The Democratic Money Behind Russia-gate

As Russia-gate continues to buffet the Trump administration, we now know that the “scandal” started with Democrats funding the original dubious allegations of Russian interference, notes Joe Lauria.

By Joe Lauria

The two sources that originated the allegations claiming that Russia meddled in the 2016 election — without providing convincing evidence — were both paid for by the Democratic National Committee, and in one instance also by the Clinton campaign: the Steele dossier and the CrowdStrike analysis of the DNC servers. Think about that for a minute.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

We have long known that the DNC did not allow the FBI to examine its computer server for clues about who may have hacked it – or even if it was hacked – and instead turned to CrowdStrike, a private company co-founded by a virulently anti-Putin Russian. Within a day, CrowdStrike blamed Russia on dubious evidence.

And, it has now been disclosed that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for opposition research memos written by former British MI6 intelligence agent Christopher Steele using hearsay accusations from anonymous Russian sources to claim that the Russian government was blackmailing and bribing Donald Trump in a scheme that presupposed that Russian President Vladimir Putin foresaw Trump’s presidency years ago when no one else did.

Since then, the U.S. intelligence community has struggled to corroborate Steele’s allegations, but those suspicions still colored the thinking of President Obama’s intelligence chiefs who, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, “hand-picked” the analysts who produced the Jan. 6 “assessment” claiming that Russia interfered in the U.S. election.

In other words, possibly all of the Russia-gate allegations, which have been taken on faith by Democratic partisans and members of the anti-Trump Resistance, trace back to claims paid for or generated by Democrats.

If for a moment one could remove the sometimes justified hatred that many people feel toward Trump, it would be impossible to avoid the impression that the scandal may have been cooked up by the DNC and the Clinton camp in league with Obama’s intelligence chiefs to serve political and geopolitical aims.

Absent new evidence based on forensic or documentary proof, we could be looking at a partisan concoction devised in the midst of a bitter general election campaign, a manufactured “scandal” that also has fueled a dangerous New Cold War against Russia; a case of a dirty political “oppo” serving American ruling interests in reestablishing the dominance over Russia that they enjoyed in the 1990s, as well as feeding the voracious budgetary appetite of the Military-Industrial Complex.

Though lacking independent evidence of the core Russia-gate allegations, the “scandal” continues to expand into wild exaggerations about the impact of a tiny number of social media pages suspected of having links to Russia but that apparently carried very few specific campaign messages. (Some pages reportedly were devoted to photos of puppies.)

‘Cash for Trash’

Based on what is now known, Wall Street buccaneer Paul Singer paid for GPS Fusion, a Washington-based research firm, to do opposition research on Trump during the Republican primaries, but dropped the effort in May 2016 when it became clear Trump would be the GOP nominee. GPS Fusion has strongly denied that it hired Steele for this work or that the research had anything to do with Russia.

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

Then, in April 2016 the DNC and the Clinton campaign paid its Washington lawyer Marc Elias to hire Fusion GPS to unearth dirt connecting Trump to Russia. This was three months before the DNC blamed Russia for hacking its computers and supposedly giving its stolen emails to WikiLeaks to help Trump win the election.

“The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee retained Fusion GPS to research any possible connections between Mr. Trump, his businesses, his campaign team and Russia, court filings revealed this week,” The New York Times reported on Friday night.

So, linking Trump to Moscow as a way to bring Russia into the election story was the Democrats’ aim from the start.

Fusion GPS then hired ex-MI6 intelligence agent Steele, it says for the first time, to dig up that dirt in Russia for the Democrats. Steele produced classic opposition research, not an intelligence assessment or conclusion, although it was written in a style and formatted to look like one.

It’s important to realize that Steele was no longer working for an official intelligence agency, which would have imposed strict standards on his work and possibly disciplined him for injecting false information into the government’s decision-making. Instead, he was working for a political party and a presidential candidate looking for dirt that would hurt their opponent, what the Clintons used to call “cash for trash” when they were the targets.

Had Steele been doing legitimate intelligence work for his government, he would have taken a far different approach. Intelligence professionals are not supposed to just give their bosses what their bosses want to hear. So, Steele would have verified his information. And it would have gone through a process of further verification by other intelligence analysts in his and perhaps other intelligence agencies. For instance, in the U.S., a National Intelligence Estimate requires vetting by all 17 intelligence agencies and incorporates dissenting opinions.

Instead Steele was producing a piece of purely political research and had different motivations. The first might well have been money, as he was being paid specifically for this project, not as part of his work on a government salary presumably serving all of society. Secondly, to continue being paid for each subsequent memo that he produced he would have been incentivized to please his clients or at least give them enough so they would come back for more.

Dubious Stuff

Opposition research is about getting dirt to be used in a mud-slinging political campaign, in which wild charges against candidates are the norm. This “oppo” is full of unvetted rumor and innuendo with enough facts mixed in to make it seem credible. There was so much dubious stuff in Steele’s memos that the FBI was unable to confirm its most salacious allegations and apparently refuted several key points.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (right) talks with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, with John Brennan and other national security aides present. (Photo credit: Office of Director of National Intelligence)

Perhaps more significantly, the corporate news media, which was largely partial to Clinton, did not report the fantastic allegations after people close to the Clinton campaign began circulating the lurid stories before the election with the hope that the material would pop up in the news. To their credit, established media outlets recognized this as ammunition against a political opponent, not a serious document.

Despite this circumspection, the Steele dossier was shared with the FBI at some point in the summer of 2016 and apparently became the basis for the FBI to seek Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against members of Trump’s campaign. More alarmingly, it may have formed the basis for much of the Jan. 6 intelligence “assessment” by those “hand-picked” analysts from three U.S. intelligence agencies – the CIA, the FBI and the NSA – not all 17 agencies that Hillary Clinton continues to insist were involved. (Obama’s intelligence chiefs, DNI Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan, publicly admitted that only three agencies took part and The New York Times printed a correction saying so.)

If in fact the Steele memos were a primary basis for the Russia collusion allegations against Trump, then there may be no credible evidence at all. It could be that because the three agencies knew the dossier was dodgy that there was no substantive proof in the Jan. 6 “assessment.” Even so, a summary of the Steele allegations were included in a secret appendix that then-FBI Director James Comey described to then-President-elect Trump just two weeks before his inauguration.

Five days later, after the fact of Comey’s briefing was leaked to the press, the Steele dossier was published in full by the sensationalist website BuzzFeed behind the excuse that the allegations’ inclusion in the classified annex of a U.S. intelligence report justified the dossier’s publication regardless of doubts about its accuracy.

Russian Fingerprints

The other source of blame about Russian meddling came from the private company CrowdStrike because the DNC blocked the FBI from examining its server after a suspected hack. Within a day, CrowdStrike claimed to find Russian “fingerprints” in the metadata of a DNC opposition research document, which had been revealed by an Internet site called DCLeaks, showing Cyrillic letters and the name of the first Soviet intelligence chief. That supposedly implicated Russia.

Dmitri Alperovitch, the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of CrowdStrike Inc., leading its Intelligence, Technology and CrowdStrike Labs teams.

CrowdStrike also claimed that the alleged Russian intelligence operation was extremely sophisticated and skilled in concealing its external penetration of the server. But CrowdStrike’s conclusion about Russian “fingerprints” resulted from clues that would have been left behind by extremely sloppy hackers or inserted intentionally to implicate the Russians.

CrowdStrike’s credibility was further undermined when Voice of America reported on March 23, 2017, that the same software the company says it used to blame Russia for the hack wrongly concluded that Moscow also had hacked Ukrainian government howitzers on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine.

“An influential British think tank and Ukraine’s military are disputing a report that the U.S. cyber-security firm CrowdStrike has used to buttress its claims of Russian hacking in the presidential election,” VOA reported. Dimitri Alperovitch, a CrowdStrike co-founder, is also a senior fellow at the anti-Russian Atlantic Council think tank in Washington.

More speculation about the alleged election hack was raised with WikiLeaks’ Vault 7 release, which revealed that the CIA is not beyond covering up its own hacks by leaving clues implicating others. Plus, there’s the fact that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has declared again and again that WikiLeaks did not get the Democratic emails from the Russians. Buttressing Assange’s denials of a Russian role, WikiLeaks associate Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, said he met a person connected to the leak during a trip to Washington last year.

And, William Binney, maybe the best mathematician to ever work at the National Security Agency, and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern have published a technical analysis of one set of Democratic email metadata showing that a transatlantic “hack” would have been impossible and that the evidence points to a likely leak by a disgruntled Democratic insider. Binney has further stated that if it were a “hack,” the NSA would have been able to detect it and make the evidence known.

Fueling Neo-McCarthyism

Despite these doubts, which the U.S. mainstream media has largely ignored, Russia-gate has grown into something much more than an election story. It has unleashed a neo-McCarthyite attack on Americans who are accused of being dupes of Russia if they dare question the evidence of the Kremlin’s guilt.

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

Just weeks after last November’s election, The Washington Post published a front-page story touting a blacklist from an anonymous group, called PropOrNot, that alleged that 200 news sites, including Consortiumnews.com and other leading independent news sources, were either willful Russian propagandists or “useful idiots.”

Last week, a new list emerged with the names of over 2,000 people, mostly Westerners, who have appeared on RT, the Russian government-financed English-language news channel. The list was part of a report entitled, “The Kremlin’s Platform for ‘Useful Idiots’ in the West,” put out by an outfit called European Values, with a long list of European funders.

Included on the list of “useful idiots” absurdly are CIA-friendly Washington Post columnist David Ignatius; David Brock, Hillary Clinton’s opposition research chief; and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report stated: “Many people in Europe and the US, including politicians and other persons of influence, continue to exhibit troubling naïveté about RT’s political agenda, buying into the network’s marketing ploy that it is simply an outlet for independent voices marginalised by the mainstream Western press. These ‘useful idiots’ remain oblivious to RT’s intentions and boost its legitimacy by granting interviews on its shows and newscasts.”

The intent of these lists is clear: to shut down dissenting voices who question Western foreign policy and who are usually excluded from Western corporate media. RT is often willing to provide a platform for a wider range of viewpoints, both from the left and right. American ruling interests fend off critical viewpoints by first suppressing them in corporate media and now condemning them as propaganda when they emerge on RT.

Geopolitical Risks

More ominously, the anti-Russia mania has increased chances of direct conflict between the two nuclear superpowers. The Russia-bashing rhetoric not only served the Clinton campaign, though ultimately to ill effect, but it has pushed a longstanding U.S.-led geopolitical agenda to regain control over Russia, an advantage that the U.S. enjoyed during the Yeltsin years in the 1990s.

Time magazine cover recounting how the U.S. enabled Boris Yeltsin’s reelection as Russian president in 1996.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Wall Street rushed in behind Boris Yeltsin and Russian oligarchs to asset strip virtually the entire country, impoverishing the population. Amid widespread accounts of this grotesque corruption, Washington intervened in Russian politics to help get Yeltsin re-elected in 1996. The political rise of Vladimir Putin after Yeltsin resigned on New Year’s Eve 1999 reversed this course, restoring Russian sovereignty over its economy and politics.

That inflamed Hillary Clinton and other American hawks whose desire was to install another Yeltsin-like figure and resume U.S. exploitation of Russia’s vast natural and financial resources. To advance that cause, U.S. presidents have supported the eastward expansion of NATO and have deployed 30,000 troops on Russia’s border.

In 2014, the Obama administration helped orchestrate a coup that toppled the elected government of Ukraine and installed a fiercely anti-Russian regime. The U.S. also undertook the risky policy of aiding jihadists to overthrow a secular Russian ally in Syria. The consequences have brought the world closer to nuclear annihilation than at any time since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

In this context, the Democratic Party-led Russia-gate offensive was intended not only to explain away Clinton’s defeat but to stop Trump — possibly via impeachment or by inflicting severe political damage — because he had talked, insincerely it is turning out, about detente with Russia. That did not fit in well with the plan at all.

Joe Lauria is a veteran foreign-affairs journalist. He has written for the Boston Globe, the Sunday Times of London and the Wall Street Journal among other newspapers. He is the author of How I Lost By Hillary Clinton published by OR Books in June 2017. He can be reached at joelauria@gmail.com and followed on Twitter at @unjoe.

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63 comments for “The Democratic Money Behind Russia-gate

  1. exiled off mainstreet
    October 29, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    As the conclusion of the article shows, the story is so absurd as to be almost funny, except that the implications: starting a nuclear war, are potentially world ending. Meanwhile, the corruption the story indicates is mind-boggling and signifies the elimination of the last shreds of legitimacy of the yankee state and its satellites.

    • Back in the USSR
      October 29, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      James Clapper said it does not matter who paid or where the money came from. Who would best know if the Russians would be colluding with the Trump campaign but the Russians? The Clinton campaign was working with the good guys in the Russian regime who want to take down Putin. So they would be happy to expose Putin as trying to hack the American election. The last thing they would want to see happen is for Putin to succeed and Trump to be elected. It is only the evidence that matters!

      • tina
        October 29, 2017 at 11:42 pm

        I think people are looking in the wrong places. here in Wisconsin, since 2010, we have had gerrymandering, voter id laws, defunding of education, more relaxed gun laws , and the governor here is S Walker. Mr. Walker is bought and paid for by big business. My point is, the Russians did not need to do a single thing to affect the election result(s), we completely did this to ourselves. Mr. Joe Menard is the wealthiest Wisconsinite, and Ms. Diane Hendricks,ABC building supply company owner from Janesville/Beloit ,” let us make Wisconsin a right to work state” , these people are powerful and influential. Stop blaming HRC and the Russians, take a look in your mirror.

        • Joe Tedesky
          October 30, 2017 at 2:08 am

          tina there is a internal battle going on inside our American establishment. The one side we will call the Dem’s got Mueller to bring down Trump with Russian collusion. The other side we will call the GOP has ‘Clinton Cash’ style stuff on Hilary & any other type of thing Hillary did, to try and bring her team down. Trump and Hillary only represent their teams. Trump is no doubt the Maverick, while Hillary is the Beltway Queen.

          Here’s the weird part; it would appear that Mueller will take down Trump’s people, or Trump himself quite easily, but how as what real evidence has anyone got on Trump with a Russia-Gate crime?Nothing, or at least not yet. Okay then, take Hillary for instances to who we know there is proof that she was the one minding the shop when Russia (theres that word again) gobbled up 20% of the U.S. uranium reserves. Hillary at the helm there when America sold off 20% of it’s uran reserves, while Bill delivers a half a million dollar forty minute speech in Moscow around the same time, why that’s not even a secret, but then get a load of this… Joy Anne is saying that it’s a crime, or it should be for Trump’s people to go after Hillary as it being an obstruction of justice. This is war, and it has nothing to do with the American people, tell Scott Walker I said Hi. Seriously stand back and think of the dynamics going on here, and then ask yourself what is going on here.

          Does Trump represent the Pentagon, and the Security Complex? Does Hillary represent the Intelligence agencies, with the CIA in the lead? How does the massive DC bureaucracy split their loyalties along the lines of these rivalries?

          Does Russia really matter then? You bet it does. Russia is what NATO’s all about, and a whole lot more when you throw in the energy card. Then there is the MacKinder crowd, I think Zbigniew Brzezinski belonged to this crowd, but yeah Russia is a big fish….just look at a map, and think resources and population growth, and Russia becomes the promise land…hmmm where did I ever hear that claim for utopia before?

          And never forget, as all this is unfolding to take a cautious look into your rear view mirror, to surely see the Zionist take the most important positions, as to to lead their wealth forward.

          When it comes right down too it, Trump and Hillary are but only a few rungs down from where the real powers are a moving the pieces like they were moving them on a chess board. And I seriously don’t think, with the way I feel tonight, that in all of mankind’s history did the people’s majority ever rule. Joe

          • adammontana
            October 30, 2017 at 10:26 am

            I agree Joe. The people’s majority never ruled and it’s important to not become guilty of the same on a micro-level. Respect the proletariat and know thy enemy. Never be complacent.

        • Mary White
          October 30, 2017 at 7:33 pm

          Absolutely agree. Plus we need to be working to improve the security of our voting machines no matter who may, or may not, be trying to break into them.

        • James Charles
          November 10, 2017 at 5:05 am

          And in Michigan?

          “And it’s deadly. Doubtless, Crosscheck delivered Michigan to Trump who supposedly “won” the state by 10,700 votes. The Secretary of State’s office proudly told me that they were “very aggressive” in removing listed voters before the 2016 election. Kobach, who created the lists for his fellow GOP officials, tagged a whopping 417,147 in Michigan as potential double voters.”
          http://www.gregpalast.com/trump-picks-al-capone-vote-rigging-investigate-federal-voter-fraud/

  2. Susan Sunflower
    October 29, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Apparently Manafort had been on the FBI’s radar since 2012 having to do with money transfers buzzfeed (and NY Post) label as “suspicious” — they were very large –back when he was working closely with Yanukovich (alleged Putin Puppet, although they were also reportedly very much at odds wrt Ukraine pivot to the West, with EU and NATO membership like a pot-o’-gold mirage on the horizon)

    interesting “leak” over at Buzzfeed: https://www.buzzfeed.com/jasonleopold/fbi-probe-of-paul-manafort-focuses-on-13-suspicious-wire

    Sounds as if — a possible scenario — an ongoing low intensity simmering investigation of manafort may have been used foundationally as justification of probing Trump’s alleged Russian ties … long before anything had been proven about Manafort … and all coming to a slow boil (again interestingly) AFTER Clinton’s defeat (even, as you may recall, Obama claimed the intelligence community had been “worried” about potential Russian meddling and/or disinformation in the election for several years). I have read that they used the Manafort investigation to trigger FISA warrants …

    Ghouls and ghosties and things that go bump in the night … If Manafort’s arrested, my feeling is that the pretzel logic needed to consider this a “blow” to Trump may become a spectacle … Manafort claims innocence and is an old-hand in the international political and financial relationships fields … Worth remembering how new and how short his 2016 “assocation” with Trump seems to have been. (He had a 30+ year history as a campaign fixer type for top level Republican candidates which the MSM seems eager to ignore the implications of, such as was that, as well as his long-standing “Russian ties”, part of why he was targeted — under Obama, having nothing to do with Trump)

    Buzzfeed and NY Post may be jumping the gun … reports of Manafort’s imminent arrest are well over a year old…

  3. Abe
    October 29, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Crowdstrike is the main “source” of the “Russians hacked the DNC” story.

    Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chief technology officer of CrowdStrike, is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council “regime change” think tank.

    Alperovitz said that Crowdstrike has “high confidence” it was “Russian hackers”.

    “But we don’t have hard evidence,” Alperovitch admitted in a June 16, 2016 Washington Post interview.

    Allegations of Russian perfidy are routinely issued by private companies with lucrative US Department of Defense (DoD) contracts. The companies claiming to protect the nation against “threats” have the ability to manufacture “threats”.

    The US and UK possess elite cyber capabilities for both cyberspace espionage and offensive operations.

    Both the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) are intelligence agencies with a long history of supporting military operations. US military cyber operations are the responsibility of US Cyber Command, whose commander is also the head of the NSA.

    US offensive cyber operations have emphasized political coercion and opinion shaping, shifting public perception in NATO countries as well as globally in ways favorable to the US, and to create a sense of unease and distrust among perceived adversaries such as Russia and China.

    The Snowden revelations made it clear that US offensive cyber capabilities can and have been directed both domestically and internationally. The notion that US and NATO cyber operations are purely defensive is a myth.

    Recent US domestic cyber operations have been used for coercive effect, creating uncertainty and concern within the American government and population.

    The perception that a foreign attacker may have infiltrated US networks, is monitoring communications, and perhaps considering even more damaging actions, can have a disorienting effect.

    In the world of US “hybrid warfare” against Russia, offensive cyber operations work in tandem with NATO propaganda efforts, perhaps best exemplified by the “online investigation” antics of the Atlantic Council’s Eliot Higgins and his Bellingcat disinformation site.

  4. Abe
    October 29, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    “The rationale behind ‘fake news’ implicates that lies in traditional, mainstream media, are purely accidental and isolated events. In fact, mainstream media participates actively in selling corporate points of view about basically everything regarding human life, as well as pushing for wars by repeating, many times without questioning, State narrative, directly from government sources or even unidentified officials. When this narratives are debunked or challenged they fall back with an editor’s note, but the propagandistic effect remains.

    “The many wars destroying the Middle East in the last decades have substantial similarities and patterns that corporate journalism seems incapable of grasping, like ‘regime change’ being sold under the ‘humanitarian intervention’ scheme. […]

    “The result of this ongoing propaganda campaign is the widely believed theory that the US is under cyber-attack by Russia and must retaliate. Putin is clever and resourceful enough to put a stooge in the Oval Office, destroying Hillary Clinton’s political carrier and the US democracy in the process, leaving none or little trace. Around the world, mainstream media aren’t necessarily reminding its public that the Russian hacking story is based on allegations, and its now being treated as received knowledge, they aren’t reminding its readers and viewers about the many inaccuracies and retractions issued by the ‘agenda setting’ media either. Those are treated as mere details around a central and strong idea that remains out of discussion: the Russians are coming (again).

    “The other idea being pushed into the collective mind is that alternative news sources are not trustworthy, you never know what’s true and what’s a lie, unless authoritative media says it.

    “Finally, the Washington Post was used to deliver an inherently defamatory and blatantly false accusation on a number of independent news outlets by the anonymous Propornot, some of those independent media were fairly reputed. The Post was also used as a prominent mouthpiece for intelligence sources without questioning or skepticism, establishing what hundreds of other sources would later repeat as news, quite diligently.”

    From Official Policy To Mainstream Discourse: Propaganda In The Making
    By Daniel Espinosa
    http://www.activistpost.com/2017/01/official-policy-mainstream-discourse-propaganda-making.html

    • Skip Scott
      October 31, 2017 at 8:05 am

      Thanks for this Abe, great link.

  5. October 29, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    I wrote the article, (link below) on January 14, 2017
    “The Ganging Up On Donald Trump”

    The establishment enemies of Trump come from countries ruled by war criminals past and present. Some have retired and live in luxury. (When they should be in jail) Another is nearly retired and about to leave public office. His legacy is reportedly one of destruction and death….
    [read more at link below]
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/01/the-ganging-up-on-donald-trump.html

  6. Mild-ly - Facetious
    October 29, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Not Julian
    August 7, 2017 at 10:05 pm
    You guys are all so far off the mark…

    Wikileaks was compromised last October when Julian Assange said his next leak would land Clinton in prison. The dead mans switch went off into the bitcoin blockchain the only place it would be hard to censor.

    Here is a thread of hackers outlining the method to extract the insurance file decryption keys: https://archive.fo/Nf96a

    Find our future (trump media, the national news Source) in Sinclair News.com, as if you really care…

    • October 29, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      Not one of the emails that Wikileaks published from Clinton/DNC have been shown to be other than the real thing–the truth…, likewise everything else they have ever published, never has anything been shown to be false but true leaked documents–you deny this somehow based on? Nothing…the site you link to seems to be just rubbish as your comment unfortunately also seems to be….

    • anon
      October 29, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      If you had any evidence or argument, I am sure that you would not hesitate to tell us.
      1. You failed to show any “compromise” of Wikileaks;
      2. You did not make relevant any method to extract “insurance file decryption keys”;
      3. Do you think everyone is so foolish as to follow your link to “Find our future”?
      This appears to be typical of your comments.

  7. Joe Tedesky
    October 29, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I will congratulate Joe Lauria for covering all the bases with his reporting. Just about the time Joe Lauria’s article made me think about Vault 7, as then he mentioned it. Good writing Mr Lauria.

    All this baloney about Russia this, and Russia that, shouldn’t come as any shock to us all coming from these lying Washington officials, considering to how much over the years us Americans have had to accept these false narratives that are always forced upon us for our acceptance. Like, single bulletin theory’s, super skyscrapers not hit by any planes in free fall collapse, WMD and Iraqi with now the newest added addition Iranian involvement into the 911 Attacks, and one false flag after another in order to quiet the inquiring public. All this, and more, which most often is used as a lead up too war. This is how our bought and paid for politicians respect our hard earned tax dollars….I swear the Beltway crowd hates us Americans.

  8. October 29, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    “It’s important to realize that Steele was no longer working for an official intelligence agency, which would have imposed strict standards on his work and possibly disciplined him for injecting false information into the government’s decision-making.” If you say so. That intel agencies would have rules like that on the books is unsurprising. But if intel orgs actually put all that they did, all of their practices and tactics etc., that would backfire on them. Possibly. These days, They are all powerful and can be very perverse without consequences. The 1% would have it no other way. There must by freedom and impunity for the instruments of repression that protect the 1%.

    Otherwise, we have learned from people like Douglas Valentine (who I suspect is infected with Camelot propaganda) that the CIA excels at document forgery, while the US government will alter documents if it feels the need to and believes that it can get away with it.

  9. October 29, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    “American ruling interests fend off critical viewpoints by first suppressing them in corporate media and now condemning them as propaganda when they emerge on RT.” …this is not only true of news commentators but also night club comedians that dare to satirize the MSM. For anyone that has not seen it the following video that appeared on RT’s Redacted Tonight VIP is worth watching:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuLETr_uL0A&index=28&list=PLdi9R2OWN6k4biEQanAuVpqF-6G7bXRfH

    • Lois Gagnon
      October 29, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      Lee Camp rocks!

  10. October 29, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    “Buttressing Assange’s denials of a Russian role, WikiLeaks associate Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, said he met a person connected to the leak during a trip to Washington last year.”

    And then there’s interesting tidbit:

    https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/seymour-hersh-owes-the-world-an-explanation-for-his-seth-rich-comments-f9b2756123d3

    • October 29, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      Arby, please see my misplaced reply below.

  11. October 29, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    I have not seen the article at link below in corporate media.
    ————————————————————————–
    “US worked with Saudi, Qatar, Turkey to support terrorists in Syria: Ex-Qatar PM

    “The United States coordinated support by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey for terrorists operating against the Syrian government over the past years of conflict in the Arab country, Qatar’s former prime minister has revealed”

    By Times Headline

    October 29, 2017

    http://www.timesheadline.com/middle-east/us-worked-saudi-regime-qatar-turkey-support-terrorists-syria-ex-qatar-pm-10619.html

    • October 29, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      Thanks Stephen J,… the implied policy change toward Assad in Syria is particularly interesting.

    • koning279
      October 30, 2017 at 3:18 am

      Because MSM is indeed part of the Deep State and in Orwellian USA it does not fit, so it does not feature. End of empire in sight, no integrity left, only falseness.

  12. October 29, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    I believe what we are seeing is a diversion:
    ———————————————————————
    March 3, 2017
    “Is Blaming Russia a Diversion, Designed to Hide the Treachery of Western War Criminals?”

    I believe what we are seeing daily is a dirty diversion designed to hide the treachery of western war criminals. And this diversion is aided and abetted by the corporate media.
    Meanwhile, “The war criminals are free to continue their illegal criminal operations and use the military of their countries as obedient hit men, conditioned to obey orders while “destroying sovereign countries,” cities, and homes in “illegal” wars. And all this mayhem and murder is paid for by taxpayer dollars. But, what is even worse, these powerful criminals are “promoting and financing terrorism,” and they “arm” the terrorists they are supposedly fighting. Yet, these are the same powerful hypocrites who pass laws against terrorism, while consorting with “allies” who support terrorists.”…

    [read more at link below]

    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/03/is-blaming-russia-diversion-designed-to.html

  13. Bart in VA
    October 29, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Good grief! We now have people running around waving lists of traitors. The one name that stood out to me on that PDF was that of Stephen Cohen. We are indeed heading for the end of empire.

    • Lisa
      October 29, 2017 at 7:36 pm

      Please, everyone, do take a look at the list. Absolutely fantastic. Who would have thought that Dyson Freeman (one of the world’s brightest minds in physics), Stephen Hawking (no need to introduce), Richard Dawkins (atheist) and many other famous persons are all loyally obeying Kremlin’s orders?

      • Anna
        October 29, 2017 at 11:09 pm

        The hapless author (Monika Richter, a presstituting girl in Prague) has been “working” with Atlantic Council, an organization that employs such intellectual giants as Eliot Higgins (an expert in selling ladies’ underwear and ignoramus in everything else) and Dmitri Alperovitch (an incompetent IT personality and pitiful opportunist).

      • Anna
        October 29, 2017 at 11:09 pm

        Max Keiser DESTROYS Soros funded think tank that published list of RT guests calling them Kremlin “Useful Idiots” : http://theduran.com/max-keiser-destroys-soros-funded-think-tank-that-published-list-of-rt-guests-calling-them-kremlin-useful-idiots/

  14. October 29, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Yes Arby, the audio is especially interesting. However, i don’t agree with Johnstone’s speculations about why Hersh denies the authenticity of the audio tape. The existence of the tape itself puts pressure on Mueller’s commission to include whatever Rich had on his laptop in his investigation or run the risk of having Wilkileaks reveal more details(which Hersh could confirm). Therefore it wouldn’t be prudent for Hersh to preempt the investigation before the facts are substantiated(if indeed they are).

  15. October 29, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks, Joe Lauria, for the article showing whose foot really fits the glass slipper! I hope this whole sorry pinata comes crashing down. And you are right, Stephen, it is a distraction so that the war criminals can continue their dirty deeds.

    I hope that this latest report revealed by the Qatari official on collusion of KSA, Turkey, Qatar, and US to aid and arm Daesh/Al Qaeda gains the traction it should.

    I get really tired of hearing talking heads prating on about “The Russians”. Just who are “The Russians”, since Russia is a big country?

    • Anna
      October 29, 2017 at 11:11 pm

      Re distraction: What about the Awan-Wasserman affair, the greatest breach in the US cybersecurity? Also, there is a strange and worrisome silence about the tragic death of Seth Rich.

      • Skip Scott
        October 31, 2017 at 8:08 am

        Boy, that’s the truth. I never saw anything fall off the radar as fast as that did! “Nothing to see here folks!”

  16. Lois Gagnon
    October 29, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    So now everyone is sitting on pins and needles waiting to see who Director Mueller will name as the scapegoats of Russiagate to make sure the public knows without a doubt that Russia hacked the election and the war to stop the reserve currency petrodollar from being replaced can continue unimpeded.

    Latter stage Empire is an ugly sight to behold.

  17. Yahweh
    October 29, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    My people will fully control Russia once again. I will soon show the nations the mighty hand of the God of Israel.

    • Anna
      October 29, 2017 at 11:13 pm

      And why “your people” have run from Russia after establishing “their” bolshevik order upon Russians?

    • Abe
      October 29, 2017 at 11:28 pm

      Another example of an Inverted Hasbara (false flag “anti-Israel” / “anti-Zionist” / “anti-Jewish” / “anti-Semitic”) propaganda troll post:

      “My people will fully control…” appeals to a notorious conspiracy theory about a purported Jewish plot for world domination.

      Anti-Semitic conspiracy claims are heavily influenced by publication of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious forgery first published in Russia in 1903, purporting to be an expose of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. The Protocols claimed that the Jews had infiltrated Freemasonry and were using the fraternity to further their aims for global domination.

      The primary aim of both Inverted Hasbara (false flag “anti-Israel” / “anti-Jewish”) and Conventional Hasbara (overtly pro-Israel / pro-Zionist) propaganda troll activity is to discredit fact-based criticism and critics of Israeli policy, the pro-Israel Lobby, and Israel’s efforts to influence American politics.

      Hasbara propaganda troll seed online comments with obvious lies (claims unsupported by facts), lunacy (illogic and looney “conspiracy theory”), and offensive racism (virulent “anti-Jewish” rants, “Holocaust denial”, et cetera).

      The dismal lack of success of so much the Conventional Hasbara (overtly pro-Israel / pro-Zionist / pro-Jewish) form of propaganda led to the development of Inverted Hasbara (false flag “anti-Israel” / “anti-Jewish”) propaganda.

      Hasbara lies and lunacy are used to distract, divert and dilute legitimate critical discussion of efforts to manipulate US politics and foreign policy on behalf of Israel.

      Consortium News readers are alert to Hasbara dis-information in its two forms – both Inverted Hasbara (false flag “anti-Israel”) and Conventional Hasbara (obvious pro-Israel) propaganda.

      • October 30, 2017 at 11:06 am

        Yes Abe, it’s fairly obvious Yahweh was throwing out bait(your trolling detector is improving).

  18. fudmier
    October 29, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    re Abe and all consider
    http://observer.com/2016/06/debbie-wasserman-schultz-served-class-action-lawsuit-for-rigging-primaries/

    Corrupt does not begin to describe it, but foreign or non political privately organized ownership of the USA and the Nato based nations might

    All embassy, agency, central bank, military establishments, think tank elites, and intelligence agencies and their “get it done NGO operatives” interconnect and link to form a interconnected, highly interactive network of criminal operatives (The NATO Mafia, I call them).

    Such inter-connectedness requires thematic, parallel and coordinated use of ”control and lead technology (C&LT)”: basically psych op, cyber op, fear op, fake news op, false flag op, military force op, international law controlled sanction op, mercenary based regime change op, infra structure target and destroy op and assassinate op, and example setting genocide operations to support the local, national and international needs of the puppetized leadership of states infected with the NATO mafia.
    Agencies are created to allow bureaucrats to filter access to essential to understanding illuminating educational and OJT experience, to slow down populations autonomously growing to fast in power, knowledge or self-determination and to restrict, by price tag gating, population access to the sources of information and knowledge that off-set or challenge NATA Mafia shaped opinions established by mind control, politically led, propaganda controlled information environments. Mass homogenization of sanctioned opinion is nearly always, one goal.

    “Divide to weaken, threaten to coerce ” (DTW_TTC) is well developed technology. Objecting angry up-in-arms populations are weakened by division and coerced to eliminate effective resistance:(consider the spy on everyone laws passed by congress, FEMA, HOMELAND SECURITY, recent North Carolina, and courts which rule corporations to be humans). Its the technology folks; its not just one technology but a massive number of technologies administered by a monstrous number of highly paid slave driver experts. Lead and Control (L&C) Technologies are highly studied subject matter whose purposes are known only to a select few.
    Snowden’s evidence shows mafia NATO operates both domestically and internationally, and it goes on and on and on.

    My point is we have enough evidence, we know what the problem is, but we do not have a clue how to do something about it.

  19. koning279
    October 30, 2017 at 3:13 am

    Be that as it may, it is still beyond comprehension that it seems impossible to do anything about all this.
    The USA is not capable of providing justice and it does not matter what the DNC does and has done, they appear to be getting away with it. A structural problem where all have to believe the silly Russia story line. Who can explain this about the most powerful nation?
    What is the point of continuing useless investigations based on lies? Why can they not investigate Hillary and DNC properly? Trump and Sessions are not doing anything about it: a POTUS without any say? Like Obama trying to convince people he could close Guantanamo? What a country with its pretense of justice and democracy etc.

  20. geeyp
    October 30, 2017 at 4:41 am

    Thank you Joe Lauria for a well written expose. That is the word for the people who do not follow what is truly going on in this country.

  21. Horuss
    October 30, 2017 at 4:51 am

    “Then, in April 2016 the DNC and the Clinton campaign paid its Washington lawyer Marc Elias to hire Fusion GPS to unearth dirt connecting Trump to Russia. ”

    While the bulk of this report is excellent and backed up with facts and evidence the statement above is NOT backed up with any proof whatsoever that either the DNC or the Clinton campaign paid Elias to hire Fusion GPS. The sentence assumes the reason for the payment or payments to Elias but it has no evidence the payments were for anything over and above opposition research which, in and of itself, is not at all uncommon or in violation of any campaign reporting rules and regulations. Without context the sentence quoted above takes for granted that it is self evident that Elias was paid for unethical oppo research and that the Clinton campaign and DNC paid him specifically and knowingly to do so. But the reality is that campaigns routinely hire Firm A to do research which is then subcontracted out to one or more other vendors but that this sort of subcontracting is no required to be reported by the campaign in it’s quarterly reports. The reasons campaigns do this is twofold. The first is because it makes the whole reporting process much easier and more streamlined. The second is that it maintains that old friend of Republican office holders: “plausible deniability” behind which both candidate and campaign can hide and technically be telling the truth that they did not know who did that work or that they paid for it. The Clinton Campaign and/or DNC may well not have known the specifics. The decision makers in the billion dollar campaign didn’t have the time or interest to get bogged down in the details. They may have know this was going on generally but may also have studiously avoided learning the details. Plusible deniability is always the best friend of scoundrels.

    • Joe Lauria
      October 30, 2017 at 10:29 am

      Please read the Washington Post story linked in my story which proves without any doubt that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for Steele’s work. They tried to insulate themselves but the FEC is investigating that they lied about this. Almost all opposition research is unethical by definition.

      • Sam F
        October 30, 2017 at 11:10 am

        Interesting point that “almost all opposition research is unethical.” Perhaps that which is unpaid and not from an extreme faction is worth considering, unless it concentrates upon personal matters. But even then it must be verified independently, and ideally a beneficiary political party should not be involved.

    • grantA
      November 5, 2017 at 8:37 pm

      WHT do you think opposition research is? Is not for positive research on opposing candidates.

  22. Herman
    October 30, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Yeltsin, the man we first labeled as a babbling drunk, then when his tanks bombarded the Russian Parliament a hero, on to the real Yeltsin who gave away Russia’s wealth, to the man who turned over Russia to Putin. The list of negative adjectives for Yeltsin could go on and on. Ironic that he was instrumental in putting Putin in power. One has to wonder if late in life he realized what he had done and tried to rectify his behavior.

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 30, 2017 at 10:05 am

      Don’t forget Yeltsin had a drinking problem, and possibly he while sobering up repented for his drunken destruction. (This isn’t a fact I know of it, but it fits the profile of a recovering alcoholic)

  23. October 30, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Bill Maher seems to have completely bought into the CLintonite lies about the supposed Facebook accounts, and is using typically dangerous neoconservative language accusing Russia of attacking the United States (which never happened), claiming the Cold War never ended because while we stopped fighting it (we never did), the Soviets didn’t (yes they did, because the Soviet Union ceased to exist). So what we have here is elitist media personalities joining in on hyping a fake scandal with lethal repercussions for the rest of the planet. It’s madness. Where’s Dr. Strangelove when we need him?

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 30, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      I about choked when I heard Maher make the claim that Russia never ceased ending the Cold War. Wow, talk about revisionist history rewrites. Maher is a symptom of our cultures decline in getting the facts right, and a superb example of an American recreating their own reality. It is a sorry thing, but its a fact that these lies are a sign of the times we Americans are living in.

  24. October 30, 2017 at 11:29 am

    I read somewhere (can’t dredge it up) that Yeltsin said to Putin in bowing out, “Take care of Mother Russia”. Interesting, also, that Russians refer to their homeland as “Mother”.

  25. xenophon
    October 30, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    There are still a few people around, like Lauria, with enough brains to stay in contact with reality.

  26. October 31, 2017 at 12:20 am

    The last four paragraphs of the article explain the gestalt behind this whole mania about Russia.

  27. Adama Gert
    October 31, 2017 at 6:53 am

    One possible correction here: “We have long known that the DNC did not allow the FBI to examine its computer server for clues about who may have hacked it – or even if it was hacked – and instead turned to CrowdStrike,…”

    Roger Stone said that during his congressional testimony, it was revealed to him (much to his surprise) that the DNC server had been turned over for examination. This was on an Infowars broadcast, early Oct. I think, very shortly after his testimony.

    • Joe Lauria
      November 1, 2017 at 6:38 am

      But Comey testified that it was not.

  28. November 1, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Excellent analysis! If only it could make sure the Obamas and the Clintons could be forced out of US politics completely for ever. They make the US a deeply sordid, rotten, state.

  29. Susan Sunflower
    November 2, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Apparently the Clinton camp took over the (deeply in debt) Democratic party in earnest in August 2015, moving decision making to the Clinton controlled Brooklyn New York office in “he who controls the pursestrings controls the party” fashion.

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/11/02/clinton-brazile-hacks-2016-215774

    Someone really needs to ask Obama about where his “worries” about Russian intervention in the election came from and when …

    There’s hyperbole and possible paranoia and some misplaced patriotism in this essay in Guardian, but the meme that in retaliation for various US seeded “color revolutions” Russia (may have) decided that turnabout wrt to fast, cheap and easy was fair play …. A less than entirely serious trial balloon, playing with available knobs and levers and platforms …

    Two weeks ago we had black activists in the Guardian apologizing for being duped by Russian black-activism clone sites …. Today reveals (various sites) many of the “sinister” facebook ads which mostly look clumsy and poorly focused enough to be confusing.

    Look at how we continue to prop up Pussy Riot and how often inspiring gorgeous pictures of the female Kurdish troops grace our newpapers … “we” love pictures of those women: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_Protection_Units but are they — perhaps like RAWA in Afghanistan, worth their weight in gold as public relations/propaganda … like the White Helmets maybe

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/02/activist-russia-protest-occupy-black-lives-matter

    The Guardian would appear to suggest that all groups need to be supervigilant to avoid donations/aid from these “front groups” … although where they find the tools to sift wheat from chaff and why they would want to look gift-horse-in-the-teeth and refuse donations is an issue for another day … there is the suggestion of actual contagion rather than simple gift by association “contamination” … Certainly much current activism has seemed obsessed with purity testing wrt “inclusiveness” and “leadership” and spokespeople, if BLM is any indication. {I always vaguely suspected that both Occupy and BLM sought to maintain the glow of solidarity by avoiding defining what their platform might be and taking deep umbrage at anyone who might want to suggest a plan or agenda — ruins the buzz — management by consensus is exhausting and time-consuming with the potential for explosive fractures everpresent)

  30. Awake Enough
    November 3, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    “They make the US a deeply sordid, rotten, state.”

    They don’t “make it so” . They are personifications of what is the system itself and the consequences of being a visible part of it.

  31. Christene Bartels
    November 4, 2017 at 10:02 am

    There is an article written by David Corn of Mother Jones dated October 31, 2016 titled “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump
    Has the bureau investigated this material?”
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/veteran-spy-gave-fbi-info-alleging-russian-operation-cultivate-donald-trump/

    In this article Corn details his meeting with a “former Western intelligence officer” who is obviously Steele, quotes extensively from a document that is obviously that now thoroughly discredited (??) Fusion GPS Dossier (which Hillary claimed just days ago didn’t become public until Jan. 2017), and provides proof positive that Harry Reid was in contact with both Comey and “top officials in the national security community” in early August of 2016 discussing details of the dossier and demanding the F.B.I. begin an investigation of the Trump Campaign based on the information in the dossier. What is also clear from the article is that the ink on the dossier had barely dried and Clinton’s minions were working spreading it to journalists and when the F.B.I. saw the dossier in August of 2016, they launched their investigation of Manafort and Gates. This, of course, was all giddily celebrated by the Clinton circle in 2016 as the much anticipated “October surprise” promised by Reid. In 2017, it is utterly damning.

    Now, supposedly Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy are searching high and low for evidence like this because both have made it clear that if the F.B.I. and/or the DOJ used that discredited dossier as the basis for launching their investigations they consider those investigations DOA.

    Well, here you go boys. How about if we shut down the current circus consuming Washington, D.C. right now. I would call it a dog and pony show but I hate to cast dispersions upon all of those legitimate dog and pony shows throughout history.

  32. Joe Lauria
    November 5, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    In case anyone is interested, I wrote an updated version of this story (including the Manafort indictment and other matters) and posted it on The Huffington Post. I knew it went against their pro-Hillary line but I wasn’t really sure they would go so far, but after 24 hours they retracted the article. I saved a copy of it in a pdf. They let Republicans write there. But this was evidently different. This is nothing more than pure, unadulterated political censorship at work.

  33. Tomonthebeach
    November 9, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    All of this “political” premise is based on the assumption – likely wrong and unverified by the author – that US intel organs did not adequately vet the DNC intel gift regarding Russia. This premise is further undermined by the rather ubiquitous factual info from Twitter and Facebook that indeed Russians were buying ads and spreading divisive screed.

    Sure it is possible the Cult Clinton did concoct Russiagate as a cover for nefarious purposes, and that Pandora’s box did release many annoying dragons. However, many of those dragons are real, so the premise of this story is more Alex Jones than Judy Woodruff.

  34. BaronAsh
    November 10, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    ” — because he had talked, insincerely it is turning out, about detente with Russia.”

    Well, given the 24/7 howling in the Press, given that many of his Associates are under a Witch Hunt Investigation, given that both DOJ and Dept. of State are Deep State Occupied Territory, do you really expect him to keep espousing detente with Russia? This comment alone shows that either you don’t know what you are talking about, or you are a hack.

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