MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Russiagate’

CDC To America: ‘Cancel Traditional Thanksgiving!’

Posted by M. C. on October 5, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control have released a “helpful” set of guidelines for upcoming holidays. Celebrating Halloween or Thanksgiving as we did in the “old normal” is out of the question. Consider a “virtual” Thanksgiving, they recommend. Also today, CNN tells us there is NO RETURN to normal, and if you want to return you may be mentally ill. Also – Why is CIA Director Haspel blocking declassification of documents critical to understanding “Russiagate”? Also, as discussed on today’s program, get your copy of Dr. Paul’s BRAND NEW mini-book, “The End of Unearned Opulence” with a $50 donation to the Ron Paul Institute. For a $100 donation, Dr. Paul will hand-sign it. This is a LIMITED TIME offer!

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The Idiotic Claim That Other Nations Are “Disrupting The Public Conversation” On US Politics | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on October 4, 2020

The idea that any of this could have any effect worth mentioning on the gibbering vortex of irrational vitriol that is American political discourse makes no sense whatsoever, and again Twitter itself admits that it “did not make an impact on the public conversation”. Twitter’s response is a melodramatic swinging at shadows which did nothing but help manufacture the US State Department-friendly narrative that Iran is working to interfere in American democracy.

https://www.zerohedge.com/political/idiotic-claim-other-nations-are-disrupting-public-conversation-us-politics

Profile picture for user Tyler Durden

by Tyler Durden

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

Twitter claims that it has suspended 130 Iranian accounts for “attempting to disrupt the public conversation” during the US presidential debate.

“Based on intel provided by the FBI, last night we removed approximately 130 accounts that appeared to originate in Iran,” a thread by the Twitter Safety account reads. “They were attempting to disrupt the public conversation during the first 2020 US Presidential Debate. We identified these accounts quickly, removed them from Twitter, and shared full details with our peers, as standard. They had very low engagement and did not make an impact on the public conversation. Our capacity and speed continue to grow, and we’ll remain vigilant.”

Based on intel provided by the @FBI, last night we removed approximately 130 accounts that appeared to originate in Iran. They were attempting to disrupt the public conversation during the first 2020 US Presidential Debate. — Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) October 1, 2020

This evidence-free claim aligns with the narrative popularized by the Russiagate conspiracy theory that foreign governments seek to “sow discord” in the United States by amplifying controversial political opinions from both sides of mainstream US discourse, and it is idiotic for a number of reasons.

Firstly, anyone who watched America’s trainwreck of a first presidential debate knows the argument that a few social media accounts could make the US political conversation any more polarized, hostile and toxic than mainstream news outlets and elected officials have already made it is like saying a tsunami was exacerbated by someone throwing a thimble full of water in the ocean.

The much-touted Russian social media election interference in 2016 was shown to be a joke, consisting of a few thousand dollars going toward silly memes and posts amplifying both sides of the political conversation, and much of it happening after the election itself. The few sample tweets provided by Twitter in this latest so-called attempt to disrupt the public conversation from Iran are vastly less significant than even that, saying nothing particularly noteworthy and bizarrely appearing to side with Trump.

The idea that any of this could have any effect worth mentioning on the gibbering vortex of irrational vitriol that is American political discourse makes no sense whatsoever, and again Twitter itself admits that it “did not make an impact on the public conversation”. Twitter’s response is a melodramatic swinging at shadows which did nothing but help manufacture the US State Department-friendly narrative that Iran is working to interfere in American democracy.

Iran hawks want to pretend that regime collapse is just one sanction away – yet it is Iran’s civilian population that is the target and would absorb the pain of new, callous US sanctions that have been proposed: https://t.co/zim6HzD37m — Ryan Costello (@RyeCostello) September 29, 2020

Secondly, the entire premise is bogus because other nations have every right to influence US political discourse. The US uses its military and economic might to bully and manipulate the world into compliance with its agendas; this by itself is an outrage, and at the very least people around the world should be allowed to exert influence on the political conversation of people who, unlike themselves, are able to cast votes which influence the US government. Anyone in any nation on earth is well within their sovereign boundaries to influence the political discourse of a nation whose government does not honor the national sovereignty of any other nation.

This is especially true of nations like Iran, because it is no exaggeration to say that US politics affect Iranians more than they affect Americans. The lives of Americans have been impacted by the Trump administration far less than the people of Iran, for example, as more starvation sanctions are being pushed while crucial goods are already skyrocketing in price, sick Iranians are having difficulty obtaining life-saving medicine, and life in general has been getting much more difficult for the poorest and frailest Iranian civilians.

When Trump nearly started a war with Iran earlier this year, Americans worried about the price of oil while Iranians worried about their children getting ripped apart by explosives dropped from the sky. These things are not equal, and it’s not even close.

To claim that Iranians — or even the Iranian government — should not be allowed to exert any influence over how people are talking about the government that did this is absurd. Such a viewpoint only looks acceptable through the American supremacist worldview which sees Americans as better, more worthy, and more important than the people who live in other nations.

“Heshmat Alavi” is itself known to be a fake Twitter account for a fictional persona that has for years been used to influence US political discourse (https://t.co/uhEXXFjXVY), but its influence promotes anti-Iran narratives so @Twitter has no problem with it. https://t.co/bmMibdR3Yz — Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) October 1, 2020

Thirdly, it is not legitimate for monopolistic tech corporations to align themselves with the US government and then censor speech in a way which always benefits that government. These mass social media purges consistently target accounts from nations which have resisted absorption into the US-centralized power alliance, while known troll operations like the fake “Heshmat Alavi” Twitter account from the MEK terror cult are left free to influence US political discourse because its anti-Tehran focus aligns with the US government.

When you’ve got monopolistic tech giants aligning with government agencies like the FBI to implement censorship which aligns with the US government, what you have is government censorship. There is nothing else you could reasonably call it. We learned back in August that Twitter, Facebook, Google and other massively influential platforms are collaborating with the US government to prevent foreign influence in the lead-up to the US election, and there’s no reason to believe this corporate-state relationship will get any less cozy after November third.

In a corporatist system of government, where corporate power is inseparably intertwined with state power, corporate censorship is state censorship. Every horrible thing the US government accuses other nations of doing is something it itself does as a matter of routine. Increasingly authoritarian control over information and communication is just one more example of this.

*  *  *

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

Be seeing you

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How the Pentagon failed to sell Afghan government’s bunk ‘Bountygate’ story to US intelligence agencies  | The Grayzone

Posted by M. C. on July 11, 2020

The Times reported first on June 28, then again on June 30, that a large amount of cash found at a “Taliban outpost” or a “Taliban site” had led U.S. intelligence to suspect the Russian plot.  But the Times had to walk that claim back, revealing on July 1 that the raid that turned up $500,000 in cash had in fact targeted the Kabul home of Rahmatullah Azizi, an Afghan businessmen said to have been involved in both drug trafficking and contracting for part of the billions of dollars the United States spent on construction projects.

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/07/07/pentagon-afghan-bountygate-us-intelligence-agencies/

Another New York Times Russiagate bombshell turns out to be a dud, as dodgy stories spun out by Afghan intelligence and exploited by the Pentagon ultimately failed to convince US intelligence agencies.

By Gareth Porter

The New York Times dropped another Russiagate bombshell on June 26 with a sensational front-page story headlined, “Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says.”  A predictable media and political frenzy followed, reviving the anti-Russian hysteria that has excited the Beltway establishment for the past four years.

But a closer look at the reporting by the Times and other mainstream outlets vying to confirm its coverage reveals another scandal not unlike Russiagate itself: the core elements of the story appear to have been fabricated by Afghan government intelligence to derail a potential US troop withdrawal from the country. And they were leaked to the Times and other outlets by US national security state officials who shared an agenda with their Afghan allies.

In the days following the story’s publication, the maneuvers of the Afghan regime and US national security bureaucracy encountered an unexpected political obstacle: US intelligence agencies began offering a series of low confidence assessments in the Afghan government’s self-interested intelligence claims, judging them to be highly suspect at best, and altogether bogus at worst.

In light of this dramatic development, the Times’ initial report appears to have been the product of a sensationalistic disinformation dump aimed at prolonging the failed Afghan war in the face of President Donald Trump’s plans to withdraw US troops from it.

The Times quietly reveals its own sources’ falsehoods

The Times not only broke the Bountygate story but commissioned squads of reporters comprising nine different correspondents to write eight articles hyping the supposed scandal in the course of eight days. Its coverage displayed the paper’s usual habit of regurgitating bits of dubious information furnished to its correspondents by faceless national security sources. In the days after the Times’ dramatic publication, its correspondent squads were forced to revise the story line to correct an account that ultimately turned out to be false on practically every important point.

The Bountygate saga began on June 26, with a Times report declaring, “The United States concluded months ago” that the Russians “had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year.” The report suggested that US intelligence analysts had reached a firm conclusion on Russian bounties as early as January. A follow-up Times report portrayed the shocking discovery of the lurid Russian plot thanks to the recovery of a large amount of U.S. cash from a “raid on a Taliban outpost.” That article sourced its claim to the interrogations of “captured Afghan militants and criminals.”

However, subsequent reporting revealed that the “US intelligence reports” about a Russian plot to distribute bounties through Afghan middlemen were not generated by US intelligence at all.

The Times reported first on June 28, then again on June 30, that a large amount of cash found at a “Taliban outpost” or a “Taliban site” had led U.S. intelligence to suspect the Russian plot.  But the Times had to walk that claim back, revealing on July 1 that the raid that turned up $500,000 in cash had in fact targeted the Kabul home of Rahmatullah Azizi, an Afghan businessmen said to have been involved in both drug trafficking and contracting for part of the billions of dollars the United States spent on construction projects.

The Times also disclosed that the information provided by “captured militants and criminals” under “interrogation” had been the main source of suspicion of a Russian bounty scheme in Afghanistan. But those “militants and criminals” turned out to be thirteen relatives and business associates of the businessman whose house was raided.

The Times reported that those detainees were arrested and interrogated following the January 2020 raids based on suspicions by Afghan intelligence that they belonged to a “ring of middlemen” operating between the Russian GRU and so-called “Taliban-linked militants,” as Afghan sources made clear.

Furthermore, contrary to the initial report by the Times, those raids had actually been carried out exclusively by the Afghan intelligence service known as the National Directorate of Security (NDS). The Times disclosed this on July 1. Indeed, the interrogation of those detained in the raids was carried out by the NDS, which explains why the Times reporting referred repeatedly to “interrogations” without ever explaining who actually did the questioning.

Given the notorious record of the NDS, it must be assumed that its interrogators used torture or at least the threat of it to obtain accounts from the detainees that would support the Afghan government’s narrative. Both the Toronto Globe and Mail and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) have documented as recently as 2019 the frequent use of torture by the NDS to obtain information from detainees.  The primary objective of the NDS was to establish an air of plausibility around the claim that the fugitive businessman Azizi was the main “middleman” for a purported GRU scheme to offer bounties for killing Americans.

NDS clearly fashioned its story to suit the sensibilities of the U.S. national security state. The narrative echoed previous intelligence reports about Russian bounties in Afghanistan that circulated in early 2019, and which were even discussed at NSC meetings. Nothing was done about these reports, however, because nothing had been confirmed.

The idea that hardcore Taliban fighters needed or wanted foreign money to kill American invaders could have been dismissed on its face. So Afghan officials spun out claims that Russian bounties were paid to incentivize violence by “militants and criminals” supposedly “linked” to the Taliban.

These elements zeroed in on the April 2019 IED attack on a vehicle near the U.S. military base at Bagram in Parwan province that killed three US Marines, insisting that the Taliban had paid local criminal networks in the region to carry out attacks.

As former Parwan police chief Gen. Zaman Mamozai told the Times, Taliban commanders were based in only two of the province’s ten districts, forcing them to depend on a wider network of non-Taliban killers-for-hire to carry out attacks elsewhere in the province. These areas included the region around Bagram, according to the Afghan government’s argument.

But Dr. Thomas H. Johnson of the Naval Postgraduate School, a leading expert on insurgency and counter-insurgency in Afghanistan who has been researching war in the country for three decades,  dismissed the idea that the Taliban would need a criminal network to operate effectively in Parwan.

“The Taliban are all over Parwan,” Johnson stated in an interview with The Grayzone, observing that its fighters had repeatedly carried out attacks on or near the Bagram base throughout the war.

With withdrawal looming, the national security state plays its Bountygate card

Senior U.S. national security officials had clear ulterior motives for embracing the dubious NDS narrative. More than anything, those officials were determined to scuttle Trump’s push for a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan. For Pentagon brass and civilian leadership, the fear of withdrawal became more acute in early 2020 as Trump began to demand an even more rapid timetable for a complete pullout than the 12-14 months being negotiated with the Taliban.

It was little surprise then that this element leapt at the opportunity to exploit the self-interested claims by the Afghan NDS to serve its own agenda, especially as the November election loomed. The Times even cited one “senior [US] official” musing that “the evidence about Russia could have threatened that [Afghanistan] deal, because it suggested that after eighteen year of war, Mr. Trump was letting Russia chase the last American troops out of the country.”

In fact, the intelligence reporting from the CIA Station in Kabul on the NDS Russia bounty claims was included in the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) on or about February 27 — just as the negotiation of the U.S. peace agreement with the Taliban was about to be signed. That was too late to prevent the signing but timed well enough to ratchet up pressure on Trump to back away from his threat to pull all US troops out of Afghanistan.

Trump may have been briefed orally on the issue at the time, but even if he had not been, the presence of a summary description of the intelligence in the PDB could obviously have been used to embarrass him on Afghanistan by leaking it to the media.

According to Ray McGovern, a former CIA official who was responsible for preparing the PDB for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the insertion of raw, unconfirmed intelligence from a self-interested Afghan intelligence agency into the PDB was a departure from normal practice.

Unless it was a two or three-sentence summary of a current intelligence report, McGovern explained, an item in the PDB normally involved only important intelligence that had been confirmed.  Furthermore, according to McGovern, PDB items are normally shorter versions of items prepared the same day as part of the CIA’s “World Intelligence Review” or “WIRe.”

Information about the purported Russian bounty scheme, however, was not part of the WIRe until May 4, well over two months later, according to the Times. That discrepancy added weight to the suggestion that the CIA had political motivations for planting the raw NDS reporting in the PDB before it could be evaluated.

This June, Trump’s National Security Council (NSC) convened a meeting to discuss the intelligence report, officials told the Times. NSC members drew up a range of options in response to the alleged Russian plot, from a diplomatic protest to more forceful responses. Any public indication that US troops in Afghanistan had been targeted by Russian spies would have inevitably threatened Trump’s plan for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

At some point in the weeks that followed, the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency each undertook evaluations of the Afghan intelligence claims. Once the Times began publishing stories about the issue, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe directed the National Intelligence Council, which is responsible for managing all common intelligence community assessments, to write a memorandum summarizing the intelligence organizations’ conclusions.

The memorandum revealed that the intelligence agencies were not impressed with what they’d seen. The CIA and National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) each gave the NDS intelligence an assessment of “moderate confidence,” according to memorandum.

An official guide to intelligence community terminology used by policymakers to determine how much they should rely on assessments indicates that “moderate confidence” generally indicates that “the information being used in the analysis may be interpreted in various ways….” It was hardly a ringing endorsement of the NDS intelligence when the CIA and NCTC arrived at this finding.

The assessment by the National Security Agency was even more important, given that it had obtained intercepts of electronic data on financial transfers “from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account,” according to the Times’ sources.  But the NSA evidently had no idea what the transfers related to, and essentially disavowed the information from the Afghan intelligence agency.

The NIC memorandum reported that NSA gave the information from Afghan intelligence “low confidence” — the lowest of the three possible levels of confidence used in the intelligence community.  According to the official guide to intelligence community terminology, that meant that “information used in the analysis is scant, questionable, fragmented, or that solid analytical conclusions cannot be inferred from the information.”

Other intelligence agencies reportedly assigned “low confidence” to the information as well, according to the memorandum. Even the Defense Intelligence Agency, known for its tendency to issue alarmist warnings about activities by US adversaries, found no evidence in the material linking the Kremlin to any bounty offers.

Less than two weeks after the Times rolled out its supposed bombshell on Russian bounties, relying entirely on national security officials pushing their own bureaucratic interests on Afghanistan, the story was effectively discredited by the intelligence community itself. In a healthy political climate, this would have produced a major setback for the elements determined to keep US troops entrenched in Afghanistan.

But the political hysteria generated by the Times and the hyper-partisan elements triggered by the appearance of another sordid Trump-Putin connection easily overwhelmed the countervailing facts. It was all the Pentagon and its bureaucratic allies needed to push back on plans for a speedy withdrawal from a long and costly war.

Gareth Porter

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist who has covered national security policy since 2005 and was the recipient of Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in 2012.  His most recent book is The CIA Insider’s Guide to the Iran Crisis co-authored with John Kiriakou, just published in February.

 

 

 

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The Fourth Estate Has Murdered America – PaulCraigRoberts.org

Posted by M. C. on July 4, 2020

The claim iitself is so absurd that it indicates the media regard Americans as completely stupid. The US and Taliban have been killing each other since October 2001 when the Cheney/Bush regime illegally attacked Afghanistan. For 19 years the Taliban has known who its enemy is and does not need Russian bribes to kill US occupiers.

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2020/07/01/the-fourth-estate-has-murdered-america/

Paul Craig Roberts

The “news service” of multi-billionaire Bloomberg echoes the New York Times lie that Russia paid the Taliban to kill US occupying troops:

“Lawmakers from both U.S. political parties demanded President Donald Trump hold Russia accountable over allegations it offered cash bounties for the killing of American troops. Trump has denied reports by several major news organizations that he was briefed on the matter; he has not demanded an investigation of the allegations; and he has yet to even threaten Moscow with retaliation should the reporting be confirmed. Trump’s lack of action has reignited concerns that the Republican is more interested in maintaining cordial relations with Vladimir Putin than defending American interests—including its troops.”

Notice all the innuendos in this dishonest report:  “Trump has denied,” “he has not demanded an investigation,” “he has yet to even threaten moscow,” ‘Trump’s lack of action,” “more interested in cordial relations with putin than defending American troops.”

The claim iitself is so absurd that it indicates the media regard Americans as completely stupid. The US and Taliban have been killing each other since October 2001 when the Cheney/Bush regime illegally attacked Afghanistan. For 19 years the Taliban has known who its enemy is and does not need Russian bribes to kill US occupiers.

To me, it is extraordinary that the New York Times and the proprietor of Bloomberg News are so devoid of integrity that they make up out of thin air false allegations for the sole purpose of convincing Americans that their president is a Russian agent more concerned with getting along with Putin than protecting US soldiers.  This latest lie from NYTimes/Bloomberg is an effort to resurrect the Russiagate hoax.

Here is what happened. Some Democrat or anti-Trump member of the military/security complex planted a lie on the New York Times.  The NY Times knew it was a lie, did not investigate, and quickly published the lie for which the NY Times had no evidence.  Indeed, it is possible that the NY Times simply made up the story itself.

Once the lie is published, the rest of the presstitutes, such as Bloomberg, quickly spread the lie. Democrat and even Republican politicians start agitating for explanations and investigations of why Trump took no action against Russia.

The Department of Defense issues a statement that there is “no corroborating evidence” to support the New York Times’ fake news.  But the Democrats, presstitutes and liberal pundits dismiss the DOD statement as covering up for President Trump.  Once again an obvious lie is being turned into a proven fact.

The New York Times is supposed to be a newspaper, “the paper of record,” and Bloomberg is supposed to be a news service.  But both are propagandists dispensing lies in order to help the American Establishment get rid of Trump who represents the working class.  In American politics, representing the working class is no longer permissible.

The liberals, the progressives, and the left are the actual forces aligned against America.  They are far more dangerous to ordinary Americans than are North Korea, Iran, China, and Russia. They are dangerous to all races that comprise the US Tower of Babel, because they are bringing America down in a spasm of disinformation and hate.

Be seeing you

 

 

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Guess What — It’s a Hustle – Kunstler

Posted by M. C. on June 6, 2020

No, this is a hustle, all right, perhaps the most obvious hustle in US history. It’s the Democratic Party’s last stratagem to get the monster of its own creation, Donald Trump, out of the White House.

https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/guess-what-its-a-hustle/

James Howard Kinstler

Of course, George Floyd didn’t deserve to die with a cop’s knee on his neck and his face mashed into the pavement, but after yesterday’s first of what will be several funerals for the now revered former armed robber and convict, you’d think he was the second coming (and going) of George Washington. Uh, check that… Washington was a slave-owner and, by definition, a racist. Make that Julius Caesar — based on the way that the Rev. Al Sharpton was bellowing at funeral No.1 Thursday in Minneapolis. Say, what? Julius Caesar owned slaves too? How about Abe Lincoln then? Naw, just another white man? And a secret racist (so they say).

Racist, racist racist! America is racist! Racism is systemic! Racism flows in the hallowed blood of the American system, going back all the way to 1619! All white people are racist. Get down on your bellies and crawl like a snake and beg forgiveness for your natural-born, inalienable racism! Anyway, that’s reality according to The New York Times, America’s premier journal of racism studies.

To prove that America is hopelessly racist, the nation has been treated to, what — ? — seven, or is it now eight nights of looting and burning by young black people acting out every racist stereotype from the Ku Klux Klan official manual of racism. The rest of the news media bent over backwards to avoid deploring the mayhem in the streets, rather, to invert the very looting, burning, and rioting as proof positive that America is racist to the bone. Look what you made us do! Steal sneakers and Rolex watches! Shoot cops, including an old retired black cop (uh, my bad) and run over several more cops with cars! Destroy businesses large and small that have been shut down for three months by corona virus to make sure they won’t ever dare to resume their racist trade in things that white people like!

Has anyone detected a hustle in the past week’s dire proceedings? Well, how would you define a hustle? How about: an attempt to gain advantage by deceitful means. What! Are you saying there was something dishonest about the reaction from sea to shining sea to George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis? I am. For example, the massive protest marches. Who exactly was disputing that the death of George Floyd was a miscarriage of justice? Nobody. Did the cops get away with it? No, they’re all getting indicted for murder or being accessories to a murder by standing around watching it and doing nothing to stop it.

No, this is a hustle, all right, perhaps the most obvious hustle in US history. It’s the Democratic Party’s last stratagem to get the monster of its own creation, Donald Trump, out of the White House. RussiaGate didn’t do it (in fact, it’s backfiring rather horribly now), ImpeachmentGate was a dud. Welcome to GeorgeFloydGate! I know it’s hard to imagine at this moment of maximum televised sanctimony, but this gambit is going to flop, too. A lot of voters have probably noticed that the wholesale looting and burning of US cities is not in the national interest. And that the people who do it don’t deserve special favors.

Of course, this is also a moment of maximum collective acute psychosis in America. The nation is pretty badly shook-up after three months of corona virus lockdown.  Millions watched their careers, incomes, businesses, and futures wash down the drain. Upsetting as the killing of George Floyd was, these losses are monumental in comparison. 99 percent of the people in America are scared shitless about where all this economic damage is taking the nation — even as they watch the stock markets go up and up and up. By the way, the past week of looting, burning, and rioting was especially fruitful for Wall Street. D’ya think that might eventually tick off a few taxpayers who understand that the stock-pumping is being accomplished by the Federal Reserve brokering more national debt in their name?

Joe Biden’s campaign has announced that he will headline the next funeral in George Floyd’s hometown of Houston, the place where Mr. Floyd accomplished the home invasion and aggravated robbery of a woman in 2009 that sent him to state prison for five years. (He was turning his life around in Minneapolis where, ten days ago, he suffered a lapse of judgment while high on fentanyl and passed a counterfeit $20 bill in a corner store, leading to his arrest and unjust death.) I’m counting on Joe Biden to raise America’s awareness about systemic racism at that event — if he can remember where he is and what’s going on.

Also on Thursday this week, the Rev. Al Sharpton announced plans for a march on Washington in August, perhaps just before the Democratic convention in Milwaukee for maximum effect. You may be aware that Joe Biden has obliged himself (sort of) to put a woman-of-color on the ticket for vice-president. Though Stacey Abrams, the real governor of Georgia, seems like the inevitable choice, I have a better idea. Wouldn’t it be perfect to bring back Tawana Brawley for this historic role? She figured so decisively in establishing the Rev. Mr. Sharpton’s cred as leader in the long quest for social justice. She’s all growed-up now and ready to rock! Tawana Brawley, America turns its lonely eyes to you! #Tawana Brawley for veep! Spread the news far and wide!

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Collusion Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Posted by M. C. on May 25, 2020

It is particularly symbolic that in the midst of this imbroglio, the FBI just accidentally revealed the name of another Saudi embassy official complicit in the September 11 attacks, whose identity was long kept hidden by the US government as a “state secret” whose revelation could cause “significant harm to the national security.” Collusion, foreign adversary, national security: in Washington, it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

https://jacobinmag.com/2020/05/ignore-trumps-bluster-obamagate-is-a-serious-scandal/

Branko Marcetic

Russiagate looks less like a righteous crusade for truth and justice and more like the typical shenanigans for which the FBI and US security state have long been known: prosecutorial overreach, entrapment, and the criminalization of foreign policy dissent.

 

The crux of Russiagate is that it’s a political scandal masquerading as a criminal one.

The interminable scandal has been back in the news this past week thanks to the Trump Department of Justice’s decision to drop charges against Michael Flynn. Flynn was once briefly Trump’s national security advisor before being fired and then charged with lying to the FBI over a phone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition. Last Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee finally released fifty-seven transcripts of closed-door interviews it conducted with various key players in the saga over 2017 and 2018, covering Flynn’s call with Kislyak and other matters.

Since the news dropped, every effort has been made to turn Flynn’s absolution into the latest Trump outrage. Barack Obama himself weighed in, charging in a leaked phone call with supporters that “there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free,” and that the “rule of law is at risk.”

Four years into this chaotic and reactionary presidency, there are more than enough legitimate Trump scandals to go around. But as with many things Russiagate, both the Flynn case and the release of the transcripts reflect far more poorly on the Obama administration, American’s hallowed national security institutions, and the anti-Trump “Resistance.”

Understanding why requires going all the way back to 2016 and the beginnings of the Flynn case. Flynn was a former intelligence official pushed out of the Obama administration over, among other things, his management style. Years later, he became a characteristically weird Trump guy: a heterodox foreign policy thinker who combined occasional opposition to endless war with conspiratorial Islamophobia, and became nationally known for flirting with the “alt-right” and chanting “Lock her up!” at the 2016 RNC.

Flynn’s loyalty to Trump was rewarded that year when he was announced as the president-elect’s national security advisor. At the same time, Flynn had, like many in Trump’s orbit, been investigated by the FBI over whether he was a Kremlin agent, and only further raised hackles after it was leaked that he had spoken to Kislyak the same day that Obama ordered sanctions and expelled thirty-five Russian embassy officials as retaliation for Russia’s interference in that year’s election.

Flynn was, at first, pushed out by Trump when it turned out he had caused Vice President Mike Pence to unwittingly lie about the contact. He was then later charged by Robert Mueller and his team in the course of the “collusion” probe with lying to the FBI (not, as Obama claimed, perjury), which at the time was cause for much speculation: it was the umpteenth “beginning of the end” of Trump’s presidency but ultimately produced no new revelations about a Trump-Russia conspiracy. Now, he’s been allowed to skip a maximum of five years in jail and walk away “scot-free,” as Obama put it.

But through it all and since, details have trickled out that have made the entire saga far less clear-cut than those most invested in the “collusion” narrative would have the public believe. For one, despite all the innuendo around Flynn’s Russian contacts and his sitting next to Putin at a dinner, investigators found nothing unseemly when looking into Flynn and had all but closedtheir investigation into him when the news about the Kislyak call broke.

Secondly, the charge Flynn was ultimately slapped with, lying to the FBI, now looks more like a case of entrapment. Recently released notes written by Bill Priestep, former FBI counterintelligence director, prior to interviewing Flynn about the Kislyak call suggest the Bureau was looking at the option to “get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.” In the notes, Priestep wrote that “I believe we should rethink this,” that simply showing Flynn evidence so he could admit wrongdoing wasn’t “going easy on him” and was routine FBI practice, and that “if we’re seen as playing games, WH [White House] will be furious,” so they should “protect our institution by not playing games.”

What’s more, contemporaneous notes show that the investigators themselves weren’t sure Flynn had intentionally lied to them, and that Comey himself had said so in a March 2017 briefing, before claiming he had never said anything of the sort after being fired by Trump.

There were further improprieties in the investigation. Flynn has claimed, with some evidence, that the FBI pressured him to sit down for the interview without a lawyer. Additionally, two years ago, Comey himself admitted that he had violated protocol by sending investigators to interview Flynn without going through the White House counsel, calling it “something I probably wouldn’t have done or maybe gotten away with in … a more organized administration.”

Things get worse when one goes through the Mueller team’s interview notes for then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates and Mary McCord,

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Chinagate is the New Russiagate | Liberty Blitzkrieg

Posted by M. C. on May 4, 2020

When the premier empire on the planet starts blaming external enemies for its internal problems, you know it’s almost always an excuse to let your own elites off the hook and further erode civil liberties. While it appears the novel coronavirus covid-19 did in fact come from China, and China tried to discourage other countries from taking decisive action in the early days, our internal political actors blaming China for their own lack of preparation and timely reaction is patently ridiculous.

Chinagate is far more dangerous than Russiagate because very serious fundamental problems within the U.S.-China economic relationship do exist. I don’t deny this, and I’m in favor of actual policies that would incentivize the American people to become producers and builders as opposed to castrated debt zombies.

https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2020/04/27/chinagate-is-the-new-russiagate/

Michael Krieger

I’ve become convinced the next major event that’ll be used to further centralize power and escalate domestic authoritarianism will center around U.S.-China tensions. We haven’t witnessed this “event” yet, but there’s a good chance it’ll occur within the next year or two. Currently, the front runner appears to be a major aggressive move by China into Hong Kong, but it could be anything really. Taiwan, the South China Sea, currency, economic or cyber warfare; the flash points are numerous and growing by the day. Something is going to snap and when it does we better be prepared to not act like mindless imbeciles for the fourth time this century.

When that day arrives, and it’s likely not too far off, certain factions will try to sell you on the monstrous idea that we must become more like China to defeat China. We’ll be told we need more centralization, more authoritarianism, and less freedom and civil liberties or China will win. Such talk is nonsense and the wise way to respond is to reject the worst aspects of the Chinese system and head the other way.

– From my 2019 piece: Two Paths Forward with China – The Good and The Bad

As the clownish farce that is Russiagate slinks back into the psyop dumpster from which it emerged, an even more destructive narrative has metastasized following the U.S. government’s incompetent response to covid-19.

It was clear to me from the start that Russiagate was a nonsensical narrative wildly embraced by a variety of powerful people in the wake of Trump’s election merely to serve their own ends. For establishment Democrats, it was a way to pretend Hillary Clinton didn’t actually lose because she was a wretched status quo candidate with a destructive track record, but she lost due to “foreign meddling.” This allowed those involved in her campaign to deflect blame, but it also short-circuited any discussion of the merits of populism and widespread voter dissatisfaction (within both parties) percolating throughout the land. It was a fairytale invented by people intentionally putting their heads in the sand in order to avoid confrontation with political reality and to keep their cushy gravy-train of entrenched corruption going.

Russiagate was likewise embraced by the national security state (imperial apparatus) for similar reasons. Like establishment Democrats, the national security state also wanted to prevent the narrative that the status quo was rejected in the 2016 election from spreading. It was incentivized to pretend Hillary’s loss was the result of gullible Americans being duped by crafty Russians in order to manufacture the idea that U.S. society was healthy and normal if not for some external enemy.

Another primary driver for the national security state was to punish Russia for acting like a sovereign state as opposed to a colony of U.S. empire in recent years. Russia has been an increasingly serious thorn in the side of unipolarism advocates over the past decade by performing acts such as buying gold, providing safe harbor for Edward Snowden, and thwarting the dreams of regime change in Syria. Such acts could not go unpunished.

So Russiagate served its purpose. It wasted our time for much of Trump’s first term and it helped prevent Bernie Sanders from winning the Democratic nomination. Now we get Chinagate.

When the premier empire on the planet starts blaming external enemies for its internal problems, you know it’s almost always an excuse to let your own elites off the hook and further erode civil liberties. While it appears the novel coronavirus covid-19 did in fact come from China, and China tried to discourage other countries from taking decisive action in the early days, our internal political actors blaming China for their own lack of preparation and timely reaction is patently ridiculous.

If Stacy and myself were able to see the situation clearly and respond early, why couldn’t our government? This isn’t rocket science. The Chinese were acting as if the world had ended in cities across the country and we’re supposed to believe U.S. leaders simply listened to what the CCP was saying as opposed to what they were doing? How does that make any sense?

It makes even less sense considering the Trump administration has been in an explicit cold war with China for almost two years. This concept that the American national security state just took China’s word for what was going on in the early days is preposterous. So what’s going on here? Similar to Russiagate, the increased focus on directing our ten minutes of hate at the Chinese provides cover for the elites, but Chinagate is far more dangerous because the narrative will prove far more convincing for many Americans.

Although Russiagate was rapidly embraced by people with severe Trump Derangement Syndrome, most people just didn’t buy into it or care. Only the most dimwitted amongst us actually believed the Russians were responsible for our major problems at home, but when it comes to China the argument can be far more persuasive because many aspects of the economic relationship between the U.S. and China are in fact problematic. Specifically, the U.S. transformed itself from a nation of producers and builders into a nation of debt-driven consumption slaves over the past five decades. While China played a key role in this process, it wasn’t the driver.

Did China force the U.S. to abandon gold convertibility in 1971, thus beginning the transition from an industrial empire into a financial one? Did China convince us to repeal Glass-Steagall, or lie about WMD in Iraq? Did China put a gun to our manufacturing executives’ heads and force them to offshore manufacturing, or did the executives do that with greed filled eyes while earning billions upon billions from labor arbitrage? China may have directly benefited from five decades of avarice-driven policy crimes committed by American “elites,” but they didn’t cause them. They are entirely homegrown.

Chinagate is far more dangerous than Russiagate because very serious fundamental problems within the U.S.-China economic relationship do exist. I don’t deny this, and I’m in favor of actual policies that would incentivize the American people to become producers and builders as opposed to castrated debt zombies. The problem is many of the people ratcheting up the volume on the evils of China (I don’t deny the abundance of evil) aren’t interested in bringing liberty and production back to America. Rather, they’re trying to take away more of your freedoms, economically and politically.

The same people who’ve been in charge of the country for the entire 21st century remain in charge. Presidential politics is pure theater in an empire. Think about it, the same people who brought you endless war, the surveillance panopticon and perpetual Wall Street crime and bailouts are supposed to take on China? The same China that made so many of them fabulously wealthy? Give me a fucking break.

The elitist agenda isn’t to use anger at China to bring freedom and production to our shores, but to use heightened emotional fear to tighten their domestic power grip. The idea is to use Chinese authoritarianism as a model for the U.S.

Unsurprisingly, the usual suspects are already coming out of their snake holes to advocate for exactly that. We saw this a few days ago when Harvard Law Professor and former George W. Bush administration lawyer, Jack Goldsmith, explicitly called for Chinese-like censorship of speech on the internet.

In the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong. Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values.

By all means advocate for a reshuffling of the relationship between the U.S. and China that will lead to more freedom, resilience and economic vitality at home and I’ll support it, but don’t tell me we need to become China in order to defeat China. If we’re dumb enough to fall for that, we’ll get exactly what we deserve. Good and hard.

Be seeing you

 

 

 

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Things Get Interesting – Kunstler

Posted by M. C. on March 7, 2020

Pay close attention to democratic vice president nominee.

https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/things-get-interesting/

James Howard Kunstler

They’re kidding, right? Joe Biden? The former vice-president and US champeen influence grifter came back from the dead this Super Tuesday to save the Democratic Party from Bernie Sanders Venezuelizing what’s left of America (after you subtract our awesome debt loads). Things that come back from the dead, of course, are generally not high-functioning, for instance: zombies. Isn’t that exactly what the party has got now in the person of front-runner Zombie Joe?

They are kidding, for sure — kidding themselves — for which they’ve practiced tirelessly the past three-plus years with RussiaGate, MuellerGate, ImpeachmentGate, and sundry extra delusional hustles, including sanctuary cities, cancel culture, the Green New Deal, free everything, and the transsexual reading hour. So, now they’re pretending that Joe Biden is capable when his every utterance suggests that he is gone in the head. That will work for about a week, I reckon. You know something hilariously idiotic will come out every time he mounts a podium unless his handlers duct-tape his pie-hole. And now that the spotlight is off that distracting crowd of also-rans, the cameras and iPhone recorders will catch his every gaucherie — as, for instance, when he declared in New Hampshire recently to a rally audience of ordinary (non-millionaire) voters, “Guess what, if you elect me, your taxes are gonna be raised, not cut.” It’s on video. Smooth move, there, Joe.

And then, there is that giant anvil hanging over Joe B’s head in the form of an investigation into, and possible prosecution for, his shenanigans with son, Hunter, in Ukraine, including a money-laundering trail featuring millions of dollars from Ukraine routed through obscure banks in Estonia and Cyprus to Hunter’s own bank accounts. The Ukies have opened an inquiry, and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee under Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) is ready to subpoena Biden father-and-son. That is, if Sen. Mitt Romney doesn’t stand in the way of a vote for that, as he threatens to do — and he has an interesting motive to do that since his former foreign policy advisor, ex-CIA agent Joseph Cofer Black, was on the board of the same Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings, that employed Hunter Biden at $83,000-a-month for years.

Of course, if Zombie Joe is so obviously non compos mentis before he’s even been nominated, what are the chances that he’ll be able to serve in office a year from now? Somewhere between zilch and nada, I’d say. So, the latest scheme launched this week in chatter from Progressive Hopesterdom has Zombie Joe picking either Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama as his running mate, and then resigning soon after inauguration day, giving this Republic-of-Firsts its first woman president at long, long last.

This is what it’s come to in our new politics of hustles and scams. Though every person over seven-years-old would see through this dodge, what else have they got? Well, a brokered convention, anyway, if Zombie Joe flops spectacularly in the weeks ahead just by showing up and running his mouth, leaving Bernie the Last Man Standing — and the party appears dead set on thwarting Bernie by any means necessary. It’s not impossible that the Dems could rustle up some dark horse candidate in a back room of the Milwaukee Convention Center. I can’t think of anyone just now from, say, the governors’ mansions across the land. And just imagine if they tapped someone from Congress, such as that lying caitiff Adam Schiff (D-CA), what opportunity for sport he would present. More likely, they’d draft some Hollywood celebrity: George Clooney… Oprah… Morgan Freeman (hasn’t he already been president, or did he just play one on TV?).

There’s not a small chance, at this juncture in the Corona Virus story, that the convention may not even be held. And then what? Gawd knows…. But a disruption so severe implies that a lot of damage would be done to the Potemkin economy that is the centerpiece of President Trump’s reelection quest. That damage is being done in real time as I write, with the S & P futures index down another three percent at the open today, Friday. The trend is not Mr. Trump’s friend. And an awful lot of other things are breaking up in the financialized fiasco that enfronts what’s left of the US economy. The bond market is cracking up, especially at the junk-grade margins. And one can only guess at the havoc being wreaked in derivatives by repeated 1000-point swings in the Dow Jones and other symptoms of extreme disequilibrium in indexed things, from securitized car loans to currency swaps.

All of which leaves the Golden Golem of Greatness, Mr. Trump, in not such a bulletproof position for a second term, after all. There’s a possibility that Corona Virus might interfere with the election itself. Viral contagions are known to work in waves. If this is the first wave now, then a second wave would arrive just about in time for election day, November 3. Second wave viral diseases can be more virulent than the first wave, which was the case with the so-called Spanish flu of 1918. And what if a substantial portion of voters don’t dare venture into public places full of their possibly infectious fellow citizens? Would Mr. Trump be forced to postpone the election, fulfilling his enemies’ fantasy that he seeks to become the American Caesar? It’s not a pretty picture from here as things get interesting.

Be seeing you

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Russiagate II: Return of the Low Intelligence Zombies | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2020

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-intelligence-community-is-the-real-election-meddling-threat/

Forget about foreigners influencing our elections from the outside, the bad guys are already inside the house.

Former CIA director John Brennan (2nd L) and former director of National Intelligence James Clapper (R) arrive at a closed hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee May 16, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Russians are back, alongside the American intelligence agencies playing deep inside our elections. Who should we fear more? Hint: not the Russians.

On February 13, the election security czar in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) briefed the House Intelligence Committee that the Russians were meddling again and that they favored Donald Trump. A few weeks earlier, the ODNI briefed Bernie Sanders that the Russians were also meddling in the Democratic primaries, this time in his favor. Both briefings remained secret until this past week, when the former was leaked to the New York Times in time to smear Trump for replacing his DNI, and the latter leaked to the Washington Post ahead of the Nevada caucuses to try and damage Sanders.

Russiagate is back, baby. Everyone welcome Russiagate II.

You didn’t think after 2016 the bad boys of the intel “community” (which makes it sound like they all live together down in Florida somewhere) weren’t going to play their games again, and that they wouldn’t learn from their mistakes? Those errors were in retrospect amateurish. A salacious dossier built around a pee tape? Nefarious academics befriending minor Trump campaign staffers who would tell all to an Aussie ambassador trolling London’s pubs looking for young, fit Americans? Falsified FISA applications when it was all too obvious even Trumpkin greenhorns weren’t dumb enough to sleep with FBI honeypots? You’d think after influencing 85 elections across the globe since World War II, they’d be better at it. But you also knew that after failing to whomp a bumpkin like Trump once, they would keep trying.

Like any good intel op, you start with a tickle, make it seem like the targets are figuring it out for themselves. Get it out there that Trump offered Wikileaks’ Julian Assange a pardon if he would state publicly that Russia wasn’t involved in the 2016 DNC leaks. The story was all garbage, not the least of which because Assange has been clear for years that it wasn’t the Russians. And there was no offer of a pardon from the White House. And conveniently Assange is locked in a foreign prison and can’t comment.

Whatever. Just make sure you time the Assange story to hit the day after Trump pardoned numerous high-profile, white-collar criminals, so even the casual reader had Trump = bad, with a side of Russian conspiracy, on their minds. You could almost imagine an announcer’s voice: “Previously, on Russiagate I…”

Then, only a day after the Assange story (why be subtle?), the sequel hit the theaters with timed leaks to the NYT and WaPo. The mainstream media went Code Red (the CIA has a long history of working with the media to influence elections).

CNN concluded that “America’s Russia nightmare is back.” Maddow was ecstatic, bleating “Here we go again,” recycling her failed conspiracy theories whole. Everybody quoted Adam Schiff firing off that Trump was “again jeopardizing our efforts to stop foreign meddling.” Tying it all to the failed impeachment efforts, another writer said, “’Let the Voters Decide’ doesn’t work if Trump fires his national security staff so Russia can help him again.” The NYT fretted, “Trump is intensifying his efforts to undermine the nation’s intelligence agencies.” John Brennan (after leaking for a while, most boils dry up and go away) said, “we are now in a full-blown national security crisis.” The undead Hillary Clinton tweeted, “Putin’s Puppet is at it again.”

It is clear we’ll be hearing breaking and developing reports about this from sources believed to be close to others through November. Despite the sense of desperation in the recycled memes and the way the media rose on command to the bait, it’s intel community 1, Trump 0.

But it’s still a miss on Bernie. He did well in Nevada despite the leaks, though Russiagate II has a long way to go. Bernie himself assured us of that. Instead of pooh-poohing the idea that the Russians might be working for him, he instead gave it cred, saying, “Some of the ugly stuff on the internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters.”

Sanders handed Russiagate II legs, signaling that he’ll use it as cover for the Bros’ online shenanigans, which were called out at the last debate. That’s playing with fire: it’ll be too easy later on to invoke all this with “Komrade Bernie” memes in the already wary purple states. “Putin and Trump are picking their opponent,” opined Rahm Emanuel to get that ball rolling.

Summary to date: everyone is certain the Russians are working to influence the election…(adopts cartoon Russian accent) but who is the cat and who is the mouse?

Is Putin helping Trump get re-elected to remain his asset in place? Or is Putin helping Bernie “I Honeymooned in the Soviet Union” Sanders to make him look like an asset to help Trump? Or are the Russkies really all in because Bernie is a True Socialist sleeper agent, the Emma Goldman of his time (Bernie’s old enough to have taken Emma to high school prom)? Or is it not the Russians but the American intel community helping Bernie to make it look like Putin is helping Bernie to help Trump? Or is it the Deep State saying the Reds are helping Bernie to hurt Bernie to help their man Bloomberg? Are Russian spies tripping over American spies in caucus hallways trying to get to the front of the room? Who can tell what is really afoot?

See, the devil is in the details, which is why we don’t have any.

The world’s greatest intelligence team can’t seem to come up with anything more specific than “interfering” and “meddling,” as if pesky Aunt Vladimir is gossiping at the general store again. CBS reports that House members pressed the ODNI for evidence, such as phone intercepts, to back up claims that Russia is trying to help Trump, but briefers had none to offer. Even Jake Tapper, a Deep State loyalty card holder, raised some doubts. WaPo, which hosted one of the leaks, had to admit “It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken.”

Yes, yes, they have to protect sources and methods, but of course the quickest way to stop Russian influence is to expose it. Instead the ODNI dropped the turd in the punchbowl and walked away. Why not tell the public what media is being bought, which outlets are working, willingly or not, with Putin? Did the Reds implant a radio chip in Biden’s skull? Will we be left hanging with the info-free claim “something something social media” again?

If you’re going to scream that communist zombies with MAGA hats are inside the house, you’re obligated to provide a little bit more information. Why is it when specifics are required, the response is always something like “Well, the Russians are sowing distrust and turning Americans against themselves in a way that weakens national unity” as if we’re all not eating enough green vegetables? Why leave us exposed to Russian influence for even a second when it could all be shut down in an instant?

Because the intel community learned its lesson in Russiagate I. Details can be investigated. That’s where the old story fell apart. The dossier wasn’t true. Michael Cohen never met the Russians in Prague. The a-ha discovery was that voters don’t read much anyway, so just make claims. You’ll never really prosecute or impeach anyone, so why bother with evidence (see everything Ukraine)? Just throw out accusations and let the media fill it all in for you. After all, they managed to convince a large number of Americans Trump’s primary purpose in running for president was to fill vacant hotel rooms at his properties. Let the nature of the source—the brave lads of the intelligence agencies—legitimize the accusations this time, not facts.

It will take a while to figure out who is playing whom. Is the goal to help Trump, help Bernie, or defeat both of them to support Bloomberg? But don’t let the challenge of seeing the whole picture obscure the obvious: the American intelligence agencies are once again inside our election.

The intel community crossed a line in 2016, albeit clumsily (what was all that with Comey and Hillary?), to play an overt role in the electoral process. When that didn’t work out and Trump was elected, they pivoted and drove us to the brink of all hell breaking loose with Russiagate I. The media welcomed and supported them. The Dems welcomed and supported them. Far too many Americans welcomed and supported them in some elaborate version of the ends justifying the means.

The good news from 2016 was that the Deep State turned out to be less competent than we originally feared. But they have learned much from those mistakes, particularly how deft a tool a compliant MSM is. This election will be a historian’s marker for how a decent nation, fully warned in 2016, fooled itself in 2020 into self-harm. Forget about foreigners influencing our elections from the outside; the zombies are already inside the house.

Be seeing you

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Roger Stone’s conviction is the last hope to save RussiaGate — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on February 21, 2020

Stone then seemed to catch a lucky break with the revelation that his jury’s foreperson was actually a Democratic Party activist with a pronounced anti-Trump bias, further invigorating calls from the White House and conservative media that it was a rigged show trial from day one.

Meanwhile, the DOJ has flatly refused to prosecute a number of high-profile government officials who were caught lying under oath multiple times, like former intelligence directors John Brennan and James Clapper, and former FBI heads James Comey and Andrew McCabe. Unlike Roger Stone’s campaign bluster and trivial fibs, their lies actually had grave implications for the institutions they were tasked to run, as well as for the country.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/481212-roger-stone-russiagate-trump/

Patrick Henningsen

The Trial of Roger Stone has reached its finale. After closely examining Stone’s case, one thing becomes clear: it should never have gotten this far.

Stone, long-time political operative and former Trump adviser, is due to be sentenced today in federal court in Washington DC, for charges including lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction.

To the untrained eye it might seem like just another Beltway scandal, featuring one of Washington’s finest, a self-proclaimed Dirty Trickster and rancorous political operative.

Beyond the Machiavellian intrigue though, this trial and its outcome could carry some very profound implications. If convicted, his verdict will be hoisted by the American establishment to further validate the RussiaGate narrative, in particular the idea that Russia had passed hacked emails on to WikiLeaks at the height of the 2016 US presidential election.

It’s important to note that Stone’s case shares the very same fundamental prosecutorial assumptions which underpin Julian Assange’s US case, namely, that Assange and WikiLeaks are hostile foreign actors, and not members of the Fourth Estate. In this political hall of mirrors, each piece of the official myth reinforces the other, but it is this perversion of legalese which has allowed both of these anathemas of due process to persist, and that’s why these show trials should be regarded as a low point in the history of American justice.

Jury of his peers

An additional twist to the story came last week when all four federal prosecutors working on the Stone case suddenly resigned in protest after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) intervened to reduce their sentence of seven to nine years for Stone. Naturally, all of this triggered a partisan storm, with the usual hysterical reactions from every known outpost of the anti-Trump resistance.

Stone then seemed to catch a lucky break with the revelation that his jury’s foreperson was actually a Democratic Party activist with a pronounced anti-Trump bias, further invigorating calls from the White House and conservative media that it was a rigged show trial from day one.

Was it ever possible for Roger Stone to get a fair trial? Throughout this entire ordeal, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of the White House who would jump to defend Roger Stone. This is one reason why there’s been a noticeable lack of levity coming from the ranks of mainstream media and politics, as many regard him as an unsavory charlatan running subterfuge for then-candidate Trump. For this reason, they would just as soon let him languish in Leavenworth. Blinded by their disdain, they will have missed why his political crucifixion is so dangerous.

Trump may end up pardoning his old friend, but it should never have to come to that.

Looking back at how this story unfolded, it’s clearer than ever how due process was corrupted at every juncture.

The Collusion Illusion

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