The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Moderators: Elvis, DrVolin, Jeff

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby stickdog99 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:59 am

JackRiddler » 25 Oct 2019 09:34 wrote:
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.
.


Whatever its genesis, Russiagate (together with the trauma of Trump's "unthinkable" election, of course) has had the effect of turning millions of previously cursorily politically engaged "centrist" Democrats into political news addicts wholly convinced that any deviation from the Russiagate corporate media orthodoxy is yet further proof of Russia's omnipotent nefarious agency.

For example, one of their newest lines of attack against Bernie Sanders is that "he never acknowledged and publicly condemned all the 'help' the 'Russians' gave him in the 2016 election!"

It's hard for my brain to even unravel this accusation, but it has been leveled at me in good faith by several MSDNC addicts I know. And after responding by noting the absurdity of this accusation, I have been accused of being a Russian agent myself, just as anyone who questions this orthodoxy must be Q.E.D.

Sufficient hatred of Russians has thus become a purity test for Democrats.
stickdog99
 
Posts: 3805
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:42 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby overcoming hope » Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:34 pm

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/p ... el-630080/

How a New Anti-Trump Art Installation Made Its Way to a Trump Hotel
Anarchist artist collective Indecline chose to taunt the president on his own property – with real rats and all

Image

Indecline started planning The People’s Prison six months ago in the hopes of mocking Trump from inside one of his very own ostentatious properties. “The statues were popular,” Indecline’s spokesperson tells Rolling Stone, “but we felt that doing this in his house was even more of a kick in the nuts than having just put those statues up on the sidewalk. When you see the video of us shaking hands with the hotel staff, tipping them, we come in all smiles, they carry our bags for usthe involuntary collusion, it’s such a hard-hitting diss on him.”

These Mad Lads are straight up taunting the prez with their dangerous rebel art!
overcoming hope
 
Posts: 467
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:32 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby overcoming hope » Fri Oct 25, 2019 11:37 pm

BenDhyan » Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:31 pm wrote: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.”

...continues

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/24/us/politics/john-durham-criminal-investigation.html




Glenn Greenwald
@ggreenwald
I actually want to know whether the powers of the FBI, NSA, CIA & DHS were abused for domestic political purposes in 2016. I always thought concerns about US security state agencies was a staple of left-wing thought but it somehow got transformed into proof of right-wing fascism.

Glenn Greenwald Retweeted
Matt Taibbi
@mtaibbi
Oct 24
This NYT story about the opening of a criminal probe into the origins of Russiagate sounds like it was written by the defense lawyers of the investigation’s targets.
overcoming hope
 
Posts: 467
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:32 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby overcoming hope » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:24 pm

The ‘Deep State’ Exists to Battle People Like Trump
A merit-based system for hiring federal employees was created in reaction to the rampant corruption of the Gilded Age.
October 26

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/26/opin ... state.html

Glenn Greenwald
@ggreenwald
The ‘Deep State’ Exists to Battle People Like Trump," argues a @nytimes contributing writer today in an op-ed. By "Deep State," she means the permanent class of unelected "civil servants" in government.
overcoming hope
 
Posts: 467
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:32 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby RocketMan » Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:59 am

overcoming hope » Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:24 am wrote:The ‘Deep State’ Exists to Battle People Like Trump
A merit-based system for hiring federal employees was created in reaction to the rampant corruption of the Gilded Age.
October 26

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/26/opin ... state.html

Glenn Greenwald
@ggreenwald
The ‘Deep State’ Exists to Battle People Like Trump," argues a @nytimes contributing writer today in an op-ed. By "Deep State," she means the permanent class of unelected "civil servants" in government.


Well, I think we can safely say that Peter Dale Scott's analytical concept is pretty much junked at this point. Thank you, alt-right cryptofascists and corporate media! :thumbsup

Such a shame, I finally finished Scott's Deep Politics and the Death of JFK. Pretty dense, heady stuff.
-I don't like hoodlums.
-That's just a word, Marlowe. We have that kind of world. Two wars gave it to us and we are going to keep it.
User avatar
RocketMan
 
Posts: 2767
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 7:02 am
Location: By the rivers dark
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby stickdog99 » Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:37 pm

overcoming hope » 28 Oct 2019 03:24 wrote:The ‘Deep State’ Exists to Battle People Like Trump
A merit-based system for hiring federal employees was created in reaction to the rampant corruption of the Gilded Age.
October 26

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/26/opin ... state.html

Glenn Greenwald
@ggreenwald
The ‘Deep State’ Exists to Battle People Like Trump," argues a @nytimes contributing writer today in an op-ed. By "Deep State," she means the permanent class of unelected "civil servants" in government.


Ah, so they were talking about the shallow Deep State.
stickdog99
 
Posts: 3805
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:42 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby alloneword » Tue Nov 26, 2019 7:54 pm

This probably goes here...

Dmitry Orlov:
My Response to "Russia Russia Russia!" Panel at Politicon 2019
What a wondrous sight are the American Russophobes fluffing their plumage and in full cry! Be sure to shed a tear for them when they go extinct.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWE78owXPdU

Quite long, but worth leaving on in the background whilst you get on with something else, if only for the comedy value.

I learned a shocking amount about the depth and breadth of delusion that passes for 'informed opinion', plus something about Belarus. ;)
User avatar
alloneword
 
Posts: 647
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:19 am
Location: UK
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby JackRiddler » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:27 pm

Yeah, Orlov is entertaining up to a point, and of course correct about the Russia Russia Russia fanatics, but halfway through he flies some pretty fucked-up colors when he starts talking about how Russians are good conservative people who want their children to have a mother and a father and don't want to live in a Sodom and Gomorrah like the US with its depraved transsexuals, etc. etc. Which is not just fucked up, but full of shit.

Anyway, on to my main show today, ladies and gentlemen, here's the Great Patriotic heroine Fiona Hill:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIgE1S7GMVc

Hey, do you oppose fracking? Got a problem with the US "dominating" world petroleum extraction? That's because RT brainwashed you! You are one of Russia's useful idiots. Congressman Conaway (R-Frackstate-Texas) and Cold War intellectual Dr. Hill (Pipes student) fully agree that opposition to fracking is What Putin Wants.

The pursuit of impeachment to punish Trump's short delay in the sale of missiles to Ukraine (and for nothing else) seems almost designed to fail at its supposed goal. Remember, Obama (exceptionally, wisely) had refused to send heavy weapons of war to Ukraine. Contrary to the CNN headline under Hill's testimony, these arms shipments have nothing to do with the U.S. "defending itself."

Consider all the ways in which this particular route to impeachment, with its monomaniacal focus on the Ukraine matter, threatens to strengthen the Trump-GOP regime in 2020: It is certain to fail in the GOP Senate, which will first use it to batter the Democrats for months. It distracts from the election, and from the bread-and-butter issues (or anything else) that most voting Americans actually give a shit about. They get #Russiagate 2.0, an interminable stream of inside-baseball talk about one of Trump's lesser violations. It is, fatefully, a constant reminder of the legal but thoroughly corrupt payola of Biden and son -- on behalf of a fracking company! At least in regard to the incestuous system of self-service plunder by political elites, Republicans and Democrats only appear to live in different universes: they are each right about the other. Why do the Democrats want to encourage that appearance?

Consider all the serious crimes associated with Trump: his bribes to silence women with whom he had affairs, in violation of campaign finance law, to which his lawyer confessed; his money-laundering businesses; his now-defunct foundation; the naked use of office for emoluments by him and his family; the constant obstruction of justice on all things; the many incitements to physical violence from the presidential pulpit; the specific threats to opponents; and, most of all, the actions of the Trump-GOP regime in power. As with #Russiagate 1.0, the Democratic leadership, once again, has chosen an opposition strategy with the highest probability of backfiring on them. Why?

Lousy as it is if the goal is to oust rather than reelect Trump, the strategy does fulfill another function: Hill and most of the other star witnesses in the proceedings delivered a parade of disinformation about the US involvement in Ukraine. Of course the Democrats and Republicans differed on Trump's (self-evident) culpability for his amateur attempt to recruit the Ukrainian president as an accomplice to meddling in a US election. (Should Ukraine reopen the Burisma investigation? That's a different question.) But nearly all of the questioners were united in parroting the uniform propaganda for imperialism, interventionism, arms shipments and cold war with Russia as matters of patriotic faith. Only traitors, criminals, "conspiracy theorists" and Russian-influenced fools would question this.

Still it remains that the best interests of Americans and almost everyone else in the world would lie in the deescalation and resolution of the Ukraine conflict, and a relaxation of tensions among the nuclear great powers. Supplying Ukraine with missiles and moving to integrate it into NATO has the opposite effect. Understanding this fundamental point does not require you to approve of the Russian government. A majority of Ukrainian voters appear to agree, since they elected Zelensky with 72 percent of the vote, on a platform of negotiating with Russia. The ongoing impeachment game with its valorization of a hardline anti-Russian stance is among the factors blocking that.

.
We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

TopSecret WallSt. Iraq & more
User avatar
JackRiddler
 
Posts: 15263
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: New York City
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby PufPuf93 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:23 am

I posted this first at DU and surprisingly got 23 recs and no one jumped down my throat. Note that the "moderates" (Pelosi) want to stick to the Ukraine as an impeachment issue but the House Intelligence (chaired by Schiff) want to expand impeachment issues.

Democrats quietly debate expanding impeachment articles beyond Ukraine

My opinion is that the impeachment quest should not be limited to Ukraine issues. I could make some predictions but won't (like the moderates will eventually chose to expand impeachment beyond the Ukraine). I want to be consciously optimistic that Trump is impeached and then convicted and removed from office by the Senate.


Democrats quietly debate expanding impeachment articles beyond Ukraine

WAPO December 2, 2019


House Democrats are debating whether to expand articles of impeachment to include charges beyond abuse of power in the Ukraine controversy, setting up a potential internal clash as the party races to impeach President Trump by Christmastime.

Members of the House Judiciary Committee and other more liberal-minded lawmakers and congressional aides have been privately discussing the possibility of drafting articles that include obstruction of justice or other “high crimes” they believe are clearly outlined in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report — or allegations that Trump has used his office to benefit his bottom line.

The idea, however, is running into resistance from some moderate Democrats wary of impeachment blowback in their GOP-leaning districts, as well as Democratic leaders who sought to keep impeachment narrowly focused on allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk freely.

The debate is expected to play out in leadership and caucus meetings this week, as the House Intelligence Committee prepares to hand the impeachment inquiry to the House Judiciary Committee. The Intelligence Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday night on its final report on Ukraine, allowing Judiciary to then work on writing articles of impeachment based on that document.

But the Judiciary Committee also has asked other investigative panels to send any findings of Trump-related misdeeds that they believe are impeachable. And many of the committee members are hoping articles will refer to and cite their own months-long investigation into the Mueller report, which described 10 possible instances of obstruction by the president.

more at: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics ... spartanntp
User avatar
PufPuf93
 
Posts: 1669
Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:29 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby stickdog99 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:04 pm

stickdog99
 
Posts: 3805
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:42 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby JackRiddler » Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:42 pm

Jack Riddler elsewhere wrote:Impeachment fans, do I need to explain all that is wrong in this absurd passage from the written statement submitted to the Judiciary Committee by Pamela Karlan, the latest star of the show?

"To see why, imagine living in a part of Louisiana or Texas that’s prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding. What would you think if, when your governor asked the federal government for the disaster assistance that Congress has provided, the President responded, “‘I would like you to do us a favor.’ I’ll meet with you and send the disaster relief once you brand my opponent a criminal.”
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/r ... nt-hearing

1. Ukraine is not a state of the United States.

2. Ukraine is not under the authority of the US government (although Karlan talks as though it should be, or already is).

3. The 2014 coup d'etat and subsequent civil war in Ukraine - oh, sorry, I mean, recent events in Ukraine - were not due to natural disasters.

4. Sales of US missiles and other heavy arms are not disaster relief. (They are more like disaster causes.)

5. Although Trump's demand on the phone that Zelensky open an investigation against Biden's grifter son in exchange for delivery of US arms appears indeed to be one of the more minor of the many illegal acts and atrocities for which Trump is culpable, and although this call may have been related to the short delay in the delivery of weapons to Ukraine, the weapons were actually delivered without fulfillment of the supposed quid pro quo. Good luck explaining to most voters why this episode is bigger than Watergate, or more important than the food stamp cut or the other issues on which the Democrats could be crusading, and winning.

6. Okay, I am not a lawyer, and it's just a question, but does a Stanford professor called to Congress as an expert on constitutional law usually engage in rhetorical devices unworthy even of the lawyer from Breaking Bad?

How about the part, in the witness testimony, when she channelled GW Bush's famous dictum to justify the "War on Terror," that "we" must "fight the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them here"?

Karlan: "It isn't just our national interest... that Ukraine remains strong and on the front lines so that they fight them there so we don't have to fight them here."

Video can be viewed via https://twitter.com/aaronjmate/status/1 ... 2960908293

Are "we" in a war with Russia? Never forget that Obama refused to send missiles and heavy arms to Ukraine. Was he intentionally paving the way to the Russian invasion of the United States that, by Karlan's logic, will follow if Ukraine doesn't "fight them over there"?

Right after that, she says the US is promoting democracy worldwide. Coups and attempted coups in Bolivia, Honduras and many other places come to mind, but not for Karlan. Apparently the only thing that's ever undermined this exclusively noble effort badly enough to merit impeachment was Trump's "quid pro quo" call.

She concludes with the phrase Ronald Reagan made famous:

"... we are not doing our job of promoting our national interest of being that shining city on a hill."

Are we promoters, is that our job? Of what?! Who gave us this job?

This same shit cocktail keeps getting remixed and fed back to us, decade after decade. Up to thirty years ago, if I had a problem with US policy, I probably don't have to inform you how true-blue Republicans would respond: "Go back to Russia!" Now it's Democrats who have resorted to it.
We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

TopSecret WallSt. Iraq & more
User avatar
JackRiddler
 
Posts: 15263
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: New York City
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby Elvis » Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:48 pm

^^^ A good friend and I are currently having this argument/discussion. He actually sees US support of the coup as a lesser but necessary evil to counter Russian misdeeds. He largely blames 'Russia' for Trump's election and gets angry at any suggestion that Russia is responding in an expected way to US antagonism.

On one hand he says Russia needs help diversifying its economy, but on the other hand thinks it's okay to goad Russia into a war. This is the same fellow who in 1988 introduced me to Manufacturing Consent and was so giddy over its revelations. I have to remind him that the disinfoteers never retired, nor simply gave up because Carl Bernstein write a book.
"Frankly, I don't think it's a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous."
User avatar
Elvis
 
Posts: 6673
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:24 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby liminalOyster » Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:52 am

Weaponizing the haters: The Last Jedi and the strategic politicization of pop culture through social media manipulation.
September 2018
Morten Bay

Political discourse on social media is seen by many as polarized, vitriolic and permeated by falsehoods and misinformation. Political operators have exploited all of these aspects of the discourse for strategic purposes, most famously during the Russian social media influence campaign during the 2016 Presidential election in the United States and current, similar efforts targeting the U.S. elections in 2018 and 2020. The results of the social media study presented in this paper presents evidence that political influence through manipulation of social media discussions is no longer exclusive to political debate but can now also be found in pop culture. Specifically, this study examines a collection of tweets relating to a much-publicized fan dispute over the Star Wars franchise film Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. The study finds evidence of deliberate, organized political influence measures disguised as fan arguments. The likely objective of these measures is increasing media coverage of the fandom conflict, thereby adding to and further propagating a narrative of widespread discord and dysfunction in American society. Persuading voters of this narrative remains a strategic goal for the U.S. alt-right movement, as well as the Russian Federation. The results of the study show that among those who address The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson directly on Twitter to express their dissatisfaction, more than half are bots, trolls/sock puppets or political activists using the debate to propagate political messages supporting extreme right-wing causes and the discrimination of gender, race or sexuality. A number of these users appear to be Russian trolls. The paper concludes that while it is only a minority of Twitter accounts that tweet negatively about The Last Jedi, organized attempts at politicizing the pop culture discourse on social media for strategic purposes are significant enough that users should be made aware of these measures, so they can act accordingly.

https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... nipulation


Too lazy to check if this abstract was ever posed upthread (rather than just a pop summary of the article's existence.) I suppose it's good news it has been cited zero times.
"It's not rocket surgery." - Elvis
User avatar
liminalOyster
 
Posts: 1646
Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 10:28 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby Elvis » Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:50 am

Has this been covered here??

https://theintercept.com/2019/12/12/the ... u-s-media/

The Inspector General’s Report on 2016 FBI Spying Reveals a Scandal of Historic Magnitude: Not Only for the FBI but Also the U.S. Media

Glenn Greenwald
December 12 2019

Just as was true when the Mueller investigation closed without a single American being charged with criminally conspiring with Russia over the 2016 election, Wednesday’s issuance of the long-waited report from the Department of Justice’s Inspector General reveals that years of major claims and narratives from the U.S. media were utter frauds.

Before evaluating the media component of this scandal, the FBI’s gross abuse of its power – its serial deceit – is so grave and manifest that it requires little effort to demonstrate it. In sum, the IG Report documents multiple instances in which the FBI – in order to convince a FISA court to allow it spy on former Trump campaign operative Carter Page during the 2016 election – manipulated documents, concealed crucial exonerating evidence, and touted what it knew were unreliable if not outright false claims.

If you don’t consider FBI lying, concealment of evidence, and manipulation of documents in order to spy on a U.S. citizen in the middle of a presidential campaign to be a major scandal, what is? But none of this is aberrational: the FBI still has its headquarters in a building named after J. Edgar Hoover – who constantly blackmailed elected officials with dossiers and tried to blackmail Martin Luther King into killing himself – because that’s what these security state agencies are. They are out-of-control, virtually unlimited police state factions that lie, abuse their spying and law enforcement powers, and subvert democracy and civic and political freedoms as a matter of course.

In this case, no rational person should allow standard partisan bickering to distort or hide this severe FBI corruption. The IG Report leaves no doubt about it. It’s brimming with proof of FBI subterfuge and deceit, all in service of persuading a FISA court of something that was not true: that U.S. citizen and former Trump campaign official Carter Page was an agent of the Russian government and therefore needed to have his communications surveilled.

[...]

But the revelations of the IG Report are not merely a massive FBI scandal. They are also a massive media scandal, because they reveal that so much of what the U.S. media has authoritatively claimed about all of these matters for more than two years is completely false.

Ever since Trump’s inauguration, a handful of commentators and journalists – I’m included among them – have been sounding the alarm about the highly dangerous trend of news outlets not merely repeating the mistake of the Iraq War by blindly relying on the claims of security state agents but, far worse, now employing them in their newsrooms to shape the news. As Politico’s media writer Jack Shafer wrote in 2018, in an article entitled “The Spies Who Came Into the TV Studio”:

In the old days, America’s top spies would complete their tenures at the CIA or one of the other Washington puzzle palaces and segue to more ordinary pursuits. Some wrote their memoirs. One ran for president. Another died a few months after surrendering his post. But today’s national-security establishment retiree has a different game plan. After so many years of brawling in the shadows, he yearns for a second, lucrative career in the public eye. He takes a crash course in speaking in soundbites, refreshes his wardrobe and signs a TV news contract. Then, several times a week, waits for a network limousine to shuttle him to the broadcast news studios where, after a light dusting of foundation and a spritz of hairspray, he takes a supporting role in the anchors’ nighttime shows. . . .

[T]he downside of outsourcing national security coverage to the TV spies is obvious. They aren’t in the business of breaking news or uncovering secrets. Their first loyalty—and this is no slam—is to the agency from which they hail. Imagine a TV network covering the auto industry through the eyes of dozens of paid former auto executives and you begin to appreciate the current peculiarities.

In a perfect television world, the networks would retire the retired spooks from their payrolls and reallocate those sums to the hiring of independent reporters to cover the national security beat. Let the TV spies become unpaid anonymous sources because when you get down to it, TV spies don’t want to make news—they just want to talk about it.


It’s long been the case that CIA, FBI and NSA operatives tried to infiltrate and shape domestic news, but they at least had the decency to do it clandestinely. In 2008, the New York Times’ David Barstow won the Pulitzer Prize for exposing a secret Pentagon program in which retired Generals and other security state agents would get hired as commentators and analysts and then – unbeknownst to their networks – coordinate their messaging to ensure that domestic news was being shaped by the propaganda of the military and intelligence communities.

But now it’s all out in the open. It’s virtually impossible to turn on MSNBC or CNN without being bombarded with former Generals, CIA operatives, FBI agents and NSA officials who now work for those networks as commentators and, increasingly, as reporters.

[...]

MORE



https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/p ... ia-924944/

‘Corroboration Zero’: An Inspector General’s Report Reveals the Steele Dossier Was Always a Joke

The report throws water on one “deep state” conspiracy theory of the Russia investigation, but validates complaints about “fake news”

By Matt Tiabbi

The Guardian headline reads: “DOJ Internal watchdog report clears FBI of illegal surveillance of Trump adviser.”

If the report released Monday by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz constitutes a “clearing” of the FBI, never clear me of anything. Holy God, what a clown show the Trump-Russia investigation was.

Like the much-ballyhooed report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Horowitz report is a Rorschach test, in which partisans will find what they want to find.

Much of the press is concentrating on Horowitz’s conclusion that there was no evidence of “political bias or improper motivation” in the FBI’s probe of Donald Trump’s Russia contacts, an investigation Horowitz says the bureau had “authorized purpose” to conduct.

Horowitz uses phrases like “serious performance failures,” describing his 416-page catalogue of errors and manipulations as incompetence rather than corruption. This throws water on the notion that the Trump investigation was a vast frame-up.

However, Horowitz describes at great length an FBI whose “serious” procedural problems and omissions of “significant information” in pursuit of surveillance authority all fell in the direction of expanding the unprecedented investigation of a presidential candidate (later, a president).

Officials on the “Crossfire Hurricane” Trump-Russia investigators went to extraordinary, almost comical lengths to seek surveillance authority of figures like Trump aide Carter Page. In one episode, an FBI attorney inserted the words “not a source” in an email he’d received from another government agency. This disguised the fact that Page had been an informant for that agency, and had dutifully told the government in real time about being approached by Russian intelligence. The attorney then passed on the email to an FBI supervisory special agent, who signed a FISA warrant application on Page that held those Russian contacts against Page, without disclosing his informant role.

Likewise, the use of reports by ex-spy/campaign researcher Christopher Steele in pursuit of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authority had far-reaching ramifications.

Not only did obtaining a FISA warrant allow authorities a window into other Trump figures with whom Page communicated, they led to a slew of leaked “bombshell” news stories that advanced many public misconceptions, including that a court had ruled there was “probable cause” that a Trump figure was an “agent of a foreign power.”

There are too many to list in one column, but the Horowitz report show years of breathless headlines were wrong. Some key points:

The so-called “Steele dossier” was, actually, crucial to the FBI’s decision to seek secret surveillance of Page.

Press figures have derided the idea that Steele was crucial to the FISA application, with some insisting it was only a “small part” of the application. Horowitz is clear:

We determined that the Crossfire Hurricane team’s receipt of Steele’s election reporting on September 19, 2016 played a central and essential role in the FBI’s and Department’s decision to seek the FISA order.

The report describes how, prior to receiving Steele’s reports, the FBI General Counsel (OGC) and/or the National Security Division’s Office of Intelligence (OI) wouldn’t budge on seeking FISA authority. But after getting the reports, the OGC unit chief said, “receipt of the Steele reporting changed her mind on whether they could establish probable cause.”

Meanwhile, the OI unit chief said Steele’s reports were “what kind of pushed it over the line.” There’s no FISA warrant without Steele.

Horowitz ratifies the oft-denounced “Nunes memo.”

Democrats are not going to want to hear this, since conventional wisdom says former House Intelligence chief Devin Nunes is a conspiratorial evildoer, but the Horowitz report ratifies the major claims of the infamous “Nunes memo.”

As noted, Horowitz establishes that the Steele report was crucial to the FISA process, even using the same language Nunes used (“essential”). He also confirms the Nunes assertion that the FBI double-dipped in citing both Steele and a September 23, 2016 Yahoo! news story using Steele as an unnamed source. Horowitz listed the idea that Steele did not directly provide information to the press as one of seven significant “inaccuracies or omissions” in the first FISA application.

Horowitz also verifies the claim that Steele was “closed for cause” for talking to the media, i.e. officially cut off as a confidential human source to the FBI. He shows that Steele continued to talk to Justice Official Bruce Ohr before and after Steele’s formal relationship with the FBI ended. His report confirms that the Steele information had not been corroborated when the FISA application was submitted, another key Nunes point.

There was gnashing of teeth when Nunes first released his memo in January, 2018. The press universally crapped on his letter, with a Washington Post piece calling it a “joke” and a “sham.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed Nunes for the release of a “bogus” document, while New York Senator Chuck Schumer said the memo was intended to “sow conspiracy theories and attack the integrity of federal law enforcement.” Many called for his removal as Committee chair.

The Horowitz report says all of that caterwauling was off-base. It also undercuts many of the assertions made in a ballyhooed response letter by Nunes counterpart Adam Schiff, who described the FBI’s “reasonable basis” for deeming Steele credible. The report is especially hostile to Schiff’s claim that the FBI “provided additional information obtained through multiple independent sources that corroborated Steele’s reporting.”

In fact, far from confirming the Steele material, the FBI over time seems mainly to have uncovered more and more reasons to run screaming from Steele, to wit:

The “Steele dossier” was “Internet rumor,” and corroboration for the pee tape story was “zero.”

The Steele report reads like a pile of rumors surrounded by public information pulled off the Internet, and the Horowitz report does nothing to dispel this notion.

At the time the FBI submitted its first FISA application, Horowitz writes, it had “corroborated limited information in Steele’s election reporting, and most of that was publicly available information.” Horowitz says of Steele’s reports: “The CIA viewed it as ‘internet rumor.’”

Worse (and this part of the story should be tattooed on the heads of Russia truthers), the FBI’s interviews of Steele’s sources revealed Steele embellished the most explosive parts of his report.

The “pee tape” story, which inspired countless grave headlines (see this chin-scratching New York Times history of Russian “sexual blackmail”) and plunged the Trump presidency into crisis before it began, was, this source said, based a “conversation that [he/she] had over beers,” with the sexual allegations made… in “jest”!

Steele in his report said the story had been “confirmed” by senior, Western hotel staff, but the actual source said it was all “rumor and speculation,” never confirmed. In fact, charged by Steele to find corroboration, the source could not: corroboration was “zero,” writes Horowitz.

Meanwhile the Steele assertions that Russians had a kompromat file on Hillary Clinton, and that there was a “well-developed conspiracy of coordination” between the Trump campaign and Russians, relied on a source Steele himself disparaged as an “egoist” and “boaster” who “may engage in some embellishment.” This was known to the FBI at the start, yet they naturally failed to include this info in the warrant application, one of what Horowitz described as “17 significant errors or omissions” in the FISA application.

Finally, when the FBI conducted an investigation into Steele’s “work-related performance,” they heard from some that he was “smart,” and a “person of integrity,” and “if he reported it, he believed it.”

So far, so good. But Horowitz also wrote:

Their notes stated: “[d]emonstrates lack of self-awareness, poor judgment;” “[k]een to help” but “underpinned by poor judgment;” “Judgment: pursuing people with political risk but no intel value;” “[d]idn’t always exercise great judgment- sometimes [he] believes he knows best;” and “[r]eporting in good faith, but not clear what he would have done to validate.”

The Crossfire Hurricane team got all of this, but, again, didn’t pass it upstairs or include any of it in its warrant application.

I’ve written about how reporters used sleight of hand to get the Steele dossier into print without putting it through a vetting process. What Horowitz describes is worse: a story about bad journalism piled on bad journalism, balanced on a third layer of wrong reporting.

Steele in his “reports” embellished his sources’ quotes, played up nonexistent angles, invented attributions, and ignored inconsistencies. The FBI then transplanted this bad reporting in the form of a warrant application and an addendum to the Intelligence Assessment that included the Steele material, ignoring a new layer of inconsistencies and red flags its analysts uncovered in the review process.

Then, following a series of leaks, the news media essentially reported on the FBI’s wrong reporting of Steele’s wrong reporting.

The impact was greater than just securing a warrant to monitor Page. More significant were the years of headlines that grew out of this process, beginning with the leaking of the meeting with Trump about Steele’s blackmail allegations, the insertion of Steele’s conclusions in the Intelligence Assessment about Russian interference, and the leak of news about the approval of the Page FISA warrant.

As a result, a “well-developed conspiracy” theory based on a report that Comey described as “salacious and unverified material that a responsible journalist wouldn’t report without corroborating,” became the driving news story in a superpower nation for two years. Even the New York Times, which published a lot of these stories, is in the wake of the Horowitz report noting Steele’s role in “unleashing a flood of speculation in the news media about the new president’s relationship with Russia.”

No matter what people think the political meaning of the Horowitz report might be, reporters who read it will know: Anybody who touched this nonsense in print should be embarrassed.




Good for NYT publishing this:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/11/us/p ... e-fbi.html

We Just Got a Rare Look at National Security Surveillance. It Was Ugly.

A high-profile inspector general report has served as fodder for arguments about President Trump. But its findings about surveillance are important beyond partisan politics.

By Charlie Savage
Dec. 11, 2019

WASHINGTON — When a long-awaited inspector general report about the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation became public this week, partisans across the political spectrum mined it to argue about whether President Trump falsely smeared the F.B.I. or was its victim. But the report was also important for reasons that had nothing to do with Mr. Trump.

At more than 400 pages, the study amounted to the most searching look ever at the government’s secretive system for carrying out national-security surveillance on American soil. And what the report showed was not pretty.

The Justice Department’s independent inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, and his team uncovered a staggeringly dysfunctional and error-ridden process in how the F.B.I. went about obtaining and renewing court permission under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, to wiretap Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

“The litany of problems with the Carter Page surveillance applications demonstrates how the secrecy shrouding the government’s one-sided FISA approval process breeds abuse,” said Hina Shamsi, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project. “The concerns the inspector general identifies apply to intrusive investigations of others, including especially Muslims, and far better safeguards against abuse are necessary.”

Congress enacted FISA in 1978 to regulate domestic surveillance for national-security investigations — monitoring suspected spies and terrorists, as opposed to ordinary criminals. Investigators must persuade a judge on a special court that a target is probably an agent of a foreign power. In 2018, there were 1,833 targets of such orders, including 232 Americans.

Most of those targets never learn that their privacy has been invaded, but some are sent to prison on the basis of evidence derived from the surveillance. And unlike in ordinary criminal wiretap cases, defendants are not permitted to see what investigators told the court about them to obtain permission to eavesdrop on their calls and emails.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Mr. Horowitz’s report on Wednesday, both Republicans and Democrats suggested that legislation tightening restrictions on FISA surveillance may be coming, and the A.C.L.U. submitted ideas to the committee.

Civil libertarians for years have called the surveillance court a rubber stamp because it only rarely rejects wiretap applications. Out of 1,080 requests by the government in 2018, for example, government records showed that the court fully denied only one.

Defenders of the system have argued that the low rejection rate stems in part from how well the Justice Department self-polices and avoids presenting the court with requests that fall short of the legal standard. They have also stressed that officials obey a heightened duty to be candid and provide any mitigating evidence that might undercut their request.

But the inspector general found major errors, material omissions and unsupported statements about Mr. Page in the materials that went to the court. F.B.I. agents cherry-picked the evidence, telling the Justice Department information that made Mr. Page look suspicious and omitting material that cut the other way, and the department passed that misleading portrait onto the court.

To give just three examples:


First, when agents initially sought permission for the wiretap, F.B.I. officials scoured information from confidential informants and selectively presented portions that supported their suspicions that Mr. Page might be a conduit between Russia and the Trump campaign’s onetime chairman, Paul Manafort.

But officials did not disclose information that undercut that allegation — such as the fact that Mr. Page had told an informant in August 2016 that he “never met” or “said one word” to Mr. Manafort, who had never returned Mr. Page’s emails. Even if the investigators did not necessarily believe Mr. Page, the court should have been told what he had said.

Second, as the initial court order was nearing its expiration and law-enforcement officials prepared to ask the surveillance court to renew it, the F.B.I. had uncovered information that cast doubt on some of its original assertions. But law enforcement officials never reported that new information to the court.

Specifically, the application included allegations about Mr. Page contained in a dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent whose research was funded by Democrats. In January 2017, the F.B.I. interviewed Mr. Steele’s own primary source, and he contradicted what Mr. Steele had written in the dossier.

The source for Mr. Steele may, of course, have been lying. But either way, officials should have flagged the disconnect for the court. Instead, the F.B.I. reported that its agents had met with the source to “further corroborate” the dossier and found him to be “truthful and cooperative,” leaving a misleading impression in renewal applications.

Finally, the report stressed Mr. Page’s long history of meeting with Russian intelligence officials. But he had also said that he had a relationship with the C.I.A., and it turns out that he had for years told the agency about those meetings — including one that was cited in the wiretap application as a reason to be suspicious of him.

That relationship could have mitigated some suspicions about his history. But the F.B.I. never got to the bottom of it, and the court filings said nothing about Mr. Page’s dealings with the C.I.A.

The inspector general’s report contains many more examples of errors and omissions. Mr. Horowitz largely blamed lower-level F.B.I. agents charged with preparing the evidence, but he also faulted high-level supervisors for permitting a culture in which the inaccuracies took place.


And while Mr. Horowitz obtained no documents or testimony showing that the inaccuracies stemmed from any political bias — as opposed to incompetence and negligence — he also rejected as “unsatisfactory” the explanation that the agents were busy on the larger Russian investigation and that the Page wiretap order was only a small part of their responsibilities.

Still, it is undeniable that the agents and supervisors compiling materials for the Page wiretap application were under far more pressure than in routine counterintelligence investigations. Both in terms of the stakes and the tempo, the early Russia investigation may have had more in common with a counterterrorism investigation.

But that factor also raises the question of what goes into applications for wiretaps in lower-profile cases. Indeed, everyone involved in the Page wiretap knew that what they were working on was likely to come under close scrutiny, yet they still repeatedly failed to follow policies.

Mr. Horowitz also said senior-level supervisors bore responsibility for permitting systemic failures to fester, and his office has begun a broader audit of unrelated FISA applications.

His exposé left some former officials who generally defend government surveillance practices aghast.

“These errors are bad,” said David Kris, an expert in FISA who oversaw the Justice Department’s National Security Division in the Obama administration. “If the broader audit of FISA applications reveals a systematic pattern of errors of this sort that plagued this one, then I would expect very serious consequences and reforms.”

On rare occasions, the public has caught glimpses of problems with the information that goes into FISA applications.

In 2000, the Justice Department confessed to errors in F.B.I. affidavits submitted in 75 surveillance and search applications related to major terrorist attacks, a FISA court opinion disclosed.

The court met “to consider the troubling number of inaccurate F.B.I. affidavits” and barred an unnamed F.B.I. agent from making affidavits before the court. In response, the F.B.I. came up with far more rigorous internal procedures, pledging to ensure the accuracy of FISA affidavits by more carefully reviewing them.

But when Mr. Horowitz’s investigators looked at the underlying files for the Page applications, they found errors and omissions that showed that the F.B.I. had not scrupulously followed those procedures.

The government has fought hard to keep outsiders from seeing what goes into its FISA applications. In 2014, a federal judge in Illinois ordered the government to show a defense lawyer classified materials about the national security surveillance of his client, which would have been the first time a defense lawyer had been given such materials since Congress enacted FISA in 1978.

But the Obama administration appealed, and an appeals court overturned the order, agreeing that letting the defense counsel see the application would create an intolerable risk of disclosing sensitive government secrets.

That stands in contrast to how wiretapping works in ordinary criminal law. Targets are usually told when the surveillance ends. If they are prosecuted based on evidence gathered from the wiretap, they get to see what was in the application so their defense lawyers can argue that the government made a mistake and the evidence should be suppressed.

The prospect of that adversarial second-guessing gives criminal investigators a reason to be scrupulous about what they put into their requests for wiretaps. In the absence of that disciplining factor, the government has developed heightened internal oversight about what goes into FISA applications.

But that system demonstrably failed in the Page wiretap.

The report should call into question the legitimacy of the FISA system “whether you like Trump, hate Trump, don’t care about Trump,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said at the hearing on Wednesday.

“I’d hate to lose the ability of the FISA court to operate at a time probably when we need it the most,” Mr. Graham told Mr. Horowitz. “But after your report, I have serious concerns about whether the FISA court can continue unless there’s fundamental reform.”

-------------
Charlie Savage is a Washington-based national security and legal policy correspondent. A recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, he previously worked at The Boston Globe and The Miami Herald. His most recent book is “Power Wars: The Relentless Rise of Presidential Authority and Secrecy.”



Got six hours?

Michael Horowitz testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee
602,633 views
•Streamed live on Dec 11, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bi8V-9EQfec
"Frankly, I don't think it's a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous."
User avatar
Elvis
 
Posts: 6673
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:24 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby Elvis » Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:29 am

Some good calling-out on Twitter. @Techno Fog is posting screenshots of MSM hacks' past Tweets in case they start deleting them. :lol:

https://twitter.com/Techno_Fog/status/1 ... 7417286656
Techno Fog
@Techno_Fog

WaPo reporter @shaneharris
has been lying to the public this whole time.


Shane Harris
@shaneharris
· Jan 11, 2018
Replying to @jancisvaynrchuk and @KimStrassel

Yes. I am telling you the dossier was not used as the basis for a FISA warrant on Carter Page.


3:56 PM · Dec 10, 2019·

Image


Techno Fog
@Techno_Fog
·
Dec 10
The notoriously inaccurate NBC News correspondent @KenDilanianNBC


"Trump is wrong about Carter Page, the dossier and the FISA warrant"

Image




Go to link for full Tweets & exchanges but here's a few more examples:

Reuters DC National Security Correspondent @JonathanLanday

"Dossier played minor role in Page FISA warrant."

Image



NY Times Opinion Contributor @willwilkinson


"Dossier info wasn't grounds for issuing FISA warrant"

Most of the dossier "has been validated"



CNN Anchor @jimsciutto
gets it wrong.

The FBI would "corroborate info in dossier on its own before using such intel to justify the FISA warrant"


The list goes on...

CNN Legal Analyst @renato_mariotti

Fusion Natasha - @NatashaBertrand (MSNBC)

DOJ/DHS Correspondent @JuliaEAinsley @NBCNews

CNN Senior Justice Correspondent @evanperez

CNN "Reporter" @ddale8

@washingtonpost blogger @JRubinBlogger

@just_security Co-editor-in-chief @rgoodlaw

@NormEisen "Senior Fellow" & Obama WH Ethics Czar @BrookingsGov


...all got it wrong and pushed the propaganda on us. They will probably get promotions and pay raises.
"Frankly, I don't think it's a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous."
User avatar
Elvis
 
Posts: 6673
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:24 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

PreviousNext

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: DrEvil and 20 guests