Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

DNI Nominee Intent on Getting to Bottom of Russiagate

By Ray McGovern – Consortium News – July 31, 2019

Shortly before President Donald Trump announced he had nominated Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence, Ratcliffe made it clear he intends to hit the deck running on the “crimes” behind Russiagate.

“What I do know as a former federal prosecutor is it does appear that there were crimes committed during the Obama administration,” Ratcliffe told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo. Mincing few words, he claimed the Democrats “accused Donald Trump of a crime and then tried to reverse engineer a process to justify that accusation.”

It’s an extravagant claim. But it is also true, and the proof is in the pudding of which we should have a steady diet in the months to come.

Ratcliffe sounds partisan speaking of “crimes committed” under Obama. But there could well be documentary evidence to back it up. Some is classified. Trump has given Attorney General William Barr instructions to declassify what is necessary. Barr should be able to count on Ratcliffe, if he is confirmed by the Senate as DNI, to ride herd on those in the intelligence community with huge incentives to cover their tracks and those of their former bosses.

Ratcliffe: Justice will be done. (Fox News screenshot)

This may come as something of a shock to new readers of Consortium News because of the incessant drivel from corporate media “talking heads” for a full three years now. They are not likely to give up any time soon.

Ratcliffe on Where We Are Now

Ratcliffe told Bartiromo:

“The only place we can get the answers is from the Justice Department right now. The American people’s faith and trust has been shaken in our Justice Department, and the only way to get that back is for there to be real accountability with a very fair process. Again, I have supreme confidence in Bill Barr’s ability to deliver that and at the end of the day … as long as we know that the process was fair … justice will be done.”

If Ratcliffe means what he says, his remarks indicate that Barr (a former CIA official and relatively new-sheriff-back-in-town in his second stint as AG) should have in Ratcliffe a no-holds-Barred deputy sheriff, if he takes advantage of him. “Bill Barr has earned my trust already … that there will be a fair process, with John Durham and Michael Horowitz, to getting answers … and to provide accountability where it really belongs,” Ratcliffe said.

Barr has ordered John Durham, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, to investigate how Russiagate got started. And Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice Inspector General, is said to be almost ready to report on the roles of the DOJ and FBI in promoting the Trump-Putin “collusion” narrative.

Durham, however, twice essentially covered up for CIA misdeeds. The New York Times reported: “In 2008, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey assigned Mr. Durham to investigate the C.I.A.’s destruction of videotapes in 2005 showing the torture of terrorism suspects. A year later, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. expanded Mr. Durham’s mandate to also examine whether the agency broke any laws in its abuses of detainees in its custody.”

Durham: A good soldier, but with a new commander.

Abundantly clear in those days, however, was the reality that neither Mukasey nor Holder wanted Durham to deliver the goods on CIA people demonstrably involved in well documented death-by-torture of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq. Good soldier Durham uttered not a peep when Holder announced that the Department of Justice “declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.”

But Holder added this: “Our inquiry was limited to a determination of whether prosecutable offenses were committed and was not intended to, and does not resolve, broader questions regarding the propriety of the examined conduct.” The Times noted at the time that DOJ’s decision did not amount to “exoneration” of those involved in the prisoners’ treatment and deaths. Does that sound familiar?

Thus, judging from past experience, the question is not so much what Durham will come up with this time around when investigating folks from the same line of (intelligence) work. The more salient question is this: Will Durham’s role be limited by Deep State, gun-shy Trump, or will he be given the latitude to proceed with no-holds-Barred, so to speak.

Horowitz’s investigators, on the other hand, earlier discovered the extremely-damaging-to-the-Russia-gate-yarn text exchanges between senior FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and Horowitz decided to make them public in December 2017. First off the blocks the following day, the late Robert Parry, founder of this website, posted what turned out to be his last substantive article, “The Foundering Russia-gate Scandal.”

Horowitz’s investigators recently interviewed some formerly reluctant witnesses like Christopher Steele, who had been a paid informant of the FBI itself and whom the Clinton campaign later paid to assemble the infamous “dossier” on Trump’s alleged cavorting with prostitutes in Moscow and other scurrilous, since-disproven stories.

With the malleable nonentity Coats as DNI, and with top CIA officials trying to keep former CIA Director John Brennan out of jail (and shield their own derrieres), Barr has — until now — lacked a strong “deputy sheriff” with the requisite prosecutorial skills and courage to investigate the intelligence community to find out where the bodies are buried in Washington.

As soon as Ratcliffe is confirmed, Barr should have what he needs to close that gap and tackle full bore the intelligence part of the Deep State’s role in Russia-gate.

A Parvenu?

But how could Ratcliffe know anything, the corporate media asks, as they paint him as a newcomer, partisan ignoramus and focus on his lack of experience in foreign affairs. Sorry, Rachel Maddow, in case you haven’t noticed, the present focus is on affairs much closer to home. The “parvenu” label will not stick. Serving, as Ratcliffe has, on three key House committees —Intelligence, Judiciary, and Homeland Security — you can learn a whole lot, if you regard your responsibility as oversight, not overlook.

Brennan: Cold on Ratcliffe (White House photo)

Is there documentary evidence? Admittedly, it would seem a stretch to believe that Obama’s top intelligence and law enforcement officials — in “collusion” with the corporate media — would fabricate a Trump-in-Putin’s-pocket story line first to try to prevent Trump from being elected, and then emasculate him as incoming president. But, yes, there should be all manner of documentary evidence indicating that this is precisely what happened.

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) claimed in early April 2019, “They [the Democrats] have lied multiple times to the American people. All you have to do is look at their phony memos. They have had the full support of the media, 90 percent of the media in this country. They all have egg on their face.” The way things are now shaping up, we are likely to learn before too long whether the evidence supports Nunes’s accusations.

All the Naiveté That’s Fit to Print

The New York Times reported that many Republican Senators, who must vote on his confirmation, are “cool” to Ratcliffe:

“Democrats said on Monday that they were worried that Mr. Ratcliffe would do little to push back against the Justice Department’s review of the origins of the Russia inquiry, for which Mr. Trump gave Attorney General William P. Barr broad power to declassify relevant documents.”

Democrats don’t watch Fox News, but does the Gray Lady still harbor hope Ratcliffe might “push back” when he says he will push full steam ahead?

None of the leaking, unmasking, surveillance, DNC-hired “opposition research,” 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 Hillary Clinton would become President, at which point high-risk, illegal activities undertaken to help her win would likely bring gratitude and perhaps a promotion, not an indictment. But Clinton lost.

Hillary: She hadda win, but didn’t.

After her loss, Comey himself gave the game away in his book, “A Higher Loyalty” — which amounted to a pre-emptive move motivated by loyalty-to-self and eagerness to secure a Stay-Out-of-Jail card. Comey wrote, “I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president …” [Emphasis added.] This would, of course, confer automatic immunity on key players who may now find themselves criminally referred to the Department of Justice.

Worse still, because they all were convinced a Clinton victory was a sure thing, the plotters did not perform due diligence to hide their tracks. And that largely accounts for the fact that there should be documentary evidence — probably even on not-yet-shredded paper, as well as on computer hard drives.

Given his seats on Intelligence, Judiciary, and Homeland Security, Ratcliffe has seen a lot more of them than most Congress members. In the Sunday interview, he named some of those allegedly engaged in illegalities:  former FBI Director James Comey, senior DOJ official Bruce Ohr, and opposition research guru Glenn Simpson. Also mentioned but unnamed were the Obama officials who Ratcliffe said committed a “felony” by leaking highly classified phone transcripts to use against Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s short-lived national security adviser.

But Now Running Scared

No one has more to fear from all this than ex-CIA Director Brennan. He eagerly awaited the final report from Mueller, whom Brennan has unctuously praised. Introducing Mueller to an audience at Georgetown University in June 2014, Brennan called him “a remarkable public servant as well as a great friend, a transformative leader, an outstanding partner to CIA, and a source of wise counsel to leaders across the intelligence community.”

In his testimony to the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on July 24, Mueller avoided discussing some of the chicanery that bears Brennan’s fingerprints, but he surely failed to “exonerate” him, so to speak. To suggest that the selection of Ratcliffe to become DNI was unwelcome news to Brennan is to state the obvious. Brennan got up early on Monday and at 7:11 AM sent this characteristic tweet — about integrity and subservience, of all things:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has tweeted information from “a high-level source” that it was Brennan who “insisted that the unverified and fake Steele dossier” be given prominent attention in the Russia-gate story.

Paul has also said he thinks Brennan has been “a partisan” and “abused his office in developing the Trump investigation. I think it was done under false pretenses and done for political reasons.”

Paul has been a strong advocate of investigating the origins of Mueller’s probe, including the dicey question of how witting President Obama was of the Deep State machinations during the last months of his administration. Page did tell Strzok in a Sept. 2, 2016 text that the president “wants to know everything we’re doing.”

So What DID Obama Know?

If anyone knows how much Obama knew, it is one of his closest confidants: Brennan. And it was Obama, of course, who commissioned the misnomered “Intelligence Community Assessment” of Jan. 6, 2017, which Russia-gate aficionados have long regarded as Bible truth. As readers of Consortium News know, candidate Hillary Clinton and her supporters were wrong in saying the ICA was the product of “all 17” U.S. intelligence agencies. The leaders of only three — CIA, FBI, and NSA — signed on to it, plus DNI James Clapper.

Months later, Clapper admitted it was “handpicked analysts” from those three who wrote the report. It is a safe bet that Brennan, Clapper, and perhaps Comey picked the analysts. The ICA is such a shabby piece of work that many — including me — suspect that Brennan took a direct hand in writing it.

Ratcliffe would be well advised to take a priority look into the “Excellent Adventure” of that Intelligence Community Assessment as soon as he is confirmed as Director of National Intelligence, and before Brennan, Clapper, and Comey leave town for parts unknown.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. As a CIA analyst, he served under nine CIA directors and seven presidents, for three of whom he prepared and gave the morning briefing based on The President’s Daily Brief. In retirement, he co-created Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

July 31, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , | Leave a comment

FBI, DOJ To Defy Trump Order; Redactions Planned As Top ‘Deep State’ Dems Demand Insubordination

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 09/19/2018

Despite President Trump’s Monday order for the “immediate declassification” of sensitive materials related to the Russia investigation, “without redaction,” the agencies involved are planning to do so anyway, according to Bloomberg, citing three people familiar with the matter.

The Justice Department, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence are going through a methodical review and can’t offer a timeline for finishing, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive matter. –Bloomberg

Trump ordered the DOJ to release the text messages of former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, now-fired special agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

Also ordered released are specific pages from the FBI’s FISA surveillance warrant application on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as interviews with Ohr.

The DOJ and the FBI are expected to submit proposed redactions to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – which will prepare a package for Trump to sign off on.

“When the president issues such an order, it triggers a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America’s national security interests,” a Justice Department spokesman said in a statement. “The department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the president’s order.”

The agencies are likely to cite national security concerns over revealing classified “sources and methods” pertaining to the Russia investigation – which will put them in direct conflict with Trump’s order. Trump, as president, has the power to override the agencies and declassify material on his own.

Trump’s order to release the documents comes after months of requests from GOP lawmakers, while the DOJ has repeatedly denied their requests for more transparency.

The FBI’s spy…

According to Bloomberg, the DOJ is interpreting Trump’s request to include information about the use of confidential informant (spy) Stephan Halper during the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation. After taking in over $400,000 from the Obama Pentagon under the auspices of a research contract, Halper befriended and spied on members of the Trump campaign, including aides Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

Showdown?

Top Congressional Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff and Mark Warner penned a joint letter to ODNI Director Dan Coates, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding that the agencies defy President Trump.

In the letter, the lawmakers “express profound alarm” at the decision to “intervene in an ongoing law enforcement investigation that may implicate the President himself or those around him.”

“Any decision by your offices to share this material with the President or his lawyers will violate longstanding Department of Justice polices, as well as assurances you have provided to us.”

The letter then demands that the agencies brief the Gang of Eight before releasing the materials “to anyone at the White House.”

In short, prepare for fireworks

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/388985966/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&show_recommendations=false&access_key=key-2N4JgANZHX1A9u2s8hFJ

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 3 Comments

Russian Student Arrested in Washington DC, Charged as Foreign Agent

Sputnik – July 16, 2018

Russian national Mariia Butina has been arrested and charged with conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government, the US Department of Justice announced on Monday.

According to the US Department of Justice, Butina, who was arrested on Sunday, was developing ties with US citizens and infiltrating political groups without informing the US attorney general of her alleged intentions — to further Russian interests, it alleges. ‘Overt acts’ she stands accused include sending two emails to a “US person in an effort to develop, maintain, and exploit a relationship to furtherance of the conspiracy” to promote Russian interests in the US.

Butina’s first name is also sometimes transliterated as “Maria” in documents.

​​”Butina worked at the direction of a high-level official in the Russian government who was previously a member of the legislature of the Russian Federation and later became a top official at the Russian Central Bank,” the Monday statement from the DOJ reads. “This Russian official was sanctioned by the US Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control in April 2018.”

It adds that the 29-year-old “undertook her activities without officially disclosing the fact that she was acting as an agent of Russian government” and that the international relations student tried to build relationships with people in the Washington, DC, area while working at the behest of a former Russian lawmaker who went on to become a central bank official.

Butina’s next hearing is scheduled for July 18.

In a supporting document, FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson said in a sworn statement that one of the goals Butina was attempting to accomplish was to “exploit personal connections with US person having influence in American politics in an effort to advance the interests of the Russian Federation.” It notes that one of her contacts was with an “organization promoting gun rights.”

Robert Driscoll, Butina’s lawyer, denies that she was acting as a Russian agent.

“Mariia Butina is not an agent of the Russian Federation. She is a Russian national in the United States on a student visa who recently graduated from American University in Washington, DC, with a Masters Degree in International Relations and 4.0 grade point average,” Driscoll said in a statement to Sputnik. “She has received her work permit and is seeking to use her degree to pursue a career in business.”

“The substance of the charge in the complaint is overblown. While styled as some sort of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Agent Registration Act, in actuality it describes a conspiracy to have a ‘friendship dinner’ at Bistro Bis with a group of Americans and Russians to discuss foreign relations between the two countries,” he continued.

“There is simply no indication of Butina seeking to influence or undermine any specific policy or law in the United States… the complaint is simply a misuse of the Foreign Agent statute, which is designed to punish covert propaganda, not open and public networking by foreign students.”

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Can the President Lawfully Investigate His Investigators?

By Andrew Napolitano • Unz Review • May 24, 2018

This past weekend, President Donald Trump suggested that his presidential campaign may have been the victim of spies or moles who were FBI informants or undercover agents. He demanded an investigation to get to the bottom of the matter.

At the same time that the president was fuming over this, Republican congressional leaders were fuming about the reluctance of senior officials at the Department of Justice and the FBI to turn over documents that might reveal political origins of the current criminal investigation of the president by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Can the president intercede in a federal criminal investigation of which he himself is a subject? Can Congress intercede in a DOJ criminal investigation? Here is the back story.

Mueller was named special counsel so he could investigate serious and demonstrable evidence of Russian government interference in the 2016 presidential election. Because the Trump campaign met with Russian intelligence officials offering campaign assistance, implicit in that investigation is an inquiry into whether the Trump campaign invited foreign interference and agreed to accept or facilitate it.

Mueller is seeking to determine whether there was an agreement between the Trump campaign and any foreign person, entity or government to receive anything of value for the campaign. Such an agreement plus a material step in furtherance of it taken by any of those who joined the agreement would itself constitute the crime of conspiracy, even if the agreed-upon thing of value never arrived.

In the course of examining evidence for the existence of this alleged conspiracy — which Trump has forcefully denied many times — Mueller’s prosecutors and FBI agents have come upon evidence of other crimes. They have obtained 19 indictments — some for financial crimes, some for lying to FBI agents and some for foreign interference in the election — and four guilty pleas for lying, in which those who pleaded guilty agreed to assist the government.

Nine of the indictments are against Russian intelligence agents, whom the president himself promptly sanctioned by barring their travel here and their use of American banks and commercial enterprises, even though he has called Mueller’s investigation a witch hunt.

Mueller has also come upon evidence of obstruction of justice by the president while in office and financial crimes prior to entering office, all of which Trump has denied. Obstruction of justice consists of interfering with a judicial proceeding — such as a grand jury’s hearing evidence — for a corrupt purpose.

Thus, if Trump fired FBI Director James Comey because he didn’t trust him or because he wanted his own person in that job, that was his presidential prerogative, but Trump’s purpose was corrupt if he fired Comey because Comey would not deny that the president was the subject of a criminal investigation — a basis for firing surprisingly offered publicly by one of the president’s own lawyers.

The potential financial crimes appear to be in the areas of bank fraud — making material misrepresentations to banks to obtain loans — and money laundering, or the passage of ill-gotten gains through numerous bank accounts so as to make the gains appear lawful. These, too, Trump has denied.

It seems that the deeper Mueller and his team dig the more they find. As lawyers and as federal prosecutors, Mueller’s team members have ethical obligations to uncover whatever evidence of crime they come upon and, when professionally feasible and legally appropriate, either prosecute or pass the evidence on to other federal prosecutors, as they did in the case of evidence of fraud against Michael Cohen, a former confidant and lawyer for Trump before he was president.

Now, back to Trump’s eruption about FBI spies or moles.

The president cannot interfere with criminal investigations against himself without running the risk of additional charges of obstruction of justice — interference with a judicial process (the gathering of evidence and its presentation to a grand jury) for a corrupt purpose (impeding his own prosecution or impeachment). Nor can members of Congress see whatever they want in the midst of a criminal investigation, particularly if they might share whatever they see with the person being investigated.

Prosecutors have a privilege to keep their files secret until they reach the time that the law provides for them to go public. Because Mueller is faced with the legal equivalent of assembling a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, he is not yet ready to show his cards. If his cards contain materials from confidential sources — people whose identities he promised not to reveal — or if his cards contain evidence he presented to a grand jury, he may not lawfully reveal what he has until it is time to exonerate the president, indict him or present a report to Mueller’s DOJ superiors that is intended for the House of Representatives.

Can the president investigate his investigators?

Yes — but not until the investigation of him is completed. That’s because no one can fruitfully examine the legitimacy of the origins of the case against Trump without knowing the evidence and the charges. Trump’s allegations are of extreme scandal — the use of FBI assets by the Obama administration to impede his presidential campaign. Yet if he is exonerated, those allegations will lose their sting. If he is charged with crimes or impeachable offenses that do not have their origins in politically charged spying, then his allegations will be moot.

But if he were to force the DOJ to turn over raw investigative files now to politicians who want to help him, he might very well be impeding the criminal case against him. That would be profoundly threatening to the rule of law, for it provides that no man can be the prosecutor or the judge in his own case. Even Trump’s lawyers acknowledge that he could not lawfully do that.

Copyright 2018 Andrew P. Napolitano. Distributed by Creators.com.

May 24, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

Trump takes ‘Criminal Deep State’ to task amid claims FBI spied on his campaign

By Robert Bridge | RT | May 24, 2018

Hounded by claims of ‘Russian collusion’ for most of his presidency, Trump is now calling out the Obama administration over claims it had the FBI spying on his campaign. Can the Republican leader turn the tables on his accusers?

In a series of rapid-fire Tweets, Trump called upon the Justice Department to investigate claims that the FBI infiltrated his campaign for political purposes, possibly at the direct order of former president, Barack Obama.

“I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!”

Needless to say, those are Watergate-level allegations, and it seems Trump may even possess the one thing the Mueller investigation has conspicuously lacked to date: hard-core evidence.

This month, it was revealed that Professor Stefan Halper, a foreign policy scholar at Cambridge University until 2015, was serving as an FBI mole inside of the Trump campaign.

The operation, started in July 2016 and codenamed ‘Crossfire Hurricane’, is a stunning revelation because for the last two years the FBI denied it was spying on the Trump campaign. Now there is the obvious question as to why the federal agency had infiltrated the Trump team in the first place. Was it simply to find evidence of ‘Russian collusion,’ or, as Trump has suggested, was it politically motivated?

Aside from the high creep factor of academics moonlighting as actual spies, Halper allegedly arranged meetings with campaign advisers Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and Sam Clovis in an apparent effort to build the case for Russia collusion, the Washington Post reported.

As one example of his covert work, Halper reportedly “reached out to George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign-policy adviser for the campaign, inviting him to London to work on a research paper.”

Those efforts to dig up dirt on Trump, however, failed to give Robert Mueller his much-anticipated ‘gotcha!’ moment. Indeed, from Paul Manafort (indicted for corruption in Ukraine) to Stormy Daniels (former American porn star) to Evgeny Freidman (New York ‘taxi king’ and tax cheat), and every other shady character in between, Mueller has failed to make anything more than a tenuous connection to Russia.

Now, combine this ‘nothing burger’ with the debunked claims put forth in the Clinton-funded ‘Steele dossier,’ complete with “golden showers” in Moscow, and you have a very good case to “wrap up” the investigation, as Vice President Mike Pence recommended.

Here is why the Trump administration believes they have finally got the deep state blocked in with the latest findings: the FBI and DOJ must have known that there was zero evidence of Russian collusion since their mole (or moles) would have revealed that information long ago. At the same time, Halper is said to have begun his covert activities inside of the Trump campaign before Crossfire Hurricane began, which also complicates matters for the Democrats.

Thus, the entire Mueller investigation, Republicans argue, has been an elaborate farce, designed to tarnish Trump and the Republican Party in the run-up to the monumental midterm elections. Trump is already claiming that the tables have been turned on the Mueller investigation and the deep state.

“Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State. They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before! What goes around, comes around!” he tweeted triumphantly Wednesday morning.

Naturally, Trump’s announcement triggered howls of pain from the Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) accused the White House on Tuesday of putting “extraordinary, unusual and inappropriate pressure on the Department of Justice and the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.”

Schumer then lashed out at House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who subpoenaed the DOJ for all documents related to the FBI informant earlier this month.

“A man like Devin Nunes, who, I hear privately from my Republican colleagues — they think he’s off the deep end,” he said in a personal affront.

That’s right. Schumer thinks it is Nunes who is “off the deep end” because the Republicans have a solid case for proving high-level political manipulation inside of the Trump campaign. The Senator doth protest too much, methinks. Meanwhile, members of the political right have suggested that Barack Obama, who was the Commander-in-Chief at the time of Trump’s campaign being infiltrated, should be forced to explain what prompted such a decision.

“If he doesn’t know, then it would seem a public explanation is also in order — about his management, and about just how far the ‘deep state’ went without specific presidential approval,” argued James Freeman, assistant editor of the Wall Street Journal.

On Thursday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy will meet with DOJ officials, who are expected to turn over documents detailing the federal intrusion of the Trump campaign.

I reached out to Lionel, legal analyst at lionelmedia.com and regular RT commentator, for some insight into Trump’s chances for emerging successful as he attempts to gain information from the Department of Justice and FBI.

First, there is the composition of the DOJ, which Lionel described, as only Lionel can, as a “Lernaean Hydra with many facets, divisions, jurisdictions and levels of loyalty.”

“There are lifetime, career prosecutors and agents not necessarily committed to an administration or party and there are the targeted, viz. the politically corrupt, biased, partisan and ‘Deep State’ swamp critters whom President Trump has so affectionately titled,” he explained.

Lionel says “the plot now thickens” as Attorney General Jeff Sessions tapped US Attorney John Huber, a Republican from the red state of Utah, to investigate all matters and issues the Republicans have been demanding.

“Huber is a federal prosecutor with plenary powers to empanel grand juries, obtain indictments and secure results that make those of a Special Prosecutor pale by comparison,” he explained. “Sessions has further ordered Huber to work in coordination with DOJ Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz and his staff of 470 that dwarfs any of that of a Special Prosecutor.”

“Moreover, the fact that this [US Attorney] is based in Utah means that he’s far from the fetid swamp that is Washington DC. Far from a potential grand jury pool that is anti-Trump, anti-Sessions and (ahem) anti-justice. The move tactically was brilliant.”

As far as the investigation against Trump, which just entered its second year, “Mueller’s status is an unconstitutional hybrid that normally would require Senate confirmation,” the legal analyst explained via email.

“The good news (or bad news, depending on one’s vantage) is that with a Huber-Horowitz team in place, Mueller’s outgunned, outmatched and outmanned.” In short, with the Huber-Horowitz team in place in distant Utah, this means “checkmate” for team Trump, Lionel believes.

Whether or not that prediction comes true, it will be very interesting to see what move the Democrats and the Mueller investigation makes next, because the available spaces on this chessboard of extremely high stakes are diminishing at a breathtaking pace.

Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. Former Editor-in-Chief of The Moscow News, he is author of the book, ‘Midnight in the American Empire,’ released in 2013.

@Robert_Bridge

Read more:

Spygate: Trump slams ‘criminal deep state’ over reports of informants in campaign

‘Obama already did it to the French’: WikiLeaks weighs in on Trump’s ‘Spygate’ claims

May 24, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , | 1 Comment

Whether it’s Russiagate, Skripal or Syria, the Media Have Lost Their Grip on Reality

Despite a series of collapsing mainstream narratives, the establishment can’t help but doubling (and tripling) down on their official conspiracy theories.

By Paul Mansfield | 21st Century Wire | April 26, 2018

The “Blame Russia” for absolutely everything world we currently occupy has reached a point almost beyond return and is scaling heights that would turn Joseph McCarthy green with envy. Whether it is internally produced political turmoil and scandal, or because of generally reckless and failed foreign policy endeavours, the US and UK governments are more wiling than ever to pin the blame on Russia without fail.

The instant blame on Russia for the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, or “highly likely it was Russia”, as Theresa May put it, proved grossly premature, graduating onto maybe not so likely at all – thanks to dedicated alt media and social media researchers and activists uncovering the development of Novichoks in multiple countries, making it entirely plausible that some country other than Russia may be responsible for the improbable Salisbury event.

No sooner did the Skripal Affair wind up, than another supposed ‘chemical attack’ unfolded, this time in Syria, where an alleged chemical weapons airstrike was said to have taken place in Douma on 7 April. Accounts of this incident were reliant entirely for its evidence on two dubious sources, the US and UK-backed White Helmets and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). It didn’t take long before the official story started springing leaks though. The hilarity of seeing chlorine cylinders laying on a bed, rather than smashing through it, numerous witness statements there was no chemical attack, the testimony of over a dozen medical personnel at the medical centre concerned that the White Helmets caused a panic by shouting chemical attack when there was none and the interview of 11 year old Hassan Diab, who was not a chemical weapon victim, but certainly was a victim of an unwarranted drenching as part of a staged event, have all demolished yet another false flag instigated by western intelligence agencies and their White Helmets operatives. All this was irrelevant however to the criminal Troika, the US, UK and France, who bypassed the United Nations and bombed Syria in the early hours of 14 April, provoking Russia into an instant reaction which never came.

Some are of the opinion that the Troika and Russia reached an agreement beforehand and so therefore there was never the threat of outbreak of conflict which could escalate to a catastrophic WWIII.

Here is the White Helmets ‘hose-down’ video which triggered a western military intervention:

Faced with rapidly dwindling legitimacy and credibility, the UK government in particular set their attack dogs in the mainstream media on to alt media and social media activists. The result is a coordinated and intensive smear campaign against independent journalists, academics and social media activists with large followings. The gutter press of the UK have demonstrated that in terms of propaganda and disinformation, they are without peer. US media Russophobes almost look like babes in the woods in comparison.

What we are witnessing is a war on truth, vicious intimidation of dissenting voices, the negating of fierce independent voices as Russian puppets and bots and Assad apologists, and ad hominem attacks all designed to shut down a powerful narrative which shines a light on the warmongering narrative propagated by the mainstream media.

The campaign reached a level of absurdity beyond comprehension when Twitter activist @Ian56789 was asked by Sky News hosts if he was a bot as he was being interviewed live on air!

As disinformation against Russia soars off the fake news Richter Scale and independent journalists and activists are being personally targeted, one only has to revisit the recent Devon Nunes Memo story as an example of a real domestic US political scandal which the derelict US mainstream media attempted to transform into yet another Russian disinformation campaign.

You would have to be living under a rock to not know of the salacious, but unverified dossier on US President Donald Trump, which purportedly started out as a piece of opposition research during the 2016 election campaign, but quickly became the driving force behind allegations that Trump colluded with the Russian government in order to win the presidential election. In the mind of many a deep state adoring Democrat and mainstream media journalist, it is beyond dispute that Trump colluded with Russia. The major questions are how extensive the collusion was and does it amount to having committed federal crimes. To answer these questions, the Mueller investigation must continue expanding as far and wide as necessary.

Many Republicans believe the widely ridiculed and discredited dossier prepared by a former British spy, Christopher Steele, was the catalyst for the FBI decision to investigate allegations of Trump campaign collusion with Russia. A mocked and debunked dossier, which looked like it was concocted in a teenagers bedroom bought down on CNN and Buzzfeed a truck load of embarrassment when they decided to run with a story other media outlets balked at.

So how did it transform into such a vital document that initiated the Mueller probe into suspected Trump collusion with Russia?

We have had the mainstream media pumping this story 24/7. They will not let it go, determined that it bring about the downfall of Donald Trump. By gleefully accepting any lead from their highly coveted ‘sources’, the MSM begs to be subverted by the intelligence community, thereby subverting any prospect of a properly functioning US democracy and informed citizenry.

However, the revelations of #ReleaseTheMemo which alleged shocking FISA abuses by the FBI has raised the spectre of another alleged collusion; the FBI and the Obama DOJ colluding against Trump. The major accusation is that the FBI hid from the FISA court judge the fact that it was heavily relying on the dodgy Trump Dossier to obtain a surveillance warrant to spy on Trump, the man who was to become the future President. What is even more explosive is that it was not revealed to the judge that the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign paid for the dossier. Dirty partisan politics has gone a step too far in this sordid affair, with the DNC and FBI duping the FISA court into unwittingly assisting them in their campaign against Trump.

And let’s be clear here; this is the work of the Obama administration and any rigorous investigation would pursue whether or not the collusion against Trump went all the way to former president Obama himself.

Republicans were outraged and demanded the release of the memo.

This is hardly a surprise, being shocked and alarmed at possible internal interference in the election by US intelligence agencies, the very agencies that told us it was Russia that undermined US democracy by its electoral interference.

It is crucial to grasp the fact that this affair is a case of internal interference in the election campaign and has generated intense reaction within the US political establishment and among many in the general public.

One may question then the spin the Hamilton 68 propaganda organ placed on the interest whipped up by the memo. It attempted to reframe calls to release the memo as yet another so-called Russian influence operation, using trolls and bots to amplify the message across cyberspace.

Hamilton 68, a banal and comical operation, is projecting on to Russia the very thing it is doing itself; spreading disinformation aimed at undermining and destabilizing Russia, but also the US political system. On the strength of CNN’s dumpster diving, Hamilton 68 likes to tell us all about how the cryptic ‘Internet Research Agency’ in St. Petersburg is one big giant troll factory. Sorry, Hamilton 68, but you are one big NATO/Deep state cyberspace troll factory yourselves.

The Democratic Party Russophobia icons, Dianne Feinstein and Adam Schiff, quickly took the opportunity to deflect from the emerging memo scandal, pulling out the playbook of Russian subversion through social media for the umpteenth time. Quite comfortable with the fact that they have secured the social media giants as appendages of the US deep state, Feinstein and Schiff wrote to Twitter and Facebook asking them to investigate what they claimed are Russian bots spreading the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag. The letter reads in part:

“… Several Twitter hashtags, including #ReleaseTheMemo, calling for release of these talking points attacking the Mueller investigation were born in the hours after the Committee vote. According to the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy, this effort gained the immediate attention and assistance of social media accounts linked to Russian influence operations. By Friday, January 19, 2018, the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag was “the top trending hashtag among Twitter accounts believed to be operated by Kremlin-linked groups.” Its use had “increased by 286,700 percent” and was being used “100 times more than any other hashtag” by accounts linked to Russian influence campaigns. These accounts are also promoting an offer by WikiLeaks to pay up to $1 million to anyone who leaks this classified partisan memo.

If these reports are accurate, we are witnessing an ongoing attack by the Russian government through Kremlin-linked social media actors…”

Nice sleight of hand Hamilton 68, Schiff and Feinstein, but this is a scandal that whipped Republicans, not Russians into a frenzy. It is a stand-alone scandal that raised questions about the ethics, partiality and possible illegal acts of the US intelligence community and the Obama DOJ. It does not need any Russian trolls to inflate the gravity of the situation.

Florida Republican Rep. Ron Desantis tweeted, “Yesterday, I viewed a deeply troubling report compiled by House Intelligence that raises questions about Obama DOJ & the so-called collusion investigation.”

Desantis said it right there: collusion between the Obama DOJ and the FBI. If true, it is a shocking indictment on deep state interference in US politics, going all the way to the top in attempting to subvert the US presidential election.

So we have at least 2 allegations of collusion; the longstanding and tiresome Russiagate story, which the mainstream media will not give a moments rest and the newer, but equally shocking FBI/DOJ collusion emerging from the woodworks with the news of the classified memo.

You can read and watch RussiaGate stories in both US/Western MSM and Russian media. Fair enough, it was a big story, newsworthy and deeply concerning if it was true (the US media has overplayed their hand though to put it mildly). As time goes on and without a shred of evidence produced, it is time to put the whole issue to bed and move on. It is only the absurdity of the MSM insistence that collusion has been proved beyond doubt and any who question it are conspiracy theorists, that maintains the interest of the reasonable person, even if only to mock media figures and politicians who are the true conspiracy theorists.

The calls to release the Devon Nunes compiled memo also attracted huge coverage in both US and Russian media. However, US media framed it in terms of a partisan struggle between Democrats and Republicans; detracting from the implications of the abuse of the FISA system and placing the scandal into the realm of normal everyday, if somewhat dirty party politics.

There is nothing everyday about the possibility that this whole Russia investigation is in reality a conspiracy by top FBI officials and the DOJ to sabotage Trump and install Hillary Clinton (remember her?) as president. Look at Peter Strzok and Lisa Page as examples, whose texts made no secret of their contempt for Trump and their desire to see him lose the election.

So why did CNN, the New York Times and the supposedly reputable Business Insider deem it newsworthy to claim Russian influence networks were spreading the release the memo hashtag like wildfire across the social media landscape. Business Insider even implied the Nunes memo has been given wings by being amplified by Russian trolls and bots across the social media landscape.

The compiling of the memo by Republican aides on the House Intelligence Committee that led to the unfolding scandal was not initiated by Russia. The angry calls for action came from Republicans, not Russians.

We can’t even be sure if these so-called Russian networks of trolls are Russian at all. But let’s assume for a minute they are. Big deal if they spread the story. It is fascinating, very interesting and could have huge consequences of DOJ and FBI heads rolling. It also serves to relieve some of the pressure on Russia, so why wouldn’t they promote it heavily. They are merely acting in the interests of Russia, which no reasonable person could complain about.

Many people believe Americans are simply apathetic victims and that these supposed Russian trolls or bots are drowning them in disinformation, and that western media figures and politicians are powerless to stop it. That’s the mainstream’s moderate narrative. However, a look at the number of followers of some US media celebrities on Twitter should dispel that misinformation in a heartbeat. Rachel Maddow, with 9 million followers, retweeted a tweet by NBC reporter Ken Dilanian, a tweet which itself got 6K retweets and 19K likes. His tweet, included, “your #ReleaseTheMemo is the top trending hashtag among the Russian bots and trolls over the last 48 hours, and you might want to ask yourself why.”

So a media figure from NBC is clearly muddying the waters, throwing us a red herring in implying the nefarious hand of Russia is at play. Maddow gave Dilanian huge impetus in his attempt to try to flip the story to turn it into yet another opportunity to attack Russia. Deeply troubling allegations which could rock the foundations of the intelligence and justice communities are made a mockery of by a disreputable journalist who sees it as another chance to Russia bait. Before you know it, they will be telling us the #Memo was a joint venture put together by the FSB and Republicans, thus proving the collusion is still going as strong as ever. This level of hysteria is way beyond Cold War McCarthyism.

And when Rachel Maddow retweets something, how many likes and retweets does that generate. Enough to turn the Russian bots and trolls green (or should that be red) with envy.

Maddow herself is capitalizing very nicely on the Russophobia being generated by the whole Russiagate affair to boost her own ratings and affection within the political establishment. She has not got a single progressive bone in her body and epitomizes the dumbed down, hyped up claims about Russian interference in American political and social life. The spectacle is the theatre of the absurd, as Americans are subjected to Hollywood type entertainment to titillate and shock with the never ending “revelations” which roll out like clockwork. And, true to Hollywood style fiction, the more outrageous and sensational the better.

This is why Maddow is able to get away with calling Jill Stein a Kremlin puppet, and to feign seriousness and solemnity as she continues to call Trump a Putin puppet, putty in his hands, even as Trump has clearly embarked on a path which has plummeted US/Russian relations to their lowest point since the darkest days of the Cold War.

Maddow uses a technique for these claims which may enthrall Never-Trumpers and fill Le Resistance with fear, but it is straight from the neocon playbook. It is that any sign of Trump not being totally committed to overt and outright hostility to Russia proves that he is a Russian puppet. He must adopt the neocon attitude of Russia being the eternal enemy, the biggest threat the US faces and that it must be confronted and made to pay a price for its aggression, expansionist ambitions and meddling in US affairs.

Putin has Trump in a vice like grip with the “compromat” on him, using it to blackmail him in to doing Russia’s bidding according to Maddow. Putin is forcing Trump to declare war on the intelligence community, fomenting chaos in a crowning glory of undermining US national security. How better to leave the US vulnerable to the rapacious desires of Russia than by shattering the institutions of US national security.

Maddow believes Putin blackmailed Trump with the Golden showers tape to hire Paul Manafort as his campaign manager, to hire Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, and to pressure him to withdraw US forces in Eastern Europe and the Baltics, (which hasn’t happened).

“Is the new President gonna take those troops out? After all the speculation, after all the worry, we are actually about to find out if Russia maybe has something on the new President? We’re about to find out if the new President of our country is going to do what Russia wants once he’s Commander-in-Chief of the US military starting noon on Friday. What is he gonna do with those deployments? Watch this space.”

In Maddows demented mind, anything less than the Trump administration universally standing poised to unsheathe their swords and land a mortal blow on Russia is proof of collusion with the Kremlin. Any conciliatory overtures are met by howls of derision by the Maddow/Hillary Clinton led “resistance.” Amid this red hot rhetoric and witch hunt for internal traitors, Maddow and her ilk are the ones to claim it is Russia sowing discord and discontent.

“This is international warfare against our country,” Maddow said on her show.

Maddow says she goes to bed every night wondering what new Russia scandal awaits the country the next morning, propelling the Russia hysteria all the way to election 2020 and bankrolling her show and career almost exclusively on one issue threadbare of any evidence. The McCarthy of the modern mainstream media some say. It’s Clickbait applied to cable TV you could also say:

“If the presidency is effectively a Russian op, if the American presidency right now is the product of collusion between the Russian intelligence services and an American campaign — I mean, that is so profoundly big, we not only need to stay focused on figuring it out. We need to start preparing for what the consequences are going to be if it proves to be true.”

‘If it proves to be true.’  That’s right, and we’re still waiting for the evidence.

Maddow and her fellow military industrial complex media mouthpieces don’t need evidence to believe Russia interfered in the election, as she spreads her poison to millions of viewers night after night. She sees Vladimir Putin as pure evil, the embodiment of the terrifying KGB and tells her viewers this repeatedly. She has become the torchbearer for an ever wilder conspiracy theory, whipping her audience into a frenzy, baying for Russian blood.

It is extraordinary that anyone listens to a word Maddow says after she produced her only evidence on Trump; his tax return which revealed he paid $38million in federal taxes on more than $150 million in income in 2005. Bombing out big time on alleged Trump tax cheating has clearly not stopped Maddow proceeding full steam ahead in accusing him of being a Kremlin installed puppet.

So who is running an influence campaign here, Moscow, or the US military industrial complex media?

What is never discussed outside of alt-media circles is how far were the FBI, the DOJ, and the Hillary Clinton campaign involved in what is increasingly looking every day more like FBIgate than Russiagate? What about the roles of powerful deep state actors like John Brennan and James Clapper, who are bound to have played a hand in concocting and promoting the official conspiracy theory? Clapper, who thinks it is in Russian DNA to hack things and Brennan who sees Russia as a long term threat intent on attacking US democracy, sternly warning the incoming President Trump not to ignore the huge threat Russia poses.

What was also not overtly acknowledged is that by pressuring for the release of the memo, Devon Nunes and other Republicans actually carried out a duty they were elected to perform; holding the intelligence community accountable. As former CIA analyst Ray McGovern of Consortium News said:

At this point, the $64 question is whether the various congressional oversight committees will remain ensconced in their customarily cozy role as “overlook” committees, or whether they will have the courage to attempt to carry out their Constitutional duty. The latter course would mean confronting a powerful Deep State and its large toolbox of well-practiced retaliatory techniques, including J. Edgar Hoover-style blackmail on steroids, enabled by electronic surveillance of just about everything and everyone. Yes, today’s technology permits blanket collection, and “Collect Everything” has become the motto.

The take-away from all of this is that no sin is too great, and no scandal can’t be flipped to pin the blame on Russia.

Meanwhile, any criminal or unethical conduct of Democrats and deep staters will not be plastered across the newspapers and cyberspace.

Don’t worry about it. Just say its Russian disinformation. Works every time.

April 26, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bear scare! Why the US Democrats desperately need a Russian bogeyman

By Robert Bridge | RT | February 20, 2018

Even before Donald Trump set foot in the White House, loveless liberals were busy pushing the narrative that Russia meddled in the elections. But could this claim be – just maybe – a dastardly ploy to hide some unsavory truths?

Pass the popcorn, the theater of the political absurd known as ‘Russiagate’ continues playing to disappointed audiences without so much as an intermission. And with the latest episode featuring an indictment against 13 Russian nationals without rhyme or reason, perhaps it’s a good time to pause and reflect on the question the mainstream media conspicuously ignores: was the real meddlesome actor in the 2016 presidential election not the perennial bogeyman known as ‘Putin’s Russia’, but the Democratic Party itself?

Indeed, some highly questionable moves on the part of the Democrats before, during and after the elections go far in exonerating the Russian fall guy from any and all charges. You be the judge.

The FISA fail

In a memo declassified by the White House and released to great fanfare by the House Intelligence Committee on February 2, it was alleged that on October 21, 2016, the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) – armed with the notorious Trump dossier – secured a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to conduct surveillance on Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser.

But something looks rotten in Denmark. As it turned out, the explosive Trump dossier, compiled by former MI6 spy Christopher Steele, was bought and paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign. In other words, this represents – at the very least – a very big conflict of interest.

At the same time, in the their application for the FISA warrant, the FBI and DOJ “cited extensively” a Yahoo News article by one Michael Isikoff, which discusses Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow.

As it turned out, however, there were serious problems with that article. As the Nunes memo states, Isikoff’s article “does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself…”

Indeed, Steele admitted that he met with Yahoo News “at the direction of Fusion GPS,” the firm that organized the dossier, in September 2016. Meanwhile, the mainstream media has largely played down these glaring violations of FISA protocol, as it continues to heap scorn on Russia.

“Putin’s KGB-inspired maneuvering of the United States via Donald Trump and the Republican Congress has all the earmarks of a carefully planned, professionally executed war game in which Trump, congressional Republicans and some in right wing media are his comrades,”wrote Cheri Jacobus in USA Today.

The specter of the Russian bogeyman is truly the gift that keeps giving.

Clinton’s email scandal

In March 2015, the news broke that Hillary Clinton, while serving as secretary of state, had used her home computer while handling classified government documents. An assortment of experts and politicians accused Clinton of violating State Department protocol.

On July 5, 2016, following an investigation, FBI Director James Comey said Clinton had been “extremely careless” in handling her email correspondences. He added that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

That statement did little to calm the critics, however, as Clinton was haunted by the ghosts of emails past right up to the eve of the elections.

On October 28, 2016, the FBI said it was reopening its investigation into Clinton’s private email server after messages were discovered on the computer of top aide Huma Abedin’s husband, Anthony Weiner, who was then embroiled in a sexting scandal. Comey announced just before the elections that nothing had changed in the Clinton case, which had been closed four months earlier without criminal charges.

However, the email saga refuses to go away as the DOJ once again reopened its investigation into Clinton’s email server in January.

To this day, Hillary Clinton has been able to divert attention away from the very serious charge of handling classified government emails over her private server thanks to a giant smokescreen known as Russia, the bogeyman that conveniently explains every transgression and setback by the Democratic Party.

Operation Sink Sanders

In July 2016, the DNC suffered a broadside after WikiLeaks released a batch of emails purporting to show that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the body, was actively conspiring against the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders. Naturally, this news had a way of upsetting those donors who contributed funds to the Sanders campaign. Wasserman Schultz resigned in disgrace following the revelations.

Despite there being a deliberate effort to undermine the Sanders campaign, that disturbing news was sidelined by the conspiracy theory that a Russian army of apparatchiks hacked the DNC computers, turning over the information to Julian Assange. To this day, no evidence has been provided to support that claim.

Meanwhile, Wasserman Schultz was eventually cleared of rigging the Democratic primary in favor of Hillary Clinton, while Russia continues to suffer from mainstream media mudslinging.

Clinton cheated in debates

One of the most shocking revelations to come from the leaked/hacked DNC emails was the claim that Donna Brazile, interim chairperson of the DNC who once worked at CNN, used her inside connections to feed Hillary Clinton the questions to several of her public debates against Donald Trump.

Following the DNC debacle, Brazile hoped to cash in on the scandal by publishing a tell-all book entitled, ‘Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House.’

In one particularly candid part, Brazile said she was secretly concerned about Clinton’s health as Election Day drew closer. This comment did not sit well with Brazile’s former colleagues. Clinton’s staffers published an open letter in response to the book, saying, “It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate’s health.”

Once again, Russia was used and abused as the convenient 11-time-zone Band-Aid that can cover any political wound, whatever the size. What is the most surprising about this tactic is that anybody still falls for it.

Regime change

Given Hillary Clinton’s past track record for advocating on behalf of military adventures, most memorably in Iraq and Libya, the tall tale of Trump-Russia collusion appears to have been a desperate effort on the part of the establishment to get their candidate into office and the military industrial complex into another war.

According to the Center for Public Integrity’s review of Federal Election Commission data, over a 14-month period (January 2015 through February 2016), Clinton and Sanders jointly received at least $765,049 from employees of major defense contractors – more than twice the $357,775 sum received by the Republican Party presidential candidates.

To prove the liberal media’s (and by extension, the establishment’s) apparent desire for military conflict, consider how it lavished praise on Trump after he attacked Syria’s Shayrat Airbase on April 7, 2017, America’s first unilateral military act aimed at the Syrian government forces (not the terrorists).

CNN analyst Fareed Zakaria waxed poetically, “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States,” he said dreamily. “I think this was actually a big moment.” On MSNBC, Nicholas Kristof, a regular Trump critic, said the Republican leader “did the right thing.” Elliott Abrams could barely contain his newfound enthusiasm for Trump: “… the Trump administration can truly be said to have started only now. The president has been chief executive since January 20, but this week he acted also as Commander in Chief. And more: He finally accepted the role of Leader of the Free World.”

Judging by such comments, had Trump continued bombing Syria, and thereby pacifying the hawks in Washington, there is a very good chance that Russiagate would have been quietly swept under the media’s carpet.

Impeach Trump

It would be difficult to name another US president who has suffered the slings and arrows of media scorn more than Donald J. Trump. And he’s only been in office for just over one year. Indeed, no sooner had his Inauguration finished there were already calls for him to be impeached. In fact, the subject has become so popular among the Democrats that there is even a special Wikipedia page dedicated to the relentless campaign.

Although the clamor to impeach the Republican leader has subsided of late, when the idea does raise its head, the empty claim that Russia influenced the elections ranks high among the reasons.

Clinton Foundation ‘pay to play’

Another reason why the Democrats would need to push the anti-Russia narrative is to protect the Clinton family from allegations that they personally profited from donations to the Clinton Foundation.

In January 2017, it was reported that the FBI opened an investigation into whether the Clinton Foundation accepted donations in exchange for political favors while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state in the Obama administration, the Los Angeles Time reported, citing two anonymous sources.

“Critics have accused the Clinton family of using the foundation to enrich themselves and give donors special access to the State Department when Hillary Clinton was its head,” the article said.

The LA Times said that the Democrats have rejected the claims, saying that “Trump is trying to steer attention away from investigations examining…Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election.”

Nunes Memo, Part 2

If anybody thought the Trump administration would just release the Nunes memo and drop it, think again. In fact, Trump’s legal team backs the idea of a second special counsel to investigate the FBI and Justice Department

White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters on Air Force One Monday that Trump’s attorneys have given the green light to starting the process of appointing a second special counsel to investigate the FBI and Justice Department’s behavior during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a report by Axios.

In other words, expect a lot more anti-Russia outbursts from the Democrats in the days and weeks to come.

@Robert_Bridge

Read more:

Clinton campaign fed Steele info for Trump dossier – Senate Judiciary Committee

FBI thought Hillary broke the law, drafted acquittal despite ongoing investigation – report

Brazile out at CNN after WikiLeaks reveals she gave debate questions to Clinton camp

DoJ probing Clinton Foundation over alleged ‘pay-to-play’ schemes – report

February 20, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Militarism, Russophobia, 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: FBI and DOJ Perps Could Be Put on Trial

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | February 19, 2018

Throwing down the gauntlet on alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the Department of Justice and the FBI, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) stated that there could be legal consequences for officials who may have misled the FISA court. “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.”

Devin Nunes interview with Sharyl Attkisson

Nunes took this highly unusual, no-holds-barred stance during an interview with Emmy-award winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, which aired on Sunday.

Attkisson said she had invited both Nunes and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) but that only Nunes agreed. She asked him about Schiff’s charge that Nunes’ goal was “to put the FBI and DOJ on trial.” What followed was very atypical bluntness — candor normally considered quite unacceptable in polite circles of the Washington Establishment.

Rather than play the diplomat and disavow what Schiff contended was Nunes’ goal, Nunes said, in effect, let the chips fall where they may. He unapologetically averred that, yes, a criminal trial might well be the outcome. “DOJ and FBI are not above the law,” he stated emphatically. “If they are committing abuse before a secret court getting warrants on American citizens, you’re darn right that we’re going to put them on trial.”

Die Is Cast

The stakes are very high. Current and former senior officials — and not only from DOJ and FBI, but from other agencies like the CIA and NSA, whom documents and testimony show were involved in providing faulty information to justify a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign official Carter Page — may suddenly find themselves in considerable legal jeopardy. Like, felony territory.

This was not supposed to happen. Mrs. Clinton was a shoo-in, remember? Back when the FISA surveillance warrant of Page was obtained, just weeks before the November 2016 election, there seemed to be no need to hide tracks, because, even if these extracurricular activities were discovered, the perps would have looked forward to award certificates rather than legal problems under a Trump presidency.

Thus, the knives will be coming out. Mostly because the mainstream media will make a major effort – together with Schiff-mates in the Democratic Party – to marginalize Nunes, those who find themselves in jeopardy can be expected to push back strongly.

If past is precedent, they will be confident that, with their powerful allies within the FBI/DOJ/CIA “Deep State” they will be able to counter Nunes and show him and the other congressional investigation committee chairs, where the power lies. The conventional wisdom is that Nunes and the others have bit off far more than they can chew. And the odds do not favor folks, including oversight committee chairs, who buck the system.

Staying Power

On the other hand, the presumptive perps have not run into a chairman like Nunes in four decades, since Congressmen Lucien Nedzi (D-Mich.), Otis Pike (D-NY), and Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) ran tough, explosive hearings on the abuses of a previous generation deep state, including massive domestic spying revealed by quintessential investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in December 1974. (Actually, this is largely why the congressional intelligence oversight committees were later established, and why the FISA law was passed in 1978.)

At this point, one is tempted to say plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – or the more things change, the more they stay the same – but that would be only half correct in this context. Yes, scoundrels will always take liberties with the law to spy on others. But the huge difference today is that mainstream media have no room for those who uncover government crimes and abuse. And this will be a major impediment to efforts by Nunes and other committee chairs to inform the public.

One glaring sign of the media’s unwillingness to displease corporate masters and Official Washington is the harsh reality that Hersh’s most recent explosive investigations, using his large array of government sources to explore front-burner issues, have not been able to find a home in any English-speaking newspaper or journal. In a sense, this provides what might be called a “confidence-building” factor, giving some assurance to deep-state perps that they will be able to ride this out, and that congressional committee chairs will once again learn to know their (subservient) place.

Much will depend on whether top DOJ and FBI officials can bring themselves to reverse course and give priority to the oath they took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. This should not be too much to hope for, but it will require uncommon courage in facing up honestly to the major misdeeds appear to have occurred — and letting the chips fall where they may. Besides, it would be the right thing to do.

Nunes is projecting calm confidence that once he and Trey Gowdey (R-Tenn.), chair of the House Oversight Committee, release documentary evidence showing what their investigations have turned up, it will be hard for DOJ and FBI officials to dissimulate.

In Other News …

In the interview with Attkisson, Nunes covered a number of other significant issues:

  • The committee is closing down its investigation into possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign; no evidence of collusion was found.
  • The apparently widespread practice of “unmasking” the identities of Americans under surveillance. On this point, Nunes said, “In the last administration they were unmasking hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of Americans’ names. They were unmasking for what I would say, for lack of a better definition, were for political purposes.”
  • Asked about Schiff’s criticism that Nunes behaved improperly on what he called the “midnight run to the White House,” Nunes responded that the stories were untrue. “Well, most of the time I ignore political nonsense in this town,” he said. “What I will say is that all of those stories were totally fake from the beginning.”

Not since Watergate has there been so high a degree of political tension here in Washington but the stakes for our Republic are even higher this time. Assuming abuse of FISA court procedures is documented and those responsible for playing fast and loose with the required justification for legal warrants are not held to account, the division of powers enshrined in the Constitution will be in peril.

A denouement of some kind can be expected in the coming months. Stay tuned.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Savior in inner-city Washington.  He was a CIA analyst for 27 years and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

February 19, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, 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

Nunes Memo Details Weaponization of FISA Court for Political Advantage

By Kenneth Whittle | Disobedient Media | February 4, 2018

On Friday, the much anticipated “Nunes Memo” was finally released to the general public. Disobedient Media previously reported on the push to prevent the memo from being released. While there is much contained in the four pages, the most glaring issue contained in the memo is the FBI’s willful concealment of pertinent details of which they were required by law to turn over to the FISA court when seeking the initial surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a former volunteer foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign.

According to the memo, former director James Comey signed three FISA applications on behalf of the FBI.  Additionally, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, and acting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, each signed one or more applications on behalf of the DOJ.

Under 50 U.S.C. § 1805(d)(1), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) every 90 days. In order to protect the rights of Americans, each subsequent renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. This means that the in order to be granted a renewal, the government is required to produce all material and relevant facts to the court, including any information which may be potentially favorable to the target of the FISA application.

On four separate occasions the Obama administration essentially claimed before the FISA court that Page had betrayed his country by working for a hostile foreign nation, and therefore it was necessary that the government violate his Fourth Amendment rights. However, in this case, the government purposely withheld relevant information from the government not once, but four separate times.

According to the memo, at no time during the initial application process for the warrant to surveil Page, or in any of the three renewals of that application, did the government disclose to the FISA Court the nature of their relationship with Christopher Steele, his relationship with the Democratic National Committee (DNC), or his relationship with the Clinton campaign. Instead, the memo simply, yet vaguely states that, “Steele was working for a named U.S. person.”

Instead, the government purposefully withheld information from the court that the “dossier” compiled by Steele was done so on behalf of the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign. It was further withheld from the court that the DNC had paid Steele over $160,000 for his work in compiling this “dossier”, and that the money was funneled to Steele through the law firm Perkins Coie, which represents both the Hillary Clinton campaign as well as the DNC in legal matters. According to the National Review, the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid at least $9.1 million to Perkins Coie from mid-2015 to late 2016.

The government further held from the court the fact that the FBI had authorized payments to Steele. According to the New York Post, in October 2016 the FBI contracted to pay Steele $50,000 to “help corroborate the dirt on Trump.”

In March of 2017, CNN also reported that the FBI had entered into an arrangement with Steele, whereby they agreed to cover all of his expenses.

While it is extremely disconcerting that the government willfully concealed the existence of their financial relationship with Steele, a foreign national, what is more troubling is the fact that the government used tax payer dollars to do so. In other words, every single American who did not vote for Hillary Clinton, whether they voted for Trump or a third party candidate or did not vote at all – were forced to finance the Clinton campaign-funded opposition research.

In other words, the public’s tax dollars were spent on creating fake “evidence” to tie Trump with Russia, a false narrative that put the planet at heightened risk for nuclear war, for the sake of the Clinton’s hurt feelings.

Why the media refuses to mention or cover this fact, this author does not know. But this is an extremely important fact that every American, whether left, right, up, down, should remember, as it is the perfect example of the corruption which exists within our tax payer-funded institutions, which we are told to have nothing but the utmost respect for.

According to the memo, in an effort to corroborate Steele’s dossier, the FBI extensively cited a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, titled “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin”, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. However, when presenting this article to the court the FBI falsely assessed that Steele did not provide this information directly to Isikoff.  Meaning that the FBI was aware that the article they presented to the court was not corroborating evidence from a separate source, because the information in the article was provided to Isikoff by Steele himself.  In fact, as the memo points out, Steele himself has stated in British court filings that in September 2016 he met with Yahoo News, as well as several other outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the New Yorker.

What’s more, in an article published on January 12, 2017, Isikoff reports on a story by the Wall Street Journal in which Christopher Steele is identified as the author of the infamous dossier, and even notes that Steele was an “FBI asset”.  However, what is most striking about this article is the fact that despite receiving the underline information which served as the basis for his own article in September, Isikoff pretends have not known that Steele was the source of the dossier.

Even more interesting is the close relationship Isikoff had with the DNC during the 2016 Presidential election. According to an email from the DNC released by Wikileaks, Isikoff attended the “Open World Society’s forum” as the guest of DNC official Ali Chalupa. In the email, Chalupa states that she was invited to the forum to speak specifically about Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for Donald Trump. Chalupa goes on to state that she has been working with Isikoff for the past few weeks and that at the event, she was able to get him “connected him to the Ukrainians.” She adds:

“I invited Michael Isikoff whom I’ve been working with for the past few weeks and connected him to the Ukrainians. More offline tomorrow since there is a big Trump component you and Lauren need to be aware of that will hit in next few weeks and something I’m working on you should be aware of.”

According to the memo, Steele’s relationship with the FBI as a source continued until late October 2016, when he was terminated for what the FBI defines as the most serious violations, “an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI”. This unauthorized disclosure occurred in an October 30, 2016, Mother Jones article by David Corn, the reporter who broke the infamous Mitt Romney “47 Percent” story.

Again, the FBI did not notify the court that Steele was leaking information to media outlets, or that he was terminated by the FBI after doing so for the second time.

Before and after his termination, Steele maintained contact with then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, whose wife, Nellie Ohr, was employed by Fusion GPS. Ohr would later tell the FBI in an interview in September 2016, that Steele had stated that he, “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.”

Lastly, the memo also reveals that the Steele dossier was so crucial to the investigation, that Deputy Director McCabe testified in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information. This admission by the former Deputy Director is damning, as it proves that, if it were not for the Clinton campaign and DNC funded dossier created by a foreign national, there would have been no surveillance of Page, and ultimately there would have never been a special counsel appointed.

At the end of the day, every American, regardless of their position on the political spectrum, should be worried about the fact that the FBI and DOJ sought and were granted a warrant to spy on an opposing political campaign based on a document that the FBI itself had neither verified or corroborated. If the FISA court does in fact employ strict “safeguards” and procedures in order to ensure that the rights of American citizens are not being systematically violated, how is it that the FBI and DOJ were able to obtain a surveillance warrant based on unverified allegations? And why did Congress overwhelmingly vote to reauthorize Section 702?

February 5, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , , , , | Leave a comment