Defending Tulsi From the Programmed War Propagandists

By Kurt Nimmo

Source: Another Day in the Empire

The corporate media, reflecting the talking points of the establishment and the war party, keeps harping on Democrat presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard about Bashir al-Assad and gas attacks that never occurred. 

Is Assad really a brutal dictator? Is he any worse than Mohammed bin Salman, the princeling known to have his opponents drugged and then cut up into disposable pieces? Or how about Bibi Netanyahu and his Zionist ethnic cleansers blowing up apartment buildings and shooting journalists, medics, and children for protesting against occupation? 

No mention by this CNN windup of the fact the “civil war” (doublespeak for proxy war) in Syria was engineered by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and Jordan. The jihadi maniacs described as “rebels” by the corporate media were assisted by US Special Forces and also helped along a bloody path strewn with 600,000+ dead by Israel, the UK, and France. 

The liberal “humanitarian interventionist” warmongers and their neocon partners screech about oppressed minorities in Syria and ignore the indisputable fact al-Assad has protected Christians and other religious minorities, the people the Islamic State decapitates while destroying churches. 

Brutal dictator? Is that why al-Assad is the most popular Arab leader in the Middle East according to a CNN and Zogby poll? Is it possible this invented and imagined hatred of Assad is due to Syria’s GDP tripling from 2000 to 2010 and its debt falling from 152.09% to 30.02% of gross domestic product? 

The New York Times is now peddling anti-Assad propaganda and defending the murder of hundreds of thousands of people, but back before the US and its partners unleashed thousands of Wahhabi cutthroats on the country, the newspaper listed Syria as number 7 out of 31 top tourist destinations. In 2010, 8.5 million tourists visited the country. 

The real problem, of course, is Bashir al-Assad’s support for the Palestinians. This support is wholly unacceptable to the land-grabbing ethnic cleansers in Israel. 

This support is why Israel repeatedly and obsessively violates Syria’s national sovereignty and breaks international law by targeting Hezbollah, Iran (both invited by Syria to help fight the Salafists), and the Syrian Arab Army. Israel also protects and offers medical aid to al-Qaeda and its spinoffs. 

The lies and pure fabrication (most notoriously the fake news on chemical attacks) has not only provided dimwitted teleprompter readers with grist for the promotion of forever war, but neocons as well, including the screechy talk radio gasbag Mark Levin.

No, Mark. That’s Israel you’re confusing with Trump. The Donald merely repeats what his neocon and Israel-first handlers tell him. 

Mark pretends he’s “conservative” and a defender of the Constitution, except for Article I, Section 8, Clause 11, which of course is reviled by the Zionists and if followed to the letter would put the question of endless war to Congress.

But then the Zionist mind-meld has largely taken over Congress, and those who have reservations about the advisability of endless war remain silent, with the notable exception of the Gang of Four, aka the Squad. 

Rep. Ilhan Omar might be a clueless identity agenda pol, but when it comes to Israel she’s right over the target, and that’s why she will be removed from Congress by hook or crook. 

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Posted in anti-war, Authoritarianism, corporate news, culture, Deep State, Dirty Politics, Empire, Geopolitics, Health, imperialism, media, Media Literacy, Neocons, news, Oligarchy, propaganda, Psy-ops, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, State Crime, war, war on terror | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two for Tuesday

Ramy Essam

Posted in Art, culture, Music Video, Two for Tuesday, Video | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Media Just Can’t Stop Presenting Horrifying Stories as ‘Uplifting’ Perseverance Porn

By Alan Macleod

Source: FAIR.org

“THIS IS AWESOME!” That’s how Fox 5 DC described its story (5/28/19) about Logan Moore of Cedartown, GA, a disabled two-year-old whose parents were unable to afford to buy him a walker, so employees at Home Depot fashioned one together themselves for him.

“No… it’s not awesome at all. It’s a painful indictment of the state of healthcare in America,” reads the first comment under this tweet by Fox 5 DC (5/28/19).

The story closely resembles another recent CNN report (4/1/19): “A Two-Year-Old Couldn’t Walk on His Own. So a High School Robotics Team Built Him a Customized Toy Car.” That piece noted how Minnesotan toddler Cillian Jackson couldn’t walk due to a genetic condition, and how his parents couldn’t afford treatment. It described the ingenuity of the school children who built him a car, and Cillian’s new found freedom, but did not explore why a baby with a disability had been abandoned by US society.

The clear implication in these stories was that those children would have been left permanently unable to move if not for the help of underpaid employees or the kindness of other children. How many disabled American children with poor parents were not so lucky? The articles did not ask. Instead, they were presented as “uplifting” human interest pieces.

Cillian’s story is part of CNN’s Good Stuff series, which asks its readers:

Want more inspiring, positive news? Sign up for The Good Stuff, a newsletter for the good in life. It will brighten your inbox every Saturday morning.

Unfortunately, these stories are part of a popular trend of unintentionally horrifying “uplifting” news, which we at FAIR have catalogued before (FAIR.org, 8/3/17; 3/25/19), where out-of-touch corporate media give us supposedly charming, wholesome and positive news that actually, upon even minimal retrospection, reveals the dire conditions of late capitalism so many Americans now live under, and makes you feel worse after reading it.

A lot of these stories involve mothers and the extremely difficult circumstances of raising children in the US while poor. CNN’s “feel good” story (8/24/18) about a teacher sitting in a car with her student’s baby so the new mom could attend a job fair raised far more questions than it asked (which was zero). Why is there so little public childcare in the US? Should a new mother really need to immediately find a job so badly? Is this good for infants’ development?

On a similar subject, Good Morning America (7/17/18) describes the “trendy” new baby-shower gift of donating your pregnant co-worker your days off to give her maternity leave. Every country in the world except the US and Papua New Guinea guarantees paid maternity leave, meaning the trend is unlikely to catch on abroad.

Donated maternity leave is a “trendy” gift you don’t need—unless you live in the United States or Papua New Guinea (Good Morning America, 7/17/18).

Many outlets (CBS, 5/20/16; Huffington Post, 8/6/16; People, 4/11/16) cheerfully reported on how one man did at least 15 years of backbreaking labor as a night shift janitor at Boston College so his children could attend for free. But none even mentioned that if he lived in nearly any country in Western Europe, this wouldn’t have been necessary, as university there is free or virtually free to attend.

In fact, rather than discussing ballooning tuition costs, Yahoo! (11/15/17) used the story to take jabs at disloyal millennials:

Millennials move from job to job in order to climb the ladder…. For baby boomers and other generations…loyalty and dedication to a single company or career drove, and still drives, much of their working lives.

Any of these stories could have been used to explore the pressing social and economic realities of being poor in the United States, and having to work for things considered fundamental rights in other countries. But instead they are presented as uplifting features, something only possible if we unquestionably accept the political and economic system.

Kids Do the Darndest Things

Many of what Think Progress (8/2/18) labels “feel-good feel-bad stories” involve children doing things they wouldn’t have to in any reasonable society. CBS invites us to enjoy an account of a boy selling his Xbox computer to help his (single) mom (4/2/19), and another repairing his town’s ravaged roads himself (4/12/19). The Hill (6/10/19), meanwhile, describes a nine-year-old saving his pocket money to pay off his school friends’ “lunch debts.”

“Hardships were never an excuse for Moseley,” CNN (5/22/19) reports—as they are, implicitly, for homeless teens who aren’t offered millions in scholarships.

NBC (5/22/19) likewise shared the story of homeless Tennessee teen Tupac Moseley graduating high school as a valedictorian and earning many college scholarships, something that was widely reported (BBC, 5/22/19; Newsweek, 5/21/19; Business Insider, 5/21/19). NBC matter-of-factly noted that after his father died, Moseley’s family’s home was foreclosed and they were on the streets, accepting this situation without comment. This was still among the most critical of the reports, however, as many did not even describe why a child in the richest society in history became homeless. CNN’s report (5/22/19), for example, did not explain the background circumstances, let alone comment on them, and frames the story with the sentence, “Hardships were never an excuse for Moseley.”

This sentence is telling: To corporate media, even the trauma of losing a parent and being forced onto the streets is merely an excuse, not a cause for poor grades. The implication is that poor housing, a lack of an adequate safety net, underfunded schools and a decimated public education system are simply excuses from bellyaching lazy people as to why they did not attend the private Boston University (at over $54,000 per year tuition), like the article’s author did.

“No excuses” is a common phrase in “perseverance porn” stories. For example, Today (2/20/17) used it in the headline of a story about a Texas man who is forced to walk 15 miles to work every day. It reveals the ultimate bootstrap ideology of the media, where societal factors are irrelevant and everyone is where they are on merit.

Thus Moseley’s story is effectively weaponized by CNN against anyone who would question the system. Terrible work conditions? No excuses! Homeless? Stop complaining!

In case you thought homeless children were something of an aberration in America, CNN (7/2/19) also recently ran a story about how over 100 homeless children graduated high school in New York City this year alone—again without comment on what this says about US society.

Another reprehensible story treated as heroic by media was that of a Michigan mother who had to quit her job to look after her terminally ill son, who died of leukemia. She could not afford a headstone, so his best friend, 12-year-old Kaleb Klakulak, worked many jobs to attempt to pay for one. Many media outlets (e.g., Associated Press, 12/8/18; Fox News, 12/9/18; NBC Chicago, 12/12/18) celebrated Kaleb’s spirit, but none asked why children are  performing hard, outdoor labor through a Michigan winter so other children can have adequate burials. Such reporting implicitly normalizes this situation, and the system that allows it to happen.

“Sweet” Stories

A common media trope is presenting kids selling lemonade as cute,  sweet stories, no matter how horrifying or depressing the reason, including to pay off school lunch debts (Yahoo! News, 5/21/19; MSN, 5/22/19), or to raise money for their baby brother’s medical treatment (New York Post, 5/28/18; CBS, 5/29/18) or their mother’s chemotherapy (KTSM El Paso, 8/4/18).

Such stories (CBS, 5/29/18) rarely if ever ask why a baby with a life-threatening illness is forced to rely on his nine-year-old brother’s selling lemonade to pay for treatment.

Or how about the story of a New Mexico girl selling lemonade trying to fund her mother’s kidney transplant? People magazine (5/9/18) applauded her resolve, and local radio described it as “heartwarming” that she had raised over $1,000. The massive problem is a kidney transplant in America can cost over $400,000. To anyone with a heart, what this story actually represents is the desperate struggle of a child trying in vain to save her dying mother. Worse still is the fact that if she lived in Sweden, Spain or Saskatchewan, she would be given a kidney free of charge and without question.

Any of the numerous other outlets (ABC, 4/30/18; Good Morning America, 5/1/18; Albuquerque Journal, 4/30/18) that picked it up could have used the story to discuss the dysfunctional healthcare system that is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the country, while producing some of the worst health outcomes in the developed world, or to scrutinize how corporate healthcare gouges the sickest and most vulnerable Americans, including children. Surely the most basic function of government should be to prevent its citizens from needlessly dying? Not if you wholly accept the tenets of neoliberalism, where education, housing and healthcare are not basic, inalienable human rights, but commodities to be bought and sold and bargained for on the market.

To be clear, while we can admire the never-say-die attitude of those in tough conditions, this is no substitute for guaranteed public programs to help those in dire need. The problem with perseverance porn is not the brave subjects of the articles, but the lack of any journalistic scrutiny examining the failings of society that placed them in such desperate circumstances to begin with.

What these articles highlight so clearly is not only the grim, inhuman and unnecessary conditions so many Americans are forced to live under, but the degree to which mainstream corporate journalists have completely internalized them as unremarkable, inevitable facts of life, rather than the consequences of decades of neoliberal policies that have robbed Americans of dignity and basic human rights. Because corporate media wholly accept and promote neoliberal, free-market doctrine, they are unable to see how what they see as “awesome” is actually a manifestation of late-capitalist dystopia.

Posted in conditioning, corporate news, culture, Dystopia, Economics, Financial Crisis, Health, Inequality, media, Media Literacy, Neoliberalism, news, Oligarchy, propaganda, Recession, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Protected Epstein for Decades, and Why?

By Charles Hugh Smith

Source: Of Two Minds

Let’s start by stipulating that the Jeffrey Epstein story is so sordid and outlandish that it’s like a made-for-TV movie about the evil proprietor of a nightmarish enclave of private perversion and sexual exploitation, Lolita Island.

For Epstein’s victims, the nightmare was all too real.

Next, let’s stipulate that in a nation with a functioning system of justice, every individual who knew about Epstein’s degenerate empire and did nothing to stop it should be ushered into a Federal prison cell to ponder their sins against the exploited girls and against the nation.

Yes, as in treason, as in “throw them in prison and let them rot” treason. As I have explained, corruption and debauchery undermine the legitimacy of the state, and so doing nothing while Epstein et al. gratified the desires of the rich and powerful for degenerate debauchery was treasonous: the American state will collapse not from military conflict but from moral decay, and every individual who enabled (or made use of) that moral decay is guilty of treason.

Which leads us to the basic questions of the case: who protected Epstein for decades, and why? There are several explanations floating around for the why: those in power enjoyed their diabolically exploitive visits to Lolita Island and wanted to continue their criminal gratifications.

The second explanation is that Epstein was a spy for a “friendly” foreign intelligence agency and therefore off-limits. (“Friendly” is in quotes because when it comes to intelligence, one’s “friends” can do more damage than one’s worst enemies.)

Let’s say this turns out to be true. Wouldn’t the NSA, CIA and FBI know of Epstein’s activities and connections to a foreign intelligence service? Of course they would. So at a minimum, we can infer the NSA, CIA and FBI enabled Epstein’s operation to continue for some benefit, perhaps relating to “honeypot” blackmail and control of “assets,” unwilling or willing.

This narrative is the “explanation” for Epstein’s wrist-slap conviction a decade ago: he was supposedly an “asset” of US intelligence.

So exploiting vulnerable girls served the “national interests” and therefore it’s all OK. If we’re supposed to believe this is the heart of the matter, how is America any different from a corrupt developing-world kleptocracy organized to gratify a handful of oligarchs and their cronies?

Or perhaps the “he was an intelligence asset” is just a tissue-thin cover for a much more destructive reality: those at the top of the American state have no moral compass at all. That honeypots and blackmail are standard-issue tools of spycraft targeting individuals in the employee of other nations is a given, but presumably the CIA doesn’t recruit 14-year girls as bait (although nothing should surprise us at this point).

But Lolita island (a.k.a. Orgy Island) was not spycraft; it was a privately operated wholesale exploitation of underage girls for the gratification of the Western world’s male elites. That some enterprising agency recruited (or blackmailed) Jeffrey Epstein was predictable, as the treasure trove of compromising videos could yield all sorts of useful leverage on highly placed individuals.

Many of us sense an existential crisis is close at hand, and the U.S. is ill-prepared for such a crisis. Possibilities broached by others include a global war, a break-up of the U.S. into regional states, or a civil war of some sort.

My bet is on a moral and financial crisis in which the ruling elites and the federal state lose their legitimacy, i.e. the consent of the governed. As their Federal Reserve “money” loses value and the corruption of the ruling elites and the government they control reaches extremes, the citizenry will no longer heed their corrupt, self-serving “leaders.”

If America’s ruling elites will not let justice be done, then they guarantee a revolt against the elites that could track a very grim path if that is the only option left open to the citizenry.

Once again I turn to The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats for a poetic evocation of the coming crisis:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Posted in CIA, Conspiracy, culture, Deep State, elites, FBI, Geopolitics, media, news, Oligarchy, society, State Crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jeffrey Epstein News Roundup

Some of the best alternative media analysis related to Jeffrey Epstein through the week after his death.

8/17/19

8/16/19

8/15/19

8/14/19

 

8/13/19

8/12/19

8/11/13

Posted in Conspiracy, corporate news, culture, Deep State, elites, media, Media Literacy, news, Oligarchy, society, State Crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saturday Matinee: Perfect Blue

“Perfect Blue” (1997) is a psychological thriller anime directed by Satoshi Kon, written by Sadayuki Murai, and based on the novel “Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis” by Yoshikazu Takeuchi. The film follows Mima Kirigoe, a member of a Japanese idol group, who retires from music to pursue an acting career. As she becomes a victim of stalking, gruesome murders begin to occur, and she starts to lose her grip on reality. Like Kon’s later work, Paprika, the film deals with the blurring of the lines between fantasy and reality in contemporary culture.

Watch the film on Hoopla here: https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/12319819

Posted in Art, culture, Film, Saturday Matinee, Video | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jeffrey Epstein Out in the Open

By Jon Rappoport

Source: NoMoreFakeNews.com

NOTE: This article concerns the reporting of Vicky Ward. I’m not automatically assuming her key point is factual, especially since it relies on an unnamed source, who is telling her about a private meeting which the source apparently did not attend. If, however, we assume the key point is accurate…

In my previous piece on Epstein, I cited two articles outside the mainstream, which make a case for Epstein acting as an agent for intelligence services—Mossad/CIA. Obviously, his work would have involved gathering blackmail evidence on powerful men, who had sex with his underage girls. The value of this evidence, to Epstein’s handlers, would be enormous as a means of controlling those men…

I realize many people aren’t satisfied unless they see something in print from a more mainstream source. So let’s try the Daily Beast (7/9/19) and writer Vicky Ward, who has had an extensive career as a reporter and editor (Vanity Fair, NY Post, HuffPost, etc.)

In her Daily Beast article, “Jeffrey Epstein’s Sick Story Played Out for Years in Plain Sight,” Ward attempts to shed light on a moment in time when a strange twist occurred in the Epstein saga. It involved Alexander Acosta.

Alexander Acosta served as Trump’s Labor Secretary from April 28, 2017, to July 19, 2019, when he resigned. In his former job, as US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Acosta made the shocking 2007-2008 sweetheart plea deal with Epstein, canceling any effort to convict him for sex trafficking of minors, and reducing the charge to solicitation of a 14-year-old girl. Epstein pled guilty and received a mild slap on the wrist.

Vicky Ward writes: “Epstein’s name, I was told, had been raised by the Trump transition team when Alexander Acosta, the former U.S. attorney in Miami who’d infamously cut Epstein a non-prosecution plea deal back in 2007, was being interviewed for the job of labor secretary…”

“’Is the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?’ Acosta had been asked. Acosta had explained, breezily, apparently, that back in the day he’d had just one meeting on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had ‘been told’ to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. ‘I was told Epstein “belonged to intelligence” and to leave it alone,’ he told his interviewers in the Trump transition, who evidently thought that was a sufficient answer and went ahead and hired Acosta. (The Labor Department had no comment when asked about this.)”

If all this is true, the word came down the line: Epstein had protection coming from intelligence agency players; and he, Acosta, dutifully knuckled under and made the phony plea deal with Epstein. In a blockbuster federal case for widespread sex trafficking. A case that was receiving wall to wall press coverage. But none of that mattered to Acosta, the hell with blowback, contrasted against the intelligence agency clout shielding Jeffrey Epstein.

If Vicky Ward’s source on this is correct, it’s quite possible it wasn’t just Acosta who was cowed and played ball with the higher power. The Trump transition team, who blithely accepted Acosta’s astonishing comment, also could have been following the same marching orders. The Trump team purposely chose Acosta for his new shiny job, as Labor Secretary, because they were told to reward him for his “outstanding work” in the Epstein case.

The transition team could have easily made a list of 20 people who could fill the role of Labor Secretary. But they picked out the man who gave astounding cover to Epstein.

 

Posted in CIA, Conspiracy, culture, Deep State, elites, History, Labor, news, Oligarchy, society, State Crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Finally Time for DNC Email Evidence

By Patrick Lawrence

Source: Consortium News

Three years after the narrative we call Russiagate was framed and incessantly promoted, it crumbles into rubble as we speak. The mini-empire of allegations, presuppositions, fallacious syllogisms, leaps of logic, imagined connections and mis– and disinformation marshaled to support charges of Russian interference in the 2016 elections is more or less a ruin.

The total collapse of the Russiagate orthodoxy now appears within reach — this for the first time since the Democratic National Committee set the narrative in motion after its email servers were compromised during the Trump–Clinton presidential contest. There is a good chance — though this is not a certainty — that Attorney General William Barr’s just-launched investigation will fully expose the numerous charges of Russian intervention as fabrications. Evidence of these fabrications, long available but ignored in a remarkably prevalent case of willful blindness, continues to grow such that it may be difficult to obscure it much longer.

It is now officially acknowledged that there is no credible evidence that Donald Trump colluded with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. At this point, the demonstrably bogus assertion that Russian intelligence hacked into the DNC’s email system in mid–2016 is the one remaining feature of the Russiagate orthodoxy that is commonly considered rock solid.

The mythology on this question remains deeply embedded, the absence of any supporting evidence notwithstanding. Press and broadcast reports rarely miss an opportunity to cast Russian responsibility for the DNC email intrusion as a foregone conclusion. But this, too, is a tower built on sand. To put Russiagate decisively in the past now comes to demolishing this last, unsound edifice. The rest is already too discredited for anyone but naïve liberals, wishful-thinking “progressives” and the most committed ideologues to take seriously.
This focuses attention on the evidence — considerable and accumulating — that Russian intelligence agencies, officially charged with intrusion into the DNC’s servers, had nothing to do with it. It is now two years since technically qualified intelligence professionals of long experience reported viaConsortium News that the theft of Democratic Party email in 2016 was neither a hack nor a Russian intelligence operation. In July 2017 Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity presented persuasive evidence that the DNC’s servers had been compromised by someone with direct access to them.

The email messages subsequently posted by WikiLeaks had been pilfered by an insider of unknown identity: This was the conclusion VIPS drew in VIPS50, the group’s report on the mail incident, on the basis of the evidence it had gathered while working with other independent forensic investigators. The “hack,” in short, was not a hack. It was a leak.

A cacophony of objections erupted after Consortium posted VIPS50. Much — vastly too much — has been made of a group of “dissenters” within the VIPS organization who did not endorse the report. But neither these dissenters nor the many others attempting to discredit VIPS50 have succeeded in doing so. No countervailing evidence from any quarter has been presented. Based on continuing research, VIPS subsequently altered some of its initial conclusions, as noted in this space a year ago. But its principal findings stand.

VIPS50 

This puts VIPS50, while still officially excluded from the record, among the most consequential documents to be published since the Russiagate narrative took shape three years ago. If we are to recover from the destructive, divisive nightmare Russiagate has become, VIPS50 will be key to the process. There are indications now that its findings, based on impartially conducted data analysis and forensic science, will soon get the consideration they have deserved from the first. My sources suggest Barr’s office is making use of VIPS report and subsequent findings as it begins its investigation into the genesis of the Russiagate allegations.

Much anticipation preceded the publication in mid–April of the report on Russian interference completed in the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Contrary to prevalent expectations, however, the 448–page document failed to confirm the case for Russiagate and did much to weaken it. Not only did the report conclude that neither President Trump nor anyone in his campaign colluded with Russia as he fought the 2016 election; it also made clear that the special counsel’s office did not undertake a credible investigation of the charge that Russian intelligence hacked the DNC’s mail servers.

Mueller failed to call numerous key witnesses, among them Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and publisher, and Bill Binney, formerly a technical director at the National Security Agency and one of several technical experts in the VIPS group. He also failed to pursue alternative theories in the email-theft case; a duty of any investigator in Mueller’s position. Only the willfully blind can accept these irregularities as legitimate conduct.

Remarkably enough, Mueller’s investigation appears to have conducted no forensic tests of its own to verify allegations of a Russian hacking operation. It relied instead on the patently faulty findings of Crowdstrike, the disreputable cyber-security firm that was working for the DNC by mid–2016. Critically, the special counsel also appears to have neglected to consult the NSA for evidence pertaining to the DNC incident. Had the intrusion been a hack conducted over the internet, by Russians or anyone else, the agency would have a fully detailed digital record of the operation and the means to trace the intervention to its perpetrators. Why, it is perfectly logical to ask, was such a record not cited prominently in the Mueller report?

Mueller’s testimony before two congressional committees on July 24 was a further blow to the Russiagate thesis. The special counsel came over as a detached, out-of-touch figurehead with a very loose grip on his own investigation and poor knowledge of the report bearing his signature. Soon afterward, even Trump’s adversaries in the Democratic camp began to give up the ghost. “In the hours and days after Mr. Mueller gave his opening statement before the House Judiciary Committee,” wrote Samuel Moyn, a Yale law professor, “it became clear how tenaciously many liberals and progressives are clinging to fantasy.” Moyn’s piece appeared in The New York Times. The headline reads, “The Mueller Fantasy Comes Crashing Down.”

Despite the stunningly anticlimactic outcome of the Mueller report and his subsequent appearance on Capitol Hill — which was intended from the first to be a matter of spectacle rather than substance — new allegations of Russian interference  continue to arrive on front pages and in news broadcasts. The latest came the day after Mueller’s testimony, when the Senate Intelligence Committee reported that Russia intruded into the election systems of all 50 states during the 2016 campaigns. The report offered no supporting evidence, per usual. It was heavily redacted at the request of the relevant intelligence agencies, again per usual.

Question of Evidence

This brings us to the question of evidence. To go back to the initial allegations of Russian interference three years ago, at no point since have any of these commonly accepted charges been accompanied by hard, legally and logically sound evidence to back them up. This astonishing lacuna, while intently papered over in the media, on Capitol Hill, at the Justice Department, in the intelligence apparatus, and among law-enforcement agencies, has rendered the Russiagate orthodoxy vulnerable from the first. It now emerges that the evidence problem is worse than even the most committed critics of the Russiagate narrative had thought.

This came to light this spring, during the pre-trial discovery phase of the case against Roger Stone, the onetime Trump aide charged with obstructing justice and misleading Congress. When Stone’s attorneys requested Crowdstrike’s final report on the DNC email theft, which they said was relevant to his defense, prosecutors returned with the stunning revelation that Crowdstrike, the DNC’s cyber-security firm, never submitted a final report. “The government does not possess the information the defendant seeks,” the Justice Department responded via a court filing.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s failure to take possession of the DNC’s email servers from Crowdstrike after the mid–2016 intrusion, a shocking case of official malfeasance, has long been dismissed as an unimportant detail. We now know that the FBI, the Justice Department and the Mueller investigation relied on nothing more than three Crowdstrike drafts — all of them redacted by Crowdstrike — to build the case for Russia’s culpability in the theft of the DNC’s email.

Not only did the FBI fail to establish a proper chain of evidentiary custody after the incident at the DNC; it is now clear the bureau knows of the email theft only what Crowdstrike chose to tell it. There is no evidence that the FBI asked the NSA for its records of the incident. Nor is there any indication that Crowdstrike has ever given the FBI or prosecutors in the Stone case the data it used to produce its never-completed report. “Crowdstrike appears to have destroyed evidence or is hiding it,” Bill Binney said in a telephone interview.

The corporate media continue to pretend in their press reports and news broadcasts that the official investigation of the DNC email incident was conducted according to the highest standard of legitimacy. Democrats on Capitol Hill, still pursuing their own investigations, never question the validity of the officially constructed case alleging Russia’s responsibility. The revelation of negligence the Stone trial brings to light, which amounts to corruption, could hardly expose this prolonged charade more starkly.

Forensic investigators, meantime, continue to gather evidence supporting the leak-not-hack case made in VIPS50. The gap thus widens between the official story of the DNC mail incident and the case supported by forensic research done by VIPS and other independent investigators working in association with it.

Last February these investigators discovered that email pilfered in 2016 and subsequently conveyed toWikiLeaks had been stored according to a system called File Allocation Table, or FAT. The FAT system time-stamps data according to their last modifications and, because it is less precise than other storage systems, it rounds up time stamps to the next even number. If the FAT system is used to store data, it is a strong indication that the data were stored on a memory key or another such portable device.

In the 35, 816 email messages investigators examined, the FAT system assigned even-numbered time stamps to all of them. Binney, a mathematician by training, puts the chance of this occurring without the use of a portable storage device at 1 in 2 to the 35,816thpower — meaning it is a virtual impossibility.

The FAT numbering pattern detected in the email messages tested does not indicate at what stage or where a portable device was used. It shows only that such a device was used at some point in the handling of the data; a portable device may or may not have been used to execute the initial download. But the presence of the FAT system in the metadata of the emails tested adds another layer of circumstantial evidence supporting the VIPS case that the theft of DNC mail was a leak executed locally via a portable device and not a remote hack conducted through the internet. At the very least, it is an additional line of inquiry the FBI, the intelligence agencies, and the Mueller investigation have left unexamined.

VIPS Dissenters

Among the critics of VIPS50, none has influenced public opinion as much as the dissenters within the group’s membership. The presence of these dissenters has been evident since VIPS50 went through repeated drafts over a period of nearly two weeks. This is a group of honorable, in many cases brave people. But they advanced no coheren objections to the VIPS document prior to its publication, and this remained the case for some time after Consortium News posted it on July 24, 2017. Having begun reporting on VIPS50 shortly after that date, I found — and continue to find — the dissenters’ position heavily inflected with personal animosities and political leanings having no bearing on the validity of the VIPS50 findings.

A number of dissenters signed a contribution to a forum The Nation hosted after the magazine published a piece I wrote on VIPS50 in August 2017. This was the first time the dissenters publicly presented substantive objections to VIPS50, and they focused on the core of the VIPS case. This case continues to rest primarily on the speed at which a mail theft could be executed in mid–2016. The transfer speed, identified by an analysis of metadata found on documents stolen at that time, was considerably faster than the rate possible over the internet at the time of the intrusion, indicating a leak by someone using a portable storage device and with direct access to the DNC’s servers.

The dissenting group took specific issue with these findings. “Data-transfer speeds across networks and the Internet measured in megabits per second (or megabytes per second) can easily achieve rates that greatly exceed the cited reference in the VIPS memo,” the dissidents wrote.

It was at this point the dissenters repeated the failures of the intelligence apparatus and the Mueller investigation: They produced no evidence. There is no indication the dissenters conducted tests to support their assertion on the speed question. The VIPS memo applied scientific method to the DNC mail theft for the first time and was intended as an “evidence to date” document. This marked a transformative advance in how the DNC incident can be understood: The imperative since has been to bring countervailing evidence to the investigative process, which continues. No one —not the dissenters, not the DNC, not the “intelligence community,” not Mueller, not the press — has done so.

The dissenters have been silent since their contribution to The Nation’s forum. Members have declined invitations to work with VIPS50 signatories to develop further the evidence presented in the memo. When I queried a number of dissenters for this commentary, one replied. This person did not address the findings of forensic investigators while reproducing what VIPS50 signatories term the “emotional arguments” that have characterized the dissenters’ response to the memo since the drafting phase two summers ago. These continuing difficulties appear partly to reflect a desire not to be seen defending either Trump or the Russians.

Barr’s Investigation

The NSA, the CIA, the FBI, the Mueller investigation, the press — none has shown the slightest interest in the findings outlined in VIPS50. This can come as no surprise, given the heavy investments all of these entities have made in the Russians-did-it explanation of the DNC email incident. But this omission is nonetheless negligent when one considers the contradicting evidence VIPS and those associated with it continue to amass. A key question now arises: Will the Barr investigation into the genesis of allegations of Russian interference, begun three months ago, transcend this politically inspired ignorance to expose official accounts of the mid–2016 mail theft as fallacies?

The early signs were that Barr’s investigators would at last explode the Russiagate narrative. Trump was unmistakably determined to do so when he urged Barr to “investigate the investigators” last spring. In mid–May Barr appointed John Durham, a federal prosecutor, to direct this effort. Ten days later Trump gave Barr “full and complete authority to declassify information” related to the conduct of the intelligence agencies, the FBI, and the Justice Department.

It was clear very early that Trump was aware of VIPS50 and entertained a lively interest in its findings. In September 2017, two months after Consortium published the memo, he ordered Mike Pompeo, then director of the CIA, to interview Bill Binney, the leading technical expert within the VIPS group. Pompeo did so in October 2017, but by Binney’s account he flinched: Pompeo heard Binney out at the president’s insistence, but he never pursued the forensic findings the former NSA technical director walked him through.

This was an early sign, it is now plain, that even efforts to unearth the truth of the allegations against Russia that emanate from the White House would meet political resistance. Another came last Friday, when Trump was forced to drop John Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican who pledged to support a full investigation of Russiagate, as his nominee to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence. While Ratcliffe considered the orthodox Russiagate narrative bogus, Coats was vigorous in his promotion of it.

This makes political will another key question to ask of the Barr investigation: Full exposure of the travesty of Russiagate is almost certainly within Barr’s power to achieve. Will he do so?

Whether Trump will remain consistent in his backing of Barr is another such question. While Trump habitually terms Russiagate “a hoax,” he has also indicated on a number of occasions that his true objective is simply to escape the charge that he colluded with Russians to win the 2016 election. “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election,” Trump tweeted earlier this year. “I said, ‘It may be Russia, or China, or another country or group, or it may be a 400–pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.’ The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia—it never did!”

A president who slips and slides, an administrative state — the Deep State if you like — thoroughly committed to defending falsified accounts of the mid–2016 intrusions into the DNC’s email servers, a supine press: It is impossible to say when or whether the truth of the events of three years ago will emerge. The evidence is there, sufficient now to conclude the Russigate case. The greatest remaining obstacle is the willful ignorance that incubated the Russiagate narrative and now prolongs it. We reach a point when evidence and more evidence, along with political integrity, are the only effective replies to this cynical, foolish, and costly recalcitrance.

 

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century” (Yale). Follow him on Twitter @thefloutistHis website is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site. 

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