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Seth Rich’s Ghost Haunts the Courts

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | August 12, 2019

As if it weren’t enough of a downer for Russiagate true believers that no Trump-Russia collusion was found, federal judges are now demanding proof that Russia hacked into the DNC in the first place.

It is shaping up to be a significant challenge to the main premise of the shaky syllogism that ends with “Russia did it.”

If you’re new to this website, grab onto something, as the following may come as something of a shock. Not only has there never been any credible evidence to support the claim of Russian cyber interference, there has always been a simple alternative explanation that involves no “hacking” at all — by Russia or anyone else.

As most Consortium News habitués are aware, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (which includes two former NSA technical directors), working with independent forensic investigators, concluded two years ago that what “everyone knows to be Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee” actually involved an insider with physical access to DNC computers copying the emails onto an external storage device — such as a thumb drive. In other words, it was a leak, not a hack.

VIPS based its conclusion on the principles of physics applied to metadata and other empirical information susceptible of forensic analysis.

But if a leak, not a hack, who was the DNC insider-leaker? In the absence of hard evidence, VIPS refuses “best-guess”-type “assessments” — the kind favored by the “handpicked analysts” who drafted the evidence-impoverished, so-called Intelligence Community Assessment of Jan. 6, 2017.

Conspiracy Theorists

Simply letting the name “Seth Rich” pass your lips can condemn you to the leper colony built by the Washington Establishment for “conspiracy theorists,” (the term regularly applied to someone determined to seek tangible evidence, and who is open to alternatives to “Russia-did-it.”)

Rich was a young DNC employee who was murdered on a street in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2016. Many, including me, suspect that Rich played some role in the leaking of DNC emails to WikiLeaks. There is considerable circumstantial evidence that this may have been the case. Those who voice such suspicions, however, are, ipso facto, branded “conspiracy theorists.”

That epithet has a sordid history in the annals of U.S. intelligence. Legendary CIA Director Alan Dulles used the “brand-them-conspiracy-theorists” ploy following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy when many objected — understandably — to letting him pretty much run the Warren Commission, even though the CIA was suspected of having played a role in the murder. The “conspiracy theorist” tactic worked like a charm then, and now. Well, up until just now.

Rich Hovers Above the Courts

U.S. Courts apply far tougher standards to evidence than do the intelligence community and the pundits who loll around lazily, feeding from the intelligence PR trough. This (hardly surprising) reality was underscored when a Dallas financial adviser named Ed Butowsky sued National Public Radio and others for defaming him about the role he played in controversial stories relating to Rich. On August 7, NPR suffered a setback, when U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant affirmed a lower court decision to allow Butowsky’s defamation lawsuit to proceed.

Judge Mazzant ruled that NPR had stated as “verifiable statements of fact” information that could not be verified, and that the plaintiff had been, in effect, accused of being engaged in wrongdoing without persuasive sourcing language.

Imagine! — “persuasive sourcing” required to separate fact from opinion and axes to grind! An interesting precedent to apply to the ins and outs of Russiagate. In the courts, at least, this is now beginning to happen. And NPR and others in similarly vulnerable positions are scurrying around for allies.?? The day after Judge Mazzant’s decision, NPR enlisted help from discredited Yahoo! News pundit Michael Isikoff (author, with David Corn, of the fiction-posing-as-fact novel Russian Roulette). NPR gave Isikoff 37 minutes on its popular Fresh Air program to spin his yarn about how the Seth Rich story got started. You guessed it; the Russians started it. No, we are not making this up.

It is far from clear that Isikoff can be much help to NPR in the libel case against it. Isikoff’s own writings on Russiagate are notably lacking in “verifiable statements of fact” — information that cannot be verified. Watch, for example, his recent interview with Consortium News Editor Joe Lauria on CN Live!

Isikoff admitted to Lauria that he never saw the classified Russian intelligence document reportedly indicating that three days after Rich’s murder the Russian SVR foreign intelligence service planted a story about Rich having been the leaker and was killed for it. This Russian intelligence “bulletin,” as Isikoff called it, was supposedly placed on a bizarre website that Isikoff admitted was an unlikely place for Russia to spread disinformation. He acknowledged that he only took the word of the former prosecutor in the Rich case about the existence of this classified Russian document.

In any case, The Washington Post, had already debunked Isikoff’s claim (which later in his article he switched to being only “purported”) by pointing out that Americans had already tweeted the theory of Rich’s murder days before the alleged Russian intervention.

Persuasive Sourcing’ & Discovery??

Butowsky’s libel lawsuit can now proceed to discovery, which will include demands for documents and depositions that are likely to shed light on whatever role Rich may have played in leaking to WikiLeaks. If the government obstructs or tries to slow-roll the case, we shall have to wait and see, for example, if the court will acquiesce to the familiar government objection that information regarding Rich’s murder must be withheld as a state secret? Hmmm. What would that tell us?

During discovery in a separate court case, the government was unable to produce a final forensic report on the “hacking” of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC-hired cyber firm, CrowdStrike, failed to complete such a report, and that was apparently okay with then FBI Director James Comey, who did not require one.

The incomplete, redacted, draft, second-hand “forensics” that Comey settled for from CrowdStrike does not qualify as credible evidence — much less “persuasive sourcing” to support the claim that the Russians “hacked” into the DNC. Moreover, CrowdStrike has a dubious reputation for professionalism and a well known anti-Russia bias.

The thorny question of “persuasive sourcing,” came up even more starkly on July 1, when federal Judge Dabney Friedrich ordered Robert Mueller to stop pretending he had proof that the Russian government was behind the Internet Research Agency’s supposed attempt to interfere via social media in the 2016 election. Middle school-level arithmetic can prove the case that the IRA’s use of social media to support Trump is ludicrous on its face.

Russia-gate Rubble

As journalist Patrick Lawrence put it recently: “Three years after the narrative we call Russiagate was framed and incessantly promoted, it crumbles into rubble as we speak.” Falling syllogism! Step nimbly to one side.

The “conspiracy theorist” epithet is not likely to much longer block attention to the role, if any, played by Rich — the more so since some players who say they were directly involved with Rich are coming forward.

In a long interview with Lauria a few months ago in New Zealand aired this month on CN Live!, Kim Dotcom provided a wealth of detail, based on what he described as first-hand knowledge, regarding how Democratic National Committee documents were leaked to WikiLeaks in 2016.

The major takeaway: the evidence presented by Dotcom about Seth Rich can be verified or disproven if President Trump summons the courage to order the director of NSA to dig out the relevant data, including the conversations Dotcom says he had with Rich and Rich may have had with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. Dotcom said he put Rich in touch with a middleman to transfer the DNC files to WikiLeaks. Sadly, Trump has flinched more than once rather than confront the Deep State — and this time there are a bunch of very well connected, senior Deep State practitioners who could face prosecution.

Another sign that Rich’s story is likely to draw new focus is the virulent character assassination indulged in by former investigative journalist James Risen.

Not Risen to the Challenge

On August 5, in an interview on The Hill’s “Rising,” Risen chose to call former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney — you guessed it — a “conspiracy theorist” on Russia-gate, with no demurral, much less pushback, from the hosts.

The having-done-good-work-in-the-past-and-now-not-so-much Risen can be considered a paradigm for what has happened to so many Kool-Aid drinking journalists. Jim’s transition from investigative journalist to stenographer is, nonetheless unsettling. Contributing causes? It appears that the traditional sources within the intelligence agencies, whom Risen was able to cultivate discreetly in the past, are too fearful now to even talk to him, lest they get caught by one or two of the myriad surveillance systems in play.

Those at the top of the relevant agencies, however, are only too happy to provide grist. Journalists have to make a living, after all. Topic A, of course, is Russian “interference” in the 2016 election. And, of course, “There can be little doubt” the Russians did it.

“Big Jim” Risen, as he is known, jumped on the bandwagon as soon as he joined The Intercept, with a fulsome article on February 17, 2018 titled Is Donald Trump a Traitor?” Here’s an excerpt:

“The evidence that Russia intervened in the election to help Trump win is already compelling, and it grows stronger by the day.

“There can be little doubt now that Russian intelligence officials were behind an effort to hack the DNC’s computers and steal emails and other information from aides to Hillary Clinton as a means of damaging her presidential campaign. … Russian intelligence also used fake social media accounts and other tools to create a global echo chamber both for stories about the emails and for anti-Clinton lies dressed up to look like news.

“To their disgrace, editors and reporters at American news organizations greatly enhanced the Russian echo chamber, eagerly writing stories about Clinton and the Democratic Party based on the emails, while showing almost no interest during the presidential campaign in exactly how those emails came to be disclosed and distributed.” (sic)

Poor Jim. He shows himself just as susceptible as virtually all of his fellow corporate journalists to the epidemic-scale HWHW virus (Hillary Would Have Won) that set in during Nov. 2016 and for which the truth seems to be no cure. From his perch at The Intercept, Risen will continue to try to shape the issues. Russiagaters major ally, of course, is the corporate media which has most Americans pretty much under their thumb.

Incidentally, neither The New York Times, The Washington Post, nor The Wall Street Journal has printed or posted a word about Judge Mazzant’s ruling on the Butowsky suit.

Mark Twain is said to have warned, “How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again!” After three years of “Russia-Russia-Russia” in the corporate — and even in some “progressive” — media, this conditioning will not be easy to reverse.

Here’s how one astute observer with a sense of humor described the situation last week, in a comment under one of my recent pieces on Consortium News :

“… One can write the most thought-out and well documented academic-like essays, articles and reports and the true believers in Russiagate will dismiss it all with a mere flick of their wrist. The mockery and scorn directed towards those of us who knew the score from day one won’t relent. They could die and go to heaven and ask god what really happened during the 2016 election. God would reply to them in no uncertain terms that Putin and the Russians had absolutely nothing to do with anything in ‘16, and they’d all throw up their hands and say, ‘aha! So, God’s in on this too!’ It’s the great lie that won’t die.”

I’m not so sure. It is likely to be a while though before this is over.


Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. Ray was a CIA analyst for 27 years; in retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

August 13, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Dismissed! Judge throws out Democrat lawsuit against Trump campaign, Russia & WikiLeaks

RT | July 30, 2019

Arguments by the Democratic National Committee in a lawsuit against Russia, WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign over the 2016 election were “entirely divorced” from facts, a federal judge in New York said as he threw out the case.

The DNC sued in April 2018, claiming that the Trump campaign welcomed “help” from Russia and WikiLeaks, who stole and published the party’s emails in an effort to sway the US electorate during the 2016 presidential election, in which Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton. On Tuesday, US District Judge John Koeltl disagreed.

The DNC “raises a number of connections and communications between the defendants and with people loosely connected to the Russian Federation, but at no point does the DNC allege any facts … to show that any of the defendants – other than the Russian Federation – participated in the theft of the DNC’s information,” Koeltl wrote in the 81-page opinion dismissing the lawsuit with prejudice.

There can be no liability for publishing materials of public interest under the First Amendment to the US Constitution, so long as those disseminating it “did not participate in any wrongdoing in obtaining the materials in the first place,” Koeltl wrote, explaining that the DNC offered no proof that either Trump campaign staff or WikiLeaks did so.

“The Witch Hunt Ends!” Trump tweeted celebrating the ruling, noting that Koeltl was “a highly respected judge who was appointed by President [Bill] Clinton.”

The judge did take for granted that Russia was responsible for hacking the DNC servers and obtaining the emails, though this has never actually been proven and remains an assertion based on the claims of DNC contractor CrowdStrike. However, he told the DNC that it could not sue the Russian government in US courts, due to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

Moscow has repeatedly rejected allegations that it had somehow interfered in the 2016 or any other US election, saying that such charges were “absurd” and made up to explain Clinton’s loss to Trump.

The DNC lawsuit’s dismissal is the latest victory for Trump in the fast-unraveling ‘Russiagate’ narrative. A two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller concluded in March, failing to find any evidence of Trump’s “collusion” with Russia during the 2016 campaign and trying instead to paint Trump as “obstructing” the probe without actually saying so or leveling charges against the president.

Mueller’s indictment of a dozen Russian nationals he accused of an “active measures” campaign on social media was seriously undermined by another federal judge in May. In court filings unsealed earlier this month, District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich pointed out that Mueller’s report treated as established fact that the group was affiliated with the Russian government, without the indictment actually proving that in any way.

When Mueller testified before two House committees last week, it quickly became obvious that he had very little to do with writing the final report that bore his name, was unfamiliar with its basic premises and conclusions, and had not looked into the probe’s dubious origins with DNC-funded opposition research because it was “not in his purview.”

July 30, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

FBI Never Saw CrowdStrike Unredacted or Final Report on Alleged Russian Hacking Because None was Produced

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | June 17, 2019

CrowdStrike, the controversial cybersecurity firm that the Democratic National Committee chose over the FBI in 2016 to examine its compromised computer servers, never produced an un-redacted or final forensic report for the government because the FBI never required it to, the Justice Department has admitted.

The revelation came in a court filing by the government in the pre-trial phase of Roger Stone, a long-time Republican operative who had an unofficial role in the campaign of candidate Donald Trump. Stone has been charged with misleading Congress, obstructing justice and intimidating a witness.

The filing was in response to a motion by Stone’s lawyers asking for “unredacted reports” from CrowdStrike in an effort to get the government to prove that Russia hacked the DNC server. “The government … does not possess the information the defandant seeks,” the filing says.

In his motion, Stone’s lawyers said he had only been given three redacted drafts. In a startling footnote in the government’s response, the DOJ admits the drafts are all that exist. “Although the reports produced to the defendant are marked ‘draft,’ counsel for the DNC and DCCC informed the government that they are the last version of the report produced,” the footnote says.

In other words CrowdStrike, upon which the FBI relied to conclude that Russia hacked the DNC, never completed a final report and only turned over three redacted drafts to the government.

These drafts were “voluntarily” given to the FBI by DNC lawyers, the filing says. “No redacted information concerned the attribution of the attack to Russian actors,” the filing quotes DNC lawyers as saying.

In Stone’s motion his lawyers argued: “If the Russian state did not hack the DNC, DCCC, or [Clinton campaign chairman John] Podesta’s servers, then Roger Stone was prosecuted for obstructing a congressional investigation into an unproven Russian state hacking conspiracy … The issue of whether or not the DNC was hacked is central to the Defendant’s defense.”

The DOJ responded: “The government does not need to prove at the defendant’s trial that the Russians hacked the DNC in order to prove the defendant made false statements, tampered with a witness, and obstructed justice into a congressional investigation regarding election interference.”

Thousands of emails from the DNC server were published by WikiLeaks in July 2016 revealing that the DNC interfered in the Democratic primary process to favor former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Senator Bernie Sanders for the party’s presidential nomination. The U.S. indicted 12 Russian military intelligence agents in 2018 for allegedly hacking the DNC server and giving the emails to WikiLeaks.

Comey Can’t Say Why

At a time of high tension in the 2016 presidential campaign, when the late Sen. John McCain and others were calling Russian “hacking” an “act of war,” the FBI settled for three redacted “draft reports” from CrowdStrike rather than investigate the alleged hacking itself, the court document shows.

Then FBI Director James Comey admitted in congressional testimony that he chose not to take control of the DNC’s “hacked” computers, and did not dispatch FBI computer experts to inspect them, but has had trouble explaining why.

In his testimony, he conceded that “best practices” would have dictated that forensic experts gain physical access to the computers. Nevertheless, the FBI decided to rely on forensics performed by a firm being paid for by the DNC.

Suspicions grew as Comey started referring to CrowdStrike as the “pros that they hired.” Doubts became more intense when he referred to CrowdStrike as “a high-class entity.” In fact the company had a tarnished reputation for reliability and objectivity well before it was hired by the DNC.

Comey in 2013 with Robert Mueller and Barack Obama

Dimitri Alperovitch, a CrowdStrike co-founder, is an opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a senior fellow at the anti-Russian Atlantic Council think tank in Washington. CrowdStrike said it determined that Russia had hacked the DNC server because it found Cyrillic letters in the metadata, as well as the name of the first Soviet intelligence chief—clues an amateur might leave.

CrowdStrike was forced to “revise(d) and retract(ed) statements it used to buttress claims of Russian hacking during last year’s American presidential election campaign, Voice of America reported in March 2017.

CrowdStrike’s Early Role

In a Memorandum for the President on July 24, 2017, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity referred prominently to this instructive time sequence:

June 12, 2016: Julian Assange announces WikiLeaks is about to publish ‘emails related to Hillary Clinton.’

June 14, 2016: DNC contractor CrowdStrike, (with a dubious professional record and multiple conflicts of interest) announces that malware has been found on the DNC server and claims there is evidence it was injected by Russians.

June 15, 2016: ‘Guccifer 2.0’ affirms the DNC statement; claims responsibility for the ‘hack;’ claims to be a WikiLeaks source; and posts a document that the forensics show was synthetically tainted with ‘Russian fingerprints.’

VIPS does not believe the June 12, 14, & 15 timing was pure coincidence. Rather, it suggests the start of a pre-emptive move to associate Russia with anything WikiLeaks might have been about to publish and to “show” that it came from a Russian hack.

Bill Binney, a former NSA technical director and a VIPS member, filed an affidavit in Stone’s 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.”

Preferring CrowdStrike; Splaining to Congress

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.

More telling was earlier questioning by House Intelligence Committee member, Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), who had been a CIA officer for a decade.On March 20, 2017 while he was still FBI director, Comey evidenced some considerable discomfort as he tried to explain to the committee why the FBI did not insist on getting physical access to the DNC computers and do its own forensics:

HURD: So there was about a year between the FBI’s first notification of some potential problems with the DNC network and then that information getting on — getting on Wikileaks.

COMEY: Yes, sir.

HURD: … when did the DNC provide access for — to the FBI for your technical folks to review what happened?

COMEY: Well we never got direct access to the machines themselves. The DNC in the spring of 2016 hired a firm that ultimately shared with us their forensics from their review of the system. …

HURD: … So, Director FBI notified the DNC early, before any information was put on Wikileaksand when — youhave still been — never been given access to any of the technical or the physical machines that were — that were hacked by the Russians.

COMEY: That’s correct although we got the forensics from the pros that they hired which — again, best practice is always to get access to the machines themselves, but this — my folks tell me was an appropriate substitute.

Comey Spikes Deal With Assange

Director Comey’s March 20, 2017 testimony to the House Intelligence Committee came at the same time he was scuttling months-long negotiations between Assange and lawyers representing the DOJ and CIA to grant some limited immunity for the WikiLeaks founder. In return, Assange offered to: (1) redact “some classified CIA information he might release in the future,” and (2) “provide technical evidence and discussion regarding who did not engage in the DNC releases.”

Investigative journalist John Solomon, quoting WikiLeaks’ intermediary with the government, broke this story, based on “interviews and a trove of internal DOJ documents turned over to Senate investigators.” It would be a safe assumption that Assange was offering to prove that Russia was not WikiLeaks’ source of the DNC emails, something Assange has repeatedly said.

That, of course, would have been the last thing Comey would have wanted.

On March 31, 2017 WikiLeaks released the most damaging disclosure up to that point from what it called “Vault 7” — a treasure trove of CIA cybertools leaked from CIA files. This disclosure featured the tool “Marble Framework,” which enabled the CIA to hack into computers, disguise who hacked in, and falsely attribute the hack to someone else by leaving so-called tell-tale signs — like Cyrillic, for example.

The CIA documents also showed that the “Marble” tool had been employed in 2016.

Two weeks later, then CIA Director Mike Pompeo branded WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” and the U.S. put pressure on Ecuador, which had given Assange asylum, to expel him from its London embassy. He was on April 11 when British police arrested him. On the same day he was convicted of skipping bail on a Swedish investigation that had since been dropped. Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in London’s max-security Belmarsh prison.

Comey, it seems a safe bet, still worries that Assange or one of his associates, will provide “technical evidence” enough to prove “who did not engage in the DNC releases.”

What Were They Thinking?

At the March 20, 2017 House Intelligence Committee hearing, Congressman Trey Gowdy heaped effusive praise on then-FBI Director Comey, calling him “incredibly respected.” At that early stage, no doubt Gowdy meant no double entendre. He might now.

As Russia-gate transmogrifies into Deep State-gate, the DOJ is launching a probe into the origins of Russia-gate and the intelligence agencies alleged role in it. It remains to be seen whether U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham, who is leading the probe, will interview Assange, unlike Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who did not.

It is proving very difficult for some of my old FBI friends and others to believe that Comey and other justice, intelligence, and security officials at the very top could have played fast and loose with the Constitution and the law and lived a lie over the past few years.

“How did they ever think they could get away with it?” they ask. The answer is deceivingly simple. Comey himself has explained it in a moment of seemingly unintentional candor in his pretentious book, “A Higher Loyalty.” He wrote, “I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president.”

There would be no problem, of course, if Mrs. Clinton had won the election. That’s what they all thought; and that probably explains their lack of care in keeping their activities off the written record and out of computers. Elementary tradecraft goes out the window with these upper-echelon, “high-class-entity” officials, when they are sure that she, and they, are going to be the inevitable winners — with promotions, not indictments in store for them.

Additional reporting by Joe Lauria

Background Reading on Deep State-Gate

https://www.investmentwatchblog.com/doj-admits-fbi-never-saw-crowdstrike-report-on-dnc-russian-hacking-claim/

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2019/06/figures-fbi-doj-never-obtained-the-unredacted-crowdstrike-reports-on-russian-hack-of-dnc-server/

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/03/13/vips-muellers-forensics-free-findings/

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/04/16/vips-fault-mueller-probe-criticize-refusal-to-interview-assange/

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/05/03/orwellian-cloud-hovers-over-russia-gate/

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/24/intel-vets-challenge-russia-hack-evidence/

http://raymcgovern.com/2017/05/17/beneath-the-corporate-mediadeep-state-campaign-to-remove-trump-and-thwart-detente-with-russia/

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/06/13/ray-mcgovern-doj-bloodhounds-on-the-scent-of-john-brennan/

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/11/14/clappers-credibility-collapses/

https://raymcgovern.com/2019/01/06/transcript-when-clapper-was-asked-real-questions/

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-hacking-intelligence-20170105-story.html

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-trump-russia-phony-20170517-story.html

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. During his 27-year career as a CIA analyst, he led the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and prepared the President’s Daily Brief for three presidents. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

The DNC’s Dumb-Down Opinion Survey

By Renee Parsons | OffGuardian | May 26, 2019

In its recent Official 2020 Issues Survey, DNC Chair Tom Perez solicited input on the ‘top’ issue for the upcoming June debate as the Dems will use that “feedback to shape our electoral strategy.” In other words, the following identified issues will conceivably become questions at the debate and presumably will become the basis for the Dems 2020 platform which its Presidential candidate and down-ticket slate will campaign on. Those DNC issues are:

  • Jobs and income equality
  • climate change
  • Immigration
  • health care
  • Education
  • gun violence prevention
  • Civil rights
  • college affordability/student debt
  • Women’s reproductive rights

It is incredulous that foreign policy and war, among other vital issues, are completely absent from the DNC list thereby confirming how deeply out of touch the party is with political reality. To not recognize that the country is in an existential crisis; that there is no ‘normal’ and that a deep cultural and political realignment is underway, is to live in a cave.

If this is the best the DNC can come up with for 2020, it is easy to understand if the public tunes out their dumbed-down ‘debate’ and why the Democratic party has turned the corner on political relevance.

There was a time when voters looked forward to a debate as a good thrashing out differences of opinion and entertaining controversy with opposing arguments put forth. Instead the Dems are now little more than mealy mouth purveyors of harmless, benign issue forums, loyalty oaths, preserving incumbent status quo and assuring that preferred candidates look good with flawed polls and especially nothing too controversial, nothing too provocative.

It may be that as the 23 (or is it 24) Dem Presidential candidates take the stage in late June, that a handful will stand out as authentic human beings with superior analytical and communication skills, who have well-thought out ‘signature’ issues of essential importance that are clearly in the best interests of the American public; Andrew Yang and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard come immediately to mind.

There will be others who would be satisfied with a future Ambassadorship and may flounder in generalities, repetitive and purposeless, or those with flashy, verbally facile empty gestures, all riding the gravy train to nowhere.

Some of the following represent a 2020 reality check on issues of public interest or concern that the Dem establishment is either uninformed about or would prefer to avoid since a red hot discussion might actually stimulate some authentic political dialogue which, in turn, might encourage more public involvement and a higher voter turnout. It is in any establishment’s best interest to maintain control of any debate, to control the questions and deflect any real difference of opinion that might challenge the status quo.

In addition, a ‘real’ debate would allow the public to cull out the weak links and focus on those candidates who have something vital to add to the dialogue. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive:

  • Domestic: Emergency preparedness, $22 trillion debt, Opioid crisis, middle class struggle, Pentagon/Fed Bank audits, decay of American cities: homeless/drugs/alcohol/mental health crisis, Patriot Act repeal, immigration, climate changes/solar minimum/global cooling,
  • Accounting of Costs: unconstitutional military action in Iran or Venezuela or North Korea or places yet to be determined, ongoing wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen.
  • Collapse of Russiagate and impact of DOJ Spygate investigation on 2020 election
  • Big Tech – monopoly, no taxes/regulation, 5G, censorship/First Amendment, AI – job loss/trans human beings, Tesla’s free energy, electric grid update
  • Foreign Policy: Globalism, BRICS/‘open world economy,’ sanctions/false flags, NATO, ET visits, fighting Israel’s wars, Trade:
    1. Russia: NATO threat, election interference, re-establishing relationship, Sanctions/Magnitsky Act
    2. China: Foreign trade, the Silk Road, emerging multipolar world, fentanyl crisis, So China Sea
    3. Israel: US $ support; ownership of Congress, role in 911, register AIPAC, initiated 5G Greater Mideast Plan
    4. Iran: False flag, sanctions, Greater Mideast plan target
    5. Venezuela: Maduro coup, sanctions, oil resources

Many of these items deserve more attention and better quality discussion than they normally receive while others may receive what seems like inordinate interest and yet remain unresolved – immigration which has been on the national agenda since at least 2008 is one such issue. It is interesting to consider that the current Democrat position morphed after the 2016 election in opposition to Trump’s policy to close the border and build a wall.

Previously, both President Bill Clinton and Barack Obama proposed an immigration policy that is very much reflected in elements of Trump’s proposal (absent the wall). One can surmise that the Dems belatedly realized the voter registration edge that open borders would provide and as a tool to build opposition to Trump. So much for unifying the country.

Admittedly, the foregoing issues are a heavy lift for any aspirant to the Oval Office but any candidate who wants to be president of 330 million people had better be a world class multi-tasker, wildly better informed and analytical than the rest of us. If any of those aspirants are not able to deal with hard core reality, are unable to flow with unexpected exigencies and speak truth to power, then stop wasting our time and step down.

In any case, the upcoming June debates (June 26/27) promise to be either a colossal flat tire dud event or the opening of a semi riotous free-for-all which will be considerably more entertaining. One political true-ism for any candidate at this early stage is Newton’s law of physics – what goes up, must come down.

Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31

May 26, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , | Leave a comment

Roger Stone Shines New Light on Russia-Gate Hoax

By Matthew Ehret | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 21, 2019

As if more evidence was needed to debunk the pathetic narrative that the Russians hacked the DNC computers during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump confidant Roger Stone, currently on trial for lying during the Mueller inquisition released an important truth to the light of day on May 10th. During a court filing, Stone’s lawyers finally gave a voice for the first time in an official setting to former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney, who has been fighting to have his testimony heard by special prosecutor Robert Mueller for nearly two years to no avail.

Binney’s incredible array of forensic evidence demonstrating the impossibility of a Russian hack brings the focus back to the real motive behind Russia-Gate: The destruction of the potential alliance between Russia and a reformed USA under a non-technocratic leader.

The Story so Far

For those who are unaware, Trump advisor and long-time friend Roger Stone is under indictment for his alleged role in the broad “conspiracy to coordinate the Russian-led intervention” into the 2016 elections and for lying to Mueller. He is also pleading not guilty to accusations of obstruction of justice and witness tampering. If the facts now show that there was never any Russian hacking, it follows that the case against both Stone and President Trump should be rendered null and void.

In a nine page motion to suppress ill-gotten evidence now being used against Roger Stone, his lawyers made the point that the entire case, including all warrants to collect evidence were contingent upon the pre-supposition that the Russians irrefutably hacked the DNC computers and provided the data to WikiLeaks. The motion stated: “It is clear. . . that the government has relied on the assumptions made by a source outside of the U.S. intelligence community that the Russian State was involved in the hacking and that the data taken from the various servers were given to WikiLeaks… The government does not have the evidence, and it knew it did not have the evidence, when it applied for these search warrants.”

Bill Binney’s Voice is Finally Heard

Stone’s motion includes expert testimony by Bill Binney whose forensic evidence proved conclusively that the 49.1 megabytes per second download speed of emails from DNC servers on May 23-25th, 2016 which were uploaded to WikiLeaks could not possibly have occurred through the means of a hack of any source external to the USA but rather COULD ONLY have occurred via a thumb drive such as that which DNC staffer Seth Rich conducted and released to WikiLeaks before his murder on July 10th, 2016.

In spite of having briefed CIA Director Mike Pompeo at Trump’s personal request in October 2017, Binney has been blocked for two years from providing expert testimony during the $26 million inquisition. Binney’s affidavit states in part: “WikiLeaks did not receive the stolen data from the Russian government. Intrinsic metadata in the publicly available files on WikiLeaks demonstrates that the files that were acquired by WikiLeaks were delivered in a medium such as a thumb drive physically local to the DNC.”

Much of the evidence used in Stone’s motion was featured first by Binney, alongside his colleague Larry Johnson (former CIA analyst) in a February 13th memo “Why the DNC was not Hacked by the Russians” which provide a mountain of information overthrowing the Mueller narrative. In the memo and affidavit, Binney also demonstrates that the file information of the WikiLeaks emails includes evidence that they were registered under a FAT file system since all of the time stamps were rounded off to even last numbers. If the files were acquired via a Russian hack, Binney explains that there would be no such rounding of numbers but an equal distribution of even and odd time stamps.

Lastly, Binney points out the absurdity that anti-Russian private security firm CrowdStrike admitted that they observed that supposed Russian hackers began penetrating DNC servers on May 6th, 2016 yet chose to do nothing until June 10th, 2016. For these reasons Stone is demanding unredacted copies of CrowdStrike’s forensic reports which have never been made public. CrowdStrike had a monopoly on all DNC computers and other physical evidence at the time, which has never been made accessible to the FBI or any other government agency.

More Layers of Narrative Crumble

With the destruction of the Russia-Gate story, a yet higher, long standing and more poisonous narrative is ready to crumble. This century-old narrative states that America is the rightful heir to the British Empire and must co-rule a post-nation state world order together under an “Anglo-American special relationship”. In the 20th century this view was promoted by anglophile puppet presidents on both sides of the aisle.

While all truly nationalist American leaders from 1776 to the present have fought against the British Imperial system which has poisoned America from within since its earliest days, the unfortunate majority of American political leaders have been either witless puppets at best and outright agents of the British deep state at worst. The seeds of the deep state were established by pro-Monarchist families that chose to remain in America after the “United Empire Loyalists” ran off to set up English-speaking Canada in 1783 creating a base for British operations into the Americas ever since.  Such mini dynastic clans such as the Bushes, the Mueller family, the Morgans, Duponts etc. are heirs to this unfortunate disease today (1). Every political leader who arose in defense of America’s constitutional traditions faced this British deep state cancer embedded within the Republic and many gave their lives in the fight. It is of note that eight presidents have died in office during the Republic’s short experience, and it should not surprise anyone to hear that all eight were actively opposing in various degrees; Wall Street control of finances within America and British Imperial intrigues abroad (2).

Many of America’s greatest patriots fought hard to ally America with Russia. The historic friendship of Russia and America began in the earliest days of the American Revolution with Catherine the Great’s League of Armed Neutrality and again came alive with Russia’s intervention on Lincoln’s behalf during the Civil War. Amidst a sea of British-intrigue it again congealed under the friendship of Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin who realized they had more in common with each other than either had with Sir Winston Churchill.

Now that Donald Trump and his allies are increasingly free of the shackles of the Mueller hoax, we are witnessing an incredible potential breakthrough as the June 27-28th G20 emerges where Presidents Trump, Putin and Xi Jinping will be meeting. Since the earliest days of the 2016 election campaign, President Trump has distinguished himself apart from the technocrats and neo-con puppets infecting America’s elite by stating repeatedly how “friendship with Russia and China is a good thing”, and has continued to display a policy orientation preferring a revival of America’s genuinely nationalist interests and cooperation with Russia and China in opposition to many war mongers within his own cabinet.

Although these revelations of May 10th may not appear to be a large matter, we must recall that it was a single Stone that took down Goliath.

(1) Much of this story is exposed in the 1984 book Treason in America: From Aaron Burr to Averell Harriman by Anton Chaitkin.

(2) William Harrison (1840), Zachary Taylor (1850), Abraham Lincoln (1865), James Garfield (1881), William McKinley (1901), Warren Hardin (1923), Franklin Roosevelt (1945), John F. Kennedy (1963). Additionally, noteworthy assassinated figures include Alexander Hamilton (1804), Martin Luther King Jr. (1968) and leading Presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy (1968)

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

How Russiagate replaced Analysis of the 2016 Election

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | May 19, 2019

An honest and accurate analysis of the 2016 election is not just an academic exercise. It is very relevant to the current election campaign. Yet over the past two years, Russiagate has dominated media and political debate and largely replaced a serious analysis of the factors leading to Trump’s victory. The public has been flooded with the various elements of the story that Russia intervened and Trump colluded with them. The latter accusation was negated by the Mueller Report but elements of the Democratic Party and media refuse to move on. Now it’s the lofty but vague accusations of “obstruction of justice” along with renewed dirt digging. To some it is a “constitutional crisis”, but to many it looks like more partisan fighting.

Russiagate has distracted from pressing issues

Russiagate has distracted attention and energy away from crucial and pressing issues such as income inequality, the housing and homeless crisis, inadequate healthcare, militarized police, over-priced college education, impossible student loans and deteriorating infrastructure. The tax structure was changed to benefit wealthy individuals and corporations with little opposition. The Trump administration has undermined environmental laws, civil rights, national parks and women’s equality while directing ever more money to military contractors. Working class Americans are struggling with rising living costs, low wages, student debt, and racism. They constitute the bulk of the military which is spread all over the world, sustaining continuing occupations in war zones including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and parts of Africa. While all this has been going on, the Democratic establishment and much of the media have been focused on Russiagate, the Mueller Report, and related issues.

Immediately after the 2016 Election

In the immediate wake of the 2016 election there was some forthright analysis. Bernie Sanders said, “What Trump did very effectively is tap the angst and the anger and the hurt and pain that millions of working class people are feeling. What he said is, ‘I Donald Trump am going to be a champion of the working class… I know you are working longer hours for lower wages, seeing your jobs going to China, can’t afford childcare, can’t afford to send your kids to college. I Donald Trump alone can solve these problems. … What you have is a guy who utilized the media, manipulated the media very well. He is an entertainer, he is a professional at that. But I will tell you that I think there needs to be a profound change in the way the Democratic Party does business. It is not good enough to have a liberal elite. I come from the white working class and I am deeply humiliated that the Democratic Party cannot talk to the people where I came from.”

Days after the election, the Washington Post published an op-ed titled “Hillary Clinton Lost. Bernie Sanders could have won. We chose the wrong candidate.” The author analyzed the results saying, “Donald Trump’s stunning victory is less surprising when we remember a simple fact: Hillary Clinton is a deeply unpopular politician.” The writer analyzed why Sanders would have prevailed against Trump and predicted “there will be years of recriminations.”

Russiagate replaced Recrimination

But instead of analysis, the media and Democrats have emphasized foreign interference. There is an element of self-interest in this narrative. As reported in “Russian Roulette” (p127), when the Clinton team first learned that Wikileaks was going to release damaging Democratic National Party emails in June 2016, they “brought in outside consultants to plot a PR strategy for handling the news of the hack … the story would advance a narrative that benefited the Clinton campaign and the Democrats: The Russians were interfering in the US election, presumably to assist Trump.”

After losing the election, Team Clinton doubled down on this PR strategy. As described in the book Shattered (p. 395) the day after the election campaign managers assembled the communication team “to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up and up …. they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.”

This narrative has been remarkably effective in supplanting critical review of the election.

One Year After the Election

The Center for American Progress (CAP) was founded by John Podesta and is closely aligned with the Democratic Party. In November 2017 they produced an analysis titled  “Voter Trends in 2016: A Final Examination“. Interestingly, there is not a single reference to Russia. Key conclusions are that “it is critical for Democrats to attract more support from the white non-college-educated voting bloc” and “Democrats must go beyond the ‘identity politics’ versus ‘economic populism’ debate to create a genuine cross-racial, cross-class coalition …” It suggests that Wall Street has the same interests as Main Street and the working class.

A progressive team produced a very different analysis titled Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis. They did this because “the (Democratic) party’s national leadership has shown scant interest in addressing many of the key factors that led to electoral disaster.” The report analyzes why the party turnout was less than expected and why traditional Democratic Party supporters are declining. It includes recommendations to end the party’s undemocratic practices, expand voting rights and counter voter suppression. The report contains details and specific recommendations lacking in the CAP report. It includes an overall analysis which says “The Democratic Party should disentangle itself – ideologically and financially – from Wall Street, the military-industrial complex and other corporate interests that put profits ahead of public needs.”

Two Years After the Election

In October 2018, the progressive team produced a follow-up report titled “Autopsy: One Year Later“.  It says, “The Democratic Party has implemented modest reforms, but corporate power continues to dominate the party.”

In a recent phone interview, the editor of that report, Norman Solomon, said it appears some in the Democratic Party establishment would rather lose the next election to Republicans than give up control of the party.

What really happened in 2016?

Beyond the initial critiques and “Autopsy” research, there has been little discussion, debate or lessons learned about the 2016 election. Politics has been dominated by Russiagate.

Why did so many working class voters switch from Obama to Trump? A major reason is because Hillary Clinton is associated with Wall Street and the economic policies of her husband President Bill Clinton. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), promoted by Bill Clinton, resulted in huge decline in manufacturing jobs in swing states such as Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Of course, this would influence their thinking and votes. Hillary Clinton’s support for the Trans Pacific Partnership was another indication of her policies.

What about the low turnout from the African American community? Again, the lack of enthusiasm is rooted in objective reality. Hillary Clinton is associated with “welfare reform” promoted by her husband. According to this study from the University of Michigan, “As of the beginning of 2011, about 1.46 million U.S. households with about 2.8 million children were surviving on $2 or less in income per person per day in a given month… The prevalence of extreme poverty rose sharply between 1996 and 2011. This growth has been concentrated among those groups that were most affected by the 1996 welfare reform.”

Over the past several decades there has been a huge increase in prison incarceration due to increasingly strict punishments and mandatory prison sentences. Since the poor and working class have been the primary victims of welfare and criminal justice “reforms” initiated or sustained through the Clinton presidency, it’s understandable why they were not keen on Hillary Clinton. The notion that low turnout was due to African Americans being unduly influenced by Russian Facebook posts is seen as “bigoted paternalism” by blogger Teodrose Fikremanian who says, “The corporate recorders at the NY Times would have us believe that the reason African-Americans did not uniformly vote for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats is because they were too dimwitted to think for themselves and were subsequently manipulated by foreign agents. This yellow press drivel is nothing more than propaganda that could have been written by George Wallace.”

How Clinton became the Nominee

Since the 2016 election there has been little public discussion of the process whereby Hillary Clinton became the Democratic Party nominee. It’s apparent she was pre-ordained by the Democratic Party elite. As exposed in the DNC emails, there was bias and violations of the party obligations at the highest levels. On top of that, it should now be clear that the pundits, pollsters and election experts were out of touch, made poor predictions and decisions.

Bernie Sanders would have been a much stronger candidate. He would have won the same party loyalists who voted for Clinton. His message attacking Wall Street would have resonated with significant sections of the working class and poor who were unenthusiastic (to say the least) about Clinton. An indication is that in critical swing states such as Wisconsin and Michigan Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary race.

Clinton had no response for Trump’s attacks on multinational trade agreements and his false promises of serving the working class. Sanders would have had vastly more appeal to working class and minorities. His primary campaign showed his huge appeal to youth and third party voters. In short, it’s likely that Sanders would have trounced Trump. Where is the accountability for how Clinton ended up as the Democratic Party candidate?

The Relevance of 2016 to 2020

The 2016 election is highly relevant today. Already we see the same pattern of establishment bias and “horse race” journalism which focuses on fund-raising, polls and elite-biased “electability” instead of dealing with real issues, who has solutions, who has appeal to which groups.

Mainstream media and pundits are already promoting Joe Biden. Syndicated columnist EJ Dionne, a Democratic establishment favorite, is indicative. In his article “Can Biden be the helmsman who gets us past the storm?” Dionne speaks of the “strength he (Biden) brings” and the “comfort he creates”. In the same vein, Andrew Sullivan pushes Biden in his article “Why Joe Biden Might be the Best to Beat Trump“. Sullivan thinks that Biden has appeal in the working class because he joked about claims he is too ‘hands on’. But while Biden may be tight with AFL-CIO leadership, he is closely associated with highly unpopular neoliberal trade deals which have resulted in manufacturing decline.

The establishment bias for Biden is matched by the bias against Democratic Party candidates who directly challenge Wall Street and US foreign policy. On Wall Street, that would be Bernie Sanders. On foreign policy, that is Tulsi Gabbard. With a military background Tulsi Gabbard has broad appeal, an inclusive message and a uniquely sharp critique of US “regime change” foreign policy. She calls out media pundits like Fareed Zakaria for goading Trump to invade Venezuela. In contrast with Rachel Maddow taunting John Bolton and Mike Pompeo to be MORE aggressive, Tulsi Gabbard has been denouncing Trump’s collusion with Saudi Arabia and Israel’s Netanyahu, saying it’s not in US interests. Gabbard’s anti-interventionist anti-occupation perspective has significant support from US troops. A recent poll indicates that military families want complete withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria. It seems conservatives have become more anti-war than liberals.

This points to another important yet under-discussed lesson from 2016: a factor in Trump’s victory was that he campaigned as an anti-war candidate against the hawkish Hillary Clinton. As pointed out here, “Donald Trump won more votes from communities with high military casualties than from similar communities which suffered fewer casualties.”

Instead of pointing out that Trump has betrayed his anti-war campaign promises, corporate media (and some Democratic Party outlets) seem to be undermining the candidate with the strongest anti-war message. An article at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) says, “Corporate media target Gabbard for her Anti-Interventionism, a word they can barely pronounce.”

Russiagate has distracted most Democrats from analyzing how they lost in 2016. It has given them the dubious belief that it was because of foreign interference. They have failed to analyze or take stock of the consequences of DNC bias, the preference for Wall Street over working class concerns, and the failure to challenge the military industrial complex and foreign policy based on ‘regime change’ interventions.

There needs to be more analysis and lessons learned from the 2016 election to avoid a repeat of that disaster. As indicated in the Autopsy, there needs to be a transparent and fair campaign for nominee based on more than establishment and Wall Street favoritism. There also needs to be consideration of which candidates reach beyond the partisan divide and can energize and advance the interests of the majority of Americans rather than the elite. The most crucial issues and especially US military and foreign policy need to be seriously debated.

Blaming an outside power is a good way to prevent self analysis and positive change. It’s gone on far too long.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist who grew up in Canada but currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. He can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com.

May 19, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

The DNC Debates, the Media and Tulsi Gabbard

By Renee Parsons | CounterPunch | May 3, 2019

As some of the last minute Democratic presidential candidates scramble to qualify for the DNC’s upcoming June 26/27 primary debate, the latest poll results become more than nominally important given their elevated role in whether a candidate meets the requirements to participate.

In order to qualify, each announced candidate needs to have received either $65,000 from 200 donors in 20 states or to garner more than 1% support in any three of the DNC’s ‘favored’ polls –  which includes those 2016 polls with either a flawed methodology or their thumb on the scale which missed the final election results in a big way, all of which proves that wishing does not make it so.

There is every reason to believe that the favored polls will provide the necessary % of support in order for all 21 candidates to qualify. Given any poll’s margin-of-error in statistical sampling, it would seem that measuring public support via a % is an arbitrary criteria that does not represent  a true accurate basis with high precision results. Even if a candidate does not qualify for the June debates, they can still qualify for the July event. A house divided and all that…

The basic structure of the debates as announced by DNC Chair Tom Perez represents a presidential primary process that is “transparent, fair, inclusive” with ‘historic reforms’ and ‘increased trust’ which you may recall, the DNC process in 2016 did nothing to generate increased trust. While Democratic officials have been meeting for months with media partners, there is yet no announcement who the moderator or participating panelists will be or how the questions are being formulated. The June round of debates will be broadcast on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo with the July debates on CNN.

According to the DNC, the max number of candidates participating will be a total of twenty even if all 21 announced candidates qualify as it threatens to eliminate candidates who had already made the cut – so much for “transparent, fair and inclusive.” Ten will appear on June 26 with the next ten on June 27th and selection will be determined by drawing lots. Conceivably, the Main Show of Bernie and Biden may occur on June 26thor they may be split, appearing on two different nights. In any case, it may be difficult for the public to determine a clear ‘winner’ by virtue of candidate separation from the total field.

Leaving First Amendment concerns aside, Perez cited a New Yorker expose “Fox News has always been partisan. But has it become propaganda?” by Jane Mayer reporting on an ‘inappropriate’ relationship between the Trump Administration and Fox News. Perez, therefore, determined that Fox was “not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate” and would not be a participating media partner. True to form, President Trump responded that he would not participate in general election debates with the Democrat favorite MSM outlets.

It is more than ironic when MSM outlets, like the New Yorker reveal their own unprofessional bias without applying the same propaganda standard to itself or to its MSM colleagues for its inappropriate camaraderie with the high level Obama Administration officials or current Democratic Presidential candidates.

As the MSM continues to pat itself on the back and win awards it did not deserve after perpetuating a deep constitutional crisis which has torn the country apart,the NYT and WaPo received $15,000 for its 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for its flawed, erroneous reportage on Russiagate as CNN won $2500 for the 2018 White House Correspondents Merriman Smith Award which was based on leaks from former Obama officials John Brennan and James Clapper rather than the old-fashioned method of investigative reporting. Presumably, all recipients kept the prize money.

On the part of the DNC, the obvious idea is to winnow the field in such a way that it does not appear obvious if any one candidate is being deliberately shoved aside without an equal opportunity. LOL with that.  Examination of a less than inspiring slate of candidates leaves considerable space for true excellence to surface. It is ironic that the party so enthralled with diversity and identity politics actually represents a gross lack of diversity in terms of public policy options.

With the new CNN poll showing Joe Biden representing the fossil wing of the Democratic party with a 39% favorable rating as Bernie drops to 15%, it is eerily reminiscent of overstated polls for HRC in 2016.  Thanks to CNN, additional White House contenders have qualified for the debate via the % option including former Colorado Gov John Hickenlooper who might take the opportunity to inform the public why he attended the Bilderberg meeting in 2018.

Given her almost totally hostile reception by every MSM outlet who deigned to interview her, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has experienced, as an opponent of regime change wars, more bad manners and outright personal antagonism than any other candidate. While Gabbard easily qualified for the debates via the $65,000 requirement and continues to attract SRO audiences in NH, Iowa, California and elsewhere, yet until the newest CNN poll, she failed to register any % of public support. Something here does not compute given the ‘favored’ polls past history of favoritism. If the Dems continue to put a brick wall around her, Jill Stein has already opened the Green Party door as a more welcoming venue for a Tulsi candidacy. The Dems, who tend to be unprincipled and vindictive, better be careful what they wish for.

Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31

May 3, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 3 Comments

‘We are at war’ with Russia: DNC Chair Perez says Trump ‘compromised’

RT | April 26, 2019

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez went on CNN to declare a cyber war on Russia, and slammed President Donald Trump for being ‘compromised.’

“The federal government is asleep at the switch,” Perez told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on her show New Day, adding that the president had been disloyal to the country for “weaponizing” hacked material.

“When the Russians called Donald Trump and said ‘I got dirt on Hillary Clinton,’ they should have called the authorities,” Perez said, apparently referring to the Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. “Instead they said ‘tell us what you got.’ That’s not right.”

Back in 2016, however, the DNC had no qualms about relying on a foreign intelligence officer, Christopher Steele, to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump from various informants and ‘weaponize’ it in preparation for the presidential election. Steele later admitted sourcing his info from unverified internet sources – but not before it catalyzed two years of ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy and a costly Special Counsel investigation that ultimately found no collusion between Trump and Russia.

Veselnitskaya, interestingly, met with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson on both the days before and after the lawyer’s meeting with Donald Trump Jr. Fusion GPS is the research firm that paid for Christopher Steele’s kompromat job on Trump.

When asked if his party would accept leaked information on President Trump’s tax returns, Perez gave a non-answer.

“Well, again, we are entitled to that,” he said. “If you look at the law that chairman Neil of the House Ways and Means Committee is using. It’s clear. It doesn’t say you are entitled to [release your tax returns] except for the taxes of the president of the United States.”

Although the Mueller probe did not find any link between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, to the utter disappointment of some liberal media pundits, the collusion narrative survived. Media continues to speculate whether Trump was somehow compromised by Russia and is on Putin’s short leash. Democrats, including certain presidential hopefuls, have not given up on the hopes to oust Trump from office through impeachment proceedings, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Kamala Harris among the latest to join the rallying cry.

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Russian collusion was no more than “conspiracy porn” created by Clinton and Obama

By Mitchell Feierstein | The Duran | April 1, 2019

After 675 days, 25 million dollars, 2,800 subpoenas, over 500 witnesses, and more than 500 search warrants, all of which took up the time of 20 prosecutors and nearly 50 FBI agents, Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted the results of his “witch hunt” to the Attorney General of the United States of America, Robert Barr.

Barr, in turn, submitted a four-page overview highlighting the following conclusions: There are no further indictments of anyone and there was no collusion with Russia by any American. Barr and Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whom Mueller reported to, determined that there was no obstruction by President Trump.

But, for the past three years, elite Democratic Party partisans, along with their media partners, force-fed thousands of “Bombshell” headlines to millions of Americans, without ever providing a lick of evidence. The absence of evidence supporting their outrageous lies coupled with the results of Mueller’s investigation and Barr’s conclusions establishes collusion – not between Russia and the Trump family to influence the 2016 presidential election, but amongst the Democrats and mass media to delegitimize the Trump presidency.

The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, “We saw cold, hard evidence of the Trump campaign, and indeed the Trump family, eagerly intending to collude with Russia.” Pelosi has never presented any evidence to support this claim or any of the many other suspect claims the speaker has made.

The Chairman of House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said, “I have evidence of collusion with Russia and kompromat. It’s all in plain sight.” Schiff regularly repeated this claim to the public yet never provided any evidence. He appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, and ABC over 150 times and was never called out for repeating these lies over and over again.

Congressman Eric Swalwell on MSNBC said, “Donald Trump is a Russian agent; we have evidence Trump and his family colluded with Russia.” Swalwell has parroted this and many other claims since 2016. Evidence provided: none.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters stated, “Trump and his buddies are scumbags who are all Putin’s puppets; we will Impeach 45.” Waters has been shrieking “Impeach 45” since election day in 2016. Water’s reason: she hates Trump and the entire Grand Old Party “GOP.”

Many other Democratic members of Washington DC’s swamp echoed similar propaganda that mobilized the Trump “resistance.” Their hit list of frequent salacious claims included “Trump in handcuffs;” “The entire Trump family, frog-marched, and jailed forever;” “Treason, much worse than Watergate, we have evidence;” “Trump has been a Russian asset since 1987;” “Trump is a racist, sexist, misogynist, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, white-national, white-supremacist;” and let’s not forget “He’s the next Hitler.” This “hit list” has become the Democratic party mantra since Donald trump announced his candidacy in 2015.

Ex-Central Intelligence Agency “CIA” director John Brennan, who just so happens to be on MSNBC’s payroll, also weighed in on Trump. “Trump’s behavior is treasonous. He committed high crimes and misdemeanors. There is evidence that proves many people in Trump’s orbit are guilty of serious crimes and indictments are coming, and soon. Trump committed Treason” The penalty for committing “treason” in America, death. Brennan never provided any evidence. Brennan’s lies have destroyed the CIA’s reputation and credibility.

Viewers of CNN, MSNBC, NBC, and ABC were inundated with purposeful misrepresentations that continuously promised faithful audiences that Mueller and his team had “mountains” of evidence of Trump’s collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice. Day after day, these media outlets repeated how Mueller would deliver an indictment of President Trump, who had committed “treason and high crimes and misdemeanors” that would lead to his impeachment and jail time. The corrupt media represented that Trump’s family members, who were also guilty of similar crimes, would be sent to prison. All the above were outrageous lies.

In fact, the only convictions that arose through the Mueller investigation were low-level process crimes which had NOTHING to do with Trump. $25 million wasted, bravo! These salacious accusations proved to be part of an elaborate scheme to delegitimize the sitting president and his administration in order to remove him from office. However, the Democrats and mass media could not have done it without FBI Director James Comey’s exploitation of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

We know the whole coup d’état was facilitated by FBI Director James Comey’s October 20, 2016 submission of a 66-page application to the FISA court.

Comey and Sally Quillian Yates, the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, signed this application. Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, the presiding judge of the secret FISA court, granted an order that led to our intelligence agencies spying on the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump. The FBI ran a counter-intelligence investigation named “Crossfire Hurricane” on Trump’s campaign.

Comey’s FISA application was largely based on information contained in the Steele dossier, a dossier written by a disgraced MI6 agent named Christopher Steele. The dossier made wild, unsubstantiated claims and was financed by the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee via Clinton’s law firm Perkins Coie through a company named Fusion GPS.

In a meeting with President Trump in early January 2017, James Comey told President Trump about the existence of the Steele dossier and told him not to worry about it. Comey stated that the dossier’s contents were salacious, unverified, and untrue. Apparently, James Comey knew, yet never disclosed to Judge Collyer, that the Steele dossier was garbage prepared by political partisans that did not want Trump to be
elected and financed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Three days after Comey’s meeting with Trump the entire Steele dossier was “leaked” to numerous media sources and published in it’s entirety on Buzzfeed with no mention that none of the claims in the Steele dossier had been verified.

Comey signed and submitted two more FISA applications, one in Jan 2017, and another in April 2017 which relied upon the Steele dossier. FISA Judge Michael W. Mosman signed the January renewal, and Judge Anne C. Conway signed the April renewal.

Apparently, Comey never disclosed, to any of the FISA judges, that the Steele dossier was: paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign, and the DNC, or that the Department of Justice’s Bruce Ohr had warned on the credibility of the unverified Steele Dossier, or that Bruce Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS and helped back door the Steele dossier into the FBI, or that the dossier was filled with baseless allegations, lies, and
propaganda. It appears that four secret court, FISA, judges were lied to in order to kick- off the biggest scandal in history.

FBI’s Deputy Director Andrew McCabe recently stated during Congressional testimony that “without the Steele dossier, the FISA warrants would have never been granted.” Recent reports suggest that it was ex-CIA director John Brennan who insisted that the Steele dossier be included in the intelligence report used to request the FISA warrants. Senator Rand Paul has issued a call that Brennan be called to testify under oath in Congress.

The entire Mueller investigation would have never been possible without this fake dossier being used to illegally obtain FISA warrants by the omission of material facts within the original FISA application and the three subsequent renewal applications.

Why is Judge Collyer not looking into these and other material misrepresentations used in the FISA application to obtain search warrants to spy on Americans and on a presidential campaign by its opposition and enabled by a weaponized Obama Department of Justice? The silence of secret FISA court Judges Mosman, Conway, and Dearie is frightening. America’s secret courts should be abolished.

April 1, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Journalist says MSNBC politics editor bullied him on DNC’s behalf

RT | March 29, 2019

A freelance journalist has gone public about a bizarre intimidation attempt by a senior MSNBC editor who tried to “bully” him into keeping a story under wraps – on behalf of the Democratic National Committee, not the network.

MSNBC politics managing editor Dafna Linzer tried to pressure Yashar Ali, a journalist who has written for the Huffington Post and New York Magazine, into holding back the release of the Democratic primary debate dates, Ali has claimed in a series of tweets. Linzer wasn’t trying to beat him to the story, or calling on behalf of her own network at all – she was acting wholly on behalf of the DNC, according to Ali.

Ali got wind of the Democratic primary dates, information even the candidates didn’t have, on Thursday morning and called the party to verify them before publishing. They asked him to hold back the information while they made a few calls – which he refused, not wanting to lose the scoop – and then things got weird.

Linzer then called Ali and asked him to hold the story in order to give the DNC time to “make a few phone calls” to state party leaders, informing them of the debate dates. While her own network was planning to break the news later on that day, she spent the call “menacing” Ali, threatening to call his editor and trying several lines of reasoning to convince him to sit on the story – even bringing up her own history as a national security reporter at the Washington Post, when they “would hold stuff all the time.”

While MSNBC generally favors the Democratic Party in its news coverage, the network isn’t a party organ – not officially, at least – and Linzer’s “unethical” behavior, conspiring with party leadership to quash another journalist’s story, set off alarm bells in the journalist. Several other reporters he spoke to urged him to go public.

Neither MSNBC nor Linzer have made any public comment in response to Ali’s tweets so far. In the week since Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded his investigation, Rachel Maddow and other top-rated MSNBC shows have lost 20 percent of their viewers as Americans realize they spent the last two years being led down the garden path. It’s understandable that Linzer might be a little stressed, now that so much is riding on the network’s “pivot to 2020.”

March 30, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

“How I Lost by Hillary Clinton,” a Book Review

By Ann Garrison | Black Agenda Report | February 6, 2019

Rich and manipulative people like Hillary Clinton and her DNC cohorts were defeated by their own emails.

“How I Lost By Hillary Clinton” is a collection of the DNC and Podesta emails published by Wikileaks in 2016, introduced and annotated by Consortium News Editor Joe Lauria, with a foreword by political prisoner Julian Assange. Believe it or not, you don’t have to buy it from Amazon unless you want to toss a few more dollars into the bursting coffers of Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, who says his only business option now is to search for new markets in outer space.

Instead you can order a paperback, e-book, or both from OR Books and dive back into the election year that just won’t die. On January 28, CNN reported that “Hillary Clinton tells friends she’s leaving 2020 door open.” A day earlier the New York Daily News had reported less charitably that “Hillary Clinton hasn’t learned her lesson yet.”

Back in November, upper-tier Clinton operatives Mark Penn and Andrew Stein penned “Hillary Will Run Again,” a bullish Wall Street Journal op-ed opening thus:

“Get ready for Hillary Clinton 4.0. More than 30 years in the making, this new version of Mrs. Clinton, when she runs for president in 2020, will come full circle—back to the universal-health-care-promoting progressive firebrand of 1994. True to her name, Mrs. Clinton will fight this out until the last dog dies. She won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

I read “Hillary Will Run Again” three times to make sure it wasn’t just a little joke, or maybe even a more sophisticated attempt at satire. Then I read it again, and I still don’t think so, much as I wish it were. I’ll be gladly embarrassed if anyone can convince me I’m wrong.

But what about Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillebrand, and whoever announces next? No worries, write Penn and Stein: “You can expect her to run for president once again. Maybe not at first, when the legions of Senate Democrats make their announcements, but definitely by the time the primaries are in full swing.”

Anyone remember “Night of the Living Dead” (1968), “Dawn of the Dead” (1978), “Day of the Dead” (1985), and “Land of the Dead” (2005)? Still watching “The Walking Dead” (2010-) or its spinoff “Fear the Walking Dead” (2015-)? Another grisly sequel or series could be coming soon. “How I Lost by Hillary Clinton” might fortify your psychic battlements before it begins.

We’ve all heard of the Wall Street speeches, finally published as a subset of the Podesta emails, but on the first page of this book, Lauria explains that they were just some of Hillary’s more high-profile influence peddling:

“Clinton spoke to just about anyone who would pay, including a scrap metal and recycling conference in Las Vegas, the automobile dealers association in New Orleans, and the National Association of Convenience Stores in Atlanta. Clinton said that fees from speeches at universities went to the Clinton Foundation and not directly into her pocket.”

Sounds like a tax dodge to me, and it “didn’t stop students at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas protesting her $225,000 haul as the university was hiking tuition.” Between April 2013 and March 2015, Hillary Clinton gave 91 paid speeches averaging $235,304.35 apiece, for a total of $21,648,000.

But she’d rather we didn’t dwell on it

When Joe Lauria was last in the Bay Area, I asked him how he got away with the title “How I Lost by Hillary Clinton.” He said that he, OR Books, and Julian Assange were all of the opinion that the Clinton camp wouldn’t want to attract attention to the book by pestering or suing them, and they haven’t yet. It’s an apt title anyway because so much of the book’s contents are DNC and Podesta emails, mostly penned by Hillary staff if not by Hillary herself.

Clinton the Elitist

The body of the book comes in two sections, the first being “Clinton the Elitist.” Here we read about how Hillary climbed from the upper middle class to the uber-rich via elite schools, specifically Wellesley and Yale Law School, then on to her and her husband’s political careers and all the wealth generated by post-presidential, post-cabinet speeches, book contracts, corporate board appointments, the Clinton Foundation, and other forms of bribery and influence peddling.

Despite the Wellesley and Yale Law School degrees, she sounds incoherent because of her mutually exclusive promises to protect both the financial elite and the rest of us. At Goldman Sachs’s 10/24/2013 AIMS Alternative Investments Symposium in New York City, she said that she had bravely faced Americans still bitter about the 2008 financial crisis that cost millions their homes followed by the bank bailout that transferred enormous wealth to the very Wall Street elites who engineered the crisis. “Too Big to Fail” hadn’t gone down well in the hinterland, but she had taken the flak:

“That was one of the reasons that I started traveling in February of ’09, so people could, you know, literally yell at me for the United States and our banking system causing this everywhere. Now, that’s an oversimplification we know, but it was the conventional wisdom. And I think that there’s a lot that could have been avoided in terms of both misunderstanding and really politicizing what happened with greater transparency, with greater openness on all sides, you know, what happened, how did it happen, how do we prevent it from happening? You guys help us figure it out and let’s make sure that we do it right this time. And I think that everybody was desperately trying to fend off the worst effects institutionally, governmentally, and there just wasn’t that opportunity to try to sort this out, and that came later.”

In other words, “You owe me. I’m one of you. That’s why I say ‘we.’” And Wall Street agreed. The financial services industry and associated PACs contributed $115.5 million to Clinton’s second presidential run, close to 10% of the $1.2 billion raised. They contributed to both the Democratic and Republican Parties, and their presidential candidates, as major corporations and business sectors always do to make sure they own a piece of whoever wins. However, Wall Street gave Trump a measly $7.9 million, most likely because of the widespread certainty that Clinton would win.

Hillary the Hawk

Most of those likely to read “How I Lost by Hillary Clinton” will know Hillary the Hawk, but the book is full of grim elaboration, much of it in her own words. Here’s one choice quote:

“And there is still an argument that goes on inside the administration and inside our friends at NATO and the Europeans. How do you intervene—my view was you intervene as covertly as is possible for Americans to intervene. We used to be much better at this than we are now.”

Here’s another:

“To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk—you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians. So all of a sudden this intervention that people talk about so glibly becomes an American and NATO involvement where you take a lot of civilians.“

Civilians aside, Clinton pushed for a no-fly zone in Syria right up and into her final debate with Donald Trump, despite his “America First” crusade against foreign military quagmires. Simultaneously, Obama’s UN Ambassador Samantha Power shrieked at Russia and China for vetoing her demand for a no-fly zone at the UN Security Council. Clinton brushed off fears that bombing Syria risked conflict with nuclear-armed Russia, even after it entered the Syrian theater of war at Syria’s request in October 2015.

I had a hard time putting “How I Lost By Hillary Clinton” down until I was done. Like most Wikileaks releases, it drew me into the minds of those who decide who will live, who will die, who will be impoverished, and who enriched. Not only Hillary Clinton’s mind, but also those of the macabre power elites surrounding her. Who matters and who is collateral damage? Most of us, here and abroad, are in the latter category, and she lost because too many of us knew that.

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Book Review, Corruption, Deception, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

FISA shocker: DOJ official warned Steele dossier was connected to Clinton, might be biased

By John Solomon | The Hill | January 16, 2019

When the annals of mistakes and abuses in the FBI’s Russia investigation are finally written, Bruce Ohr almost certainly will be the No. 1 witness, according to my sources.

The then-No. 4 Department of Justice (DOJ) official briefed both senior FBI and DOJ officials in summer 2016 about Christopher Steele’s Russia dossier, explicitly cautioning that the British intelligence operative’s work was opposition research connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and might be biased.

Ohr’s briefings, in July and August 2016, included the deputy director of the FBI, a top lawyer for then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and a Justice official who later would become the top deputy to special counsel Robert Mueller.

At the time, Ohr was the associate attorney general. Yet his warnings about political bias were pointedly omitted weeks later from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that the FBI obtained from a federal court, granting it permission to spy on whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia to hijack the 2016 presidential election.

Ohr’s activities, chronicled in handwritten notes and congressional testimony I gleaned from sources, provide the most damning evidence to date that FBI and DOJ officials may have misled federal judges in October 2016 in their zeal to obtain the warrant targeting Trump adviser Carter Page just weeks before Election Day.

They also contradict a key argument that House Democrats have made in their formal intelligence conclusions about the Russia case.

Since it was disclosed last year that Steele’s dossier formed a central piece of evidence supporting the FISA warrant, Justice and FBI officials have been vague about exactly when they learned that Steele’s work was paid for by the law firm representing the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

A redacted version of the FISA application released last year shows the FBI did not mention any connection to the DNC or Clinton. Rather, it referred to Steele as a reliable source in past criminal investigations who was hired by a person working for a U.S. law firm to conduct research on Trump and Russia.

The FBI claimed it was “unaware of any derogatory information” about Steele, that Steele was “never advised … as to the motivation behind the research” but that the FBI  “speculates” that those who hired Steele were “likely looking for information to discredit” Trump’s campaign.

Yet, in testimony last summer to congressional investigators, Ohr revealed the FBI and Justice lawyers had no need to speculate: He explicitly warned them in a series of contacts, beginning July 31, 2016, that Steele expressed biased against Trump and was working on a project connected to the Clinton campaign.Ohr had firsthand knowledge about the motive and the client: He had just met with Steele on July 30, 2016, and Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS, the same firm employing Steele.

“I certainly told the FBI that Fusion GPS was working with, doing opposition research on Donald Trump,” Ohr told congressional investigators, adding that he warned the FBI that Steele expressed bias during their conversations.

“I provided information to the FBI when I thought Christopher Steele was, as I said, desperate that Trump not be elected,” he added. “So, yes, of course I provided that to the FBI.”

When pressed why he would offer that information to the FBI, Ohr answered: “In case there might be any kind of bias or anything like that.” He added later, “So when I provided it to the FBI, I tried to be clear that this is source information, I don’t know how reliable it is. You’re going to have to check it out and be aware.”

Ohr went further, saying he disclosed to FBI agents that his wife and Steele were working for the same firm and that it was conducting the Trump-Russia research project at the behest of Trump’s Democratic rival, the Clinton campaign.

“These guys were hired by somebody relating to, who’s related to the Clinton campaign and be aware,” Ohr told Congress, explaining what he warned the bureau.

Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented both the DNC and the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election, belatedly admitted it paid Fusion GPS for Steele’s work on behalf of the candidate and party and disguised the payments as legal bills when, in fact, it was opposition research.

When asked if he knew of any connection between the Steele dossier and the DNC, Ohr responded that he believed the project was really connected to the Clinton campaign.

“I didn’t know they were employed by the DNC but I certainly said yes that they were working for, you know, they were somehow working, associated with the Clinton campaign,” he answered.

“I also told the FBI that my wife worked for Fusion GPS or was a contractor for GPS, Fusion GPS.”

Ohr divulged his first contact with the FBI was on July 31, 2016, when he reached out to then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and FBI attorney Lisa Page. He then was referred to the agents working Russia counterintelligence, including Peter Strzok, the now-fired agent who played a central role in starting the Trump collusion probe.

But Ohr’s contacts about the Steele dossier weren’t limited to the FBI. He said in August 2016 — nearly two months before the FISA warrant was issued — that he was asked to conduct a briefing for senior Justice officials.

Those he briefed included Andrew Weissmann, then the head of DOJ’s fraud section; Bruce Swartz, longtime head of DOJ’s international operations, and Zainab Ahmad, an accomplished terrorism prosecutor who, at the time, was assigned to work with Lynch as a senior counselor.

Ahmad and Weissmann would go on to work for Mueller, the special prosecutor overseeing the Russia probe.

Ohr’s extensive testimony also undercuts one argument that House Democrats sought to make last year.

When Republicans, in early 2018, first questioned Ohr’s connections to Steele, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee sought to minimize the connection, insisting he only worked as an informer for the FBI after Steele was fired by the FBI in November 2016.

The memo from Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) team claimed that Ohr’s contacts with the FBI only began “weeks after the election and more than a month after the Court approved the initial FISA application.”

But Ohr’s testimony now debunks that claim, making clear he started talking to FBI and DOJ officials well before the FISA warrant or election had occurred.

And his detailed answers provide a damning rebuttal to the FBI’s portrayal of the Steele material.

In fact, the FBI did have derogatory information on Steele: Ohr explicitly told the FBI that Steele was desperate to defeat the man he was investigating and was biased.

And the FBI knew the motive of the client and did not have to speculate: Ohr told agents the Democratic nominee’s campaign was connected to the research designed to harm Trump’s election chances.

Such omissions are, by definition, an abuse of the FISA system.

Don’t take my word for it. Fired FBI Director James Comey acknowledged it himself when he testified last month that the FISA court relies on an honor system, in which the FBI is expected to divulge exculpatory evidence to the judges.

“We certainly consider it our obligation, because of our trust relationship with federal judges, to present evidence that would paint a materially different picture of what we’re presenting,” Comey testified on Dec. 7, 2018. “You want to present to the judge reviewing your application a complete picture of the evidence, both its flaws and its strengths.”

Comey claims he didn’t know about Ohr’s contacts with Steele, even though his top deputy, McCabe, got the first contact.

But none of that absolves his FBI, or the DOJ for that matter, from failing to divulge essential and exculpatory information from Ohr to the FISA court.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.

January 17, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment