats like Adam Schiff (D-California), that “Russia hacked our democracy.”

The charge is vague enough that it can mean anything, and deliberately so. No evidence is ever offered, because there isn’t any – as the years of investigations and boxes full of documents have clearly shown.

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

US anti-ISIS chief says his goal in Syria is to create a ‘quagmire’ for Russia, not battle terrorism

RT | May 13, 2020

James Jeffrey, the US special envoy for Syria and defeating the Islamic State, has made quite a frank confession of how he sees his job and that of US troops there: to create a new Vietnam or Afghanistan for Moscow.

“Our military presence, while small, is important for overall calculations. So we urge the Congress, the American people, the president to keep these forces on, but again this isn’t Afghanistan, this isn’t Vietnam, this isn’t a quagmire,” Jeffrey said on Tuesday, during a video event hosted by the Hudson Institute. “My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians.”

The arrival of the Russian expeditionary force in late 2015, following an invitation from Damascus, turned the tide of war in Syria. With their assistance, government forces rolled back both Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists and other militants, including Al-Qaeda affiliates, on multiple fronts – and scuttled US plans for regime change in Damascus.

Jeffrey grudgingly admitted the Russian military has been successful in Syria, but argued “they don’t have a political way out of their problems” with Syrian President Bashar Assad, and the US aims to offer “a way forward” through the UN – presumably referring to Resolution 2254 that Washington has long interpreted as “Assad must go.”

The envoy’s admission on Tuesday is a step beyond his remarks in early March, when he told reporters on a conference call that the US aims to “make it very difficult” for Russia to help the Syrian government achieve a military victory.

While US President Donald Trump repeatedly rejected nation-building interventions in the Middle East and sought to withdraw US troops from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, he has repeatedly faced resistance from the State Department and the Pentagon, still set on the previous administration’s strategy of regime change.

Jeffrey’s mention of a “quagmire” like Afghanistan is particularly ominous, given that’s precisely what the Carter administration did in 1978, covertly supporting Islamic militants in that country in order to provoke a Soviet intervention. According to Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, this was done to lure the USSR into their own costly, never-ending war such as the US experienced in Vietnam

Brzezinski boasted of his own role in those efforts, dismissing the fallout of Islamist terrorism that the conflict generated as irrelevant compared to US victory in the Cold War – shortly before the September 11, 2001 attacks triggered a US invasion of Afghanistan that the Trump administration is still struggling to extricate troops from.

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

US Veterans Stationed in Guam During Vietnam War Likely Exposed to Agent Orange – White Paper

Sputnik – 12.05.2020

Veteran advocacy groups hope that research presented in a new white paper will allow American veterans to file for disability benefits if they have diseases linked to Agent Orange following US military service on Guam between 1962 and 1975.

The National Veterans Legal Services Program and the Jerome Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School published an authoritative report on May 8 which evaluated evidence on Guam-based US veterans’ exposure to Agent Orange and other dioxin-containing herbicide agents in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

“We conclude that existing evidence establishes that it is, at the very least, ‘as likely as not’ that veterans who served in Guam from 1962 to 1975 were exposed to Agent Orange and other dioxin-containing herbicides,” the report read.

The white paper comes as the latest effort seeking to make available Agent Orange disability benefits from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to troops who were exposed to the dangerous herbicide and related chemicals – after initially being told during combat that Agent Orange was virtually harmless.

Citing government documents on the matter, the report asserted there is “direct evidence” that the US Department of Defense’s “expedient and unregulated disposal of hazardous wastes on Guam” resulted in increased risk of exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin – a highly toxic dioxin byproduct of making Agent Orange – “and other dioxin pollution.”

The government documents detailed “widespread practices of herbicide spraying, mishandling, and improper disposal prior to enactment of federal hazardous waste regulations in 1976.”

An extensive list of “locations where tactical herbicides and their chemical components were tested” was released by the Pentagon in December 2019. However, Guam was not one of the locations included, despite the island hosting tens of thousands of US troops during the war.

The white paper referenced a 2018 examination of records by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that, in summary, claimed the use and storage of Agent Orange on Guam “could neither be conclusively proved nor disproved based on available records, in part because some potentially relevant DoD records have been lost or destroyed.”

As a result, those who have Agent Orange-related illnesses and served on Guam between 1962 and 1975 do not immediately qualify for VA benefits and instead have to satisfy evidence requirements that call for both medical and service records. Additional proof is requested if the veteran’s Agent Orange-related disease is not included in the VA’s approved list.

The May 8 report noted that the Pentagon’s failure to retain documents should not be such a major roadblock for veterans.

“Individual veterans should not be penalized for an incomplete evidentiary record when DoD has failed to maintain this record, or to resolve and refute extensive claims of Agent Orange and other toxic herbicide exposure,” the white paper read.

It remains to be seen whether the VA will move to make this particular change to Agent Orange disability benefits, but Military.com reported that the department is awaiting the results of two studies before making a final decision on whether to add “bladder cancer, Parkinson’s-like tremors, hypothyroidism, hypertension and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance” to its list of Agent Orange-related diseases.

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Russia Conducting Its Own Investigation Into Alleged Chemical Attacks in Syria – Ambassador to UN

Sputnik – 12.05.2020

UNITED NATIONS – Russia is conducting its own investigation into alleged chemical attacks in Syria and will share its conclusions with the world, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia told reporters on Tuesday.

“We are conducting our own expert investigation and we will share its results with you and international community”, Nebenzia said during a video briefing.

In late April, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had sacrificed its reputation to serve the West’s geopolitical ambition in Syria, after the body published the first report of its newly created investigation and identification team two weeks ago, blaming the alleged chemical attacks in the Syrian town of Al Lataminah in Hama province in March 2017 on the country’s government.

Russia argued that the investigative body had been set up in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Only the UN Security Council has the right to apportion blame for chemical attacks.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has slammed the OPCW document as fabricated, adding that it is based on materials provided by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly known as Al-Nusra Front, an offshoot of Al-Qaeda).

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

Vitamin D linked to low virus death rate – study

Anglia Ruskin University | May 7, 2020

A new study has found an association between low average levels of vitamin D and high numbers of COVID-19 cases and mortality rates across 20 European countries.

The research, led by Dr Lee Smith of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and Mr Petre Cristian Ilie, lead urologist of Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust, is published in the journal Aging Clinical and Experimental Research.

Previous observational studies have reported an association between low levels of vitamin D and susceptibility to acute respiratory tract infections. Vitamin D modulates the response of white blood cells, preventing them from releasing too many inflammatory cytokines. The COVID-19 virus is known to cause an excess of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Italy and Spain have both experienced high COVID-19 mortality rates, and the new study shows that both countries have lower average vitamin D levels than most northern European countries. This is partly because people in southern Europe, particularly the elderly, avoid strong sun, while skin pigmentation also reduces natural vitamin D synthesis.

The highest average levels of vitamin D are found in northern Europe, due to the consumption of cod liver oil and vitamin D supplements, and possibly less sun avoidance. Scandinavian nations are among the countries with the lowest number of COVID-19 cases and mortality rates per head of population in Europe.

Dr Lee Smith, Reader in Physical Activity and Public Health at Anglia Ruskin University, said:

“We found a significant crude relationship between average vitamin D levels and the number COVID-19 cases, and particularly COVID-19 mortality rates, per head of population across the 20 European countries.

“Vitamin D has been shown to protect against acute respiratory infections, and older adults, the group most deficient in vitamin D, are also the ones most seriously affected by COVID-19.

“A previous study found that 75% of people in institutions, such as hospitals and care homes, were severely deficient in vitamin D.  We suggest it would be advisable to perform dedicated studies looking at vitamin D levels in COVID-19 patients with different degrees of disease severity.”

Mr Petre Cristian Ilie, lead urologist of Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Our study does have limitations however, not least because the number of cases in each country is affected by the number of tests performed, as well as the different measures taken by each country to prevent the spread of infection.  Finally, and importantly, one must remember correlation does not necessarily mean causation.”

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment

Crowdstrike admits ‘no evidence’ Russia stole emails from DNC server

Pushback with Aaron Maté | May 11, 2020

Crowdstrike, the firm that accused Russia of stealing DNC emails in 2016, has made a bombshell admission. In newly released Congressional testimony, Crowdstrike president Shawn Henry said that “we did not have concrete evidence” that alleged Russian hackers actually took the emails from DNC servers. “There’s circumstantial evidence, but no evidence that they were actually exfiltrated,” Henry said.

Aaron Maté breaks down Henry’s testimony and why it adds new doubt about the core allegation at the heart of Russiagate.

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Video | , , | Leave a comment

While the US interprets international law for Israel, the world opts for ambiguity

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | May 12, 2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Israel tomorrow for discussions with its leadership about annexation, among other issues. After politically facilitating the annexation process for Israel, Pompeo is attempting, and failing, to divert attention away from the role the US played in the recent colonial decision.

During the meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and leader of the Blue and White Party Benny Gantz, Pompeo will just be “sharing views” on the annexation process. “I have said previously that this is a decision that the Israelis will make. I want to understand how the new leadership, the soon-to-be new government, is thinking about that,” Pompeo declared when asked about the purpose of the visit.

The so-called “deal of the century”, which Israel said it will implement unilaterally as benefits its political agenda, was described by Pompeo as meeting “the core requirements of both the Palestinians and the Israeli people.” The Palestinian leadership, albeit lacking any political vision, rejected the US-Israeli scheming. As Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas scrambles for peace conferences, Pompeo’s visit to Israel is set to consolidate the annexation plans, despite US rhetoric attempting to sound cautious.

In an exclusive interview with Israel Hayom, Pompeo echoed US Ambassador to Israeli David Friedman, saying that the decision to extend sovereignty over settlements in the occupied West Bank is “Israel’s decision”. This decision, however, falls within the parameters of the international law manipulation which the US concocted for Israel’s demands.

In November, Pompeo refuted international law as regards Israel’s settlement expansion. “Calling the establishment of civilian settlement inconsistent with international law has not advanced the cause of peace,” he had stated.

Further asserting Israel’s contempt for international law, Pompeo reiterated that Israel’s decision-making reigns supreme. The US, according to Pompeo, is merely aiding in purported clarification. “We have clarified what we believe international law permits. And we recognise Israel’s right to make its own decisions.”

Putting it briefly, the US is clarifying what international law means for Israel and now framing the politics as being solely an Israeli decision. The international community, on the other hand, remains largely silent on the planned land grab and dispossession of the Palestinian people. Warnings, which are what the UN has issued so far, hold no political sway over Israel’s violation of international law. EU countries France, Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg are among the most prominent in advocating that Israel’s annexation of the occupied West Bank should be challenged. Yet there is also a considerable chance of the bloc capitulating to Israel as evidenced by the words of an unnamed senior EU official: “There is clearly a need to look at what annexation means in the context of international law and we do need to know our options.”

This lack of assertion is unfortunately a bonus point for Israel. So far there is little to suggest that the international community will take a harsher approach. While the US and Israel plan remains unhindered, the international community has not even been able to unequivocally articulate its definitive rejection of this latest phase in Zionist colonisation.

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Civilian Taxi Driver Shot and Killed by US Military in Deir Ezzor

By Ahmad Al Khaled | American Herald Tribune | May 12, 2020

Before the outbreak of the Syrian conflict, Yasser Aslan used to teach programming. With the war and ever-dwindling economy, Yasser, the only breadwinner in the family of six, had to look for additional sources of income. Like thousands of other Syrians, he turned his car – a KIA Rio – into a taxi, and drove along the dangerous roads of Deir Ezzor province in an attempt to make the ends meet for himself, his wife and four daughters (15-years-old teenager and 4-years-old triplets).

Deir-Ezzor, as well as other eastern provinces of Syria, still suffers from small-scale yet lethal attacks carried out by remnants of ISIS terror group. The terrorists mostly target SAA and SDF checkpoints and patrols in the area, but civilians also fall victim to the attacks.

However, it was not ISIS activities that ultimately resulted in Yasser’s death. On May 1st, he and a passenger were driving through the area of Koniko oil facility that hosts a large US military base. As the car drew closer to the base, it unexpectedly came under fire. Yasser was fatally wounded in the head while the passenger survived and was taken prisoner by SDF.

Shortly after Yasser’s relatives were informed that his body was taken to a hospital in Jadid Baqara village. Posts on their social media pages blamed a “US sniper” for the death of their relative and friend, expressing outrage over the incident.

Although Yasser’s demise, most likely at the hands of US military personnel, was reported on-line, neither the Pentagon nor the International Coalition commented on the incident. The story gained no traction in the media. One report described the incident as a ‘clash with ISIS during which a civilian was killed’ without indication of the side responsible for his death.

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

UK propaganda campaign in Syria was bloated, inefficient & possibly illegal: internal review

By Danielle Ryan | RT | May 12, 2020

British state-funded propagandists created “a constellation of media outlets” in Syria and produced so much content that people “no longer knew who or what to believe,” an internal review into the failed operation has revealed.

Details of the UK government’s Syria propaganda campaign, aimed at supporting the so-called ‘moderate armed opposition’, were published by Middle East Eye (MEE) in February. The work, which began in 2012, involved establishing a network of anti-government citizen journalists to shape public perceptions of the war, the outlet’s investigation found.

Now MEE has revealed the contents of a “scathing” internal government review, which found that the programs – collectively dubbed ‘Operation Volute’ – were sloppily and inefficiently run and may even have broken UK laws. The review also concluded that some projects “were designed to impress the US government,” the outlet said.

‘Fundamental shortcomings’

This image of Britain as a prolific propaganda-pusher is in stark contrast to the mainstream media view of Western powers acting as the ultimate truth-tellers in a world of ‘bad guys’ and fake news, which Britons are accustomed to hearing about.

The MEE report bursts that bubble, revealing that communications companies contracted by the British government used “news agencies, social media, poster campaigns and even children’s comics” to covertly bolster the Syrian opposition and to undermine the Assad government, as well as the Islamic State (IS). Efforts were stepped up “dramatically” in 2013 after the UK parliament inconveniently voted against military intervention in the country.

However, the review, carried out in 2016, found that London’s grand plans weren’t exactly as effective as envisioned and said the initiatives suffered from “fundamental shortcomings” – including the fact that “no conflict analysis” and “no target audience analysis” was done. Unsurprisingly, the review referred to the work euphemistically as “strategic communications” rather than propaganda.

The contractors were pumping out so much content that they created “a constellation of media outlets,” where Syrian audiences and activists “got lost and were distracted.” The result was that “people no longer knew who or what to believe,” MEE said.

Law-breaking and ‘reputational damage’

Ironically, while all this was happening, the British mainstream media was busy obsessing over and publishing stories on Russian propaganda, while completely ignoring and failing to investigate its own government’s massive influence operation and potential law-breaking.

The assessment revealed that concerns had been voiced within the UK government about whether there was even a need for the programs, and about the “major risk” that the activities of the contractors were “in contravention of UK law” – though there is no more detail given on how that may be the case, MEE reported.

The review also pointed to a “duplication” of efforts and warned of possible “reputational damage” to the British government if its funding of the programs was revealed.

Deaths and ‘work that caused harm’

Some of the projects were overseen by a Ministry of Defence (MoD) unit called Military Strategic Effects. Offices were also set up in Istanbul and Amman, where Syrians were recruited for the work. Many of the stringers (part-time local reporters) who were employed inside Syria were not even aware that they were working on projects funded by the British government. The budget for the projects in 2015-16 came to £9.6 million – and more was earmarked for future work.

The British government was seemingly unmoved by the fact that some of these people also lost their lives in the course of the work, noting coldly that one of their contractors “suffered losses of core staff that damaged the organisation quite fundamentally.”

“The department declined to say whether the effects hoped for were weighed against the risk to life; how many people died; and whether the UK was supporting their dependents,” MEE said.

The government also noted that some of the stringers working with the “moderate” rebels were “undertaking work which could cause (and has caused) harm,” but did not give more details.

‘Value for money’

Unsurprisingly, the programs were most heavily pushed by the Ministry of Defence. In fact, “the only” government ministers who were “fully committed” to the propaganda programs in 2013 were those at the MoD. They felt they were getting “extraordinary value for money given current policy restraints.” Those “policy restraints” referring, of course, to parliament’s vote not to intervene militarily. Some other ministers were asking “whether taxpayers’ money should be spent” on the projects while there remained “substantial doubts” about them.

While the review is highly critical of inefficiencies, nowhere in the government review is the decision to pour millions into propaganda campaigns and influence operations in a foreign war ever actually questioned.

Danielle Ryan is a freelance journalist based in Dublin. Her work has appeared at Salon, The Nation, RT and others. (Twitter: @DanielleRyanj)

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | Leave a comment

Spygate: Why Did Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama Seem So Determined to Impede and Topple Trump?

By Ekaterina Blinova | Sputnik | May 12, 2020

US Attorney John Durham who is currently conducting an investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe should take a look at a role played by Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation in sparking and fanning the Russiagate scandal, says Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel.

The newly released House Intelligence Committee’s transcripts shed some more light on Joseph Mifsud, the mysterious Maltese professor who apparently told then Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos in March 2016 that Moscow had “damning” Hillary Clinton emails. According to one of the transcripts, Mifsud was heard bragging he was a member of the Clinton Foundation.

​Additionally, in a November 2017 interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica the Maltese professor also admitted that he was in the organisation: “I am a member of the European Council on Foreign relations and you know which is the only foundation I am member of? The Clinton Foundation”. At the same time, Mifsud flatly denied that he had told Papadopoulos about the Clinton emails.

Mifsud & Downer Both Tied to Clinton Foundation

The exposure has prompted a lively debate among social media users, who recollected that following the controversial conversation with Mifsud, Papadopoulos had a drink with the Australian high commissioner to the UK Alexander Downer, also known for his ties with the Clinton Foundation.

​Following this historic meeting Downer approached the FBI to inform the bureau – in a breach of diplomatic protocols – that Papadopoulos somehow knew that the Russians “had dirt” on Hillary Clinton. This information became the trigger for launching the Crossfire Hurricane op against the Trump campaign on 31 July 2016.

“Mifsud was a small donor according to notoriously unreliable and materially false disclosures on the Clinton Foundation website”, says Charles Ortel, a Wall Street analyst who has been looking into the Clinton Foundation’s alleged fraud for several years. “I suspect he may have been involved with the ‘Clinton Global Initiative’, a forum where Clinton supporters (for the most part) interacted with connected globalists, in theory to promote smart giving, but in practice to advance substantial for-profit activities”.

Ortel expresses hope that US Attorney John Durham and his team appointed by AG William Barr to investigate the origins of Crossfire Hurricane operation “will examine Mifsud and every person and project claimed in particular by CGI, which seems to have been a forum where money traded for influence while hiding in plain sight”.

Former Australian diplomat and politician Downer seems to be a bigger fish, according to the analyst.

“As Australia’s foreign minister, Downer channeled millions of his taxpayers’ money towards international projects in the name of ‘Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative’ (and similar sounding variants) as well as ‘Clinton Climate Initiative’ starting in 2006”, Ortel elaborates. “None of these entities lawfully existed. And there has never been a proper accounting for these grants. Moreover, Downer and Australia signed multiple agreements with Bill Clinton and Ira Magaziner who held themselves out to be lawfully appointed representatives of the Clinton Foundation when they never were”.

According to the Wall Street analyst “Downer had and has much to lose from a Trump victory, so it is not surprising that he has apparently played such an important role attempting to frame Donald J. Trump and others who threaten to expose and punish crony globalists”.

“From the day Hillary announced her second presidential run, she and her backers did all they could to rig the primaries and then the general election”, he says. “Downer’s known and suspected actions, like Mifsud’s are not surprising. They likely gained and thought they would gain more from another Clinton presidency”.

Clinton Knew That Her Campaign Funded Dirt Digging on Trump

Hillary Clinton had either direct or indirect ties with many participants of the Trump-Russia saga, including Mifsud and Downer who initially sparked the so-called Russiagate scandal and Fusion GPS, the firm behind the infamous anti-Trump “dirty” dossier which played a crucial role in “justifying” FBI surveillance operations against Trump aides.

Citing newly released testimonies, American investigative journalist John Solomon reported on 11 May, that Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and Hillary Clinton had been aware that her campaign had funded opposition research and sought for dirt on Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 election.

“I think she was – she knew that we had an opposition research staff in-house”, Podesta said in a testimony. “We, the campaign, directly purchased some opposition research… I think that I only learned subsequently that the payments were made through Perkins Coie, 50 percent from the campaign, 50 percent from the DNC”.

Ortel is not surprised that Hillary Clinton appears to be deeply involved in how the Trump-Russia investigation started. According to him, the roots of the “Clinton corruption run deep”, starting in Arkansas where Bill Clinton served as a governor and attorney general.

“Once the Clinton’s moved to the White House, the scale of their corrupt and suspicious activities expanded to the national and international stages”, the Wall Street analyst presumes. “From 1997 onwards, a key instrument in swapping cash for influence has been the network of Clinton ‘charities’ that has never been properly regulated anywhere”.

He suggests that if one wants to understand why Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama seemed so “determined to impede or topple President Trump”, “Durham and his team must go back into history comparing sums that donors claim they sent towards the Clinton Foundation, with the Foundation’s public filings, submitted many places, under penalties of perjury”.

“Unlike the botched attempts to set perjury traps against Flynn and others, the Clinton Foundation public record, evident in plain sight includes multiple confessions of making false statements under oath”, the analyst highlights. May the long overdue indictments, prosecutions, convictions, fines and incarcerations soon begin”.

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

This Is Why You Can’t Trust The Fact Checkers

By Derrick Broze | The Last American Vagabond | May 11, 2020

For the last eight years I have worked as a writer, researcher, and investigative reporter for many well-known American independent media outlets. I have spent my time investigating digital surveillance technology, attacks on indigenous communities, and the overall growth of the government and corporate power. As someone working in this field, writing about topics which are often seen as controversial or “outside the mainstream” – censorship and personal attacks are part of the job description.

However, the attacks on independent media have rapidly increased in the last four years, with many formerly active journalistic outlets ceasing to exist due to lack of traffic and thus, lack of funds. We have seen outlets outright branded “fake news” or accused of collusion with the Russian government. Some channels and websites have been unable to apply for advertising or use certain digital products based on these labels. Some channels and reporters have been deleted off social media and other digital platforms altogether. And, if the social media managers don’t delete you, they might just use the algorithm to hide your posts, limiting your ability to interact with the public.

Attack of the “Fact” Checkers

Perhaps the most insidious method is the recent use of “fact checkers” to limit the reach of an outlet, or simply brand them with the fake news scarlet letter to discourage readers from engaging. This has been increasing in the last 2 years and I personally know of several remaining indy media outlets who have had to decide whether or not to run certain articles or video reports out of fear they might be censored or banned. Of course, with the algorithmic games being played by social media platforms, most outlets are reaching a tiny fraction of what they once were.

Case in point, The Mind Unleashed. I have been part of the TMU team on and off for the last year or so. In that time we have been struggling to reach a small fraction of our 9 million Facebook followers. Part of the reason we are struggling to reach people is because we have the dubious recognition of being labeled fake news by Facebook and affiliated fact checkers.

In a recent article published in Newsweek Espanol, in partnership with Newsguard, The Mind Unleashed is described as a “site that promises to ‘promote and inspire unconventional thinking,’ but is actually dedicated to publishing falsehoods.” The quote was in reference to a story TMU had written about the origins of COVID-19 and the potential for the virus to have been created as a bio weapon.

Newsguard is one of a number of “fact checker” services which has proliferated since the election of Donald Trump to U.S. President. Newsguard is a browser plug-in for Chrome and Microsoft Edge that gives trustworthiness ratings to most of the internet’s top-trafficked sites. It uses a color coded system to warn readers of an article or website’s trustworthiness. In a previous investigation, TLAV writer Whitney Webb exposed the neoconservative roots of the Newsguard team. Webb wrote:

“Newsguard’s advisory board makes it clear that Newsguard was created to serve the interests of American oligarchy. Chief among Newsguard’s advisors are Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush and Ret. General Michael Hayden, a former CIA director, a former NSA director and principal at the Chertoff Group, a security consultancy seeking to “advise corporate clients and governments, including foreign governments” on security matters that was co-founded by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who also currently serves as the board chairman of major weapons manufacturer BAE systems.”

Newsguard started as a partnership between Steven Brill and Louis Gordon Crovitz, with Crovitz appearing to be the connection to the world of finance, media, and geopolitics. Crovitz held a number of positions at Dow Jones and at the Wall Street Journal, is a board member of Business Insider, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and claims to have been an “editor or contributor to books published by the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation.” As Webb noted, “the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is one of the most influential neoconservative think tanks in the country and its ‘scholars,’ directors and fellows have included neoconservative figures like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Bolton and Frederick Kagan.”

Most recently, Newsguard has created a list of “Websites Publishing False Coronavirus Information” and a list “Super Spreaders” of false information. These lists include many well-known and credible independent media outlets. This is not to say that every website listed is credible and should be supported. The point is that these types of lists only serve to “blackball” certain outlets and schools of thoughts which counter the mainstream version of events.

Newsguard is not the only fact checker service operating in the current “post-truth era”. Social media companies like Facebook have partnered with several organizations with the stated aim of fact checking and debunking disinformation. Of course, these organizations tend to reinforce the narratives being woven by the mouthpieces in the corporate media and the puppet masters working the politicians.  For a moment Facebook partnered with reviled “fact checker” Snopes, but, after Snopes was discredited, Facebook has now partnered with companies like Lead Stories.

Lead Stories also “fact checked” The Mind Unleashed a couple times, always using arbitrary standards and semantics to make a story appear to be false or misleading. In one story, Lead Stories relies on data from the aforementioned Newsguard. So who is Lead Stories? The About page states that since January 2019 they have been a part of Facebook fact checker program. They describe the partnership as follows:

“Under the terms of this partnership we get access to listings of content that has been flagged as potentially false by Facebook’s systems or its users and we can decide independently if we want to fact check it or not. In addition to this we can enter our fact checks into a tool provided by Facebook and Facebook then uses our data to help slow down the spread of false information on its platform. Facebook pays us to perform this service for them but they have no say or influence over what we fact check or what our conclusions are, nor do they want to.”

Lead Stories is run by Perry Sanders Jr., an attorney known for representing the family of rapper Notorious B.I.G. after his murder, and Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke, who helped create Lead Stories after 26 years with CNN. Despite Duke’s bio stating that he “did ground-breaking investigative reporting on the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking scandal“, CNN is most known as a “super spreader” of propaganda and fake news. It is CNN, ABC, CBS, the Washington Post and others who actually helped cover up Epstein’s crimes. The entire Lead Stories team is filled with former and current CNN employees, as well as other MSM outlets.

Two other organizations that have partnered with Facebook and fact checked TMU are Science Feedback and Africa Check, both which claim to identify and expose the spread of disinformation. Science Feedback describes itself as “a worldwide network of scientists sorting fact from fiction in science based media coverage. Our goal is to help readers know which news to trust”. Africa Check says they are a non-profit attempting to “raise the quality of information available to society across the continent.”

As with Lead Stories and Newsguard, Africa Check uses semantics to label a story false or misleading. Science Feedback uses a similar strategy, casting The Mind Unleashed (and other alternative media sites) in a web of “disinformation” related to a report about the potential for a “mini ice age”.

Interestingly, Africa Check’s list of partners includes The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, yet another example of how the Gates’ spread their influence and agenda around the world – this time as part of an effort to control the dialogue around hot topics. Gates also funded the Event 201 pandemic simulation exercise which discussed the potential for censoring the internet or even arresting individuals who spread information that has been deemed false. Africa Check is also partnered with the George Soros-funded Open Society Foundations.

How to Limit Discussion and Control the Narrative

The strategy for the social media companies and fact checkers is simple: label someone fake news, lower their reach with algorithmic manipulation, force them to comply to arbitrary commands if they want the fake news label removed, control the narrative and shape the conversation.

Over the last two years I have seen good, hard working reporters and members of the independent/alternative media struggle to maintain integrity and report truthfully about controversial topics while also walking on egg shells in an attempt not to upset the fact checkers. For example, in late February, one writer had an article fact checked for discussing the various reports about COVID-19 being engineered in a lab. The Facebook fact checker stated:

“As explained in our fact-check, the claim that was reported in your article, namely that the coronavirus was created in a lab, is unsupported by evidence and is in fact contradicted by multiple scientific studies indicating that the virus originated naturally in wildlife.”

The writer of this particular order actually went to great lengths to make it clear that some sources disagreed with the claim, but according to Facebook’s fact checker, “it does not acknowledge that the claim is false to begin with, giving readers the misleading impression that there is legitimate scientific doubt over the issue when this is not the case.”

In other words, there is no reason to tell the public that some professionals and researchers have a different theory about the origins of the virus. No matter what was offered to the fact checker there was no compromise. Not only did they want the title to be changed and for an editor’s note to be attached acknowledging the apparently “false” claim, but they said they would not remove the fake news label if we took the article down. The options were essentially to keep the article up and comply, or keep it up, change nothing, and be labeled fake news.

In emails from Newsguard, TMU was admonished for “its history of promoting conspiracy theories related to the Sept. 11 attacks and the Douma, Syria chemical weapons attacks, as well as its promotion of marijuana as a cancer cure in stories”. It’s clear to see that anyone who does not buy the official narratives about the major geopolitical events of our day, or support the Big Pharma kool-aid – will be punished.

Unfortunately, the censors are winning because many in the alternative media are choosing to self-censor in the hopes that things will get better in the long run or that doing so will allow them to stay on the platform longer, and continue to reach more people. As we are now seeing, this is a losing strategy.

Two Years After the FB-Atlantic Council Partnership & the Independent Media Purge

What we are witnessing today, in May 2020, is the continuation of the fight against “fake news” which began immediately following the election of Donald Trump. In November 2016, Merrimack College associate professor Melissa Zimdars posted a public Google document titled, “False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical ‘News’ Sources” which went viral after being reported on by most corporate mainstream outlets.

Within a matter of weeks, a new list appeared online from an organization calling itself PropOrNot, an allegedly independent group of researchers trying to find the truth about the dissemination of Russian propaganda and fake news. This list also contained names of prominent independent media outlets like Anti Media, The Corbett Report, Mint Press News, and many others.

It was this combination of the Zimdars list and the PropOrNot list which had the immediate effect of placing a target on the vast majority of independent journalists and outlets who have also been accused of directly or indirectly conspiring with the Russians. Websites and social media pages for these outlets began to suffer a drastic reduction in reach and interaction with their audiences. Many websites have lost access to Google advertising money due to these false associations. The problem is that the majority of the mainstream media unquestionably reported on and repeated the claims made by these two lists without any attempt at investigative work.

In January 2018, PropOrNot would be exposed for their connections to The Atlantic Council, a think tank with connections to the western Military-Industrial Complex. Coincidentally, in May 2018, Facebook announced a partnership with the Atlantic Council, which officially claims to provide a forum for international political, business, and intellectual leaders. The social media giant said the partnership was aimed at preventing Facebook from “being abused during elections.”

The press release promoted Facebook’s efforts to fight fake news by using artificial intelligence, as well as working with outside experts and governments.

“Today, we’re excited to launch a new partnership with the Atlantic Council, which has a stellar reputation looking at innovative solutions to hard problems. Experts from their Digital Forensic Research Lab will work closely with our security, policy and product teams to get Facebook real-time insights and updates on emerging threats and disinformation campaigns from around the world. This will help increase the number of “eyes and ears” we have working to spot potential abuse on our service — enabling us to more effectively identify gaps in our systems, preempt obstacles, and ensure that Facebook plays a positive role during elections all around the world.”

The Atlantic Council of the United States was established in 1961 to bolster support for international relations. Although not officially connected to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Atlantic Council has spent decades promoting causes and issues which are beneficial to NATO member states. In addition, The Atlantic Council is a member of the Atlantic Treaty Organization, an umbrella organization which “acts as a network facilitator in the Euro-Atlantic and beyond.” The ATO works similarly to the Atlantic Council, bringing together political leaders, academics, military officials, journalists and diplomats to promote values that are favorable to the NATO member states.

Officially, ATO is independent of NATO, but the line between the two is razor thin.

Essentially, the Atlantic Council is a think tank which can offer companies or nation states access to military officials, politicians, journalists, diplomats, etc., to help them develop a plan to implement their strategy or vision. These strategies often involve getting NATO governments or industry insiders to make decisions they might not have made without a visit from the Atlantic Council team. This allows individuals or nations to push forth their ideas under the cover of hiring what appears to be a public relations agency but is actually selling access to high-profile individuals with power to affect public policy. Indeed, everyone from George H.W. Bush to Bill Clinton to the family of international agent of disorder Zbigniew Brzezinski have spoken at or attended council events.

In 2016, The New York Times wrote “The Atlantic Council, which has seen its annual revenue grow to $21 million from $2 million in the last decade, offers access to United States and foreign government officials in exchange for contributions. Individual donors, like FedEx, have also helped fund specific reports that align with their agendas.” The Times wrote that giving financial support is rewarded with “an ‘unprecedented level of information and access,’ including the chance to have a corporate executive, if the company donates at least $50,000 a year, speak at an Atlantic Council event ‘with top U.S. and foreign leaders’ present.”

According to their website, “The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) has operationalized the study of disinformation by exposing falsehoods and fake news, documenting human rights abuses, and building digital resilience worldwide.” The DFRLab tracks global disinfo campaigns, fake news stories, and “subversive attempts against democracy while teaching the public skills to identify and expose attempts to pollute the information space.”

The Atlantic Council’s list of financial supporters reads like a who’s-who of think tanks and Non-Governmental Organizations. The Atlantic Council receives funding from the Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment, Cato Institute, Council on Foreign Relations, and the Rand Corporation, to name a few. In addition, various members of the Military-Industrial Complex are benefactors of the Atlantic Council, including Huntington Ingalls, the United States’ sole maker of aircraft carriers; Airbus, the plane manufacturer; Lockheed Martin, the shipbuilder and aviation company; and Raytheon, which makes missile systems. All of the companies have contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense and offer financial support to the Atlantic Council. The Council also receives support from Chevron and the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Finally, the Atlantic Council receives direct financial support from the U.S. Departments of the Air Force, Army, Navy and Energy and from the U.S. Mission to NATO.

By October 2018 – only five months after the Atlantic Council partnership with Facebook – the social media giant announced they were unpublishing, or purging, over 500 pages and 200 accounts who are accused of spreading political spam. Several of these pages and writers were also removed from Twitter on the same day.

“Today, we’re removing 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Facebook stated in a blog post. Facebook states that the people behind this alleged spam “create networks of Pages using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names” and “post the same clickbait posts in dozens of Facebook Groups”.

Nearly 3 years later, we are still seeing the repercussions of the purge of independent media voices. In the wake of COVID-19 and calls for stemming the flow of “misinformation”, we will likely see more censorship and digital purging. Those who are attempting to stay informed and aware need to recognize that getting your news from Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc., will keep you trapped in a bubble of sanitized, state-approved information.

Step Outside the Matrix and Question Everything.

Question Everything, Come To Your Own Conclusions.

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The ‘See-No-Evil’ Phase of Russiagate

By Patrick Lawrence | Consortium News | May 11, 2020

The long, destructive conspiracy theory known as Russiagate, the mother of them all, at last evaporates into thin air. No shred of it remains as of back-to-back disclosures over the past couple of weeks. Where does this leave us? What is to come of this momentous turn of events?

Among those not inclined toward hysteria or copious quaffs of Democratic Party Kool–Aid, it has long been a question how those who concocted and sustained the tales of Russian “meddling,” “collusion,” and mail hackery would manage their embarrassment — not to mention their potential legal liabilities — once their edifice-built-on-sand collapsed, as it was destined from the first to do.

The early signs are as some predicted: They will slither quietly off the stage without comment, they will deny their incessant, ever-vehement accusations, they will profess to weariness, they will insist there are more important things to think about now.

Here is a tweet from one Bob F published Saturday. Our Bob touches nearly all of the above-noted bases. His mentions of Matt Taibbi, Aaron Maté, and Jimmy Dore reference two journalists and a talk-show host who identified the fraud from the first and had the scruples not to surrender to the liberal totalitarianism we have suffered these past three years:

Yes, Bob, lets. This is a brilliant specimen of the flaccid cowardice we’re now to witness many times over. Reassuringly enough, a modest twitter storm followed. Here is a reply from Kathy Woods, a consistently insightful commentator in Twitterland:

For good measure, here is another response to Big Bob, this one addressing his implicit assertion of Democratic Party virtue in the Age of Trump:

There is anger abroad as Russiagate finally unwinds, plainly. This is an excellent thing. And Ms. Woods is right: It is important to make the sun shine on what became, before the end, a scandal of historic proportions. There is a chance of achieving the “complete exposure” Woods asks for, but it remains a question, as of now, whether this will come to pass.

Two weeks ago the Justice Department made public documents showing that when, in January 2017, prosecutors wanted to close the collusion case against Michael Flynn, who briefly served as President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, because they found “no derogatory information” against him, Peter Strzok, the philandering F.B.I. agent later found to be shaping an “insurance policy” against a Trump victory in the 2016 election, cajoled them into keeping it open — absence of evidence be damned.

Two Other Developments

The Strzok revelations turned out to be prelude to the two other developments further demolishing the Russiagate narrative. Last Thursday Justice finally dropped its case against Flynn altogether. We now know he was the victim of a perjury trap when questioned about his contacts with Sergey Kislyak, Moscow’s ambassador to Washington in 2016. “Get him to lie so we can prosecute him,” was the FBI’s directive.

Yet worse, Flynn’s guilty plea was in response to prosecutors’ threats to indict his son if he pled otherwise. Tell me the difference, please, between this kind of stuff and the treatment of the accused in the postwar show trials in Eastern Europe.

On the same day the Justice Department dropped the charges against Flynn, the House Intelligence Committee released documents showing that the FBI had no evidence that Russia pilfered the Democratic National Committee’s email archives by hacking into its servers in mid–2016. The FBI had none because CrowdStrike, the patently corrupt cyber-security firm on which it (inexplicably) relied, never gave it any: It had none, either — contrary to its many claims otherwise.

The taker of cake here is that the documents also show that the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by the inimitable (thank goodness) Adam Schiff, knew there were no grounds to allege Russian involvement in what wasn’t a hack by anyone, but a leak, probably by someone with direct access to the DNC’s servers.

My Consortium News colleague Ray McGovern has just detailed the collapse of the “Russians-hacked-it” ruse.

No evidence anywhere along the line of collusion, none of Russians stealing mail. There is a simpler way to put this: No Russiagate.

In truth, there has been evidence aplenty of the Russiagate fraud for some time, due in part to the researches of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, VIPS, of which McGovern is a principal. The problem has been to secure official acknowledgement of three years’ worth of wrongdoing. We now have it, even if it arrives with no admission whatsoever of responsibility.

Enter Perception Management 

Now come the lies, the dissembling, and the media’s “perception management.”  Tucker Carlson, the Fox News presenter, offered a funny-but-not-funny catalog of the liars who now stand exposed, none more thoroughly than the egregious Schiff, who ought to resign over this, and Evelyn Farkas, another Obama-era holdover with absolutely no regard for the truth. Loretta Lynch, Obama’s A–G, will also have things to answer for, assuming answers for her misconduct are required of her.

Among the press and broadcasters, it has been a spinfest this past week — led, naturally, by The New York Times, given no one in the media dares venture a syllable for which the Times has not signaled prior approval. The paper’s report on the dismissal of the Flynn case marked the judgment down as “the latest example of Attorney General William P. Barr’s efforts to chisel away at the results of the Russia investigation.” I lost count of the mentions of Flynn’s “lying” and “guilty plea” after nine. No reference to the perjury trap set for Flynn, or the threat to indict his son.

The Times ran two further pieces hatcheting Flynn and Barr in Saturday’s editions, here and here, and a straight-out character assassination of Flynn on Sunday, casting him as some kind of pathological split personality. The Gray Lady doth protest too much, in my view.

The press vastly over-invested in the Russiagate narrative from the first, and now appears set to throw yet more money after all the bad. This is not a good sign. It suggests that our troubled republic simply cannot accept its errors, leaving us unable to learn from them. This is why America in its post-democratic phase cannot self-correct. It is why we have no assurance that another Russiagate, in whatever form, will not be visited upon us.

“Attorney General William P. Barr’s efforts to chisel away at the results of the Russia investigation”? Absolutely. We have to hope he gets somewhere. Committed Russiagaters now take to charging that Barr is corrupting an otherwise snow-white Justice Department. Say what? Given all we now know, this starts to tip into the zone of black humor.

Barr and his investigators are fully armed as of last week. They have all they need to get to the bottom of this dark ocean. They have it in their power to bring to justice the three architects of the Russiagate scam when it was in motion — ex–C.I.A. Director John Brennan, ex–Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, ex–F.B.I. Director James Comey — for what amounted to an attempt to depose a president in a bloodless coup. These are the Democratic Party’s answer to former President Richard Nixon’s infamous “plumbers,” if you ask me.

Whether Barr and his investigators get the task done is to a great extent a matter of politics and bureaucratic warfare that will at best be partially visible to us in coming months. It is a question of how far he will be permitted to go.

Succeed or fail, the record is at least and at last straight.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century” (Yale).

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments