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FBI no longer trusted? ODNI says spies will take over US election security briefings

RT | May 15, 2020

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has reassigned the job of counter-intelligence briefings to US political campaigns and candidates from the FBI, presumably over the misconduct during the 2016 election.

Going forward, all intelligence-based threat briefings to “candidates, campaigns and political organizations” will be provided by the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, the acting head of ODNI Richard Grenell announced on Friday.

The announcement went almost unnoticed in Washington until pointed out by filmmaker Mike Cernovich, who said it amounted to “a polite way of saying that the FBI is no longer trusted.”

Donald Trump Junior confirmed that interpretation, saying that the FBI and other institutions has been “corrupted at the top and need a thorough cleaning before they gain back the trust Americans once bestowed upon them.”

The change is but the latest reform Grenell has pushed through at the ODNI since he took over as acting chief in February. It follows last week’s revelations that the FBI sought to entrap President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser Michael Flynn after the 2016 election, first getting him fired from the White House and then improperly prosecuted for perjury.

Previously, the DOJ inspector-general found that the FBI sought to spy on the Trump campaign in 2016 while using counterintelligence “defensive briefings” as cover, and obtained four FISA warrants to do so based mainly on the fraudulent “pee tape” dossier compiled by British spy Christopher Steele on behalf of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

At the time, the FBI, CIA and the ODNI provided fuel and cover for Democrat accusations that Trump had “colluded” with Russia to win the election, which have since been shown as entirely unfounded.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security will still work with the intelligence community to “identify and integrate threat information,” but the task of briefing candidates and campaigns will be entrusted to NCSC Director Bill Evanina, overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate earlier this month.

Evanina “will act swiftly to deliver the timely and thorough assessments to those affected by potential malicious influence,” the ODNI said, describing the change as an “important improvement and simplification” of the current process.

Congressman John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) has been nominated to take over as permanent ODNI director, but his Senate confirmation is still pending.

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , | Leave a comment

May 14 marks 2nd anniversary of Israel’s massacre of 60 unarmed civilians

By Robert Inlakesh | Press TV | May 14, 2020

Contrary to the claims of the Israeli regime, Israel’s “independence day” has little do with independence and little to do with a simple sense of “national pride”. Instead, what Israel’s independence day truly signifies, is a day of whitewashing the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and now added to that list is the whitewashing of the massacre of civilians in Gaza perpetrated on that very same date.

On May 14, 2018, Israeli occupation forces stationed on the perimeter of the illegally besieged Gaza Strip massacred at least 61 unarmed Palestinian civilians, also injuring thousands. Not a single Israeli was killed on this day, with only one soldier reportedly enduring a minor scratch.

Nevertheless the mainstream Western press reported the event as “hostile border clashes” and attempted to whitewash the massacre which was later condemned by the UNHRC, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch as well as Doctors Without Borders and many other leading NGO’s and international representative bodies.

The shameful lack of truthful reporting on the massacre, led to further massacres of smaller volume as Israeli snipers continued to engage, largely peaceful, demonstrators with lethal force from across a field of barbed wire and electrified fences. The protests against Israel originally started on March 30, 2018, and saw the murder of 330+ unarmed Palestinians in Gaza, as well as the injury of at least 40,000. On the Israeli side, not a single death and not a single serious injury, in fact not even an injury worth the Israeli media reporting upon.

The reason why this massacre of civilians, committed two years to-date in Gaza, is so significant is because the narrative Israel uses to justify its 2018 massacre can be paralleled perfectly with the narrative that Israel uses to justify the celebration of its so-called independence.

Between 1947-1949 Zionist militias, namely the Irgun, Haganah and Stern Gang, violated the UN partition plan set out to create a Jewish state inside of 55% of historic Palestine, despite the fact that Jewish settlers were only 33% of the population at the time. This violation of the UN partition plan parameters that the Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion had in public agreed to entailed the annexation of roughly 78% of historic Palestine as well as the ethnic cleansing of 800,000 native Palestinians from their lands.

This ethnic cleansing is remembered on May 15 as Nakba (Catastrophe) Day, just one day after Israel’s celebration of its original sin. Like with the 2018 Gaza massacre, the Western mainstream press, government officials and Israel itself claim that Israel was the victim in 1948. This of course is not the line of the entire international community, several UN resolutions, accounts of Palestinians who suffered, Israeli documents pointing to the truth of what went on and essentially every serious scholar and human rights organization.

Despite the truth being well documented, black and white and extremely easy to digest, the mainstream Western press continues to lie to its viewerships. The BBC will not cover the Palestinian Nakba, nor the 2018 massacre they shamefully attempted to lie about and cover up for Israel.

So now it is on the rest of the world to urge people to look at what Israel is doing on the ground right now, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has just visited Israel in order to discuss the annexation of even more Palestinian land, and surely in the process of this land grab, the inevitable massacre of even more Palestinian civilians.

It is time we call out our media in Western countries for the racist filth that it generates surrounding the issue of Palestine-Israel, and hold the BBC to account for its blatant double-standards and constant sourcing of Israeli institutions rather than independent human rights groups, the UN and other authoritative bodies when it comes to its facts on the ground.

Robert Inlakesh is a journalist, writer and political analyst, who has lived in and reported from the occupied Palestinian West Bank. He has written for publications such as Mint Press, Mondoweiss, MEMO, and various other outlets. He specializes in analysis of the Middle East, in particular Palestine-Israel. He also works for Press TV as a European correspondent.

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote on $38 billion package to Israel

Prime Minister Netanyahu meeting with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez in January 2014. (Jerusalem Post )
By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | May 15, 2020

While millions of Americans are out of work due to the coronavirus, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is poised to vote for a 10-year package to give Israel $38 billion.

The vote was scheduled for Wednesday May 14th, but the committee meeting was postponed. Phone calls and emails to the committee asking when the vote will be taken have not been returned. (There don’t appear to have been any public announcements or media reports that the vote had been scheduled.)

The legislation is a top priority for AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee),

The bipartisan bill – S.3176 – was introduced by an Israel lobby favorite, Marco Rubio (R-FL). It is cosponsored by 19 Republicans and 18 Democrats, despite the fact that Israel has a long record of human rights  violations.

A related bipartisan bill was passed by the House of Representatives on July 23, 2019, H.R.1837. The House suspended the rules and passed the bill with a voice vote. The House bill was introduced by another Israel lobby favorite, Rep Ted. Deutch (D-FL-22), and has 150 Republican cosponsors and 142 Democratic cosponsors.

U.S. media have largely failed to tell Americans about this legislation.

Voters wishing to give their opinion on the legislation can reach the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by phoning the Capitol switchboard (202-225-3121) and asking for each Senator by name. An operator will connect callers to the Senator’s office, where they can leave a message.

The AIPAC website features a video of an AIPAC official describing their work to procure aid for Israel even during a time of financial devastation to the US:

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Video | , , , | 7 Comments

The American Genie – Engineering a Catastrophe

By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | May 15, 2020

The first signs that something terrible had gone wrong with the security at the Fort Detrick bio-defence facility fifty miles north-west of Washington DC were when cases of a previously unknown and serious respiratory illness appeared at a retirement village on the western outskirts of the capital in July 2019. The first cases were noted on June 30th amongst the 260 residents of the Greenspring Assisted Living unit, with the infectious disease later affecting 19 staff and taking the lives of some older residents.

“The notice that went out on July 10 from Donna L. Epps, an administrator at Greenspring, said several residents had been having symptoms of respiratory illness, including fever, coughing and body aches. Epps’s notice, which says the symptoms recede in about five to seven days with treatment but have caused pneumonia, also announced limits on visitors, enhanced sanitation measures and other steps.”

The story was rapidly picked up, and statements issued to ease concerns:

“– the two patients who died in the outbreak had been hospitalized with pneumonia but were “older individuals with complex medical problems.”

“One of the things about skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities is that when you have a lot of people in close proximity, who have underlying medical conditions, there is an increased risk for outbreaks,” he said. “Seeing a respiratory outbreak in a long-term care facility is not odd. … One thing that’s different about this outbreak is just that it’s occurring in the summer when, usually, we don’t have a lot of respiratory disease.”

The Centre for Disease Control was alerted on July 8th and took samples but “was unable to identify the organism responsible”. As if. Perhaps it was just a sensible precaution to close down the Fort Detrick research facility two weeks later, where infection control mechanisms had previously been suspect.

“The statement said the Center for Disease Control and Prevention decided to issue a “cease and desist order” last month to halt the research at Fort Detrick because the center did not have “sufficient systems in place to decontaminate wastewater” from its highest-security labs.”

While the organisms Fort Detrick conducted research on and with included such lethal ones as Ebola, concerns had been raised back in 2015 about their research on genetically engineered and mutant viruses that posed an unacceptable risk to humans should they escape. This research, known as “gain of function” or GOF had been banned in 2014 by the Obama administration, but some programs appear to have continued, and in November 2015 caused scientists to issue a warning. While this warning has been widely publicised, as well as used to support the theory that SARS-CoV-2 came from a lab and not from nature, the GOF research it referred to, published a little earlier in Nature medicine has had little attention.

This research was a collaborative project between the scientists at the University of Carolina and a team led by “Bat Woman” Shi Zhengli at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. While the research is complex and the motives obscure, there is little doubt that the researchers successfully engineered a “chimaera” which combined a lethal coronavirus from a bat with one capable of easily infecting human cells, and proved its “gain of function” both in vitro and in vivo.

Shi Zhengli. Credit: Weibo

Further information has now come to light on evidence that SARS-CoV-2 was genetically engineered following a detailed scientific study into the genome of the virus. Ironically perhaps, the focus of the anonymous analyst seems to have been to incriminate the Chinese government “communist party” and its research lab in Wuhan. As explained by “GM Watch”, despite this political angle and the suspect anonymity of the unpublished research, the science it presents is very persuasive. Significantly however, they question the analyst’s view that the synthetic virus was designed as a bioweapon, “though it may have been”. They conclude:

“In our view, the evidence presented above shows that there is an urgent need for a credible and independent international investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 and the roles played by Shi Zhengli, the Chinese government, and the US bodies that helped fund the virus research at the WIV, including the National Institutes of Health and the EcoHealth Alliance.”

It may be a surprise for some to learn of US involvement in research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but it should be a shock to learn how this collaboration came about and who was involved. As recently revealed in the mainstream publication Newsweek, America’s high-profile scientific expert Dr Anthony Fauci strongly supported GOF research, and following the ban in the US was involved in funding a similar project in Wuhan. That five-year project ended in 2019 and was extended:

“A second phase of the project, beginning that year, included additional surveillance work but also gain-of-function research for the purpose of understanding how bat coronaviruses could mutate to attack humans. The project was run by EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit research group, under the direction of President Peter Daszak, an expert on disease ecology. NIH canceled the project just this past Friday, April 24th, Politico reported. Daszak did not immediately respond to Newsweek requests for comment.”

Newsweek notes that Dr. Fauci also did not respond to their requests, and other media didn’t pick up the story. But:

“according to Richard Ebright, an infectious disease expert at Rutgers University, the project description refers to experiments that would enhance the ability of bat coronavirus to infect human cells and laboratory animals using techniques of genetic engineering. In the wake of the pandemic, that is a noteworthy detail.

Ebright, along with many other scientists, has been a vocal opponent of gain-of-function research because of the risk it presents of creating a pandemic through accidental release from a lab.”

As well as supporting GOF research, for reasons described by Newsweek, Dr. Fauci was renowned for his work on HIV, and more recently on bird flu viruses. He also was involved in the development of Remdesevir, which he has recently promoted as a treatment for COVID-19 cases despite little evidence for its efficacy, in contrast to the widely used Hydroxychloroquine favored by the US President – and many others around the world.

But the treatment or consequences of the release of this novel Coronavirus are not my concern at this crucial junction point – or rather disjunction point – in history.

Having concluded some time ago that the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was most probably the bio-insecure facility at Fort Detrick, the one question that remained unanswered was how and why it appeared in Wuhan, and what happened in the months before it was first identified there.

A number of impossibly unlikely coincidences led to that conclusion, in particular the first detected appearance of the virus was in the hotel where US soldiers stayed during the World Military Games, held between October 18th and 27th 2019 in Wuhan. Coincidentally and indicatively also, a “novel Coronavirus” pandemic simulation exercise was held in New York on the very day the games began, sponsored by and involving some key actors in the health and pharmaceutical industry, as well as significant international experts.

The apparent suppression of reporting on “Event 201” in the mainstream media has led observers to interpret this pandemic rehearsal in the way that other coincidental exercises have been – as further evidence of “conspiracy”. The involvement of CEPI director Jane Halton in Event 201 is the most indicative of these coincidences, given the role Australia is playing in pushing for an “inquiry” targeting China, and Halton’s role in the National Coronavirus Coordination committee.

It is instructive to read the recommendations issued following the Event 201 exercise, particularly on the development of public-private partnerships and on the control of false information in the media, as this is reflected in the control of the “COVID-19 Pandemic” narrative here in Australia.

Although there is a divergence of opinion on how to treat the escalating conflict with China, particularly following the Chinese Government’s actions on food imports from Australia, no-one in the Government, Opposition, think tanks or media is saying that China is not to blame for the pandemic, in some way or another. Influential commentators, as well as union leaders, are portraying the dispute as a choice between taking China’s money or protecting our sovereignty, a position that is both idiotic and mistaken, ignoring the reality of our dependence on Chinese exports and imports.

Australians may not be able to see it, but for the Chinese foreign ministry it is crystal clear – that Australia’s proposals and actions are in no-ones interest, except America’s.

Until now the situation appeared paradoxical. Concluding that the US had intentionally introduced the novel Coronavirus into Wuhan made little sense, given the inevitable blowback. Four months on it is the US which has suffered worst from the Coronavirus Pandemic, while China is restarting its temporarily disabled economy after successfully suppressing the epidemic in Wuhan. Barring some of the wilder conspiracy theories that might see a benefit for some elites and vested interests in health and security in the chaos induced by the lock-downs, the question of “cui bono” remained unanswered, until now.

Some of the US soldiers in the team sent to Wuhan for the games reportedly fell ill and even went to hospital, but it now appears that athletes in teams from other countries were infected by contact with them. Two French athletes recently reported having suffered a strange respiratory illness after returning home from Wuhan, which they now realize was very probably CV19. Apparently similar cases have been reported in athletes from other teams who participated in the Wuhan games, with Luxemburg and Sweden cited in this report. A more recent but still early appearance of a distinct strain of the virus in France suggests an origin in those early cases from Wuhan. The distinct and early outbreaks in Italy and Iran may well have also originated similarly from returning athletes.

So now the possibility arises that far from the Wuhan Military Games being the point where the novel Coronavirus was introduced into China, they were the point from which the infection fanned out across the world, potentially to all the countries participating in the Games. Except for one.

As with Italy and France, there were early reports of an unusually severe pneumonia occurring in the US in December and November, but with cases mistaken for influenza at that time of year, except by the CDC, which recognized the infection as “COVID 19” but kept quiet about it until questioned in senate hearings. Unsurprisingly, China picked up on this admission from the CDC, asking the question to which we now have the answer – “where was your patient zero?”.

Perhaps they may also be considering a new “conspiracy theory” following the revelation of the July outbreak at Greensprings retirement village. This would be my suggestion:

To say that the escape of the Coronavirus Genie from Fort Detrick was a monumental disaster looming for the US health system and for the economy is a gross understatement. As we can see from the way the world has been turned upside down by the chaotic response to the pandemic, being held responsible for this long predicted catastrophe could bring the world down on you. So rather than admit to the viral Genie’s escape and the total failure of the Centre for Disease Control to control this unknown and deadly disease, they had to come up with a plan.

Because of the collaboration with Wuhan on GOF research and the presence of similar or identical viruses at the WIV, a scheme might be devised to plant the infection in the centre of the city and lay the blame for the subsequent predicted pandemic on China. When the virus later reached the US, its already established presence there would be effectively concealed, at least from the public. Concealing such things from epidemiologists and virologists is clearly harder, and it has been noted that while cases in Washington State are closely related to the Wuhan strain, those in New York are not. (It has also been reported that Italy has requested the exhumation of bodies in the US following suspicions on the origins of the Italian outbreak; the US has so far refused.)

I propose that the scheme devised in desperation last summer for this “diversionary tactic”, was to send the Fort Detrick Virus with the soldiers set to compete at the Wuhan games in three months’ time, while trying to keep a lid on the domestic epidemic until the new year, and a lock on the inquisitive media. Rehearsing for the subsequent global pandemic called for “Event 201” to prepare participants for what they might have to face, and bring their organizational and media responses into line. Shi Zhengli’s presence in Wuhan also looks to be an important part of this US operation, with stories about her work with Horseshoe Bats, and her recent insistence on the natural origins of the Virus playing a vital role in the cyber-warfare side of the operation. Given Zhengli’s role in the controversial genetic engineering research project in 2015, those stories are clearly vital disinformation.

Whether this theory is the correct one may not yet be proven, but it does provide an explanation to the conundrum of the genie that was accidentally released from the bottle but intentionally released from Wuhan. And we must all now suffer the consequences of that US “culpable manslaughter” as we learn to live with their engineered Genie. Just don’t take it out on China.

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 4 Comments

Why the Current Economic Slowdown Won’t Show Up in the Atmospheric CO2 Record

By Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. | May 15, 2020

Summary: Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) continue to increase with no sign of the global economic slowdown in response to the spread of COVID-19. This is because the estimated reductions in CO2 emissions (around -11% globally during 2020) is too small a reduction to be noticed against a background of large natural variability. The reduction in economic activity would have to be 4 times larger than 11% to halt the rise in atmospheric CO2.

Changes in the atmospheric reservoir of CO2 occur when there is an imbalance between surface sources and sinks of CO2. While the global land and ocean areas emit approximately 30 times as much CO2 into the atmosphere as humans produce from burning of fossil fuels, they also absorb about an equal amount of CO2. This is the global carbon cycle, driven mostly by biological activity.

There are variations in the natural carbon cycle, such as during El Nino (more CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere) and La Nina (more CO2 removed from the atmosphere). Greater wildfire activity releases more CO2, while major volcanic eruptions (paradoxically) lead to greater photosynthesis from more diffuse sunlight and extra removal of CO2 from the air. The most dramatic variations are seasonal, as the land-dominated Northern Hemisphere experiences an annual cycle of vegetation growth (CO2 removal) and decay (CO2 release).

The increase in atmospheric CO2 observed since the 1950s is most likely dominated by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, which are twice as large as that needed to explain the observed rise. As I have shown before, a simple CO2 budget model driven by (1) estimates of global yearly anthropogenic CO2 emissions, (2) El Nino and La Nina activity, and (3) a CO2 removal rate that is proportional to how much “extra” CO2 is in the atmosphere compared to a “preferred baseline” CO2 level, yields an excellent fit to yearly CO2 observations at Mauna Loa, Hawaii.

Fig. 1. Yearly Mauna Loa, HI CO2 observations since 1959 (red) versus a simple CO2 budget model (blue).

But those are yearly measurements, and we are now interested in whether the recent global economic slowdown is showing up in the monthly Mauna Loa CO2 data. If we remove the large seasonal variations (driven by the seasonal growth and decay of Northern Hemisphere vegetation), we see no evidence of the economic slowdown through April, 2020.

Fig. 2. Monthly CO2 data since 2015 from Mauna Loa, HI after the average seasonal cycle is statistically removed.

As can be seen in Fig. 2, there are some pretty large month-to-month jumps and dips around the long-term increase (represented by the dotted line). These are probably natural variations due to fluctuations in the average seasonal variations in vegetation growth and decay, wildfire activity, and El Nino and La Nina activity (which are imperfectly removed in the solid blue line in Fig. 2). Variations in economic activity might also be involved in these fluctuations.

The point is that given the large month-to-month variations in natural CO2 sources and sinks seen in Fig. 2, it would be difficult to see a downturn in the anthropogenic source of CO2 unless it was very large (say, over 50%) and prolonged (say over a year or longer).

Instead, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that the global economic slowdown this year due to the spread of the novel coronavirus will amount to only about an 11% reduction in global CO2 emissions. This is simply too small of a decrease in CO2 emissions to show up against a background of considerable monthly and yearly natural variability in the atmospheric CO2 budget.

That relatively small 11% reduction also illustrates how dependent humanity is on energy, since the economic disruption is leading to U.S. unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Everything that humans do requires access to abundant and affordable energy, and even the current economic downturn is not enough to substantially reduce global CO2 emissions.

ADDENDUM: How much of a decrease in CO2 emissions would be required to stop the atmospheric rise in CO2?

An interesting aspect of the observed rise of atmospheric CO2 is that it indicates the greater the CO2 concentration, the faster the “extra” CO2 is removed by biological activity. The observed annual rate of removal is 2.3% of the excess above a baseline of 295 ppm. The greater the “excess”, the faster the rate of removal.

Because of this rapid rate of removal, the anthropogenic CO2 emissions do not have to go to zero to stop the observed rise in atmospheric CO2. Using my simple model (blue line in Fig. 1, above), I find that a 43% reduction in anthropogenic CO2 emissions in 2020 would — in the absence of natural fluctuations in the carbon cycle — lead to a halt in the observed rise of atmospheric CO2 in 2020 over 2019 levels. This is about 4 times larger than the EIA estimate of an 11% reduction in CO2 emissions for the year 2020.

Copyright 2020 Roy Spencer, Ph. D. – All Rights Reserved

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | Leave a comment

Russia’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic: a busy week

By Gilbert Doctorow | May 15, 2020

This week started with a major presentation by President Putin of Russia’s plans for gradually lessening the strictures of lockdown, restarting the economy and restoring normal life as the epidemic in the country passes stabilization, which was just reached, and enters the ebb phase of contagion, hospitalization and death. The setting was a virtual conference with major players in the government responsible for managing the health crisis. However, since Putin’s lengthy speech which came to 17 typed pages was televised live by all Russian state channels, it could just as easily be called an address to the nation.  The main focus was on the economy and assistance to citizens and to business.

That speech has received little attention in the West and I will come back to it in a follow-up tomorrow, because it tells us a great deal about the guiding principles of Russian governance and its ‘social economy.’

In this essay I deal with the second major appearance by Putin this week dedicated to the coronavirus which took place this afternoon, Friday, 15 May. It also was carried live by all state television channels. It also was nominally remarks made within a virtual intragovernmental conference. And it also was a major policy statement that merits our greatest attention, not only for what it says about Russia, but more importantly for what it says about us, in the West, and how we are badly handling the challenges of the pandemic because of our stubborn and proud disparagement of China.

I listened closely to two of the reports to Putin from the ‘regions’, meaning territories outside Moscow on what is being done right now to handle the growing case load of coronavirus sufferers, and Putin’s comments which may be characterized as ‘programmatic’ insofar as they seek to use the ongoing experience in combatting the coronavirus to deliver, at long last, a substantial rebuilding of medical infrastructure across the country with the help of the military.

The regions reporting were St Petersburg, which is still relatively healthy compared to Moscow but has seen a growing number of infections and hospitalizations in the past few weeks, and Voronezh, which more typically represents the Russian provinces and till now has had a very low level of infection, but is preparing for the worst. In each case the governor read a report of what is being done to build dedicated hospitals for treatment of coronavirus cases both by the local administration and with the help of the Ministry of Defense, represented by the senior officer standing at their side who is overseeing construction of modular hospitals by military personnel and staffed by military doctors.

In Petersburg, which is Russia’s second largest city with a population of approximately 5 million, there are specialized hospitals for light cases with 1,000 beds being completed and specialized hospitals with Intensive Care Units in the size of 200 to 600 beds also reaching completion.  A similar approach is being implemented in Voronezh.

The involvement of the Armed Forces in building some of these hospitals is very significant, because they have developed modular solutions that can be applied uniformly across the vast continent that is Russia.

In a way, these projects are similar to what Moscow did as first mover when it opened the state of the art hospital at the city’s periphery in a district called Kommunard. The logic is to remove the coronavirus patients from the general hospital system. This leaves the general hospitals free to continue to serve their traditional ‘clientele,’ the community of those with other ailments. It focuses training, equipment, medicines in locations where maximum attention can be given to ensuring sanitary conditions that protect medical staff and encourage application of well-rehearsed solutions to the challenges of each patient.

Now where would the Russians have gotten this idea from? It is not hard to imagine. We need only think back at the response of the Chinese authorities following the recognition that the outbreak in Wuhan posed existential questions for the local population, indeed for the nation as a whole if it were not contained and wiped out. We all were stunned at the construction of the first specialized facility to deal with the epidemic in one week!

The Russians are less “Stakhanovite” these days, and the hospital projects mentioned above are being executed on a 6 week schedule. But they are being implemented at the highest technical level. Putin gave the figure 5 million rubles as the cost of one hospital bed in the new units; that comes to $60,000 and in Russia’s price equivalency to the dollar probably represents a US cost double or triple the nominal ruble cost. So they are not skimping, not planning to put the incoming patients on matrasses on the floor as happened in Bergamo, Italy.

We also know from the day’s press, that the Russians are now entering into mass production of the few medicines which the Chinese told them proved to be effective in treating their coronavirus patients. Which ones Putin did not say.

And now I must ask, how does Russia’s borrowing from the Chinese playbook compare to what we see around us in Western Europe and the United States? Here China comes up in the coronavirus story only as a punching bag, the people who ‘kept us in the dark’ about the dangers of this plague, not as providers of solutions and advice from their own first and successful experience snuffing it out.

The question I must pose is this:  are the Russians being especially clever, or are we being especially stupid?

The segregation of coronavirus patients from the general flows of the ailing contrasts dramatically with what has been going on in Belgium, for example. Here about 100 hospitals around the country have been sharing the aggravated cases of coronavirus requiring hospitalization. This population reached about 5,000 at its peak with nearly one third in Intensive Care, of which to two thirds required ventilators. At the peak a couple of weeks ago, the number of patients in the last category came close to the national inventory of ventilators, a bit more than 1,000. Thankfully, the numbers in the past ten days have come down sharply and there are now half the number of hospital beds taken by virus sufferers.

However, at the peak, all of Belgium’s hospitals resembled war zones with extraterritorial suited medics at the entrances. Normal patients did not have to think twice to shun them. Accordingly, even non-elective surgery was being cancelled; chemotherapy patients were staying at home, etc. This is one element of the mortality brought on by the coronavirus that no one has been recording. Moreover, one has to ask about the quality of medical attention when 100 hospitals, mostly without any experience in epidemics, in virology, were being used to treat Covid19 patients. This had to be a contributor to the body bag count that went into official statistics.

Finally, in closing ,a word about body counts.

In the past several days there have been news reports in Western media accusing Russia of under-reporting deaths in the country due to the coronavirus epidemic. In particular, I can point to articles in The New York Times and in the Financial Times.

With respect to the New York Times the piquant title given to one respective article pointing to a “Coronavirus Mystery” – is fully in line with the daily dose of anti-Russian propaganda that this most widely read American newspaper has been carrying on for years now.  A couple of weeks ago the same paper carried an article by one of its veteran science journalists accusing President Putin of using the coronavirus to undermine American science, and medicine in particular. That article was totally baseless, a collection of slanderous fake news.

With respect to the accusation of intentional underreporting of mortality figures in Russia, the New York Times was actually borrowing from the Financial Times, which stated that Russian deaths from the virus may be 70 per cent higher than the official numbers. In both cases, even if the underreporting were true, and this is very debatable, it obscures the fact that both official and unofficial numbers are miniscule compared to the devastation wrought by the virus elsewhere in Europe (Italy, Spain and the UK) or in the USA, where the numbers continue to spike. Russia has either a couple of thousand deaths or something closer to three thousand. Compare that to the official deaths ten times greater in the worst hit European countries having overall populations less than half or a third of Russia’s. So the accusation of 72% underreporting in Russia is a debating point that can easily be shown to be deceptive if not irrelevant.

However, there is a missing element here: context. The whole issue of underreporting Covid19 deaths has been reported on by the Financial Times for a good number of countries, not just Russia. Indeed, their first concern has been to show that the official numbers posted by the UK government, now in the range of 30,000 are a fraction of the actual deaths in the UK (more than 50,000) if one uses not the death certificates case by case but the overall excess of deaths in a given month in 2020 compared to the norm in the given country over the 3 preceding years. The New York Times in its typical cherry picking approach to find what is worst to say about Russia ignores this background of FT reporting.

Why is there underreporting? There are many possible reasons, the chief one is the varying methodology used by the various countries to allocate a given death to the virus.

By curious coincidence this very issue was addressed in today’s press conference on the pandemic by the Belgian Ministry of Public Health. As is widely reported, Belgium has one of the world’s highest rates of mortality from Covid19, very close to the figures in Spain and Italy. This has been reported in the local press and the Ministry today chose to respond. As they noted, Belgium is one of the few countries to report ALL Covid-19 deaths, meaning both those in hospital and those in care homes (mostly old age homes). In Belgium, as in France, deaths have been equally split between these two sets of institutions. Almost no deaths have occurred at home or, as they say, ‘in the community.’ Moreover, deaths are attributed to Covid-19 if the symptoms were there even if no proper test was carried out to confirm this.

In total, Belgium death count today stands close to 9,000 for a general population of 11.8 million.  High, but still substantially lower than the mortality in New York, for example, whichever way you count. And, to put the picture into a less dire context, it is reported that each winter Belgium experiences about 5,000 deaths attributable to the seasonal flu. Of course, the flu does not lay waste to the medical establishment, and there you have the difference that makes the ongoing Russian approach to Covid19 so relevant.

© Gilbert Doctorow 2020

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 10 Comments

Covid-19, Russiagate, Iraq – politicians are too happy to defer to convenient ‘experts’

By George Szamuely | RT | May 14, 2020

So-called “experts” are too narrow in their focus and too often wrong in their judgments to be able to decide the sorts of life-and-death issues a nation’s political leaders are asked to decide.

If “War is too important to be left to the generals,” as Georges Clemenceau, (France’s prime minister during World War I) claimed, then foreign policy is too important to be left to the intelligence agencies, and public policy is too important to be left to the scientists.

From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, politicians and media fell over themselves in their rush to defer to the “experts.” Apparently, it was up to scientists to decide whether a country should shut down its economy and keep its citizens locked up in their homes in perpetuity. It was up to scientists to determine whether a country can, if ever, resume normal life. As for the consequences — economic depression, exploding national debt, lost businesses and means of livelihood, growing alcoholism and drug abuse, rise in suicides, spiraling untreated medical problems — those are things the public would just have to live with, because there could be no second-guessing of the scientists.

Science, a mantra against Trump

President Trump has been one of the few political leaders to attempt, on occasion, to question scientists’ judgments, and to suggest that political leaders shouldn’t cede policymaking to unelected experts.

Such temerity elicited spluttering rage from the media. ‘Trump’s Response to Virus Reflects a Long Disregard for Science,’ ran the headline of a typical New York Times story:

“As the nation confronts one of its worst public health disasters in generations, a moment that demands a leader willing to marshal the full might of the American scientific establishment, the White House is occupied by a president whose administration… has diminished the conclusions of scientists in formulating policy.”

‘Pandemic Brings Trump’s War on Science to the Boil’ was the headline of a recent Guardian article. Trump’s political opponents are also on board with ceding policymaking authority to the scientists. Presumptive Democrat nominee Joe Biden urged Trump to “Listen to the scientists. Listen to the doctors. Listen to what they have to say.” A few days later, in response to Trump’s refusal to wear a mask, Biden declared, “It’s important to follow the science, listen to the experts, do what they tell you.”

No one has championed the cause of “science” as fervently as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Science is our key to unlocking our country. The last thing we need is political interference into science,” she announced in a recent tweet. Next day’s tweet stated, “What we must do — what science tells us we must do — is focus on expanding testing & contact tracing. That is the only way we can safely reopen our economy.” Asked by CNBC’s Jim Cramer when Americans could start going back to work, she resorted to what has become her familiar standby: “So, again, data, data, data, evidence, science. That is the answer to when we can go back.” On Fox News, she dismissed Trump as a “weak leader” because, bizarrely, he hadn’t ceded policymaking to the scientists: “And that might have been OK before, but we cannot continue down a path that is, again I’ll come back to science, science, science, evidence, data on how we should go forward.”

Not an exact science

What’s strange about this worship of the scientists is that their track record during the pandemic has hardly been impressive. The Imperial College model had predicted 2.2 million deaths in the United States and 510,000 in Great Britain. The supposedly anti-science Trump administration had taken the Imperial College model seriously and, as the New York Times admitted, the model “influenced the White House to strengthen its measures to isolate members of the public.” Imperial College’s Neil Ferguson then reversed himself and announced that UK deaths from the disease may not exceed 20,000. Interestingly, Ferguson cited the UK’s lockdown policy to explain his abrupt reversal. As Alex Berenson pointed out, the UK had instituted the lockdown only two days before Ferguson’s announcement, and lockdowns need at least two weeks to take effect. And ultimately, the UK’s death toll has already topped 30,000, so that prediction was wrong, as well.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s model didn’t fare much better. In early April, when the White House was citing predicted numbers of 100,000 and 240,000 deaths, it predicted there would be 147,000 deaths by August. That estimate has since been revised more than twofold – first to 135,000, and now to 147,000. Downward or upward, the point is that while politicians are incessantly telling other politicians to “listen to scientists,” the scientists are all over the place. Until there is at least universal agreement on how to tally the death numbers, namely, whether deaths with the coronavirus are to be counted separately from, or jointly with, deaths from the coronavirus, many of these numbers will remain in the realm of speculation.

The saints of Russiagate

Let’s take a look at another set of experts whose findings have been allowed to shape public policy. There is no group of experts with a worse record than the intelligence agencies. The catastrophic 2003 invasion of Iraq was in large part based on their finding that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Then there was the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, which flatly claimed:

“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

The intelligence agencies to this day have presented no conclusive evidence to support these claims. Yet politicians (even conservative politicians) and media (even conservative media) accept them as true and denounce as unpatriotic any attempt to call them into question. Any policy toward Russia other than total hostility — including repeated sanctions, provocation and preparation for armed conflict — was deemed unacceptable.

What politicians are for

Serious confrontation with a nuclear superpower is fraught with risk, and any US president would be derelict in his duties if he didn’t do everything in his power to avoid it. At a minimum, he should check whether the intelligence he had been fed was as solidly based as its producers claimed.

In Helsinki, during his July 2018 summit with President Putin, President Trump, acting with the responsibility his office requires, decided it was not in the interest of the US to pursue confrontation with Russia. Rather than accuse Russia of election interference, Trump expressed some skepticism as to the definitiveness of the US intelligence agencies’ findings. Media and political operatives rained denunciations on his head.

“Trump’s statements amounted to an unprecedented refusal by a US president to believe his own intelligence agencies over the word of a foreign adversary,” screamed CNN. “Millions of Americans will continue to wonder if the only possible explanation for this dangerous and inexplicable behavior is the possibility… that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump,” declared Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). “I wonder if the Russians have something” on Trump, mused former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Former CIA Director John Brennan flatly accused Trump of “treason.”

Since then, of course, the intelligence agencies’ claims have unraveled in spectacular fashion. Special Counsel Robert Mueller failed to “establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” The US government abandoned its two-year-long prosecution of a Russian company that had supposedly orchestrated a social media campaign to interfere in the 2016 election. Recently released House Intelligence Committee transcripts reveal that intelligence chiefs that had shot their mouths off on television about Trump-Russia admitted under oath that they had never personally seen any evidence of it. Most damagingly, Shawn Henry, president of CrowdStrike, admitted to having no conclusive evidence that it was the Russians who stole the DNC emails.

The Russian interference in the 2016 election story will soon be as discredited as the Iraqi WMDs story. The experts made claims that everyone needed to accept and that policymakers needed to act upon. As with the recommendations of the scientists, political leaders would have been better advised exercising their judgment rather than blindly following the experts. It’s what voters expect their leaders to do.

George Szamuely is a senior research fellow at Global Policy Institute (London) and author of Bombs for Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War on Yugoslavia. Follow him on Twitter @GeorgeSzamuely

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Covid-19: For Western mainstream media, Russia fails even when it succeeds

By Anna Belkina | RT | May 14, 2020

The Russian Foreign Ministry has demanded that two of the most prominent foreign newspapers, the New York Times and the Financial Times, retract their stories stating that Russia is concealing the real Covid-19 death toll.

Even if the NYT and FT were correct in their claims, Russia would still be doing far better than the vast majority of large industrialized nations, including the US and UK.

As of the morning of May 14, Russia’s Covid-19 death toll stands at 2,212 out of 242,271 recorded cases, or 0.9 percent. This number is not disputed by the World Health Organization (WHO), which has continuously monitored the situation in the country. To compare, the death rate for the novel coronavirus is six percent in the US, seven percent in Canada, 14 percent in the UK, and 10 percent or more in Italy, Spain, France and Sweden. You know, the so-called civilized countries.

There is not a hint of evidence that the Russian government has covered up the coronavirus toll. Yet, foreign media are skeptical of Russia’s numbers. Perhaps because in their worldview, Russia is not allowed to be anything but a grim and miserable failure at everything. Any fact contradicting this narrative is Kremlin propaganda.

To wit, the UK-based, Japanese-owned Financial Times has analyzed the recent all-cause mortality data coming out of Moscow and Saint Petersburg vis-a-vis the cities’ historical averages. It has concluded that Russia’s actual Covid-19 death toll is around 70 percent higher than the officially reported figures.

Meanwhile, the New York Times – headquartered in the city where nurses had to wear garbage bags for the lack of protective equipment, and where the local government began prospecting parks as possible burial grounds due to the staggering Covid-19 body count of nearly 15,000 – claimed that Russia’s real death toll could be “possibly almost three times higher than the official death toll.”

Here’s what the Times doesn’t tell you: Even if their worst case scenario for Russia were true, the country’s Covid-19 death rate would still be one of the lowest among large industrialized nations. Even having been tripled by the Times’ accounting, the resulting 2.7 percent still would be an impressive healthcare result compared to six percent in the US. It  would still be below Japan’s 4.1 percent and barely above the world’s main coronavirus ‘success story’, South Korea, currently at 2.3 percent. Moscow, a city with 50 percent more residents than NYC, would still have a body count five times lower even if all the extra deaths the Times is writing about were attributed Covid-19.

NB: While there are other large nations with smaller fatality numbers, such as India and Brazil, they are testing their populations at levels lower by a factor of tens, and suffer from weaker healthcare infrastructure overall. Their official recorded Covid-19 deaths therefore are likely not providing an accurate portrayal of the situation on the ground, a concern echoed by the WHO. Russia currently tests at the rate of ~40,000 per 1 million people, or well ahead of the US, UK, Canada, France, Sweden, and other OECD countries, and on par with Germany, Norway, and Switzerland, Europe’s ‘model nations’ in combating the coronavirus pandemic.

The New York Times is not interested in exploring the reasons for Russia’s promising performance, be they grounded in the country’s demographics or familial habitation traditions, legacy healthcare system or innovative scientific approaches, historical experiences with respiratory illnesses or modern infrastructure management.

It buries the lede, brushing aside its own note that “underreporting of fatalities has been observed in many other countries, where subsequent data reveal large upticks in deaths compared to the same period in previous years,” and charts showing Spain and England as countries that display a change in historical mortality trend lines nearly identical to Russia’s.

©  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/11/world/coronavirus-news.html

New York’s own numbers, according to the US Centers for Disease Control “may be thousands of fatalities worse than the tally kept by the city and state.” Moscow’s Department of Health, by the way, has already addressed the questions about the city’s cause-of-death accounting.

Instead, the Times pivots to its favorite bête noire – malevolent Russian propaganda. Their purported 300-percent greater coronavirus death toll in Russia “contrasts sharply with the line peddled by the Kremlin.” The paper does not clarify whether the same historical disparities in Spain and the UK contrast sharply with the line peddled by Madrid or the line peddled by 10 Downing Street. Official information from the naughty countries is always ‘peddled lines’; everyone else gets to plead best intentions and innocent ignorance in perpetuity.

The ‘Kremlin line’ on the coronavirus toll in Russia is supported by international monitoring and discrepancies are accounted for by international practices. The Kremlin’s supposedly concealed ‘massive failure’ would still be kicking the a** of most ‘First World’ nations when it comes to mitigating Covid-19 fatalities. But it would kill the mainstream press to admit as much.

Anna Belkina is RT’s deputy editor in chief and head of communications, marketing and strategic development.

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 2 Comments

As Another Perjury Trap is Exposed the FBI’s Case Against Trump Collapses

By Scott Ritter – Consortium News – May 14, 2020

It is one of the hottest conversations making the rounds on the internet — Shawn Henry, the retired FBI cyber-sleuth-turned private cyber security consultant, speaking with Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, recorded in transcripts of executive session testimony conducted on December 5, 2017, and only recently released to the public.

Schiff: Do you know the date in which the Russians exfiltrated the data from the DNC?

Henry:  I do. I have to just think about it. I don’t know. I mean, it’s in our report that I think the Committee has.

Schiff:  And, to the best of your recollection, when would that have been?

Henry: Counsel just reminded me that, as it relates to the DNC, we have indicators that data was exfiltrated. We do not have concrete evidence that data was exfiltrated from the DNC, but we have indicators that it was exfiltrated.

Schiff: And the indicators that it was exfiltrated, when does it indicate that would have taken place?

Henry: Again, it’s in the report. I believe — I believe it was April of 2016. I’m confused on the date. I think it was April, but it’s in the report.

Schiff: It provides in the report on 2016, April 22nd, data staged for exfiltration by the Fancy Bear actor. [Note: Fancy Bear is an attribution label used by Henry’s parent firm, CrowdStrike, to identify specific hacking methods and tools which are collectively referred to as an “advanced persistent threat”, or APT. Fancy Bear is also known by other cyber security organizations as APT-28, and is assessed by the U.S. government as being affiliated with Russian Military Intelligence, or GRU.]

Henry:  Yes, sir. So that, again, staged for, which means there’s not — the analogy I used with Mr. Stewart [Congressman Chris Stewart, R-Utah] earlier was we don’t have a video of it happening, but there are indicators that it happened. There are times when we can see data exfiltrated, and we can say conclusively. But in this case, it appears it was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.

Henry’s testimony has been used by many detractors of the “Russia-did-it” narrative promulgated by many congressional Democrats (including Schiff), the U.S. Intelligence Community (including the FBI), and former Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller as clear cut evidence that CrowdStrike had no direct evidence that any data or emails had been stolen from the DNC, and as such the entire narrative used to sustain the allegations that Russia was behind the thefts was, in fact, baseless.

Such a sweeping conclusion, however, is not sustained by either Shawn Henry’s testimony, or the available evidence. While there remain serious questions about the efficacy of the official narrative laying the alleged cyber attacks on the DNC at the feet of Russian intelligence, Henry’s testimony in and of itself does not make that case. Indeed, information subsequently released by the FBI suggests that, Henry’s assertions notwithstanding, data transfers did, in fact, occur on April 22.

“On or about April 22,” an indictment charging Russian military intelligence officers with the hacking of the DNC server alleges, “the Conspirators compressed gigabytes of data from DNC computers, including opposition research. The conspirators later moved the compressed DNC data using X-Tunnel to a GRU-leased computer located in Illinois.” Based on an analysis of the Illinois computer and another in Arizona, Mueller likewise asserts, in his report, that “[T]he GRU also stole documents from the DNC network shortly after gaining access. On April 22, 2016, the GRU copied files from the DNC network to GRU-controlled computers.”  

[In a footnote to his report, Mueller uses the qualifier “appear” to say that GRU “officers appear to have stolen thousands of emails and attachments, which were later released by WikiLeaks in July 2016.” He was never able to establish how the emails got to GRU headquarters.]

What Henry’s testimony does do, however, is dismantle the official predicate used by the FBI to initiate its counterintelligence investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane, into alleged collusion between persons affiliated with the presidential campaign of Donald Trump and the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election in favor of Trump.

The date of the alleged “staging” of data for “exfiltration” — April 22, 2016 — is highlighted by Schiff, during his questioning of Henry.

Schiff:  In your report, when you stated the data was staged for exfiltration on April 22ndof last year, that would have been the first time that you found evidence that the data was staged for exfiltration?

Henry:  I believe that is correct.

Schiff: Did you have a chance to read the information that was filed in conjunction with the George Papadopolous plea? [Note: George Papadopolous was a one-time foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign who pled guilty to lying to FBI agents.]

Henry:  I did not.

Schiff:  In that information, it states that Mr. Papadopolous was informed at the end of April that the Russians were in possession of stolen DNC or Clinton emails. If that information is correct, that would only be days after that data was staged for exfiltration?

Henry:  Yes.

Crossfire Hurricane

Recently declassified Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications submitted by the Department of Justice to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a unique judicial body that approves requests for secret warrants used by law enforcement to conduct covert electronic and physical surveillance of U.S. citizens, reveal that the predicate for the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation into alleged Russian collusion by the Trump campaign was triggered by a May 10, 2016, meeting between Papadopolous and an Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer (who at the time was the Australian Ambassador to the United Kingdom) in a London bar.

According to Downer, Papadopolous revealed that, based upon an April 26 conversation with a Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud, “he [Papadopolous] thought that the Russians may release information, might release information, that could be damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign at some stage before the election.”

Downer and a fellow Australian diplomat who was also at the meeting and witnessed Papadopolous’ statement, drafted a cable back to the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Canberra recording the gist of the conversation. “There was no suggestion from Papadopoulos nor in the record of the meeting that we sent back to Canberra, there was no suggestion that there was collusion between Donald Trump or Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russians,” Downer said. “All we did is report what Papadopoulos said.”

After the release by WikiLeaks on July 22, 2016, of thousands of emails allegedly sourced from the DNC, Downer, concerned that there might be a link between Papadopolous and the DNC emails, provided a copy of his cable to the U.S. Embassy in London, which forwarded it onto the FBI. This cable was used by the FBI to initiate its Crossfire Hurricane counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign; a derivative investigation into Papadopolous was given the codename “Crossfire Typhoon.”

As far as predicates for sensitive counterintelligence investigations of presidential campaigns go, the Papadopolous conversation with Misfud is transparently weak. A cursory examination of the emails released by WikiLeaks on July 22, 2016, shows that no in-time reference pre-dates May 25, 2016, more than a month after the alleged “data staging” event that Schiff highlighted as the link between the DNC hack and Papadopolous.

In short, regardless of the content of Papadopolous’s conversation with Mifsud, as relayed by Downer, there was no linkage between any emails alleged to be in the possession of Russia at the time of the April 26, 2016, Papadopolous-Misfud meeting and the actual data released by WikiLeaks on July 22, 2016, that the FBI used to justify the opening of both the Crossfire Hurricane and Crossfire Typhoon investigations. As Mueller notes in his report, the information released by WikiLeaks on July 22, 2016, coincides with a separate, alleged cyber attack on the DNC Microsoft Exchange Service between May 25 and June 1, 2016 — an attack that Mifsud could not have known about when he met with Papadopolous in April.

Moreover, the FBI knew before it interviewed Papadopolous on Jan. 27, 2017, that Papadopolous was not involved in any scheme to acquire purloined Russian emails on behalf of the Trump campaign. In September and October of 2016, the FBI made use of two confidential human sources (CHS) to engage Papadopoulos in conversations designed to elicit corroboration into its now-debunked theory.

In a Sept. 15, 2016, meeting between Papadopolous and an FBI-controlled CHS, Papadopolous was asked outright whether or not the Trump campaign could benefit from third-party intervention from the likes of WikiLeaks or Russia. Papadopolous made it clear in his response that no one in the campaign was advocating for this kind of intervention because it was “illegal,” “compromised national security,” and “set a bad precedent.”

“At the end of the day,” Papadopolous said, “it’s an illegal, it’s illegal activity. Espionage is treason. This is a form of treason.” And when asked by a second FBI-controlled CHS on Oct. 29, 2016, about who he thought was behind the hacking of the DNC, Papadopolous responded that it could be “the Chinese,” “the Iranians,” “Bernie supporters,” or “Anonymous” — but not the Russians. “Dude, Russia doesn’t have any interest in it anyways,” Papadopolous said. “They — dude, no one knows how a president is going to govern anyways. I mean… Congress is very hostile to Russia anyways.” It was a prescient, and telling, exchange — one the FBI chose to ignore.

No Connection

In the court filing detailing the facts sustaining Papadopolous’s guilty plea, Mueller declared that “defendant PAPADOPOULOS impeded the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the Campaign and the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.”

However, any careful examination of the data used by the FBI to link Papadopolous to the WikiLeaks release of DNC emails on July 22, 2016, clearly shows that there was absolutely no connection. As such, Papadopolous’s conversation with Mifsud had zero material bearing on the FBI’s investigation, a fact known to the FBI prior to its interview of Papadopolous on Jan. 27, 2017.

Indeed, the demonstrative lack of connection between Papadopolous and the hacking of the DNC should have been grounds for shutting down the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. There is only one explanation for the FBI’s actions in continuing to pursue Papadopolous — the interview was a perjury trap, plain and simple, designed to generate a conviction that would politically damage a sitting president and create the impression that the investigation into Russian collusion was more credible than it actually was.

The Papadopolous saga has been overshadowed by the ongoing controversy swirling around the Department of Justice decision to drop its charges against former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn who, like Papadopolous, pled guilty to lying to an FBI agent. The same kind of prosecutorial misconduct, perpetrated by many of the same individuals, that prompted dropping Flynn’s charges infects every aspect of the Papadopolous matter — even more so.

While Papadopolous cannot undo his sentence, or get back the time he served in prison, he can be exonerated by a much-deserved presidential pardon. Anything less would represent a victory by those who have corrupted American justice for political purposes, and a defeat for every American citizen who believes in the foundational principle of impartial justice.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

UK Presents No Proof of Russia’s ‘Cyberattacks’ on COVID-19 Vaccine Developers, Moscow Says

Sputnik – May 15, 2020

MOSCOW – The United Kingdom has not presented any proof of Russia’s alleged cyberattacks on universities working on a vaccine against the coronavirus, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov said in an interview with Sputnik.

“Russia has not received any official request from the UK … Neither have we seen any persuasive proof of cyberattacks on British universities and scientific organisations by our country or from its territory”, Syromolotov said. “Unfortunately, we’re seeing another round of the anti-Russia campaign, in which our country is groundlessly accused of staging cyberattacks”.

He recalled that Georgia and the Czech Republic had filed similar accusations against Russia.

“Each time we see more and more refined attacks on Russia, aimed at discrediting its image on the global media arena”, Syromolotov noted.

According to him, London is trying to find any trace of “Russian meddling” to start yet another baseless campaign against Moscow on “highly likely” grounds.

In early May, reports emerged in the UK media, claiming that “hostile states”, such as Russia and China, were attempting to hack UK universities and steal research related to the vaccine.

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Lavrov Rejects Merkel Allegations on Russian Hacking

Al-Manar | May 15, 2020

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday rejected allegations by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Russian hackers had spied on her.

“Five years have passed. Not a single concrete fact has been provided,” Lavrov said in a live interview with Russia’s RBK media group.

Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Merkel voiced frustration that Russia was targeting her in hacking attacks as she tried to build a better relationship with Moscow.

She said she had concrete proof of the “outrageous” spying attempts.

Lavrov charged that Berlin had decided Moscow was guilty even though “there are no facts in relation to Russia”.

“They suddenly said in the Bundestag… that all of this is outrageous and it had been done by Russians.”

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Russophobia | 1 Comment

The NATO Conquest of Eastern Europe

Tales of the American Empire | May 14, 2020

General Dwight Eisenhower was the first NATO supreme allied commander. After assuming that post in 1951, General Eisenhower wrote about NATO’s goal: “If in 10 years, all American troops stationed in Europe for national defense purposes have not been returned to the United States, then this whole project will have failed.” It did fail because seven decades later, long after the Soviet Union dissolved, NATO still exists with thousands of American troops deployed throughout Europe. The Warsaw Pact was disbanded in 1991 as Soviet troops withdrew from Eastern Europe. The American empire exploited this peace to expand NATO and absorb former Warsaw Pact nations and even former Soviet republics while deploying NATO forces to Russia’s borders.

_________________________________________

“NATO Expansion Would Be an Epic Fateful Error”; Admiral Eugene Carroll; Los Angeles Times; July 7, 1997; https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-x…

Halt Plans for New European Bases”; G2mil; 2011; https://www.g2mil.com/deveselu.htm

“The SM-3 Missile Defense Fraud”; G2mil; 2017; https://www.g2mil.com/NMD_Fraud.htm

“NATO Expansion; What Gorbachev Heard”; National Security Archive; Dec. 12, 2017; https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-bo…

“Founding Act”; an official NATO-Russian agreement; May 27, 1997; https://www.nato.int/cps/cn/natohq/of…

“Army tanks, personnel set for move to northwestern Germany”; Stars and Stripes; July 15, 2016; https://www.stripes.com/news/army-tan…

“In a small Polish village near a Russian enclave, US-led NATO battle group is ready in case anything happens”; Stars and Stripes; Feb. 15, 2020; https://www.stripes.com/news/europe/i…

“The New Cold War With Russia is All America’s Fault”; Scott Horton; March 3, 2020; Antiwar.com; https://original.antiwar.com/scott/20…

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 1 Comment