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‘My Work is Rock Solid’: Researcher Defends Google Electioneering Findings Bashed by Clinton

Sputnik – August 30, 2019

When US President Donald Trump cited a report on Google’s election manipulation last week, Hillary Clinton and the mainstream media attacked both the study and its author as inaccurate. However, the author told Sputnik not only is his research “rock solid,” its damning indictment of Google includes Clinton and the Democrats, too.

“I have concerns about three big areas: one is surveillance, the second is censorship, and the third, which is the one I focus on in my research, is manipulation,” Dr. Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, told Radio Sputnik’s Fault Lines [Interview begins at 132:30] Thursday. His findings were cited in August 19 tweets by both Clinton and Trump in their continuing spat over the results of the 2016 election, when they found themselves at odds over who would become the 45th US president.

“Both of those assertions are completely false; my work is rock solid,” he told Sputnik, referring to Clinton’s claim that his work was debunked and had relied on a tiny data selection. “It adheres to the very highest standards of scientific research; it always has.”

“We have this false impression that Google provides a bunch of free services and that that’s all Google is,” he said. “They’re not free services! Those services are all just … gussied-up surveillance platforms. And then they take the information and they sell it to advertisers, and that has produced almost 90% of their revenue for almost 20 years. They’re an advertising company.”

Epstein first sought to dispel the idea that he had it out for either Clinton or Google.

“I’ve been a supporter of the Clintons, period, for decades,” he clarified to hosts Garland Nixon and Lee Stranahan, also noting, “I admire Google. They’re an amazing, amazing company.”

Remarking about his research into the impact of search result placement on the opinions of the information-seekers, Epstein said, “I’ve learned not just about search results but about all kinds of new ways in which these big tech platforms, particularly Google, can shift opinions about anything, can shift millions of votes, without anyone knowing they’re being influenced and without leaving a paper trail for authorities to trace.”

“My first big, big report, on what I call SEME – Search Engine Manipulation Effect – the power that search results have to shift opinions and votes massively around the world, that report was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” he said, noting it was ranked in the top 1% of the academy’s papers.

Epstein said Clinton got the assertion that his study had been debunked and that it relied on 21 people, instead of tens of thousands, “from Google,” noting that she obviously didn’t look into his research.

“I kinda get it: she has a very cozy relationship with Google. I could talk for an hour about just that issue: I mean, her number 1 donor in 2016 was Google; her chief technology officer, Stephanie Hannon, was a former Google executive; the head of Google, Eric Schmidt, offered to run her tech campaign in writing,” Epstein said. “And he set up a secretive tech company called ‘The Groundwork,’ that he ran and he financed, as the head of Google, the sole purpose of which was to put Hillary Clinton into office.”

However, Clinton’s criticisms of Epstein soon grabbed the attention of the mainstream media, and through a mix of ‘telephone game’ and dramatic amplification soon reached absurd proportions. “I mean, everywhere, I’ve been slaughtered, I’ve been crucified,” he said.

“My research has opened up a Pandora’s Box, because my research shows that if the platform itself – Google – if the platform itself wants to favor one music service or one comparative shopping service or one candidate or one party, guess what? There’s no way you can counteract that. And it turns out that those search rankings are so powerful in shifting opinions that they can easily flip elections,” he said.

A recent Google casualty might be anti-monopolist presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who has opened a $50 million lawsuit alleging that Google arbitrarily suspended her presidential campaign’s advertising account during a key fundraising period following the first Democratic debate in late June, when she was the most-searched among all candidates in the debate. Now that she has failed to qualify for the third debate, for which one of the key requirements was meeting certain fundraising goals, the damage done to the candidate by Google’s suspension is palpable.

Epstein admitted that Google’s “ephemeral” search results, uniquely generated for each person, were impossible to track – at first. That made it hard to prove in practice that such a biased influence exists. “In 2016, I built the first-ever system for monitoring search results, and I captured 13,207 election-related searches – not just on Google, [but on] Google, Bing and Yahoo – and the 98,000 web pages to which the search results linked, analyzed the data, found tremendous pro-Hillary Clinton bias on Google, but not on Bing or Yahoo.”

“I believe in democracy and our country and the free and fair election more than I believe in any particular candidate or party, period,” Epstein told Sputnik, noting he’d said the same in his testimony before Congress earlier this month. “So I am reporting what I have found, and it’s very disturbing, and it’s a serious threat to the free and fair election, to democracy, to human autonomy … I’m just speaking the truth about what I have found, and what I have found is rock solid and extremely, extremely frightening.”

“And it’s affected not just the United States: Google, and to a lesser extent Facebook, are impacting the opinions, attitudes, purchases, beliefs, votes, of more than 2-and-a-half billion people in virtually every country in the world,” he said. “That number will soon be over 4 billion people.”

August 30, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

America’s Benevolent Bombing of Serbia

By James Bovard | FFF | August 16, 2019

Twenty years ago, President Bill Clinton commenced bombing Serbia in the name of human rights, justice, and ethnic tolerance. Approximately 1,500 Serb civilians were killed by NATO bombing in one of the biggest sham morality plays of the modern era. As British professor Philip Hammond recently noted, the 78-day bombing campaign “was not a purely military operation: NATO also destroyed what it called ‘dual-use’ targets, such as factories, city bridges, and even the main television building in downtown Belgrade, in an attempt to terrorise the country into surrender.”

Clinton’s unprovoked attack on Serbia, intended to help ethnic Albanians seize control of Kosovo, set a precedent for “humanitarian” warring that was invoked by supporters of George W. Bush’s unprovoked attack on Iraq, Barack Obama’s bombing of Libya, and Donald Trump’s bombing of Syria.

Clinton remains a hero in Kosovo, and there is an 11-foot statue of him standing in the capitol, Pristina, on Bill Clinton Boulevard. A commentator in the United Kingdom’s Guardian newspaper noted that the statue showed Clinton “with a left hand raised, a typical gesture of a leader greeting the masses. In his right hand he is holding documents engraved with the date when NATO started the bombardment of Serbia, 24 March 1999.” It would have been a more accurate representation if Clinton was shown standing on the corpses of the women, children, and others killed in the U.S. bombing campaign.

Bombing Serbia was a family affair in the Clinton White House. Hillary Clinton revealed to an interviewer in the summer of 1999, “I urged him to bomb. You cannot let this go on at the end of a century that has seen the major holocaust of our time. What do we have NATO for if not to defend our way of life?” A biography of Hillary Clinton, written by Gail Sheehy and published in late 1999, stated that Mrs. Clinton had refused to talk to the president for eight months after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. She resumed talking to her husband only when she phoned him and urged him in the strongest terms to begin bombing Serbia; the president began bombing within 24 hours. Alexander Cockburn observed in the Los Angeles Times,

It’s scarcely surprising that Hillary would have urged President Clinton to drop cluster bombs on the Serbs to defend “our way of life.” The first lady is a social engineer. She believes in therapeutic policing and the duty of the state to impose such policing. War is more social engineering, “fixitry” via high explosive, social therapy via cruise missile…. As a tough therapeutic cop, she does not shy away from the most abrupt expression of the therapy: the death penalty.

I followed the war closely from the start, but selling articles to editors bashing the bombing was as easy as pitching paeans to Scientology. Instead of breaking into newsprint, my venting occurred instead in my journal:

April 7, 1999: Much of the media and most of the American public are evaluating Clinton’s Serbian policy based on the pictures of the bomb damage — rather than by asking whether there is any coherent purpose or justification for bombing. The ultimate triumph of photo opportunities…. What a travesty and national disgrace for this country.

April 17: My bottom line on the Kosovo conflict: I hate holy wars. And this is a holy war for American good deeds — or for America’s saintly self-image? Sen. John McCain said the war is necessary to “uphold American values.” Make me barf! Just another … Hitler-of-the-month attack.

May 13: This damn Serbian war … is a symbol of all that is wrong with the righteous approach to the world … and to problems within this nation.

The KLA

The Kosovo Liberation Army’s savage nature was well known before the Clinton administration formally christened them “freedom fighters” in 1999. The previous year, the State Department condemned “terrorist action by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army.” The KLA was heavily involved in drug trafficking and had close to ties to Osama bin Laden. Arming the KLA helped Clinton portray himself as a crusader against injustice and shift public attention after his impeachment trial. Clinton was aided by many congressmen eager to portray U.S. bombing as an engine of righteousness. Sen. Joe Lieberman whooped that the United States and the KLA “stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.”

In early June 1999, the Washington Post reported that “some presidential aides and friends are describing [bombing] Kosovo in Churchillian tones, as Clinton’s ‘finest hour.’” Clinton administration officials justified killing civilians because, it alleged the Serbs were committing genocide in Kosovo. After the bombing ended, no evidence of genocide was found, but Clinton and Britain’s Tony Blair continued boasting as if their war had stopped a new Hitler in his tracks.

In a speech to American troops in a Thanksgiving 1999 visit, Clinton declared that the Kosovar children “love the United States … because we gave them their freedom back.” Perhaps Clinton saw freedom as nothing more than being tyrannized by people of the same ethnicity. As the Serbs were driven out of Kosovo, Kosovar Albanians became increasingly oppressed by the KLA, which ignored its commitment to disarm. The Los Angeles Times reported on November 20, 1999,

As a postwar power struggle heats up in Kosovo Albanian politics, extremists are trying to silence moderate leaders with a terror campaign of kidnappings, beatings, bombings, and at least one killing. The intensified attacks against members of the moderate Democratic League of Kosovo, or LDK, have raised concerns that radical ethnic Albanians are turning against their own out of fear of losing power in a democratic Kosovo.

American and NATO forces stood by as the KLA resumed its ethnic cleansing, slaughtering Serbian civilians, bombing Serbian churches, and oppressing non-Muslims. Almost a quarter million Serbs, Gypsies, Jews, and other minorities fled Kosovo after Clinton promised to protect them. In March 2000 renewed fighting broke out when the KLA launched attacks into Serbia, trying to seize territory that it claimed historically belonged to ethnic Albanians. UN Human Rights Envoy Jiri Dienstbier reported that “the [NATO] bombing hasn’t solved any problems. It only multiplied the existing problems and created new ones. The Yugoslav economy was destroyed. Kosovo is destroyed. There are hundreds of thousands of people unemployed now.”

U.S. complicity in atrocities

Prior to the NATO bombing, American citizens had no responsibility for atrocities committed by either Serbs or ethnic Albanians. However, after American planes bombed much of Serbia into rubble to drive the Serbian military out of Kosovo, Clinton effectively made the United States responsible for the safety of the remaining Serbs in Kosovo. That was equivalent to forcibly disarming a group of people, and then standing by, whistling and looking at the ground, while they are slaughtered. Since the United States promised to bring peace to Kosovo, Clinton bears some responsibility for every burnt church, every murdered Serbian grandmother, every new refugee column streaming north out of Kosovo. Despite those problems, Clinton bragged at a December 8, 1999, press conference that he was “very, very proud” of what the United States had done in Kosovo.

I had a chapter on the Serbian bombing campaign titled “Moralizing with Cluster Bombs” in Feeling Your Pain: The Explosion and Abuse of Government Power in the Clinton–Gore Years (St. Martin’s Press, 2000), which sufficed to spur at least one or two reviewers to attack the book. Norman Provizer, the director of the Golda Meir Center for Political Leadership, scoffed in the Denver Rocky Mountain News, “Bovard chastises Clinton for an illegal, undeclared war in Kosovo without ever bothering to mention that, during the entire run of American history, there have been but four official declarations of war by Congress.”

As the chaotic situation in post-war Kosovo became stark, it was easier to work in jibes against the debacle. In an October 2002 USA Today article (“Moral High Ground Not Won on Battlefield“) bashing the Bush administration’s push for war against Iraq, I pointed out, “A desire to spread freedom does not automatically confer a license to kill…. Operation Allied Force in 1999 bombed Belgrade, Yugoslavia, into submission purportedly to liberate Kosovo. Though Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic raised the white flag, ethnic cleansing continued — with the minority Serbs being slaughtered and their churches burned to the ground in the same way the Serbs previously oppressed the ethnic Albanians.”

In a 2011 review for The American Conservative, I scoffed, “After NATO planes killed hundreds if not thousands of Serb and ethnic Albanian civilians, Bill Clinton could pirouette as a savior. Once the bombing ended, many of the Serbs remaining in Kosovo were slaughtered and their churches burned to the ground. NATO’s ‘peace’ produced a quarter million Serbian, Jewish, and Gypsy refugees.”

In 2014, a European Union task force confirmed that the ruthless cabal that Clinton empowered by bombing Serbia committed atrocities that included murdering persons to extract and sell their kidneys, livers, and other body parts. Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared in 2014 that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in “unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from their homes and communities, and desecration and destruction of churches and other religious sites.”

The New York Times reported that the trials of Kosovo body snatchers may be stymied by cover-ups and stonewalling: “Past investigations of reports of organ trafficking in Kosovo have been undermined by witnesses’ fears of testifying in a small country where clan ties run deep and former members of the KLA are still feted as heroes. Former leaders of the KLA occupy high posts in the government.” American politicians almost entirely ignored the scandal. Vice President Joe Biden hailed former KLA leader and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in 2010 as “the George Washington of Kosovo.” A few months later, a Council of Europe investigative report tagged Thaci as an accomplice to the body-trafficking operation.

Clinton’s war on Serbia opened a Pandora’s box from which the world still suffers. Because politicians and pundits portrayed that war as a moral triumph, it was easier for subsequent presidents to portray U.S. bombing as the self-evident triumph of good over evil. Honest assessments of wrongful killings remain few and far between in media coverage.

August 17, 2019 Posted by | Book Review, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?

By Helen Buyniski | Helen of desTroy | August 14, 2019

Infamous pedophile and likely intelligence asset Jeffrey Epstein was reportedly found dead in his jail cell this past weekend. An autopsy has allegedly been done, but its results are “pending,” leaving the curious with only the initial reports claiming he hanged himself and was pronounced dead of cardiac arrest in the hospital shortly thereafter. The 72 hours following his death have done little to clear up the matter of what actually occurred in Epstein’s cell on Saturday morning, though law enforcement sources on Monday told the New York Post he had hung himself with a bedsheet from the bunkbed frame in his cell – no mean feat for a six-foot, 200-pound man supposedly being checked on by guards twice an hour, and a physical impossibility owing to the paper-thin sheets, according to a former inmate of that prison.

What we do know is that he was officially alone in his cell when he died, having been taken off suicide watch at his lawyers’ urging less than a week after he was found unconscious with marks on his neck last month. Epstein reportedly claimed someone tried to kill him during that incident, though others speculated he had “choked” himself in order to convince a judge to allow him bail or secure a transfer to a nicer facility. Did “someone” come back to finish the job, merely paying the guards to look the other way? An assassin would have had to spread his money around handsomely – like most areas of Manhattan, the Metropolitan Correctional Center where Epstein was confined is heavily surveilled – but that’s not difficult for the caliber of person who had reasons to want Epstein dead. So who killed him?

The convicted sex offender had blackmail material on dozens if not hundreds of powerful people. Epstein’s homes and aircraft were monitored with cameras and microphones, and his private island was completely wired for video, according to a friend of his alleged procuress, Ghislaine Maxwell. Safes found on his property contained piles of video discs marked young (name of girl) + (name of VIP) – alongside the diamonds, piles of cash and Saudi passport. Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of his victims, says she was “debriefed” after sex sessions with Epstein’s famous friends, supplying him with the intimate details of their encounters in order to potentially weaponize the information. Even New York Times columnist James Stewart reports Epstein boasted to him about the trove of “potentially damaging or embarrassing” information he had on the “supposed sexual proclivities and recreational drug use” of the rich and famous. Epstein had mountains of dirt on presidents, princes, prime minsters, and lesser politicians. Any one of these (and probably more than one of these) could have taken out a contract on him, concerned that he might give away their little secret. If Epstein was not an intelligence asset, with connections high up in the Israeli and US governments, he would have been disposed of long ago, but it’s possible that one of the reasons he was not “suicided” earlier is because those who did want him dead had clashed with another faction concerned he had a “dead man’s switch” that would release even more incriminating material to the press.

Comparisons to the JFK assassination are apt. While Epstein was even more loathed by the American public than Kennedy was beloved, he had as many powerful enemies, and those speculating about his murder are already being smeared as irresponsible conspiracy theorists for demanding answers on the year’s most unlikely “suicide.” When the forces of the media establishment are so quickly marshaled against any attempts at investigating a full-of-holes “official story,” even declaring that such malignant conspiracy-mongering “hurts kids” (Epstein’s own child-trafficking apparently pales in comparison), it’s safe to assume that official story is a pack of lies. So without further ado, let the (responsible, well-sourced) speculation begin. Coincidence theorists need not apply.

SUSPECTS

As soon as Epstein’s death was announced, the hashtag #ClintonBodyCount started trending on Twitter along with #Arkancide and other names for the phenomenon that has seen dozens of Clinton enemies, witnesses, and other liabilities die under mysterious circumstances since the early days of the former president’s political career. As a frequent flyer on the Lolita Express (26 times, according to flight logs, at least five of those without his Secret Service retinue), Bill Clinton had good reason to be concerned about Epstein’s continued existence. Certainly, the couple were an early favorite for Epstein’s killer – even Donald Trump retweeted a Clinton Body Count meme.

However, Epstein is currently under investigation for sex trafficking. In court documents unsealed earlier this week from Giuffre’s lawsuit against alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell, Giuffre testifies that Clinton was not involved in the actual trafficking of girls – though there seems to be little doubt he enjoyed the fruits of Epstein’s evil deeds. Epstein even had a hand in the founding of the Clinton Global Initiative, according to his lawyers. That Clinton has been accused of rape by too many women to count and is known for being unable to keep it in his pants is not exactly a secret, in Washington or anywhere else, but he is unlikely to be placed at legal risk by the current Epstein probe. Unless Epstein had dirt on Hillary as well – who is rumored to be plotting a move to insinuate herself back into national politics, most likely through her daughter – the family accomplishes little by icing Epstein except calling more attention to the #ClintonBodyCount. One guerrilla commentator even chalked “XOXO Hillary + Bill” on the sidewalk outside Epstein’s New York home.

The FBI immediately declared a probe into the suspicious circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death. Regardless of whether this makes them dangerous domestic extremists by their own reasoning – since any foul play would have had to be accomplished through conspiring with the guards to sneak into the jail and do away with the pedophile, and the FBI has unilaterally declared ‘conspiracy theorists’ to be dangerous extremists in need of heavy surveillance – the FBI’s interest does not rule out a US intelligence role in his murder. As 9/11 proved, the government’s right hand rarely knows what the left is doing even within a single agency, let alone where rival agencies are concerned. And Attorney General William Barr, the former CIA general counsel who specialized in helping intelligence assets caught with their hands in the cookie jar get off scot-free, has already made it clear he is treating the death as a terrible miscarriage of justice by the prison, one which might even prove financially remunerative for Epstein’s relatives (he has a brother).

When former Florida prosecutor Alex Acosta was asked why he OK’d the appalling 2007 non-prosecution agreement with Epstein’s lawyers which saw the wealthy sex fiend spend just 13 months on work-release in a Palm Beach jail after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of soliciting underage prostitutes despite a 53-page federal indictment including 36 alleged victims hanging over his head, Acosta told the Trump transition team he was ordered to leave Epstein alone because “he belonged to intelligence.” That was sufficient reason for the Trump team to give him the green light for appointment as Secretary of Labor. While Epstein provided information to the FBI in 2008, according to their own documentation, individuals involved with the case who spoke to the Palm Beach Post don’t recall any cooperation.

“The Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office was willing to let Epstein walk free. No jail time. Nothing,” Acosta claimed by way of explanation during a press conference last month after he was forced to resign as Labor Secretary for his (mis)handling of the 2007 case. He insisted the sweetheart deal the wealthy pedophile’s lawyers crafted was the lesser of two evils – that a slap on the wrist was better than nothing. And Palm Beach police told the Miami Herald they were hounded, harassed, and otherwise pressured in the service of getting Epstein’s case downgraded to a misdemeanor during the original 2007 investigation, with State Attorney Barry Krischer ultimately ignoring their recommendation to prosecute Epstein on high level child sex charges.

In the days preceding Epstein’s death, Florida governor Ron DeSantis ordered the state to take over a probe into Epstein’s non-prosecution deal and the terms of his work release, an investigation that would presumably lead to the Palm Beach State Attorney’s office, which was conspicuously handed to Fort Pierce State Attorney Bruce Colton. While Krischer is no longer in that position – in a nauseating irony, he trains law enforcement in prosecuting crimes of sexual violence and oversees placement of children in foster care – his apparent collusion with Epstein’s attorneys will likely come to light, as well as the forces higher up that dictated the terms of the plea deal. Whatever US “intelligence” shared Epstein with the Mossad could have been motivated to take him out to prevent him from talking. While DeSantis – who has promised to be the most pro-Israel governor in the country – would likely pull the plug on that investigation before it got out of hand, the Justice Department opened its own investigation in February into whether prosecutors committed professional misconduct during the 2007 case. If Trump were to lose the 2020 election, Barr – the man who arguably saved the CIA from much-deserved extinction and an expert memory-holer of inconvenient inquiries – would be powerless to fix any federal probe, replaced by a Democratic appointee.

And what of Trump himself? For every three “ClintonBodyCount” hashtags, there was a “TrumpBodyCount” hashtag (which isn’t a thing, but don’t tell the #Resistance), insisting Trump was up to his neck in trafficked children and had good reason to ice the molest-happy millionaire. This is as doubtful as the Clinton hypothesis. If Epstein is being wielded as a weapon by Netanyahu against Barak, Netanyahu would not kill the golden goose that is Trump, who has obeyed his foreign policy dictates magnificently. And the documents unsealed from Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s lawsuit suggest that Trump did not physically engage with Epstein’s retinue of underage sex slaves. The president’s reported germ phobia is somewhat incompatible with girls who were being passed around from blackmail target to blackmail target like party favors, and he allegedly had Epstein booted from Mar-a-Lago for sexually assaulting a girl, suggesting that despite the chummy pictures of Epstein and Trump that surface on googling “Jeffrey Epstein Bill Clinton” (!), the real estate magnate realized early on that Epstein was a honeypot and kept his distance. Trump was mentored by Roy Cohn, whose own record as a blackmailer is legendary; if he wasn’t involved in the Epstein ring himself, he certainly would have recognized its nature early on.

Epstein is extremely well-connected to the Israeli intelligence apparatus, and these are people with both means and motive to remove him from the chessboard. Former Israeli PM Ehud Barak has been photographed entering and exiting Epstein’s East 71st St residence in Manhattan, hiding under a jumble of hats and scarves, and has admitted to visiting the pedophile’s private island, though insists he never went to parties or met girls with Epstein despite photographic evidence to the contrary. Barak and Epstein have been friends for over a decade, the Israeli having been introduced to the wealthy sex offender by his fellow former PM Shimon Peres. Barak has thrown his hat into the ring to challenge Bibi Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, who has made it clear he considers the PM post to be his by divine right and won’t give it up easily. Speculation has swirled that the reopening of the Epstein case is tied to the battle of the Israeli titans – that Netanyahu is sacrificing a Mossad asset to destroy his rival.

Barak, then, has plenty of reasons to want Epstein out of the way. Having formed a company with the mysterious financier as a vehicle to invest in Carbyne911, a company founded by high-level veterans of Israeli intelligence that allows a remote operator to surveil a person not only through the target’s own phone but also through all the internet-connected devices around them, Barak has put other dubious financial dealings at risk of coming under the Epstein probe’s microscope. Worse, Carbyne911 – which its opportunistic owners have marketed as the solution to mass shootings – has been exposed as a horrifying surveillance tool. Similar software has already been weaponized by the Chinese government to spy on its citizens, and Carbyne’s advisory board includes former Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, the Patriot Act co-author who reliably surfaces on the boards of every Orwellian initiative from the Atlantic Council to CyberDome to NewsGuard, ready to leverage his unique blend of experience and sociopathy to strip Americans of their privacy and civil liberties. Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder whose company Palantir openly “uses war on terror tools to track American citizens” on behalf of anyone with the funds to pay for their own private intelligence agency, is also an investor in Carbyne911. The idea that a company run by Israeli intelligence, advised and funded by a who’s-who of police-state cheerleaders, that sells a powerful surveillance tool isn’t using it to spy on Americans is too absurd to seriously consider, and such a program is too valuable to be sacrificed merely because Epstein’s stink suffuses it (and it does suffuse it – he and Barak are the company’s largest investors, and most of Barak’s stake was in fact put up by Epstein).

The electoral face-off between Barak and Netanyahu is scheduled for next month, by which time the frenzy over the Epstein case will have ebbed significantly, especially with no defendant as the focus of click-driving salacious speculation. While Netanyahu has demanded an investigation of his rival, it’s not clear that Barak did anything financially illegal in accepting millions of dollars of Epstein’s money. Investigators may still pursue other loose ends – that Maxwell has remained unindicted for so long beggars belief, for example, and victims’ lawyers have promised to go after Epstein’s “enablers” – but the sensationalistic coverage from mainstream news will peter out absent a body in the courtroom. Barak can thus get back to the business of attacking Netanyahu, who is currently facing indictment in multiple corruption probes, and potentially wresting Israel from his grasp. He has much to gain from snuffing Epstein and little to lose – unless Epstein’s dead man’s switch would unleash enough compromising material to end his political career for good. Certainly, Barak has a bad track record of associating with sexual predators – his president, Moshe Katsav, spent five years in prison on rape charges, and the vice-consul to Brazil during his tenure, Arie Scher, fled to Israel to avoid prosecution on child pornography charges.

WHAT DIDN’T HAPPEN

The only certainty is that Epstein did not “commit suicide” without significant outside help. He had been taken off suicide watch less than a week after the previous month’s “suicide attempt,” contrary to standard procedure, which would require authorization (and documentation thereof). One source told the New York Post the suspicious marks discovered on his neck after he was found unconscious curled up in his cell last month appeared more like evidence he had been choked than evidence that he had attempted to hang himself, but his beefy ex-cop cellmate, an accused quadruple-murderer charged with shooting and then burying four men in his backyard after a coke deal gone wrong, insisted he had not only not harmed his notorious roommate and not heard anything, but that he had saved Epstein’s life by discovering him unconscious and alerting a guard. How this happened if they shared a cell is unclear, and Tartaglione’s lawyer has only said they shared the unit – two other sources told NBC they shared the same cell. Epstein spent just six days on suicide watch, receiving daily psychiatric examinations, according to a law enforcement source who spoke to the New York Times. Thanks in part to the strenuous lobbying of his defense attorneys, whom he met with for up to 12 hours a day while under suicide watch, Epstein was soon moved back to his protective housing unit with a new cellmate where he was supposed to be checked every 30 minutes by guards instead – a procedure which was not followed the night of his alleged death – and that cellmate was mysteriously transferred just hours before the “suicide,” according to a source who spoke to Fox News.

Despite rumors of a “camera malfunction” that surfaced immediately following the announcement of Epstein’s death – traced back to a “social media entrepreneur” specializing in “information warfare” whose clients include American politicians – a corrections union representative has confirmed there were no cameras inside the individual cells in Epstein’s unit, creating perfect conditions for whatever happened the morning of August 10th. A former Brooklyn jail warden has confirmed that for Epstein to “commit suicide,” a cascade of errors would have been necessary – starting with removing him from suicide watch. While the officers staffing MCC are supposedly the cream of the crop, at least one of the officers tasked with watching Epstein was not “a regular guard,” according to corrections union head Serene Gregg. Epstein’s ‘guards,’ both working overtime, falsified records of the half-hour checks they had failed to conduct, an anonymous source told the AP – because they were asleep, the New York Times added. Those two at the very least would have to be paid off for any operation to go smoothly, and any investigation interested in finding out – as opposed to covering up – what really happened to Epstein should interview and monitor all of those working on the unit for financial changes, especially the guards who would normally have been working that night but opted not to, allowing the drowsy duo to step in and claim their overtime. Those two have reportedly been placed on administrative leave as of Tuesday, while the presiding warden has been reassigned to Philadelphia.

Epstein’s suspicious demise has several parallels with the “suicide” of Maxwell’s father, British newspaper baron (and Israeli spy) Robert Maxwell. Despite years of valuable service to the Mossad, Maxwell died after falling off his boat, allegedly committing suicide, as his newspaper empire was collapsing, and after attempting to pressure his Mossad connections to bail him out of the financial hole he’d dug himself into. Two of Maxwell’s biographers claim he was killed, three months after demanding the bailout and threatening to expose certain Mossad operations if he didn’t get it, because he simply became too much trouble; ex-Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky has explained how this was accomplished. The dead man was then feted with a star-studded funeral in Israel, attended by six Israeli intelligence chiefs and complete with eulogies by then-PM Yitzhak Shamir boasting he had “done more for Israel than can today be said,” and future PMs Ehud Olmert and Shimon Peres, who also praised his “services” for Israel. Those “services” included peddling an Israeli-backdoored version of the software program Promis to government agencies, a Trojan horse purporting to improve government efficiency which instead funneled information on government activities back to Tel Aviv – a 1980s equivalent of Carbyne911.

EPSTEIN IS DEAD; LONG LIVE EPSTEIN?

The possibility exists that Epstein isn’t actually dead. A 4chan post purporting to be from an MCC employee, posted before news of Epstein’s alleged demise was made public, claims the disgraced financier was taken to the jail’s medical unit just hours before his alleged suicide and points to a suspicious van coming and going, undocumented per the prison’s usual procedures, at the same time as his potential route of escape. Comparisons of “Epstein”’s corpse to images of the living Epstein appear to show completely different ears, a unique and difficult-to-fake body part. Others have questioned why there was a photographer on hand to snap photos of the body leaving the prison in the first place and pointed out the article accompanying the photo referred to a “body believed to be Epstein’s.” Epstein’s brother allegedly identified his body, but if there was a plot, he’d be in on it, ready to milk the jail for millions in a wrongful death suit – a possibility Barr seems to be setting in motion by attacking MCC for “failing to adequately secure” their famous charge. The “celebrity pathologist” who observed the autopsy on behalf of Epstein’s lawyers also “helped investigate” the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr. There is no smoking gun, but there is an Epstein-sized plausible-deniability gap to slip through.

What would be the purpose of keeping Epstein alive? He’s too high-profile to use as an asset any further, and could be a liability if he becomes resentful for having lost his privileged position as the Mega Group’s #1 Honeypot and being left to rot in jail – a particularly nasty jail, at that (“Guantanamo was nicer,” said an inmate who’d stayed in both). But any good blackmailer worth his salt has a dead-man’s switch with reams of sensitive material ready to go in event of death or accident. Epstein hasn’t actually betrayed his intelligence backers, at least not publicly – though he has been disavowed by everyone from Trump to Clinton to Barak, even to his one-time mentor, Les Wexner, who after setting Epstein up with his Manhattan den of iniquity now claims the disgraced “money manager” for whom he has been the sole client since 1987 ripped him off. Even Alan “I kept my underwear on” Dershowitz has backed away from the radioactive pedophile. Epstein, on the surface, has no friends left. Yet he appears to have had advance knowledge of his own arrest, selling the evidence-laden “Lolita Express” jet just a few weeks before he was apprehended at Teterboro Airport. Why did he conveniently fly home to do the time the public so desperately wanted him to do – a situation that could have been avoided if he wasn’t certain of having an escape route? Epstein was said to be in unusually good spirits before he “suicided.”

But according to Ostrovsky, Robert Maxwell went to his death believing he’d get what he wanted, as well. And if Epstein was the raging sex addict his victims say – one girl claimed he told her he required three orgasms a day, that it was biological “like eating,” while another confirmed that even if she brought him new girls “at breakfast, lunch, and dinner… it was never enough” – keeping him alive, even with a new face in a new country, would be highly risky. Meanwhile, Ghislaine Maxwell has reportedly vanished, suggesting she’s either worried about her “loose end” status making her a target for whoever killed Epstein or she’s concerned Epstein’s victims will finally have their revenge on her in the courtroom. Certainly, the media are turning against her, and with prosecutors vowing to go after Epstein’s “enablers,” she’s number one on the list. Will justice prevail? Has it ever?

August 14, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | 7 Comments

Assange Must Not Also Die in Jail

By Craig Murray | August 13, 2019

The highly dubious death of Jeffrey Epstein in a US maximum security prison is another strong reason not to extradite Julian Assange into one – particularly as many of the same people who are relieved by Epstein’s death would like to see Assange dead too.

But there is every reason to fear Assange is already in danger, in Belmarsh maximum security prison, where he is currently incarcerated. As the great journalist John Pilger tweeted six days ago:

Do not forget Julian #Assange. Or you will lose him.
I saw him in Belmarsh prison and his health has deteriorated. Treated worse than a murderer, he is isolated, medicated and denied the tools to fight the bogus charges of US extradition. I now fear for him. Do not forget him.

There is no official explanation as to why Julian’s health has continued to deteriorate so alarmingly in Belmarsh. Nobody genuinely believes him to be a violent danger, so there is absolutely no call for him to be imprisoned in the facility which houses the hardcore terrorist cases.

Assange is fighting major legal cases in the UK, Sweden and the United States, yet is permitted visitors for only two hours per fortnight, inclusive of time spent with his three sets of lawyers. All of his visitors have been alarmed by his state of physical health and many have been alarmed by his apparent disorientation and confusion.

It is because of Assange’s draconian one year sentence for “bail-jumping” on claiming political asylum that he can be kept in such harsh conditions and with so little access to his lawyers. That is why his sentence was so unprecedentedly stiff for missing police bail. Otherwise, as a remand prisoner awaiting extradition hearing his conditions would ordinarily be less harsh and his access to lawyers much better. The Establishment has conspired to reduce his ability to defend himself in court. I am not convinced it is not conspiring to destroy him.

August 13, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , , | 4 Comments

Epstein’s Death Must Be the Start, not the End, of the Investigation

By Craig Murray | August 11, 2019

There are a number of royal palaces and grand residences of former Presidents and Prime Ministers where the inhabitants have a little bit more spring in their step following the death of Jeffrey Epstein. The media is rushing to attach the label “conspiracy theory” to any thought that his death might not have been suicide. In my view, given that so many very powerful people will be relieved he is no longer in a position to sing, and given that he was in a maximum security jail following another alleged “suicide attempt” a week ago, it would be a very credulous person who did not view the question of who killed him an open one.

There has been a huge amount of obfuscation and misdirection on the activities of Epstein and his set. To my mind, the article which remains the best starting point for those new to the scandal is this one from Gawker.

Two days ago a federal court unsealed 2000 pages of documents related to the allegations against Epstein. Of these the most important appears to be a witness statement from Virginia Giuffre alleging that while a minor she had sex at Epstein’s direction with Senate Majority leader George Mitchell and former New Mexico Governor Bill Mitchell, plus a variety of senior foreign politicians.

Epstein’s sexual activities and partying with young girls were carried out in full view of key friends, his domestic and office staff, his pilots and of course the participants. There is no shortage of potential witnesses. Several of these really ought to be taking great care – though if I were them I would certainly eschew any protection involving US security services or law enforcement. Ghislaine Maxwell might take heed of her father’s fate and avoid swimming for a few years.

(I am probably not the only one old enough to compare the many similarities between Robert Maxwell’s asset stripping career and that of Philip Green. The progress of society after thirty years of Thatcher, New Labour and returned Tories meaning that Green by contrast got no criminal charges and much bigger yachts.)

In the UK, Ms Giuffre’s alleged relationship with Prince Andrew has been mentioned in the media. In fact the evidence that she had a relationship with Prince Andrew of some sort is overwhelming. Here is some of the actual evidence from the court documents.

The age of heterosexual consent in England is 16 and there is no indication that Prince Andrew is doing anything illegal in this photograph in which Ms Giuffre is 17. Nor is the photo in itself evidence of sex, though it certainly is intimate. The notion however that Ms Giuffre was “lent out” to Andrew may have legal implications as she was flown into the country, allegedly for the purpose.

No satisfactory alternative explanation has been offered as to what might have been happening here, as Ms Guffre’s lawyers noted.

No further details appear in the documents to amplify Ms Giuffre’s claim that she was forced to have sex with a “well known Prime Minister”, other than to repeat the claim. But what is plain is that her tale is not entirely invention. Just how much more did Epstein know, and who might he have taken down with him?

The truth is that sexual abuse by the rich and famous transcends all political boundaries. Bill Clinton was very frequently on Epstein’s plane and Epstein joins the very long list of those connected to the Clintons who died in dubious circumstances.

Two coincidences – the first being the bruise marks on the neck sustained in Epstein’s first “suicide attempt” in jail – remind me of the case of John Ashe, the senior official very close to the Clintons who died with bruise marks on his neck, when he accidentally dropped his barbell on his throat while bench-pressing alone at home.

Ashe was charged and awaiting trial for receiving corrupt funds from businessman Ng Lap Seng while Ashe was serving in the USA’s turn as President of the UN General Assembly. Ng Lap Seng, a six time visitor to the Clinton White House, had previously been accused of making very large illegal donations to Clinton campaign funds, and was subsequently arrested while entering the USA with over US $4 million in cash. Unlike the Clintons, Ashe was charged with taking Seng’s money and rather like Epstein may have had an interesting song to sing while going down, had he not conveniently dropped the barbell on his throat.

I said that the first thing that jogged me to link the Epstein/Clinton and the Ashe/Clinton cases was the bruise marks on the throat. The second is that both stories have been debunked by self proclaimed “conspiracy-busting” website Snopes – in a manner which shows that Snopes has no regard for the truth whatsoever.

In the case of John Ashe, Snopes wrote an utterly tendentious piece of “myth-busting” which stated that it was a myth that Ashe’s death occurred shortly before his trial and that he was not due to testify against the Clintons. Snopes failed to mention that Ashe, a very senior Clinton appointee, was charged with taking corrupt money from precisely the same man who had been very widely accused of giving corrupt money to the Clintons. And while it was true his trial was not imminent, his pre-trial deposition was.

In the Epstein/Clinton case Snopes wrote a piece debunking the notion that this is a photograph of Bill Clinton on Epstein’s private jet.

Snopes sets out to prove that this is not Epstein’s private jet but that of another billionaire, and that the girl is not Rachel Chandler. For the sake of argument I am prepared to accept what they say on both counts. But is the sensible reaction to that photo to say “Oh that’s OK it’s another billionaire’s jet” or to say “Why is Bill Clinton on a billionaire’s private jet in an intimate pose with a worryingly young female”? As with the Prince Andrew photo, although it has been circulating for years no alternative innocent explanation is on offer.

And the fact that this is another billionaire’s plane should open again the much wider question of networks of the rich and the powerful indulging each other’s passion for sexual exploitation of the young. It is a great shame that in the UK, the Establishment has been able to characterise the falsifications of Carl Beech as discrediting the entire notion of historical child sexual abuse. It is as though one person making up stories about a Bishop would mean there was never child exploitation in the Catholic Church.

The deeper question is why such a significant proportion of the rich and powerful have a propensity to want to assuage their sexual desires on the most vulnerable and powerless in society, as opposed to forming relationships among their peers. I suspect it is connected to the kind of sociopathy that leads somebody to seek or hoard power or wealth in the first place.

It is not necessary to develop that idea further, to understand that the Epstein case had given us a glimpse of criminal sexual behaviour which beyond doubt involves many powerful people. It is essential that the threads that can be grasped are now worked on assiduously to uncover the entire network.

I am afraid to say I suspect the chances of that actually happening are very slim indeed.

August 11, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , | 3 Comments

Finally Time for DNC Email Evidence

By Patrick Lawrence | Consortium News | August 5, 2019

Three years after the narrative we call Russiagate was framed and incessantly promoted, it crumbles into rubble as we speak. The mini-empire of allegations, presuppositions, fallacious syllogisms, leaps of logic, imagined connections and mis– and disinformation marshaled to support charges of Russian interference in the 2016 elections is more or less a ruin.

The total collapse of the Russiagate orthodoxy now appears within reach — this for the first time since the Democratic National Committee set the narrative in motion after its email servers were compromised during the Trump–Clinton presidential contest. There is a good chance — though this is not a certainty — that Attorney General William Barr’s just-launched investigation will fully expose the numerous charges of Russian intervention as fabrications. Evidence of these fabrications, long available but ignored in a remarkably prevalent case of willful blindness, continues to grow such that it may be difficult to obscure it much longer.

It is now officially acknowledged that there is no credible evidence that Donald Trump colluded with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. At this point, the demonstrably bogus assertion that Russian intelligence hacked into the DNC’s email system in mid–2016 is the one remaining feature of the Russiagate orthodoxy that is commonly considered rock solid.

The mythology on this question remains deeply embedded, the absence of any supporting evidence notwithstanding. Press and broadcast reports rarely miss an opportunity to cast Russian responsibility for the DNC email intrusion as a foregone conclusion. But this, too, is a tower built on sand. To put Russiagate decisively in the past now comes to demolishing this last, unsound edifice. The rest is already too discredited for anyone but naïve liberals, wishful-thinking “progressives” and the most committed ideologues to take seriously.

 This focuses attention on the evidence — considerable and accumulating — that Russian intelligence agencies, officially charged with intrusion into the DNC’s servers, had nothing to do with it. It is now two years since technically qualified intelligence professionals of long experience reported via Consortium News that the theft of Democratic Party email in 2016 was neither a hack nor a Russian intelligence operation. In July 2017 Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity presented persuasive evidence that the DNC’s servers had been compromised by someone with direct access to them.

The email messages subsequently posted by WikiLeaks had been pilfered by an insider of unknown identity: This was the conclusion VIPS drew in VIPS50, the group’s report on the mail incident, on the basis of the evidence it had gathered while working with other independent forensic investigators. The “hack,” in short, was not a hack. It was a leak.

A cacophony of objections erupted after Consortium posted VIPS50. Much — vastly too much — has been made of a group of “dissenters” within the VIPS organization who did not endorse the report. But neither these dissenters nor the many others attempting to discredit VIPS50 have succeeded in doing so. No countervailing evidence from any quarter has been presented. Based on continuing research, VIPS subsequently altered some of its initial conclusions, as noted in this space a year ago. But its principal findings stand.

VIPS50 

This puts VIPS50, while still officially excluded from the record, among the most consequential documents to be published since the Russiagate narrative took shape three years ago. If we are to recover from the destructive, divisive nightmare Russiagate has become, VIPS50 will be key to the process. There are indications now that its findings, based on impartially conducted data analysis and forensic science, will soon get the consideration they have deserved from the first. My sources suggest Barr’s office is making use of VIPS report and subsequent findings as it begins its investigation into the genesis of the Russiagate allegations.

Much anticipation preceded the publication in mid–April of the report on Russian interference completed in the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Contrary to prevalent expectations, however, the 448–page document failed to confirm the case for Russiagate and did much to weaken it. Not only did the report conclude that neither President Trump nor anyone in his campaign colluded with Russia as he fought the 2016 election; it also made clear that the special counsel’s office did not undertake a credible investigation of the charge that Russian intelligence hacked the DNC’s mail servers.

Mueller failed to call numerous key witnesses, among them Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and publisher, and Bill Binney, formerly a technical director at the National Security Agency and one of several technical experts in the VIPS group. He also failed to pursue alternative theories in the email-theft case; a duty of any investigator in Mueller’s position. Only the willfully blind can accept these irregularities as legitimate conduct.

Remarkably enough, Mueller’s investigation appears to have conducted no forensic tests of its own to verify allegations of a Russian hacking operation. It relied instead on the patently faulty findings of Crowdstrike, the disreputable cyber-security firm that was working for the DNC by mid–2016. Critically, the special counsel also appears to have neglected to consult the NSA for evidence pertaining to the DNC incident. Had the intrusion been a hack conducted over the internet, by Russians or anyone else, the agency would have a fully detailed digital record of the operation and the means to trace the intervention to its perpetrators. Why, it is perfectly logical to ask, was such a record not cited prominently in the Mueller report?

Mueller’s testimony before two congressional committees on July 24 was a further blow to the Russiagate thesis. The special counsel came over as a detached, out-of-touch figurehead with a very loose grip on his own investigation and poor knowledge of the report bearing his signature. Soon afterward, even Trump’s adversaries in the Democratic camp began to give up the ghost. “In the hours and days after Mr. Mueller gave his opening statement before the House Judiciary Committee,” wrote Samuel Moyn, a Yale law professor, “it became clear how tenaciously many liberals and progressives are clinging to fantasy.” Moyn’s piece appeared in The New York Times. The headline reads, “The Mueller Fantasy Comes Crashing Down.”

Despite the stunningly anticlimactic outcome of the Mueller report and his subsequent appearance on Capitol Hill — which was intended from the first to be a matter of spectacle rather than substance — new allegations of Russian interference  continue to arrive on front pages and in news broadcasts. The latest came the day after Mueller’s testimony, when the Senate Intelligence Committee reported that Russia intruded into the election systems of all 50 states during the 2016 campaigns. The report offered no supporting evidence, per usual. It was heavily redacted at the request of the relevant intelligence agencies, again per usual.

Question of Evidence

This brings us to the question of evidence. To go back to the initial allegations of Russian interference three years ago, at no point since have any of these commonly accepted charges been accompanied by hard, legally and logically sound evidence to back them up. This astonishing lacuna, while intently papered over in the media, on Capitol Hill, at the Justice Department, in the intelligence apparatus, and among law-enforcement agencies, has rendered the Russiagate orthodoxy vulnerable from the first. It now emerges that the evidence problem is worse than even the most committed critics of the Russiagate narrative had thought.

This came to light this spring, during the pre-trial discovery phase of the case against Roger Stone, the onetime Trump aide charged with obstructing justice and misleading Congress. When Stone’s attorneys requested Crowdstrike’s final report on the DNC email theft, which they said was relevant to his defense, prosecutors returned with the stunning revelation that Crowdstrike, the DNC’s cyber-security firm, never submitted a final report. “The government does not possess the information the defendant seeks,” the Justice Department responded via a court filing.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s failure to take possession of the DNC’s email servers from Crowdstrike after the mid–2016 intrusion, a shocking case of official malfeasance, has long been dismissed as an unimportant detail. We now know that the FBI, the Justice Department and the Mueller investigation relied on nothing more than three Crowdstrike drafts — all of them redacted by Crowdstrike — to build the case for Russia’s culpability in the theft of the DNC’s email.

Not only did the FBI fail to establish a proper chain of evidentiary custody after the incident at the DNC; it is now clear the bureau knows of the email theft only what Crowdstrike chose to tell it. There is no evidence that the FBI asked the NSA for its records of the incident. Nor is there any indication that Crowdstrike has ever given the FBI or prosecutors in the Stone case the data it used to produce its never-completed report. “Crowdstrike appears to have destroyed evidence or is hiding it,” Bill Binney said in a telephone interview.

The corporate media continue to pretend in their press reports and news broadcasts that the official investigation of the DNC email incident was conducted according to the highest standard of legitimacy. Democrats on Capitol Hill, still pursuing their own investigations, never question the validity of the officially constructed case alleging Russia’s responsibility. The revelation of negligence the Stone trial brings to light, which amounts to corruption, could hardly expose this prolonged charade more starkly.

Forensic investigators, meantime, continue to gather evidence supporting the leak-not-hack case made in VIPS50. The gap thus widens between the official story of the DNC mail incident and the case supported by forensic research done by VIPS and other independent investigators working in association with it.

Last February these investigators discovered that email pilfered in 2016 and subsequently conveyed to WikiLeaks had been stored according to a system called File Allocation Table, or FAT. The FAT system time-stamps data according to their last modifications and, because it is less precise than other storage systems, it rounds up time stamps to the next even number. If the FAT system is used to store data, it is a strong indication that the data were stored on a memory key or another such portable device.

In the 35, 816 email messages investigators examined, the FAT system assigned even-numbered time stamps to all of them. Binney, a mathematician by training, puts the chance of this occurring without the use of a portable storage device at 1 in 2 to the 35,816thpower — meaning it is a virtual impossibility.

The FAT numbering pattern detected in the email messages tested does not indicate at what stage or where a portable device was used. It shows only that such a device was used at some point in the handling of the data; a portable device may or may not have been used to execute the initial download. But the presence of the FAT system in the metadata of the emails tested adds another layer of circumstantial evidence supporting the VIPS case that the theft of DNC mail was a leak executed locally via a portable device and not a remote hack conducted through the internet. At the very least, it is an additional line of inquiry the FBI, the intelligence agencies, and the Mueller investigation have left unexamined.

VIPS Dissenters

Among the critics of VIPS50, none has influenced public opinion as much as the dissenters within the group’s membership. The presence of these dissenters has been evident since VIPS50 went through repeated drafts over a period of nearly two weeks. This is a group of honorable, in many cases brave people. But they advanced no coherent objections to the VIPS document prior to its publication, and this remained the case for some time after Consortium News posted it on July 24, 2017. Having begun reporting on VIPS50 shortly after that date, I found — and continue to find — the dissenters’ position heavily inflected with personal animosities and political leanings having no bearing on the validity of the VIPS50 findings.

A number of dissenters signed a contribution to a forum The Nation hosted after the magazine published a piece I wrote on VIPS50 in August 2017. This was the first time the dissenters publicly presented substantive objections to VIPS50, and they focused on the core of the VIPS case. This case continues to rest primarily on the speed at which a mail theft could be executed in mid–2016. The transfer speed, identified by an analysis of metadata found on documents stolen at that time, was considerably faster than the rate possible over the internet at the time of the intrusion, indicating a leak by someone using a portable storage device and with direct access to the DNC’s servers.

The dissenting group took specific issue with these findings. “Data-transfer speeds across networks and the Internet measured in megabits per second (or megabytes per second) can easily achieve rates that greatly exceed the cited reference in the VIPS memo,” the dissidents wrote.

It was at this point the dissenters repeated the failures of the intelligence apparatus and the Mueller investigation: They produced no evidence. There is no indication the dissenters conducted tests to support their assertion on the speed question. The VIPS memo applied scientific method to the DNC mail theft for the first time and was intended as an “evidence to date” document. This marked a transformative advance in how the DNC incident can be understood: The imperative since has been to bring countervailing evidence to the investigative process, which continues. No one —not the dissenters, not the DNC, not the “intelligence community,” not Mueller, not the press — has done so.

The dissenters have been silent since their contribution to The Nation’s forum. Members have declined invitations to work with VIPS50 signatories to develop further the evidence presented in the memo. When I queried a number of dissenters for this commentary, one replied. This person did not address the findings of forensic investigators while reproducing what VIPS50 signatories term the “emotional arguments” that have characterized the dissenters’ response to the memo since the drafting phase two summers ago. These continuing difficulties appear partly to reflect a desire not to be seen defending either Trump or the Russians.

Barr’s Investigation

The NSA, the CIA, the FBI, the Mueller investigation, the press — none has shown the slightest interest in the findings outlined in VIPS50. This can come as no surprise, given the heavy investments all of these entities have made in the Russians-did-it explanation of the DNC email incident. But this omission is nonetheless negligent when one considers the contradicting evidence VIPS and those associated with it continue to amass. A key question now arises: Will the Barr investigation into the genesis of allegations of Russian interference, begun three months ago, transcend this politically inspired ignorance to expose official accounts of the mid–2016 mail theft as fallacies?

The early signs were that Barr’s investigators would at last explode the Russiagate narrative. Trump was unmistakably determined to do so when he urged Barr to “investigate the investigators” last spring. In mid–May Barr appointed John Durham, a federal prosecutor, to direct this effort. Ten days later Trump gave Barr “full and complete authority to declassify information” related to the conduct of the intelligence agencies, the FBI, and the Justice Department.

It was clear very early that Trump was aware of VIPS50 and entertained a lively interest in its findings. In September 2017, two months after Consortiumpublished the memo, he ordered Mike Pompeo, then director of the CIA, to interview Bill Binney, the leading technical expert within the VIPS group. Pompeo did so in October 2017, but by Binney’s account he flinched: Pompeo heard Binney out at the president’s insistence, but he never pursued the forensic findings the former NSA technical director walked him through.

This was an early sign, it is now plain, that even efforts to unearth the truth of the allegations against Russia that emanate from the White House would meet political resistance. Another came last Friday, when Trump was forced to drop John Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican who pledged to support a full investigation of Russiagate, as his nominee to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence. While Ratcliffe considered the orthodox Russiagate narrative bogus, Coats was vigorous in his promotion of it.

This makes political will another key question to ask of the Barr investigation: Full exposure of the travesty of Russiagate is almost certainly within Barr’s power to achieve. Will he do so?

Whether Trump will remain consistent in his backing of Barr is another such question. While Trump habitually terms Russiagate “a hoax,” he has also indicated on a number of occasions that his true objective is simply to escape the charge that he colluded with Russians to win the 2016 election. “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election,” Trump tweeted earlier this year. “I said, ‘It may be Russia, or China, or another country or group, or it may be a 400–pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.’ The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia—it never did!”

A president who slips and slides, an administrative state — the Deep State if you like — thoroughly committed to defending falsified accounts of the mid–2016 intrusions into the DNC’s email servers, a supine press: It is impossible to say when or whether the truth of the events of three years ago will emerge. The evidence is there, sufficient now to conclude the Russigate case. The greatest remaining obstacle is the willful ignorance that incubated the Russiagate narrative and now prolongs it. We reach a point when evidence and more evidence, along with political integrity, are the only effective replies to this cynical, foolish, and costly recalcitrance.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century” (Yale). Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist. His website is Patrick Lawrence.

August 5, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

In the World of Truth and Fact, Russiagate is Dead. In the World of the Political Establishment, it is Still the New 42

By Craig Murray | August 4, 2019

Douglas Adams famously suggested that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42. In the world of the political elite, the answer is Russiagate. What has caused the electorate to turn on the political elite, to defeat Hillary and to rush to Brexit? Why, the evil Russians, of course, are behind it all.

It was the Russians who hacked the DNC and published Hillary’s emails, thus causing her to lose the election because… the Russians, dammit, who cares what was in the emails? It was the Russians. It is the Russians who are behind Wikileaks, and Julian Assange is a Putin agent (as is that evil Craig Murray). It was the Russians who swayed the 1,300,000,000 dollar Presidential election campaign result with 100,000 dollars worth of Facebook advertising. It was the evil Russians who once did a dodgy trade deal with Aaron Banks then did something improbable with Cambridge Analytica that hypnotised people en masse via Facebook into supporting Brexit.

All of this is known to be true by every Blairite, every Clintonite, by the BBC, by CNN, by the Guardian, the New York Times and the Washington Post. “The Russians did it” is the article of faith for the political elite who cannot understand why the electorate rejected the triangulated “consensus” the elite constructed and sold to us, where the filthy rich get ever richer and the rest of us have falling incomes, low employment rights and scanty welfare benefits. You don’t like that system? You have been hypnotised and misled by evil Russian trolls and hackers.

Except virtually none of this is true. Mueller’s inability to defend in person his deeply flawed report took a certain amount of steam out of the blame Russia campaign. But what should have killed off “Russiagate” forever is the judgement of Judge John G Koetl of the Federal District Court of New York.

In a lawsuit brought by the Democratic National Committee against Russia and against Wikileaks, and against inter alia Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Julian Assange, for the first time the claims of collusion between Trump and Russia were subjected to actual scrutiny in a court of law. And Judge Koetl concluded that, quite simply, the claims made as the basis of Russiagate are insufficient to even warrant a hearing.

The judgement is 81 pages long, but if you want to understand the truth about the entire “Russiagate” spin it is well worth reading it in full. Otherwise let me walk you through it.

This is the crucial point about Koetl’s judgement. In considering dismissing a case at the outset in response to a motion to dismiss from the defence, the judge is obliged to give the plaintiff every benefit and to take the alleged facts described by the DNC as true. The stage of challenging and testing those facts has not been reached. The question Koetl is answering is this. Accepting for the moment the DNC’s facts as true, on the face of it, even if everything that the Democratic National Committee alleged happened, did indeed happen, is there the basis for a case? And his answer is a comprehensive no. Even the facts alleged to comprise the Russiagate narrative do not mount up to a plausible case.

The consequence of this procedure is of course that in this judgement Koetl is accepting the DNC’s “facts”. The judgement is therefore written entirely on the assumption that the Russians did hack the DNC computers as alleged by the plaintiff (the Democratic National Committee), and that meetings and correspondence took place as the DNC alleged and their content was also what the DNC alleged. It is vital to understand in reading the document that Koetl is not stating that he finds these “facts” to be true. Doubtless had the trial proceeded many of them would have been challenged by the defendants and their evidentiary basis tested in court. It is simply at this stage the only question Koetl is answering is whether, assuming the facts alleged all to be true, there are grounds for trial.

Judge Koetl’s subsequent dismissal of the Russiagate nonsense is a problem for the mainstream media and their favourite narrative. They have largely chosen to pretend it never happened, but when obliged to mention it have attempted to misrepresent this as the judge confirming that the Russians hacked the DNC. It very definitely and specifically is not that; the judge was obliged to rule on the procedural motion to dismiss on the basis of assuming the allegation to be true. Legal distinctions, even very plain ones like this, are perhaps difficult for the average cut and paste mainstream media stenographer to understand. But the widespread failure to report the meaning of Koetl’s judgement fairly is inexcusable.

The key finding is this. Even accepting the DNC’s evidence at face value, the judge ruled that it provides no evidence of collusion between Russia, Wikileaks or any of the named parties to hack the DNC’s computers. It is best expressed here in this dismissal of the charge that a property violation was committed, but in fact the same ruling by the judge that no evidence has been presented of any collusion for an illegal purpose, runs through the dismissal of each and every one of the varied charges put forward by the DNC as grounds for their suit.

Judge Koetl goes further and asserts that Wikileaks, as a news organisation, had every right to obtain and publish the emails in exercise of a fundamental First Amendment right. The judge also specifically notes that no evidence has been put forward by the DNC that shows any relationship between Russia and Wikileaks. Wikileaks, accepting the DNC’s version of events, merely contacted the website that first leaked some of the emails, in order to ask to publish them.

Judge Koetl also notes firmly that while various contacts are alleged by the DNC between individuals from Trump’s campaign and individuals allegedly linked to the Russian government, no evidence at all has been put forward to show that the content of any of those meetings had anything to do with either Wikileaks or the DNC’s emails.

In short, Koetl dismissed the case entirely because simply no evidence has been produced of the existence of any collusion between Wikileaks, the Trump campaign and Russia. That does not mean that the evidence has been seen and is judged unconvincing. In a situation where the judge is duty bound to give credence to the plaintiff’s evidence and not judge its probability, there simply was no evidence of collusion to which he could give credence. The entire Russia-Wikileaks-Trump fabrication is a total nonsense. But I don’t suppose that fact will kill it off.

The major implication for the Assange extradition case of the Koetl judgement is his robust and unequivocal statement of the obvious truth that Wikileaks is a news organisation and its right to publish documents, specifically including stolen documents, is protected by the First Amendment when those documents touch on the public interest.


These arguments are certainly helpful to Assange in the extradition case. But it must be noted that the extradition request has been drafted to try to get round the law by alleging that Wikileaks were complicit in the actual theft of documents by Chelsea Manning. Judge Koetl does not address this question as he was presented with no evidence that Wikileaks had contact with the “hackers” prior to their obtaining the documents, so the question did not arise before him. In the extradition request, the attempt is to argue that Assange encouraged and abetted Manning in obtaining the material. This is supposed to be a different argument.

In fact this attempt to undermine the First Amendment has no merit. Cultivation of an insider source is a normal part of journalistic activity, and encouraging an official to leak material in the public interest is an everyday occurrence in such cultivation. In the “Watergate” precedent, for example, the “Deep Throat” source, Mark Felt of the FBI, was cultivated and encouraged over a period by Bernstein. In addition to which, Manning’s access to the documents could not be characterised as “theft”. Leaking of official secrets by an insider is a very different thing to a hack from outside.

And in conclusion, I should state emphatically that while Judge Koetl was obliged to accept for the time being the allegation that the Russians had hacked the DNC as alleged, in fact this never happened. The emails came from a leak not a hack. The Mueller Inquiry’s refusal to take evidence from the actual publisher of the leaks, Julian Assange, in itself discredits his report. Mueller should also have taken crucial evidence from Bill Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, who has explained in detail why an outside hack was technically impossible based on the forensic evidence provided.

The other key point that proves Mueller’s Inquiry was never a serious search for truth is that at no stage was any independent forensic evidence taken from the DNC’s servers, instead the word of the DNC’s own security consultants was simply accepted as true. Finally no progress has been made – or is intended to be made – on the question of who killed Seth Rich, while the pretend police investigation has “lost” his laptop.

Though why anybody would believe Robert Mueller about anything is completely beyond me.

So there we have it. Russiagate as a theory is as completely exploded as the appalling Guardian front page lie published by Kath Viner and Luke Harding fabricating the “secret meetings” between Paul Manafort and Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy. But the political class and the mainstream media, both in the service of billionaires, have moved on to a stage where truth is irrelevant, and I do not doubt that Russiagate stories will thus persist. They are so useful for the finances of the armaments and security industries, and in keeping the population in fear and jingoist politicians in power.

August 4, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

#PizzaGate: What We Know So Far

August 3, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment

DNI Nominee Intent on Getting to Bottom of Russiagate

By Ray McGovern – Consortium News – July 31, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ratcliffe on Where We Are Now

Ratcliffe told Bartiromo:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Parvenu?

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

Brennan: Cold on Ratcliffe (White House photo)

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

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

All the Naiveté That’s Fit to Print

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

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

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

None of the leaking, unmasking, surveillance, DNC-hired “opposition research,” or other activities directed against the Trump campaign can be properly understood if one does not bear in mind that it was considered a sure thing that Hillary Clinton would become President, at which point high-risk, illegal activities undertaken to help her win would likely bring gratitude and perhaps a promotion, not an indictment. But Clinton lost.

Hillary: She hadda win, but didn’t.

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

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

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

But Now Running Scared

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

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

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

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

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

So What DID Obama Know?

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

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

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

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

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

After Mueller Debacle, Where Do Democrats Go?

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • July 26, 2019

The Democrats who were looking to cast Robert Mueller as the star in a TV special, “The Impeachment of Donald Trump,” can probably tear up the script. They’re gonna be needing a new one.

For six hours Wednesday, as three cable news networks and ABC, CBS and NBC all carried live the hearings of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, the Mueller report was thoroughly trashed.

The special counsel stood by his findings. His investigation was not a “hoax” or “witch hunt,” he said. He admitted that he had found no Trump-Russia conspiracy. He denied he exonerated Trump of obstruction of justice.

All this we knew, and all of it we have heard for months.

What was new, what was dramatic, what was compelling was how the House Republicans arrived with their war paint on and ripped Mueller and his investigation to such shreds that viewers were feeling sorry for the special counsel at the end of his six hours of grilling.

The Republicans exposed him as only vaguely conversant with his own report. They revealed that he had probably not written his own statement challenging the depiction of his findings by Attorney General Bill Barr.

Mueller’s staff of lawyers, Republicans showed, reads like a donors list for Hillary Clinton. The FBI contingent that started the investigation was a cabal so hateful of Trump that some had to be fired.

Republicans raised questions about the origins of the investigation, tracing it back to early 2016 when Maltese intelligence agent Joseph Mifsud leaked to a staffer of the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos, that Russia had Clinton’s emails. That and subsequent meetings have all the marks of an intel agency set-up.

Repeatedly, Republicans brought up the dossier written by British spy Christopher Steele, who fed Russian-sourced disinformation to Clinton campaign-financed intel firm, Fusion GPS, who passed it on to the FBI, which used it as evidence to justify warrants to spy on Trump’s campaign.

To many in the TV audience, this was fresh and startling stuff.

Yet Mueller’s response to all such allegations was that they were outside his purview and that other agencies were looking into them.

Wednesday’s hearings often proved painful to watch.

Mueller, a 74-year-old decorated Marine veteran of Vietnam and a former director of the FBI, sat mumbling his dissents as one charge after another was fired at him, his associates and his investigation.

For this disaster, the Democrats are alone to blame.

Mueller had wanted to file his report and leave it to the attorney general and Congress to act, or not act, on its contents. His job was done, and he did not want to testify publicly.

Democrats, desperate for impeachment hearings, wanted him to recite for the TV cameras every charge against the president.

What Democrats hoped would be a recital of Trump’s sins, Republicans turned into an adversarial proceeding that ended Mueller’s public career in a humiliating spectacle lasting a full day.

Where do Democrats go from here?

Their goal from the outset has been to persuade the nation that Trump colluded with Putin’s Russia to steal the 2016 election, and that the progressives are the true patriots in seeking to impeach and remove an illegitimate president and prosecute him for acts of treason.

The Republican position is that, for all his flaws and failings, Trump won the 2016 election fairly and squarely. He is our president, and the drive to impeach and remove him is an attempted constitutional coup d’etat by a “deep state” terrified that it cannot win against him in 2020.

The rival narratives are irreconcilable.

The Republican message of Wednesday: Proceed with hearings to impeach and there will be blood on the floor.

Democrats are in a hellish bind.

Should they proceed with hearings on impeachment, they will divide their party, force their presidential candidates to cease talking health care and start talking impeachment, and probably fail.

Impeachment hearings would fire up the Republican base and energize the GOP minority to prepare for combat in a Judiciary Committee where they are already celebrating having eviscerated the prosecution’s star witness.

If Democrats vote impeachment in committee, they will have to take it to the House floor, where their moderates, who won in swing districts, will be forced to vote on it, splitting their own bases in the run-up to the 2020 election.

If Democrats lose the impeachment vote on the House floor, it would be a huge setback. But if they vote impeachment in the House, the trial takes place in a Senate run by Mitch McConnell.

Trump would go into the 2020 battle against a Democratic Party that failed to overthrow the president in a radical coup that it attempted because it was afraid to fight it out with the president in a free and fair election.

Copyright 2019 Creators.com.

July 26, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

A Non-Hack That Raised Hillary’s Hackles

By Ray McGovern – Consortium News – July 22, 2019

Three years ago Monday WikiLeaks published a trove of highly embarrassing emails that had been leaked from inside the Democratic National Committee. As has been the case with every leak revealed by WikiLeaks, the emails were authentic. These particular ones, however, could not have come at a worse time for top Democratic Party officials.

The emails made it unmistakably clear that the DNC had tipped the scales sharply against Democratic insurgent Bernie Sanders, giving him a snowball’s chance in hell for the nomination. The posting of the DNC emails is also widely seen as having harmed the the electoral prospects of Hillary Clinton, who could not escape responsibility completely, while a handful of the very top DNC officials were forced to immediately resign.

Relatively few Americans read the actual emails, their attention diverted to the incessant media-fostered question: Why Did the Russians Hack the DNC to Hurt Hillary? For the millions of once enthusiastic Democrats who favored Sanders, however, the disclosure that the nomination process had been fixed came as a bitter pill, leaving a sour taste in their mouths and a passive-aggressive reluctance to promote the candidacy of one they considered a usurper. Having had a huge stake in Bernie’s candidacy, they had little trouble seeing through the diversion of attention from the content of the emails.

Clinton Prevails

A mere four days after the WikiLeaks release, a well orchestrated Democratic Convention nominated Clinton, while many Sanders supporters loudly objected. Thus, she began her campaign under a cloud, and as more and more Americans learned of the fraud that oozed through the DNC email correspondence — including the rigging of the Democratic primaries — the cloud grew larger and darker.

On June 12, 2016, six weeks before the convention, WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange had announced in an interview on British TV, “We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton … We have emails pending publication.”

Independent forensic investigations demonstrated two years ago that the DNC emails were not hacked over the Internet, but had been copied onto an external storage device — probably a thumb drive. Additional work over recent months has yielded more evidence that the intrusion into the DNC computers was a copy, not a hack, and that it took place on May 23 and 25, 2016.

The DNC almost certainly knew what had happened — not only that someone with physical access to DNC computers had copied thousands of emails, but also which ones they had copied, and thus how prejudicial to the Clinton campaign they would be when they saw the light of day.

And so, candidate Clinton, the DNC, and the mainstream media (forever quoting anonymous “current and former intelligence officials”) appear to have colluded, deciding the best defense would be a good offense. No one knew how soon WikiLeaks would publish the emails, but the DNC offense/defense would surely have to be put in place before the convention scheduled to begin on July 25. That meant there were, at most, six weeks to react. But it only took two days. As early as July 24, about 48 hours after the leaks were published, and a day before the convention, the DNC first blamed Russia for hacking their emails and giving them to WikiLeaks to sabotage Clinton.

A Magnificent Diversion

Clinton: Already blaming the Russians at DNC 2016 convention. (Wikipedia)

Granted, it was a stretch — and the DNC would have to hire a pliable cybersecurity firm to back up their claim. But they had good reason to believe that CrowdStrike would perform that service. It was the best Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook and associates could apparently come up with. If they hurried, there would be just enough time to prepare a PR campaign before the convention and, best of all, there was little doubt that the media could be counted on to support the effort full bore.

When WikiLeaks published the emails on July 22, 2016, just three days before the Democratic convention, the propagandists were ready to deflect attention from the damning content of the DNC emails by repeating incessantly that the Russians hacked the emails and gave them to WikiLeaks to hurt Clinton.

It pretty much worked like a charm. The late Senator John McCain and others were quick to call the Russian “hack” an “an act of war.” Evidence? None. For icing on the cake, then-FBI Director James Comey decided not to seize and inspect the DNC computers. Nor, as we now know, did Comey even require a final report from CrowdStrike.

Eight months after the convention, in remarks at the Clinton/Podesta Center for American Progress on April 6, 2017, Clinton’s PR director, Jennifer Palmieri, could scarcely contain her pride that, after a difficult start, she was ultimately successful in keeping the Russian bear front and center.

Transcribed below (verbatim) are some of Palmieri’s more telling remarks when asked to comment, from her insider perspective, on “what was actually going on in late summer/early fall.”

“… I did appreciate that for the press to absorb … the idea that behind the stage that the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton was too fantastic for people to, um, for the press to process, to absorb…. But then we go back to Brooklyn and heard from the — mostly our sources were other intelligence, with the press who work in the intelligence sphere, and that’s where we heard things and that’s where we learned about the dossier and the other story lines that were swirling about … And along the way the administration started confirming various pieces of what they were concerned about what Russia was doing. … [Emphasis added.]

“And we did finally get to the point on October 7, when the administration came out with a very stunning [memorandum]. How stunning it was for both the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of Homeland Security to put out a statement – a long statement – that said with high confidence that Russia was interfering in the election and they were also directing the timing of the leaks. And it named the institutions – WikiLeaks, DC Leaks, and Guccifer – as being Russian-led, and how stunning that was to be that certain and that public. … So I do think that the answer for the Democrats now … in both the House and the Senate is to talk about it more and make it more real ….”

And so, the Magnificent Diversion worked as intended.

Recognizing Liminal Time

But not all journalists fell for it. Patrick Lawrence (once of The Nation, now of Consortium News) was onto the ruse from the start. He says he had “fire in the belly” on the morning of July 25, 2016, the day the Democratic convention began, and that he dashed off an article “in one long, furious exhale” within 12 hours of when the media started really pushing the “the Russians-did-it” narrative. The title of his article, pointed out to me a few months ago by VIPS member Todd Pierce, was “How the DNC fabricated a Russian hacker conspiracy to deflect blame for its email scandal … a disturbing resemblance to Cold War red-baiting.”

Lawrence’s off-the-cuff ruminations, which Salon published the next day are extraordinarily prescient and worth reading in full. He instinctively recognized the email disclosure-cum-media-obfuscation campaign as a liminal event. Here are some excerpts, reprinted here with Lawrence’s permission:

”Now wait a minute, all you upper-case “D” Democrats. A flood light suddenly shines on your party apparatus, revealing its grossly corrupt machinations to fix the primary process and sink the Sanders campaign, and within a day you are on about the evil Russians having hacked into your computers to sabotage our elections … Is this how lowly you rate the intelligence of American voters? …

The Sanders people have long charged that the DNC has had its fingers on the scale … in favor of Hillary Clinton’s nomination. The prints were everywhere … Last Friday WikiLeaks published nearly 20,000 DNC email messages providing abundant proof that Sanders and his staff were right all along. The worst of these, involving senior DNC officers, proposed Nixon-esque smears having to do with everything from ineptitude within the Sanders campaign to Sanders as a Jew in name only and an atheist by conviction. …

The caker came on Sunday, when Robby Mook … appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and … CNN’s “State of the Union” to assert that the D.N.C.’s mail was hacked “by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.” He knows this … because “experts” — experts he will never name — have told him so.

the Clinton campaign now goes for a twofer. Watch as it advances the Russians-did-it thesis on the basis of nothing, then shoots the messenger, then associates Trump with its own mess — and, finally, gets to ignore the nature of its transgression (which any paying-attention person must consider grave). Preposterous, readers. Join me, please, in having absolutely none of it. There is no “Russian actor” at the bottom of this swamp, to put my position bluntly. You will never, ever be offered persuasive evidence otherwise. … [Emphasis added.]

Trump, to make this work, must be blamed for his willingness to negotiate with Moscow. This is now among his sins. Got that? Anyone who says he will talk to the Russians has transgressed the American code. … I am developing nitrogen bends … Which way for a breath of air?”

Sad Sequel

A year later Lawrence was commissioned by The Nation to write an investigative report on the so-called “Russian hack.” On August 9, 2017, after he interviewed several Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, among others, The Nation published his findings in an article entitled “A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack.” Lawrence wrote, “Former NSA experts, now members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.”

Again, Lawrence got it right — this time relying less on his own experience and intuition than on applied science as practiced by real technical experts with no axes to grind. But, sadly, that cut across the grain of the acceptable Russia-gate narrative, and a furor erupted among Hillary followers still licking their wounds over her loss. It proved simply too much for them to entertain the notion that Clinton was quite capable, with help from the likes of Mook, to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory — without any help from Vladimir Putin.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. An ex-CIA analyst, his expertise on Russia goes back a half-century. He prepared and briefed The President’s Daily Brieffor Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, and in retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Biggest American Scandal: Obama’s Role in ‘Spygate’ & ‘Emailgate’

By Ekaterina Blinova | Sputnik | June 19, 2019

While Donald Trump has kicked off his 2020 presidential campaign in Florida reiterating a vow to bring “deep state” figures out into the open, AG William Barr’s “investigation of investigators” is gaining steam. Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel has shared his views on the role of Barack Obama and his team in the so-called “spygate” case.

Attorney General William Barr’s investigation into the origins of the FBI’s 2016 Trump-Russia “collusion” probe has prompted deep concerns among US intelligence officials, especially given the US president’s decision to grant AG Barr sweeping powers.

Some former US spooks argue that the probe may thwart US counterintelligence efforts aimed against Russia, citing Moscow’s alleged interference in the US 2016 elections, something that the Russian leadership resolutely denies.

“If Barr discloses the identities of CIA and CI sources providing information on Russia he is disabling our intelligence capacities to Russia’s advantage”, claimed former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa on 24 May via Twitter.

​However, according to Charles Ortel, a Wall Street analyst who has been conducting a private inquiry into the Clinton Foundation’s alleged fraud for the last three years, what is really concerning former and current intelligence officials and their backers in the previous administration are their possibly illegal actions which may soon come to light.

Sputnik: On 17 June, Fox News host Sean Hannity said that AG William Barr’s “spygate” investigation caused panic among “deep state” actors. Hannity highlighted that at least three Trump campaign aides had actively been spied upon abroad by allied countries allegedly “subcontracted” by US top intelligence officials to circumvent US laws. Have there ever been any precedents of engaging US allies in an effort to undermine an American presidential candidate? What countries were supposedly involved in the “spygate”? Why did they agree to participate in those potentially illegal activities?

Charles Ortel: I am not aware of incidents in the past where elements loyal to an existing presidential administration have encouraged foreign powers to train their security forces to spy on a presidential campaign and/or upon the victor in a hotly contested election after the results became known, through the inauguration and then during the newly-elected president’s first term.

So far, one prime culprit seems to be elements within the government of the United Kingdom. Other culprits seemingly include the government of Australia, while there is also speculation that the government of Canada may have been involved. In time, perhaps we may learn that governments of other, supposed allies of the United States may also have been involved, perhaps Italy, France, and Germany, to name three.

What makes this story particularly galling is that nations named are among the staunchest long-term allies of America. Did no one in these nations, in positions of authority, question the wisdom of potentially interfering, especially given the ham-handed ways in which it seems the interference ultimately took place?

Sputnik: Hannity suggested that US State Department officials including Barack Obama knew about the dirty dossier and spying activities against the Trump campaign. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton echoed Hannity’s assumption citing newly obtained State Department emails at Fox News’ “Deep Dive” on 17 June. If it is proved that Obama and his associates were aware of the “spygate” effort how could this affect the ex-president and his team?

Charles Ortel: As a guess, Obama administration insiders likely did what they could do to insulate the former president from potential culpability in any scheme that might implicate actors in actual crimes. A review of public records suggests that Presidential counselor Valerie Jarrett was one person who may have been the ultimate shield. But, other reports suggest that Barack Obama himself was keenly interested in political campaigns of all types, particularly key races of which the 2016 presidential contest was clearly most important.

​Obama loyalists, even now try to argue that the eight years from 20 January 2009 through 20 January 2017 were “scandal free”. I beg to differ – someone high up in the Obama administration had to bless the use by Hillary Clinton and her team of secret servers, unprotected electronic devices, alias emails, and the fact that Team Hillary was allowed to hold onto all of her government records through early December 2014, some 22 months after she departed her role as Secretary of State. One suspects that President Obama himself had to learn, early on, of the Clinton approach and had to know that it fell well afoul of applicable laws and regulations.

Moreover, Barack Obama likely communicated with Hillary Clinton using email and he was sold to the public as someone who was in tune with technology, even “wedded to his Blackberry” – how could Obama have failed to notice he was sending emails to Hillary Clinton on a non-government email address?

All of which raises larger questions. Did Barack Obama use non-government email addresses to send or receive classified information? Did members of his close circle do so? Did any of these people use aliases in their communications? Do we really know whether all of the “presidential records” of the Obama administration were archived securely for posterity? With these latest revelations, and with each passing day, storm clouds darken over what remains of the Obama “legacy”.

Sputnik: Meanwhile, the US State Department has revealed that at least 15 State Department employees were responsible for 23 violations and seven security infractions related to Clinton’s server under the Obama administration. According to Hannity, Clinton’s activities presumably amount to violating the Espionage Act (18 USC 793 (F) and 18 USC 793 (D) and (E)). Conservative pundits presume that the effort against Trump was prompted by Obama administration officials who sought to conceal their crimes. Do you agree with this assumption? Will all the employees involved in the emailgate case be interrogated and probed given the latest revelations? Will it result in criminal proceedings against them and how will this affect Hillary Clinton?

Charles Ortel: As we consider these questions and issues, the timeline from June 2008 to present comes under much closer scrutiny. In early June 2008, when it became evident that Barack Obama would be the Democrat nominee, and that he would likely defeat John McCain, I suspect the Clintons (and the Obamas) hatched a plan to employ Hillary’s considerable resources to cement victory in the November 2008 presidential election.

What candidate Obama likely did not know back then was how dire the position of the Clinton Foundation had become – it was out of compliance with key laws and regulations around the world and millions of dollars in funding had “gone missing”.

Real investigations of mishandling classified information by many persons including Hillary Clinton will likely extend and intertwine with long overdue deep dives into the network of Clinton “charities” that seem, to me, to have been used as conduits to trade cash for contracts and favours, and certainly not for their intended and authorised tax-exempt purposes.

Hannity and others are correct to call this unfolding scandal, the biggest in American history. When it grows to consider all contours of charity frauds and corruption during the period from 1988 forward, as unregulated globalism became the norm, we will be shocked to discover just how badly so many US presidents and other leaders behaved.

We cannot move forward productively until the public is shown what actually ​happened. Only with real investigations, indictments, prosecutions, convictions, and incarcerations can we prove that no American stands above our laws. With reason, many once powerful persons should be afraid – they are finally being called to account for lives in crime, pretending falsely to serve the people, even as they served themselves.

June 19, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment