The Scandal Hidden Behind Russia-gate

Exclusive: Official Washington has the Russia-gate scandal almost 180-degrees wrong; it is not about protecting democracy, but about pushing Americans into more wars, the true scandal that is being missed, writes Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare

The Washington Post and New York Times editors are trying to relive the glory days of their youth by comparing Trump’s firing of FBI chief James Comey to Richard Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre at the height of Watergate. Donald Trump, it seems, is a threat to democracy just as Tricky Dick was more than 40 years ago, so the only thing that can save us is a special prosecutor who will get to the bottom of Russia-gate once and for all.

A military parade on Red Square. May 9, 2016 Moscow. (Photo from:

But not only is this nonsense, it’s pernicious nonsense that itself amounts to a cover-up. Here’s how Russia-gate is not the same as Watergate and why, in fact, it’s the opposite:

Difference No. 1: Watergate was about a real event, the June 17, 1972, break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s offices at the Watergate Hotel in which five people were caught red-handed in the act. The fireworks began when the burglars turned out to be part of a special security operation known as the White House Plumbers.

This is why Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox ran into a buzz-saw in October 1973. After months of gumshoe field work, he had begun zeroing in on evidence linking the Plumbers with the Oval Office. This was a bridge too far from Nixon’s point of view, and so he ordered him canned.

Cox was thus operating in the realm of hard, cold, tangible fact. But Russia-gate is different since the alleged crime that is at heart of the scandal – last summer’s reported data break-in at the DNC – is so far based on purest speculation. No burglars have been apprehended, no links have been clearly established with the reputed masterminds in Moscow, while Wikileaks continues to insist that the email disclosure was not a hack by outside intelligence operatives at all, but a leak by a “disgusted” insider.

Since the FBI has never conducted an independent investigation – for as-yet-unexplained reasons, the DNC refused to grant it access to its servers despite multiple requests – the only evidence that a break-in even occurred comes from a private cyber-security firm, CrowdStrike Inc. of Irvine, California, that the DNC hired to look into the breach.

Since when do the cops rely on a private eye to look into a murder rather than performing an investigation of their own? CrowdStrike, moreover, turns out to be highly suspect. Not only is Dmitri Alperovich, its chief technical officer, a Russian émigré with a pronounced anti-Putin tilt, but he is also an associate of a virulently anti-Russian outfit known as the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank funded by the Saudis, the United Arab Emirates, the Ukrainian World Congress, the U.S. State Department and a variety of other individuals and groups that have an interest in isolating or discrediting Russia.

The Atlantic Council puts out a stream of anti-Kremlin articles and reports with scary headlines like “Distract Deceive Destroy: Putin at War in Syria” and “Six Immediate Steps to Stop Putin’s Aggression.”

Since the Atlantic Council is also a long-time supporter of Hillary Clinton, this means that the Clinton campaign relied on a friendly anti-Putin cyber-sleuth to tell it what everyone involved wanted to hear, i.e. that the Kremlin was at the bottom of it all. If this strikes you as fishy, it should.

Crowdstrike’s findings seemed weak in other respects as well. A few days after determining that Russian intelligence was responsible, Alperovich issued a memo praising the hackers to the skies. “Their tradecraft is superb, operational security second to none and the extensive usage of ‘living-off-the-land’ techniques enables them to easily bypass many security solutions they encounter,” he wrote. Since the hackers were brilliant, CrowdStrike had to be even more so to track them down and expose their perfidy for all to see.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking at an Atlantic Council event in 2013. (Photo credit: Atlantic Council)

But CrowdStrike then said it was able to pin it on the Russians because the hackers had made certain elementary mistakes, most notably uploading a document in a Russian-language format under the name “Felix Edmundovich,” an obvious reference to Felix E. Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Cheka, as the Soviet political police were originally known. It was the equivalent of American intelligence agents uploading a Russian document under the name “J. Edgar.” Since this was obviously very careless of them, it raised an elementary question: how could the hackers be super-sophisticated yet at the same time guilty of an error that was unbearably dumb?

The skeptics promptly pounced. Referring to Russia’s two top intelligence agencies, a well-known cyber-security expert named Jeffrey Carr was unable to restrain his sarcasm: “OK. Raise your hand if you think that a GRU or FSB officer would add Iron Felix’s name to the metadata of a stolen document before he released it to the world while pretending to be a Romanian hacker. Someone clearly had a wicked sense of humor.”

Since scattering such false leads is child’s play for even a novice hacker, it was left to John McAfee, founder of McAfee Associates and developer of the first commercial anti-virus software, to draw the ultimate conclusion. “If it looks like the Russians did it,” he told TV interviewer Larry King, “then I can guarantee you: it was not the Russians.”

None of this proves that the Russians didn’t hack the DNC. All it proves is that evidence is lacking. If all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies agree that the Kremlin did it, it is worth bearing in mind that the “intelligence community” was equally unanimous in 2002 that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. If they were wrong then, why should anyone believe that they are right now in the absence of clear and unequivocal evidence? (On Monday, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper clarified that the repeated claim about the unanimous view of the 17 agencies was wrong; that the report, which he released on Jan. 6, was the work of hand-picked analysts from the CIA, the FBI and the National Security Agency.)

So, where Cox was dealing with a real live burglary, all we have today is smoke and mirrors.

Difference No. 2: Russia-gate is not about democracy but about neo-McCarthyism and war.

President Richard Nixon, speaking to the nation on Aug. 8, 1974, announcing his decision to resign.

For all the self-serving hoopla and mythology surrounding Watergate, the scandal was ultimately about something important: the dirty tricks and lawless authoritarianism that were advancing smartly under the Nixon administration. But Russia-gate is not about democracy. Rather, it is about an inside-the-beltway battle over the direction of U.S.-Russian relations.

The battle is deadly serious. Since roughly 2008, Cold War II has expanded steadily to the point where it now extends along a 1,300-mile front from Estonia to the Crimea plus the Caucasus and major portions of the Middle East. It has intensified as well and would likely have reached a flashpoint if the hawkish Hillary Clinton had been elected.

But Trump’s surprise victory threw a wrench into the works. This is not to say that Donald Trump is a latter-day Mahatma Gandhi out to bring peace and brotherhood to the world. To the contrary, he’s a loud-mouthed ignoramus who can barely find Russia on the map. But amid all his confused mutterings about foreign policy, one thing that has come through loud and clear is his desire for a rapprochement with Russia.

Given the mounting war fever that has gripped Washington for the last ten years or so, this is nothing short of explosive. Once it became clear in the early morning hours of Nov. 9 that Trump was White House-bound, the pro-war establishment therefore went into overdrive. Every effort was made to undermine the President-elect’s legitimacy.

Evidence was dug up purporting to show that he had colluded with the Kremlin. A Democratic-funded memo by a British intelligence officer named Christopher Steele was produced claiming that Russian intelligence had a video of him cavorting with prostitutes in Moscow’s Ritz Carlton.

But it’s all so much hot air. Nothing of substance has turned up. A 1,700-word front-page exposé about Trump campaign aide Carter Page that The New York Times ran on April 20 was typical. A study in innuendo and unsubstantiated assertions, it said that the FBI became concerned when it learned that “a Russian spy” had tried to recruit him during a visit to Moscow in 2013. But then it disclosed that Page, an academic and energy entrepreneur, had no idea that the person was a spy and merely thought he was talking business with an ordinary diplomatic attaché with Russia’s U.N. mission.

It’s a mistake that any American businessman could make, whether in Moscow or in London or Tel Aviv. “It is unclear,” the Times went on, “exactly what about Mr. Page’s visit drew the FBI’s interest: meetings he had during his three days in Moscow, intercepted communications of Russian officials speaking about him, or something else.”

But one thing that apparently caused ears to prick up was a talk he gave at a Russian economics institute. The reason according to the Times is that it: “criticized American policy toward Russia in terms that echoed the position of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, declaring, ‘Washington and other Western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.’ His 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.”

Former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

In other words, Page drew official notice because he dared to differ with the orthodox view of Putin as a latter-day Lucifer. As a consequence, he now finds himself at the center of what the Times describes as “a wide-ranging investigation, now accompanied by two congressional inquiries, that has cast a shadow over the early months of the Trump administration.” So, out of nothing (or at least very little) has grown something very, very large, an absurd pseudo-scandal that now has Democrats gobbling on about special prosecutors and impeachment.

But even though there’s no clear “there” there, the Washington scandal machine has a way of feeding on itself regardless. As Consortium News’ Robert Parry has pointed out (see “The McCarthyism of Russia-gate,” May 7), the Senate Intelligence Committee hit Page with a sweeping order on April 28 to turn over anything and everything having to do with his extensive list of Russian business, personal and casual contacts for the 18 months prior to Trump’s Inauguration.

The order thus informs Page that he must turn over “[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 … all meetings of which you are aware between any individual with the Trump campaign and any Russian official or representative of Russian business interests … [a]ll communications records, including electronic communications records such as e-mail or text messages, written correspondence, and phone records of communications … to which you and any Russian official or representative of Russian business interests was a party,” and so on and so forth.

Considering that Page lived in Russia for several years, the request is virtually impossible. It thus “amounts to a perjury trap,” Parry notes, “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.”

It also amounts to a self-fueling scandal machine since if Page falls short in any respect, the result will be fuel for a dozen outraged Times and Washington Post editorials accusing the Trump team of covering up. If the investigation into Monical Lewinsky’s little blue dress was a joke, this will be even worse, a scandal without end resting ultimately on thin air.

But to what end? The goal, simply, is to drive Trump out of office or, barring that, to force him to adopt a more warlike foreign policy. The effort has already borne fruit in the form of the April 6 Tomahawk missile strike at a Syrian government airbase that Trump launched less to punish Bashar al-Assad than to get the Democrats, the press, the neocons, and other members of the war camp off his back. The press reception was rapturous, and after labeling Trump a Kremlin stooge on a near-daily basis, Democrats like Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and Dick Durbin responded by patting him fondly on the back.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter conducts strike operations while in the Mediterranean Sea, April 7, 2017. (Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ford Williams)

The more such actions he launches, the more approving such paragons of democracy will become. With amazing accuracy, the Democrats have zeroed in on the one halfway positive thing Trump had to say during his campaign and made it their chief target.

Difference No. 3: Where Watergate was about blocking a cover-up, Russia-gate is about perpetuating one.

Hours after Comey received his termination notice, Ken Gude, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, published an article calling on the Justice Department to “appoint a special counsel to lead the investigation into links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts to interfere with the election.”

This was very neutral, objective, and high-minded of him. But the question to ask in this instance is cui bono – who benefits? The answer lies in what the Center for American Progress is and whom it represents.

The answer is that CAP is a major Clinton stronghold. Its founder is John Podesta, who was Clinton’s campaign chairman and whose brother, Tony, is a registered Saudi lobbyist. Its president is Neera Tanden, a long-time Clinton friend and adviser.

Major funders include George Soros and the United Arab Emirates, which, like Saudis, has long pushed for the U.S. to adopt a more militant posture vis-à-vis Iran, Syria’s Assad government, and Russia, which is allied with both. This means more sabre-rattling towards Moscow, more weapons and support for Saudi-funded jihadis in Syria, and more U.S. backup for the Saudi-UAE war against Yemen, in which more than 10,000 people have died, according to U.N. estimates, and much of the population is on the brink of mass starvation.

This is the real scandal that Russia-gate is designed to cover up. Like any country, Russia wants to steer U.S. foreign policy in a direction favorable to interests. But it’s a very small player in Washington compared to giants like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar. These are nations that have given millions to the Clinton Foundation, to the “William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park” in Little Rock, Arkansas (recipient of a $10-million gift from the Saudi royal family), universities like Harvard and Georgetown, and a slew of think tanks, not just CAP and the Atlantic Council, but the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Brookings, the recipient of a $14.8-million contribution from Qatar.

The oil monarchies have thus used their petro-wealth to create a pro-war consensus in Washington that is nearly 100-percent complete. Needless to say, this will not benefit the mass of ordinary Americans, the people who will have to fight and die in such conflicts and whose taxes will pay for them. Instead, it will benefit the oil companies and arms manufacturers with whom the oil monarchies are closely allied, not to mention hawkish politicians hoping to use war fever to propel their careers to ever greater heights.

They will benefit because they have sold U.S. foreign policy to the highest bidder. This is a scandal of the first order. But rather than exposing it, Russia-gate is all about covering it up.

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

111 comments for “The Scandal Hidden Behind Russia-gate

  1. Zhu
    May 16, 2017 at 07:14

    Lots of people complain about Israeli influence, almost no one remarks on the Christian Fundamentalists and Dispensationalists who make Israel influential. Too much work?

  2. Zhu
    May 16, 2017 at 07:10

    Sounds about right.

  3. Operation Dinner Outlaw
    May 16, 2017 at 06:40

    MH: In an early letter to William Kennedy you spoke of the “dry rot” of American journalism. Tell me what you think. What’s the state of the American press currently?

    HST: The press today is like the rest of the country. Maybe you need a war. Wars tend to bring out out the best in them. War was everywhere you looked in the sixties, extending into the seventies. Now there are no wars to fight. You know, it’s the old argument about why doesn’t the press report the good news? Well, now the press is reporting the good news, and it’s not as much fun.

    US Team Tomahawk has Russia on board to crush Syria.

  4. Brian W
    May 15, 2017 at 15:28

    May 15, 2017 Ukraine: US-Installed Fascist Rule in Europe’s Heartland. Will Donetsk Rejoin Russia?

    The nation shares a near-1,500 mile land and sea border with Russia. Stop NATO’s Rick Rozoff earlier explained Ukraine is “the decisive linchpin in plans by the US and its NATO allies to effect a military cordon sanitaire, severing Russia from Europe” – a sinister plot perhaps intended as prelude to nuclear war.

  5. Paul W L
    May 14, 2017 at 15:43

    This is an important article.

    But please review the statement that the intelligence community was
    “unanimous in 2002 that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.”

    Didn’t the intelligence rank and file doubt that lie?

  6. Jennifer Feij
    May 13, 2017 at 19:20

    This is a brilliant overview of one of the silliest waste of time politics in history. The childish finger pointing is becoming embarrassing and the more it goes on, the more we realize how lucky we are the war mongering Hilary Clinton demo-clan didn’t win. One wonders if the blundering idiocy of this useless scandal isn’t engineered by the Trump clan to clean out the corrupted deep state. If it is, then it’s also brilliant!

    Question is “Can the democrats ever survive after this”? Their true, hidden face is being exposed the more they protest and the world is watching with open mouth – incredulously

  7. Didi
    May 13, 2017 at 13:57

    When president Trump considers the 2018 and 2020 elections he should now fully support the FBI investigation to find out whether the Russian government tried to interfere with the 2016 elections and if it did what is needed to stop it.

  8. Jamie
    May 13, 2017 at 13:19

    Excellent article which exposes the dishonesty and incompetence of Jim Comey who catered to the DNC and let an anti-Russian zealot dictate to him the evidence the FBI had.

  9. Bill Rood
    May 13, 2017 at 10:39

    The Democrats’ attempt to force Trump into WW III with Russia was a resounding success. WW III occurred on April 6, 2017, and was a resounding $60 million defeat for the US military, in which over half the Tomahawk missiles launched were intercepted or diverted from their target, a Syrian airfield that was operational again in less than 24 hours. What we have witnessed in the 5+ weeks since then is the slow, ongoing negotiation of the peace treaty.

  10. Bill Rood
    May 13, 2017 at 09:56

    “With amazing accuracy, the Democrats have zeroed in on the one halfway positive thing Trump had to say during his campaign and made it their chief target.”

    I would add refusing to credit Trump with driving a stake through the heart of TPP to that. Anybody with any sense knows that a Clinton Presidency would have “renegotiated” a comma and submitted it to Congress for ratification.

  11. Michael Kenny
    May 13, 2017 at 09:52

    The weakness in Mr Lazare’s argument is “Macronleaks”. There is almost a total parallelism between the US and French election, which suggests that both were manipulated by a single perpetrator. So far, at least two US alt-right figures have been named, one of whom worked for the Trump campaign. In addition, a Russian has been named who works for a (named) Russian IT firm that works, inter alia, for the FSB. The French criminal investigation will probably yield further evidence (and names!). Macronleaks thus re-launches and re-invigorates Russiagate. Trump’s sacking of Comey looks very like a panic reaction to Macronleaks, and his threatening of Comey reinforces that impression. Suddenly, “no evidence” doesn’t work anymore and both Trump and Putin’s American supporters seem to be in total panic.What do they know that we don’t know? We’re back to “what did the President know and when did he know it?”

  12. Ian Cameron
    May 13, 2017 at 03:02

    Interesting argument. If the russians did the hack, they made records of it. So your theory that russiagate will never be proved has at least one gap: if its true the russians can prove it conclusively at a moment of their choosing, merely by uploading their archive to the net. So your underlying assumption is that Russia, if they did the hack, now and will always want to hide what they did. If it is not in American’s interest to expose a connection between American politicians seeking election and Russians cyberscientists, it does not follow that there are no circumstances where it would not be in Russia’s interests to expose the facts. And I can think of one such circumstance: if the congress (if the GOP in other words) whitewashes Trump, solemnly assures Americans of, say for instance, the explanation you have set out here, there was no hack, there was no Russian involvements, and Trump had nothing to do with it. then I could readily see an advantage to the Russians to expose that whitewash with a data dump. It makes the GOP out to be incompetent self serving liars.

  13. May 12, 2017 at 19:49

    A great article: Scandal hidden behind Russia-gate. I’ve never seen it so clearly explained before
    the huge money corruption between Saudi-Arabia and America and the link to the Clintons and
    America’s foreign policy of eternal wars. How incredibly awful it is. So many millions killed,
    so many millions more lives ruined for money. A hideous concealed scandal – Kay Weir, Wellington, New Zealand

  14. akech
    May 12, 2017 at 14:07

    Trump launched his campaign for the POTUS on June 16, 2015 and worn the general election on November 8, 2016 after a grueling primary campaigns against 16 GOP candidates and the general elections campaign marked with protests at his rallies!

    Based on the revelations by Edward Snowden, NSA scoops up the phone calls and e-mails of every American citizen. From June 16, 2015 to November 7, 2016 ( approximately one and a half years) , the intelligence agencies and MSM had enough time to uncover any “damaging monkey business” Donald Trump was engaged in around the world that would label him as a danger to the US National Security and, therefore, disqualify him from occupying the most powerful office in the world, POTUS.

    If these national security agencies and MSM had chosen the investigation path, the shear volume of business dealings this guy(trump) has around the world would have easily allowed them to unearth any malfeasance, particularly, with Russia!

    The national intelligence agencies and MSM investigative journalists had ample of time to expose Mr. Trump and his business dealings around the world prior to November 8, 2016 elections. Instead they have chosen to bully the whole nation through MSM propaganda machine and shills like David Brock. Yes, the MSM and elites are now bullying Americans to accept their narratives! This vicious, time consuming and tax $$ wasting assault reveals that Trump’s adversaries neither care about the peaceful transfer of power, which Hillary bragged about during the last debate, nor the constitution of this country through which Donald Trump was elected!

    Furthermore, Trump’s opponents do not care that 63 million voters and the electoral college voted for him. They keep on repeating that Hillary won by 3 million votes, but they are not making any attempt to change constitution to eliminate electoral college!

    If elections do not count, ordinary American voters must to be told in no uncertain terms who the permanent rulers of this nation must be and the real powerful shadowy figures at helm of this rule! After that revelation, the constitution must be amended to reflect that this country is being ruled by a mob!

    I remember the Gary Hart ‘s attempt to run for presidency and some of the ads. he aired on the following link :
    Before Gary Hart withdrew, he was hounded like a wild animal by a pack from the MSM who followed him around and reduced him to this:
    The questions hurled at Gary Hart on this video reveals that the MSM assassin were going for the kill.

    There are parallels to the Gary Hart’s saga of the 1980s and what is happening to Donald Trump right now. Every word that comes out of Trump’s mouth or action/step he takes is analyzed, twisted, and deliberately given a very inflammatory meaning to advance this Russian theme.
    At the end of this bloody fight, billions of tax $$, large enough to create jobs for thousands and thousands Americans, will have been wasted. These MSM assassins do not seem to be disturbed by this !

    I neither voted for Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton. However, I would advise Trump to fight these shadowy characters with everything he has in his body and reveal to American people and the world who these dangerous shadowy faces are! These people do not care about America or the people living in this country despite the fact that they pretend to be more patriotic than the rest!

    The mission of the elites fighting Donald Trump is to roam around the globe spilling human blood. They call this spreading democracy or doing humanitarian work! Judging from events in the Middle East , Afghanistan, North Africa, Pakistan and South Sudan, these elites are neither democratic nor humanitarian! They are out to forcefully grab what belongs to other nations while loading those citizens with debts and using US payers $$ to line up their pockets! Head, they win; tail, they win !!

    There is a global war in which surviving human beings are being forcefully removed after their homes are destroyed; they are then relocated to other parts of the world! The population targeted for these forceful removal and 99% of citizens being inconvenienced by the newcomers are intimidated to silence! This is what is going on, folks!

  15. CorBu
    May 12, 2017 at 12:24

    What seems to be happening is that there are two competing ideas, which are true, that are unfolding at the same time.

    Trump is fundamentally not up to the task of the presidency AND Deep State is trying to undermine any effort that threatens business as usual.

    It’s not either/or. It is yes, and…

    Most citizens are in the either/or camp. Many of the readers here can entertain the possibility that it’s yes, and…

    How to dig out of this is beyond my comprehension. It seems that what’s unfolding is a circle jerk, and a cluster f- at the same time. Apologies if this analogy offends anyone, but it seems apt.

  16. Kim
    May 12, 2017 at 11:20

    We should demand no war and do nothing if it comes. If our own is that sick, we should flee america and let be hit then come back and restore it righeousely again

  17. Mark Thomason
    May 12, 2017 at 10:35

    There is a lot of truth in this article, but not as much cause and effect.

    The same people using Red Baiting against Trump were always neocons and hawks of the liberal interventionist variety, as with Hillary herself.

    However, they are just using the club that seems most suitable at the moment. They’d change on a moment’s notice of they saw another opening to bash away at Trump.

    However, their demands for war all the time and everywhere as the solution to all problems long predates Trump and would not change no matter what they say about Trump. The two are not connected as in cause and effect, just done by the same people.

  18. Brian
    May 12, 2017 at 10:31

    March 31, 2017 The Surveillance State Behind Russia-Gate

    Although many details are still hazy because of secrecy – and further befogged by politics – it appears House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was informed last week about invasive electronic surveillance of senior U.S. government officials and, in turn, passed that information onto President Trump.

    Jan 2, 2017 BOOM! CNN Caught Using Video Game Image In Fake Russian Hacking Story

    It looks like CNN Has tried to pull the wool over our eyes once again. This time, they used a screenshot from the Fallout 4 Video game to paint the picture of Russian Hacking. To bad that’s not what a real hacking screen looks like. And an image you will only find in the video game!

  19. Adrian Engler
    May 12, 2017 at 08:05

    I think in this context, an important question is the role of the term “conspiracy theory”.

    Some people say that this term should not be used because there are documents that show that the CIA pushed the use of this term in order to fight doubts about the official version of the assassination of Kennedy. Sometimes, it is even claimed that the derogatory term was invented by the CIA in connection with the Kennedy assassination, however, the first uses of this term go further back until the beginning of the 20th century.

    There is no doubt that the term “conspiracy theory” is often used in order to discredit narratives pushed by the government that sometimes later turn out to be false.

    However, I think there are also cases where the term “conspiracy theory” really seems appropriate in the sense of “unwarranted conspiracy theory” – when a big narration is built on little or no evidence. Of course, it is often impossible to know definitely that it is false, but as long as there is no serious evidence, such conspiracy theories, according to which many seemingly unconnected events are connected and linked to one big force controlling a large part of world events should be rejected.

    Exactly this type of legitimate use of the term “conspiracy theory” is, in my view, appropriate for the “Russian meddling” and “Russian hacking” story and the idea that Trump, Brexit, the National Front in France or Alternative in Germany are not political phenomena with their multiple causes in the different countries, but all go back to the big puppet master Putin pulling the strings everywhere.

    That is, in my view, really the big difference between Watergate and Nixon’s attempts to stop the investigations. In Nixon’s case, the investigations were started after some clear facts about the burglary were already there, and at the time of the Saturday Night Massacre, there was already considerable evidence. In contrast, although investigations about Russiagate have been going on for a year, there still is nothing but vague suspicions, and some of the crucial early claims have lost much of the credibility they might first have had among some people (e.g. the Crowdstrike claim about significant common features of DNC hacking with the alleged hacking of Ukrainian military devices has been rejected by the authors of the sources the Crowdstrike texts quotes).

    • Gregory Herr
      May 13, 2017 at 11:04

      The simple fact is conspiracies happen. Human associations sometimes are conspiratorial. And obviously a great deal of human association happens without any conspiratorial (as a matter of legal definition) aspect. It is true that the C.I.A. made apparently successful efforts to infuse the term with a derogatory meaning.
      If people heel their thinking to dog-whistle terminology, then they are not thinking. A theory involving conspiracy is either plausible or implausible, is either supported by evidence or is not supported by evidence. When it the point that people are afraid of being called a name that, in and of itself has no real valuable implications…well then, those people are cowardly, and frankly, have stopped thinking (hence the spooks have had their way).
      It didn’t take long (in fact that very day) for pundits and “officials” (people like Paul Bremmer for instance) to espouse theories of a conspiracy to explain the events of 9/11. It turns out the government-sanctioned conspiracy theory (and that is exactly what it is, since the theory has not been established in fact or evidence) is full of implausibilities.

  20. BASLE
    May 12, 2017 at 06:19

    The author is right to denounce this charade. However, to fully answer the question ‘cui bono’ one must read “A clean break: a new strategy for securing the Realm”.

  21. DougM
    May 12, 2017 at 03:46

    Well written and researched piece, I completely agree. The scandal is that there is a scandal at all over Trump the election and Russia.

  22. Stephen Sivonda
    May 12, 2017 at 03:26

    Not mentioned when speaking about Saudi Arabia and Qatar is the pipeline that Syria turned down. It was supposed to run from Qatar to the eastern EU and was a GAS pipeline. Therefore the Syrian war that’s been going on has always been about getting a puppet govt. in place to allow that pipeline to be built.

    • Kiza
      May 12, 2017 at 08:55

      The importance of the pipeline has been way overblown. The Syrian war is primarily about putting all countries surrounding Israel into a Stone Age chaos, that is about keeping the Shiites and the Sunnis at each other’s throats forever so that neither notice the Israelis pickpocketing the best pieces of both their lands (those rich in water and oil).

  23. Realist
    May 12, 2017 at 02:43

    I’m sure most everyone here will agree: any facts to support this concocted narrative called “RussiaGate” are completely lacking, yet the newly anti-democratic Democrats (for which let’s coin a new term: the NeoDems), the lying intelligence agencies, the MIC, the reliable old Neocons and, most importantly, the monolithic American mainstream media, pedlars of propitious propaganda for their corporate masters, support it to the hilt. It’s not simply that they all rally round the elected government–that would be Donald Trump. They support the insider establishment, or “the club” as George Carlin called it, and, for all his money, Donald Trump ain’t in it any more than you or I. They just don’t trust him to carry on with the ruinous warmongering agenda that has advantaged the “club” over the past 50 or 60 years, even though that plan clearly has a country suffering from severe vertigo on a precipice with naught but crumbling gravel underfoot. It’s as though the fools are clutching at whatever straws may forestall or obscure the incipient financial/economic/monetary collapse, and, to them, one straw just as good as all the rest would be a thermonuclear war with Russia.

    • CitizenOne
      May 12, 2017 at 07:02

      Donald Trump ain’t in it any more than you or I.

      I agree 100%. All along Donald Trump has said “why can’t we be friends?”. He was either going to obey the war mongers or be investigated like Clinton but they will never trust him. The 59 missile um I mean 60 million dollar deposit in the MIC bank account silenced the war hawks calling for his hide but that didn’t last long.

      What we are seeing is a clash of capitalists. The Washington group which makes its living selling arms and fomenting wars vs. Donald Trump who owns casinos, hotels, golf clubs and fashion lines.

      Perhaps they can reconcile after the war.

      Come to Mount Trump where you can ski at night all year long at the Equator in the deep freeze of nuclear winter on snow that glows in the dark.

      • Skip Scott
        May 12, 2017 at 07:44

        Trump’s buffoonery is a major embarrassment to the old money mucky-mucks. Actually, I’m even embarrassed to have him speaking for my country to the world. That said, Hillary would have been a horror story as well. Without deep structural change, we will never get anyone worthy of the job.

        • Kiza
          May 12, 2017 at 08:49

          Thanks for correcting yourself a bit. I strongly disagree with your statement that Trump is as bad as the Deep State and I disagree that Hillary is equally bad as Trump and the Deep State.

          Firstly, Hillary is (a part of) the Deep State.

          Secondly, Trump was elected by the voters of the US, the Deep State appointed itself. A statement of equivalence smacks of the old miserable: if my candidate does not win then democracy should not exist.

          The Deep State is out of scale of any measure of badness, just nothing compares to it. Even a dictatorship is better than the Deep State, because at least it is honestly in the open. Deep State is made of worst scumbags pulling the strings of their puppet liars from the shadows.

          The voters of US decided that Trump, as baffoonish and as greedy as he is, is still a lesser evil than Clinton. That must mean something as long as even the last remnant of democracy in US exists.

          • Skip Scott
            May 12, 2017 at 13:26


            I don’t think the voters thought he was a lesser evil, I think they believed his campaign rhetoric, on which he has done a complete about-face since inauguration day. Of course the deep state is largely to blame for this. I would also argue that there is no “last remnant” of democracy in the US, except maybe at the most local levels of government.

            Mostly I think of Trump as equally as bad because I don’t trust him any more than Hillary or the deep state when it comes to nuclear armageddon. If he had stuck to his campaign rhetoric and pursued peace with Moscow, my opinion of him would be completely different.

  24. Pft
    May 12, 2017 at 00:25

    Well, here is the real deal. Russia gate is a cover to mask Trump and the Deep States Russian-Israeli mafia connections that have hijacked the country going back 40-50 years. The FBI and Deep State controlled MSM got Trump elected. The rift between them is an elaborate ruse. Pure theater intended to dupe the dupable masses. Trump will likely end any illusion of a Democracy with chaos that will make the Bush years look like the golden age.

    Watergate was a Deep State operation that gave birth to the neocons and neoliberal economics. Nixon was the last great Democrat with Detente, recognizing China, ending the Vietnam War, EPA, trying to push a national health insurance , etc. His war against the Deep State was the last straw and they united with Dark Money from the far right to change the political landscape far to the right. JFK was the start of the civil war led by these Dark Forces and Watergate gave them total Victory that ended Democracy as we knew it following a decade of assassinations (a domestic Operation Gladio) and operations to control the media ( Operation Mockingbird)

    To give some background J Edgar Hoover died only a couple of months before the Watergate break-in, so the FBI was in the midst of a succession crisis. Deputy director Mark Felt, passed over by Nixon for promotion so easily recruited and he leaked everything to Deep State operative Bob Woodward under the guise of Deep Throat. The White House ‘Plumbers’ were being overseen by a CIA liaison . He retired from the CIA once Nixon was removed, and died in an apparent suicide a few years later. As a consequence of Watergate the CIA-friendly Neo-Cons took over the White House, and the CIA expanded their power domestically with a weakened FBI to operate without any constraints , funding themselves as they were via the drug trade at home and globally , working closely with the mafia.

    Nixon was set up to take the fall so they could remove the Nixon administration that wanted to gut the CIA , like JFK. Watergate was a soft power coup detat. Shortly thereafter they tried to get a constitutional convention and rewrite the constitution. This failed so they basically scrapped it anyways and rammed through FEMA under Carter which together with the continuity of government mandate and emergency powers and various EO’s has basically eliminated constitutional government and citizen rights.

  25. backwardsevolution
    May 12, 2017 at 00:13

    Daniel Lazare – this is a very good article! Thanks for posting it. Had Israel been included, I would have given it 100%, but I realize you have to be careful about mentioning Israel. Good job, Daniel.

    “Since the FBI has never conducted an independent investigation – for as-yet-unexplained reasons, the DNC refused to grant it access to its servers despite multiple requests – the only evidence that a break-in even occurred comes from a private cyber-security firm, CrowdStrike Inc. of Irvine, California, that the DNC hired to look into the breach.

    Since when do the cops rely on a private eye to look into a murder rather than performing an investigation of their own?”

    Exactly! This has always struck me as extremely fishy. The FBI just takes the word of CrowdStrike? Yeah, riiiiiiight! Just this on its own tells you all you need to know.

  26. May 12, 2017 at 00:13

    Any “there” there be influenced by what “is” is, I suppose. What’s a bit of dissembling between Clintons?

  27. mike k
    May 11, 2017 at 21:34

    It is hard for us ordinary citizens to understand that even now people with great power are sitting around tables sharing their ideas of how to win a nuclear war, when they could be sitting around the same tables planning how to eliminate nuclear weapons. We don’t need fancy definitions of mental illness to recognize that this is paranoid insanity.

    • CorBu
      May 12, 2017 at 12:10

      Yes, Mike. I have often thought, and said, that if these brilliant tacticians spent half their time studying how peaceful solutions are arrived at, we’d be in an altogether different world. Einstein said, “You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.” He is correct because your mind can only focus on what it’s focusing on. And what you focus on you get more of, because that focus conditions the next thought. Vaclav Havel have made the following statement:

      “Consciousness precedes Being, and not the other way around, as Marxists claim. For this reason, the salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human modesty, and in human responsibility. Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better.”

      The habit patterns of our minds, which are conditioned with every unexamined and unquestioned thought/belief that pops up, determine our actions. Garbage in, garbage out. The solutions we come up with are only as good as the premises they’re based on.

      • Skip Scott
        May 12, 2017 at 13:13


        That is a great quote from Havel. Our only hope is some kind of advancement in human consciousness that makes war impossible. We must learn to wage peace in a multi-polar world. Whenever I allow myself any hope at all, I reflect on the many good people that read and comment here at CN. I find as much intelligent reflection in the comment section as I do the articles.

  28. Herman
    May 11, 2017 at 21:33

    From the article which selectivity identifies villains to support his premise.

    ” To the contrary, he’s a loud-mouthed ignoramus who can barely find Russia on the map.”

    Why do writers who wish to make a valid point about Washington aggression need to add some over the top comment about President Trump? Does Mr. Lazare really believe what he wrote? Engaging in such hyperbole is like a rite of passage for articles written about foreign policy. What is bothersome is how course our discourse has become starting with our President on down. Obama’s remarks about Putin befit an show-off adolescent more than the President of a great country. We really have lost it.

    Mr. Lazare should also understand that such hyperbole plays into the game plan of those he claims are pushing us into war. It is the game plan of demonization to neutralize or destroy adversaries. It began before the inauguration and continues today. Those who see what is happening might give some thought about joining in on the bashing, whatever the merits of your opinions.

    As to the article about the villains being the oil kingdoms and the defense industry; Any others? Missing any other nations?

    • mike k
      May 11, 2017 at 21:39

      Some good thoughts Herman. A soft answer turns away wrath. Diplomacy and peace making avoids insults. I guess that tells us that the establishment is not seeking peace….

    • Irene
      May 12, 2017 at 00:48

      Trump barely being able to find Russia on the map sounded more like humor than hyperbole. Desperately needed humor.

    • Skip Scott
      May 12, 2017 at 07:38


      I don’t believe that his comment was over the top. It may be inconvenient, but Trump really is an idiot. Maybe not quite as stupid as W, but close. Just look and listen to the man. He is a buffoon. He is a two bit shyster. Would you buy a used car from him?

      It is comforting but naive to take sides when it comes to Trump vs. The Deep State. They are both unspeakably horrible. I wish I had an answer to the mess we’re in, but I think Armageddon is right around the corner.

      • CorBu
        May 12, 2017 at 11:55

        “It is comforting but naive to take sides when it comes to Trump vs. The Deep State. They are both unspeakably horrible. I wish I had an answer to the mess we’re in, but I think Armageddon is right around the corner.”

        They’re two sides of an awful coin. And anyone who thinks a nuclear war is “winnable” is insane. Why would we be able to win that, when we aren’t even able to “win” other types of wars (which those brilliant people in charge decide we need to engage in.)

  29. May 11, 2017 at 21:28

    I suggest reading John Steinbeck’s “A Russian Journal.” 1948. He and photographer Robert Capa decided to go to Russia because hate was as thick in the news during the pre communist witch-hunt era years as it is now.

    Hating Russia for state corporatism and admiring US for private corporatism is a weird waste of time and energy.

  30. Bob In Portland
    May 11, 2017 at 20:48

    Dovetails nicely with what I wrote back in April:

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 12, 2017 at 01:57

      I got a lot out of your linked essay…. I think inside our American government apparatus we have a certain percentage who feel that going to war with Russia and China is now or never, due to the arms race.

  31. mike k
    May 11, 2017 at 20:34

    Is it really surprising that the crazy Zionists are the one’s most ready to plunge us all into this apocalyptic nightmare? And they want to disrespect Islam??

  32. mike k
    May 11, 2017 at 20:27

    Once again we are facing a capitalist empire on the verge of collapse, seeking to save itself by going to war. We are now in the middle game on the world chessboard, the stoking of public paranoia, and the creation of casus belli – excuses for war. The projected endgame now is the long delayed nuclear war, which will begin with a first strike by whoever is most paranoid. This could be a second tier nuclear power, or even a desperate third tier like North Korea. But the most likely scenario now, due to the new short fuse weapons in the huge US arsenal, will be a first strike by the US of Amerika. The Russian military has recently announced that they are expecting this, and are preparing to deal with it – whatever that ominous declaration may mean? Your guess is as good as mine. Who can predict the behavior of the criminally insane?

    • JWalters
      May 11, 2017 at 22:15

      Criminal insanity is indeed the root problem.

  33. May 11, 2017 at 20:05

    It is a bad joke and a waste of taxpayers’ money. What the CIA has done since its inception is thousands of times worse than anything these partisans say Russia did, covert and overt ops, including assassinations (read “The Devil’s Chessboard” by David Talbot or “The Brothers” by Stephen Kinzer). Oh, no, they meddle for “democracy”! Both parties put party ahead of governing and if one were to look into any of their individual connections, a lot of dirty laundry would likely be discovered. There’s an essay at The Saker website on how the neocons took hold on government after WWII and keeping tension between USA and Soviet Union was central to the propagandistic control of the people. Now, of course, it’s important to keep Russia in that role of antagonist to continue the tension narrative. After all, we wouldn’t want peace would we?

  34. mike k
    May 11, 2017 at 19:46

    The lying rats are coming out of the woodwork in the Congress. The question is, will enough people be able to see what is right in front of them. They have eyes, but cannot see……

  35. Paul W L
    May 11, 2017 at 19:45

    The article is significant, a persuasive argument overall. But please review one statement:

    “If all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies agree that the Kremlin did it, it is worth bearing in mind that the ‘intelligence community’ was equally unanimous in 2002 that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.”

    Is it true that they ALL agree that the Kremlin did it? As for Iraq in 2002, Wasn’t it the other way around? — that the rank and file of the intelligence community largely doubted that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.


    • Bill Bodden
      May 11, 2017 at 20:13

      Dick Durbin (D-IL) during a speech on the senate floor said that during the run-up to the war on Iraq the senate intelligence (?) committee was given a different version of Iraq intelligence than that broadcast for public consumption. The senate version persuaded him (but not all senators) to vote against the war.

      • JWalters
        May 11, 2017 at 22:11

        Durbin also informed the American public, regarding the U.S. Senate, that “The banks own this place”.

    • Adrian Engler
      May 12, 2017 at 07:50

      Well, we also don’t know what the rank and file now thinks about the allegations against Russia, and there are at least some reports that there are also doubts – and there are certainly former secret agents who publicly stated their doubts.

      As far as these 17 agencies are concerned, the constant mentioning of them mainly seems to be a way of making the allegations sound more impressive. What is the contribution of the Coast Guard Intelligence or the Marine Corps Intelligence to the assessment about hacking claims? As has recently been clarified (I can’t find the link now), only the three agencies CIA, FBI and NSA were involved in the preparation of the intelligence report from January this year, and they are the only ones whose assessments are explicitly mentioned in that document. The NSA (that could probably be considered the main authority on questions about cyberattacks) only expresses “moderate confidence” in some of the claims, while the CIA and the FBI express “high confidence” (they don’t hide the fact that this is not about evidence, but about guesses and assessments about what seems to be likely to them).

  36. CitizenOne
    May 11, 2017 at 19:43

    Great article. However at the end of the day, the media hold the microphone in their hand and can choose to ignore truth and create “alternate facts” or a one sided or completely bogus story line and sell it to the public with big lie propaganda tactics and eventually convince the people to go to war.

    They convinced us it was necessary to go to war with Saddam, Afghanistan, Vietnam, the Spanish American war……..

    All three legs of the military industrial complex work for the MIC dollars and have a hand in the outcome which also means the only way they can justify their ginormous budget is by creating the constant need to create an enemy and then to attack it.

    The media is the MICs mouth piece, bullhorn, town crier,
    The Government constantly clamors for more dollars to make America stronger and stronger until it is so strong that it is the strongest of the strong but alas that turns out to be not strong enough during next budget cycle. Conservatives run on platforms that they will make the military strong once again while chastising the former administration of weakening our military even though the budget went up year over year during that administration.

    The media plays cheerleader and Helen Keller when it comes to uncovering the real truth. They are cheerleaders for more money, more wars, more death and destruction which they can turn a tidy profit on selling news of the day. If it bleeds it leads as the saying goes.

    But they are deaf dumb and blind when asked to investigate the truth of allegations of WMD or Sarin gas, or Russians. They would much prefer to ignore the truth avoid the cost of having to pay some investigative reporters and merely report the government propaganda verbatim.

    Let’s face facts. The post truth era or whatever it is called is the death of freedom. It is the silencing of those who try to speak truth and the empowerment of power to suppress the truth.

    The FCC will vote to end Net Neutrality soon ending a free and open internet where discourse can be found for free in a commons like this. The Supreme Court will do it for them if FCC can’t get the job done.

    The news lost its subscriber base and now is completely controlled by corporate advertisers many of which will not pay a dime if any of their inconvenient truths are revealed by some loose lipped news organization.

    So how is it really the “DEATH OF FREEDOM!!”? (Thunderous voice from Heaven)

    Quite simply this.
    1. A free society can only actually exist where people in that society have the right to choose who will lead the society. It is free in that a majority gets to pick who the leader is. It is already a very limited free society but societies need rulers so elected ones are better than say a royal lineage where the people have no say. That is what North Korea has. I would venture to say we have it way better off than they do so by comparison we are definitely a very free society.
    2. In order to form a more perfect union where people have unalienable rights they need to pick the right leaders who agree.
    3. If there exists a propaganda state in the mass media it has been shown many times to be an effective way for a populace to elect the wrong leaders for their societies. The election of Adolph Hitler would be a great example of how a propagandist state controlled media ended up getting the wrong guy elected and the Germans certainly were not more free after he was elected. Shortly later, Germany was destroyed.

    So yes, the bad thing we have going on with the media in our free society not only is getting the wrong leaders elected it is limiting our choices of who we can even choose from and that means we can only pick bad candidates to run our government. We don’t get the news we need to make informed decisions and we all are genetically programmed to listen to the guy who screams the loudest.

    It is working. The American People are being brought to heel by their propaganda masters in the press and like hungry pets we await the latest news on the scandal over the Russians. It might as well be the Kardashians. Who knows where they came from and why they will not go away. Apparently, we Americans will be forced to live out our lives hearing endless gossip about celebrities that came out of nowhere and foreign affairs crises that also came out of nowhere.

    • JWalters
      May 11, 2017 at 22:08

      The media is the MICs mouth piece

      It seems to me more accurate to say the media and the MIC are both tools of the oligarchy. Big money runs the show. People in the media and MIC take orders or get fired.

    • Eddie
      May 11, 2017 at 22:29

      Good points, CO!

  37. W. R. Knight
    May 11, 2017 at 19:38

    While I don’t believe there was any significant influence by the Russians on our election, I do suspect there were some sleazy private deals being worked by members of Trump’s cadre of perverts. Probably related to real estate purchases in the U.S. by Russian oligarchs or deals in Moscow that would benefit Trump, his family or friends. I suspect the investigations were getting close to finding out more about the wheeling and dealing by Trump Associates, Inc.

    I also believe that Trump’s main motive for being president is strictly to exploit the office for his personal enrichment. Witness his reluctance to divest himself of his personal properties by which he stands to profit. Just think about it. For anyone with boundless greed who views himself as the ultimate deal maker, what better position could he be in than the Oval Office?

    • Bill Bodden
      May 11, 2017 at 21:33

      For anyone with boundless greed who views himself as the ultimate deal maker, what better position could he be in than the Oval Office?

      Then, again, there was Icarus who flew beyond him limits and crashed.

    • Eddie
      May 11, 2017 at 22:25

      Yes, WRK, I think that the old ‘Occam’s Razor’/law of parsimony, or whatever you wish to call it, (essentially the idea that basically the simplest explanation which describes a situation sufficiently is probably the truest) is the most applicable rule here when trying to discern what Trump is about. I think trying to ascribe some sort of serious political ideology to him is probably erroneous. It’s best to look at his life’s history and — from whatever I’ve ever heard about him — there’s nothing seriously political there. He’s closer to a sleazy time-share salesman than anything else, and I suspect his running for POTUS was a ‘lark’, an ego-trip to keep his name in the public eye and ‘build his brand’, with no real serious intent of winning. When he won, he had the look of a worried man, kind of like someone who’s carried a joke WAY too far and is having regrets.

      I too suspect that he may have attempted some scams in Russia as he has done here. That being said, it’s an entirely different animal to say he and Russia were conspiring to somehow (how??) significantly influence the US election illegally (i.e.; like the US does in other countries). DL’s above article makes a lot more sense as a valid explanation…

      • Brad Owen
        May 12, 2017 at 06:53

        Probably, but not always. This too is worth remembering. When running covert ops, its good to hide behind cover story after cover story after cover story, and have several tiers of “fall guys” lined up to cover your tracks…in other words, many complications and red herrings.

      • Adrian Engler
        May 12, 2017 at 07:41

        I don’t think it is particularly plausible that Trumps more friendly utterances about Russia in his campaign have something to do with deals in Russia. The US foreign policy of recent years and the campaign of Hillary Clinton was accompanied with a strong anti-Russian rhethoric. That begs the question whether this really makes sense, and even someone who is as inept and inexperienced in politics as Trump can ask himself this question and come to the conclusion that he does not think this makes sense and that in the general American population these anti-Russian sentiments are probably much weaker than in the Beltway establishment.

        If Russia had had the aim to gain more influence in US with the help of deals with a candidate, it would be much more plausible that he would have received the advice not to mention Russia in a positive way that much before the elections and in the beginning of his presidency in order not to fuel suspicions. Of course, one can always claim that this was a particular strategy based on the idea that when he positively speaks about Russia, many people think this would dispel the idea that he has secret deals with Russia because this would be stupid, but that is where I would use Occham’s razor.

        As far as I know, Trump has business deals in many countries, he has large credits from German banks, and he has extensive activities in Arabic countries. Russia was not among the countries where his business was very active. Of course, one can still think that there are some deals in Russia that are not known. But if we talk about potential conflicts of interest, I think it would be appropriate to look first at the countries where there really were large business activities rather than thinking that, in addition to them, he might also have some unknown deals in Russia that are not known and that override all other potential influence.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 12, 2017 at 01:37

      I guest a fair question could be asked to where Statesmanship ends, and Oligarchy Business begins?

    • Jeff Davis
      May 15, 2017 at 12:03

      “Colonic vistas” + Trump hate/envy = “I believe”. “Belief” is easy, reality is harder. Pull your head out, wipe your eyes, and reconnect with reality.

  38. Abe
    May 11, 2017 at 19:33

    Israel, an ally of the oil monarchies, has used the Israel Lobby to create a pro-war consensus in Washington that is nearly 100-percent complete. Israel vehemently opposes the presence of Russian airpower in Syria,

    Though the American public oppose a US military intervention in Syria, Israel’s most ardent supporters in AIPAC urge Congress and the White House to conduct an intervention.

    For Israel and its Israel Lobby agents in the United States, Russia is an obstacle to be eliminated.

    On 26 March 26, 2017, Vice President Michael R. Pence was pandered shamelessly at the AIPAC Policy Conference:

    “it is great to be back to AIPAC, the largest and most influential gathering of the friends of Israel and the United States. And it is my great privilege to speak before you tonight on behalf of a true friend of Israel, a courageous defender of freedom, the 45th president of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.

    “Thanks to the support of so many in this room, President Trump won a historic victory and I’m here to pay a debt of gratitude to all of you who helped elect a president who I know will make America great again.

    “You know, it’s a particular honor for me to be here with you tonight. My relationship with AIPAC spans more than a quarter of a century. It began with a mentoring role of Indiana’s Hart Hasten in my life back in 1988 as a first-time candidate for Congress. After I arrived in Washington, D.C. in 2001, it continued through my friendship with Marshall Cooper and others in this great organization. During my tenure as a congressman, as governor of Indiana, members of AIPAC were there with friendship and support and prayers.

    “And let me just say it’s actually very hard for me to express before those friends of so many years the profound humility and gratitude I feel to stand before you tonight as the 48th vice president of the United States of America. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. And it’s the greatest honor of my life to serve as vice president to President Donald Trump. I’m proud to call him my friend.

    “I’m proud to call him my president, but honestly, I was never more proud than when, at the outset of his very first joint address to Congress, President Trump paused to condemn threats and acts of vandalism against Jewish communities across America. He reminded us boldly that, ‘While we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning and evil in all its very ugly forms.’ And President Donald Trump is a man of his word.

    “And he’s a man of action. For the first time in a long time America has a president who will stand with our allies and stand up to our enemies. And under President Donald Trump, if the world knows nothing else, the world will know this, America stands with Israel. President Trump and I stand with Israel for the same reason every freedom loving American stands with Israel, because her cause is our cause. Her values are our values. And her fight is our fight.”

  39. Mitchell
    May 11, 2017 at 19:33

    I still don’t get leftists’ love for a fascist oligarchy. Trump has been doing business with these people for years, decades. I think now that he’s POTUS, all the relationships should be shown. Yet those who should be opposed to Putin’s fascist state defend it.

    • Brian
      May 12, 2017 at 07:36

      The United States is a Fascist oligarchy. Putin has been working to put down the oligarchs in Russia that were created after the downfall of the former Soviet Union through the policies of US puppet Boris Yeltsin. There is a big difference.

      • Typingperson
        May 13, 2017 at 00:17

        This is true–and unreported in the USA. After the fall of the USSR in 1991, the USA flooded Russia with capitalist advice. The USA actively encouraged the looting of the oligarchs in Russia.

        Russia bought it, to their detriment. Putin’s first order of biz was to reign in the oligharchs. A threat to the USA, somehow. Not reported by US media.

        • Bill Rood
          May 13, 2017 at 10:24

          It wasn’t capitalist advice. It was neo-feudal rentier advice to grabitize the Russian commons.

  40. exiled off mainstreet
    May 11, 2017 at 19:16

    I concur that this is an excellent article telling truths which have to be told. The distinctions between the “Russia” scandal and Watergate, going to the fact Watergate involved serious scandalous where this latest bit is totally concocted, is accurately shown in an effective, direct fashion. Since, by threatening Russia, our very survival is threatened, the democrats are not only criminal, but stupid on this. Since the democrats’ Syrian policy is to back raghead barbarians over the civilized element, this ultimate shark jump destroys any remaining shreds of legitimacy they may possess. The Clintons, Podestas, and Soros et al are all fascist frauds masquerading as “progressives.” Even our erstwhile hero Bernie Sanders has revealed his inherent corruption by buying into this absurd, dangerous fantasy. In light of all of this, revolution would truly be in order except that, with all of the nukes about, it would be too dangerous. What I can say is that Trump, though seriously flawed, and, with the April 6 bombing, guilty of a war crime, is far less corrupt and odious than those opposing him.

  41. Drew Hunkins
    May 11, 2017 at 18:55

    Where was Roy Cohn?

    The April 6th tomahawk(s) strike was of course awful and horrifying for an imperial power to carry out against a sovereign nation sans UN or legislative approval. What’s also terrible about that tomahawk strike that Trump carried out —

    –The Washington militarist-imperialists and Zionists have a solid lever against Trump.

    With that strike Trump’s opened himself up to extortion because now he can be easily impeached and ultimately removed from office for the crime against humanity that was the tomahawk(s) strike. The powers that be, if necessary, can denounce and try Trump for his violation of international law whenever they see fit. And they would indeed even deem an unlawful strike against Assad as worthy of censure and removal from office if Trump doesn’t kowtow to their every desire: perhaps war on Iran, more ABMs surrounding every inch of Russia and China, etc.

    Anyone with some street smarts knows that getting a lever on someone is stunningly valuable, it’s of course how mobsters worked back in the day. Apparently Roy Cohn didn’t quite school Trump to the degree that was necessary. Don’t let anyone get the goods on you.

    • mike k
      May 11, 2017 at 19:43

      That extortion will never happen. Those involved are more interested in turning Trump to do more of the same.

    • Sam F
      May 11, 2017 at 20:18

      The several casualties of the drone strike are only a few hours of the US-caused casualty rate in the Mideast wars of the those opposed to Trump, so not really a strong position for them to take.

    • Gregory Herr
      May 12, 2017 at 22:51

      Violation of international law and crimes against humanity…they’re not going to open up that can of worms. After all the cheerleading for the strike, plus endorsement of Clinton whose complaint now is that it was just a one-off event. After all the demonizing of Assad and the “chemical attack” bs.

    • Bill Rood
      May 13, 2017 at 10:20

      That would be the mirror image of the claim by some that Russia can blackmail Trump for his collusion with the Russians.

    • Jeff Davis
      May 15, 2017 at 11:17

      “With that strike Trump’s opened himself up to extortion because now he can be easily impeached and ultimately removed from office for the crime against humanity that was the tomahawk(s) strike.”

      “…now he can be easily impeached…”

      Utter nonsense. Wishful dribble. The Trumpublican Party owns the Presidency, the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the DoJ and soon the FBI. You must be insanely hopeful — from-another-planet hopeful — to imagine that the Trumpublicans will damage this, their comprehensive domination of US political power, by voting a bill of impeachment against the man who made that happen. They may not like “the big dog”, and not-so-secretly thinking about how to get rid of him and take back “their” party, but craven criminal garbage that they are, they will render unto Caesar.

  42. Bill Bodden
    May 11, 2017 at 18:46

    the Senate Intelligence Committee hit Page with a sweeping order on April 28 to turn over anything and everything having to do with his extensive list of Russian business, personal and casual contacts for the 18 months prior to Trump’s Inauguration.

    Who ever defined the United States senate and the world’s greatest deliberative body?

    One hundred percent endorsement of Israel’s slaughters in Gaza, 77 percent authorization for war on Iraq, majority support for all wars since World War Two, etc.

  43. ltr
    May 11, 2017 at 18:38

    Terrific work.

  44. susan sunflower
    May 11, 2017 at 18:28

    Trump’s clueless bumbling has once-again given this faux-Russian meddling-scandal a shot in the arm, new “bones” stiffened by press accounts that Trump’s actions (seen as deliberate suppression of the “truth” effected by thwarting the investigation by removing Comey) represent “proof” of his “guilt” of whatever it is that he’s being accused of either having done or the unspecified acts of unspecified others in the cause of benefiting Trump’s campaign (concluded now now 6 months ago) … despite these alleged investigations having commenced months earlier, some possibly even as off-shoots of long-standing monitoring and surveillance of people and issues related to Russian sanctions or Russian mafia or international influence peddling and/or money laundering …

    It’s one of those endlessly expanding “inquiries” with the almost global potential of the 6-degrees-of-separation variety (which is how — guilt by association — surveillance and monitoring can metastasize from one “inquiry” to including whomever might be a desirable target … they used to just sic the IRS on “enemies” … now they can use metadata and the NSA.

    It was disturbing when Clintonistas claimed that the “appearance of impropriety” was no longer important — that without proven “quid pro quo” (usually impossible to provide) wrt Clinton blurring her (private interests) foundation and state department (public service interests) the matter wasn’t worth discussing … obviously it all depends on the color of your team jersey…

    I admit that Trump’s blunders and their sequelae are gob-smacking in their own right … his inability to stick with any one story and/or even personally manage sufficient “message discipline” to avoid looking like a weaseling liar … he’s “on thin ice” and “cruising for a bruising” (which he richly deserves) … but — yes — thank you for this article because truly, in a nation of laws (not of men) this double standard should not be allowed, much less cheered on.

    • Adrian Engler
      May 12, 2017 at 08:20

      I find it hard to judge these issues. Of course, Trump’s actions often seem dumb (and in many areas of politics, I am certainly strongly against his policies), but he also should not be underestimated. Few would have thought that he could become the Republican nominee and then win the election.

      On one hand, it seems clear that the dismissal of Comey would cause a media storm and refuel allegation about Russian influence. But what would have been the alternative? The view that Comey would hardly be lead the FBI for a long time was widespread. While Comey admitted that there was no evidence for collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, he embellished the absence of evidence for Russiagate with lots of innuendo and claims that Russia is the biggest threat – and it is clear that the leading media would present this in a way that the absence of evidence gets lost and it can be spun in a way that conforms with the neocon worldview. The longer this would have gone on, the more this media frenzy would have been fed with new pseudo-stories without any evidence for the basic claims.

      Some say that Trump should have chosen a better moment for the dismissal of Comey. But the dismissal of Comey followed statements that there is no evidence for Russiagate – by Comey himself, other representative of the intelligence services and Democratic senator Diane Feinstein who had access to secret information. That have Trump some breathing space in order not to let the dismissal seem too suspicious. Of course, it still caused a storm of indignation in the media that are against Trump. Some say Trump must have been stupid not to have foreseen this. But another interpretation would be that it might have been clear to Trump that there would be a storm of indignation in the media, anyway, in the moment when he dismisses Comey and that it is far from clear whether there would be a better moment than the current one, after some statements about the absence of evidence for Russiagate.

      • Jeff Davis
        May 15, 2017 at 11:00

        In a firestorm of passionately distorted thinking,… in the Kool-Aid-saturated atmosphere that rushes in to fill the vacuum created by the evaporation of the conventional, but mostly fictional, cultural narrative, one of the many lonely, sensible, and brave persons speaks the truth. Despite the firestorm, you have maintained an admirable clarity of mind.

        “If you can keep you head while all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…”

        You’ve passed the test.

        That said, “Behold the spectacle! The birth of a new narrative.” The revolutionary tumult as the old narrative (“truth”?!) dies, and a new narrative (“truth”?!) is born. From the ever deepening shadows we move, but whence? Into the light?, or deeper into darkness?

        I’m lovin’ it.

  45. bluebird
    May 11, 2017 at 17:52

    Trump can choose to ignore the Zio-media, as most Americans do. Instead, he chooses to succumb to their juvenile tactics. Why?

    • Mockingbird
      May 12, 2017 at 04:16

      To counter the rhetoric and help blur the lines of bs, creating a momentary semblance of transparency?

    • Brian
      May 12, 2017 at 07:27

      Trump, while I am not a fan, is under unprecedented attack. I have been voting for -presidents for over 40 years and have never seen anything like what is currently happening. I knew Trump would be opposed where Clinton would be given a pass like Obama, so I felt comfortable voting for Jill Stein whose views paralleled my own. To any observer paying attention, this has been building for decades. There was the Arkansas Project directed against President Clinton and the constant obstruction of President Obama starting with the Caucus Room Conspiracy on the day of Obama’s inauguration.

      None of those efforts had reached the shrill pitch of the Russia-gate tripe. However, as a matter of degree these efforts at delegitimizing an administration have just become more and more powerful and threatening.

      • Ray Shelton
        May 13, 2017 at 11:53

        Brian, I don’t think these efforts are directed at delegitimizing a president or an administration. I think its about determining whether this president and admin are legitimate in the first place because of the possibility/plausibility of Russian interference in our election to skew the results. Until that is proved or disproved, this “resistance” will continue. So, Trump should actually facilitate and expedite the Russia investigation instead of impeding it (to his detriment). Unless of course, he knows he’s guilty.

    • Robert
      May 14, 2017 at 09:46

      It was proposed during the campaign that Trump would be independent because of his wealth. Of course, the richer you are, in a traditionally highly leveraged business, the more you owe, in loans and mortgages. Renewal time could be stressful. Or not.

  46. MJ
    May 11, 2017 at 17:52

    So what do you do with a bullying hyper narcisistic individual who would just as soon assume dictatorial power than actually govern?

    • Brian
      May 12, 2017 at 07:20

      Use the existing legal mechanisms already in place to prevent him from acting outside the law. That has been done successfully for the last over 100 days.

      • May 12, 2017 at 11:46

        The Presidents of the USA have never been restricted by law. In fact they not only flaunt the law but are quite brazen about it stateing that that is because of American exceptionalism. If the law had been followed in the USA every president since Washington would have been impeached and more than a few sent to prison for life. ( Even during ” Camelot”, you know Kennedy´s reign, the White House was nicnamed ” Murder Inc.”

        So mentioning the ” Law” and The USA in the same sentence is an oxymoron.The USA follows no law, International or National. The world is waiting for it´s Neurenburg Moment, when the Government of the USA and the owners of the MIC sit in the Dock to face justice, and are judged just as the Nazis were judged after the Second World War.

  47. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    May 11, 2017 at 17:46

    Does anybody know if Daniel ever heard about the “neocons”?!

    • Jerad
      May 11, 2017 at 22:46

      Neocon is simply a synonym for “liberal interventionist.”

      • Brian
        May 12, 2017 at 07:18

        Actually, no. While you may be right that there are Democratic neocons, Secretary Clinton being the most vocal, it has nothing to do with the Liberals. The neocons are Richard Perl, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, among others who came into government after the resignation of Nixon. These were the followers of the Conservative political philosopher Leo Strauss.

        • Typingperson
          May 12, 2017 at 23:10

          Thanks for reminding of the original OG neocons. The sad thing is that all these Dems have gotten sucked into being, effectively, neocons. A Dem “humanitarian interventionist / regime changer,” such as the excreble Sam Powers is no different from a Wolfowitz.

          It was Victoria Nuland, Zionist and spouse of true blue neocon Kagan, who fomented the coup in Ukraine under Obama. She’s no different from the Nixon plumbers.

          Nuland and Kagan are both Zionists. Today’s neocons are Zionists. Party doesn’t matter. Dem or Repub has become immaterial.

          And the Zionists heavily fund both parties.

          Last thing–Obama either turned a blind eye or actively went along to get along with the Zionist agenda while president. It was under his watch that USA couped Ukraine, bombed Libya back to the stone age, further destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan, funded terrorist / “moderate rebels” to promote regime change in Syria, and collaborated with Saudi Arabia in bombing Yemen and starting blockade of Yemen to the point that 7,000 innocent people are starving to death there now.

          Obama, our Nobel-peace prize winner, has a lot of blood on his hands.

          Oh, and he and Michelle have just gotten their $60 million book contract / payout. Not a book I’ll be buying. Hope the publisher loses big money.

          So it goes. USA!!

          • Typingperson
            May 12, 2017 at 23:12

            What? Why is my comment “awaiting moderation”? Always just posted before. What’s going on?? Are you wiretapping me, Parry?

        • Ray Shelton
          May 13, 2017 at 11:44

          Brian is absolutely right. The Neocons are students of Prof. Leo Strauss and have nothing to do with Liberals. Bush W.’s admin was driven by the Neocons and hence we have the Iraq war complete with its phoney justification by Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld.

    • Brad Owen
      May 12, 2017 at 04:27

      Go to Executive Intelligence Review (EIR). Type in their search box “where the chicken Hawks got their love of war” and “Cheney has a French connection—it’s fascism” and “return of the Monarchs” to know the power behind the neocons. The neocons are a vicious snarling attack dog—BUT it’s leash is firmly held by powerful and loyal subjects of the British Crown, backed up by all the other Dynastic Families of Europe. Neocons are a deployment by the Synarchist International/Synarchist Movement for Empire(SME) (look these up too, on EIR. it’s what FDRs OSS guys found out, in 1940, what we were truly up against, in fighting the NAZIs and fascists…it’s a huge movement still in existence. Zionistas and neocons are just a small part of it).

      • Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
        May 12, 2017 at 12:14

        You mean the Rothschilds and the other bankers plus the Zionists are just small part of it?! …….Gee………thanks for the input!!!!….. You seem to be in league with Daniel……………..

  48. Dorothy Hoobler
    May 11, 2017 at 17:44

    This is a first-rate article. Thank you Daniel Lazare and Consortium News for trying to hold back the flood of stories and propaganda. Sadly war mongering is no longer regarded as a crime but promoted by the “elite” of our country. This neos both liberal and conservation have brought chaos and suffering to millions in the Middle East. They lack all decency and have brought disgrace and dishonor to all of us. People should be reminded over and over that the Nuremberg Tribunal hanged those guilty of aggressive war which they characterized as the “supreme crime under which the other crimes were committed,” Sadly aggressive war under the euphemism of “regime change” is the policy of the US today.

    Robert Perry had been doing the best reporting since the days of the Iran Contra scandal. He was one of the very few journalists that wanted to find our what was happening. We owe him and this side a debt of gratitude.

    • Typingperson
      May 12, 2017 at 22:13

      The USA should be brought before an international court and tried for its war crimes in the Middle East.

      Where you at, UN?

      • Gregory Herr
        May 12, 2017 at 22:31

        Under a thumb.

  49. Randal Marlin
    May 11, 2017 at 17:43

    What you write makes much more sense to me than what I’ve been reading elsewhere.

  50. John V. Walsh
    May 11, 2017 at 17:35

    Great piece.
    The author writes: “But it’s a very small player in Washington compared to giants like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar.” But it seems something is missing, something very, very powerful that belongs in that group. And unless we want to name only Arab states and discriminate against another which has done so much to deserve mention, Israel must be included. Should be at the top of the list in fact.

    • Sam F
      May 11, 2017 at 20:07

      Yes, Israel-gate is the real scandal. The article attempts to conceal this by blaming oil producers, who have no popular support in the US, are militarily weak, and no leverage beyond cash because the US can buy oil from whomever has it, and the zionists control the US mass media.

      The “Russia-gate” propaganda war of the mass media is a coverup for Israel-gate. The real traitors are Hillary’s major campaign sponsors (top 10 all zionists) and foundation donors (Saudis and MIC): she is in fact a foreign agent, and the story is being covered up by the mass media (nearly all controlled directly or indirectly by zionists).

      Any MIC connection is no more than its lust for any profitable war, which allies it with the zionists, using distractions in Ukraine and NK. The blue collars are no more fooled than the white collars: all are beginning to see that Israel and the zionists are the problem with the US.

      • JWalters
        May 11, 2017 at 20:37

        Israel should indeed be at the top of the list. Some related dots that are readily connected –

        This current round of conflict with Russia was started by the Neocons (Israeli agents) to block Obama-Putin cooperation in tamping down Mideast conflicts.
        “What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis”

        The Israelis control the U.S. MSM, forbidding all honest reporting and criticism of Israel,
        “Rabbis want to criticize Israel but fear donors (and NYT buries the news)”
        and now are using that control to direct the current false-flag Russia bashing.

        The Israelis are primarily in the war business, and want conflicts in the Mideast.
        “War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror”

        Hillary’s principle funders were Israelis, and she was on board for more war, facts which she assiduously hid from most of her supporters.
        “Let’s talk about Russian influence”

        The Israelis are currently moving to completely dispossess the remaining Palestinians, provoking more hatred against themselves and the U.S., and generating more conflict. A U.S. conflict with Russia distracts from this.
        “A Republican plan for peacemaking: ‘break the will’ of the Palestinians and force them to ‘accept defeat’”

        Despite Trump appearing to give the Israelis everything they want, they’re still trying to knock him out. Why? For one thing, Trump has put Israel’s most egregious policies front and center with his appointment of Friedman as ambassaor to Israel.
        “Legalizing the theft of Palestinian land has been Israeli policy since Day 1”
        “Palestinian Americans find Trump’s stance on Israel/Palestine, Friedman appointment ‘severely distressing’”

        However, the Israelis have managed to keep these crimes out of the American press. But Trump could still spill the beans on the Israelis. He undoubtedly knows about their crimes, about their control of the media, their control of the Deep State MIC/CIA apparatus.
        “Still Waiting for USS Liberty’s Truth”
        “How The NSA Enabled Israel Military Intelligence To Politically Persecute Innocent Palestinians”

        One thing everyone agrees on is that Trump is a wild card. So he could break open the discussion which the entire MSM and Congress have been bribed, beaten, and blackmailed from mentioning. The Israilis lie to everybody else, so why not lie to them?

        The huge, obvious question that the Israelis are desperate to prevent getting public traction is
        Why Not a Probe of ‘Israel-gate’?

        • backwardsevolution
          May 11, 2017 at 23:51

          JWalters – great post! Thank you.

        • Kiza
          May 12, 2017 at 08:19

          Agreed, great post with references. Thanks

      • Bill Rood
        May 13, 2017 at 10:04

        One reason Israel is frequently not credited with driving US foreign policy is the limited hangout of Noam Chomsky and his claim that the dog wags the tail.

    • Jim
      May 12, 2017 at 07:09

      Quite honestly, I’m shocked about this omission? But in today’s climate, maybe I shouldn’t be.

    • Adrian Engler
      May 12, 2017 at 07:27

      Yes, Israel should certainly be on the list. It would be hard to claim that Israel does not have a big influence on US politics.

      One of the reasons why Israel is sometimes left out is that this quickly leads to condemnations that this is allegedly antisemitic. Another reason is that sometimes the Israeli influence is exaggerated and presented as too homogenous. The Israeli lobbies are far from homogenous. A case in point are the US elections in 2016 – while mainstream Israel lobby groups supported Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump also received considerable support from lobbyists who call Israel their main issue. But that diversity certainly does not mean that these different lobbies connected with Israels don’t have many areas in foreign policy where their views converge.

      While the lobbies connected with Israel are certainly very influential in the US (and certainly much more influential than the small pro-Russian lobby), there are also limits to their influence. Those who want to argue that Israel’s influence is small sometimes point to the influence of the lobbies of Arabic states like Saudi-Arabia, Qatar and UAE. Of course, Israel’s relationship with the Arab world is a complex one, and for internal reasons no Arab leader can say positive things about the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and settlement construction. But the view that the Israeli lobby and the lobby of Sunni autocracies are generally adversaries is outdated. These autocracies have arranged themselves rather well with Israel, and their positions about many issues in Middle East policies have increasingly converged. Both see Iran as the main enemy, support regime change favoring radical Jihadist militias in Syria and are generally in line with neoconservative foreign policy goals.

      Both the pro-Israeli lobbies and the lobbies of Sunni autocracies are very influential – far more influential that the small pro-Russian lobby if that exists, at all, in the US -, but they are certainly not omnipotent. If they were adversaries on most issues, their influences would partially cancel each other out. But their demands on US foreign policy un recent times generally converge and they also have influential neoconservative organizations like Atlantic Council at their service for lobbying, their influence is really strong.

      • Bill Rood
        May 13, 2017 at 10:08

        Yes, the lobby contributes to both Ds and Rs, but with one exception: any politician that criticizes Israel in any way or fails to sign on to otherwise unanimous letters or resolutions supporting Israel’s “right to defend itself” or recently criticizing the UN for picking on poor little Israel. Just ask Jim Abourezk or Cynthia McKinney.

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