Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intelligence

Gathered together in one place, for easy access, an agglomeration of writings and images relevant to the Rapeutation phenomenon.

Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:03 am

The Democratic Party line that could torch civil liberties … and maybe help blow up the world. We should reject the guidance of politicians and commentators who are all too willing to throw basic tenets of civil liberties overboard.
by Norman Solomon
January 4, 2017

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Many top Democrats are stoking a political firestorm. We keep hearing that Russia attacked democracy by hacking into Democratic officials’ emails and undermining Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Instead of candidly assessing key factors such as longtime fealty to Wall Street that made it impossible for her to ride a populist wave, the party line has increasingly circled around blaming Vladimir Putin for her defeat.

Of course, partisan spinners aren’t big on self-examination, especially if they’re aligned with the Democratic Party’s dominant corporate wing. And the option of continually fingering the Kremlin as the main villain of a 2016 morality play is clearly too juicy for functionary Democrats to pass up – even if that means scorching civil liberties and escalating a new cold war that could turn radioactively hot.

Much of the current fuel for the blame-Russia blaze has to do with the horrifying reality that Donald Trump will soon become president. Big media outlets are blowing oxygen into the inferno. But the flames are also being fanned by people who should know better.

Consider the Boston Globe article that John Shattuck – a former Washington legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union – wrote in mid-December. “A specter of treason hovers over Donald Trump,” the civil libertarian wrote. “He has brought it on himself by dismissing a bipartisan call for an investigation of Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee as a ‘ridiculous’ political attack on the legitimacy of his election as president.”

As quickly pointed out by Mark Kleiman, a professor of public policy at New York University, raising the specter of treason “is simply wrong” – and “its wrongness matters, not just because hyperbole always weakens argument, but because the carefully restricted definition of the crime of treason is essential to protecting free speech and the freedom of association.”

Is Shattuck’s piece a mere outlier? Sadly, no. Although full of gaping holes, it reflects a substantial portion of the current liberal zeitgeist. And so the argument that Shattuck made was carried forward into the new year by Robert Kuttner, co-editor of The American Prospect, who approvingly quoted Shattuck’s article in a Jan. 1 piece that flatly declared: “In his dalliance with Vladimir Putin, Trump’s actions are skirting treason.”

The momentum of fully justified loathing for Trump has drawn some normally level-headed people into untenable – and dangerous – positions. (The “treason” approach that Shattuck and Kuttner have embraced is particularly ironic and misplaced, given that Trump’s current course will soon make him legally deserving of impeachment due to extreme conflicts of interest that are set to violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.)

Among the admirable progressives who supported Bernie’s presidential campaign but have succumbed to Russia-baiting of Trump are former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Congressman Keith Ellison, who is a candidate for chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Last week, in a widely circulated post on his Facebook page, Reich wrote: “Evidence continues to mount that Trump is on Putin’s side.” But Reich’s list of “evidence” hardly made the case that Trump “is on Putin’s side,” whatever that means.

A day later, when Trump tweeted a favorable comment about Putin, Rep. Ellison quickly echoed Democratic Party orthodoxy with a tweet: “Praising a foreign leader for undermining our democracy is a slap in the face to all who have served our country.”

Some of Putin’s policies are abhorrent, and criticizing his regime should be fair game as much as criticizing any other. At the same time, “do as we say, not as we do” isn’t apt to put the United States on high moral ground. The U.S. government has used a wide repertoire of regime change tactics including direct meddling in elections, and Uncle Sam has led the world in cyberattacks.

Intervention in the election of another country is categorically wrong. It’s also true that – contrary to conventional U.S. wisdom at this point – we don’t know much about a Russian role in last year’s election. We should not forget the long history of claims from agencies such as the CIA that turned out to be misleading or downright false.

Late last week, when the Obama administration released a drum-rolled report on the alleged Russian hacking, Democratic partisans and mainline journalists took it as something akin to gospel. But the editor of ConsortiumNews.com, former Associated Press and Newsweek reporter Robert Parry, wrote an assessment concluding that the latest report “again failed to demonstrate that there is any proof behind U.S. allegations that Russia both hacked into Democratic emails and distributed them via WikiLeaks to the American people.”

Even if the Russian government did intervene in the U.S. election by hacking emails and publicizing them, key questions remain. Such as:

Do we really want to escalate a new cold war with a country that has thousands of nuclear weapons?

Do we really want a witch-hunting environment here at home, targeting people with views that have some overlap with Kremlin positions?

Can the president of Russia truly “undermine our democracy” – or aren’t the deficits of democracy in the United States overwhelmingly self-inflicted from within the U.S. borders?

It’s so much easier to fixate on Putin as a villainous plotter against our democracy instead of directly taking on our country’s racist and class biases, its structural mechanisms that relentlessly favor white and affluent voters, its subservience to obscene wealth and corporate power.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about refusing to normalize the Trump presidency. And that’s crucial. Yet we should also push back against normalizing the deflection of outrage at the U.S. political system’s chronic injustices and horrendous results – deflection that situates the crux of the problem in a foreign capital instead of our own.

We should reject the guidance of politicians and commentators who are all too willing to throw basic tenets of civil liberties overboard, while heightening the risks of brinkmanship that could end with the two biggest nuclear powers blowing up the world.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:09 am

Key Democratic Officials Now Warning Base Not To Expect Evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion
By Glenn Greenwald
March 16, 2017

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FROM MSNBC POLITICS shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. This fixation has persisted even though it has no chance to sink the Trump presidency unless it is proven that high levels of the Trump campaign actively colluded with the Kremlin to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election — a claim for which absolutely no evidence has thus far been presented.

The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies — just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected — that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed.

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Key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them have tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence.

The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morell. What makes him particularly notable in this context is that Morell was one of Clinton’s most vocal CIA surrogates. In August, he not only endorsed Clinton in the pages of the New York Times but also became the first high official to explicitly accuse Trump of disloyalty, claiming, “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to “cast doubt” on “allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all,” he said, adding, “There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”

Obama’s former CIA chief also cast serious doubt on the credibility of the infamous, explosive “dossier” originally published by BuzzFeed, saying that its author, Christopher Steele, paid intermediaries to talk to the sources for it. The dossier, he said, “doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think.”

Morell’s comments echo the categorical remarks by Obama’s top national security official, James Clapper, who told Meet the Press last week that during the time he was Obama’s DNI, he saw no evidence to support claims of a Trump/Russia conspiracy. “We had no evidence of such collusion,” Clapper stated unequivocally. Unlike Morell, who left his official CIA position in 2013 but remains very integrated into the intelligence community, Clapper was Obama’s DNI until just seven weeks ago, leaving on January 20.

Perhaps most revealing of all are the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee — charged with investigating these matters — who recently told BuzzFeed how petrified they are of what the Democratic base will do if they do not find evidence of collusion, as they now suspect will likely be the case. “There’s a tangible frustration over what one official called ‘wildly inflated’ expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation,” BuzzFeed’s Ali Watkins wrote.

Moreover, “several committee sources grudgingly say, it feels as though the investigation will be seen as a sham if the Senate doesn’t find a silver bullet connecting Trump and Russian intelligence operatives.” One member told Watkins: “I don’t think the conclusions are going to meet people’s expectations.”

What makes all of this most significant is that officials like Clapper and Morell are trained disinformation agents; Clapper in particular has proven he will lie to advance his interests. Yet even with all the incentive to do so, they are refusing to claim there is evidence of such collusion; in fact, they are expressly urging people to stop thinking it exists. As even the law recognizes, statements that otherwise lack credibility become more believable when they are ones made “against interest.”

Media figures have similarly begun trying to tamp down expectations. Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, which published the Steele dossier, published an article yesterday warning that the Democratic base’s expectation of a smoking gun “is so strong that Twitter and cable news are full of the theories of what my colleague Charlie Warzel calls the Blue Detectives — the left’s new version of Glenn Beck, digital blackboards full of lines and arrows.” Smith added: “It is also a simple fact that while news of Russian actions on Trump’s behalf is clear, hard details of coordination between his aides and Putin’s haven’t emerged.” And Smith’s core warning is this:

Trump’s critics last year were horrified at the rise of “fake news” and the specter of a politics shaped by alternative facts, predominantly on the right. They need to be careful now not to succumb to the same delusional temptations as their political adversaries, and not to sink into a filter bubble which, after all, draws its strength not from conservative or progressive politics but from human nature.

And those of us covering the story and the stew of real information, fantasy, and — now — forgery around it need to continue to report and think clearly about what we know and what we don’t, and to resist the sugar high that comes with telling people exactly what they want to hear.


For so long, Democrats demonized and smeared anyone trying to inject basic reason, rationality, and skepticism into this Trump/Russia discourse by labeling them all Kremlin agents and Putin lovers. Just this week, the Center for American Progress released a report using the language of treason to announce the existence of a “Fifth Column” in the U.S. that serves Russia (similar to Andrew Sullivan’s notorious 2001 decree that anyone opposing the war on terror composed an anti-American “Fifth Column”), while John McCain listened to Rand Paul express doubts about the wisdom of NATO further expanding to include Montenegro and then promptly announced: “Paul is working for Vladimir Putin.”

But with serious doubts — and fears — now emerging about what the Democratic base has been led to believe by self-interested carnival barkers and partisan hacks, there is a sudden, concerted effort to rein in the excesses of this story. With so many people now doing this, it will be increasingly difficult to smear them all as traitors and Russian loyalists, but it may be far too little, too late, given the pitched hysteria that has been deliberately cultivated around these issues for months. Many Democrats have reached the classic stage of deranged conspiracists where evidence that disproves the theory is viewed as further proof of its existence, and those pointing to it are instantly deemed suspect.

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A formal, credible investigation into all these questions, where the evidence is publicly disclosed, is still urgently needed. That’s true primarily so that conspiracies no longer linger and these questions are resolved by facts rather than agenda-driven anonymous leaks from the CIA and cable news hosts required to feed a partisan mob.

It’s certainly possible to envision an indictment of a low-level operative like Carter Page, or the prosecution of someone like Paul Manafort on matters unrelated to hacking, but the silver bullet that Democrats have been led to expect will sink Trump appears further away than ever.

But given the way these Russia conspiracies have drowned out other critical issues being virtually ignored under the Trump presidency, it’s vital that everything be done now to make clear what is based in evidence and what is based in partisan delusions. And most of what the Democratic base has been fed for the last six months by their unhinged stable of media, online, and party leaders has decisively fallen into the latter category, as even their own officials are now desperately trying to warn.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:34 am

Full Clapper: "No Evidence" of Collusion Between Trump and Russia
Interview with James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence
by Chuck Todd, Meet The Press
March 5, 2017

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CHUCK TODD:

We're going to pause the conversation and pick it up, I have a feeling, on the other side of the half hour. But coming up is a man who may know more than anyone about Russia's efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. It's the former Director of National Intelligence, Jim Clapper. He joins me next.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that, in the dying days of the Obama presidency, White House officials took steps to spread information about Russia's attempt to undermine the presidential election. Why? Well, one reason given was to make it easier for government investigators, and in particular, Congress, to uncover that truth.

Well, James Clapper, a career intelligence officer, was the Director of National Intelligence for more than six years under President Obama, he spearheaded the report that was released in January that concluded that Russians hacked the Democrat National Committee e-mails and interfered with the 2016 election. And Mr. Clapper joins me now. Welcome, sir, to Meet the Press.

JAMES CLAPPER:

Thanks, Chuck, for everything.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me start with the President's tweets yesterday, this idea that maybe President Obama ordered an illegal wiretap of his offices. If something like that happened, would this be something you would be aware of?

JAMES CLAPPER:

I would certainly hope so. I can't say-- obviously, I'm not, I can't speak officially anymore. But I will say that, for the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against-- the president elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign. I can't speak for other Title Three authorized entities in the government or a state or local entity.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, I was just going to say, if the F.B.I., for instance, had a FISA court order of some sort for a surveillance, would that be information you would know or not know?

JAMES CLAPPER:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

You would be told this?

JAMES CLAPPER:

I would know that.

CHUCK TODD:

If there was a FISA court order--

JAMES CLAPPER:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

--on something like this.

JAMES CLAPPER:

Something like this, absolutely.

CHUCK TODD:

And at this point, you can't confirm or deny whether that exists?

JAMES CLAPPER:

I can deny it.

CHUCK TODD:

There is no FISA court order?

JAMES CLAPPER:

Not-- not to know my knowledge.

CHUCK TODD:

Of anything at Trump Tower?

JAMES CLAPPER:

No.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, that's an important revelation at this point. Let me ask you this. Does intelligence exist that can definitively answer the following question, whether there were improper contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials?

JAMES CLAPPER:

We did not include any evidence in our report, and I say, "our," that's N.S.A., F.B.I. and C.I.A., with my office, the Director of National Intelligence, that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. There was no evidence of that included in our report.

CHUCK TODD:

I understand that. But does it exist?

JAMES CLAPPER:

Not to my knowledge.

CHUCK TODD:

If it existed, it would have been in this report?

JAMES CLAPPER:

This could have unfolded or become available in the time since I left the government.

CHUCK TODD:

At some--

JAMES CLAPPER:

But at the time, we had no evidence of such collusion.


CHUCK TODD:

There's a lot of smoke, but there hasn't been that smoking gun yet. At what point should the public start to wonder if this is all just smoke?

JAMES CLAPPER:

Well, that's a good question. I don't know. I do think, though, it is in everyone's interest, in the current President's interests, in the Democrats' interests, in the Republican interest, in the country's interest, to get to the bottom of all this. Because it's such a distraction. And certainly the Russians have to be chortling about the success of their efforts to sow dissention in this country.

CHUCK TODD:

So you feel like your report does not get to the bottom-- you admit your report that you released in January doesn't get to the bottom of this?

JAMES CLAPPER:

It did-- well, it got to the bottom of the evidence to the extent of the evidence we had at the time. Whether there is more evidence that's become available since then, whether ongoing investigations will be revelatory, I don't know.

CHUCK TODD:

There was a conclusion that said, "It's clear that the Russians interfered and did so in an attempt to help Donald Trump." Do you still believe that conclusion?

JAMES CLAPPER:

Yes, I do.

CHUCK TODD:

But at this point, what's not proven is the idea of collusion.

JAMES CLAPPER:

That's correct.


CHUCK TODD:

When you see these parade of officials that were associated with the Trump campaign, first they deny any conversations, now we're hearing more, does that add to suspicion? Or do you think some of this is circumstantial?

JAMES CLAPPER:

Well, I can't say what the nature of those conversations and dialogues were, for the most part. Again, I'd think it would be very healthy to completely clear the air on this subject. And I think it would be in everyone's interest to have that done.

CHUCK TODD:

Can the Senate Intelligence Committee-- what are we going to learn from their investigation, do you think, that will move beyond what you were able to do?

JAMES CLAPPER:

Well, I think they can look at this from a broader context than we could. And at this point, I do have confidence in the Senate intelligence Committee and their effort. It is underway, in contrast to the House Intelligence Committee, which just last week agreed on their charter.

And importantly, in the case of the Senate Intelligence Committee, this appears to me to be a truly bipartisan effort. And so I think that needs to play out. If, for some reason, that proves not to be satisfactory in the minds of those who make those decisions, then perhaps then move on to a special prosecutor.

CHUCK TODD:

The New York Times, earlier this week, and as I was introducing you, this idea that they sort of left a trail, maybe lowered classif-- can you walk us through how that would work? Did they lower classification levels on certain information? Was that a fair read of what was done in the last few weeks of the administration?

JAMES CLAPPER:

Actually not. Because of the sensitivity of much of the information in this report, our actual effort was to protect it and not to spread it around, and certainly not to dumb it down, if I can use that phrase, in order to disseminate it more widely. We were under a preservation order from both our oversight committees to preserve and protect all the information related to that report, in any event.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you one other final question on the infamous dossier that was put together by this former British operative named Christopher Steele. Why did you feel the need to brief the president on that at the time?

JAMES CLAPPER:

We felt that it was important that he know about it, that it was out there. And that, without respect to the veracity of the contents of the dossier, that's why it was not included as a part of our report. Because much of it could not be corroborated. And importantly, some of the sources that Mr. Steele drew on, second and third order assets, we could not validate or corroborate.


So for that reason, at least in my view, the important thing was to warn the president that this thing was out there. The Russians have a term, an acronym, called Kompromat, which they will either generate, if it's truthful or if it's contrived. And it's important, we felt, that he knew of the existence of this dossier.

CHUCK TODD:

Have you done this with other presidents? Have you had to brief them about unverified intelligence?

JAMES CLAPPER:

Yes, I’ve had occasion in the six and a half years I was DNI to tell President Obama certain things that we could not corroborate or validate, but that we just thought he ought to know it was out there.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. James Clapper, I have a feeling-- do you expect to have to testify on Capitol Hill among these things?

JAMES CLAPPER:

Oh, I don't think there's any doubt.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Mr. Clapper, then I have a feeling we will see you on T.V. some time soon. And hopefully you'll come back here on Meet the Press. Thanks for coming on and sharing your views, sir.

JAMES CLAPPER:

Thanks very much, Chuck.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:34 am

Clinton Ally Says Smoke, But No Fire: No Russia-Trump Collusion
by Ken Dilanian
NBC News
March 16, 2017

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Former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who endorsed Hillary Clinton and called Donald Trump a dupe of Russia, cast doubt Wednesday night on allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

Morell, who was in line to become CIA director if Clinton won, said he had seen no evidence that Trump associates cooperated with Russians. He also raised questions about the dossier written by a former British intelligence officer, which alleged a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.

His comments were in sharp contrast to those of many Clinton partisans — such as former communications director Jennifer Palmieri — who have stated publicly they believe the Trump campaign cooperated with Russia’s efforts to interfere in the election against Clinton.

Morell said he had learned that the former officer, Christopher Steele, paid his key Russian sources, and interviewed them through intermediaries.

"On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all," Morell said at an event sponsored by the Cipher Brief, an intelligence web site.

"There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it."


Morell pointed out that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Meet the Press on March 5 that he had seen no evidence of a conspiracy when he left office January 20.

"That’s a pretty strong statement by General Clapper," Morell said.

About the dossier, Morell said, "Unless you know the sources, and unless you know how a particular source acquired a particular piece of information, you can’t judge the information — you just can’t."

The dossier "doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think," he said.

He continued: "I had two questions when I first read it. One was, How did Chris talk to these sources? I have subsequently learned that he used intermediaries.

"And then I asked myself, why did these guys provide this information, what was their motivation? And I subsequently learned that he paid them. That the intermediaries paid the sources and the intermediaries got the money from Chris. And that kind of worries me a little bit because if you’re paying somebody, particularly former FSB officers, they are going to tell you truth and innuendo and rumor, and they’re going to call you up and say, ‘hey, let’s have another meeting, I have more information for you,’ because they want to get paid some more.

"I think you’ve got to take all that into consideration when you consider the dossier."

Another former CIA officer in the room pointed out that the CIA also pays its sources.

"But we know who the source is and we know how they got the information," Morell responded.

In August, Morell accused Trump of being an "unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."

Morell said Wednesday that he continues to believe that the Russian campaign of hacking, leaking and fake news, which the CIA says was designed to hurt Clinton and help Trump, was a hugely consequential action to which the U.S. has not sufficiently responded.

Putin, he said, has suffered no consequence for his unprecedented interference in the U.S. election.

"This has never happened before in American history on this scale, never not even close. And Putin did not pay any price for this — nothing, zero."
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:32 pm

Hillary Clinton’s Deceptive Blame-Shifting
by Robert Parry
June 1, 2017

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Exclusive: While complaining about “fake news” that undercut her campaign, Hillary Clinton continued her own “fake news” falsehood about the U.S. intelligence assessment on Russian election “meddling,” reports Robert Parry.

Hillary Clinton has grown even more insistent that she was not at fault for her stunning election defeat last November, claiming that 1,000 Russian “agents” and their American collaborators were a decisive factor, a bizarre twist that further locks the Democrats into their evidence-light “Russia-gate” obsession.

In comments at a California technology conference on Wednesday, Clinton also repeated one of her favorite falsehoods – that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously concluded that Russia hacked Democratic emails and ran a covert influence campaign against her.

Referring to a report released by President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence (DNI) on Jan. 6, Clinton asserted that “Seventeen agencies, all in agreement, which I know from my experience as a Senator and Secretary of State, is hard to get. They concluded with high confidence that the Russians ran an extensive information war campaign against my campaign, to influence voters in the election. They did it through paid advertising we think; they did it through false news sites; they did it through these thousand agents; they did it through machine learning, which you know, kept spewing out this stuff over and over again. The algorithms that they developed. So that was the conclusion.”

But Clinton’s statement is false regarding the unanimity of the 17 agencies and misleading regarding her other claims. Both former DNI James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan acknowledged in sworn testimony last month that the Jan. 6 report alleging Russian “meddling” did not involve all 17 agencies.

Clapper and Brennan stated that the report was actually the work of hand-picked analysts from only three agencies – the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation – under the oversight of the DNI’s office. In other words, there was no consensus among the 17 agencies, a process that would have involved some form of a National Intelligence Estimate (or NIE), a community-wide effort that would have included footnotes citing any dissenting views.


Instead, as Clapper testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on May 8, the Russia-hacking claim came from a “special intelligence community assessment” (or ICA) produced by selected analysts from the CIA, NSA and FBI, “a coordinated product from three agencies – CIA, NSA, and the FBI – not all 17 components of the intelligence community,” the former DNI said.

And, as Clapper explained, the “ICA” was something of a rush job beginning on President Obama’s instructions “in early December” and completed by Jan. 6. Clapper continued: “The two dozen or so analysts for this task were hand-picked, seasoned experts from each of the contributing agencies.”

However, as any intelligence veteran will tell you, if you hand-pick the analysts, you are really hand-picking the conclusion since the agency chiefs would know who was, say, a hardliner on Russia and who could be trusted to deliver the desired product.


On May 23, in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, former CIA Director John Brennan confirmed Clapper’s account about the three agencies involved.

“It wasn’t a full inter-agency community assessment that was coordinated among the 17 agencies, and for good reason because of the nature and the sensitivity of the information trying, once again, to keep that tightly compartmented,” Brennan said.

In other words, Clinton’s beloved claim that all 17 intelligence agencies were in agreement on the Russian “hacking” charge – an assertion that the “fact-checking” group Politifact has certified as “true” and that has been repeated endlessly by the mainstream U.S. news media – is not true. It is false. Gee, you might even call it “fake news.”


The Mysterious ‘Agents’

But Clinton’s false claim about the intelligence consensus was not her only dubious assertion. Her reference to the 1,000 Russian “agents” is not contained in the Jan. 6 report, either. It apparently derived from unconfirmed speculation from Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, who mentioned this claim at a news conference on March 30, admitting that he didn’t know if it was true.

Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: “We know about the hacking, and selective leaks, but what really concerns me as a former tech guy is at least some reports – and we’ve got to get to the bottom of this – that there were upwards of a thousand internet trolls working out of a facility in Russia, in effect taking over a series of computers which are then called botnets, that can then generate news down to specific areas.

“It’s been reported to me, and we’ve got to find this out, whether they were able to affect specific areas in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, where you would not have been receiving off of whoever your vendor might have been, Trump versus Clinton, during the waning days of the election, but instead, ‘Clinton is sick’, or ‘Clinton is taking money from whoever for some source’ … fake news.”


Of course, many stories about Clinton being sick or her taking money from special interests weren’t “fake news.” In late 2012, she suffered from a blood clot and – during the 2016 campaign – she was staggered by a bout of pneumonia. She also was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches to Wall Street and other groups.

Warner didn’t specify where his information about the “trolls” came from but it paralleled a claim by freelance journalist Adam Chen who asserted in a podcast with Longform that Russian “trolls” began writing favorably about Trump in late 2015. (The CIA/FBI/NSA report also apparently alluded to the same report without mentioning the name of the journalist or specifying the number of alleged “trolls.”)

“I created this list of Russian trolls when I was researching,” Chen said, referring to a 2015 reporting project that he turned into a rather thinly sourced New York Times Magazine article accusing a Russian oligarch of funding a professional “troll” operation in St. Petersburg, Russia.
“I check on it once in a while, still. And a lot of them have turned into conservative accounts, like fake conservatives. I don’t know what’s going on, but they’re all tweeting about Donald Trump and stuff.”

Although such “troll” and “hacking” complaints are treated as a one-way street – coming only from the evil Russians – the reality is that U.S. intelligence agencies, their allies and U.S.-government-funded “non-governmental organizations” have mounted similar operations against Russia and other targets.

It is always difficult to nail down precisely where such operations are originating, but the Russians have cited previous cases of malicious hacking aimed at senior officials, including Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, whose accounts were hacked in 2013 and 2014 including publication of a false resignation and a confession of wrongdoing.

In 2015, the “Panama Papers,” a vast trove of documents purloined from a Panamanian law firm, became an investigative project that involved a USAID-funded news outlet and led to attacks on President Vladimir Putin for corruption even though his name did not appear in the documents.

So, this high-tech spy-vs.-spy game – if that’s what it is – does not appear to be originating entirely from the Russian side of the street. But the U.S. intelligence community is not going to divulge what it knows about the attacks against Russia, only what it can “assess” about Russia’s possible attacks against Western targets.

No Self-Criticism

Neither, of course, are Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party eager to engage in a serious self-criticism about how they managed to blow an extremely winnable race against an extraordinarily flawed candidate in Donald Trump. Rather than look at their own missteps and misjudgments, they are presenting themselves as innocent victims.

In Wednesday’s interview – after misrepresenting what the Jan. 6 report actually said – Clinton suggested that the Trump campaign must have colluded with the Russians in “weaponizing” the data.

“How did they know what messages to deliver?” Clinton asked. “Who told them? Who were they coordinating with, or colluding with? … [The Russians] were conveying this weaponized information and the content of it. … So the Russians — in my opinion and based on the intel and the counterintel people I’ve talked to — could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they had been guided. … Guided by Americans and guided by people who had polling and data information.”

Although Clinton lacked any proof of this convoluted accusation, she cited as her “best example” the fact that “within one hour, one hour of the ‘Access Hollywood’ tapes being leaked [in which Trump was caught boasting about groping women], within one hour, the Russians — let’s say WikiLeaks, something — dumped the John Podesta emails.”

However, if you changed the context of this claim slightly – and made a similar jump in logic – you would surely be labeled a nutty conspiracy theorist, but instead Clinton has drawn nods of agreement for this wholly unsubstantiated speculation.


Yet, besides blaming the Russians and WikiLeaks for her loss, Clinton spread the blame even wider, for instance, to The New York Times for focusing too much on her decision to use a private email server while Secretary of State – “they covered it like it was Pearl Harbor” – and for the Times’ Nate Silver publishing optimistic odds on her chances for victory. “I also think I was the victim of a very broad assumption I was going to win,” she said.

Clinton also placed blame on the Democratic National Committee for lacking money and sophisticated technology. “I get the nomination. So I’m now the nominee of the Democratic Party. I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party,” she said. “I mean it was bankrupt; it was on the verge of insolvency; its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into it.”

Yet, when Clinton was asked about some of her own “misjudgments,” she slipped back into the defensive posture that contributed to her troubles as a presidential candidate.

There is a lot of policy positions that we should give an extra scrub with Policy.

*CLINTON ADMITS SHE IS OUT OF TOUCH*
*CLINTON SAYS YOU NEED TO HAVE A PRIVATE AND PUBLIC POSITION ON POLICY*
*CLINTON TALKS ABOUT HOLDING WALL STREET ACCOUNTABLE ONLY FOR POLITICAL REASONS*
*CLINTON SUGGESTS WALL STREET INSIDERS ARE WHAT IS NEEDED TO FIX WALL STREET*
*CLINTON ADMITS NEEDING WALL STREET FUNDING*
*CLINTON TOUTS HER RELATIONSHIP TO WALL STREET AS A SENATOR*
*CLINTON TALKS ABOUT THE CHALLENGES RUNNING FOR OFFICE*
*CLINTON SUGGESTS SHE IS A MODERATE*
*CLINTON IS AWARE OF SECURITY CONCERNS AROUND BLACKBERRIES*
*CLINTON REMARKS ARE PRO KEYSTONE AND PRO TRADE*
*CLINTON IS MORE FAVORABLE TO CANADIAN HEALTH CARE AND SINGLE PAYER*

-- HRC Paid Speeches, by Tony Carrk


For instance, regarding why she gave lucrative speeches to Goldman Sachs between her time leaving the State Department and announcing her White House run, she answered coyly, “They paid me.”

[R]unning for office in our country takes a lot of money, and candidates have to go out and raise it. New York is probably the leading site for contributions for fundraising for candidates on both sides of the aisle, and it’s also our economic center. And there are a lot of people here who should ask some tough questions before handing over campaign contributions to people who were really playing chicken with our whole economy.” [Goldman Sachs AIMS Alternative Investments Symposium, 10/24/13]

-- HRC Paid Speeches, by Tony Carrk


When pressed on the point, Clinton retreated behind the sanctity of the 9/11 terror attack and the issue of women’s rights. Reminded that “you’re not somebody who needed that money for the next week’s shopping, and you knew you might run, so why do it?” – she responded:

“The most common thing that I talked about in all those speeches was the hunt for Bin Laden. You know, that was one of the central missions that I felt from the time the towers fell on 9/11 as a Senator from New York.”

Table of Contents:

AWKWARD ........................................................ 3
BENGHAZI/LIBYA .............................................. 3
BIG GOVERNMENT ........................................... 5
BUDGET ............................................................. 5
CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS .......................... 5
CHINA ................................................................. 7
CLINTON FOUNDATION .................................. 10
GIUSTRA, FRANK ............................................... 11
CRUZ, TED ....................................................... 11
CUBA ................................................................ 11
CYBERSECURITY ........................................... 12
DEBT LIMIT ...................................................... 13
EDUCATION .................................................... 13
EGYPT .............................................................. 13
EQUAL PAY ..................................................... 16
EMAIL ............................................................... 17
EMANUEL, RAHM ............................................ 18
ENERGY ........................................................... 19
CONTINUING TO USE FOSSIL FUELS ..................... 19
DOMESTIC GAS PRODUCTION .............................. 20
KEYSTONE PIPELINE ........................................... 23
NUCLEAR POWER .............................................. 23
PROMOTING FRACKING GLOBALLY ....................... 23
REDUCING EMISSIONS ........................................ 25
EUROPE ........................................................... 25
GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE .................... 26
GUNS ................................................................ 29
HAITI ................................................................. 29
HEALTH CARE ................................................. 30
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT ..................................... 30
EMPLOYER-BASED MODEL .................................. 31
IMPROVING ON THE FEE-FOR-SERVICE MODEL ...... 32
LOWERING COSTS .............................................. 32
MEDICAL DEVICES ............................................. 33
RX .................................................................. 33
SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE ............................. 33
UNIVERSAL COVERAGE ....................................... 34
CANADA ........................................................... 35
HELPING CORPORATIONS ............................ 35
HOUSING ......................................................... 38
IMMIGRATION ................................................. 39
AMERICAN JOBS ................................................ 40
SECURITY ........................................................ 40
VISAS .............................................................. 40
INCOME INEQUALITY ...................................... 41
IRAN ................................................................. 43
ISLAM ............................................................... 46
ISRAEL ............................................................. 46
JAPAN .............................................................. 47
MARIJUANA .................................................... 47
MEXICO ............................................................ 48
MEDIA .............................................................. 48
NORTH KOREA ................................................ 48
PERSONAL STORIES ...................................... 49
MARINE RECRUITERS ......................................... 49
IMMIGRANT GRANDPARENTS ................................ 49
FATHER’S FOOTBALL SCHOLARSHIP ..................... 49
PERSONAL WEALTH ...................................... 49
PIVOT TO ASIA ................................................ 50
POLITICS ......................................................... 50
PRO-FREE TRADE ........................................... 55
REDUCING REGULATIONS ............................ 58
REFUGEES ...................................................... 59
RUSSIA ............................................................ 59
SHANGHAI EXPO ............................................. 61
SIMPSON-BOWLES ......................................... 62
SYRIA ............................................................... 63
TAXES .............................................................. 68
CORPORATE TAXES ............................................ 69
SIMPLIFYING TAX CODE ...................................... 70
TECHNOLOGY/NEW ECONOMY .................... 70
TERRORISM .................................................... 70
UNPAID INTERNSHIPS .................................... 71
WALL STREET ................................................ 71
BLAME FOR FINANCIAL CRISIS ............................. 71
FUTURES MARKETS ............................................ 71
GOALS OF WALL STREET .................................... 72
PRAISING WALL STREET ..................................... 72
DODD-FRANK ................................................... 74
REGULATORS FROM WALL STREET ...................... 75
REPRESENTING WALL STREET ............................ 75
WAL-MART ...................................................... 76

-- HRC Paid Speeches, by Tony Carrk


Then, Clinton added, “you know, men got paid for the speeches they made. I got paid for the speeches I made. And it [the paid-speech issue] was used, and I thought it was unfairly used.”

Blocking Witnesses

So, while the Democrats dig themselves deeper into the so-far empty pit of blaming Russia for their electoral disaster, the Russia-gate investigation continues to take on other curious aspects, such as an unwillingness to hear from some of Donald Trump’s advisers who have been named in accusations and who have volunteered to testify publicly.

On Wednesday, Carter Page, a Navy veteran and businessman who had lived in Russia, announced that his plans to defend himself in testimony next week before the House Intelligence Committee had been placed on hold by the Democrats.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the committee and a major sparkplug powering the investigation, offered a curious denial of Page’s complaint while confirming the truth of it.

The New York Times, which has been another advocate for blaming Russia, phrased the postponement of Page’s testimony as if Page were the unreasonable one, reporting:

“Representative Adam Schiff … dismissed accusations from Carter Page, another Trump adviser who is under scrutiny, that the committee is preventing him from testifying. Mr. Schiff …. said the investigation would first review relevant documents before interviewing witnesses.”

In other words, Page, who has been portrayed via intelligence leaks to the news media as essentially a traitor, won’t be given the opportunity to defend his reputation until Schiff and the other Democrats decide the time is ripe.

Yet, it’s not as if the House Intelligence Committee has not taken public testimony about Russia-gate. For instance, former CIA Director Brennan was allowed to speak indirectly about Page and other possibly treasonous Americans amid media reports naming Page as one of those suspected Russian “agents.”

Normal investigations grant the people under attack at least the opportunity to defend themselves and their reputations in a timely fashion, rather than make them live under the cloud of suspicion without having a chance to state their case.

If their sworn testimony is later undermined by evidence developed by investigators, the witnesses can be called back and called out on possible perjury. So, it’s not as if Schiff and the other Democrats are surrendering prerogatives by letting Page testify now rather than later. Indeed, Page would be putting himself in legal jeopardy if he is caught lying.

Even the Republican-driven “Benghazi investigation,” which also had the look of an over-the-top “witch hunt,” gave Secretary of State Clinton and other Obama administration officials multiple opportunities to explain their response to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate.

But, so far, a similar courtesy has not been extended to the targets of the Russia-gate investigation.


Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:02 pm

New Cracks in Russia-gate ‘Assessment’
by Robert Parry
May 23, 2017

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Exclusive: President Obama’s ex-intelligence chiefs admit they limited input into the Russia-gate “assessment,” which was handled by “hand-picked” analysts, raising the specter of politicized intelligence, Robert Parry reports.

At the center of the Russia-gate scandal is a curious U.S. intelligence “assessment” that was pulled together in less than a month and excluded many of the agencies that would normally weigh in on such an important topic as whether Russia tried to influence the outcome of a U.S. presidential election.

The Jan. 6 report and its allegation that Russia “hacked” Democratic emails and publicized them through WikiLeaks have been treated as gospel by the mainstream U.S. media and many politicians of both parties, but two senior Obama administration intelligence officials have provided new information that raises fresh doubts about the findings.

On Tuesday, former CIA Director John Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee that only four of the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies took part in the assessment, relying on analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the oversight of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Brennan said the report “followed the general model of how you want to do something like this with some notable exceptions. It only involved the FBI, NSA and CIA as well as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It wasn’t a full inter-agency community assessment that was coordinated among the 17 agencies, and for good reason because of the nature and the sensitivity of the information trying, once again, to keep that tightly compartmented.”


But Brennan’s excuse about “tightly compartmented” information was somewhat disingenuous because other intelligence agencies, such as the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), could have been consulted in a limited fashion, based on their areas of expertise. For instance, INR could have weighed in on whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would have taken the risk of trying to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign, knowing that – if she won as expected and learned of the operation – she might have sought revenge against him and his country.

The Jan. 6 report argued one side of the case – that Putin had a motive for undermining Clinton because he objected to her work as Secretary of State when she encouraged anti-Putin protests inside Russia – but the report ignored the counter-argument that the usually cautious Putin might well have feared infuriating the incoming U.S. President if the anti-Clinton ploy failed to block her election.

A balanced intelligence assessment would have included not just arguments for believing that the Russians did supply the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks but the reasons to doubt that they did.

Pre-Cooked Intelligence

However, the restricted nature of the Jan. 6 report – limiting it to analysts from CIA, NSA and FBI – blocked the kind of expertise that the State Department, the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies might have provided. In other words, the Jan. 6 report has the look of pre-cooked intelligence.

That impression was further strengthened by the admission of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on May 8 that “the two dozen or so analysts for this task were hand-picked, seasoned experts from each of the contributing agencies.”

Yet, as any intelligence expert will tell you, if you “hand-pick” the analysts, you are really hand-picking the conclusion. For instance, if the analysts were known to be hard-liners on Russia or supporters of Hillary Clinton, they could be expected to deliver the one-sided report that they did.


In the history of U.S. intelligence, we have seen how this approach has worked, such as the determination of the Reagan administration to pin the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II and other acts of terror on the Soviet Union.

CIA Director William Casey and Deputy Director Robert Gates shepherded the desired findings through the process by putting the assessment under the control of pliable analysts and sidelining those who objected to this politicization of intelligence.

The point of enlisting the broader intelligence community – and incorporating dissents into a final report – is to guard against such “stove-piping” of intelligence that delivers the politically desired result but ultimately distorts reality.

Another painful example of politicized intelligence was President George W. Bush’s 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq’s WMD that removed INR’s and other dissents from the declassified version that was given to the public.


Lacking Evidence

The Jan. 6 report – technically called an Intelligence Community Assessment (or ICA) – avoided the need to remove any dissents by excluding the intelligence agencies that might have dissented and by hand-picking the analysts who compiled the report.

However, like the declassified version of the Iraq NIE, the Russia-gate ICA lacked any solid evidence to support the conclusions. The ICA basically demanded that the American public “trust us” and got away with that bluff because much of the mainstream U.S. news media wanted to believe anything negative about then-President-elect Trump.

Because of that, the American people were repeatedly – and falsely – informed that the findings about Russian “hacking” reflected the collective judgment of all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, making anyone who dared question the conclusion seem like a crackpot or a “Russian apologist.”

Yet, based on the testimonies of Clapper and Brennan, we now know that the ICA represented only a hand-picked selection of the intelligence community – four, not 17, agencies.


There were other biases reflected in the ICA, such as a bizarre appendix that excoriated RT, the Russian television network, for supposedly undermining Americans’ confidence in their democratic process.

This seven-page appendix, dating from 2012, accused RT of portraying “the US electoral process as undemocratic” and offered such “proof” as RT’s staging of a debate among third-party presidential candidates who had been excluded from the Republican-Democratic debates between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

“RT broadcast, hosted and advertised third-party candidate debates,” the report said, as if allowing political figures in the United States who were not part of the two-party system to express their views, was somehow anti-democratic, when you might think that letting Americans hear alternatives was the essence of democracy.

“The RT hosts asserted that the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a ‘sham,’” the report continued. Yet, polls have shown that large numbers of Americans would prefer more choices than the usual two candidates and, indeed, most Western democracies have multiple parties, So, the implicit RT criticism of the U.S. political process is certainly not out of the ordinary.

The report also took RT to task for covering the Occupy Wall Street movement and for reporting on the environmental dangers from “fracking,” topics cited as further proof that the Russian government was using RT to weaken U.S. public support for Washington’s policies (although, again, these are topics of genuine public interest).

Assessing or Guessing

But at least the appendix offered up some “evidence” – as silly as those examples might have been. The main body of the report amounted to one “assessment” after another with no verifiable evidence included, at least in the unclassified version that the American people were allowed to see.

The report also contained a warning about how unreliable these “assessments” could be: “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents.”

In other words, “assessing” in intelligence terms often equates with “guessing” – and if the guessers are hand-picked by political appointees – it shouldn’t be surprising that they would come up with an “assessment” that would please their bosses, in this case, President Obama and his appointees at CIA, NSA, FBI and ODNI.


The timing and speed of the Jan. 6 report also drew some attention at Tuesday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing, where Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-New York, noted that President Obama requested the ICA on Dec. 9 and the last entry was dated Dec. 29.

“This report was produced in just 20 days in December,” Stefanik said, adding: “It’s of concern to me that there was a two-month lag” between when Obama’s intelligence agencies first alleged Russian “hacking” of Democratic emails and when Obama ordered the ICA.

Of course, the ICA’s flaws do not mean that Russia is innocent or that WikiLeaks is telling the truth when it asserts that the two batches of Democratic emails – one from the Democratic National Committee and the other from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta – did not come from the Russians.

But the Jan. 6 report has served as the foundation for a series of investigations that have hobbled the Trump administration and could lead to the negation of a U.S. presidential election via the impeachment or forced resignation of President Trump.

The seriousness of that possibility would seem to demand the most thorough examination and the fullest vetting of the evidence. Even just the appearance that the ICA might be one more case of politicized intelligence would do more to destroy Americans’ faith in their democratic system than anything that Putin might dream up.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:03 pm

Dmitry Medvedev Twitter account hacked: Hoaxers post messages saying Russian PM is resigning to become a photographer, and subverting Crimea hashtag
Alec Luhn in Moscow
14 August 2014

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Image

The Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev's well-known love for technology led to embarrassment on Thursday as hackers reportedly accessed his Twitter account and unleashed a barrage of hoax tweets.

"I'm resigning. I'm ashamed by the actions of the government. Forgive me," read one message from Medvedev's account that was retweeted thousands of times before it was removed.

The tweets also purported to reveal that the prime minister planned to become a freelance photographer (Medvedev is a keen amateur), as well as what he really thinks of Vladimir Putin, for whom he kept the presidential seat warm from 2008 to 2012: "I've wanted to say this for a long time. Vova, you're wrong!"

Another tweet read: "#CrimeaIsNotOurs please retweet," playing on the Russian-language hashtag #CrimeaIsOurs that became popular after Moscow annexed the Ukrainian peninsula. Medvedev and Putin are currently on an official visit to Crimea.


The government's press service said on Thursday that Medvedev's account had been hacked and that the account's security had since been strengthened.

"It's obvious that this was a hooligan hacker prank," the presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on the radio station Ekho Moskvy. "It shows once again the need to constantly observe the necessary level of security."

A group called Shaltay Boltay ("Humpty Dumpty" in Russian) appeared to claim credit, tweeting a screenshot of Medvedev's resignation tweet with the caption: "Ahha, well you understood ;)".

Image
Shaltay Boltay @b0ltai
Ахха, ну вы поняли ;)
11:14 PM - Aug 13, 2014


Last month, Shaltay Boltay published leaked emails that it said came from the account of the deputy prime minister and former Medvedev aide Arkady Dvorkovich, after which Russia's communications watchdog blocked its blog and Twitter account.

The group also claimed to have "several emails including a Gmail and the contents of three iPhones of a certain prime minister", and tweeted photographs of a government meeting from the vantage point of where Medvedev would have chaired it.

Image
Shaltay Boltay @b0ltai
Совершенно случайно эти интересные фото попали к нам. Видимо из личного айфона кем-то взломанного @MedvedevRussia
12:27 AM - Aug 14, 2014


In a subsequent blogpost, it published emails from several accounts that it said belonged to Medvedev, including receipts for technology purchases and a picture of him in a peasant shirt.

While Putin is a proud luddite, saying he doesn't own a mobile phone and rarely goes on the internet, Medvedev is famous for embracing social media and gadgets. He first joined Twitter on a visit to the company's headquarters in Silicon Valley in 2010.

In 2013, Medvedev's page on the Russian social network VKontakte was broken into and songs full of obscenities were posted to it.

In the wake of the Dvorkovich emails leak, the Russian parliament has been discussing legislation to make sending official information through non-governmental email services a crime.

Anton Nosik, a blogger and web entrepreneur, said it would not have been difficult for someone to steal the password to Medvedev's account, since it was likely that several staffers had access to it and did not use additional security measures linked to one person's phone number.

He said Shaltay Boltay could be claiming credit for publicity purposes. While the group may have obtained data from Medvedev's email accounts and iPhones, Nosik said some other phishing operation probably hacked the Twitter account, since the jokes seemed spontaneous and the damage was easy to reverse.

"They illegally access info and share it. What they never do is deface something," Nosik said, comparing the group to whistleblowers like Julian Assange. "They have access to many accounts. If they were into impersonation, they could have impersonated the entire government. They have usernames and passwords and access to the emails to which those accounts are registered."

Nosik was sceptical of attempts to improve security by forcing officials to use a government email system. "Once you are using servers that are not compatible with the rest of world and maintained by federal agencies, you are offering an unidentified number of our homegrown spies a chance to spy on you," he said. "I believe [officials are] more afraid of their rivals within than they're afraid of the NSA and so forth."
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:17 pm

‘Getting Trump’ with the New McCarthyism
by Robert Parry
May 24, 2017

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Special Report: Many Democrats and progressives are embracing a New McCarthyism in their drive to negate last November’s election and remove President Trump from office, but is that right, asks Robert Parry.

Yes, I get it. A lot of people want to remove Donald Trump from the presidency for a lot of understandable reasons: his breathtaking incompetence, his relentless narcissism, his destructive policies, etc. But he was elected under the U.S. constitutional system. He may have lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly three million ballots but he did prevail in the Electoral College.

Image
Sen. Joseph McCarthy with lawyer Roy Cohn (right).

And, unlike George W. Bush, who also lost the popular vote, Trump didn’t have to steal Florida – and thus the White House – by enlisting Republican justices on the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the vote count prematurely. We now know that if all the ballots considered legal under Florida law had been counted Al Gore would have won regardless of which standard of “chad” was used. But Trump didn’t have to resort to such bald-faced cheating.

And, yes, of course, there were many other problems with the election, such as Republican efforts to suppress African-American and other minority votes. But it’s not as if the U.S. electoral process has ever been the gold standard of democracy that some Americans like to believe. The system has now – and always has had – serious shortcomings, but it also has enabled the diverse United States to function for more than two centuries without major political violence, with the exception of the Civil War when the process broke down over the South’s insistence on slavery.

So, whether one likes it or not – and many people really don’t like it – Donald Trump is the constitutionally elected President of the United States. And, despite the many imperfections in that electoral process, the idea of negating a presidential election is very serious business.

Whatever the hurt feelings of the editors at The New York Times and The Washington Post, whatever snarky jokes are told on late-night TV, whatever connect-the-dots conspiracy theories are popular on MSNBC, the idea of telling 63 million Americans that their votes don’t count, that the elites know best, that the President who won under the rules of the game must be ridden out of Washington on a rail will not go down as easily as some people think.


New McCarthyism

National Democrats and many progressives are also embracing a troubling New McCarthyism to justify what amounts to a “soft coup” against Trump.

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Gen. Jack D.Ripper, played by actor Sterling Hayden in “Dr. Strangelove.”

In a normal world – after Tuesday’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee – former CIA Director John Brennan would have been led away in a straitjacket or given the role of General Jack D. Ripper in a remake of the Cold War dark comedy, “Dr. Strangelove.” Instead, Brennan’s Russo-phobic ramblings were made the lead story in the Times, the Post and other major American newspapers.

While General Ripper worried about Russian operatives polluting our “precious bodily fluids,” Brennan warned that any conversation with a Russian or some Russian intermediary might put Americans on a treasonous path even if they “do not even realize they are on that path until it gets too late.”

He also testified, “I know what the Russians try to do. They try to suborn individuals and try to get individuals, including U.S. individuals, to act on their behalf, wittingly or unwittingly.” In other words, any American who has some contact with Russia or Russians may be a spy or mole whether he or she knows it or not. Subversion or possible subversion is everywhere. Trust no one.

Yes, I’m sure those devious Russ-kies do what all intelligence agencies, including the CIA, seek to do. And, in many cases, there is nothing wrong with the process. Unofficial give-and-take between adversaries can increase understanding – and that can be especially important to the future of humankind when the United States and Russia are still armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons.

Indeed, such informal contacts may have helped avert nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis when Washington-based KGB station chief Aleksandr Feklisov approached ABC News correspondent John Scali with a plan to dismantle missile bases in Cuba in return for a U.S. pledge not to invade Cuba. Though there remain historical questions about the significance of that initiative, it shows the value that such contacts can have despite the alarmist concerns raised by the likes of Brennan. In the New Cold War, we’d have to investigate Scali’s loyalty.

Despite the paranoid fantasies, Brennan’s testimony was widely praised as he suggested that any dealing with Russia or Russians or Russian businesses or possible Russian cutouts could put an American under counterintelligence suspicions because, hey, you never know.

“We see that Russian intelligence agencies do not hesitate at all to use private companies and Russian persons who are unaffiliated with the Russian government to support their objectives,” Brennan warned.

No Edward R. Murrow

There was a time when some Democrats, some Republicans and a few courageous journalists objected to this kind of broad-brush challenge to the patriotism of American citizens. CBS News correspondent Edward R. Murrow famously stood up to Sen. Joe McCarthy and his Red Scare in the 1950s. It was then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton who chastised President George H.W. Bush during a 1992 presidential debate for making an issue of Clinton’s student trip to Moscow during the Cold War.

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Legendary CBS News’ correspondent Edward R. Murrow.

After Bush referenced Clinton’s Moscow visit, Clinton hit back: “When Joe McCarthy went around this country attacking people’s patriotism, he was wrong. He was wrong, and a senator from Connecticut stood up to him, named Prescott Bush. Your father was right to stand up to Joe McCarthy. You were wrong to attack my patriotism.”

But that was then. These days, Hillary Clinton and her Democratic allies have led the smearing of Trump supporters as possible Kremlin agents, albeit without proof of the so-called “collusion” or even clear evidence that Russia did “meddle” in last November’s election.

And the backdrop for this New Cold War is that since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 – and the end of the Old Cold War – many Americans have done business in Russia and many Russians have invested in the United States. A Russian oligarch, Mikhail Prokhorov, even owns the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association.

The recent tensions are also not entirely the making of Russia or its President Vladimir Putin. The past several U.S. administrations have exploited the disarray from the Soviet collapse to push NATO up to Russia’s borders.

U.S. officials also encouraged the violent 2014 putsch in Ukraine that overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych. Actively involved in Yanukovych’s overthrow were senior U.S. officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, and Sen. John McCain. Several weeks before the coup, Nuland and Pyatt were caught on an unsecure phone line discussing who should take over the Ukrainian government and musing how to “midwife” or “glue this thing.”

The coup also followed the specific targeting of Ukraine as “the biggest prize” by neocon Carl Gershman, the president of the U.S.-government-funded National Endowment for Democracy, which sponsored scores of political and media operations inside Ukraine. (Gershman is now calling for regime change in Russia.)

But the U.S. mainstream media essentially ignored this evidence of U.S. complicity in the Ukraine coup and accepted the State Department’s propaganda line that the post-coup resistance to Yanukovych’s overthrow among ethnic Russians in Crimea and eastern Ukraine was simply the result of “Russian aggression.” The New York Times even denied that there had been a coup in an article that studiously ignored the evidence that there had been a coup, including the Nuland-Pyatt phone call.


Swallowing U.S. Propaganda

Similarly, the mainstream U.S. media has swallowed every evidence-free claim from the Obama administration’s intelligence agencies without any skepticism. Indeed, the MSM has hyped those claims beyond even what the Obame team says by ignoring factual admissions from former CIA Director Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper about the limited nature of the intelligence “assessment” on Russian election interference.

The MSM has so enjoyed claiming that the Russian “meddling” allegations are the consensus judgment of all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies that a blind eye and a deaf ear have been turned to Brennan and Clapper contradicting that beloved groupthink.

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (right) talks with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, with John Brennan and other national security aides present. (Photo credit: Office of Director of National Intelligence)

In recent testimony, Clapper and Brennan acknowledged that the Jan. 6 report alleging Russian “meddling” was actually the work of hand-picked analysts from only four agencies – the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation under the oversight of the DNI’s office. But that fact continues to be ignored by the MSM, with the Post on Wednesday castigating Trump for refusing “to fully accept the unanimous conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies.”

If a non-MSM news outlet had published such a misleading claim from a different perspective – after U.S. senior officials had denied it – we would be hearing charges of “fake news” or perhaps accusations of “Russian disinformation.” But clearly the Post doesn’t want to give up on this formulation of unanimity among the 17 intelligence agencies even if it’s not true.

The Post must feel that it’s less impressive to say that the Russia-did-it conclusion was reached by “hand-picked” analysts at four agencies while other intelligence agencies, which could have supplied important context, such as the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, were excluded.

What has also been remarkable about the months-long investigations into alleged Russian “meddling” is how little evidence has been evinced to support the accusations. While there has been a parade of Obama appointees testifying before Congress – making broad accusations while demurring whenever evidence is requested on the grounds of secrecy or privacy – we haven’t heard from any of the people accused of having these untoward contacts with Russians, even though some have volunteered to testify.

“I’m not going to identify the individuals [under suspicion] because this is information that, again, is based on classified sources and intelligence,” Brennan said on Tuesday, although the identities of the suspected “traitors” have been widely publicized through leaks to the major U.S. news media.

Speaking Up

One of those Americans, onetime Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page, responded to Brennan’s testimony in a letter to the House Intelligence Committee.

Page noted he was “an unpaid, informal” adviser to the campaign and “throughout my interactions with the Russians in 2016, I consistently made it crystal clear that all of my benign statements and harmless actions in Moscow as well as elsewhere overseas were solely made as a scholar and a business person speaking only on behalf of myself. In other words, in no way connected to then-candidate Trump. Both in Russia and in countries around the world, this was precisely the same position I had maintained stretching back over a decade.”

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Former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

Regarding Brennan’s demurral about naming names, Page pointed out that it has been widely reported that he was put under a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant. According to press accounts, that was, in part, because of a speech he made in Moscow in 2016. His identity, in communications intercepted by U.S. intelligence, had already been “unmasked” or exposed to the public, but whatever evidence there is against him has been hidden.

Page wrote: “underscoring what a complete mockery this process has become, my identity has already been publicly revealed in the wake of the felonies committed [by the Obama administration, including] baseless FISA warrant, Male-1 unmasking, etc.).

“Serving as a loyal Clinton/Obama regime surrogate, Brennan’s spineless practice of hiding behind this lame confidentiality excuse rather than taking any responsibility for their illegal actions only stirs up more misunderstanding and illegitimate fears which continue to damage our great country. This further underscores the urgent need for the public disclosure of these related documents.”

Joining the Stampede

Yet, congressional Democrats have recognized the political gain that they can extract from this New McCarthyism, as reflected in an exchange between Rep. Jim Himes, D-Connecticut, and Brennan at Tuesday’s hearing. Himes cited a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a leading think tank for the Military-Industrial Complex.

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CIA Director John Brennan addresses officials at the Agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia. (Photo credit: CIA)

Himes said: “I want to use my five minutes to try to paint a more specific picture around the methods and mechanisms that the Russians used to suborn … our democracy and our electoral process. And I want to start with a quote by a report I know you’re familiar with, CSIS’ report, ‘The Kremlin Playbook’ in which they say that Russia, quote, ‘Seeks to corrode democracy from within by deepening political divides,’ unquote.

“The Russians stir the pot, heighten anxieties and know that when they trigger chaos, even if it ends up negatively affecting them, that they are serving the purpose of weakening us. I want to talk about people because you made reference to people and I don’t want to do it specifically, I want to do it in the abstract.

“‘The Kremlin Playbook’ … says further that Russia looks to corrode democracy by, quote, ‘Investing in rising politicians, cultivating relationships with prominent businessmen, or helping to ensure that its business affiliates become well-positioned in government.’

“Mr. Brennan, assuming that you agree with that, how specifically has the Kremlin gone about cultivating relationships with key Americans in an effort … to influence our policy?”

Brennan: “It is traditional intelligence collection tradecraft … to identify individuals that you think are either very influential or rising stars, and you will try to develop a relationship with them and the Russians frequently will do that through cutouts or through false-flag operations. They won’t identify themselves as Russians or as members of Russian government. They will try to develop a personal relationship and then over time they will try to get individuals to do things on their behalf.

“And that’s why again, having been involved in a lot of counterintelligence cases over the years and seeing this pattern over and over again, my radar goes up when I see that the Russians are actively involved in a particular intelligence operational campaign and that U.S. persons are being contacted by Russian officials. … these are contacts that might’ve been totally, totally innocent and benign as well as those that might have succumbed somehow to those Russian efforts. …”

Himes: “do Americans who are suborned in such a way … do they necessarily need to know that they are doing Russia’s bidding?”

Brennan: “No, many times they do not. They do not even know that the person that they’re interacting with is a Russian. Many times they know that individuals may be Russian officials, but they don’t know that there is an intelligence connection or intelligence motive for behind it. …”

No Doubts

Himes: “There’s hardly anyone left today who doubts that Russia attacked us, but we have to realize the true thrust of the Russian attack is what they have triggered in us, the partisanship. Every time we refuse to face facts, every time we attack the messenger rather than confront the actions that happened, every time we undercut our allies in our alliances and our values, I think we’re playing precisely in the Russians fondest hopes.

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A scene from “Dr. Strangelove,” in which the bomber pilot (played by actor Slim Pickens) rides a nuclear bomb to its target in the Soviet Union.

“We’re doing something about that in my opinion, the gray, cold warriors, be it Ronald Reagan or Harry Truman would never have allowed.”

Responding to Hines’s comments, Page wrote: “This offers a precise depiction of the Clinton/Obama regime’s playbook based on their continued false evidence regarding former Trump campaign supporters such as myself, in the wake of their sad disappointment as sore losers. Immediate disclosure of their falsified FISA warrant documents upon which these same tactics were based last year is an essential way to cease this process which has been weakening all Americans.”

Page added, “Other gray, cold warriors of bygone eras had J. Edgar Hoover and Joseph McCarthy to do precisely this dirty work: attacking the messengers. In other words, attacking those who wanted to see positive changes in their country’s policies based on realistic strategies which can benefit all citizens while creating a viable pathway to increased peace around the world.”

A core problem with what Brennan and other Obama administration officials have set in motion is that the suspicions are so vague at this point – even some 10 months into the investigation – that a paranoia has taken over. There is a McCarthyistic element to these allegations, including guilt by association regarding any contact with any Russian or even some intermediary who might somehow be a Russian “false-flag.” Anyone or everyone might be a Russian “mole.”

So, yes, I get the desire to get rid of Trump because of his unfitness and ineptness. But the “Russia thing” – as Trump calls it – is unleashing an ugliness that many of us thought was a thing of the past, an era of evidence-free accusations of disloyalty and a crazed hostility toward the other nuclear superpower that could end in a miscalculation that could end life on the planet. Is this really what Democrats and progressives want to embrace?

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:49 pm

Poll: Mass Media Has Duped Democrats Into Believing Russia Hacked Voting Machines
by Caitlin Johnstone
May 30, 2017

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


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A recent YouGov poll shows that most Democrats believe it is “definitely true” or “probably true” that Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected. These poll results have been out for more than a week, so naturally one could expect a Google search to turn up a bunch of articles by the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN and other mainstream media outlets hastening to correct this widespread misinformation.

Right?

Of course not. There are precisely zero establishment outlets correcting this completely evidence-free belief that has become so widespread, despite the fact that corporate media outlets have been directly responsible for its promulgation by their repeated use of the phrase “election hacking” in their headlines and reports in the months following the November election.

WikiLeaks ✔ @wikileaks
59% of Democrats say that Russia tampered with vote tallies despite no evidence and FBI, DHS denials #journalism http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cu ... Report.pdf
6:28 AM - May 27, 2017


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This proves intent. These corporate media outlets fell all over themselves last week in a mad scramble to make sure that everyone in America felt dirty and ashamed if they took any interest in the Seth Rich case, but they have expended exactly zero energy correcting an outrageous, xenophobia-inducing fact-free conspiracy theory that they themselves helped promulgate, and which is far more widespread than interest in the Seth Rich case has ever been. This proves beyond a doubt that the false belief that Russia literally hacked America’s voting system has been intentionally inflicted upon the public by the mass media propaganda machine.

In late 2003, half a year after US and coalition forces invaded Iraq, a poll by USA Today found that 70 percent of Americans still believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. They didn’t believe this because the mass media was directly saying “Saddam did 9/11”; they would have lost the public’s trust if they’d directly promulgated such an outrageous falsehood. The public subscribed to this false belief because corporate media reporters consistently mentioned the September 11 terrorist attacks in the same breath as they mentioned the falsified intelligence reports stating that the Iraqi government had weapons of mass destruction and intended to facilitate their use on American soil. This misperception successfully manufactured public support for a regime change invasion that claimed the lives of a million innocent Iraqis.

In exactly the same way, reports and headlines marrying the words “election” and “hacking” have deliberately created this misperception among liberal Americans. Establishment politicians have been using their mass media-aided platforms to advance this false narrative as well, with corporate Democrats like Cory Booker openly claiming that Russia directly undermined the ability of Americans to express their opinions at the polls, as in this Facebook video which received over a million views:



Mass media outlets could correct this widespread false perception, but they choose not to. The fact that a week has gone by without a single mainstream outlet lifting a finger to address the misperception that this poll highlighted should prove to any doubters that these mass media corporations are not your friend. They don’t publish reports to help create an informed citizenry, they publish reports to manipulate the public into consenting to the establishment agenda. They weren’t telling us to shut up about Seth Rich because they love us and don’t want people to be misguided, they were telling us to shut up about Seth Rich because it was an unauthorised story outside the establishment narrative. They aren’t telling us that Putin is out to get us because they want us to know what’s going on, they’re telling us that Putin is out to get us because they don’t want us to know what’s going on.

America’s unelected power establishment has been trying to get its shriveled corporatist dick into Syria for a long, long time, and Russia’s direct military involvement in that strategically crucial nation has thrown a major monkey wrench in those plans. The fact that Putin is taking such bold actions, as well as annexing the strategically valuable Crimean peninsula from America’s puppet regime in Ukraine and collaborating with China to undermine the hegemony of the US dollar in the east means the US power establishment must push for regime change not just in Damascus, but in Moscow as well. And it is openly admitting to its desire to do this; Congressman Eric Swalwell told Fox’s Tucker Carlson in March that the plan for Russia is to “squeeze their economy” with “tougher sanctions” to the point that it “cuts off Russia from the rest of the world” in order to “hurt [Putin’s] popularity”.



In order to escalate tensions with a nuclear superpower for nothing but geopolitical power that benefits no one other than a few plutocrats, America’s power establishment needs to manufacture the consent of the governed. Without that consent, they’d be dealing with 320 million angry, heavily-armed Americans who’ve got a problem with the way their government is risking their lives by playing nuclear brinkmanship with NATO troop amassment long the Russian border and a needless military presence in Syria.

Without the mass media propaganda machine, it would never in a million years occur to any American that any of this is normal. It would never occur to normal Americans that they should worry about some icy potato patch on the other side of the planet unless the media was constantly telling them it’s attacking their democracy. It would never occur to normal Americans that their government should be involving itself in the affairs of other nations while they themselves face growing poverty and go without healthcare. The insane behaviors of the US oligarchs would never be consented to without the constant assurance of the oligarch-owned media conglomerates that this is all a perfectly normal and healthy way to go about life.

Caitlin Johnstone @caitoz
If you live in a corporatist state like the US, then corporate media IS state media. The ruling class controls the media. It is propaganda.
6:57 AM - May 19, 2017


The majority of Democrats believe that Russia directly manipulated America’s vote tallies because the ruling class wants the majority of Democrats to believe that Russia directly manipulated America’s vote tallies. The more fear and hostility they can generate toward Russia, the more escalation and confrontation the public will unquestioningly consent to.



Neoconservatism first emerged in the 1970s in the US because some Americans wanted a more hawkish stance toward the USSR, and it originally surfaced within the Democratic party. Using the mass media, the American deep state has successfully pulled the Democratic party back into neoconservatism and pointed it right back at Russia, right where they were a few decades ago. Using a nonstop barrage of mass media psy-ops, they’ve successfully transformed liberal Democrats into a bunch of McCarthyist, xenophobic neocons who unquestioningly support insane world-threatening escalations.

The alternative media threatens the establishment’s ability to do things like this, which is why they completely lose their shit whenever the public gets interested in a narrative that the establishment didn’t authorize, like pedogate or Seth Rich. If the American people should ever become capable of deciding for themselves what the major story of the day should be, the ability of the mass media machine to corral them all into a specific narrative will fall apart. So let’s keep refusing to play along with their stories and keep pushing what we want to talk about. They will push back hard, and it will force them to overextend themselves, where they’ll make mistakes and expose gaping plot holes. Join the media war and help bring these unelected bastards down.
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Re: Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intellige

Postby admin » Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:31 pm

A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack: Former NSA experts say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.
by Patrick Lawrence
The Nation
August 9, 2017

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised—a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.

The president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia’s energy sector. Striking this close to the core of another nation’s economy is customarily considered an act of war, we must not forget. In retaliation, Moscow has announced that the United States must cut its embassy staff by roughly two-thirds. All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.

All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.

We are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception.

Lost in a year that often appeared to veer into our peculiarly American kind of hysteria is the absence of any credible evidence of what happened last year and who was responsible for it. It is tiresome to note, but none has been made available. Instead, we are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception. These officials profess “high confidence” in their “assessment” as to what happened in the spring and summer of last year—this standing as their authoritative judgment. Few have noticed since these evasive terms first appeared that an assessment is an opinion, nothing more, and to express high confidence is an upside-down way of admitting the absence of certain knowledge. This is how officials avoid putting their names on the assertions we are so strongly urged to accept—as the record shows many of them have done.

We come now to a moment of great gravity.

There has been a long effort to counter the official narrative we now call “Russiagate.” This effort has so far focused on the key events noted above, leaving numerous others still to be addressed. Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:

There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year—not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.

Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source—claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.


This article is based on an examination of the documents these forensic experts and intelligence analysts have produced, notably the key papers written over the past several weeks, as well as detailed interviews with many of those conducting investigations and now drawing conclusions from them. Before proceeding into this material, several points bear noting.

One, there are many other allegations implicating Russians in the 2016 political process. The work I will now report upon does not purport to prove or disprove any of them. Who delivered documents to WikiLeaks? Who was responsible for the “phishing” operation penetrating John Podesta’s e-mail in March 2016? We do not know the answers to such questions. It is entirely possible, indeed, that the answers we deserve and must demand could turn out to be multiple: One thing happened in one case, another thing in another. The new work done on the mid-June and July 5 events bears upon all else in only one respect. We are now on notice: Given that we now stand face to face with very considerable cases of duplicity, it is imperative that all official accounts of these many events be subject to rigorously skeptical questioning. Do we even know that John Podesta’s e-mail address was in fact “phished”? What evidence of this has been produced? Such rock-bottom questions as these must now be posed in all other cases.

Two, houses built on sand and made of cards are bound to collapse, and there can be no surprise that the one resting atop the “hack theory,” as we can call the prevailing wisdom on the DNC events, appears to be in the process of doing so. Neither is there anything far-fetched in a reversal of the truth of this magnitude. American history is replete with similar cases. The Spanish sank the Maine in Havana harbor in February 1898. Iran’s Mossadegh was a Communist. Guatemala’s Árbenz represented a Communist threat to the United States. Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh was a Soviet puppet. The Sandinistas were Communists. The truth of the Maine, a war and a revolution in between, took a century to find the light of day, whereupon the official story disintegrated. We can do better now. It is an odd sensation to live through one of these episodes, especially one as big as Russiagate. But its place atop a long line of precedents can no longer be disputed.

Forensic investigators, prominent among them people with decades’ experience at high levels in our national-security institutions, have put a body of evidence on a table previously left empty.

Three, regardless of what one may think about the investigations and conclusions I will now outline—and, as noted, these investigations continue—there is a bottom line attaching to them. We can even call it a red line. Under no circumstance can it be acceptable that the relevant authorities—the National Security Agency, the Justice Department (via the Federal Bureau of Investigation), and the Central Intelligence Agency—leave these new findings without reply. Not credibly, in any case. Forensic investigators, prominent among them people with decades’ experience at high levels in these very institutions, have put a body of evidence on a table previously left empty. Silence now, should it ensue, cannot be written down as an admission of duplicity, but it will come very close to one.

It requires no elaboration to apply the above point to the corporate media, which have been flaccidly satisfied with official explanations of the DNC matter from the start.

Qualified experts working independently of one another began to examine the DNC case immediately after the July 2016 events. Prominent among these is a group comprising former intelligence officers, almost all of whom previously occupied senior positions. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), founded in 2003, now has 30 members, including a few associates with backgrounds in national-security fields other than intelligence. The chief researchers active on the DNC case are four: William Binney, formerly the NSA’s technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis and designer of many agency programs now in use; Kirk Wiebe, formerly a senior analyst at the NSA’s SIGINT Automation Research Center; Edward Loomis, formerly technical director in the NSA’s Office of Signal Processing; and Ray McGovern, an intelligence analyst for nearly three decades and formerly chief of the CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch. Most of these men have decades of experience in matters concerning Russian intelligence and the related technologies. This article reflects numerous interviews with all of them conducted in person, via Skype, or by telephone.

The customary VIPS format is an open letter, typically addressed to the president. The group has written three such letters on the DNC incident, all of which were first published by Robert Parry at http://www.consortiumnews.com. Here is the latest, dated July 24; it blueprints the forensic work this article explores in detail. They have all argued that the hack theory is wrong and that a locally executed leak is the far more likely explanation. In a letter to Barack Obama dated January 17, three days before he left office, the group explained that the NSA’s known programs are fully capable of capturing all electronic transfers of data. “We strongly suggest that you ask NSA for any evidence it may have indicating that the results of Russian hacking were given to WikiLeaks,” the letter said. “If NSA cannot produce such evidence—and quickly—this would probably mean it does not have any.”

The day after Parry published this letter, Obama gave his last press conference as president, at which he delivered one of the great gems among the official statements on the DNC e-mail question. “The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking,” the legacy-minded Obama said, “were not conclusive.” There is little to suggest the VIPS letter prompted this remark, but it is typical of the linguistic tap-dancing many officials connected to the case have indulged so as to avoid putting their names on the hack theory and all that derives from it.

Until recently there was a serious hindrance to the VIPS’s work, and I have just suggested it. The group lacked access to positive data. It had no lump of cyber-material to place on its lab table and analyze, because no official agency had provided any.

Donald Rumsfeld famously argued with regard to the WMD question in Iraq, “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” In essence, Binney and others at VIPS say this logic turns upside down in the DNC case: Based on the knowledge of former officials such as Binney, the group knew that (1) if there was a hack and (2) if Russia was responsible for it, the NSA would have to have evidence of both. Binney and others surmised that the agency and associated institutions were hiding the absence of evidence behind the claim that they had to maintain secrecy to protect NSA programs. “Everything that they say must remain classified is already well-known,” Binney said in an interview. “They’re playing the Wizard of Oz game.”

New findings indicate this is perfectly true, but until recently the VIPS experts could produce only “negative evidence,” as they put it: The absence of evidence supporting the hack theory demonstrates that it cannot be so. That is all VIPS had. They could allege and assert, but they could not conclude: They were stuck demanding evidence they did not have—if only to prove there was none.

Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations.

Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations wherein each could build on the work of others. In this a small, new website called http://www.disobedientmedia.com proved an important catalyst. Two independent researchers selected it, Snowden-like, as the medium through which to disclose their findings. One of these is known as Forensicator and the other as Adam Carter. On July 9, Adam Carter sent Elizabeth Vos, a co-founder of Disobedient Media, a paper by the Forensicator that split the DNC case open like a coconut.

By this time Binney and the other technical-side people at VIPS had begun working with a man named Skip Folden. Folden was an IT executive at IBM for 33 years, serving 25 years as the IT program manager in the United States. He has also consulted for Pentagon officials, the FBI, and the Justice Department. Folden is effectively the VIPS group’s liaison to Forensicator, Adam Carter, and other investigators, but neither Folden nor anyone else knows the identity of either Forensicator or Adam Carter. This bears brief explanation.

The Forensicator’s July 9 document indicates he lives in the Pacific Time Zone, which puts him on the West Coast. His notes describing his investigative procedures support this. But little else is known of him. Adam Carter, in turn, is located in England, but the name is a coy pseudonym: It derives from a character in a BBC espionage series called Spooks. It is protocol in this community, Elizabeth Vos told me in a telephone conversation this week, to respect this degree of anonymity. Kirk Wiebe, the former SIGINT analyst at the NSA, thinks Forensicator could be “someone very good with the FBI,” but there is no certainty. Unanimously, however, all the analysts and forensics investigators interviewed for this column say Forensicator’s advanced expertise, evident in the work he has done, is unassailable. They hold a similarly high opinion of Adam Carter’s work.

Forensicator is working with the documents published by Guccifer 2.0, focusing for now on the July 5 intrusion into the DNC server. The contents of Guccifer’s files are known—they were published last September—and are not Forensicator’s concern. His work is with the metadata on those files. These data did not come to him via any clandestine means. Forensicator simply has access to them that others did not have. It is this access that prompts Kirk Wiebe and others to suggest that Forensicator may be someone with exceptional talent and training inside an agency such as the FBI. “Forensicator unlocked and then analyzed what had been the locked files Guccifer supposedly took from the DNC server,” Skip Folden explained in an interview. “To do this he would have to have ‘access privilege,’ meaning a key.”


What has Forensicator proven since he turned his key? How? What has work done atop Forensicator’s findings proven? How?

Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public on July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate.

Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public in the paper dated July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate—the time a remote hack would require. The metadata established several facts in this regard with granular precision: On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second.

These statistics are matters of record and essential to disproving the hack theory. No Internet service provider, such as a hacker would have had to use in mid-2016, was capable of downloading data at this speed. Compounding this contradiction, Guccifer claimed to have run his hack from Romania, which, for numerous reasons technically called delivery overheads, would slow down the speed of a hack even further from maximum achievable speeds.


Time stamps in the metadata indicate the download occurred somewhere on the East Coast of the United States—not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone.

What is the maximum achievable speed? Forensicator recently ran a test download of a comparable data volume (and using a server speed not available in 2016) 40 miles from his computer via a server 20 miles away and came up with a speed of 11.8 megabytes per second—half what the DNC operation would need were it a hack. Other investigators have built on this finding. Folden and Edward Loomis say a survey published August 3, 2016, by http://www.speedtest.net/reports is highly reliable and use it as their thumbnail index. It indicated that the highest average ISP speeds of first-half 2016 were achieved by Xfinity and Cox Communications. These speeds averaged 15.6 megabytes per second and 14.7 megabytes per second, respectively. Peak speeds at higher rates were recorded intermittently but still did not reach the required 22.7 megabytes per second.

“A speed of 22.7 megabytes is simply unobtainable, especially if we are talking about a transoceanic data transfer,” Folden said. “Based on the data we now have, what we’ve been calling a hack is impossible.” Last week Forensicator reported on a speed test he conducted more recently. It tightens the case considerably. “Transfer rates of 23 MB/s (Mega Bytes per second) are not just highly unlikely, but effectively impossible to accomplish when communicating over the Internet at any significant distance,” he wrote. “Further, local copy speeds are measured, demonstrating that 23 MB/s is a typical transfer rate when using a USB–2 flash device (thumb drive).”

Time stamps in the metadata provide further evidence of what happened on July 5. The stamps recording the download indicate that it occurred in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone at approximately 6:45 pm. This confirms that the person entering the DNC system was working somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. In theory the operation could have been conducted from Bangor or Miami or anywhere in between—but not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone. Combined with Forensicator’s findings on the transfer rate, the time stamps constitute more evidence that the download was conducted locally, since delivery overheads—conversion of data into packets, addressing, sequencing times, error checks, and the like—degrade all data transfers conducted via the Internet, more or less according to the distance involved.

“It’s clear,” another forensics investigator wrote, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.”

In addition, there is the adulteration of the documents Guccifer 2.0 posted on June 15, when he made his first appearance. This came to light when researchers penetrated what Folden calls Guccifer’s top layer of metadata and analyzed what was in the layers beneath. They found that the first five files Guccifer made public had each been run, via ordinary cut-and-paste, through a single template that effectively immersed them in what could plausibly be cast as Russian fingerprints. They were not: The Russian markings were artificially inserted prior to posting. “It’s clear,” another forensics investigator self-identified as HET, wrote in a report on this question, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.”

To be noted in this connection: The list of the CIA’s cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to. (The tool can also “de-obfuscate” what it has obfuscated.) It is not known whether this tool was deployed in the Guccifer case, but it is there for such a use.

It is not yet clear whether documents now shown to have been leaked locally on July 5 were tainted to suggest Russian hacking in the same way the June 15 Guccifer release was. This is among several outstanding questions awaiting answers, and the forensic scientists active on the DNC case are now investigating it. In a note Adam Carter sent to Folden and McGovern last week and copied to me, he reconfirmed the corruption of the June 15 documents, while indicating that his initial work on the July 5 documents—of which much more is to be done—had not yet turned up evidence of doctoring.

In the meantime, VIPS has assembled a chronology that imposes a persuasive logic on the complex succession of events just reviewed. It is this:

On June 12 last year, Julian Assange announced that WikiLeaks had and would publish documents pertinent to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

On June 14, CrowdStrike, a cyber-security firm hired by the DNC, announced, without providing evidence, that it had found malware on DNC servers and had evidence that Russians were responsible for planting it.

On June 15, Guccifer 2.0 first appeared, took responsibility for the “hack” reported on June 14 and claimed to be a WikiLeaks source. It then posted the adulterated documents just described.

On July 5, Guccifer again claimed he had remotely hacked DNC servers, and the operation was instantly described as another intrusion attributable to Russia. Virtually no media questioned this account.


It does not require too much thought to read into this sequence. With his June 12 announcement, Assange effectively put the DNC on notice that it had a little time, probably not much, to act preemptively against the imminent publication of damaging documents. Did the DNC quickly conjure Guccifer from thin air to create a cyber-saboteur whose fingers point to Russia? There is no evidence of this one way or the other, but emphatically it is legitimate to pose the question in the context of the VIPS chronology. WikiLeaks began publishing on July 22. By that time, the case alleging Russian interference in the 2016 elections process was taking firm root. In short order Assange would be written down as a “Russian agent.”

By any balanced reckoning, the official case purporting to assign a systematic hacking effort to Russia, the events of mid-June and July 5 last year being the foundation of this case, is shabby to the point taxpayers should ask for their money back. The Intelligence Community Assessment, the supposedly definitive report featuring the “high confidence” dodge, was greeted as farcically flimsy when issued January 6. Ray McGovern calls it a disgrace to the intelligence profession. It is spotlessly free of evidence, front to back, pertaining to any events in which Russia is implicated. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, admitted in May that “hand-picked” analysts from three agencies (not the 17 previously reported) drafted the ICA. There is a way to understand “hand-picked” that is less obvious than meets the eye: The report was sequestered from rigorous agency-wide reviews. This is the way these people have spoken to us for the past year.

Behind the ICA lie other indefensible realities. The FBI has never examined the DNC’s computer servers—an omission that is beyond preposterous. It has instead relied on the reports produced by Crowdstrike, a firm that drips with conflicting interests well beyond the fact that it is in the DNC’s employ. Dmitri Alperovitch, its co-founder and chief technology officer, is on the record as vigorously anti-Russian. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which suffers the same prejudice. Problems such as this are many.

“We continue to stand by our report,” CrowdStrike said, upon seeing the VIPS blueprint of the investigation. CrowdStrike argues that by July 5 all malware had been removed from the DNC’s computers. But the presence or absence of malware by that time is entirely immaterial, because the event of July 5 is proven to have been a leak and not a hack. Given that malware has nothing to do with leaks, CrowdStrike’s logic appears to be circular.

In effect, the new forensic evidence considered here lands in a vacuum. We now enter a period when an official reply should be forthcoming. What the forensic people are now producing constitutes evidence, however one may view it, and it is the first scientifically derived evidence we have into any of the events in which Russia has been implicated. The investigators deserve a response, the betrayed professionals who formed VIPS as the WMD scandal unfolded in 2003 deserve it, and so do the rest of us. The cost of duplicity has rarely been so high.

I concluded each of the interviews conducted for this column by asking for a degree of confidence in the new findings. These are careful, exacting people as a matter of professional training and standards, and I got careful, exacting replies.

All those interviewed came in between 90 percent and 100 percent certain that the forensics prove out. I have already quoted Skip Folden’s answer: impossible based on the data. “The laws of physics don’t lie,” Ray McGovern volunteered at one point. “It’s QED, theorem demonstrated,” William Binney said in response to my question. “There’s no evidence out there to get me to change my mind.” When I asked Edward Loomis, a 90 percent man, about the 10 percent he held out, he replied, “I’ve looked at the work and it shows there was no Russian hack. But I didn’t do the work. That’s the 10 percent. I’m a scientist.”

Editor’s note: In its chronology, VIPS mistakenly gave the wrong date for CrowdStrike’s announcement of its claim to have found malware on DNC servers. It said June 15, when it should have said June 14. VIPS has acknowledged the error, and we have made the correction.

Editor’s note: After publication, the Democratic National Committee contacted The Nation with a response, writing, “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration. It’s unfortunate that The Nation has decided to join the conspiracy theorists to push this narrative.”
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