Russia-gate has shed any premise of being about Russian interference, writes Daniel Lazare, but the idea that America may in anyway be responsible for its own fate is of course unthinkable.
By Daniel Lazare
Special to Consortium News
Americans used to think that Russia-gate was about a plot to hack the 2016 election. They were wrong. Russia-gate is really about an immense conspiracy to do four things:
No. 1: Ratchet up tensions with Russia to ever more dangerous levels;
No. 2: Show that Democrats are even more useless than people imagined;
No. 3: Persecute Julian Assange;
No. 4: Re-elect Donald Trump as president.
This was the takeaway from Mitch McConnell’s devastating “case closed” speech last week in which the Senate majority leader jeered at President Barack Obama for mocking Mitt Romney’s claim (seven years ago now) that Russia was America’s “number one geopolitical foe.” As Obama famously replied during that presidential debate: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
But that was so 2012. Now, says McConnell, it looks like Romney was right:
“We’d have been better off if the administration hadn’t swept [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s invasion and occupation of Georgia under the rug or looked away as Russia forced out western NGO’s and cracked down on civil society. If President Obama hadn’t let Assad trample his red line in Syria or embraced Putin’s fake deal on chemical weapons, if the Obama administration had responded firmly to Putin’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine in 2014, to the assassination of Boris Nemtsov in 2015, and to Russia intervention in Syria — maybe stronger leadership would have left the Kremlin less emboldened, maybe tampering with our democracy wouldn’t have seemed so very tempting.
“Instead,” McConnell went on, “the previous administration sent the Kremlin a signal they could get away with almost anything, almost anything. So is it surprising that we got the brazen interference detailed in special counsel Mueller’s report?”
Lies and Distortions
Like so much out of Congress these days, this was a farrago of lies and distortions. It wasn’t Moscow that started the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, but Tbilisi. While Russia has indeed cracked down on U.S.-backed NGO’s, Washington has done the same by forcing Russia’s highly successful news agency RT to register as a foreign agent and by sentencing Maria Butina, a Russian national studying at American University, to 18 months in prison for the crime of hobnobbing with members of the National Rifle Association. The charge that Syrian President Bashar al Assad “trampled” Obama’s red line by using chemical weapons is hardly as clear-cut as imperial propagandists like to believe – to say the least – while the agreement between Putin and former Secretary of State John Kerry to rid Syria of chemical weapons was not fake at all, but an example, increasingly rare unfortunately, of diplomacy being used to prevent an international crisis from getting out of hand.
And so on ad nauseum. But what could Democrats say in response given that they’ve spent the last three years trying to out-hawk the GOP? Answer: nothing. All they could do was try to turn tables on McConnell by charging him with not being anti-Russian enough. Thus, New York’s Sen. Chuck Schumer accused him of “aiding and abetting” Moscow while Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin accused him of running interference for Putin because he “feels the Russians were on the side of the Republicans in 2016 and just might be again in 2020.”
Democrats Feed the Super Hawks
The result: a Democratic consensus that Russia can’t be trusted and that America must put itself on a war footing to prevent Putin from “toppl[ing] the mighty oak that has been our republic for two hundred years,” as Schumer put it. It’s an across-the-board agreement that the long-awaited Mueller report has only strengthened by regurgitating the intelligence-community line that “[t]he Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion” and then cherry-picking the facts to fit its preconceived thesis. (See “Top Ten Questions About the Mueller Report,” May 6.)
Democrats claim to oppose National Security Advisor John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence, but the anti-Russian hysteria they promote strengthens the hand of such super-hawks. It makes military conflict more likely, if not with Russia then with perceived Russian surrogates such as Venezuela or Iran.
Simultaneously, it backfires on Democrats by making them look weak and foolish as they argue that even though the Mueller report says “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government,” somehow “significant evidence of collusion” still exists, as an increasingly unhinged Rep. Adam Schiff maintains. In the Alice-in-Wonderland world of congressional Democrats, no evidence does not mean no evidence. In fact, it means the opposite.
Voters are unmoved. Ten times more Americans – 80 versus 8 percent – care about healthcare than about Russia according to a recent survey. When CNN pollsters asked a thousand people in mid-March to name the issues that matter most, not one mentioned Russia or the Mueller probe. If they didn’t care when collusion was still an open question, they care even less now that the only issue is obstruction plus a phony constitutional crisis that desperate Democrats have conjured up out of thin air.
Trump the Chief Beneficiary
Besides Fox News – whose ratings have soared while Russia-obsessed CNN’s have plummeted – the chief beneficiary is Trump. Post-Mueller, the man has the wind in his sails. Come 2020, Sen. Bernie Sanders could cut through his phony populism with ease. But if Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post succeeds in tarring him with Russia the same way it tried to tar Trump, then the Democratic nominee will be a bland centrist whom the incumbent will happily bludgeon. Former Vice President Joe Biden – the John McCain-loving, speech-slurring, child-fondler who was for a wall along the Mexican border before he was against it – will end up as a bug splat on the Orange One’s windshield.
Beto O’Rourke, the rich-kid airhead who declared shortly before the Mueller report was released that Trump, “beyond the shadow of a doubt, sought to … collude with the Russian government,” will not fare much better. Sen. Elizabeth Warren meanwhile seems to be tripping over her own two feet as she predicts one moment that Trump is heading to jail, declares the next that voters don’t care about the Mueller report because they’re too concerned with bread-and-butter issues, and then calls for dragging Congress into the impeachment morass regardless.
Such “logic” is lost on voters, so it seems to be a safe bet that enough will stay home next Election Day to allow the rough beast to slouch towards Bethlehem yet again.
Assange Convicted in Eyes of Press
Then there’s Julian Assange, currently serving a 50-week sentence in a supermax prison outside of London after being ejected from the Ecuadorian Embassy. By claiming that the WikiLeaks founder was “dissembling” by denying that Russia was the source of the mammoth Democratic National Committee leak in July 2016, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has effectively convicted him in the eyes of Congress and the press.
The New York Times thus reports that Mueller has “revealed” that Russian intelligence was the source while, in a venomous piece by Middlebury College professor Allison Stanger, The Washington Post declared that Assange “is neither whistleblower nor journalist,” but someone who helped Russian intelligence interfere in “the American electoral process.”
Schumer thus greeted Assange’s April 11 arrest by tweeting his “hope [that] he will soon be held to account for his meddling in our elections on behalf of Putin and the Russian government,” while, in a truly chilling statement, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia declared that “[i]t will be really good to get him back on United States soil [so] we can get the facts and the truth from him.”
Now that Julian Assange has been arrested, I hope he will soon be held to account for his meddling in our elections on behalf of Putin and the Russian government.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 11, 2019
Assange is guiltier than ever. If Washington gets its hands on him, he’ll no doubt be hauled before some sort of Star Chamber and then clapped in a dungeon somewhere until he confesses that Russian intelligence made him do it, even though a careful reading of the Mueller report strongly suggests the opposite. (See “The ‘Guccifer 2.0’ Gaps in Mueller’s Full Report,” April 18.)
Assange languishing behind bars, war breaking out in Latin America or the Persian Gulf, Trump in the Oval Office for four years more – it’s the worst of all possible worlds, and the Democratic Party’s bizarre fixation with Vladimir Putin is what’s pushing it.
Ultimately, Russia-gate is yet a variation on the tired old theme of American innocence. If something goes wrong, it can’t be the fault of decent Americans who, as we all know, are too good for our deeply flawed world. Rather, it must be the fault of dastardly foreigners trying to hack our democracy. It’s a deep-rooted form of xenophobia that has fueled everything from the criminalization of marijuana (smuggled in by evil Mexicans) to the 1950s Red Scare (a reaction to Communism smuggled in by evil Russians), and the war on terrorism (the work of evil Muslims). The idea that America may in anyway be responsible for its own fate is of course unthinkable.
But Russia-gate may be the greatest delusion of all. After decades of celebrating Donald Trump as the essence of American flash and hustle, the corporate media have decided that the only way he could have gotten into the White House is if Putin put him there. The upshot is a giant conspiracy to force Americans to turn their back on reality, an effort that can only end in disaster for all concerned, Democrats first and foremost.
Daniel Lazare is the author of “The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy” (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics. He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nationto Le Monde Diplomatiqueand blogs about the Constitution and related matters at Daniellazare.com.
Generally, historians figure stupidity explains more and better than conspiracy.
If Hitler hadn’t been dumb enough to attack the USSR, the Allies would not have had a chance: the USSR did most of the work of defeating the Nazis.
But the war had reduced US unemployment from more than 25% to less than 2% (full employment is about 4%, so 2% was achieved by laws that made it illegal to quit any job supporting the war effort). At the end of WWII, everyone said the US economy would soon return to the Great Depression. Then Truman said the Axis wasn’t defeated, the USSR had been part of the Axis thanks to Molotov-Ribbentrop, and continued to be an existential threat to the US and Western Europe. Then the Republicans all said Truman was much too soft on the USSR and let them steal China with thousands of spies in the US government. A return to the Great Depression was avoided, and MAD prevented a major war between the US and the USSR.
What’s scary about today is that the MSM assure us that Putin’s military is all Photoshop, and MAD no longer exists, the US military is now so strong, war would mean AD of America’s enemies. The MSM can lie, but Russia, the PRC, and the DPRK all have MAD. So far, Trump’s actions indicate that he knows this, his ‘fire and fury’ is just posturing for his base. We can but hope.
Trump Administration Withholds Information That Could Debunk Russian Interference Claims
Lavrov responded first to the question. He said that there is no evidence that shows any Russian interference in the U.S. elections. He continued:
Speaking about the most recent US presidential campaign in particular, we have had in place an information exchange channel about potential unintended risks arising in cyberspace since 2013. From October 2016 (when the US Democratic Administration first raised this issue) until January 2017 (before Donald Trump’s inauguration), this channel was used to handle requests and responses. Not so long ago, when the attacks on Russia in connection with the alleged interference in the elections reached their high point, we proposed publishing this exchange of messages between these two entities, which engage in staving off cyberspace incidents. I reminded Mr Pompeo about this today. The administration, now led by President Trump, refused to do so. I’m not sure who was behind this decision, but the idea to publish this data was blocked by the United States. However, we believe that publishing it would remove many currently circulating fabrications. Of course, we will not unilaterally make these exchanges public, but I would still like to make this fact known.
The communication channel about cyber issues did indeed exist. In June 2013 the Presidents of the United States and Russia issued a Joint Statement about “Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs)”. The parties agreed to establishing communication channels between each other computer emergency response teams, to use the direct communication link of the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers for cyber issue exchanges, and to have direct communication links between high-level officials in the White House and Kremlin for such matter. A Fact Sheet published by the Obama White House detailed the implementation of these three channels.
One inference from Lavrov’s statement is that the “fundamental understanding on this matter” between the two presidents that has “not been fully implemented” is the release of the communications about cyberspace incidents. The Russians clearly think that a release of the communications with the Obama administration would exculpate them. That would also exculpate Trump from any further collusion allegations. Why then does the Trump administration reject the release? Who is blocking it?
Cont. reading: Trump Administration Withholds Information That Could Debunk Russian Interference Claims
Well that sure tells it as it is! The American public’s insouciance is a killer for democracy, for morality, for ethics and for the rule of law, so in fact, the consideration that it is Americans’ fault that the US is so dysfunctional and dystopian, is definitely thinkable!
The American public knows that US elections are phony baloney, pointless rituals that improve nothing. That’s why half never vote! One psychopath replaces another in the White House. So f’ing what?
Let it not be left unsaid that Johnny Freedom McCain was the U.S. Senator who encouraged Saakashvili to attack in South Ossetia (which led to Russian intervention on behalf of resident Russian ethnic/nationals) all the while saying “We got your back”and blaming Russia. His two amigos Lieberman and Graham of course were all aboard in that precursor to his further next act in Ukraine where Little Amy Klobuchar took Lieberman’s place in the trio in inciting Poroshenko and his troops to “ATTACK!, ATTACK!, ATTACK!” a few years back.
Lil’ Amy was sharpening her Hillary chops for having drawn blood for her ludicrous Presidential run this year, of course.
“The extent of McCain’s involvement in the military conflict in Georgia appears remarkable among presidential candidates, who traditionally have kept some distance from unfolding crises out of deference to whoever is occupying the White House. The episode also follows months of sustained GOP criticism of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, who was accused of acting too presidential for, among other things, briefly adopting a campaign seal and taking a trip abroad that included a huge rally in Berlin.
“We talk about how there’s only one president at a time, so the idea that you would send your own emissaries and really interfere with the process is remarkable,” said Lawrence Korb, a Reagan Defense Department official who now acts as an informal adviser to the Obama campaign. “It’s very risky and can send mixed messages to foreign governments. . . . They accused Obama of being presumptuous, but he didn’t do anything close to this.”
Talk about rewriting history—McConnell is breathtakingly good at it.
So, what is the representative of Allmighty Nation doing un Russia? Why bothering to hint on better relations? Noted in the press conference was the absence of Pompeo’s moralizing, limiting itself on US position on issues. What is the point in this flying back and forth?
Yes, Iran — and arms control. Venezuela — and arms control. North Korea — and arms control. I think they are paranoid about Russian weapons. And if Iranians by any chance have some of the new weaponry, providing perfect testing ground, would Russia own to that? What was obvious, no concessions on any issue from Moscow. Not even softened language. This time, it is different. The economic and military power has shifted east, Europeans forever without a spine this time are spineless in all directions, and it will come as a shock to the establishment that the presumed animosity towards Iran in Gulf, will nowhere to be found. Wil Saudis host US troops against Iran, Doubt that deeply.
” I think they are paranoid about Russian weapons.” and so they should be. If instead of scornfully scoffing on March 1 last year when Pres. Putin explained the situation of Russian defence capabilities(which the Pentagon obviously understood) US officials should have been more circumspect and respectful. What the Top Trio in the Trump Maladministration are managing to do is close any hope for genuine negotiations.
The next step is this country’s government turn on its citizens. Tyranny.
The US Government turned o the citizens in 2001, if not earlier. It’s been tyranny for most of us for a long time. Since the start of the Cold War, perhaps
With the brain trust of the corporate democrats frantically signaling SOS! SOS! (same old sh*t) I completely agree that Biden will be bug splat on Trump’s windshield.
I will guess that the field of D candidates will stop at 50, unless of course there are some states that don’t have primaries or caucuses.
Put something together last week but didn’t post it. Let me see – oh yes: the biggest headache of the corporate Democratic brain trust is how to convince their angry and desperate base they will fight for their interests, when they endlessly keep proving that they have absolutely no intention of doing so. Or is this just the eternal conundrum of politicians? The mayor of Halloween Town comes to mind.
During the 2012 Republican presidential primaries, Mitt Romney claimed that he would not make any significant policy decisions about Israel without consulting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Romney blatantly pandered to the pro-Israel Lobby, including both Jewish Zionists and evangelical Christian Zionists.
In a telling exchange during a debate in December 2011, Romney criticized Newt Gingrich for making a disparaging remark about Palestinians, declaring: “Before I made a statement of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: ‘Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do?’ “
Netanyahu met with Romney in 2011. The two men had worked together in the 1970s.
Martin S. Indyk, a leading figure in the pro-Israel Lobby who served as United States ambassador to Israel in the Clinton administration, said that whether intentional or not, Romney’s statement implied that he would “subcontract Middle East policy to Israel.”
“That, of course, would be inappropriate,” added Indyk, a former director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who also served eight years as the founding Executive Director of the notorious pro-Israel warhawk “think tank” Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP).
For years, Netanyahu has mobilized pro-Israel Lobby groups and Congressional Republicans to pressure successive US administrations into taking a more confrontational approach against Iran.
“To the extent that their personal relationship would give Netanyahu entree to the Romney White House in a way that he doesn’t now have to the Obama White House,” Indyk said, “the prime minister would certainly consider that to be a significant advantage.”
In March 2012, Romney spoke via satellite to a meeting of the AIPAC. Like other politicians backed by the pro-Israel Lobby, Romney vehemently criticized the Obama administration over its policies toward Israel.
Romney worked at at Boston Consulting Group from 1975 to 1977; Mr. Netanyahu was involved from 1976 to 1978. But a month after Netanyahu arrived, he returned to Israel to start an antiterrorism foundation in memory of his brother, an officer killed while leading the hostage rescue force at Entebbe, Uganda. An aide said he sporadically returned to the company over the rest of that two-year period.
Romney later decamped to Bain & Company, a rival of Boston Consulting. They did, however, maintain a significant link: at Bain, Mr. Romney worked closely with Fleur Cates, Netanyahu’s second wife. (Cates and Netanyahu divorced in the mid-1980s, but she remained in touch with Romney.)
Netanyahu paid him a visit to Romney when the latter became the governor of Massachusetts. Netanyahu, who had recently stepped down as Israel’s finance minister, regaled Romney with stories of how he had challenged unionized workers over control of their pensions and privatized formerly government-run industries. He encouraged Romney to look for ways to do the same.
“Government,” Romney recalled Netanyahu saying, “is the guy on your shoulders.”
As governor, Mr. Romney said, he frequently repeated the story to the heads of various agencies.
A few years later, Romney had dinner with Mr. Netanyahu at a private home in central Jerusalem. Before he left Israel, Romney set up several meetings with government officials in the United States for his old colleague. “I immediately saw the wisdom of his thinking,” Romney claimed. Back in Massachusetts, Mr. Romney sent out letters to legislators requesting that the public pension funds they controlled sell off investments from corporations doing business with Iran.
Netanyahu maintained contact with Romney during the presidential campaign. When Newt Gingrich leaped to the top of the polls, an article in January 2012 explored why billionaire oligarch Sheldon Adelson was devoting millions of dollars to back Gingrich. It described Netanyahu and Adelson as close friends. Netanyahu’s office quickly relayed a message to a senior Romney adviser, Dan Senor claiming that the Israeli prime minister had played no role in Adelson’s decision to bankroll a Romney rival.
Fast forward to the 2016 US presidential election.
Trump’s purported deviation from US foreign policy orthodoxy was a propaganda scam engineered by the pro-Israel Lobby from the very beginning.
Trump received the “Liberty Award” for his contributions to US-Israel relations at a 3 February 2015 gala hosted by The Algemeiner Journal, a New York-based newspaper, covering American and international Jewish and Israel-related news.
“We love Israel. We will fight for Israel 100 percent, 1000 percent.”
VIDEO minutes 2:15-8:06
After the event, Trump did not renew his television contract for The Apprentice, which raised speculation about a Trump bid for the presidency. Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015.
Trump’s questioning of Israel’s commitment to peace, calls for even treatment in Israeli-Palestinian deal-making, and refusal to call for Jerusalem to be Israel’s undivided capital, were all stage-managed for the campaign.
Stage management of both the Trump administration and its Republican and Democratic “opposition” continues apace.
The Israeli government, via the machinations of the pro-Israel Lobby, is an ever more aggressively warmongering “guy on your shoulders”.
“Russia-gate” really is about an immense conspiracy to “do things”.
The primary “thing”, the key pretext that Lazare and other CN contributors steadfastly ignore:
The “Russia-gate” fiction was specifically designed to divert attention from the reality of “Israel-gate”.
Russiagate is US stupidity, nothing more.
“Russia-gate is really about an immense conspiracy to do four things:
No. 1: Ratchet up tensions with Russia to ever more dangerous levels;
No. 2: Show that Democrats are even more useless than people imagined;
No. 3: Persecute Julian Assange;
No. 4: Re-elect Donald Trump as president.”
I didn’t bother to read beyond the above quoted, for one reason: It does not make sense, and is not logical.
I go along with No. 1, that they wanted to ratchet up tensions with Russia to create a pretext for war against Russia.
No. 2: The Democrats created Russia-Gate and thereby did indeed show that they are even more useless than people had imagined. But they did NOT create it in order to show that they are useless. They believed, and some still believe, that their plot to oust Trump would succeed.
No. 3: Persecute Julian Assange; They tried to persecute Julian Assange for almost a decade, because he exposed high crimes and misdemeanors of the US government. Those faux rape charges were filed then with a view to extradition from Sweden to the US. Russia-gate was created after Hillary lost the election to Donald Trump, which only happened less than 3 years ago. Those two are independent of each other, and Russia-gate was not created because of Julian Assange.
No. 4: Re-elect Donald Trump as president.” This is the most illogical and most ridiculous of the four. Russia-gate was and is a conspiracy created to impeach, prosecute, or oust in any way possible Trump from the White House and any other position of power, NOT TO RE-ELECT HIM. Russia-gate is a conspiracy between the democratic party, the liberal mainstream media or members of the Deep State to oust Donald Trump, to create opposition and resistance to Donald Trump, to malign and demonize Trump to render him ineffective and handicap him, and NOT to re-elect him.
How can you print such rubbish.
We could try re-phrasing the opening sentence (which would eliminate its irony) to “Russia-gate was an immense conspiracy that accomplished four things,” which I think is the essential meaning of the sentence.
“This is the most illogical and most ridiculous of the four. Russia-gate was and is a conspiracy created to impeach, prosecute, or oust in any way possible Trump from the White House and any other position of power, NOT TO RE-ELECT HIM. ”
Helen, m’dear, you appear to be utterly irony=challenged!
It was a joke, Helga. Sheesh.
You might add that Russia Gate was created to cover up the contents of the exposed e-mails, which, if this country had any decency left, would have ended the Democratic party.
“Doh”, Helen— “I didn’t bother to read beyond the above quoted, for one reason: It does not make sense, and is not logical.”
Had you continued you’d have read through and perhaps past your indignation:
“This was the takeaway from Mitch McConnell’s devastating “case closed” speech last week in which the Senate majority leader jeered at….”
You would have understood had you read further that the author was arguing about what Russiagate has become, not what it was originally intended to be.
If considered solely in the context of why it was created, I would agree with your analysis, except when you say “liberal main-stream media” because you used the adjective “liberal”.
I found the first of these statements as “chilling” as the second:
“Schumer thus greeted Assange’s April 11 arrest by tweeting his “hope [that] he will soon be held to account for his meddling in our elections on behalf of Putin and the Russian government,” while, in a truly chilling statement, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia declared that “[i]t will be really good to get him back on United States soil [so] we can get the facts and the truth from him.”
Daniel Lazare’s recent work on Assange indicated via chronological sequencing it’s much more likely Guccifer 2.0 was the phony he was suspected to be at the time, let alone Assange’s denial it was not the Russians, nor any State operation, plus as we have discussed pointing toward Seth Rich (an insider-as-leak interpretation subsequently buttressed by William Binney et al.)
In short, there is and has been ample information to suspend leaping to the hysterical tar and feather him approach mouthed by Schumer, spittle presumably flying out of his mouth at the time.
It is disgusting to see supposed leaders in the government advocating guilty until proved innocent in this lynch-mob manner in a country with supposedly an advanced system of justice. It reminds me of the Rosenberg case and the McCarthy era and the Salem witch trials before that.
“Monstrous offspring” indeed.
Sorry Folks but both Mr Lazare’s text and the majority of the comments here clearly illustrate that the major problem for America and its Citizens is that they are way too full of themselves and easily manipulated because of that. Seriously, the vast majority of the Worlds population Could Not Give a Rat’s Ass about America except when they are being attacked either with Real Bombs or Economically. No normal Human Being wants to be Israel’s Stooge. You have to think you are are really important for someone in another Country to want to select your leaders. Oh yes that is what the US Deep State does and now it’s been clearly exposed it does the same thing at home.. Of course if your motto is that “You are god’s chosen people!”, it could get you into trouble now and then with the rest of God’s People. Like Bob Dylan wrote a few years ago, “I used to care!” Only a fool would care now.
This is where we learn the importance of an objective press and one that can bring all the threads of a story together. And it’s also most likely to be a disaster.
Yes, Russia kicked most US NGOs out of the country. With good reason. Most of them were deliberately undermining the host country (this is not limited to Russia, they do that in most of their host countries, especially those we want to mess with). The National Endowment for Democracy is a classic case in point. The counter point here isn’t RT. It’s a news outlet that has proven to be far more reliable than the US corporate media. Does Russia send NGOs around the world to infest other countries with their vision of government?
The US/EU fomented the coup in Ukraine that resulted in Crimea deciding they didn’t want to be associated with Ukraine any longer. Did the US press tell the truth here? No. They made it sound as if Crimea was a part of Ukraine when, in fact, the Turkic Muslims of Crimea were never a part of the Christian Slavs of Ukraine. They also didn’t explain the terms by which Khrushchev administratively slapped the two together in 1957 which give the Crimeans the ability to opt out.
It is exactly as Mr. Lazare says, Americans think that their country can do no wrong. We don’t see the coups we foist on other countries. We don’t see the lies and fake news we spread in other countries we wish to undermine. They don’t see the consequences of our abuse of our economic power. The myopia is powerful in this one as my representatives tried to tell me that Venezuela was a prosperous and happy country before Chavez and that their current travails are as a result of the socialism and not two coup attempts and a long string of sanctions from the US. We are remarkably good at blaming the victim.
There’s a good chance that this will rise up and bite us in the ass and the American people will have no idea why…..
But the American people will be told, “they hate us for our freedom,” while our military goes about extinguishing their form of government, sometimes an actual democracy.
“they hate us for our freedom,”
There is also the claim that the Evil Vlad wakes up every morning with one objective; to destroy “our shining city upon a hill” because, by comparison, we make them Russkies look bad. He strives to drag us down to their level in the stinking morass.. That’s the only reason why they reelect him…
Donald Trump deserves to be impeached on several grounds, the most important of which is ignoring congressional subpoenas. This does, indeed, create a serious constitutional crisis that pushes the United States further down the road to authoritarian rule and fascism. Though I agree that the Russiagate affair was clearly bogus from the start, Trump cannot be allowed to ignore the legitimate demand of Congress to exercise its constitutionality derived power to oversee the workings of the executive branch. Failure on the Democratically controlled House of Representatives to bring articles of impeachment against Trump will be further evidence of the complete fecklessness of the Democratic leadership.
The entire witch hunt was bogus from day one and its sedition.We need to get to the bottom of who was pushing this Russian disinformation ie the Steele Dossier.
FBI-CIA Dispute Erupts Over Whether Comey Or Brennan Pushed Steele Dossier
An interesting article.
Or we could just “let it go” and worry about the events that are happening in front of us but are not being examined. As with the Mueller Report, any investigation will amount to absolutely nothing. No one will go to jail. No policies will be changed. Just more eyeballs for Fox and MSNBC as they prattle on about meaningless crap.
I think it is very important for us to reveal to the average American that our “Intelligence” Agencies are a corrupting influence on our government to such an extent that it matters not a whit who is president, and it is these unelected shills for empire who control the decision making process, especially regarding foreign policy. RussiaGate must be revealed for what it was: an attempt to unseat a sitting president, or at the very least to make seeking detente with Russia impossible. Brennan and Comey both belong in jail, and if Barr succeeds in prosecuting members of the “Intelligence Community” the impact would be staggering, and may very well change how “the events happening in front of us” get handled from then on.
“Democratic Party’s bizarre fixation with Vladimir Putin is what’s pushing it.”
Demonization of an enemy is far from anything new, the empire engages in this propaganda at every opportunity – it works.
There is nothing “bizarre” about this kind of propaganda it is in fact rational and again, it works – that is why they are doing it. Look at the numerous examples in the historical record, Vietnam, Iraq, Granada, Panama large “enemy” or small the same propaganda methods are used.
One of the reasons the propaganda works is that, well, there is an “election” in 18 months and what will Bernie do, Gabbard or any of the rest do, can they save us – the answer is as clear as anything in the historical record – after WWII when the CIA, FBI and other agencies were formed they were headed by representatives of the Global Power Elite and the full capture of US foreign policy and the leavers of power was accomplished. Not even Eisenhower, the great general who should have known better avoided manipulation into conducting policies given him by the Global Power Elite through the Dulles brothers.
Can I just state this to bring home my point. The Global Power Elite have a pot of commingled capital which has grown to over 50 Trillion dollars. (see GIANTS: The Global Power Elite, by Peter Phillips) The US government is 22 trillion in debt – and guess to whom the debt is owed.
Sure, there could be s revolution and progressive forces could take political power – then the creditors would call in their debts and the nation would be bankrupt and unable to function, additionally the Imperial HQ could move elsewhere – the last interview I saw with the head of the Rothschild family he was in Shanghai.
Given all this, it is deeply disappointing to see this constant return by progressives to slavishly talk about “elections” and non-existent “democracy” as a solution.
Elections have resulted in TORTURE that is their legacy yet for every problem the answer is always the same, more elections.
What if the revolution cancelled all the debt? Confiscation of the Oligarchs assets?
When countries cancel their debts, their economies usually completely collapse. It happened in Argentina in 2000. Usually, ordinary people suffer quite a lot. Can you feed yourself with a garden? Maybe you should learn.
“Russia has indeed cracked down on U.S.-backed NGO’s…”
Just to say that it’s almost as well known that NGOs are CIA storefronts as it is that US embassies are. In the words of the great, lamented William Blum:
Q: Why will there never be a coup d’état in Washington?
A: Because there’s no American embassy there.
Probably we have had coups, we just don’t use the word.
Mr Lazare, while I would certainly agree with much you have written, on one point at least I am much less certain: that most Americans care less about Russia than about health care.
While this might be true for the majority of the population who are in the lower middle, working classes and poor, I am much less certain about the “well” educated, comfortably off, well health insured, middling and upper bourgeoisie. The sort who, even when on Medicare, are on the upper rungs of it (paying extra for better and more expansive treatment; and I do mean Medicare here). The sort who frequently have been privately educated.
Several of my late husband’s FB friends fall well into these categories and they really believe, wholeheartedly, the propaganda against Russia (and to some extent against China – Huawei, 5G, and so on), almost to the point of paranoia. The Demrat politicos and their corporate-capitalist-imperialist funders together with the despicable, groupthinking Orwellian media have done a real number on these people – usually the ones who *vote.*
These same people evince absolutely, and I mean absolutely, NO concern or interest in the constant war-making and warmongering, the illegal invasions, electoral meddling/coups/”regime” changes, destruction of peoples that this country (and its allies) engage in. Not happening here, therefore not anything to do with “us.”
I know that my late husband would be utterly devastated knowing that some of his students, with whom he worked assiduously to develop real critical thinking (via much difficult reading in historiography, sociology and philosophy, discussion and writing), have fallen hook, line and sinker for the neoliberal groupthink supporting the corporate-capitalist-imperialist (and of course, orientalist) line. One can only imagine that they were already well primed for this mindset.
I suspect, Ann, that your husband did also influence many of his students in a very positive way.
Sounds about right to me. The “gentry” have the leisure to think about politics and fall for conspiracy theories. They’re as brainwashed with American Exceptionalism, American Adam, thinking as the rest of us. They don’t usually fight in the wars. For me, the beginning of my political education was the Navy, the Tonkin Gulf in 1972, the Kitty Mutiny, the Marcos Coup in the Phillipines. Now, I guess I’m pretty radical, at by US standards, and live abroad.
Anne — your post resonates deeply with me. I would guess you and I are of similar ages and have similar friends and acquaintances. We certainly share the exact same experiences with these people. They are proud ‘liberals’ (lately donning the ‘progressive’ robe with equal exuberance). None are members of the elite one-percenters, but all belong to what Nader refers to as the ‘contented class’, that 9% buffer zone between the elite and the increasingly miserable lower 90%-ers.
Most are Democrats who embrace the ‘neoliberal groupthink’ you referred to. There was a time I believed one of the conclusions of a famous study on authoritarian personalities that claimed the vast majority of authoritarians (active and passive) were Republicans. Just as the Democratic Party has morphed into the 80’s Republican Party, so too have these liberals. Their cognitive dissonance is more powerful than any I have encountered in my lifetime. Their core belief system now includes incrementalism, lesser-evilism and an overwhelming sense of goodness that at least they are ‘doing something positive’ by supporting all Democrats at all costs.
Appallingly, their new heroes are historically-proven liars, psychopaths and Deep State organizations like the CIA and FBI. Their Trump Derangement Syndrome has destroyed all ability to think critically or accept transparent and obvious truths. They accept no criticism of their actions and attack those who question them. To them, the ‘end’ of removing Trump justifies any evil.
Gaia help us all.
thank you, anner, and you are of course being critical of class society, which doesn’t exist here in disney-oops-americaland..
well, we have an upper class, a lower class, a middle class and such, but that doesn’t denote a class society…does it?
of course not…now, huddle in your bomb cellars waiting for the attack from iran..or venezuala..or…why do they all pick on us?
of course there is at least one other possibility dear Ann. perhaps they do think critically. perhaps after observing and analyzing they make a conclusion opposite of what you would deem proper.
isn’t it fascinating how it is demonstrated by taking 9 of the very best in their field, give them the exact same information and facts, and they can debate logically to a 5 to 4 decision ?
perhaps people like me, whom you claim have fallen hook, line and sinker simply do not agree. perhaps people like me put more confidence in the view point, freedom isn’t free. perhaps people like me know my freedom does not depend ultimately upon 9 guys in black robes. perhaps it is fundamentally dependent upon people like my little brother, and the extremely brave men like him.
if you look at the world from that vantage point, it is quite obvious how conclusions must differ, no ?
next point, they called it sensitivity analysis way back when, if you are wrong we loose our freedom. if i am wrong, we muddle through another crises. perhaps the lord will help us out from time to time. it has happened before, you know.
imagine living like the chinese do Ann. or would it be ok to do social ranking as long as people like you do the score keeping ? you do see the real possibility of a certain national characteristic getting unleashed in an outcome like that, do you not ?
Sorry, but Dems are just as bad as Reps, Hillary was just Trump in dress, not a bit better and the main difference between China and the US is Chinese people ate getting richer, Americans are getting poorer
I think you mistake the people you describe as believing in Russiagate as being such a large portion of the population that it would influence the author’s use of the word “most”.
I would argue that the top 1% (which in 2007 had 34% of the wealth) doesn’t care about Russiagate at all except to use it as cover for their power manipulation.
The next 19% (the people you describe) are the class that most believes Russiagate matters. Together these groups have 85% of the wealth. Thus leaving 8o% of the population who may not even know what Russiagate is, let alone care about it.
Excellent essay. Thanks. I come here to restore some sense of reality.
The root of the Democrats problem is they feed from the same trough as the GOP. They can’t do anything substantial about health care or the declining middle class because they’d piss off their donors. Since they can’t stand for “the working man” any longer, they are trying to cobble together “Identity Politics” and “Political Correctness” to eke out a majority. Good luck with that! They can give us non gender specific restrooms with our Forever War! Why aren’t we feeling the love?
I think the time has never been more ripe for a serious third party challenge than 2020.
Perfect thumbnail obituary for the Democratic Party, Skip. It got hijacked by corporatists who saw an opportunity to push the GOP agenda from both directions. Maybe that’s what Hillary meant by “stronger together.”
The time is ripe for a coalition of minor parties [Green, Libertatian, Peace & Freedom, Constitution, etc.],
plus the plurality of non-aligned citizens who don’t normally vote,
to unite around core values such as 1st Amendment and ending aggressive (“regime-change”) wars,
and back Tulsi as an Independent-Unity candidate.
The Democrats do not deserve to win. No matter who’s their candidate, they shouldn’t be given the chance to imagine that their RussiaGate BS is vindicated.
And the Dems certainly don’t deserve Tulsi.
Great plan! From your mouth to Tulsi’s ears! She needs to make a dramatic exit from the Dems, preferably on national TV, with the message “stop the senseless regime change wars!” That alone would make her a contender.
Skip, notice that Tulsi scares the hell out of the MSM. Therefore, she will be vilified, lied about, left out of poll line-ups, shoved to the side in debates, accused of being Putin’s or Assad’s puppet and God knows what else by the major newspapers, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN etc., and this will spread even overseas. You can’t be against war, corruption and US Monroe Doctrine as our foreign policy and expect to get fair coverage. Personally, I will counter the propaganda wherever I can.
I had a “back and forth” with dailykos about not listing Tulsi on their straw polls with her being the only candidate against “regime change” wars. I shamed them a bit by calling them a bunch of latte-sippers who reek of the arrogance of privilege while our MIC goes all around the planet killing poor people. Maybe I am giving myself too much credit, but they did in fact include her name on the last poll.
I can’t reply to skip about his argument with KOS so it’s here.
There is nothing to be gained by arguing with KOS other than to be banned from their website as I was.
They are supporting a National Guard pilot to run against her in the 2020 HI-2 election.
I would not be surprised to find that they were instrumental in producing tulsigabbard.guru, a site that has been recently taken down but which repeated (and I think originated) many slurs against Tulsi that have now been picked up by the media.
I encourage you and everyone to publicize tulsigabbard.org which goes into great detail on her positions on almost anything. Also, the Jimmy Dore and Joe Rogan interviews with Tulsi that are available on YouTube.
Tulsi is my congresswoman. She is wildly popular here.
The HSTA (hawaii state teachers association) hates her. When challenged they repeat the lies that are on the .guru site that was taken down. When you point out that they are lies, they cover their ears and chant “nah, nah, nah”.
Skip. this is re. to your re. to Rob Roy.
WaPo confirmed today that Tulsi is one of the 11 guaranteed a debate spot. She’s making solid progress, including major bumps from the Joe Rogan interviews. If she has hopes of actually getting the Dem nomination, of course there will be no dramatic exit until that’s been decided. OTOH, an outside call for her to run as an Indy would be authentic, but also a threat to the Dems, give her fair play OR ELSE !
So, maybe the movement for an independent run has to start at the bottom? I’d like to bounce this off people who know more about politics than I do. There’s also the implied question, how could an Independent function if elected. Would there be support in Congress? Would new [“Coalition”] candidates arise?
People talk about the populist movement in Mexico as represented by MORENA, however the coalition was actually Juntos Haremos Historia (“Together We’ll Make History”), which included right wing evangelicals as well as leftists. Pretty remarkable, but a similar cooperation has arisen in Unity4J (for Julian Assange) where journalists with radically different ideologies focus on a single unifying principle.
Ask Nick Branna. He says “yes”
John Z. –
Are you already familiar with Branna and the People’s Party? Are they backing specific candidates? What do you think I should ask him? Would he and the PP join a coalition? Or do I misunderstand your suggestion?
All of the endorsers are leftists. The platform is all about wages and healthcare, but war isn’t mentioned. Maybe it’s there, but it’s not on the front page.
Here’s what they say: “Together we’re building a coalition of working people, unions, and progressive groups for a nationally viable people’s party.”
Also, “We are working to build a coalition of groups on the left in order to create a new party for working people.”
This just seems like typical ‘Progressives’ who are fed up with Dems. Some of the endorsers – Sheehan, Hedges, Martin and others – are known to be anti-war, but it’s concerning that peace and FP aren’t prominent. Besides, we need to build bigger bridges than “groups on the left.” There are many – surprisingly many – on the right who oppose constant militarism. And what about the center? There’s a vast untapped demographic, whether apathetic or genuinely discouraged by evidence that it makes no difference who you vote for, the Deep State wins. Why approach them from a left-only perspective? Would you like to clarify?
The main thing that any president has is the ability to speak directly to the American people and influence policy debate- the “bully pulpit”. I think that many progressives know that they are being “had” by the DNC controlled democratic party, and if a Green Party candidate was elected president, many of the progressive democrats in congress would switch to the Green Party. If Tulsi ran as an Independent, she may have a “bigger tent” by focusing on a non-interventionist foreign policy, but congress is largely bought off by the MIC, so she would really have her work cut out for her, not to mention the “JFK” option that is still largely in play. I think the best first move would be to get control of the “Intelligence” Agencies by forcing declassification of their dirty deeds and prosecuting those who are still alive. She’d need an AG with brass balls and a great team of prosecutors, and a well vetted secret service.
I am in permanent “moderation” by akismet, so you probably won’t see this until Monday. I wish CN would take the time and effort to improve the administration of their comment section.
Skip, I’m seeing it now, Sat., 8pm EST.
This is advice for [if she’s elected]. I’m still looking for thoughts on how to get elected, and whether it’s advisable to promote an ‘outside the Party’ campaign now – before Tulsi does. And as I said to John, I’m not interested in limiting to progressives, much less Greens.
I surprised I got posted that early. The moderator must have hours on the weekend now. The timing for Tulsi’s departure would probably best be left to examining circumstances as they develop. Since she has a spot in the first round of primary debates, she should probably take advantage of that exposure. However, I am thoroughly convinced that the DNC will continue attempts to sabotage her campaign at every stage, and she’ll have to leave the party at some point with an eye to getting 15% for the general election TV debates.
As for limiting to Progressives or Greens, I think she has to go with whatever most aligns with her policy positions on the issues. I’m against obfuscating, or as Hillary would say “finding it necessary to have ‘public’ positions that are different from ‘private’ positions”. Hopefully enough people see a non-interventionist foreign policy as the most important issue. I have switched parties to vote for Ron Paul in the primaries when he was the only peace candidate with any momentum, even though I disagree with some of the Libertarian platform. First we must stop the war machine. Then we can have a meaningful debate on the extent of the role of government in a free society. Maybe Tulsi could express that idea at some point during the primary debates.
Absolutely right. Perfect solution. Rob
If you want to be entertained and titillated turn on the national evening news shows. The 2020 election circus has already begun. Don’t watch that, switch channels and watch the obstruction of justice infotainment. Want news, read between the lines of the major newspapers. Go to PBS to be rescued, good luck.
Has it always been thus. Maybe, but it’s a much better show today.
Shock and awe. Can’t wait for the next one.
It’s like pro-wrestling but less athletic.
If I could figure out long ago Russia-gate was going to lead to Trump’s reelection (see above link), you would think Brennan/ Clinton/ Pelosi could figure it out too. Which begs the questions:
Is Trump good for business for the Democratic party financial patrons? Do they really want him impeached? Did the Pied Piper strategy ever end? Does Bernie Sanders scare them so much they’d rather promote Trump than have Sanders in the Oval Office?
Your last explanation is the one that Jimmy Dore seems to favor. The party string pullers are obviously desperate when they back one near-octogenarian (Crazy Joe Biden) for the nomination against another near-octogenarian (Sanders). Counter move by the GOPers may be to run Tricky Dick Nixon’s head-in-a-bottle for the office, like in Futurama.
Tyrion Lannister for President 2020
I Drink & I Know Things
Wow, gotta hand it to McConnell. That man can shamelessly pack multiple whoppers into every single sentence uttered in his public speaking. Quite a tour de force of pure undiluted bullshit by the turtle. With his rhetorical skills to deliver talking points at a newly realised zenith, there’s sure to be a job for him on Madison Avenue when he’s finally kicked to the curb as happens to every politician when a better snake oil salesman inevitably comes along.
I don’t get why, supposedly intelligent, informed people are wondering why Russia is being blamed for so much. Let me remind you that the extremely powerful Israel Lobby is VERY BUSY supporting the agenda of the right wing Likud government in Israel. One of the goals of Likud is the Zionist agenda that includes Greater Israel which requires Israel to acquire more water and land in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, Iran is a very strong supporter of the Palestinians and Syrian President Assad and Iraqi independence from US domination. Russia, with it’s very effective support for Assad and collaboration with Iran is blocking progress on the Zionist agenda. So, putting pressure on Russia is a way of trying to force them to back off from their support for Syria and Iran or at least to scare them with the power of our military and a crazy unpredictable leader who might do anything. Israel has besides it’s VERY STRONG and active lobbies in the US and UK a large and VERY Active 5th column that spends a LOT of money and effort influencing the people who run our government.
Israel has clout with Born-Agains who think Israel will bring Jesus back sometime soon. Russia does not have an equivalent fan club. Indeed, Dispensationalist Future
History requires a Russia invasion of Israel.
It sounds nutty, but nut theories can have great political power – look at Nazis and Marxists!
I believe it but with some editing of the authors original four things. I have deleted the case against Assange as a sideshow that does nor resonate with Americans any more than the nightly rumor mill about celebrities. Here goes.
Americans used to think that Russia-gate was about a plot to hack the 2016 election. They were wrong. Russia-gate is really about an immense conspiracy to do four things:
No. 1: Ratchet up tensions with Russia to ever more dangerous levels;
No. 2: Show that Democrats are even more useless than people imagined;
No. 3: Win the midterm elections and reelect Trump and preserve the republican majority in the Senate and win back the democrat controlled House
No. 4: Wage wars in oil rich nations being Iran and Venezuela to fulfill the agenda of the energy companies via military action.
While McConnell rails against Obama for his weaknesses we have the historical record that Obama declared Venezuela as a national security threat, levied massive sanctions against Russia for their presumed invasion of Ukraine, launched a war against the Syrian government, preserved and supported our wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
We see today that Chuck Schumer is still committed to the theory that Russia is the single reason that the democrats lost the last election which is absurd and is rejected by not only a significant number of liberal journalists but also by a majority of Americans. Why do the democrats continue to promote conspiracy theories that the majority of Americans reject as nonsense?
The republicans have the democrats over a barrel and will push it over and watch the democrats wallow in the mud with much amusement.
This could not have have happened to the democrats without a complete lack of foresight or even a slightest attempt to rely on the truth to guide them.
From day one after the election, the democrats swallowed the bait hook line and sinker and now the hook is buried deep in their gullets and they still insist that they are free swimming fish on a mission to prove Russia was responsible for the last election. With every gulp they swallow the hook deeper apparently unaware that they are about to be reeled in and captured by their unfounded beliefs that the bait is is a real meal they can sustain themselves on. Just like a fooled fish they are on the hook.
The announcement that the AG is launching an investigation led by republicans to investigate the Russia Gate investigation will most certainly tarnish democrats and stain their efforts that will be seen as even more dull as the tarnish they try to put on Trump. Even uninformed citizens will ask what is up with the democrats who are trying to bring down Trump even though their reliable news sources tell them that Russia Gate is all a lie.
Meanwhile the democrats who have declared come up not only short on ideas but appear to be suicidal.
Elisabeth Warren has declared war on monopolies in an era where unlimited spending by corporations is legally protected as free speech. How can she hope to win by pledging to breakup monopolies that are well equipped to outspend her in their bid for survival?
The democrats have failed to do the math and their strategies for appealing to the masses will be shot down by the right wing controlled “free press”. It is not a liberal press. It is the enemy of liberals controlled by wealthy liberal hating, libertarian loving billionaires. Public vows by democrats who pledge to destroy it will be met with the full force of their arsenal which includes complete control over the microphone that steers debate and is the chief influence of elections. As Mark Twain put it, ” It is unwise to wage a war of words against men who buy ink by the barrel”.
Howard Dean met his end when the major media outlets conspired to elevate “The Dean Scream” to levels questioning his sanity. The nearly constant barrage of over 4,000 replays of the Dean Scream leading up to the democratic primaries effectively put an end to his bid for nomination.
But why did all of the the major media outlets conspire to conduct a character assassination of the Howard Dean movement? Just two weeks before the Dean Scream was endlessly broadcasted by the media with news commentators chiming in that he was likely an insane man who must be exposed and stopped in his tracks he made a fatal flaw. He made a campaign speech where he said that if he was elected he would impose regulations on the media. Boom Boom out went the lights.
How can any democrat win when they oppose corporations that include the media corporations in America? How can Elisabeth Warren wither the name calling that she will suffer as Trump claims she has a Pocahontas syndrome while also alienating the largest campaign contributors with her pledge to destroy them? How will her insistence that she has Indian blood possibly win her fans when the majority of Americans will mock her. They have been honed on the strop of right wing money into believing that everything they hear and see is factual even though it is not factual or real. Such is the suicidal gamble of the soon to be defeated democratic party.
Why they continue to go down the path toward blind alleys where they will be trapped and defeated baffles me.
Why, on this good earth, does anyone pay any attention to Schumer and Schiff and McConnell? Shills, do nothing crackpots and traitors to this nation; when you see that’s what they are, you have to ignore them.
Delete Assange at your peril. You’re kicking one leg off the stool that keeps the noose from tightening around your neck.
Daniel Lazare: “(…) it must be the fault of dastardly foreigners trying to hack our democracy. It’s a deep-rooted form of xenophobia that has fueled everything (…) The idea that America may in anyway be responsible for its own fate is of course unthinkable.”
Yes, that’s the way it is. About WikiLeaks, as they have repeated many times:
“Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, who is a close associate of Assange, called the CIA claims ‘bullshit’, adding: ‘They are absolutely making it up.’
“‘I know who leaked them,’ Murray said. ‘I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.’”
— The Guardian, 2016-12-10