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Strzok Hoisted on His Own Petard

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | July 13, 2018

If FBI agent Peter Strzok were not so glib, it would have been easier to feel some sympathy for him during his tough grilling at the House oversight hearing on Thursday, even though his wounds are self-inflicted. The wounds, of course, ooze from the content of his own text message exchange with his lover and alleged co-conspirator, Lisa Page.

Strzok was a top FBI counterintelligence official and Page an attorney working for then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The Attorney General fired McCabe in March and DOJ has criminally referred McCabe to federal prosecutors for lying to Justice Department investigators.

On Thursday members of the House Judiciary and Oversight/Government Reform Committees questioned Strzok for eight hours on how he led the investigations of Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized emails and Donald Trump’s campaign’s ties with Russia, if any.

Strzok did his best to be sincerely slick.  Even so, he seemed to feel beleaguered — even ambushed — by the questions of Republicans using his own words against him. “Disingenuous” is the word a Republican Congresswoman used to describe his performance.  Nonetheless, he won consistent plaudits from the Democrats. He showed zero regret for the predicament he put himself into, except for regret at his royal screw-up in thinking he and Lisa could “talk about Hillary” (see below) on their FBI cellphones and no one would ever know.  One wag has suggested that Strzok may have been surreptitiously texting, when he should have been listening to the briefing on “Cellphone Security 101.”

In any case, the chickens have now come home to roost. Most of those chickens, and Strzok’s predicament in general, are demonstrably the result of his own incompetence.  Indeed, Strzok seems the very embodiment of the “Peter Principle.” FBI agents down the line — that is, the non-peter-principle people — are painfully aware of this, and resent the discredit that Strzok and his bosses have brought on the Bureau.  Many are reportedly lining up to testify against what has been going on at the top.

It is always necessary at this point to note that the heads of the FBI, CIA, NSA and even the Department of Justice were operating, as former FBI Director James Comey later put it, in an environment “where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump.” Most of them expected to be able to stay in their key positions and were confident they would receive plaudits — not indictments — for the liberties that they, the most senior U.S. law enforcement officials, took with the law. In other words, once the reality that Mrs. Clinton was seen by virtually everyone to be a shoo-in is taken into account, the mind boggles a lot less.

Peter Principle

In a text sent to Page on April 2, 2016, Strzok assured her that it was safe to use official cellphones.  Page: “So look, you say we text on that phone when we talk about Hillary because it can’t be traced.” It goes downhill from there for the star-crossed lovers.

Pity Page, who asked for more time to answer a subpoena to testify to the same joint-committee. It is understandable that she would have trusted Strzok on this. After all, he was not only her lover, but also one of the FBI’s top counterintelligence officials.

How could she ever have expected to taste the bitter irony that the above text exchange could be retrieved, find its way to the Department of Justice Inspector General, to Congress, and then to the rest of us, not to mention far more incriminating exchanges.

The ‘Hillary Dispensation’

There were moments of high irony at Thursday’s hearing. For example, under questioning by Darrell Issa (R-CA), Strzok appealed, in essence, for the same kid-gloves treatment that his FBI and DOJ associates afforded Mrs. Clinton during the Strzok-led investigation of her emails.

Issa: Mr. Strozk, you were part of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, that’s correct?

Strzok: Yes.

Issa: And in that investigation, uh, you were part of the decision for her to, uh, and her lawyers, to go through emails that were produced during, uh, you, if you will, during her time as Secretary, go through and determine which ones were Government, and which ones were not, both the classified and unclassified, is that correct?

Strzok: I was not.

Issa:   You were not involved at all.

Strzok: That’s correct.

Issa: But you’re aware of it.

Strzok: I.. I’m aware of their statements to us about how they did it.

Issa: And do you think it was ok, uh, for Secretary Clinton to determine what could or couldn’t, uh, uh, qualify for her to turn in under the Federal Records Act?

Strzok: I, I can’t speak to that. That was a decision, my understanding between her and her attorneys, and…

Issa:   Ok, but you were aware that in her production she failed to deliver some items that’ve now been ruled were classified, is that correct?

Strzok: I’m aware that we recovered information that was not in the material that she turned over. I don’t know if it was her failure, the failure of the attorneys conducting that sort, or simply because she didn’t have it. I, I don’t know the answer to that question.

Issa: So, I bring up something that came up in the previous round. So far, only you have determined what should be turned over from your private emails, that, or your non-government emails and texts, what should be delivered because it was government in nature. You’ve made that decision.

Strzok: That’s right.

Issa: And it’s your position that nobody else in the way of a government entity should be able to look over your shoulder, so to speak, and make that decision.

Strzok:   That, that’s right.

Issa: So you think it’s ok for the target — and you are a target — of an investigation to determine what should be delivered rather than, if you will, the government, right?

Strzok: Sir, I am not aware of any investigation of which I am a target, not aware I’m a target of any investigation.

At this point Issa tells Strzok he is indeed a target of investigation by Congress. More importantly, Issa makes the point that the content of the texts exchanged on the FBI phones contained a mixture of official business and personal matters.

So why, asks Issa, should we not ask you to provide similar texts from your personal exchanges, since there is likely to be a similar mixture of official and personal matters in those texts? Issa suggests they likely “would be similar.”

Strzok asks if, by “similar,” Issa means “commenting on Mr. Trump or Hillary Clinton or anything else political in nature.” Strzok then adds, “I don’t specifically recall but it is probably a safe assumption.”

Uh oh.

Strzok: No Good Options

If Strzok was distracted by texting during the standard briefing on “NSA Capabilities:101,” he may have missed the part about NSA collecting and storing everything that goes over the Internet. That would include, of course, his private text messages with Page on private phones.

There is, admittedly, a very slim chance Strzok is unaware of this. But, given his naiveté about how well protected the texts on his FBI cellphone were, that possibility cannot be ruled out. In any case, given the high stakes involved, there seems a chance he might be tempted to follow Mrs. Clinton’s example with her emails and try to delete or destroy texts that provide additional incriminating evidence — or get someone else to do so.

More probably, after Thursday’s hearing, Strzok will see it as too late for him to try to cash in on the “Hillary Exemption.” Strzok, after all, is not Hillary Clinton. In addition, it has probably long since dawned on him that his FBI and DOJ co-conspirators may well decide to “throw him under the bus,” one of those delicate expressions we use in Washington. In this connection, Strzok will have noted that last month McCabe asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to give him immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony on how senior officials at the FBI and Justice Department handled the investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s private email server.

If McCabe knows FBI history, he is aware that one of his predecessors as acting director, L. Patrick Gray, famously was left to “twist slowly in the wind” per the instructions of President Richard Nixon’s aide John Ehrlichman, when the Senate Judiciary Committee could not get satisfactory answers from Gray.

Nixon had nominated Gray to lead the FBI after J. Edgar Hoover died in May 1972, but he could never get confirmed by the Senate. Worse still, Gray was forced to resign after less than a year as acting FBI director, after he admitted to having destroyed Watergate-related documents.

Predictable Media Spin

The “mainstream media” remain the main obstacle to understanding what is going on behind the scenes. It would be easier to forgive them, were not a full-blown Constitutional crisis brewing the Executive and Legislature branches, as the DOJ and FBI continue to resist Congress’s requests for original documents. Former CIA chief John Brennan is also being given space to indulge in pre-emptive rhetoric that he apparently thinks will help when they get to him.

The New York Times reported Friday that “Peter Strzok … was hauled before the House but came out swinging. … The embattled F.B.I. agent who oversaw the opening of the Russia investigation mounted an aggressive defense of himself and the F.B.I. on Thursday, rejecting accusations that he let his private political views bias his official actions and labeling Republicans’ preoccupation with him ‘another victory notch in Putin’s belt.’”

The Potomac Times (aka The Washington Post) ran similarly laudatory coverage of Strzok — “Strzok testifies amid partisan fury: heated hearing sheds little light as agent fumes at accusations of FBI bias” — and laced its coverage with a defamatory article about Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who led the most aggressive Republican questioning of Strzok.

According to the Times, Jordan is “under withering scrutiny as he faces numerous accusations that he knew or should have known about the alleged sexual misconduct of a doctor who worked with the Ohio State wrestling team when Jordan was an assistant coach there between 1986 and 1995.” The Times goes on to quote House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “Well, many people say that he did know and by his own standard, he should have known.”

And, sadly, do not look to so-called progressive media for more balanced reporting. For example, Democracy Now! Friday morning chose to highlight Strzok’s tortured explanation of what he really meant when he told Page, “We will stop” Trump. Strzok says the “we” he referred to was “the American population [which] would not elect somebody” who behaves like Trump. The context of that text exchange, however, makes it clear who the “we” is — or was.

Finally, for those with the courage to dissect and explain Strzok’s testimony to neighbors still drinking Russia-gate Kool-Aid, please note that Strzok’s name is easier to say, than to spell.  It is pronounced “struck” like “dumbstruck,” or — equally applicable in Strzok’s circumstances — “Moonstruck.” Those watching Thursday’s hearing will have noticed that not all members of the House Judiciary and Oversight/Government Reform Committees had gotten the word on how to pronounce what may now become a household word.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  A former U.S. Army officer and CIA analyst, he has closely watched Washington goings-on like this for five decades. Ray co-created Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos

By Aidan O’Brien | CounterPunch |July 13, 2018

Ireland’s oldest university – Trinity College Dublin – gave Hillary Clinton an honorary doctorate in late June. It was one big love in. Clinton was paraded and praised like a people’s champion. And in return Clinton fawned over Dublin’s cutting edge liberal politics.

A Trinity College professor orated about Clinton: “Almost sixty-six million people have given her their vote of confidence, sharing her belief that a true democracy is a society in which everyone is equally valued as a human being.”

And Clinton’s response: “These last few years in Ireland have been a testament to the power of young people to shape the future – from the 2015 marriage equality referendum, which saw historic youth turnout, to this year’s abortion referendum…. No demographic is better positioned to be a force on the side of democracy, progress and equality.”

Behind these delusions, platitudes and lies there is a logic. A disturbing one – one that actually built Trinity College Dublin way back in 1592. And one that sustains the same College today in 2018. It sustains Clinton too. It’s the logic of imperialism. And the shameless culture of empire worship that goes with it.

Hillary Clinton personifies the last thirty years of US imperialism. And so by honoring her, Trinity College honors three decades of US savagery across the planet. Firstly, during Hillary’s “reign”, there were the wars which the US orchestrated – for example, in Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen. And secondly, there’s the neoliberal wars against the global working class which Bill and Hillary Clinton have sold nonstop – from NAFTA (1994) to the repeal of Glass-Steagall (1999) and onto the bailout of the banks (2008 – to the present). The resulting social chaos across the world is a testament to Hillary Clinton’s politics. She more than Donald Trump is the face of the corrupt American Empire.

Her contempt for America, democracy and the world is no secret. The Podesta emails (released by WikiLeaks in 2016) – for example – reveal a two faced politician: a Wall Street Clinton and a Main Street Clinton. For $225,000 a speech Clinton tells the banksters the truth. And for votes she tells the American people fairytales. In her own words: “But if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position.”

Referring to the Podesta emails in October 2016, the New York Times noted that: “Mrs. Clinton describes herself as “far removed” from average Americans and their finances.” The reason? “The Clintons have made more than $120 million in speeches to Wall Street and special interests since Bill Clinton left the White House in 2001.” These facts sum up the deep politics of Clinton. To say the least, she represents America’s 1%.

And so she had no problem dismissing half of America’s 99% as “a basket of deplorables”. And no problem either conspiring against the other half of America’s 99% – those who vote Democrat. In November, 2017 CNN reported: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren [Massachusetts] said she believes that the Democratic National Committee [DNC] was “rigged” in favor of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the 2016 primary. Asked…… by CNN’s Jake Tapper whether she believes that the Democratic campaign organization was tipped in favor of Clinton over her primary opponent, independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Warren responded without hesitation: “Yes.””

Because Clinton’s political machine had all the corporate money – she or her handlers got to pick the members of the DNC. Therefore in key Democratic primaries the superdelegates, which decided the vote, were her puppets. Such are Clinton’s democratic credentials.

Clinton’s real heart of darkness, however, is found in the bowels of US foreign policy. The key to understanding Hillary Clinton’s view of the world and humanity is Madeleine Albright (Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State). And the key to understanding Albright’s dark heart is her infamous words on CBS television in 1996. Asked about the death of 500,000 children – caused by the US / UK sanctions against Iraq – Madeleine Albright said that “we think the price is worth it”.

This barbaric sentiment reflects the soul of Hillary Clinton’s Weltanschauung because it was Hillary who prompted Bill Clinton to appoint Madeleine Albright as Secretary of State. Hillary clearly identified herself with Albright’s take on the world. Writing in popsugar.com in 2016, Lisette Mejia quotes Albright as saying: “I would not have been secretary of state if it had not been for Hillary Clinton….. She would go to [Bill] and say,…. ’Why wouldn’t you name Madeleine? She is more in tune with your views than anyone else and she expresses them better than anyone else.”

The fact that Hillary Clinton tried to quickly follow in the footsteps of Bill Clinton (she twice attempted to be the US President  – in 2008 and 2016), indeed suggests that Madeleine Albright was “more in tune with [her own] views than anyone else”. And expressed “them better than anyone else”. And the fact that Hillary actually ended up following in the footsteps of Albright in the US Department of State (she was Obama’s first Secretary of State, 2009-13), points to a startling parallel between these two female imperialists. One that eerily manifested itself in another blunt barbaric remark caught on camera. When asked in a 2011 television interview to comment on the murder of Muammar al-Gaddafi (and indirectly on the murder of Libya – a clear case of genocide), Hillary casually said “we came, we saw, he [and Libya] died”. And then she laughed.

No one has expressed the horrors of US imperialism in the last three decades better than Hillary Clinton (in one guise or the other). And no one has supported them more than Hillary Clinton.

So why did Trinity College Dublin celebrate her? Firstly: as Edward Said wrote in a 2003 preface to his book Orientalism (1978), “there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn’t trust the evidence of one’s eyes watching the destruction and misery and death brought by the latest mission civilizatrice.” Trinity College Dublin is the embodiment of this chorus.

And secondly: Trinity College Dublin was built in 1592 by the first queen of chaos (Britain’s Queen Elizabeth I), so it only makes sense that it celebrates the latest queen of chaos – Hillary Clinton (the image is Diana Johnstone’s). The chaos theory of Empire is in the DNA of Ireland’s model university. Trinity College might reject the chaos of revolution (a statue of Edmund Burke – the critic of the French Revolution – guards the entrance of the university), but it has always defended the chaos of imperialism.

When Britain’s Tudor Queen built Trinity College in Dublin – the Irish were like the Iraqis and Libyans of today. They were fair game, thrash, expendable, a price worth paying and a laugh. And Trinity College rationalized it for the imperialists. That was it’s raison d’être.

Edward Said explains, in his book Culture And Imperialism (1993), the Irish situation back then as follows: “In Ireland, [Angus] Calder says, the idea of murdering Gaels was from the start ‘as part of a royal army or with royal approval, [considered] patriotic, heroic and just.’ The idea of English racial superiority became ingrained; so humane a poet and gentleman as Edmund Spenser in his View of the Present State of Ireland (1596) was boldly proposing that since the Irish were barbarian Scythians, most of them should be exterminated.”

The idea of Irish inferiority and the inferiority of colonized people’s everywhere ‘became ingrained’ in places like Trinity College Dublin. How else could the Empire have survived?

Today the American establishment continues what the British establishment started way back in the 16th century. And so places like Trinity College Dublin continue to dress up barbarism in the clothes of civilization – yesterday they did it for Britain, today for America. As Noam Chomsky has insinuated so often – the general rule is that intellectuals lie for a living. Ireland’s intellectual-class have just proved the point.

Aidan O’Brien lives in Dublin, Ireland.

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

No Trump, No Clinton, No NATO

By Craig Murray | July 7, 2018

Marina Hyde’s vicious and spiteful attack on Susan Sarandon and the Green Party points to the real danger of anti-Trump protest next week being hijacked by the neo-con warmonger franchise. The idea that those of us who do not want arch warmonger Clinton in power are therefore supporters of Trump is intellectually risible and politically dishonest.

Yesterday the OPCW reported that, contrary to US and UK assertions in the UN security council, there was no nerve agent attack on jihadist-held Douma by the Syrian government, precisely as Robert Fisk was execrated by the entire media establishment for pointing out. The OPCW did find some traces of chlorine compounds, but chlorine is a very commonly used element and you have traces of it all over your house. The US wants your chicken chlorinated. The OPCW said it was “Not clear” if the chlorine was weaponised, and it is plain to me from a career in diplomacy that the almost incidental mention is a diplomatic sop to the UK, US and France, which are important members of the OPCW.

Trump’s reaction to yet more lying claims by the UK government funded White Helmets and Syrian Observatory, a reaction of missile strikes on alleged Syrian facilities producing the non-existent nerve agent, was foolish. May’s leap for British participation was unwise, and the usual queue of Blairites who stood up as always in Parliament to support any bombing action, stand yet again exposed as evil tools of the military industrial complex.

Hillary Clinton, true to form, wanted more aggressive military action than was undertaken by Trump. Hillary has been itching to destroy Syria as she destroyed Libya. Libya was very much Hillary’s war and – almost unreported by the mainstream media – NATO bombers carried out almost 14,000 bombing sorties on Libya and devastated entire cities.

Sirte, Libya, after NATO bombing

The destruction of Libya’s government and infrastructure directly caused the Mediterranean boat migrant crisis, which has poisoned the politics of much of the European Union.

Donald Trump has not started any major war. He has been more restrained in military action than any US President since Jimmy Carter. My own view is (and of course it is impossible to know for sure) that, had Hillary been in power, Syria would already have been totally destroyed, the Cold War with Russia would be at mankind threatening levels, and nuclear tension with North Korea would be escalating.

“He hasn’t destroyed mankind yet” is faint praise for anyone. Being less of an existential danger to mankind than Hillary Clinton is a level achieved by virtually the entire population of the planet. I am not supporting Trump. I am condemning Clinton. I too, like Susan Sarandon, would have voted for Jill Stein were I an American.

So do protest against Trump. But do so under the banner No Trump! No Clinton! No NATO! And if any Clintonite or Blairite gets up to address you, tell them very loudly where to get off. I remember the hijacking of the Make Poverty History campaign by Brown, Darling and Campbell on behalf of their banker friends. Don’t let that happen again.

Or here is an even better idea.

Escape the Trump visit completely. Rather than stand penned in and shouting slogans at a police van parked right in front of you, turn your back on all of that and come join me at the Doune the Rabbit Hole Festival from 13 to 15 July. As our regulars know, this blog has been intimately connected with running the Festival from the start. This year is much bigger, with the Levellers, Akala, Atari Teenage Riot, Peatbog Faeries, and literally scores of other bands, and a great array of other festival activities too, including for kids, who come free and get free drinks.

DTRH has no sponsorship, no advertising, no government money and no rip-offs – beer and cider from £3.50 a pint at the bars. It is very much an alternative lifestyle gathering, and I find spiritual renewal there in the glorious Stirlingshire countryside. (I know that sounds corny, but I do). Tickets are £90 for full weekend including camping, which I think makes it the cheapest festival on this level around. Or you can buy a cheaper day ticket and drop in just for the day. If tickets are too expensive or you fancy a different kind of fun, you can volunteer, including to come and work with me in the bar, though there are a whole range of other tasks to be done if you don’t fancy that. Volunteers get in free and get fed in return for one six hour shift a day.

I really do hope I will see some of you there – it looks set to be a glorious weekend. Forget stress, forget Trump and hang out with nice people!

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Myth of Barack Obama as the Great and Noble Nobel Global Statesman

By Martin SIEFF | Strategic Culture Foundation | 27.06.2018

It is no coincidence that the Sword, Sorcery and Dragons Fantasy Games of Thrones – filmed in large part on location in my native Northern Ireland – has entranced the American viewing public over the past decade: For the early 21st century has seen US policymakers and opinion-shapers plunging ever deeper into one fantasy after another. But even Game of Thrones pales in incredibility and absurdity next to the fantasy still believed by most Americans — That Barack Obama was a wise and responsible, peace-loving statesman.

In truth, Obama, casually and with evident self-satisfaction, unleashed series of catastrophic foreign national security policies that sent the world careening to the brink of nuclear war and inflicted needless suffering on scores of millions of people. No Game of Thrones villain ever did anything like that damage.

I have no doubt that the ludicrous award of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to Obama will go down in history as the most ridiculous such award in the entire history of the institution.

What in reality was Obama’s record as President of the United States?

He authorized a totally unnecessary and strategically meaningless $1 trillion nuclear build up over the coming generation that will play a major role in bankrupting the United States. It was also a move guaranteed to set off a ruinous global thermonuclear arms race with Russia, China and other powers who understandably fear being made defenseless before a succession of ever more unilateral and unpredictable US leaders.

Obama claimed to be deeply concerned about nuclear nonproliferation and hosted a Nuclear Safety Summit in Washington whose only real achievement was to feed his already enormous and delusional appreciation of his own self-worth.

However, as analyst Rebecca Heinrichs of the conservative Hudson Institute in Washington concluded, “If one actually looks at the risks of nuclear war as well as the likelihood of proliferation at the start of the President’s term compared to now, the Obama’s nonproliferation record earns a failing grade.”

In 2011, Obama a fecklessly allowed his warmongering, hyper-aggressive secretary of state Hillary Clinton to arrange with Britain and France the use of NATO air power to destroy the state of Libya by giving tactical support and protection to rebels against veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Gaddafi’s previous decade of consistent cooperation with the US and its allies in the struggle against extreme Islamist terror and his monitored compliance with demands to scrap Libya’s nascent nuclear [program] were all for naught. Obama and Clinton’s reckless and even clownish policies ensured the complete disintegration of Libya, creating an infernal anarchy in which Islamist terror groups could thrive and metastasize throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Far from encouraging nations to scrap their nuclear programs as Gaddafi in fact had done, Obama’s childish approval of the destruction of Libya sent precisely the opposite message to nations around the world: “Scrap your nuclear deterrents and there will be nothing to stop the United States from destroying you whenever its leaders feel like it.”

It was the same story in Syria where Obama and Clinton eagerly approved the flow of half a billion dollars a year to such groups including, incredibly the Nusrah Front, the Syrian franchise of al-Qaeda, heirs to the conspirators who [are said to have] killed nearly 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001.

Obama’s utter ignorance and his clueless ignorance of diplomacy and the conduct of international relations was memorably exposed in his casual approval of the absurd and clownish Michael McFaul as US ambassador to Moscow.

The idea that an accredited ambassador could pass his days in sending out public abusive Twitter messages insulting the head of the state to which he was accredited was ludicrous even if that state was Mauritius, Lichtenstein or Tahiti let alone one of the world’s two thermonuclear superpowers.

McFaul openly worked overtime to give aid and encouragement to domestic opposition to the undermine the legitimate government of Russia: His activities would have provoked calls for full-scale war from the US Congress had any Russian envoy to Washington, DC presumed to act in such a way. None of this bothered Obama for a second.

Even worse was to follow: In 2014, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, the wife of leading neocon ideologue Robert Kagan and also the favored subordinate of Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state openly paraded in the streets of Kiev, handing out cookies to violent protestors as they overthrew with mob riots and terror the constitutionally democratically elected government of a European nation of 45 million people. Obama fully – albeit, as usual, passively approved.

East-West relations were reduced to a state of chaos and distrust unseen in 52 years since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Obama does not appear to have noticed or even been concerned.

Obama was not totally ignorant and uninterested in international relations. During his casual and ill-attended, poorly documented student years at Columbia University in New York City, he attended only one course in international relations. It was given by none other than Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter.

Brzezinski was a descendant of the displaced minor Polish aristocracy who through his long career consistently fought to lock the United States into a set policies designed to weaken, disintegrate and encircle Russia with hostile powers and alliances. He was a major foreign policy influence on US Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Brzezinski was Obama’s personal guide and guru to what little the 44th US president dimly grasped of strategic orientation and world affairs. Obama’s near-total ignorance of non-American history and diplomacy gave Brzezinski full scope to manipulate him into accepting all his own most virulent anti-Russian prejudices.

Thanks to Obama, superpower diplomatic relations collapsed to their most parlous state in the entire Nuclear Age. When Obama took office in January 2009, the Doomsday Clock of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists journal was set at two minutes to midnight and the journal soberly warned: “The world stands at the brink of a second nuclear age.”

Yet after eight years in power, when Obama left the White House in January 2017, as ignorant, complacent and filled with unearned self-regard as when he came to Washington, the Doomsday Clock stood at three minutes to midnight – two minutes closer than when he had taken office.

We do not need to wait to know the Verdict of History on Barack Obama’s eight years as a global statesman. That verdict is in and it is damning: The Nobel committee should rescind his 2009 Peace Prize. Perhaps it can be given instead to a harmless fantasy TV show like Game of Thrones.

June 27, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Forbes: Tesla Green Car Production Circus Distracting From Solar City Woes

By Eric Worrall | Watts Up With That? | June 22, 2018

As Elon Musk ramps up the hype over whether Tesla will hit its Model 3 production targets, another financial disaster may be unfolding at Tesla’s subsidiary Solar City.

Tesla’s Constant Turmoil Can’t Hide The Fact That SolarCity Is Dying

Jim Collins
JUN 22, 2018 @ 03:07 PM

I am convinced that the financial media will never end its fascination with Tesla and this week has been even more rife with intrigue than most. While the actions of self-proclaimed whistleblower Martin Tripp—including his extraordinary email exchange with CEO Elon Musk—have garnered most of the headlines, there are more relevant news items for investors.  Thursday’s Reuters article has the details of Tesla’s abrupt shutdown of a major part of its SolarCity sales network, and the ending of the company’s partnership with Home Depot had been announced last week in the press release detailing Tesla’s workforce reductions.

As Tesla’s struggles to perform the most basic assembly tasks at its Fremont car plant grab the headlines, the SolarCity news is signaling to the market a reality of which I have been convinced for some time: SolarCity is worthless. So, now the focus has to shift to that transaction, in which the former Tesla Motors paid 11 million shares of its stock to a company that was also chaired by its chairman and CEO and run on a day-to-day basis by his cousin (SolarCity’s former CEO Lyndon Rive.)  The conflicts of interest were so obvious then, and even though most of Tesla’s Board members recused themselves from the SolarCity acquisition process, the simple fact is that Tesla picked up a lemon when they drove SolarCity off the lot.

How would the market perceive such a write-off given that Tesla is contractually obligated to spend $5 billion in capital in the ten years following the completion of the currently-in-construction (also being built by Panasonic) Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo?  I am terrible at predicting Tesla’s share price movements over the short-term, but over the long-term, SolarCity will be a huge drain on the value of a car company that has been massively overvalued for years.

Full article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimcollins/2018/06/22/teslas-constant-turmoil-cant-hide-the-fact-that-solarcity-is-dying/

How different things would have been had Hillary Clinton won. Hillary Clinton pledged to install five hundred million solar panels during her presidency. Solar City would likely have been front of the queue to supply those solar panels, and Elon Musk would likely have pocketed billions of dollars of taxpayers cash helping Clinton fulfil her solar pledge.

Perhaps a Clinton victory is what Elon Musk had in mind when he bought out Solar City, and signed binding deals to build those extravagant Gigafactories.

June 24, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

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