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Making Excuses for Russiagate

By Daniel Lazare | Consortium News | May 18, 2018

The best evidence that Russia-gate is sinking beneath the waves is the way those pushing the pseudo-scandal are now busily covering their tracks. The Guardian complains that “as the inquiry has expanded and dominated the news agenda over the last year, the real issues of people’s lives are in danger of being drowned out by obsessive cable television coverage of the Russia investigation” – as if the Guardian’s own coverage hasn’t been every bit as obsessive as anything CNN has come up with.

The Washington Post, second to none when it comes to painting Putin as a real-life Lord Voldemort, now says that Special counsel Robert Mueller “faces a particular challenge maintaining the confidence of the citizenry” as his investigation enters its second year – although it’s sticking to its guns that the problem is not the inquiry itself, but “the regular attacks he faces from President Trump, who has decried the probe as a ‘witch hunt.’”

And then there’s the New York Times, which this week devoted a 3,600-word front-page article to explain why the FBI had no choice but to launch an investigation into Trump’s alleged Russian links and how, if anything, the inquiry wasn’t aggressive enough. As the article puts it, “Interviews with a dozen current and former government officials and a review of documents show that the FBI was even more circumspect in that case than has been previously known.”

It’s Nobody’s Fault

The result is a late-breaking media chorus to the effect that it’s not the fault of the FBI that the investigation has dragged on with so little to show for it; it’s not the fault of Mueller either, and, most of all, it’s not the fault of the corporate press, even though it’s done little over the last two years than scream about Russia. It’s not anyone’s fault, evidently, but simply how the system works.

This is nonsense, and the gaping holes in the Times article show why.

The piece, written by Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, and Nicholas Fandos and entitled “Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation,” is pretty much like everything else the Times has written on the subject, i.e. biased, misleading, and incomplete. Its main argument is that the FBI had no option but to step in because four Trump campaign aides had “obvious or suspected Russian ties.”

‘At Putin’s Arm’

One was Michael Flynn, who would briefly serve as Donald Trump’s national security adviser and who, according to the Times, “was paid $45,000 by the Russian government’s media arm for a 2015 speech and dined at the arm of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.” Another was Paul Manafort, who briefly served as Trump’s campaign chairman and was a source of concern because he had “lobbied for pro-Russia interests in Ukraine and worked with an associate who has been identified as having connections to Russian intelligence.” A third was Carter Page, a Trump foreign-policy adviser who “was well known to the FBI” because “[h]e had previously been recruited by Russian spies and was suspected of meeting one in Moscow during the campaign.” The fourth was George Papadopoulos, a “young and inexperienced campaign aide whose wine-fueled conversation with the Australian ambassador set off the investigation. Before hacked Democratic emails appeared online, he had seemed to know that Russia had political dirt on Mrs. Clinton.”

Seems incriminating, eh? But in each case the connection was more tenuous than the Times lets on. Flynn, for example, didn’t dine “at the arm of the Russian president” at a now-famous December 2015 Moscow banquet honoring the Russian media outlet RT. He was merely at a table at which Putin happened to sit down for “maybe five minutes, maybe twenty, tops,” according to Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein who was just a few chairs away. No words were exchanged, Stein says, and “[n]obody introduced anybody to anybody. There was no translator. The Russians spoke Russian. The four people who spoke English spoke English.”

The Manafort associate with the supposed Russian intelligence links turns out to be a Russian-Ukrainian translator named Konstantin Kilimnik who studied English at a Soviet military school and who vehemently denies any such connection. It seems that the Ukrainian authorities did investigate the allegations at one point but declined to press charges. So the connection is unproven.

Page Was No Spy

The same goes for Carter Page, who was not “recruited” by Russian intelligence, but, rather, approached by what he thought were Russian trade representatives at a January 2013 energy symposium in New York. When the FBI informed him five or six months later that it believed the men were intelligence agents, Page appears to have cooperated fully based on a federal indictment filed with the Southern District of New York. Thus, Page was not a spy but a government informant as ex-federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy has pointed out – in other words, a good guy, as the Times would undoubtedly see it, helping the catch a couple of baddies.

As for Papadopoulos, who the Times suggests somehow got advance word that WikiLeaks was about to dump a treasure trove of Hillary Clinton emails, the article fails to mention that at the time the conversation with the Australian ambassador took place, the Clinton communications in the news were the 30,000 State Department emails that she had improperly stored on her private computer. These were the emails that “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about,” as Bernie Sanders put it. Instead of spilling the beans about a data breach yet to come, it’s more likely that Papadopoulos was referring to emails that were already in the news – a possibility the Times fails to discuss.

FBI ‘Perplexed’

One could go on. But not only does the Times article get the details wrong, it paints the big picture in misleading tones as well. It says that the FBI was “perplexed” by such Trump antics as calling on Russia to release still more Clinton emails after WikiLeaks went public with its disclosure. The word suggests a disinterested observer who can’t figure out what’s going on. But it ignores how poisonous the atmosphere had become by that point and how everyone’s mind was seemingly made up.

By July 2016, Clinton was striking out at Trump at every opportunity about his Russian ties – not because they were true, but because a candidate who had struggled to come up with a winning slogan had at last come across an issue that seemed to resonate with her fan base. Consequently, an intelligence report that Russia was responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee “was a godsend,” wrote Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes in Shatteredtheir best-selling account of the Clinton campaign, because it was “hard evidence upon which Hillary could start to really build the case that Trump was actually in league with Moscow.”

Not only did Clinton believe this, but her followers did as well, as did the corporate media and, evidently, the FBI. This is the takeaway from text messages that FBI counterintelligence chief Peter Strzok exchanged with FBI staff attorney Lisa Page.

Andrew McCarthy, who has done a masterful job of reconstructing the sequence, notes that in late July 2016, Page mentioned an article she had come across on a liberal web site discussing Trump’s alleged Russia ties. Strzok texted back that he’s “partial to any women sending articles about nasty the Russians are.” Page replied that the Russians “are probably the worst. Very little I finding redeeming about this. Even in history. Couple of good writers and artists I guess.” Strzok heartily agreed: “f***ing conniving cheating savages. At statecraft, athletics, you name it. I’m glad I’m on Team USA.”

The F’ing Russian ‘Savages’

This is the institutional bias that the Times doesn’t dare mention. An agency whose top officials believe that “f***ing conniving cheating savages” are breaking down the door is one that is fairly guaranteed to construe evidence in the most negative, anti-Russian way possible while ignoring anything to the contrary. So what if Carter Page had cooperated with the FBI? What’s important is that he had had contact with Russian intelligence at all, which was enough to render him suspicious in the bureau’s eyes. Ditto Konstantin Kilimnik. So what if the Ukrainian authorities had declined to press charges? The fact that they had even looked was damning enough.

The FBI thus made the classic methodological error of allowing its investigation to be contaminated by its preconceived beliefs. Objectivity fell by the wayside. The Times says that Christopher Steele, the ex-MI6 agent whose infamous, DNC and Clinton camp paid-for opposition research dossier turned “golden showers” into a household term, struck the FBI as “highly credible” because he had “helped agents unravel complicated cases” in the past. Perhaps. But the real reason is that he told agents what they wanted to hear, which is that the “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years” with the “[a]im, endorsed by PUTIN, … [of] encourage[ing] splits and divisions in [the] western alliance.” (which can be construed as a shrewd defensive move against a Western alliance massing troops on Russian borders.)

What else would one expect of people as “nasty” as these? In fact, the Steele dossier should have caused alarm bells to go off. How could Putin have possibly known five years before that Trump would be a viable presidential candidate? Why would high-level Kremlin officials share inside information with an ex-intelligence official thousands of miles away? Why would the dossier declare on one page that the Kremlin has offered Trump “various lucrative real estate development business deals” but then say on another that Trump’s efforts to drum up business had gone nowhere and that he therefore “had had to settle for the use of extensive sexual services there from local prostitutes rather than business success”? Given that the dossier was little more than “oppo research” commissioned and funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, why was it worthy of consideration at all?

The Rush to Believe

But all such questions disappeared amid the general rush to believe. The Times is right that the FBI slow-walked the investigation until Election Day. This is because agents assumed that Trump would lose and that therefore there was no need to rush. But when he didn’t, the mood turned to one of panic and fury.

Without offering a shred of evidence, the FBI, CIA, NSA, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a formal assessment on Jan. 6, 2017, that “Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election … [in order] to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”

The New Yorker reports that an ex-aide to John McCain hoped to persuade the senator to use the Steele dossier to force Trump to resign even before taking office. (The ex-aide denies that this was the case.)

When FBI Director James Comey personally confronted Trump with news of the dossier two weeks prior to inauguration, the Times says he “feared making this conversation a ‘J. Edgar Hoover-type situation,’ with the FBI presenting embarrassing information “to lord over a president-elect.”

But that is precisely what happened. When someone – most likely CIA Director John Brennan, now a commentator with NBC News – leaked word of the meeting and Buzzfeed published the dossier four days later, the corporate media went wild. Trump was gravely wounded, while Adam Schiff, Democratic point man on the House Intelligence Committee, would subsequently trumpet the Steele dossier as the unvarnished truth. According to the Times account, Trump was unpersuaded by Comey’s assurances that he was there to help. “Hours earlier,” the paper says, “… he debuted what would quickly become a favorite phrase: ‘This is a political witch hunt.’”

The Times clearly regards the idea as preposterous on its face. But while Trump is wrong about many things, on this one subject he happens to be right. The press, the intelligence community, and the Democrats have all gone off the deep end in search of a Russia connection that doesn’t exist. They misled their readers, they made fools of themselves, and they committed a crime against journalism. And now they’re trying to dodge the blame.

Daniel Lazare is the author of The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics.

May 18, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Remorse For Hillary

By Craig Murray | April 25, 2018

I am hopeful that the commendable discovery process involved in US litigation will bring to light further details of the genesis of Christopher Steele’s ludicrous dossier on Trump/Russia, and may even give some clues as to whether Sergei Skripal and/or his handler Pablo Miller were involved in its contents.

The decision by the Democratic National Committee to sue the Russian Government, Wikileaks, Julian Assange personally and the Trump campaign is an act of colossal hubris. It is certain to reveal still more details of the deliberate fixing of the primary race against Bernie Sanders, over which five DNC members, including the Chair, were forced to resign. It will also lead to the defendants being able to forensically examine the DNC servers to prove they were not hacked – something which astonishingly the FBI refused to do, being instead content to take the word of the DNC’s own private cyber security firm, Crowdstrike. Unless those servers have been wiped completely (as Hillary did to her private email server) I know that is not going to go well for the DNC.

I cannot better Glenn Greenwald’s article on why it is a terrible idea to sue Wikileaks for publishing leaked documents – it sets a precedent which could be used to constrain media from ever publishing anything given them by whistleblowers. It is an astonishingly illiberal thing to undertake. Nor is it politically wise. The media has done its very best to ignore as far as possible the actual content of the leaks of DNC material, and rather to concentrate on the wild accusations of how they were obtained. But the fundamental crookedness revealed in the emails is bound to get some sort of airing, not least as the basis of a public interest defence.

I have often been asked if I regret my association with Wikileaks, given they are held responsible for the election of Donald Trump. My answer is that I feel no remorse at all.

Hillary Clinton lost because she was an appalling candidate. A multi-millionaire, neo-con warmonger with the warmth and empathy of a three week dead haddock and an eye for the interests of Wall Street, who regarded ordinary voters as “deplorables” (a term she used not just once, but frequently at fund-raisers with the mega-wealthy). Hillary Clinton conspired with the machine that was supposed to be neutrally running the primaries, to fix the primaries against Bernie Sanders. The opinion polls regularly showed that Sanders would beat Trump, and that the only Democratic candidate who Trump could beat was Clinton. Egomania and a massive sense of entitlement nevertheless led her not just to persist to get the candidacy, but persist to rig the candidacy. She then proceeded to ignore major urban working class battleground states in her campaign against Trump and focus on more glamorous places. In short, Hillary was corrupt rubbish. Full stop, and not remotely Wikileaks’ fault.

Wikileaks did not go out to get the evidence against Hillary. They were given it. Should they have withheld the knowledge of the rigging of the field against Bernie Sanders from the American people, to let Clinton benefit from the corruption? For me that is a no-brainer. It would have been a gross moral dereliction to have done so. It is also the case that Wikileaks can only publish what they are given. Had they been given dirt on Trump, they would have published. But they were not given any leaks on Trump.

I should put in an aside here which might surprise you. I like Anthony Weiner. I have never met him, but I watched the amazing 2016 fly on the wall documentary Weiner and he came across as a person of genuine goodwill, passion and commitment, undermined by what is very obviously a pathological illness. I realise that was not the general reaction, but it was mine.

But – and now I am going to really annoy people – I have to say that from an international perspective, rather than an American domestic perspective, I am also not in the slightest convinced that Trump has been worse for the World than Clinton would have been. Trump has not, to date, initiated any new military intervention or substantially increased any military conflict during his Presidency. In fact his current actions more closely match his words about non-intervention during his election campaign, than do his current words. Despite hawkish posturing, he has not substantially increased American military intervention in Syria.

My reading of the reported chemical weapon attack on Douma is this. Whether it was a false flag chemical attack, a pro-Assad chemical attack, or no chemical attack at all I do not know for sure. But whichever it is, it was used to attempt to get Trump to commit to a major escalation of American involvement in the war in Syria. So far, he has not done that. The American-led missile attack was illegal, but fortunately comparatively restrained, certainly in no way matching Trump’s rhetoric. All the evidence is, and there is a great deal of evidence from Libya and Afghanistan, that Clinton would have been far more aggressive.

That leaves the dichotomy between Trump’s rhetoric and his actions. Certainly there is every sign of a sharp tilt to the neo-cons. His apparent preference in his press conference with Macron today for an extended presence of France, the former colonial power, and US troops in Syria is deeply troubling. His sacking of the sensible Tillerson from the State Department, and his appointment of the odious John Bolton as National Security Adviser all appear to be terrible signs. But still, nothing has actually happened. There is a reading that Trump is placating the neo-cons with position and rhetoric while his actions – in Syria and in what a hating political class fails to acknowledge has all the makings of a diplomatic coup in North Korea – go in a very different direction.

It is beyond doubt that Hillary, who cannot open her mouth without denouncing Russia for causing her own entirely self-inflicted failure – would be taking the new Cold War to even worse extremes than it has already reached, to the delight of the military-industrial complex and her Wall Street friends. It is open to debate, but I would contend that it is very probable that President Hillary would have launched a major attack on Syria by now, just like she presided over as Secretary of State in Libya.

So my answer is this. Firstly, Clinton caused her own downfall by arrogance, and by failing to grasp the alienation of ordinary people from neo-liberal policies that impoverished them while the rich grew massively richer. Secondly, I strongly suspect that if Hillary were President, more people would be dead now in the Middle East.

So no, I have no regrets at all.

Support Craig Murray’s continued writing.

April 25, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …

By Thomas L. Knapp | Garrison Center | April 21, 2018

April 20 is cannabis culture’s high holiday, and the Democratic National Committee celebrated it with fervor this year: Blaze up, get silly, file a bizarre lawsuit accusing the Russian government, Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and transparency activist group WikiLeaks of conspiring to steal an election.

The suit confirms that after more than a year, special counsel Robert Mueller still hasn’t amassed the evidence required for a successful criminal prosecution, requiring proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” A civil suit lowers that bar to “a preponderance of the evidence.”

But even that’s a long shot. The only credible evidence produced so far implicates only the Trump campaign, not the other two defendants, and only to the same extent that it likewise implicates the Clinton campaign.

That is, both campaigns admittedly tried to tap “Kremlin-connected” sources (defined as “anyone who’s ever been in Moscow”) for dirt on their opponents. Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer in hopes of getting the goods on Hillary Clinton. The Clinton campaign commissioned a British former spy to work his Russian regime sources for salacious tidbits on Trump the Elder.

Central to the suit’s claims is alleged “Russian hacking” of the DNC’s servers, followed by an embarrassing release of emails showing, among other things, attempts by DNC to rig the 2016 primaries in favor of Clinton and against her main opponent, Bernie Sanders. Problems with the case:

First, the DNC refused to turn those servers over to the FBI for forensic analysis, instead hiring a friendly cybersecurity firm to announce the results it wanted announced.

Secondly, metadata in the “hacked” files released by “Guccifer 2.0” indicates transfer speeds consistent with an internal source at DNC copying the files directly to a USB drive rather than an external hacker accessing the servers.

Thirdly, while the subsequent announcement by the US intelligence community of its conclusions claims methods and IP addresses “consistent with” Russian state hackers, those methods and IP addresses are also “consistent with” every other type of hacker on Earth.

Fourthly and probably decisively, the DNC makes the mistake of dragging WikiLeaks into the matter. The next time WikiLeaks gets caught making a false statement will be the first time. On the other hand, the leaked emails themselves demonstrate that the DNC lies constantly and without hesitation. When it comes to credibility, WikiLeaks is the gold standard and the DNC is something one tries to wipe off the bottom of one’s shoe before entering a respectable household. WikiLeaks says no, its source was neither the Russian government nor any other state party.

This lawsuit is simply the latest version of what the DNC has been doing since 2016: Trying to fob blame for its loss of an election it should have won in a walk off onto someone, anyone, but itself and its insanely poor choice of presidential nominee.

It’s very a risky move. In civil suits “discovery” runs in both directions. We’re about to learn a lot more about how the Democratic Party really works behind the scenes.

April 21, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Trump Scores Major North Korea Points; Dems Sue WikiLeaks For Telling The Truth

Remember these two tweets when Democrats are trying to spin their massive losses in a few months
By Caitlin Johnstone | Rogue Journalist | April 20, 2018

Damn. Democrats love losing more than Louise Mensch loves obsolete spy jargon.

Pyongyang has just announced that it is suspending intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear tests, and is closing down a nuclear testing site as a sign of good faith. President Trump was of course quick to jump on Twitter to congratulate himself, and his supporters are all enthusiastically cheering him on.

As MIT professor Vipin Narang notes, the precise wording of the statement from the DPRK doesn’t necessarily preclude certain other types of testing. More importantly, this could all just be the first step toward Kim Jong Un winding up like another Gaddafi, who was destroyed by the western empire shortly after relinquishing Libya’s nuclear program. But neither of these things matter right now as far as public perception goes. It cannot be denied that Trump has secured major political points today.

Meanwhile what are Trump’s political opponents doing to gain momentum leading up to the 2018 midterms? Why, they’re suing WikiLeaks for telling the truth about them.

The Democratic party suing WikiLeaks for costing them the election is like an armed robbery convict suing a security camera company for getting him arrested. The emails it published are 100 percent authentic and entirely undisputed, and they consist of nothing other than Democratic party big wigs talking to one another.

The documents published by WikiLeaks in 2016 showed an unquestionable violation of the DNC’s Impartiality Clause in the “us vs them” tone of the conversations in the more egregious DNC leaks, the Podesta emails showing that the DNC and the Clinton camp were colluding as early as 2014 to schedule debates and primaries in a way that favored her, and then-DNC Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile acting as a mole against the Sanders campaign and passing Clinton questions in advance to prep her for debates with Sanders. It also revealed more broadly incriminating facts about the Democratic party in general, including the Clintons taking bribes from Qatar and Morocco and knowingly accepting funds from political bodies that arm ISIS, an email showing how a CitiGroup executive was responsible for selecting Obama’s acceptable cabinet picks, and Clinton’s infamous “public position and a private position” statement.

Contrary to what their lawsuit claims, Democrats didn’t lose massively in 2016 because of a secret conspiracy between Russia, WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign to rob them of their rightful place on the throne, they lost massively in 2016 because people found out the truth about what the party is and how it operates. The fact that they are still masturbating this ridiculous delusion a year and a half later while Trump racks up a massive foreign policy win should concern everybody who understands that the Republican party is at least as evil and corrupt as the Democrats.

The Democratic party has proven beyond all doubt that it has no interest in serving the American people and at this point exists only to protect the tiny empires of its leaders. There has been far more than enough time for it to have conducted a sincere autopsy of the 2016 catastrophe, do some serious soul searching, and make the necessary changes. The fact that it has not done so by now means that it will never do so.

Leftwardly inclined Americans now have a decision to make: either (A) fully accept and support the Democratic party exactly as it is, corruption, warmongering and all so that they’ll have some small chance at beating the Republicans, or (B) let the party go the way of the Whigs and replace it with something completely different.

If there’s one thing we have learned from this administration, it’s that scandals and blunders roll off Donald Trump’s strange skin like water off a duck’s back. It is unlikely that this administration will suffer any setbacks between now and the 2018 midterms large enough to offset the political wins he’s been scoring, and if suing WikiLeaks for telling the truth is the best the Dems have to offer, America had better make sure it has a purse that looks good with red states.

April 20, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , | Leave a comment

Last chance for Russiagate? Democrats file lawsuit against Trump campaign, Russia and WikiLeaks

RT | April 20, 2018

In a last-ditch effort to keep the Trump/Russia collusion story alive, the Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit on Friday against the Trump campaign, the Russian government, and WikiLeaks.

The suit alleges that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to hack the DNC’s computer network and publish the committee’s emails via WikiLeaks, reported the Washington Post.

“During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” DNC Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement.

The DNC is seeking financial reparations for the alleged collusion, which the committee says amounted to an illegal conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 election.

While heavy on blame, the suit is conspicuously light on evidence. White House Special Counsel Robert Mueller has found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, despite looking for almost a year.

Claims that Trump attempted to interfere with the FBI’s investigation were also dashed this Thursday, with the release of former FBI Director James Comey’s memos of his meetings with the president. The memos showed that Trump was cooperative and wanted all allegations of collusion properly investigated. Likewise, Russian responsibility for the DNC data breach has never been established.

Trump is not named as a defendant in the suit. Rather, the Democrats are targeting key figures in the Trump team “who met with people believed to be affiliated with Russia” during the campaign.

Donald Trump Jr. is named, as is President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, his campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates. Manafort and Gates were charged by Special Counsel Mueller with money laundering, fraud, and tax evasion earlier this year, but not with any kind of collusion with Russia.

Republican strategist Roger Stone is named for allegedly meeting with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the campaign, a claim he denies.

Foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and London professor Joseph Mifsud are mentioned, as are Aras and Emin Agalarov, Russian businessmen who once held a Miss Universe beauty pageant in Moscow. As owner of the pageant, Trump attended.

The Agalarovs helped arrange a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in 2016. The suit also cites Trump traveling to the Soviet Union in 1987.

Even if the lawsuit was built on solid evidence, the DNC might find it difficult to actually sue Russia, as other nations enjoy immunity from US lawsuits.

April 20, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Former CIA Chief Brennan Running Scared

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | March 19, 2018

What prompted former CIA Director John Brennan on Saturday to accuse President Donald Trump of “moral turpitude” and to predict, with an alliterative flourish, that Trump will end up “as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history”? The answer shines through the next sentence in Brennan’s threatening tweet: “You may scapegoat Andy McCabe [former FBI Deputy Director fired Friday night] but you will not destroy America… America will triumph over you.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan

It is easy to see why Brennan lost it. The Attorney General fired McCabe, denying him full retirement benefits, because McCabe “had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.” There but for the grace of God go I, Brennan must have thought, whose stock in trade has been unauthorized disclosures.

In fact, Brennan can take but small, short-lived consolation in the fact that he succeeded in leaving with a full government pension. His own unauthorized disclosures and leaks probably dwarf in number, importance, and sensitivity those of McCabe. And many of those leaks appear to have been based on sensitive intercepted conversations from which the names of American citizens were unmasked for political purposes. Not to mention the leaks of faux intelligence like that contained in the dubious “dossier” cobbled together for the Democrats by British ex-spy Christopher Steele.

It is an open secret that the CIA has been leaking like the proverbial sieve over the last two years or so to its favorite stenographers at the New York Times and Washington Post. (At one point, the obvious whispering reached the point that the Wall Street Journal saw fit to complain that it was being neglected.) The leaking can be traced way back — at least as far as the Clinton campaign’s decision to blame the Russians for the publication of very damning DNC emails by WikiLeaks just three days before the Democratic National Convention.

This blame game turned out to be a hugely successful effort to divert attention from the content of the emails, which showed in bas relief the dirty tricks the DNC played on Bernie Sanders. The media readily fell in line, and all attention was deflected from the substance of the DNC emails to the question as to why the Russians supposedly “hacked into the DNC and gave the emails to WikiLeaks.”

This media operation worked like a charm, but even Secretary Clinton’s PR person, Jennifer Palmieri, conceded later that at first it strained credulity that the Russians would be doing what they were being accused of doing.

Magnificent Diversion

On April 6, 2017 I attended a panel discussion on “Russia’s interference in our democracy” at the Clinton/Podesta Center for American Progress Fund. In my subsequent write-up I noted that panelist Palmieri had inadvertently dropped tidbits of evidence that I suggested “could get some former officials in deep kimchi – if a serious investigation of leaking, for example, were to be conducted.” (That time seems to be coming soon.)

Palmieri was asked to comment on “what was actually going on in late summer/early fall [2016].” She answered:

“It was a surreal experience … so I did appreciate that for the press to absorb … the idea that behind the stage that the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton was too fantastic for people to, um, for the press to process, to absorb….

“But then we go back to Brooklyn [Clinton headquarters] and heard from the — mostly our sources were other intelligence, with the press who work in the intelligence sphere, and that’s where we heard things and that’s where we learned about the dossier and the other story lines that were swirling about; and how to process … And along the way the administration started confirming various pieces of what they were concerned about what Russia was doing. … So I do think that the answer for the Democrats now … in both the House and the Senate is to talk about it more and make it more real.”

So the leaking had an early start, and went on steroids during the months following the Democratic Convention up to the election — and beyond.

As a Reminder

None of the leaking, unmasking, surveillance, or other activities directed against the Trump campaign can be properly understood, if one does not bear in mind that it was considered a sure thing that Secretary Clinton would become President, at which point illegal and extralegal activities undertaken to help her win would garner praise, not prison.

But she lost. And a month ago, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) threw down the gauntlet, indicating that there could be legal consequences, for example, for officials who misled the FISA court in order to enable surveillance on Trump and associates. His words are likely to have sent chills down the spine of yet other miscreants. “If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial,” he said. “The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created.”

John Brennan is widely reported to be Nunes’s next target. Does one collect a full pension in jail?

Unmasking: Senior national security officials are permitted to ask the National Security Agency to unmask the names of Americans in intercepted communications for national security reasons — not for domestic political purposes. Congressional committees have questioned why Obama’s UN ambassador Samantha Power (as well as his national security adviser Susan Rice) made so many unmasking requests. Power is reported to have requested the unmasking of more than 260 Americans, most of them in the final days of the administration, including the names of Trump associates.

Deep State Intimidation 

Back to John Brennan’s bizarre tweet Saturday telling the President, “You may scapegoat Andy McCabe but you will not destroy America … America will triumph over you.” Unmasking the word “America,” so to speak, one can readily discern the name “Brennan” underneath. Brennan’s words and attitude are a not-so-subtle reminder of the heavy influence and confidence of the deep state, including the media — exercised to a fare-thee-well over the past two years.

Later on Saturday, Samantha Power, with similar equities at stake, put an exclamation point behind what Brennan had tweeted earlier in the day. Power also saw fit to remind Trump where the power lies, so to speak. She warned him publicly that it is “not a good idea to piss off John Brennan.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post is dutifully playing its part in the deep-state game of intimidation. The following excerpt from Sunday’s lead article conveys the intended message: “Some Trump allies say they worry he is playing with fire by taunting the FBI. ‘This is open, all-out war. And guess what? The FBI’s going to win,’ said one ally, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. ‘You can’t fight the FBI. They’re going to torch him.’” [sic]

The Post, incidentally, waited until paragraph 41 of 44 to inform readers that it was the FBI’s own Office of Professional Responsibility and the Inspector General of the Department of Justice that found McCabe guilty, and that the charge was against McCabe, not the FBI. A quite different impression was conveyed by the large headline “Trump escalates attacks on FBI” as well as the first 40 paragraphs of Sunday’s lead article.

Putting Down a Marker

It isn’t as though Donald Trump wasn’t warned, as are all incoming presidents, of the power of the Deep State that he needs to play ball with — or else. Recall that just three days before President-elect Trump was visited by National Intelligence Director James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Michael Rogers, Trump was put on notice by none other than the Minority Leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer.  Schumer has been around and knows the ropes; he is a veteran of 18 years in the House, and is in his 20th year in the Senate.

On Jan. 3, 2017 Schumer said it all, when he told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, that President-elect Trump is “being really dumb” by taking on the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia’s cyber activities:

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told Maddow. “So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.” Did Maddow ask Schumer if he was saying President of the United States should be afraid of the intelligence community? No, she let Schumer’s theorem stand.

With gauntlets now thrown down by both sides, we may not have to wait very long to see if Schumer is correct in his blithe prediction as to how the present constitutional crisis will be resolved.

Ray McGovern works for Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  He served as a CIA analyst under seven Presidents and nine CIA directors and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Secretary of State Tillerson’s Firing Means

By Paul Craig Roberts | Institute for Political Economy | March 13, 2018

Senator Chuck Schumer (D, NY) says Tillerson’s firing indicates that the Trump administration is disintegrating. I understand why Senator Schumer sees it that way, especially following all the other dismissals and resignations.

I see it differently. The firing of Secretary of State Tillerson, the movement of CIA Director Pompeo to Secretary of State, and the promotion of Gina Haspel, who oversaw the secret CIA torture prisons in Thailand, indicate that the military/security complex has closed its grip on the Trump regime. There will be no more talk of normalizing relations with Russia.

The combination of the Israel Lobby, the neoconservatives, and the military/security complex have proven to be too powerful for peace to be established between the two nuclear powers. If you look at Trump’s administration, the above three forces are those in charge.

Israel remains determined to use the US military to destabilize Syria and Iran in order to isolate Hezbollah and cut off the milita’s support and supplies. The neoconservatives both support Israel’s interest and their own desire for Washington’s hegemony over the world. The military/security complex intends to hold on to the “Russia threat” as a justification of its budget and power.

The presstitutes are in complete harmony with the scheme. Although Russiagate has been proven to be false charges orchestrated by the DNC, FBI, and CIA, the presstitutes continue to repeat the charges as if evidence exists that proves the charges to be true. The “stolen election” is fiction turned into fact. And now we have a new charge, that Putin ordered a former British spy in England to be eliminated while sitting on a park bench with the use of a highly unlikely form of military poison. The charge is preposterous, but that is not preventing the fiction from becoming fact.

Having served in Washington for a quarter century and having known members of the British government, I do not believe that any of them believe the Russiagate and Skripal poisoning stories. What is happening is that an agenda has taken precedence over truth.

This is an extremely dangerous agenda. Russia’s new weapons easily give Russia military superiority over the US. As China and Iran see the situation similarly to the Russians, the US is greatly out-classed. Yet, Washington and its vassals persist in making violent and false charges and threats against Russia, Iran, and on occasion China. Russia, Iran, and China know that these charges are false. Confronting an endless string of false and hostile charges, they prepare for war.

The world is being driven to war, which would be nuclear, by a tiny minority: Israeli Zionists, neoconservatives, and the US military/security complex. We are witnessing the most reckless and irresponsible behavior in world history. Where are the voices against it?

March 14, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Contradictions In Seth Rich Murder Continue To Challenge Hacking Narrative

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 03/02/2018

As rumors swirl that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is preparing a case against Russians who are alleged to have hacked Democrats during the 2016 election – a conclusion based solely on the analysis of cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike, a Friday op-ed in the Washington Times by retired U.S. Navy admiral James A. Lyons, Jr. asks a simple, yet monumentally significant question: Why haven’t Congressional Investigators or Special Counsel Robert Mueller addressed the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich – who multiple people have claimed was Wikileaks’ source of emails leaked during the 2016 U.S. presidential election?

Mueller has been incredibly thorough in his ongoing investigations – however he won’t even respond to Kim Dotcom, the New Zealand entrepreneur who clearly knew about the hacked emails long before they were released, claims that Seth Rich obtained them with a memory stick, and has offered to provide proof to the Special Counsel investigation.

On May 18, 2017, Dotcom proposed that if Congress includes the Seth Rich investigation in their Russia probe, he would provide written testimony with evidence that Seth Rich was WikiLeaks’ source.

In addition to several odd facts surrounding Rich’s still unsolved murder – which officials have deemed a “botched robbery,” forensic technical evidence has emerged which contradicts the Crowdstrike report. The Irvine, CA company partially funded by Google, was the only entity allowed to analyze the DNC servers in relation to claims of election hacking:

Notably, Crowdstrike has been considered by many to be discredited over their revision and retraction of a report over Russian hacking of Ukrainian military equipment – a report which the government of Ukraine said was fake news.

In connection with the emergence in some media reports which stated that the alleged “80% howitzer D-30 Armed Forces of Ukraine removed through scrapping Russian Ukrainian hackers software gunners,” Land Forces Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine informs that the said information is incorrect.

Ministry of Defence of Ukraine asks journalists to publish only verified information received from the competent official sources. Spreading false information leads to increased social tension in society and undermines public confidence in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. –mil.gov.ua (translated) (1.6.2017)

In fact, several respected journalists have cast serious doubt on CrowdStrike’s report on the DNC servers:

Pay attention, because Mueller is likely to use the Crowdstrike report to support the rumored upcoming charges against Russian hackers.

Also notable is that Crowdstrike founder and anti-Putin Russian expat Dimitri Alperovitch sits on the Atlantic Council – which is funded by the US State Department, NATO, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukranian Oligarch Victor Pinchuk. Who else is on the Atlantic Council? Evelyn Farkas – who slipped up during an MSNBC interview with Mika Brzezinski and disclosed that the Obama administration had been spying on the Trump campaign:

The Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about the Trump staff dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would not longer have access to that intelligence. –Evelyn Farkas

Odd facts surrounding the murder of Seth Rich

“The facts that we know of in the murder of the DNC staffer, Seth Rich, was that he was gunned down blocks from his home on July 10, 2016. Washington Metro police detectives claim that Mr. Rich was a robbery victim, which is strange since after being shot twice in the back, he was still wearing a $2,000 gold necklace and watch. He still had his wallet, key and phone. Clearly, he was not a victim of robbery,” writes Lyons.

Another unexplained fact muddying the Rich case is that of a 40 caliber Glock 22 handgun stolen from an FBI agent’s car the same day Rich was murdered. D.C. Metro police said that the theft occurred between 5 and 7 a.m., while the FBI said two weeks later that the theft had occurred between Midnight and 2 a.m. – fueling speculation that the FBI gun was used in Rich’s murder.

Furthermore, two men working with the Rich family – private investigator and former D.C. Police detective Rod Wheeler and family acquaintance Ed Butowsky, have previously stated that Rich had contacts with WikiLeaks before his death.

“According to Ed Butowsky, an acquaintance of the family, in his discussions with Joel and Mary Rich, they confirmed that their son transmitted the DNC emails to Wikileaks,” writes Lyons.

While Wheeler initially told TV station Fox5 that proof of Rich’s contact with WikiLeaks lies on the murdered IT staffer’s laptop, he later walked the claim back – though he maintained that there was “some communication between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks.”

Wheeler also claimed in recently leaked audio that Seth Rich’s brother, Aaron – a Northrup Grumman employee, blocked him from looking at Seth’s computer and stonewalled his investigation.

Wheeler said that brother Aaron Rich tried to block Wheeler from looking at Seth’s computer, even though there could be evidence on it. “He said no, he said I have his computer, meaning him,” Wheeler said. “I said, well can I look at it?…He said, what are you looking for? I said anything that could indicate if Seth was having problems with someone. He said no, I already checked it. Don’t worry about it.”

Aaron also blocked Wheeler from finding out about who was at a party Seth attended the night of the murder.

“All I want you to do is work on the botched robbery theory and that’s it,” Aaron told Wheeler –Big League Politics

Perhaps the most stunning audio evidence, however, comes from leaked audio of a recorded conversation between Ed Butowsky and Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who told him of a “purported FBI report establishing that Seth Rich sent emails to WikiLeaks.”

As transcribed and exclusively reported on by journalist Cassandra Fairbanks last year:

What the report says is that some time in late Spring… he makes contact with WikiLeaks, that’s in his computer,” he says. “Anyway, they found what he had done is that he had submitted a series of documents — of emails, of juicy emails, from the DNC.”

Hersh explains that it was unclear how the negotiations went, but that WikiLeaks did obtain access to a password protected DropBox where Rich had put the files.

All I know is that he offered a sample, an extensive sample, I’m sure dozens of emails, and said ‘I want money.’ Later, WikiLeaks did get the password, he had a DropBox, a protected DropBox,” he said. They got access to the DropBox.”

Hersh also states that Rich had concerns about something happening to him, and had

“The word was passed, according to the NSA report, he also shared this DropBox with a couple of friends, so that ‘if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problems,’” he added. “WikiLeaks got access before he was killed.”

Brennan and Russian disinformation

Hersh also told Butowsky that the DNC made up the Russian hacking story as a disinformation campaign – directly pointing a finger at former CIA director (and now MSNBC/NBC contributor) John Brennan as the architect.

I have a narrative of how that whole f*cking thing began. It’s a Brennan operation, it was an American disinformation, and the fu*kin’ President, at one point, they even started telling the press – they were backfeeding the Press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press, fu*king c*cksucker Rogers, was telling the press that we even know who in the Russian military intelligence service leaked it.

Listen to Seymour Hersh leaked audio: 

(full transcription here and extended audio of the Hersh conversation here

Hersh denied that he told Butowsky anything before the leaked audio emerged, telling NPR “I hear gossip… [Butowsky] took two and two and made 45 out of it.

Techincal Evidence

As we mentioned last week, Dotcom’s assertion is backed up by an analysis done last year by a researcher who goes by the name Forensicator, who determined that the DNC files were copied at 22.6 MB/s – a speed virtually impossible to achieve from halfway around the world, much less over a local network – yet a speed typical of file transfers to a memory stick.

The big hint

Last but not least, let’s not forget that Julian Assange heavily implied Seth Rich was a source:

Given that a) the Russian hacking narrative hinges on Crowdstrikes’s questionable reporting, and b) a mountain of evidence pointing to Seth Rich as the source of the leaked emails – it stands to reason that Congressional investigators and Special Counsel Robert Mueller should at minimum explore these leads.

As retired U.S. Navy admiral James A. Lyons, Jr. asks: why aren’t they?

March 3, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Steele an Election

Christopher Steele’s Other Job: He Ran an Info Op Against the United States

By Peter Van Buren | We Meant Well | February 18, 2108

Christopher Steele did far more than simply provide an opposition research dossier to the Democratic National Committee, his Job One. As a skilled intelligence officer, Steele ran a full-spectrum information operation against the United States, aided either willingly or unwittingly by the FBI. His second job was the more important one: get his information into the most effective hands to influence the United States in the most significant way.

To understand how effective Steele has been in his op, we need to understand he had two jobs. The first was to create the dossier. The second job was to disseminate the dossier. Steele had to get the information into the most effective hands to influence the United States in the most significant way.

Job One: Create the Dossier

Job One was to create the opposition research. “Oppo” is not a neutral gathering of facts, but a search for negative information that can be used against an opponent. The standards — vetting — vary with the intended use. Some info might be published with documents and verification. Some leads discovered might be planted in hopes a journalist will uncover more “on her own,” creating credibility. Some likely near-falsehoods might be handed out to sleazy media in hopes more legit media will cross report — the New York Times might not initially run a story about a sexual dalliance itself, but it will run a story saying “Buzzfeed reports a sexual dalliance involving…”

Oppo research follows no rules; this is not peer-reviewed stuff that has to pass an ethics board. One goes out with bags of money shouting “Anyone got dirt on our opponent? We’re paying, but only for dirt!” You look for people who didn’t like a deal, people with an axe to grind, the jilted ex-wife, not the happy current one. So to say oppo research might be biased is to miss the point.

You’re not required to look too far under a rock that hides something naughty — stop when you’ve got what you came for. It all depends how the information will be deployed. The less sure you are about the veracity of the information you acquire the more you need that info to be inherently palatable; it has to feel right to the intended audience. The old political joke is you need to find a live boy in bed, or a dead girl, to really smear an opponent with a sex scandal. So if you’re going to run with info that supports what the public already sort of believes, the standards are lower.

What Does the Dossier Say?

Turning to Christopher Steele’s dossier, it looks like he read the same espionage textbook as everyone else. So while it would have been a game-changer had Steele found unambiguous evidence of financial transactions between Trump and the Russian government, that would have required real evidence. Steele’s sources claim money changed hands, but never provide him with proof. On dossier (page 20) one source goes as far as to say no documentary evidence exists.

That means instead of the complex financing scams you might expect out of Trump, the big takeaway from the dossier is the pee tape, sources claiming the Russians have video to blackmail Trump at any moment. The thing reaches almost the level of parody, because not only does the dossier claim Trump likes fetish sex, the fetish sex occurred in the context of an anti-Obama act (Trump supposedly for his pleasure employed prostitutes to urinate on a bed Obama once slept in.) As for other sex parties Trump supposedly participated in, the dossier notes all direct witnesses were “silenced.” You couldn’t do better if you made it all up.

In fact, the thing reads very much like what lay people imagine spies come up with. In real intelligence work, documents showing transactions from cash to commercial paper to gold run through a Cayman Islands’ bank are much more effective than dirty video; the latter can be denied, and may or may not even matter to a public already bored by boasts of pussy grabbing and rawdog sex with porn stars. The former will show up in court as part of a racketeering and tax evasion charge that dead solid perfect sends people to jail. Intelligence officers who pay out sources maintain meticulous receipts; you think their own agencies trust them with bags of cash? And in the dark world, prostitutes don’t need to be “silenced.” They have no credibility in most people’s’ minds to begin with, and a trail of bodies just attracts attention. And unlike Steele’s product, real intel reporting is full of qualifiers, maybes, liklies and so forth, not a laundry list of certainties, because you know your own sources have an agenda. The dossier is also short of the kind of verifiable details of specific dates and places you’d expect. It is a collection of unverifiable assertions by second-hand sources, not evidence. Steele is a smart man, an experienced intelligence officer, who knew exactly what he was writing — a dossier that will read true to the rubes.

So it is not surprising to date there has been no public corroboration of anything in the dossier. If significant parts of the dossier could be proven, there would be grounds for impeachment with no further work needed. At least one fact has been disproven –Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, produced his passport to rebut the dossier’s claim that he had secret meetings in Prague with a Russian official.

Job Two: Run the Info Op, Place the Dossier

Steele excelled at turning his dossier into a full-spectrum information operation, what some might call information warfare. This is what separates his work creating the dossier (which a decent journalist with friends in Russia could have done) from his work infiltrating the dossier into the highest reaches of American government and political society. For that, you need a real pro, an intelligence officer with decades of experience running just that kind of op. You want foreign interference in the 2016 election? Let’s take a closer look at Christopher Steele.

Steele’s skill is revealed by the Nunes and Grassley memos, which show he used the same set of information in the dossier to create a collaboration loop, every intelligence officer’s dream — his own planted information used to surreptitiously confirm itself, right up to the point where the target country’s own intelligence service re-purposed it as evidence in the FISA court.

Steele admits he briefed journalists off-the-record starting in summer and autumn 2016. His most significant hit came when journalist Michael Isikoff broke the story of Trump associate Carter Page’s alleged connections to Russia. Isikoff did not cite the dossier or Steele as sources, and in fact denied they were when questioned.

Isikoff’s story didn’t just push negative information about Trump into the public consciousness. It claimed U.S. intel officials were probing ties between a Trump adviser and the Kremlin, adding credibility; the feds themselves felt the info was worthwhile! Better yet for Steele, Isikoff claimed the information came from a “well-placed Western intelligence source,” suggesting it originated from a third-party and was picked up by Western spies instead of being written by one. Steele also placed articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, New Yorker, Mother Jones, and others.

At the same time, Steele’s info reached influential people like John McCain, who could then pick up a newspaper and believe he was seeing the “secret” info from Steele confirmed independently by an experienced journalist. And how did McCain first learn about Steele’s work? At a conference in Canada, via Andrew Wood, former British Ambassador in Moscow. Where was Wood working at the time? Orbis, Christopher Steele’s research firm.

A copy of the dossier even found its way to the State Department, an organization which normally should have been far removed from U.S. election politics. A contact within State passed information from Clinton associates Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer (both men played also active roles behind in the scenes feeding Clinton dubious information on Libya) to and from Steele. The Grassley memo suggests there was a second Steele document, in addition to the dossier, already shared with State and the FBI but not made public.

The Gold Medal: Become the Source of Someone Else’s Investigation

While seeding his dossier in the media and around Washington, Steele was also meeting in secret with the FBI (he claims he did not inform Fusion GPS, his employer), via an FBI counterintelligence handler in Rome. Steele began feeding the FBI in July 2016 with updates into the fall, apparently in the odd guise of simply a deeply concerned, loyal British subject. “This is something of huge significance, way above party politics,” Steele commented as to his motives.

The FBI, in the process of working Steele, would have likely characterized him as a “source,” technically a “extra-territorial confidential human source.” That meant the dossier’s claims appeared to come from the ex-MI6 officer with the good reputation, not second-hand from who knows who in Russia (the FBI emphasized Steele’s reputation when presenting the dossier to the FISC.) Think of it as a kind of money laundering which, like that process, helped muddy the real source of the goods.

The FBI used the Steele dossier to apply for a FISA court surveillance warrant against Carter Page. The FBI also submitted Isikoff’s story as corroborating evidence, without explaining the article and the dossier were effectively one in the same. In intelligence work, this is known as cross-contamination, an amateur error. The FBI however, according to the Nunes memo, did not tell the FISA court the Steele dossier was funded by the Democratic National Committee as commissioned opposition research, nor did they tell the court the Isikoff article presented as collaborating evidence was in fact based on the same dossier.

Steele reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him $50,000 to continue his “research,” though the deal is believed to have fallen through after the dossier became public (though an intelligence community source tells The American Conservative Steele did in fact operate as a fully paid FBI asset.) Along the way the FBI also informed Steele of their separate investigation into Trump staffer George Papadopoulos, a violation of security and a possible tainting of Steele’s research going forward.

Gold Medal Plus: Collaborate Your Own Information

The Nunes memo also showed then-associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr back-channeled additional material from Steele into the DOJ while working with Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and her replacement, Rod Rosenstein. Ohr’s wife Nellie worked for Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the dossier, on Steele’s project. Ohr’s wife would be especially valuable in that she would be able to clandestinely supply info to corraborate what Steele told the FBI and, via her husband, know to tailor what she passed to the questions DOJ had. The FBI did not disclose the role of Ohr’s wife, who speaks Russian and has previously done contract work for the CIA, to the FISA court.

Ohr’s wife only began work for Fusion GPS in September/October 2016, as the FBI sought the warrant against Page based on the Steele dossier. Ohr’s wife taking a new job with Fusion GPS at that critical juncture screams of the efforts of an experienced intelligence officer looking to create yet another pipeline inside, essentially his own asset.

Steele’s Success, With a Little Help From His Friends

All talk of Russia aside, it is difficult to find evidence of a foreigner who played a more significant role in the election than Christopher Steele. Steele took a dossier paid for by one party and drove it deep into the United States. Steele’s work formed in part the justification for a FISA warrant to spy on a Trump associate, the end game of which has not yet been written.

Steele maneuvered himself from paid opposition researcher to clandestine source for the FBI. Steele then may have planted the spouse of a senior DOJ employee as a second clandestine source to move more information into DOJ. In the intelligence world, that is as good as it gets; via two seemingly independent channels you are controlling the opponent’s information cycle.

Steele further manipulated the American media to have his information amplified and given credibility. By working simultaneously as both an anonymous and a cited source, he got his same info out as if it was coming from multiple places.

There is informed speculation Steele was more than a source for the FBI, and actually may have been tasked and paid to search for specific information, essentially working as a double agent for the FBI and the DNC. Others have raised questions about Steele’s status as “retired” from British intelligence, as the lines among working for MI6, working at MI6, and working with MI6 are often times largely a matter of semantics. Unless Steele wanted to burn all of his contacts within British intelligence, it is highly unlikely he would insert himself into an American presidential campaign without at least informing his old workmates, if not seeking tacit permission (for the record, Steele’s old boss at MI6 calls the dossier credible; an intelligence community source tells The American Conservative Steele shared all of his information with MI6.) It is unclear if the abrupt January 2017 resignation of Robert Hannigan, the head of Britain’s NSA-like Government Communications Headquarters, is related in any way to Steele’s work becoming public.

As for the performance of the DOJ/FBI, we do not have enough information to judge whether they were incompetent, or simply willing partners to what Steele was up to, using him as a handy pretext to open legal surveillance on someone inside the Trump circle (surveillance on Page may have also monitored Steve Bannon.)

How to Steele an Election

The Washington Post characterized Steele as “struggling to navigate dual obligations — to his private clients, who were paying him to help Clinton win, and to a sense of public duty born of his previous life.” The Washington Post has no idea how intelligence officers work. Their job is to befriend and engage the target to carry out the goals of their employer. When they do it right, the public summation is a line like the Post offered; you never even knew you were being used. In the macho world of intelligence, the process is actually described more crudely, having to do with using enough lubrication so the target didn’t even feel a rough thing pushed up a very sensitive place.

Steele played the FBI while the FBI thought they were playing him. Or the other way around, because everyone was looking the other way. Steele ran a classic info op against the United States, getting himself inside the cycle as a clean source. Robert Mueller should be ashamed of himself if he uses any of Steele’s dossier, or any information obtained via that dossier. That’s where our democracy stands at the moment.

February 19, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nunes Duels the Deep State

By Pat Buchanan •  Unz Review • February 6, 2018

That memo worked up in the Intel Committee of Chairman Devin Nunes may not have sunk the Mueller investigation, but from the sound of the secondary explosions, this torpedo was no dud.

The critical charge:

To persuade a FISA court to issue a warrant to spy on Trump aide Carter Page, the FBI relied on a dossier produced by a Trump-hating British spy, who was using old Kremlin contacts, while being paid to dig up dirt on Donald Trump by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Not only were the Clinton campaign and DNC paying the spy, Christopher Steele, for his dirt-diving, the FBI put Steele on its own payroll, until they caught him lying about leaking to the media.

In their requests for search warrants, the FBI never told the FISA court judge their primary source was a 35-page dossier delivered by Steele that their own Director James Comey described as “salacious and unverified.”

From the Nunes memo, there was, at the highest level of the FBI, a cabal determined to derail Trump and elect Clinton. Heading the cabal was Comey, who made the call to exonerate Hillary of criminal charges for imperiling national security secrets, even before his own FBI investigation was concluded.

Assisting Comey was Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose wife, running for a Virginia state senate seat, received a windfall of $467,000 in contributions from Clinton bundler Terry McAuliffe.

Last week, McCabe was discharged from the FBI. Seems that in late September 2016, he learned from his New York field office that it was sitting on a trove of emails between Anthony Weiner and his wife, Clinton aide Huma Abedin, which potentially contained security secrets.

Not until late October did Comey inform Congress of what deputy McCabe had known a month earlier.

Other FBI plotters were Peter Strzok, chief investigator in both the Clinton email server scandal and Russiagate, and his FBI girlfriend, Lisa Page. Both were ousted from the Mueller investigation when their anti-Trump bias and behavior were exposed last summer.

Filling out the starting five was Bruce Ohr, associate deputy attorney general under Loretta Lynch. In 2016, Ohr’s wife was working for Fusion GPS, the oppo research arm of the Clinton campaign, and Bruce was in direct contact with Steele.

Now virtually all of this went down before Robert Mueller was named special counsel. But the poisoned roots of the Russiagate investigation and the bristling hostility of the investigators to Trump must cast a cloud of suspicion over whatever charges Mueller will bring.

Now another head may be about to fall, that of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

If Mueller has given up trying to prove Trump collusion with the Kremlin and moved on to obstruction of justice charges, Rosenstein moves into the crosshairs.

For the heart of any obstruction scenario is Trump’s firing of James Comey and his boasting about why he did it.

But not only did Rosenstein discuss with Trump the firing of Comey, he went back to Justice to produce the document to justify what the president had decided to do.

How can Rosenstein oversee Mueller’s investigation into the firing of James Comey when he was a witness to and a participant in the firing of James Comey?

The Roman poet Juvenal’s question comes to mind. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will watch the watchmen?

Consider where we are. Mueller is investigating alleged Trump collusion with Russia, and the White House is all lawyered up.

The House intel committee is investigating Clinton-FBI collusion to defeat Trump and break his presidency. FBI Inspector General Michael Horowitz is looking into whether the fix was in to give Hillary a pass in the probe of her email server.

Comey has been fired, his deputy McCabe removed, his chief investigator Strzok ousted by Mueller for bigoted anti-Trump behavior, alongside his FBI paramour, Page. Bruce Ohr has been demoted for colluding with Steele, who was caught lying to the FBI and fired, and for his wife’s role in Fusion GPS, which was being paid to dig up dirt on Trump for Clinton’s campaign.

If Americans are losing confidence in the FBI, whose fault is that? Is there not evidence that a hubristic cadre at the apex of the FBI — Comey, McCabe, Strzok foremost among them — decided the Republic must be saved from Trump and, should Hillary fail, they would step in and move to abort the Trump presidency at birth?

To the deep state, the higher interests of the American people almost always coincide with their own.

Copyright 2018 Creators.com.

February 6, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Nunes Memo Needs More Work

But the FBI has been lying to the public for years

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • February 6, 2018

The House Intelligence Committee Memo on possible FBI and Justice Department malfeasance relating mostly to the investigation of Donald Trump associate Carter Page is in some ways a bewildering document. As a former intelligence officer, the first thing I noticed was that the claim by Democrats on the Committee that the memo’s release amounted to “treason” and would compromise classified information does not hold water. I could identify nothing in the memo that was even plausibly damaging to national security, though it might be argued that writing down anything about the activity and operation of the FISA court is ipso facto a compromise of secrets. It is a view that I would dispute because the memo does not actually expose any ongoing investigations or place in danger law enforcement officials. It is one of those fake security arguments that go something like “It is secret because it is secret.”

The document is generally being referred to as the “Nunes Memo” after the name of the head of the House Intelligence Community, Devin Nunes, who ordered it drafted and who has been promoting its release. Having read the text through a number of times, it would appear to me that, in spite of Republican claims, it is somewhat less than a bombshell. It will need considerable elaboration to allow one to come to any real conclusions regarding whether sometimes sloppy FBI and DOJ procedures were either deliberate or driven by malice. It suggests that the Bureau may have been less than forthcoming in seeking a FISC ruling on Carter Page, who was at the time of the warrant not any longer a low-level associate of the Trump campaign, but there is no real hard evidence that the omission was deliberate and no compelling revelation of motive apart from the evidence that some senior officials and the author of the Steele Dossier did not like Donald Trump.

Even the evidence about the critically important Steele Dossier provided by the memo is somewhat ambiguous, particularly as the document suggests that Steele was a paid and fully controlled “intelligence source” of the Bureau and must have been acting under FBI direction. His meeting with a Legatt Officer in Rome at the insistence of the Bureau also suggests that he was cooperating without authorization from his former employer MI6, which could mean trouble down the road for Steele.

Beyond that there is some confusion. One source, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, said, but has since recanted, that the dossier was essential to the FISC request while another Assistant FBI Director Bill Priestap saying its allegations were in their “infancy” of being corroborated. That would seem to suggest that the Bureau deliberately used an unvetted Steele report of questionable provenance to make a case to surveil an American citizen under FISA, but is that really true? Indeed, it appears that the Democrats will concede that the dossier was used but it was only a “small and insignificant” part of the case. But if that was not so and the Republican allegation is basically correct, it would be devastating as the dossier was, in FBI Director James Comey’s judgment, “salacious.” And we do not know, of course, what the Bureau had developed on Page independently, which is no doubt what its counter-offensive and that of the Democrats will also focus on, a response which, incidentally, could reveal actual secrets relating to intelligence sources and methods.

And then there is FISA itself and its court. It is a peculiar structure intended to protect the civil liberties of suspects suspected of being “foreign agents” by requiring the government to show cause for a surveillance, but it has morphed into a rubber stamp for investigation of anyone and nearly everyone who can plausibly be suspected of nearly anything. It has replaced the civil court standard of “probable cause” to initiate surveillance with nothing more than suspicion. It only hears one side of an argument, that provided by the FBI, and it approves over 99% of requests. The investigations that it authorizes are far more intrusive than in normal civil or criminal cases, to include nearly everything connected with an individual.

So, we are left with a bowl of porridge – the FBI might have, and probably did, frontload its request to the court to favor the action that it wanted to take, but isn’t that normal procedure anyway? Is anyone expecting a police agency charged with finding and arresting bad guys and promoting its people on that basis to be objective? If one looks at the terrorism related convictions since 2001, it is clear that the Bureau will do whatever it takes to get a conviction, up to an including inserting informants who actually instigate the criminal activity, a practice known as entrapment. Even the FISA court is aware of FBI inventiveness. In 2002 it identified 75 false or misleading claims made by Bureau officers and some officials have been blocked from testifying before the court due to their having provided false witness.

FBI procedures and ambiguities aside, this is nevertheless serious business. If it can be determined that the omissions in submissions to the FISC were deliberate and calculated, the astute blogger Publius Tacitus has correctly observed that some senior FBI and DOJ officials who signed off on misleading or fraudulent applications concealing the antecedents of the so-called Steele Dossier to the FISC are now facing possible contempt-of-court charges that would include prison sentences. They include James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates, Dana Boente and Rob Rosenstein.

So there is likely considerably more controversy to come, whether or not the Bureau can or cannot provide backstory that credibly challenges the Republican Intelligence Committee memo. But it is also intriguing to consider what is missing from the document. As it is focused on the FBI and DOJ, there is no speculation about the possible role of senior intelligence officials CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Michael Isikoff reported in September 2016 that the two men were involved in obtaining information on Page and it has also been suggested that Brennan sought and obtained raw intelligence from British, Polish, Dutch and Estonian intelligence services, which apparently was then passed on to the Bureau and might have motivated James Comey to proceed with his investigation of the Trump associates. One has to consider that Brennan and Clapper, drawing on intelligence resources and connections, might have helped the FBI build a fabricated case against Trump.

Senator John McCain, a highly vocal critic of Trump, might have also become involved, wittingly or unwittingly, in the project to feed derogatory information on the GOP president-elect and his associates to the FBI. He reportedly obtained a copy of the Steele Dossier in December 2017 and passed it on to Comey, clearly intending that the FBI Director should take some action regarding it.

Indeed, there were many prominent voices raised demanding that something be done about Donald Trump. Eleven months ago, shortly after Trump took office, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, speculated on how he had been “… led to believe that maybe even the Democratic Party, whatever element of it, approached John Brennan at the CIA, maybe even the former president of the United States. And John Brennan, not wanting his fingerprints to be on anything, went to his colleague in London GCHQ, MI-6 and essentially said, ‘Give me anything you’ve got.’ And he got something and he turned it over to the DNC or someone like that. And what he got was GCHQ MI-6s tapes of conversations of the Trump administration perhaps, even the President himself. It’s really kind of strange, at least to me, they let the head of that organization go, fired him about the same [time] this was brewing up. So I’m not one to defend Trump, but in this case he might be right.”

Wilkerson is referring to the highly unusual abrupt resignation of Robert Hannigan, the Director of Britain’s version of the National Security Agency (NSA), referred to by the acronym GCHQ, which took place on January 23rd of last year. The British Official Secrets Act has meant that there was at that time little speculation in the U.K. media about the move, but some observers have wondered if it is somehow connected to possible collaboration with U.S. intelligence officers over Donald Trump. That remains an area of inquiry that has hardly been looked at, perhaps because the thought that the country’s top national security agencies were involved in a something like a grand conspiracy to subvert an election is still something that Congress would prefer not to consider.

One truly very interesting aspect of the Republican memo that has been scarcely commented upon is that even though the mainstream media is continuing to exercise its dangerous obsession with Russia by demanding that the Russiagate inquiry should continue full speed in spite of the concerns raised by the Republicans, there is absolutely nothing in the memo itself that indicates that Moscow tried to recruit any Trump associate as an agent or interfere in the U.S. election. The raison d’etre for the Congressional and Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigations appears to be lacking. Perhaps it is all sound and fury signifying nothing, but Russia might in reality have done little beyond the usual probing and nosing around that intelligence agencies routinely do. If the alleged Russiagate conspiracy is never actually demonstrated, which looks increasingly likely, it would certainly disappoint the many American talking heads and media “experts” who have been making a living off of bashing Moscow 24/7.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

February 6, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Will The Conspiracy Against Trump and American Democracy Go Unpunished?

By Paul Craig Roberts | Institute For Political Economy | February 5, 2018

If the Russiagate conspiracy against Trump and American democracy goes unpunished, accountable government in the United States will cease to exist. US security agencies have long been involved in coups against foreign governments. Now they are involved in one against America. There is great danger that Republicans are so worshipful of “national security” and so determined to protect the reputation of the US government that they will give a pass to the high officials who participated in a conspiracy against the United States. As for President Trump, he lacks a government that he can count on and is threatened by the military/security complex. The conspiracy could easily be whitewashed as merely a case of the FBI and DOJ not following proper procedures, with the media’s participation in the conspiracy being dismissed with mea culpas of “sloppy reporting.” – PCR

Will The Conspiracy Against Trump and American Democracy Go Unpunished?

“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”  –  Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

The American people do not realize the seriousness of the Russiagate conspiracy against them and President Trump. Polls indicate that a large majority of the public do not believe that Trump conspired with Putin to steal the presidential election, and are tired of hearing the media prostitutes repeat the absurd story day after day. On its face the story makes no sense whatsoever. Moreover, the leaked emails are real, not fabricated. The emails show exactly what Hillary and the DNC did. The public knows that these transgressions were pushed out of news sight by the false story of a Trump/Putin conspiracy. The fact that the entirety of the US print and TV media served in a highly partisan political way to bury a true and disturbing story with a fake news story—Russiagate—is one reason some polls show that only 6% of Americans trust the mainstream media. All polls show that large majorities of independents, Republicans, and youth distrust the mainstream media. In some polls about half of Democrats trust the media, and that is because the media is servant to Democratic Party interests.

Russiagate is a dagger aimed at the heart of American governmental institutions. A conspiracy involving top officials of the Obama Department of Justice, FBI, and other “security” agencies was formed together with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, the purpose of which was to defeat Trump in the presidential election and, failing that, to remove Trump from office or to discredit him to the point that he would be reduced to a mere figurehead. This conspiracy has the full backing of the entirety of the mainstream media.

In other words, it was a coup not only against Donald Trump but also against American democracy and the outcome of a presidential election.

There is no doubt whatsoever about this. The facts are publicly available in the declassified Top Secret Memorandum Opinion and Order of the FISA Court—https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/icotr/51117/2016_Cert_FISC_Memo_Opin_Order_Apr_2017.pdf and in the declassified report from the House Intelligence Committee—given by the presstitutes the misleading name of the “Nunes Memo,” as if it is Nunes’ personal opinion and not the findings of months of work by an oversight committee of Congress— https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4365354-370598711-House-Intelligence-Committee-Report-on.html?embed=true&responsive=false&sidebar=false .

All of this information has been posted on my website for some time. If you have difficulty following my explanation, former US Attorney Joe DiGenova explains the felony actions by the FBI and Obama Justice (sic) Department here.

Briefly, the National Security Agency discovered that the FBI and DOJ were abusing the surveillance system. As a favor of one security agency to another, NSA Director Adm. Rogers permitted the FBI and DOJ to rush to the FISA Court and confess their transgressions before the NSA informed the Court. The FBI and DOJ pretended that their deception of the Court in order to obtain surveillance warrants for highly partisan political purposes was not due to their intent but to procedural mistakes. The FBI and DOJ told the Court that they were tightening up procedures so that this would not happen again. The FISA Court Memorandum and Order clearly states:

“On October 24, 2016, the government orally apprised the Court of significant non-compliance with the NSA’s minimization procedures involving queries of data acquired under Section 702 using U.S. person identifiers. The full scope of non-compliant querying practices had not been previously disclosed to the Court.”

What this legalese jargon is saying is that the FBI and DOJ confessed to obtaining warrants under false pretexts. These are felonies: https://www.globalresearch.ca/nunes-memo-reports-crimes-at-top-of-the-fbi-and-the-department-of-justice/5628246

The FISA Court Memorandum and Order is about resolving these deficiencies and returning the FBI and DOJ to legal practices. For example, the Court Memorandum and Order says:

“On January 3, 2017, the government made a further submission describing its efforts to ascertain the scope and causes of those compliance problems and discussing potential solutions to them. See January 3, 2017, Supplemental Notice of Compliance Incidents Regarding the Querying of Section 701-Acquired Data (“January 3, 2017 Notice”). The Court was not satisfied that the government had sufficiently ascertained the scope of the compliance problems or developed and implemented adequate solutions for them and communicated a number of questions and concerns to the government.”

In other words, the FBI and DOJ were attempting to make corrections to their “compliance problems” in ways that would allow them to continue to mislead the FISA Court, and the Court wasn’t letting them.

The FISA Court Memorandum and Order was released prior to the House Intelligence Committee report and has been completely ignored by the utterly corrupt press prostitutes. The FISA Court Memorandum and Order, relying on the confessions of the FBI and DOJ, verifies the House Intelligence Committee report that the FBI and DOJ illegally obtained spy warrants for partisan political purposes.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat who is a disgrace to the voters of his California district, to the Democratic Party, and to the House of Representatives, knows full well that the FBI and DOJ deceived the FISA Court. Schiff is so partisan that he lies to the hilt in the face of hard documented evidence from both the FISA Court and his own House committee. Schiff is so totally devoid of all honesty and integrity that he is the perfect leader for a shithole country, something that he and his ilk are turning the United States into.

The honest left—not the Identity Politics left, which is a collection of deranged idiots—does not believe a word of the concocted Russiagate conspiracy against Trump. They object to the Russiagate conspiracy not because they like Trump, which they most certainly do not, but because they understand that it is a lie directed against truth. They understand that the American mainstream media has deserted factual, truthful reporting and serves as a propaganda ministry for the war/police state that American is becoming.

For example, Eric Zuesse holds The Atlantic and its presstitute writer, David A. Graham, to account for lying about the House Intelligence Report: http://rinf.com/alt-news/editorials/democratic-partys-hack-atlantic-tries-dismiss-nunes-memo/

Andre Damon writes on the World Socialist Web Site : “The Democratic Party was thrown into disarray Friday after the publication of a classified memo exposing as a factionally-motivated witch hunt the investigation by leading intelligence agencies into the Trump administration’s alleged collusion with Russia. . . . The release of the memo once again underscores the fact that the US intelligence agencies have massively intervened in US politics.” http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/02/03/nune-f03.html

The real left, as opposed to the fake left, understands that the people have no chance when the highest officials of the Department of Justice and the security agencies join in a conspiracy against a democratic outcome. When the justice and police authorities have no respect for the truth, as the Russiagate conspiracy proves, the people are doomed. If the FBI-DOJ-DNC-presstitute conspiracy goes unpunished, The Lie will have prevailed over The Truth and all of us will be endangered.

The important question before us is: will the treasonous criminals in the FBI, DOJ, and DNC be indicted and held responsible? Or do high government officials get a pass as do the police who rob and murder citizens and never face justice for their crimes?

From the sound of things, it looks like they will get a pass. Rep. Nunes felt compelled to say on TV how much he likes Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is a party to the deception of the FISA Court. President Trump says he will not fire the conspirator against him, Robert Mueller, even though both Trump and Mueller know that the Russiagate investigation headed by Mueller is a concocted conspiracy against American democracy and the President of the United States. It seems that high government officials, like state and local police and executives of “banks too big to fail,” are above the law.

What about the FISA Court, readers ask, why did the FISA Court let the FBI and DOJ get away with their illegal acquisition of spy warrants? Once the Court knew about it, the Court did not let them get away with it, as the Memorandum and Order makes clear. The FISA Court does not have prosecutorial power to indict and bring a case against the FBI and DOJ criminals. That has to be done by the DOJ, and the DOJ is not going to indict itself.

Former US Attorney Joe DiGenova believes that continuing investigations will result in high officials being indicted, convicted, and sent to prison. If the US is to have any future as a country in which government is accountable to law, it is essential that DiGenova be correct. However, I will believe it when I see it.

February 5, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment