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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:29 pm
by JackRiddler
He's launched a new show. I thought about how often I've subscribed to magazines and decided to subscribe to Aaron's show for $5 a month, after the service he's done. Seriously. These once again are short, very on point, and phenomenally true and simple. Watch both for full story.

Questions for Mueller (before - this one is the must-watch, a summary of #Russiagate fallacies in one go)

Mueller Hearing Dud (after)

Jimmy Dore ran an after-Mueller show with him and there was a lot in it, but Dore should shut up and let Aaron do the talking! Way too much loud anger. I like the quiet cutting anger better.

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:24 pm
by liminalOyster
Old but relevant, perhaps. Noticed LG is down and was intrigued to find this in recent news for the term.

Russia is building a new Napster — but for academic research

By Joe Karaganis and
Balazs Bodo July 13, 2018

What will future historians see as the major Russian contribution to early 21st-century Internet culture? It might not be troll farms and other strategies for poisoning public conversation — but rather, the democratization of access to scientific and scholarly knowledge. Over the last decade, Russian academics and activists have built free, remarkably comprehensive online archives of scholarly works. What Napster was to music, the Russian shadow libraries are to knowledge.

Much of the current attention to these libraries focuses on Sci-Hub, a huge online library created by Kazakhstan-based graduate student Aleksandra Elbakyan. Started in 2011, Sci-Hub has made freely available an archive of over 60 million articles, drawn primarily from paywalled databases of major scientific publishers. Its audience is massive and global. In 2017, the service provided nearly 200 million downloads. Because most scholars in high-income countries already have paid access to the major research databases through their university libraries, its main beneficiaries are students and faculty from middle- and low-income countries, who frequently do not.

[When does Russian propaganda work — and when does it backfire? Here’s what we found.]

Such underground flows of knowledge from more- to less-privileged universities are not new. But they used to depend on slower and less-reliable networks, such as developing-world students and faculty traveling to and from Western universities, bringing back photocopies and later hard drives full of scholarly work. Sci-Hub scaled this process up to meet the demand of an increasingly interconnected global scientific community, where the first barrier to participation was access to research.

Why Russia?

Academic copying and sharing has created shadow libraries all over the world. But only the Russian versions have grown into large-scale global libraries. This was not an accident. From the 1960s on, Russian intellectual life depended heavily on clandestine copying and distribution of texts — on the “samizdat” networks that distributed uncensored literature and news. The fall of communism ended censorship. But it also left Russian readers, libraries and publishers impoverished, trading political constraints for economic ones.

The arrival of cheap scanners and computers fueled the growth of new self-organized libraries. By the second half of the 1990s, the Russian Internet — RuNet — was awash in book digitization projects run by intellectuals, activists and other bibliophiles. Texts migrated from print to digital and sometimes back again. Efforts to consolidate these projects also sprung up by the dozens. Such digital librarianship was the antithesis of official Soviet book culture, as it was free, bottom-up, democratic and uncensored. It also provided a modicum of cultural agency to Russian intellectuals amid the economic ruin of the 1990s.

The big Russian shadow libraries emerged from this mix of clandestine librarianship, economic crisis, technological change and — at the state level — regulatory incapacity. By the early 2000s, these shadow librarians had digitized much of the highest-value Russian scientific and literary work. By the mid 2000s, the largest of these efforts had consolidated into an archive called Library Genesis, or LibGen.

LibGen equated survival with redundancy, and so made both its collection and its software available to others. Almost anyone could clone the library, and many did. By the late 2000s, the most prominent was the Gigapedia (later called, which began to build a large English-language collection. When a copyright lawsuit by Western publishers took down the Gigapedia in 2012, its collection was re-assimilated into LibGen.

Sci-Hub was built around similar principles. When a user requested an article, Sci-Hub automatically downloaded that article from publisher databases, using borrowed faculty credentials.* Sci-Hub then archived the article with LibGen, to fulfill any subsequent requests.

Now, Sci-Hub has its own archive, and LibGen serves as a backup. According to Elbakyan, the complete archive has been copied many times.

But what about the legal implications?

Much of this activity violates U.S. and international copyright law. In June 2017, a New York district court awarded $15 million to Elsevier, one of the handful of publishers that control most of the world’s academic journals, in its lawsuit against Sci-Hub and LibGen. This hasn’t stopped either service. But the legal pressure has forced Sci-Hub to periodically change hosting services and access methods. None of the LibGen administrators are named in the suit, but Elbakyan could face criminal charges if she travels to the United States.

All this has amplified academia’s ongoing and intensifying debate about publishing ethics. Many academics regard their work as part of an open, cumulative and universal human project. Taxpayer dollars support a large amount of academic research, so much so that both the United States and European Union have open access requirements for publicly funded work — although they have not yet fully figured out how to fund that requirement. Some Western academics have been boycotting publishers viewed as profiting unreasonably from their role as middlemen between academics and their own scholarship.

What comes next?

The U.S. and European open access mandates point to a future that looks a lot like a legal Sci-Hub: cheap, open and all you can eat. And this future appears to be getting closer. In mid-May, the largest Swedish university library consortium dropped its contract with Elsevier, objecting to the price of database access. Universities have taken similar actions in Germany and France. In practice, libraries have more leverage in these negotiations because of Sci-Hub, which offers researchers a back channel to Elsevier-published articles.

As with the music industry, it’s possible that the publishers themselves will provide these better services and thereby marginalize their pirate competitors. As with music, publishers are learning that controlling the platform can be more lucrative than owning the content — a shift that has underwritten a variety of publisher experiments with open or hybrid access models. It’s also possible that the combination of legal pressure abroad and an increasingly repressive Russian state will break the online and personal networks that sustain the Sci-Hub/LibGen ecosystem.

In the meantime, the Russian shadow libraries will continue to support the global research community, shift the balance of power between libraries and publishers, and — perhaps most important — raise faculty and students’ expectations about what meaningful access to knowledge entails, which publishers and universities will need to evolve to meet.

They will, in short, keep the pressure on to find legal ways to expand access for the tens of millions of new students and researchers entering global higher education.

* UPDATE: Several publishers allege that Sci-Hub relies on the “phishing” of credentials from unwitting faculty and students, not on voluntary contributions. We’ve found voluntarism to be very common in these networks and have seen little public evidence to support the phishing claim. Elbakyan has denied phishing, but has left the door open to the possibility of third-party phished contributions. A mixed model is certainly possible. ... e723629228

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:21 am
by Elvis
Russiagate as Organized Distraction
July 29, 2019 • 49 Comments

Oliver Boyd-Barrett looks at who benefits from having the corporate media suffocate their public with a puerile narrative for over two years.

By Oliver Boyd-Barrett
Organisation for Propaganda Studies

For over two years Russiagate has accounted for a substantial proportion of all mainstream U.S. media political journalism and, because U.S. media have significant agenda-setting propulsion, of global media coverage as well. The timing has been catastrophic. The Trump administration has shredded environmental protections, jettisoned nuclear agreements, exacerbated tensions with U.S. rivals and pandered to the rich.

. . .

more: ... straction/

. . .

Social media responses increasingly involve more restrictive algorithms and what are often partisan “fact-checkers” (illustrated by Facebook financial support for and dependence on the pro-NATO “think tank,” the Atlantic Council). The net impact has been devastating for many information organizations in the arena of social media whose only “sin” is analysis and opinion that runs counter to elite neoliberal propaganda.

The standard justification of such attacks on free expression is to insinuate ties to Russia and/or to terrorism. Given these heavy handed and censorious responses by powerful actors, it would appear perhaps that the RussiaGate narrative is increasingly implausible to many and the only hope now for its proponents is to stifle questioning. These are dark days indeed for democracy.

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 2:04 am
by Grizzly
Putin’s taking the gloves off:

Vladimir Putin held an emergency meeting with the permanent members of the Security Council. They discussed the INF Treaty against the background of Washington's test of a land-based missile. The president made an important statement.

We play with matches and gasoline.

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:37 pm
by overcoming hope
Those crafty Russians. They are so clever I have yet to figure out how this is exactly what they want, which is of course their plan. Devious bastards.

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:53 am
by Grizzly
Sara Carter on Bombshell DOJ Memo Exonerating General Michael Flynn

Damn, wait! what if Bolton is out and Flynn is in oh, never-mind, the pun.

Flynn Hearing Reveals Existence of Bombshell DOJ Memo Exonerating Michael Flynn

A bombshell revelation was barely noticed at National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s hearing Tuesday, when his counsel revealed in court the existence of a Justice Department memo from Jan. 30, 2017 exonerating Flynn of any collusion with Russia. The memo, which has still not been made available to Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell, is part of a litany of Brady material she is demanding from prosecutors. The memo is currently under protective order and Powell is working with prosecutors to get it disclosed, has learned.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan presided over the hearing Tuesday and set a tentative Dec. 18 sentencing date. He told the prosecution and defense that the sentencing date could be moved depending on the outcome of requests for Brady material requested by Powell and how the case will unfold in the upcoming months. Sullivan also noted during the hearing that the Brady order takes precedence over the plea agreement.

Powell will likely seek to have case dismissed for ‘egregious’ prosecutorial misconduct and withholding of exculpatory material.

“Judge Sullivan is obviously taking the Brady issues very seriously and clearly told the prosecutors that his Brady order stands regardless of the plea agreement or the plea,” Powell told “If the prosecutors here were seeking justice instead of a conviction, General Flynn would not have been prosecuted. They have been hiding evidence that he was exonerated in early 2017.”

Government Misconduct

Powell noted the extraordinary misconduct of the government during the hearing. She also said that Flynn would have never pleaded guilty if the government had disclosed the Brady materials before the original trial that she is now demanding. There would not have been a plea if the prosecutors had met their Brady obligations, Powell argued before the court.

Powell’s discovery of the memo shatters not only the narrative that was pushed by former Obama Administration officials regarding Flynn but also the ongoing narrative that President Donald Trump’s concern over Flynn’s prosecution amounted to alleged obstruction.

The January, 2017 timeline of the DOJ memo is extremely significant. Former FBI Director James Comey said in previous interviews that he leaked his memos through a friend to be published in the New York Times with the hope of getting a special counsel appointed to investigate Trump for obstruction. In late August, Inspector General Michael Horowitz released his much anticipated report on Comey. It was scathing and revealed that he violated FBI policy when he leaked his memos that described his private conversations with Trump. However, the DOJ declined to prosecute Comey on Horowitz’s referral.

But the existence of such a memo calls into question Comey’s actions both when he met with Trump privately and when he wrote his personal memos recanting the meetings. If the Jan. 30, 2017 DOJ Flynn memo does exonerate Flynn, then it will call into question Comey’s actions when he had the private meetings with Trump. Why didn’t Comey reveal to Trump that DOJ found no evidence that Flynn was an ‘agent of Russia’ when he met Trump at the White House on Feb. 14 meeting? Why were the stories about Flynn, along with classified information regarding his phone conversations with the former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, leaked to the Washington Post in January, with a followup in early February? Remember, the information was leaked by senior government officials, according to the author and columnist David Ignatius. Ignatius said that senior officials accused Flynn of violating the Logan Act, even worse conspiring with Russia.

Further, new information that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe advised that there was no Logan Act violation, along with the DOJ internal memo of Jan. 30 that Flynn ‘was not an agent of Russia,’ was enough information for Comey to advise the President that Flynn had been cleared of any wrongdoing. Instead, Comey claimed obstruction of justice by the President.

Comey’s Memos Vs DOJ Jan. 2017 Flynn Memo

Comey said in one of his most significant memos chronicling his Feb. 14, 2017 meeting at the Oval Office with Trump, which was the day after Trump had fired Flynn, that Trump asked everyone but Comey to leave the room, and told him he wanted to “talk about Mike Flynn.” Flynn was fired at the time over controversy that arose from a classified information leaked to the Washington Post regarding his conversations by phone in December, 2016 with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The story stated that Flynn had discussed the sanctions with Kislyak. However, Comey later admitted that the FBI agents he sent to interview Flynn didn’t believe he was lying about his conversation with the former ambassador.

According to Comey’s memo Trump said: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Comey suggested that Trump’s request was inappropriate, accusing him of obstructing justice by asking him to drop Flynn’s case. He used this as a pretense to leak his memos and put the nation through more than two years of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel, which in the end found no evidence of a conspiracy with Russia. As for obstruction, Attorney General William Barr and then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that there was no obstruction based on the evidence gathered by Mueller’s team.

However, if Comey would have advised Trump of the Jan. 30 memo it would have cleared up any unfounded lies that Flynn had in any way colluded or conspired with Russia.

If and when this memo is made public, the ongoing narrative continuing to be pushed by those former Obama officials, as well as, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff who continues to push for hearings on obstruction will be squashed.

It looks like Comey, who would have been fully aware of this memo, has a lot of explaining to do.

ouch! that's probably gonna sting a little...

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:59 pm
by Grizzly
Latest Russian spy story looks like another elaborate media deception
The tale of Oleg Smolenkov is just the latest load of high-level BS dumped on us by intelligence agencies

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:34 pm
by JackRiddler
Wow, Taibbi.

Main objection is one word. Trump is not legitimately elected if GOP vote suppression stole states, but notwithstanding that, yes, the popular-vote loser is "legitimately elected" under the rules written by the 1787 guys as modified by various Supreme Court decisions allowing unlimited election spending, etc.

Other problem is in his own elite-level view. The rule of law has been eroded, attacked and deconstructed constantly and obviously for decades, and Trump's taken a new sledgehammer to it. It's only getting obvious that the old relative official immunity is becoming secondary to factional struggles among politicians at the top. It certainly remains for all the bankers he's covered at such length.

He remains or plays naive about all the hidden coups that have happened, such as in 1963.

We're in a permanent coup
Americans might soon wish they just waited to vote their way out of the Trump era

Oct 11 at 2:01 pm

I’ve lived through a few coups. They’re insane, random, and terrifying, like watching sports, except your political future depends on the score.

The kickoff begins when a key official decides to buck the executive. From that moment, government becomes a high-speed head-counting exercise. Who’s got the power plant, the airport, the police in the capital? How many department chiefs are answering their phones? Who’s writing tonight’s newscast?

When the KGB in 1991 tried to reassume control of the crumbling Soviet Union by placing Mikhail Gorbachev under arrest and attempting to seize Moscow, logistics ruled. Boris Yeltsin’s crew drove to the Russian White House in ordinary cars, beating KGB coup plotters who were trying to reach the seat of Russian government in armored vehicles. A key moment came when one of Yeltsin’s men, Alexander Rutskoi – who two years later would himself lead a coup against Yeltsin – prevailed upon a Major in a tank unit to defy KGB orders and turn on the “criminals.”

We have long been spared this madness in America. Our head-counting ceremony was Election Day. We did it once every four years.

That’s all over, in the Trump era.

On Thursday, news broke that two businessmen said to have “peddled supposedly explosive information about corruption involving Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden” were arrested at Dulles airport on “campaign finance violations.” The two figures are alleged to be bagmen bearing “dirt” on Democrats, solicited by Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman will be asked to give depositions to impeachment investigators. They’re reportedly going to refuse. Their lawyer John Dowd also says they will “refuse to appear before House Committees investigating President Donald Trump.” Fruman and Parnas meanwhile claim they had real derogatory information about Biden and other politicians, but “the U.S. government had shown little interest in receiving it through official channels.”

For Americans not familiar with the language of the Third World, that’s two contrasting denials of political legitimacy.

The men who are the proxies for Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani in this story are asserting that “official channels” have been corrupted. The forces backing impeachment, meanwhile, are telling us those same defendants are obstructing a lawful impeachment inquiry.

This latest incident, set against the impeachment mania and the reportedly “expanding” Russiagate investigation of U.S. Attorney John Durham, accelerates our timeline to chaos. We are speeding toward a situation when someone in one of these camps refuses to obey a major decree, arrest order, or court decision, at which point Americans will get to experience the joys of their political futures being decided by phone calls to generals and police chiefs.

My discomfort in the last few years, first with Russiagate and now with Ukrainegate and impeachment, stems from the belief that the people pushing hardest for Trump’s early removal are more dangerous than Trump. Many Americans don’t see this because they’re not used to waking up in a country where you’re not sure who the president will be by nightfall. They don’t understand that this predicament is worse than having a bad president.

The Trump presidency is the first to reveal a full-blown schism between the intelligence community and the White House. Senior figures in the CIA, NSA, FBI and other agencies made an open break from their would-be boss before Trump’s inauguration, commencing a public war of leaks that has not stopped.

The first big shot was fired in early January, 2017, via a headline, “Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him.” This tale, about the January 7th presentation of former British spy Christopher Steele’s report to then-President-elect Trump, began as follows:

Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

Four intelligence chiefs in the FBI’s James Comey, the CIA’s John Brennan, the NSA’s Mike Rogers, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, presented an incoming president with a politically disastrous piece of information, in this case a piece of a private opposition research report.

Among other things because the news dropped at the same time Buzzfeed decided to publish the entire “bombshell” Steele dossier, reporters spent that week obsessing not about the mode of the story’s release, but about the “claims.” In particular, audiences were rapt by allegations that Russians were trying to blackmail Trump with evidence of a golden shower party commissioned on a bed once slept upon by Barack Obama himself.

Twitter exploded. No other news story mattered. For the next two years, the “claims” of compromise and a “continuing” Trump-Russian “exchange” hung over the White House like a sword of Damocles.

Few were interested in the motives for making this story public. As it turned out, there were two explanations, one that was made public, and one that only came out later. The public justification as outlined in the CNN piece, was to “make the President-elect aware that such allegations involving him [were] circulating among intelligence agencies.”

However, we know from Comey’s January 7, 2017 memo to deputy Andrew McCabe and FBI General Counsel James Baker there was another explanation. Comey wrote:

I said I wasn’t saying this was true, only that I wanted [Trump] to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands. I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material or [redacted] and that we were keeping it very close-hold.

Imagine if a similar situation had taken place in January of 2009, involving president-elect Barack Obama. Picture a meeting between Obama and the heads of the CIA, NSA, and FBI, along with the DIA, in which the newly-elected president is presented with a report complied by, say, Judicial Watch, accusing him of links to al-Qaeda. Imagine further that they tell Obama they are presenting him with this information to make him aware of a blackmail threat, and to reassure him they won’t give news agencies a “hook” to publish the news.

Now imagine if that news came out on Fox days later. Imagine further that within a year, one of the four officials became a paid Fox contributor. Democrats would lose their minds in this set of circumstances.

The country mostly did not lose its mind, however, because the episode did not involve a traditionally presidential figure like Obama, nor was it understood to have been directed at the institution of “the White House” in the abstract.

Instead, it was a story about an infamously corrupt individual, Donald Trump, a pussy-grabbing scammer who bragged about using bankruptcy to escape debt and publicly praised Vladimir Putin. Audiences believed the allegations against this person and saw the intelligence/counterintelligence community as acting patriotically, doing their best to keep us informed about a still-breaking investigation of a rogue president.

But a parallel story was ignored. Leaks from the intelligence community most often pertain to foreign policy. The leak of the January, 2017 “meeting” between the four chiefs and Trump – which without question damaged both the presidency and America’s standing abroad – was an unprecedented act of insubordination.

It was also a bold new foray into domestic politics by intelligence agencies that in recent decades began asserting all sorts of frightening new authority. They were kidnapping foreigners, assassinating by drone, conducting paramilitary operations without congressional notice, building an international archipelago of secret prisons, and engaging in mass warrantless surveillance of Americans. We found out in a court case just last week how extensive the illegal domestic surveillance has been, with the FBI engaging in tens of thousands of warrantless searches involving American emails and phone numbers under the guise of combating foreign subversion.

The agencies’ new trick is inserting themselves into domestic politics using leaks and media pressure. The “intel chiefs” meeting was just the first in a series of similar stories, many following the pattern in which a document was created, passed from department from department, and leaked. A sample:

February 14, 2017: “four current and former officials” tell the New York Times the Trump campaign had “repeated contacts” with Russian intelligence.

March 1, 2017: “Justice Department officials” tell the Washington Post Attorney General Jeff Sessions “spoke twice with Russia’s ambassador” and did not disclose the contacts ahead of his confirmation hearing.

March 18, 2017: “people familiar with the matter” tell the Wall Street Journal that former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn failed to disclose a “contact” with a Russian at Cambridge University, an episode that “came to the notice of U.S. intelligence.”

April 8, 2017, 2017: “law enforcement and other U.S. officials” tell the Washington Post the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge had ruled there was “probable cause” to believe former Trump aide Carter Page was an “agent of a foreign power.”

April 13, 2017: a “source close to UK intelligence” tells Luke Harding at The Guardian that the British analog to the NSA, the GCHQ, passed knowledge of “suspicious interactions” between “figures connected to Trump and “known or suspected Russian agents” to Americans as part of a “routine exchange of information.”

December 17, 2017: “four current and former American and foreign officials” tell the New York Times that during the 2016 campaign, an Australian diplomat named Alexander Downer told “American counterparts” that former Trump aide George Papadopoulos revealed “Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

April 13, 2018: “two sources familiar with the matter” tell McClatchy that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office has evidence Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was in Prague in 2016, “confirming part of [Steele] dossier.”

November 27, 2018: a “well-placed source” tells Harding at The Guardian that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

January 19, 2019: “former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation” tell the New York Times the FBI opened an inquiry into the “explosive implications” of whether or not Donald Trump was working on behalf of the Russians.

To be sure, “people familiar with the matter” leaked a lot of true stories in the last few years, but many were clearly problematic even at the time of release. Moreover, all took place in the context of constant, hounding pressure from media figures, congressional allies like Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, as well as ex-officials who could make use of their own personal public platforms in addition to being unnamed sources in straight news reports. They used commercial news platforms to argue that Trump had committed treason, needed to be removed from office, and preferably also indicted as soon as possible.

A shocking number of these voices were former intelligence officers who joined Clapper in becoming paid news contributors. Op-ed pages and news networks are packed now with ex-spooks editorializing about stories in which they had personal involvement: Michael Morell, Michael Hayden, Asha Rangappa, and Andrew McCabe among many others, including especially all four of the original “intel chiefs”: Clapper, Rogers, Comey, and MSNBC headliner John Brennan.

Russiagate birthed a whole brand of politics, a government-in-exile, which prosecuted its case against Trump via a constant stream of “approved” leaks, partisans in congress, and an increasingly unified and thematically consistent set of commercial news outlets.

These mechanisms have been transplanted now onto the Ukrainegate drama. It’s the same people beating the public drums, with the messaging run out of the same congressional committees, through the same Nadlers, Schiffs, and Swalwells. The same news outlets are on full alert.

The sidelined “intel chiefs” are once again playing central roles in making the public case. Comey says “we may now be at a point” where impeachment is necessary. Brennan, with unintentional irony, says the United States is “no longer a democracy.” Clapper says the Ukraine whistleblower complaint is “one of the most credible” he’s seen.

As a reporter covering the 2015–2016 presidential race, I thought Trump’s campaign was disturbing on many levels, but logical as a news story. He succeeded for class reasons, because of flaws in the media business that gifted him mass amounts of coverage, and because he took cunning advantage of long-simmering frustrations in the electorate. He also clearly catered to racist fears, and to the collapse in trust in institutions like the news media, the Fed, corporations, NATO, and, yes, the intelligence services. In enormous numbers, voters rejected everything they had ever been told about who was and was not qualified for higher office.

Trump’s campaign antagonism toward the military and intelligence world was at best a millimeter thick. Like almost everything else he said as a candidate, it was a gimmick, designed to get votes. That he was insincere and full of it and irresponsible, at first at least, when he attacked the “deep state” and the “fake news media,” doesn’t change the reality of what’s happened since. Even paranoiacs have enemies, and even Donald “Deep State” Trump is a legitimately elected president whose ouster is being actively sought by the intelligence community.

Trump stands accused of using the office of the presidency to advance political aims, in particular pressuring Ukraine to investigate potential campaign rival Joe Biden. He’s guilty, but the issue is how guilty, in comparison to his accusers.

Trump, at least insofar as we know, has not used section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor political rivals. He hasn’t deployed human counterintelligence “informants” to follow the likes of Hunter Biden. He hasn’t maneuvered to secure Special Counsel probes of Democrats.

And while Donald Trump conducting foreign policy based on what he sees on Fox and Friends is troubling, it’s not in the same ballpark as CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times engaging in de facto coverage partnerships with the FBI and CIA to push highly politicized, phony narratives like Russiagate.

Trump’s tinpot Twitter threats and cancellation of White House privileges for dolts like Jim Acosta also don’t begin to compare to the danger posed by Facebook, Google, and Twitter – under pressure from the Senate – organizing with groups like the Atlantic Council to fight “fake news” in the name of preventing the “foment of discord.”

I don’t believe most Americans have thought through what a successful campaign to oust Donald Trump would look like. Most casual news consumers can only think of it in terms of Mike Pence becoming president. The real problem would be the precedent of a de facto intelligence community veto over elections, using the lunatic spookworld brand of politics that has dominated the last three years of anti-Trump agitation.

CIA/FBI-backed impeachment could also be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Donald Trump thinks he’s going to be jailed upon leaving office, he’ll sooner or later figure out that his only real move is to start acting like the “dictator” MSNBC and CNN keep insisting he is. Why give up the White House and wait to be arrested, when he still has theoretical authority to send Special Forces troops rappelling through the windows of every last Russiagate/Ukrainegate leaker? That would be the endgame in a third world country, and it’s where we’re headed, unless someone calls off this craziness. Welcome to the Permanent Power Struggle.

Image by Donkey Hotey

Russiagate was journalist QAnon (Part 1)

Russiagate was journalist QAnon (Part 2)

The roots of “passive collusion”

Military vs. military

The intelligence community needs a house-cleaning

Exposé in The Hill challenges Mueller, media

The rise and fall of superhero Robert Mueller

The New York Times is no longer the paper of record

Latest Russian spy story looks like another elaborate media deception

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:36 pm
by JackRiddler
I was forgetful and did thread-proliferation.

Also, a bit spiteful about the state of the board, with genius threads proliferating like "We Are All Trolls," and I couldn't resist this headline:

We Are All Russian Assets

Also, it's true that the Clinton v. Tulsi action is like opening a whole new season-arc for the #Russiagate show.

Still. I posted a Taibbi article, just like the one above, on this very same page, about the latest developments.

So the right place for it was here. Anyway, here's the crosslink:

We Are All Russian Assets

It's got a good discussion going!


Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:52 pm
by JackRiddler
Reminder about Politico, a perennial news source for the local #Russiagate coverage...

JackRiddler » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:06 pm wrote:
Marionumber1 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:17 pm wrote:It's the exact same practice that "conspiracy theorists" are criticized for, where any evidence against the conspiracy gets spun into evidence for the conspiracy. The claims of true believers can never be disproven.

Absolutely. It's happened enough times that I can't even remember specifics of the last one, which was just a couple of weeks ago. Would have to trawl through multiple threads, I'm sure I posted it here.


What is it when this practice is fed by a source claiming to be CIA, publishing self-evident nonsense in a for-profit outlet?

This in turn made me look up who owns Politico. It's funny.

Politico - Wikipedia

Industry News media
Founded January 23, 2007; 11 years ago (as The Politico)
Headquarters Arlington County, Virginia, U.S.
Key people
Robert L. Allbritton (executive chairman)[1]
Joyce Lui (CFO)[1]
John F. Harris (publisher & editor-in-chief)[1]
Carrie Budoff Brown (editor)
Poppy MacDonald (President, US)[1] Bobby Moran (CRO)
Products Politico (newspaper)
Politico Magazine (bimonthly magazine) (website)
Politico Europe (newspaper) (website)
Owner Capitol News Company
Number of employees
500 (2017)[2]

Origins, style, and growth.
John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei left The Washington Post to become Politico's editor-in-chief and executive editor, respectively. With the financial backing of Robert L. Allbritton, the pair launched the website on January 23, 2007.[4][5] Their first hire was Mike Allen, a writer for Time,[6] and Frederick J. Ryan Jr. served as its first president and chief executive officer.[7]

Who's Allbritton? His wiki page makes clear he's a guy born into money who therefore

Allbritton also served as the Chairman and CEO of Allbritton Communications, which owned several ABC-affiliated television stations in Washington, D.C.[4] Allbritton was previously the CEO of Riggs National Corporation, the parent of Riggs Bank, from 2001 to 2005.[5] Allbritton has been described by The New Republic as having "reshaped the way we follow politics."[6] He is a Trustee of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.[7]

In October 2011, Allbritton was included on The New Republic's list of Washington's most powerful, least famous people.[8]

thanks to his father Joe Allbritton, who back in the 1950s made a quick real estate fortune in Houston before buying a DC paper and...

From 1981 to 2001, he was chairman of Riggs Bank, when he resigned, due to prostate cancer.[4]


This is like cartoonland. This is like you said to me, what's the spookiest bank, and I said Nugan Hand or BCCI, and you said: No, spookier!

So Allbritton the younger was in charge and oversaw the sale of Riggs bank to PNC after the exposure of its money laundering and Saudi-9/11 scandal. This is after more than 100 years as the Washington DC bank for presidents and spooks. No kidding.

We surely have a Riggs thread here?

I guess I won't have to do that thing, when one takes the absence of a spook connection as evidence there must be a hidden one. :eeyaa

Why Mockingbird, when you can just own, right?

Byline for the bilge is

Alex Finley is the pen name of a former CIA officer and author of Victor in the Rubble, a satire of the CIA and the war on terror. Follow her on Twitter: @alexzfinley.

Similarly stuff from natsec reporter for Politico, Jack Shafer, was highlighted here just a couple of days ago for his particularly low-grade and confusionist disinfo.


Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 6:59 pm
by Joe Hillshoist
overcoming hope » 12 Sep 2019 05:37 wrote:^^^
Those crafty Russians. They are so clever I have yet to figure out how this is exactly what they want, which is of course their plan. Devious bastards.

They want the west disorganised and unsure of itself.

That's all. It makes "their" life easier.

Russia wants as much of an energy monopoly as it can get over Europe, especially central europe. That makes it secure. Western Europe has always been a threat to Russia - Napolean, Hitler and the NATO during the Cold War. In the same way China wants an economic empire across the Western Pacific and as much of the Indian Ocean as it can get away with. It'd love to own the sea lanes Indonesia controls.

This "Russian conspiracy" serves Russia's interests because its bullshit and serves as a great distraction from what they are really up to (which isn't any worse than anything we've done in the west fwiw,) - securing their markets and making it hard for their competitors.

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 1:11 pm
by JackRiddler
Joe Hillshoist » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:59 pm wrote:
overcoming hope » 12 Sep 2019 05:37 wrote:^^^
Those crafty Russians. They are so clever I have yet to figure out how this is exactly what they want, which is of course their plan. Devious bastards.

They want the west disorganised and unsure of itself.

That's all. It makes "their" life easier.

How do you go from this attributed motive with its various unstated assumptions (there is a "they" who "want" "the west" "disorganized" and "unsure" of "itself") to empirical evidence of an action plan?

I'm not saying your thought is irrational, but it's an attribution based on logic, not evidence.

Note that those who have obsessed over this the most a) have clear conflicts of interest and come from the war-making milieu; b) are spooks or professional propagandists; c) have offered up completely fabricated stories (Manafort meets Assange, Vermont power grid hacked, add a dozen more) ; d) have completely fabricated "Russianbots," like New Democracy was caught doing; e) have otherized and racialized "Russians" to such a degree that any contact with anyone ethnically Russian for any reason allows them to designate you as a pawn in a plan directly ordered by Putin -- also any contact with anyone Ukrainian is attributed to Russians; f) have suppressed and ignored the consistency with which ALL of the key Russians in the most important story (of "Trump collusion") just happened to be acknowledged CIA or FBI assets at various times in their careers; g) have accused anyone who even fails to enthusiastically endorse their narrative of being Russianbots or "conspiracy theorists"; h) you know I could go on and on.

That, in turn, is a double smoking gun: they don't have an evidentiary case, and they are willing to fabricate it.

This is an assault on "Western" democracy by elements of Western statecraft, reminiscent of the Trumanist (a.k.a. McCarthyist) period and other major psyops. That is the real security concern of #Russiagate, from a "Western" perspective.

Which is not to say what you then add is not self-evident...

Russia wants as much of an energy monopoly as it can get over Europe, especially central europe. That makes it secure. Western Europe has always been a threat to Russia - Napolean, Hitler and the NATO during the Cold War. In the same way China wants an economic empire across the Western Pacific and as much of the Indian Ocean as it can get away with. It'd love to own the sea lanes Indonesia controls.

...because it's obvious. It's just not evidence of the supposed Russian psyop.

Which, by the way, would be a really bad show compared to their actual skill levels. It's a pretty pathetic display, if THAT was supposed to be degrading Western will and unity and fixing U.S. elections.

Russia has been accomplishing what you say through active diplomacy, threats and leverage, and targeted military interventions on the international stage, outmaneuvering NATO and Co. at every turn by public means. They don't need the Buff Bernie Sanders Coloring Book or even a hack of the Clinton e-mails to do that.

Arguably they'd have had an even easier time with the cartoonish antagonism of Clinton in charge, instead of Trump's dullwitted Russia-curious naivete coupled with his continuing valuation of random brute force and threats thereof.

And this, of course, is true:

This "Russian conspiracy" serves Russia's interests because its bullshit and serves as a great distraction from what they are really up to (which isn't any worse than anything we've done in the west fwiw,) - securing their markets and making it hard for their competitors.

If "asset" means anything that de facto aids a cause, including incompetent attempts to combat it that backfire predictably, then Clinton-DNC, corporate media and the whole #Russiagate complex have been Russian assets. No?

Thanks for the post and great to see you!

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:49 pm
by overcoming hope ... p/comments

We're in a permanent coup
Americans might soon wish they just waited to vote their way out of the Trump era


Matt, I dig the way you write. You elevate and contextualize boring, confusing news and politics into something not only digestible but exciting. But here, (and maybe I'm confused) are you saying that it’s better to ignore Trump’s crimes and leave him in office? Because why? The CIA and FBI have done illegal shit, too? Unless you’re accusing those agencies of framing Trump, you are creating more whataboutism and confusion not unlike what the mainstream media peddles. Unless he is impeached and removed, Trump proves that a US President is above the law.

Matt Taibbi Oct 11
Thanks - see Chuck McClenon’s reply below. I can’t stress enough that the Russiagate insanity, and specifically the Steele leak, began before Trump took office. If it was not framing exactly it was certainly manipulation of wrong intelligence, on par with using Chalabi’s tales to start war. There are only three explanations for the January 7, 2017 “intel chiefs” meeting. One, they sincerely believed Trump was a cultivated foreign agent as Steele reported. I don’t buy that this is possible. They had half a year at least to investigate these extremely serious claims. If they were true, leaking to CNN and letting Trump take office is an extremely weak response. Moreover no evidence to substantiate the idea ever surfaced. Two: Steele was on some level genuinely reporting rumors he heard, and the agencies merely waved this dicey intel on to the public via leaks (and gave it gravitas with leaks of their meeting) because it was explosive and expedient, advancing political goals they had. This to me is the most likely explanation. A sub-possibility is Steele was duped by Russian disinformation and the agencies either knew this and waved it through, or weren’t sure and waved it through anyway. Three: the agencies had a direct hand in creating the Steele nonsense. I think this unlikely. It’s what Trump and Giuliani believe, and it’s not completely unsupported, given Steele’s relationship with the FBI and Fusion’s dubious history, but I have a hard time believing such a Dr. Evil narrative absent hard hard evidence. Still, option #2, i.e. cynically using/leaking wrong intel to cripple an incoming president, would be an awesome corruption/meddling story, beyond anything Trump has done.

chuck mcclenon Oct 11
Right. And this is where I'm also caught, trying to figure between options #2 and #3 -- it's hard to believe #3 in which there is some intentional Dr. Evil master-minding the coup, even if the incestuous relationships among Steele, the McCabes, foreign intelligence partners, etc. Certainly the opportunities were there for some very deliberate collusion, but have all of these players already been totally in the bank for Hillary from the beginning? It seems more likely that there were more tentacles, operating more or less independently -- Steele and Fusion GPS doing their thing, bought and paid for fairly directly by the Clinton campaign, and the IC community/FBI believing this because it was useful to them. But it becomes a fuzzy line between when the IC community is wanting to believe it and wanting more of it. Are they conspirators, or dupes? Which would be worse? As evidence in support of #3, we have McCabe keeping in touch with Steele even after Steele is officially fired, and it appears that the rest of the agency is aware of this. What we lack is the specific individual Dr. Evil who is pulling the strings. But isn't a multi-header Dr. Evil both more plausible and more evil? But, as you say, even option #2 is far more corrupt and awesome than anything Donald Trump is capable of.

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:31 pm
by BenDhyan
Finally and hopefully some serious light on the spygate origins...

Justice Dept. Is Said to Open Criminal Inquiry Into Its Own Russia Investigation

Oct. 24, 2019

The move is likely to open the attorney general to accusations that he is trying to deliver a political victory for President Trump.

WASHINGTON — For more than two years, President Trump has repeatedly attacked the Russia investigation, portraying it as a hoax and illegal even months after the special counsel closed it. Now, Mr. Trump’s own Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into how it all began.

Justice Department officials have shifted an administrative review of the Russia investigation closely overseen by Attorney General William P. Barr to a criminal inquiry, according to two people familiar with the matter. The move gives the prosecutor running it, John H. Durham, the power to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to convene a grand jury and to file criminal charges.

The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies. Mr. Trump fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director under whose watch agents opened the Russia inquiry, and has long assailed other top former law enforcement and intelligence officials as partisans who sought to block his election.

Mr. Trump has made clear that he sees the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. That view factors into the impeachment investigation against him, as does his long obsession with the origins of the Russia inquiry. House Democrats are examining in part whether his pressure on Ukraine to open investigations into theories about the 2016 election constituted an abuse of power.

The move also creates an unusual situation in which the Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into itself.

Mr. Barr’s reliance on Mr. Durham, a widely respected and veteran prosecutor who has investigated C.I.A. torture and broken up Mafia rings, could help insulate the attorney general from accusations that he is doing the president’s bidding and putting politics above justice.

It was not clear what potential crime Mr. Durham is investigating, nor when the criminal investigation was prompted. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Mr. Trump is certain to see the criminal investigation as a vindication of the years he and his allies have spent trying to discredit the Russia investigation. In May, Mr. Trump told the Fox News host Sean Hannity that the F.B.I. officials who opened the case — a counterintelligence investigation into whether his campaign conspired with Moscow’s election sabotage — had committed treason.

“We can never allow these treasonous acts to happen to another president,” Mr. Trump said. He has called the F.B.I. investigation one of the biggest political scandals in United States history.

Federal investigators need only a “reasonable indication” that a crime has been committed to open an investigation, a much lower standard than the probable cause required to obtain search warrants. However, “there must be an objective, factual basis for initiating the investigation; a mere hunch is insufficient,” according to Justice Department guidelines.

When Mr. Barr appointed Mr. Durham, the United States attorney in Connecticut, to lead the review, he had only the power to voluntarily question people and examine government files.

Mr. Barr expressed skepticism of the Russia investigation even before joining the Trump administration. Weeks after being sworn in this year, he said he intended to scrutinize how it started and used the term “spying” to describe investigators’ surveillance of Trump campaign advisers. But he has been careful to say he wants to determine whether investigators acted lawfully.

“The question is whether it was adequately predicated,” he told lawmakers in April. “And I’m not suggesting that it wasn’t adequately predicated. But I need to explore that.”


Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:34 am
by JackRiddler
a comment from chuck mcclenon» Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:49 pm wrote:What we lack is the specific individual Dr. Evil who is pulling the strings. But isn't a multi-header Dr. Evil both more plausible and more evil? But, as you say, even option #2 is far more corrupt and awesome than anything Donald Trump is capable of.

Radically untrue. Laughably so. But it illustrates the insanity of thinking #Russiagate is a #Resistance to Trump. By attacking a criminal and liar with a big criminal slander against him that he can refute, it has predictably functioned as though it were his reelection campaign. #Russiagate has thrown a blanket of "liberal" confusionism over the ongoing Trump-GOP push toward open fascism. It enables the regime's efforts to void any remaining rule of law, remove the nominal limits on executive power, and render the hope of democratic elections impossible. It has commandeered attention away from the awakening of social resistance and labor movements. The latter is a tacit point of consensus between the GOP and the neoliberal Democratic Party establishment.

As for the question on the origins of #Russiagate, the favorite option is obviously #2: It was improvised from existing material and ideas in development by multiple parties. Like most, they did not expect Trump to win the election. They were caught by surprise when the already justifiably hated Clinton machine rewrote the textbook on how not to run a "professional" election marketing campaign, and Comey came out with a last-minute hatchet job invoking the Weiner "findings." This opened a path for the Mercer/Bannon-directed Trump campaign to capture just enough votes, and for the GOP state machines to suppress just enough votes, so that the Dead Hand of 1787 (a.k.a. Electoral College) worked on their behalf.* It was in the wake of this shock that the full #Russiagate complex was put together by a bunch of spook-fools on their way to their cable news gigs, where they joined the promotional campaign. Taibbi captures the significance of the January 17 meeting.

* Sorry this stuff needs daily review, because so many false narratives have been crafted about the election: that it was a populist working class revolt; that it had nothing to do with racism or the Christianist right-wing base the GOP cultivated for decades;** and that "Take Their Oil" Trump, the servant of Saudi and Israeli interests who has escalated the wars on all fronts, was really an isolationist candidate because sometimes he contradicts his own ultraviolent daily-psycho rhetoric with protestations that he loves peace and beautiful babies, etc.

** - Which has largely morphed into a kind of Leader Death Cult. Oh we are so fucked.