The Mad Chase for Russia-gate Prey

Exclusive: As the Russia-gate imbroglio proves, a grave danger in journalism comes when the pack is running headlong in pursuit of the same prey and casts aside normal standards of care and fairness, as Daniel Lazare explains.

By Daniel Lazare

June is turning out to be the cruelest month for the Russia-gate industry. The pain began on June 8 when ex-FBI Director James Comey testified that a sensational New York Times article declaring that “members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials” was “in the main … not true.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

Then came Republican Karen Handel’s June 20 victory in a special election in Georgia’s sixth congressional district, sparking bitter recriminations among Democrats who had hoped to ride to victory on a Russia-gate-propelled wave of resistance to Trump.

More evidence that the strategy was not working came a day later when the Harris Poll and Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies produced a devastating survey showing that 62 percent of voters see no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, while 54 percent believe the “Deep State” is trying to unseat the President by leaking classified information. The poll even showed a small bounce in Trump’s popularity, with 45 percent viewing him favorably as opposed to only 39 percent for his defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

The mainstream news media also came in for some lumps. On June 23, CNN retracted a story that had claimed that Congress was looking into reports that the Trump transition team met secretly with a Russian investment fund under sanction from the U.S. government. Three days later, CNN announced that three staffers responsible for the blooper – reporter and Pulitzer Prize-nominee Thomas Frank; Pulitzer-winner Eric Lichtblau, late of the New York Times; and Lex Haris, executive editor in charge of investigations – had resigned.

Adding to CNN’s embarrassment, Project Veritas, the brainchild of rightwing provocateur James O’Keefe, released an undercover video in which a CNN producer named John Bonifield explained that the network can’t stop talking about Russia because it boosts ratings and then went on to say about Russia-gate:

“Could be bullshit, I mean it’s mostly bullshit right now.  Like, we don’t have any big giant proof. But … the leaks keep leaking, and there are so many great leaks, and it’s amazing, and I just refuse to believe that if they had something really good like that, that wouldn’t leak because we’ve been getting all these other leaks. So I just feel like they don’t really have it but they want to keep digging. And so I think the president is probably right to say, like, look, you’re witch-hunting me, like, you have no smoking gun, you have no real proof.”

Project Veritas also released an undercover video interview with CNN contributor Van Jones calling the long-running probe into possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia a “nothing-burger,” a position similar to the skepticism that Jones has displayed in his on-air comments.

True, the Bonifield video was only a medical reporter sounding off about a story that he’s not even covering and doing so to a dirty-trickster who has received financing from Trump and who, after another undercover film stunt, was ordered in 2013 to apologize and pay $100,000 to an anti-poverty worker whose privacy he had invaded.

Good for Ratings

But, still, Bonifield’s “president-is-probably-right” comment is hard to shake. Ditto Van Jones’ “nothing-burger.” Unless both quotes are completely doctored, it appears that the scuttlebutt among CNNers is that Russia-gate is a lot of hot air but no one cares because it’s sending viewership through the roof.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

And if that’s what CNN thinks, then it may be what MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow thinks as she also plays the Russia card for all it’s worth. It may also be what The Washington Post has in the back of its mind even while hyperventilating about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy.”

The New York Times also got caught up in its enthusiasm to hype the Russia-gate case on June 25 when it ran a story slamming Trump for “refus[ing] to acknowledge a basic fact agreed upon by 17 American intelligence agencies that he now oversees: Russia orchestrated the attacks [on Democratic emails], and did it to help get him elected.”

The “17-intelligence-agency” canard has been a favorite go-to assertion for both Democrats and the mainstream news media, although it was repudiated in May by President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan.

So, on June 29, the Times apparently found itself with no choice but to issue a correction stating: “The [Russia-hacking] assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.”

This point is important because, as Consortiumnews.com and other non-mainstream news outlets have argued for more than a month, it is much easier to manipulate a finding by hand-picking analysts from a small number of intelligence agencies than by seeking the judgments and dissents from all 17.

Despite the correction, the Times soon returned to its pattern of shading the truth regarding the U.S. intelligence assessment. On June 30, a Times article reported: “Mr. Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on the unanimous conclusion of United States intelligence agencies that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 race.”

The Times’ phrase “unanimous conclusion” conveys the false impression that all 17 agencies were onboard without specifically saying so, although we now know that the Times’ editors are aware that only selected analysts from three agencies plus the DNI’s office were involved.

In other words, the Times cited a “unanimous conclusion of United States intelligence agencies” to mislead its readers without specifically repeating the “all-17-agencies” falsehood. This behavior suggests that the Times is so blinded by its anti-Trump animus that it wants to conceal from its readers how shaky the whole tale is.

Holes from the Start

But the problems with Russia-gate date back to the beginning. Where Watergate was about a real burglary, this one began with a cyber break-in that may or may not have occurred. In his June 8 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey conceded that the FBI never checked the DNC’s servers to confirm that they had truly been hacked.

Former FBI Director James Comey

COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN RICHARD BURR: Did you ever have access to the actual hardware that was hacked?  Or did you have to rely on a third party to provide you the data that they had collected?

COMEY: In the case of the DNC, and, I believe, the DCCC [i.e. the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee], but I’m sure the DNC, we did not have access to the devices themselves.  We got relevant forensic information from a private party, a high-class entity, that had done the work.  But we didn’t get direct access.

BURR: But no content?

COMEY: Correct.

BURR: Isn’t content an important part of the forensics from a counterintelligence standpoint?

COMEY: It is, although what was briefed to me by my folks — the people who were my folks at the time – is that they had gotten the information from the private party that they needed to understand the intrusion by the spring of 2016.

The FBI apparently was confident that it could rely on such “a high-class entity” as CrowdStrike to tell it what it needed to know. Yet neither the Democratic National Committee nor CrowdStrike, the Irvine, California, cyber-security firm the DNC hired, was remotely objective.

Hillary Clinton was on record calling Putin a “bully” whose goal was “to stymie, to confront, to undermine American power” while Dmitri Aperovitch, CrowdStrike’s chief technical officer, is a Russian émigré who is both anti-Putin personally and an associate of the Atlantic Council, a pro-Clinton/anti-Russian think tank that is funded by the Saudis, the United Arab Emirates and the Ukrainian World Congress. The Atlantic Council is one of the most anti-Russian voices in Washington.

So, an anti-Putin DNC hired an anti-Putin security specialist, who, to absolutely no one’s surprise, “immediately” determined that the break-in was the work of hackers “closely linked to the Russian government’s powerful and highly capable intelligence services.”

Comey’s trust in CrowdStrike was akin to cops trusting a private eye not only to investigate a murder, but to determine if it even occurred. Yet the mainstream media’s pack journalists saw no reason to question the FBI because doing so would not accord with an anti-Trump bias so pronounced that even journalism profs have begun to notice.

Doubts about CrowdStrike

Since CrowdStrike issued its findings, it has come under wide-ranging criticism. Cyber experts have called its analysis inconsistent because while praising the alleged hackers to the skies (“our team considers them some of the best adversaries out of all the numerous nation-state, criminal and hacktivist/terrorist groups we encounter on a daily basis”), CrowdStrike says it was able to uncover their identity because they made kindergarten-level mistakes, most notably uploading documents in a Russian-language format under the name “Felix Edmundovich,” a reference to Felix E. Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Soviet secret police.

Couple walking along the Kremlin, Dec. 7, 2016. (Photo by Robert Parry)

 

“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,” wisecracked cyber-skeptic Jeffrey Carr.

Others noted how easy it is for even novice hackers to leave a false trail. In Seattle, cyber-sleuths Mark Maunder and Rob McMahon of Wordfence, makers of a popular computer-security program, discovered that “malware” found in the DNC was an early version of a publicly available program developed in the Ukraine – which was strange, they said, because one would expect Russian intelligence to develop its own tools or use ones that were more up to date.

But even if the malware was Russian, experts pointed out that its use in this instance no more implicates Russian intelligence than the use of an Uzi in a bank robbery implicates Mossad.

Other loose threads appeared. In January, Carr poured cold water on a subsequent CrowdStrike report charging that pro-Russian separatists had used similar malware to zero in on pro-government artillery units in the eastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian ministry of defense and the London think tank from which CrowdStrike obtained much of its data agreed that the company didn’t know what it was talking about. But if CrowdStrike was wrong about the Ukraine case, how could everyone be sure it was right about the DNC?

In March, Wikileaks went public with its “Vault 7” findings showing, among other things, that the CIA has developed sophisticated software in order to scatter false clues – which inevitably led to dark mutterings that maybe the agency had hacked the DNC itself in order to blame it on the Russians.

Finally, although Wikileaks policy is never to comment on its sources, Julian Assange, the group’s founder, decided to make an exception.

“The Clinton camp has been able to project a neo-McCarthyist hysteria that Russia is responsible for everything,” he told journalist John Pilger in November. “Hillary Clinton has stated multiple times, falsely, that 17 U.S. intelligence agencies had assessed that Russia was the source of our publications. That’s false – we can say that the Russian government is not the source.”

Craig Murray, an ex-British diplomat who is a Wikileaks adviser, disclosed that he personally flew to Washington to meet with a person who was either the original source or an associate of the source. Murray said the motive for the leak was “disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders.”

Conceivably, such contacts could have been cutouts to conceal from WikiLeaks the actual sources. Still, Wikileaks’ record of veracity should be enough to give anyone pause. Yet the press either ignored the WikiLeaks comments or, in the case of The Washington Post, struggled to prove that WikiLeaks was lying.

Unstable Foundation

The stories that have been built upon this unstable foundation have proved shaky, too. In March, the Times published a front-page exposé asserting that Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort “had regular communications with his longtime associate – a former Russian military translator in Kiev who has been investigated in Ukraine on suspicion of being a Russian intelligence agent.”  But if the man was merely a suspected spy as opposed to a convicted one, then what’s the problem?

President Donald Trump being sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

The article also noted that Jason Greenblatt, a former Trump lawyer who is now a special White House representative for international negotiations, met last summer with Rabbi Berel Lazar, “the chief rabbi of Russia and an ally of Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin.” But an Orthodox Jew paying a call on Russia’s chief rabbi is hardly extraordinary. Neither is the fact that the rabbi is a Putin ally since Putin enjoys broad support in the Russian Jewish community.

In April, the Times published another innuendo-laden front-page story about businessman Carter Page whose July 2016 trip to Moscow proved to be “a catalyst for the F.B.I. investigation into connections between Russia and President Trump’s campaign.”

Page’s sins chiefly consist of lecturing at a Moscow academic institute about U.S.-Russian relations in terms that The New York Times believed “echoed the position of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia” and, on another occasion, meeting with a suspected Russian intelligence agent in New York.

“There is no evidence that Mr. Page knew the man was an intelligence officer,” the article added. So is it now a crime to talk with a Russian or some other foreign national who, unbeknownst to you, may turn out to be an intelligence agent?

Then there is poor Mike Flynn, driven out as national security adviser after just 24 days in office for allegedly misrepresenting conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak – exchanges during the Trump transition that supposedly exposed him to the possibility of Russian blackmail although U.S. intelligence was monitoring the talks and therefore knew their exact contents. And, since the Russians no doubt assumed as much, it’s hard to see what they could have blackmailed him with. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Turning Gen. Flynn into Road Kill.”]

Yet the mainstream media eagerly gobbled up this blackmail possibility while presenting with a straight face the claim by Obama holdovers at the Justice Department that the Flynn-Kislyak conversations might have violated the 1799 Logan Act, an ancient relic that has never been used to prosecute anyone in its entire two-century history.

So, if the scandal is looking increasingly threadbare now, could the reason be that there was little or nothing to it when it was first announced during the final weeks of the 2016 campaign?

Although it’s impossible to say what evidence might eventually emerge, Russia-gate is looking more and more like a Democratic version of Benghazi, a pseudo-scandal that no one could ever figure out but which wound up making Hillary Clinton look like a persecuted hero and the Republicans seem like obsessed idiots.

As much as that epic inquiry turned out to be mostly a witch-hunt, Americans are beginning to sense the same about Washington’s latest game of “gotcha.”

The United States is still a democracy in some vague sense of the word, and “We the People” are losing patience with subterranean maneuvers on the part of the Democrats, the neoconservatives, and the intelligence agencies seeking to reverse a presidential election.

Like Benghazi or possibly even the Birthergate scam about President Obama’s Kenyan birthplace, the whole convoluted Russia-gate tale grows stranger by the day.

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

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56 comments for “The Mad Chase for Russia-gate Prey

  1. John Sladky
    June 30, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Thank you for such an excellent article. I’m glad a few are supporting Truth. I’m a West Point grad and admittedly disgusted with not only the media but also rogue Generals, Senators, Congressmen and ignorant citizens who seem to rather go to war over bullshit than collaborate for a better world.

    • Bob Van Noy
      June 30, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      Sir, as an old non-com, I salute your last sentence!

    • Sam F
      July 1, 2017 at 6:50 am

      Very true. Of course Israel-gate is the story here, not the “Russia-gate” propaganda war, a coverup by the zionist-controlled mass media. The traitors are Hillary’s major campaign sponsors (top 10 all zionists) and foundation donors (Saudis and MIC): Both Dems and Reps are foreign agents taking bribes from Israel.

      The zionist and MIC Reps want to dump Trump because he is not militarist enough; the zionist and MIC Dems want to dump him because he is not persuaded to support wars for Israel. Everyone else is given lies by the mass media, controlled almost entirely by zionists, that this will somehow install someone better rather than worse, which is obviously false.

      By continuing to give the Russia-gate story air time, the media are covering up the corruption of the Dems, intending to silence and recapture the lesser-evil Trumpers and third-party folks who should know better.

      • Brad Owen
        July 1, 2017 at 8:05 am

        It may also be worth noting that V.P. Pence is a Dominionist and will likely give the Zionists (and the inheritors of the British Empire: the new Roman Empire of City-of-London/WallStreet) what they want, as prelude to fulfillment of Revelations: a large Israeli Empire in the M.E. that is also a new big Province of the new Roman Empire, guarding its Eastern flank from intrusion from “Persia”, “Ottomans”, Russia, “Mongol Hordes”. North Arfica and the ME are important Provinces to the NRE, AND to the British Empire, which is why Churchill spent so much time in North Africa and Italy in WWII, while Gen. Marshall wanted to strike directly into Europe/Normandy ASAP to relieve pressure on the Soviets.

        • Brad Owen
          July 1, 2017 at 8:11 am

          Such plans as these are being rendered null & void by China’s B&R initiative, which Putin and Trump are onboard with. The three Great Powers (and India too; G.P. #4) puts checkmate to the NRE.

  2. Cord
    June 30, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Nice summation of the whole fabricated story, Daniel.

  3. turk151
    June 30, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    The Democrats are dying of an STD by getting into bed with the MIC.

  4. Joe Tedesky
    June 30, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    This was a nice recap of the Russia-Gate silliness which has taken over our MSM to no end. Although I love how Daniel Lazare put everything into it’s proper context, I must at least insert the name Seth Rich into the fray, so as to never forget this poor young man’s fate. I personally believe he was one of two informants who leaked information to Craig Murray, and Murray then passed the Rich information on to Julian Assange. Remember Assange in an interview posted a $20,000 reward leading to information towards Rich’s murder. Why would Assange, with all his other problems and worries, even mention Seth Rich if there wasn’t some kind of link there between him and Rich? In fact there is more reason to believe that Rich and Assange had a relationship, as opposed to believing anything being reported by the MSM over Russia-Gate and it’s serve lack of any real evidence to prove that Trump was in cahoots with Putin.

    The Democrat’s need to be the stupidest people alive. What an opportunity they are missing to gather their future flock together with piling on real issues of our day, as rather the Democrat’s continue to push this Russia-Gate phony narrative to what no one is buying anymore. I mean even a first year political science student could figure this one out. The Democrat’s are ignorant for not listening to the people, because if they were to listen to the people, they would not have enough time to mess with such silliness as this Russia-Gate story is proving to be. The real question for every Democrat is, when has anything Hillary ever touched turned to gold? Maybe Madam Hillary should try her hand at making clean coal instead.

    • Skip Scott
      June 30, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      Hi Joe-

      Yeah, the democrats are no longer democrats. They have been purchased. That’s why they needed the distraction of Russia-gate. “Don’t look at the content of the emails that show what corporate shills we are, the evil Ruskies stole our democracy!” If they tried to become real democrats again, they’d be thrown off the gravy train. The unions don’t have any money, and it’s too hard to do what Sanders did and rely on small donors.

      You’re right that we need to keep the Seth Rich story alive. It’s a shame how it has fallen off the radar in recent weeks.

      • Danny Weil
        June 30, 2017 at 5:40 pm

        Agreed. but it must be kept alive as it relates to the fall of Empire, the financial capitalist charade that is now in its terminal end: we hope

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 30, 2017 at 11:40 pm

        Skip, the Seth Rich story maybe crucial in more than one way. Investigating Rich’s murder may lead to finding out if Wikileaks received their Hillary email’s through a DNC leak, or if Hillary’s emails were Russian hacked. We should also investigate Seth’s murder in order to learn who may have killed him, and if his murderer is found to be a DNC asset, then so be it, and then if that leads to who all was involved then this would be the next best thing to uncover, and solve this crime. All and all, by leaving a question mark around the Rich story this unsolved murder will only leave an aura of suspicion to hang over the DNC’s head.

        At the rate everything is going I see Hillary being somewhat free and clear of her ever needing to submit to the American public her admission of her dastardly ways. Why I hardly ever meet someone who has kept up on Hillary’s email deceptions. Most people I meet are either not interested in knowing all about Hillary, or they fluff it off as her just being a Clinton. Yeah I know that, but what about Hillary’s sabotaging the Sanders Campaign. Rather than Hillary’s Wikileaks revelations, more should read about Hillary’s exploits by reading books such as Diana Johnstone’s ‘Queen of Chaos’.

        Thanks for the response Skip you take care Joe

        • July 2, 2017 at 11:45 pm

          The Seth Rich murder definitely merits an investigation but as some rogue element of the Deep State is most likely involved, it is unlikely that it would be initiated. No one, Republican or Democrat would dare go against the intelligence establishment which is on record as regarding Wikileaks as a traitorous organization. The whereabouts of Rich’s laptop is unknown and there is good reason to believe it contains embarrassing information for the DNC.

    • backwardsevolution
      June 30, 2017 at 11:03 pm

      Joe – “The real question for every Democrat is, when has anything Hillary ever touched turned to gold?”

      I believe the Clinton Foundation turned to gold, Joe. I believe this is why Hillary set up her own private server to begin with, to get around Freedom of Information requests on her emails.

      Had her emails been on government servers, she still could have erased them (like she did), but there would have been a government back-up of all of her emails, so erasing them wouldn’t have helped. No, she needed them where she could get rid of them.

      But as William Binney has pointed out, all of those emails would still be in the possession of the NSA. Whoops! If anyone chose to go after her, they could still get those emails (if I am correct in my understanding).

      I believe Hillary Clinton was doing Clinton Foundation business during her tenure as Secretary of State, pay for play. Charles Ortel, a financial analyst who has gone over the Clinton Foundation books, said that there is $100 million missing from the 2007-2008 time period that can’t be accounted for.

      The Clinton charity was authorized only for the presidential archives and the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas. That’s it. All of the other money they took in, they were not authorized to do any of that. They took in a lot of money from little people (for Haitian relief, for example), and then turned around and gave their rich friends the contracts.

      The Clinton Foundation is screaming to be investigated. Could be why they diverted everybody’s attention to Trump and Russia. The polls were probably telling her she had a chance of losing.

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 1, 2017 at 1:50 am

        I guess the reason for the Clintons endurance could be accredited to how much dirt it is they have on others. Hillary’s going off-line so to speak, speaks volumes to her arrogance and self hubris. As for the Clintons profitable success, well it’s easy to get rich off of others people’s money.

    • Tim
      July 2, 2017 at 2:56 am

      I’m glad someone mentioned Seth Rich. What if, finding a murdered man connected with the DNC (no valuables taken), and the Attorney General asked Wikileaks for more specific information on Rich and directs the police force to start asking questions to key Democratic figures like Wasserman-Shultz who resigned? A murder investigation would have sunk the Dem Party, right?

  5. Jeff
    June 30, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Mr. Lazare, this piece obviously took some time to put together and then make public in a way that the average Joe could understand. Consortium News is the apex of great journalism and patriotism. Thank you, sir!

  6. Danny Weil
    June 30, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    “The poll even showed a small bounce in Trump’s popularity, with 45 percent viewing him favorably as opposed to only 39 percent for his defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.”

    And this is the breakdown of the Russian story. For the more the elite neo-con democrats push this narrative, the higher Trump goes in the polls.

    The corporate demo party is insanity. It cannot be reformed. What will happen is what happens in all Empires: The US will see secession. Just like after the fall of the Soviet Union fell, when 100 nationalities became non-dependent on the Soviet Union.

    Corporate capitalism at its end stages is creating the objective material conditions for a permanent break up of the US.

    The US is ungovernable, with 320 million people and all fly over states red. It will go through secession. States like CA, with 15% of the US population, do not want an Empire. As states begin negotiating over hard deals, like climate change and governance, the US will break into pieces.

    This will then allow for the blood stream, US currency to slowly slumber. And a multi-polar world just may emerge.

    • Seer
      July 1, 2017 at 2:56 am

      I’d “argued” this basic point with a relative. His position, greatly influenced by his religious beliefs, was that we were going to be taken over by a one world government. I tried to explain that this could never happen because there are too many differences (around the globe) AND that it would take ever-greater amounts of energy to go in that direction, which is really a bet against entropy (nature bats last- entropy doesn’t lose).

      Whether it’s by planned and controlled methods or a general breakdown, larger government bodies WILL, eventually, give way to smaller ones (nothing to do with Grover Norquist- sorry Grover). In the context of all of human history “governments” as we think of them today, are but a blip: tribes are the most long-lived social structure of humans, and there’s a reason- real “democracy” does not work past something like 128 people (a full consensus by a greater number of people is nearly impossible).

      • Sam F
        July 1, 2017 at 7:23 am

        Stress leads to federation breakups, more or less like your thermal analogy, but also leads to better unions of the components.

        The problem is that those new trees in the forest of democracy are infected by the same disease of tyranny and oligarchy, a disease far simpler and more durable than the trees. A specific cure is needed for the disease of tyranny.

        The proto-tyrants cannot readily be suppressed in a democracy; great education is needed, and true freedom of the press.

        We would have made a better nation and a better world after FDR but for the control of mass media by economic concentrations, and the growth of the MIC and zionist bribery of government after WWII, which he lamented. I think the corruption is now too far advanced for another depression to bring the US another FDR. It must now recycle itself: disintegrate or fall into such broad poverty as to cause revolution, so that none of the existing structures of oligarchy remain.

      • Brad Owen
        July 1, 2017 at 8:47 am

        LIFE is anti-entropic re-organization into ever higher complexities, and has likely been present in the Univese as long as the entropic principle. I like your idea of smaller political re-organizations. That reflects biological reality with its cell-division propensities (multiplication-by-division to achieve higher complexity to stay one step,ahead of entropy). The World would be better of with 20 or 30 thousand Nations under a U.N. umbrella…this would be Synarchism brought into the Light and redeemed, so It can call off its War against the World and Humanity for rejecting it and casting it into the Darkness…Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis. Read about Synarchy from EIRs search box. It spawned the communist fascist and NAZI movements as a tacks upon humanity for having rejected the “Natural Order” that prevailed before the republican movements began, and WE fired the shot heard ’round the World. The War has been on ever since. It would also tie in to your notion of Tribes. Kings originally meant “Chief Kinsman”, a Chieftain; Headman of a tribe of interconnected clans of related families, numbering in the hundreds or even thousands, and of course there have always been Tribal Confederations (Six Nations Iroquois, the Ojibwe/Menominee/Potowatamee confederation).

  7. Mike
    June 30, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Great summation Mr. Lazare and terrific work by Consortium.
    Yet there seems to be no shortage of MSMers jumping into Russia-gate gold rush. Why just yesterday The WSJ had an exclusive, unsolicited confession by a Peter Smith who claims he wanted to procure HRCs emails from hackers.
    Needless to say, Mr. Smith unfurled his mortal coil 2 weeks ago…

  8. Peter Turner
    June 30, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Late in the article the author referred to the Benghazi hearings as “a witch hunt”. In fact, they were a cover up. The hearings never disclosed the real crime at Benghazi: The consulate’s function was minimal, as its annex was far more important. It was a conduit for arms transfers from Libya to jihadis in Syria; and some say, a vetting station for jihadis themselves. It is difficult to have much sympathy for Ambassador Stevens or his CIA colleagues who died there, as they all must have been in on this scheme to aid mass murder in Syria. The republicans who focused on the errors of Hillary, knowing the revelations of her real crime there would be in the public interest, distracted the audience from the real issues with their false bluster while appearing adversarial in the process. This should be the theme of discussions about the Benghazi hearings, as both parties deceived the public in their quest to wage war on the people of the region.

    • Rob Roy
      June 30, 2017 at 8:11 pm

      Peter Turner, I was about to mention what you covered. Thank you.

      • Mike
        July 1, 2017 at 1:47 pm

        Hmmm…maybe I’m wrong on this

    • Curious
      June 30, 2017 at 10:28 pm

      Thanks Peter for the clarification as it’s been an issue of mine for awhile. Benghazi wasn’t even an “embassy” in real terms but it was a CIA listening position and as you said, a conduit for more bloodshed. There was even a photo the day after in the Benghazi airport of all the CIA personnel leaving. I tried to ask the question, why didn’t all these people go across the street to help?

      As congress was bleating over ‘why didn’t we sent in the Air Force?’ Or something equally stupid, why was no one even mentioning the Embassy wasn’t even in Benghazi?
      I suppose I’m still bothered by the idiots who spent millions asking all the wrong questions. But I suppose they would have to care first, and in today’s Congress, “caring” is not part of their lexicon, nor in their souls.

      • mike k
        July 1, 2017 at 7:12 am

        What souls? They walked away from their souls a long time ago. It was part of a deal with the Devil.

        • mike k
          July 1, 2017 at 7:15 am

          The same deal is offered to every new member of Congress – it’s a deal they can’t seem to refuse.

          • Curious
            July 1, 2017 at 11:21 pm

            I suppose I sometimes want to believe there exists a form of humanity in these people. Then I wake up, and would agree with you.

    • backwardsevolution
      June 30, 2017 at 11:17 pm

      Peter Turner – thank you. “The republicans who focused on the errors of Hillary, knowing the revelations of her real crime there would be in the public interest, distracted the audience from the real issues with their false bluster while appearing adversarial in the process.”

      Yes, as I said yesterday, insiders protecting insiders. Loretta Lynch, the Attorney-General of the United States, meets Bill Clinton, the husband of the woman she’s investigating (or not), on an Arizona tarmac and actually spends a half hour talking to him? What? Where was the screaming from the Republicans?

      The F.B.I. hands the investigation of Hillary’s servers over to Crowdstrike. What? Since when would that ever happen? Why aren’t the Republicans screaming about this?

      The lie about there being 17 intelligence agencies in agreement over the Russian hacking, with absolutely no evidence. The Republicans should have been pulling the walls apart, but they didn’t.

      Maybe every time someone thinks to open their mouths, they’re reminded of what happened to Seth Rich and decide it’s better to keep their mouths shut. Who knows.

      Anyway, it’s quite apparent the two parties are one, happily working on behalf of their corporate clients/campaign contributors.

      • Seer
        July 1, 2017 at 2:59 am

        Different players in the same game. They dare not risk the game being ended…

    • Seer
      July 1, 2017 at 3:10 am

      As others have noted, great comment/reminder! Talking about this is nearly impossible, with either side of the duopoly refusing to really cover the facts.

      Folks didn’t give a damn about Stevens’ death. With what he knew he was a liability. As if what Hillary did wasn’t ugly enough the Republicans milked this not for discovering the actual facts but for partisan reasons (and to pump up their attractiveness to donors from the MIC).

    • GMC
      July 1, 2017 at 8:17 am

      Agreed Pete, – I look also at the Embassy in Kiev during the US coup in order to correlate how the US Embassies around the world must be nothing more that CIA/FBI NG offices for corrupting any country that is on the list. Nuland using ambassador PyRat and the Kiev Embassy is the same scenario except PyRat was lucky the Russians weren’t Libyans. It’s all the same BS at any Embassy and just think what goes on in Israel and Jordan these days. SNAFU

    • Corkiesmom
      July 5, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      Bingo!

  9. George Collins
    June 30, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    There are probably many more awards…but heartening to see Bob Parry is winner of the Martha Gelhorn award. See intro by John Pilger on Information Clearing House.

  10. Realist
    June 30, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    I hope “Mad Dog” Maddow, she who is portrayed exuding red, white and blue as an aura around her visage in that photo, is socking her pay of $30,000 per day away for a rainy day, because having sold out every shred of her credibility to essentially drive the Russia-Gate train she will justifiably have no role remaining in the media or journalism. When this media madness finally bends back towards the truth, god willing, she should be kicked to the curb for her shameless propagandism. There is no place for slandering warmongering agitators, such as she, if the national aspiration is peace and prosperity for all based on the unvarnished truth. Are they still awarding the Joseph Goebbels Prize for Journalism? If so, I nominate her.

    • Rob Roy
      June 30, 2017 at 8:17 pm

      Realist, you speak the truth about Rachel Maddow. I used to think she was somewhat smart, but should have known by her boot-licking of the military. No soldier in her mind ever murdered innocent people for a living. The Russiagate backtracking at some point will leave a lot of “reporters” without a parachute to prevent a crash landing. Good riddance.

    • June 30, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      Agree that Rachel Maddow deserves the Joseph Goebbels Prize for Journalism.

      Another scoundrel, Dmitri Aperovitch, CrowdStrike’s chief technical officer has been finally exposed, which is good! There is a minor correction: Dmitri Alperovitch is of Jewish ethnicity (he did receive his education in Russia, however). Similar to the hapless ignoramus Eliot Higgins (a darling of both Atlantic Council and the Department of War Studies, King’s College London), Aperovitch was promoted to a status of “expert” at Atlantic Council. Whereas Alperovitch was fortunate to receive a much better education than Eliot Higgins (a former salesperson of ladies’ underwear), he was behind Higgins in inventing various Russophobic scenarios – each of which have been debunked by real specialists (for instance, http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2017/845-an-impeachable-offence-professor-postol-and-syria.html)

      The beauty of Atlantic Council is in its very special relationships with the main sponsors of terrorism: the Atlantic Council, is funded by the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates, these paragons of democracy and democratic values, according to the Atlantic Council. As for the funds from the Ukrainian World Congress, only the most cynical war profiteers (like those that populate the Atlantic Council) could be eager to take money from the economically ruined Ukraine: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2016/10/14/how-corruption-corrodes-ukraines-economy/#1d8bb05b124e

      • LongGoneJohn
        July 2, 2017 at 7:16 am

        Thanks for the Medialens link, good article.

        Everytime I read about these stories (or rather, not read about the counter narrative), I just can’t believe my own two eyes and ears.

    • Gregory Herr
      June 30, 2017 at 10:44 pm

      If you repeat a lie…
      Yes, the Goebbels Prize is perfect for her.

    • backwardsevolution
      June 30, 2017 at 11:32 pm

      Realist – good one. Has she no shame? Where is her embarrassment? She should be shunned for the rest of her life. There’s a difference between getting something wrong out of ignorance and blatantly lying.

      I quoted someone a few days ago who said that there’s a small core of delusional progressives out there who want to believe this stuff, they can’t get enough of it night after night. So even though the staff and talking heads know that Russiagate is complete nonsense (as Daniel Lazare has pointed out above), they keep it up because their ratings are soaring. Just playing to their audience and making lots of money, to boot.

      Daniel Lazare – great job, again! Thank you.

  11. June 30, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Peter Turner, thank you for pointing out what was really going on in Benghazi: arms running to Syria, which didn’t come out in the Republican investigation because both parties were guilty. So much for an honest investigation by a corrupt Congress. At least good investigation revealed that later, even though MSM can’t talk about it, only alternative news.

  12. June 30, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Excellent post, Realist, Maddow should be “kicked to the curb” for her shameless nonstop lying.

  13. Jennifer Feij
    July 1, 2017 at 5:14 am

    Reading Consortium news is like reading in the past, when one could trust what one read was true. Or it was a clearly stated opinion. Not the manipulative politicized MSM press which seems to have replaced true investigative journalism. Thank you!

  14. LongGoneJohn
    July 1, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Thank you for a very complete article on the matter.

  15. GMC
    July 1, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Washington uses the ” Democracy Card” in almost all of its criminal activities both foreign and domestic and gets away with its ” Projectionist Acts” every day. Today democracy in an honest country doesn’t need to be large, hyped or bragged out. Because in a country like the US any democracy that once was -has been stamped out with the infusion of hundreds of illegal and freedom taking laws passed thru a most corrupt, treasonist and evil government. Russia has no big Democracy but it’s government is working mostly for their country and its people – past and present – Russian People. Spasibo

    • mike k
      July 1, 2017 at 8:18 am

      Sad but true. The US ‘democracy’ is a lie used to fool the people.

  16. Herman
    July 1, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Great article but the result of all the false stuff is to bury détente deeper and to pour cement over the hole. That seems to have been the principal objective and discrediting Trump in every conceivable way neutered the poor guy, although it is true he may have lacked the essentials of manhood from the get go. The danger is that Trump may see his only way out is to show he is the most anti-Putin guy in DC. It would be his way to resurrection but a disaster for the country.

    Again, what a great brief by the author, Mr. Daniel Lazare.

    For our President, I wonder if he now realizes that if he stood up when Flynn was attacked and defended him, would things might have been different.

  17. July 1, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Am I the stupid one here, but isn’t it in U.S. interests for its politicians to get to know Russian spies? I mean, does the CIA go out of its way to avoid any contact with Russian spies? I kind of thought that’s what spying was all about. Along with politics, intellligence, business and diplomacy. “Know thine enemy” ring any bells? I must’ve been mistaken. God! This parallel dimension tourism really leads to odd places.

  18. Bill
    July 1, 2017 at 11:56 am

    The majority of Democrats are still convinced that the Russians interfered in the election, and many become angry if you suggest otherwise. I don’t think the issue is going away any time soon.

  19. July 1, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Anyone with half a brain should know that at this historical juncture the US should be talking to Russia, diplomats to diplomats. The trouble with US politicians is that they do not have half a brain. As one person said the other day here, they have a cash register for a brain. And diplomacy has become very much a lost art. Russia has far more diplomats than USA has.

  20. Michael K Rohde
    July 1, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    It is kind of scary to think that the huge American media machine can speak with a single voice on an issue so important with little to no evidence. I know that there are 6 big outlets plus Fox, so we are talking about 2 voices telling this story based mostly on anonymous sources, government leaks, and an echo chamber that repeats what the next fellow reports. The “all 17 agencies” story has been reported and repeated ad infinitum for months until finally the NYT was forced to admit the truth, that the director of Intelligence had hand picked agents from the FBI, CIA and NSA to write the report damning Russia.

    Someone is making these editing decisions, a walking, talking, breathing person at each of the 6 major outlets with enough power to decide to indict Russia and then run with it. They are corporations with boards that presumably meet and decide or at least offer input to this decision to publish this conclusion about Russia. I think it is time for someone that knows the names to publish those names that are making these decisions that affect our nation and its’ foreign policy so much.

    It is only common sense to hold these people up to the light so we can make our own decisions about their credibility and motivations. That would help clear away the smoke around these stories that have captured the nation’s attention and that the midterms will almost certainly send a loud and clear message to Washington that the voters will decide these matters after a fair hearing with all the evidence.

    We should have all the facts by 2018 and the House will reflect that after November, 2018. The sooner we get to see those names the sooner we will be able to make intelligent decisions about our nation’s future. Right now we are being governed by people hiding the truth who seem to not want us to make informed decisions. We need for some true patriots out there who know the names of the powers that be in these media giants making these decisions to publish false information to give us those names. Please.

  21. Richard Steven Hack
    July 1, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Far from being “RussiaGate”, the election influencing should be referred to as “UkraineGate.”

    1) All of the alleged malware used in the alleged “hack” has been traced to origins in Ukraine. While this is not proof that Ukrainian hackers were involve any more than it proves Russian hackers, it is still the same level of circumstantial evidence produced against Russia. Why are Ukrainian hackers excluded from consideration?

    2) CrowdStrike’s claim that the malware was compiled during “Moscow business hours” is ludicrous. Look at a time zone map, and you’ll see Kiev, Ukraine, is one hour behind Moscow time. When it’s “business hours” in Moscow, it’s “business hours” in Ukraine.

    3) According to some estimates, the 16th most important person during the elections – on the Clinton side – is one Ukrainian-American named Alexandra Chalupa and two of her relatives. This person had close connections to the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, and connections to right-wing Ukrainian factions in Ukraine, who in turn have close connections to Ukrainian hacker collectives. Who more than Ukraine would have motivations for fabricating a “false flag” “hack” to blame the Russians and assist in covering up the fact that it was a LEAK rather than a hack? Who more than Ukrainians would be motivated to start a “RussiaGate” in the first place?

    There is every reason to believe that in fact Ukrainians with connections to the Clinton campaign were recruited to cover the fact that the DNC had a serious leak and to brand Trump as a :’Russian agent” because Trump was initially not in favor of supporting the right-wing fascist regime in Kiev.

    This theory makes far more sense than that Putin personally organized a hacking campaign against the DNC despite not having any ability in advance to determine whether any useful information might be gleaned by such an effort.

  22. P. Mooney
    July 1, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Here we are, down another rabbit hole. If you ask me, this whole damned country has gone insane.

  23. Anon
    July 2, 2017 at 3:27 am

    The media know what the stakes are here. Their job is to destroy Trump before he destroys the deep state. That is all.

  24. Tim
    July 2, 2017 at 3:34 am

    Historically, certain collaborations of power brokers, first nationally, in our newly formed Republic, and and then both nationally and internationally, have largely overridden a more socially democratic (for lack of a better description) form of government. Whenever policies have emerged to try to be more egalitarian, influential forces in media, IC, military synchronize various campaigns to undermine key rivals and organizers. The best form of control would be that those who are controlled would not be aware exactly, who is controlling them. Wolfgang Schmidt, former Stasi leader, said it is the height of naivety to think that information once collected would not be used.

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