Surveillance State Goes After Trump

Democrats are so eager to take down President Trump that they are joining forces with the Surveillance State to trample the privacy rights of people close to Trump, ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley tells Dennis J Bernstein.

By Dennis J Bernstein

Since Donald Trump’s election, former Special FBI Agent Coleen Rowley has been alarmed over how Democratic hawks, neocons and other associates in the “deep state” have obsessed over “resurrecting the ghost of Joseph McCarthy” and have built political support for a permanent war policy around hatred of Russia.

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

Rowley, whose 2002 memo to the FBI Director exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11failures, compared the current anti-Russia hysteria to “the

‘Red Scare’ fear of Communism” famously associated with legendary FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who collaborated with Sen. Joe McCarthy’s hunt for disloyal Americans in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

In an interview, Rowley told me that while Trump was wrong about his claim that President Obama ordered a surveillance “tapp” of Trump Tower, the broader point may have been correct as explained by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-California, who described how U.S. intelligence apparently picked up conversations by Trump associates while monitoring other targets.

Dennis Bernstein: A former high-level FBI whistleblower says Trump is vindicated on his claims of being surveilled by the previous administration. Joining us to take a close look at what’s been going on, what’s been unfolding in Washington, D.C. is Coleen Rowley. She’s a former FBI special agent and division council. She wrote a May 2002 memo to the FBI director that exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, major failures. She was Time magazine’s person of the year in 2002. … Help us explain what chairman Nunes reported in terms of the collecting process and Trumps innocence or guilt?

Coleen Rowley: I think the Chairman Nunes said [Wednesday] that Trump was monitored instead of wiretapped. And these are terms of art that for three weeks or so, no one has fully understood and so there’s been all this confusion. Trump, himself, did not understand, and was clumsy in saying “my campaign was wiretapped.” Wiretapping itself is almost obsolete. It means tapping into a wire, that’s the old way, when the way communications used to go over wires and now they’re digital and they… Snowden, if you remember, all of the disclosures from Edward Snowden, and other NSA whistleblowers, there’s something going on now called collect it all, massive surveillance. And that is done, there are some targets, but then lots and lots of Americans are incidentally monitored… they aren’t monitored but their conversations, and their phone numbers that they’re dialing and their e-mails that they’re e-mailing are collected.

And, of course, when Trump was under investigation it would be natural that they would have some… not his… not necessarily him personally, but his campaign staff obviously, that’s going to mean surveillance of those people.

DB: Now, monitoring, does that mean that Obama was in fact, surveilling? Is that a good word? Was Trump being surveilled? Were his claims essentially correct?

Former FBI official Coleen Rowley (second from left) with other government whistleblowers and/or critics of the Surveillance State, from left to right: Kirk Wiebe, Rowley, Raymond McGovern, Daniel Ellsberg, William Binney, Jesselyn Radack, and Thomas Drake by Kathleen McClellan (@McClellanKM) via Twitter

CR: I think Trump is vindicated, again he didn’t understand the terms that he was using. And he did misuse the term, so when Comey said “No”… that that tweet about being wiretapped, we have found no evidence of that.” Comey was able to be honest because a wiretap has a specific meaning. But, you notice, in five hours Comey never said that there’s been no surveillance of anyone connected to the Trump campaign. In fact, he implied the opposite. He implied that the Trump campaign, some persons, he didn’t mention names, but some of them have been investigated since this summer.

And, so, obviously that does mean that, for starters, if you think… remember all of the disclosures from Edward Snowden and the other NSA whistleblowers, they can access all of the communications that have already been collected. That’s for starters, so if you have somebody that you are now investigating, you can go back into these NSA databases and say pull up everything on so-and-so. And I’ve just got to add one more thing, the NSA whistleblowers including Edward Snowden all warned for really now for two or three years, we have been warning the American public that this “collect it all” is really a recipe for, not only a lack of privacy, but even for hurting our own democracy.

If you go back to Frank Church, for instance, the reason the Church committee… well it was because Frank Church, Senator Frank Church was, himself, under surveillance by the NSA. And we warned now for two or three years, that they tell the public “Don’t worry, you have nothing to hide. Why would you worry about any of these NSA… they’re helping us catch terrorists. And you don’t have anything to hide.”

But, of course, the politicians in Washington are the ones that have things to hide. They could have conflicts of interests, there’s all kinds of things going on, certainly just political opposition, partisanship. So this is always an ongoing game in Washington, to try to find out dirt about your opponent, etc. So, they are the ones, actually, who should have been more aware of how this could be used against themselves. And yet, they just disregarded these warnings and told the public “Oh, don’t worry you have nothing to hide.”

DB: We’ve got Donald Trump vindicated about, in essence, being monitored, surveilled. without his own knowledge although I would imagine he should have known, or assumed. But now that tells us that there has been a lot of information collected and we can now assume, I guess, that all the… a lot of the communications from the Trump people, in Washington, also, at Trump Tower, so even though it wasn’t wiretapped, it was monitored.

CR: It was collected. And, again, this isn’t necessarily about Trump personally, just cause it’s not about Obama, personally ordering. What this is about is if there are even members of Trump’s campaign staff, or even associates, that could even be a little bit distant from the actual campaign, but just associates. It may be that they were the actual targets. And, still, might be the targets. But, then incidentally Trump could have ended up being, himself, intercepted.

I’m going to go back to Martin Luther King, Jr.. Martin Luther King, Jr., if you understand the microphones in his hotels. And he was the subject of Title 3 orders. This was all based on guilt by association. And I think it was simply a paragraph or two, there was very little probable cause. It was a paragraph or two alleging that an associate or a cousin of an associate was a communist. That’s what it amounted to. And that’s how, then, J.Edgar Hoover was allowed to go and do all these things in hotel rooms. And, in the same era, the NSA was actually monitoring Senator Frank Church.

Legendary FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover

We think after all these years that we’ve grown up and we’ve understood the problems that occurred back then. And, obviously, history is totally repeating. It may well be there’s a legitimate investigation of somebody in the periphery of the Trump campaign, a staffer or somebody connected, that’s legitimate.

But when they have a “collect it all” motto which they’ve had now since 9/11. They’ve turned on these monitoring things, Hayden and others turned them right on, illegally, I should say, for starters, illegally. And now they have all this database. And, so, there’s only a couple of ways to try to protect privacy. And they are supposed to be on their honor to minimize Americans.

And you now see that this has completely failed in the case of Flynn and others, because, again, that’s all they have is on their honor, they say they won’t leak out identities of Americans if they are “incidentally” collected. And, now, that doesn’t even apply. And, I would say that the people who have leaked are not – I’ve said this many times now – are not what I would term a good whistleblower.

These are leakers who seem to be high level, as opposed to somebody like Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning, at a lower level, who is motivated for the public good. I think that the leaks that you’ve seen in the past couple of months, or three months, have actually come from high levels, top appointees, and political partisanship are the motivations. They’re not saying this is for the public good. And, again, this is something we all warned about, the NSA and our veteran intelligence professionals for sanity probably have written half a dozen times, about these problems. And, now it’s just really all happened the way we predicted and warned about.

DB: Now, we have, sort of, a hundred, almost smoking guns. I want to ask you Coleen Rowley, as somebody who has been… worked for the FBI, evaluated information, collected information, you’re an attorney in this context. In terms of what we know. Do they got Donald Trump? Is he owned by the Russians? What have you been able to confirm?

CR: Well, I don’t think there has… and it’s not just myself, it’s really most of our veteran intelligence professionals, retired CIA, retired NSA, we’ve all been conferring for a while on this. And we have asked, we actually put out a…memo asking for evidence. Because it’s just been assertions and innuendoes, and demonization…

We see a lot of demonization of the Russian T.V. channel. But we have not seen any actual evidence of Russians… and there’s a lot of reasons to think that this would be illogical. Even if, and I would grant that Comey mentioned this in his testimony, that Putin and other top Russians hated Hillary Clinton. Well, even if you assume that, that they didn’t like Hillary Clinton, as much as Donald Trump. They considered Donald Trump their lesser evil, or whatever. Even if you think that, why would they take the risk? Because, at the time Hillary Clinton surprised everyone by… everyone thought she was going to win. So it would have been completely illogical for them to have done these things, to take that kind of a risk, when it was presumed that she was going to be the next president. There’s just so many things here that don’t add up, and don’t make sense.

FBI Director James Comey

And yet, and yet, because our mainstream media is owned by what?…half a dozen big conglomerates, all connected to the military industrial complex, they continue with the scenario of that old movie… the Russians are coming!…the Russians are coming! And unfortunately the Democrat Party has become the war party, very clearly. They’re the ones that don’t see the dangers in ginning up this very dangerous narrative of going after Russia, as meddling, or whatever. And they should ask for, we all should ask for the full evidence of this. If this is case, then we deserve to know the truth about it. And, so far, we haven’t seen anything. Look at that report. There’s nothing in it.

DB: And, this is the same media who for the last… ever since Trump claimed that he was wiretapped using the wrong terminology, these

journalists they couldn’t stop saying “if he did lie, this is a felony. He did lie. He did accuse the former president of the United States…” So, you’re saying, based on your long experience and information this was just a confusion of a term of art, and the idea of the possibility of Trump Towers being under investigation, this was all incredibly not strange, not crazy, and totally normal in the context of an investigation.

CR: Yes, and I again, there could be grounds for legitimate investigation of the periphery of the Trump campaign, certain staffers. And you know what, corruption in Washington, D.C. is quite rampant. And I think many, many of the politicians if they actually put them under the microscope they could find… just as you look at foreign leaders, Netanyahu was indicted for corruption, whatever. It’s not uncommon to have conflicts of interests, and under the table deals. That’s very possible.

So, that’s not what our news is saying. Our mainstream news is saying that, what you said at the beginning, the Russians own Trump, and basically that this has undermined our democracy and our electoral process. That part of it we have seen no evidence of. And, Trump is partially vindicated, because obviously whether he was personally targeted, his campaign at least seems to have been monitored, at least in part.

DB: Were you amazed that, for instance, the FBI director raised the issue of the Clinton investigation, but not the Trump investigation?

CR: Well, I’ve been trying to figure that out. Because back, during … when he went public, he was put into the spot because Loretta Lynch should have been the one to be public on these things. But she was tainted because of having met with Bill Clinton on the tarmac. And so my explanation was that that Comey shouldered the burden from Loretta Lynch. He was doing her a favor in a way because he thought it would look like this is more independent and more professional coming from the FBI. Because at the time Loretta Lynch was under a cloud. And I think that is the explanation for why he was so public at the time.

And, of course, things have developed… the summer, if any investigation started during the summer, again, it was not known. It was probably legitimate if they got some information in about some act of corruption, or whatever, it was certainly legitimate. But since this summer what has happened is this whole narrative has just gone on steroids, because of the leaks about the Russians, etc. And the fact that they put out this report, the FBI, the NSA, and the director of National Intelligence. And I think that that’s the problem right now is the public just is so confused because there has been so much wrong information out there in the media. And no one knows what to believe.

Actually, to Comey’s credit he did say this a couple of times that these media accounts are not accurate. And, I think that, again, we… there’s been a lot of “sources” anonymous sources which I do not think are whistleblowers. But these anonymous sources seem to have come from political operatives, and even higher level people. I’m guessing some of this came from the Obama administration appointees, not Obama, of course, personally.

And, who knows if he knew anything about this, but some of those prior appointees, I think, when all is said and done will be seen as the ones, if they can ever uncover this. It’s hard with anonymous sources. But I think they were probably the ones leading this. And maybe over time we can get back to some sanity here without so much of this planted information, and wrongful leaks. And I, again, I’m all for whistle blowing. But, I don’t agree with leaks like Scooter Libby’s where they were actually using the media to plant false info.

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom. You can access the audio archives at

66 comments for “Surveillance State Goes After Trump

  1. Darlene Savell
    March 29, 2017 at 17:02

    When Dick Cheney says that the Russian hacking of the election is an “act of war”…well, that should tell you all you need to know.

  2. March 27, 2017 at 10:34

    That is the biggest lie I ever heard that they were watching someone else and they just happened to be talking to Trump. I have had a policeman show up at my door before claiming to be looking for someone else but they kept trying to question me. Same lie different situation. I was befriended by a Russian woman online years ago and had an online friendship with her for years before she told me she worked for the American embassy in Russia and that she was supposed to talk to me because that was the only way to be able to legally spy on me was If there was a foreign connection so they just made it.

  3. John Doe II
    March 26, 2017 at 12:04

    ‘…there are motives more exalted than enlightened self-interest, but where collective action has to be taken in the fields of politics and economics, enlightened self-interest is probably the highest of effective motives. If politicians and their constituents always acted to promote their own or their country’s long-range self-interest, this world would be an earthly paradise. As it is, they often act against their own interests, merely to gratify their least creditable passions; the world, in consequence, is a place of misery. Propaganda in favor of action that is consonant with enlightened self-interest appeals to reason by means of logical arguments based upon the best available evidence fully and honestly set forth. Propaganda in favor of action dictated by the impulses that are below self-interest offers false, garbled or incomplete evidence, avoids logical argument and seeks to influence its victims by the mere repetition of catchwords, by the furious denunciation of foreign or domestic scapegoats, and by cunningly associating the lowest passions with the highest ideals, so that atrocities come to be perpetrated in the name of God and the most cynical kind of Realpolitik is treated as a matter of religious principle and patriotic duty.’

    • John Doe II
      March 28, 2017 at 13:59

      … ‘so that atrocities come to be perpetrated in the name of God and the most cynical kind of Realpolitik is treated as a matter of religious principle and patriotic duty.’ —


      R.C. Sproul Jr.
      Aug 17, 2013

      It is pandemic in the church. We tote our Bibles around. We affirm our commitment to the Word’s inerrancy. We may even read it faithfully. This, however, is well short of believing what it says. We still have to deal with our propensity to diminish the plain teaching of the text, to metaphor-phosize the text into oblivion. God says something straightforward, but shocking, and we turn it into something vapid, safe.

      Consider, for instance Proverbs 8:36b, “All those who hate me love death.” Jars the ears, doesn’t it? To make it more palatable we have a few options. First, we can reduce the subject. That is, we’re willing to confess that Stalin, Hitler, Jeffrey Dahmer, bin Laden, they hate God, and we can see from their fruits that they love death. Trouble is, the rest of the Bible reminds us that all of us, in our natural state, are “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3), are all at enmity with God (Romans 8:7). Before He gives us new life, we hate Him.

      What we’re left with then is diminishing the object. “Love death” has a certain macabre poetic ring to it. It must be, because it sounds poetic, a metaphor, and therefore we can tame it. Maybe all we’re supposed to get is that haters of God are self-destructive. They would rather rule in hell than submit in heaven, and so in that sense they “love” death. But in the here and now, as our neighbors, they are nice, normal people, right? They keep their lawn trimmed. Wear their seatbelts. Some of them even give to the United Way. That doesn’t sound terribly bloodthirsty, does it?

      God, however, didn’t give us His Word to remind us of the banal. He isn’t given to belaboring what is right before us, pointing out the noses on our faces. Rather He gives us His Word so that we might better see what we are otherwise blind to see. We live in a world of zombies. Polite, seatbelt wearing zombies.

      Consider the perverse practice of homosex. In God’s created order when a man and wife come together there is natural fruit, children. Without a man and a woman, however, no life will come forth. Children are seen as a burden, a hardship. Even the President, in describing his own pro-abortion convictions suggested, that if either of his daughters should conceive he wouldn’t want them “punished with a baby.” We hate death when we embrace barren behavior.

      Of course the grisly reality that we live in a world of zombies is never more clear than with respect to the wanton destruction of the unborn. We live in a land where every year over 1.2 million moms, usually accompanied by husbands, boyfriends or fathers, murder their own unborn children. More than one out of four (28%) women in America aged 15-64 have killed their own babies. Among women 40-55, four out of ten American women (40%) have at least once intentionally killed their own baby.

      Because, however, it is done in secret, in the shady part of town, because we don’t talk about it, we miss what we are, even though God tells us in His Word. Because we willfully prefer to live in a make-believe world of sterile denial we do not believe what God has told us. We are haters of God, and lovers of death. That’s not poetry, but cold, sober-minded calculation.

  4. March 25, 2017 at 20:51

    Ukraine ammo depo blown sky high on March 23? Have to look into that. Now McCain today is saying the NWO is breaking down, Zero Hedge reports, what’s he after? Also more articles about there being no such thing as a deep state on the web.

  5. Alex
    March 25, 2017 at 15:12

    Why isn’t Creepy Comey investigating Israeli tinkering with American elections?
    How many of YOUR/America’s $4+BILLION in WELFARE given to Israel every year comes back to America in the form of BRIBES to “american” politicians? Traitors voting to give Israel MORE, so they can get bigger BRIBES http://investmentwatchblog….

    What is good for Israel should be good for America. NO “dual citizen” allowed in government. Israel: Three dual-citizen MKs ordered to annul their foreign passports
    by Shahar Ilan – Haaretz – Feb18 2009
    The Central Elections Committee has ordered three Knesset members with dual citizenship to annul their foreign passports by next Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony, or at least begin steps to cancel them.
    The three lawmakers are Yohanan Plesner of Kadima (who has Danish citizenship), Nitzan Horowitz of Meretz (a Polish citizen) and Yisrael Beiteinu’s Anastasia Michaeli, who holds a Russian passport. The Basic Law on the Knesset states that “a member of Knesset holding an additional citizenship that is not Israeli … will not take the oath of loyalty until he has done everything he can to relinquish it.” –
    Nobody can have loyalty to TWO Nations at the same time. SO nobody with “dual citizenship” should be allowed to hold any post in our government.

  6. Reddox
    March 25, 2017 at 13:45

    “Democrat Party”? Seriously? You’re going to engage in that kind of childishness?

  7. John V. Walsh
    March 25, 2017 at 13:11

    Great commentary by Coleen Rowley.
    But if Trump did not understand that “wiretap” was not a proper term, then neither did the NYT which ran this headline atop page one on inauguration day.
    The term “wiretap” is used right there in the headline in the hard copy – and in the article itself.
    In fact this story was almost certainly one of the sources for Trump’s tweet.
    Of course the rule in the MSM and most “alternative” media is to portray Trump as a boorish dummy. Crazy like a fox, I would say.

    • LJ
      March 25, 2017 at 13:33


    • Reddox
      March 25, 2017 at 14:10

      In his Time magazine interview March 23, Trump tried to make a big deal out of this New York Times article. He said he had not seen the print version headline at the time it was published, but suggested (as does the Armstrong Economics link) that the paper had changed the headline after he used the word “wiretap” on Twitter.

      The NYT acknowledged that it had a different headline for the paper’s January 20 print version and for the January 19 online version of the same article, and demonstrated that neither headline was ever changed. The variation in headlines was acknowledged in the online version.

      Anyone who has ever tried to write a headline knows that there are space restrictions, explaining the use of the slightly shorter word “wiretapped” as opposed to “intercepted”. As the following article points out, the headline in no way “vindicated” Trump, who repeatedly insisted that Barack Obama had ordered wiretaps on Trump himself.

    • Coleen Rowley
      March 25, 2017 at 15:46

      When technology changes, common parlance does not adjust that quickly. So the common understanding of being “wiretapped” would be shorthand for being monitored or intercepted.

    • Josh Stern
      March 26, 2017 at 02:13

      Oct. 31 Slate Story claiming that communications between Trump Tower Server and Russian Banks, detected in Spring 2016 had led to an investigation:
      Nov. 7 Heat Street Story claiming FISA warrants existed to check out those strange communications:
      Jan. 12 BBC Story revealing that it was the CIA that had kicked off the investigation in the US (did they encourage Latvia to find it report it to them?)
      Jan. 19 NYT story that misused the term “wiretapping” but added the info about Manafort, Stone, and Page being investigated:
      Mar. 7 – Mint Press with an example of a story noting that Wikileaks Vault 7 contained software exploits designed to point the finger at Russia:

      Mar. 22: Infowars Story/Interview claiming that communications which were the basis for the FISA warrants were planted malware:

      Mar. 23 – Counterpunch article claiming that the firm CrowdStrike which the FBI is relying on for the claim that some software from DNC had Russian type hacking signatures was caught in a previous lie about political hacking in Ukraine:
      This follows on a lot of other stories debunking the “Russia hacked the DNC” narrative:
      c.f. these stories – and the troubling observation a) that FBI/CIA seemed to change their story about how Wikileaks got DNC data after Craig Murray took responsibility for being the last leg conduit from DC. They first tried to ignore Murray, and much later they said Russia must have used a “cut out” to give the data to Murray. The FBI has not said anything about why they can’t find Guccifer who was still merrily chatting away on Twitter in Aug. with Roger Stone. Former CIA, John Kiriakou has said, on the topic of the Steele dossier, that Steele was mainly known by reputation within the CIA/MI6 community, so it makes the most sense that they would have hired him. It’s pretty obvious as well that if they did hire him to find dirt then they would have had no trouble feeding him bogus nonsense. And he, seeing the situation, would have no trouble understanding his need to go into hiding.

  8. Bob
    March 25, 2017 at 12:28

    The leakers in the services need to be found and prosecuted for treason and sedition. The reporters who passed along the leaks can be given immunity and then forced to testify. They’ll whine loudly about it. The leakers are destroying US democracy and it’s time to deal with them very harshly. I don’t think a firing squad would be out of line for those parties found guilty.

  9. BobS
    March 25, 2017 at 05:29

    Trump’s Russia connections seem to be as much or more to organized crime than to the state.

  10. March 24, 2017 at 20:21

    Somebody should have corrected me, this is a bipartisan committee, such as it is, on “Russiagate”. Jeffrey St Clair has a sarcastically humorous piece on it on Counterpunch. Schiff is trying to dominate because he really wants to stick it to Russia so his friendly arms dealer Pasternak can deliver the goods. I hope it turns into “Deflategate” soon.

  11. Plincoln
    March 24, 2017 at 19:35

    Anyone who actually thought Trump meant a physical wiretap and not todays surveillance methodolgy should go back to watching Sesame Street.

    Russia of course is next in line to be brought down so we can understand the motives in painting them as a bad guy. Both parties are War Parties.

    The deep state surveillance exposure sort of puts everyone on notice from public servants, congress, media, citizens, etc that we got you if we want you. Good way to get people to self censor and toe the line. Control is good.

    Frankly, the biggest beneficiary may be Trump who as we can see now is the Koch Brothers puppet. Basically Trump pretended to be pro Putin and anti Koch when he was neither, because thats what helped get him elected. MSM pretends to be going after him but they could have put him down at any time before the election over his Russian mob ties and ties to Epstein/children. Now he has this Deep State Surveillance toy that everyone fears to accomplish the agenda.

    Nobody gets elected to President by accident. Those who run the show in the shadows are too smart. Hillary would have been fine with them as well. They use both parties. This is a well scripted and staged reality show. Not sure where its going exactly, but I doubts its good for the little guy.

  12. LJ
    March 24, 2017 at 17:13

    Good Dennis Bernstein interview. What 35-40 years and counting…. Funny how times change., I guess he’s a Republican operative now and does occasional hit pieces for Putin . You’d think he could afford to drive a better car wouldn’t you?

  13. March 24, 2017 at 16:37

    Thanks, John Doe II, I should have looked beyond my nose, and apparently such information is irrelevant to “democracy” and good governance.

    It’s just reported that Comey unexpectedly showed up at the White House this afternoon. Plot is thickening.

  14. John Doe II
    March 24, 2017 at 16:27

    McCain’s Career Financed by Mob Money
    The “godfathers” behind the political career of John McCain

    Arizona politics greatly influenced by former associates of Bronfman, Lansky

    By Michael Collins Piper — AFP: 4 Feb 2008

    SELF-STYLED REPUBLICAN “reformer” John McCain is right now positioned
    as one of the top figures in the race for the GOP presidential
    nomination. But one thing about McCain that the mass media chooses not
    to report is his family connection to the organized crime-connected
    interests that have run the state of Arizona (through both major
    political parties) since at least the 1940s.

    To understand McCain—in particular his devotion to the interests of
    Israel—it is necessary to recognize the little-known fact that the
    powerful Bronfman family empire, based on its Seagram’s liquor fortune
    and its controlling influence over the Time-Warner media conglomerate,
    has been the primary behind-the-scenes force dominating Arizona

    While the Bronfman family first came to power in Montreal in the 1920s
    under Sam Bronfman, a foremost partner of U.S.-based organized crime
    chieftain Meyer Lansky whose so-called “Mafia” henchmen peddled
    Bronfman liquor in the United States during Prohibition, the current
    head of the family, Edgar Bronfman, spent many years as president of
    the powerful World Jewish Congress.

    The Bronfmans, along with the Rothschilds of Europe, the Oppenheimers
    of South Africa, and Armand Hammer of the United States—all patrons of
    Israel and the global Zionist network—constituted what has been dubbed
    the “Billionaire Gang of Four.” But the Bronfman family has emerged as
    the virtual royal family of American Zionism, and their tentacles
    reach far and wide throughout the United States through a vast array
    of holdings little known to the public.

    One particularly famous Texas-based mob functionary, nightclub keeper
    Jack Ruby, for example, is known to have actually been a lieutenant of
    the Bronfman family (a point that has often been lost or suppressed in
    the legends surrounding Ruby’s ties to organized crime). And it is
    known—although again not mentioned by most JFK assassination
    “researchers”— that Ruby was a key player in a Texas-based network
    smuggling arms (stolen from U.S. military installations) to Israel,
    the Bronfman empire’s favorite foreign nation.

    Aside from that historical digression, the fact (relevant to our
    review of John McCain) is that McCain’s home state of Arizona has long
    been under Bronfman control.

  15. D5-5
    March 24, 2017 at 16:00

    Interesting analysis here related to recent discussion that the DEMS are worried they’re losing their grip on the dominant demonizing narratives.

    On one of its points that our elected reps are too busy to actually study anything and must rely on what they’re told shows us how pathetically inept Our System has become.


    Author Charles Hugh-Smith posted by Tyler Durden at

    “The Deep State’s Dominant Narratives And Authority Are Crumbling” Mar 24 2017

    “[the Deep State] is a vast machine of control that is impervious to the views or demands of elected representatives or the American people. The key to understanding this social-political-economic control is to grasp that control of the narratives, expertise and authority is control of everything.”

    . . . “Both senior elected officials and senior state administrators must rely on narratives, expertise, and authority because they have insufficient time and experience to do original research and assessment.

    “Narratives create an instant context that ‘makes sense’ of various data points and events. Narratives distill causal points into an explanatory story with an implicit teleology—because of this and that, the future will be thus and so.”

    . . . “narratives are adjusted to better fit the evidence. Thus the accusation that ‘the Russians hacked our election’ has been tabled because it simply doesn’t align with any plausible evidence. That narrative has been replaced with variants, such as ‘The Russians hacked The Democratic National Committee.’ Now that this claim has been shown to be false, new variants are popping up weekly, with equally poor alignment with evidence.”

    . . . “The primary claim of each Deep State node is that its expertise and authority cannot be questioned. In other words, while the dominant narrative can be questioned (only cursorily of course) the expertise and authority of the institutional node cannot be questioned.

    “This is why the Deep State is fracturing: the expertise and authority of its nodes are delaminating because its nodes no longer align with the evidence. If various Security Agencies sign off on the narrative that ‘Russia hacked our election’ (a nonsense claim from the start, given the absurd imprecision of the ‘hacking’—hacking into what? Voting machines? Electoral tallies?), and that narrative is evidence-free and fact-free, i.e. false, then the expertise and authority of those agencies comes into legitimate question.

    “Once the legitimacy of the expertise and authority is questioned, control of the narrative is imperiled. The control of the narrative is control of the teleology, the agenda and the end-game—in other words, everything. If the institution loses control of the dominant narrative, it loses its hold on power.

    “This is why the Deep State is in turmoil—its narratives no longer make sense, or are in direct conflict with other nodes’ narratives or have been delegitimized by widening gaps between ‘definitive’ claims and actual evidence.

    “There is indeed a deep state but its control of dominant narratives, and thus its source of control and power, is crumbling. The gap between the narratives and the evidence that supports them has widened to the point of collapse.”

    • Erik g
      March 24, 2017 at 17:19

      It is interesting and very true that Congress is completely unable to debate policy, and executive officials are unable to study policy. This is why I promote the idea of a non-partisan College of Policy Analysis (call it what you will) to protect every viewpoint, and produce summaries of textual debates among university experts in every discipline and region, of the status quo, and effects of all policy alternatives. No viewpoint goes unheard, and no consensus is forced. These commented summaries would show what Every group thinks, and why, and how they respond to challenges by the other viewpoints.

      That is vastly better organized and useful than trying to sort out endless narratives and one-sided diatribes, and politicians can be quizzed on understanding and exact positions, and challenged per the other viewpoints. Vastly better than Congress has ever done.

      • D5-5
        March 24, 2017 at 19:32

        We seriously need to examine our assumptions. To assume that an elected representative, and getting paid at that, should seriously study politics and history, as well as current affairs, and be able to come to and argue his own conclusions, versus being subject to the authority of others, appears to be a mistake. That is not the nature of the job. These scapings off the corpus suggest how much cleaning up is needed.

      • D5-5
        March 24, 2017 at 21:07

        Erik, I think this idea is very good. We need citizens representation, out of which comes real (peoples’) leadership.

  16. March 24, 2017 at 15:58

    I really wish a journalist would dig into the career of John McCain to expose his nefarious connections. He does seem to get a free pass from his POW experience. He seems more than unbalanced, even over the edge. A very bad influence in the Senate, do Arizonans suffer from sunstroke that they keep electing him? Or is it the crony capitalism money behind him? Does the NED get him elected?

    • Sam F
      March 24, 2017 at 17:11

      It would be good to know where the NED money really goes, as well as the secret agency money, and how much of that is fed back into campaign bribes.

    • Skip Scott
      March 24, 2017 at 17:18

      Wayne Madsen has the goods on McCain. Plenty of articles on his nefarious past.

    • MEexpert
      March 25, 2017 at 12:04

      Ron Unz did an article on McCain’s questionable war record. He uses the war hero business to get elected. Remember, he survived the keating scandal in the 80s.

    • Sheryl
      March 25, 2017 at 23:06

      I didn’t vote for him. I know of some Arizona Republicans who believe he is corrupt, and worked hard to get a different candidate on the ballot during the primaries. I think it’s a case of the incumbent having the advantage.

    • akech
      March 28, 2017 at 14:33

      Of McCain:

      “He seems more than unbalanced, even over the edge”

      This is one of the most critical qualifications demanded by the Deep State group; the tools (people) they use must be financially, socially or psychologically compromised and blackmail(able)!

  17. March 24, 2017 at 15:25

    Not that’s a good question, LondonBob, how could Comey investigate himself? Would Lynch do it? D5-5 if the 69% belief of “Russiagate” has flopped, that’s a relief. Hopefully people are coming to their senses about this whole soap opera.

    • D5-5
      March 24, 2017 at 20:50

      Jessica, I’m having a hard time pinning down what the number really is. If I look at my local sidewalk newspaper the number would be very high. Smug MSM assurances.

  18. John Doe II
    March 24, 2017 at 15:24

    “Democrats are so eager to take down President Trump that they are joining forces with the Surveillance State to trample the privacy rights of people close to Trump, ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley tells Dennis J Bernstein.”

    Shame/shame/shame on you – Rowley and Bernstein, I’M SURE YOU KNOW BETTER!!
    Or have you too been caught up in the SPIN CYCLE???

    :: [excerpt]

    Furthermore, the chairman of the board today of the International Republican Institute is SENATOR JOHN McCAIN

    In a visit to Ukraine in February (2014), McCain gave a speech in Kiev, during which he said: “We have to side with the protesters and the power has to be dispersed from the hands of (Ukrainian president Viktor) Yanukovych.” What was that supposed to mean, if not a call of support, issued on Ukrainian soil, from the chairman of the International Republican Institute for the overthrow of the elected president of Ukraine? Imagine a high-ranking official from another country, in a speech in Washington, D.C., calling for the overthrow of an elected American president? And if McCain was willing to issue such statements in public, what was he willing to say privately in any discussions with the IRI?

    In a truly mad encore on March 14, (2014) courtesy of the op-ed page of the New York Times, McCain advocated “sanctioning Russian officials, isolating Russia internationally, and increasing NATO’s military presence and exercises on its eastern frontier,” in addition to “boycotting the Group of 8 summit meeting in Sochi and convening the Group of 7 elsewhere.” The Times’ opinion-page assisted McCain’s belligerence by adding the subtitle: “John McCain on Responding to Russia’s Aggression.”

    Neither the Times nor McCain mentioned that the senator from Arizona, who a month earlier appeared to call for the ouster of Ukraine’s president, is chair of the NED-funded Republican International Institute, which admitted in 2002 that it was involved in the overthrow of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, and which is currently the recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars of NED funds for its operations in Ukraine, whatever those might be.

    In short, the essence of the NED enterprise itself almost certainly violates the customary international law norm of non-intervention, given its overall interventionist orientation, which features the neo-liberalization of foreign countries and the destabilization and overthrow of foreign governments.

    Finally, who in the United States oversees the NED? Not President Obama, who shows no intention of checking even the publicly known outrages of the NSA and CIA, let alone the mostly unknown ones of the NED. Not the Democrats or Republicans in Congress, who in 1983 created the NED “to promote democracy” abroad. Not the federal judiciary, needless to say. And not the press; surely not the New York Times, which, without Christopher Marquis, who died of AIDS in 2005, hasn’t employed anyone since who has shown an interest in shedding any light on the activities of the NED, certainly not in Venezuela and Ukraine today.

    • John Doe II
      March 24, 2017 at 16:10

      McCain gave a speech in Kiev, during which he said: “We have to side with the protesters and the power has to be dispersed from the hands of (Ukrainian president Viktor) Yanukovych.” What was that supposed to mean, if not a call of support, issued on Ukrainian soil, from the chairman of the International Republican Institute for the overthrow of the elected president of Ukraine?

      Can turnabout be fair play?
      – But, that’s the essential point, is it?
      Privacy Rights? – that’s a joke, right?
      American exceptionalism allows us to
      Overthrow Elected Presidents,

    • Sam F
      March 24, 2017 at 17:09

      Can you explain why your observations on NED contradict Rowley and Bernstein. I don’t see them promoting NED or McCain et al.

      • John Doe II
        March 26, 2017 at 08:45

        McCain was a chief catalyst in the overthrow of Ukraine, installing a bunch of nazis and set up the fighting in Crimea.
        Death, death, death — we seem to love starting wars, don’t we…?

  19. LondonBob
    March 24, 2017 at 13:51

    The whole Russia thing was nonsense from the beginning. What was the justification for it, why not investigate the many countries, for example the Ukraine, Mexico and Israel, that interfere in US elections. Would not trust Comey, how can he investigate himself?

    • Coleen Rowley
      March 25, 2017 at 15:21

      Comey is arguably the most important person in Washington now: But don’t forget Comey also signed off on Bush’s Torture Program as well as the illegal massive monitoring program (after he and others found a neater loophole than the “emergency AG Ordered one” that John Yoo and Robert Delahunty had originally came up with).

      • March 29, 2017 at 04:51

        How authentic is Larry C. Johnson and William Binney article in The National Inquirer exposing the Deep State?

  20. D5-5
    March 24, 2017 at 13:47

    Yesterday I reported that according to RT 69% of the American public have swallowed the Russians did it BS.

    Today I read in various places, as with Jeffrey St. Clair at Counterpunch, that the story has flopped, the American people are not buying it, and are far more worried about other matters, including jobs and avoiding war.

    This link takes you to various polling outfits on related questions:

  21. D5-5
    March 24, 2017 at 13:39

    Yesterday Bob from Portland posted a link to the baffler and a piece titled “from Russia with panic.” I’m not posting the link here because doing so creates such delay in discussion. (It can be found near the end of the comments section.) This piece is very long, well-written, and exposes Crowdstrike for the politicized spin machine it is. My comment here is directed at Comey.

    Now, recall that early in January, Jan 5 or 6, a very confident “assessment” emerged from the three major intel agencies,” FBI, CIA, NSA, representing “the 17 intelligence agencies, one of which was Crowdstrike.

    NSA’s Clapper went “moderate.” Since, and recently, he has said there’s smoke, no fire. FBI’s Comey went “high” as did Brennan’s CIA.

    Now we know that Comey’s FBI did not examine the case for Russia hacking the DNC AT ALL. It went with Crowdstrike, by now clearly, very clearly, a heavily biased source hired by Clinton to do spin.

    Mr. Comey, why do you have even a shred of credibility left at your disposal at this time?

    NOW we’re told oh by the way we’re doing an investigation of all this Russia interference on Trump, which would include the history back to DNC hacking.

    The intell agencies of this country have sold out to political interests. What other conclusion can I come to as a US citizen?

    Clear it up for me, Mr. Comey, on your veracity and why I should take seriously anything you say.

    • D5-5
      March 24, 2017 at 14:00

      Sorry. I meant the comments section for the Democrats trade places on war and McCarthy piece.

  22. Liam
    March 24, 2017 at 13:38

    Ukrainian Nazis Suffer Devastating Blow – Largest Ukrainian Ammo Storage Depot Blown Sky High

    Sabotage and explosion of depot occurred on March 23, 2017. Western media silent as Ukraine’s largets ammo supply depot is wiped from the face of the Earth.

    Nice to see these bombs blasted sky high, as they would have been dropped onto the innocent civilian ethnic Russian population in East Ukraine otherwise. This was the Ukrainian Nazis main ammo depot in the east.

    Live leak has over a dozen other videos of the bombs going off.

  23. March 24, 2017 at 13:37

    It’s hard to figure out why Americans can’t figure it out, Bill. In the converse of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, the fable of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, it took a child to point out that the Emperor was naked. Maybe they all need to talk to their inner child instead of their programmed adult. Someone said here the other day, was it you, that a poll showed 69% of polled Americans had swallowed the Russian hacking fable? Like the Pete Seeger children’s song “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”, could be parodied to “There Was a Whole Nation Who Swallowed a Lie”. “I don’t know why they swallowed that lie…I think (they’ll) die” would be the rejoinder.

    • Sam F
      March 24, 2017 at 16:58

      Very well put. Their inner child is suppressed because they do not seek the truth. H.L. Mencken said (approx.) that “The average man avoids truth as diligently as he avoids arson, regicide, and piracy on the high seas, and for the same reasons: it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn’t pay.” The mass media tell them what they must repeat to each other to keep their jobs. They are mostly capable of citizenship but only in a democracy, where elections and mass media are not controlled by money.

    • Coleen Rowley
      March 25, 2017 at 15:10

      The best explanation/analysis of how and why the American public has become so gullible in the current “post truth era” is by Greg Maybury (based on Huxley’s, Orwell’s and Postman’s dystopian predictions) at .

    • Alex
      March 25, 2017 at 15:40

      If it is indeed a “Russia hacking fable”, then it would certainly be in the best interest of the Trump administration to insist upon an independent investigation, right?

  24. Bill Bodden
    March 24, 2017 at 13:01

    … the Russians are coming!…the Russians are coming!

    We’ve been getting this fear mongering ever since the end of the Second World War. If it wasn’t the Russians, it was someone else in Washington’s target – China, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Iran, Assad, the Taliban, etc. and almost all lies.

    When the little boy in the Aesop fable cried “Wolf” it didn’t take long for the grown ups in his neighborhood to conclude he was lying. When will the American public have enough sense to realize their government is constantly lying to them? When will the American people recognize that the greatest threat to what is left of our democracy, civil liberties and well-being comes from the plutocrats, the corporate media, and the oligarchies running the Democratic-Republican duopoly?

  25. March 24, 2017 at 12:08

    Joe, Trump doesn’t seem so much clever as trying to be strategically dominant, relying on Twitter to try to keep ahead of the hounds. He probably won’t get impeached unless the GOP decide to throw him under the bus, not likely now since they’re getting too much from him presently. I would like to understand why the Democrats get by with a partisan investigation on “Russiagate”. Shouldn’t both parties be involved?

    A quote by Michael Hudson in an article on Counterpunch today, from Leon Trotsky, “Fascism is a result of the failure of the left to provide an alternative”. That’s a bit off this CN subject, but I thought very interesting.

    Always a pleasure to read your comments, Joe. CN is the best web forum, commenters are really thinking people. A fresh breeze from so many noxious comments on other sites.

    • Joe Tedesky
      March 24, 2017 at 16:41

      Likewise I enjoy hearing what you have to say Jessica K. I like to read the comments here on consortiumnews because the comments are not what you often find on other sites, and between the references people give, and the opinions, I feel some comfort since many people otherwise get their news from the MSM seem to be lacking in their news knowledge of current events, where consortiumnews visitors and regulars are quite different.

      I’m learning to never second quest Donald Trump. His method to his madness is certainly original from what most politicians have got us all use to. My guess is he is at least trying to out smart his opposition.

      The Democrat’s are the biggest disappointment from what they could be. I think Michael Hudson in his article you referenced over at counterpunch had it right about the Democrat’s treatment of Bernie Sanders and his supporters (my whole family, accept for Uncle Jack) is about right. Hillary is no damn good for her rustling the Sleeping Bear. Now there is one lady along with McCain and Graham who should spend a day in a fox hole, or in a refugee camp.

      I’m sorry but having read most of Putin’s speeches I cannot for the life of me see what is so wrong about a multi-polar world such as the Russian Leader has suggested. Why would anyone in their right mind even think for one minute that a NWO all size fits all world would work, considering how diverse people and cultures are? Why do Americans believe they have a duty to enforce our beliefs on other people? Cultures need to evolve on their own, you can’t just tell people this is the way it is. Plus, all this hype over our spreading democracy is doing just the opposite if you ask me, so then why do it?

      • Sam F
        March 24, 2017 at 16:53

        It seems that the NWO “democracy promotion” is just the warmonger cover story du jour. If they were tyrants of another superpower they would insist on that brand of NWO.

        • Joe Tedesky
          March 24, 2017 at 19:58

          I always thought that the New World Order plan was way over the top, filled with too much absolutism and throughly washed in deep shades of arrogance, and dreamed up a top a mountain of hubris.

  26. Joe Tedesky
    March 24, 2017 at 09:57

    I would imagine that getting the dirty low down on a politician would do better than funding their campaign, or how about doing both? If Trump does get impeached I believe this will be the first coup in history that was waged by the MSM. As they say in the media business, don’t change that dial, to be continued….

    • Joe Tedesky
      March 24, 2017 at 11:04

      Just a thought I had, but could Donald by tweeting that Obama bugged him been a clever ploy to discourage the spooks from listening in on him? You can’t say that Trump didn’t get the media’s attention with his outrageous tweet. So is it possible that by his sending out the tweet that Trump at least for now gave the evasive easedroppers something to think about, and make these spy’s second guess their own maneuvers? Just had that thought, and wanted to share it with all of you.

      • D5-5
        March 24, 2017 at 13:54

        Joe, I don’t know his motives, other than anger, but what he did seems to me is offer a competing narrative which now confuses things and diminishes the main Trump as Putin dupe meme. A clever ploy, is he that clever, I don’t know. But I wanted to add that all this Russia-baiting stuff over these last months reminds me of late 02 and into 03, with the continuing WMD drumbeat on on despite the UN investigation (remember Scott Ritter, what happened to him I wonder), and all as the preliminary washing over the population the need for the senseless attack on Iraq. It feels the same now–engineering a new war, effort to slow Russia down somehow, and replace Putin.

        • Joe Tedesky
          March 24, 2017 at 19:54

          The fuss over Russia is unfortunate. All of DC seems to be in turmoil. All eyes are on Trump being bugged or not, while American/NATO/Etc troop build ups are happening all over the place. Tillerson even talks deliberately, and all the while his State Dept. gets a budget whack, the Defense Dept. ot rather Industry gets a hearty boost in spending, or selling, which ever you prefer. We are officially loss, and having the Democrate’s turn totally Neocon is where the unfortunate comes in.

          • J. D.
            March 25, 2017 at 08:50

            It is unlikely that most of the fear-mongering Democrats, except at the highest levels, realize that the ongoing attempts to destabilize or oust Trump are not motivated by his health-care policy, or even contacts with the Russian Ambassador. But rather it his intention, made early on in his campaign, to break with the “globalist” system put in place following the death of FDR, and especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union.Trump’s desire to establish new relations to nations outside of that system is what is driving the public display of non-stop McCarthyism/warmongering as well as the unprecedented use of intelligence services of both the US, and most likely the UK, by the former president .

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 25, 2017 at 09:50

            J.D. What you point out seems to be true. I too believe Trump has annoyed the globalist. What makes Trump’s Adminstration baffling is to if his Cabinet is on board with Donald’s worldly view.

      • March 24, 2017 at 16:00

        Everything’s still being recorded and put into the databases, Joe. The mass surveillance machinery is set to full “collect it all,” in the words of NSA Enterprise Bridge Captain Michael Hayden.

        • Joe Tedesky
          March 24, 2017 at 19:55

          You are right. We are all bugged.

        • John
          March 24, 2017 at 21:16

          You are thinking about General Keith Alexander. He’s the one who had his chair set up to look like the captain’s chair on the Enterprise when he was BAD director.

          • John
            March 24, 2017 at 21:18

            Make that NSA director. Goddamn spell check!

      • MEexpert
        March 25, 2017 at 11:44

        Trump’s mind works in a very odd way. Hard to figure out. He may have had several reasons for that tweet. I think one of his reasons for his tweet was to get media’s and congress’ attention away from Jeff Sessions. You remember, Sessions was in hot waters on the Russia questions. If you noticed, he fell off the radar after Trump’s accusations.

        Some of us who are old enough do remember the days when the congress had some people with integrity on both side of the aisle. I think the present corps is so corrupt that they dare not start a Frank Church type of investigation of the intelligence community. We do need one.

        • Joe Tedesky
          March 25, 2017 at 12:36

          I agree distraction is an important function when leaders must evaluate what is worth attention over what is not. We must not forget that Trump is in a war against the CIA, and that for many of his supporters it doesn’t matter what Trump’s enemies say, because they believe Trump. Add to that, that ever since Snowden exposed the Security State for what it is, there are those of us who believe that we are all being ‘tapp’ to some degree. My guess the Donald has a handle on the attitudes and the street smarts enough to believe at least that someone in government was or is listening in on President Trump’s conversations on or off the phone. I’m sure at some level of climbing the ladder one should expect that their private life will be in the spot light of the Deep State.

    • Coleen Rowley
      March 25, 2017 at 13:54

      Best analysis of the “Praetorian Bodyguards of the Empire’s Liars” aka the corporate media that I’ve ever read is by Greg Maybury (with help from Huxley, Orwell, and Neil Postman):

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 25, 2017 at 18:45

        Thank you for the Greg Mayberry article. I like both Mayberry for his writing, and you Ms Rowley for your honesty. I wish our government had more people like you. Mayberry is right about the MSM being the Praetorian Bodyguards of the Empire’s Liars, I mean what would our politicos do without these media hacks covering for them. The laugh is on them though for by their giving Donald Trumo 4.96 billion dollars worth of free media coverage the joke is on the MSM.

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