PATRICK LAWRENCE: The Damage Russiagate Has Done

Authoritarian liberals have unleashed a censorious syndrome peculiar to our national character, dating to 17th century Quaker hangings in Boston. 

Quaker Mary Dyer being led to execution on Boston Common, June 1, 1660, by unknown artist. (Brooklyn Museum, Wikimedia Commons)

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

An inhabitant of Twitterland named “Willow Inski” took to the keyboard on Oct. 11, asking why anyone still accepts official accounts of the crucial theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta in the spring of 2016.   

Excellently observed, Willow. And at just the right moment. At this point we are amid a frenzy of what Hannah Arendt called “defactualization” in a 1971 essay she titled “Lying in Politics.” Facts are fragile, Arendt astutely observed, because they can so easily be manipulated to produce a desired image. “It is this fragility,” she wrote, “that makes deception so very easy up to a point, and so tempting.”

The latest example of this phenom concerns the emails of Hunter Biden, candidate Joe’s errant son, which persuasively incriminate both in very profitable influence-peddling schemes when Papa was Barack Obama’s veep.

Joe Biden, foreground, and son Hunter during inauguration of President Barack Obama, Jan. 20, 2009. (acaben, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Nobody denies the facts as published last week in The New York Post, not even Biden père et fils, but the facts are once again mutilated with assertions that it is another case of the Rrrrrrussians spreading disinformation.   

This is what we get after four years of the Russia collusion b.s., otherwise known as Russiagate. Anything goes if implicating Russia solves a political problem for the Democrats and keeps the war machine going for the Pentagon and the national security state. It defers the moment — at some point it will come — when the press is exposed for its radically stupid overinvestment in the Russiagate nonsense. The price America has already begun to pay is very high.

Willow’s expression of perplexity comes after an especially lively season of revelations as regards what must count as the largest disinformation op in U.S. history. It is now six months since the Russiagate hoax — and I am fine with President Donald Trump’s term for it — began its final crash into a pile of piffle. While it remains to be seen whether more evidence of political chicanery is coming, what evidence we already have is more than sufficient to identify Russiagate as the probable criminal fraud it was from the start.

I am refreshed that Willow Inski, who describes herself as an “attorney, wife, mother, proud American,” sees through this extravagant ruse. And yet, as she notes, a lot of people don’t. A lot of people are “still taking at face value” all the misinformation, disinformation, and outright lies our newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters have purveyed incessantly for the past four years.

Why is a very large question. All possible answers are disturbing. But here is another big one we get to before that: When we consider together all its many consequences, has Russiagate destroyed what remained of American democracy before illiberal liberals, spooks, law enforcement, and the press colluded to erect the dreadful edifice?

The Damage Done

Your columnist’s answer rests on the most scrupulously precise definition of Russiagate one can manage: What we have witnessed these past four years is an attempted palace coup against a sitting president.

Cold comfort it is that the gang that couldn’t shoot straight bungled the job. It has also created a Democratic default position: When wrongdoing by Democrats is credibly exposed, automatically blame Russia. Among much else, that has led to unnecessary tension with a nuclear power. This damage will long stay with us.

Russiagate’s foundation stone — baseless allegations that Moscow was  responsible for the 2016 DNC email intrusions — crumbled long ago. We’ve known since July 2017 that nobody hacked the email servers in question.

This was confirmed by the Dec. 5, 2017, closed-door congressional testimony of Shawn Henry, president of CrowdStrike, the firm the Democrats hired to examine the DNC servers.  It was made public only on May 7, 2020. Henry said under oath: “There’s not evidence that they [the emails]  were actually exfiltrated. There’s circumstantial evidence … but no evidence that they were actually exfiltrated. …”

Shawn Henry at international security forum in Vancouver, 2009. (Hubert K, Flickr)

The emails were most likely compromised by someone with direct access to them, probably a DNC insider. ’Twas a leak, not a hack.

But incessant propaganda and a sloppy but effective coverup have kept the fable going since then. All has been open game these past years, scabrous, apparent false-flag poisonings — the Skripals, Alexei Navalny —baseless tales of Russian bounties on U.S. soldiers’ heads. The press has reported this sort of rubbish for years as if it were confirmed fact. Spectral evidence has reigned.

It is this coverup that has been falling apart since last spring.

First came news that the collusion case against Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, was bogus and that Flynn entered his two guilty pleas when prosecutors threatened to indict his son if he refused. When the Justice Department dropped its case against Flynn, it simultaneously forced the House Intelligence Committee to release documents showing that no “evidence” of a Russian email hack ever existed, even as the Democrats, the spooks, and the press missed no chance to bang on about it.

Those who got my goat at the time were people such as Adam Schiff, the Democratic congressman from Hollywood and leader of the charge on Capitol Hill, who knew there was no evidence of Russian involvement but repeatedly insisted they had seen it whenever they faced a CNN camera. 

You are right, Ms. Inski: Crowdstrike, the grossly corrupt firm that was supposed to have all the evidence one could ever want, never had any. Former FBI Director James Comey admitted in testimony that the FBI asked for but never gained possession of the DNC server, even though this would be the “best practice.” We can surmise that this was so, so that the bureau could deny responsibility for what amounts to a psyop perpetrated against Americans. In June 2019 it was reported that CrowdStrike also never gave the FBI a final report because none was ever produced since the FBI never asked for one.

FBI Director James Comey testifying to Congress that the agency had been denied access to DNC servers, March 20, 2017. (C-Span still)

Among the congressional testimonies released last spring, two top Clinton campaign operatives, Podesta and Jake Sullivan, acknowledged that they met after Trump’s election with the principals of Fusion GPS, the infamous orchestrator of the Steele Dossier, to keep the Russiagate ball rolling. What a difference speaking under oath makes. 

Actually, what got my goat a second time was that none of this, as in none, was reported in The New York Times or anywhere else in the mainstream media.  Our once-but-no-more newspaper of record has made an absolute dog’s dinner of itself since its leadership decided to buy into the Russiagate junk. At this point I am convinced its ties to the spooks are as dense and corrupt as they were during the worst of the Cold War decades, when the publisher signed a covert agreement to cooperate with the CIA.

Clinton Approved Plan

As if any more reports were needed to deflate the Russiagate balloon, the evidence continues to accumulate. At the end of September John Ratcliffe, director of national intelligence, informed Senator Lindsey Graham that intelligence agencies had information “alleging that U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had approved a campaign plan to stir up a scandal against U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump by tying him to Putin and the Russians’ hacking of the Democratic National Committee.” Some of us knew this four years ago.

While Ratcliffe’s letter adds that spookworld “does not know the accuracy of this allegation,” it goes on to note that the intel in question was serious enough for John Brennan, then the CIA director, to brief President Barack Obama about it and forward it to Comey and Peter Strzok, respectively FBI director and deputy assistant director of counterintelligence at the time. This is the referral, of course, that Comey now claims he cannot recall a damn thing about.

Given the Podesta and Sullivan testimonies, the Ratcliffe disclosures stitch the case: In my view, the Clinton campaign’s active role in starting and prolonging the Russiagate propaganda operation is now open-and-shut. (It was first reported in October 2017 by Consortium News and predicted by me in Salon on July 26, 2016 and three days before the 2016 election by CN‘s editor).

I wrote back then in Salon:

“Making lemonade out of a lemon, the Clinton campaign now goes for a twofer. Watch as it advances the Russians-did-it thesis on the basis of nothing, then shoots the messenger, then associates Trump with its own mess — and, finally, gets to ignore the nature of its transgression (which any paying-attention person must consider grave).”

Declassifications Ignored

In the matter of goats, the Ratcliffe letter seems to have gotten Trump’s. A week later he took to Twitter calling for the declassification, without redaction, of all documents related to the Russiagate probes.

Although Trump did not issue an official order to this effect, this amounts to a direct challenge to what he has been all along referring to as the Deep State. (Trump first “ordered” the declassification, and was ignored, in September 2018.) Last Thursday Ratcliffe formally requested an investigation of the “Intelligence Community Assessment” of January 2017, a worthless put-up job that purported to confirm Russian “meddling.” The CIA’s inspector general ignored an earlier such request.

Will more come out? Will the investigation Trump ordered earlier this year by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham get all the way to the bottom? This is hard to say. We’ve since had credible reports that CIA Director Gina Haspel, known for authorizing post–2001 torture and destroying evidence of it, has personally blocked the release of Russiagate-related documents from the CIA’s files. And the repellent Haspel may win this one, given the record in such matters.  

The Russiagate “narrative” is at this point so preposterous that these recent disclosures have also gone either badly reported or unreported in mainstream media. We ought not expect more in days to come. The press has only one alternative at this point: Either black it out or allege that Russia is using people such as Ratcliffe, just as we’re now asked to believe Moscow  is manipulating The New York Post.

What an ungodly mess Russiagate has made of our splendid republic.

We have watched an attempted coup not much different from the CIA’s covert ops elsewhere over the decades, then gave the coup plotters three years to investigate the plot, and no one, as things now appear, will be brought to justice for these travesties. 

Send in the historians. One hopes they’re already here.

The CIA, in breach of its charter, has now licensed itself to operate on U.S. soil in a probably unprecedented alliance with domestic law enforcement and a major political party. And it has told us in open defiance that it has no intention of submitting itself to executive or congressional control. No voice is raised, we must note with astonishment.

Government Without a Press

In 1787, when he was our new nation’s minister in Paris, Jefferson wrote home to a friend that “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” We are stuck with a government without newspapers now, given the ties our press has consolidated its ties with political and bureaucratic power in the course of imposing the Russiagate ruse upon us.

Political theorist Hannah Arendt. (Flicker Ryohei Noda)

They only look like newspapers now. The liberal media are now bulletin boards for those they serve — the Democratic Party, the spooks, and all the interests these two represent. Do they think that, once Trump leaves office, they can cavalierly reclaim the credibility they have profligately squandered in the service of Russiagate?

I see no chance of this. And here we have a silver lining: Russiagate will prove a key moment in the emergence of independent media (such as Consortium News) as important sources of accurate information and perspectives. This is already evident. At this point The New York Times is to sound reporting what Applebee’s is to a proper tavern serving good draft beer.

The worst consequence of Russiagate, in my view, is the swoon of hysteria it has sent many Americans into, a syndrome peculiar to our national character dating to the Quaker hangings in Boston during the early 1660s and repeated many times since. We are divided once again between the paranoid and the rational.

And there is an ideological distinction here that we must not miss. Willow Inski is a conservative and appears to be a Trumper. She addressed Paul Sperry, a New York Post reporter closely following the Russiagate debacle and also a conservative.

The paranoids, the Puritan preachers, the witch hunters, those who think censorship is a fine thing are this time one and all authoritarian liberals apparently determined to make everyone think as they do or else see to their banishment from the circles of the elect.

Let us debate opinions until the kingdom comes. But these people propose to debate facts because they understand the fragility Arendt noted all those years ago. This is not on. 

“Under normal circumstances the liar is defeated by reality, for which there is no substitute,” Arendt wrote. “No matter how large the tissue of falsehood that an experienced liar has to offer, it will never be large enough, even if he enlists the help of computers, to cover the immensity of factuality.”

One hopes Arendt turns out to be right. One hopes the immensity of factuality eventually prevails. “Defactualization” in the service of all the Russiagate rubbish has gravely undermined numerous of our key institutions. As things now stand, this leaves us well short of what we need to reconstruct a working democracy.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century (Yale). Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist.His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site. 

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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33 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: The Damage Russiagate Has Done

  1. October 20, 2020 at 23:07

    The consequences of Hillary Clinton’s plot to blame the Russians also include the continued poisoning of the good reputation of Wikileaks, over which Julian Assange is now finding out how cruel these manipulative Democratic authoritarians can be.

    I can’t believe I am saying this about her, as I was once a strong defender of her husband, and considered her to be a well-meaning fellow traveler with him, concerned about rights of men and abuses of power. This was the late 90’s, before progressives like myself understood the de-regulation of banking and other fools’ errands in service to unaccountable power, as well as the continued cover up of the Iraq genocide started under Bush I, all of which the Clintons advanced.

    Now she is an establishment insider, so self-deluding that she must believe that even lies like the Russiagate baloney are justified in the service of the “national security”.

    I can see how Comey and Clapper and Clinton get away with it: it’s because no one really knows who dunnit – the thefts of emails from the DNC nor the Podesta emails; therefore, they are free to speculate all day long, as long as nobody looks too hard, about the identity of Guccifer 2.0 and DC Leaks, and what happened to Seth Rich. All these ‘liberal’ players are sort of dim when it comes to understanding internet numbers like the difference between bytes and bits, and transmission rates, and the idea of metadata with intended false flag clues conveniently left around. Just right as a misdirection play to shift blame for her embarrassing election loss away from herself and her party, and onto The Demonized Russians and Assange. And of course to raise the ire of her constituents. And they can count on the sort of dumb modern mainstream media to not get to the bottom of it, since that would hurt ratings if it ever ended. All a perfect mish-mashed mash-up!

    • October 21, 2020 at 05:21

      I thank ev’one in this thread for reading the column and taking the time to write. I especially thank David Hamilton for his well-informed and thoughtful note. — Patrick Lawrence.

  2. Daniel
    October 20, 2020 at 20:34

    Always enjoy reading Mr. Lawrence. And while we have the much-missed Mr. Parry to thank for debunking Russia-gate from day one, the flimsy nature of the accusations and self-serving deflection of blame on display from the start didn’t exactly require one of our finest journalists to see through. We need only consider that their opening gambit was the thoroughly discredited fiction that ’17 intelligence agencies’ agreed that Russia had manipulated of our (flimsy) democratic process. No, this story never had a shred of evidence to back it up. And, as Mr. Lawrence points out here, what little it clung to has completely crumbled in the last several months under the weight of good journalistic practice and unsealed evidence.

    The most recent stab at proving Trump’s ‘collusion’ with Russia came out of the Senate intelligence committee’s report, where – as far as I can tell – the only new revelation was that Paul Manafort traded some US voter data with someone that the report identified as a possible Russian spy. But for me this only confirmed what I have suspected all long – that Trump and his cohorts are nothing more than crass low level operators and bottom feeders, playing a game that all of our elites play – trading away their own citizens for power. And it is this, I think, that really ruffles the feathers of the Dems and their courtiers in the cable news/twitter-sphere – that Trump may give the whole game away due to his shady friends and lack of sophistication.

    It is my opinion that we have a madman at the helm at present, and I do find Trump to be dangerous in ways we haven’t seen in a US president in some time. Shame that all the Dems have had to offer in return is conspiracy theories, woke tokenism, and hypocritical indignation. But then they don’t have any ideas that differ greatly from Trump’s – their difference is in degree and style only. And Russia-gate has served perfectly as a distraction from this truth.

  3. Anonymot
    October 20, 2020 at 18:32

    Hillary Clinton has a very everyday mind. It was not she who dreamed up Russiagate, nor the wars that extended from Libya to the Ukraine. She did install a group of heinous women to run the DNC, because politics at that level is where she’s at her best. It was an instrument to guarantee that she was the 2016 candidate, as promised, and she succeeded.

    What everyone tends to forget is that there was an election as to who would direct the post-2016 disaster and, fixed or not, her candidate, Tom Perez won. So Hillary still owns the Democrat’s mechanisms. That is to be closely remembered, because Biden will rule it and be ruled by it.

    What we are fighting here is neither a person nor a coterie of people, but a mindset that runs throughout those who administer the government whether elected, appointed or employed. That conservatism is engrained in business people, because they have been taught that their profits depend on the political stability that the mindset affords. We have been, are, and will be dominated by an ever-increasing authoritarian leadership until something truly dramatic breaks, but never mind, it will happen and it will be too late to save even the slightest hint of democracy.

    I find it bemusing that what I’ve said for many years is slowly appearing here and there: the fate of America was set by by Harry Truman when, against his better judgment, he set the Dulles brothers on the path to conquer democracy. The idea was not new, but the organization had been lacking. Harry sighed and signed and here we are.

    October 20, 2020 at 13:59

    Three presidents in my lifetime have stood up to or run afoul of the entrenched establishment elite, aka “Deep State,” of the USA: John F. Kennedy, who rejected the strident advice from his old school establishment advisors, intelligence officials and military chiefs on subjects ranging from the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile crises, to ending the Vietnam War and sought dialogue instead of conflict with the Soviets; Richard M. Nixon, who advocated Detente with the Soviets, went rogue on Vietnam and blindsided the deep state on China; and Donald J Trump, who also seeks to do business instead of fight with the Russians, has openly challenged the American intelligence agencies and the Pentagon, and expressed a desire to stop endless war.

    As one can see, there are common thread(s) running through these president’s experiences. All three rejected the Deep State’s primary strategies for establishing American world hegemony and personal self enrichment. They threatened too end the gravy train. Kennedy died for his sins, Nixon was chased from office in what amounts to a coup, and now, as Mr Patrick observes, President Trump is being subjected to an orchestrated attempt to undermine his presidency and shape, or even possibly, steal, the 2020 election.

    The real political struggle that is going on in the USA today is not between Democrats and Republicans, who both serve the interests of their deep state masters, but between the people and the un-elected network of business leaders, financiers, oligarchs and government officials known as the Deep State who have made themselves the real rulers of the United States at the expense of Liberty and Democracy.

    (Disclaimer: This is in no way an endorsement of Donald Trump, Richard Nixon or JFK. I was too young to vote for Kennedy in 1960, or for Nixon in ’68, but I voted against Mr Nixon in ’72 and I most certainly did not vote for Donald Trump (nor Hillary Clinton). Although I have not always voted Democratic, I have never voted Republican. I supported Bernie Sanders in 2016 and 2020 and will vote third party this year. It is simply an attempt to provide some context for Mr Patrick’s observations and the unseemly spectacle surrounding the 2020 election.)

  5. Stan W.
    October 20, 2020 at 12:43

    Extremely well written! Well done!

    There’s one facet of this collection of scandals I haven’t heard anything about for quite some time. Whatever happened to the IRS examination of the Clinton Foundation’s tax exempt status? To repeat an old phrase, “Inquiring minds want to know.”

    • Anonymot
      October 21, 2020 at 11:34

      They ALL have phony “foundations”. If they touch the Clintons’ they put their own at risk. Clinton’s is just the largest and most scandalous of all those money laundering operations. That’s why their crimes, from war crimes to sex crimes and monetary crimes will never come up – they’ve all dipped into the bucket for something or other.

  6. Pat
    October 20, 2020 at 12:21

    Great article Pat! Think I agree with 99% of it, which is rare… Keep up the good work! Looking at your website and reading some of your other articles, and I see your books–I love the literary references and flavor.

  7. Mark Stanley
    October 20, 2020 at 10:41

    Beautifully written as usual Patrick Lawrence—and so true. I thought perhaps that he would drive home the original thought though: The peculiarity of American Puritanical fanaticism.
    I wrote about this in all places: a winemaking book– where I endeavored to illustrate the fallacy of the schoolbook story of the Puritans in North America, how that fanaticism led to Prohibition, and the effects of it on the American wine industry. The hard-core extremism is still with us today in liquor laws, and as Patrick has pointed out—other serious manifestations.

  8. Anne
    October 20, 2020 at 10:13

    Thank you once again Patrick for this all too real overview of the Russia did it duplicitous farrago.

    And I can assure you that NPR is fully on board with it (well, of course, it has tied itself to the Blue Face of the Janus Party and perhaps even more so to those powers that be in the MIC and DIA) and has NEVER, not once, even HINTED at the production of any of the evidence against Russiagate and that hypocritical charade’s offspring: as you note, the Skripals, Navalny, but also MH17, “meddling” in the French elections(!!??), along, of course, with their “annexation” of Crimea, their being behind just about every malignant cyber attack anywhere on the planet. Or so the present indictment of 6 Russians – pronounced GRU agents, well of course – says; and we know how truthful the MIC, DIA, Congress, et al are, don’t we???

    All that NPR (and its broadcasting of the BBC World Service) ever does is repeat, rinse and repeat the accusations – as evidenced “facts.”

    And much the same goes on regarding China and – of course – Xin Jiang, and also China’s aggression in its own waters (backyard – ah but only the USA is allowed a “backyard”)…

  9. Buck
    October 20, 2020 at 10:08

    There is a lot of money at stake here, and that is what this is really about.

    In communism government owns businesses, in capitalism businesses own the government.

    • Anne
      October 20, 2020 at 12:03


  10. Perry Logan
    October 20, 2020 at 07:14

    “The FBI never examined the DNC server.”

    That’s because there was no single server, but a cloud of 150 servers. There was no need to take any servers because the FBI had digital images.


    • October 20, 2020 at 14:54

      Finally someone counted them all…….

  11. George Sands
    October 20, 2020 at 03:05

    Oh, Mr Lawrence, this is such a beautifully written and superbly referenced article.

    US citizens would do well to heed your call of looking at the damage done.

  12. Joseph Hayes
    October 19, 2020 at 22:50

    I cannot state this enough: I believe the Clintons are the worst thing to happen to America since the Vietnam War.

  13. Jeff Harrison
    October 19, 2020 at 19:09

    The Republicans are the authoritarian liberals. The Democrats are the paternalistic liberals.

  14. Kerry McNamara
    October 19, 2020 at 18:43

    Thank you, Patrick!

  15. Robert Sinuhe
    October 19, 2020 at 17:25

    I am sure Patrick Lawrence has written better. This piece suffers from a number of ills. If I were to tell someone about this article I would be unsure where to start: Russiagate–does that mean the damage done by the servers or that done to voters, Trump or democracy itself? If so, how? I suppose he implicates the evil Russians and those who consort with them. We have been fighting the Russians since 1917 because it threatens the capitalist status quo, gives us a reason to make money making arms to defend ourselves against foes we have invented and our politicians someone to blame when things don’t go their way. He uses foggy terms: “Our once-but-no-more newspaper has made a dog’s dinner of itself” and “The New York Times is to sound reporting what Applebee’s is to a proper tavern serving good draft beer.” If you have a dog and been to Applebee’s I guess this makes sense but the man could have chosen better synonyms.

    • Pat
      October 20, 2020 at 12:18

      I don’t think he implicates the Russians. I wondered at “Dog’s dinner” myself, and the more I think I about it, the better it is.

  16. October 19, 2020 at 17:00

    There is no surprise in the new Biden information. Joe Biden has always been a sleazy politician. For fifty years.

    America’s entire set of political elites from both parties is corrupt.

    Why would anyone be surprised in a country whose entire political system is driven by big money?

    Even important aspects of its foreign policy are bought-and-sold.

    Something Trump has been notably involved in.

    The real losers in American elections are Americans.

    The plutocrats, the Pentagon, the CIA, the empire, the immense abuse abroad go right on, no matter who wins.

    America is sadly a society of lies

  17. Rob Roy
    October 19, 2020 at 16:40

    Excellent article. I knew from the first moment “Russiagate” was mentioned that the “hacking” story was a lie. How? Because, to quote Julian Assange, “How many times do I have to say it? The emails were leaked from the DNC, not hacked.” I hope that’s an accurate quote. In any case, I heard him say it more than once on Democracy Now! The PWB are trying to kill Julian mainly for his revelations of US war crimes, but also because he knows where from and how he got the emails, which blows up “Russiagate.”

  18. PEG
    October 19, 2020 at 16:30

    I don’t think that the “Russiagate hoax” – yes, Trump’s description hits the mark – is a “censorious syndrome peculiar to the American national character”, even though parallels can be drawn to the McCarthy era of the 1950s, the Red Scare of the early 1920s, and indeed the original Salem witchhunts.

    The most germane comparisons are not domestic but international, and specifically to the 20th century’s totalitarian regimes. The foremost parallel is to the “stab in the back” legend which the extreme German nationalists – the later Nazis – concocted in order to explain the country’s defeat in the World War I. Like the mainstream Democrats in 2016, these liars with support of mass media created very effective propaganda which blamed their own failings on so-called “traitors” in league with foreign enemies. Another comparison can be made to the state propaganda in Soviet Russia – but this comparison fails because the less sophisticated Soviet propaganda was not taken seriously by much of the population.

    Seeing a large segment of the American people – including most of the so-called “educated” classes – fall for this rubbish has made me feel as if I had time-traveled back to 1930s Germany. Seeing “intelligent” people not just dutifully accepting the party line, as in Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes, but believing it like canons of faith, aggressively denying the right of others to have contrary opinions and condemning them as traitors and outcasts.

    The astute Patrick Lawrence finds a silver lining in the very welcome emergence of independent media such as Consortium News and expects, after Trump leaves office, that the mainstream media will not cavalierly reclaim the credibility that they have profligately squandered in the service of Russiagate.

    Let us hope and pray that this is correct.

    But I see a massive storm cloud on the horizon, which has the potential to overwhelm this silver lining.

    It is quite possible that, once Trump is gone, the increasing suppression of independent media will be taken to the next and final level – through changes in social media or other internet algorithms, demonetization, and outright censorship.

    We may be seeing the last days of independent media.

    Another analogy to 20th century Europe – namely to the increasing tightening of the screws and and elimination of any free press, any free speech, and almost any free thought after Stalin consolidated his power in the Soviet Union in the mid-1920s. or after Hitler did the same in Germany in the mid-1930s.

    • aNanyMouse
      October 20, 2020 at 00:02

      PEG, “the mainstream media will not cavalierly reclaim the credibility that they have profligately squandered”, unless the Deep State is brought to heel by the new PotUS.
      Will any of the two top parties allow that to happen?

      • Anne
        October 20, 2020 at 10:19

        Why would they? They both represent the same interests – and those interest are not ours, the hoi polloi – they are both a single party, a Janus party, i.e. two headed.

        This country – given its population and its constant self-preening as “the” democracy – ought to have at least six-eight truly different parties, each fully able to reach the presidency, the Congress… But the FFs did not want a true democracy because they knew it would threaten their and their socio-economic class kindred’s hold on property and wealth.

  19. October 19, 2020 at 16:16

    “No one disputes the facts”. Except the writers at the Post who refused to put their names on what they thought was a weak story. We swim in a sea of “defactualization” but this may not be the best example

  20. Maxwell Quest
    October 19, 2020 at 16:12

    Well done, Mr. Lawrence!

    Every lie comes with its temporary benefit, but also a commensurate price. Based on the enormous institutional damage done by this ruse, the price for Russiagate will be astronomical. It has yet to be paid, but the bill is in the mail.

    • Iowafalcon
      October 20, 2020 at 10:28

      Half of the population has already started treating the MSM as liars. Those on the right of center, who were the great believers in the CIA, FBI, State Department, and DoJ have been converted into people who see them as nothing but corrupt institutions filled with several layers of leadership who do nothing but get in the way of the mission of their institutions. They have also seen a side of the Democrats that is far worse than anything that they thought possible. They woke from their American Dream to a Swamp Nightmare.

  21. Mark Thomason
    October 19, 2020 at 16:04

    “What we have witnessed these past four years is an attempted palace coup against a sitting president.”

    In recent years, the American Empire supported a series of Constitutional Coups in Central and South America. Hillary herself played a major role, as in Honduras. This has continued under Trump, as with Bolivia.

    What we do overseas comes home. The events against Trump were no different than the removal of presidents in Honduras, Brazil, and elsewhere. They claimed corruption that even if real was of the same sort but far less so than those who replaced them, who’d been doing that all along and have returned in massive way to doing more.

  22. jaycee
    October 19, 2020 at 15:57

    The “swoon of hysteria” is such an apt cutting description of the mass psychosis displayed these past almost four years. I remember well that Bob Parry was onto this deception from the start, insisting on factuality rather than partisan narratives. This reminds me to make a contribution to Consortium News and encourage others to do the same. There is no other choice than to take it upon ourselves to directly support actual journalism.

  23. Lois Gagnon
    October 19, 2020 at 15:34

    What a bizarre place progressives find ourselves in. Defending against an assault on democracy and a free press by liberals convinced they are doing the same thing by believing a psy-op designed to destroy them.

  24. DH Fabian
    October 19, 2020 at 15:26

    Party loyalists don’t hear. We spent so long pointing out that growing split in the former Democrat voting base, mainly by class, and they heard nothing. We detailed how and why their Russiagate scheme only drove more voters away, making Democrats too dangerous to vote for. In late 2019, we noted how Dems already began setting the stage to blame Russia again, for an expected 2020 defeat, and no, they didn’t hear any of that. Never mind that the long Mueller investigation found no evidence to support the allegations, never mind the measures Trump has taken to provoke Russia into a war, never mind any of that. Just “vote blue no matter who!” If ever there was a lost cause, this is it.

  25. Andrew Thomas
    October 19, 2020 at 15:13

    Brilliant work, as usual. One quibble: you insult Applebee’s.

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