How Russia-gate Rationalizes Censorship

Special Report: The Russia-gate hysteria has spread beyond simply a strategy for neutralizing Donald Trump or even removing him from office into an excuse for stifling U.S. dissent that challenges the New Cold War, reports Joe Lauria.

By Joe Lauria

At the end of October, I wrote an article for Consortiumnews about the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign paying for unvetted opposition research that became the basis for much of the disputed story about Russia allegedly interfering in the 2016 presidential election on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

The piece showed that the Democrats’ two paid-for sources that have engendered belief in Russia-gate are at best shaky. First was former British spy Christopher Steele’s largely unverified dossier of second- and third-hand opposition research portraying Donald Trump as something of a Russian Manchurian candidate.

And the second was CrowdStrike, an anti-Putin private company, examining the DNC’s computer server to dubiously claim discovery of a Russian “hack.” In a similar examination of an alleged hack of a Ukrainian artillery app, CrowdStrike also blamed Russia but used faulty data for its report that it was later forced to rewrite. CrowdStrike was hired after the DNC refused to allow the FBI to look at the server.

My piece also described the dangerous consequences of partisan Democratic faith in Russia-gate: a sharp increase in geopolitical tensions between nuclear-armed Russia and the U.S., and a New McCarthyism that is spreading fear — especially in academia, journalism and civil rights organizations — about questioning the enforced orthodoxy of Russia’s alleged guilt.

After the article appeared at Consortiumnews, I tried to penetrate the mainstream by then publishing a version of the article on the HuffPost, which was rebranded from the Huffington Post in April this year by new management. As a contributor to the site since February 2006, I am trusted by HuffPost editors to post my stories directly online. However, within 24 hours of publication on Nov. 4, HuffPost editors retracted the article without any explanation.

This behavior breaks with the earlier principles of journalism that the Web site claimed to uphold. For instance, in 2008, Arianna Huffington told radio host Don Debar that, “We welcome all opinions, except conspiracy theories.” She said: “Facts are sacred. That’s part of our philosophy of journalism.”

But Huffington stepped down as editor in August 2016 and has nothing to do with the site now. It is run by Lydia Polgreen, a former New York Times reporter and editor, who evidently has very different ideas. In April, she completely redesigned the site and renamed it HuffPost.

Before the management change, I had published several articles on the Huffington Post about Russia without controversy. For instance, The Huffington Post published my piece on Nov. 5, 2016, that predicted three days before the election that if Clinton lost she’d blame Russia. My point was reaffirmed by the campaign-insider book Shattered, which revealed that immediately after Clinton’s loss, senior campaign advisers decided to blame Russia for her defeat.

On Dec. 12, 2016, I published another piece, which the Huffington Post editors promoted, called, “Blaming Russia To Overturn The Election Goes Into Overdrive.” I argued that “Russia has been blamed in the U.S. for many things and though proof never seems to be supplied, it is widely believed anyway.”

After I posted an updated version of the Consortiumnews piece — renamed “On the Origins of Russia-gate” — I was informed 23 hours later by a Facebook friend that the piece had been retracted by HuffPost editors. As a reporter for mainstream media for more than a quarter century, I know that a newsroom rule is that before the serious decision is made to retract an article the writer is contacted to be allowed to defend the piece. This never happened. There was no due process. A HuffPost editor ignored my email asking why it was taken down.

Support from Independent Media

Like the word “fascism,” “censorship” is an over-used and mis-used accusation, and I usually avoid using it. But without any explanation, I could only conclude that the decision to retract was political, not editorial.

The New York Times’ connect-the-dots graphic showing the Kremlin sitting atop the White House.

I am non-partisan as I oppose both major parties for failing to represent millions of Americans’ interests. I follow facts where they lead. In this case, the facts led to an understanding that the Jan. 6 FBI/NSA/CIA intelligence “assessment” on alleged Russian election interference, prepared by what then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called “hand-picked” analysts, was based substantially on unvetted opposition research and speculation, not serious intelligence work.

The assessment even made the point that the analysts were not asserting that the alleged Russian interference was a fact. The report contained the disclaimer: “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents.”

Under deadline pressure on Jan. 6, Scott Shane of The New York Times instinctively wrote what many readers of the report must have been thinking: “What is missing from the public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies’ claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. … Instead, the message from the agencies essentially amounts to ‘trust us.’”

Yet, after the Jan. 6 report was published, leading Democrats asserted falsely that the “assessment” represented the consensus judgment of all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies – not just the views of “hand-picked” analysts from three – and much of the U.S. mainstream media began treating the allegations of Russian “hacking” as flat fact, not as an uncertain conclusion denied by both the Russian government and WikiLeaks, which insists that it did not get the two batches of Democratic emails from Russia.

(There is also dissent inside the broader U.S. intelligence community about whether an alleged “hack” over the Internet was even possible based on the download speeds of one known data extraction, which matched what was possible from direct USB access to a computer, i.e., a download onto a thumb drive presumably by a Democratic insider,)

However, because of the oft-repeated “17 intelligence agencies” canard and the mainstream media’s careless reporting, the public impression has built up that the accusations against Russia are indisputable. If you ask a Russia-gate believer today what their faith is based on, they will invariably point to the Jan. 6 assessment and mock anyone who still expresses any doubt.

For instance, an unnamed former CIA officer told The Intercept last month, “You’ve got all these intelligence agencies saying the Russians did the hack. To deny that is like coming out with the theory that the Japanese didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor.”

That the supposedly dissident Intercept would use this quote is instructive about how imbalanced the media’s reporting on Russia-gate has been. We have actual film of Japanese planes attacking Pearl Harbor and American ships burning – and we have the eyewitness accounts of thousands of U.S. soldiers and sailors. Yet, on Russia-gate, we only have the opinions of some “hand-picked” intelligence officials who themselves say that they are not claiming that their opinions are fact. No serious editor would allow a self-interested and unnamed source to equate the two in print.

In this groupthink atmosphere, it was probably easy for HuffPost editors to hear some complaints from a few readers and blithely decide to ban my story. However, before it was pulled, 125 people had shared it. Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and frequent contributor to Consortiumnews, then took up my cause, being the first to write about the HuffPost censorship on his blog. McGovern included a link to a .pdf file that I captured of the censored HuffPost story. It has since been republished on numerous other websites.

Journalist Max Blumenthal tweeted about it. British filmmaker and writer Tariq Ali posted it on his Facebook page. Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams interviewed me at length about the censorship on their TV program. ZeroHedge wrote a widely shared piece and someone actually took the time, 27 minutes and 13 seconds to be exact, to read the entire article on YouTube. I began a petition to HuffPost’s Polgreen to either explain the retraction or restore the article. It has gained more than 1,900 signatures so far. If a serious fact-check analysis was made of my article, it must exist and can and should be produced.

Watchdogs & Media Defending Censorship

Despite this support from independent media, a senior official at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, I learned, declined to take up my cause because he believes in the Russia-gate story. I also learned that a senior officer at the American Civil Liberties Union rejected my case because he too believes in Russia-gate. Both of these serious organizations were set up precisely to defend individuals in such situations on principle, not preference.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 10, 2015, at the Kremlin. (Photo from Russian government)

In terms of their responsibilities for defending journalism and protecting civil liberties, their personal opinions about whether Russia-gate is real or not should be irrelevant. The point is whether journalists should be permitted to show skepticism toward this latest dubiously based groupthink. I fear that – amid the frenzy about Russia and the animosity toward Trump – concerns about careers and funding are driving these decisions, with principles brushed aside.

One online publication decidedly took the HuffPost’s side. Steven Perlberg, a media reporter for BuzzFeed, asked the HuffPost why they retracted my article. While ignoring me, the editors issued a statement to BuzzFeed saying that “Mr. Lauria’s self-published” piece was “later flagged by readers, and after deciding that the post contained multiple factually inaccurate or misleading claims, our editors removed the post per our contributor terms of use.” Those terms include retraction for “any reason,” including, apparently, censorship.

Perlberg posted the HuffPost statement on Twitter. I asked him if he inquired of the editors what those “multiple” errors and “misleading claims” were. I asked him to contact me to get my side of the story. Perlberg totally ignored me. He wrote nothing about the matter. He apparently believed the HuffPost and that was that. In this way, he acquiesced with the censorship.

BuzzFeed, of course, is the sensationalist outlet that irresponsibly published the Steele dossier in full, even though the accusations – not just about Donald Trump but also many other individuals – weren’t verified. Then on Nov. 14, BuzzFeed reporter Jason Leopold wrote one of the most ludicrous of a long line of fantastic Russia-gate stories, reporting that the Russian foreign ministry had sent money to Russian consulates in the U.S. “to finance the election campaign of 2016.” The scoop generated some screaming headlines before it became clear that the money was to pay for Russian citizens in the U.S. to vote in the 2016 Duma election.

That Russia-gate has reached this point, based on faith and not fact, was further illustrated by a Facebook exchange I had with Gary Sick, an academic who served on the Ford and Carter national security staffs. When I pressed Sick for evidence of Russian interference, he eventually replied: “If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…” When I told him that was a very low-bar for such serious accusations, he angrily cut off debate.

Part of this Russia-gate groupthink stems from the outrage – and even shame – that many Americans feel about Trump’s election. They want to find an explanation that doesn’t lay the blame on the U.S. citizenry or America’s current dysfunctional political/media process. It’s much more reassuring, in a way, to blame some foreign adversary while also discrediting Trump’s legitimacy as the elected president. That leaves open some hope that his election might somehow be negated.

And, so many important people and organizations seem to be verifying the Russia-gate suspicions that the theory must be true. Which is an important point. When belief in a story becomes faith-based or is driven by an intense self-interest, honest skeptics are pushed aside and trampled. That is the way groupthink works, as we saw in the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq when any doubts about Iraq possessing WMD made you a “Saddam apologist.”

As the groupthink grows, the true-believers become disdainful of facts that force them to think about what they already believe. They won’t waste time making a painstaking examination of the facts or engage in a detailed debate even on something as important and dangerous as a new Cold War with Russia.

This is the most likely explanation for the HuffPost‘s censorship: a visceral reaction to having their Russia-gate faith challenged.

Why Critical News is Suppressed

But the HuffPost’s action is hardly isolated. It is part of a rapidly growing landscape of censorship of news critical of American corporate and political leaders who are trying to defend themselves from an increasingly angry population. It’s a story as old as civilization: a wealthy and powerful elite fending off popular unrest by trying to contain knowledge of how the insiders gain at the others’ expense, at home and abroad.

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

A lesson of the 2016 campaign was that growing numbers of Americans are fed up with three decades of neoliberal policies that have fabulously enriched the top tier of Americans and debased a huge majority of the citizenry. The population has likewise grown tired of the elite’s senseless wars to expand their own interests, which these insiders try to conflate with the entire country’s interests.

America’s bipartisan rulers are threatened by popular discontent from both left and right. They were alarmed by the Bernie Sanders insurgency and by Donald Trump’s victory, even if Trump is now betraying the discontented masses who voted for him by advancing tax and health insurance plans designed to further crush them and benefit the wealthy.

Trump’s false campaign promises will only make the rulers’ problem of a restless population worse. Americans are subjected to economic inequality greater than in the first Gilded Age. They are also subjected today to more war than in the first Gilded Age. American rulers today are engaged in multiple conflicts following decades of post-World War II invasions and coups to expand their global interests.

People with wealth and power always seem to be nervous about losing both. So plutocrats use the concentrated media they own to suppress news critical of their wars and domestic repression. For example, almost nothing was reported about militarized police forces until the story broke out into the open in the Ferguson protests and much of that discontent has been brushed aside more recently.

Careerist journalists readily acquiesce in this suppression of news to maintain their jobs, their status and their lifestyles. Meanwhile, a growing body of poorly paid freelancers compete for the few remaining decent-paying gigs for which they must report from the viewpoint of the mainstream news organizations and their wealthy owners.

To operate in this media structure, most journalists know to excise out the historical context of America’s wars of domination. They know to uncritically accept American officials’ bromides about spreading democracy, while hiding the real war aims.

Examples abound: America’s role in the Ukraine coup was denied or downplayed; a British parliamentary report exposing American lies that led to the destruction of Libya was suppressed; and most infamously, the media promoted the WMD hoax and the fable of “bringing democracy” to Iraq, leading to the illegal invasion and devastation of that country.  A recent example from November is a 60 Minutes report on the Saudi destruction of Yemen, conspicuously failing to mention America’s crucial role in the carnage.

I’ve pitched numerous news stories critical of U.S. foreign policy to a major American newspaper that were rejected or changed in the editorial process. One example is the declassified Defense Intelligence Agency document of August 2012 that accurately predicted the rise of the Islamic State two years later.

The document, which I confirmed with a Pentagon spokesman, said the U.S. and its Turkish, European and Gulf Arab allies, were supporting the establishment of a Salafist principality in eastern Syria to put pressure on the Syrian government, but the document warned that this Salafist base could turn into an “Islamic State.”

But such a story would undermine the U.S. government’s “war on terrorism” narrative by revealing that the U.S.-backed strategy actually was risking the expansion of the jihadists’ foothold in Syria. The story was twice rejected by my editors and has received attention almost entirely — if not exclusively — on much-smaller independent news Web sites.

Another story I pitched in June 2012, just a year into the Syrian war, about Russia’s motives in Syria being guided by a desire to defeat the growing jihadist threat there, was also rejected. Corporate media wanted to keep the myth of Russia’s “imperial” aims in Syria alive. I had to publish the article outside the U.S., in a South African daily newspaper.

In September 2015 at the U.N. General Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed my story about Russia’s motives in Syria to stop jihadists from taking over. Putin invited the U.S. to join this effort as Moscow was about to launch its military intervention at the invitation of the Syrian government. The Obama administration, still insisting on “regime change” in Syria, refused. And the U.S. corporate media continued promoting the myth that Russia intervened to recapture its “imperial glory.”

It was much easier to promote the “imperial” narrative and to ignore Putin’s clear explanation to French TV channel TF1, which was not picked up by American media.

“Remember what Libya or Iraq looked like before these countries and their organizations were destroyed as states by our Western partners’ forces?” Putin said. “These states showed no signs of terrorism. They were not a threat for Paris, for the Cote d’Azur, for Belgium, for Russia, or for the United States. Now, they are the source of terrorist threats. Our goal is to prevent the same from happening in Syria.”

Why Russia Is Targeted

So, where are independent-minded Western journalists to turn if their stories critical of the U.S. government and corporations are suppressed?

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin wall, Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo by Robert Parry)

The imperative is to get these stories out – and Russian media has provided an opening for some. This has presented a new problem for the plutocracy. The suppression of critical news in their corporate-owned media is no longer working if it’s seeping out in Russian media (and through some dissident Western news sites on the Internet).

The solution has been to brand the content of the Russian television network, RT, as “propaganda” since it presents facts and viewpoints that most Americans have been kept from hearing. But just because these views – many coming from Americans and other Westerners – are not what you commonly hear on the U.S. mainstream media doesn’t make them “propaganda” that must be stigmatized and silenced.

As a Russian-government-financed English-language news channel, RT also gives a Russian perspective on the news, the way CNN and The New York Times give an American perspective and the BBC a British one. American mainstream journalists, from my experience, arrogantly deny suppressing news and believe they present a universal perspective, rather than a narrow American view of the world.

The viewpoints of Iranians, Palestinians, Russians, North Koreans and others are never fully reported in the Western media although the supposed mission of journalism is to help citizens understand a frighteningly complex world from multiple points of view. It’s impossible to do so without those voices included. Routinely or systematically shutting them out also dehumanizes people in those countries, making it easier to gain popular support to go to war against them.

Russia is scapegoated by charging that RT or Sputnik are sowing divisions in the U.S. by focusing on issues like homelessness, racism, or out-of-control militarized police forces, as if these divisive issues didn’t already exist. The U.S. mainstream media also seems to forget that the U.S. government has engaged in at least 70 years of interference in other countries’ elections, foreign invasions, coups, planting stories in foreign media and cyber-warfare.

Now, these American transgressions are projected onto Moscow. There’s also a measure of self-reverence in this for “successful” people with a stake in an establishment that underpins the elite, demonstrating how wonderfully democratic they are compared to those ogres in Russia.

The overriding point about the “Russian propaganda” complaint is that when America’s democratic institutions, including the press and the electoral process, are crumbling under the weight of corruption that the American elites have created or maintained, someone else needs to be blamed. Russia is both an old and a new scapegoat.

The Jan. 6 intelligence assessment on alleged Russian election meddling is a good example of how this works. A third of its content is an attack on RT for “undermining American democracy” by reporting on Occupy Wall Street, the protest over the Dakota pipeline and, of all things, holding a “third party candidate debates.”

According to the Jan. 6 assessment, RT’s offenses include reporting that “the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a ‘sham.’” RT also “highlights criticism of alleged US shortcomings in democracy and civil liberties.” In other words, reporting on newsworthy events and allowing third-party candidates to express their opinions undermine democracy.

The report also says all this amounts to “a Kremlin-directed campaign to undermine faith in the US Government and fuel political protest,” but it should be noted those protests by dissatisfied Americans are against privileges of the wealthy and the well-connected, a status quo that the intelligence agencies routinely protect.

There are also deeper reasons why Russia is being targeted. The Russia-gate story fits neatly into a geopolitical strategy that long predates the 2016 election. Since Wall Street and the U.S. government lost the dominant position in Russia that existed under the pliable President Boris Yeltsin, the strategy has been to put pressure on getting rid of Putin to restore a U.S. friendly leader in Moscow. There is substance to Russia’s concerns about American designs for “regime change” in the Kremlin.

Moscow sees an aggressive America expanding NATO and putting 30,000 NATO troops on its borders; trying to overthrow a secular ally in Syria with terrorists who threaten Russia itself; backing a coup in Ukraine as a possible prelude to moves against Russia; and using American NGOs to foment unrest inside Russia before they were forced to register as foreign agents. Russia wants Americans to see this perspective.

Accelerated Censorship in the Private Sector

The Constitution prohibits government from prior-restraint, or censorship, though such tactics were  imposed, largely unchallenged, during the two world wars. American newspapers voluntarily agreed to censor themselves in the Second World War before the government dictated it.

Executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google hauled before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism on Oct. 31, 2017.

In the Korean War, General Douglas MacArthur said he didn’t “desire to reestablish wartime censorship” and instead asked the press for self-censorship. He largely got it until the papers began reporting American battlefield losses. On July 25, 1950, “the army ordered that reporters were not allowed to publish ‘unwarranted’ criticism of command decisions, and that the army would be ‘the sole judge and jury’ on what ‘unwarranted’ criticism entailed,” according to a Yale University study on military censorship.

After excellent on-the-ground reporting from Vietnam brought the war home to America, the military reacted by instituting, initially in the first Gulf War, serious control of the press by “embedding” reporters from private media companies which accepted the arrangement, much as World War II newspapers censored themselves.

It is important to realize that the First Amendment does not apply to private companies, including the media. It is not illegal for them to practice censorship. I never made a First Amendment argument against the HuffPost, for instance. However, under pressure from Washington, even in peacetime, media companies can do the government’s dirty work to censor or limit free speech for the government.

In the past few weeks, we’ve seen an acceleration of attempts by corporations to inhibit Russian media in the U.S.  Both Google and Facebook, which dominate the Web with more than 50 percent of ad revenue, were at first resistant to government pressure to censor “Russian propaganda.” But they are coming around.

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, said on Nov. 18 that Google would “derank” articles from RT and Sputnik in the Google searches, making the stories harder for readers to find. The billionaire Schmidt claimed Russian information can be “repetitive, exploitative, false, [or] likely to have been weaponized,” he said. That is how factual news critical of U.S. corporate and political leadership is seen, as a weapon.

“My own view is that these patterns can be detected, and that they can be taken down or deprioritized,” Schmidt said.

Though Google would effectively be hiding news produced by RT and Sputnik, Schmidt is sensitive to the charge of censorship, even though there’s nothing legally to stop him.

“We don’t want to ban the sites. That’s not how we operate,” Schmidt said cynically. “I am strongly not in favor of censorship. I am very strongly in favor of ranking. It’s what we do.”

But the “deranking” isn’t only aimed at Russian sites; Google algorithms also are taking aim at independent news sites that don’t follow the mainstream herd – and thus are accused of spreading Russian or other “propaganda” if they question the dominant Western narratives on, say, the Ukraine crisis or the war in Syria. A number of alternative websites have begun reporting a sharp fall-off of traffic directed to their sites from Google’s search engines.

Responding to a deadline from Congress to act, Facebook on Nov. 22 announced that it would inform users if they have been “targeted” by Russian “propaganda.” Facebook’s help center will tell users if they liked or shared ads allegedly from the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, which supposedly bought $100,000 in ads over a two-year period, with more than half these ads coming after the 2016 U.S. election and many not related to politics.

(The $100,000 sum over two years compares to Facebook’s $27 billion in annual revenue. Plus, Facebook only says it “believes” or it’s “likely” that the ads came from that firm, whose links to the Kremlin also have yet to be proved.)

Facebook described the move as “part of our ongoing effort to protect our platforms and the people who use them from bad actors who try to undermine our democracy.” Congress wants more from Facebook, so it will not be surprising if users will eventually be told when they’ve liked or shared an RT report in the future.

While the government can’t openly shut down a news site, the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming vote on whether to deregulate the Internet by ending net neutrality will free private Internet companies in the U.S. to further marginalize Russian and dissident websites by slowing them down and thus discouraging readers from viewing them.

Likewise, as the U.S. government doesn’t want to be openly seen shutting down RT operations, it is working around the edges to accomplish that.

After the Department of Justice forced, under threat of arrest, RT to register its employees as foreign agents under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nuaert said last Tuesday that “FARA does not police the content of information disseminated, does not limit the publication of information or advocacy materials, and does not restrict an organization’s ability to operate.” She’d earlier said that registering would not “impact or affect the ability of them to report news and information. We just have them register. It’s as simple as that.”

Then on Wednesday the Congressional press office stripped RT correspondents of their Capitol Hill press passes, citing the FARA registration. “The rules of the Galleries state clearly that news credentials may not be issued to any applicant employed ‘by any foreign government or representative thereof.’ Upon its registration as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), RT Network became ineligible to hold news credentials,” read the letter to RT.

Even so, Russia-gate faithful ignore these aggressive moves and issue calls for even harsher action. After forcing RT to register, Keir Giles, a Chatham House senior consulting fellow, acted as though it never happened. He said in a Council on Foreign Relations Cyber Brief on Nov. 27: “Although the Trump administration seems unlikely to pursue action against Russian information operations, there are steps the U.S. Congress and other governments should consider.”

commented on this development on RT America. It would also have been good to have the State Department’s Nuaert answer for this discrepancy about the claim that forced FARA registrations would not affect news gathering when it already has. My criticism of RT is that they should be interviewing U.S. decision-makers to hold them accountable, rather than mostly guests outside the power structure. Tse decision-makers could be called out on air if they refuse to appear.

Growing McCarthyite Attacks

Western rulers’ wariness about popular unrest also can be seen in the extraordinary and scurrilous attack on the Canadian website globalresearch.ca. The attack started with a chilling study by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization into the relatively obscure website, followed by a vicious hit piece on Nov. 18 by the Globe and Mail, Canada’s largest newspaper. The headline was: “How a Canadian website is being used to amplify the Kremlin’s view of the world.”

Lawyer Roy Cohn (right) with Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

“What once appeared to be a relatively harmless online refuge for conspiracy theorists is now seen by NATO’s information warfare specialists as a link in a concerted effort to undermine the credibility of mainstream Western media – as well as the North American and European public’s trust in government and public institutions,” the Globe and Mail reported. “Global Research is viewed by NATO’s Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence – or StratCom – as playing a key accelerant role in helping popularize articles with little basis in fact that also happen to fit the narratives being pushed by the Kremlin, in particular, and the Assad regime.”

I’ve not agreed with everything I’ve read on the site. But it is a useful clearinghouse for alternative media. Numerous Consortiumnews articles are republished there, including a handful of mine. But the site’s typical sharing and reposting on the Internet is seen by NATO as a plot to undermine the Free World.

Drawing from the NATO report, The Globe and Mail’s denunciation of this website continued: “It uses that reach to push not only its own opinion pieces, but ‘news’ reports from little-known websites that regularly carry dubious or false information. At times, the site’s regular variety of international-affairs stories is replaced with a flurry of items that bolster dubious reportage with a series of opinion pieces, promoted on social media and retweeted and shared by active bots.”

The newspaper continued, “’That way, they increase the Google ranking of the story and create the illusion of multi-source verification,’ said Donara Barojan, who does digital forensic research for [StratCom]. But she said she did not yet have proof that Global Research is connected to any government.”

This sort of smear is nothing more than a blatant attack on free speech by the most powerful military alliance in the world, based on the unfounded conviction that Russia is a fundamental force for evil and that anyone who has contacts with Russia or shares even a part of its multilateral world view is suspect.

High-profile individuals are now also in the crosshairs of the neo-McCarthyite witchhunt. On Nov. 25 The Washington Post ran a nasty hit piece on Washington Capitals’ hockey player Alex Ovechkin, one of the most revered sports figures in the Washington area, simply because he, like 86 percent of other Russians, supports his president.

“Alex Ovechkin is one of Putin’s biggest fans. The question is, why?” ran the headline. The story insidiously implied that Ovechkin was a dupe of his own president, being used to set up a media campaign to support Putin, who is under fierce and relentless attack in the United States where Ovechkin plays professional ice hockey.

“He has given an unwavering endorsement to a man who U.S. intelligence agencies say sanctioned Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election,” write the Post reporters, once again showing their gullibility to U.S. intelligence agencies that have provided no proof for their assertions (and even admit that they are not asserting their opinion as fact).

Less prominent figures are targeted too. John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent who blew the whistle on torture and was jailed for it, was kicked off a panel in Europe on Nov. 10 by a Bernie Sanders supporter who refused to appear with Kiriakou because he co-hosts a show on Radio Sputnik.

Then last week, Reporters Without Borders, an organization supposedly devoted to press freedom, tried to kick journalist Vanessa Beeley off a panel in Geneva to prevent her from presenting evidence that the White Helmets, a group that sells itself as a rescue organization inside rebel-controlled territory in Syria, has ties to Al Qaeda. The Swiss Press Club, which hosted the event, resisted the pressure and let Beeley speak.

Russia-gate’s Hurdles

Much of this spreading global hysteria and intensifying censorship traces back to Russia-gate. Yet, it remains remarkable that the corporate media has failed so far to prove any significant Russian interference in the U.S. election at all. Nor have the intelligence agencies, Congressional investigations and special prosecutor Robert Mueller. His criminal charges so far have been for financial crimes and lying to federal authorities on topics unrelated to any “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russians to “hack” Democratic emails.

Former FBI Director James Comey.

There may well be more indictments from Mueller, even perhaps a complaint about Trump committing obstruction of justice because he said on TV that he fired Comey, in part, because of the “Russia thing.” But Trump’s clumsy reaction to the “scandal,” which he calls “fake news” and a “witch hunt,” still is not proof that Putin and the Russians interfered in the U.S. election to achieve the unlikely outcome of Trump’s victory.

The Russia-gate faithful assured us to wait for the indictment of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, briefly Trump’s national security adviser. But again there was nothing about pre-election “collusion,” only charges that Flynn had lied to the FBI or omitted details about two conversations with the Russian ambassador regarding policy matters during the presidential transition, i.e., after the election.

And, one of those conversations related to trying unsuccessfully to comply with an Israeli request to get Russia to block a United Nations resolution censuring Israel’s settlements on Palestinian land.

As journalist Yasha Levine tweeted: “So the country that influenced US policy through Michael Flynn is Israel, not Russia. But Flynn did try to influence Russia, not the other way around. Ha-ha. This is the smoking gun? What a farce.”

There remain a number of key hurdles to prove the Russia-gate story. First, convincing evidence is needed that the Russian government indeed did “hack” the Democratic emails, both those of the DNC and Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta – and gave them to WikiLeaks. And, further that somehow the Trump campaign was involved in aiding and abetting this operation, i.e., collusion.

There’s also the question of how significant the release of those emails was anyway. They did provide evidence that the DNC tilted the primary campaign in favor of Clinton over Sanders; they exposed the contents of Clinton’s paid speeches to Wall Street, which she was trying to hide from the voters; and they revealed some pay-to-play features of the Clinton Foundation and its foreign donations.

But – even if the Russians were involved in providing that information to the American people – those issues were not considered decisive in the campaign. Clinton principally pinned her loss on FBI Director James Comey for closing and then reopening the investigation into her improper use of a private email server while Secretary of State. She also spread the blame to Russia (repeating the canard about “seventeen [U.S. intelligence] agencies, all in agreement”), Bernie Sanders, the inept DNC and other factors.

As for the vaguer concerns about some Russian group “probably” buying $100,000 in ads, mostly after Americans had voted, as a factor in swaying a $6 billion election, is too silly to contemplate. That RT and Sputnik ran pieces critical of Hillary Clinton was their right, and they were hardly alone. RT and Sputnik‘s reach in the U.S. is minuscule compared to Fox News, which slammed Clinton throughout the campaign, or for that matter, MSNBC, CNN and other mainstream news outlets, which often expressed open disdain for Republican Donald Trump but also gave extensive coverage to issues such as the security concerns about Clinton’s private email server.

Another vague Russia-gate suspicion stemming largely from Steele’s opposition research is that somehow Russia is bribing or blackmailing Trump because Trump has done some past business with Russians. But there are evidentiary and logical problems with these theories, since some lucrative deals fell through (and presumably wouldn’t have if Trump was being paid off) — and no one, including the Russians, foresaw Trump’s highly improbable election as U.S. President years earlier.

Some have questioned how Trump could have supported detente with Russia without being beholden to Moscow in some way. But Jeffery Sommers, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin, wrote a convincing essay explaining adviser Steve Bannon’s influence on Trump’s thinking about Russia and the need for cooperation between the two powers to solve international problems.

Without convincing evidence, I remain a Russia-gate skeptic. I am not defending Russia. Russia can defend itself. However, amid the growing censorship and this dangerous new McCarthyism, I am trying to defend America — from itself.

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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182 comments for “How Russia-gate Rationalizes Censorship

  1. Tom Welsh
    December 4, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    ‘When I pressed Sick for evidence of Russian interference, he eventually replied: “If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…”’

    Maybe someone should explain to Mr Sick that ducks don’t talk.

    • Anon
      December 4, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Or that he is walking and talking like a fascist.

    • December 4, 2017 at 7:07 pm

      Except Howard the Duck.

    • glitch
      December 4, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      They talk, they just speak Quack, a language spoken by many VIPs, although far less truthfully than your average duck.

    • Realist
      December 5, 2017 at 4:04 am

      If Arianna were dead, she’d be rolling over in her grave at what they’ve done to the HP.

      • Danny Weil
        December 5, 2017 at 11:34 am

        No she wouldn’t. he sits in her home in Bel Air, California and has made millions off the Huffington Post.

        • Realist
          December 5, 2017 at 2:34 pm

          If she were dead, she sure wouldn’t be sitting home in Bel Air or anywhere else. Missed the humor, did we? Or has she already been stuffed and mounted like Jeremy Bentham, unbeknownst to the world? I realise she’s had her second epiphany in life, the first being when Al Franken “converted” her from conservatism to liberal causes. Now she’s obviously a closet Trumpist to whom money means all and the earth is back in its orbit. Maybe she’s got some good advice for Al these days.

          • Randal Marlin
            December 7, 2017 at 4:20 pm

            Bill O’Reilly must be choking on his dish of Schadenfreude.
            Or gleefully downing a pint from his Franken Stein.

  2. Joe L.
    December 4, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    When it comes to “Russiagate”, which I think is a stupid name, our western MSM and governments have predetermined conclusions with which they try to sew together with whatever shred of news they can find. The one thing that I find that the US does more often than any other country is make blanket statements without any “proof” and simply declare that something is “classified”. With how dangerous these confrontations with other nations truly can be they should provide proof especially after the Iraq War or Gulf of Tonkin or babies being thrown from incubators etc. I see the “Russiagate” fervour as a push for censorship against the voices that challenge the narratives that the US Government, CIA, and corporate MSM broadcast. It started with RT which was “dangerous” for showing the dangers of fracking, giving voice to 3rd party candidates within the US, Black Lives Matter, and Occupy Wall Street. Now I believe the US wants the Chinese News Agency “Xinhua” to register as a foreign agent (don’t hear anything about BBC?). And I believe that once they manage to silence or marginalize the foreign voices of opposition then they will come after the domestic ones (and with Google Algorithms along with Facebook and Twitter they already are). To me it is already looking like a 1984 situation. The other thing that is evident to me with the clear subservience of Google, Facebook, Twitter and others is a real need for alternatives and quite moreover companies that are not US born. That might be a tall order but Empires don’t last forever whether that be countries or companies.

    Also, I believe that the witch hunt towards Russia, China, Iran etc. has little to do with “hacking” or any of the other garbage that the US and the western world are spewing but moreover to the fact that Russia, China, Iran and a number of other countries are challenging US (and western) supremacy and hegemony. Russia, China etc. have taken aim at the US dollar by attempting to wean themselves off of it and trade in their own currencies. It also sounds like China is setting up a Petro-Yuan and that will challenge the Petro-Dollar which I believe is the main reason why the US remains the worlds reserve currency (along with spending exorbitantly on its’ military) and as such the US Government can print US Dollars at will to pay their bills without hyperinflation (as was seen in Argentina). Russiagate is a political chess game in my mind for the ignorant to latch onto irrespective of the US’ own actions in the world. Anyway, I think this fervour has more to do with keeping western citizenry blindly ignorant and in line.

    • Joe Tedesky
      December 5, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      Joe L you speak for a lot of us Silenced American’s. I think you are right, that the U.S. Shadow Government Establishment is angry over how the Alternative Media had such a devastating impact on the 2016 Election. This was suppose to be ‘Her Turn’, or at least that was the plan until more, and more American voters caught wind of how truly awful a candidate Hillary is. Trump on the other hand had the Bannon Breibart rebellion on his side, but Hillary only had the establishment. Bernie voters didn’t just up and follow her, and there again that gets blamed on the Alternative Internet Media as well.

      I think this Russia-Gate nonsense is the beginning of the end of free speech in America, and with that we all lose. Imagine that we the American public can’t be trusted to hear other points of views. Now, I don’t know about you Joe L, but in my life experiences when someone feels I can’t be trusted to make my own decisions, well I then have to question to what their agenda is. Likewise, we Americans should question the ethnics and standards the Establishment is trying to protect us from. What is it, that we cannot be responsible enough to hear, and where we may decide for ourselves what’s right, and what is fake?

      I’ll also throw in this, why isn’t the MSM being investigated for throwing the election towards Trump? After all Trump received from the MSM 4.9 billion dollars worth of free media coverage. Holy heck, that’s is an incredible amount of money to receive for political advertising. Did the MSM get this idea from Vladimir as well?

      Putin is in trouble with our American Shadow Government mostly because he isn’t Yeltsin. China may have a easy out due to their developing the DF-21D Anti-Ship Missile system. Also, to get back to Putin, it would appear that Putin is the go to guy now in the Middle East, as his popularity is growing from his helping to defeat ISIS in Syria. So, move over U.S. the Multipolar New World Order has arrived.

      Good comment Joe L. Joe

      • Joe L.
        December 6, 2017 at 11:58 am

        Joe Tedesky… It is just very frustrating to see what the US is doing in the world, look at the actual history of the US (not the Hollywood version), and then infuriating when American politicians claim to be the bastion of the world, the city on a hill, the beacon of democracy. I am also angry at my own government for joining in on these “regime change” wars, which are murdering for profit, at the behest of the US and Britain. If someone was to ask me which country I thought was the greatest threat to peace on this planet I would not even hesitate to say that it was the United States, not Russia, not China, not Iran, not North Korea – the good ol’ US of A. With the US’ military complex it is a country always in search of an enemy and wants or creates conflict in order to sell weapons, the US being the world’s largest arms dealer. That is another reason why I don’t believe the US should have anything to do with peace talks because I truly believe they do not want peace. The thing is with the US, I think it could really be a jewel of the world if only it would stop with all of its’ warmongering and use its’ technology for the good of mankind rather than trying to subvert it. If America only viewed itself as an equal rather than superior then many of the conflicts either would not exist or could be dealt with diplomatically through dialogue not bombs. It is frustrating as well to be on the outside looking in and see both the Democrats and Republicans corrupt as hell and yet Americans cannot turn their backs on these parties to vote for one of its’ third parties. So the world ends up with the same “tough guy/gal” mentality from whatever President the American people put into place along with the same wars, coups etc. If the US did not effect the rest of the world so much, I really would not care whom the American people put into power – sadly that is not the case. I guess I just want an America that instead of trying to rule the world wants to join it.

        • Joe Tedesky
          December 6, 2017 at 5:05 pm

          Sometimes when I think about how powerful the U.S. has become in the world, I contemplate that all the people on this planet should have a say in our American elections. I mean look around you, and wherever you see trouble, you will see that the U.S. is not that far behind it. It’s like playing King of the Hill, and the U.S. is always on top. Although, what we are witnessing unfold daily in our geopolitical world may be the end of the American Empire. This end of empire doesn’t have to be all that bad, if the U.S. can only learn to share the world’s resources in a fair way, but that sharing part is where all U.S. wars begin. So. Joe L keep posting because it is always good to hear from you. Joe

        • David Llewellyn Foster
          December 12, 2017 at 9:27 am

          Great conclusion Joe ~ says it all. So why not have a national competition for the most progressive, coherent, representative & up-to-date Constitution for a/the New Republic. That would be a truly democratic initiative, Start at the indigenous grassroots and work up, organization by organization, institutions, then state by state. Could be a fascinating experiment ~ & productive.

          • David Llewellyn Foster
            December 12, 2017 at 9:29 am

            “I guess I just want an America that instead of trying to rule the world wants to join it.”

      • December 6, 2017 at 12:09 pm

        Great comment I would ad that it wasn’t just Hillary’s turn. The establishment always planned on a no choice election Clinton vs. Jeb Bush or some similar republican apparachich . All of the free publicity Trump received from the media was intended to destroy Trump’s run for the nomination which backfired spectacularly.

        • Joe Tedesky
          December 6, 2017 at 4:58 pm

          What people forget is, that all publicity is good. The old saying was, ‘say and print what you would like about me, talk about the good and the bad, but remember it’s important you spell my name right’. It is important to know, that all viewers don’t see the same thing. One viewer may see Trump as a complete buffoon, while another viewer will see him as his being the greatest politician there ever was. Remember Trump is an expert at the publicity game, and he knows that bulk viewership will leave a lot of voters uninterested, while Trump also knows he will pick up a few voters regardless…. why Trump could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue but people would still vote for him!

      • Randal Marlin
        December 7, 2017 at 4:32 pm

        “…[H]ow truly awful a candidate Hillary is.” For me, she merits banishment from the political scene for the utter crassness, pretentiousness, and inhumanity of her words: “We came. We saw. He died.”

  3. Nir Haramati
    December 4, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Seriously?

    The Trump administration annulment of net neutrality would be the biggest censorship tool ever, and you are concerned about an investigation into his collusion with a hostile nation?

    Talk about alternative facts…

    • tina
      December 4, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      Thank you. Why would or should our government get rid of net neutrality? $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. I posted something similar a few days ago, but no one seems to care. Trump is more important than net neutrality. And that is not funny. Next year when you all have slow service, pay more to access to CN, or any other website, the net is not free. Best form of censorship. Only those who can afford it will have access.

      • Abby
        December 5, 2017 at 1:18 am

        Tina, you must have misread Nir’s comment. It seems to me that the OP doesn’t believe that revoking net neutrality is going to happen or that it’s a form of censorship.
        Both are true. This is not only being done to slow down certain websites, but by slowing down the internet speed for alternative websites, that is a form of censorship.

    • Tannenhouser
      December 5, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      Seriously indeed Nir . Please explain in anything resembling a cogent fashion how Russia is Hostile?

      Alternative facts indeed…..

  4. Abe
    December 4, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    “Russia-gate” hysteria is being used to censor investigative journalism sites and any other sources of information critical of Israel.

    “Russia” is both a red herring and a specific target of censorship due to its obstruction of the “regime change” agenda promoted by Israel and the pro-Israel Lobby in America.

    • Sam F
      December 4, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Exactly, Russia-gate = Israel-gate, a coverup for Israeli/zionist control of US elections and mass media.

    • Seer
      December 4, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      Folks need to keep in mind that Sanders wasn’t a fan of Netenyahu (http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-israel-and-the-palestinians/). Perhaps the Mossad was engaged in undermining his campaign; the CIA then came in to cover it all up with this Russia BS? The people behind Sanders were a LOT more of a potential problem because they probably weren’t seen as being able to be derailed/throttled such as we’ve seen as happening with Trump’s people/staff (total amateurs).

      • Abe
        December 4, 2017 at 4:49 pm

        Bernie the Bomber didn’t said jack about all the imperial warmongers nestled under Hillary’s big nasty tent because of his alignment with Clinton’s warmongering on Syria and her open hostility toward Russia.

        Bernie’s bloviations about “Russian aggression” and “beefing up” NATO didn’t stray far from Hillary’s.

        During the Democratic debate in Wisconsin on Feb 11th, 2016, Bernie declared: “Russia’s aggressive actions in the Crimea and Ukraine have brought about a situation where President Obama and NATO–correctly, I believe–are saying we’re going to beef up our troop level in that part of the world to tell Putin that his aggressiveness is not going to go unmatched. We have to work with NATO to protect Eastern Europe against any kind of Russian aggression.”

        Bernie wasn’t invited to speak at AIPAC in order to reinforce his sheepdog bona fides. In reality, he’s an Israel-firster everywhere it counts.

        Describing himself as “100 percent pro-Israel”, Sanders engages in the left-wing, social-democratic version of Hasbara. He insists that his position on the 2014 Israeli attack on Gaza doesn’t make him “anti-Israel.”

        At the April 2016 Democratic presidential debate with Clinton in New York, Sanders said “Of course Israel has a right not only to defend themselves, but to live in peace and security without fear of terrorist attack. That is not a debate.”

        Sanders remarks simply reflect the Israeli Foreign Ministry position that emphasizes rocket fire from Gaza as being the reason for the IDF war on Gaza.

        However, there is much cause for debate.

        In fact, 2013 was a calm period with the November 2012 ceasefire being largely respected. From December 2012 to late June/early July 2014, Hamas did not fire rockets into Israel, and tried to police other groups doing so. These efforts were largely successful; Netanyahu stated in March 2014 that the rocket fire in the past year was the “lowest in a decade.”. However, the blockade of Gaza continued in direct violation of the ceasefire agreement.

        The first half of 2014 saw an increase in tension manifested by a higher rate of injuries. Among Palestinians there were 43 fatalities in the first half of the year plus 1860 injuries. Tension was also increased by Israel’s opposition to the formation of a Hamas-Fatah unity government, with threats of sanctions and the burgeoning issue of prisoners and the violation of the Shalit agreement.

        Mutual attacks on each other by Israel and Gaza continued, as did the Israeli blockade of Gaza. On 15 May, two Palestinian teenagers were shot dead during the Nakba commemorations in the Beitunia killings. An autopsy report published on 9 June proved the death of one of them to be due to “live fire”, i.e. not rubber bullets.”

        On 2 June 2014, a Palestinian unity government was sworn. Israel announced it would not negotiate any peace deal with the new government and would push punitive measures. Netanyahu took Palestinian unity as a threat rather than an opportunity. On the eve of the agreement he stated that the proposed reconciliation would “strengthen terrorism”, and called on the international community to avoid embracing it. Most of the outside world, including the European Union, Russia, China, India, Turkey, France and the United Kingdom, proved cautiously optimistic, and subsequently expressed their support for new arrangement. The United States, more skeptical, announced it would continue to work with the PNA-directed unity government.

        Israel itself suspended negotiations with the PNA and, just after the announcement, launched an airstrike, which missed its target and wounded a family of three bystanders. Netanyahu had warned before the deal that it would be incompatible with Israeli–Palestinian peace and that Abbas had to choose between peace with Hamas and peace with Israel. When a reconciliation deal was signed, opening the way to the appointment of the new government, Netanyahu chaired a security cabinet which voted to authorise Netanyahu to impose unspecified sanctions against the Palestinian Authority.

        On 4 June, the day before Naksa Day, the Israeli Housing and Construction Ministry published tenders for 1,500 settlement units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in a move Minister Uri Ariel said was an “appropriate Zionist response to the Palestinian terror government.

        On 12 June 2014, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped at the bus/hitchhiking stop at the Israeli settlement of Alon Shvut in Gush Etzion, in the occupied West Bank, as they were hitchhiking to their homes. Netanyahu said that he had “unequivocal proof” that Hamas was involved and that the abduction was linked to Palestinian reconciliation. The IDF stated that the two men Israel suspected of having kidnapped the teenagers were known members of Hamas. No evidence of Hamas involvement was offered by Israeli authorities at the time. High-ranking members of Hamas denied the group had any involvement in the incident.

        The Israel Defense Forces initiated Operation Brother’s Keeper in search of the three teenagers. As part of the operation, in the following 11 days Israel arrested around 350 Palestinians, including nearly all of Hamas’ West Bank leaders. Five Palestinians were killed during the military operation.

        On 15 June, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the teens had been kidnapped by Hamas,which Hamas denied. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas maintained that as of 22 June there was no evidence that Hamas was behind the kidnapping. The Palestinian Authority declared that the Israeli modus operandi, of clamping down on towns with closures and continual arrest of Hamas members, constituted collective punishment.

        On 30 June, search teams found the bodies of the three missing teenagers in a field north-west of Hebron.They had apparently been shot dead shortly after the abduction. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed a tough response to the killings. After their burial, an anti-Arab riot broke out, and a Palestinian teenager was murdered in revenge. His killing sparked Arab rioting. Israel police arrested six suspects and charged three of them with murder.

        As part of its crackdown, Israel conducted air strikes against Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip, while Hamas apparently refrained from retaliating, though it did not impede other factions from firing rockets towards Israel. From 1 May to 11 June, six rockets and three mortar shells were launched from Gaza towards Israel. From 12 to 30 June 44 rockets and 3 mortar shells were launched from Gaza. On 29 June, an Israeli airstrike on a rocket crew killed a Hamas operative, while at least 18 rockets were launched from Gaza through the next day by Hamas. It was the first time Hamas directly launched rockets since the conflict in 2012.

        Overnight, on 30 June – 1 July, Israeli airstrikes struck 34 Gaza targets in what officials stated was a response to the rocket attacks. It was also reported that the strikes were revenge for the deaths of the three teenagers. From the day of the abductions on 12 June through 5 July 117 rockets were launched from Gaza and there were approximately 80 Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.

        Israel refused to release Palestinians arrested in the West Bank crackdown. In a meeting held on 2 July to discuss the crisis, Hamas reportedly tried but failed to persuade armed factions in Gaza to uphold the truce with Israel. Following escalating rocket fire from Gaza, Israel threatened “a major military offensive.” Hamas declared it was prepared to halt the rocket fire in exchange for an agreement by Israel to stop airstrikes. On 5 July, Hamas official Osama Hamdan said rocket fire would continue until Israel lifted its import restrictions on Gaza and the Palestinian Authority transferred money to pay Hamas civil servants. Between 4 and 6 July, a total of 62 rockets were fired from Gaza and the IAF attacked several targets in Gaza. The following day, Hamas assumed formal responsibility for launching rocket attacks on Israel. By 7 July Hamas had fired 100 rockets from Gaza at Israeli territory; at the same time, the Israeli Air Force had bombed several sites in Gaza.

        Early on 8 July, Israel unleashed “Operation Protective Edge” when the IAF bombed 50 targets in Gaza Strip. The chief spokesman of the Israeli military said: “We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard.” Hamas insisted that Israel end all attacks on Gaza, release those re-arrested during the crackdown in the West Bank, lift the blockade on Gaza and return to the cease-fire conditions of 2012 as conditions for a ceasefire.

        Israeli continued its bombardment of the Gaza Strip with artillery and airstrikes, while Hamas continued to fire rockets and mortar shells into Israel in response. On 16 July, Hamas and Islamic Jihad offered the Israeli government a 10-year truce with ten conditions centred on the lifting of the blockade and the release of prisoners who were released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap and were re-arrested; it was not accepted.

        When it launched a ground invasion on 18 July 2014, Israel had already killed 230 Gazan Palestinians, of whom 75 percent (171) were civilians and 20 percent (48) children, wounded more than 1,700, and destroyed or rendered uninhabitable hundreds of homes leaving more than 10,000 Gazans without shelter. On the other side, according to daily updates Palestinian projectiles had killed one Israeli civilian, wounded 18, and damaged three Israeli homes.

        The fighting ended on 26 August 2014. Yes, there was rocket fire from Gaza. But rocket fire from Gaza can by no means be viewed as the raison d’etre for the 2014 Gaza war. Israel was far from merely “defending itself”.

        Unable to deny the obvious – the unjustifiable enormity the 2014 Israeli military attack on Gaza – Sanders elided into more Hasbara rhetoric: “Now, if you’re asking not just me, but countries all over the world, was that a disproportionate attack, the answer is that I believe it was.”

        In short, Sanders remains “100 percent pro-Israel” despite his superficial “critical of Israel” rhetoric and “left-socialist” conciliatory gestures.

        Bernie’s policy deviates not one bit from the Hasbara script.

        Of course, nary a whisper about the “destabilizing” influence of Israel’s nuclear arsenal in Bernie’s “outline” of Middle East policy.

        The most bizarre bit of Bernie’s bloviation was his request for “nations in the region”, notably Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to “stand up to do more”.

        The Saudis and Qataris, not to mention the Turks and Jordanians, already are doing quite the “stand up” in Syria.

        Bernie has been a shill positioned to supply the deniability to the notion that Jewish-Americans in the United States Congress are abject Israel-Firsters.

        Sheepdogging for the Dems was Bernie’s last hurrah.

        Feelin’ the burn?

        If all this is too harsh a reality for your voting conscience, you are welcome to think of Bernie as an extraordinarily useful idiot.

        • Enels
          December 4, 2017 at 4:57 pm

          You have it right about Bernie (nice name for a sheep dog) ! And even if he had gotten serious, how serious would that be? At his age? (ready to slip on a banana peel at the start, Old uncle loud mouth) the left leaning version of Ron Paul.

        • Abe
          December 4, 2017 at 4:59 pm
          • Seer
            December 4, 2017 at 7:43 pm

            BTW – FUCK YOU! (you can believe whatever your stupid ass wants to believe but that don’t make it FACT- and as I just said above, what I have said WILL come to the fore- fool)

          • Sam F
            December 4, 2017 at 8:07 pm

            Seer, Abe was referring to Sanders as the “useful idiot” not you. I had to read it again myself.

          • Abe
            December 4, 2017 at 11:55 pm

            I made no assumptions about your personal sensibilities, Seer.

            I simply stated a few inconvenient facts about Bernie’s “position” on Israel and Palestine, a matter you brought to the discussion with your link to “feelthebern”.

            In fact, Bernie is the guy to blame for the burn of your purported “point”.

            Unfortunately, Bernie’s unbridled enthusiasm for every scrap of “this Russia BS” does indeed derail your “point”.

            It’s clear that “the people behind” the ballyhooed “Sanders insurgency” would really rather not discuss certain facts about their beloved cuddly sheepdog.

        • Seer
          December 4, 2017 at 7:42 pm

          WTF?

          You apparently, in your perpetual, blind quest to shout out your same mantra time and time again, FAILED to note that I have never stated that I supported Sanders. My POINT, of which you have now tried to effectively derail (and it does a great disservice to do so, as you and other will ONE day find out), was that Sanders was NOT desired by the CIA. Sorry if this distracts from your oh-so-one-hundred-percent-sure position.

          I’m out of here. I tire of the “superior ones” around here.

          • Sam F
            December 4, 2017 at 8:11 pm

            Abe’s comment was on the long side to be sure, but does not seem intended to criticize you at length. He is just saying that Sanders is a sheepdog, which seems clear enough. Just a sidelight or alternative to your interesting point, not a refutation. Stick around; you are both worth reading. Perhaps Abe will concentrate his comments to make them more readable.

          • Abe
            December 4, 2017 at 9:41 pm

            Whatever the “point” in advertising Sanders’ “position” on Israel and the Palestinians, it is quite correct to emphasize that it mostly consists of Hasbara dog chow.

            Sanders was and is a sheepdog, not only for “progressives” but for the enormous “potential problem” of Jewish Americans who are less than enthused by either the stale Democrat or Republican brands of Israel-First warmongering on behalf of the Netanyahu regime.

            The other sheepdog was Trump, by the way.

            Bernie the Bomber, who bombed big time last year, continues to serve as a good li’l doggie: barking about “Russians”, yelping about “Iranians”, whining about a “more even-handed role” after 50 years of illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, and perpetually rolling over to fund US wars.

            Sorry if reality distracts from the “point” about that cuddly peace-loving Senator from Lockheed Martin
            https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/08/israel-f-35-jets-security-idf-air-force-aerial-superiority.html

          • Abe
            December 5, 2017 at 3:01 am

            Speaking of “superior ones”, peace-loving Bernie’s contribution to Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME) includes the most expensive military weapons system in history:

            The F-35I Adir (Hebrew meaning “Awesome” or “Mighty One”) is an F-35A with Israeli modifications. The US agreed to let Israel integrate its own electronic warfare systems, such as sensors and countermeasures, into the aircraft.

            Apparently the “superior” Israeli F-35 is not impervious to “birdstrike”

            https://theaviationist.com/2017/10/18/israeli-air-force-f-35i-adir-involved-in-a-bird-strike-incident-gets-grounded/

    • Abbybwood
      December 4, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      I wonder if Israeli news organizations are being forced to register as foreign agents? After all, Israel is by FAR the country that spends the most resources lobbying our Congress!

      (They don’t need to lobby the MSM since it is predominately owned/run by Jews).

      • Curious
        December 5, 2017 at 2:47 am

        Well, Abbywood,
        It is close to a double entendre in the sense that the Israeli bias is behind the scenes and in most of the main newspapers of note. They don’t declare themselves as Israeli news since the goal is to hide the intent, and falsify the legitimate events in news to create an impression of Israel being the most democratic, most humane, most moral, and best ally of these United States, so keep those billions rolling in! Just like the US military, Israel can do no wrong. It’s hard to register these papers as foreign agents since they are not in any way “foreign”. They are out front with the lies and falsifications that many people buy into without so much as a pause or a critique. These ‘leaders’ have gone after RT and Sputnik for years, because they simply want to control the message and don’t want competition, and RT is a hinderance to that goal. Two obvious cases was Sec Kerry saying RT was a Russian “bullhorn for the Kremlin”and Les Moonves (of fame for “Trump may not be good for America, but he’s good for CBS) had wanted to get rid of RT years ago even before he took on the CBS CEO position, as I’ve mentioned before. He thought he could do it by slight of hand with the FCC. “Control the message” has nearly ruined the US and with the Pentagon controlling its message we should be thankful for avenues of information like RT and Sputnik, and CN of course, as well. It takes mighty Big Cahones to take on the current lies permeating throughout the current media, and most who try get theirs cut off before they make the $60 million bucks a person like Moonves makes, and he is just one of many.(Cahones can be implied for both men and women, as gender is no guide) But money doesn’t buy integrity in these United States, as people who control the news prove over and over again. It’s not hard to note the crickets when RT is challenged, even from all the self-professed Constitutional experts. Where are all these experts now? Hiding under their rocks with a cap in hand for cash to keep quiet? “It’s not appropriate to reply” is what the exerts say. But keep the sex distractions going while the movers and shakers plunder right in front of peoples eyes. Reality TV has never had a better audience…..too bad it’s just made up by the scriptwriters.

  5. Drew Hunkins
    December 4, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    The establishment media are terrified that their oligopoly on the thought processes of hundreds of millions of citizens in the Western hemisphere is being eroded. Ergo, they’re attempting to get out in front of the entire paradigm shift by deeming independent sources and outlets “fake news” or “Kremlin stooges” or in some instances “anti Semitic.”

    This is a groundbreaking time in world affairs right now as it relates to media and information penetration. Back when I first started seriously following world affairs in the early-1990s it was inconceivable that a Robert Parry, N. Chomsky, Diana Johnstone, James Petras or John Pilger (and other greats I’m forgetting at the moment) could reach such vast audiences as they do today via youtube, easy searches, and valuable websites. Word is trickling out and it’s seriously unsettling to the old careerist mainstream media lackeys.

    The Washington-Zio imperialist-militarists and their media lapdogs are deeply, deeply concerned over the successes sources such as ConsortiumNews, Counterpunch and other magnificent outlets along with authentic intellectuals and truth-telling commentators are having reaching the masses.

    The Washington-Zio imperialist-militarists know this, and they’re preempting things as best they can by sliming the independent truth tellers; smearing them so that their message never gets the imprimatur of respectability.

    • Joe L.
      December 4, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Drew Hunkins… actually I believe YouTube has removed John Pilger’s channel which had his documentaries going back to Vietnam because it “violated their terms and conditions”. All of this while I believe the British Library is honouring Mr. Pilger – a journalist that has won Britain’s “Journalist of the Year”, which I believe is equivocal to a Pulitzer, I believe twice.

      • Bob Van Noy
        December 4, 2017 at 4:20 pm

        Thanks Joe L. Here’s John Pilger’s site…

        http://johnpilger.com

        • Joe L.
          December 5, 2017 at 11:30 am

          Bob Van Not… Well I have been to Mr. Pilger’s website a number of times but I really liked his YouTube channel because it was easy to watch his documentaries. Now I have also found his documentaries on Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/user5080139) such as “War on Democracy” and “Stealing a Nation”. It is just interesting you know to see the country that claims that it is a city on a hill, the indispensable nation, the nation with the freest press in the world push toward censorship – War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength…

        • Joe L.
          December 5, 2017 at 11:42 am

          Bob Van Noy… sorry for the typo in your name, I believe it was auto-correct.

      • Seer
        December 4, 2017 at 5:01 pm

        John Pilger was one of the first folks to really open up my eyes. He is one of the finest journalists of our times.

        • Drew Hunkins
          December 4, 2017 at 5:11 pm

          Seer,
          Professor Michael Parenti was the first to really open my eyes, way back in the early 1990s. From there I was off and running.

          I couldn’t get enough, reading Parenti books, Chomksy’s stuff, Alexander Cockburn, Parry, Diana Johnstone, James Petras, Norman Finkelstein, Gilad Atzmon, Ed Said, Adolph Reed, Gore Vidal, John Pilger, Hedges…

          I was like a hungry child voraciously reading their stuff. I had lived 20 years of my life not knowing a whole dissident intellectual analyses was out there. I would have walked through hot coals to get to their invaluable essays, reports, articles, lectures, books and so on.

        • Joe L.
          December 5, 2017 at 12:41 pm

          Seer… I agree about Mr. Pilger. When I watched a few of his documentaries it was really eye opening (War on Democracy, Stealing a Nation etc.).

        • Dave P.
          December 5, 2017 at 12:47 pm

          Drew Hunkins,

          I remember reading John Pilger during 1960’s and 70’s when he was reporting on Vietnam War. John Pilger used to be published in major newspapers and magazines then. Looking at the present scene, we are already progressed well into a corporate Fascist State. Censorship has been already here in some forms since 2001. In the not too distant future, it will be complete shut down of the dissenting voices. They tried this in Soviet Union, but could not do it – they failed to shut down the dissenting voices. With the Yankee ingenuity which is much boasted about in History, in this “Free Country”, the Congress and Ruling Establishment are working furiously on it 24/7 for over a year now – on the project “Censorship of Truth”, this will be accomplished soon.

          Indeed, the World is deeply indebted to John Pilger and others who have devoted their whole lives to the cause of peace and speaking Truth to the Powers.

      • Drew Hunkins
        December 4, 2017 at 5:08 pm

        That sounds about right. The powers that be have been waging the censorship blackout campaign for about a year now. It seemed to really ramp up right around the time when WaPo ran their big PropOrNot story.

        Some great stuff can still be found on youtube, but for how long?

    • Sam F
      December 4, 2017 at 8:32 pm

      Yes, this is groundbreaking time in the abuse of internet information power, consolidating the oligarchy gains in taking over mass media, elections, and the secret agencies.

      There will be protests nationwide at Verizon outlets on Thursday 12/7/17 regarding the FCC vote on net neutrality (FCC head Ajit Pai was Verizon CEO). Verizon is also involved in massive billing fraud on their metered connections, showing their intent to abuse whatever power they have. Sign up at demandprogress dot org.

      • Drew Hunkins
        December 4, 2017 at 11:47 pm

        Thanks for the heads up and the website info.

    • Abbybwood
      December 4, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      Which is why I no longer watch CNN or MSNBC or read the newspaper of record, The New York Slimes.

      I admit to watching Tucker Carlson every night and Hannity if he is covering The Hildabeast.

      I check Drudge for general headlines then watch Lionel Nation’s daily livestream on YouTube at noon EST. He is a former Manhattan prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer who can argue cases before the Supreme Court. He calls what he does “The Conspiratorium: The Clerisy”.

      In the past few days he has interviewed Peter Lavelle, the host of Crosstalk on RT and he has Charles Ortel on for interviews regarding the totally corrupt Clinton Foundation etc. There is a chat during his Livestreams which is very interesting.

      I see no reason to ever watch CNN or MSDNC again.

      I am a truth seeker (which is why I come here). Lionel is a major truth seeker as well.

      Watch his video on 9/11 from a year ago and you’ll see what I mean.
      Alternative news sites are scaring the Bejesus out of the MSM, especially RT.

  6. Zachary Smith
    December 4, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    I’m glad Mr. Lauria mentioned the deregulation of the ISPs by the Trumpies. I fear that is going to lead to the attempted or actual suppression of sites like this one. For example, even if my own company doesn’t completely cut off access to RT or Consortium News, it could easily “bundle” them and others in a high-priced package.

    The hypocrisy of the US in censoring the RT news people while simultaneously whining about Russian retaliation has been shocking.

    I don’t do Facebook and use Google as little as I can. I will continue to avoid the neocon NYT and Bezos’ Washington Post and Huffington, and will definitely not bookmark Buzzfeed.

    Thanks for this enlightening essay.

    • dahoit
      December 4, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      Trumpies?And what candidate do you think the elect had voted for?sanders?clinton?stein?johnson?We had to elect the only possible choice for potus.Trump.Can he maga great again?The jury is out on that.

    • john wilson
      December 4, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      The possible attack by the internet service providers is likely to be the place where real net censorship will take place and you are right to bring it to our notice, Zachary. There are other search engines out there that we can use to circumnavigate the Googles who have been brought to heal by the government and the deep state. Already RT, Sputnik and others are being pushed out. RT is now not allowed to go to white house briefings, but I can still get RT on a range of different platforms on the net at the moment. However, once the government orders the ISP’s to start to censor and filter out what is regarded as “undesirable content”, then we really are going to face a complete blackout of alternative news media. ISP’s already do filter out various types of extreme pornography and the like, so if they can do this, blocking RT and sites like consortium news probably won’t present much of a challenge. After all, sites like RT, Sputnik and CN are specific, unlike say, pornography which can come from any where in the world and from hundreds of different sites.

    • Sam F
      December 4, 2017 at 8:40 pm

      There will be protests nationwide at Verizon outlets on Thursday 12/7/17 regarding the FCC vote on net neutrality (FCC head Ajit Pai was Verizon CEO). Verizon is also involved in massive billing fraud on their metered connections, showing their intent to abuse whatever power they have. Sign up at demandprogress dot org. In my area the protest begins after work at 5PM.

  7. December 4, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Good article/editorial. I added it to a growing collection of links on the 2016 Election/False Flag/Coverup/Indy Media Beat Down, etc.

    http://www.pearltrees.com/joshstern/election-hacking-interference/id18999752

  8. Seer
    December 4, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Joe, are you figuring it out yet, that the Dems and the CIA worked together in, at the very least, covering up the derailment of the Sanders’ campaign? THIS is why there is such violent pushing back on any real investigation. As I’ve mentioned for a while now, I believe that Sanders was seen as too risky (he and staff wouldn’t likely have been able to be picked off like has been done with Trump), and with a head-nod from the CIA or not, the DNC did everything they could to make sure that the “chosen candidate” -Clinton- was in fact chosen.

    On the whole I’d have to say that for TPTB the Trump nomination has turned out to be far more positive for them than a Clinton nomination would have been. From this angle there could be a question raised as whether the CIA wasn’t also involved in the initial leaks (I’m almost certain that they were/are involved in covering them up).

    • December 6, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Trump is a clear danger to TPTB in his quest to normalize relations with Russia and China (especially after his recent Asia trip signing one quarter of a trillion dollars in economic development deals with TPRC and signing an agreement with Russia on Syrian peace terms). The only chance the CIA has now is for the Mueller investigation to indict Trump on obstruction of justice chages so neo-con conservative Pence can become president.

  9. Tom Welsh
    December 4, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    “They won’t waste time making a painstaking examination of the facts or engage in a detailed debate even on something as important and dangerous as a new Cold War with Russia”.

    If only! The US government has been waging war against Russia for several years now – mostly economic and financial war, but increasingly information war and actual hot shooting war.

    What is really “important and dangerous” is the likelihood of a HOT WAR with Russia. It could happen so very easily.

    • Dave P.
      December 4, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      U.S. and The West has been making war and imposing continuous economic sanctions on Russia (USSR 1918-91) for a century now. There was that Jackson-Vanik Amendment in 1974 putting additional sanctions on Russia. U.S. , U.K., France . . . sent armed forces during the Russian Civil War during 1918-21, and then put sanctions on Russia. Then Germany tried to destroy it during World war II in which Russia lost 27 million of it’s people. U.S. and U.K encouraged Hitler during the 1930’s in his aims on Russia until he turned on them.

      It just amazes me that Russia has survived all this. It seems like Russia has a very good chance of surviving this time unless The West starts hot war against them.

      • Seer
        December 4, 2017 at 5:03 pm

        Dave, yes, Russia cannot be defeated. I have a hard time believing that TPTB don’t understand this; I tend to lean more toward them using the specter of Russia as enemy as a handy mechanism to control US citizens (force them to dole out for the MIC racket).

      • Sam F
        December 4, 2017 at 8:54 pm

        Russia was once the target of oligarchy due to their hate campaign against socialism to avoid taxes in the US. Now they attack Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, etc for the same reason. They knew that if Napoleon and Hitler could not defeat “Generals January and February” in Russia they could not, and they would gain nothing if they did. The recent zionist interest in vilifying Russia was in getting zionist bribes to burden Russia with a front in Ukraine to weaken it in Syria, and of course the MIC always needs rationales for budget increases. The right wing tyrants always need a foreign enemy to demand domestic power and accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty, as Plato and Aristotle noted.

        So the zionists/MIC/rightwing oligarchy can all agree to hate Russia for no admissible reason, but the fact that it makes no sense at all has them way out on a limb, and the public is likely to see that. Their moves to seize all media are becoming clear, and could permanently injure them.

        • Bob Van Noy
          December 5, 2017 at 9:09 am

          Thank you Sam F. for that informed and well thought out analysis. I think you’ve got it exactly right. The past history of the European struggle with each region and with Russia has forever been intense with much hatred being carried forward. In a healthier intellectual environment, we could discuss the many reasons for division at length, hopefully leading to better understanding. However the current politically charged discussion is not about understanding; it’s mostly about political division.

          And, you’re also right that what makes this moment so crucial is that the media IS exposed and that is becoming more apparent each news cycle. One can clearly sense the pressure.

          • Sam F
            December 6, 2017 at 8:41 pm

            Thank you. Indeed the Russiagate diversion maintains division, using election anger to keep Dem sheep in the fold, obscure the real issues, and sell internet censorship.

  10. Tom Ratliff
    December 4, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    “The New York Times’ connect-the-dots graphic showing the Kremlin sitting atop the White House.”

    Actually it is “Saint Basil’s Cathedral sitting atop the White House”. But no worries, the NY Times likely didn’t know this either.

    • rosemerry
      December 4, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      Great! I suppose the American specialists do not realize that the Russians are far more Christian than most of them are!!

    • Sam F
      December 4, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      I’m surprised that no one has connected the same dots to form an image suggesting the tyranny of US MIC/zionist oligarchy, the control of elections and mass media by money, the bribery of Congress, etc.

  11. NavyVet
    December 4, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Excellent synopsis of the bewildering phenomena that is Russia-Gate. Keep telling the truth Mr. Lauria. Lord knows we need to hear it.

    • Sam F
      December 4, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      Yes, an excellent article by Joe Lauria: may there be many more!

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      December 4, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      Fully agree!

    • Bob Van Noy
      December 5, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Thank you NavyVet, let’s hope we get much more of this kind of reporting and discussion…

    • Joe Lauria
      December 5, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Thank you.

  12. Mark Thomason
    December 4, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    This is not a case of two objectives, but of one that is denied.

    Hillary was always the war candidate, always was the face and tool of the New Cold War. That was one of the major reasons she had to be defeated, even at the high price of Trump.

    The neocons left over from the Bush Admin had flocked over to her. Her SecDef designee published article proclaiming wars in Syria, Ukraine, Iran, and more. She was War, just as she was corporate neo-liberal economics of Globalization done in ways to benefit the few, and of those few here at home (see the Wall Street speeches in which she reassured them of that, kept secret as long as she could because of what she said to them).

    Those who push the Long War do all they can to hide what they do, and Hillary was one of those things. Censorship inspired to further her cause is censorship to further their cause. It is all one cause.

  13. December 4, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Long winded but cogent. The bowing down of Facebook and Google is scary. I watch very briefly a hearing where Facebook and Google were told they better find a way of screening out Russian propaganda. It was evidently after lunch because one of the Senators seemed to be mumbling in his beer and another, the one who had his picture taken naked, kept demanding more action. He noted that one of the ads was paid for in rubles. He shouted angrily at the docile Google guy about ads. To paraphrase he shouted. “Rubles, for god’s sake, they were paid for in rubles!” I switched channels. Dumb Russians. Maybe they didn’t have anything else but rubles.

    • Dave P.
      December 4, 2017 at 10:20 pm

      These senators and other high functionaries are nothing but a bunch of abject creatures. They are arrogant and almost foam at their mouths when bad mouthing Russia; but are perfect sycophants, jump to their feet applauding when Netanyahu is speaking to the Congress, outdoing each other. They do the same when they are at the podium at AIPAC. They try to outdo each other trying to please their masters at AIPAC. There is that Hillary’s picture speaking at AIPAC in 2016 which is often included in articles at CN. It is disgusting to look at that picture, and at the scene on the Hill when they were jumping to their feet applauding Netanyahu when he was addressing the Congress.

      How the country has changed since 1960’s. There is no dignity or integrity left in these politicians – they have been bought.

  14. Skip Scott
    December 4, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Thanks for another great article Mr. Lauria. I would say that the leaked emails did have a sizable impact on Hillary, and that she blames Comey and others instead to keep people from dwelling on the actual content of the emails. Most importantly her statement in her paid speeches that she holds “private views” different from her “public views”. She basically said that she has to lie to the voters to get elected; but not to worry, once she’s in she’ll do whatever they want. RussiaGate has also been largely used as a distraction from this bombshell; but I think that it, more than anything, changed a lot of minds.

  15. Seer
    December 4, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    The CIA helped craft the story from the very beginning. THAT is why they are doing everything they can to NOT provide evidence as to who leaked to Wikileaks.

    Sanders was leading a very large and energetic group of young people. The old-guard will NOT relinquish to the young. Why people can’t see that this is the common theme is beyond me. When the leak happened it was pretty much assured that Clinton was going down. The plan was then to ensure that Sanders was pushed to the side. TPTB would do all they could to facilitate this, and to try and resurrect Clinton; but, Trump wasn’t anything that they had been prepared to deal with. The “Russia did it” story-line would, of course, do double-duty: 1) It would continue to diminish Sanders’ support AND provide a hook to ramp up Cold War II; and, 2) It would throttle a Trump presidency from achieving detente with Russia, give TPTB the hook to control Trump and his staff.

    Sadly, one could almost say that Wikileaks’ efforts have been very beneficial for TPTB. Of course, when you have the CIA and the media on your side the odds of losing is about nil. Only real way out of this is if Wikileaks could prove that the CIA knew about the leaks right when they happened; perhaps also that the CIA was involved with allowing them (like US intelligence had to have known about the 9/11 plot- either directly involved or allowed it to unfold). Getting out any such information would be a death warrant for sure, and then it would likely be futile owing to the media’s ability to be complicit in covering up crimes.

    • Abe
      December 5, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Two weeks ahead of the Democratic National Convention, celebrating a “revolution” worthy of the CIA, sheepdog Bernie pledged his fealty to Hillary: “I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.”

      Hillary crowed, “Sen. Sanders has brought people off the sidelines and into the political process. He has energized and inspired a generation of young people who care deeply about our country.”

      She imperiously declared, “To everyone here and everyone cross the country who poured your heart and soul into Senator Sanders’ campaign: Thank you.”

      Bernie had performed his sheepdog function by exciting the Democratic Party’s liberal base and winning young voters by large margins during the primary.

      The Sanders campaign won primaries and caucuses in 22 states.

      But Bernie spat in the face of his “revolution” by not energetically fighting efforts at black voter suppression, and not effectively contesting the votes in states like California and Arizona, as was his campaign’s right by law.

      Long after Hillary clinched the nomination with California, sheepdog Bernie continued to hold rallies and advocate for his “revolution”, which not only served the interests of the Trump campaign, but very effectively delayed incensed Sanders supporters from migrating to third party tickets.

      Green Party leader Jill Stein correctly remarked: “A revolution that goes back under Hillary Clinton’s wing is not a revolution.”

      Black Agenda Report editor Glen Ford described the debacle:

      “Bernie Sanders did not lie to his followers; they deceived themselves, just as most of them – the ones that were old enough – had fooled themselves into believing that Barack Obama was a peace candidate and a political progressive back in 2008, although Obama’s actual record and policy pronouncements showed him clearly to be a corporate imperialist warmonger – a political twin of his principal primary election opponent, Hillary Clinton and her philandering, huckster husband.

      “Back then, phony leftists like Bill Fletcher and Tom Hayden swore on their mothers’ honor that Obama’s campaign was really a people’s movement, a prelude to revolution – as if the Democrats, a militarist corporate political party, could give birth to an anti-corporate, anti-militarist people’s revolution.

      “Real Fascist vs. Trump Cartoon Version

      “Bernie Sanders threw around the word ‘revolution’ quite a bit. He was still using it in his surrender speech on Tuesday [July 12, 2016], assuring his flock that the revolution would continue as he marched arm in arm with the most dangerous person in the world, today – far more dangerous than Donald Trump […] Sanders’ job is to shepherd his flock into a little leftwing corner of Hillary’s Big Tent, right next to the latrine and alongside her loyal Black Democrats, who are so meek in the presence of power that they won’t even complain about the smell.”

      https://www.blackagendareport.com/bernie_endorses_greatest_evil

      Bernie’s own behavior during and after the “revolution” belies this prattle about CIA “derailment” of a “Sanders insurgency”.

      A guy who once urged once urged abolishing CIA, Bernie now can’t get enough of fact-free claims by “intelligence agencies”.

      Bloviating with Wolf Blitzer in CNN’s Situation Room on 10 May 2017, Bernie declared: “Our intelligence agencies all agree that [Russia] interfered significantly in the American election.”

      “This is an investigation that has to go forward,” he said.

      Bernie wasn’t so keen on investigation when American votes were at stake during the “revolution” in 2016.

      • Abe
        December 5, 2017 at 3:02 pm

        Perhaps we may concentrate all these comments to make them more readable:

        What better way for the CIA to thwart a “revolution” against “intelligence agencies” than to have the Dems front an “insurgent” sheepdog candidate who would not only throw the “fight” at critical moments, but turn around and praise the BS produced by the very “intelligence agencies” he previously sought to abolish.

        Put that in your vape and smoke it, kids.

      • Dave P.
        December 5, 2017 at 7:47 pm

        Black Agenda Report editor Glen Ford described the debacle:

        “Bernie Sanders did not lie to his followers; they deceived themselves, just as most of them – the ones that were old enough – had fooled themselves into believing that Barack Obama was a peace candidate and a political progressive back in 2008, although Obama’s actual record and policy pronouncements showed him clearly to be a corporate imperialist warmonger – a political twin of his principal primary election opponent, Hillary Clinton and her philandering, huckster husband. . . .”

        Glen Ford is right on the mark on Bernie Sanders, Obama, and others in their company.

    • December 6, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Wikileaks can prove that the DNC e-mails were leaked by an insider and has offered a deal to the Trump administration to provide the evidence which was presented to presidential chief of staff General Kelly by Dana Rohrbacher (R-Ca) back in September. Kelly told Rohrbacher to talk to the CIA knowing that it was a non-starter. Also Trump asked CIA director Pompeo to meet with Bill Binney (Ret. – NSA) on his forensic proof the data was leaked (put on a data stick) and could not possibly have been hack. Again Pompeo directed Binney to talk to the FBI. Before anything positive can happen Trump needs to clear out the Neo-con apparatus inside his administration.

  16. Gary
    December 4, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    The Russians are engaged in the institution of a libertarian economic system in America represented by Trump & his alliance with Silicon Valley, Wall Street et al. The Russians understand that libertarianism is only bourgeois democracy and not real socialist democracy. The ultimate goal of socialism is to make make America “great again” with a socialist revolution. The Russians understand that to destroy the bourgeois, radical libertarianism is the formula to create so much dissatisfaction among the proletariat that socialism will be brought about.

    • Seer
      December 4, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      You seem to be the ONLY person around here to even suggest this. What does this say about your theory?

      • Gary
        December 4, 2017 at 11:32 pm

        There are no communists posting here, that’s why.

    • Seer
      December 4, 2017 at 5:55 pm

      Again, why no one dates to attribute the underlying derailment of Sanders’ campaign to the CIA? Consider:

      https://www.politico.com/story/2016/02/bernie-sanders-cia-219451

      Someone inside the DNC didn’t like what was going on and they leaked. The CIA, which may have been working hand-in-hand with the DNC to derail Sanders, was most certainly in the best position to know who leaked and to act upon that at the time (as well as act upon it now). But they didn’t. Why? Because any apparent collusion with their preferred candidate -Clinton- would have cerated a sure and instantaneous collapse of Clinton’s campaign. So, they kept it under wraps (as has been noted, IF the Russians were messing around with the election I’d think that the CIA would want to intervene). No, the CIA HAD to stand down and with fingers crossed, and the polls showing Clinton ahead of Trump, wait. The media (and extension of the CIA) tried as it could to make Trump appear to be the buffoon that he is, but… With Trump it was never a doubt as to whether he could be controlled (and, I’m sure, TPTB saw an actual chance to further make inroads gutting the American populace). Sanders, however, had enough history behind him doubting his willingness to be beholden to the CIA.

      Russia (as external threat- Take Two; rev up the defense sector’s $$ making machines; and bonus is in distracting the Dems). Assange (as internal threat- to justify further clamping down on internal dissent). Tax breaks for the rich. And Trump (keep the Dems distracted). Everything there to rile everyone, except the MIC (and the Zionists).

      • Sam F
        December 4, 2017 at 9:18 pm

        Interesting link: the article shows clearly that CIA would fear Sanders as president due to his wish to dismantle their operations division. It does seem likely that they would interfere with his campaign where possible. Of course the MIC/zionist oligarchy shills and their mass media had similar motives.

      • Sam F
        December 4, 2017 at 9:47 pm

        Also note (as stated in the comment of Elizabeth Burton below):
        “Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post,… first in line to preach the Russiagate narrative and … last year’s propaganda piece about PropOrNot …Jeff Bezos has a $600 million contract with the CIA.”

      • Gary
        December 5, 2017 at 11:03 am

        The DNC created superdelegates after the 72 McGovern crashing defeat in order to prevent a grassroots left populist anti-war candidate from arising again. Sure the CIA has a hand in the game but even without that there is the Dems need to have a viable candidate. Hillary was just that if it hadn’t been for a Repub FBI director & an FBI full of conservative agents in revolt against Comey’s kid glove treatment of Hillary & thus his “Oct surprise”.

  17. mike k
    December 4, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    The American Empire is now subject to creeping fascism? No, the already well established American fascist state is now moving at a gallop. Totalitarian rule is always long in control before the public very gradually wakes up to it – if it ever does.

  18. Brendan
    December 4, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    When Joe Lauria was writing very accurately in the HuffPost about how Hillary might react to her defeat, its pollsters viewed such a result as almost impossible:
    “Our @pollsterpolls model gives @HillaryClinton a 98.1% chance of winning the presidency”
    https://twitter.com/HuffPost/status/795663593689808896

    Joe had to go because he made a mistake in not sticking to the official narrative, even though (or maybe because?) his prediction turned out to be right.

    • Abbybwood
      December 4, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      I STILL enjoy watching The Young Turks and CNN’s and MSDNC’s heads exploding on election night.

      Priceless!!!

  19. Brendan
    December 4, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Facebook will follow instructions from Congress and tell users that they have been victims of Russian propaganda. However Facebook users won’t be told what this propaganda is. Obviously, Russian brainwashing techniques are so powerful that the public must be shielded from them!

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-22/facebook-to-show-people-the-russian-propaganda-they-followed
    “Facebook will only be showing people the names of the pages and accounts, not the content”.
    [In the embedded video] “Basically it will give you a list of the names of the pages. Unfortunately you won’t be able to see the actual content of the pages as they are leaving it up to Congress to decide whether to release the posts.”

  20. evelync
    December 4, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Thank you Joe Lauria for your staunch efforts to depoliticize the current hysteria including what I believe is a politically motivated witch hunt to prove that Russia succeeded in fooling millions of voters into daring to think that more Hillary Clinton leadership might just keep us on the wrong path here at home with massive destabilizing financial deregulation and endless bloody regime change wars overseas.

    Maybe just maybe, Americans were fed up with the status quo and in desperation believed Trump’s lies.

    Since I supported Bernie Sanders and believe he is an honest and fair minded man, I was shocked to read that a Bernie supporter succeeded in having courageous whistle blower, John Keriakou, silenced from speaking at the European Union.
    Shame on the EU.

    That very undemocratic posture – refusing to be on a panel with Keriakou – was totally unacceptable, undemocratic, selfish, and wrong.

    I googled People for Bernie and they seemed to be a self started group which describe themselves thus:

    “People for Bernie is a collective formed before Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy for President. We are committed to progressive principles and seek to use social media and good organizing to marry the best of movement politics, electoral organizing and cultural strategies. Our core team overlaps significantly with a number of excellent allies and partners, including Ready for Warren, National Nurses Union, Democratic Socialists of America, Our Revolution, African Americans for Bernie, Feminists for Bernie, Latinos for Bernie, Socialists for Bernie, Asian Americans for Bernie, Arab Americans for Bernie, Jews for Bernie, Bernie Sanders Democrats, LGBT for Bernie, Women for Justice, Millennials for Revolution, Labor for Our Revolution, & The People’s Summit Network.”

    Nowhere on their web site do they acknowledge they are affiliated with Bernie Sanders or any of his organizations, such as Friends of Bernie (his campaign office) or “Our Revolution” his political outreach arm run by Nina turner.

    I called Bernie’s Senate office to ask about this and rightly, they pointed out this is a campaign question and they referred me to Bernie’s campaign office – “Friends of Bernie” 802-862-1505.

    I called Bernie’s campaign office “Friends of Bernie” and they affirmed that they are not associated with “People for Bernie”.

    I shared with the person I spoke with what the undemocratic member of People for Bernie had ‘succeeded’ in doing and shared how to access Consortium News and this article. The person I spoke to told me this is the first he heard of this.

    I hope this gets to Bernie and that he speaks out against the undemocratic attack on John Keriakou’s efforts to share his story and his expertise at the EU.

    (Yesterday I watched Bernie’s speech in Akron Ohio and he covered so many of the points that Joe Lauria shared in this article regarding how average working people in this country are being shafted and what needs to be done. It was Bernie’s best speech so far as he has distilled his views into a clearer and more direct set of arguments. And I’ll link to it in the next comment for anyone who wishes to hear it. He gave it, according to Nina Turner who spoke before him on 2 hours sleep after his late night fighting Trump’s tax giveaway in the Senate.

    Thank you Joe Lauria for this excellent piece.

    • evelync
      December 4, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      https://youtu.be/1mrdGSyrupQ

      Bernie Sanders on Trump and Republican Class Warfare

      I hope Bernie learns about this attack on John Keriakou’s right to speak at the European Union and speaks out. I did what I could to inform his campaign office.

    • Abe
      December 5, 2017 at 6:26 pm

      Thank you, evelync.

      With all due respect, I watched the video of Bernie’s excellent speech in Akron.

      I agree: it was his “best so far”. And not even a whisper of idiotic praise of “our intelligence agencies”.

      Indeed Trump and the Republicans have proven a godsend for Sanders’ speechifying.

      Bernie the sheepdog is back on the “front line” when it comes to talking about the political “revolution” as “the right to think big”.

      In Akron, Bernie delivered yet another one of his signature campaign speeches to “brothers and sisters” decrying the corruption of the system.

      Bernie unquestionably talks a good talk about what “we” are going to do.

      But the fact remains that, having promised to “fight” for the “revolution”, Bernie folded at critical moments in the 2016 presidential campaign.

      That stunk to high heaven. It was a moral outrage for which Bernie has not been held accountable.

      But supporters of the “Sanders insurgency” don’t have the guts to use the appropriate terminology for Sanders’ betrayal.

      Surprise, surprise!

      In Akron, Bernie insisted that “democracy is something that has got to be fought for”.

      But he threw the “fight” for “revolution” when it mattered most. Can’t blame that on the CIA or anyone other than Bernie.

      “Best so far” Bernie sure has chutzpah, and that’s a scientific word.

      • Skip Scott
        December 6, 2017 at 8:32 am

        Abe-

        I couldn’t agree with you more. I was a Sanders supporter until he caved to the Clinton machine, and was mad as hell that he didn’t go over to the Greens and continue the fight over there after the DNC emails came out showing he was purposely sandbagged by the corporate wing of the party. I was also mad as hell at Elizabeth Warren for supporting Hillary when it was obvious that Bernie and she shared many viewpoints, and Hillary was a Wall Street shill. A Sanders/Warren ticket would have been hard to beat after eight years of nothing but war and corporate friendly policies from Obama. I was also stupid enough to think Obama was a real change candidate in 2008. I have learned a lot since then. I no longer trust Bernie, and I’m hopeful that the people that do will finally wake up and take “Our Revolution” over to the Green party, or start one of their own. If they don’t, I’d bet dollars to donuts that Sanders will pull the same stunt and roll over at the last minute again in 2020.

  21. Annie
    December 4, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    I never really used the Huffington Post as a source of information, since I thought, even under Ms. Huffington it seemed to toe the line in what they said, especially during the Obama years. It doesn’t surprise me they would pull Mr. Lauria’s article at all.

    Just as disturbing as the complicity of the mainstream media to push Russia-gate, is the willingness of the American people to buy it. Of course, the main reason being that the so called liberals are willing to soak it up because of their hatred of Trump, especially since they wanted to believe this was a way of ousting him from his presidency. Now they are stuck in a mindset that no matter what the evidence shows they will stick to their original beliefs. Russia-gate has become a political ideology, and no different than a religious one. Even in the field of science, it’s hard for many scientists to give up old ideas even in the face of scientifically proven evidence to the contrary. It’s unfortunate the human mind is so stifled by it’s own personal needs.

    • evelync
      December 4, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      good comment, and thanks for it, Annie.
      HuffPost pretends its a real newspaper and I can’t say that it never has a well informed article here or there that adds to our understanding of local events, but in general it’s more of a shlock business enterprise than an investigative, analytical source of information…..

      I used to read it from time to time but now I don’t bother with it….
      it’s a follower of the culture and adds little of value, if anything…

  22. rosemerry
    December 4, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks you, Joe. considering that Americans are proud of their remaining “freedoms” and value freedom of speech (mainly now meaning any rich American can buy elections legally since “Citizens’ United in 2010) yet cannot be trusted to use their brains to sort out varied interpretations offered by differing media. Everyone must follow the same line or be a Kremlin stooge.

    I wonder if many people actually read or watch the very large numbers of books on, by or about Pres. Putin. His autobiography from 2000, “First Person” in English, gives background. Besides Oliver Stone’s four hours, interviews, articles, answers to questions, speeches, meetings show him with journalists from many countries with seemingly little discourtesy or anger. He interacts with “friends or enemies” and manages to make agreements and have productive discussions with varied leaders without screams, accusations, wars and threats.

    Even the constant comment we hear that “Putin hates Hillary” has no basis in fact. Although Hillary is the one who has been consistently rude and offensive, Putin made it clear long ahead of time that he expected her to win the 2016 election for POTUS, and was willing to work with whoever the people of the USA elected. (What a difference from the SoS who helped overthrow the Honduran Pres in 2009, and Gaddafi in Libya!!)

    • Abbybwood
      December 4, 2017 at 10:28 pm

      And the CIA is probably busy now trying to thwart the results of the latest Honduran election!

  23. Larry Gates
    December 4, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    The Ministry of Truth does not approve of this article, and Google is doing all it can to make sure that very few people will read it.

  24. December 4, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Article of interest at link below.
    ———————————————————————
    Dave Hodges
    [2017/11/25]
    Google’s War On the Truth and the Birth of the Fourth Reich

    Censorship Plans Announced at the Halifax International Security Forum

    Wsws.org reported in their corporate “Q and A” session at the Halifax International Security Forum, which was recently held in Canada, Field Marshall Schmidt boldly declared Google’s intention to completely control the Internet and to purge any conservative opinion that is not in line with Google’s social, political and economic goals….
    [read more at link below]
    http://www.thecommonsenseshow.com/2017/11/25/googles-war-on-the-truth-and-the-birth-of-the-fourth-reich/

  25. December 4, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    More info at link below
    —The Plutocrats Are Pursuing Internet Censorship And They’re Barely Even Hiding It
    By Caitlin Johnstone
    November 24, 2017
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48272.htm
    ———————————————————-

    • geeyp
      December 4, 2017 at 11:48 pm

      Stephen, I always enjoy reading Caitlin Johnstone and noted that she seemed to come out of nowhere this past year to help “lead the charge” against fake news. I also want to thank you for your posts and site. I am on the mailing list for Freedom of the Press and have written to them on two occasions to ask why we have not heard them speak out on what the US government has done to RT. Still not a word and I think now that I know why. So, anyway, thanks again.

  26. December 4, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Still more info at link below.
    —————————————————————————
    Google’s Eric Schmidt admits political censorship of search results
    22 November 2017
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/11/22/pers-n22.html

  27. December 4, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Censorship is happening. Certain articles and videos are disappearing. Excuses are made “Hmmm we can’t find this website. Or this article is not available” The globalists are laughing at us and getting away with it. Fascism or communism, call it what you will has arrived.

  28. ranney
    December 4, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    This is a great article with an enormous amount of information, but PLEASE! -it is way too long! This should be at lest 2 articles or possibly 3. There is so much here that I would like to share with friends and family who are immured with group think, but I cannot. I know they will never read it – it is MUCH too long and it’s hard to keep your attention fully fixed on something you’re reading when you are wondering ” for Gods sake, when does this piece have an end?” I really like sharing ideas and information I find on line with friends, but all too often I’m stopped from that because the piece is so long and I know that the people I want to share it with will not read it.

    Robert (Parry) if you are reading this, please think about it! We need to get these ideas and information out to a more general public, but if it is too long only the already convinced will bother to read something that provides evidence of the correctness of their thinking. The point is to change minds – and we do that by stimulating their thoughts, NOT by numbing them! And anyone who is not already convinced will surely be numbed by the length of this article.
    I beg you, ask your writers to make two articles instead of one long one. If this involves a payment problem maybe you and the writer can work something out.

    • Sam F
      December 4, 2017 at 9:31 pm

      Sometimes a well done introduction can take care of the casual reader or those overwhelmed by new information, followed by distinct sections on specific issues. This article does have distinct sections with headings, so perhaps the intro could be tuned up.

  29. HLT
    December 4, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Thank you very much for this extended article, Joe. What i would like add is that there is an additional factor in the russophobe propaganda we are all exposed to: The prospect of a European-Russia collaboration. When France and Germany voted with Russia and China against the US Iraq petition for invading Iraq, the White House and the US military were certainly not amused and when Medvedev suggested in 2007, or was it 2008, a common market stretching from Vladivistok to Lisbon the fuses simply went in Washington. Immediately afterwards Georgia tried to reconquer South Ossetia and when Russia defended the Ossetians the game was on for russophobia. The next escalation here in Europe was the Ukraine and although three Georgians have in the meanwhile admitted shooting on both protestors and the police on 20th Feb. 2014 to escalate the situation and cause the coup which removed unconstitutionally president Yanukovich, this has largely been ignored by western news. For anyone who understands Italian or can read German: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZESNWGRNQMs , https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Maidanmorde-Drei-Beteiligte-gestehen-3893551.html. Instead we were informed that “The Russians” are trying to influence Catalonias independence movement, the Brexit vote in the UK and are trying to split Europe in order to have more influence over it. Of course, no proof of the allegations were somehow provided.The media does not even differ any longer in “The Russian government” and “The Russians”, effectively discriminating against the Russian people which reminds on how the Nazies generalized dagainst “The Jews” in the 1930s. It is all very scary and I am wondering for how long i will be able to read Consortium News or RT freely via the internet.

  30. ranney
    December 4, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    I have a question for Joe or someone. Lauria says “The first Amendment does not apply to private companies, including media” Wow! That is news! So, if I understand that, the only places where the 1st Amendment applies is on air from ABC CBS NBC PBS, and NPR and possibly some few other radio stations. Obviously the New York Times and the Wa. Post along with virtually all news papers, are privately owned and thus the First amendment does not apply??? If that is true, I hope someone at Consortium will advise us as to how we should deal with that, and how we can correct the bombardment of “fake news” that all media, along with the government is providing us.

    • Joe Lauria
      December 4, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      Amendment I

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise polices thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

      It applies only to Congress. Private companies can restrict free speech. Even the over the air networks.

      • Skip Scott
        December 5, 2017 at 9:10 am

        I think the Fairness Doctrine was the only thing that came close to supporting the notion of free speech by forcing networks to provide equal time for opposing points of view. With that gone beginning under Reagan, the networks have had a free rein to push corporate approved propaganda unchallenged. Now our only avenues to counter their lies are sites like this one, and their days may be numbered, at least in terms of meaningful exposure, if net neutrality is undone.

      • Randal Marlin
        December 7, 2017 at 5:36 pm

        Not always so, according to US Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black: “Freedom of the press from governmental interference under the First Amendment does not sanction repression of that freedom by private interests.”
        (Associated Press v. US 326, US Reports I (1945): 17-20.)

    • Sam F
      December 4, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      The best way to ensure full and balanced coverage, is to define and regulate mass media companies.

      1. They should be defined as any interlinked group of directors or employees of media organizations whose share of audience in any subject or geographical area is more than about ten percent.
      2. They should be required to depart no more than perhaps five percent in composition of any internal group (managers, editors, writers, directors) from the national distribution by race/creed/color/party/politics;
      3. Their reporting must fairly cover every viewpoint on all issues which might concern their audience;
      4. Their funding is restricted to limited and registered individual contributions (no ads or large donors).

      It should be a felony crime for them to accept any other funding, or deliberately suppress or distort reporting.

    • Zachary Smith
      December 4, 2017 at 9:41 pm

      Whether or not this is relevant, I don’t know, but Exxon is claiming it has First Amendment rights to voice its own “Corporate Person” opinions regarding “causes, impacts, remedies and severity of climate change.”

      In other words, to lie at will.

      https://www.desmogblog.com/2017/12/02/exxon-first-amendment-claims-climate-fraud-case-draw-judge-skepticism

      • Sam F
        December 4, 2017 at 9:51 pm

        I have heard judges of civil rights cases declare (falsely) in court that corporations and even government entities cannot violate civil rights because they are not people. Of course judges are oligarchy operatives, lifelong opponents of constitutional rights for anyone but the rich (and corporations regarded as persons).

  31. Antiwar7
    December 4, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Wow. So well-written, documented, and complete. I wish everyone could read this article. But people who should are the last ones who would.

    One point I would add: mainstream news is infotainment supported by ads, and people don’t like hearing that their own government is evil. It’s childish, but true.

    • Annie
      December 4, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      They are also owned by corporations, and you know what the corporate world is concerned with, it’s their own bottom line. Truth be damned if it doesn’t represent their interests.

  32. December 4, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    A great piece of reporting.

  33. December 4, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post, which is almost always first in line to preach the Russiagate narrative and was responsible for last year’s propaganda piece about PropOrNot that essentially declared any source other than the corporate media either “Russian propaganda” or “deluded.”

    Jeff Bezos has a $600 million contract with the CIA.

    Jeff Bezos just signed on for Amazon to make a few billion supplying the military.

    Never once in the last year has the Washington Post printed a disclaimer mentioning any of the above, although ethics demand they do so.

    As far as I’m concerned, WaPo is a CIA-propaganda outlet. The New York Times has been in the CIA’s pocket basically as long as there’s been a CIA. Unfortunately, convincing those who have been throughly brainwashed of that is going to be a long, hard battle.

    • Randal Marlin
      December 7, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      Thanks for these important reminders.

  34. Helen Loughrey
    December 4, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Very good synopsis.

    1) I would remind the author and readers that ISIS is easily provable as a US mercenary force.

    2) Clinton blamed Comey … perhaps because in the days before the election, the FBI may have made possible the blackmailing of her campaign chair: so that a CLINTON campaign hack of the presidential election ( reassigning Stein votes?) was not completed / reversed on election night. Trump was clearly a friend of the Clintons, played a perfect foil for her, was “elevated” by her, and was never supposed to win. But he was a self absorbed egomaniac with a history of cheating his vendors. And he knew the art of the deal.
    So when the NYPD had leaked the scandalous contents of Huma Abedin’s laptop for which she had signed an immunity deal with the FBI two days before the election, one could imagine a last minute phone call from Trump or Priebus to Podesta in DC – implying a GOP majority congressional investigation into a Clinton Administration sex scandal and the fishing expedition that might expose other VIP clients of Podesta.

    It would explain many subsequent developments such as media presumption of a Clinton win, Republican endorsements of the DNC nominee, Clinton (correctly) blaming Comey for her defeat, Trump promising not to prosecute Clinton crimes after all (quid pro quo deal with Podesta?), Stein challenging the election results, both parties blocking any recount, (reversed) election hack evidence being blamed on a foreign patsy, neocons still trying to re-take power after backing the very surprised loser, Clinton still owing her corporate donors regime change results, impeachment attempts, etc.

    • Seer
      December 4, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      CIA/media colluded with the Clinton campaign to derail and cover up the derailment of the Sanders campaign. THAT is the basis for all that has taken place. Everything has been what always occurs after a very sensitive collusion like this: a massive cover-up. Cover-ups are meant to totally befuddle and derail true investigative efforts that would unearth what really transpired.

      When the leak happened Clinton was effectively thrown under the bus. It wasn’t something that the CIA wanted to do but they had to in order to throw off the hounds: Comey’s job was to put the final stake in the heart of the Clinton campaign. Trump was workable, the CIA figured they had enough on him and his minions to, though it would take more energy, get a Trump administration in line.

    • Randal Marlin
      December 7, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      “Easily provable?” Reference? I’m inclined to agree but I would not find proof easy.
      Thanks in advance.

  35. dahoit
    December 4, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    nyt had editorial that israel financial war should be enacted at NK.Hypocritical.israel has illegal nukes.The editorial has disappeared.

  36. Stephen
    December 4, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    I’m posting this because Oliver Stone is still a sane man and it’s an important conversation.

    https://www.rt.com/shows/sophieco/411832-putin-interview-stone-russia/

    • Virginia
      December 5, 2017 at 12:02 am

      Thanks for the link to today’s RT interview with Oliver Stone. Here’s one of his comments which I think many readers here will appreciate:
      OS: “And I think, every time I talk to Putin over these thirty hours I never sensed any other desire in his part but to have a balance of power, respect for each other’s sovereignty, and a sense of peace in the world. And that’s what people don’t accept from him. They can’t believe this man they consider a villain is an admirer of peace.”

  37. December 4, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Joe Lauria…thanks for a very comprehensive but depressing state of the nation’s “First Amendment Rights”.

  38. geeyp
    December 4, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Excellent essay placing a large majority of the pieces in one place. I do not understand why the people can’t think for themselves. I would think they would want to watch and read RT for its professionalism and quality of news gathering. The crew there, along with other excellent “independent” reporters as Eva and Vanessa, are simply the only few media people who report from the wars we have spread all over the world. I have mentioned my views over my life on censorship over the last few articles here and appreciate this experience that Mr. Lauria has had at the hands or these traitorous entities. Free speech whether or not you agree with an individual is quickly deemed illegal. That is our punishment.

  39. Hide BehindhBehindhere have been wake up calls but they were ignored.
    December 4, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    While even here where we followers of politics gather, we find the word Fascicm and Fascist used and are terms with different nuances between each person’s perception, ;;So I am asking, of those more knowledgable than I, if they think the vast herds of US commoners actually understand what FASCISM is.
    Also if they can be unbrainwashed , would they actually give a Fly’n F…. if our government is a Fascist nation?
    After all, masses of seemingly intelligent Italians, Austrians, Norwegians, Germans and French Vichy of 1920-1945 period just went gayly about their lives , until SHTF from outside their cocoon worlds,
    After all even when US and Britain were at war against those Fascist powers, our nations leadership adopted and even had admiration for how those foreign powers retained control of so many peoples, controls that made them industrial powerhouses .
    Our military, political, industrial, scientific complex, as warned about by Eisenhouer was already existant as the seeded core for FASCISM to grow from.
    You that are younger than I have never lived but under a Fascist nation.
    Your parents grew to age and Gayle went about daily life,, at least 95% of them never realy pushing against the boundaries imposed by our Statist leaders except in the main when they try to limit them at crotch levels.
    Tell me what is the difference between The terms Liberty and Freedom, and then what that was in the minds of the common man when they who warred against British tyrrany, and todays minds.
    In other words, today’s common American are but run of mill spoiled materialistic ignorant bastards

  40. Lars Frogner
    December 4, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Brilliant summary. Thank you

  41. ranney
    December 4, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    I have another question for Joe. He says that Crowdstrike was hired by the Dems AFTER the DNC REFUSED to allow the FBI to look at the server. I was under the impression that the FBI was not interested in looking at the server so the DNC hired Crowdstrike to do it. That, it seems to me, is the story that has been put out by the MSM. Joe, can you give us a link to the article (or whatever) that says that the FBI refused to look at it?
    I think that is an important piece of information. If the FBI really was not interested, one wonders what their thinking was that they wouldn’t want to know if it was a hack or a leak (i.e. something downloaded onto a thing that is easily transported out of the building – like Snowden did). Maybe the FBI wanted US citizens to think it was a Russian hack?

  42. Abe
    December 5, 2017 at 1:28 am

    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.

    WikiLeaks has published thousands of documents revealing top US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) hacking secrets, including the agency’s ability to break into iPhones, Android phones, smart TVs, and Microsoft, Mac and Linux operating systems.

    The Wikileaks Vault 7 releases revealed covert global hacking operations being run by the CIA.

    In March 2017, WikiLeaks published hundreds of Vault 7 files which show how CIA can mask its hacking attacks to make it look like it came from other countries, including Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.

    Dubbed “Marble,” the CIA files contains 676 source code files of a secret anti-forensic Marble Framework, which is basically an obfuscator or a packer used to hide the true source of CIA malware.

    The CIA’s Marble Framework tool includes a variety of different algorithm with foreign language text intentionally inserted into the malware source code to fool security analysts and falsely attribute attacks to the wrong nation.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yc12j1bI2lQ
    [WATCH video starting at 35:00]

    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.

  43. koning279
    December 5, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Excellent analysis! The propaganda is reminiscent of the enormous propaganda and lies immediately after WWII. Without any forensic evidence (until 1988-89 after the Zundel case) the Allies claimed all kinds of things, whether such things were physically impossible, did not make any difference: rational research was not allowed and is still frowned upon after 70+ years. There have been times where real news was allowed to be written, but we’re back to the proximity of war and the US is completely bankrupt without the petro-dollar which Russia is undermining (and China) by ditching the US dollar in a lot of its trade (Venezuela and Iran following suit).
    All the USA can do is rely on its war machine and continue its ruthless wars to rob other countries, hoping that one day they can undermine Russia and start robbing it as they did just after the Soviet collapsed under Yeltsin.
    We should also not forget that it is not so much the average Americans who are in charge of their own government Zionist mates who are calling the shots. In 2005 it was made explicit by an Israeli spokeswoman, Tzipora Menache, who stated that she “was not worried about negative ramifications the Israeli onslaught on Gaza might have on the way the Obama administration would view Israel. She said ‘You know very well, and the stupid Americans know equally well, that we control their government, irrespective of who sits in the White House. You see, I know it and you know it that no American president can be in a position to challenge us even if we do the unthinkable. What can they (Americans) do to us? We control congress, we control the media, we control show biz, and we control everything in America. In America you can criticize God, but you can’t criticize Israel.”
    So the Zionists continue their wars: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, all due to groups of Zionists who have a hand in these wars.
    Pity they are so clever that most still believe some incredible facts about WWII’s victims and zero about the war crimes that we (Western Allies) concealed.

    • Abe
      December 5, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      Inverted Hasbara (false flag “anti-Israel” / “anti-Zionist” and fake “anti-Jewish / “anti-Semitic”) propaganda troll “koning279” is back to “defend Israel” with more “Holocaust denial”, “conspiracy theory”, and “fake news” hoaxes.

      The troll previously posted information unsupported by facts under the alias “Andre de Koning”.

      Hasbara trolls target investigative journalism sites and critical analysis of Israeli government actions or the pro-Israel Lobby.

      Inverted Hasbara troll “koning279” vomits up three whoppers in one comment:

      1) the infamous “Israeli spokeswoman” hoax

      (The fabricated quote came from a single source which was shown to be fictional.)

      2) the “Zundel” reference to “Holocaust denial” literature that denies the Nazi genocide of European Jews during World War II.

      (“Holocaust denial” claims imply, or openly state, that the Nazi genocide of European Jews is an “exaggeration” or a “hoax” arising out of a deliberate “Jewish conspiracy” to advance the interest of Jews at the expense of other peoples. For this reason, “Holocaust denial” is generally considered to be an “anti-Semitic” form of “conspiracy theory”, and is illegal in several countries.)

      3) the “war crimes that we (Western Allies) concealed” allegation

      (Previously “koning279” posts referenced a notorious “conspiracy theory” concerning the Rheinwiesenlager camps built in the Allied-occupied part of Germany by the U.S. Army to hold captured German soldiers at the close of the World War II. While harsh treatment of German prisoners occurred and there was misconduct by U.S. troops in Germany, no evidence exists that it was part of an organized systematic effort or method of genocide.)

      Hasbara trolls weave lies and hoaxes with actual facts in order to distract, divert, and discredit the facts about Israeli interference in American elections and foreign policy, pro-Israel Lobby influence, and Israeli warmongering in the Middle East.

      The Hasbara troll army will make use of any lie, including false flag racist “anti-Jewish” and “anti-Semitic” remarks, for propaganda purposes.

      • Skip Scott
        December 5, 2017 at 1:56 pm

        Thanks Abe. You’ve really got their number.

      • koning279
        December 5, 2017 at 8:50 pm

        I don’t know about Hasbara but I do know that proper studies have made of the “crime scene”. The crime scenes and the real facts have never been researched until 1988-89 and Carlo Mattogno has done meticulous research and countered what the so-called authorities claimed (often with the most unscientific, physically impossible arguments). This has nothing to do with white-washing the crimes of the German Nazis, but all to do with being allowed to get the real facts and not propaganda. Tribunals too should have judicious procedures and not rely on eye-witness statements and statements from tortured main witnesses (recorded and established about Rudolph Hoess).
        Scientific research is not a matter of “denial” but an openness to examine real facts instead of fiction. These lies are produced on mass scales and the same thing is happening now: everybody in the US starts to believe in what they call Russiagate: there is no “gate”, as there are no facts; there is propaganda, preparing for undermining Russia. They did the same with Iraq and Libya: spread lies and all fall for it; same in Syria: lies around the false flag of a chemical attack and they believe the propaganda and not science.
        I don’t have to deny anything, but feel free to study real research instead of propaganda. What the Germans did was criminal: taking people from their homes and making them do slave labor, many of whom died of typhus epidemics. Instead of studying what is real they came up with figures and numbers without the research. Abuse of atrocities by exaggerating it in order to get what you want. Anyway, this is a site for Americans who have a strange culture and suffer from mass hysteria about Russia “meddling” (whatever that is) and never admit at the top level where it should come from, that they are horrible war mongers having killed millions ever since WWII. Ever heard of an American top official who admits they have committed the most horrible war crimes and continue to do so?
        Stop trying to put me in a corner: I know perhaps better than you do what the pain is when a near family member has been executed for resisting the Nazi’s and helping Jews in Amsterdam in WWII. It did not stop me to look for what was real and what was Hollywood’s history of reality. Bye, bye, back to my own favorite site where they don’t put you in corners and accuse you without any care.
        By the way, the author of the book on the Allies’ camps also complained how he could not get any argument in Wikipedia because that too is controlled by deniers of what really happened in the camps: same old propaganda of how good the Americans were: black and white, either/or thinking as usual.

      • Anon
        December 6, 2017 at 9:00 pm

        I don’t think that there is real evidence in the koning279 comment to go off about inverted Hasbara trolls.
        The “inverted troll” accusation is too easy to apply accidentally to sincere commenters.
        When you do so, we lose a sympathetic reader whom you could simply correct on some points.

        • DHorse
          December 11, 2017 at 10:17 pm

          Agreed. Attack the argument…

  44. jaycee
    December 5, 2017 at 3:48 am

    The Globe and Mail “hit piece” directed at the Global Research website in its way epitomizes the current information war. While attacking the website on the basis of purveying conspiracy theories and acting as a witting agent of pro-Russia and pro-Assad networks, the Globe’s writers themselves proffer fake news and an epistemological conceit that “facts” can be partisan. But the writers are mostly repeating the opinions of the NATO “information warfare specialists” consulted for this piece. These specialists appear focused on interpreting common internet behaviours as sinister “networks”, part of their own conspiracy theory whereby sites such as Global Research serve actually as Russian disinformation sleeper cells. The article, thereby, curiously, strikes a fairly paranoid tone reminiscent of wartime propaganda.

  45. Peter Loeb
    December 5, 2017 at 8:04 am

    ALLEGIANCE OBSCURES DISSENT

    “Allegiance” is basically a feudual concept. The individual is
    in effect the property of the lord,patron to whom he looks
    for protection, substanence and whose directions are
    followed without question., These traits are found noticeably
    in contemporary military organizations. They are also found
    in more authoritarian nations. It should be noted that
    most nations try for both at the same time. In the US
    it is called “rally round the flag.”

    In such socio-political environments, dissent is not tolerated.
    It is not tolerated in the USA in many fields today. Those
    who demonstrate for justice for persons of color shot on
    American streets are called “agitators” with the implication
    of being a traitor as well.

    This is not anything new in history. It is not peculiar to the
    Administration of Donald Trump. Such attitudes have a long
    tradition not only in the USA but in world history.

    Rather then a result of the laws of journalism per se
    (the first part of the piece by Joe Lauria above),this
    view affects almost everything we do. In particular
    it affects dissent in that it becomes more difficult
    (if no impossible) to reach any conclusions which
    question approved narratives of the power elite.
    Outside of journalism, it affects all of us in similar
    situations. (Eg. writing a letter to a local newspaper
    is usually not printed at all and may be considered
    treasonous. The writer puts his own safety at risk.)

    One correction: The expansion of NATO, while
    it may be current mainstream policy, was originally
    designed by defense contractors such as
    Lockheed for the purpose of expanding their “markets”
    (i e. profit). See PROPHETS OF WAR by William
    G. Hartung.

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA US

  46. Christene Bartels
    December 5, 2017 at 8:40 am

    The foundations and institutions of this country, including journalism, are in free fall collapse and there is no longer anything anyone can do to stop it. The momentum has simply gained too much strength. At this point, the only thing the few rational thinking people left in this country can do is extricate themselves from the swell of the tsunami, gather their wits, and start formulating a plan for what comes after.

    I’m open to ideas.

  47. December 5, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Great article. Typo Alert
    “Tse decision-makers could be called out on air if they refuse to appear.”

  48. December 5, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Bravo, Joe. You did it again. An immense help to our efforts to spread some truth around.

    Ray

    • Joe Lauria
      December 5, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks Ray.

  49. December 5, 2017 at 10:49 am

    The Germans are bayoneting Belgium babies (LIE), the Iraqis are killing babies in Kuwait (lie), The Gulf of Tonkin (LIE), Weapons of mass destruction (LIE) KFK was killed by a lone gunman (LIE) Bin Laden pulled off 911 (LIE) The Russians hacked the election (LIE), and yet the masses blindly accept

  50. December 5, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Just had enough coffee to fortify myself to read today’s Washington Post op-ed page. Full-page-length left column is by Eugene Robinson, not the worst to inhabit that page of tendentious drivel. Here’s Robinson’s first paragraph:

    “We know that President Trump and his campaign either colluded with the Russian effort to undermine U.S. democracy or tried mightily to do so. We know that Trump has apparently obstructed justice to try to halt investigation into what happened. What we don’t know is whether Congress, in the end, will do its sworn duty to protect the Constitution.”

    “We know that Trump has apparently …” … huh?

    Pretty smart, Mr. Robinson. Keep drinking the Kool Aid and your salary is secure. And you can dismiss any concern about being found — later — naive … or worse. All you need do is recall that no one on the Wash Post op-ed page suffered any consequences for his/her unconscionable performance in lead-up to the attack on Iraq 14 years ago. Aaargh … actually, they are still there and pontificating like a pope.

    Anyone know how I could buy some stock in makers of Kool Aid?

    Ray McGovern

    • Mild-ly - Facetious
      December 5, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      Michael Flynn’s Guilty Plea Sends Donald Trump’s Lawyers Scrambling

      The President insists that the investigations into Russian meddling amount to nothing more than fake news. But the truth is now emerging.

      The New Yorker
      December 11, 2017 Issue

      By Jeffrey Toobin
      > Excerpt <

      On December 1st, in federal court in Washington, D.C., Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements in the investigation the President wanted to stop. Flynn admitted to lying to the F.B.I. about his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador, concerning sanctions imposed on Russia by President Obama. Flynn also apparently reported on discussions with the Russian Ambassador to K. T. McFarland, a Fox News analyst who became Trump’s deputy national-security adviser, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and trusted adviser.

      At the time of the conversations, the Russia sanctions were of interest to the President-elect—largely, it seems, because they were of great interest to Russia. Vladimir Putin’s government wanted them lifted, and Flynn let Kislyak know that help was on the way. After the contact with Flynn, Russian officials decided to wait until the new Administration was in place to respond to Obama’s sanctions. This pleased the President-elect, who tweeted, “Great move on delay (by V. Putin)—I always knew he was very smart!” On this topic, as on so many others, the new Administration seemed to see things Russia’s way.

      For months, Trump has insisted that the investigations into Russian meddling—investigations being conducted by the special counsel Robert Mueller and by both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees—amount to nothing more than fake news. But, as is so often the case when the President cries “fake news,” the truth soon emerges. Flynn’s encounter with Kislyak gets at central questions about the 2016 Presidential campaign and election: why were Trump and Russia doing one another’s bidding, and what promises were made between the candidate and that country in the event that he won? Flynn has now committed himself to answering those questions. He was charged with a single felony count, escaping multiple charges of greater magnitude in exchange for his coöperation with prosecutors. The leniency of the deal indicates that Flynn has information not only about the transition-team members but also about his superiors—and the national-security adviser’s only real superior is the President of the United States. Comey, whose testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee mapped out the President’s potential obstruction of justice, certainly seems to feel vindicated by Flynn’s guilty plea and by what it might mean for Trump.

      https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/12/11/michael-flynns-guilty-plea-sends-donald-trumps-lawyers-scrambling

      • Joe Lauria
        December 5, 2017 at 6:27 pm

        Toobin is wrong. Flynn did not talk about the US easing sanctions on Russia. He asked Kislyak not to impose harsh retaliation on the US for Obama’s sanctions. That is totally different than what Toobin wrote above. This shows the depths of the false conviction Russia-gate faithful like Toobin have. He should have read the charging sheet first:

        https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/01/michael-flynn-federal-charges-full-text-274421

        • Mild-ly - Facetious
          December 5, 2017 at 6:54 pm

          So, perhaps we’ll see how much ‘flipping’ Mueller may evoke from Flynn – the confessed liar.

    • Skip Scott
      December 5, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      Hi Ray-

      Just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas and thank you for all your hard work for truth and peace.

    • Abe
      December 5, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      Pontificating about an alleged “Russian effort to undermine U.S. democracy”, Robinson asked: “Is it acceptable for a presidential candidate and officials of his campaign to encourage an adversarial foreign power’s efforts to meddle in the U.S. election process — and then seek to reward that foreign power by easing sanctions? Yes or no?”

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-we-already-know-about-trump-and-russia-is-bad-enough/2017/12/04/8d2a7de6-d935-11e7-b1a8-62589434a581_story.html?utm_term=.e2be7ea0d2eb

      Robinson attempts to spin special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s interest in Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

      Flynn’s discussions with Sergey Kislyak, the former Ambassador of Russia to the United States, were on behalf of Israel, a foreign power that makes mighty efforts to meddle in the U.S. election and foreign policy process.

      Let’s not lose sight of the big picture.

      Ask yourself a common-sense question:

      If nothing wrong happened with Russia during the campaign, if it was really about more meddling on behalf of Israel, why is the Washington Post and the rest of mainstream media so desperate to cover it up?

      • Abe
        December 5, 2017 at 4:53 pm

        African-American op-ed Hasbara propaganda writer Eugene Robinson has been peddling the phrase “adversarial foreign power” for almost a full year now:

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-assembling-an-anti-government-did-russia-help-get-him-here/2016/12/12/65a45aec-c0a1-11e6-897f-918837dae0ae_story.html?utm_term=.5fdbf22413d8

        Apparently we can “ignore outrageous interference” from Israel because that “foreign power” is an “ally”.

        2016 allegations of Russian meddling on Trump’s behalf have morphed into 2017 allegations of Trump’s meddling on Russia’s behalf in order to ignore the reality of Trump’s ongoing meddling on Israel’s behalf.

      • Joe Lauria
        December 5, 2017 at 6:20 pm

        “..and then seek to reward that foreign power by easing sanctions? Yes or no?”

        Robinson is totally wrong but I suspect his faith won’t let him examine what happened. Flynn asked Russia to *not to retaliate harshly with sanction* on the US. He did offer to *ease US sanctions* on Russia.

        This was assumed all along once it was known sanctions were discussed. But everybody got it wrong now that we’ve seen the indictment. Robinson is still getting it wrong and it may be years if ever for him to overcome his error. It goes against his faith in Russia-gate.

        When he writes, “We know” this and “we know” that, it almost sounds like an incantation because the fact we don’t know anything yet, and maybe never, about alleged Russian interference.

        • Joe Lauria
          December 5, 2017 at 6:22 pm

          No editing function. I meant to say he did NOT offer to ease sanctions on Russia.

          • Skip Scott
            December 6, 2017 at 8:38 am

            Hi Joe-

            FYI- If you re-load the page on your browser, the editing function appears. You have five minutes to edit.

    • Abe
      December 5, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      WaPo and ScarJo and Li’l Jared want us to skip over all the past Kool Aid and really get turned on with some stock in SettlersDream, er, SoadStream.

      “It’s easy”
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WVba-OFKKY

  51. Tom
    December 5, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    This is just another reason to start your own network if no one will give you an outlet. The corporate world is convinced that racism, homophobia and more makes shitloads of money. Thanks to Trump, how many millions has Les Moonves and other CBS stockholders made? If you’re a progressive, good luck in trying to get a progressive to bankroll your operation.

  52. mike k
    December 5, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    The old game of retorting to one who has caught you lying, “you’re the liar” continues on. The accusations of “fake news” fly thick and fast where reality becomes just a matter of opinion, and the loudest voices win the day.

  53. Hans Zandvliet
    December 5, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    Excellent article Joe!
    Very well written: starting off with your personal experiences with censorship by HuffPost, then zooming out to the general picture of how censorship in the western MSM is spreading, then explaining why the powers-that-shouldn’t-be NEED to censor the disgruntled and dispossesed masses in order to stay in power, and to conclude some down-to-earth observations about the idiotic assumptions of ‘Russia-gate’.
    I got to know a new journalist worth reading. Thank you!

    • Joe Lauria
      December 6, 2017 at 7:16 am

      Thank you Hans.

  54. Donna Volatile
    December 6, 2017 at 3:28 am

    Spot on!

  55. exiled off mainstreet
    December 6, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    While Mr. Lauria indicates a reluctance to use the words fascism and censorship, which go together and which have been used loosely for a long time, the facts he has disclosed provide ample proof that at times, even if you are paranoid, they are out to get you. The situation is alarming and it is no longer an exaggeration to describe what is going on as a variation of fascism.

  56. Binky
    December 6, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Yes, censorship, the whole story published right here. Maybe among the mistakes of reason one could conclude that it is not censorship but rather the fact that freedom of the press is reserved to those who own one. This is your press right here.

    Were you censored or is your story just not popular?
    Your statement of non-bias is a bias. Not even in a zazen way.
    Are you confusing modern Russian oligarchs with old Soviet bosses?
    Is this McCarthyism or is Lauria just trying to generate some buzz?
    Is this pro-Trumpism by another avenue?

    It was certainly a lot of verbiage to say not very much.

  57. Fran Macadam
    December 6, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Open and shut case, Joe. It’s a tragedy for truth and democratic accountability that a corporate owned media acting in collusion with the Deep State spiked your reporting.

  58. December 7, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    What amazes me is you properly nail the oligarchs of America while giving the Russian oligarchs a complete pass. This is a clever type of dezinformatsiya debate strategy #17: “Nothing to See Here Folks” that earns you an entry in today’s Dezinformatsiya Prize Competition! Good luck! Fingers crossed!

    • Joe Lauria
      December 7, 2017 at 2:56 pm

      There’s no moral equivalency. Do you think Russian oligarchs threaten world peace the way American oligarchs do?

  59. December 7, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Joe Lauria: Yes. I do. They are billionaires without scruple or need to at least give lip service to the rule of law, coordinated in their activities by the world’s richest oligarch, Vladimir Putin. Like their American counterparts though perhaps more blatantly, they have stolen their wealth from the citizens of their country. They are adept at a new kind of world disruption, cyber warfare, of necessity since they couldn’t succeed in a traditional war.

    You dismiss “RussiaGate” when every day new evidence is revealed about Russia’s attempt to disrupt the 2016 election and how members of Trump’s inner circle colluded with them. Be patient. Special Prosecutor Mueller and New York Attorney General Schneiderman (along with many other State AGs) are investigating #WhiteSupremacistTraitorTrump’s treason and financial crimes. We’ll know soon how many years the State Department-Certified “Fucking Moron” (Tillerson’s words, not mine) will spend behind bars.

    It is astounding that you can correctly identify the negative influence of the American 1% elite and yet assume all the best about their Russian counterparts. Hence the charge you are engaging in a type of dezinformatsiya. I don’t know if you are Russian or Republican provocateur, willing agent or just a useful idiot, but we see what you are doing.

    • Joe Lauria
      December 7, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      I think you are a useful idiot for US intelligence.

    • Joe Lauria
      December 7, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      There’s no point in me repeating my argument. Read my piece again with an open mind, if you’ve read it at all. As well as the piece the HuffPost retracted. It seems clear you do not have an open mind. I condemned Trump as a liar in this piece. Did you miss that? I think you missed everything, including all the evidence I present. You have no evidence. I fear you are a dupe of corporate media, which is a dupe of US intelligence.

      • December 7, 2017 at 5:15 pm

        I’d like a clear discussion of why you think (correctly in my opinion) that America is run by an oligarchy that perverts justice and public policy to suit their own needs and fill their own coffers, but you believe that Russian oligarchs, who are under far fewer legal constraints and checks and balances, are somehow good guys with our best interests (or even just the best interests of the Russian people) in the hearts. It just doesn’t follow.

        • Skip Scott
          December 8, 2017 at 9:02 am

          Please name some sources and site some real evidence. I believe Putin has largely reined in the oligarchs that thrived under Yeltsin as they pillaged Russia. People like William Browder. That is why Putin has become our number one boogeyman. Please provide real evidence that Putin is the world’s richest oligarch. Average lifespan in Russia declined by a full decade under Yeltsin, and the standard of living for the average Russian declined dramatically as well. Putin reversed these trends, and has enjoyed a 60 to 80+% approval rating inside Russia during his entire tenure. I would say this is evidence that the Russian people feel he has their best interests at heart. I believe you have fallen victim to the demonization of Putin by our MSM, who represent our oligarchs who would like nothing better than to return a stooge like Yeltsin to power so they could move in and renew their pillaging.

  60. December 7, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    This powerful, lucid, and honest expose’ of corrupt mainstream media manipulators deserves the attention of every American.

    • Joe Lauria
      December 8, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      Thank you Michael.

  61. Virginia
    December 8, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Mr. Laurie, Marvelous piece! I came back today to re-read most of it. I suppose it goes without saying that the NEWYORKER wouldn’t take it, but I wish you would try. Your article describes in such detail what is going on towards making an Orwellian society.

    • Joe Lauria
      December 8, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      Thank you Virginia. The New Yorker would have zero interest in this kind of piece and I have zero interest in them.

  62. Joe Lauria
    December 8, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    I wanted to republish here a comment from a reader at OffGuardian, which republished this piece.

    https://off-guardian.org/2017/12/07/how-russia-gate-rationalizes-censorship/#comments

    Peter December 8, 2017
    This is the clearest, best-argued and -written analysis I’ve yet read of the current sorry state of Western MSM, and in my opinion one of the most important articles yet published by OffG. It should be widely available to be read by everyone – but, as the article itself makes clear, almost certainly won’t be.
    The media question is vital, literally, because the deluge of propaganda (disseminated by well-trained media sheepdogs who, unfortunately, mostly believe their own yelping and barking) is herding us like sheep to the slaughter from Cold War to hot war (Syria, Ukraine, … North Korea?) to inevitable nuclear holocaust.
    For the first time I can personally remember, we really are living through an era where Orwellian and McCarthyite comparisons seem the most appropriate. Today’s media are Orwell’s prolefeed and the McCarthyism is the virtual impossibility of presenting dissenting views without being mocked, sneered at, vilified and/or simply kept out of sight and sound of the general public.

  63. Cy
    December 11, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Joe has hit the bullseye with this article. I have watched this Russia-gate hysteria (as well as Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria et al) closely through much reading and research of various media ( alternative, int’l, and main stream) and I concur with Joe. It is most frightening that this apparent and obvious censorship is the lifeblood of fascism. Those perpetrating and falling in line with this mass hysteria need only look in the mirror to see where the danger lies?!

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