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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

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

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

German media watchdog rejects Browder’s complaint against Spiegel over Magnitsky report, says his own narrative lacks proof

RT | May 11, 2020

Bill Browder’s complaint against Der Spiegel for questioning the story he used to push for anti-Russian sanctions has backfired, with Germany’s Press Council concluding his own position is far from being an “indisputable fact.”

“We cannot agree with your analysis, in which you criticize the allegations made by the author,” the German Press Council – a monitoring organization formed by major German publishers and journalistic associations – said in its response to Browder’s team, as it rejected the complaint against one of Germany’s major news media outlets.

The papers detailing the council’s decision were published on Twitter by Der Spiegel reporter Benjamin Bidder, who authored an investigative bombshell picking apart Browder’s story about his auditor Sergey Magnitsky’s death back in November 2019.

The report provoked the British investor’s fury, and he swiftly filed a complaint after the news outlet dared to question the narrative that the vulture capitalist turned human rights campaigner had perpetuated for years as he relentlessly called for sanctions against Russia.

The US-born investor has always claimed that Magnitsky was a courageous whistleblower, who exposed corruption in Russia and was mercilessly killed by authorities out of revenge. The German weekly, however, concluded that this narrative was riddled with lies and said Western nations have fallen for a “convenient” story made up by a “fraudster.”

Browder lashed out at Der Spiegel, accusing it of “misrepresenting the facts” and even letting itself to be instrumentalized by Moscow. He told another German newspaper, Die Welt, that Der Spiegel outright “ignored” his evidence and asked him questions “put together by people close to the Russian government.”

The paper did not let itself be bullied, and published another lengthy piece containing further evidence supporting its conclusions. Now, the Press Council has said that Der Spiegel was fairly accurate in its assessments.

“The factual basis [of the report] at the time of the publication was sufficiently clear,” it said. The media watchdog further noted that it is the position of Browder’s team that “cannot be, to say the least, seen as a proven and undeniable fact.”

It also noted that Magnitsky cannot be seen as a “lawyer,” since he had no legal education. That was exactly what Der Spiegel said, and what Browder vehemently contested.

Magnitsky died in pre-trial detention in Moscow back in 2009, when he was investigated in relation to Browder’s own case. The investor was eventually found guilty of massive tax evasion and embezzlement in Russia and was twice sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison.

The 56-year-old, meanwhile, proclaimed himself Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “enemy number one” and used the death of his associate to lobby for the passing of the infamous Magnitsky Act in the US back in 2012. That legislation allowed the American authorities to impose sanctions against Russian officials over alleged human rights violations. Later, Browder also pushed for similar acts in Canada and the UK.

May 11, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Russophobia | Leave a comment

Former Obama Official Criticized After Classified Testimony Contradicts Her Public Statements

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 1.40.19 PM

By Jonathan Turley | May 11, 2020

The long-delayed release of testimony from the House Intelligence Committee has proved embarrassing for a variety of former Obama officials who have been extensively quoted on the allegedly strong evidence of collusion by the Trump campaign and the Russians. Figures like James Clapper, who is a CNN expert, long indicated that the evidence from the Obama Administration was strong and alarming. However, in testimony, Clapper denied seeing any such evidence. One of the most embarrassing is the testimony of Evelyn Farkas, a former Obama Administration official who was widely quoted in her plea to Congress to gather the evidence that she knew was found in by the Obama Administration. In her testimony under oath Farkas repeatedly stated that she knew of no such evidence of collusion.

Farkas, who served as the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, was widely quoted when she said on MSNBC in 2017 that she feared that evidence she knew about would be destroyed by the Trump Administration. She stated:

“was urging my former colleagues, and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill… Get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration, because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior people that left. So it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy . . . the Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about their, the staff, the Trump staff’s dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. So I became very worried, because not enough was coming out into the open, and I knew that there was more.”

MSNBC never seriously questioned the statements despite the fact that Farkas left the Obama Administration in 2015 before any such investigation could have occurred. As we have seen before, the factual and legal basis for such statements are largely immaterial in the age of echo journalism. The statement fit the narrative even if it lacked any plausible basis.

Not surprisingly, the House Intelligence Committee was eager to have Farkas share all that she stated she “knew about [“the Trump folks”], their staff, the Trump’s staff’s dealing with Russian” and wanted to get “into the open.” After all, she told MSNBC that “I knew that there was more.”

She was finally put under oath in the closed classified sessions and there was nothing but classified crickets. Farkas was repeatedly asked to share that information that electrified the MSNBC hosts and audience. She repeatedly denied any such knowledge, telling then Rep. Trey Gowdy (R, S.C.), “I didn’t know anything.”

Gowdy noted that Farkas left the Obama administration in 2015 and asked “Then how did you know?” She repeated again “I didn’t know anything.”

Gowdy then asked “Well, then why would you say, we knew?”

Gowdy later asked, getting to the point “You also didn’t know whether or not anybody in the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia, did you?”

“I didn’t,” Farkas responded.

MSNBC has said nothing about its prior headline story being untrue. Indeed, the media has barely acknowledged that the new documents reinforce that there was never any evidence of collusion and ultimately the allegations were rejected by the Special Counsel, Congress, and inspectors general.

For her part, Farkas has moved on. She is running for Congress. She is still citing her role in raising “the alarm” about Russian collusion:

“After I left the Obama administration, I campaigned to help elect Secretary Clinton as our next President. When Russians interfered in that election, I was among the first to sound the alarm and urge Congress to take action. And I haven’t let up since then.”

She was indeed one of the first but it proved to be a false alarm based on nonexistent knowledge. Does that matter anymore?

May 11, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 5 Comments

Twin Pillars of Russiagate Crumble

For two and a half years the House Intelligence Committee knew CrowdStrike didn’t have the goods on Russia. Now the public knows too.

By Ray McGovern – Consortium News – May 9, 2020

House Intelligence Committee documents released Thursday reveal that the committee was told two and half years ago that the FBI had no concrete evidence that Russia hacked Democratic National Committee computers to filch the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks in July 2016.

The until-now-buried, closed-door testimony came on Dec. 5, 2017 from Shawn Henry, a protege of former FBI Director Robert Mueller (from 2001 to 2012), for whom Henry served as head of the Bureau’s cyber crime investigations unit.

Henry retired in 2012 and took a senior position at CrowdStrike, the cyber security firm hired by the DNC and the Clinton campaign to investigate the cyber intrusions that occurred before the 2016 presidential election.

The following excerpts from Henry’s testimony speak for themselves. The dialogue is not a paragon of clarity; but if read carefully, even cyber neophytes can understand:

Ranking Member Mr. [Adam] Schiff: Do you know the date on which the Russians exfiltrated the data from the DNC? … when would that have been?

Mr. Henry: Counsel just reminded me that, as it relates to the DNC, we have indicators that data was exfiltrated from the DNC, but we have no indicators that it was exfiltrated (sic). … 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.

Mr. [Chris] Stewart of Utah: Okay. What about the emails that everyone is so, you know, knowledgeable of? Were there also indicators that they were prepared but not evidence that they actually were exfiltrated?

Mr. Henry: There’s not evidence that they were actually exfiltrated. There’s circumstantial evidence … but no evidence that they were actually exfiltrated. …

Mr. Stewart: But you have a much lower degree of confidence that this data actually left than you do, for example, that the Russians were the ones who breached the security?

Mr. Henry: There is circumstantial evidence that that data was exfiltrated off the network.

Mr. Stewart: And circumstantial is less sure than the other evidence you’ve indicated. …

Mr. Henry: “We didn’t have a sensor in place that saw data leave. We said that the data left based on the circumstantial evidence. That was the conclusion that we made.

In answer to a follow-up query on this line of questioning, Henry delivered this classic: “Sir, I was just trying to be factually accurate, that we didn’t see the data leave, but we believe it left, based on what we saw.”

Inadvertently highlighting the tenuous underpinning for CrowdStrike’s “belief” that Russia hacked the DNC emails, Henry added: “There are other nation-states that collect this type of intelligence for sure, but the — what we would call the tactics and techniques were consistent with what we’d seen associated with the Russian state.”

Not Transparent

Try as one may, some of the testimony remains opaque. Part of the problem is ambiguity in the word “exfiltration.”

The word can denote (1) transferring data from a computer via the Internet (hacking) or (2) copying data physically to an external storage device with intent to leak it.

As the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity has been reporting for more than three years, metadata and other hard forensic evidence indicate that the DNC emails were not hacked — by Russia or anyone else.

Rather, they were copied onto an external storage device (probably a thumb drive) by someone with access to DNC computers. Besides, any hack over the Internet would almost certainly have been discovered by the dragnet coverage of the National Security Agency and its cooperating foreign intelligence services.

Henry testifies that “it appears it [the theft of DNC emails] was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.”

This, in VIPS view, suggests that someone with access to DNC computers “set up” selected emails for transfer to an external storage device — a thumb drive, for example. The Internet is not needed for such a transfer. Use of the Internet would have been detected, enabling Henry to pinpoint any “exfiltration” over that network.

Bill Binney, a former NSA technical director and a VIPS member, filed a sworn affidavit in the Roger Stone case. Binney said: “WikiLeaks did not receive stolen data from the Russian government. Intrinsic metadata in the publicly available files on WikiLeaks demonstrates that the files acquired by WikiLeaks were delivered in a medium such as a thumb drive.”

The So-Called Intelligence Community Assessment

There is not much good to be said about the embarrassingly evidence-impoverished Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of Jan. 6, 2017 accusing Russia of hacking the DNC.

But the ICA did include two passages that are highly relevant and demonstrably true:

(1) In introductory remarks on “cyber incident attribution”, the authors of the ICA made a highly germane point: “The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation — malicious or not — leaves a trail.”

(2) “When analysts use words such as ‘we assess’ or ‘we judge,’ [these] are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. … Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary … High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong.” [And one might add that they commonly ARE wrong when analysts succumb to political pressure, as was the case with the ICA.]

The intelligence-friendly corporate media, nonetheless, immediately awarded the status of Holy Writ to the misnomered “Intelligence Community Assessment” (it was a rump effort prepared by “handpicked analysts” from only CIA, FBI, and NSA), and chose to overlook the banal, full-disclosure-type caveats embedded in the assessment itself.

Then National Intelligence Director James Clapper and the directors of the CIA, FBI, and NSA briefed President Obama on the ICA on Jan. 5, 2017, the day before they gave it personally to President-elect Donald Trump.

On Jan. 18, 2017, at his final press conference, Obama saw fit to use lawyerly language on the key issue of how the DNC emails got to WikiLeaks, in an apparent effort to cover his own derriere.

Obama: “The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked.”

So we ended up with “inconclusive conclusions” on that admittedly crucial point. What Obama was saying is that U.S. intelligence did not know—or professed not to know—exactly how the alleged Russian transfer to WikiLeaks was supposedly made, whether through a third party, or cutout, and he muddied the waters by first saying it was a hack, and then a leak.

From the very outset, in the absence of any hard evidence, from NSA or from its foreign partners, of an Internet hack of the DNC emails, the claim that “the Russians gave the DNC emails to WikiLeaks” rested on thin gruel.

In November 2018 at a public forum, I asked Clapper to explain why President Obama still had serious doubts in late Jan. 2017, less than two weeks after Clapper and the other intelligence chiefs had thoroughly briefed the outgoing president about their “high-confidence” findings.

Clapper replied: “I cannot explain what he [Obama] said or why. But I can tell you we’re, we’re pretty sure we know, or knew at the time, how WikiLeaks got those emails.” Pretty sure?

Comey briefs Obama, June 2016 (Flickr)

Preferring CrowdStrike; ’Splaining to Congress

CrowdStrike already had a tarnished reputation for credibility when the DNC and Clinton campaign chose it to do work the FBI should have been doing to investigate how the DNC emails got to WikiLeaks. It had asserted that Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app, resulting in heavy losses of howitzers in Ukraine’s struggle with separatists supported by Russia. A Voice of America report explained why CrowdStrike was forced to retract that claim.

Why did FBI Director James Comey not simply insist on access to the DNC computers? Surely he could have gotten the appropriate authorization. In early January 2017, reacting to media reports that the FBI never asked for access, Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee there were “multiple requests at different levels” for access to the DNC servers.

“Ultimately what was agreed to is the private company would share with us what they saw,” he said. Comey described CrowdStrike as a “highly respected” cybersecurity company.

Asked by committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) whether direct access to the servers and devices would have helped the FBI in their investigation, Comey said it would have. “Our forensics folks would always prefer to get access to the original device or server that’s involved, so it’s the best evidence,” he said.

Five months later, after Comey had been fired, Burr gave him a Mulligan in the form of a few kid-gloves, clearly well-rehearsed, questions:

BURR: And the FBI, in this case, unlike other cases that you might investigate — did you ever have access to the actual hardware that was hacked? Or did you have to rely on a third party to provide you the data that they had collected?

COMEY: In the case of the DNC, … we did not have access to the devices themselves. We got relevant forensic information from a private party, a high-class entity, that had done the work. But we didn’t get direct access.

BURR: But no content?

COMEY: Correct.

BURR: Isn’t content an important part of the forensics from a counterintelligence standpoint?

COMEY: It is, although what was briefed to me by my folks — the people who were my folks at the time is that they had gotten the information from the private party that they needed to understand the intrusion by the spring of 2016.

In June last year it was revealed that CrowdStrike never produced an un-redacted or final forensic report for the government because the FBI never required it to, according to the Justice Department.

By any normal standard, former FBI Director Comey would now be in serious legal trouble, as should Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, et al. Additional evidence of FBI misconduct under Comey seems to surface every week — whether the abuses of FISA, misconduct in the case against Gen. Michael Flynn, or misleading everyone about Russian hacking of the DNC. If I were attorney general, I would declare Comey a flight risk and take his passport. And I would do the same with Clapper and Brennan.

Schiff: Every Confidence
But No Evidence

Both pillars of Russiagate–collusion and a Russian hack–have now fairly crumbled.

Thursday’s disclosure of testimony before the House Intelligence Committee shows Chairman Adam Schiff lied not only about Trump-Putin “collusion,” [which the Mueller report failed to prove and whose allegations were based on DNC and Clinton-financed opposition research] but also about the even more basic issue of “Russian hacking” of the DNC.

[See: “The Democratic Money Behind Russia-gate” republished today.]

Five days after Trump took office, I had an opportunity to confront Schiff personally about evidence that Russia “hacked” the DNC emails. He had repeatedly given that canard the patina of flat fact during an address at the old Hillary Clinton/John Podesta “think tank,” The Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Fortunately, the cameras were still on when I approached Schiff during the Q&A: “You have every confidence but no evidence, is that right?” I asked him. His answer was a harbinger of things to come. This video clip may be worth the few minutes needed to watch it.

Schiff and his partners in crime will be in for much tougher treatment if Trump allows Attorney General Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham to bring their investigation into the origins of Russia-gate to a timely conclusion. Barr’s dismissal on Thursday of charges against Flynn, after released FBI documents revealed that a perjury trap was set for him to keep Russiagate going, may be a sign of things to come.

Given the timid way Trump has typically bowed to intelligence and law enforcement officials, including those who supposedly report to him, however, one might rather expect that, after a lot of bluster, he will let the too-big-to-imprison ones off the hook. The issues are now drawn; the evidence is copious; will the Deep State, nevertheless, be able to prevail this time?

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing ministry of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. A former CIA analyst, his retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

May 11, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , , , , | 1 Comment

End of Russiagate? DOJ drops case against Trump adviser Flynn that started ‘witch hunt’

RT | May 7, 2020

Charges against US President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, General Michael Flynn, have been dropped due to new evidence showing they were baseless. Flynn was the first to be targeted in the ‘Russiagate’ probe.

The FBI’s interview of Flynn in January 2017 was “untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation” into the former head of military intelligence, and conducted “without any legitimate investigative basis,” the US Department of Justice said in a court filing on Thursday.

Attorney Jeffrey Jensen, who was charged by Attorney General William Barr to review the case, recommended this course of action in a document last week, the AP reported – presumably after Flynn’s attorneys made public FBI documents that unequivocally showed that the general had been targeted for entrapment by a group of Bureau officials who had privately discussed an “insurance policy” in case of a Trump victory.

Asked about the news on Thursday afternoon, Trump called Flynn “an innocent man.”

He also called the Obama administration holdovers in the FBI and the Justice Department who orchestrated Flynn’s prosecution, “human scum” and their conduct “treason.”

“What they’ve done is a disgrace, and I hope a big price is going to be paid,” the president added.

It was disgraced agent Peter Strzok who intervened to keep Flynn’s case open, and who later interviewed Flynn and apparently heavily edited the notes from that interview, with the help of Bureau lawyer – and his extramarital partner – Lisa Page. The interview was ordered by then-FBI Director Jim Comey, by his own admission.

The news of the charges being dropped comes just hours after the DOJ notified US District Judge Emmet Sullivan that prosecutor Brandon Van Grack was withdrawing from the Flynn case – as well as others linked to the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into allegations that Trump’s campaign had “colluded” with Russia in the 2016 election.

More documents showed that Van Grack, Mueller’s handpicked prosecutor, apparently coerced Flynn into pleading guilty by threatening to indict his son, then allegedly conspired with Flynn’s attorneys to keep that secret. Flynn ultimately pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the content of his conversations with Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, during the transition period between the election and Trump’s inauguration.

The former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency was the first feather in the cap of the ‘resistance’ to the Trump administration. Flynn was forced to resign less than a month into the job, after the Washington Post accused him of lying about his conversations with Kislyak, apparently based on FBI leaks. His prosecution has long been held up as proof there was something rotten within the Trump campaign, and the fact he pleaded guilty has been repeatedly used in political and media attacks on the administration, and even the impeachment hearings.

May 7, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , | 3 Comments

Russia Probe Testimonies Reveal There Was No Collusion Between Moscow & Trump Campaign, Report Says

By Lilia Dergacheva – Sputnik – May 7, 2020

As part of an earlier declared bipartisan effort to approve the public release of files pertaining to the Russia probe, Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell announced that 53 of them had been cleared to this end.

The due-to-be-released transcripts of House Intelligence Committee interviews feature top law enforcement and intelligence officials asserting they had no evidence of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia , senior administration and intelligence community officials told Fox News.

The findings are reportedly entirely in line with the results of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which found no evidence of illegal or criminal coordination between President Trump, his presidential campaign, and Russia in 2016. However, the interviews, which are eligible for release, cast a heavy doubt on committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s previous statements about “direct evidence” of close coordination.

“Schiff is in panic mode”, a senior administration official recounted to Fox News.

The 53 transcripts reportedly include interviews with Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s ex-campaign manager Steve Bannon, adviser Jared Kushner, Trump aide Hope Hicks, former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, and others.

“The transcripts show a total lack of evidence, despite Schiff personally going out saying he had more than circumstantial evidence that there was collusion”, one source involved in House Russia investigations told Fox News.

Only one of the 53 is said to have implied there is some evidence of alleged coordination.

Earlier this week, House Republicans combed through over 6,000 pages of transcripts pertaining to interviews conducted by the committee in 2017 and 2018, after the the partisan vote in September 2018 approved their public release.

Newly sworn-in Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell notified Schiff that the redaction and declassification process was complete, and that the records were ready for release, thereby implying that Schiff is welcome to act next. Grenell directed a letter to Schiff on 4 May reporting that the review of 43 of the 53 transcripts “was completed in June 2019″, and that the “interagency review of the remaining ten transcripts has been completed”. “Pursuant to your guidance, these transcripts have not been shared with the White House”, Grenell further pointed out.

Grenell went on to inform Schiff that he was “willing” to release the transcripts directly from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence [ODNI] “as to ensure we comply with the unanimous and bipartisan vote to release the transcripts”. However, he didn’t specify when he would release the transcripts.

Intelligence officials told Fox News that Schiff had had his subcommittee staff director reaching out to intelligence community agencies asking how Grenell was involved and what role Grenell, who is known to be a Trump ally, could have played in the declassification and review he had reported on.

Fox News was told, however, that the review was completed before Grenell took the helm as acting director a little over two months ago, in February.

The process, according to an intelligence source, took place under both former directors Dan Coates and Joseph Maguire, and was conducted by career intelligence officials. The official also told Fox News that the relevant heads of appropriate agencies were consulted on the declassifications and redactions of all 53 transcripts.

Adam Schiff made headlines when he dramatically read into the congressional record some of the most explosive claims from Christopher Steele’s controversial dossier. His claims, in common with ones by the “former British intelligence officer who is reportedly held in high regard by US intelligence”, as Schiff put it, have since been directly contradicted by intelligence evidence in recently declassified and released FBI and Justice Department memos and reports.

Mueller, similarly, rounding off of his nearly two-year-long investigation, found insufficient evidence and produced no charges of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. At the same time, the Special Counsel’s team did not reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice, which current Attorney General Bill Barr ultimately decided not to pursue.

May 7, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

FBI beats the corpse of Russiagate horse, listing what Russia could ‘possibly’ do to 2020 US elections

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | May 6, 2020

Even as its own unprecedented wrongdoing since 2016 is ever-so-slowly coming to light, the FBI is peddling warnings about what Russia might possibly do in the 2020 US elections. Buckle up, here we go again.

This time it’s a memo compiled by the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) way back in February, but published Monday by the Associated Press, which sounds all sorts of warning about hypothetical Russian meddling. It is literally titled “Possible Russian Tactics Ahead of 2020 US Election” – not likely, or observed, or documented. Possible.

The novel claim pushed to the forefront by AP is that the Kremlin might advise some candidates and campaigns directly, based on claims that Russia did so in Africa last year. This appears to be based on a report by the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) from October 2019, describing a “social media operation in multiple African countries,” attributed to entities “linked” to Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin.

As AP helpfully points out, Prigozhin “was among the Russians indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation for his role in a furtive social media campaign aimed at sowing discord among Americans ahead of the 2016 US election.”

Left unsaid in this assertion masquerading as fact, however, is that charges against Prigozhin and his company were dropped in March, because his company actually contested them in US court. This caused federal judges to repeatedly rebuke prosecutors who apparently thought they could get away with assertions instead of evidence. Oops.

So the sensational AP claim about a new Russian menace is based on a FBI memo, citing a Stanford report, about what someone “linked” to a Russian businessman may have done in Africa, and therefore the 2020 US elections are in danger?

Things become a lot clearer when one looks into who is involved with SIO – namely one Renee DiResta, who proudly boasts of past work advising the Senate Intelligence Committee and working at New Knowledge.

If that latter name sounds familiar, it’s the company that got outed – by the New York Times, no less – for literally organizing a social media false flag operation during the 2017 special election for the US Senate in Alabama. Funded by big tech Democrat donors, NK created fake Russian accounts that pretended to support the Republican candidate, then got the media to cover the story, eventually contributing to having a Democrat elected there for the first time in decades.

With how much wailing and gnashing of the teeth there has been about social media threats to “our democracy,” one would think that this revelation would have resulted in New Knowledge alums becoming unemployable pariahs and all their product considered tainted garbage. Not so, as DiResta’s failing upward to Stanford clearly demonstrates.

New Knowledge has since quietly rebranded and stayed in the same exact line of work. The Senate Intelligence committee never renounced their reports, but instead doubled down on its Russiagate claims, even as its chair apparently did some insider trading to profit from the pandemic. That’s another rabbit hole, though, for another time.

The reason I bring this all up is that all these cries about ‘Russian menace’ tend to come from the same group of people, and are amplified by the same media outlets, who were behind the original ‘Russiagate’ story that spectacularly disintegrated before everyone’s eyes just last year. The fabled Mueller report failed to substantiate any actual Russian meddling, simply asserting it as fact based on their indictments, and moreover failed to find any “collusion” with President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Meanwhile, a veritable mountain of evidence has emerged that the FBI leadership actually conspired to stop Trump from getting elected, then implemented an “insurance policy” to frame his national security adviser and former top military spy General Michael Flynn, to cover up their efforts after they failed. The Bureau also spied on the Trump campaign using the fraudulent, Democrat-funded dossier invented from whole cloth by a British spy and connecting Trump to Russia.

That’s not based on hearsay,  assessments, linkages, assertions, or fanciful attributions – but on actual facts, hard evidence provided to a federal judge and actually examined by the Justice Department in what amounts to much-belated oversight of a rogue agency. In short, nothing like the Russiagate nonsense we’ve been hearing nonstop for years, from the mainstream media and social media conspiracists alike.

Attempts to blame Russia for Hillary Clinton’s failure to win in 2016 have actually proven to be more destructive to American democracy and trust in US institutions – media, politicians, law enforcement, take your pick – than anything Moscow’s been baselessly accused of. Much like the calls in that movie trope, the real threats to US elections have been coming from inside the house all along.

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

May 6, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Does NATO have a Future?

By Vladimir Platov – New Eastern Outlook – 05.05.2020

In light of recent developments worldwide, including lack of NATO involvement in efforts to protect citizens of the alliance as the Coronavirus continues its spread, a fundamental question arises of “whether NATO today enhances global security or in fact diminishes it.”

It is common knowledge that NATO was established in April 1949 in order to serve as a counterweight to the growing political and military might of the Soviet Union. From 1949 until the collapse of the USSR, “NATO’s primary purpose was to unify and strengthen the Western Allies’ military response to a possible invasion of western Europe by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies.” After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in October 1991, “the rationale behind NATO rendered the organization moot.” Seventy years on, the world has drastically changed, the USSR and the Warsaw Treaty Organization no longer exist, the Berlin Wall has fallen, but many large bureaucratic organizations, such as NATO, continue to thrive and “feed” military and political elites of the United States and Europe. Moreover, NATO has been expanding despite promises to the contrary. The West chose not to reciprocate the trust shown to it by the Soviet Union almost thirty years ago.

As reported earlier, while COVID-19 continues its rapid spread in various countries, including those that are part of NATO, more and more people throughout the world are becoming increasingly critical of the alliance’s unwillingness to truly help the citizens of its member states in their fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the organization is following Washington’s lead by increasing military spending so that the US military industrial complex and other beneficiaries can earn more. All of this is happening to the detriment of citizens’ safety, especially because of cuts to spending on important needs of society including healthcare. Requests for help published by Spanish and Italian media outlets addressed to the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC, NATO’s principal civil emergency response mechanism in this part of the world) remained unanswered. And the Alliance was even unable to provide assistance by supplying medicine and personal protection equipment (PPE), which the EADRCC should have access to in the event of a large-scale armed conflict. Given the current state of affairs, many European media outlets have asked a reasonable question: “So what have EADRCC officials been doing aside from spreading anti-Russian propaganda and pushing its member-states to give money to it?”

The views expressed by European news sources were confirmed in the recent speech given by Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg, who admitted that due to the Coronavirus pandemic, undoubtedly, military budgets of Alliance member states would be cut. Still, in order to stop this from happening, he again began to promote his favorite viewpoint that the threat from Russia had supposedly not diminished during the press conference at the end of the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Defense in Brussels. It thus seemed as if the Secretary General was hoping to attract additional funding for the Alliance. He also deliberately failed to mention that it was not NATO but instead its so-called rival power, Russia, which during the difficult times for many nations, including NATO member states, responded not with threats but by providing humanitarian aid to a number of European nations being ravaged by the Coronavirus pandemic in the form of military doctors and medical equipment.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO has tried to justify its existence by any possible means. The terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001, gave the organization a new lease on life. But given that the USA has come to an agreement with the Taliban, this particular reason for NATO’s existence will disappear once again. And, according to some observers, now that the United States is “becoming increasingly preoccupied with China, there is a growing feeling in the Trump administration that NATO is no longer a burden the United States should have to bear.” The alliance, which has existed since 1949, has come to the end of its road.

An article in The National Interest implies that, at present, NATO does not enhance global security but instead diminishes it. It also suggests that in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, “world leaders need to reassess expenditures of resources based on real and present threats to national security” and to reconsider their continuing commitment to NATO, “whose global ambitions are largely driven and funded by the United States.” The report in the National Interest provides 10 main reasons why “NATO is no longer needed.”

First of all, the three main reasons for creating the alliance “are no longer valid.” Instead of still focusing on an open confrontation with Russia, formerly the Soviet Union, that began in 1949, the West ought to reconsider the proposal made by Moscow (which it initially rejected out of hand) to create “a new continental security arrangement ‘from Dublin to Vladivostok’.” After all, if the concept had been accepted, Russia would have been a part of “a cooperative security architecture that would have been safer for the global community.”

As for the idea, being artificially spread by some in current political elite circles in the West, that Russia poses a threat, it is important to remember that, according to estimates by experts, the size of the Russian economy is one tenth of that of Europe. Hence, the EU can afford to defend itself against Russia, and neither the presence of US military in Europe nor the existence of NATO can be justified at present.

The alliance’s Article 5 (the “attack on one is attack on all” clause) is also not immune to criticism and cannot be used to explain why NATO continues to exist. After all, the only time this organization invoked it was in response to terrorism, i.e. the attack of September 11, 2001. And indeed Russia ended up providing “invaluable logistical intelligence and base support for the post–9/11 Afghan engagement.”

It is equally important to remember that not only does the United States “continue to spend close to 70 percent of its discretionary budget on the military,” such expenditures in other countries are also unjustifiably high. Americans as well as Europeans, therefore, “have the right to ask why such exorbitant “spending” is necessary and whom does it really benefit.” After all, in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, it has become painfully clear that “the health-care systems in the West are woefully underfinanced and disorganized.” Hence, “diminishing the cost and needless expense of NATO will make room for other national priorities of greater good.”

Today, we all see just how much the world has suddenly changed in the space of just a few months. Yes, the world has really changed and so has the entire population of the Earth and not only a few nations. And hopefully, in the future, we will be able to strive towards our goals and our dreams confidently rather than gradually. In addition, the global community ought to make resolving important issues plaguing societies its priority instead of focusing on strengthening military alliances, such as NATO, which has obviously become an anachronism. It is thus reasonable to state that the NATO era has finally come to an end.

May 5, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | | 2 Comments

White House efforts to exonerate Michael Flynn could see America explode

By Robert Bridge | RT | May 1, 2020

As new information indicates the FBI set a ‘perjury trap’ for Trump’s former national security adviser, the gloves have come off between the Democrats and Republicans. The epic showdown could lead to a national existential crisis.

For much of the world – transfixed as it is with the Covid-19 pandemic and a crumbling global economy – Russiagate sounds like ancient history. From the perspective of the Trump administration, however, it is a lingering, festering wound that points to corruption and possibly even treason at the highest levels of the US political and intelligence circles. That is why Michael Flynn’s possible exoneration is, or should be, a very serious news story.

Yet for Americans searching for information on the subject, they will be greeted by the cacophony of crickets. The Drudge Report, for example, devoted just one short article to the controversy since the news broke on Thursday. And in the event that one of the Big Six media corporations reports on it, they can be trusted to do so without any modicum of objectivity. CNN, for example, fired up its snark machine to produce this whopper of an article-opener: “Trump went on a Twitter rampage Thursday about his former adviser Michael Flynn, flooding the zone with conspiracy theories and paper-thin allegations that crooked FBI investigators entrapped Flynn as part of a ‘deep state’ plot.”

Conspiracy theories and paper-thin allegations? Even for CNN, that is quite a stretch. Not even the dullest tool in the box could fail to see what appears to be a clear attempt to ensnare the 33-year military veteran in a perjury trap. “What is our goal,” an FBI agent reportedly asked in a memo shortly before Flynn was subjected to an ‘ambush interview’ inside of the White House. “Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”

As it turned out, Flynn was fired for providing misleading information with regards to his conversations with then Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak; the perfectly legal conversations took place as the outgoing Obama administration was deliberately torpedoing US-Russia relations.

Now that there is an opportunity to set the historical record straight with regards to Michael Flynn, as well as the three-year political drama known as Russiagate, the media has decided once again to take a pass. That is both unfortunate and dangerous because, before long, it seems, these sorts of stories will blow up in America’s lap.

An approaching storm?

Since the media never discusses it, few people seem to know that back in May 2019 Trump launched an investigation into the origins of the Russiagate debacle. And unlike the notorious nothingburgers served up cold by the Democrats ever since the mogul from Manhattan entered the Oval Office, the Republicans actually have something that Joe Public can sink his teeth into.

It is no secret that the Obama-era FBI was responsible for organizing an extremely shady investigation into members of the Trump campaign. The operation, dubbed ‘Crossfire Hurricane,’ relied on the investigative work of former British spy, Christopher Steele, to dig up dirt on the Manhattan real estate developer turned political maverick. However, what the FBI failed to mention was that Steele had been funded by a firm doing political opposition research for the Democratic Party and for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Had the FISA Court been made aware of such gross conflicts of interest, the FBI would never have been granted a warrant to investigate the Trump campaign on suspicion of ‘colluding with the Russians,’ and the country could have been spared a four-year witch hunt.

Now, Donald Trump, a one-time Washington outsider who promised to ‘drain the swamp’ on the campaign trail, looks very determined to avenge himself for those past wrongs. And judging by recent comments from Attorney General William Barr, his chances of success appear better than average.

“I think the president has every right to be frustrated, because I think what happened to him was one of the greatest travesties in American history,” Barr said in an interview last month with Fox News Channel’s Laura Ingraham.

Barr went on to say that the FBI counterintelligence investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia served to “sabotage the presidency… without any basis.”

The implication here is that a lot of high-ranking people involved in the Russiagate scam – up to and including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – could be expected to testify in a court of law to defend their behavior. The problem, however, is that so few Americans seem to understand that such a scenario could actually transpire.

America’s parallel reality

It has become a bit of a cliche, but the American people really are experiencing a parallel reality from inside the echo chambers of two camps that absolutely loathe each other. In fact, it is difficult to believe that the two groups are comprised of fellow American citizens. This deep fissure that now exists between America’s two predominant parties precludes any ‘meeting of the middle ground,’ as it were, a dilemma that harks back to the realities of the Civil War days (1861-1865) when members of the same family found themselves pitted against each other on the battlefield.

On the left, the corporate-owned media has created an image of Donald Trump as some sort of banana republic caricature who has placed the nation on the express lane to ruin. On the right, meanwhile, a handful of pro-Trump outlets comprised of Fox News and some alt-right sources, which largely owe their feudalistic existence to the overlords in Silicon Valley, are desperate to project a more sympathetic image of the US leader. Meanwhile, the cherished middle ground, where the Democrat and Republican camps could meet and civilly discuss and work out their differences, continues to be no-man’s land. Unless that changes, that vacant piece of real estate could eventually turn into a very real battleground.

If and when the other shoe drops, and Trump decides to seek justice for the past sins of Russiagate in a court of law, the streets of America may explode in pent-up political passions, which are already severely strained with presidential elections just months away. The American mainstream media would have to accept a large portion of the blame in the event of such a scenario considering how hard they have worked to keep the American people in the dark about the political realities, even if it goes against their political tendencies. It’s still not too late to bring the two sides together in some kind of mutual agreement, but the clock is ticking.

Robert Bridge, an American writer and journalist, is the author of the book, ‘Midnight in the American Empire,’ How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream. @Robert_Bridge

May 2, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

George Soros Wants You to Believe Russia Is a Danger to World Peace, Turkey’s Erdogan an Angel

By Philip Giraldi | American Free Press | April 16, 2020

George Soros is a billionaire Hungarian-born investor who is extremely controversial due to his promotion of what he chooses to define as democracy and free-trade movements, primarily conducted through the Open Society Foundations, which he founded and has funded with $32 billion, according to one estimate. He contributed to the campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, which has in part led to conservative politicians in the United States and elsewhere frequently citing Soros when complaining about politically motivated interference in support of a progressive agenda for the United States and also globally. At least they used to do so until Soros’s allies began to fire back with accusations of anti-Semitism, which had the effect of muting the complaints.

Soros moved from Europe to the United States in 1956 and is now an American citizen. The sources of at least some of his wealth are somewhat controversial. He made over $1 billion in 1992 by selling short $10 billion in British pounds sterling, leading to the media dubbing him “the man who broke the bank of England.” He has been accused of similar currency manipulation in both Europe and Asia. In 1999, New York Times economist Paul Krugman was highly critical of Soros’s interference in financial markets, writing, “Nobody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit. These new actors on the scene do not yet have a standard name; my proposed term is ‘Soroi.’ ”

Soros was heavily involved with the restructuring of former communist regimes in eastern Europe and had a hand in the so-called Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003 and the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine in 2014, both of which were supported by the U.S. government. But in March 2017, six conservative U.S. senators sent a letter to then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking him to look into several grants that the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) had given to groups connected to Soros, most particularly in Macedonia. Soros’s projects are particularly targeted by conservatives and nationalists, as they are transnational in nature, and, indeed, some critics have noted that the well-funded and broadly supported Open Society is the most effective and visible weapon in the arsenal of the progressive dominated globalist movement.

Soros has been linked to a number of theories that see him as a puppet-master pulling the strings on a worldwide conspiracy to control key elements of the world economy as well as leading politicians. His critics are generally conservatives who are opposed to the progressive causes that he promotes. Soros has been in the news recently for his financial support of a Washington-based think tank called the Quincy Institute, which is also funded by the libertarian Koch family. The institute claims to be a non-partisan organization that promotes a “restrained” foreign policy using diplomacy as a means to resolve international disputes rather than threats followed up by warfare, which has become the preferred option for successive U.S. presidents and their administrations.

Soros’s motives in suddenly embracing diplomacy and non-intervention might well be questioned. On March 4, the Financial Times published an op-ed (unfortunately behind a paywall) by Soros entitled “Europe Must Stand With Turkey Over Putin’s War Crimes in Syria.” It had the subtitle “Focusing on the Refugee Crisis Russia Has Created Addresses Symptoms Not the Cause.” In it, he let loose a sharp attack on both the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin.

The Soros op-ed is full of errors of fact and is basically a call for aggression against Russia. It starts with, “Since the beginning of its intervention in Syria in September 2015, Russia has not only sought to keep in place its most faithful Arab ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It has also wanted to regain the regional and global influence that it lost since the fall of the Soviet Union.” First of all, Russia did not “intervene” in Syria. It was invited there by the country’s legitimate government to provide assistance against various groups, some of which were linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State, that were seeking to overthrow President al-Assad.

And apart from Soros, few actual experts on Russia would claim that it is seeking to recreate the “influence” of the Soviet Union. Moscow does not have the resources to do so and has evinced no desire to pursue the sort of global agenda that was characteristic of the Soviet state.

There then follows a complete flight into hyperbole with: “Vladimir Putin has sought to use the turmoil in the Middle East to erase international norms and advances in international humanitarian law made since the second world war. In fact, creating the humanitarian disaster that has turned almost 6 million Syrians into refugees has not been a byproduct of the Russian president’s strategy in Syria. It has been one of his central goals.” None of Soros’s assertions are supported by fact. The U.S. and Israel are the two top flaunters of international norms and law, not Russia, and there is no evidence whatsoever that Moscow sought to create the “humanitarian disaster” in Syria. That was the work of the U.S. and its “allies” in the region who were supporting both separatists and terrorists.

Soros states his belief that “Assad is the most barbarous ruler that the world has seen since Joseph Stalin. When his own people rose up against him, he developed a military strategy designed to inflict the greatest possible harm on his civilian opponents. He deliberately targeted hospitals, schools and kindergartens, trying to kill or maim caregivers. He has used poison gas and chemical attacks over the course of a conflict that has left more than half a million dead.” None of the assertions are true and a lot of the “evidence” comes from propagandists for the terrorist groups, to include the notorious White Helmets. The lies advanced about the use of chemical weapons have recently been exposed.

Soros goes on to describe how Russia has “deliberately targeted” and bombed schools and hospitals, claims that largely derive from sources hostile to al-Assad and Putin that are impossible to check. Soros also asserts that, “The only government that has put up military forces to defend the civilians trapped in Idlib by Mr. Assad and its Russian ally is Turkey.” It is a claim that is perhaps the biggest lie of all, as Ankara is involved in Syria in support of its own completely selfish irredentist objectives and its desire to crush the Kurdish militias operating in the north and east of the country. Back in October, Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan issued an emotional call to Jihad to his supporters, saying, “Inshallah, God has promised us in Syria victory from Allah and an imminent conquest; and give good tidings to the believers. We see it is happening right now.”

The Soros op-ed also included a bit of reminiscence, describing how, “In 2014, I urged Europe to wake up to the threat that Russia was posing to its strategic interests, albeit in a different context and geography. Russia had invaded Ukraine knowing that Europe would seek to avoid any confrontation with Moscow. Yet what is happening in Idlib now is following the same pattern: Europe is evading a confrontation with Russia over its Syria policy when it should be standing up to it . . . with respect to Syria at least, Turkey deserves Europe’s support. Europe should therefore seek to bolster Turkish President Erdogan’s negotiating position. . . . I hope that this would also put Mr. Putin’s war crimes at the center of the European conversation.”

The op-ed is neither conciliatory nor “diplomatic” and is a clear sign that Soros picks his enemies based on ideological considerations that also drive his choices on how to frame his ventures. He is a billionaire who has chosen to use his money to remake the world in an image that he is comfortable with. Unfortunately, there is a lot of that kind of thinking going around—that having lots of money ipso facto equates to some kind of superior wisdom. And the whole process is facilitated by the fact that politicians as well as space on editorial pages of leading newspapers can easily be bought. Soros would have Europe and the United States taking on Russia over what he perceives to be going on in Syria, where they have no genuine interests. It is a formula that we have seen played out repeatedly in the past 20 years and can only lead to disaster.

April 29, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , | 1 Comment