WPost Pushes More Dubious Russia-bashing

Special Report: The Washington Post has published another front-page story about Russia maybe placing some ads on Facebook, but the article violates a host of journalistic principles in hyping its case, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Some people are calling the anti-Russian hysteria being whipped up across the U.S. mainstream news media a new “golden age of American journalism,” although it looks to me more like a new age of yellow journalism, prepping the people for more military spending, more “information warfare” and more actual war.

The Washington Post building in downtown Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Washington Post)

Yes, without doubt, President Trump is a boorish and dangerous demagogue, now highlighted by his reckless speech before the United Nations last week, his schoolyard Tweet taunts toward North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and his ugly denunciation of black athletes for protesting against police killings of often unarmed African-Americans.

And, yes, I know that some people feel that the evidence-lite and/or false allegations about “Russian meddling” are the golden ticket to Trump’s impeachment. But the unprofessional behavior of The New York Times, The Washington Post and pretty much the entire mainstream media regarding Russia-gate cannot be properly justified by the goal of removing Trump from office.

Ethically in journalism, the ends – however much you might wish them to succeed – cannot justify the means, if those means involve violating rules of evidence and principles of fairness. Journalism should be a place where all sides get a fair shake, not where some get a bum’s rush.

But the U.S. mainstream media has clearly joined the anti-Trump Resistance and hates Russian President Vladimir Putin, too. So, we are given such travesties of journalism as appeared as a banner headline across the front page of Monday’s Washington Post, another screed about how Russia supposedly used Facebook ads to flip last November’s election for Trump.

The article purports to give the inside story of how Facebook belatedly came to grips with how the “company’s social network played a key role in the U.S. election,” but actually it is a story about how powerful politicians bullied Facebook into coming up with something – anything – to support the narrative of “Russian meddling,” including direct interventions by President Obama and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and a key legislator regarding regulation of high-tech industries.

Finding the ‘Evidence’

In other words, Facebook was sent back again and again to find what Obama and Warner wanted the social media company to find. Eventually, Facebook turned up $100,000 in ads from 2015 into 2017 that supposedly were traced somehow to Russia. These ads apparently addressed political issues in America although Facebook has said most did not pertain directly to the presidential election and some ads were purchased after the election.

President Barack Obama walks through the Rose Garden to the Oval Office following an all-appointees summer event on the South Lawn, June 13, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Left out of the Post’s latest opus is what a very small pebble these ads were – even assuming that Russians did toss the $100,000 or so in ad buys into the very large lake of billions of dollars in U.S. political spending for the 2016 election cycle. It also amounts to a miniscule fraction of Facebook’s $27 billion in annual revenue.

So the assertion that this alleged “meddling” – and we’ve yet to see any evidence connecting these ads to the Russian government – “played a key role in the U.S. election” is both silly and outrageous, especially given the risks involved in stoking animosities between nuclear-armed Russia and nuclear-armed America.

Even the Post’s alarmist article briefly acknowledges that it is still unclear who bought the ads, referring to the purchasers as “suspected Russian operatives.” In other words, we don’t even know that the $100,000 in ads over three years came from Russians seeking to influence the U.S. election. (By comparison, many Facebook advertisers – even some small businesses – spend $100,000 per day on their ads, not $100,000 over three years.)

But this diminutive effort by “suspected Russian operatives” doesn’t stop the Post from going on and on about “fake news” and “disinformation,” albeit again without offering evidence or specifics of any Russian “fake news” or “disinformation.”

It has simply become Official Washington’s new groupthink to say that everything linked to Russia or its international TV network RT is “fake news” or “disinformation” even though examples are lacking or often turn out to be false accusations themselves.

For instance, there is nothing in the Post’s article acknowledging that nothing from the various Democratic email disclosures, which have been blamed on Russia (again without real evidence), has been identified as untrue. So, how can truthful information, whether you like how it was obtained or not, be “fake news” or “disinformation”?

Falsehood as Fact

But Monday’s Post exposé simply asserts the claim as flat fact. Or as the article asserts: “what Russian operatives posted on Facebook was, for the most part, indistinguishable from legitimate political speech. The difference was the accounts that were set up to spread the misinformation and hate were illegitimate.”

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

In responsible journalism, such an accusation would be followed by a for-instance, giving an example of “the misinformation and hate” that the “Russian operatives” – note how they have been magically transformed from “suspected Russian operatives” to simply “Russian operatives” – were disseminating.

But there is no example of the Russian “misinformation and hate,” a classic violation of the reporting principle of “show, don’t tell.” In this story, it’s all tell and no show.

Indeed, what is shown in the article is often contradictory to the story’s conclusion. The article says, for instance, “A review by the company found that most of the groups behind the problematic pages had clear financial motives, which suggested that they weren’t working for a foreign government. But amid the mass of data the company was analyzing, the security team did not find clear evidence of Russian disinformation or ad purchases by Russian-linked accounts.”

So, Facebook initially – after extensive searching – did not find evidence of a Russian operation. Then, after continued pressure from high-level Democrats, Facebook continued to scour its system and again found nothing, or as the Post article acknowledged, Facebook “had searched extensively for evidence of foreign purchases of political advertising but had come up short.”

That prompted Warner to fly out to Silicon Valley to personally press Facebook executives to come up with the evidence to support the Democrats’ theory about Russia paying for carefully targeted anti-Clinton ads in key districts.

The Post’s article reported that “Finally, [Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex] Stamos appealed to Warner for help: If U.S. intelligence agencies had any information about the Russian operation or the troll farms it used to disseminate misinformation, they should share it with Facebook. The company is still waiting, people involved in the matter said.”

Under Pressure

Still, faced with extraordinary pressure from senior Democrats, Facebook finally delivered the desired results, or as the Post reported, “By early August, Facebook had identified more than 3,000 ads addressing social and political issues that ran in the United States between 2015 and 2017 and that appear to have come from accounts associated with the [St. Petersburg, Russia-based] Internet Research Agency.”

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

So, the ads covering three years, including post-election 2017, only “appear” to be “associated” with some private Russian operation that only allegedly has ties to the Kremlin. And the total sums of the ad buys are infinitesimal compared to what it actually takes to have any real impact on Facebook or in a U.S. presidential election.

If the context of this story were changed slightly – say, it was about the U.S. government trying to influence public opinion in another country (which actually does happen quite a bit) – the Post would be among the first news outlets to laugh off such allegations or dismiss the vague accusations as a conspiracy theory, but since these allegations fit with the prejudices of the Post’s editors, an entirely different set of journalistic standards is applied.

What the article also ignores is the extraordinary degree of coercion that such high-level political pressure can put on a company that recognizes its vulnerability to government regulation.

As Facebook has acknowledged in corporate filings, “Action by governments to restrict access to Facebook in their countries could substantially harm our business and financial results. It is possible that governments of one or more countries may seek to censor content available on Facebook in their country, restrict access to Facebook from their country entirely, or impose other restrictions that may affect the accessibility of Facebook in their country for an extended period of time or indefinitely. …

“In the event that access to Facebook is restricted, in whole or in part, in one or more countries or our competitors are able to successfully penetrate geographic markets that we cannot access, our ability to retain or increase our user base and user engagement may be adversely affected, we may not be able to maintain or grow our revenue as anticipated, and our financial results could be adversely affected.”

Avoiding Reality

In other words, another way to have framed this story is that powerful politicians who could severely harm Facebook’s business model were getting in the face of Facebook executives and essentially demanding that they come up with something to support the Democratic Party’s theory of “Russian meddling.”

Hillary Clinton at the Code 2017 conference on May 31, 2017.

The Democratic leaders wanted this finding as an explanation for Hillary Clinton’s stunning defeat, rather than going through the painful process of examining why the party has steadily lost ground in white working-class areas across the country.

What is missed in these Russia-bashing articles is that the Democratic brand has been sinking for years, including massive losses in statehouses across the country as well as in Congress. The party’s decline was not a one-off event with Donald Trump suddenly snaking away with significant parts of the white working class because the Russians bought some Facebook ads.

However, instead of looking in the mirror, national Democrats demanded that Facebook executives ferret out whatever tiny or imaginary information there might be about some Russians buying Facebook ads – and then allow those coerced findings to be fed into the excuse industry for why Hillary Clinton lost.

And, what about the Post’s repeated accusations about Russia engaging in “disinformation” and “fake news” without offering a single example? Apparently, these assertions have become such articles of faith in the U.S. mainstream media that they don’t require any proof.

However, honest journalism demands examples and evidence, not just vague accusations. The reality is that the U.S. government has stumbled again and again when seeking to paint RT as a disinformation outlet or a vehicle for undermining American democracy.

For instance, the Jan. 6 report on alleged Russian “cyber operations,” released by Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, included a lengthy appendix, dated from 2012, which decried RT for such offenses as allowing a debate among third-party presidential candidates who had been excluded from the Republican-Democratic debates; covering the Occupy Wall Street protests; and citing the environmental dangers from “fracking.”

The idea that American democracy is threatened by allowing third-party candidates or other American dissidents to have a voice is at best an upside-down understanding of democracy and, more likely, an exercise in hypocritical propaganda.

False Accusations

Another misfired attempt to discredit RT came from Obama’s Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Richard Stengel, who issued a “Dipnote” in April 2014, which helped establish the narrative of RT as a source of Russian disinformation.

A screen shot of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland speaking to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, at an event sponsored by Chevron, with its logo to Nuland’s left.

For instance, Stengel claimed that RT reported a “ludicrous assertion” that the United States had spent $5 billion to produce Ukraine’s “regime change” in February 2014.

But what Stengel, a former managing editor of Time magazine, apparently failed to understand was that RT was referring to a public speech by Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, in which she told them that “we have invested more than $5 billion” in what was needed for Ukraine to achieve its “European aspirations.” In other words, the RT report wasn’t “ludicrous” at all.

Nuland also was a leading proponent of “regime change” in Ukraine who personally cheered on the Maidan demonstrators, even passing out cookies. In an intercepted pre-coup phone call with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, Nuland discussed who should run the new government and pondered with Pyatt how to “glue” or “midwife this thing.”

So, Stengel was the one disseminating false information, not RT.

Similarly, senior U.S. politicians, including Hillary Clinton, and the U.S. mainstream media have falsely asserted that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies signed off on the Russia-did-it hacking claims.

For months, that canard was used to silence skepticism. After all, how could you question something that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed to be true?

But it turned out that – as DNI Clapper, himself a hardline Russia-basher, belatedly acknowledged – the Jan. 6 report on the alleged Russian hacking was the work of “hand-picked” analysts from only three agencies, the CIA, FBI and NSA, and the “assessment” itself admitted that it was not asserting the Russian conclusion as fact, only the analysts’ opinion.

The New York Times finally retracted its use of the fake claim about “all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies” in late June 2017 although it wouldn’t let the lie lie, so instead the Times made misleading references to a “consensus” among U.S. intelligence agencies without using the number.

Recent studies by former U.S. intelligence experts have punched more holes in the certainty by raising doubts that the email downloads could have been accomplished over the Internet at the recorded speeds and more likely were achieved by an insider downloading onto a thumb drive.

Deciding What’s Real

So who is guilty of “fake news” and “disinformation”?

President Lyndon Johnson announces “retaliatory” strike against North Vietnam in response to the supposed attacks on U.S. warships in the Gulf of Tonkin on Aug. 4, 1964. (Photo credit: LBJ Library)

One positive from the current PBS series, “The Vietnam War,” is that despite its bend-over-backwards attempts to make excuses for the “good faith” decisions by U.S. politicians, no one can watch the series without encountering the chasm between the upbeat Official Story being peddled by the U.S. government and the ghastly on-the-ground reality.

Yet, given how little accountability was meted out then for journalists who served as conveyor belts for pro-war propaganda in Vietnam – or more recently over the fraudulent reporting that rationalized the U.S. aggressive war against Iraq – it is perhaps not surprising that similar false group thinks would coalesce around Russia now.

Careerist journalists understand that there is no danger in running with the pack – indeed, there is safety in numbers – but there are extraordinary risks to your career if you challenge the conventional wisdom even if you turn out to be right. As one establishment journalist once told me, “there’s no honor in being right too soon.”

So, for the Post reporters responsible for the latest journalistic violation of standards – Adam Entous, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg – there will be no penalty for the offense of telling about Russia’s alleged “disinformation” and “fake news” – rather than showing, i.e., providing actual examples. When it comes to Russia these days – as with the Vietcong in the 1960s or Iraq in 2002-03 – you can pretty much write whatever you want. All journalistic standards are gone.

Yet, what is perhaps most insidious about what we are seeing is that – in the name of defending democracy – the U.S. mainstream media is trampling a chief principle of the Enlightenment, the belief that the marketplace of ideas is the best way to determine the truth and to create an informed populace.

The new U.S. mainstream media paradigm is that only establishment-approved views can be expressed; everything else must be suppressed, purged and punished.

For instance, if you question the State Department’s narrative on alleged Syrian government sarin attacks – by noting contrary evidence that points to staged incidents by Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate – you are called an “apologist” for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

If you question the one-sided State Department narrative regarding the Ukraine coup in 2014 – indeed even if you use the word “coup” – you are denounced as a “Kremlin stooge.”

No ‘Other’ Side

It is now not okay to even consider the other side of these stories, just as it was anathema to suggest that Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi government may have been telling the truth in 2002-03 when it declared repeatedly that it had destroyed its WMDs. That made you a “Saddam apologist.”

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”

The hostility toward Americans who dare question the current anti-Russian hysteria was highlighted by an article last Thanksgiving Day by one of the authors of the new Post article, Craig Timberg.

In another front-page Post story, Timberg allowed an anonymous group called PropOrNot to malign the professionalism and patriotism of 200 Web sites, including our own Consortiumnews, that were lumped together in a McCarthyistic smear that they were somehow guilty of disseminating “Russian propaganda.”

The unnamed accusers – granted anonymity by the Post – acknowledged that they had no evidence that the sites were part of some grand Russian conspiracy but made the judgment based on PropOrNot’s analysis of the Web sites’ content.

In other words, if you questioned the State Department’s narratives on Ukraine or Syria – regardless of how well-supported those critiques were – you got smeared as a “Russian propagandist” – and the Post, which didn’t even bother to contact the accused, considered that sort of analysis to be worthy of its front page.

The story fed into another frenzy about the need to use algorithms and artificial intelligence to hunt down and suppress or purge such dissenting views from the Internet, supposedly to protect the sanctity of American democracy and spare Americans from exposure to “fake news.”

So, well-meaning Americans who may hope that Russia-gate will somehow bring down Trump are getting recruited into a movement that intends to silence dissent and allow the U.S. establishment to dictate what information you will get to see and hear.

And that officially approved “information” will surely lead to new global tensions, more military spending. and additional warfare up to and possibly including nuclear war with Russia.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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107 comments for “WPost Pushes More Dubious Russia-bashing

  1. mike k
    September 25, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Once you acquire any significant power in America, you will be subject to pressure by those having greater power to do their bidding. Sources of power who will not reliably submit to the major power players, the deep state, become targets to be destroyed – as Donald Trump is discovering. He was a big frog in the relatively small pond of NYC real estate, but now that he is in the ocean of really big international players, he is having trouble realizing that they expect strict obedience to their dictates – or else.

    • Virginia
      September 25, 2017 at 7:47 pm

      Yes, mike k.
      In 2008 — Obama won; John McCain served as President.
      In 2012 — Obama won; John McCain served as President.
      In 2016 — Trump won; John McCain is serving as President!
      That is, John McCain or Deep State! whichever is more Russia hating!

      • Sam F
        September 26, 2017 at 9:38 am

        The militarists want war against any small country; it is the zionists who want war in the Mideast for Israel, and are Russia-haters due to its intervention there to disrupt their disruptions. They control the mass media and almost all of Congress.

      • Erik G
        September 27, 2017 at 1:59 pm

        Much of that pressure for conformity originates in the mass media telling us what other people believe, which of course is what oligarchy wishes them to believe. The pressure of unregulated economic power is irresistible for most.

        Once more an essential counterpoint to the mass media propaganda.

        Those who would like to petition the NYT to make Robert Parry their senior editor may do so here:
        https://www.change.org/p/new-york-times-bring-a-new-editor-to-the-new-york-times?recruiter=72650402&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink
        While Mr. Parry may prefer independence, and we all know the NYT ownership makes it unlikely, and the NYT may try to ignore it, it is instructive to them that intelligent readers know better journalism when they see it. A petition demonstrates the concerns of a far larger number of potential or lost subscribers.

      • Archie Bunker
        October 1, 2017 at 12:25 pm

        Hmmm….McCains job is nearly finished. Thanks God

    • Double dee
      September 26, 2017 at 7:55 am

      It is difficult for me to understand your point here. No one is forcing those ridiculous tweets, un-Presidential like conduct and comments that pour from his mouth like verbal diarrhea.

      • BobS
        September 26, 2017 at 8:55 am

        For (too) many at consortiumnews, it’s the Deep State(!), always and forever.

        • anon
          September 26, 2017 at 9:32 am

          All criticism of government corruption may express that as “deep state”so you hope to suppress criticism of corruption. Typical of your posts.

    • Sam F
      September 26, 2017 at 9:47 am

      Good point that those who “will not reliably submit to the major power players, the deep state, become targets to be destroyed.” The secret agencies, judiciary, mass media, large social media/internet, and large corporations all work in harmony to target dissenters from plutocracy. This is our new fascism, now using economic and information power, not merely the direct force of the clumsy old forms of fascism.

  2. mike k
    September 25, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    The WaPo is simply a propaganda organ of the deep state. It has no credibility whatever.

    • Kiza
      September 25, 2017 at 9:50 pm

      Many people are missing here the amazing talent discovered in Russia. They spent $100K on Zuckcrook advertising and changed the outcome of the US elections. Can I bring some of those to work for me? Not to mention that the trillion of dollars spent on US security came to naught against a few Russian government hackers. There is no word in the English vocabulary to describe the super-human qualities of those Russians who did this. H-1Bs and zillions of dollars should be used if the US could attract them to come work in US.

      Why does not WaPo call for some intelligence establishment heads to roll instead of regurgitating “facts” of the electioneering by Russia? The fact that Russia elected the US President is by now a clearly established fact, so why repeat it and repeat it and repeat it, instead of asking for some responsibility from those who failed to prevent it?

      • Kiza
        September 25, 2017 at 10:32 pm

        Assuming that the intelligence officials were just napping at their jobs is too naive. Obviously, the Russians had insider help from the Obama’s intelligence officials. If this is to be prevented from happening ever again, we obviously need to investigate those dens of traitorous helpers of the Russian electioneering: CIA, NSA, FBI, Homeland Security and so on. All full of Russian spies.

        • Joe Tedesky
          September 25, 2017 at 11:30 pm

          Kiza, not to rain on your parade, because the good lord only knows how Russia has an over abundant share of it’s geniuses, but I’m afraid to inform you that this Russia hacking, and this Facebook craziness of Russian advertising sabotage is an American homegrown product all of it’s own. So even though there are many in the U.S. who continue to harp on this Russia-Gate thing to the ends of the earth, this looming shadow of Russian espionage and deceit, is as American made as my American wife’s homemade apple pie…you should taste her baking, it’s out of this world. She bakes the pies and cookies, and press off the Italian pizzelles. Good to hear from you Kiza. Joe

          • Kiza
            September 26, 2017 at 1:21 am

            Yeah, Joe, you just popped my dream bubble that hundreds of those genetically modified Russian geniuses are working on bringing down the US Ziocon Government and replacing it with someone decent. Electing President Slump was their way to make things worse before making them better (e.g. by raising the debt ceiling to enable more military spending).

            I bet that your wife’s apple pies and pizzeles do not belong to the same league as the US foreign crimes (used to be called inappropriately policy). Nice to read thoughts from your sharp mind Joe.

          • Joe Tedesky
            September 26, 2017 at 1:56 am

            Kiza, one more thing, if anybody Russian, Chinese, or Martian, could tip the scales in a modern day U.S. Presidential election for an investment with a fix at 100k dollars, why that would be the equivalent of a Beverly Hills political fund raiser dinner for one of these presidential candidate schmucks. If Putin figured that one out all by himself he should get a Pulitzer or something…I mean to tell ya. That would be like buying Super Bowl commercial time for something like a hundred bucks….if you find that kind of deal let me in on it. Insane, just like jet fuel brought down the WTC Towers. Embarrassing and unbelievable, but exceptional. Joe

            Ps I left out the word I …I press the pizzelles, all family recipes. I try to help, and make our kitchen a equal opportunity kitchen.

        • Sam F
          September 26, 2017 at 9:53 am

          Good comment.

      • MVP
        September 27, 2017 at 3:40 pm

        Great point.

    • John Hawk
      September 26, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      ..always has been!

  3. Zachary Smith
    September 25, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    But there is no example of the Russian “misinformation and hate,” a classic violation of the reporting principle of “show, don’t tell.” In this story, it’s all tell and no show.

    Trust Us!

    After all, would the WP’s billionaire sugar daddy Jeff Bezos allow his personal blog to lie?

  4. mike k
    September 25, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    When Trump trashed Hillary, the Intel Establishment, and the MSM – he defied the deep state. He is still paying for that. His ego was just too big for his britches.

    • hatedbyu
      September 26, 2017 at 11:18 am

      he didn’t have to say boo to any of them to get what he is getting. only not be in their pocket.

      it was also, probably, the main reason he won.

    • MVP
      September 27, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      He also has no ideological compass, and really doesn’t know a damn thing other then what some guy told him.

      We wasted our likely one and only chance at having an “outsider” on a bloviating buffoon, who would prefer to be an emperor than president.

      At least he proved they really do count the votes…of course, they’ll never let that happen again, at least not in any even semi-close election. An outsider will now have to win by more than 10% to have a chance. So it is pretty much game, set, and match.

  5. mike k
    September 25, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    Bezos is just another oligarch creep, like Trump.

    • RnM
      September 26, 2017 at 7:29 am

      Anyone else notice Bezo’s resemblance to Mike Meyer’s portrayal of Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers films? These satires on the 007 trope are brilliant, and would be award winners (never happened), if the writers didn’t cut so close to the bone.
      “Come on, Jeff, throw me a bone. What’s with all the Russian stuff, anyway?”

      • Joe Tedesky
        September 26, 2017 at 9:37 am

        Funny you bring up the comparison to Dr Evil. This Russian conspiracy at Facebook being successfully accomplished to sway the 2016 presidential election in favor of Comrade Donald for the small sum of only 100k dollars, is so Dr Evilish that Mike Meyers has to be in contact with his lawyers looking into cause for copyright infringement. ‘I want a million dollars’ (cue the laughter) will be rewritten to say ‘we will throw the American presidential election for the total amount of one hundred thousand dollars’ (cue the laughter again).

        Hope you don’t mind me jumping in here RnM but I could not resist missing out on the fun. Joe

        • RnM
          September 26, 2017 at 11:27 am

          Another strange parallel, Joe is that at one of Trumps campaign rallies, someone brought a little kid up who had been fixed up with a Trump coiffure. Mini-Me. Trump took the kid in his arms, and may have actually kissed a baby – (so much for his claims of not being a politcian) Austin Powers meets Fellini meets Mussolini.

        • glitch
          September 26, 2017 at 11:30 am

          RnM and Joe, Perfect!

        • RnM
          September 26, 2017 at 11:35 am
          • Joe Tedesky
            September 26, 2017 at 4:48 pm

            Maybe RnM we should be talking about ‘child abuse’, or how to save the children.

            Seriously I’m joking, that was kind of funny, and just for the record I can’t take credit for your original post and thought. Joe

  6. Hank
    September 25, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    “he assertion that this alleged “meddling” – and we’ve yet to see any evidence connecting these ads to the Russian government – “played a key role in the U.S. election” is both silly and outrageous, especially given the risks involved in stoking animosities between nuclear-armed Russia and nuclear-armed America.” THIS SAYS IT ALL.

    • mike k
      September 25, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      The propagandists count on the American people not asking for evidence. And they are right! We were taught all the way through school to just accept what was given out as fact. Asking uncomfortable questions could get you in trouble – I know that by personal experience!

  7. Terry Washington
    September 25, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    “Russophobia” or “Russia-bashing” as far as I am concerned has the same semantic overtones as calling persistent critics of Israeli policy “anti-Semites” (if Gentile) or “self-hating Jews” (if Jewish). During the Cold War, persistent critics of Soviet policies were (irrespective of party politics) attacked as “reactionary red baiters” or “anti-Soviet” but were eventually vindicated!

    • mike k
      September 25, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      Semantic overtones are in the mind of the would be semanticist.

    • Sam F
      September 26, 2017 at 11:15 am

      Can you think of any “reactionary red baiter” criticism of the USSR by that was vindicated?
      This would exclude the criticisms made by neutral parties, such as its excessive internal controls.
      The reactionary criticism was:
      1. Starting revolutions everywhere (versus helping anti-colonial rebellions);
      2. Infiltrating organizations in the US;
      Little of that was ever shown on a large scale. The reactionaries were fear-mongering opportunists seeking to destroy rivals, gain public office as demagogues, or start wars of aggression for their own purposes.

      • hatedbyu
        September 26, 2017 at 11:20 am

        me thinks there was enough blame to go around on both sides….

  8. D5-5
    September 25, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Couple of points on the article Robert is discussing:

    a) in July 2016 Facebook was concerned about possible Russian espionage activity and this led to security concerns on Fancy Bear and Guccifer 2.0 with the issue the emails exposing Clinton’s and the DNC’s shenanigans. In recent months this activity has been suggested as coming from inside the DNC and faked “with Russian fingerprints” on it. There is no mention of this in the article.

    b) the article rolls one toward a triumphant tone with recent FB concluding there were foreign accounts attempting to sway specific regions of voters crucial to Clinton’s loss, and these accounts were established between 2015 and 2017. There are NO specific examples of what these accounts established as material or content to sway those voters, or to differentiate whatever the content was from other discourse in the election, whether on FB or anywhere else.

    The article impresses me as eager beavers working the pump of tendentiousness to get on the bandwagon slamming Russia. It’s all a nothing burger as we like to say, with the appearance (only) of a closely detailed reckoning. Further, it details that for more than a year FB and the IC were scratching their heads and finding NOTHING. but now somehow they’ve come up with these accounts, and this 100,000, which as Parry indicates is chicken feed in the influence business.

    • Zachary Smith
      September 25, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      The article impresses me as eager beavers working the pump of tendentiousness to get on the bandwagon slamming Russia.

      Have you heard that one such eager beaver might be the CEO of the FB outfit? He has been adjusting his “attitudes” to be in sync with conventional norms, and has been on a “I care” tour of the US in such places as Iowa.

  9. Tayo
    September 25, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    “Russians” (in actual fact, “suspected Russian operatives” with no discernible links to the Russian govt) spent a minuscule, miserly, laughable $100,000 on Facebook ads – most of which Facebook itself has admitted weren’t connected to the election and some of which were purchased after the elections – over a course of three years to swing a multi billion dollar Amerikan election.
    It’s laughable really. If that isn’t some sorta groundbreaking feat, I don’t know what is.

    The hunger to pin anything on the Russian govt is so strong, so comical, so infantile that I can only chuckle in amusement to the levels journalism has sunk. What’s even scarier is the supposedly intelligent and enlightened people that will buy this sad excuse of a story. Next I’m sure, we will be told that Russia penetrated YouTube and Google ads as well. Perhaps Instagram and Tinder too.

    I suggest Mueller focuses on Tinder in particular. I’m betting there’s something on there. Russians have been known to use honey pot plots.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 25, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      You took the words right our of my own mouth, Tayo. It is laughable that over a three year period that some unnamed Russian operatives, spending a mere $100,000.00 against the Clinton Campaign’s 1.4 billion dollar money raised was outdone by such a small investment on the part of the Russians. If this were even possible in America’s overfunded election business model, why this could change the political strategies of America’s political races for years to come, and then some.

      • Realist
        September 26, 2017 at 3:10 am

        This is where the poor public schooling and unaffordable costs of higher education begin to pay off for the entrenched elites. It’s to be hoped (by them) that most of the great unwashed will miss those critical nuances. See, the system is working. Time to give more tax cuts to the rich (and consequent service cuts to the prols). Until the tax cuts are finally delivered by poor harried Donald, American society will just have to make do with issues like who stands and who kneels during the national anthem at sporting events if the purpose is to confuse and misdirect the people. You don’t see the WaPo skimping on coverage of that.

        Hey, I might even join the impending coup if your wife hands out tasty pastries on the street in the new American tradition.

        • Peter Loeb
          September 26, 2017 at 7:33 am

          WHO ARE “THE RUSSIANS”??

          And what is “Facebook”? ( I don’t have t!)

          The article by Paul Pillar was about Israel and Palestine.
          Perhaps you neglected that fact.

          These days you can write about Christmas and the comments
          will be about whether or not “the Russians” had a meeting
          about it. (I thought they had St. Nick” but am unsure.)

          Can France take an ad anywhere without being accused
          “meddling” with the American (read supreme and purer
          than thou) electorate. Say…about French wine,
          castles, or the beaches….that would influence Americans.
          There could be a Congressional investigation to determine
          whether or not the President or any other political
          schmuck ever went to France or even wanted to. Such
          a person could lose his career etc. enmeshed in scandal.

          This writer visited Paris some five times. Paris with my fiancee
          was lovely. The museums were great. The visit to Per Lachaise
          to see Chopin’s grave. The Chapelle St. Louis….Sinful!

          —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

        • Joe Tedesky
          September 26, 2017 at 8:58 am

          My wife will do one better than Victoria, my wife will be the pretty woman passing out beer and pretzels on the front lines of the coup. FU EU, and all that stuff we will be there.

          Good to hear from you Realist. Joe

          Ps maybe I shouldn’t joke about it?

        • hatedbyu
          September 26, 2017 at 11:23 am

          smart people are just as, if not stupider than, the stupid people of the world. the easiest people to brainwash are the well to do and well educated.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 25, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      Here’s another way of assessing the 2016 election, if the Russians could tip the presidential election by spending as little as $100,000.00 on promoting Trump then how does the MSM *4.96 billion dollar free media exposure effect Trump’s eventual presidential win?

      * JP Sottile “Trumping Trump and Howling at the Moonves” consortiumnews March 16, 2017.

      “On the other hand, analytics firm mediaQuaint found that Trump scored a staggering $4.96 billion worth of “free” media.”

    • Dave P.
      September 26, 2017 at 3:03 am

      Tayo – Your comments : “What’s even scarier is the supposedly intelligent and enlightened people that will buy this sad excuse of a story.”

      We live in a “The End of History” period now, as proclaimed by the Necons – or more precisely by Zio-Neocons – after the fall of Soviet Union in 1991. And there is no need for intelligent and enlightened people in it. We are well into this new period in the World History now – more than a quarter century. We are seeing the effects already – the supposedly intelligent and enlightened people buying into this Garbage which is fed to them day and night, for a long time now.

      It is going to be different type of age in World History. What we are witnessing now may seem like almost an age of enlightenment – at least there are some websites and other alternative Media outlets left. The way the Russian hysteria is being whipped up in Washington and around the country, and there is some incident between U.S. and Russian forces near Deir ez-zor or else where in Syria, the sites like this one will be the first to be shut down. And persons using them may be listed too.

      There are not any prominent voices or Statesmen – supposedly intelligent and enlightened – left in U.S. and The West who have the wisdom or stature to question this Russia – Gate nonsense. In fact it is getting bizarre with every passing day. And I do not think any such Statesman will appear in The West in the near future.

      • Archie Bunker
        October 1, 2017 at 12:33 pm

        The sun is going under in the West and coming up in the East. It is not a bad thing at all.

  10. Virginia
    September 25, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    This comment in Parry’s well constructed article is most alarming, is something we must stay alert to and do something about: “So, well-meaning Americans who may hope that Russia-gate will somehow bring down Trump are getting recruited into a movement that intends to silence dissent and allow the U.S. establishment to dictate what information you will get to see and hear.”

    This from a religious leader I admire: “It is the pulpit and press, clerical robes and the prohibiting of free speech, that cradles and covers the sins of the world, — all unmitigated systems of crime; and it requires the enlightenment of these worthies, through civil and religious reform, to blot out all inhuman codes.” (Special attention to “the press” here!)

    • D5-5
      September 25, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      Of course this emphasis, as was McCarthyism, is alarming. and a reason Robert continues with his emphasis on the brainwashing. IMV it won’t work, isn’t working, as, globally, in the face of authoritarian pressures to hold down the ordinary person, there is a growing resistance. I believe this surging resistance will not be stopped. The plethora of internet sites sifting and scouring suggests this also, I think. That is, in simple terms, a lot of people, ordinary people are FED UP. Moreover, how much time do people struggling to do several jobs or find a place to sleep on the street have for all this nonsense so that it will have a profound effect? Are we looking at effective brainwashing or desperation, particularly deriving from the Clinton Dems? True, now we have in tandem to what we are discussing here the latest effort, in demonizing NFL players for expressing their political views instead of “doing what they’re paid for, play ball!” But in the supposed 75% of Americans I read today disapproving of them I have to wonder how cooked that particular poll is. I don’t believe it, or that this sentiment will last. And as part of that Trump continues to make an obnoxious idiot of himself by the day. I do not believe this degree of infantilism and stupidity can prevail much longer.

      • Nancy
        September 26, 2017 at 11:26 am

        Sadly, you can never underestimate the simplemindedness of the U.S. populace.
        Witness the brouhaha over football right now, which has gone completely off the message of the original protest and is now all about the flag!

      • hatedbyu
        September 26, 2017 at 11:28 am

        I do not believe this degree of infantilism and stupidity can prevail much longer.

        i disagree. this is the meat that people want. you say infantilism. i think others would say honesty. either way, subjects are not used to either no matter what country they are in. if trump can survive the slings of the press or a lee harvey from the dark state, then i think, with time, his behavior will only endear him to the average person.

        populism is what it is.

  11. Susan Sunflower
    September 25, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    Elsewhere, Trump may be getting his own Katrina in Puerto Rico … things remain primitive and no evidence that “the calvary” is coming … out of power, water, food, medicine … cell phone service spotty …

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 25, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      Trump doesn’t seem too worried about Puerto Rico, since he’s so involved in complaining about major league sports figures taking a knee when the national anthem is being played, in concern of civil rights issues. But I hear you Susan, it’s great that you show concern. Joe

  12. Robert Golden
    September 25, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    The fact Russia interfered is an established fact. To what extent the Trump campaign helped/colluded is a matter under investigation. The issue of obstruction of justice is under investigation, but so much has played out in public view, an indictment and/or impeachment appears likely. Money laundering is a crime, and is under investigation. Tax returns are under investigation. Emolument clause violations
    appear to be massive.

    • D5-5
      September 25, 2017 at 8:24 pm

      You need to look into your dictionary on what is “fact.” Your scatter-gun generalizing and wanton acceptance of the brainwashing needs another look. Give me your sources on this “fact” you’re claiming.

      • Idiotland
        September 25, 2017 at 10:15 pm

        Crowdstrike, the outfit that literally has a financial incentive to push the Democratic narrative and continues to refuse, to this day, to allow the FBI or any other law enforcement to examine the DNC servers. That’s essentially his “fact.”

        • Realist
          September 26, 2017 at 5:57 am

          “Idiotland.” I like that. It speaks of and to all America.

          Mr. Golden must be an adherent of the “Many Worlds” interpretation of quantum physics, in which every possibility is realised in some iteration of reality. In at least one of an infinite number of parallel universes at least one of those vaunted intelligence agencies actually got the goods on the Russians… and the American voters were actually swayed by the divulgement of inconvenient truths about Hillary. Perhaps the commentor is a visitor from such a realm.

    • Susan Sunflower
      September 25, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      On election eve, almost a year ago now, there was a newspaper headline that Manafort was about to be indicted for tax evasion …. tappy foot … still waiting …

      IMHO, this will turn morph into a mind-numbing investigation of financial “irregularities” which will indict smaller fish … y’know the rich know how to set up layers of bureaucracy, legal cover and “professional management” to avoid being held responsible …

      IOW, yes, he’s dirty and he’s crooked, but don’t hold your breath. We’re approaching the end of ‘year 1″ … I’m doubtful he will be running for reelection in 2020 (who knows, I’ve been wrong before) — Despite all the “dirt”, I think Trump is being “covered” for by powerful people. Proving obsruction may be imposible because it’s so hard to objectively “prove” intent without a paper trail… and he’s so good at playing the rube, the fool, the guy who didn’t know the rules (and refused the normal consultancies associated with the office)…. as he was a dark horse candidate, I suspect he may well be a “dark horse’ survivor and will chose not to run to allow Pence to get two terms as the Democrats fail to field either a winning candidate or a platform.

      Don’t forget Iran/Contra — infinitely worse and more criminal than Watergate — the public were told they were tired of controversy and that there was no appetite for indictments …. yeah, something like that.

    • Fred
      September 25, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      The fact Russia interfered is an established fact. Fact fact fact……

      LOL!

      • Susan Sunflower
        September 25, 2017 at 10:26 pm

        I think it’s highly doubtful that “russian intereference” in 2016 was significant or appreciably different that attempted interference by any number of sovereign states or special interest groups in all previous elections … as Merkel over a year ago said about interference in German elections, “it’s annoying but it’s how things are” …. I can’t wait until they try to “parse” what is political and what might be “subliminal messaging” etc.

        In the America I grew up in, the idea that this “interference” was signficantly destabilizing, sufficient to be alarmed about, would have been mocked and laughed out of the room, because Americans could be trusted to do the right thing and that a majority — for better or worse — would affirm the status quo.

        This whole line of fear-mongering bespeaks a remarkably deep lack of trust in our institutions and our people ….. apparently because Hillary failed to win where it was needed, in the electoral college … oh noes.

        • hatedbyu
          September 26, 2017 at 11:32 am

          russian meddling is so laughable in light of actual election fraud that has been rampant for years and years and years…..

          and by both sides. yet it doesn’t exist.

          don’t look here, look there.

          • Susan Sunflower
            September 26, 2017 at 6:47 pm

            absolutely — post-:”citizens united” — this is “chicken feed” or less.

    • Dave P.
      September 26, 2017 at 3:28 am

      Robert G – “Money laundering is a crime, and is under investigation.”

      To investigate this money laundering crime you are writing about, the Special Prosecutor should visit Tel Aviv, and then London – set up his headquarters there. That is where most of the loot – over a trillion dollars – stolen from Russia went with those Oligarchs. That is where this obstruction of Justice, money laundering and all that should be solved.

      Of course, some of the loot came here too.

      • Susan Sunflower
        September 26, 2017 at 6:49 pm

        No one will be prosecuted for “money laundering” for the same reasons that no banksters were criminally prosecuted for the 2008 meltdown — aka “business as usual”

  13. CitizenOne
    September 25, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    What I find most alarming is that the cure is worse than the disease. It has been shown that all attempts to bring fake news under control inevitably do harm to progressive news websites like this one and actually are biased to favor the right. It only makes sense. If giant corporations set up the algorithms, they are going to be set to the conservative side and biased against the liberal side.

    Who knows, perhaps the algorithms which are programmed as high speed traders on Wall Street to maximize shareholder value are the same ones ferreting out fake news. They are ultimately going to be programmed to maximize the profit of the media company. Anything that the media company deems a story to be not in its economic interests it will be silently deleted or sent to page 50.

    This is why I really encourage folks to pitch in for the fight over ending Net Neutrality. Y’all may think it’s no big deal but the arc of history will show a succession of media deregulations which allowed our main stream press to fall to the present low state they are in.

    History of regulation and deregulation:

    http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/mediatimeline.html

    We need to preserve a free and open internet here so that corporate robots from the future can travel back in time after reading this and kill us. Oops. That is just a movie I hope.:-)

  14. September 25, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    This is all based on ideological mind set. We see it western academic ,political and social circles. We have become totalitarian in thought and principles.The Corporate State. Defoilant agents and vaccines. ^ corporations run all major sources of media. Aipac is a major contributor to our political representatives and next to the miliitary industrial complex is one of the major lobby groups in Washington. Free speech and free thought has become a propagandised term used to gas light opponents . Like this article has mentioned verifiable facts reason and logic have no value in todays discourse. Signs of a dying paradigm . This is reminiscent of the dying days of the USSR the only difference is that the 0.01 percent have a lot of money and influence and further more they know that we in the west have passed the 16 percent of cynicism getting close to 20 percent . This scares them hence now they brazenly push their lies and blatantly flaunt their fascism, acting like rabid dogs. IE: having a paid add with Morgan Freeman as the narrator and telling us that we are at war with Russia. Hollywood so called liberals have teamed up with the likes of Kagan and his neo con cohorts, hence Trotskyist combine with fascist and xenophobia goes into hyperdrive. Orwellian times we r living. Lets hope more and more people stop drinking the Kool-aid .

  15. Idiotland
    September 25, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    You mean Barack Obama actually had time to do this at the same time he’s stuffing his pockets with Wall Street cash?

  16. Joe Tedesky
    September 25, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Watching the Democrates try to make hay out of nothing with this Russia-Gate foolishness, is like watching a drunk carpenter hammer a bend nail into a slab of concrete. Possibly this time spend chasing Russian election tampering ghost could be bearable if the Democrates were a sturdy electable party. Only with 33 Republican governors, a Republican majority in both Houses, along with a majority Republican appointed Supreme Court, and of course a Republican in the White House, it would appear to me the Democrates have no time to waste but to put together a party platform which would attract the majority of Americans to get behind, but such is not the case. Instead the party of unelectable candidates would rather tip the foreign diplomacy scales up against another nuclear power, as to promote the scandal ridden Hillary Clinton, now, before, and even after the 2016 presidential election.

  17. Davy
    September 25, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Too bad for them. Even if he did “collude” with Russia to win the election. It’s 100% NOTE a crime. Not sure how they could possibly twist this into an impeachment.

    • Susan Sunflower
      September 25, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      “it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup” … one avenue of attack being actively investigatedn is that of obstruction of the investigation(s) … obstruction of justice … and the Trumps, by commission or omission (cluelessness) appear to be stretching the usual presumption of good faith, much less innocence … all those unreported meetings and worse …

      see today’s revelations about Jared and Ivanka and god knows who else both using private e-mail but also private servers for government business … are they mocking themselves or just that clueless and stupid and unwilling to take professional advice … your call.

      Appearance of impropriety … see also the Clintonesque claim of “no quid pro quo” which likely will be demonstrated — by a “preponderance of evidence” wrt to all of the various Trump high-stakes international deal making …

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 25, 2017 at 11:48 pm

      Davy, remember that the House didn’t impeach Clinton because Bill got a BJ from Monica, no Slick Willy got impeached because he said he didn’t get a BJ from the young intern. Although your point is well taken, Trump’s demise will be because he said he didn’t collude with the Russians. This kind of procedural process means that George W must have been pretty smart after all, since he never said he didn’t invade Iraq under suspicion of them having WMD…he just joked about.

  18. Luke Lea
    September 26, 2017 at 12:03 am

    Good job, keep it up.

  19. Lois Gagnon
    September 26, 2017 at 12:05 am

    Might it be that the establishment needs to keep the Russia fear mongering going to cover up the election fraud that took place in last year’s primary? If all the details came out about it, any pretense of democratic governance would be shattered. The timing of the first allegation was far too coincidental with the leaking of the DNC/Podesta emails to not smell like a rat.

    The pretend press will keep the Russia ball in the air for as long as they are told it is necessary.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 26, 2017 at 1:43 am

      I totally agree. The distraction value of this spin to blame Hillary’s loss on Russia is priceless, and too my surprise and disappointment this Russian ploy is working….I guess? But how would one know when in order to get a good read on the public’s consensus one needs to rely on the same news entities who predicted Hillary would go into the White House in 2016. For proof of this success, just listen to the crickets as the MSM speaks (not) to what was in Hillary’s emails. Here is where Vladimir Putin became the perfect scapegoat. Matter of fact I’m guessing that 93% of our country’s severe problems are compounded by the professional corporate media’s way of harping on constantly certain newsy thems. or the media avoids certain other news stories altogether…like Hillary’s emails, or what’s in them. Lois, I know you know this, but I just thought it needed said…plus I may get carried away at times. Good comment Lois. Joe

    • Bob Van Noy
      September 26, 2017 at 10:20 am

      That’s the “heart of it” Lois Gagnon. Thanks for your clarity.

      • Lois Gagnon
        September 26, 2017 at 7:09 pm

        Thanks Joe and Bob. It’s so disheartening how effective this psy-op has been. People I used to consider political allies are so certain of the villainy of Putin, nothing else matters as long as they can tie Trump to that evil Putin. They have lost all perspective and don’t care what evidence of official lies I present. They need the narrative to remain intact or their heads will explode. How convenient for the manipulators.

        • Joe Tedesky
          September 26, 2017 at 11:09 pm

          That’s why it’s good we can converse with each other here at consortiumnews. Take care Lois. Joe

  20. exiled off mainstreet
    September 26, 2017 at 2:26 am

    The article amounts to sort of an iteration of information fascism yankee style. The fact the US is apparently, according to credible Russian sources, collaborating with el qaeda types in Syria and assassinating key Russian officers there as noted by the Saker, Moon of Alabama Mike Whitney and other websites is particularly alarming. One has to ask how long it is before things go totally pear shaped in an irrevocably final way.

  21. Michael K Rohde
    September 26, 2017 at 2:49 am

    What scares the hell out me is when I raise this issue with my well heeled friends they tend to attack the messenger and ignore the message. What is so compelling about russia as the boogey man that can make ordinarily intelligent people go off the rails when they measure them as a real threat?

    We cannot win a nuclear war. If we release those weapons when it is all over there will be a nuclear cloud above the planet and depending on how many weapons are detonated, a commensurate drop in the planet’s temperature which will ruin harvests and create famine. Everybody loses, it is just a question of how much. That is not an option that any American should think is a realistic winner. We might kill more Russians but we lose millions too. Anybody wanna sign up for that list?

    How is it that most of the 6 or 7 major media outlets can encourage this confrontation without considering the consequences and sharing that information? Pyrrhic victory really means you lost a little less than your enemy, it doesn’t mean you won. That is the most optimal conclusion anyone can hope for. That is just a way of rationalizing losing everything that matters. There is a reason that you say “you don’t tug on superman’s cape”. This borders on recklessness to the point of suicidal. It sure is not in any Americans’ best long term interest. So why is this happening?

  22. Jim Glover
    September 26, 2017 at 4:22 am

    I think America will realize Russiagate is fake before any serious impeachment which would come more from his war with the NFL. For the American Public, Football is more serious than Korea, Syria, Russia, China and Israel combined.

  23. Realist
    September 26, 2017 at 4:36 am

    Since so much of this false narrative about Russia is meant to cover Hillary’s sorry ass for blowing an election the Democratic braintrust assumed she had in the bag and that the man to beat was Bernie Sanders rather than Donald Trump, I am prompted to address her using the words from a popular cigarette commercial back in the 1960’s: “You’ve come a long way, baby!” (The smokes were Virginia Slims, if I recall correctly.)

    Whether you consider your political baseline to be your Goldwater Girl years in Park Ridge, IL, or your radical feminist hippie years at Wellesley College (in gaudy bell-bottoms rather than frumpy pants suits), your idealistic past selves must cringe with embarrassment at the materialistic sell-out to the aristocracy you have become, Madam Secretary. I don’t care whether you had remained true to your arch-conservative roots or to your adopted facade of pseudo-liberalism, just pick some set of heart-felt principles and stick with them rather than living between cultures as a facile shape-shifter who constantly pays lip service to one thing and supports the opposite. But with you it was always riches and power rather than service and principles. You were always telling the working folks you had their backs while routinely stabbing them there at the behest of Wall Street.

    It wasn’t the Russians who did you in, babe. It was yourself. The Russian meme was just a campaign ploy that you used in late summer 2016 during the party conventions. The voters, or at least enough of them, saw through your little trick there. You and your bigwig cronies in the Democratic party were and remain apparently the only politicians fool enough to keep betting on that hand. Believe me, it’s a loser, and you will lose more than just the pot when the truth finally dawns on most of the people and the mercenary media ultimately turns against you, as they will when their presumed credibility is on the line. Maybe your old friend Donald Trump will pardon you if you should receive a jail sentence, but then again, maybe you’ve burnt that bridge to the waterline.

    Meanwhile, you already owe massive apologies to your past selves, and this you know whether the public yet realises it or not. You will not be the heroine you must have confabulated in your dreams, you’ll be more of a discredited disgrace. I might have had a lot of reasons to vote for you at one time: we are the same age, we lived through the same historical events, I grew up just blocks from you down Milwaukee Avenue on Chicago’s Northwest Side, and I was a life-long Democrat. But, you know, the arrogance, the dishonesty, the greed, the ruthlessness and the hypocrisy just got to be too much.

    Thankfully enough voters came to understand what a disaster you would have been as the leader of this country. Mr. Trump has been mostly empty bluster in the office. He’s shallow, foolish, and easily manipulated but (hopefully) less dangerous than a truly driven sociopath such as yourself would have been. Truth be told, I don’t think that even Bill fully trusted you with the job of president, which may be why on several occasions during both of your campaigns he stuck his foot in his mouth, at least potentially costing you critical support. It would be interesting to read any book he might some day choose to write about you. It would certainly be more honest than “What Happened,” which we both know is a total load. You, lady, need most definitely to re-assess “what happened” to your character and actual beliefs (if any) between the 1960’s and the present day. America is going through some highly troubling times and has become a real threat to both itself and the world. A great deal of that is due to your handiwork–yours and the last several incompetent and reckless presidents this country has suffered through, lest you assume too much credit.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 26, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      good character appraisal.

  24. geoff
    September 26, 2017 at 5:21 am

    the washington post and the cia. a marriage made in hell a long time ago. maybe the government should come out of the shadows and force everyone to get ‘chipped’ so we get our propaganda first hand. and of course the final lesson is totalitarianism with no subtleties. in your face, or your hand or perhaps your buttocks. sorry …..just very tired of it all !!!!!!

    • dahoit
      September 26, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Citizenchip.

  25. Lemmy
    September 26, 2017 at 6:05 am

    I for one applaud the media’s Red Scare Hysteria (up to a point, which is triggering an actual shooting war with Russia). If the Corporate Democrats want to hide behind this phony explanation for Hillary’s stunning, inconceivable loss, then let them. Let them run a Hillary 2.0 such as Biden next go round and watch with glee as they endure another humiliating loss.

  26. Karen Bednarek
    September 26, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Thanks for your excellent investigative journalism!
    Saber rattling sells–blaming Russia sells–also justifies obscene DoD endless war budget.

  27. Kim Dixon
    September 26, 2017 at 7:26 am

    What I find fascinating is that not one example of these incredibly-effective, FB ads has been revealed. What was the content of these election-swinging wonders? I’m sure Madison Ave would love to crib the amazing techniques of these Russian Mad Men.

    This reminds me of the accusations against RT. When asked what, exactly, RT did to help swing the election, a Senator answered that RT reported on US news and US foreign policy in a way that made people question their faith in the US government.

    In other words, RT is being accused of doing actual reportage, something missing among US j?o?u?r?n?a?l?i?s?t?s? government stenographers for decades now.

  28. Tom
    September 26, 2017 at 9:52 am

    It is really amazing what Russian can achieve, with a minimum of $100,000 expenditure, in order to gain world dominance. Whereas the US spends trillions with the same aim and manages to do the exact opposite.
    The First Czech Russia Bank, with links to the Kremlin, loaned 9million Euro to the right wing party led by Marine Le Pen. This was supposed to represent Russian interference in the French elections and somehow give an electoral advantage to Le Pen. Her Party has since repaid the loan, with interest I’m sure. The BBC describes the meeting between Le Pen and Putin, in the Kremlin, thus, the Russian President appeared to be suppressing a grin on his face, as he said to Le Pen “of course we don’t want to influence events in any way”. In a quid pro quo, Madame Le Pen, pledged that when elected to the Elysee Palace, she “would envisage lifting the sanctions quite quickly” Alas, the investment, from the Russian point of view, seemed to have failed in its purpose, or did it? But in any case it was at no material cost to them.
    On the other hand, an investment, supposedly, of a $100,000 in the US election, by Russia, has paid dividends. It seems that the billions spent by all candidates, in the election, counted for nothing and the $100,000 invested, over a 3 year period, by Russia tipped the balance in Trump’s favour.
    There appears, also, to be media speculation that Russia has attempted to interfere in the German elections and at what cost financially you might ask? Who knows but you can be assured that it was at little cost to the Kremlin.

    • Realist
      September 26, 2017 at 10:08 am

      $100K over three years, that’s a mere $33K/yr. What’s more impressive is that the Russians have apparently mastered some time-looper effect, because the third year in the relevant time interval was 2017… after the election had taken place in 2016. Those ads must somehow direct “tachyons” into the past… if you believe Star Trek techno-babble.

      • Tom
        September 26, 2017 at 11:41 am

        Can you imagine, if they invested a few more $100Ks, the world could be their oyster and who knows, if they have managed to master that “tahyons” thingie they may well already have control. Its all to much for me. I have to take a rest.

      • Dave P.
        September 26, 2017 at 4:59 pm

        Realist – Your comments are always funny, enlightening, very meaningful, and true. Thank you.

  29. MaDarby
    September 26, 2017 at 11:35 am

    The dominate mythologies and ideologies which have been the consensus sense the beginning have collapsed from their own dishonesty and corruption. The established imperial power has lost control of the story. The center of political social and cultural life has evaporated. Now, the center is fractured into different camps each with an agenda of its own and the interests of these factions are no longer so closely aligned and some are in panic about this huge wound to Imperial power. WaPo is the voice of Bazos and represents his interest which is clearly to attempt to reestablish control over the narrative or, short of that, to add layers of confusion and chaos to social interaction until some opportunity comes along to gain dominance. It is an old old tactic of power to sew chaos and confusion when their dominant view is challenged and look for the opportunity to “save” society from the chaos, its been working in Syria for a decade, and generally throughout the middle east sense the 1980s.

    Russia-gate is a demonstration of the weakness of Imperial power to maintain its credibility or to overcome the realities of its utter failures.

    Today, with social media, extensive research and huge amounts of data about each and every one of us available to a verity of actors, there are a plethora of actors now using advanced algorithmic tools to manipulate information and its dissemination to “nudge” people in their desired direction. Frankly, I don’t see how people who use FB can possibly get decent news and analysis sense nothing there can be trusted – FB makes the NYT/WaPo look horse and buggy and of course Zukerberg has his own agenda too. These days it is impossible to determine who’s interests are aligned and who’s are not. Essentially the Empire is held together by the alignment of powerful interests – as that solidarity fragments it can only be good news for the rest of us.

    • Dave P.
      September 26, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      MaDarby – Your comments: “. . . of course Zukerberg has his own agenda too.”

      ZioNeocons, and their Media, and their Financial Empire have big dreams. They are prepping up Zuckerburg to be the next (Zioxxxx) President of the Empire.

  30. Rob
    September 26, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Well done, Robert Parry. This is one of your best pieces chronicling the ongoing anti-Russia hysteria gripping the American mainstream media. I think that a worthwhile area of inquiry might be the ownership of these giant media corporations. Who are the major owners, and how are their personal interests served by this dishonest slant to reporting?

  31. SteveK9
    September 26, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    The Facebook ads have been leaked and if possible makes this look even more preposterous/dishonest.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-25/leaked-descriptions-infamous-russia-ads-derail-collusion-narrative-they-showed-suppo

    • Taras 77
      September 26, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      That is fooony (sic).

      Also, this just in from AP:

      “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security reversed course Tuesday and told Wisconsin officials that the Russian government did not scan the state’s voter registration system.”

      I continue to wait for the stupidity and hysteria to subside but almost every week something else hits the fan-I think it was Orlov who wrote that the plan is working, whatever the plan is.

      I’ve posted this link before but would commend this article by Chris Hedges, which does indicate that when the stench of the BS starts to overwhelm, then it is time to resort to “filtering” and suppression of dissent: (long article)

      https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-silencing-of-dissent/

  32. liam
    September 26, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Thank you Robert Parry and Consortium News for more excellent reporting. The truth is coming to light and more and more the evil emanating from the corrupt Deep State is being exposed. For interested eyes, here’s more – White Helmets Fully Exposed as Hollywoods Favorite Terrorists – Over 200 Revealing Facebook Images in 5 Massive Files

    https://steemit.com/news/@clarityofsignal/white-helmets-fully-exposed-as-hollywoods-favorite-terrorists-over-200-revealing-facebook-images-in-5-massive-files

    A message on the division that is being sowed right now: To the American people, I would simply recommend being wary of how the media is intentionally fomenting a divisive agenda that leads to the furtherance of the hate that is going on, ….and not play a part at all. The media doesn’t report news……they manufacture it. They sow the divisiveness and then exploit it in order to keep the public spinning. I believe they want the American people divided and fighting each other as a distraction to their overseas war crimes and support for terrorists in Syria, Nazis in Ukraine and propping up of the Saudi regime that sends jihadists into Europe, Syria, Libya, Yemen, the list goes on. The best way to keep the public from seeing that the emperor has no clothes is to distract them via their own misguided emotional proclivities. They play you by your politics, your chosen teams. I see lots and lots of distraction going on……..and a divided nation that fails to see the forest for the trees. Easy to fall into that trap as so much emotion is created by the corrupt media that keeps people brainwashed and in the dark about what its all for. Its not for freedom or human rights. That is proven by the wars they manufacture. No, its to prop up the elite that rule over the common people and steal their hard earned tax dollars through the military industrial complex, insider trading and endless war. The people that do this are evil…….they are savages at heart.

  33. September 26, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Foreign Influence In Our Great Democracy? OMG!

    by frank scott

    What used to be called liberal in the narrow band American politics which finds two sides of the same coin defined as different currency has become embarrassingly reactionary and seems bordering on insanity. While a substantial minority of citizens are rightfully distressed and angry over the dictatorship of much of our foreign and even domestic affairs by a tiny nation in the Middle East, a near majority has been manipulated into a frenzy over the new slack jawed and drooling depiction of Russia as enemy of democracy in America. Yes, a nation in which more than half the electorate usually stays home and in which there has never in its history been a president elected by an actual majority of the electorate and not simply the usual minority who show up on voting day. That, students of mass psychosis, is what passes for our cherished, sacred, founded by Indian killers, land thieves and slave owners, democracy. But given that millions of us do buy our marketplace political product of a ruling class owned two party system, have we reason for anger at a foreign power exercising so much control over this sincerely sought but not yet found ideal of democracy? You bet, especially when it has played the major role in creating and sustaining our longest war in history; the war against terror which would not exist without our foreign policy that creates terror. That foreign power is, of course, Israel. But our unquestioned-by-official-ruling-power policy allows this domination, at cost of trillions of american dollars and hundreds of thousands of foreign lives, while it howls at the moon and every media professional with a microphone or lap top about the horrors that Putin and Russia have inflicted upon our religious electoral temple where billions are spent putting the proper clergy in office.

    Since the election of Trump, a rich pinhead never expected to win over the less rich airhead selected by our rulers, they have been in near panic and thus dis-organized a great mass of people to gather in opposition to him before he totally screws up their imperial operation with his brash, thoughtless and egotistical exercise of a totally american behavior pattern. Part of this attack on what remains of collective intelligence – after we go shopping and consume enough waste and idiocy to put banking and finance at peace with their profit margins – has been the alleged Russian plan to unseat her holiness and inseat her opponent. With much evidence involving the shocking news that people hack online information, as in nearly 150 million americans having all but – maybe – their bedroom and toilet habits pilfered from a market manipulating firm, and lots of implications of allegations of possibly real leaks of possibly unreal alleged factoids bartered by market pimps and other representatives of un-intelligence government services, great suspicion has been raised in the minds of people who don’t just watch but believe the nightly news casts, that our democracy has been sabotaged by this evil outsider force. Golly, Captain Brain-Dead, can you stand the pain?

    Our great nation that spends hundreds of billions on warfare and pet care while hundreds of thousands of its people live in the street is having its sacred bought and paid for political marketplace infiltrated by foreign money? Our cherished, fought for and died for by heroic souls misled into murdering foreigners so that “our” economy could prosper enough to ship out decent paying jobs to other countries while bringing low paid immigrants to work here, is in danger of being bought and paid for by outsiders? Jeepers, Captain Sub-moron, can’t we stop this?

    While “our” Knesset caucus attempts to move a bill through “our” congress that would make it all but a capital offense to dare support any opposition to doing business with firms which support Israeli domination over occupied territory in Palestine, feverish liberals screech about tampering with this master-race-chosen-people bipartisan attack on the evils of Putin and his vile atrocities committed on our priestly temple of market merchandising that interferes with us getting the best and most honest price for our political pimps in their service to, um, love.

    While her holiness editorializes about the various plots, conspiracies and hate campaigns that cost her the throne she so richly deserved and not only approaches but surpasses the ego-that-looks-like-a-person in her ravings, this should cause a public some concern not only for the bozo that’s in but for the bimbo who might have been. This same entity called it a conspiracy to get her husband when he suffered a savage oral attack on his genitalia conducted by a vicious non-feminist who took advantage of a poor defenseless president of the United Sates of America. And rest assured that Bozo and Bimbo are of one voice when it comes to allegiance to a foreign power that all but rules America and isn’t Russia.

    email: fpscott@gmail.com

    Frank Scott writes political commentary and satire which appears online at the blog Legalienate

    ??http://legalienate.blogspot.com

  34. Jamie
    September 26, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    “If you look at Facebook, the vast majority of the news items posted were fake. They were connected to, as we now know, the thousand Russian agents.”

    – Crooked Hillary

  35. LM
    September 27, 2017 at 6:00 am

    It has been a tremendous pleasure to have read this article, thank you

  36. george Archers
    September 27, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Problem with all the American media is: all have an agenda. Each is Jewish controlled and owned. Hatred towards/against Russia is rabid policy.
    CIA has agents operating in all-TV,News outlets.
    Have you noticed that hardly any factual world news is reported on television networks? just re runs and childish programs :^(

    • Al Pinto
      September 27, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Paraphrasing….The problem isn’t with “all the American media: all have an agenda”. The problem is that the majority of the American public believe that the MSM is telling the truth, while the minority of the public does not care or know much about it either way.

      There is just a small percentage of people, who actually view the news/media with critical eyes and capable to think for themselves instead of relying on the MSM. You know, people who should wear “tin-foil hats”.

      I don’t foresee this to change anytime soon. If anything, things get a lot worse before you’ll notice improvements….

  37. Balderdash
    September 27, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    They must have been very selective in their market targeting. I didn’t notice any Facebook ads for the US election.

    Or they didn’t get much value for their advertising rouble.

    Maybe somebody could post a couple?

  38. September 29, 2017 at 3:58 am

    Very informative. Thanks for the article

  39. Tip o'neill
    September 29, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Remember Netanyahu spoke directly to Congress and received ovations for his opinions as to how this country should vote. And Russia is in the spotlight?

  40. kafantaris
    September 30, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Paul Manafort and Donald Trump “saw racial tensions as something to be exploited in order to achieve the broader [] goal of dividing Americans and creating chaos in U.S. politics during a campaign in which race repeatedly became an issue.”

  41. Tom
    September 30, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Jeff Brazos really wants the US to go to war with Russia.

  42. October 3, 2017 at 12:10 am

    We must build a 3rd party, that takes no corporate money; so, we can get some fascist legislation repealed: The NSC 10/2, the Military Commissions Act, The Patriot Act, and the NDAA. Truman put in place the NSC 10/2 legislation, which created the paramilitary dept in the CIA and gave it deniability as the cover. No agency should be above the law. Also, the Democrats should eliminate the Super Delegates. They cancel out the voice of the people.

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