Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Kremlin Unaware of Meeting Between Trump Team, ‘Russian’ Having Dirt on Clinton

Sputnik -June 18, 2018

The Kremlin is not aware of a meeting between former aide from US President Donald Trump’s election headquarters Roger Stone and a man from Russia, who called himself Henry Greenberg and allegedly offered Trump’s team compromising data on his then-rival Hillary Clinton in 2016, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

“I cannot say anything, I am not aware of this… These nuances are completely unknown to us and we know nothing about the issue,” Peskov told reporters when asked to comment on the publication.

On Sunday, The Washington Post reported that Trump’s election headquarters in 2016 denied Greenberg $2 million for the “dirt” on Clinton. The newspaper confirmed that Greenberg was an FBI informant until 2013, but found no evidence that he continued this activity after 2013.

Stone told the publication that another staffer, Michael Caputo, arranged for him to meet with a certain “Russian,” who offered to pay him $2 million in exchange for compromising material on Clinton. His offer was rejected.

The Washington Post interpreted the refusal of Trump’s staff to pay money for this information as another suspicious “contact with the Russians.” In total, the newspaper counted 11 campaign officials who “contacted the Russians” in some capacity.

Special Counsel Mueller is investigating the alleged connections between Trump and Russia, which are denied both by the Kremlin and the White House. Trump has said in the past that his political enemies had been conducting an investigation against him during the presidential race together with intelligence officials. Trump has called the investigation a “witch hunt.”

June 18, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Former UK Ambassador Craig Murray unconvinced by Yulia Skripal interview: ‘Duress cannot be ruled out’

By Craig Murray | May 24, 2018

I was happy to see Yulia alive and looking reasonably well yesterday, if understandably stressed. Notably, and in sharp contrast to Litvinenko, she leveled no accusations at Russia or anybody else for her poisoning. In Russian she spoke quite naturally. Of the Russian Embassy she said very simply “I am not ready, I do not want their help”. Strangely this is again translated in the Reuters subtitles by the strangulated officialese of “I do not wish to avail myself of their services”, as originally stated in the unnatural Metropolitan Police statement issued on her behalf weeks ago.

“I do not wish to avail myself of their services” is simply not a translation of what she says in Russian and totally misses the “I am not ready” opening phrase of that sentence. My conclusion is that Yulia’s statement was written by a British official and then translated to Russian for her to speak, rather than the other way round. Also that rather than translate what she said in Russian themselves for the subtitles, Reuters have subtitled using a British government script they have been given.

It would of course have been much more convincing had Sergei also been present. Duress cannot be ruled out when he is held by the British authorities. I remain extremely suspicious that, at the very first chance she got in hospital, Yulia managed to get hold of a telephone (we don’t know how, it was not her own and she has not had access to one since) and phone her cousin Viktoria, yet since then the Skripals have made no attempt to contact their family in Russia. That includes no contact to Sergei’s aged mum, Yulia’s grandmother, who Viktoria cares for. Sergei normally calles his mother – who is 89 – regularly. This lack of contact is a worrying sign that the Skripals may be prevented from free communication to the outside world. Yulia’s controlled and scripted performance makes that more rather than less likely.

It is to me particularly concerning that Yulia does not seem to have social media access. The security services have the ability to give her internet risk free through impenetrable VPN. But they appear not to have done that.

We know a little more about the Salisbury attack now:

Nobody – not Porton Down, not the OPCW – has been able to state that the nerve agent found was of Russian manufacture, a fact which the MSM continues to disgracefully fudge with “developed in Russia” phrasing. As is now well known and was reported by Iran in scientific literature, Iran synthesised five novichoks recently. More importantly, the German spying agency BND obtained novichok in the 1990s and it was studied and synthesised in several NATO countries, almost certainly including the UK and USA.

In 1998, chemical formulae for novichok were introduced into the United States NIST National Institute of Standards and Technologies Mass Spectrometry Library database by U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical and Biological Defense Command, but the entry was later deleted. In 2009 Hillary Clinton instructed US diplomats to feign ignorance of novichoks, as revealed by the last paragraph of this Wikileaks released diplomatic cable.

Most telling was the Sky News interview with the head of Porton Down. Interviewer Paul Kelso repeatedly pressed Aitkenhead directly on whether the novichok could have come from Porton Down. Aitkenhead replies “There is no way, anything like that could… leave these four walls. We deal with a number of toxic substances in the work that we do, we’ve got the highest levels of security and controls”. Asked again twice, he each time says the security is so tight “the substance” could not have come from Porton Down. What Aitkenhead does NOT say is “of course it could not have come from here, we have never made it”. Indeed Aitkenhead’s repeated assertion that the security would never have let it out, is tantamount to an admission Porton Down does produce novichok.

If somebody asked you whether the lion that savaged somebody came from your garden, would you reply “Don’t be stupid, I don’t have a lion in my garden” or would you say, repeatedly, “Of course not, I have a very strong lion cage?”. Here you can see Mr Aitkenhead explain repeatedly he has a big lion cage, from 2’25” in.

So the question of where the nerve agent was made remains unresolved. The MSM has continually attempted to lie about this and affirm that all novichok is Russian made. The worst of corporate and state journalism in the UK was exposed when they took the OPCW’s report that it confirmed the findings of Porton Down and presented that as confirming the Johnson/May assertion that it was Russia, whereas the findings of Porton Down were actually – as the Aitkenhead interview stated categorically – that they could not say where it was made.

The other relatively new development is the knowledge that Skripal had not retired but was active for MI6 on gigs briefing overseas intelligence agencies about Russia. This did not increase his threat to Russia, as he told everything he knows a decade ago. But it could provide an element of annoyance that would indeed increase Russian official desire to punish him further.

But the fact he was still very much active has a far greater significance. The government slapped a D(SMA) notice on the identity of Pablo Miller, Skripal’s former MI6 handler who lives close by in Salisbury and who worked for Christopher Steele’s Orbis Intelligence at the time that Orbis produced the extremely unreliable dossier on Trump/Russia. The fact that Skripal had not retired but was still briefing on Russia, to me raises to a near certainty the likelihood that Skripal worked with Miller on the Trump dossier.

I have to say that, as a former Ambassador in the former Soviet Union trained in intelligence analysis and familiar with MI6 intelligence out of Moscow, I agree with every word of this professional dissection of the Orbis Trump dossier by Paul Roderick Gregory, irrespective of Gregory’s politics. In particular this paragraph, which Gregory wrote more than a year before the Salisbury attack, certainly applies to much of the dossier.

I have picked out just a few excerpts from the Orbis report. It was written, in my opinion, not by an ex British intelligence officer but by a Russian trained in the KGB tradition. It is full of names, dates, meetings, quarrels, and events that are hearsay (one an overheard conversation). It is a collection of “this important person” said this to “another important person.” There is no record; no informant is identified by name or by more than a generic title. The report appears to fail the veracity test in the one instance of a purported meeting in which names, dates, and location are provided. Some of the stories are so bizarre (the Rosneft bribe) that they fail the laugh test. Yet, there appears to be a desire on the part of some media and Trump opponents on both sides of the aisle to picture the Orbis report as genuine but unverifiable.

The Russian ex-intelligence officer who we know was in extremely close contact with Orbis at the time the report was written, was Sergei Skripal.

The Orbis report is mince. Skripal knew it was mince and how it was written. Skripal has a history of selling secrets to the highest bidder. The Trump camp has a lot of money. My opinion is that as the Mueller investigation stutters towards ignominious failure, Skripal became a loose end that Orbis/MI6/CIA/Clinton (take your pick) wanted tied off. That seems to me at least as likely as a Russian state assassination. To say Russia is the only possible suspect is nonsense.

The Incompetence Factor

The contradiction between the claim that the nerve agent was so pure it could only be manufactured by a state agent, and yet that it failed because it was administered in an amateur and incompetent fashion, does not bother the mainstream media. Boris Johnson claimed that the UK had evidence that Russia had a ten year programme of stockpiling secret novichok and he had a copy of a Russian assassination manual specifying administration by doorknob. Yet we are asked to believe that the Russians failed to notice that administration by doorknob does not actually work, especially in the rain. How two people both touched the doorknob in closing the door is also unexplained, as is how one policeman became poisoned by the doorknob but numerous others did not.

The explanations by establishment stooges of how this “ten times more powerful than VX” nerve agent only works very slowly, but then very quickly, if it touches the skin, and still does not actually kill you, have struck me as simply desperate. They make May’s ringing claims of a weapon of mass destruction being used on British soil appear somewhat unjustified. Weapon of Upset Tummy does not sound quite so exciting.

To paint a doorknob with something that, if it touches you, can kill you requires great care and much protective gear. That no strangely dressed individual has been identified by the investigation – which seems to be getting nowhere in identifying the culprit – is the key fact here. None of us know who did this. The finger-pointing at Russia by corporate and state interests seeking to stoke the Cold War is disgusting.

May 24, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton Panics Over China’s Alleged Meddling in Australia

Sputnik – 08.05.2018

As tensions in relations between the United States and China continue to rise, former US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton publicly speaks against what she describes as Beijing’s political interference in Australia and New Zealand.

During her tour of Australia and New Zealand, former US Secretary of State and ex-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claimed that China seeks to interfere with political processes in the region, according to Business Insider.

“In Australia and here in New Zealand experts are sounding the alarm about Chinese efforts to gain political power and influence policy decisions,” Clinton declared.

She also praised the efforts of Anne-Marie Brady, a New Zealand scholar who studies the workings of the United Front Work Department – an agency of the Communist Party of China primarily tasked with managing relations with the non-Communist Party elite, and which reportedly “tries to promote the party’s policies overseas”, according to the newspaper.

“Anne-Marie Brady of the University of Canterbury has rightly called this a new global battle, and it’s just getting started. We need to take it seriously,” the former secretary of state said.

Earlier the White House criticized China for what the former described as “Orwellian nonsense” after Beijing told US airlines to remove any references from their websites or other material that may suggest that Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau are part of entities independent from China, The Guardian reports, citing US government and airline officials.

According to a statement delivered by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, US President Donald Trump would “stand up for Americans resisting efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to impose Chinese political correctness on American companies and citizens.”

However, last week the famous American investor Warren Buffett predicted that despite the current tensions in relations between the United States and China, the probability of an all-out trade war between the two countries is very low.

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | | 6 Comments

Tapper-Clapper Leak Proves Media, Intelligence ‘Collaborated’ to Make Russiagate

Sputnik – May 3, 2018

Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper, who landed a job at CNN in August 2017 after leaving the government, leaked information to CNN’s Jake Tapper regarding the infamous Steele dossier and its salacious allegations against then-candidate Donald Trump – then denied his actions to Congress under oath.

The leak, and the cover up, shows the “collaboration between the media and the intelligence community in building up Russiagate,” Max Blumenthal, a journalist and bestselling author, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear.

​The dossier, which was first published in January by BuzzFeed, includes allegations that Russian authorities “had been cultivating and supporting US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for at least five years.”

In addition, the dossier states that the Kremlin “had been feeding Trump and his team valuable intelligence on his opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, for several years.” The document, which was created by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, also makes claims about sexual acts between Trump and Russian sex workers, among other things.

On Friday, the US House Intelligence Committee released a 253-page report stating that Clapper leaked details of the dossier to Tapper. Clapper initially declined discussing the dossier information with the journalist, but later admitted to it. The committee’s report also states that there was “no evidence” of collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russia.

“When initially asked about leaks related to the International Committee Assessment in July 2017, former DNI Clapper flatly denied ‘discussing the dossier [compiled by Steele] or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists,'” the report reads.

The report also states that Clapper “subsequently acknowledged discussing the dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper and admitted that he might have spoken with other journalists about the same topic.”

Blumenthal explained that the dossier was the catalyst for the Russiagate scandal.

“I think this should be a bigger scandal than it is,” he told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou.

“James Clapper — when he was the DNI — oversaw both the CIA and the FBI. There was a dossier going around in [January 2017] in Washington that everyone was talking about but hadn’t been reported on. It was the dossier produced by Christopher Steele, which is the basis for the Russia narrative. Clapper and the intelligence community wanted the dossier out there. On January 6, Clapper sends James Comey, who is then the FBI director, to brief Trump on the dossier. Meanwhile, Clapper leaks the story to Tapper. Tapper and his team at CNN report that Trump was the subject of a two-page dossier by an unnamed British agent,” Blumenthal said.

“The next thing you know, Buzzfeed releases the entire dossier. Trump calls it fake news and the whole blow-up with the press begins on January 9. Russiagate goes to a whole other level. Tapper is going on Twitter and talking about the veracity of the document. You can see the collaboration between the media and the intelligence community in building up Russiagate,” Blumenthal added.

On Monday, George Washington University Law professor Jonathan Turley said on “Fox & Friends” that there is a “serious issue here.”

“Clapper has already admitted that he did speak with CNN. Now, he is insisting he didn’t speak to any media until January 20, but he indicated he spoke to CNN in early January. CNN reported that high-level people had confirmed the information and if one of those individuals is Clapper, it is a serious problem. He could be accused, again, of perjury,” Turley said.

This is not the first time that Clapper has run into issues with Congress.

In 2013, he apologized for telling Congress that the National Security Agency does not collect data on Americans. He later said his statement was “clearly erroneous.”

See Also:

Clinton Team Was ‘Feeding’ Allegations to Trump’s Dossier Author – Released Memo

May 3, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Congress Again Fails to Discover Collusion to Subvert the 2016 Election

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 03.05.2018

There have been a number of developments in the endless inquiry into possible collusion between the Russian government and Donald Trump to manipulate perceptions and voting relating to the two presidential candidates in the November 2016 election. In particular, it has been alleged that the Russians were, with the connivance of some in the Trump team, able to obtain information damaging to Hillary Clinton while also misusing social media to send a message critical of the Democratic Party candidate.

“Russiagate” was born out of a desire to explain how Trump was able to defeat the Establishment candidate Clinton and it quickly focused on emails in possession of Wikileaks and meetings of Trump associates with Russians as a plausible explanation for the electoral result. The media opined that “It had to be the Russians,” who also had motive in their recognizing that Clinton was the stronger candidate whose harsh and steely glare was focused on the various crimes and misdemeanors alleged to be committed by Kremlin President Vladimir Putin in places like Ukraine and Georgia, not to mention Syria. Clinton’s campaign message was that she was prepared to do something about Putin while Trump was instead arguing that a good relationship with Moscow was a sine qua non for American foreign policy.

There are currently three investigations proceeding simultaneously looking into the Russian-Trump collusion, though one of them has finally come to an end. The House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee investigation has concluded that there was no evidence that there had been “collusion, conspiracy, or coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians” to influence or subvert the outcome of the election. The committee did, however, accept that there had been Russian “active measures” interference, apparently based largely on assumptions about WikiLeaks and the alleged activities of employees of Putin confidant Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Internet Research Agency on social media sites.

However, no evidence was produced by the committee to support the claim of Kremlin interference, described as an influence campaign having “strategic objectives for disrupting the US election,” and it is to be presumed that the judgement is based on suspicions regarding Russian behavior as well as assessments produced by administrators of the social sites themselves which revealed sketchy and often contradictory evidence based on presumed political ads purchased by the various Russian entities. Even the US media admits that the Facebook ads had little or no real impact on the election while claims that Democratic Party emails were either hacked or stolen by Russian agents or proxies have never been demonstrated.

Nor is there any actual evidence in the Congressional report that anyone in the Kremlin was trying to help Donald J. Trump get elected and it is interesting to note that many of the allegations about insinuations of foreign involvement in the election can be traced back to former senior intelligence figures who were themselves active in the Clinton campaign.

The House judgment was immediately attacked by the media and also by the outnumbered Democrats on the committee, claiming that the “premature” decision to end the investigation was political, to bail out an under-pressure president, but no one has produced any evidence suggesting that the contacts between Russians and Americans, “ill-advised” as some of them were, led to any deliberate or incidental electoral malfeasance. The Democrats and their allies in the media merely assert that more digging and additional otherwise unidentified witnesses would have produced the desired result.

Meanwhile, the investigation continues at the offices of the Robert Mueller Special Counsel and also at the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has proportionately more Democrats on board than does the corresponding committee at the House of Representatives. Senator Mark Warner has already warned that the work of his committee will continue, presumably until their either find something or have to finally admit that there is nothing to find.

Concerning Mueller there are daily newspaper reports explaining how his noose is tightening around President Trump, though no one quite explains credibly how that is so. What is clear so far is that Donald Trump is a highly immoral man by most standards and that a lot of his friends, if not criminals, were engaged in activity that might easily be described as sleazy. But sleazy does not exactly equate to a deliberate attempt to fix a national election and subvert the Constitution of the United States of America.

May 3, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Two tweets to break democracy? Incredible claim in House report on ‘Russian meddling’

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | April 28, 2018

Though the House Intelligence Committee report exonerated President Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ with Russia, it still accused Moscow, and RT specifically, of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

The report released on Friday says the committee “found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government,” but it accepted the US intelligence community’s claims from the January 2017 report that said Russia used ‘active measures’ to meddle in the elections.

How did that happen? That’s classified. Much of Chapter two, suggestively titled ‘Russia attacks the United States,’ was entirely redacted at the request of the US intelligence community, according to Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas). The few tidbits that the public was allowed to see defined spear phishing and credential harvesting and admitted that “attribution is a bear.”

The report then goes full tinfoil hat, claiming that WikiLeaks is a Russian intelligence outlet and accusing RT of serving some dark agenda of the Kremlin. According to the US spy community, RT produces content which appeals to “skeptics of both the mainstream media and the establishment.” Points for honesty on that, Langley, that is literally what “Question More” means.

During the election campaign, the report says (see page 32), RT engaged in “wide-ranging” attacks on Hillary Clinton, “including the insinuation that the Clinton family were criminals,” and “used advertising to promote material leaked by Russian intelligence.” To illustrate this point, the committee offered screenshots of two promoted RT tweets.

You read right. Two tweets. Which, if the screenshots can be trusted, got but a handful of retweets and even fewer replies.

“We spent $30 for two tweets, and those two tweets destroyed their democracy,”  RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan quipped on Twitter, summarizing the report. “And we criticized both Hillary and Trump, but Hillary more often. And that’s offensive.”

Understandable bewilderment aside, let’s look at the two stories in question. The first one was a five-point listicle about affairs, such as Whitewater, Travelgate, Benghazi and Hillary’s emails – all of which have been reported on by the mainstream US media. In each instance, the Clintons were not charged. Did the headline read a bit like Fox News? Sure. Was it also true? Yes.

The second promoted tweet was on a Sunday before the election, reporting about the 33rd batch of emails from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s personal account, which were being released by WikiLeaks. And no, RT did not get advance warning on any of the drops, despite some serious tinfoil-ruffling by various US media and Clinton campaign officials. We just watched out for them very hard, because that’s journalism.

That particular batch of emails contained no bombshells, though. One message accused Chelsea Clinton of using her parents’ foundation funds for her wedding. Another included Hillary’s aide Philippe Reines urging staff not to joke about the private server emails, “because email retention = Benghazi.”

Then there was a 2008 message addressed to Podesta, David Brock of Media Matters and Tom Matzzie of MoveOn.org, saying that Arianna Huffington was “enthusiastic” about Progressive Media USA, but that it would be more useful if HuffPo would “echo our message without any perceived conflicts.”

Yet Congress would have you believe that RT promoting these two stories to the tune of $30 (and getting very little for the money) somehow broke American democracy.

To get away from that sort of heat, ahead of facing the committee in October 2017, Twitter announced that it would “off-board” all RT advertising. The company neglected to mention it was Twitter that pitched an election-related advertising campaign to RT, or that RT declined the offer.

Oops.

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

US House Report Accuses Russia of Election Meddling, Finds No Proof

Sputnik – 28.04.2018

WASHINGTON – The US House Intelligence Committee on Friday released its final report on its yearlong Russia investigation, accusing Moscow of interference in the 2016 US election but concluding that the Kremlin did not collude with President Donald Trump’s campaign team.

The heavily redacted 243-page document, titled “Report on Russian Active Measures,” drew swift praise from Trump, who hailed its conclusions as “powerful” and called for an immediate end to ongoing investigations into allegations of collusion between his campaign team and Moscow.

But US Democrats criticized the report, vowing to redouble their efforts to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the US vote.

Russia has repeatedly denied interfering in the election, dismissing allegations of meddling as “absurd.”

No evidence of collusion

The US House Intelligence Committee formally opened its Russia investigation on January 25, 2017, just five days after Trump took office. Congressmen on the committee spent the next 14 months holding nine hearings, interviewing 73 witnesses and combing through more than 300,000 documents, according to Congressman Mike Conaway, who led the panel’s investigation.

The committee announced in March that it had wrapped up the probe, with Republicans on the panel releasing a preliminary report saying they uncovered no evidence of “collusion, coordination, or conspiracy” between Trump’s campaign team and Moscow. Friday’s final report underlined many of the same conclusions.

In its final report, the committee accused Russia of waging a “multifaceted, persistent and effective” influence campaign in the United States, but highlighted key US intelligence community failings and ruled out any collusion between Trump and Moscow.

The report claimed that Russian state actors and other third parties were behind the release of documents and communications stolen from US political organizations during the 2016 campaign.

But with regard to accusations of a conspiracy between Moscow and Trump’s campaign team, the report concluded that none of the witnesses had provided any evidence of collusion or coordination between the two sides. The committee also found no indications that Trump’s business dealings in Russia before the campaign would have formed the basis for any kind of collusion, the report said.

The report did say that members of the Trump campaign team showed “poor judgment” in their dealings with Russian nationals. But it also underlined that the committee did not find proof that meetings between Trump’s associates and Russian officials, including one between Jeff Sessions and former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, constituted collusion with Moscow.

The panel also concluded that the Trump associates who had contact with Russians during the 2016 US election had no influence on either Trump or his campaign.

In addition, the report said the committee found no evidence that Trump’s campaign team was involved in the hacking and distribution of former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails through WikiLeaks.

Intelligence shortcomings

The report highlighted what the committee called significant “shortcomings” in the US intelligence community’s assessment that Russia wanted Trump to win the election.

The committee “identified significant intelligence tradecraft failings that undermine confidence in the [intelligence community’s] judgments regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategic objectives for disrupting the US elections,” the report said.

For instance, the report poked holes in the US intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia wanted to help Trump to win the election, arguing that the Kremlin’s main goal was to sow discord in the United States, not to influence the outcome of the vote.

The report also criticized the intelligence community’s reliance on an unverified dossier on Trump compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, saying the document was compiled with “second and third-hand” information.

Former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign team paid for opposition research on Trump obtained from Russian sources — information that eventually made its way into the Steele dossier.

“Some of this opposition research was used to produce sixteen memos, which comprise what has become known as the Steele dossier,” the report noted.

The committee traced how the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee hired the law firm Perkins Coie, which in turn hired Fusion GPS to conduct research on Trump’s Russia ties. Steele later used the information to compile his unverified dossier, which alleged that Russia had collected embarrassing information about Trump that it could use to exert leverage over him.

The House report also documented how Steele’s dossier was then used to obtain a warrant to conduct surveillance on Trump campaign aides.

Recommendations

The committee provided a series of recommendations in the report, including a call for the Congress to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in order to allow investigators to obtain warrants for probes involving international cyber actors.

The report also called on the US intelligence community to immediately brief state and local officials about existing threats to election infrastructure.

The House panel also urged the Congress to refrain from hampering the president’s ability to respond at his own discretion to any particular foreign threat.

The committee also provided a series of recommendations for European leaders. It urged European nations to seek long-term solutions to decrease their economic dependence on Russia, and take steps aimed at strengthening media pluralism, including reforming legal and regulatory environments, building professional journalism associations and improving the financial sustainability of “legitimate” news outlets.

“European governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses, think tanks, and academia should implement and encourage multi-pronged, country-wide efforts by both public and private entities to combat Russian propaganda, technical, and cyber operations,” the report said.

European governments and organizations should also put more stringent cyber security practices in place, including multifactor authentication and encryption, the report said, adding that efforts should be made to educate work forces on basic cyber security practices.

Trump applauds, democrats cry foul

Trump welcomed the release of the report, saying its conclusions confirmed the need to immediately end the Russia investigation.

“Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. ‘No evidence’ that the Trump Campaign ‘colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia.’ Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!” Trump said in a Twitter post just minutes after the release of the report.

Trump later told reporters at the White House that he and his administration were “honored” by the report’s conclusions, which he called “conclusive,” “strong” and “powerful.”

But leading US Democrats including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi vowed to press ahead with efforts to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 vote.

“House Democrats will continue to investigate Russian attacks on our elections,” Pelosi said. “We will not relent in our effort to follow the facts and secure our elections from foreign interference. We have no time to waste.”

Pelosi slammed what she called a Republican attempt to cover up for Trump, saying the report “made a mockery” of the Congressional investigation into Russian election interference.

Along with its final report on the Russia probe, the House Intelligence Committee on Friday also released a 98-page rebuttal compiled by Democrats on the panel.

In their response, Democrats criticized what they called “gaps” in the panel’s report and aspects of the investigation that they believe were not fully explored.

The committee’s investigation is one of several US probes into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election, which include the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Both Russia and the Trump campaign have denied all allegations of collusion, and Moscow has called accusations it interfered in the 2016 election “absurd.”

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Republicans were outraged and demanded the release of the memo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Remorse For Hillary

By Craig Murray | April 25, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So no, I have no regrets at all.

Support Craig Murray’s continued writing.

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

MSNBC, where journalism goes to die

By Danielle Ryan | RT | April 23, 2018

It looks like we can add yet another name to the list of journalists that MSNBC has pushed out or fired for refusing to toe the establishment line: Ed Schultz.

Schultz, whose new home is at RT, recently gave an interview to the National Review’s Jamie Weinstein. During the interview, Schultz, who had been mostly quiet about his firing from MSNBC, let loose on the channel.

“There was more oversight and more direction given to me on content at MSNBC than there ever has been here at RT — and I think it’s very sad that that story is not getting out,” Schultz said. “Many times I was told what to lead with on MSNBC — many times I was told what I was not going to do.”

Schultz called MSNBC president Phil Griffin a “watchdog” unlike anything he has experienced since leaving the channel. Asked if Griffin personally told him what to say or what angle to take on a story, Schultz said that had “often” been the case.

Schultz went on to tell Weinstein a particularly disturbing story about MSNBC’s refusal to cover former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders seriously. According to Schultz, five minutes before he was due to cover Sanders’ announcement that he would run for president, Griffin called him up and told him not to report on it.

Why? Because the network was so thoroughly determined to promote Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate that giving primetime exposure to a progressive voice like Sanders would be dangerous.

“I think the Clintons were connected to [MSNBC chairman] Andy Lack, connected at the hip. I think that they didn’t want anybody in their primetime or anywhere in their lineup supporting Bernie Sanders — I think that they were in the tank for Hillary Clinton and I think it was managed — and 45 days later I was out at MSNBC.”

But Schultz is not the only former MSNBC host with such stories. Cenk Uygur, host of ‘The Young Turks’ on YouTube, has always been vocal about how he parted ways with the channel.

According to Uygur, shortly before his departure from MSNBC, Griffin called him in for a talk. The problem was not Uygur’s ratings, which were good, but it was his “tone” and the fact that “people in Washington” were not happy about it. In other words, Uygur was coming across as too anti-establishment. He was ruffling too many feathers.

“Outsiders are cool, but we’re not outsiders, we’re insiders,” Griffin told Uygur. “We are the establishment.”

Uygur ignored Griffin’s advice and his ratings shot up — surprise, surprise; people enjoy watching news anchors who actually challenge their guests and engage in real journalism. But the top dogs at MSNBC are apparently willing to forgo high ratings to please “people in Washington.”

Last week, responding to Schultz’s recent comments, Uygur confirmed the accusation that MSNBC was essentially operating as the PR arm of the Clinton campaign.

“I had another on-air talent at MSNBC tell me, off the record, that if they ever criticized Hillary Clinton, they would immediately get a call from management,” Uygur said.

This was confirmed on air by current MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, who admitted that the Clinton campaign angrily called the network after Brzezinski levelled some mild criticism at Clinton during a previous broadcast.

“NBC got a call from the campaign like I had done something that was journalistically inappropriate or something and needed to be pulled off the air,” Brzezinski said.

There can be no question that MSNBC was firmly pro-Clinton and that the Clinton campaign did everything possible to make sure it stayed that way, but the levels of irony here are outstanding.

Clinton and her media cronies have spent much of the past two years bellowing about “the Russians” and so-called “pro-Trump” Russian media, while at the same time they were calling up American channels — channels which no doubt play a far bigger role in influencing American voters —  to chastise anchors whenever their candidate was the subject of some moderate criticism.

Depressing as it is, none of this should be surprising from MSNBC.

In 2003, Phil Donahue, one of America’s best-known TV hosts, was fired from his primetime MSNBC show in the run-up to the Iraq war. Like Uygur, the problem was not Donahue’s ratings — his was the highest-rated show on the network at the time — but the tone of his show. Donahue’s crime? He had been giving airtime to anti-war guests — and questioning the rush to war was seen to be unpatriotic.

A leaked internal memo revealed that Donahue’s bosses felt he was a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war” because he was providing “a home for the liberal anti-war agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity.”

“They were terrified of the anti-war voice. And that is not an overstatement,” Donahue said in an interview in 2013. This was particularly a problem for MSNBC because it was owned by General Electric at the time — and the war was going to be a boon for GE business. The company stood to gain billions from Iraq war contracts and to have a voice like Donahue’s on air was unacceptable.

But Donahue was not the only anti-war voice MSNBC was determined to silence. Just weeks after the invasion of Iraq, up-and-coming network star Ashleigh Banfield gave a speech in which she criticized the American media’s “sanitized” coverage of the war.

“It wasn’t journalism,” she said. “Because I’m not so sure that we in America are hesitant to do this again, to fight another war, because it looked like a glorious and courageous and so successful terrific endeavor.” American reporters, she said, had “wrapped themselves in the American flag” instead of doing real journalism that showed the true horror of war.

Following Banfield’s speech, NBC News released a statement slamming their colleague: “Ms. Banfield does not speak for NBC News. We are deeply disappointed and troubled by her remarks, and will review her comments with her.”

After that incident, MSNBC “banished” and sidelined Banfield as punishment. They took away her office, her phone, her computer.

“For 10 months I had to report to work every day and ask where I could sit. If somebody was away I could use their desk,” she explained. They eventually gave her an office in a “tape closet.” Banfield repeatedly asked to be let free of her contract, but NBC news president Neal Shapiro would not allow it. Instead they kept her on but gave her nothing to do.

“I will never forgive him for his cruelty and the manner in which he decided to dispose of me,” Banfield said. Just a gentle reminder at this point that MSNBC bills itself as a ‘progressive’ channel.

If anything, things have only gotten worse since Banfield’s thoughtful comments on the failures of American war journalism. When President Donald Trump fired 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria last April, MSNBC anchor Brian Williams was visibly awestruck, called the footage “beautiful” and quoted song lyrics on air to mark the occasion.

People scoff at state-funded channels like RT, while singing the praises of channels like MSNBC and CNN. Those networks benefit hugely from the myth that because they are not state-funded, they are somehow independent.

These are networks owned by giant parent corporations with plenty of skin in the political game — yet, it is rarely acknowledged that these corporations have a detrimental influence on the quality of journalism produced by their employees. The truth is rarely uttered, that network stars like Rachel Maddow are completely beholden to those corporate and political interests — and that this basic fact massively influences their reporting.

Maddow’s ratings at MSNBC have been climbing of late, no doubt due to her obsession with the ‘Russiagate’ story — a surefire crowd-pleaser among Democratic Party loyalists. But surely Maddow knows, deep down, if she ever went off script, if she ever upset her bosses by becoming truly controversial, she’d be out. Just like Uygur, Schultz, Donahue and Banfield.

For now, Maddow is safe, because she’s exactly the kind of journalist they love: She pretends to rage against the machine while earning $30,000 a day peddling all the right conspiracy theories and picking on all the right people.

A new promo for MSNBC features the cable network’s top anchors in a series of black and white old-school journalism photos. The voiceover is the late Chet Huntley, a former MSNBC newsman: “American journalism — all of it,” he says with certitude, “is the best anywhere in the world.”

It’s hard to believe that by “best” journalism, Huntley could have meant running non-stop corporate-influenced war propaganda, firing anti-establishment voices, banishing conscientious reporters to tape closets and instructing on-air talent not to ruffle any feathers in Washington.

“This is who we are,” the tagline at the end of the ad reads. But remember, thanks to Griffin and his conversation with Uygur, we know what MSNBC really is.

“We are the establishment.”

Read more:

How to become ‘an Assad apologist’? Just question MSM rhetoric & welcome to the club

US media’s love affair with war: Major outlets showed zero opposition to Syria strikes

MSNBC host claims Obama admin was ‘virtually scandal-free’

April 23, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 3 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the Criminal Referral of Comey, Clinton et al: Will the Constitution Hold and the Media Continue to Suppress the Story?

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | April 19, 2018

Wednesday’s criminal referral by 11 House Republicans of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as several former and serving top FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials is a giant step toward a Constitutional crisis.

Named in the referral to the DOJ for possible violations of federal law are: Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey; former Attorney General Loretta Lynch; former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe; FBI Agent Peter Strzok; FBI Counsel Lisa Page; and those DOJ and FBI personnel “connected to” work on the “Steele Dossier,” including former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente.

With no attention from corporate media, the referral was sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah John Huber. Sessions appointed Huber months ago to assist DOJ Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz.  By most accounts, Horowitz is doing a thoroughly professional job. As IG, however, Horowitz lacks the authority to prosecute; he needs a U.S. Attorney for that.  And this has to be disturbing to the alleged perps.

This is no law-school case-study exercise, no arcane disputation over the fine points of this or that law. Rather, as we say in the inner-city, “It has now hit the fan.” Criminal referrals can lead to serious jail time.  Granted, the upper-crust luminaries criminally “referred” enjoy very powerful support. And that will come especially from the mainstream media, which will find it hard to retool and switch from Russia-gate to the much more delicate and much less welcome “FBI-gate.”

As of this writing, a full day has gone by since the letter/referral was reported, with total silence so far from The New York Times and The Washington Post and other big media as they grapple with how to spin this major development. News of the criminal referral also slipped by Amy Goodman’s non-mainstream DemocracyNow!, as well as many alternative websites.

The 11 House members chose to include the following egalitarian observation in the first paragraph of the letter conveying the criminal referral: “Because we believe that those in positions of high authority should be treated the same as every other American, we want to be sure that the potential violations of law outlined below are vetted appropriately.” If this uncommon attitude is allowed to prevail at DOJ, it would, in effect, revoke the de facto “David Petraeus exemption” for the be-riboned, be-medaled, and well-heeled.

Stonewalling

Meanwhile, the patience of the chairmen of House committees investigating abuses at DOJ and the FBI is wearing thin at the slow-rolling they are encountering in response to requests for key documents from the FBI.  This in-your-face intransigence is all the more odd, since several committee members have already had access to the documents in question, and are hardly likely to forget the content of those they know about.  (Moreover, there seems to be a good chance that a patriotic whistleblower or two will tip them off to key documents being withheld.)

The DOJ IG, whose purview includes the FBI, has been cooperative in responding to committee requests for information, but those requests can hardly include documents of which the committees are unaware.

Nunes: “We will put them on trial” (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Putting aside his partisan motivations, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) was unusually blunt two months ago in warning of legal consequences for officials who misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in order to enable surveillance on Trump and his associates. Nunes’s words are likely to have sent chills down the spine of those with lots to hide: “If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial,” he said.” The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created.”

Whether the House will succeed in overcoming the resistance of those criminally referred and their many accomplices and will prove able to exercise its Constitutional prerogative of oversight is, of course, another matter — a matter that matters.

And Nothing Matters More Than the Media

The media will be key to whether this Constitutional issue is resolved. Largely because of Trump’s own well earned reputation for lying, most Americans are susceptible to slanted headlines like this recent one — “Trump escalates attacks on FBI …” — from an article in The Washington Post, commiserating with the treatment accorded fired-before-retired prevaricator McCabe and the FBI he (dis)served.

Nor is the Post above issuing transparently clever warnings — like this one in a lead article on March 17: “Some Trump allies say they worry he is playing with fire by taunting the FBI. ‘This is open, all-out war. And guess what? The FBI’s going to win,’ said one ally, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. ‘You can’t fight the FBI. They’re going to torch him.’” [sic]

Mind-Boggling Criminal Activity

What motivated the characters now criminally “referred” is clear enough from a wide variety of sources, including the text messages exchange between Strzok and Page. Many, however, have been unable to understand how these law enforcement officials thought they could get away with taking such major liberties with the law.

None of the leaking, unmasking, surveillance, “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 Secretary Clinton would become President, at which point illegal and extralegal activities undertaken to help her win would garner praise, not prison. The activities were hardly considered high-risk, because candidate Clinton was sure to win.

Comey: She was going to win

But she lost.

Comey himself gives this away in the embarrassingly puerile book he has been hawking, “A Higher Loyalty” — which amounts to a pre-emptive move motivated mostly by loyalty-to-self, in order to obtain a Stay-Out-of-Jail card. Hat tip to Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone for a key observation, in his recent article, “James Comey, the Would-Be J. Edgar Hoover,” about what Taibbi deems the book’s most damning passage, where Comey discusses his decision to make public the re-opening of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Comey admits, “It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the re-started investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in the polls.”

The key point is not Comey’s tortured reasoning, but rather that Clinton was “sure to be the next president.” This would, of course, confer automatic immunity on those now criminally referred to the Department of Justice. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men — even very tall men. One wag claimed that the “Higher” in “A Higher Loyalty” refers simply to the very tall body that houses an outsized ego.

I think it can be said that readers of Consortiumnews.com may be unusually well equipped to understand the anatomy of FBI-gate as well as Russia-gate.  Listed below chronologically are several links that might be viewed as a kind of “whiteboard” to refresh memories. You may wish to refer them to any friends who may still be confused.

2017

Russia-gate’s Mythical ‘Heroes’ June 6, 2017

The Democratic Money Behind Russia-gate Oct. 29, 2017

The Foundering Russia-gate ‘Scandal’ Dec. 13, 2017 

What Did Hillary Clinton Know? Dec. 25, 2017

2018

The FBI Hand Behind Russia-gate Jan. 11, 2018

Will Congress Face Down the Deep State? Jan. 30, 2018

Nunes Memo Reports Crimes at Top of FBI and DOJ Feb. 2, 2018

‘This is Nuts’: Liberals Launch ‘Largest Mobilization in History’ in Defense of Russiagate Probe Feb. 9, 2018

Nunes: FBI and DOJ Perps Could Be Put on Trial Feb. 19, 2018

‘Progressive’ Journalists Jump the Shark on Russia-gate March 7, 2018

Intel Committee Rejects Basic Underpinning of Russiagate March 14, 2018

McCabe: A War on (or in) the FBI? March 18, 2018

Former CIA Chief Brennan Running Scared March 19, 2018

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served as an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years.  In retirement, he co-created Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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