Roger Stone is playing a key role in the Democrats’ attempt to revive the discredited “collusion” story, writes Joe Lauria.
By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
Jury selection began Tuesday in Washington in the trial of political operative Roger Stone on charges of obstructing justice and lying to Congress. But instead of focusing on those narrow charges, the corporate media is trying to make this about Stone’s personality while attempting to revive the discredited allegation of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The media has a long history of putting personality above facts. Judgement should be reserved to what people say and what they do. Instead we’ve seen character assassination of many people, including imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, rather than a truthful examination of his actions and the dangerous charges against him for practicing journalism. There is the same obsession with the personalities of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, for instance, rather than objectively examining their actions, particularly on foreign policy. In the same way, Barack Obama’s personality was elevated to cover up for his foreign policy disasters in Syria, Libya, Ukraine, and Yemen and in building tensions with Russia.
Now Stone, by all appearances a sleazy operative in a town full of sleazy operatives for both parties, is portrayed by The New York Times as a “swashbuckling and abrasive political trickster for decades” and “eccentric and flamboyant.” Stone is still innocent until proven otherwise. It’s becoming harder to find, but serious reporting about a person on trial would ditch the adjectives.
The reporting on Stone has little to do with the actual charges against him, but rather serves the purpose of reviving a narrative the media falsely pushed for two years: that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to turn the 2016 election.
Newsweek reported Tuesday:
“Stone, 67, is at the center of the question of whether the Trump campaign conspired or cooperated with WikiLeaks or Russia to leak stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the 2016 election.”
At least The New York Times admitted,
“Mr. Mueller’s investigation found insufficient evidence to charge anyone tied to the Trump campaign with criminally conspiring with WikiLeaks or the Russians to damage the campaign of Hillary Clinton. But as documents released last week by the Justice Department underscore, Trump campaign aides were elated when WikiLeaks began publishing emails that the Russians stole from Democrats.”
Of course they were elated as any campaign would be if such damaging, and true, information came out about its opponent. Is elation now a crime?
The Democrats’ and the media’s allegation against Stone, though it is not in his indictment, is that he somehow knew about coming WikiLeaks releases and told Trump about them. Even if he did, is it a crime if he had nothing to do with obtaining the emails? Stone knew about the coming WikiLeaks releases because Assange had already announced they were coming. The Times reported: “Mr. Stone later insisted that he never had any inside information from WikiLeaks, and his claims were simply ‘posture, bluff and hype.’”
The Only Russiagate Crime
Aside from the technical charges against Stone on lying and obstructing justice regarding his alleged efforts to learn what WikiLeaks was preparing to release, the only crime in this whole story is the stealing of the DNC and Podesta emails. It has never been proven in court who did it, and probably never will, despite the Times and other corporate media saying flatly that Russia did it.
Earlier in Stone’s legal process his lawyers filed a motion to try to prove that Russia did not hack the DNC and Podesta emails. The motion revealed that CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC and Clinton campaign, never completed its report, and only gave a redacted draft to the FBI blaming Russia. The FBI was never allowed to examine the DNC server itself.
In the end, though, it doesn’t matter if it were a hack or a leak by an insider. That’s because the emails WikiLeaks released were accurate. When documents check out it is irrelevant who the source is. That’s why WikiLeaks set up an anonymous drop box, copied by big media like The Wall Street Journal and others. Had the emails been counterfeit and disinformation was inserted into a U.S. election by a foreign power that would be sabotage. But that is not what happened.
The attempt to stir up the thoroughly discredited charge of collusion appears to be part of the defense strategy of those whose reputations were thoroughly discredited by maniacally pushing that false charge for more than two years. This includes legions of journalists. But principal among them are intelligence agency officials who laundered this “collusion” disinformation campaign through the mainstream media.
Faced now with a criminal investigation into how the Russiagate conspiracy theory originated, intelligence officers and their accomplices in the media and in the Democratic Party are mounting a defense by launching an offensive in the form of impeachment proceedings against Trump that is based on an allegation of conducting routine, corrupt U.S. foreign policy.
Stone may be just a footnote to this historic partisan battle that may scar the nation for a generation. But he has the personality to be the poster boy for the Democrats’ lost cause.
Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Sunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe .
I love that little picture of Roger Stone.
I was initially dismissive of him. However, whilst it is true that some of his behavior during elections deserves to be criticized very strongly, I have found those of his books that I have read to be very honest and very interesting.
His book about Nixon even includes a quote from Noam Chomsky!
His claim that, in early 1972, the CIA tried to assassinate Nixon is probably true but has proven difficult to verify. The motivation would probably have been his wish to see the JFK assassination files to confirm his suspicion that LBJ was behind it.
In the end, Stone says that the plot was called off because the hit-man backed out when he was told who the target would be. What also gives the claim credibility is that, just a few months later, there were the Watergate break-ins.
Some of the personnel involved in the burglaries were ‘retired’ CIA employees. It looks like the operation was deliberately botched in order to provide a trail to the White House and to bring Nixon down.
Read Lee Smith’s book The Plot Against The President.
Amazing. Lays out the entire coup. Timeline and all.
Impeach an administration on charges of war crimes. Everything else is a technicality that avoids the greatest injustice and criminality.
Since both parties are engaged in this human and ecological crime, they will never charge the Commander-in-Chief with crimes against humanity.
Thus making a total farce of any impeachment process and allowing endless wars to persist.
Lots of media propagandists were executed at the Nuremberg trials, if it was illegal then it certainly is today as mainstream media is massively corrupt. Just look at the Epstein story they buried in 2015 that just got hot mic leak. How many more children were raped due to media’s criminal propaganda and sedition?
Five of the nine people convicted for treason in the US (never any politicians on that list!) in the last hundred years were broadcasters during WWII: Burgman, Best, Monti, Tokyo Rose and Axis Sally.
(Curiously one of the nine convicted was a coal miner Walter Allen in 1922, who who led the “the Miners’ March” the year before.)
Lots of propagandists? Wasn’t it just Julius Streicher?
Obama legalized propagandists to propagandize when he repealed the propaganda ban in the 2012 NDAA Not many folks know about the repeal of Smith-Mundt, which protected Americans from domestic propaganda since 1947. Thanks to Constitutional Law Professor Obama, no one will be executed for lying to us. In fact, the liars are richly rewarded.
A very well written article. I have also found many of the comments to be very informative. I have yet to read all the charges against him however after watching everything that General Flynn and President Trump have gone through I can only imagine what will occur here. I like many other American’s are in such disbelief that our FBI and CIA and DNI could have done what appears to be so obvious I can only imagine how damaging this is to our country. Then to see the coverups done with Epstein and Weinstein our MSM has shown their faces. What can ABC And NBC potentially still be hiding?
While most agree that it is generally a good thing to lock up the corrupt in our government, it would be nice to see enforcement in a bipartisan manner. Tony Podesta and Greg Craig should be sharing cells with Manafort and Gates; they all worked their corruption together under the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine; none were registered as Foreign Agents. Clapper, Brennan and Hayden all lied under oath but somehow get a pass, while Flynn twists in the wind for acting as ineffectual go-between for Israel and lying to the FBI about it? John Kerry continues advising Iran after leaving office, a clear violation of the Logan Act. The whole Democratic, Ukrainian-American crew who overthrew the democratically elected Yanukovych in the 2014 coup, leading to Crimea rejoining Russia, continues their corruption even after Obama (and Biden) leave office. They prefer Obama’s policies to Trump’s and think they make the rules, although that is clear-cut sedition; the President makes foreign policy, not Bolton, Biden, Nuland, Kerry or Hillary– their roles WERE advisory only, and if they haven’t noticed, their side lost in 2016, despite Ukraine interfering in that Election with the Black Ledger. The selective political enforcement of the laws just means that some people are above the law and others are essentially political prisoners. It is horrible enough the way REAL whistleblowers and REAL Americans are treated, and after three years of their Russiagate fantasies and conspiracy theories, the Establishment should serve up some of their screwups for much deserved punishment.
One of the most likely reasons why the impeachment mania caught hold is mentioned in the article by Joe Lauria.
“Faced now with a criminal investigation into how the Russiagate conspiracy theory originated intelligence officers and their accomplices in the media and in the Democratic Party are mounting a defense by launching an offensive in the form of impeachment proceedings against Trump that is based on an allegation of conducting routine, corrupt U.S. foreign policy. ”
Accompanying this tactic will be the attempt to de-legitimize the Justice Department’s investigation of wrong doing which led to the Mueller investigation.
It has already begun.
Some might say that in a fair fight Trump will win. But since when did fair enter into the thinking of our politicians. You do have to tip your hat at the Democrat Party behavior. They did a really impressive performance in getting the collusion investigation going, and did another by turning a phone call into impeachment mania.
Beginning on day one when impeachment was in the air, you have to give Trump credit. He is still standing. At least it told us it was not as easy to get rid of an American president as a Ukraine one.
And for those who side with Trump in this battle, I think many, like myself support the office of the President, and the Constitution that guides our government and not necessarily the occupant of the White House. We can hope he reaches one finish line and the people are to decide who will be the next president.
Stone also knew from working with Nixon that the Official JFK Warren Commission was a cover-up. How many Washington friends would that get him?
Yes, he says that Nixon threatened to reveal all if he was not pardoned. That is why Ford pardoned him. That probably cost him the 1976 presidential election.
Thanx, Joe. I’ve said several times (on these pages even) that Trump could be impeached for the emoluments clause, for unilaterally (i.e. without the advice and consent of Congress) imposing tariffs and withdrawing from treaties and agreements with foreign countries. But that the infamous phone call was just SOP US foreign policy and that finding out what Biden had done in Ukraine after we had fomented a coup there was a perfectly reasonable thing to do. I have a bad feeling that this will scar our democracy, such as it is, for a lot more than a generation.
By “this” and “scar our democracy” do you mean this particular corrupt episode spotlighting Biden’s son’s personal interests with Busima which will probably never be absorbed by the body politic, or the many episodes of office holders voting on behalf of war profiteers which most Americans have not absorbed?
Would that Americans read Consortium News and a host of other reputable sources. Persevere!
Meant “Burisma” as in Burisma Holdings.
The democratic party must have the CIA working for them 24/7 .They have created such a $hitshow that it is almost impossible to unravel ,but of course that is typical CIA M.O.The republican party is pretty much the same .As they say same $hit different pile.
Good luck for your next elections .The circus is ongoing .
Agree, except it’s the other way around. The Dem leadership and associated never-Trumpsters, along with the msm, have been taken over by the intelligence services. The ongoing impeachment farce is the clear proof, if the Congress’ lopsided vote to keep troops in Syria were not enough.
Unlike Trump, Obama, Hillary Clinton, Clapper, Brennan, Comey and the rest of the “reliable witnesses”, Pres. Putin is NOT prone to lying, and has clearly stated that whichever POTUS the Americans chose, he would accept and that it made no diference to their policies, which is shown by Trump’s actions now to be true .
btw after the 2010 Ukrainian election, won by the pro-Western side, Russia worked for four years with the Ukrainian government because they were neighbours, and only after the overthrow by the USA (“cookies Nuland”) of the 2014 elected government did the political situation start to worsen and blame be heaped on Russia whose actions were consistent with a country being attacked and fighting back. What business has the USA legally or morally with Crimea or Ukraine??
We should be so lucky to have the caliber of leadership such as Vladimir Putin as president or prime minister .
Roger Stone and Julian Assange have one devastating thing in common – they can refute the myth of Russian hacking which is at the heart of the Russiagate hoax While Stone was arrested by a virtual army of FBI agents deployed by Robert Mueller, and is subject to a gag order by a hostile judge, killing the witness to a crime is the ultimate obstruction of justice, and now, just that is being perpetrated on British soil in collaboration with U.S. officials. Assange is one person alive in possession of the means to quickly end the lie of the entire Russiagate hoax perpetrated primarily by British intelligence and the British controlled elements of the U.S. intelligence community. The Veterans Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have demonstrated forensically that the DNC files were leaked, not hacked, as claimed by Mueller, but a statement before Congress and the American public would crush the hoax and expose its perpetrators to prosecution. Which is why Stone is being silenced and Assange is being tortured and slowly murdered. Neither can be tolerated any longer.
Note to Guy. I agree with you. But don’t tell anyone I said so. Really, when he came to power, he was dealing with a country that had been raped by the oligarch’s and their accomplices, and he brought Russia back and his adult behavior in times of crisis has been impressive. Unlike America and some of their allies, he has extended his hand, only to have it snapped at. Yes, he is an impressive guy as is his sidekick Lavrov.
A tragic, factual encapsulation.
Salacious, tawdry, outrageous = market share, viewership, super glue for the eyes. I don’t own a smart phone and don’t tweet, facebook, Instagram, etc. This (and now MoA) is my only social media contact. I’m constantly amazed though by friends and family and what they talk about that is “trending” on their social media connections: moral turpitude and failure, risqué affairs and angry partings, and the occasional feel good story.
You touched on another point that needs emphasis. Those that gravitate to such places as the literal and figurative swamp of DC are drawn there by ambition or natural progression of their profession. It is a hard place where dirty deeds abound; not for the timid or hesitant, and where much idealism and integrity goes to die. It’s become difficult not to regard anyone successfully operating there with a jaundiced suspicious eye. Just as an example: William Barr. I agree with your assessment of this continuing D party fraud, but Mr. Barr’s history does not give me confidence in any future result.
Hard to find a more likely conclusion than that reached by Joe Lauria.
“Faced now with a criminal investigation into how the Russiagate conspiracy theory originated intelligence officers and their accomplices in the media and in the Democratic Party are mounting a defense by launching an offensive in the form of impeachment proceedings against Trump that is based on an allegation of conducting routine, corrupt U.S. foreign policy.”
Joe Lauria wrote:
“Instead we’ve seen character assassination of many people, including imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, rather than a truthful examination of his actions and the dangerous charges against him for practicing journalism.”
Yes, and in addition to — in the words of, like Joe Lauria, as well award-winning journalist Chris Hedges — “Washington’s carefully orchestrated character assassination of Assange”, there are also the US attempts to frame and arrest Julian Assange using allied countries where he was moving.
For example, some excerpts from a new remarkable report, just yesterday:
> THE FBI TRIED TO MAKE ICELAND A COMPLICIT ALLY IN FRAMING JULIAN ASSANGE
> 5 November 2019
> Former Icelandic Interior Minister tells Independent Australia how he blocked U.S. interference in 2011 in order to defend WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange. Sara Chessa reports.
> A MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR wakes up one summer morning and finds out that a plane full of United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents has landed in his country, aiming to carry out police investigations without proper permission from the authorities.
> How many statesmen would have the strength to say, “No, you can’t do this”, to the United States? Former Icelandic Interior Minister Ögmundur Jónasson, in fact, did this — and for the sake of investigative journalism. He understood that something wrong with the sudden FBI mission in Reykjavik, and that this had to do with the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange. . . .
> But this was not only about defending Iceland´s sovereignty. According to Mr Jónasson, during this process, he had been informed that the FBI showed up in Reykjavik with the aim of framing Julian Assange. . . .
> Mr Jónasson says:
> “Kristinn Hrafnsson is highly respected in Iceland. But for WikiLeaks and whistleblowers in general, I think it will depend – as indeed anywhere – on the public, which in the end is the guardian of freedom, including the freedom of the press. You can have excellent laws and constitutions, and they are, for sure, needed, but it is almost non-relevant if society is asleep. You need people to speak up.”
> This is for Mr Jónasson the main point also in Assange’s case:
> “WikiLeaks was bringing out the truth, revelaing crimes which should have been taken to court. This has been prevented. So the charges brought against the publisher are, in reality, charges against free speech and freedom of the press. The American police and secret services are trying to create an atmosphere of impunity, where they can do anything. Even when they landed here, they were showing contempt for democracy.
> “What they are doing to Assange is in opposition to the American Constitution and the principles of human rights, they claim they are protecting.”
> He is not alone in his considerations, given what the UN Special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, said some months ago regarding Assange.
> The former Icelandic Interior Minister is aware of this and quotes the statement by Melzer:
> “In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic states ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law … The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!”
> “These are heavy words,” Mr Jónasson says. . . .
> “All this for carrying out investigative journalism.”
> In 2016, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention also stated Assange should walk free. However, he is in a London prison, waiting for the U.S. extradition hearing scheduled for February 2020. Meanwhile, the sexual misconduct allegations in Sweden (never turned into charges) are not involved with his current imprisonment.
> When Mr Jónasson is asked who can do something to make governments align with the UN request, he again brings into play the people:
> “All depends on us. There is not such a thing as spectators. Everybody is taking a part — sitting quiet is taking part!”
(The FBI tried to make Iceland a complicit ally in framing Julian Assange — Independent Australia — 5 November 2019)
Sorry there is a crucial word missing from this part of the statement: “that the Demrat leaning, TDS infected neo-liberal, progressives will *not* ever let the “Russia Did It” disease.”
It should read: “that the Demrat leaning, TDS infected neo-liberal, progressives will *not* ever let the “Russia Did It” disease GO.”
Thank you, Mr Lauria.
It is quite clear – if this morning’s NPR is any guide (the radio being my only source of MSM propaganda) – that the Demrat leaning, TDS infected neo-liberal, progressives will *not* ever let the “Russia Did It” disease.
NPR (I wasn’t listening closely because I’d earlier gotten riled up over a deliberate, Newspeak remark by Dan Damon on the BBC World Service) is continuing to go after Barr and ?presumably? his investigation into the origins of the “Russia Did It” disease. Anyway the effort on the part of NPR is clearly to work alongside the Demrats in making sure that their dutifully TDS listeners will refuse to believe anything he might drag out into the open because he was appointed by the Strumpet and – obviously, clearly – is doing this to cover up what the Strumpet and Putin did.
Not that I trust any part of the “Deep State” or the Strumpet and his admin to tell, reveal the truth, whole and unadorned, about anything. Nor do I trust the Demrats. They are, each lot, for their own particular reasons busy with distractions and deflections, especially from actually getting down and doing some real work *for* their hoi polloi constituents (and Not for their actual constituents, the corporate-capitalist ruling elites and “our friend” in the ME).
Stone is from all appearances criminally inclined in the white collar, bureaucratic, financial institution, ways. But those ways of criminality don’t interest the MSM, NPR included, and the powers that represent the really existing powers that be are most definitely not interested in delving too deeply, even less charging their cronies, with such crimes.
That’s right, the Dems won’t let it go, so they’ll go down with that chain around their necks.
Larry Johnson has written [at Sic Semper Tyrannis about the CIA’s Anti-Trump Task Force. This interview is terrific at Fault Lines radio show:
The DNC’s Collusion With The Deep State w/ Larry Johnson
Great article. Such simple clarity is nowhere to be found in the MSM. They depend completely on VOLUME and repetition, even though the most rudimentary examination of the their narrative exposes it as a steaming pile of BS.