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Undue Process: Forgotten FBI Anti-Terrorism Entrapment Debacles

By James Bovard • October 11, 2004

The train wrecks of the Justice Department’s domestic War on Terror continue to pile up. Despite the perennial victory claims by Attorney General John Ashcroft and other high officials, three recent cases vivify how federal prosecutors and FBI agents continue tripping over the evidence—or worse.

On May 7, the FBI arrested Brandon Mayfield, an Oregon lawyer, for his alleged involvement in the Madrid train bombings of March 11 that killed 191 and left 2,000 wounded. A U.S. counterterrorism official (almost certainly an FBI or Justice Department official) told Newsweek that Mayfield’s fingerprint was an “absolutely incontrovertible match” to a copy of the fingerprint found on a bag of bomb detonators near the scene of the Madrid attack. News of Mayfield’s arrest provided alarming evidence that Americans were involved in international conspiracies to slaughter civilians around the globe, and he was informed that he could face the death penalty for his crimes.

Employing Patriot Act powers, the feds, prior to the arrest, conducted secret searches of Mayfield’s home and tapped his phone and e-mail. After the arrest, they froze his bank accounts. The FBI’s arrest affidavit revealed that its agents had “observed Mayfield drive to the Bilal Mosque located at 415 160th Ave., Beaverton, Oregon, on several different occasions.” Another incriminating detail in the arrest warrant: Mayfield advertised his legal service in the Muslim Yellow Pages. (Mayfield, a former Army lieutenant, converted to Islam and has an Egyptian wife.) In early April, the Spanish police described Mayfield “as a U.S. military veteran who was already under investigation by U.S. authorities for alleged ties to Islamic terrorism,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Yet the key to the case—the fingerprint—was shakier than a George W. Bush press conference. The FBI quickly claimed to have achieved a match on the partial print, but, on April 13, Spanish government officials warned the FBI that their experts were “conclusively negative” that Mayfield’s print matched the print on the bomb detonator bag. The FBI responded by flying one of its fingerprint analysts to Madrid to explain to the Spaniards why they were wrong. But during the Madrid visit, the FBI expert never requested to see the bag or to get a better copy of the print. The arrest warrant in early May wrongly informed a federal judge that the Spaniards were “satisfied” with the FBI’s match.

Mayfield was arrested as a “material witness,” thereby permitting the feds to hold him as long as they pleased without charging him with a specific crime. The Justice Department refuses to disclose how many people have been or are being held as “material witnesses” in prisons around the country.

After Mayfield was arrested, FBI agents raided his home and office and carted off boxes of his papers and his family’s belongings. Among the items seized were “miscellaneous Spanish documents,” according to an FBI statement to the federal court. These supposedly incriminating papers turned out to be the Spanish homework of Mayfield’s son. Perhaps elite FBI investigators suspected that “Hola, Paco. Como Estas?” was a secret code.

Though the FBI never possessed anything on Mayfield aside from a misidentified fingerprint, it did not hesitate to cast him in sinister colors. The FBI informed a federal judge: “It is believed that Mayfield may have traveled under a false or fictitious name.” But Mayfield, whose passport expired the previous year, insisted he had not left the country. The FBI apparently never bothered to check whether Mayfield had been absent from the U.S. before making one of the most high-profile terrorism arrests of the year.

On May 20, after Spanish authorities announced that they had found a clean match with the fingerprint, the Justice Department acquiesced to Mayfield’s release. A few weeks later, Attorney General Ashcroft informed the Senate Judiciary Committee that his case vindicated the American system of justice: “As a matter of fact, the pride of our system is that people are found innocent because we adjudicate these things.” But there was effectively no adjudication in this case because Mayfield was classified as a “material witness”— which meant that the feds could hold him as long as they chose, or at least until his detention became too embarrassing. Ashcroft also testified, “When we learned that the reservations of the Spanish were so substantial, we went to the court, asked for the release of Mr. Mayfield.” In reality, the Justice Department did not acquiesce until the Spanish government announced that they had arrested the Algerian whose fingerprint matched that on the bag.

FBI director Robert Mueller visited Portland a month after Mayfield’s release and announced that FBI agents had acted appropriately. Yet, as a Portland Oregonian editorial noted, “If not for the Spanish authorities doing their own investigation, Mayfield likely would still be in jail today.” And sadly, the unfortunate Mr. Mayfield is not an isolated case.

On Aug. 5, federal agents carried out middle-of-the-night raids to nab a pizzeria owner and an ambulette driver. Deputy Attorney General James Comey announced at a Washington news conference: “Anyone engaging in terrorist planning would be very wise to consider whether their accomplice is not really one of our guys. We are working very, very hard to infiltrate the enemy.”

Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain were arrested for allegedly taking part in a plot to launder money from a government informant who claimed to be involved with a plan to use a shoulder-fired missile to kill a Pakistani diplomat in New York. The feds used the Patriot Act to sweep up Aref’s phone calls and e-mail messages. Perhaps the most decisive item they unveiled at the initial court hearing was the fact that Aref’s name was discovered in a notebook at an alleged terrorist camp in Iraq (after a night attack in which U.S. soldiers killed 80 of 82 people at the camp). Federal prosecutors brandished the fact that he was identified as “the Commander” and declared that the obliterated group was part of Ansar al-Islam, an al-Qaeda affiliate. The feds’ charges persuaded a federal court to lock up both defendants without bail.

A few weeks later, however, at another court hearing, the Justice Department admitted that the key word was mistranslated. Instead of Arabic, the writing was actually Kurdish; instead of “commander,” it merely said “brother.” Aref, a Kurdish refugee who was the leader of an Albany storefront mosque, had relatives back in the homeland. Even though the feds had been in possession of the notebook for more than a year, they had not bothered to verify the Defense Department’s translation before creating an elaborate sting.

The Justice Department also misrepresented where the notebook was discovered. The Defense Department did not identify the targeted group as terrorist-connected. Instead, at the time of the attack, Lt. Gen. David McKiernan declared, “I will simply tell you that it was a camp area that was confirmed with bad guys.” According to Federal Magistrate David Homer, “There is no evidence … to support the claim that Mr. Aref has any contact with any terrorist organization.”

Federal prosecutors responded quickly to the translation debacle, seeking to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act. A statement from the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section warned, “The United States believes that disclosure of this material would raise issues of national security …” It was curious how a case about a phony plot, an inoperable missile (which the informant purportedly showed the defendants), and phony claims by the government suddenly raised national security concerns. The Justice Department unsuccessfully sought to avoid turning over the transcripts of discussions between the defendants and its agent provocateur. After some of the information was released, “transcripts of the undercover tapes show how much prodding by the informant was needed to lure Hossain into the fictitious terrorist plot,” the Albany Times-Union noted.

The defendants were released on $250,000 bail each, after spending 20 days in custody. Another court hearing is scheduled in Albany for Sept. 15 on whether the Justice Department will be permitted to use the Classified Information Procedures Act to shield its case.

DOJ could use a win, for earlier this month, federal prosecutors were forced to admit that their biggest victory over a terrorist cell was in fact a sham. A week after the 9/11 attacks, federal agents nabbed three Arabs living in an apartment in Detroit. (A fourth suspect was snared in North Carolina.) Federal prosecutors described the men—arrested during a raid in which the FBI was looking for another Arab on a terrorist watch list—as a “sleeper operational combat cell.” Two of the alleged cell members were convicted in June 2003 on charges of providing material aid and support to terrorism. A third was convicted on fraud, and a fourth was acquitted. Ashcroft hailed the verdict: “Today’s convictions send a clear message: The Department of Justice will work diligently to detect, disrupt and dismantle the activities of terrorist cells in the United States and abroad.”

The Detroit bust was the only case in which the feds appeared to have nailed a group that may have actually been planning attacks. But after the courtroom victory, the case began to crumble. Federal Judge Gerald Rosen ordered the Justice Department to investigate possible misconduct by lead prosecutor Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino and others in the case. The controversy mushroomed when Convertino sued Ashcroft, charging him with “gross mismanagement” in the War on Terror.

Perhaps the most decisive physical evidence in the trial was a day planner with a couple of pages of sketches. Federal prosecutors assured the jury that one drawing was an aircraft hanger at a U.S. military base in Turkey and another represented a military hospital in Jordan.

Justice Department prosecutors knew that government experts did not agree with those claims. Instead, most who analyzed one of the simple sketches concluded that it was a rough outline map of the Middle East, not an air-base target in Turkey. At the trial, defense lawyers requested photographs of the alleged Jordanian hospital. Prosecutors falsely denied possessing such photos. The Justice Department’s formal investigation, released in early September, concluded, “It is difficult, if not impossible, to compare the day planner sketches with the photos and see a correlation,” The most important witness to testify against the alleged terrorist cell was Youssef Hmimssa, who co-operated in part because he faced credit-card and other fraud charges. The Detroit News noted that Hmimssa was “a self-described scam artist and crook.” Yet, on the day after Hmimssa finished testifying, Ashcroft publicly declared his co-operation had been “a critical tool” in fighting terrorism and that “his testimony has been of value, substantial value.”

A Justice Department inquiry found that prosecutors failed to turn over more than 100 documents to defense attorneys during the trial, including a letter written by a convict who served time with Hmimissa that stated that the star witness had bragged about “how he lied to the FBI” on the terror-cell case.

Moreover, Convertino ordered FBI agents who interviewed Hmimssa for more than 20 hours to take no notes during the interview. Instead, he briefed the agents after the sessions with Hmimssa and made his own notes, which he repeatedly altered. The Justice Department report observed that there were “discrepancies between these [Convertino’s notes] versions, supporting defense counsel’s claims that Hmimssa’s testimony evolved over time.” The report noted that “Convertino’s approach caused significant controversy” and that one FBI agent was “adamantly opposed” to such a method.

Judge Rosen overturned the convictions declaring, “the prosecution materially misled the court, the jury and the defense as to the nature, character and complexion of critical evidence that provided important foundations for the prosecution’s case.”

These three instances may be only the tip of the iceberg as the government can usually rely on acquiescent federal judges or coerced plea bargains to keep most of its dirty laundry out of view. The public soundbites seek to reassure us that the Justice Department’s domestic War on Terror is going well by invoking largely meaningless numbers. In a July report on the Patriot Act, DOJ bragged, “the Department has charged 310 defendants with criminal offenses as a result of terrorism investigations since the attacks of September 11, 2001, and 179 of those defendants have already been convicted.” But the vast majority of the convictions have had nothing to do with terrorism. Instead, they are a litany of credit-card fraud, visa violations, and other offenses whose prosecution does nothing to protect America against deadly foreign threats—while the pursuit of PR victories over bogus plots diverts resources from real terrorist dangers.

As the election draws closer, the Bush administration may unveil new arrests on terrorism charges. If so, it would be wise to wait until long after the triumphant press conferences to gauge whether the government has finally got the goods—or whether the busts are simply another effort simultaneously to frighten and comfort voters.

_________________________________________________

James Bovard is the author of the just-published The Bush Betrayal (Palgrave Macmillan) and seven other books.

October 14, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

FBI documents detail Clinton and Mueller’s own ‘Russiagate’ – but they’re classified

RT | October 3, 2018

The FBI is facing new calls to declassify documents relating to the sale of US uranium to a Russian company, documents that could implicate Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and ‘Russiagate’ witch-hunter Robert Mueller.

While Clinton and crew relentlessly push the idea that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the run-up to the 2016 election, and while Special Counsel Robert Mueller searches with a magnifying glass for any sign of this collusion, all parties involved are much quieter when it comes to the Uranium One scandal.

Among a trove of documents relating to the controversial deal, the FBI has identified 37 pages that could shine a light on why then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration approved the deal.

The pages were recently added to the agency’s Freedom of Information Act online vault. The only problem – they’re classified.

The reasons given for the classification will sound familiar to anyone following President Trump’s recent struggle to declassify another set of FBI documents: doing so would violate the privacy of individuals involved, would place national security at risk, would disclose secret law enforcement techniques, and would reveal confidential inter-agency communication, among others.

What we do know about Uranium One reads like a Cold War spy thriller.

The debacle began in 2009 when state-owned Russian atomic energy firm Rosatom was in talks to buy part of Canadian-based mining company Uranium One, and with it control over 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.

As the deal was being hashed out, the FBI planted a spy posing as a consultant, businessman William Douglas Campbell, in Rosatom. Campbell uncovered evidence that Rosatom’s main executive in America, Vadim Mikerin, was involved in bribery, extortion, and money laundering, as he sought to gain “improper business advantages” for US firms that worked with a Rosatom-owned firm he chaired.

The FBI compiled Campbell’s evidence, and Mikerin was charged and deported, but not until summer 2018. Back in 2010, the Obama administration approved the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom anyway.

The sale needed to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFUS), which was chaired by Hillary Clinton. Campbell told three separate Congressional committees that Moscow had hired lobbying firm APCO Worldwide to use its influence with Clinton to negotiate the deal, for which the Clinton Foundation would receive generous kickbacks.

Democrats dismissed the scandal as the stuff of right-wing conspiracy theory, and Clinton herself called accusations of wrongdoing “baloney.” Still, Republicans held that something was amiss, citing Bill Clinton’s $500,000 fee for a speech in Moscow in 2010 as proof the Clintons were peddling influence for Russian money. At the same time, Mrs. Clinton was pushing for a great “reset” in US-Russia relations. The plot thickens.

The FBI director at the time? None other than Robert Mueller, currently the Witch-Hunter-in-chief, leading the crusade against the Trump team. What a difference eight years make.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in March that a federal prosecutor from Utah, John Huber, would look into both the Uranium One deal and FBI misconduct in the Clinton email investigation. Trump too seemed eager to get to the bottom of the scandal, and has regularly bashed Clinton for her alleged role in facilitating the sale.

The Justice Department’s probe has largely taken place on the sidelines, has generated few headlines, and has not made its findings, if any, public. Why then, are the FBI’s documents, clearly of critical importance to understanding the whole debacle, still secret?

“Either the United States, eyes wide open, approved giving uranium assets to a corrupt Russia, or the FBI failed to give the evidence of criminality to the policymakers before such a momentous decision,” wrote The Hill’s John Solomon. If the second option were true, the next step would be establishing whether the agency withheld this evidence knowingly, or through simple negligence.

According to Solomon, an investigative reporter who first disclosed Campbell’s involvement in Rosatom as an FBI informant, Campbell maintains that both then-President Obama and then-Director Mueller were briefed by agents about Rosatom’s shady activities, but the sale was allowed to go through because of “politics.”

According to another of Solomon’s sources, “There is definitely material (in the 37 pages) that would be illuminating to the issues that have been raised… somebody should fight to make it public.”

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) has called on the FBI to “stop investigating high school yearbooks and start declassifying Uranium One,” and has urged Senate Republicans to pressure the agency into declassifying the documents. Failing that, Huckabee suggested that Trump order the declassification, which he is well within his power to do so.

Doing so would not only bring the truth that much closer to being revealed, but could also give Trump the opportunity to score some political points against his old nemeses: surely a tempting prospect.

October 3, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, 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

The Pentagon and the CIA Are in Charge

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | September 7, 2018

Yesterday, President Trump, yielding to the overwhelming power of the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA, announced that he has decided to keep U.S. troops in Syria indefinitely, thereby abandoning his intention announced last March to instead bring U.S. troops in Syria home. Of course, keeping the troops in Syria has been the position that the U.S. national security establishment has been demanding of Trump since the beginning of his presidency, especially since that increases the risk of confrontation with Russia, the decades-old enemy and rival of the U.S. national-security establishment.

What business does the U.S. government have in Syria? None. Just as it has no business in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Vietnam, Korea, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, and countless others. But that is what life is like under a governmental structure in which the military-intelligence establishment is in control. It calls the shots. Everyone else — the president, the Congress, the judiciary, and the American people — are expected to yield to its overwhelming power within the federal governmental structure and within American society.

It’s worth recalling that the American people in the late 1700s were ardently opposed to large, permanent military establishments. That’s why the Constitution instead called into existence a type of government known as a limited-government republic, one whose powers are few and limited.

That all came to a screeching halt after World War II, when Americans began living under a totally different type of governmental structure, one that is known as a national-security state. It is characterized by a massive, permanent, ever-growing military establishment, CIA, NSA, and a national police force known as the FBI, all of whose powers together are vast and unlimited, including the power of the government to assassinate its own people.

Why didn’t our American ancestors favor a national-security state instead of a limited-government republic? Because they knew that the military-intelligence component of the government would inevitably end up controlling and running the government and that the other parts of the government would inevitably yield to its overwhelming power. More important, they knew that that a government founded on a massive military-intelligence foundation would inevitably end up destroying their freedom, privacy, and well-being.

A book I highly recommend is National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon, professor of law at Tufts University. Glennon gets it, and he sets it forth perfectly in his book. The national-security establishment — or what many today are calling the deep state — is in charge of the federal government. As long as the other three branches understand that it’s calling the shots, it permits the other three branches to maintain the appearance of being in control. But as Glennon shows so well, it’s all just a façade. It’s the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA who are ultimately calling the shots, like with respect to Syria.

In fact, the South Korean people are also discovering this phenomenon in their country. In their attempt to arrive at a peaceful and satisfactory resolution of the civil war that has besieged Korea since 1950, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s president Kim Jong-un have been negotiating. In the process, they have agreed to work together to run a train between the two countries. The tracks were laid long ago and train stations along the way were built long ago. Now, it’s just a logistical problem of getting the train running between the two nations.

But it’s not going to happen. Why not? For the same reason that Trump isn’t going to pull U.S. troops out of Syria. Because the Pentagon said no to South Korea, just as it said no to Trump. Here is how yesterday’s New York Times reported the matter: “Last month, American military commanders in Seoul stopped South Korea’s plan to send a train across the inter-Korean border and run it on a North Korean railway, to test the rails’ condition.”

What? Who’s in charge of the country — the South Korean government or the U.S. military? The answer is obvious: The U.S. military is in charge, just as it is here in the United States. Like President Trump, South Korean President Kim yielded to the orders and commands of his superiors in the U.S. national-security establishment. That’s why that train between South and North Korea isn’t running.

Look at the extent to which the U.S. national-security establishment has extended its tentacles throughout the federal bureaucracy. A general, not a civilian, is Secretary of Defense. A CIA Director is made Secretary of State. A general is White House chief of staff. An FBI director is appointed Special Counsel to target Trump with removal for befriending Russia. CIA assets in Congress, the mainstream press, and who knows where else. A large number of military and CIA veterans running for Congress. A vast number of cities and states fearfully dependent on military bases and projects.

President Eisenhower warned the American people of the danger of converting the federal government to a national-security state, which he called the military-industrial complex. He said that this new, radically different governmental structure posed a grave threat to the freedoms and democratic processes of the American people. But he did nothing about it except issue a warning.

The only president to ever take on the national-security establishment has been John F. Kennedy. He took them on directly, firmly, and unequivocally. Kennedy threw the gauntlet down on their militarist, imperialist, anti-communist, anti-Russia vision for the future of America. The result was an all-out war between Kennedy and the Pentagon and the CIA, a war that did not end up well for either Kennedy or the American people. (See FFF’s book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne and also my current video-podcast series on the JFK assassination.)

While there are some who thought that Trump was going to walk in the footsteps of President Kennedy and stand up to the national-security establishment, including bringing the troops home from the forever wars in which the Pentagon and the CIA have embroiled our nation, alas, it is not to be, as reflected by Trump’s buckling under to the national-security establishment with respect to Syria and even moving in an anti-Russia direction with his imposition of economic sanctions on Russia.

Responding to the Pentagon’s decision to prevent South Korea from running its train into North Korea, North Korea’s main state-run newspaper summed it up best. Pointing out that the United States was obstructing better relations between North and South Korea, the paper correctly described it a “dim and twisted” attitude. The paper continued: “The U.S. must realize that the more the inter-Korean relations improve, the better it will be for the U.S.” The problem, however, is that it would not be better for the U.S. national-security establishment, which necessarily depends on perpetual crises to sustain its ever-growing, taxpayer-funded largess, including those crises that it itself incites.

September 7, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 3 Comments

US meddles in Russian affairs by trying to turn our citizens into informants – Kremlin

RT | September 3, 2018

In recent years, the US has been meddling in Russian affairs by “very crudely” trying to recruit Russians as informants, while exerting moral and other types of pressure on them, Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson said on Monday.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov was commenting on a recent story published in the New York Times, stating that in 2014-2016, the FBI and the US Department of Justice tried to recruit Russian business tycoon Oleg Deripaska as an informant.

According to the paper, US officials wanted to make the businessman share information on Russian organized crime and the alleged Russian aid to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Considering that businessmen like Deripaska are “major shareholders and top managers of major companies,” including those operating in “quite sensitive segments of the Russian economy,” attempts to recruit them constitute “attempts to meddle in Russia’s domestic affairs,” Peskov said.

The US Intelligence Community and lawmakers have been accusing Russia of interfering in the American election process by waging cyberattacks and ‘propaganda’ against US citizens.

In June, the US federal grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and three entities with organizing a campaign “supporting” then-candidate Trump and “disparaging” his then-rival Hillary Clinton. US officials also accuse the Kremlin of hacking the server of the Democratic National Committee and the email account of the head of the Clinton campaign, John Podesta.

The Kremlin had repeatedly denied claims that the Russian state provided any assistance to Trump and emphasized that the US failed to produce substantial evidence of ‘meddling.’ The House Intelligence Committee report, accusing Russia of interfering in the US election, was published but heavily redacted, with the chapter entitled ‘Russia attacks the United States’ completely covered with black lines. The same report found “no evidence” that the Trump campaign “colluded, coordinated, or conspired” with the Russian government.

As for the accusation of waging a ‘propaganda campaign’ on social media, IT giants YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter admitted that the ‘Russian-affiliated’ posts and videos made up just tiny fractions of their feeds.

President Vladimir Putin found the whole idea of Russia transforming the will of US voters ridiculous. “Does anyone seriously think that Russia can somehow influence the choice of the American people?” Putin said back in 2016.

“Is America some sort of a banana republic?” he asked rhetorically. “America is a great state. Correct me, please, if I’m wrong.”

September 3, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Desperate for collusion proof, FBI ‘tried & failed to recruit Russian oligarchs’ – report

RT | September 2, 2018

FBI agents tried to turn Russia’s once-richest man into a US mole, according to an explosive NYT report. It claims that Oleg Deripaska was one of six oligarchs targeted for information in a Russiagate-related intelligence flop.

According to reports by the New York Times, the US government pushed oligarchs with perceived links to President Vladimir Putin for information. Deripaska was allegedly nudged to give up information on Russian organized crime and “possible Russian aid to President Trump’s 2016 campaign.”

Determined to get something on the Kremlin’s unproven involvement in the 2016 election, FBI agents reportedly turned up unannounced at Deripaska’s New York home to quiz him about his ex-business partner Paul Manafort – who went on to lead Trump’s election campaign – and Manafort’s links to Russia.

Despite the US government’s repeated attempts to gather intelligence from him, Deripaska told the US Department of Justice that he had no information to provide. Sources told the NYT that Deripaska disagreed with the agents’ opinion that Russia had colluded with the US in Trump’s election campaign. He also slammed theories about Manafort’s alleged role as “preposterous,” even though the two men were involved in a “bitter business dispute.” He is also said to have notified the Kremlin about the US government’s failed efforts to recruit him.

It is understood that Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and former British spy Christopher Steele – who was responsible for the infamous Trump-Russia ‘dirty dossier’ – were involved in the attempt to turn Russian oligarchs into US informants. The report said that the US government tried to entice Deripaska with promises to relieve him of previous visa issues stemming from past legal problems, but their attempts to win over the aluminum magnate and other Russian oligarchs appear to have failed.

In April, Deripaska and his company were hit by sweeping US sanctions, with Washington accusing him of links to crime, various abuses and even of ordering a murder.

The report comes as Trump took to Twitter to accuse the Department of Justice and FBI of “corruption” over the “Russia hoax.” The president also accused the DOJ and FBI of being “completely out to lunch” in a series of tweets, in which he insisted that “no information was ever given by the Trump Team to Russia”.

September 2, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

What’s Left of Russiagate — Are We Down to the 1,000 Paid Trolls?

Mark F. McCarty | Way of the Bern | July 19, 2017

Those who pay attention to what is going on — as opposed to passively consuming the obsessions of MSM — know that the Clinton-related material published by Wikileaks emerged from leaks, not hacks. Assange has stated in no uncertain terms that the Russian government was not responsible for providing the material Wikileaks published, and his friend Craig Murray — a whistleblower hero who exposed the torture practiced by the government of Uzbekistan while he was British ambassador there — indicates that he has direct knowledge that the DNC and Podesta Wikileaks releases derived from leaks, not hacks. In fact, he met with one of the people involved in September of last year in Washington D.C.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/01/03/julian-assange-russian-government-not-source-leaked-emails/96106052/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4034038/Ex-British-ambassador-WikiLeaks-operative-claims-Russia-did-NOT-provide-Clinton-emails-handed-D-C-park-intermediary-disgusted-Democratic-insiders.html

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/18/a-spy-coup-in-america/

And Wikileaks has just tweeted an audio recording of Seymour Hersh in which he indicates that, according to an FBI source he considers “unbelievably accurate and careful, he’s a very high-level guy”, there is an FBI report indicating that the FBI examined Seth’s computer and determined that Seth was the Wikileaks DNC source. Whether or not Hersh’s source is correct — Hersh has not published this info, and refuses to be interviewed on it — it is not conceivable, at least to those of us who appreciate Wikileaks’ integrity, that Wikileaks would have tweeted this if Seth weren’t their source.

https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/892510925244203008

Now, just in time for the anniversary of Seth Rich’s death, forensic analyses — by the pseudonymous ‘Forensicator” — have clarified that the “Guccifer 2.0” releases of DNC material in September 2016 resulted from local downloads, via thumbdrive or LAN, of DNC computer files, rather than hacks from a distant location such as Russia or Romania — contrary to the assertions of our intelligence community; the rate of data transfer, as of mid-2016, was far too great for a remote hack to be responsible.* Indeed, the rate was precisely what one would expect if the download had occurred via USB2.0 memory stick, and cyberexpert/journalist Adam Carter has argued that the downloaded files displayed “FAT filesystem anomalies” likewise pointing to a memory stick download. Moreover, time stamps reveal that this data transfer occurred on the East Coast.

Of no less importance is the fact that the metadata of some of the released Guccifer 2.0 files (those released on June 15th) had been intentionally altered to leave clues that Russian hackers may have accessed the material, in a clear effort to falsely implicate Russians in the hacking of those files. The clear implication is that someone affiliated with the Clinton campaign or DNC created the persona of Guccifer 2.0 to trick our gullible intelligence agencies into concluding that Russian hacks had been responsible not only for the Guccifer 2.0 releases, but for the WIkileaks releases as well — thereby devaluing them in the eyes of the American public. “Guccifer 2.0”, of course, topped off the scam by claiming he was the Wikileaks source.

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

http://g-2.space/

http://g-2.space/distortions/

https://theforensicator.wordpress.com/guccifer-2-ngp-van-metadata-analysis/

http://disobedientmedia.com/2017/07/new-research-shows-guccifer-2-0-files-were-copied-locally-not-hacked/

https://www.reddit.com/r/WayOfTheBern/comments/6mgjuy/implications_of_recent_analyses_by_adam_carter/

https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

As Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity have emphasized, the timeline of Guccifer 2.0’s first appearance is curious. On June 12, Wikileaks announced that it would soon be releasing Clinton-related emails. On June 14, the DNC announces that it has been hacked. On June 15, the DNC cybercontractor Crowdstrike announced that it had found malware on the DNC computer which they suspect originated from Russia, and, in seeming coordination, Guccifer 2.0 proclaimed that he was the hacker who supplied Wikileaks with its Clinton material — posting documents that had had “Russian fingerprints” implanted in their metadata. (And why would a hacker genuinely working for the Russian government go out of his way to advertise himself?) Then the main trove of DNC material subsequently released by Guccifer 2.0 on his website was downloaded locally from DNC computers on July 5th — five days before Seth Rich was murdered by hitmen. These facts are consistent with the thesis that the DNC, or someone affiliated with the DNC, hoaxed our intelligence services to blame the Wikileaks releases on Russia. Could they then have gotten rid of someone who could have spoiled this narrative?

Possible collusion between Crowdstrike and Guccifer 2.0 is suggested by the fact that, in their June 14th announcement, the DNC indicated — presumably based on claims by Crowdstrike — that the hacker had targeted Trump Opposition Research. This was indeed one of the documents that Guccifer 2.0 released the following day. Adam Carter refers to the Crowdstrike claim about Trump Opposition Research being targeted as “specious”, as they “never demonstrated or explained” how they could have known this. Carter concludes that this likely indicates collusion between Crowdstrike and Guccifer 2.0, and suggests that perhaps the persona of Guccifer 2.0 was created by someone at Crowdstrike. (And it hardly seems likely that Crowdstrike would have concocted such a scam without the knowledge and encouragement of top officials at the DNC. Though this brings up an interesting alternative possibility — could Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and her felonious IT specialist Imran Awan have conceived and executed Guccifer 2.0? It’s not clear whether Awan has the requisite measure of sophistication.) Another peculiarity is this: if Guccifer 2.0 was employed by the Russian government to damage Hillary and help Trump, why would one of the first documents he released be Trump Opposition Research?!

http://g-2.space/

Furthermore, Carter’s analysis of the times of G2.0’s tweets and blog publications points to someone in the U.S. rather than Russia — unless he was bizarrely nocturnal.

http://g-2.space/g2tweettimes/

Carter also discusses linguistic research which demonstrates that, in his communications, Guccifer 2.0 makes a very amateurish effort to impersonate a native Russian attempting to speak English, being very inconsistent in his linguistic errors. His overall impression of Guccifer 2.0 is encapsulated in this description: “A donkey in a bear costume”. In his latest update, Carter notes: The only language expert willing to be cited without being anonymous was professor M.J. Connolly from Boston College and he stated that Guccifer 2.0 lacked any traits he would expect to see from a Russian communicating in English!”

http://g-2.space/sixmonths/

Here is another reason to suspect that Crowdstrike was behind Guccifer 2.0. The “Russian fingerprints” added to the June 15th releases of Guccifer 2.0 consisted of the name “Felix Edmundovich”, written in the Cyrillic alphabet. This is clearly a reference to the founder of the Soviet secret police (OGPU), Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky.

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Dzerzhinsky)

How many American computer geeks would know the name of the founder of OGPU? One American who likely would is Shawn Henry, co-founder and President of Crowdstrike, who previously worked under Robert Mueller (!) as the FBI’s assistant director for counterintelligence.

https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/news/pressrel/press-releases/shawn-henry-named-executive-assistant-director-of-the-criminal-cyber-response-and-services-branch

In an interview with a journalist from Motherboard/Vice News, Guccifer 2.0 described the technique he used to hack the DNC servers. Carter points out that the cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect has analyzed this claim, and found it to be technically impossible. It is unclear whether Guccifer 2.0 has any hacking skills whatever.

Here’s a great new video about the Guccifer 2.0 affair by “Panda Bear” that I strongly recommend:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZNAbPNKCKk&t=0s

For clarity, it’s important to note that, contrary to the assertions of some enthusiastic commentators, the forensic findings of Forensicator and Adam Carter pertain only to the releases of Guccifer 2.0, cannot prove that the DNC server was not hacked, and have no clear relevance to the DNC emails released by Wikileaks or the activities of Seth Rich. These issues must be addressed with other lines of evidence. What these forensic analyses do strongly point to is that people affiliated with the DNC consciously hoaxed our intelligence community to try to paint Hillary as a victim of Russian perfidy, with Wikileaks as their devious accomplice. And they also reveal that, in pointing to Guccifer 2.0 as the source for the DNC Wikileaks releases, our “intelligence community” has once again demonstrated its gross and criminal incompetence.

There were also files taken from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that were published prior to the election on Guccifer 2.0’s own website. (Is the DCCC collaborating with the DNC in this scam?) This episode has received little attention, and in any case, if the goal of the Russian government was to impede Clinton’s election, why would they care about the DCCC? Who believes Russia would want to elect more Republicans? In any case, if Guccifer 2.0 was indeed the source of these leaks, they weren’t hacked by Russians, so let’s move on.

Finally, there is DC Leaks, which, beginning in July of last year has released purloined info on a diverse range of targets, including the former commander of NATO, Senators McCain and Graham, the Soros Foundation, and personal info of 200 Democratic lawmakers. This has received little media commentary, possibly because it is hard to see how this effort was an attempt to influence the election. Nonetheless, the cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect claims that DC Leaks is a front for the hacker group Fancy Bear, which they claim is linked to Russian intelligence. They also think that Guccifer 2.0 is involved. Sounds a lot like the analyses that linked the Guccifer 2.0 and Wikileaks releases to Russian intelligence — and we’ve seen how credible those analyses were.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DCLeaks

Then there was the NSA document leaked by Reality Winner, in which it is “assessed” that Russians at the behest of the Kremlin targeted a number of local government operations in spearphishing operations just prior to the election. Scott Ritter has carefully analyzed the NSA document and demonstrated that the NSA agents responsible had nothing but speculation to link these spearphishing attacks to the Russian government.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/leaked_nsa_report_short_on_facts_proves_little_in_russiagate_case_20170607

Recent claims that Russia tried to hack into 21 state electoral databases prior to the election have been skewered by Gareth Porter, who shows that, in the only one of these attacks that was successful, the perpetrators merely extracted personal information saleable to criminal networks, without making any effort to alter electoral data. Evidently the work of cybercriminals, not Russian government operatives.

http://original.antiwar.com/porter/2017/07/03/foisting-blame-cyber-hacking-russia/

The Department of Homeland Security is now posting retractions of these claims:

https://www.apnews.com/10a0080e8fcb4908ae4a852e8c03194d?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=APCentralRegion

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-28/clear-dhs-was-wrong-california-says-russians-did-not-hack-voting-systems

https://theintercept.com/2017/09/28/yet-another-major-russia-story-falls-apart-is-skepticism-permissible-yet/

And cyberexpert Jeffrey Carr has determined that the criminals involved were English speakers.

https://medium.com/@jeffreycarr/az-and-il-state-board-of-elections-were-attacked-by-english-speaking-hackers-82c0528de9ee

Alleged claims from our intelligence agencies that Russia was responsible for election interference in Germany and France have been debunked by the intelligence agencies in those countries:

https://caucus99percent.com/content/are-russian-hackers-under-your-bed

Last month, CNN reported that “Russian hackers had breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US’ closest Gulf allies, according to US officials briefed on the investigation…. US officials say the Russian goal appears to be to cause rifts among the US and its allies.”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/06/politics/russian-hackers-planted-fake-news-qatar-crisis/index.html

But now, as reported by WaPo, US officials have concluded that the UAE had arranged this hacking to demonize Qatar:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-qatar-report-idUSKBN1A200H

(The story on CNN, of course, is that UAE denies this: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/07/17/middleeast/uae-qatar-report/index.html. Cue the laughter: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-16/cnn-caught-faking-news-again-us-intel-accuses-uae-not-russia-orchestrating-qatari-ha).

But What About all that “Evidence”?

But what about all the “evidence” our intelligence agencies have for Russia’s nefarious election interference?

Official claims in this regard began with the release of this joint statement by DHS and ODNI on Oct. 17 of last year:

“The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow — the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

Note how James Clapper, with the backing of Jeh Johnson of DHS, imperiously represented his views as those of “The U.S. Intelligence Community”. Hillary Clinton subsequently seized on this to make the hyperbolic self-serving claim that “17 intelligence agencies” had reached this conclusion — a claim that was echoed by our servile MSM until it recently was retracted by the New York Times.

The supposedly definitive statement of our intelligence agencies on alleged Russian election interference was an Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA), a de-classified summary of which was released on Jan. 6th. As subsequently admitted by Clapper in congressional testimony, this assessment was not a formal National Intelligence Estimate, which would have required the participation of all intelligence agencies and would have included any dissenting opinions, but rather represented the opinions of a couple dozen intelligence operatives hand-picked (likely by Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and John Brennan of the CIA) from the CIA, NSA, and FBI.

It is useful to understand these things about Clapper: He played a key role in convincing the nation that Saddam had ample stores of WMDs before our Iraq invasion. When these WMDs failed to appear, he stated that Saddam had had them shipped to Syria just prior to the invasion (subsequently debunked). He lied under oath before Congress and the nation regarding surveillance of American citizens by the NSA. And in a recent interview with Chuck Todd, he revealed himself to be a near-psychotic Russiaphobe, claiming that Russians were virtually “genetically programmed” to foment chaos for us.

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/us-anti-russia-sentiment-is-built-on-racism-xenophobia-homophobia-and-demagoguery-b1ebef57ddb6

So what do you think is going to be the outcome when a psychotic Russophobe is allowed to hand-pick the members of an intelligence panel intended to evaluate alleged Russian meddling? As acclaimed investigative journalist Robert Parry noted:

“Yet, as any intelligence expert will tell you, if you “hand-pick” the analysts, you are really hand-picking the conclusion. For instance, if the analysts were known to be hard-liners on Russia or supporters of Hillary Clinton, they could be expected to deliver the one-sided report that they did.”

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/05/23/new-cracks-in-russia-gate-assessment/

As to the unclassified report itself, the most cogent observation is that it provides no hard evidence whatever to back up its conclusion that Russian operatives had interfered in our election on the orders of Vladimir Putin. Rather hilariously, over half of its length is devoted to splenetic venting about the Russia-sponsored TV network RT, which nefariously had featured Third Party political debates and criticisms of fracking — and of course the seditious ravings of that evident Kremlin puppet Larry King. If RT constitutes vile and unacceptable election interference, what have we been doing with Voice of America for decades?

Most tellingly, the declassified ICA barely mentions Wikileaks, and provides no clue as to how it was concluded that Wikileaks received its Clinton-related emails from Russian sources. The key point of the Russiagate narrative is not just that Russians were hacking the DNC and John Podesta, but that, at the behest of the Russian government, they were transferring their booty to Wikileaks for release to the public. In his congressional testimony, Clapper seemed to admit that the link between Russia and Wikileaks was speculative:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2AbrMEmD9k

It is hard to escape the conclusion that our intelligence agencies have no hard evidence whatever that Wikileaks received its Clinton-related emails from sources commissioned by the Russian government. And of course Assange, who presumably knows how he got the material he himself published — and has far greater credibility than Clapper could ever have — vehemently denies this.

In the run-up to the Iraq invasion, our intelligence agencies at least deigned to convey to us some “evidence” that Saddam did indeed still have WMDs. In the present instance, they are effectively just saying “Trust us”. In the context of the fact that our intelligence agencies used wholly bogus evidence to propel us into an Iraq involvement that led to the death, maiming, or exile of literally millions of people in Iraq — not to mention thousands of American deaths and casualties, and catastrophic expense — anyone in our government or our media who is willing to just “trust” a hand-picked cabal of intelligence agents on an issue that may foment a new Cold War with the second-leading nuclear power, is engaging in gross criminal negligence.

The credibility of the report’s conclusions can be judged by this key passage:

“We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence … used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks.”

https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf

As we have seen, “Guccifer 2.0” is someone on the East Coast, with local access to the DNC computers, who is doing a rather half-assed job of appearing to be Russian — “A donkey in a bear costume”. So much for their “high confidence”.

In formulating its ICA, the panel relied on the conclusions of a private cyber company, Crowdstrike, with respect to alleged hacking of the DNC server, because the DNC had repeatedly refused to turn their server over to the FBI — and the FBI had failed to subpoena it. Crowdstrike was recruited for this purpose by the Clinton campaign, and had previous associations with Hillary Clinton. Its founders are affiliated with the Atlantic Council, a think tank known for its virulently anti-Russia stances. Its previous effort to incriminate Russia in a hacking attack has been shown to be wholly erroneous.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/03/23/cybersecurity-firm-that-attributed-dnc-hacks-to-russia-may-have-fabricated-russia-hacking-in-ukraine/

As to the “logic” which Crowdstrike employed to impute hacking of the DNC to Russian intelligence, it appears to have been puerile. Here are the comments of Scott Ritter:

“CrowdStrike claimed that the presence of the X-Agent malware was a clear ‘signature’ of a hacking group — APT 28, or Fancy Bear — previously identified by German intelligence as being affiliated with the GRU, Russian military intelligence…. The CrowdStrike data is unconvincing. First and foremost, the German intelligence report it cites does not make an ironclad claim that APT 28 is, in fact, the GRU. In fact, the Germans only ‘assumed’ that GRU conducts cyberattacks. They made no claims that they knew for certain that any Russians, let alone the GRU, were responsible for the 2015 cyberattack on the German Parliament, which CrowdStrike cites as proof of GRU involvement. Second, the malware in question is available on the open market, making it virtually impossible to make any attribution at all simply by looking at similarities in ‘tools and techniques.’ Virtually anyone could have acquired these tools and used them in a manner similar to how they were employed against both the German Parliament and the DNC…. The presence of open-source tools is, in itself, a clear indicator that Russian intelligence was not involved.”

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/time-to-reassess-the-roles-played-by-guccifer-2-0-and-russia-in-the-dnc-hack/

Cyberexpert Jeremy Carr fully agrees:

“It is both foolish and baseless to claim, as Crowdstrike does, that X-Agent is used solely by the Russian government when the source code is there for anyone to find and use at will.

Once malware is deployed, it is no longer under the control of the hacker who deployed it or the developer who created it. It can be reverse-engineered, copied, modified, shared and redeployed again and again by anyone. In other words — malware deployed is malware enjoyed!

If the White House had unclassified evidence that tied officials in the Russian government to the DNC attack, they would have presented it by now. The fact that they didn’t means either that the evidence doesn’t exist or that it is classified.

If it’s classified, an independent commission should review it because this entire assignment of blame against the Russian government is looking more and more like a domestic political operation run by the White House that relied heavily on questionable intelligence generated by a for-profit cybersecurity firm with a vested interest in selling “attribution-as-a-service”

https://medium.com/@jeffreycarr/fbi-dhs-joint-analysis-report-a-fatally-flawed-effort-b6a98fafe2fa.

More recently, he has stated:

“There is not now and never has been a single piece of technical evidence produced that connects the malware used in the DNC attack to the GRU, FSB or any agency of the Russian government.”

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/08/18/russia-gates-evidentiary-void/

Indeed, he is so irate regarding the impact on international affairs of the flawed logic employed by Crowdstrike that he demands an investigation of them:

“I think there should be commission that reviews the technical evidence which is being sold to the US government by and for profit by the cyber security companies like Crowdstrike. I think this deserves a deeper investigation, because based upon invalid assumptions and lack of proof they have created an international strain in international relations between the US and Russia,” said Carr.

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/372888-investigate-russian-hacking-contractor/

If you had a friend who was trying to solve a murder, and he told you: “We know that the victim was killed with a gun, and the Mafia uses guns, so we know that the Mafia killed him,” you would rightly conclude that your friend was a bit half-witted. Yet Crowdstrike, using quite analogous “logic”, while throwing around technical terms that are obscure to people who aren’t cyberexperts, receives awed respect from MSM journalists.

A further indication of the intellectual acumen of Crowdstrike is their response to a reporter from the Washington Times when they were asked to comment on the blockbuster VIPS report on Guccifer 2.0.:

“‘We find the argument unsubstantiated and inaccurate, based on a fundamental flaw,’ a company spokesman said.

The CrowdStrike spokesman said that by July 5 all malware had been removed from the DNC network and thus the hackers copied files that were already in their own systems.”

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jul/27/with-robert-mueller-fbi-gets-second-chance-to-insp/

Uh, precisely how would the existence or nonexistence of hacking malware on a computer influence one’s ability to download data on a thumbdrive?!!

Here’s another oddity about Crowdstrike: As of May 5th, they had installed their supposedly state-of-the-art anti-hacking program Falcon on this server — and yet the latest of the DNC emails which Wikileaks released was created on May 25th.

Steve McIntire writes:

“There were no fewer than 14409 emails in the Wikileaks archive dating after Crowdstrike’s installation of its security software. In fact, more emails were hacked after Crowdstrike’s discovery on May 6 than before. Whatever actions were taken by Crowdstrike on May 6, they did nothing to stem the exfiltration of emails from the DNC.”

https://climateaudit.org/2017/09/02/email-dates-in-the-wikileaks-dnc-archive/

Of course, there is nothing at all odd about this if the Wikileaks emails stemmed from a leak.

However, Crowdstrike has subsequently characterized its installation of Falcon as a measure to monitor ongoing hacking. Alperovitch of Crowdstrike has referred to Falcon as “monitoring software”:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4376628/New-questions-claim-Russia-hacked-election.html#ixzz4iZEpGDmk

Allegedly, Crowdstrike took definitive measures to cleanse the DNC servers and institute new passwords on the weekend of June 10–12. Are we expected to believe that they just monitored ongoing hacking for a month while doing nothing to stop it? Here’s an analogy: You are informed that a gang rape is in progress. Instead of immediately sending the police, you send photographers (apparently without film).

However, Crowdstrike’s own promotional literature refers to Falcon as software for preventing hacking:

https://web.archive.org/web/20160428142131/https://www.crowdstrike.com/products/

So is Crowdstrike throwing its own top-of-the-line product under the bus to maintain the credibility of the claim that hackers provided Wikileaks with the DNC emails?

Cyberexpert Adam Carter suspects that Crowdstrike might have been involved in creating the Guccifer 2.0 fraud. The purposely tainted Guccifer 2.0 releases, in conjunction with Crowdstrike’s conclusion that Russian agents had hacked the DNC, could have readily led unsuspecting intelligence agents to indict the Russians.

http://g-2.space/

Oh, and guess who the DCCC hired to investigate its breach?

http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/dccc-hacked-in-series-of-cyber-attacks-against-democratic-groups

Another key difficulty with the ICA has been raised by William Binney, a co-founder of the NSA’s SIGINT Automation Research Center. He indicates that if the DNC had been hacked, the NSA would know precisely when this had happened, and where the data had gone:

“Because NSA can trace exactly where and how any “hacked” emails from the Democratic National Committee or other servers were routed through the network, it is puzzling why NSA cannot produce hard evidence implicating the Russian government and WikiLeaks. Unless we are dealing with a leak from an insider, not a hack, as other reporting suggests. From a technical perspective alone, we are convinced that this is what happened.”

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/06/the-dubious-case-on-russian-hacking/

Intriguingly, it was the NSA which indicated that they were only “moderately confident” about the ICA’s conclusion.

And finally, there’s the intriguing detail that the declassified ICA contains a preamble indicating that the “assessments” it provides are not necessarily equivalent to “facts”. In other words, they are “best guesses”. Ray McGovern has pointed out that, in spyspeak, “assess” effectively means “guess”. So those trumpeting the “proven” election interference by Russia are relying on the guesses of a couple of dozen people hand-selected by the virulent Russophobe James Clapper.

Getting back to the issue of whether Seth Rich was the source of the DNC Wikileaks releases: In one corner we have Julian Assange and Craig Murray, who have sacrificed their freedom and their career (respectively) for their insistence on spreading (inconvenient) truth. Nothing ever released by Wikileaks has been found to be fraudulent. Assange states without qualification that the Russian government was not responsible for his DNC releases, Murray states bluntly that both the DNC and Podesta emails Wikileaks releases resulted from internal leaks, not hacks (having met personally with one of the sources), and Assange, both by direct statements and by re-tweeting key reports, is implying as strongly as he can without saying so directly that Seth is a Wikileaks source. Assange and Murray have direct knowledge of their DNC source if anyone does. Celebrated journalist Sy Hersh indicates that an anonymous FBI source he values highly indicates he has seen an FBI analysis of Seth’s computer which concludes that Seth provided the DNC material to Wikileaks via a drop box. And — for what it’s worth (which might not be much, but we’ll see) — Kim Dotcom also claims to have evidence that Seth was a Wikileaks source. (He states that he cannot come forward with this evidence without getting an immunity deal, because otherwise he could be subject to legal sanctions for participating in the leaking.)

In the other corner, we have committed Russophobes James Clapper, John Brennan, and a group of hand-picked acolytes who assess (guess) that Russian hackers — including Guccifer 2.0 — were the Wikileaks source. They obviously have no direct knowledge in this regard, and they have made this assessment despite the fact that no federal agency has been allowed to analyze the DNC server; the private company which made the assessment which they rely on likewise has a strong political bias. They also provide no clue whatever as to how they have concluded that the alleged hacks were transferred to Wikileaks. Their declassified ICA has been ridiculed by independent cyberexperts for failing to provide any hard evidence whatever. Their conclusion that Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian hacker is an evident farce. Clapper is notorious for his misjudgments prior to and following the Iraq invasion, and also perjured himself under oath to Congress. Both Clapper and Brennan have strong motivation to slam Russia.

And yet virtually all of our MSM and political class accept as a matter of course the conclusions of the ICA, and ridicule as a “conspiracy theorist” anyone who even broaches the possibility that Seth could be the Wikileaks source. Of course, these are the same people whose sycophantic credulity enabled the grossly criminal and catastrophic Iraq invasion — so why be surprised?

Topping it all off, of course, is that the key crime that the Russians are alleged to have committed — a crime that has been likened to an “act of war” by some over-the-top commentators — was to provide the American public with true facts regarding the ways in which the DNC, in violation of its charter, leaned over backwards to favor Hillary Clinton over her rivals in the 2016 primary — and also finally gave us access to Hillary’s Wall Street speeches in which she helpfully clarified that she had two sets of views — those for the public, and those for her donors, who clearly were the ones that really mattered. (Of course, it’s not as though percipient observers didn’t know these things already.) Isn’t it the role of our MSM to be providing such “interference”?

Craig Murray has summed much of this up in a recent excellent essay:

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2017/07/stink-without-secret/

And the fabulous Caitlin Johnstone has assembled a voluminous summary of pertinent facts on Russiagate here:

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/the-index-of-russiagate-debunkery-f5b6f4101dd0

But the Russian Trolls!

But wait — there’s still the 1,000 Russian trolls, paid by the Kremlin to spread “fake news”TM to the gullible American public. As far as I know, the only source for this is a statement by Sen. Mark Warner of the Intelligence Committee, referring to unspecified “reports”:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/russian-trolls-hilary-clinton-fake-news-election-democrat-mark-warner-intelligence-committee-a7657641.html

Hillary embellished this narrative at a recent sit-down comedy performance at the 2017 Code Conference — for which she received rave reviews:

https://www.recode.net/2017/5/31/15722218/hillary-clinton-code-conference-transcript-donald-trump-2016-russia-walt-mossberg-kara-swisher

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4560344/Hillary-Trump-colluded-Russia-create-fake-news.html

http://observer.com/2017/06/hillary-clinton-insults-voters-fake-news-russia-election-involvement/

After repeating her by-then-debunked lie about the “17 intelligence agencies”, she focused on the Russian trolls and bots who had helped to tank her campaign:

“So the Russians… could not have known best how to weaponize that information unless they had been guided. Guided by Americans and guided by people who had polling and data information.”

Her implication was of course that the people providing this guidance were the Trump campaign. And apparently this guidance was so astute that, according to Warner, the trolls targeted the rust-belt states that Hillary gave short shrift to. According to tweeter Maple Cocaine — “Pretty big indictment of the Hillary campaign when the fucking Kremlin knew to campaign in Wisconsin but she didn’t.”

https://extranewsfeed.com/help-me-find-the-1-000-russian-twitter-trolls-that-outsmarted-clinton-in-key-battleground-states-6b5d9d415641

Of course, it’s hard to see how, with tens of millions of Americans active on social media, a thousand or so Russian trolls could have had a significant impact — how many of those pestilential buggers did David Brock employ on Hill’s behalf? — but who needs logic.

A rather hilarious variation on this theme is the claim that Russian troll armies were actually writing the “fake news” stories that denigrated Hillary during the campaign:

“The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are looking into the rash of anti-Clinton fake news that originated in Russia and was spread online by Trump supporters in advance of last year’s election.”

http://secondnexus.com/politics-and-economics/investigators-fake-news-now-center-trump-russia-probe/

Apparently, Russian fabulists are supposed to have dreamed up Pizzagate, the neurological problems which Hillary is hiding, the lengthy lists of Clinton opponents who have died mysteriously, Clinton’s raving fits and abuse of Secret Service agents, and just about every story denigratory to Clinton that the MSM won’t touch. Should we give our fellow Americans so little credit for perceptiveness and creative imagination? This has now truly degenerated to the level of farce.

And note the title of this story: Investigators: “Fake News Now at Center of Trump Russia Probe”. Which suggests that at that point we really ARE down to the 1,000 Russian trolls.

I can see the scenario now: “Vladimir Vladimirovich, what are your suggestions for this week’s troll assault?” “Our young friend Donald Donaldovich informs me that Wisconsin, especially the Milwaukee area, could be a fertile ground for the Pizzagate fantasy that Kuryakin dreamed up last month. Give that a try.”

Robert Parry notes: “As for the relatively small number of willfully produced ‘fake news’ stories, none appear to have traced back to Russia despite extensive efforts by the mainstream U.S. media to make the connection. When the U.S. mainstream media has tracked down a source of ‘fake news’, it has turned out to be some young entrepreneur trying to make some money by getting lots of clicks.”

Rather hilariously, Parry discusses a fake news website created by an unemployed Georgian student in Tbilisi who was trying “to make money by promoting pro-Trump stories. The owner of the website, 22-year-old Beqa Latsabidse, said he had initially tried to push stories favorable to Hillary Clinton but that proved unprofitable so he switched to publishing anti-Clinton and pro-Trump articles whether true or not.”

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/28/the-dawn-of-an-orwellian-future/

A vastly hyped claim that a variety of fake accounts, presumed to be associated with the Internet Research Agency of St. Petersburg, had spent a total of about $100K over 2 years to purchase about 3,000 ads on Facebook (annual revenue $27 billion) to promote Trump’s election, allegedly at the behest of the Russian government, has devolved into farce, as Facebook acknowledged that “The vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn’t specifically reference the U.S. presidential election or voting for a particular candidate.” Yet Sen. Warner gravely assures us that this may just be “the tip of an iceberg”.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/09/the-russian-influence-story-falls-apart-a-new-fairy-tale-is-needed.html

I will rapidly skip over the “Trump campaign colluded with the Russians” fantasy because it surpasseth understanding how the Russians would need the permission or guidance of Trump if they did indeed intend to interfere. And yet this has been the chief obsession of our MSM for lo these many months.

This narrative got its start when, in light of claims by intelligence experts that Russia, China, and other nations had very likely hacked Hillary’s private server during her tenure as Secretary of State — and the fact that Hillary’s crew had managed to bleach-bit out of existence tens of thousands of Hillary’s “personal” emails then under court subpoena (with no legal consequences) — Trump joked that Russia should hand over those deleted emails to us to expedite our legal process. The Clinton campaign, echoed by the MSM, chose to interpret this as a treasonous request that Russia hack Hillary’s server — an interpretation that was particularly absurd in light of the fact that Hillary’s SOS server had been offline for many months.

The latest variant on this theme is consternation over a meeting Trump Jr. had with a Russian lawyer whom he was informed had dirt on Clinton which the Russian government was eager to spread. Alas, the lawyer had no such dirt, she denies that she is affiliated with the Russian government or is acting at their direction, and the email which proposed this meeting was from a British music promoter whose credentials as a Kremlinologist are a mite suspect. Moreover, the MSM breathlessly pushing this revelation have neglected to mention that friends of the Clinton campaign paid money to Russian sources — via “piss dossier” entrepreneur Christopher Steele — to invent imaginative slanders of Trump, which, incredibly, were appended to the classified version of the ICA by Clapper.

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/10/forgetting-the-dirty-dossier-on-trump/

It seems to me that that is the documented Russian interference in the election.

And now it is alleged that the music promoter who lied to Trump Jr. when setting up the meeting, as well as the Russian lawyer who attended, are associates of GPS Fusion, the company which concocted the Trump “piss dossier”. Sheer coincidence?

http://www.independent.co.uk/News/world/americas/us-politics/trump-jr-russian-lawyer-steele-dossier-natalia-veselnitskaya-gps-fusion-a7834541.html

Michael Tracey has detected a pattern to the seemingly endless wave of evanescent pseudo-scandals regarding Trump campaign contacts with Russians that have consumed MSM discourse for months:

https://medium.com/theyoungturks/the-basic-formula-for-every-shocking-russia-trump-revelation-e9ae390d9f05

Even if we were to presume that the Russian government did interfere in our recent election, the fact that millions of Americans immediately jumped to the conclusion that Trump and his associates had treasonously acted as co-conspirators in these efforts — in the absence of any evidence, simply because Hillary had suggested it — does not speak well of the intellectual integrity or even sanity of the American public.

But we’re still left with the issue of the 1,000 paid Russian trolls. Surely Clapper can provide us with the names and addresses of these demons — they seem to be in Russia, or Macedonia, or somewhere else sinister; and we want to see the receipts for their payments. Come on James, this is all you’ve got left — you’d better not blow this.**

And by the way, WHERE THE HELL IS MY PAYMENT, VLAD?!

A Personal Coda

So why I am so hellbent on driving a stake through the heart of the Russiagate hoax?

Here’s my perspective. Russia and the Russian people are not our enemies. Our true enemies are the people who are trying to brainwash us into despising and fearing the Russians.

Watch this speech by Bernie delivered to Congress a quarter century ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDOycQrRXUU

Bernie recognized that the collapse of the Soviet Union was our chance to turn away from our catastrophically expensive militarism, and to devote more of our attention and finances to meeting the real needs of the American people. And that goal is still a worthy one.

Russia is not threatening to invade the Baltics or re-establish the Soviet empire — such an aspiration would be totally insane. With respect to Ukraine, the reason there was a Ukrainian civil war is that, after Yanukovich had negotiated a deal with the EU to hold accelerated elections, after which he would step down — a deal which Putin wholly endorsed — neo-Nazi troops stormed the Kiev government buildings, establishing a coup government which the US immediately recognized — thereby rendering moot the Yanukovich/EU deal that would have prevented civil war. After the coup government quickly dropped official recognition of the Russian language, and neo-Nazi gangs burned to death dozens of Russophiles in Odessa, eastern Ukraine rose up in revolt. (What do you think would happen in fly-over America if a coup in Washington DC installed Hillary as President?) Russia helped to make sure their Russian-speaking compatriots in east Ukraine had enough arms to defend themselves from the battalions sent to crush them.

In Crimea, which had been part of the Russian empire for nearly 200 years and where nearly everyone grows up speaking Russian, the duly elected Crimean parliament held a referendum in which the people overwhelmingly endorsed rejoining Russia. The Crimean parliament then petitioned Russia for reunification, which the Russian government gladly assented to. (However, they did not agree to annex any of eastern Ukraine proper). Russia never invaded Crimea, because tens of thousands of Russian troops were already stationed there under a longstanding agreement with Ukraine; Crimea hosts Sevastopol, Russia’s only southern port. Most Americans don’t know, because MSM has never told them, that Khrushchev inexplicably gave Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR in the 1950s without asking the permission of the Crimean people. Most Crimeans consider themselves Russians, a minority are native Tatars (whom Stalin oppressed and exiled) — almost none consider themselves Ukrainian. And the Crimeans appreciate that Russia has a relatively stable economy, whereas Ukraine is now a basket case.

And with respect to Syria, the Russians are acting legally in response to a legitimate request from the Syrian government; they are trying to prevent Syria from being overrun by the psychotic jihadi hordes who have infiltrated Syria and are armed and funded by the CIA, the Saudis, and other bad actors. Only a very small percentage of the so-called “rebels” are actually Syrian. Our MSM have brainwashed the American people on this issue as well as on so much else.

In fact, it is WE who have antagonized Russia. We have completely welshed on the promise we gave Gorbachev that, in return for East Germany being allowed to unite with West Germany and join NATO, we wouldn’t move NATO “a single inch” to the east. Instead, since Bill Clinton’s administration we have expanded NATO steadily to the east, until it is on Russia’s doorstep. The desire of the neocons to now incorporate Ukraine into NATO is a bridge too far for Russia — they will only accept so much humiliation. And Russia sees our ringing of their country with ABMs — under the transparently phony pretext of protecting Europe from nonexistent Iranian nuclear missiles — as an effort to establish first strike capacity. This terrifies the Russians — and should terrify us too, because who knows what the Strangeloves in our Deep State are capable of.

And we in recent years are largely responsible for a string of catastrophic, illegal wars, motivated by capitalist venality and justified with lies, that have devastated much of the Middle East and North Africa. Russia as well as other nations have decried these wars as illegal, but their concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

So tell me what is so terrible about Russia, another capitalist nation that would like to do good business with us, and which reached out to help us after 9/11? Okay, so they have some growing up to do when it comes to gay rights, but 50 years ago we were very backward on that issue too. We should respond by showing them a good example. If their political system is still somewhat authoritarian — that’s their problem to cope with, not ours; it’s not as though our effective plutocracy is ideal. And we are in official alliance with some countries that are grossly authoritarian and horrific on human rights.

And perhaps we should remember and appreciate the fact that it was the incredible heroism and sacrifice of the Russian people that was primarily responsible for the allied victory over Hitler in WWII.

Consider also the treasures of music and literature with which Russia has gifted world civilization.

As to the Russian people themselves, check out these flash mob videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oacelnX3VSQ

N.B.: Irving Berlin was a Russian émigré.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwsAEK7xQDY

These are the people we’re supposed to fear?!

The reason the Deep State needs us to hate Russia is so that we will continue to plow tons of money into the massive boondoggle of NATO — which should have dissolved after the Warsaw pact was dissolved. And hatred and fear is absolutely great for arms sales. Plus Israel wants us to hate Russia because Russia is allied with nations that oppose the land grab of Greater Israel. None of this has anything to do with the real needs of the American people — except for those engaged in weapons production.

The real danger of a new Cold War is not only the massive diversionary expense, but the fact that it greatly increases the risk for a catastrophic nuclear exchange to be triggered accidentally — an exchange that potentially could wipe out not only human civilization, but much of life on earth, owing to nuclear winter. Such accidents nearly occurred several times during the previous Cold War. As long as both we and the Russians have massive nuclear arsenals, it’s very smart indeed for us to get along well with them. Caitlin Johnstone has discoursed eloquently on this point.

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/nuclear-war-is-as-great-a-threat-as-ever-and-the-elites-are-playing-games-with-our-lives-34813e974dd0

What is especially galling about Russiagate to me is that fact that it is the Democrats that are driving this hysteria. Traditionally, during the Cold War, it was the Democrats who were less hawkish — now the situation is flipped on its head, thanks to the fact that Trump’s common sense tells him that getting along with Russia is smart. (God knows I’m no fan of the unqualified buffoon Trump, but his instincts on Russia are on target. Whether the neo-cons whom he inexplicably has appointed to his administration allow him to make any progress on this score remains to be seen.)

Here’s an idea — how about we take to heart Rodney King’s admonition — “Why can’t we all get along?” Step back and realize that, in many ways we really do have a wonderful world. We can enjoy Thai cuisine, Russian and German symphonies, fine French wines, fuel-efficient Japanese cars, American jazz and popular music, world soccer, Italian opera, the range of American sports, English drama, Chinese art, Jamaican reggae — the fusion of all the world’s great cultures can give us a very rich life. With a few notable but rather paltry exceptions like the jihadi psychotics of ISIS, the peoples of the world are eager to get along with each other and collaborate in making the world better for all of us. They are eager to cooperate in minimizing the damage done by global warming, to establish trade deals that protect the interests not only of plutocrats, but of workers, consumers, and the environment, to enjoy the cultural riches which each society can bring to the table. We need to minimize the scourge of war by returning to the principles of international law — which our own great Eleanor Roosevelt helped to establish. The baseless hysteria of Russiagate has no place in such a world — nor does the neo-con-fueled obsession of the US to dominate all other nations by force of arms. Let’s get our act together America, and join the rest of the world in mutual respect and appreciation. Let’s fight our wars on soccer fields, basketball courts, and in Olympic stadia. Let’s just be cool.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

*With respect to the Guccifer 2.0 data transfer event discussed here, Scott Ritter has pointed out that forensic analysis cannot prove that the computer from which these data were transferred was a DNC computer; in other words it is theoretically possible that the data involved had been transferred from the DNC earlier, and that the transfer analyzed reflected subsequent transfer of these data from one storage device to another. If this rather dubious (but possible) scenario were true, it would evidently negate the importance of the data transfer speed. However, the conclusion stands that this transfer occurred on the East Coast of the US, and hence did not involve Russian hackers. If we assume that Russian hackers had accessed this data at an earlier date, why would this data subsequently be transferred between two devices on the US East Coast, prior to its ultimate publication? And the counterargument that Guccifer 2.0 might have altered time zone settings on his computer to mask Russian involvement, is impossible to square with the fact that, in June, he was falsifying clues to point to Russia.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/time_to_reassess_roles_of_guccifer_20_and_russia_in_dnc_hack_20170727

The intelligence agencies’ claim that Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian hacker lacks any credibility whatever.

**On the heels of Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians for “election meddling” — which occasioned a barrage of outraged bloviating from our MSM, likening the Russian action to “an act of war” — the highly astute German political analyst who goes by the nom de plume “Moon of Alabama” has decisively clarified our understanding of the Russian trolls:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02/mueller-indictement-the-russian-influence-is-a-commercial-marketing-scheme.html

The trolls affiliated with Internet Research Agency created dozens of web pages catering to specific points of view or interests, often associated with certain assumed personas; they drove viewers to these pages with provocative ads or social postings; and they made money by selling ad space on the pages. This perfectly explains why the content posted by the trolls was so chaotic in focus: they were trying to harvest eyes from as many market segments as possible, to meet the needs of every potential client. This diversity of focus has been interpreted as “sowing chaos” — as opposed to “stimulating interest in public affairs” — in line with the dictates of Deep State Russophobia.

There is no evidence — or claim in the Mueller indictment — that the activities of the Internet Research Agency were directed or funded by the Russian government.

The indictment pinpoints 13 Facebook ads placed by the trolls — out of some 3,000 total — which bashed Hillary or supported Trump; the placement of these ads did indeed break the law because it is not legal for foreigners to buy ads advocating for or against candidates during an election. If these ads were purchased for the average price the trolls paid for Facebook ads, they would have cost about $500. The other ad purchases (leaving out of consideration ads boosting Hillary or denigrating Trump which the indictment may purposely have failed to mention, so as to sustain its phony narrative) were legal, as were the trolls’ other social media posts. So the MSM currently expects us to believe that about $500 in online ads placed by Russians not affiliated with the Russian government are, in the words of some pundits, a second Pearl Harbor.

And it is important to note that these 13 electioneering ads represented a miniscule fraction of the trolls’ online postings. There is zero reason to believe that swinging the election to Trump was a key goal of the trolls, as the VP for advertising at Facebook admits:

https://twitter.com/robjective/status/964680122950234112

So Mueller has hilariously misconstrued a profit-seeking troll farm as a felonious foreign influence campaign. (Or at least that is what he affects to believe.)

So at this point, 7 month after the first draft of this essay, with the Russian troll issue at last put to rest, it seems clear that there never was any there there — that Russiagate is a hoax and paranoid fantasy from first to last. No, Russia did not provide Assange with the DNC/Podesta emails — it was a leak, not a hack. No, the Russian government did not try to hack into US voter rolls — cybercriminals were seeking saleable personal info. No, the Russian government did not employ an army of internet trolls to sway the election — a profit-seeking private Russian troll farm was creating a chaotic range of web personas to sell online advertising. These interpretations are by far the most rational based on the information at hand. The reason why Trump is convinced that Putin is convinced that Russia did not interfere is that — Russia did not interfere.

A straightforward corollary is that suspicions that the Trump campaign assisted or promised to reward the Russian government for its non-existent interference, are farcical. The now-20-month-long investigation of the Trump campaign for its non-collusion was necessarily motivated and driven by lies and paranoid fantasies, and entailed gross violations of the 4th Amendment right to privacy. The fomenters of this witch hunt must be criminally scanctioned, as a warning to those in our Deep State who might be tempted to victimize others in this way.

Those that knowingly hoaxed the public to create the interference narrative, and those in the Deep State and MSM who propagated the narrative publicly out of careerism, with a total lack of intellectual integrity, making no effort at rational analysis of the facts at hand, I view as war criminals.

Note: Published originally on the Way of the Bern subreddit.

Mark McCarty is a biomedical theoretician/applied nutritionist who occasionally dabbles in political writing when he becomes sufficiently appalled and terrified.

August 20, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s the FBI’s Role in the #TaosCompound Scandal?

corbettreport | August 16, 2018

Welcome back to New World Next Week – the video series from Corbett Report and Media Monarchy that covers some of the most important developments in open source intelligence news. This week:

Story #1: New Mexico Judge Cries Islamophobia In Decision To Free Jihadi Compound Suspects
https://bit.ly/2MPdfkp

New Mexico Compound Judge Has History Of Issuing Low Bail To Violent Offenders
https://fxn.ws/2OBe1lp

Man Arrested At Alleged Child-Terrorist-Training Compound In New Mexico Is Son Of Imam With Possible Link To 1993 World Trade Center Bombing
https://bit.ly/2vM3lcN

Authorities Already Partially Bulldozed #TaosCompound, Birth Certificates Left At Scene?
https://bit.ly/2KXSUr8

No #TaosCompound Suspects Have Actually Been Released As Of August 15
https://bit.ly/2BfjXPk

How Long Have The Feds Actually Known About #TaosCompound?
https://bit.ly/2Mf4WSJ

NM Tragedy: Could the FBI Have Saved the Boy?
https://bit.ly/2MNwsmi

Story #2: Iran Bans Talks With US After Roll Back Of Sanctions; US Threatens Sanctions On Europe
https://bit.ly/2OBemo7

Why China Will Continue To Buy Iranian Crude
https://bit.ly/2KVnHFg

Story #3: Apocalypse 2040? Shock As MIT Computer Model Predicts End Date for Civilisation
https://bit.ly/2w0xIvk

Computer Predicts The End Of Civilisation (1973)
https://bit.ly/2MNxcb7

Corbett Report: “Club Of Rome” Search Archive
https://bit.ly/2OD9y1y

Good News This Week!
https://bit.ly/2w7EvDG

#GoodNewsNextWeek: Town Loses Police Force, World Still Turns
https://bit.ly/2BeHTSH

You can help support our independent and non-commercial work by visiting http://CorbettReport.com/Support & http://MediaMonarchy.com/Support. Thank You.

August 16, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

The Real “Fake News” From Government Media

By Scott Lazarowitz | ActivistPost | July 31, 2018

Facebook has announced its campaign against “fake news.” But, according to some workers’ own admission, conservatives are being censored.

And Google also wants to censor “fake news.” But Google also was shown to treat conservative websites, but not liberal ones, as “fake news.”

The same thing seems to be going on with Twitter. And again, conservatives are complaining.

But who is to decide what is “fake news”? Who will be Facebook and Google’s sources for real news?

In 2013 the U.S. Senate considered a new a shield law to protect journalists. In the lawmakers’ attempts to narrow the definition of a journalist, some Senators including Sen. Dianne Feinstein only wanted to include reporters with “professional qualifications.”

“Professional” publications such as the New York Times, the “Paper of Record,” would apparently be protected.

So one can conclude that the New York Times can be a source of “real” news for Facebook or Google, despite all the Times‘ errorsscrew-ups, and corrections, right?

According to one NYT former reporter, the Times has been a “propaganda megaphone” for war. Also a partner with the CIA to promote Obama’s reelection bid.

Or CNN, “The Most Trusted Name in News” which wins its own “fake news” awards with its errorsscrew-ups and corrections.

During the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign, there were collusions between then-CNN contributor and DNC operative Donna Brazile, who was outed by WikiLeaks in her giving candidate Hillary Clinton questions in advance for a CNN Town Hall.

Other emails that were leaked to WikiLeaks informed us that reporters obediently followed instructions from the Hillary Clinton campaign on how to cover the campaign. These include reporters from the New York Times such as Maggie Haberman who said the campaign would “tee up stories for us,” and Mark Leibovich, who would email Clinton flunky Jennifer Palmieri for editing recommendations.

And Politico reporter Glenn Thrush asked Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta for approval of stories on Clinton. Thrush was then hired by the New York Times. After Thrush was then suspended from NYT over allegations of sexual misconduct, the Times ended the suspension, stating that while Thrush had “acted offensively,” he would be trained to behave himself. Hmm.

But all this from the 2016 campaign reminded me of the “JournoLists,” the group of news journalists who participated in a private forum online from 2007-2010. The forum was to enable news reporters to discuss news reporting and political issues in private and with candor, but also, it was revealed, to discuss ways to suppress negative news on then-2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama.

For instance, according to the Daily Caller, some members of the group discussed their criticism of a 2008 debate in which Obama was questioned on his association with the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The Nation‘s Richard Kim wrote that George Stephanopoulos was “being a disgusting little rat snake.” The Guardian‘s Michael Tomasky wrote that “we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy.”

Spencer Ackerman, then with the Washington Independent and now of the Daily Beastwrote, “If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”

The Nation‘s Chris Hayes wrote, “Our country disappears people. It tortures people. It has the blood of as many as one million Iraqi civilians — men, women, children, the infirmed — on its hands. You’ll forgive me if I just can’t quite dredge up the requisite amount of outrage over Barack Obama’s pastor.”

(But has Hayes criticized Obama’s assassination program, or Obama’s bombings or the blood on Obama’s hands? Just askin’)

In an open letter, according to the Daily Caller, several of the JournoList members called the ABC debate a “revolting descent into tabloid journalism,” because of the moderators’ legitimate questions on Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

So, in today’s Bizarro World, objectively questioning a candidate on a controversial issue is now “tabloid journalism,” but making things up like “Trump-Russia collusions” and repeating the propaganda over and over – that’s not “tabloid journalism.”

The JournoLists also included reporters from Time, the Baltimore Sun, the New Republic, Politico, and Huffington Post.

Now, are those the sources of “real news” that Facebook, Google and Twitter want to rely upon to combat “fake news”?

And who exactly were the “JournoLists” promoting? Obama?

Regarding Obama’s own crackdown on actual journalism, Fox News reporter James Rosen was accused by the feds of being a “co-conspirator” with State Department leaker Stephen Jin-Woo Kim in violating the Espionage Act. Rosen’s correspondences with Kim were seized by Obama’s FBI, along with Rosen’s personal email and phone records. The FBI also used records to track Rosen’s visits to the State Department.

Apparently, then-attorney general Eric Holder went “judge-shopping” to find a judge who would approve subpoenaing Rosen’s private records, after two judges rejected the request.

Commenting on James Rosen and the FBI’s abuse of powers, Judge Andrew Napolitano observed that “this is the first time that the federal government has moved to this level of taking ordinary, reasonable, traditional, lawful reporter skills and claiming they constitute criminal behavior.”

And there was the Obama administration’s going after then-CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, possibly for her reporting on Benghazi and Fast and Furious. Attkisson finally resigned from CBS news out of frustration with the company’s alleged pro-Obama bias and with CBS’s apparently not airing her subsequent reports.

In 2013 CBS News confirmed that Attkisson’s computers had been “accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions.” In 2015 Attkisson sued the Obama administration, claiming to have evidence which proves the computer intrusions were connected to the Obama DOJ.

In Attkisson’s latest lawsuit update, after her computer was returned to her following the DOJ Inspector General’s investigation, her forensics team now believes her computer’s hard drive was replaced by a different one.

Now back to “fake news.”

After Donald Trump locked up the Republican Presidential nomination in May, 2016, there were significant events in the next two months. Fusion GPS and former British spy Christopher Steele colluded to get opposition research on behalf of Hillary Clinton, the FBI applied for a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign associates, and Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner had a possibly set-up meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.

Also within that same period, the DNC claimed that its computers were hacked but the DNC wouldn’t let FBI investigate. The Washington Post published an article claiming, with no evidence presented, that “Russian government hackers” took DNC opposition research on Trump.

It was very shortly after the November, 2016 Presidential election that the Washington Post published an article on a “Russian propaganda effort to spread ‘fake news’ during the election.” To escalate the media’s censorship campaign perhaps?

The campaign against “fake news” coincided with Obama minions at FBI, DOJ and CIA apparently panicking over a possible Trump presidency and their allegedly abusing their powers to attempt to take down Trump.

So the news media seem to be on a crusade to fabricate “Trump-Russia collusions” and repeat it over and over, and to vilify, ignore and squash actual investigative research and reporting on what exactly the FBI and DOJ bureaucrats have been doing. Call such real investigative reporting “fake news,” “conspiracy theory,” and so forth.

In the end, Facebook, Twitter and Google might want to reconsider relying on the mainstream news media led by the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN, and instead include citizen journalists and non-government-sycophant media to provide news and information.

UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh has noted that the Founders generally viewed the freedom of the Press to apply to every citizen to print, publish or express accounts of events. We really need to highlight that kind of old-fashioned, honest journalism.

August 3, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA Are in Charge

By Jacob G. Hornberger – FFF – July 27, 2018

The U.S. mainstream press can easily recognize the dominant and influential role that the military plays in society, so long as they are referring to countries like Pakistan and Egypt. Unfortunately, the same reporters and commentators turn a blind eye to the similar phenomenon here in the United States.

For example, the Washington Post writes: “When not in power, [Pakistan’s generals] have exerted outsize control over foreign policy, the economy, and local politics.” The New York Times writes: “Even during civilian rule, the country’s generals have wielded enormous power, setting the agenda for the country’s foreign and security policies…. As prime minister, Mr. Sharif ran afoul of the military early on by trying to assert control over foreign and defense policy, which is seen as the army’s domain.”

It’s the same in Egypt. Newsweek points out that after the military coup that ousted democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi from office, “The army stepped in…. Five years on from the coup, the military government — led by general-turned-president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi — has established a firm grip on the nation….”

Meanwhile, not surprisingly, the U.S. government is flooding the Egyptian military with hundreds of millions of dollars that the IRS has forcibly taken from the American people.

What the mainstream media and, unfortunately, all too many Americans, fail to recognize is that the Egyptian, Pakistani, and American governments all have a fundamental governmental principle in common: All three are national-security states and, consequently, in all three regimes the military and intelligence sections of the government play the dominant role within the government and within society.

What is a national-security state? It is a type of government that has a vast and permanent military-intelligence establishment. Secrecy is a core element, with threats of severe punishment on anyone who discloses secrets of the regime.

The most important principle of a national-security state is, not surprisingly, a concept called “national security.” Everything revolves around recognizing and eradicating threats to “national security.” There is no established definition of “national security.” The military and the intelligence forces wield the omnipotent and non-reviewable power to determine who and what constitutes a threat to ”national security” and the omnipotent and non-reviewable power to eradicate it.

In Pakistan and Egypt, the entire national-security establishment is subsumed in what is simply referred to as “the military.” In the United States, the national-security establishment is divided principally into three parts: the vast military establishment, led by the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. I say “principally” because to a certain extent the FBI, over time, has been absorbed into the national-security establishment.

What many Americans fail to realize is that the United States wasn’t always a national-security state. When the Constitution called the federal government into existence, the federal government was a limited-government republic. The size of the army was extremely small and there was no CIA, NSA, or FBI. There was no concept of “national security.” Transparency, not secrecy, characterized the republic.

That all changed after World War II. Americans were told that in order to successfully confront America’s World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union, in a “cold war,” it would be necessary to convert the federal government from a limited-government republic into a national-security state, which is what the Soviet Union was.

That’s how America ended up with essentially the same type of governmental system that exists in Pakistan and Egypt. It’s also how the country ended up with such programs as assassination, torture, indefinite detention, mass surveillance, and denial of due process, none of which existed when the federal government was a limited-government republic.

What many Americans also fail to recognize is that it’s the national-security establishment that is really the part of the federal government that is in charge, especially when it comes to foreign policy. That’s why President Trump was unable to pull U.S. troops out of Syria after expressing a desire to do so — the Pentagon wouldn’t permit it. It’s also why he was unable to release the CIA’s long-secret JFK records last fall, as he announced he was going to do and as the law required — the CIA wouldn’t permit it. It’s why Americans continue to be saddled under a regime that engages in mass secret surveillance, no different in principle from that which exists in Pakistan and Egypt — the NSA will not permit the federal courts to interfere with its surveillance operations. It’s why no congressional candidate would ever dare to call for a dismantling of military installations or projects in his district — the Pentagon as well as the local press would skewer him.

When it comes to enforcing the Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal judiciary are permitted to maintain an appearance of being ultimately in charge but only up to a certain point. That’s why there are people in Guantanamo Bay who have now been incarcerated by the Pentagon and the CIA for 14 years without a trial.

A book that every American should read is National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon, professor of law at Tufts University. Glennon explains perfectly how the U.S. national-security state works compared to nations like Pakistan and Egypt.

In those countries, the control of the national-security establishment is direct, while in the United States it is indirect. Here, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA permit the president, the Congress, and the judiciary to appear to be in control of the federal government. But as Glennon shows, it’s just a veneer. The real control lies with the part of the government that wields the largest amount of force, and that part consists of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.

Recall what George Washington is reputed to have said, “Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is force.” But not all parts of the government are equal. Some wield more force than others. It is undeniable that the national-security part of the government wields the most force of all.

If anyone in Washington, D.C., had doubts about the overwhelming power of the U.S. national-security establishment, such doubts came to an end on November 22, 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated after taking on the military and the CIA. (See FFF’s book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne and my new video-podcast series “The National-Security State’s Assassination of John F. Kennedy.) Kennedy had reputedly vowed to tear the CIA into a thousand pieces, to end the racket of the Cold War, to withdraw all U.S. troops from Vietnam, and to normalize relations with Russia, Cuba, and the rest of the communist world, all of which, needless to say, was considered heresy to the national-security establishment. Suddenly, after Dallas, it dawned on everyone in Washington that there was a new sheriff in town, one that would not countenance any threat to the power of the national-security establishment and, of course, to its existence, just like in Pakistan and Egypt. That’s undoubtedly a lesson that President Trump himself is now learning.

July 27, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , , | 1 Comment

High Crimes and Misdemeanors – Not by Trump but Obama and Democrats

By Ajamu Baraka | Black Agenda Report | July 25, 2018

Increasing evidence emerges that confirms what ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern suggests was a classic off-the-shelf intelligence operation initiated during the last year of Obama’s presidency against the Trump campaign by employees of, and others associated with, the CIA, FBI, and the NS. Yet the public is being counseled to ignore possible proof of state misconduct.

The historic and unprecedented timing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of twelve Russia military intelligence officers on the eve of Trump’s meeting with Putin, was clearly meant to undercut Trump’s authority. This still did not pique the journalistic curiosity of an ostensibly independent press to at least pretend to question the possible motivation for these indictments at such a specific moment. Instead of critical questions, Democrats, along with the corporate liberal media, flipped the script and suggested that those questioning the allegations of Russian manipulation of the 2016 U.S. elections, which supposedly included the active or tacit support of the Trump campaign, was ipso-facto evidence of one’s disloyalty to the state — if not also complicit with implementing the Russia inspired conspiracy.

This narrative has been set and is meant to be accepted as veracious and impermeable to challenges. Powerful elements of the ruling class, operating with and through the Democratic party in an attempt to secure maximum electoral success, decided that Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia shall be the primary narrative to be utilized by Democrats — from the increasing phony opposition represented by the Sanders wing of the party, to the neoliberal, buck-dancing members of the Congressional Black Caucus. All are expected to fall in line and do the ruling class’s bidding.

When Trump met with the arch-enemy Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and didn’t declare war on Russia for conspiring against Clinton, charges of treason were splashed across the headlines and editorial pages of the elite press with some of the loudest denunciations coming from Black liberals.

Not being at war with Russia, at least not in the technical sense, was just one of those inconvenient facts that didn’t need to get in the way of the main objective, which was to smear Trump.

And while evidence of collusion continues to surface, it’s actually not between Trump and the Russians, rather it’s between intelligence officials in the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign. The latest revelation of this evidence was reported by John Solomon in, The Hill, a Washington insider publication. According to Solomon, former FBI attorney Lisa Page gave testimony to the House Judiciary committee that seemed to confirm the partisan intentions of Peter Strzok and other high officials in the agency.

Page was one of the authors of the infamous text messages between her and Peter Strzok (the two were also in a personal relationship at the time) while they both worked together at the FBI. The texts soon became the objective of endless speculation ever since they were revealed last summer. Exchanges shared between Strzok and Page during the 2016 campaign season, appear to point to Strzok’ participation in a vast conspiracy to gather intelligence on the Trump campaign and then to undermine his presidency on the unexpected chance of his election.

“There’s no big there there.”

Two days after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named Mueller as special counsel, Strzok, who at that time was the lead investigator on the Russia probe texted, “There’s no big there there.”

Peter Strzok wasn’t just a minor bureaucrat with the bureau, as some outlets tried to imply in their coverage of the issue. He was the Chief of the FBI’s Counterespionage Section, and lead investigator into Clinton’s use of a personal server. He then led the FBI’s investigation of Russia interference as the Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Division until he was replaced in the summer of 2017.

Page confirmed that the no “there there” was in fact the quality of the Russia investigation. This means that a special counsel was appointed even though key FBI officials knew that there wasn’t anything there.

Page’s testimony provides strong confirmation that the decision by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to name Mueller as special counsel, who then brought in Strzok to lead the Russia-gate team, was not an objective, innocent affair. In actuality, it points to criminal use of the government’s counterintelligence capabilities to engage in a partisan manipulation of the electoral process.

Some liberals, and even some radicals, pose questions like, “Even if those officials engaged in questionable activity, why should that be of concern for progressive forces, especially since this presidency represents the forefront of a neo-fascist movement in the U.S?”

There are three interconnected reasons why progressives should be concerned:

First: The normalization of the assault on bourgeois democracy: If elements of the capitalist class, in coordination with the major intelligence agencies, can successfully conspire to undermine and/or control an individual duly elected by the processes of U.S. democracy, as flawed as it may be, what does it suggest for a strategy that sees the electoral arena as a primary space for advancing progressive candidates and oppositional movements?

The ruling class will go to great depths to maintain power: The fact that elements of the ruling class are prepared to undermine a member of their own class because that individual represents social forces that the financial and corporatist elite have determined are a threat to their interests must make us question “What would happen if a true radical was able to win high office? We are already seeing the effects as so-called progressives and radicals are aligning with and supporting these elements due to their shared hatred for Trump is still largely a reactionary approach that contains no long-term strategy for building and sustaining actual power.

Second: By aligning politically with the U.S. based transnational ruling class that sees Trump as a threat to their interests, liberals and some left forces have abandoned positions and left them to the radical right, with the objective result of providing support for the very same narrow, racist, U.S.-centric, and proto-fascist forces that liberals and the left claim to be opposed to.

The critique and rejection of NATO, supporting de-escalation of tensions with Russia, exposing hegemony of finance capital, revealing the anti-democratic nature of the European Union, opposing international “trade” agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and trans-Atlantic Investment Partnership, demanding that U.S. forces withdraw from Syria and questioning the role of Saudi Arabia in spreading right-wing Wahhabism throughout the world, are now positions taken up by the right because the imperial left has aligned itself with the agenda of transnational capital and its imperialist objectives in lieu of presenting a people’s agenda.

Third: Consequently, the criticism of Trump’s foreign policies, including approaches on North Korea and Russia by Democrats, is coming from positions to the right of Trump! The result is a political environment in which the possibility of escalating military conflicts with Russia, Iran or even at some point with China, is becoming a more normalized and realistic possibility.

The Clinton News Network (CNN) along with MSNBC, the Washington Post and New York Times are desperately trying to salvage the underlying theme of the assault on the Trump administration: that it’s supposed collusion with foreign sources, specifically the Russians, may have had a significant impact on why Clinton lost the election. And they also hold that any deviation from that declaration by Trump and his administration are just attempts at obstruction of justice.

With the revelations about the role and activities of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the Comey leak to the press, with the express purpose to create a pretext for the appointment of a special counsel, the placing of an FBI informant in the Trump campaign, the role of Andrew McCabe in covering up for his subordinates and leaking classified information to the press, the “primary narrative” of the Democrat party and liberals is starting to unravel.

Abuse of state power is nothing new.

This would not be the first time that powerful unelected elements in the state have moved to manipulate political outcomes based on an agenda that the public had no knowledge of or even to remove a president. People have forgotten or didn’t make the correct connection that the famous source of information that brought down Richard Nixon, Bernstein’s and Woodman’s “deep throat” was Mark Felt, the Associate Director of the FBI!

And like the question raised to Nixon and Watergate then, but will only be raised by the Black Agenda Report today is, “What did Obama know and when did he know it?”


Ajamu Baraka is the national organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace and was the 2016 candidate for vice president on the Green Party ticket. His latest publications include contributions to Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi. He can be reached at: Ajamubaraka.com

July 25, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments