NYT’s ‘Really Weird’ Russiagate Story

Exclusive: The Russiagate narrative has taken a turn toward the surreal with a report in the New York Times alleging that U.S. spies paid a “shadowy Russian” $100,000 for dirt on the president, explains Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare

A Russian national with ties to cybercrime and Russian intelligence snookered U.S. spooks out of $100,000 by promising them fresh dirt on Donald Trump.

That’s the takeaway from a strange front-page article that ran in last weekend’s New York Times, “U.S. Spies, Seeking to Retrieve Cyberweapons, Paid Russian Peddling Trump Secrets.” That’s not all the article said, but the rest was so convoluted and implausible that it can be safely discounted.

Even Matthew Rosenberg, the Times reporter who wrote the story, described it as “a really weird one” in an interview with Slate. More than merely weird, however, the piece offers valuable insight into the parallel universe that is Russiagate, one in which logic is absent, neo-McCarthyism is rampant, and evidence means whatever the corporate press wants it to mean.

The article says that the U.S. spies were seeking cyberweapons stolen from the National Security Agency by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers in 2016, but that a “shadowy Russian” kept pushing instead evidence buttressing the “golden showers” episode in the Christopher Steele dossier. The spooks were not interested because they didn’t want to soil their hands with “the stuff of tabloid gossip pages” and because they feared that the Russian was trying to drive a wedge between the intelligence agencies and the White House.  As the article puts it:

“The United States intelligence officials … were wary of being entangled in a Russian operation to create discord inside the American government.  They were also fearful of political fallout in Washington if they were seen to be buying scurrilous information on the president.”

But Rosenberg’s account raises a number of questions. One is why the spooks were “desperately” trying to retrieve stolen NSA hacking tools in the first place when, as cyber-security experts have warned, stolen malware is essentially irretrievable for the simple reason that it can be copied endlessly in an instant.  Once a secret is out, the damage is done – there’s no getting it back.

Another concerns why U.S. agents would continue taking “multiple deliveries” of anti-Trump data beginning last October that “they made clear that they did not want.”  Was the Russian unusually insistent? Or were the Americans less adamant than Rosenberg would have us believe?

Indeed, the article says that “at least four Russians with espionage and underworld connections have appeared in Central and Eastern Europe, offering to sell kompromat [i.e. compromising material] to American political operatives, private investigators and spies that would corroborate the [Steele] dossier.”  So it seems that demand for kompromat is as strong as it was in October 2016 when former FBI Director James Comey used the same unsubstantiated gossip to obtain a secret warrant to eavesdrop on an ex-Trump campaign aide named Carter Page.

Since the story about buying back malware doesn’t make sense, could it be that kompromat is what the Americans were seeking all along? This is not the sort of thing that Trump would like to hear. The article says that Russia is out to spread material that will “cast doubt on the federal and congressional investigations into the Russian meddling” even though kompromat buttressing the Steele dossier would do the opposite. It says that the negotiations “ended this year with American spies chasing the Russian out of Western Europe, warning him not to return if he valued his freedom,” and that the anti-Trump material remains in the hands of an American go-between “who has secured it in Europe.”

Which raises more questions still.  Can U.S. spies really lock up anyone they wish?  And where, precisely, did the American stash the kompromat – and to what end? Rosenberg indicates that he also interviewed the purported Russian agent. But nowhere do we get his side of the story concerning what the Americans were really after.

The results are incoherent even by Times standards. One reason may be that Rosenberg dashed the story off at breakneck speed after long-time intelligence writer and former Times-man James Risen published a similar piece a few hours earlier in The Intercept.  But another is that the Russiagate narrative that the Times is pushing is itself incoherent and that Rosenberg is guilty of nothing more than toeing the company line.

He let the cat out of the bag in the Slate interview, which ran shortly after the story appeared on the Times website:

“Spy games happen all the time, but you need a confluence of circumstances [for this]: You need an election with Russian interference. You then need a president to win and deny interference ever happened and say there is no collusion. You need the Russians to say, ‘Oh, wow, let’s take advantage of this. This really worked out. Let’s make it worse and start selling this stuff off.’”

Rosenberg continued: “What the Russians were committed to – what we really know – is that they were committed to messing with American democracy. … If their goal here is messing with American democracy, then getting some of this stuff out on Donald Trump, if it’s real, that’s worse, weakens him further, intensifies the political mess we are in. So there are reasons to do that. Plus, if you can get this into American consciousness through American spy agencies or law enforcement, you will have set off the White House versus its own spies in a way that if you are a Russian spy, that’s great. Disorder and dissension in the ranks of your enemies.”

This is a reporter’s mind on drugs, specifically the drug of boundless anti-Russian paranoia. But no matter how often the Times assures its readers that the Russians are out to get us, that they’re messing with our democracy, that they sow “disorder and dissension” wherever they can because that’s what Russians do – actual evidence, the stuff that sober minds require before making a judgment, remains remarkably thin.

Take Russian manipulation of social media, the subject of last November’s bizarre Moscow-style “show trial” in which attorneys for Facebook, Twitter, and Google were hauled before a congressional panel to confess their sins in allowing the Kremlin to use their platforms to subvert the state.  But the subversive Facebook ads that the alleged Kremlin-linked St. Petersburg “troll factory” known as the Internet Research Agency purchased added up to just $46,000 worth by Election Day, a drop in the bucket compared to the $81 million spent by the Trump and Clinton campaigns.

Politically, moreover, the ads were all over the map, some leaning right, some leaning left, and in one case, a page featuring photos of cute puppies, leaning in no apparent direction at all. Last September, The Atlantic tried to figure out what the Internet Research Agency was up to.  But after some 1,200 words of huffing and puffing, the best the magazine could come up with was that the ad campaign “was too small to seriously influence the election, but too big to be an afterthought.”

In other words, no one knows.  In a rare moment of journalistic sanity, Washington Post reporter Philip Bump observed that the ad buys were “often modest, heavily dissociated from the campaign itself and minute in the context of election social media efforts.”

As for Twitter, Bump notes that the 2,700-plus accounts believed to be Russian-linked generated just 202,000 tweets between January 2011 and August 2017, a no-less-negligible sum next to the one billion election-related tweets sent out during the fourteen months prior to Election Day.

Even if all this shows the secret hand of the Kremlin at work, the effort pales in comparison to that of Israel (AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is among the most powerful lobbies in Washington); the Arab gulf states (which finance virtually every major think tank in DC); Ukraine (which has proved surprisingly effective in swinging official opinion), and so forth.

It barely merits a four-graph story on page A16.  Then there is the alleged Kremlin hack of the Democratic National Committee, the ur-crime that triggered the anti-Russian storm in the first place.

The January 2017 formal assessment by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper contained nothing by way of evidence that a break-in had occurred or that Russian intelligence was responsible. (WikiLeaks, the recipient of the purloined emails, continues to insist that it was an inside leak.)  Even the Times conceded that the report was “unlikely to convince skeptics.”

Since the FBI never inspected the DNC’s computers first-hand, the only evidence comes from an Irvine, California, cyber-security firm known as CrowdStrike whose chief technical officer, Dmitri Alperovitch, a well-known Putin-phobe, is a fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank that is also vehemently anti-Russian as well as a close Hillary Clinton ally.

Thus, Putin-basher Clinton hired Putin-basher Alperovitch to investigate an alleged electronic heist, and to absolutely no one’s surprise, his company concluded that guilty party was … Vladimir Putin. Amazing! Since then, a small army of internet critics has chipped away at CrowdStrike for praising the hackers as among the best in the business yet declaring in the same breath that they gave themselves away by uploading a document in the name of “Felix Edmundovich,” i.e. Felix E. Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Soviet secret police.

As noted cyber-security expert Jeffrey Carr observed with regard to Russia’s two main intelligence agencies: “Raise your hand if you think that a GRU or FSB officer would add Iron Felix’s name to the metadata of a stolen document before he released it to the world while pretending to be a Romanian hacker.  Someone clearly had a wicked sense of humor.”

None of this proves that Russian intelligence didn’t hack the DNC, merely that a lot more evidence is needed before accepting the word of professional CIA disinformation experts. But the Times lives in an evidence-free world in which Russians are guilty regardless of what they do. Whether they’re pro-Trump or anti, out to discredit the Mueller investigation or bolster it, the only thing that matters is that they’re intent on sowing discord – and that U.S. intelligence agencies are blameless upholders of the rule of law.

The reduction ad absurdum occurred a few days later when CIA Director Mike Pompeo, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and other heavyweights testified before Congress that Russian interference in the 2018 midterm elections is already underway.

“Throughout the entire [intelligence] community,” declared Coats, “we have not seen any evidence of any significant change from last year” – which, loosely translated, means that evidence that Russia is on the warpath is as sparse today as it was previously.  Since “President Trump continues to refuse to even acknowledge the malevolent Russian role,” a Times editorial concluded, the possibility that “he is giving Russia a green light to tamper with the 2018 elections … can no longer be dismissed out of hand.”

All that was needed was for Editorial Page Editor James Bennet to hold up a list of 205 known Communists toiling away in the State Department. Trump is a reactionary, a con man, a bully, and much else besides. But with remarkable accuracy, liberals are obsessively zeroing in on the one thing he’s not: a Russian agent.

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

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135 comments for “NYT’s ‘Really Weird’ Russiagate Story

  1. Patrick Kerrigan
    February 20, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    and it professes to be a newspaper?

  2. February 18, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Daniel Maguire

    NO REASON TO BE SURPRISED
    As the NYTimes reports today, the U.S. has been interfering in the elections of countries all over the world in ways the Russians may not have tried…starting in 1947 when the CIA was formed.
    It’s a guy thing and all nations who can, do it.
    So Russia meddled in our election? That is not big news.
    The real news is why they were so keen on getting Trump elected. Trump has given us the answer to that for a full year. The Russians have him by the short hairs and can blackmail him for criminal money laundering….. and, reportedly, for cavorting on camera with Russian prostitutes during his visits there. That’s why he can’t criticize Putin and why he cancels sanctions against Russia and why his people have to lie like fools to cover up his subservience to the Kremlin.
    And that’s also why he has to stop the Mueller investigation because it could put him in jail if Mueller can prove what the Russians already know.

  3. Marcuse Davidson
    February 18, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    I think what we are witnessing is the spectacular empiricle unraveling of how the Military Industrial elite truly controls the political process. The Russian meddling facade has for the first time with a clarity rarely seen showed us what happens when a maverick with enough money to be outside the boundaries of political control is reigned in. Someone who said the Israelis need to come to the bargaining table That Bernie Sanders had some great ideas…..That regarding our invasion of Iraq ‘ we could have gone to the beach and had a picnic and been a whole helluva alot better off that what we got” who questioned why we aren’t friends with with Russia…..That said we have to get out of Syria….There is one common denominator in all of this and that is the Military Imperialist agenda with Israel at the center. Many of you might remember that as soon as Russia indicated that they would support Bashar al Assad the Neo Cons and their media supporters at the NY Times and WaPo went to work. Victoria Nuland got it started with the Ukraine and then it snowballed eventually leading us to Russia election meddling The most important equation in all of this is media control. But how do you control multiple entities with multiple editorialist…..You control their owners or executive management which is exclusively controlled by Zionists tied to Israel. When you start to peel back the layers you find that the US relationship to any country is completely determined by their relationship to Israel. The quote from Ariel Sharon to prime Minister Shmon Perez is as prescient as ever “Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that. …I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.”

  4. Maxim
    February 18, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    I wish we had more Russian influence. We need some adult supervision.

  5. Piotr Berman
    February 18, 2018 at 2:58 am

    “But with remarkable accuracy, liberals are obsessively zeroing in on the one thing he’s not: a Russian agent.”

    If one reads about “accuracy and precision”, precision is good of measurements, or shots, etc. are close to each other, while accuracy measures the difference between the mean result and the true value. In this case, liberals with good precision, but bad accuracy, zero on Russian-Trumpian collusion.

    If they really believed that Russians can sway elections, I suspect that they would cut their deals with Mr. Putin. There is some precedent for it: supporters of a state that shares the time zone with Moscow do have some influence over American election, and leading candidates of “both parties” show them considerable deference.

  6. jose
    February 17, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    Several lines caught my attention: “…evidence means whatever the corporate press wants it to mean ” …the Russia-gate narrative that the Times is pushing is itself incoherent.” and “…Russians are out to get us, that they’re messing with our democracy, that they sow “disorder and dissension” wherever they can because that’s what Russians do – actual evidence, the stuff that sober minds require before making a judgment, remains remarkably thin” In spite the above comments by the NYT, “…Times editorial concluded, the possibility that “he(Trump) is giving Russia a green light to tamper with the 2018 elections … can no longer be dismissed out of hand.” I would recommend the reporter, Mr. Lazare to take a course called ” Socratic Teaching: Foundation for critical thinking” which is a way to seek truths by your own lights. If he did, he could recognize the sheer stupidity of his own article.

  7. William
    February 17, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    No one other than fanatic Israeli supporters believe anything in the New York Times.
    Well, actually, quite a few do. My neighbor, a retired professor of philosophy gets the vast majority of his news from the New York Times, and as a consequence, he simply cannot come to grips with the enormous devastation the Israelis have wreaked upon the Palestinians, much less the immeasurable damage the NYT has done to the U.S.

  8. rosemerry
    February 17, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    The 17 “intelligence agencies” seem to be singularly lacking in power/intelligence (brains)/interest/commonsense if they allow a few intrepid Russkies to infiltrate the American electoral system (whatever that may be) and ruin our famed democracy, which our recent leaders have ensured is very thin and weak, for no apparent benefit since it did not work, according to the reliable Clapper.

  9. xeno
    February 17, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    What keeps occurring to me, is the low quality and basic incoherence of this Trump-Putin campaign. There’s a quality of hysteria in it, similar to that given off by alcoholics / drug users when told they have a serious problem.

  10. Sally Stewart
    February 17, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Jeffrey Carr & his expertise? Well, there’s this: http://www.robertmlee.org/blog/

  11. Michael Kenny
    February 17, 2018 at 11:46 am

    The obvious reason why American spooks would want to get their hands on compromising material about Trump is that it might reveal that they were involved in the Russian attempt to influence the 2016 election in Trump’s favour. Essentailly, they wanted to see what Putin had on them, the spooks, and they seem to beleived that this was the best way to find out. Since thw whloe Putin scam is part of the campaign to destroy what we now call the EU, which has been going on since Kissinger joined the Nixon White House in 1972, the chances that some part of the US intelligence services, most probably the CIA, is not involved are slight. How deeply involved is, of course, the question. Involved to the point of joining in the attempt to influence the election, for example? Since Putin is now openly seeking to influence the Italian election in favour of the Lega Nord, the “nice Mr Putin doesn’t interfere in other countries’ elections” argument no longer holds water. That alll this might sound “wierd” is unsurprising. Having spent more than 50 years observing intelligence services, I regard everything connected with them as “wierd”.

  12. ChinesePenisGate
    February 17, 2018 at 7:41 am

    Pederast cia, fbi,nsa,dnc,doj, dod, mi6 and police are “nlgger faggots,” pederasts necrophiliacs and inbreeds to a polio disease using electromagnetic brainwashing weapons to “make any lie true.” What a toilet nlgger fck rape whole and us eu un are not Asian they are nlgger toilet babies B===D~

  13. Pekka
    February 17, 2018 at 6:12 am

    I believe 13 Russian entities and individuals (indicted by Mueller) did what many others did during the election. In short, they tried to make money like many others did.

    The following articles describe how it is done.

    Inside a Fake News Sausage Factory: ‘This Is All About Income’
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/25/world/europe/fake-news-donald-trump-hillary-clinton-georgia.html

    This is how Facebook’s fake-news writers make money
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/11/18/this-is-how-the-internets-fake-news-writers-make-money/?utm_term=.5b3dcd2bec99

    INSIDE THE MACEDONIAN FAKE-NEWS COMPLEX
    https://www.wired.com/2017/02/veles-macedonia-fake-news/

    How Facebook powers money machines for obscure political ‘news’ sites
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/aug/24/facebook-clickbait-political-news-sites-us-election-trump

  14. Gerry
    February 17, 2018 at 5:51 am

    It is not RUSSIAGATE but STEELEGATE and indictments will come now that it is clear that the tale they told applied to themselves:
    THEY interfered with the election and projected all their own shadow on to Russia. Crimes exposed, whether MSM reports it or not.
    Now comes the chapter on Crime and Punishment.

  15. Pat Maguire
    February 17, 2018 at 3:09 am

    So Clinton campaign wanted some “dirt” on Trump. So Russia obliges and creates “dirt” by spending $46K in ads and that’s the “dirt on Trump”? Maybe the Dems are the ones in league with Russia?

    NYTimes still won’t renounce their Pulitzer Prize and Walter Duranty who whitewashed Stalin’s massacre of millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s. Seems like the NYTimes and Rosenberg are still carrying Russia’s water.

  16. February 16, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    Hasn’t this gotten more interesting? I seem to remember arrest of some FSB members in Russia last year, vaguely. The article is confusing, i agree, but The Saker says he’ll post more soon. Soros is involved, too. How ignorant Americans are if they accept what MSM tells them! Pathetic! I hope CN will follow on this, too. Heating up since March elections in Russia, as Dave says.

  17. February 16, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    Beautiful, I have posted this story, and your cyber attack story in comments section of The Intercept in Risen’s story, ” Is Donald Trump a Traitor?” lol

  18. February 16, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Read “A Brief History of the Kremlin Trolls” on The Saker website. Not a brief article, shows that the indicted members of the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg were working with the CIA. It appears this indictment is for show, it’s like CIA indicting itself. Khodorkovsky also involved in the subterfuge.

    • FobosDeimos
      February 16, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      Jessika, The article is quite confusing but it does point to American intelligence setting up or helping to set up the so called Internet Research Agency, with the aid of some Russian FSB officers who were tried for treason as a consequence of their actions. In this respect, it is interesting to see that today’s indictment in the US does not even try to explain why those Russian officers were criminally indicted for treason in Russia. If the US allegations were true, the Grand Jury should have addressed the issue of the 2016 Russian legal proceedings against the Internet Research Agency. For example, they could have said that in order to disguise their own actions, the Russians mounted a “fake” trial, or something like that. The fact that the indictment makes no allegations at all about possible Russian government involvement with the 13 defendants, coupled with the fact that it includes no references whatsoever to the 2016 treason trial in Russia, gives one reason to suspect that indeed the whole thing may very well be a CIA scheme. Still, I think that the official response from Russia so far (Sakharova’s sarchastic comments) is very poor.

      • Gregory Herr
        February 16, 2018 at 10:13 pm

        I love her sarcasm because it is based in righteous indignation. Her intelligence and awareness runs circles around inane State Dept. blather.

        • Realist
          February 17, 2018 at 2:53 am

          I too love her snarky responses. The same feisty ‘tude seems to exude from the public statements by other Russian women in positions of responsibility (and I can’t remember names here) like the Crimean prosecutor and the CEO of RT. It’s a response that says, if you can’t respect my intelligence, THIS is what you get. It’s quite appropriate.

      • February 17, 2018 at 6:25 am

        @ FobosDeimos: “… the indictment makes no allegations at all about possible Russian government involvement with the 13 defendants …”

        That’s been taken care of in the Wikipedia page on the Internet Research Agency. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Research_Agency

        That page got an amazing number of edits right after the indictment was issued and now leaves the impression that the Agency only worked for the Russian government.

    • mike k
      February 16, 2018 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks for the link to the Saker article Jessika. Very informative. The MSM maintains their perfect record of all the lies that are fit to print.

  19. MB
    February 16, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    Remember how the NYTimes threw oil in the anti Saddam hysteria that brought us the Iraq war? Hope this is not a precursor to some new misadventure……

  20. Lois Gagnon
    February 16, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Psychopaths always accuse their victims of what they themselves are doing. This Russia-gate insanity is a smokescreen for US meddling in the upcoming Russian elections. We’ve already done it to get Yeltzin re-elected in the 90s.

    It is sad beyond belief that US liberals are so brainwashed by the MSM and the DNC that they believe what ever the corrupt intelligence agencies tell them to believe. They cast aspersions on Trump supporters for being easily fooled by his phony promises. They are no smarter.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 16, 2018 at 10:50 pm

      2nd verse same as the 1st.

  21. nonsense factory
    February 16, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    I don’t believe that Russia had much if anything at all to do with Clinton’s loss to Trump. The main factors were Clinton’s neglect of the Rust Belt states that Obama won in 2008 and 2012, as well as Clinton’s record of allegiance to wealthy Wall Street interests over the average American middle-class citizen. Her foreign policy record was also disastrous, from Libya to Syria, it was more like GW Bush neocon policy than anything else.

    The claims about Putin ordering disruption of the 2016 election are simply not supported by solid evidence – not the DNC or Podesta email leaks, not the Twitter/Facebook social media claims, none of it bears scrutiny. It really just looks like Clinton’s excuse for losing an election to a blowhard reality TV star, someone who Bernie Sanders would have handily beaten. The Bush-era neocons are also promoting this line, largely because the US military-industrial complex needs enemies to justify bloated military budgets.

    Nevertheless, there do seem to have been relationships between Trump’s team and Russian business interests that should be investigated, in particular related to the Tillerson/Exxon – Rosneft/Sechin deals, as they appear to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Foreign Agents Registration Act. However, similar arrangements between the Clinton Foundation, Hillary & Bill Clinton, and foreign and corporate donors deserve a similar level of scrutiny. In fact, you could probably put a large number of Congressmembers in jail on such charges, particularly if Israel and Saudi Arabia are brought into the mix. I don’t expect Mueller, tool of Wall Street interests, to touch any of that.

    In the larger picture, this whole story is just a distraction from more important issues, such as:

    (1) Energy policy and global warming. Trump could be attacked by a robust Democratic platform to support renewable energy, by talking about how his solar tariffs slow the rate of new solar installations, about how the big money in the fossil fuel sector and the investor-owned utilities (like Warren Buffet, a big Clinton sponsor, as well as the Republican Kochs) are trying to prevent this transition – but Clintonites won’t bite the hand that feeds them.

    (2) Decent immigration and trade policies. Democrats could talk about how NAFTA drove illegal immigration, largely because American agribusiness dumped corn in Mexico, driving 3 million farmers into bankruptcy – and how Donald Trump benefited himself from cheap illegal labor – but this would upset the big money donors in the agribusiness sector, so the Clintonites won’t talk about it.

    (3) The opiate crisis. Trump talked about the ‘drugs and drug dealers’ – but not a word about the pharmaceutical manufactures, their distributors, and the various pharmacies and private doctors who pushed pills on their patients, creating all those addicts – but again, this hits the interests of Wall Street donors and the Pharma lobby, a top sponsor of Clintonite Democrats, so they won’t talk about it.

    In sum, on every position where Trump is vulnerable, the Clintonites won’t attack him because it upsets their big money donors to do so. Leaving them with nothing but Russiagate BS, and some worn-out social issues, that don’t address the massive wealth inequality, the poverty and crumbling infrastructure and poor health care and bad education, all across the United States.

    • Gregory Herr
      February 16, 2018 at 10:06 pm

      In short, the Clintonites won’t attack Trump on important issues because the D & R’s are in thrall to the same vested interests and have the same vulnerabilities, including pay-for-play, war profiteering, and other insults.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 16, 2018 at 10:48 pm

      Yes nonsense factory and by doing everything you mentioned that would be the sensible things to do, but none of what you listed would antagonize Russia enough to shake Putin’s crib, and that I’m afraid (as you know) is the plan.

      There was a couple of times since this Russian instigation stuff started I had hope it would go away, but ever since Putin saved Obama on getting Assad to give up his chemical weapon arsenals, well the Neocon’s went nuts… you know this, I know, but I just had to repeat it, because actually all of this insanity and bullying other nuclear powers for no other reason than for the U.S. hegemony project is to attain control of the world makes me concerned a lot, if that’s a suitable way to put it. Joe

    • Realist
      February 17, 2018 at 2:44 am

      I think you’ve identified some of the most egregious flaws in the Democrats’ bombastic opposition to the current administration and a few steps they could take to improve their chances at the ballot box in their next go-round with Trump (or his successor). Problem is, I see no attractive party members advocating any of that, most importantly not any young people. The old fossils, all case histories in senility, are bound and determined to run against a Trump-Putin ticket till their pacemakers crap out. And the young uns are unashamed Killary or Obomber sycophants. You doing anything in 2020?

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 17, 2018 at 10:45 am

        I don’t see it either, but what ‘mr factory’ explained I have been saying to my family for quite a few months now, although ‘nonsense’, if I may use first names, said it much better. Joe

    • Abbybwood
      February 19, 2018 at 1:57 am

      I think the main reason Clinton lost was the visual of her going down at the 9/11 Memorial on a beautiful September day in NYC where the temp. was 70 degrees.

      Thanks to one video from a tourist, the whole world saw her being thrown into the back of a van like a side of beef. She even lost her SHOE on the curb during the situation then she disappeared to her daughter’s penthouse for several hours.

      This, plus Servergate, plus her penchant for being a pathological LIAR (“and we landed under sniper fire” etc.) were the reasons she lost.

      She, her husband and daughter should be in federal prison now for massive charity fraud and “pay to play” schemes while she was Secretary of State.

      Listen to any recent video with Charles Ortel and you will quickly realize what a CRIMINAL Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton really is:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prs4kkUcjwg

  22. February 16, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    US gets the Gold Medal for meddling, champions for at least 60 years. Also medal for spinning. The deep state uses psychological mechanism of displacement, blames another for what they actually do.

    • irina
      February 17, 2018 at 11:29 am

      “US gets the Gold Medal for meddling . . . ” Absolutely !
      The NYT did have a ‘throwaway’ line to that effect in its rather breathless article
      yesterday (top of page one, of course) about the Russians being Indicted, down
      towards the end of the article when most readers would have moved on to the
      latest about the school shooting or the fresh scuttlebutt about The Donald’s
      sexual indiscretions. Here’s the words they use to absolve themselves from
      being total shills :

      “In August 2016, Russians posed as Americans and coordinated with Trump
      campaign staff to organize rallies in Florida. Such anecdotes are rare examples
      of how intelligence agencies work covertly to influence political outcomes abroad.
      THE CIA HAS CONDUCTED SUCH OPERATIONS FOR DECADES . . .”

      Uh-huh.

  23. Michael Rohde
    February 16, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    And of course none of this is reported by our vaunted “free press”. The Echo Chamber is not reporting news as much as telling a story which it either believes it knows the ending to or has powerful reasons to sell the story it is selling. Neither adds up to the truth. Comparing this to AIPAC makes sense but it doesn’t answer the biggest question I have. I think the Romans often said ” Cui bono” I think that is Latin for ” to whom the good “. Felt called it following the money 2 millennia later. I tend to think they are the same thing 2000 years apart. Someone thinks they stand to make a lot more money if it plays out this way, i.e., the Russians are coming, than if hillary and the DNC got caught out and that’s why she lost. At least that makes the most sense to me at this point.

    And one cannot discount the thousands of people who will benefit financially if we keep up the perpetual war in the ME. Which brings it full circle back to israel. This small country of around 8 million people has now taken over 300 billion dollars in treasure from the U.S. since 1947. That includes the loans that will never be repaid, direct cash transfers and almost unlimited military equipment and technology. Simple long division tells you that equals approximately a brand new Cadillac for each and every israeli man, woman and child. That may be the single most powerful variable in the equation. It certainly appears to be a biggie. The neo-cons keep popping up and raises israel in my mind. None of it bodes well for the U.S. in the short term. We could very well be at war with Iran before the November elections and I could see AIPAC as the chief cheer leader and justifier just like they did for Iraq II when W decided to get Sadaam. That’s scary. Iran is not Iraq.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 16, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      Michael that last paragraph gives all the reason the bastards need to pull their grand theft off, good remarks.

      It is a wonder that Hillary & Debbie, or maybe Tony & John on this one, that they didn’t say how the DNC had to sabotage the Sanders campaign because Bernie is a Putin bot. I’m sure RT wrote some good stuff about the Socialist Bernie. Allen Dulles is rolling over in his grave that his dimwitted predecessors didn’t include this catch all into their plan, and take Bernie out along with Trump. Why they could have at least figured out a way to make the Burn Sanders the patsy. Geesh. Joe

  24. Aurora
    February 16, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Could this also be an attempt to divert us away from the real election meddling going on?

    Greg Palast lays it out in his 2012 book “Billionaires and Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps.”

    • rosemerry
      February 17, 2018 at 3:19 pm

      All of Greg’s work right up to now reinforces this book and his others (“Vultures Picnic” is also worth a read). There is no need to find any foreign influences to blame- the American voting arrangements, with dodgy machines, different state laws on ID and voting booths and times, removal of people from voting rolls, gerrymandering, lots of tricks not needing hacking or tweeting from afar. The average rate of voting in the USA is about 55% of those eligible, while it is over 75% in other democracies. People realize their vote is not going to give them representation-that depends on money and lobbies.

    • Abbybwood
      February 19, 2018 at 1:50 am

      Apparently the Dept. of Homeland Security will be coming out with a report in March detailing how many millions of illegals voted in the 2016 election.

      I live in California and I won’t be surprised if Sanders actually DID win the California primary after all. Exit polls said he DID.

      Just imagine how the convention would have gone if Sanders won the California primary. Imagine the momentum and the cloud over Clinton at the time and the “Superdelegates” having to decide, “do we want to WIN or do we want to take a gamble with Clinton?”

      They took the gamble with Clinton and LOST. Sanders would have beaten Trump.

  25. ToivoS
    February 16, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Thanks Daniel Lazare for this story. I read that original NY Times piece and was left with the impression: This makes no sense at all and quickly dismissed it. Well thank-you for giving it some sense. Just another attempt to by the NYT to provide more fire-wood to Russo-phobia hysteria that is sweeping the country.

    One just might conclude that those forces pushing the Russian collusion meme are becoming so desperate that they are openly abandoning common sense.

    • Realist
      February 16, 2018 at 5:21 pm

      They probably had a heads up from Mueller and wanted to get on the bandwagon before the indictments. You don’t eff with the effin’ USA, baby!

      • Gregory Herr
        February 16, 2018 at 9:49 pm

        Especially if you’re a Russian citizen with an opinion. But hey, Yeltsin all the way in ’96! And “Yats is Our Guy” in 2014.

  26. ranney
    February 16, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    I love the last line: “with remarkable accuracy, liberals are obsessively zeroing in on the one thing he(Trump) is not : a Russian agent.”
    That really sizes up the Democratic party I used to belong to. I sure hope the citizens of this country can get it together enough to oust the Republicans in November and also replace the idiotic, war loving Hilleryites with actual human beings who are ready to work toward a livable planet and a moral, law abiding government rather than the terribly depressing lies and fake stories we have been subjected to for more than a year.

  27. Jose
    February 16, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    The Russia story is being used to take complete control of the US election system. It is another blow to any semblance of democracy and a move to consolidate corporate of the government.

  28. mike k
    February 16, 2018 at 3:41 pm
    • FobosDeimos
      February 16, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      I don”t find Russia’s response to be particularly smart, really. First of all, the indictment is against 13 Russian legal entities and individuals, but it contains no allegation at all of an involvement by the Russian Governent or any state-controlled entity. Zakharova (Lavrov) officially reacting to the indictment and dismissing it out of hand does not look as a necessary move. It risks being portrayed as an over-reaction from Moscow when nobody on official circles is being accused of anything.

      • Gregory Herr
        February 16, 2018 at 9:43 pm

        Zakharova was likely responding to a question about the indictment and correctly pointed out its absurdity.

        Lavrov had a discussion earlier today with Euronews about more significant topics–particularly Syria–and was probably asked about the indictment as well. His response: “On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that supporting Donald Trump has never been an official Russian policy, even if some Russians did express their backing of the new US leader.”. He pretty much referred to the fact that the Russian government did not sanction an “opinion” regarding the American choice. For this to be portrayed as an “overreaction”–well, you’d have to be Rachel Maddow or one of her dittoheads. And wouldn’t that drip with irony?

    • Realist
      February 16, 2018 at 5:19 pm

      Rachel Maddow will absolutely have an orgasm in front of the TV cameras tonight when she reports this.

      • Nancy
        February 16, 2018 at 5:32 pm

        Ewww!

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 16, 2018 at 10:25 pm

        Just so happens I’m watching Madcow and at exactly 9:21 pm she broke down to say finally, finally, Justice is being represented by Robert Mueller….I’m not sure I should have watched this, because now I feel dirty and I’m prompted to go to confession…bless me father for it has been 47 years since my… just kidding, but yeah this is happy Limo-Liberal Day. See good things do happen…Rachel’s back gotta go. Joe

        • Virginia
          February 18, 2018 at 12:10 am

          Joe, That says a lot about justice “not” being served for all the preceding nine or ten months of expensive investigating. So does this one little tidbit make up for all the waste and harassment of our President? Maddow is trying to justify herself for her belief in Mueller and the investigation.

  29. February 16, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Whew. In view of today’s indictments, am I ever glad that I did not frequent FaceBook during the election year. Those clever Russians might well have persuaded me to vote for Trump. Whew.

    Ray McGovern

    • mike k
      February 16, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      The interesting thing about those sowing paranoia is that they never need to come up with a shred of proof for their insinuations. Their response to demands for proof is just to double down and put forth more unfounded suspicions. The trouble is that many people are beginning to realize that the real truth of things is being hidden from them, and that the authorities are often lying – so they become paradoxically even more open to stories that lack any real foundation. Lacking the patience and tools to ascertain truth, they are left with which rumor to believe, and just choose the one that suits them, or the one most of their friends go for.

    • February 16, 2018 at 3:36 pm

      Great come back Ray. Bless you for serving the better elements of our nation. I follow all of your publications and public speeches. Hope this Russiagate nightmere ends soon.

      • BobS
        February 16, 2018 at 3:57 pm

        Yeah, brilliant comeback….”nothing to see here, just keep moving”.

    • evelync
      February 16, 2018 at 4:13 pm

      hah hah hah……

      yes, I’d like to believe that American voters have developed some immunity to being manipulated (although I’m contradicting my earlier comment, lol) And I believe that their votes represented a justified distrust of the establishment candidates.
      So the real impact of social media on Clinton’s loss may not be exactly what her camp would like to hear.

      I found that Bernie Sanders framed the issues in a way that exposed the wrongdoing against working people in this country and what he said rang true and cut through the fog. And it earned him peoples’ trust across the political spectrum…..
      Donald Trump figured that out and used it to his benefit. I don’t think the establishment in either party have yet figured that out or have any intention of doing anything about it.

      and on a side note, as much as I like to interact with my grandchildren, I told ‘em years ago that I’m not comfortable with social media, lol. (so my perceptions are not well-informed but I’d like to have some faith in people)

      • BobS
        February 16, 2018 at 4:23 pm

        “I’m not comfortable with social media, lol.”

        Not a helluva lot different than hanging out on comment threads.

        • evelync
          February 16, 2018 at 7:02 pm

          hah hah hah….maybe

          although on social media, you’re interacting with close friends and family, you’re not sharing ideas as much as you are sharing personal photos/plans/details/feelings/arrangements etc.
          I don’t like to do that with an advertiser hanging over it all.

          Anyone, if they’re interested is welcome to read posts on comment threads and no one is compelled to divulge personal info….

          am I missing something? :)

    • Realist
      February 16, 2018 at 5:16 pm

      What about all those world leaders who had disparaged Trump, not merely on Facedbook or in intercepted emails, but in their press releases? Shouldn’t they be indicted for meddling in American democracy too? Mein Gott, with this precedent, Mueller has the opportunity to convict the entire rest of the world that does not agree with the policies of the American establishment! Do we have enough jail space?

      • Gregory Herr
        February 16, 2018 at 9:15 pm

        And the French may as well indict Obama for “conspiracy to defraud” their democracy by shilling for Macron in the week leading up to their election. And of course Macron colluded!

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 16, 2018 at 10:15 pm

          Yeah but here in America we want our free press censorship plan to work, so quit picking on reliable Bob Mueller. (Sarcasm & dizziness) now cue the Blue Angels.

          • Realist
            February 17, 2018 at 1:48 am

            Ha! Putin has been accused of influencing the Brexit vote because he wants to see the EU fragment–which he repeatedly denies. But it was Obama who was booed in Britain when he blatantly told the Brits how to vote in that election. Perfect example of the hypocritical double standard practiced by the exceptional country. You don’t have to be all that smart or perceptive to notice all the blatant lies they deliver right to your face, showing their absolute disrespect for the American public. That’s the most obnoxious thing about the pompous asshats now in power.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 17, 2018 at 10:38 am

            I wish I had your memory Realist. Joe

    • Nancy
      February 16, 2018 at 5:34 pm

      I know–I always consult facebook for the important decisions in my life.

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 16, 2018 at 10:18 pm

        Nancy that’s why Mark plagiarized…I mean invented it, and your joking right? Joe

        • Nancy
          February 19, 2018 at 2:23 pm

          Yes Joe, a feeble attempt at humor! I refuse categorically to join facebook for a multitude of reasons.

  30. February 16, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Thanks Daniel. A VERY instructive piece.

    Ray McGovern

  31. February 16, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    It seems clear that there was some Russian interference in democratic processes. What is really shocking, if true, is the level of American Security Agency interference in the democratic process.

    The tangled web gets murkier when we realise that the interference in democratic processes is merely a disparate turf war by those competing for power and it seems that the collateral damage, to overturn democracy altogether, is thought to be an acceptable price to pay.

    This interference is not acceptable, particularly in view of the much trumpeted claim that America is the greatest democracy in the world.

    That now seems an empty and fallacious claim.

  32. February 16, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    US is undoubtedly already planning meddling in Russia’s March elections when Putin runs for another term, so they focus the American sheeple on another fabricated story about Russia.

    • Dave P.
      February 16, 2018 at 3:25 pm

      Jessica –

      Yes, all these articles, indictments, and trouble making in Syria are aimed at disrupting the coming presidential election in Russia in March.

      For the last month Los Angeles Times has been putting articles on it’s International News Section displaying Alexander Navalny, protests, Russian Oligarchs and their Yachts with Russian Officials, corruption, and all that. In the page wide picture, the protest by about 200 was made to look like attended by thousands.

      In Syria, two days ago, there were several Russians killed in attack by U.S. supported YPG with the help of U.S. Forces. In Europe the Vassal States along with U.S. are magnifying their echo chamber. And there are orchestrated moves in other areas as well.

      In Washington, it seems like they are coordinating their moves targeting Russia – all geared towards disrupting the Russian Election. The Empire’s prestige and influence in the World has dipped during the last few years. The Power Structure is desperate – is trying to reverse it with all means at it’s disposal no matter how dirty they are. The Russian election is one month away. It is hard to tell what is going to happen.

      • Martin - Swedish citizen
        February 16, 2018 at 5:56 pm

        Dave P,
        This makes perfect sense.

        It is sick, but makes perfect sense.

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 16, 2018 at 10:05 pm

        Dave read what I wrote above to mike…. yes, it would not hurt to imagine how all this weird, mixed with ugly, and disappointing news must seem to the average Russian. I feel that half of this Mueller psy-op mission is aimed at the Russian opinion polls, and thus Putin’s re-election. If nothing else while pulling wool over American eyes, mess with the Russian election.

        What should concern us is Russia’s Right and any discussion their having of fears over a U.S. 1st Strike ambition, and if this meanspirited beating up on Putin and Russia all the time breaking the news is a forewarning of bad things to come, and then Russia’s equivalents to our American JCOS override the whole of the Russian government and hit their equally large RED button first…never happened? Remember it wasn’t long ago as a remembrance every Russian carried a picture of one of the 27 million who died defending their Russian country from the last invader who breached their borders. This sentiment is a big deal, and one that every American should respect.

        I might add, Russia is the country who’s leader Putin was the first to call George W Bush afte 911 to offer his nation’s assistance… Dave I think the Russian people know that too. Joe

        Ps maybe provoking Russia so as Russia will do something stupid is what Washington wants to happen?

        • February 17, 2018 at 1:14 am

          @ “Ps maybe provoking Russia so as Russia will do something stupid is what Washington wants to happen?”

          That’s been a neocon focus for several years. Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, etc.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 17, 2018 at 10:28 am

            Paul, yes it has, and thank you for the validation. Joe

        • Dave P.
          February 17, 2018 at 2:25 am

          Joe, from what all of us have observed for almost two decades now, Putin has proved to be a very strong, stable, pragmatic, wise, and level-headed leader, unlike the ones we have here in U.S..

          As Paul Merrell noted in his comments, Washington has been trying to provoke Russia for some time now – Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, but to no avail. My fear is that in their desperation, the Rulers in Washington may do something stupid during the next month to Russian Election. We have to keep our fingers crossed – Syria and Ukraine are two very hot points.
          I only hope that good sense and some wisdom prevails in Washington.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 17, 2018 at 10:34 am

            Dave what I just described doesn’t necessarily need Putin to be put in effect. There are more Russians in Russia, than Putin. Just like here in our country, a small minority could end up running with the ball.

            Think the worst? Yes, because I’m sure there are a couple of scared Russians who might rather decide to be more safe than regretfully sorry. So American politicians should think twice before shooting off their chicken hawk mouths. Besides why be so ignorant? Joe

  33. LLewis
    February 16, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    The phrase “cannot be dismissed,” combined with a highly insulting claim, is a smear artists’ tactic and a weasel-worded admission that no convincing evidence exists to support the claim, and it has no place outside of a gossip column. The Times thus disgraces itself by writing, “the possibility that “he is giving Russia a green light to tamper with the 2018 elections … can no longer be dismissed out of hand.”

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 16, 2018 at 9:46 pm

      The NYT & WaPo make the National Enquirer that much more legit…everybody wins!

  34. D.H. Fabian
    February 16, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Eh. The entire Russiagate Tale has been wildly convoluted since the aftermath of the 2016 elections, when the Clinton wing inexplicably shouted, “Russia stole the election!” Every few weeks, a new twist is added to the spin, and we’ve passed the point where any credibility is left. Those who have a vested interest in spinning the tale continue to do so, but the rest of us have moved on.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 16, 2018 at 9:44 pm

      Yes but it kept the conversation off of Hillary & Debbie’s putting the screws to Bernie Sanders…. or it at least that’s how the script was suppose to go, but never the less it’s all Vladimir Putin’s fault anyway.

      • Drew Hunkins
        February 17, 2018 at 12:37 am

        Exactly Mr. Tedesky.

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 17, 2018 at 10:25 am

          Thank you Mr Hunkins.

    • Zhu Bajie
      February 17, 2018 at 7:06 am

      Russiagate is pretty obviously the Democrat’s version of the Republicans’ Birther nonsense. Neither side can admit it lost, so must blame scapegoats.

  35. Realist
    February 16, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Well, even stranger things have now happened.

    According to NBC News: (developing)

    The special counsel’s office said Friday that a federal grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities in the probe into interference in the 2016 elections.

    The indictment says that the defendants allegedly, by early to mid 2016, were “supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump … and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”

    An announcement from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office said that the government accuses all the defendants of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Three defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. Five defendants are charged with aggravated identity theft.

    This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

    (Indictment attached to story)

    I’ve got to leave for an appointment. But the rest of you keep up with this. I suspect it’s all confected out of whole cloth, but the government will still push it and the public will probably still buy it.

      • KiwiAntz
        February 16, 2018 at 6:15 pm

        Yes, “there he goes again” in the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, that great American actor whose greatest role other than Bedtime for Bozo, was masquerading as President of the United States, like Trump, another champion of the rich & greedy? Mueller, after wasting millions of dollars of taxpayers money & still without a shred of evidence in this neverending nothingburger of Russiagate tripe has now announced that it was 13 Russian’s who stole the election from 325 milliion people who were compelled to somehow vote for Trump.It was RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA & by the way did you get that it was RUSSIA! HOW CAN YOU STAND IT AMERICAN’S! You can’t be that stupid can you? And more importantly how can Russia stand this nonsense with these endless, hysterical lies spouted by the most corrupt, hypocritical Nation on Earth? Russia doesn’t waste 760 billion dollars a year, on its MIC, the combined military spending of most countries military budgets worldwide? Russia doesn’t have 800 military bases around the Globe operating in 176 countries if my figures are correct? Russia doesn’t violate the UN charter & laws by illegally invading & occupying other countries such as Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan & Syria. & murdering millions in the process in direct violation of the Geneva conventions & should be classed as War crimes that should be investigated at the Hague? Russia is not the Country meddling in the poltical arenas from Venezuela to Urkraine & orchestrating coups to overthrow democratically elected Govts? The USA is doing or this meddling, not RUSSIA! The barefaced hypocrisy of America defies belief? Land of the free, home of the brave? What a joke? More like Land of the brainwashed slaves, home of the cowards & tyrants!

        • Dave P.
          February 16, 2018 at 8:20 pm

          KiwiAntz-

          Excellent posts. You have summed up a lot. it will go a long way in educating the Americans if only they will post your comments on the front page of NY Times and broadcast them on all the Corporate TV networks. And the chance of that happening here is zilch. It is only possible – for your comments to be posted on NYT – in a properly functioning truly democratic and sane society which we are neither.

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 16, 2018 at 9:19 pm

          KiwiAntz, if I agree with you, will you put me up in a ‘SafeHouse’ in NZ? Joe

      • February 17, 2018 at 5:37 am

        There is a .jpg version of the indictment that’s difficult to read being passed around by mainstream media. That looks like it could be an amateur job of obfuscation to me, considering that the original on the DoJ website is a completely legible (and text copyable) PDF: https://www.justice.gov/file/1035477/download

        • jeff montanye
          February 17, 2018 at 11:06 am

          well there’s this much: “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity,” Rosenstein said. “There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”

          • rosemerry
            February 17, 2018 at 3:06 pm

            This is great. No Americans would be so evil, and the dastardly Russians failed in their plans anyway.
            We have wasted many months and done nothing useful for the security of the US population, but we’ll keep looking anyway!!!

            In any reasonable society, this would have been discarded months ago. As KiwiAntz points out, the whole arrangement allows the results we see. Little mention is made of the vast voter suppression and the huge abstention rate from elections in the USA, far greater than in any other “democracy”.

      • Abbybwood
        February 19, 2018 at 1:44 am

        But interestingly it turns out most of the FB ads were bought by the Russians AFTER the election.

        This according to a VP at FB.

        http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/02/18/facebook-vp-ron-goldman-russian-ads-election/

    • mike k
      February 16, 2018 at 3:19 pm

      The Russia did it conspiracy nuts are getting desperate to at least appear to have something to show from all their enormous efforts. This one is a true nothing burger with nonexistent fries on the side. They know the accused Russians will never deliver themselves to them, so they are safe from being directly contradicted, and will hold onto the flimsy claim that they would have been able to convict them if they had showed up. Typical dirty tricks of the slimy spooks.

      The thing to constantly remember is that every player in DC is a part of a totally corrupt crime against humanity operation, who is pretending to be a straight arrow friend of the people. Keep this firmly in mind, and you will not be deceived by all the masks these villains wear and the devious games they play to avoid being shown up for what they are. Real truth, honesty, and virtue do not exist among the variety of swamp creatures inhabiting the center of US government.

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 16, 2018 at 9:37 pm

        Hey mike from another angle should we ask the question, ‘what must it be like to hear these allegations of evil doing, and be Russian’? Over an 18 month period the Russian people have been bombarded with bad news, from airliners blowing up killing over 200 Russian civilians, a couple ambassadors assassinated, a military choir plane goes down in the water, and on and on, and this stuff is driving Russia’s Right to want to respond, where Putin shows only resolve and patience while at the same time he is reaching out calling America his multipolar global partner…. but America says nyet.

        So if we were Russian would we have within the last two weeks been upset over the drug charges against our Russian athletes and our country’s Olympic participation status in the Olympics, or had great concern over 13 of our fellow citizens being charged with election fraud espionage crimes and who maybe indicted by a U.S. Special Attorney? If there is a little unrest in the average Russian consciousness could you blame them? Imagine what could be going through a Russian persons head, having the world’s largest military of superior Nuclear grade ready weapons always picking on your country, and for what?

        The best we Americans can hope for is Russian patience, and continued Putin leadership. Joe

      • February 17, 2018 at 1:07 am

        @ mike k: “This one is a true nothing burger with nonexistent fries on the side.”

        I disagree, Mike. But it takes a hard look at the indictment’s dog-not-barking-in-the-night context to see the indictment’s importance. It carries a hidden message.

        For at least a couple of weeks now, House Republicans have been on a major counter-offensive against high-ranking operatives in the FBI, CIA, and DoJ who attempted: [i] to get Hillary Clinton elected by shielding her from criminal charges for her use of a private email server for classified emails and by pointing a charge of collusion with the Russian government at Donald Trump; and [ii] once Trump was elected to achieve his impeachment via the collusion charge’s continuation.

        The counter-offensive’s success can be somewhat objectively measured thus far by the number and rank of high government officials resigning, either in disgrace or to get out of the way of the counter-offensive. On the latter point, see http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/report-rachel-brand-didnt-want-to-lead-russia-probe.html (DoJ number 3 resigns to avoid taking responsibility for Mueller’s oversight when Rod Rosenstein is forced out of DoJ in the near future).

        One net result of the counter-offensive has been enormous pressure on Mueller to quickly show that he has some evidence of Trump’s alleged unlawful collusion with the Russian government. I’ve been watching and there have been very strong pundit voices on the right calling for Mueller’s investigation to be ended based just on what has been disclosed so far. That pressure has been so clearly focused that Mueller could have no doubt what sort of evidence was being demanded to keep his investigation going.

        So what precisely did Mueller present? His indictment of the Russians says nothing at all about Trump’s alleged collusion with the Russian government. Indeed, his indictment does not speak to Russian government involvement at all. He alleges that private Russian actors attempted to skew the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump (and against Hillary Clinton). There is no U.S. extradition treaty with Russia and the Russian government certainly won’t voluntarily cough up the defendants so the U.S. can prove that Russians attempted to influence the election. So Mueller will never be called upon to prove a single word in that indictment. And he knew that, so he acquired a flexibility in what the indictment said that would not be present in a normal case where one would have to prove what one alleges. (As a retired heavy-hitter litigator, I’ve had a lot of grins today reading statements by nearly all sides referring to the indictment as “evidence.” It’s nothing of the sort and those saying otherwise know better.

        So what is the indictment’s hidden message, actually what are its multiple messages?

        From the omission of collusion charges when needed to stall the House Republican warriors’ charge, I infer a message from Mueller to them that he will not be bringing collusion charges against President Trump. Mueller is going to stand aside and not attempt to impede the Republican charge to take the collusion issue off the table. The congressional investigation into the Dirty Dossier and its use before the FISA Court proceeds without Mueller’s interference as does the investigation into the State Department’s role.

        To the military/industrial complex, Mueller throws enough “facts” about Russian involvement in the 2016 election to keep Trump in line in regard to the new Cold War. Likewise, the establishment Democrats get enough to talk about Russian interference but not enough to continue bad-mouthing Trump with the Russian smear during the 2020 election. Mueller alleges a conspiracy but it is a very small conspiracy involving a small number of people. And Mueller stands silent on the topic of DNC emails being “hacked” by the Russian government.

        With the FBI Inspector General about to issue a report on the conspiracy among FBI leadership to keep Hillary Clinton from being indicted for passing classified information on her private email server and with some signs that this is already being investigated as a criminal conspiracy as well, Mueller is not in my opinion likely to investigate any topic that has “email” in the title.

        There’s room to suspect that the indictment is Mueller’s draft of a peace treaty, something that everyone can agree on to end Russia-gate. In that regard, it’s noteworthy that all main public players are treating its allegations as gospel truth.

        Opinion among close watchers tends to vary a bit but I’m seeing some persuasive commentary suggesting that Russia-gate is drawing to a close. On the evangelical right, the Conservative Treehouse says it’s over with only mopping up remaining. [1] On the independent progressive side, Mike Whitney thinks it’s likely to end after the State Department and NSA have been put through the wringer, when former CIA Director John Brennan is finally questioned about the origins of Russia-gate. [2] I’m less certain about how it ends, but my investigative nose is telling me that the Republican counter-assault worked, that there’s no strong resistance left. I’m inclined to agree with the irreverent drift of the commentary by Ronald Thomas West [3] on some sorry history of three of the main actors:

        “Of course, none of this will be brought out by the Congressional intelligence committees, to collapse the credibility of ‘three amigos’ Special Counsel Mueller, fired Director Comey & present FBI boss Wray to help kill the ‘Russia collusion’ farce; because all parties are complicit and tainted in the cover-up. Grassley wants the DoJ personalities to fall on their swords while Feinstein is besides herself, going crazy, as the investigation into President Skunk implodes around the Steele Dossier. It’s like an exclusive ‘serial-killers only’ swingers’ club where everybody is tired of the limited opportunity at couplings, yet their sex addiction requires everyone screwing everyone out of habit and everyone hates everyone’s guts. At some point, the entire crew will resort to some new mass murder, like allowing war in Korea, to get it all back on track.

        “Welcome to DC.”

        [1] https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/02/10/game-over-judge-jeanine-interview-with-hpsci-rep-chris-stewart/

        [2] http://www.unz.com/mwhitney/is-john-brennan-the-mastermind-behind-russiagate/
        https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/02/07/bob-manson-charlie-mueller/

        [3] https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/02/07/bob-manson-charlie-mueller/

    • Nancy
      February 16, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      NPR reported it like it was 9-11 all over again. RUSSIAN NATIONALS DISPARAGING HILLARY CLINTON–OH MY GOD! KATIE BAR THE DOOR!

      • Bart Hansen
        February 16, 2018 at 7:54 pm

        Once again legions of clams residing in the nearby Chesapeake Bay are fleeing into the mud from those in Washington who seek ever more pearls to clutch.

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 16, 2018 at 9:39 pm

        Nancy tell NPR I’ll go get the duct tape. Joe

  36. Courtney Harlowe
    February 16, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    The Russiagate monster has officially gotten away from its masters…though in my opinion the seeds of this fiasco have been blowing around in Washington every since it became obvious to the “powers that be” that Putin was not going to be easily played and was not going to be a “useful idiot” puppet for them.I’ve watched the level of demonization of him as well as anything remotely Kremlin related grow steadily as Russia resurrected & began to become a worthy player on the world stage. The US fancies itself the one great world power, and this gives them permission to run roughshod over any country that refuses to go along with their agenda.America deludes its people into thinking it has allies,when in fact it has only vassals,to be used & held close but only so long as they agree with the great power.Those countries who refuse become ‘threats’ and there forever must be dealt with…a bit like Grady in” the Shining” telling Torrance to “correct” the situation. The US takes it over blown military budget to good use “correcting” the countries that disagree with them,thereby sealing their own fate(aka Iraq,Libya,Syria etc.) Defenders of democracy they call themselves. Now we have Russia proving,as it has since Putin’s election that it wants equal.partnership and respect, it will not be used and play the US games, so therefore its a threat. Since the US most likely understands a hot war with Russia would be deadly,a new cold war,spurred in by the corporate owned puppet media screeching Russia did it!! Into our face every day is a pretty good second choice. The only problem is that more people are waking up & getting wise to their games, they are turning to the so called “alternative media” derided as “disinformation” by the msm & the govt. More people thanks to these sites are hearing,many for the first time,what the msm won’t tell you.Many like myself have lived through so called “gas lighting” both in my personal.life and by virtue(??) of living in the US & seeing what’s been going on. I have no idea how Russiagate will end, my guess is it will fizzle & fall flat on its face & then the msm will have to find a new “gate” to shove down our throats. I hope that as more people do begin to see the truth they will begin to push back, its happening already….people by nature don’t like to be controlled, any suppression,repression etc. feels restricted,censored to us….anyone interested in true “freedom of speech” will find their way to this alternative media & that will be the only way to throw the light full in the Russiagate monster’s face & eradicate it forever….. I am cautiously.hopeful

    • Virginia
      February 16, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      Great post, Courtney.

      I wonder if it is not a question we should consider about who is controlling whom. Are the US Elites running things or are the Rothschilds (the Empire)? Well actually, they are so intertwined, so transnational! But would our breaking away from the privately owned Federal Reserve help? One would think so.

      • KiwiAntz
        February 16, 2018 at 5:25 pm

        Virginia, your thoughtful posts concerning the “American mind” find reasonance to all thinking people around the Globe especially those who find themselves held hostage by their corrupt leaders? From my vantage point in NZ, American’s are the most brainwashed, gaslighted people in the history of the World, even more so than german citizens in Hitler’s Nazi Germany? I think the biggest problem is your corrupt two party political system in collusion with a vile corporate, propagandist Media? NZ also has two main poltical parties, left & right but we have a political system called MMP, based on the german sysrem of mixed member representation. This system is much more democratic than the American system & really forces either party to form alliances with smaller parties to prevent any major party from dominating & governing alone! This acts as a handbrake to prevent one dominant party from overriding the wishes of its people. As a isolated Nation, NZ has always pulled it’s weight on the World stage, we have fought in the major wars & protested against America’ s invented wars, but uniquely we’ve also forged our own path, we are the first Nation on Earth to have given woman the vote, the first to go anti nuclear & to ban all nuclear weapons & nuclear propelled ships from our shores & for that we were ostracized by the US. We have just elected a kind, compassionate Prime Minister called Jacinda Ardern who is a decent, empathetic leader who listens to her people & acts immediately & decisively , totally unlike a Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Political donations & moneys insideous presence is limited to fixed small amounts & lobbyist’s are banned from influencing Government. We have a fully Govt funded, single, public Heathcare system despite a population of just 4.5 million people, rather than a privatised US Healthcare model. Our Media is robust & provides both sides of the argument rather than one narrative like the corrupt US corporate Media. Although we do have our problems & are by no means a perfect utopia, we are heading in the right direction. I despair for the ordinary American person who are becoming slaves in a war mongering, Oligarchy run Country, which treats its own citizens as brainwashed sheep to be herded this way or that way? What’s the solution to saving the “American mind”? I’ve provided some examples from a NZ perspective but ultimately the American people have to rise up as one united voice to demand real change & that requires courage & perseverance!

        • Virginia
          February 16, 2018 at 8:19 pm

          KiwiAntz, Thank you for your reply. How heartwarming to be assured there are places on earth that still function in a sane way! Your place, NZ, for example, which by the way I had the good fortune to visit once. Your system sounds a bit like a parliamentary system, which would be a welcomed change to our national two-party system.

          A site headline I saw today read, “Yes … the Russians did hack!” and then went on to say, Russia and China hacked us with LIGHT breaking into the “…unitary Deep State of terror, war, and hate.” Your post, KiwiAntz, offers another ray of light.

          • Virginia
            February 16, 2018 at 8:41 pm

            I went back to find the site where I saw that provocative headline, Russia hacking with light into a dark world. There’s a video that goes through history in quite a lovely, hopeful, healing way. The producer also predicts a coming ice age, but don’t let that turn you off to seeing a remarkable film: http://www.ice-age-ahead-iaa.ca/h264/Russians_are_Hacking.mp4

        • jeff montanye
          February 17, 2018 at 10:53 am

          kiwi you mention what is the key to the matter of the corruption of politics in the u.s.: campaign contributions. with the current fec vs. citizens united supreme court decision in place giving corporations the essentially unlimited free speech rights of the actual human citizens protected by the constitution, and equating speech with money, we are fighting a sisyphean battle against, among others, aipac, big oil, big pharma, wall street, and the military industrial complex. like plessy vs. ferguson, this decision must be overturned.

    • RandyM
      February 16, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      Russophobia is too useful for too many to go away anytime soon. Certainly for the national security state and the MSM. Kind of blown away that liberal democrats have so completely lost their minds though. They’re even throwing their support behind the FBI, CIA, and the NSA. I’m sure russiagate will run out of steam at some point, but I think the damage will be great.

  37. evelync
    February 16, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    What makes more sense to me – if Russia ( meaning people paid by the Russian government) – secretly instigated social media posts, is that social media might be used to investigate how Americans react to various subjects. An effort to read the American mind at this point in time.

    Why would they do that? Well, I can’t fathom the American mind myself. I’m not sure I understand my own unconscious mind that seems to make decisions before I am even aware of it. We are bombarded with cultural nonsense from morning to night including fear mongering by Big Pharma over a variety of unpronounceable diseases for which we have to ask our doctors to prescribe various profitable meds. And we’re bombarded with violence and fear mongering by our own government – our War on Drugs; our overseas wars, our unfair opaque financial system that wages war on poor people and minorities and all sorts of other cultural aberrations. Many of us are fearful and we lack emotional maturity. We’re taught that Greed is Good and asked to believe that the most “successful” people are at the top of businesses than can only be called oligarchic because of their immense power and influence over our politicians and therefore over us.
    Trump, in cooperation with the U.S. Congress, gives them the big tax cuts and punishes low wage working people, taking away the meagre benefits they’ve earned through hard and thankless work.

    Are we emotionally mature or immature – take Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, and other pussy grabbing individuals who do not have any respect for women. And probably very little respect for themselves.

    So what might interest foreign powers who might choose to dabble in social media is the general mood of a people who have allowed Republican and Democratic governments to push us into endless regime change wars with little interference from the people who are paying for it. Enriching the MIC while demoralizing the people who serve and are tasked with droning people who may turn out to be part of a wedding party….. Post traumatic syndrome is not an accident. It happens when people are made to do terrible things or see terrible things. And for what? As historian Andrew Bacevich points out we are making a mess with no end in sight.

    Social media may be used by foreign governments to find out how fearful we really are. How immature and demoralized. Can we be pushed to continue to support these failing domestic and foreign policies? Or perhaps if they think this country is going off the rails (as some of us do) because of destabilizing domestic financial deregulation shifting wealth to the top and endless costly wars and they think that they are a target (Hillary Clinton had a list of targets as did Dick Cheney before her), then maybe they are curious about whether or not the people in this country can rise to take some responsibility and demand saner policies.
    Maybe it’s related to the stability of our economy and financial markets. Who knows?
    If they’re not interested in knowing this, I am.

    And maybe, if it turns out to all be a fiction then it was, after all, driven by the dying Democratic establishment which ignored the “deplorables” and then needed a scapegoat to explain their loss.

    And don’t our intelligence officers have more important things to do than find “dirt” on people? If we were a more tolerant people, then some of the harmless things that people get blackmailed for would be out in the open – such as sexual orientation which is something everyone’s born with and shouldn’t be a big deal. But no! Our media focuses on that instead of the policies that are ripping most people off.
    We are a very troubled country right now, IMO.

    • Virginia
      February 16, 2018 at 2:34 pm

      Evelync, Your statement: “An effort to read the American mind at this point in time…Well, I can’t fathom the American mind myself.”

      Try reading the mind of the manipulator of the American mind; i.e., the motivations of Deep State/Shadow Government/The Elite. Then you’ll have your answer. Apparently the American mind is very malleable. Probably only a very tiny portion of Americans are really thinkers who are willing to stand alone. Most seen to want to be a part of the mainstream. Thinkers risk a great deal to “come out. ..and be separate.”

      • evelync
        February 16, 2018 at 3:47 pm

        Thanks, Virgina! It’s true and the rest of us are so easily manipulated and distracted from the things that really matter over the long term.

        The biggest lie I think is that TPTB know what’s best and they can’t tell us what that is because it’s a secret for national security reasons…….

        The secret is where our tax dollars are spent
        while our domestic policies rip average people off and help create foreign enemies to justify funneling those dollars into one more war.

    • orwell
      February 16, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      evelync, I don’t know how old you are, but as you say “We are a troubled
      country right now” I would guess you are in your early 20’s.
      Evelync, the USA has been a “troubled country” for hundreds of years.
      Please please please read Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United
      States” and you’ll learn all about it !!!!!!!!!

      • jeff montanye
        February 17, 2018 at 10:38 am

        we have been a troubled country for hundreds of years and the world a troubled world before that. it is the human, animal and plant condition, i daresay, but to avoid the role of the likud mossad zionists in our most recent iteration of calamity is to misread history profoundly, imo. evelyn asks and for what (do so many experience post traumatic stress syndrome)?

        the current answer is seven countries in five years, aka the yinon plan, the reason for 9-11, the war on terrorism, the plot to rule the mideast. christopher bollyn is convincing in his two books on 9-11 and the war on terror respectively. try the documentary everything is a rich man’s trick for a longer perspective.

    • February 16, 2018 at 11:06 pm

      Thank you for offering the best rebuttal yet on this article. I am appalled at the change in Consortium News since Obama became president. I never trust any article where labels are so casually placed on the millions of us who just want an honest, decent human being to run this country, surrounded by the same- intelligent, wise and honest. The world could be a better place if we would all go back to review our ancient history, world civilization classes, and our modern history. History does indeed repeat itself, just listen to Michael Beschloss some night on MSNBC or on PBS Newshour. We all could use a huge break from social media and public persuasion when it comes to dumbing us down instead of opening our eyes.

    • Heath
      February 17, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      as a guess, the Russian were running a test to see how much they would need to commit to an influence campaign, I suspect they might have been deeply shocked by the results

  38. Realist
    February 16, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Ha! It is our own domestic spooks who are messing with American democracy, not the Russkies. Nice try, NYT.

  39. February 16, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    The totally surreal has now become commonplace. The more absurd the story’s evolution, the more it’s “truth” has become accepted as common sense. The more implausible, surreal and absurd the Russiagate narrative becomes as it endlessly morphs week after week – the more credible it becomes to “true believers” it would appear. This would of course all be endlessly entertaining in a very dark comedic sense, were the stakes for humanity not so high. It has literally become impossible to believe even a – “single word” – that emanates from MSM, the State Dept,, CIA, or any government official elected or appointed. It would appear that the empire’s embrace of the neocon’s madness has turned the entire nation into one big open-air lunatic asylum. You really can’t make this stuff up.

    • Nancy
      February 16, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      Really, it’s like a very bad spy movie targeted at the most uneducated among us. And yet, the “educated” are lapping it up. And look out–here come the midterms.

      • February 16, 2018 at 2:15 pm

        Gary, Nancy…Yes it’s totally surreal…it makes me think of a mouse trap baited with the finest camembert that our “educated” gourmets can’t resist, even though it’s smelly and stale.

  40. Adrian E.
    February 16, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    As to the story with the kompromat – since in the US, there is demand for such kompromat that allegedly confirms the ludicrous story that in 2013, allegedly Russian secret services foresaw that Donald Trump would become a candidate, win the Republican nomination and have a chance at becoming president and that therefore, in 2013, they collected kompromat on him and kept him as a puppet, it should surprise no one that there are lots of Russian spies or people claiming to be Russian spies who want to sell such kompromat to such Americans. Probably, many Russians think quite practically. Americans who really believe in that story and the ability of Russians to foresee a future that anyone would have considered very unlikely at that time, thereby have demonstrated their irrationailty sufficiently, so it may well be worth trying to get thousands of dollars for a porn film (maybe one in which no faces are visible). If these people are insane enough to believe in the Russiagate conspiracy theory and magical abilities of Russians, they may well be ready to pay hundreds of thousands of dollar for a porn film they could get for a few dollars.

  41. Ol' Hippy
    February 16, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Drama, political drama to sell papers and poor drama at that. This whole hysterical episode of Russiagate will go down, eventually anyway, as a ruse to displace sour grapes from a humiliating loss of an election. Nothing has convinced me that Russia of all places undermined the last election, the Koch brothers for sure but Russia, please. I’m sure the IC has had their hand in the cookie jar and stirred the pot so to speak to keep folks unbalanced in these investigations as to the ‘collusion’ of Mr Trump’s team to help win the election. Mr Trump has probably had dealings with Russia as has Mr Tillerson, is that illegal? They’re businessmen, they do business with foreign countries. Mr Risen has a new piece in The Intercept today and it seems the he too has bought the whole Russiagate mystique. I’m still waiting for hard actual evidence that Russia had more influence than the big money by all the players here used to buy elections.

    • Zachary Smith
      February 16, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      Drama, political drama to sell papers and poor drama at that.

      I have no better explanation than yours. Recent hires by the Neocon York Times and the Bezos Post make sense in no other context I can imagine. Why add a climate science Denier from the Wall Street Journal except to increase subscription money from the rightwingnuts? Why would the Bezos Post hire that horrid Megan Mcardle (Libertarian/Koch) – the one who advocated grade school kids gang-rush heavily armed school shooters. See, we don’t need no stinking “gun control”, just a display of guts in the elementary schools!

      The results are incoherent even by Times standards.

      Why people actually pay good money to the likes of the Times or the Post is beyond me. But they do, and the neocons obviously believe that publishing a wide range of ‘nuttery’ is the secret to success.

      • Virginia
        February 16, 2018 at 2:17 pm

        What imagination! The stuff of convoluted novels!

        I read this morning a quote by Mussolini that went something like this: Fascism is the merging (cooperation of) government and corporations.

        Makes me think of the TPP deal. Corporations would decide trade controversies and tax payers pay if our (U.S.) sIde loses.

        • orwell
          February 16, 2018 at 5:19 pm

          Virginia, that Mussolini quote is the most famous quote he ever uttered.
          Congratulations on your finding it.!!! Reading Accurate History
          will help you discover many other valuable things. The past never really
          goes away. It always informs the present. “History repeats itself,
          first as Tragedy and then as Farce”. That quote is attributed to
          Karl Marx.

          • Virginia
            February 16, 2018 at 8:22 pm

            Orwell, I’m glad I found it — that quote — because it’s the best definition of fascism I’ve seen or heard. I’ll keep reading “accurate history,” a lot of which I find right here on CN. Good advice. Thanks.

          • Gregory Herr
            February 16, 2018 at 8:40 pm

            We’re getting a heavy dose of both…tragedy & farce.

        • Soldim
          February 17, 2018 at 7:05 am

          It is not the best definition of fascism. It is the only definition accepted by political scientists the world over: fascism is the highest form of corporatism; it occurs when the interests of the corporate and political elites coincide. I am glad you found it. Once people realise this they begin to understand that fascism can exist without brown shirts running around or jackboots parading down Washington every other day (though as it happens we will be witnessing that soon too but that was only a matter of time).

          • Virginia
            February 18, 2018 at 12:03 am

            Soldim — I lived in Washington, DC at the time of Desert Storm, and I saw the horrendous military parade put on by H W Bush. It was startling. I hope we don’t have to witness that again in this country, When, why, did this country become so militaristic! (Usually while I’m asking such a question, it gets answered before I’m finished typing. I know the answer!)

            I see where your train of thought is leading, and I hope you’re wrong: “…brown shirts running around or jackboots parading down Washington every other day, …only a matter of time.” Please, no!

          • Soldim
            February 18, 2018 at 5:28 am

            Hi Virginia. I am replying to my own post in the hope that you will see this as I am unable to respond directly to your post. Firstly, I share your feelings. I have two young chidren and the last thing I want is for them to become fodder in some horrible war. The point I was making was that the usual imagery that folk associate with fascism (jackboots, brown shirts, etc.) are only proximate factors not core elements. The core factor in fascism is this confluence of political and corporate interests. By this definition the US is already a fascist state. If you are not already aware I suggest you look into the longitudinal study by Profs Gilens (Princeton) and Page (Northwestern) where they conclude that the US is an oligarchy (I suspect that had they called it fascist they would not have been allowed to go to print). The issue is the direction of travel (forever widening inequality, and a regime that does not represent the intersts of the people) will inevitably lead to disaffection and upheaval leading in turn to repression from a state that will then show its true fascist colours. I don’t like it any more than you do but this is where it is heading.

          • Virginia
            February 18, 2018 at 10:53 am

            Soldim, I read your excellent reply. Thank you. I am aware, and I knew what you meant. (The actual past and now Trump-proposed military parade were an aside!) But the fuller explanation of fascism, and how it was camafloged by a more acceptable term oligarchy, is most interesting. People talk about preventing fascism but often refer to oligarchs as having much power over our elected officials and government. I see now they simply don’t know that we already have fascism. By any other name, … would it not bear the same stench?

            Your points are well made and well taken: “The core factor in fascism is this confluence of political and corporate interests. By this definition the US is already a fascist state. ..The …forever widening inequality, and a regime that does not represent the intersts of the people will inevitably lead to disaffection and upheaval leading in turn to repression from a state that will then show its true fascist colours.” That’s exactly what’s happening!

      • Peter Loeb
        February 16, 2018 at 5:27 pm

        An excellent article.

        However, I have chosen not to circulate it because my focus should
        be on other issues such as Israel, Syria, economics etc.

        As observed by another consortium writer, it is a shame that so
        many liberal/progressives have latched on to “Russiagate”.

        I understand this in a direct a personal way. My Dad was a
        political functionary (probably called today “political consultant”)
        and would proudly proclaim his anti-communism. It was, he would
        say, necessary to get the legislation passed that we need etc.
        etc. Being than a little boy and then a youth, I didn’t argue.
        He was a great Dad!

        So much for our allies in World War II, “Uncle Joe”,
        without whom we may not have been “victorious”in WW II For
        his cooperation (political naturally) and the loss of
        22 million Russians (more than all other allies
        combined) Russia became public enemy no.l.

        —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 16, 2018 at 5:51 pm

          Peter with what you said, I’ll lay odds on it that your father is smiling now on you, for your honesty. Joe

        • rosemerry
          February 17, 2018 at 2:55 pm

          I often wonder why the whole Cold War effort and anti-communism was a trick, since the “takeover” of Eastern Europe by the USSR was not unreasonable since the USSR was the main force in defeating the Nazis, and the fear of the extension westward of the Red Menace taking us all over (even right to the USA!) was never based on reality. Now, decades after the fall of the USSR and the communist Menace, why do we have to keep hating Russia??

          • Peter Loeb
            February 18, 2018 at 12:28 pm

            FOR THE US, HATING RUSSIA “WORKED”, ROSEMERRY…

            For a longer and more profound analysis of the so-called
            “cold war” read Joyce and Gabriel Kolko’s THE LIMITS OF POWER.
            A short recommendation but a large book. (Among other things
            the “cold war” is redefined….)

            To be too brief, Harry Truman found that aid could be gotten from
            reluctant congresses with proof that the measure was “anti-communist”.
            Truman was politicalLY astute enough to take the “hint”.

            All consortium writers should be reminded that though Senator Joe McCarthy
            was an abomination (I can still hear his voice, My Dad— mentioned above—
            had to see his FBI file—against rules—and sign a loyalty oath
            to prove that he was not a communist (he was working in the
            White House for Harry at the time), that strain of intolerance and of
            blaming other groups has been an integral part of American history
            since its founding. There are too many examples. Banishment
            (Ben Franklin and others) of Quakers who as pacifists refused
            to take oaths to the US Constitution (pledge allegiance),
            John Adams “Alien and Sedition Acts” which required deportation,
            Wilson’s “Red Scare” and on and on.

            There are always others coming to take away our American
            innocence and purity.

            I especially liked the note that

            “…Spy games happen all the time…”

            Does anyone remember when Americans were urged to build shelters
            to protect ourselves from the Russians?

            Does anyone remember being shepherded as a school class
            to see movies with a defense department narrator about
            how the Russians were coming?

            Does anyone remember how little boys and girls in school were
            instructed on how to crouch under their old wooden desks
            as protection against a Russian atom bomb?

            Thanks Joe about your kind words about my Dad. He was
            never an ogre and always so patient in his indoctrination
            of his son. There was, however, definitely a party line that
            must be adhered to. I recall sitting around a formica
            kitchen table and every family member was encouraged
            to express his/her opinion on an issue freely. That
            was “democracy”! l At the end, my Dad would announce
            the decision. THE decision. His, of course.

            Next year will be 100 years since his birth.

            —-Peter Loeb, Boston, M, USA

    • jeff montanye
      February 17, 2018 at 10:10 am

      the primary lasting purpose of russiagate will be to profoundly impeach the legacy media and the clandestine/investigatory agencies of the u.s. government. that the media persist in the “official story” while ignoring the questions which arise from the successful “rebuff” of the fbi’s effort to examine the dnc email servers and the fbi’s further, deeply unconvincing contention that it never investigated the murder of seth rich or even examined his phone or computer, tell us nearly all we need to know about the whole corrupted hootenanny.

    • February 17, 2018 at 10:26 pm

      Ol’ Hippy,

      “Mr Risen has a new piece in The Intercept today and it seems the he too has bought the whole Russiagate mystique.”

      Mention of The Intercept apparently pushing the Russiagate nonsense raises important questions with regard to that media “whistleblower” organization’s real agenda. Consortium News readers will remember the controversy surrounding The Intercept’s publishing of the Reality Winner story, suspiciously “affirming” that Russians interfered in the 2016 election process. Then there is the suspicious absence of legal consequence for Intercept founder Glenn Greenwald for his collaboration – perhaps the more precise legal term is “aiding and abetting, accomplice, co-conspirator”, etc. – associated with acquisition of the Edward Snowden classified intelligence documents. The exact quantity of documents handed off by Mr. Snowden to Mr. Greenwald is debated, although one report puts it in the 500,000 page range, of which Mr. Greenwald after years in his possession has published 10,000 pages (2%).

      Getting to the point, what explains the sharp contrast between the way the U.S. government has treated Glenn Greenwald compared to that directed toward Julian Assange? What explains Julian Assange being under house arrest for years at the Ecuador Embassy in the U.K. while Glenn Greenwald flies around the Earth in jets while receiving excellent compensation? How has Mr. Greenwald managed to evade, or not been discomfited by, the same constant, years-long legal harassment as that endured by Mr. Assange? Why hasn’t C.I.A. Director Pompeo identified and described The Intercept and Glenn Greewald in the same manner as WikiLeaks and Julian Assange?

      Perhaps readers of Consortium News can assist with answering these sincerely posed questions. Thank you.

    • Jessejean
      February 18, 2018 at 7:24 pm

      Yes, ol’ hippy, I noticed that and wondered about the Intercept. Are they promoting this Russia clusterfuk with Risen, or just airing all sides of the argument? I was 5 to 12 y/o during the McCarthy era and my mother loathed him so much, she kept us informed–and most of the tepid pushback from Dems then sounds just like the tepid but hysterical pushback from Dems today. WHat goes around…..

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