Exclusive: Civil-liberties nightmares about the Surveillance State are coming true, but – since the victims are former Donald Trump advisers – many of the usual civil-liberties defenders are strikingly silent, reports Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
Congressional demands for personal and business information from several of Donald Trump’s campaign advisers demonstrate how the Russia-gate investigation continues to spill over into a new breed of McCarthyism infringing on civil liberties, including freedom of speech and freedom of association.
The original thinking had been that congressional and other investigations would concentrate on specific concerns from alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, such as whether a Trump intermediary somehow conveyed purloined Democratic emails to WikiLeaks for publication on the Internet.
WikiLeaks denies getting the leaked emails from Russians and the Trump campaign denies colluding with Russians, but President Obama’s intelligence chiefs claimed that Russian agents hacked the emails and then used intermediaries to get the material to WikiLeaks – although no real evidence of that has been presented publicly.
However, instead of zeroing in on that central question, the Senate investigation appears engaged in a fishing expedition looking at virtually every contact between Trump advisers and Russians, who may or may not have ties to the government. The demands are so broad that they could entrap the targets for perceived obstruction of an official investigation if some name or contact is left off, intentionally or by accident.
For instance, the Senate Intelligence Committee has demanded from ex-Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page, who has extensive business dealings and personal contacts in Russia, the names and details of pretty much anyone he contacted over an 18-month period who could be a Russian official or somehow connected to a Russian business.
In a letter dated April 28, the committee’s top Republican, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and top Democrat, Mark Warner of Virginia, gave Page until May 9 to provide: “A list of all meetings between you and any Russian official or representative of Russian business interests which took place between June 16, 2015, and January 20, 2017. For each meeting listed, please include the date, location, all individuals present, and complete copies of any notes taken by you or on your behalf.”
Meetings with Campaign
Further, the committee set a deadline of May 19 for Page to also supply: “A list of all meetings of which you are aware between any individual with the Trump campaign and any Russian official or representative of Russian business interests which took place between June 16, 2015, and January 20, 2017. For each meeting listed please include the date, location, and all individuals present.”
By the same deadline, the committee demanded: “All communications records, including electronic communications records such as e-mail or text messages, written correspondence, and phone records of communications which took place between June 16, 2015, and January 20, 2017, to which you and any Russian official or representative of Russian business interests was a party.
“All communications records, including electronic communications records such as e-mail or text message, written correspondence, and phone records, of communications related in any way to Russia, conducted between you and members and advisors of the Trump campaign.
“All information regarding your financial and real estate holdings related to Russia between June 16, 2015, and January 20, 2017, including those financial securities or real estate holdings which you sold or from which you divested in that time period.”
Similar information requests reportedly have been sent to other Trump campaign advisers, including Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn.
Given the extent of Page’s dealings in Russia, which included having lived there for several years, the broad information demand amounts to a perjury trap because even if Page tried his best to supply all the personal, phone and email contacts, he would be sure to miss something or someone, thus setting him up for prosecution for obstructing an investigation or lying to investigators.
A FISA Warrant
Also, since the Obama administration reportedly obtained a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against Page last summer, the U.S. government may well have more complete records of Page’s contacts and communications than he would, thus putting him into even greater legal jeopardy for an omission.
The FISA warrant was allegedly obtained, in part, because of a speech that Page delivered in Russia on July 7, 2016, that was mildly critical of U.S. foreign policy toward the countries of the former Soviet Union. Beginning in late July, that FBI investigation then expanded into a much wider probe of people connected to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign with possible links to Russia.
In an article about the origins of the investigation of Page and other Trump advisers, The New York Times characterized Page’s July speech to the New Economic School in Moscow as critical of “American policy toward Russia in terms that echoed the position of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.”
The Times then quoted one line from the speech in which Page said, “Washington and other Western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.”
The Times article by Scott Shane, Mark Mazzetti and Adam Goldman added: “His [Page’s] remarks accorded with Mr. Trump’s positive view of the Russian president, which had prompted speculation about what Mr. Trump saw in Mr. Putin — more commonly denounced in the United States as a ruthless, anti-Western autocrat.”
In reality, Page’s speech was much more nuanced than the Times presented. His central point was that the hasty transformation of the former Soviet Union from state-controlled to free market economies led to unintended consequences, including increased corruption.
“As the state remained dominant and new markets were simultaneously established following the breakup of the Soviet Union, members of these societies devised other methods and means of survival through corruption,” Page said, adding that the West was not entirely innocent of similar problems:
“These approaches mirror several corrupt tendencies at times found in Western societies. Some may be clear-cut such as the Bernard Madoff scandal in financial markets and Enron in the energy sector, while others are more subtle such as the perceived societal injustices highlighted by the Occupy Wall Street movement.”
In other words, Page’s comments fell well within a reasonable assessment of the troubles that have occurred within the countries of the former Soviet Union. Page also recognized that the West – despite its sometimes holier-than-thou attitude toward less-developed nations – has its own problems with both criminal corruption and the more subtle variety of Wall Street machinations. After all, the 2008 financial crisis stripped common citizens of both America and Europe of trillions of dollars in lost assets and costs from government bailouts.
But note how The New York Times characterized Page’s remarks as having “echoed the position of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia,” suggesting that Page, a former U.S. Navy officer, was somehow demonstrating disloyalty.
The Times also suggested that Page’s opinions as expressed in his speech contributed to the Obama administration’s decision to seek and obtain a FISA warrant that allowed the U.S. government to monitor his communications as a suspected foreign agent.
Normally, such intrusive government action against a citizen for expressing his opinions – whether they “echoed” the views of President Putin or not – would alarm defenders of civil liberties. However, since Page briefly served as a foreign policy adviser to Trump – and much of the civil liberties community has enlisted in the #Resistance to Trump over his presumed threats to civil liberties – there has been extraordinary silence about the McCarthyistic treatment of Page and other Trump advisers.
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who served briefly as President Trump’s national security adviser, has already had a taste of how the U.S. government’s surveillance powers can entrap a citizen in a “process” crime, such as lying to investigators or obstructing justice.
On Dec. 29, 2016, several weeks before Trump’s inauguration, Flynn – while vacationing in the Dominican Republic – took a phone call from Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in which they apparently discussed mounting tensions between Washington and Moscow, as U.S. intelligence officials surreptitiously listened in.
Because Flynn was not officially part of the government at the time of the call, Obama administration appointees at the Justice Department created a pretext for a criminal investigation by citing the Logan Act, a law enacted in 1799 to prohibit private citizens from negotiating with foreign adversaries but never used to convict anyone, ever. The law also is of dubious constitutionality and was surely never intended to apply to a president-elect’s advisers.
However, based on that flimsy pretext, FBI agents – with a transcript of the electronic intercept of the Kislyak-Flynn phone call in hand – tested Flynn’s memory of the conversation and found his recollections incomplete. Flynn also has come under criticism for giving a paid speech in 2015 to a dinner in Moscow honoring the tenth anniversary of the Russian television station, RT. Under mounting media and political pressure, President Trump fired Flynn.
The New McCarthyism
So, while one can legitimately criticize Flynn’s judgment, the larger civil-liberties issue surrounding the Russia-gate investigation is the prospect of criminalizing otherwise innocuous contacts with Russia and punishing American citizens for resisting the New Cold War.
Many Democrats, liberals and even some progressives appear excited over the prospect of wielding this new McCarthyism against Trump’s advisers with the hope that Russia-gate can be built up into a case for Trump’s impeachment.
But the precedents that are being set could be very dangerous for the long term. If Americans can be put under invasive FISA warrants for going abroad and criticizing U.S. policies or if intercepted phone calls can be used to test the memories of citizens during FBI interviews, many of the warnings from civil libertarians about the dangers of “war on terror” surveillance powers being applied more broadly may be coming true.
After receiving the sweeping congressional demands for documents and other data, Carter Page, who is an oil industry consultant with numerous foreign contacts including in Russia, responded by taking note of the reported FISA surveillance of him, writing to Senators Burr and Warner:
“I remain committed to helping the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in any way that I can. But please note that any records I may have saved as a private citizen with limited technology capabilities will be miniscule in comparison to the full database of information which has already been collected under the direction of the Obama Administration during last year’s completely unjustified FISA warrant that targeted me for exercising my First Amendment rights, both in 2016 as well as in years prior.
“As a starting point for this latest step in the witch hunt which you suggested per the cumbersome chores defined in your … letter, I would request that you please begin by sharing [with me] the same information which you currently have … Based on the database of my personal information already collected during the Obama Administration’s domestic political intelligence operations which reportedly began at some point last year, it seems clear that many of the weighty task[s] you assigned will have already been largely completed.
“As a lone individual, I can assure you that my personal administrative capabilities pale in comparison to the clerical juggernaut represented by the numerous staff in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. Government which have heretofore been allegedly involved in this unscrupulous surveillance for many months on end.”
Whether justified or not, the FISA surveillance of Page – and thus likely others whom he contacted – may create the basis for some kind of criminal charges against him. Other Trump advisers may be tripped up on various process crimes, such as failure to report properly under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, another law that gets enforced selectively mostly against people without political pull.
In an interview on Friday, Page told me that he was a small player who was innocent of violating any laws but who became an “obvious” target for the Obama administration’s effort to undermine the Trump campaign.
“I don’t have [political] protection and I have genuine, deep Russian connections,” he said, adding that compliance with the Senate’s demands would require him reviewing “thousands of emails and hundreds of phone calls. … It defies all logic and common sense.”
But the reality of Official Washington is that once momentum builds up around a “scandal,” someone has to get convicted of something – or all the Important People who have weighed in on the “affair” will look stupid. In Russia-gate, however, important principles about the right to dissent, the right to privacy and the right to associate freely are getting trampled.
[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “The Did-You-Talk-to-Russians Witch-hunt.”]
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
This Ray McGovern is not anti-war, he’s anti American. He’s got his head so far up Putins’ @$$, he’s fighting for first place w/Trump.
Hey Ray, you got the best SEO on the planet as your Russian prompt editor articles come up as the first hits in any Search Engine, are your SEO’s Russian funded?
You think the American people are that stupid to think that your speeches for RT are anything but the fact who you work for? With so many journalists being executed by the Kremlin, you wouldn’t be alive if you were truly a representative to democracy and speaking to RT.
Better get yourself another job. The truth is out and you’re listed as nothing other than a misogynist and Benedict Arnold.
This might be of interest:
““This Russian ‘Cyber Kingpin’ Probably Didn’t Hack The US Election” was the bold headline in Forbes Magazine.
“There was a wholly unsubstantiated connection between Levashov and attacks on the U.S. election flying around the web this weekend. According to a report in Russian publication RT, Levashov’s wife claimed that when the accused was arrested while holidaying in Spain, law enforcement officials said his apprehension was in part due to his involvement in the attacks on the election, which included the notorious breach of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).”
“The Justice Department official said, however, that the Kelihos case was not connected to election hacking, and the indictment makes no mention of it.”
“But those allegations have not been confirmed by the U.S. government. The Kremlin is portraying all this as nothing more or less than a witch hunt for Russians.” http://www.madcowprod.com/2017/04/28/busted-barcelona-russian-hacker-american-partners/#more-13802
You are right, Robert. The ‘liberals’ want to use McCarthyism to overthrow Trump. Those that might call you a shill or apologist for Putin simply do not understand the deep state and what is at stake.
Clearly, the neocons like Clinton wish to make much of Russians ties to Trump. Fine. Trump certainly has Russian ties, go to http://www.madcownews.com and see it. But this is nothing compared with the deep state, the Saudis, Soros etc.
Liberals are the problem; they always have been. And as long as the corporate media concentrate on Russia and Trump and not the deep state that rules America, then any critical lens on the deep state will not be forthcoming.
The French election relaunches and reinvigorates Russiagate. In their haste and panic to discredit Macron, the hackers failed to erase all traces of their passage. Robert Riech has named several of the US alt-right figures involved, including one with links to the Trump campaign. The German news channel N24 has named a Russian hacker who modified data in one of the documents, proving forgery (“Die Spur in den Metadaten führt nach Russland”). That person works for a named firm, which iteslf works for Russian government agencies, including the FSB, and has clearance to deal with classified information. The similarity of the two attacks indicated a single perpetrator. Thus, Macrongate provides evidence in support of Russiagate and the upcoming French judicial inverstigation will probably produce even more evidence. The Democrats’ claim that their documents were hacked, not leaked, and that some of the documents were forgeries, seems to be confirmed. Russian involvement seems to be confirmed. Wikileaks is further discredited. And all this is getting very close to Trump: “what did he know and when did he know it?”.
“In their haste and panic to discredit Macron hackers failed to erase all traces of their passage.” – even the most idiotic morons will not believe that.
Wiki leaks is discredited? You wish. The rest of your post “seems” to be classical CIA operation, which is the only one agency with means, ways and especially motives to make this provocation. Appearance of “hack” timed to Saturday, when it is forbidden to speak about elections in France, says volumes. This is how CIA resolved conundrum of need to publish some genuine materials, to be taken seriously, and protecting their asset Makron at the same time. I am sure they think that they are very smart.
But “smart” as they are, it “seems” they can´t understand that nobody sane and intelligent believes anything coming from USA anymore.
They lied too much. You too. But “in their haste in panic” line I liked very much, and stored for future use. You really deserve your pay.
Good People in USA, provide yourselves with food and shelter, because US government have decided that nuclear war is winnable. This legislation HR 1644 will serve for finishing with any dissent before the first strike. All of you here will be labeled as traitors, censored out of internet and persecuted.
What a sad time for homo sapiens, watching billions of people destined to mass extinction , and nobody can do anything…
Russia and China know that war is imminent , and are planning for early strike, too. Humanity´s only chance is Russia to convince US government that war is unwinnable. Here I am writing this, and I still can ^t believe what is happenning…
Robert Parry – this is an excellent article!
It would be helpful to your readers if you included some historical context leading up to Flynn’s phone call with Kislyak on 12/29/16. The skies over Syria were experiencing back and forth bombings like the so-called humanitarian convoy, and then the Russian jet explosion killing the army choir including a world-famous trauma doctor who was working with American surgeons to develop a trauma-response protocol in Syria. This was followed by Obama expelling a Russian consulate office in Maryland giving them 72 hours to leave. THEN we get to Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak. This background info puts a whole different perspective to the discussion, don’t you think?
Still spinning out your baseless conspiracy theory, eh?
Since the Bush administration, DB, we might as well consider Obama and now Trump administrations as continuation of the same corruption, planned by the same evildoers. This country is governed by neofascists, I say. 911 began the Road to Hell.
I just mentioned reading on HR 1644 at The Saker to see how shocking this legislation is. The article might have been written by a English-speaking Russian. The person sometimes inverts the legislative number to “1466” rather than “1644”. It looks like Monsanto had a hand in this, to stop Russian non-GMO food being sold. There is much, much more than that, though. It is nasty beyond belief.
Frankly, I would agree with the comment that Carter Page would be better off to be in Russia.
Robert, seldom have I disagreed with your comments. This time though, you are completely wrong. If anybody from either party by any action put our country in more danger than the Trotsky neocons, all Americans should know about it and there should be no limit to the investigation as long as it is within the Constitution.
The only administration that could be considered as/more corrupt and anti-American as the Trump administration would be the Bush administration, their coverup of the treason brought to light by Sibel Edmonds, their lies about Iraq and Afghanistan and that damage the administration did to our country and their violations of the Constitution (Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act and a host of other things).
While we are conducting the “unlimited’ investigations you are recommending DB, I would like to see every member of the congress, executive and judiciary of the US government thoroughly investigated. There is something rotten in this country, and I think I know where it is centered. I want the UN and the International Court of Justice to conduct a full investigation of the United States Government, especially focusing on their crimes of mass murder around the world. I have no doubt that many individuals will be indicted and convicted of their crimes through such an investigation. I would extend such an enquirey also to past members of the administration who are guilty of multiple war crimes. Nor should members of the military and intelligence communities be exempted from investigation. After all, the world has a right to know the truth in these serious matters, and justice must be served on the evil doers.
Funny how few people mention capitalism. Politics is just a reflection of the contradictions of capitalism. America, as well as all of Europe, is dying under financial capitalism. That Trump or Clinton or any of the other coin operated politicians have power struggles, favor one country over another must be understood within the existing relations of capitalism. Outside of an economic analysis it is simply the same crap: this party or that party, this corruption or that corruption. The issue is failed global capitalism of which Trump,Clinton, Page and the rest are simply a part of. War and talk of war is of course the imperialists’moniker.
At The Saker website is a full breakdown of HR 1644, which is not just alarming but positively diabolical. Russia considers it an Act of War if passed and they will respond vigorously. CN should discuss this evil piece of introduced legislation in detail. Go to The Saker to read what is in this legislation from hell.
Thanks for the lead … I had heard some mention of this, but dismissed as non-sense.
That is a declaration of war.
Americans have been pushing the Russian Federation to fire the first round, or maneuver the Russians into a position where they could be blamed for firing the first shot.
That has not worked so well, but this piece of legislation cannot be ignored.
A perceived threat can grow if action is taken against it before it can be properly assessed. Not understanding the threat, one does not know how to confront it. If confronted prematurely, the threat can gain allies and counter attack. The Russian leadership has observed this Machiavellian lesson, and with this legislation they have all the necessary data to properly asses the threat.
When it passes, the Russian response will be straight forward and decisive.
Another rehash of the same old shit, Robert. Not that there isn’t truth here, but there is certainly NOTHING new in your observations. You’ve rehashed this over and over and over…weekly. Isn’t there some new angle you can find. Somewhere?
I’ll say it again too….no “new evidence” because the investigation is ongoing. And you’re certainly not on the investigative level that would be privy to anything new.
And I find it offensive to be continually using “McCarthyism” in this case. Sure, there are those who would use this incident to further their agenda but the purpose is to find out if there was collusion with Russian and Trump affiliated actors. It’s entirely possible that third parties were used or that Russian govt forces knew of contacts with Russian based entities and chose to ignore and let it play out on it’s own.
And do you really object to the NSA tapping govt communications? Isn’t that well known operating procedure ever since Bush…and likely before? As stupid as Podestra was, isn’t it even more blind to be operating in the manner of Page/Flynn when you KNOW you’re in a compromising position?
Maybe this whole thing IS a bunch of hooie and “innocent” Flynn/Page get routed for nothing except their own stupidity. Hey, at least they got paid for it.
The thing is….you ( or I ) can go on forever with hypothesis. Let it play out. I thing you’re going to see Trump building walls around this thing and that says go forward 100%. This isn’t about Russia as much as it is about Trump and his organizations. No “McCarthyism” about that.
Stiv – If you can’t see a McCarthy style witch hunt when you are looking right at it, I wonder what kind of glasses you are wearing. The next thing may be to ask everyone who has ever had the remotest contact with Donald Trump, or anyone who might know him, and also has had some contact in the last few years with any Chinese citizen or any one having contact with any Chinese citizen or sympathizer in the last five years to submit a detailed record of all such contacts and what was discussed, and appear before a partisan committee under oath and threat of perjury conviction – or else. If this present Russia witch hunt fails to score political points the Chinese connection may get the third degree next, at great expense to the public (who cares?).
Robert Parry is an award-winning investigative journalist and the author of several acclaimed books. I personally find his articles well worthwhile because they a) are technically well-written and logically construed b) have an engaging conversational flow c) never take condescending tones, disrespect the intelligence of his readers, or shy away from complexities d) are evidence-based e) appeal to my personal understandings or “worldviews”.
It is offensive to me that a mediocre (I’m being generous) half-wit has the temerity to incessantly wage the same tiresome complaint that has no bearing on the article or discussion at hand. And, I may be a bit old-fashioned, but your first-name-basis approach to Mr. Parry is unseemly, to say the least.
It is certainly an apt comparison to describe what is going on today as a new “McCarthyism”. You might take notice of the above comment by OVRTH…I think it sizes the matter up well.
I object to the NSA metadata collections, and particularly am dismayed by the raw data sharing that Obama enabled and the illegal leaking of such “intercepts” for nefarious political purposes. Flynn was doing his job, and in that capacity did nothing wrong. The idea that he wasn’t altogether forthcoming with Pence doesn’t bother me at all. I wouldn’t want to have much to do with him either. His duty was to be forthcoming with the President.
Now what really galls me is your remark:
“…isn’t it even more blind to be operating in the manner of Page/Flynn when you KNOW you’re in a compromising position?”. Mr. Parry is a journalist operating in the manner of a “true” journalist. Would it be that we had more true journalists practicing the profession. Neither blind nor compromised. You, on the other hand…
That Burr – Warner letter could well show up in Wikipedia under their entry on “Fishing expedition, outrageous, Senatorial”
the odious palmer report has info on where you can watch/listen to the hearings
This is a marvelous yet terrifying piece by Mr. Parry. It reminds me with stark clarity why I proudly donate every year to Consortium news.
Trump is the President. He can put an end to the government surveillance which goes beyond constitutional limitations. Of course, he is professed law and order person who sneers at others’ civil liberties, so his coming to the defense of even his own operatives is unlikely. He usually yields to pressure from the Right Wing hawks in the intelligence community.
It is a frightening thought, but Page’s best option might be going to live in Russia again. Ironic, dissidents escaping to freedom … in Russia.
Well, with America the criminal sanctuary of the world, see Miami, one can hardly comment on Russia
Lying politicians forever wrapped up in their dead-end narratives…….
“If they had something really good, they would have used it by now.” It’s the advice I recall a lawyer giving to an acquaintance spuriously accused of misfeasance. They’re preemptively laying the groundwork for a new “stab in the back” myth, which despite lack of concrete evidence will play well to disgruntled masses. It’s a twist on Rambo logic: “They didn’t let us win.” While the dictionary definition of “treason” is well understood, the Constitutional definition requires the act to be witnessed during a state of declared war. Among other things, the “War Powers Act” effectively isolates corrupt politicians, bureaucratic appointees, investment bankers and corporate media from being appropriately prosecuted for what routinely occurs in our post-constitutional fascist duopoly. We are in a state of looming economic collapse NOW. The hardships it creates have been effectively foisted on the masses and blamed on nefarious enemies which must be incessantly vilified in order to preserve the credibility of a completely inept, feckless and corrupt government. Note that 59 cruise missiles at a cost of $1.4 million each were launched at an essentially abandoned airfield with no tactical or strategic outcome worth mentioning. Meanwhile, the water in Flint, Michigan is still polluted. Thirty six of the missiles missed their targets, which should have inspired a massive investigation into defense contract fraud and corruption. International banking cartels, multinational corporations and globalist neocolonialists won another round yesterday. The Obama endorsement should have tipped off voters to the game afoot: holding back the torches and pitchforks until another effective smokescreen can be generated. Korea turned out to be a little too risky, as I predicted in a previous comment. That leaves Iran, Ukraine or Syria, The western world is careening head-on into an economic disaster, and by God, we’ve got to find somebody to blame it on. Just not the international finance community, the PNAC architects, the neocons or the bought-and-paid-for politicians. Somebody must have “stabbed us in the back”, so it might as well be the Russians. In a year or so, I look forward to people asking France, “So…how’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya?” Maybe a bankster face on the politics of economic misery will awaken a few victims, but I doubt it. The real backstabbers rely on anonymity. It almost always works.
Good points. The only real enemy of America is the Tyranny of political corruption.
Aggressive war is primarily to get campaign bribes from zionists and MIC, but also distraction from political corruption. Dems and Reps must agree on a fake foreign enemy so as to pose falsely as protectors and accuse opponents of disloyalty.
Is this a laying of the foundations for obedience, for a New Cold War ?
“We have the good on everyone, if anyone bucks, we can pull them in at any given moment” / the stage is set for compliance.
Is this to disguise a covert operation to oust Trump ?
Let’s face it, with Trump as president in the face of so much opposition, we must ask .. “who is dunning it”
I see it more as a viral threat of some end of civility … in which Clinton’s sense of aggrieved victimization has resulted in some almost-insane no-holds-barred revenge seeking. Some how this “Russian collusion” (which is yet to be demonstrated) has resulted in some (yet to be demonstrated) threat to “our democracy” justifying this grasping at shadows witchhunt of unseemly proportions.
Rather than demonstrating as a starting point that significant “wrongdoing” has occurred … angry at the election outcome, they are searching for evidence of wrongdoing, evidence of some “conspiracy” to commit wrongdoing … cart before the horse…. predicated on an as-yet-unproven contention that the outcome must-have-been manipulated … so insanity might as well be the result of demonic possession rather than say neurosis and/or brain chemistry … Clinton’s loss, not the result of poor decisions by the campaign, and a restless electorate, but malevolent outside forces (Russians!!!!) pushing the process, skewing the results.
The banality of the evil that men do in this case — that can be demonstrated — may put a final nail in Clinton’s “legacy” … even her “new campaign” — forward together — lacks news ideas/initiatives, rather a focus on the banality of campaign finances and fundraising, as if conceeding that politics and governance is not about ideas and programs, but whose got the fatter wallet, the bigger budget, capable of the most TV ads and the sleekest Madison Avenue production values.
The “perjury trap” is not nearly so serious as portrayed. When faced with overbroad requests for identification of what may be hundreds or even thousands of communications, Mr. Page’s lawyer will surely include a closing paragraph saying in essence, “the above are all the communications Mr. Page recollects at this time; there may be even likely were other communications that he did not recollect at this time.” And there is nothing wrong or necessarily evasive in saying words to that effect.
Paul – kind of like an “errors and omissions excepted” clause. Mr. Page couldn’t possibly recollect everything, so a clause like you stated above is most appropriate.
The parties are over and everything from Washington DC to Paris is going toward the Vital Center.
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 …
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born? –W. B. Yeats
It’s the Wave of Change!
It is all about new McCarthyism, new campaign of terror and blank, baseless grave accusations against anyone who dares to question supposedly official, MSM spewed stories, viscous campaign of alienation of journalists from their readership or any voices of sanity under cloud of criminality, spying and FBI investigation against those who do not peddle official narratives who are not buying utter nonsense and who do not draw absurd conclusions based on lies and innuendos without any shred of evidence.
The basic goal of bullies/provocateurs is that we accept evidence-free McCarthyite slanderous construct of “Enemy of America”. Only because they say so in very emotional way calling for exigent circumstances as to circumvent the rational thought process and hard evidences.
Once we accept their lies and their arbitrary determination of who are “American Enemies” we give them credibility and accusatory power. The power to accuse anyone of anything since in our own mind anyone behavior or opinions could be consistent with what potential treachery of our enemy, releasing us from a rigor of rational analysis and necessity of evidence based conclusion that is a foundation of any moral judgment.
Pushed into hysteria, siege mentality, we become immoral bastards driven by primal fear of imminent enemy, we can’t see or even name in our midst aiming to harm us, a “clear” and “present” danger to our very survival or well being.
That’s the real danger of this new McCarthyism, a danger capable of tearing fabric of our society apart and a direct threat to fundamental social order and hence must be defeated immediately.
Robert Parry distinguishes himself here in these dark times as usual, from the cowed sycophants claiming journalism as their profession.
It will be interesting to see what sort of TV ratings this premiere weeks of “testimony” earns.
The Democrats (or perhaps just Clinton) I think are hoping for Watergate/Iran/Contra redux and yet as far as I can tell the best they are likely to get is a bit of gotcha and maybe some unreported income … At this point, given the sanctions on Russia (and others) for a very very long time, any truly sanction-violating “unseemly” contacts would have already been noted and various records intercepted likely by financial and sanctions-related bodies. Paul Manafort has been an international player for decades now and they (the FBI) has reportedly been investigating him for 9 or more months. Page may well be the Trump “operative” that MI-5 warned the FBI about back in 2015. Eventually the Clinton’s Russian contact and reported income will also be publically aired… because … as I kept hearing democrats saying “turnabout is fair play” in the same land where the one-eyed man is king. Ghastly.
It will be interesting to see how Maddow and company manage to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear with this …
I don’t really think that we have only ourselves to blame, because the creeping fascism has appeared insidiously over many years. People who saw what was happening tried to take various courses of action, but the Deep State is powerfully entrenched. There are many maddening Americans, relatives of mine included, who do not dig for any information other than provided by corporate media, and I do blame people like that who make it possible for these corrupt politicians to wield their cudgels. The soft Democrats who literally fell apart at Clinton’s loss emboldened these dreadful people. McCarthy kept at his witch hunt for a number of years until the hysteria ebbed. We are now really in a fascist state and we have to join forces to take it down regardless of the challenge looking formidable.
It has been insidious. The National Defense Authorization Act (for fiscal year 2012) is a case in point.
When the plaintiffs said they would drop the suit if language was added to make it clear it could not be applied to U.S. citizens, the government refused. So there went habeas corpus.
I thought I’d heard enough bad news today when Realist (previous article) alerted us to HR 1644. Now I see France has blown its chance to have a spine. What a godforsaken mess.
Thank you for this interesting and useful link, Gregory.
This is only the beginning . It has become the new normal. pax-americana has been entering the era of modern day fascism The Corporate State. Truly Orwellian times we are living. Western Journalism has become the New Readers Digest. Freedom of speech has become freedom to due what we tell you to do. Mussollini tried it and pax-amareicana has perfected it. All sign of a dying empire. Will the sheeple in the west wake up. Doubt it. One thing is for sure that we the sheeple have only our selves to blame. IE; Look at the recent French election the death of democracy is well entrenched in the west.
Hopefully news sites like Consortium,New Eastern Outlook ,Moon of Alabama,Voltaire Net,Off the guardian and Sign of the Times ,UNZ,and Strategic Culture will gain more traction amongst the discerning critical public.
Page’s position regarding the Congressional investigation is enormously powerful if intelligently managed by the Trump White House. Let us hope our President doesn’t do an Flynn cave-in and takes advantage of this opportunity to weaken the surveillance state and to expose the hypocrisy rampant in Washington.
By the way, when did Congress declare war on Russia which gives our statesman the right to accuse someone talking to Russian as treasonous? That would be the only way one could understand that talking to Russians is a criminal act. All the people who see Putin as the only sane person in the room had best be on guard. You may be next.
Bravo to Mr Page for his response. I hope all of those Trump associates band together and pressure the Senators to force the NSA, etc to provide the voluminous info the Senators seek. It might be a better course of action to be hauled into court and wade thru a discovery process than to waste any time building the scaffold and tying the noose for one’s own execution.
The powers that be are truly out of control and the country is in dire peril from that black swan event that always waits just out of view.
It is McCarthyism 2.0 without the Communist issue. The democrats have jumped the shark and gone full fascist on this. It has developed into the first two party based fascist system in history, and Trump is not as fascist as the democrats. Carter Page, meanwhile, was a fringe individual. It is so bad now that an economic and resultant political collapse might actually benefit everybody outside the US. It is also interesting that long-time stalwart rightwing democrat Diane Feinstein has indicated that there is no “there” in the Russian allegations there.
McCarthysm was never about communists, but solely about Soviet Union independent enough and strong enough to insult ego of global imperial power US fancied itself back then and executes now.
There were former communists Trotskies who formed core of neoconservatives hatred to USSR.
McCarthysm was always about fear and breaking human bonds in a way borrowed straight from methodology of totalitarian regimes: false and baseless public accusations of grave crimes supposedly against entire nation, public proceeding or trials, demands for confessions and begging for forgiveness by absolutely innocent victims, actors of this play straight from cruel and bloody Roman theatre and in last act destruction of livelihood, assassination of characters, professional and in some case real death from psychological collapse or suicide or execution.
McCarthysm is about bullying and bullying won’t stop until bully is discredited and humiliated.
Hence more to come, they will not let it go.
However, instead of zeroing in on that central question, the Senate investigation appears engaged in a fishing expedition looking at virtually every contact between Trump advisers and Russians, who may or may not have ties to the government.
Who ever came up with the claim that the U.S. senate is the world’s greatest deliberative body? This looks like just another of Congress’s dog-and-pony shows.
… writing to Senators Burr and Warner:
“I remain committed to helping the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in any way that I can. But please note that any records I may have saved as a private citizen with limited technology capabilities will be miniscule in comparison to the full database of information which has already been collected under the direction of the Obama Administration during last year’s completely unjustified FISA warrant …
Carter Page appears to be a smart cookie, but, unfortunately for him and others not bosom friends of senators, the senators have the power and they have no problem wielding it if it suits their purposes.
For instance, the Senate Intelligence Committee has demanded from ex-Trump foreign adviser Carter Page, …
This is the same committee that let James Clapper off the hook for lying to it. Because the committee appears to be operating on double standards it will probably invoke Obama’s bullshit about no one being above the law. No one who is not a friend, that is, or maybe has certain entries in a little black book.
“These approaches mirror several corrupt tendencies at times found in Western societies. Some may be clear-cut such as the Bernard Madoff scandal in financial markets and Enron in the energy sector, while others are more subtle such as the perceived societal injustices highlighted by the Occupy Wall Street movement.”
Perhaps we should get our own house in order before throwing stones at others’ houses.
But we own so many houses.
The ‘anti Russia’ hysteria and propaganda seems to know no bounds in this new iteration of the cold war. This juggernaut will certainly take various victims along the way especially if the HRC blame any and all campaign against those supposedly responsible for her loss at the polls. The only one to blame, of course, is herself. But these cretins of the beltway won’t rest until enough blood has been spillt both figuratively and literally to avenge her loss. The big problem is this manufactured ‘problem’ could lead to a real war with real blood and lives at stake. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get that far. Otherwise we’re all in trouble.
Hilary’s about to come into a nice Jupiter transit that will make her lucky in her endeavors. God help us all. She’s an early Scorpio so it should start to manifest in late summer. It’s the same planet that boosted Bernie to such heights and kept the Fat Boy ( C. Christy) out of jail.
This is very frightening, and emblematic of how deep the divisions are between political parties and ideologies. This is nothing but a witch hunt, and the Democrats will be sorely disappointed when they discover that Trump is not a Russian stooge. I trust Julian Assange, and he has all but stated that the Podesta and DNC leaks were inside jobs. The truth is that life in this country has become so economically difficult for so many, that fighting over the scraps has caused hatred and irreconcilable differences among the masses. The level of propaganda to which we are subjected by the corporate media is sickening, and most people are brainwashed and living in parallel universes. On the one hand there’s the Fox News/WSJ crowd, and on the other, the CNN, MSNBC, NYT WaPo crowd; and I’ve come to believe it’s fair to say that they absolutely hate each other. As a Bernie Sanders supporter, I can only state that we the people need more help, more support, and no more propaganda or witch hunts. I realize that is an unlikely scenario, so the divisions will only depeen and the hatred will become more vile. Sad!
Thank you, Consortium, for being a source of truth. You are doing great work here!
“This is nothing but a witch hunt, and the Democrats will be sorely disappointed when they discover that Trump is not a Russian stooge”
It matters not a wit. It’s not about facts. A witch hunt is about theater and character damage by innuendo, if not direct prosecution for ancillary infractions to made-up scenarios.
It is however astounding how many actually think that an opinion expressed by a “foreigner” (like V.V.Putin) rises to the level of interfering with our (not)democratic election processes or that expressing admiration/appreciation for the talents and obvious abilities of another foreign leader makes one a “stooge” or an agent for them. Or that doing business with Foreign entities is evidence of some nefarious plan to destroy our society. It is worse than the mentality behind grade school yard taunts with even less authenticity.
That our government is saturated with this level of intelligence seems to me to be the really serious problem.
I think it is being missed how Hillary Clinton has changed the Party of Gene McCarthy into the Party of Joe McCarthy.
If it’s possible to declare a new era of McCarthyism has developed because of an investigation into 4 or 5 people, then yes — boo! Requests to see documents are the normal means of conducting investigations. It is, after all, an investigation into whether Russia interfered in the American election, and how. Not a matter to be taken lightly.
How does one condemn on one hand the history of US meddling in foreign elections while on the other hand condemn an investigation into whether Russian meddling in the US election occurred? I thought it was the act that deserved to be damned, not the actor.
What if…? What if Russia actually is directly responsible for all it has been accused of? What if Trump directly colluded with Putin to elect Trump? What if Trump has been blackmailed?
And what if pigs could fly, we would have pork chops on the wing!! The notion the average Jo voter in America was in any way influenced by the Russians makes flying pigs seem quite plausible.
But we already know that Hillary colluded with Israel (top ten donors zionists), Wall St (major speech payments) and the MIC (warmongering) on a pay-to-play basis tantamount to treason, and that the DNC conspired to push out Sanders despite his more electable platform. That is what the Dems are trying to bury, but the facts will survive.
Sam F. , you’re right on with that assessment. Very strange and odd that there is zilch going on with the misdeeds of HRC. Not to mention the DNC and it’s voter tampering, and other egregious acts. I don’t care for Trump…and was going to vote for Sanders….but finally voted for Stein /Greens. I am a registered independent and have crossed the aisle when voting if I feel the candidates are of a good voting record in their congressional voting. All this Russian tampering BS is a red herring to distract the publics attention to the bigger crimes of our dysfunctional Congress. I’m waiting for some to break ranks and put a stop to the devious machinations of the CIA and the Dark State….. if they have the intestinal fortitude . I really wonder if Trump had some of that in mind, but has rolled over and is just another puppet for the uber rich. I also knew that this French election of Macron was just another set up when it was reported over a week ago that BO called him and then a few days back came out with an endorsement for him . Since when does our Govt. ,not to mention an ex president, endorse any candidate for another Govt. ? Macron…just another neoliberal interventionist. I pity the French,,, apparently they have as many fools as we do here in the US.
BO, being still the president, travelled to UK before their EU leave/remain referendum, to tell the Britons how they should vote. His support for “remain” obviously had the opposite effect.
If Mr Parry has described this “investigation” correctly in the article, so it seems that anyone in the Rep. party who has sometime, somewhere said “Hello, what a nice weather we have today” to a Russian citizen at a public or private occasion, must be thoroughly investigated for illegal collusion with the Russian state.
And if Mr Putin has ever been heard to mention that 2 + 2 = 4, then anyone repeating this opinion is “echoing the position of V. Putin” and must be considered a traitor.
Just think what an enormous material there is about Hillary’s and Bill’s contacts, public and private, with Russians (yes, she was doing it due to her governmental position). If she would be the president, there is enough material for impeachment, in addition to the other scandals she has been involved in. Accepting money from a foreign government? Just ask how many millions. Well, partly through the Foundation, of course.
It is frightening to see, from outside, that the US two-party system has created a situation where the opposition party is doing its utmost to stop the ruling party from being able to work at all. Has it been like this traditionally?
ms 57, you are out of your mind. you sad thing, you are exactly what the New
McCarthyist Witch-Hunters are counting on: Sad, bewildered and zombie-like
individuals who will believe anything their Masters throw out at them.
“What if Russia actually is directly responsible for all it has been accused of?”
Well, all Russia has been accused of is hacking into the DNC and Podesta’s emails and giving them to Wikileaks.
If they did do that, well I don’t think a reasonable person who wasn’t already filled with hatred of Russia or already totally biased for HRC would even begin to consider this release of information to be ‘fixing’ an election or ‘hacking’ an election or ‘colluding to elect’ on candidate over the other.
Plus, you don’t have investigations over baseless allegation when there is no evidence. When you do it is called a ‘fishing trip’ and it is uncalled for. Why I could make all sorts of accusations about HRC and Podesta and the establishment Democrats in DC, why maybe they are running a pedophile ring out of a pizza place, and have absolutely no evidence. Do you think Pizzagate should have a full investigation?
What meddling? RT? They listen in on EVERYTHING and they can’t even tie the Russians to Wikileaks let alone Trump.
I’m sorry to say we Americans have crossed the threshold of losing our right to freedom of speech. With this Russia-Gate travesty, along with proposed laws to forbid any criticism of the Zionist regime which controls the livelihood of the Palestinian, we are all but losers of our beloved First Amendment Rights. With the loss of our right to speak freely we have now entered the newest phase of our engineered conversion to becoming a completely run police state.
We still have freedom of speech. Stalin said his citizens did as well. Its what happens after you exercise your right to free speech that counts. In WWI you could go to jail for speaking out against the war. Under FDR the FCC was used to censor stations political content and ban those who spoke against his policies
President Adams signed a bill in 1798 that made it illegal to criticize a government official without backing up one’s criticisms in court.
As for privacy of your communications.
In 1873 a federal obscenity law, commonly referred to as the Comstock Act, allowed warrantless searches of the mail for “obscene” materials.
Illegal wiretapping has been going on as long as we have had the telephone. FDR issued a secret executive order authorizing widespread Justice Department wire-taps of “subversives” and suspected spies. Hoover used these new powers to investigate not just Nazis but anyone he thought subversive which continued long after the war ended
Thanks Pft in a weird way you bringing up our country’s past where freedom of speech was restricted should make me feel better about what is currently happening. Although I knew about some of what you mentioned regarding our country’s history of constrained speech, it is still hard to accept when dealing with this loss of freedom when it happens. I’m probably getting carried away with my rant, but when it comes to retaining our freedoms can one ever be too cautious to guard them? Thank you for your comment, it was educational and bizarrely comforting. Joe
“Its what happens after you exercise your right to free speech that counts.”
Exactly. Thanks for making it clear. I had not thought about it that way, even though I knew it.
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Pastor Martin Niemöller
So where does this witch-hunt stop? Or does it? It looks like anybody who says or writes anything could eventually wind up being targeted, or have to live in fear of being targeted by federal investigators.
I think Pablo Diablo answers your question. It’s a pick and choose world we Americans now live in.
Laws are made to get the people they want to get. No one has even been mentioned for violating clear laws against Anthony Weiner having “classified” emails on his computer. Clapper lied to Congress. Petrayus gave “classified” secrets to his girlfriend. Cheney “outed” Valerie Plame. Etc.,Etc.
You make good observations.
What happens if we switch Russia with Israel? fun little foreign policy game to play…
In a letter dated April 28, the committee’s top Republican, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and top Democrat, Mark Warner of Virginia, gave Page until May 9 to provide: “A list of all meetings between you and any Israeli official or representative of Israeli business interests which took place between June 16, 2015, and January 20, 2017. For each meeting listed, please include the date, location, all individuals present, and complete copies of any notes taken by you or on your behalf.”
“Many Democrats, liberals and even some progressives appear excited over the prospect of wielding this new McCarthyism against Trump’s advisers with the hope that Russia-gate can be built up into a case for Trump’s impeachment.”
Some progressives? All but a handful, I would say – if there is any real difference between a “progressive” and a “liberal.”
And the same holds true with the violent shutdown of free speech which we have seen dramatically at Berkeley and elsewhere.
When the liberals/progressives become hawkish on Russia and turn their backs on free speech and civil liberties, one must ask who are the real fascists.
Yes, true progressives no longer seem to be represented by the Dems or the Reps. It is remarkable that the Hillary Dems seek to obscure the contents of the emails by screaming about the source, accusing a most unlikely source, and despite the murder of the most likely source within the DNC. Why do both political parties not insist that all political emails be public? Because they must hide their pervasive bribery and corruption.
Those who would like to petition the NYT to make Robert Parry their senior editor may do so here:
While Mr. Parry may prefer independence, and we all know the NYT ownership makes it unlikely, and the NYT may try to ignore it, it is instructive to them that intelligent readers know better journalism when they see it. A petition demonstrates the concerns of a far larger number of potential or lost subscribers.
This witch hunt is identical to what occurred with McCarthy. You would think these government officials would be ashamed of such an obvious breach of our laws, but no – these folks have no shame or human decency whatever. Do not expect and concern about your civil liberties from these evil people. And these folks want to accuse the Russians of doing exactly what they are doing themselves? These shameless liars are disgusting. They should all be in prison for their very serious crimes.
Should read ‘any concern’.
McCarthy at least had the threadbare excuse that he was opposing “Communism”. Now all they are opposing is resistance to the yankee imperium via Russia, which is the only European country not on board with yankee dominance. This ruling crowd are enemies of the people.