Intel Committee Rejects Basic Underpinning of Russiagate

The assumption underpinning Russiagate – that Vladimir Putin preferred Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton – is not supported by the facts, according to “Initial Findings” of the House Intelligence Committee, as Ray McGovern reports.

By Ray McGovern

Let’s try to make this simple: The basic rationale behind charges that Russian President Vladimir Putin interfered in the 2016 U.S. election to help candidate Donald Trump rests, of course, on the assumption that Moscow preferred Trump to Hillary Clinton. But that is wrong to assume, says the House Intelligence Committee, which has announced that it does not concur with “Putin’s supposed preference for candidate Trump.”

Rep. Mike Conaway speaks to media after a meeting with House GOP members. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

So, the House Intelligence Committee Republican majority, which has been pouring over the same evidence used by the “handpicked analysts” from just the CIA, FBI, and NSA to prepare the rump Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of Jan. 6, 2017, finds the major premise of the ICA unpersuasive. The committee’s “Initial Findings” released on Monday specifically reject the assumption that Putin favored Trump.

This puts the committee directly at odds with handpicked analysts from only the FBI, CIA, and NSA, who assessed that Putin favored Trump – using this as their major premise and then straining to prove it by cobbling together unconvincing facts and theories.

Those of us with experience in intelligence analysis strongly criticized the evidence-impoverished ICA as soon as it was released, but it went on to achieve Gospel-like respect, with penance assigned to anyone who might claim it was not divinely inspired.

Until now.

Rep. K. Michael Conway (R-Texas), who led the House Committee investigation, has told the media that the committee is preparing a separate, in-depth analysis of the ICA itself. Good.

The committee should also take names — not only of the handpicked analysts, but the hand-pickers. There is ample precedent for this. For example, those who shepherded the fraudulent National Intelligence Estimate on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq 15 years ago were named in the NIE. Without names, it is hard to know whom to hold accountable.

Here’s the key ICA judgment with which the House committee does not concur: “We assess Putin, his advisers, and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump over Secretary Clinton.” Not to be picky, but if House investigators have been unable to find enough persuasive evidence to convince them that “Putin’s supposed preference” was Trump, there is little reason to take seriously the ICA’s adolescent observations — like Putin held a “grudge” against Clinton because she called him nasty names — and other tortured reasoning in an Intelligence Community Assessment that, frankly, is an embarrassment to the profession of intelligence analysis.

I recall reading the ICA as soon as it was published. I concluded that no special expertise in intelligence analysis was needed to see how the assessment had been cobbled together around the “given” that Putin had a distinct preference for Trump. That was a premise with which I always had serious trouble, since it assumed that a Russian President would prefer to have an unpredictable, mercurial, lash-out-at-any-grievance-real-or-perceived President with his fingers on the nuclear codes. This – not name-calling – is precisely what Russian leaders fear the most.

Be that as it may, the ICA’s evidence adduced to demonstrate Russian “interference” to help Trump win the election never passed the smell test. Worse still, it was not difficult to see powerful political agendas in play. While those agendas, together with the media which shared them, conferred on the ICA the status of Holy Writ, it had clearly been “writ” to promote those agendas and, as such, amounted to rank corruption of intelligence by those analysts “handpicked” by National Intelligence Director James Clapper to come up with the “right” answer.

Traces of the bizarre ideological — even racial — views of Intelligence Dean Clapper can also be discerned between the lines of the ICA. It is a safe bet that the handpicked authors of the ICA were well aware of — and perhaps even shared — the views Clapper later expressed to NBC’s Chuck Todd on May 28, 2017 about Russians: “[P]ut that in context with everything else we knew the Russians were doing to interfere with the election,” he said. “And just the historical practices of the Russians, who typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique. So, we were concerned.”

Always Read the Fine Print

What readers of the intelligence assessment might have taken more seriously was the CYA in the ICA, so to speak, the truth-in-advertising cautions wedged into its final page. The transition from the lead paragraph to the final page — from “high confidence” to the actual definition of “high confidence” is remarkable. As a reminder, here’s how ICA starts:

“Putin Ordered Campaign To Influence US Election: We assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election, the consistent goals of which were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. …”

But wait, the fair warning on page 13 explains: “High confidence … does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong. … Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that show something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents.”

Questionable Logic

The “logic” referred to rests primarily on assumptions related to Trump’s supposed friendliness with Putin, what Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta called in 2015 a “bromance.” It assumes that Trump has been more than willing to do the Kremlin’s bidding from the White House, whether due to financial relationships Trump has with the Russians, or because he “owes them” for helping him get elected, or whether he is being blackmailed by “the pee tape” that Christopher Steele alluded to in his “dodgy dossier.”

This is the crux of the whole “treason” aspect of the Russiagate conspiracy theory – the idea that Trump is a Manchurian (or as some clever wags among Russiagaters claim, a Siberian) candidate who is directly under the influence of the Kremlin.

Even as U.S.-Russian relations drop to historic lows – with tensions approaching Cuban Missile Crisis levels – amazingly, there are still those promoting this theory, including some in the supposedly “progressive” alternative media like The Young Turks (TYT). Following Putin’s announcement on developments in Russia’s nuclear program earlier this month, TYT’s Cenk Uygur slammed Trump for not being more forceful in denouncing Putin, complaining that Trump “never criticizes Putin.” Uygur even speculated: “I’m not sure that Trump represents our interests above Putin’s.”

This line of thinking ignores a preponderance of evidence that the U.S posture against Russian interests has only hardened over the past year-plus of the Trump administration – perhaps in part as a result of Trump’s perceived need to demonstrate that he is not in “Putin’s pocket.”

The U.S. has intensified its engagement in Syria, for one thing, reportedly killing several Russians in recent airstrikes – a dangerous escalation that could lead to all-out military confrontation with Moscow and hardly the stuff of an alleged “bromance” between Trump and Putin. Then there was the Trump administration’s recent decision to provide new lethal weapons to the Ukrainian military – a major reversal of the Obama administration’s more cautious approach and an intensification of U.S. involvement in a proxy war on Russia’s border. The Russian foreign ministry angrily denounced this decision, saying the U.S. had “crossed the line” in the Ukraine conflict and accused Washington of fomenting bloodshed.

On other major policy issues, the Trump administration has also been pushing a hard anti-Russian line, reiterating recently that it would never recognize Crimea as part of Russia, criticizing Russia for allegedly enabling chemical attacks in Syria, and identifying Moscow as one of the U.S.’s major adversaries in the global struggle for power and influence.

“China and Russia,” the administration stated in its recent National Security Strategy, “challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity.” In the recently issued Nuclear Posture Review, the U.S. identifies Russia as a “contemporary threat,” and has a chapter outlining “A Tailored Strategy for Russia.” The document warns that Russia has “decided to return to Great Power competition.”

How does this in any way indicate that Trump is representing “Putin’s interests” above “ours,” as Uygur claims?

In short, there is no evidence to back up the theory that Putin helped Trump become president in order to do the Kremlin’s bidding, and no one pushing this idea should be taken seriously. In this respect, the Republicans’ “Initial Findings” – particularly the rejection of “Putin’s supposed preference for candidate Trump” have more credibility than most of the “analysis” put out so far, including the Jan. 6, 2017 ICA that has been held up as sacrosanct.

Democrats Angry

The irrepressible Congressman Adam Schiff, Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, and his fellow Democrats are in high dudgeon over the release of the Committee’s “Initial Findings” after “only” one year of investigation.  So, of course, is NBC’s Rachel Maddow and other Russiagate aficionados.  They may even feel a need to come up with real evidence — rather than Clapperisms like “But everyone knows about the Russians, and how, for example, they just really hated it when Mrs. Clinton called Putin Hitler.”

I had the opportunity to confront Schiff personally at a think tank in Washington, DC on January 25, 2017. President Obama, on his way out of office, had said something quite curious at his last press conference just one week earlier about inconclusive conclusions:  “The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive” regarding WikiLeaks.  In other words, the intelligence community had no idea how the DNC emails reached WikiLeaks.

Schiff had just claimed as flat fact that the Russians hacked the DNC and Podesta emails and gave them to WikiLeaks to publish.  So I asked him if he knew more than President Obama about how Russian hacking had managed to get to WikiLeaks.

Schiff used the old, “I can’t share the evidence with you; it’s classified.” OK, I’m no longer cleared for classified information, but Schiff is; and so are all his colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee.  The Republican majority has taken issue with the cornerstone assumption of those who explain Russian “hacking” and other “meddling” as springing from the “obvious fact” that Putin favored Trump.  The ball is in Schiff’s court.

Last but not least, the committee’s Initial Finding that caught most of the media attention was that there is “no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.” This, of course, poured cold water on what everyone listening to mainstream media “knows” about Russian “meddling” in the 2016 election. But, in the lack of persuasive evidence that President Putin preferred candidate Trump, why should we expect Russian “collusion, coordination, conspiracy” with the Trump campaign?

Ah, but the Russians want to “sow discord.” Sounds to me like a Clapperism.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  During his 27-year career at CIA, he was Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and preparer/briefer of the President’s Daily Brief under Nixon, Ford, and Reagan.  He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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96 comments for “Intel Committee Rejects Basic Underpinning of Russiagate

  1. Obi-jonKenobi
    March 19, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Sounds, Ray concludes, like a Clapperism referring to all of the faults he finds in Clapper’s thesis that Putin preferred Trump.

    McGovern claims the January 6, 2017 ICA’s evidence of Russian “interference” to help Trump win the election doesn’t pass “the smell test” and marshals a few facts that could support his claim but also ignores the long list of evidence to the contrary:

    _ numerous meetings with the Russians that were lied about by major players on the Trump team and the fact that at least two of those meetings addressed the Russians desire to get out from under the sanctions imposed over the Ukraine
    _ the Russians offer to provide dirt on Hillary (even if that dirt didn’t involve them hacking the DNC)
    _ Manafort’s Ukrainian “consulting” and the subsequent change in the Republican platform re: the Ukraine that favored the Russians
    _ the efforts on more than one occasion to open a back channel to the Russians, efforts that were then lied about
    _ the possiblities of blackmail by the Rusians over not only the pee tape but money laundering as well
    _ the fact that the Trump organization had used the Russians for money when their brand became toxic to most other banks
    _ the strange nexus of Russian gangsters working out of Trump tower and involvement by Russians in his real estate dealings that indicate money laundering
    _ the Russian courtship of the NRA leading up to the 2016 election and the consequent big uptick in NRA money in that election

    And McGovern says it’s “not difficult to see powerful political agendas in play” while . . (wait for it) . . apparently being one of the few humans on the planet that can’t see the obviously flawed, partisan, House Intelligence Committee “investigation” that he’s using as evidence for the political cover it was intended. The findings he uses don’t even represent those of the all of the Republicans on the committee let alone the Democrats who strongly object to both the process and the conclusions. McGovern even tries to dismiss the very credible Steele dossier, referring to it as the “dodgy dossier” just like Trump’s Republican toadies and the slimy propagandists on Faux Nooze.

    “In short, there is no evidence to back up the theory that Putin helped Trump become president in order to do the Kremlin’s bidding, and no one pushing this idea should be taken seriously”, McGovern claims with a straight face.

    Sad to say, Ray, it’s YOU that can no longer be taken seriously. From now on a “McGovernism” will become short for inexplicably nonsense from a former intelligence operative that should have known better.

  2. L Fierro
    March 15, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Tensions close to Cuban Missile Crisis? Hmmm. Many, many years later we find out that JFK and Kruschev were having secret talks even before that “Crisis” happened. If one does some deep research on that subject one would probably come away thinking that the real crisis happened between Kennedy and his military advisors and intelligence. Same with Kruschev and his politburo people. Kennedey wound up assassinated while Kruschev was removed from office the following year. Sounds like the real crisis was not between the two leaders but between CIA/KGB and both country’s military. Are Trump and Putin having secret talks that we won’t know about until 30 years from now?

  3. Coleen Rowley
    March 15, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Also according to government sources, former DNI James Clapper WAS the source of the “leak” about the ICA briefing to Obama and Trump. According to the sources, Clapper’s leak was to CNN’s Tapper in January 2017 that set in motion the publishing of former British spy Steele’s “salacious dossier.” What’s worse is that in order to cover up his own responsibility for this crime, Clapper subsequently issued a press release decrying the “leak” that he was (reportedly) responsible for. https://saraacarter.com/former-dni-james-clapper-allegedly-leaked-to-cnn-investigation-revealed/

    (The man clearly has no shame in lying. You might recall that he was caught also in the earlier lie to the Senate and then tried to excuse his lying as “the least untruthful response” or something like that.)

    Excerpt: “On Jan. 11, Clapper issued a press release stating that the leaks in the media regarding the briefing on the dossier were “extremely corrosive and damaging to national security.”

    “I expressed my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press, and we both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security,” he stated. “We also discussed the private security company document, which was widely circulated in recent months among the media, members of Congress and Congressional staff even before the IC became aware of it. I emphasized that this document is not a U.S. Intelligence Community product and that I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC.”

    (And the postscript to this story is that Clapper has now gone to work for CNN.)

  4. March 15, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    I wonder if the folks that bought TYT are happy with Cenk’s more-hawkish-than-Trump-(Jesus-Christ!) propaganda. And, I wonder if his more-than-stupid defense of Hillary was a job application. Not a follower but I suspect he’s really mad about the Dreamers.

  5. Tom
    March 15, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Corporate media and the politicians are sooooo desperate to maintain the Russiagate hype. They’ll liteerally say and do ANYTHING.

  6. Jeff
    March 15, 2018 at 11:48 am

    It’s interesting that I look at Reuters this AM and they are reporting that we are imposing new and improved sanctions for cyber warfare activities and “meddling” in the election even as the Republican committee is saying that the assumptions of the intelligence community are false. How many governments do we have here? If I were Russian, I would suspect a conspiracy against me. The Brits are doing the same thing they did with the guy that was murdered with the polonium 210, not providing a shred of proof or the results from any investigation (they are classified) but at the same time presenting the Russians with a “when did you stop beating your wife” scenario. This is insane. We sanction Russia for some ill defined “hacking” (and no, I’m not buying the DNC as a hack) but the US admits that it hacked the head of state of Germany and nothing happens. That kind of uneven playing field killed the League of Nations when they couldn’t constrain the great powers from doing whatever they wanted and it will kill the UN because they are letting the same thing happen.

  7. Michael Kenny
    March 15, 2018 at 10:48 am

    The Republican majority decides that a Republican president is not guilty. Who would have imagined it! Note the climbdown, though, which has also appeared in other articles. First, the whole thing was denied. Then, we were told it wasn’t the Russian government. Then we were told there was interference but no collusion with Trump. Now we’re told that Putin didn’t “prefer” Trump but (nota bene!) it is not being claimed that he preferred Hillary. The people who have been shouting “no evidence, no evidence” will now have to produce the evidence which leads them to that conclusion. I’d guess they’ll claim Putin favoured Jill Stein. Her already open association with Putin makes her an obvious target and it is perfectly possible that, like Marine Le Pen, her campaign received Russian money but since only Trump and Hillary had any chance of being elected, support for anybody but Hillary Clinton amounts to support for Trump. This latest version is probably an attempt to get around the disastrous Nunes Memo, which points the accusing finger directly at Trump and even amounts to a tacit admission of his guilt. Incidentally, where has Nunes disappeared to? Wasn’t he the chairman of the intelligence committee?

  8. Vincent Castigliola
    March 15, 2018 at 9:00 am

    I tried to share this essay on Twitter but they wouldn’t allow it?
    Has anyone else had the same experience?

    • Skip Scott
      March 15, 2018 at 3:25 pm

      Twitter and Facebook are now under the thumb of our so-called intelligence agencies. I would give ’em up if I were you, you are feeding the beast.

  9. mike k
    March 15, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Good luck to the VIP’s or anyone trying to get the gaslighted public to change their opinions about the Russian “enemy”. Their propaganda soaked brains will go right on believing it, in spite of any proof now coming out of it’s falsity.

  10. jimbo
    March 15, 2018 at 6:52 am

    “the pee tape” that Christopher Steele alluded to in his “dodgy dossier.”

    I’m sorry everybody but I may be jumping ship. I heard Ray speak on the Scott Horton show the other day and ate up all he had to say like how the most important factor in an American President for a Russian leader is his or her stability so why back a nutjob like Trump. But then I did something I should have done long ago and I read the entire Steele report. There is a lot more to it than golden showers, and calling it dodgy doesn’t make it so. The Steele report does start from the premise of Putin’s dislike for HRC but it also explains how Hillary’s potential policies would hamper Russia’s future, i.e., keeping sanctions going compared, possibly, to a more compliant and, yes, compromised Trump. Poo poo the St. Petersberg troll farm if you like but according to the doc there is a much larger cyber war going on than that and Russia is attacking. The doc goes on in great detail about how Trump’s team members like Manafort, Paige and Cohen met with Kremlin officials. Deals were offered, money changed hands and it seems now to me that there really was a Russian plot to help Trump win. That Trump is not doing what they’d hoped is another matter but, according to how I read the doc, the Russians figure that at least it’s Trump and not Clinton. I suggest you read the whole report and see for yourselves.

    • March 15, 2018 at 10:22 am

      Who were Steele’s sources for this information? He had not been in contact with any of his former sources in over 12-yrs which is why even James Comey reported that none of the assertions in the dossier could be independently verified. From the information I have read many of the sources are known anti-Kremlin propagandists who can’t be trusted and some are Ukrainian not Russian. Not to mention Steele’s own known extreme bias against Trump.

      • jimbo
        March 15, 2018 at 5:12 pm

        You haven’t read the Steele doc, have you? When Ray dismisses it as he does, I assure you, from my POV it doesn’t read like a dodgy document. It sounds more real than the dismissals I’ve read – and believed. It could be bullshit, a clever forgery but by not analyzing it point by point, laughing at the idea of prostitutes peeing on a bed where the Obamas slept, a point gotten over with in the first paragraphs, the rest is plausible brass tacks. Yes, maybe Steele’s sources are fictions but the way Steele describes how the Russians “played” Trump sounds very much like how a clever opponent would play a buffoon like Trump, with sex and tantalizing deals. And how much cyber-ink has been spilled at CN over just how or if the Russians got their mitts on the DNC docs and into Wikileaks’ mitts is also a red herring. He played Assange, too. How Putin saw Wikileaks as a “plausibly deniable” place to release the anti-HRC info is a stroke of genius. As for Steele’s bias against Trump, who with an IQ over 80 likes Trump? And as crafty as I think Putin’s plan was there was some ham-handedness by the Russians; they’re not super villains. Not everyone in Putin’s circle of advisors was for the plan and Putin sees now how it has backfired with Trump not bowing to their favor. But they knew when to lay low, shut up about accusations and deny deny deny – but they knew. I think they played us CN reader-types, too. They targeted their message and tried to get Bernie voters to swing to Trump. That Putin favored Trump over HRC is clear and it appears that Putin, yes, he himself, did try to interfere in the US election. By no means was this attempt worth all the mania the US is going through but it needs to be borne in mind as we proceed. Putin wants to jaw jaw, I’m all for that but the first thing we need to do is face the truth. No doubt the US is messing with the Russian’s cyber space. Let’s talk about controlling that, along, of course, with our missiles. Peace.

  11. Realist
    March 15, 2018 at 6:19 am

    So far the post is sticking here, attached to this article. Unknown parties must only be gatekeeping on the article dedicated to the topic. There must be things (like chemical structures) “they” don’t want you to know.

  12. Realist
    March 15, 2018 at 6:13 am

    Repeated attempts to post this information get blocked every time I try to attach it to the pertinent article. So, I will try to attach it here. It is disappeared immediately without even appearing on screen, though the green prompt says it’s been “posted.” This suggests someone is hacking this site who doesn’t want the science relevant to the British situation competently discussed, because I can’t for the life of me fathom CN wanting to sequester truth.
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    ?Here’s what the American Chemical Society has to say about the matter in its weekly publication
    “Chemical and Engineering News.”

    https://cen.acs.org/articles/96/i12/Nerve-agent-attack-on-spy-used-Novichok-poison.html?utm_s
    ource=Newsletter&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_campaign=CEN

    I am disappointed by the highly biased slant against Russia in which they chose to frame this
    news. Absolutely no consideration that this might be a false flag used to incriminate Russia.
    Instead the “possibility” that they choose to underscore is “The U.S.S.R. is the only country to
    have developed and produced these [Novichok] agents,” says Jean Pascal Zanders, an
    independent consultant who was previously a senior research fellow at the European Union
    Institute for Security Studies. “It’s almost as though the Russians are sending a message to the
    West that they can reach anywhere, whenever they like.”

    Aside from that unlikely nonsense, the only other “possibilities” mentioned in the article are
    “Prime Minister May has said that there are only two plausible explanations for the attack on the
    Skripals: “Either this was a direct act by the Russian State against our country, or the Russian
    government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it
    to get into the hands of others.” Either of those scenarios would mean that Russia is in breach of
    the CWC, says Zanders.”

    As a retired professional chemist, I am highly disappointed by the lack of objectivity. This article
    makes the ACS look like just one more stooge of the American Deep State using its publishing
    arm in the service of a bellicose geopolitical policy.

    The most intelligent thing said was in a comment posted to the article by a reader named Roman
    Ivanov who said “If Prime Minister May said something, it does not mean it is true. They must
    present full report including chemical analyses and comparison with a known standard in order to
    prove that the substance is “Novichok”. If UK has such a “standard”, they must have an exact
    chemical formula and therefore they are able to produce this substance in UK.” Got that? To
    definitively prove what the stuff is, they must have some on hand (called a “standard” in
    chemistry) to make the comparison. If they have some on hand, how do we know they didn’t
    perpetrate the crime?

    • March 15, 2018 at 2:17 pm

      EVERYONE should be hoping that Russia can prove that a NATO member was running a false flag operation.

  13. David G
    March 15, 2018 at 1:08 am

    Without dissenting from the conclusion that the protean Russia-gate narrative is fundamentally bogus, I still fail to see why I should pay any attention to this report from the Repubs on the House Intelligence Committee.

    Does anyone think they have any credibility, or doubt that they would twist or ignore any evidence they found politically inconvenient?

    For these Repubs, like as not, now it’s on to the next tax cut for the rich, which they will blithely justify with every zombie economic myth that has been shuffling around Washington since 1980.

    What I’m saying is that if this Repub-only committee report contains any valuable, original, factual contribution to the matter, then I wish Ray McGovern had brought it to us here – but I don’t see that in this piece.

    If, on the other hand, the report is just hack work by hack pols and their hack staff – which just so happens to more or less line up with the truth in this case because of political convenience – then I think the less said about it the better.

    • March 15, 2018 at 10:12 am

      I think there is plenty of evidence in the report that bolsters their claims. The key is spin and you are definitely correct that the republicans spin it to serve their political purposes. Also I think they were fearful of going all the way and completely rejecting the intelligence services conclusions by stating not only was neither candidate favored but there is no conclusive evidence that any of the so called Russian hackers had any connection to the Russian government. Putin made that fact very clear in his latest interview with Megan Kelly.

      • David G
        March 15, 2018 at 11:11 am

        I appreciate the feedback, freedom lover.

        To make myself clear: I haven’t read the committee report, and I’m not saying it isn’t convincing. If you would like to highlight anything from it in particular, I’m all ears (eyes, I guess in this context).

        I was (mildly, I’d say) criticizing Ray McGovern for premising this piece on the mere fact of the report being issued, without his pointing out any specifics as to why it merits our attention. I don’t feel the House Repubs are credible enough to make the report “per se” significant. (Btw, I’m happy to dump on the Dems as well when the occasion calls for it.)

  14. March 15, 2018 at 12:37 am

    Ray, thank you ever so much for stepping into thorough coverage of Russia-gate so promptly after Robert Parry passed. Few issues are so important as ensuring through this web site’s sunlight that there are no future soft coup attempts from inside the Dark State.

  15. Rong Cao
    March 14, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    There were no real coordination between Trump campaign and Russia. But since the American people have been sick and tired of Clinton dynasty ruling Washington since 1992, it was quite understandable and probably being anticipated by CIA and NSA that Russian intelligent agency would use social media, enabled by FaceBook and Twitter, to try to meddle in the US election. Candidate Trump would identify with those white evangelicals, and he perhaps thought Russia is not the real problem to the American’s decline, working with Russia and abolishing NATO was good steps to put the US back on the focus on the development of the US economy instead of endless wars, cold or hot, all over the world. But once he demonstrated these tendencies, the military-industrial-complex had to impose this Russian collusion travesties on him to force him back on the war economies. Now that President Trump has succumbed to them, the investigation on the collusion ended, they eventually have won this real invisible war on the US foreign policy.

  16. occupy on
    March 14, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    Everybody, file this article safely away where you can find it later. This information will be lost in the winds and the wakes of Trump and his new best friends’ direct military engagements with Russia and Iran now that Tillerson’s gone. If Congress doesn’t accept warmongers, Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel, as Secretary of State and CIA Chief, there are plenty of their ilk in the wings….and definitely enough warmongers in Congress to get these wars finally going.

    • Lois Gagnon
      March 14, 2018 at 10:09 pm

      If ever there were an asylum being run by the inmates, this would be it.

  17. James
    March 14, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    Brilliant cherry-picking, Ray. The Russian plan was to sow discord in the American electorate, staring from 2014. They would have picked Daffy Duck over Donald Duck if the two were in the race for president, and then throw some support to Donald Duck, just for the chaos. Chaos, Ray, is the goal. Do the Russians have kompromat on President Trump? Probably, given that his fly is open at least as much as Clinton’s was. If Hilary had won, no doubt Putin would have found some dirt under her rug. Wake up and smell the Novichok. In the cyberwarfare arms races, Putin is ahead by leaps and bounds and you, sir, are being played along with everyone else.

    • March 15, 2018 at 12:31 am

      @ James: “The Russian plan was to sow discord in the American electorate, staring from 2014. They would have picked Daffy Duck over Donald Duck if the two were in the race for president, and then throw some support to Donald Duck, just for the chaos. Chaos, Ray, is the goal.”

      What is your evidence in support of that claim, James? I have followed the Russia-gate mess very closely from the beginning and while I have seen claims such as yours, I have never seen any evidence to support them.

    • Gregory Herr
      March 15, 2018 at 9:42 pm

      Not so brilliant commentary James. Political contentiousness or “discord” has been part and parcel of the American scene since before Adams and Jefferson. Election “seasons” in particular are always chaotically theatrical and rife with cheap tricks and assorted nonsense. To suggest that Putin, as head of state with a great deal of serious business to attend to, would make it some kind of priority or “plan” to “sow discord” or create “chaos” in an American political scene that needs no help with that is so patently absurd that I am already regretting taking the time to respond. Take your woefully pathetic and distorted sense of the world to a playground of overgrown infants…the Huff & Puff Post comes to mind.

      • Gregory Herr
        March 15, 2018 at 10:18 pm

        So Putin has Trump “compromised”? That’s why the policy of painting Russia into a corner with all manner of accusations, sanctions, threats, and antagonisms continues unabated. That’s why dangerously stupid things like killing Russians in Syria and ginning up conflict in Ukraine are happening. Yeah, when all the pushing and shoving and hysteria has us blindly stumbling over some Rubicon of no return…the world won’t be thanking you.

  18. Lois Gagnon
    March 14, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Well at this point from what I’ve witnessed at the local level, it doesn’t matter what the findings on Russian meddling are to the liberal class. It’s taken on cult like status. Russiagate serves many purposes of course. The purpose it serves its most fervent believers is it makes things very simple for them. If Putin gave us Trump, then all we need to do is get rid of Trump and vilify Putin. That’s a whole lot easier than confronting a thoroughly corrupt murderous thieving oligarchic military intelligence establishment that is hell bent on global domination which oh by the way rigged the primary for Hillary. Taking that cabal on requires taking risks. Better to organize a pussy hat march and call it a day.

  19. dahoit
    March 14, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    Re. MOA,The picture of may,but in a suit blair wore,was a f*ck up.
    The cia,what did they do.but screw the pooch?

  20. Royce L Zobell
    March 14, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    YIKES! Hard to know where to begin regarding essay above.
    I would say this: I will wager the thrust/conclusion of this article is (or will be proven to be) substantially or mostly WRONG and/or at best, badly misleading.

    Aside from all the political jockeying on MSM and cable news etc there is sort of a broad understanding of what Russia/ Putin and Russian Foreign Policy means. For example, take the Russian Foreign Policy Concept 2016 as a clear manifesto (edited carefully by V Putin) or consider the events of Middle East 2001- 2011, Arab Spring, Libya 2011, EU and NATO developments 2000- 2014, Ukraine unrest 2005- 2014, Georgia, Russia economic development, impositions of sanctions, revelation of Stuxnet discovered by Kaspersky Labs, MH17 downing to name a few events, from the point of view of Russia- as “rational actor” endowed with well defined “interests”. It would be a compelling argument that, ceteris paribus, Russia/Putin would prefer a Trump Presidency more than an Obama continuation. And indeed upon receipt of news that Trump had won the 2016 US election, the Russian Duma parliament members stood up in extended standing ovation, applauding for several minutes. One of those parliamentarians later had a party in his office where they popped champagne and toasted Trump’s victory.  Such is offered to say only that Russians, when given a choice, generally preferred Trump/GOP over Clinton/Dem. Such a preference, given Trump’s campaign speeches, would be seen as entirely “rational”. And upon a casual reading of Russia Direct org web site archives, this understanding is correct. No mystery there.

    Regarding specifics of Russian cyber-hacking, dys-information warfare tactics and Trump collusion with Russians, if any at all, I would defer to the “fact finders” working in the Office of Special Council, US DOJ. Robert Mueller has issued a fairly detailed indictment of some 13 Russian nationals who are alleged to have violated US federal election laws.
    The best credible narrative provided to date respecting US – Russian relations over the past 3 years is from Joshua Yaffa ( see https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/interview/joshua-yaffa/. and also, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/06/trump-putin-and-the-new-cold-war ). The New Yorker article was published 3-7-17 and stands up well over the past year.

    So in conclusion, my bet goes with Mr Jaffa and against Ray McGovern.

  21. Jim
    March 14, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    That result only has any meaning to sycophants and “deep state” conspiracy loons, given how willfully dishonest and incompetently the results were arrived at. Why it’s almost like you have to be dishonest yourself and forget how lying can be done by omission as surely as it can with false facts to buy this swill from Nines and company. Why you have to be even dumber and more dishonest than “Mr. Benghazi” http://www.goupstate.com/news/20180314/trey-gowdy-breaks-with-gop-on-russia-investigation not to see it, no?

  22. rosemerry
    March 14, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Putin in his interviews with Oliver Stone explained that he knew Hillary as SoS and expected her to win(as did everyone else!) and was willing to work with whoever the Americans elected. He has outlasted several other POTUS and seems to avoid personal hatreds- the vindictive personal comments came from Hillary, not Putin. The supreme arrogance and offensiveness of calling Putin Hitler, when the USSR was the main force to destroy Nazism, shows her lack of diplomacy.

    All the evidence-free “findings” against Russia have now spread to the even worse UK lies, with Theresa May making up a narrative no sane person could accept. See Moon of Alabama’s commentary!!

  23. March 14, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    Assuming that Putin initially had no preferences for either candidate are there any idiosyncracies of personality or events that might change his mind to prefer one candidate over another? Could it be possible that Putin noticed Trump’s susceptibility to flattery and thought it would be a weakness he could exploit? Members of the Trump family appear to be ignorant of the emoluments clause and conduct family business either out in the open or unaware of how much the FBI and CIA know about their personal lives. Is this an intellectual defect that Putin might notice and exploit? Several associates of Trump have questionable reputations. Would Putin investigate Trump’s associates and think that Trump had a personality similar to his associates? It is more or less well know that Russians frequently attempt to film or get pictures of important figures in compromising positions. Would the existence of a video of one of the candidates be enough to cause Putin to prefer one candidate over another?

    • Anon
      March 14, 2018 at 5:20 pm

      These are not issues, Ken. Every country may seek influence over others. Putin is not Russia. Who cares what one leader may think of another, without evidence that it matters. Such speculation is merely stirring up trouble.

    • Anon
      March 14, 2018 at 5:21 pm

      These are not issues, Ken. Every country may seek influence over others. Putin is not Russia. Who cares what one leader may think of another, without evidence that it matters. Speculation like that is deliberately stirring up trouble.

    • rosemerry
      March 14, 2018 at 6:06 pm

      That assumes he wanted to interfere, which he stoutly denies.

    • David G
      March 15, 2018 at 12:12 am

      It is reasonable to think that the Russian government – indeed headed by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – was prepared to approach *whichever* candidate won the election in the way that appeared most conducive to advancing Russian interests.

      In Trump’s case, that would certainly include empty blandishments, and conceivably the extremely high-risk route of what might be termed blackmail.

      However, that is immaterial to the question of whether they would have tried to sway the election in Cheeto Dust’s favor, especially since Putin and his people would have been savvy enough to realize that – even if Trump’s own attitude toward Russia was relatively benign, regardless of his true motivations – Trump was far too weak and trivial a person to put up any prolonged or effective resistance to the Beltway establishment’s anti-Russia program – as is clearly and frighteningly coming to pass.

  24. Paul G.
    March 14, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    What is worse than Trump is the bankruptcy of the Democratic party and liberals chasing fake issues, like “Russiagate”; while ignoring real issues such as Republican voter suppression, campaign finance(legal bribery) the sandbagging of Sanders’ campaign, the corruption and stupidity of their presidential candidate, and their failure to reign in America’s doctrine of perpetual war. On top of that, of course is their corrupt electoral process with all its super delegates. Standing out like a bleeding limb is the ongoing war crime in Yemen aided and abetted by the US Air Force and our arms makers.

  25. Gary Severson
    March 14, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    How can someone like Ray who was working for Nixon, Ford & Reagan have any cred.?

    • Linda Wood
      March 14, 2018 at 5:35 pm

      I have always believed that there are good people in the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA, but that the problem is that bad people are at the top. Most of what we know about the crimes of such agencies comes from whistleblowers from within.

      What gives Ray McGovern credibility for me is his pointing out the disclaimers by Obama and the intelligence agencies on this issue, what is shown in the first statements about the assessment,

      “We assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016…”

      and the ending statements that,

      “High confidence … does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong. … Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that show something to be a fact…”

      which shows they are covering their asses legally for when their assertions don’t hold up. Clearly, they are working to create the appearance and the impression that Putin attacked America. But they don’t want to be held accountable for any kind of proof, and they’re stating outright that they don’t have any.

      I am an American who is struggling with the fact that close friends and family somehow give the CIA credibility on this canard. I don’t understand it. But I agree with you that anyone from within the CIA should be held accountable for what they say as well as for what they have done.

    • rosemerry
      March 14, 2018 at 6:05 pm

      People can actually learn and change. Chalmers Johnson was a Cold Warrior who retired and was able to produce three great book “Blowback” , “The Sorrows of Empire” and “Nemesis”, after waking up to reality!!

    • March 15, 2018 at 12:26 am

      @ Gary Severson: “How can someone like Ray who was working for Nixon, Ford & Reagan have any cred.?”

      * By providing hyperlinks to his sources of information.

      * By providing logical fact-based arguments.

      * By being a co-founder and active participant of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, which has built a solid reputation for whistle-blowing on abuses of the intelligence community.

      * By developing a history of being correct in what he publishes.

      * By many other means familiar to regular readers of Consortium News.

    • Rob Roy
      March 15, 2018 at 6:36 pm

      You just have to read him to recognize he’s of the best of us. He co-founded the VIPS. What more do you want?

  26. Unfettered Fire
    March 14, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    Of course, it could very well be that the new McCarthyism was never intended for any actual nuclear encounters with Russia, it may just be very useful for passing internet, voting and protest legislation that would stifle dissenting views.

    Hillary tweeted, “We should all care about how social media platforms play a part in our democratic process. Because unless it’s addressed it will happen again. The midterms are in 8 months. We owe it to our democracy to get this right, and fast.”

    That tweet says it all. “UNLESS IT’S ADDRESSED” – what, Hillary? Democracy in action? Is there an “excess of democracy” happening again in the US by the “value-oriented intellectuals”? Didn’t Hillary once accuse Russia of funding the environmental movement in the US as well? Red scaremongering comes in handy when you need a scapegoat to push through anti-democratic legislation.

    A reminder: After the people shut down the illegal Vietnam War, the Trilateral Commission came out with a report, The Crisis of Democracy:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2F9rKBYwIlA

  27. cmp
    March 14, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    Our Judicial Branch has been taken over by highly selected and appointed Corporate Lawyers that were never elected.

    And over 30 years ago, between stacking the FCC with Corporate Lawyers, and then conducting a coup with Scalia and the Supreme Court, the Fairness Doctrine was erased on a technicality that had nothing to do with the Constitution. Since then, the two major parties have both had majorities in Congress several times for which to correct this blatant injustice. But no. In fact, Obama together with the landslide Republicans of 2010, they had the FCC scrub it off their books for good in 2011.

    In 2000, Bush Jr., he stumped with condemning nation-building, the over-extended military, and the notion that America should be the world’s police force.

    In 2008, Obama, he campaigned that he was the progressive that “…was against the Iraq War from day 1.”

    In 2012, Trump, he campaigned on a non-interventionist foreign policy, saying America should fight terrorists, but not enter into regime change wars with other governments.

    But, in ‘Ukraine On Fire’ , we clearly see that the Dark State has the quintessential recipe for head games and dominance, be it over elections or coups, in whatever country they target.

    Believe you me, I ‘am happy that the paid soldiers of demagoguery (politicians & msm) are finally easing down from the rhetoric of alleged RU’ian election crimes here in the States. But I still can’t help but feel that now especially England, France and Germany – they now have to be on their — tenfold guard.

    When Trump played the Apprentice, Jeff Zucker, was his then boss at NBC Universal:
    ~ CNN President Jeff Zucker; NY Magazine; 1/17/2017
    “One of the things I think this administration hasn’t figured out yet is that there’s only one television network that is seen in Beijing, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, Pyongyang, Baghdad, Tehran and Damascus — and that’s CNN,” Zucker said. “The perception of Donald Trump in capitals around the world is shaped, in many ways, by CNN. Continuing to have an adversarial relationship with that network is a mistake.”

    The Public’s Airwaves?

    Are moving into Act II? Read it again, and replace Trump’s name with Russia’s..

    You know the tune:
    And I’ve been kicked by the wind, robbed by the sleet
    Had my head stove in
    But I’m still on my feet
    And I’m still willin’
    …. to be movin’
    (..smile..)

    • Nancy
      March 15, 2018 at 11:29 am

      I love that song–both Little Feat and Linda Ronstadt versions. And Gregg Allman did it on his final album.

      • cmp
        March 15, 2018 at 4:05 pm

        I now live around an North of Tucson, and about an hour East of Tonapah. And you know, once we are West of the Mississippi, it’s a life behind the wheel. So, sometimes while I ‘m driving, I will chuckle and sing the song into my windshield. ..hahaa!!

        A couple of summers ago, my brother up in NY, he called me and said, “Hey, let’s go see Gregg at the Peach Fest.” Thank god for my brother, he is always right on top of these things. .. And Gregg’s voice, it was in my opinion, still one of the best I ‘ve ever heard.
        (..SMILE..)

  28. KiwiAntz
    March 14, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    It makess you wonder how much more of this endless, baseless Russia hating nonsense that Russia can stand before they just “crack” & launch every nuclear weapon, at their disposal, at America & its poodle, the UK & Nato lackeys? Everyone has a breaking point & when your constantly badmouthing & bagging a Nuclear superpower such as Russia, with baseless allegations & BS, I can’t see how this can end well for Western Countries? Their lucky that Putin is a calm & steady leader because if Russia had a hothead in power, we’d be at War by now? Poke a sleeping bear & see what happens, its going to lash out? This Russia bashing needs to stop as its gone to far now?

  29. Bob Ford
    March 14, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    I think the Russiagaters in the U.S, are doing a fine job “sowing discord.”
    I have great regard for the work Consortium News has done and continues to do.

  30. polistra
    March 14, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    The most disgusting part of this mess is that RT and SputnikNews are PROGRESSIVE. They agree with MSNBC and CNN on all the standard progressive nonsense. Bitcoin is good, cops are bad, Bezos is God, “global warming” is real. They effectively endorsed Bernie in 2016. The ONLY point of disagreement is “Russian meddling”.

    • KiwiAntz
      March 14, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      I totally agree & Consortium News, Sputnik & RT channel are the only places I go for my news information now, the MSM sickens me with their lies & zero journalism!

      • rosemerry
        March 14, 2018 at 6:01 pm

        ICH (information clearinghouse) gathers a lots of items from different progressive sites. It is emailed each day and usually excellent.

    • Bill
      March 14, 2018 at 4:32 pm

      Which of course, never happened so disagreement makes sense. Russians undoubtedly meddled to the extent to which everyday Canadians, Australians, Brits and Europeans each had an opinion as to what was on the line for them with US elections and who they were pulling for.

    • David G
      March 14, 2018 at 11:52 pm

      Yeah! Stupid, progressive thermometers showing the arctic above freezing in the winter. They can keep their bitcoins!

      And those lefty, “Black Lives Matter”-obsessed oceans, going all acidic – ugh! They’re totally full of it, amirite? (Well, not full of coral reefs and fish, obviously – but definitely full of other things, like plastic and acid.)

    • Rob Roy
      March 15, 2018 at 6:29 pm

      Polista, RT did a wonderful thing…it ran Putin’s address in full, and I have the recording and transcript. Find any other media who did that.

    • matt
      March 15, 2018 at 11:53 pm

      global warming isn’t real? I didn’t think any informed person believed that anymore…

  31. Realist
    March 14, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    People in the media like Rachel Maddow sure don’t remember the rubbish they were pushing during the election. She forgets that it was her MSNBC and other media outlets that deliberately gave Trump millions of dollars worth of free campaign propaganda, even repeatedly interrupting news or speeches or election returns by Democrats to give Trump virtually unlimited coverage.

    Part of the media hook for Trump at the time, I recall, was the repeated, but never substantiated, mutual admiration that Trump and Putin supposedly had for one another, which was sold as a “good thing.” When cornered, both men said they never met and didn’t really know one another. Putin quite unequivocally said that he really couldn’t take sides in the matter because he would have to deal with whomever the American people elected (going out of his way not to piss off the Russophobic and personally antagonistic Hillary Clinton). Trump said it would be a “good thing” and not a detriment if the two national leaders got along, though he quite specifically said that he could not predict if they would. (Since that time, a legion of other people have made quite sure that they never will.)

    The media, including phony “progressives” like the Young Turds, have absolutely no scruples and will say anything to support the agenda of the elite insiders who really run this country, even to the point of brazenly contradicting things they said just days or hours ago. Repudiating or disavowing things they most certainly said during the campaign is like water off a duck’s back to them. It’s all been flushed down the memory hole, you are not supposed to remember these things, and for people who can’t accept a free floating list of contradictory facts and beliefs to be cited ad hoc, well, they are simply guilty of thought crime. The entire power structure, including both government and the private sector, is firmly in the hands of schizoid psychopaths, of which there is apparent an unending supply in this country.

    • Cassandra
      March 14, 2018 at 3:27 pm

      Just remember the Young Turds came directly from the MSM. Cenk supposedly left in a huff but his true colors are now showing

      • Litchfield
        March 14, 2018 at 4:41 pm

        Gee, I used to like Cenk. But I can no longer take him seriously.
        Which simplifies things, actually. Just X out one more DC stooge.

    • Joe Tedesky
      March 14, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      JP Sottile in a past article he posted on ‘the Consortium’ here said our MSM furnished Trump with 4.9 billion dollars of free media exposure. That’s 4.9 billion with a big B. What people like Rachel forgot with their snarky news coverage of Trump, is that over half of the American viewing audience hates our MSM even moreso than they do Trump..uh oh.
      Dummys.

      So to cover over that mistake of promoting Trump to death, and on top of Hillary’s revenge for her failed campaign strategy, the Deep State who wants a rumble with Russia then instructed the MSM to take the low road as always, and here we are. This crowd of warmongers are so vain and selfish they think they can get away with anything, and as we all know they often do, but then there is always that ending finale where action speaks louder than words…so will it be words of detente, or does Washington really think they can win a war with another nuclear power, and still stay standing? I know what I think, but what do you think the DC Critters think? Joe

      • Sam F
        March 14, 2018 at 5:07 pm

        I suggest that DC does not want war with Russia; they just want zionist/KSA bribes and zionist media publicity for US attempts to scare Russia out of the Mideast. which it cannot do. DC will beat the drums to scare up bribes and MIC budget, fire off a few missiles, and go home.

        If the US attacks Syrian forces again, as in the Deraa-Jordan area, Russia could attack military bases in a US proxy state to avoid a direct US-Russia conflict. Israel is the best target, as the regional troublemaker. Likely that would lead to mutual demands readily met, and the US would have to stay out of Syria.

        • Joe Tedesky
          March 14, 2018 at 5:46 pm

          You know Sam your perspective is no doubt the right perspective to have, but how long can the U.S. play this game of bluff the enemy until someone of either side says, enough is enough and that special someone pulls the trigger. You have to admit Sam this game of U.S. brinkmanship is getting old, in fact it was to old a while ago. But Sam I think you make a valid point, and possibly I’m over exaggerating the saber rattling, but none the less none of this is a comfortable situation to deal with.

          Always good to hear you opinion Sam. Joe

          • Sam F
            March 14, 2018 at 7:00 pm

            I fully agree that the situation is very unstable and the saber rattling and brinkmanship are foolish. Diplomacy works where the parties seek a solution with definite interests, but it appears that DC seeks only bribes and airtime, so it could go anywhere.

  32. Tom
    March 14, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Thanks from me Ray.
    Why isn’t this being published in major newspapers around the nation?

    O nevermind.

  33. DAVID SCHERMERHORN
    March 14, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Ray, Right on the money yet again. Excellent.

    David Schermerhorn

  34. Jeff
    March 14, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    I can’t share the evidence with you. It’s classified.

    Then you don’t have it. There are some things that simply cannot be allowed to be classified. Evidence upon which you make decisions is one of them.

  35. Jose
    March 14, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    The ICA premise that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election, the consistent goals of which were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. …” is illogical at best. And yet it could not prove it. These people will not relent on their quest for war with Russia.

  36. Joe Tedesky
    March 14, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    I recall reading that Putin didn’t have a dog in the fight for the American presidency. It was I believe the Saker who said that Putin felt that dealing with a Hillary as President would be his dealing with what he knew, as opposed to his warmly accepting Trump the unknown. To me that makes perfect sense.

    Seeing Cenk Uygur dump on Trump not responding to Putin’s unveiling of Russia’s new nuclear weaponry, makes me all the more convinced that our National Security Deep State is up to no good. Either it’s through NSA listening in to what their patsy want and wish for in life, and providing these dreams come true, or blackmail is used to convince journalists to comply, well anything as always is possible, but getting to the truth.

    The Democrates are playing with fire, because if Russia did hack the DNC or any other government entity then it happened on Obama’s watch. Besides the reference Ray used where Obama’s basically admitted Russia didn’t hack anyone, Obama in October of 2016 was going on about how the elections aren’t ‘rigged’. This was Obama’s reply to bombastic Trump who during the election season made many a reference to our ‘rigged’ elections.

    Great article Ray. Joe

    • orwell
      March 14, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      I’d like to now read Ray McGovern on the Torturer-in-Chief GINA HASPEL as new Democratic Party-supported Chief of CIA.
      C’mon RAY, let’s hear from you on this new chapter in the
      ANNALS OF HELL.

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 14, 2018 at 2:47 pm

        Good suggestion I hope Ray takes you up on it. Joe

      • March 14, 2018 at 11:08 pm

        I think you’ll find all the info on Haspel you’d care to read at h**ps://www.ecchr.eu/en/our_work/international-crimes-and-accountability/u-s-accountability/germany.html?file=tl_files/Dokumente/Universelle%20Justiz/Germany_Submission_Gina%20Haspel_CIA_Torture_2017066.pdf (pdf). Complete with pinpoint citations to the redacted summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture. Points covered there that I haven’t yet seen elsewhere since the announcement of her nominaiton:

        * At the CIA black site In Thailand, Haspel had authority to stop the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah but did not exercise it. (This obviates the “good German” defense to war crimes, which applies only when the accused was not in a position to prevent or stop the crime at issue.)

        * Haspell sought assurances from CIA headquarters that Abu Zubaydah would “remain in isolation and incommunicado for the remainder of his life”

        * Destruction of the Abu Zubaydah waterboarding video records at the time was prohibited by two court orders and against the request of White House lawyers.

        * Haspel authored the order to destroy those records.

        Related: At the end of World War II, the U.S. successfully prosecuted several Japanese for the war crime of waterboarding. h**ps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2014/12/16/cheneys-claim-that-the-u-s-did-not-prosecute-japanese-soldiers-for-waterboarding/ The lowest reported sentence was 15 years in prison. This suggests that Ms. Haspel should now be in prison, not being nominated to head the CIA.

    • dave
      March 14, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      I also remember reading a comment from Putin to the effect of “it doesn’t make much difference to me who’s president of the US because the policies don’t change”, which is absolutely true, as Ray demonstrates.

      If the Russians did intervene to sway the election to Trump, they’re getting a pretty lousy return on their investment.

      I wish I could find that quote. Anybody?

      • dave
        March 14, 2018 at 2:08 pm
      • Rob Roy
        March 15, 2018 at 6:13 pm

        I think he may have said something similar when being interviewed by Stone….”US foreign policy never changes.” Probably not an exact quote but absolutely correct. The “doctrine” remains the same….hegemonic to the point of insanity.
        I hope you who are on this site had the opportunity to listen to Putin’s entire address on March 1. People would faint if we ever had a president speak as he did…about raising teachers’ wages, about bringing medical help (on wheels) to the far reaches of rural Russia, expanding the arts and culture for children (he spoke a lot about children), about insuring the welfare of seniors and so on. It was a dream speech and clear that he meant every word. The bit at the end, letting the US know that though he would never attack the US, Russia will fight back if attacked was ALL the media could talk about. What a shame they didn’t cover the first two-thirds, but that would be acknowledging that Russia has a far better president that we’ve had in many a year; that goes for Israel, France, England, etc.
        Maybe someone at consortiumnews could write about all the address, not just the end.

    • Realist
      March 14, 2018 at 2:33 pm

      Yep, there were numerous analysts at the time who thought that Putin, being a conservative cautious sort, actually preferred Hillary as a very well-known, although rabidly antagonistic, quantity as opposed to Trump who was mostly unpredictable. Call it an application of the “better the devil you know” theory, though Putin always went to great pains to make clear that he was neutral in the matter and could not afford to alienate whatever new “partner” with whom he would have to interact.

      But those have become inconvenient truths since the election outcome shocked everyone and the Dems have scrambled to excuse their own incompetence and sabotage an administration they simply refuse to accept as legitimate. In many ways, their response mimics the “hunting of the president” that was carried out by the GOP when Bushdaddy failed to win in ’92 in spite of the immense “political capital” he had garnered by demonizing first Manuel Norriega and later Sadam Hussein and governing as a full time “war president.” You’d think the fools in charge of the “Democracy Show” production would catch on that Americans really don’t like giving first priority in foreign policy to unrestrained warfare. “Kicking the Vietnam syndrome” has never been the selling point these tub thumpers for mass murder think it is.

      Note these words: if Trump is ultimately impeached and removed from office, it will more likely be for precipitating a disastrous war with Iran, North Korea or Russia, rather than for any totally contrived “collusion” with Russia to steal the election.

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 14, 2018 at 3:08 pm

        Dave above brought this up….

        “Putin said flatly that he ‘doesn’t care’ who the US president is, because ‘presidents come and go, and even the political party in power changes – but the main political direction does not change’.

        And Putin’s feeling about America’s National Security Deep State is right on the money. This is where to me his thinking makes sense. Putin basically has learned to think like our American electorate. Putin fits in with the 45% of American voters, due to this past presidential race’s poor candidate selection, these voters merely decided to not cast a ballot. That’s keeping it simple, aye.

        Our current government is embarrassing with all these attacks on Putin and his dear motherland Russia. Our American Russian paranoia is the laughing stock of the world. If anything when Schiff and Hillary start their crying jag over supposed Russian interference into our democracy (if you can call it that) makes America look weak. This is the price we pay for not allowing her to get her turn, and the price we pay for our protecting Israel. Actually when it comes right down to it, I don’t see any Americans better interest being served, by these DC Warriors. Joe

        • TS
          March 15, 2018 at 7:11 am

          > Our American Russian paranoia is the laughing stock of the world

          Unfortunately, that is only partly true. In Europe, there are plenty of war-mongers and agents of crony capitalism (a.k.a. “transatlanticists” over here) in positions of power who not only repeat all this guff as if it were gospel truth, but add lots of similar baloney of their own: The Russians interfered in the British elections! (with 76 cents worth of “social media” advertising) The Russians interfered in the French elections! The Russians interfered in the German elections! (I’m just waiting for the claim that Pope Francis was a Manchurian Candidate…)

          And similarly, they are all trying to use this as an excuse to promote censorship.

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 15, 2018 at 10:18 am

            Infectious, isn’t it.

    • Litchfield
      March 14, 2018 at 4:37 pm

      Re “This was Obama’s reply to bombastic Trump who during the election season made many a reference to our ‘rigged’ elections.”
      Maybe not so bombastic in light of what we now know about the lengths the Democrats went to throw both the nomination and the campaign to Hillary.
      Sounds to me like Obama was probably on the defensive with his own pompous pronouncement that the elections aren’t rigged. Either he was out of the rigging loop, or he was just issuing spin.
      The “elegant” Barry not so different from the buffoonish Trump, when push comes to shove.

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 14, 2018 at 6:14 pm

        I think it ironic that all the while Trump cried rigged election the Dem’s pointed to his unpatriotic opinion of our U.S. voting system, but when the Dem’s loss with Hillary then suddenly the 2016 presidential election had been rigged by Vladimir Putin. I guess by continuing to blame a Russian this leaves one to remain patriotic, but seriously Litchfield we all know better.

        Good perspective, and thanks for your reply. Joe

      • doray
        March 15, 2018 at 8:41 am

        Obushma has his bloody, war-mongering DNC fingers in every bit of the corporate Dem party. He was a shill from the beginning. I knew when he threw Reverend Jeremiah Wright under the bus and the corporate press ate the road kill for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Wright served in two military branches and dedicated his life to service of his fellow human beings, but was shamed as a crazy person when he told America to look in the mirror after 9-11. The Obamas are charming corporate, war-mongering shills. Just like the Clintons and the Bushes.

        • Nancy
          March 15, 2018 at 11:20 am

          Tell it, Doray!

        • Rob Roy
          March 15, 2018 at 6:18 pm

          Agreed. He couldn’t even stand up for a friend. When I heard Wright say, “God damn America,” I thought, ‘right on.’

  37. orwell
    March 14, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Why is there no article about Torturer-in-Chief GINA HASPEL
    being nominated as CIA CHIEF and being applauded by DEMOCRATS????????!!!!!!! IS CONSORTIUM NEWS
    ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL????????????

    • Jose
      March 14, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      That Gina Haspel was nominated to head the CIA tells you how bankrupt both political parties are. The democrats should be up in arms instead of applauding.

      • Anon
        March 14, 2018 at 4:50 pm

        Both parties oppose Russia and seek Mideast wars because they are both owned by zionists and KSA.
        They do not have moral or policy positions, only gang turfs, opportunism, and extortion rackets.

    • Abe
      March 14, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      Wow. Take a breath, remove the caps lock, take your finger off the ‘?’ key, stop shouting like a fool (or troll), and read this:

      https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/meet-gina-haspel-trumps-cia-pick-who-oversaw-torture-w517830

    • March 14, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      Dear Orwell,

      I do try, when necessary, to walk and chew gum at the same time — multitask, I guess, is the fancy word. Yesterday, the Haspel thing was the easier of the two. Please see:
      http://raymcgovern.com/2018/03/14/the-first-woman-picked-to-lead-cia-but-not-the-first-war-criminal/

      And pls check raymcgovern.com for “in-other-news” from time to time.

      ray

    • Abe
      March 14, 2018 at 5:16 pm

      Torture-Tainted CIA and State Nominees Recall Failure to Prosecute Bush-Era Abuses
      By Nat Parry
      https://consortiumnews.com/2018/03/14/torture-tainted-cia-and-state-nominees-recall-failures-to-prosecute-bush-era-abuses/

      Next time, orwell, take a breath first and undo the caps lock. And do try not to fall asleep on the ‘?’ and ‘!’ keys.

    • irina
      March 14, 2018 at 10:32 pm

      Why don’t you write an article ?

    • March 14, 2018 at 10:44 pm

      @ orwell: “GINA HASPEL
      being nominated as CIA CHIEF and being applauded by DEMOCRATS???”

      In the press I’m seeing today, some Democrats and Republicans have announced opposition to the Haspel nomination. I’d say so far that her approval in the Senate is far from certain.

      • March 15, 2018 at 9:49 am

        The key word is “some”. Yes their are some Senators from either side of the aisle that have a conscience but hardly enough to make a difference.

      • March 15, 2018 at 1:40 pm

        Speculation (maybe worthless) I heard was that Trump put her out there to get shot down and replaced with “more moderate” Tom Cotton. At the very least, Democrats will have a problem talking about the faults of a woman. And, they’re fine with torture so I think she’ll probably get the job and Trump will be wondering what happened just like when he won and had to go live in that dump White House.

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