New Cracks In Russia-gate ‘Assessment’

The Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin: Did the Russians hack U.S. election databases? (Yahoo News photo illustration, photos: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters, Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters, AP, AP)

By Robert Parry for Consortium News – At the center of the Russia-gate scandal is a curious U.S. intelligence “assessment” that was pulled together in less than a month and excluded many of the agencies that would normally weigh in on such an important topic as whether Russia tried to influence the outcome of a U.S. presidential election. The Jan. 6 report and its allegation that Russia “hacked” Democratic emails and publicized them through WikiLeaks have been treated as gospel by the mainstream U.S. media and many politicians of both parties, but two senior Obama administration intelligence officials have provided new information that raises fresh doubts about the findings. On Tuesday, former CIA Director John Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee that only four of the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies took part in the assessment, relying on analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the oversight of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Brennan said the report “followed the general model of how you want to do something like this with some notable exceptions. It only involved the FBI, NSA and CIA as well as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Break Through The Propaganda Watch Oliver Stone Interview With Vladmir Putin

Vladimir Putin at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting- Davos, 2009. (Photo: World Economic Forum)

By Alexander Mercouris for The Duran – I have now watched the first three episodes of the Putin Interviews, which is sufficient to give an overview of the series. In my opinion it is by far the best and most interesting series of programmes which have appeared on Western television about Vladimir Putin. I would say that claims that Oliver Stone fails to raise ‘difficult subjects’ with Putin are simply untrue. All the usual stories about Putin – his KGB past, his reputed homophobia, his ‘billions’, his ‘murders’, his ‘aggressions against Georgia and Ukraine’ etc – are all there. There is also one telling moment when Stone and Putin strongly disagree with each other. This is in relation to a recent Russian law that requires Russian internet providers to store data for longer than previously, and to hand it over to the Russian security services if requested following a court order. The US whistleblower Edward Snowden has denounced this law as a ‘big brother’ law. Stone clearly agrees with him and tells Putin as much. Putin predictably enough doesn’t agree. The key difference between Stone and other Western interviewers is that Stone doesn’t try to get the better of Putin by bullying and hectoring him.

Controversy Surrounds Mueller RussiaGate Investigation

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By Staff of Irrussianality – Good thing I checked. Reading the New York Times this morning I almost coughed out my breakfast cereal on the sight of the following full page ad on page 7: What was the ‘therussiansarehere.org’, I wondered. The front for a bunch of well-financed maniacs determined to further exacerbate East-West tensions? As it happens, no. It turns out to be an advertisement for the TV show ‘The Americans’, about a pair of Soviet agents working undercover in 1980s America. My initial fears that The New York Times had finally gone from merely paranoid to full-blown crazy proved exaggerated. But, only slightly. The newspaper’s front page contained the headline ‘Trump’s standoff with Comey overshadows Russian threat’, a choice of words seemingly designed to create the impression that the ‘Russian threat’ is an incontestable fact. The article continues on page 26, with a half-page spread complaining that the fuss about James Comey is diverting attention from the real danger coming from Russia. It cites retired diplomat Daniel Fried as saying, ‘we’re facing an adversary who wishes for his own reasons to do us harm. … Comey was spot-on right that the Russia is coming after us, but not just the US, but the free world in general.’

Manufactured Hysteria Over Russia Requires 24/7 Upkeep

The Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin: Did the Russians hack U.S. election databases? (Yahoo News photo illustration, photos: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters, Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters, AP, AP)

By Glen Ford for Black Agenda Report – Even at the height of the Cold War and the depths of McCarthyism, the U.S. corporate media was never even remotely as consumed with Russia as they are, today. The obsession with the Kremlin is a manufactured hysteria, a result of the panic that engulfed the U.S. ruling class — and its media — during last year’s election. What scared them witless, was the reaction of so-called “middle Americans” — white conservatives that call themselves Christian and “patriotic” – to Donald Trump’s statements on lessening tensions with Moscow and getting the U.S. out of the regime change business. Trump’s supporters didn’t bat an eye. It soon became clear that Trump’s base was nowhere near as gung-ho for endless war and confrontation as the rulers, and most of the rest of us, had assumed. And, that was very bad news for the War Party, which had gathered together in Hillary Clinton’s big tent. Because, if Donald Trump’s “middle Americans” – or “deplorables,” as Hillary called them — could not be counted on to applaud every war that their rulers chose to launch, then where was the reliable constituency for war? If not Trump’s people — who?

The “All 17 Intelligence Agencies Concluded That Russia Is Responsible” Myth

Flickr/ Ismael Valladolid Torres

By Jeffrey Carr for ACEWA – The “All 17 Intelligence Agencies Concluded That Russia Is Responsible” Myth that originated with Hilary Clinton is wrong, has always been wrong, and was confirmed as wrong by former ODNI James Clapper in his May 8, 2017 testimony before the Senate Subcommittee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election. The “All 17 Intelligence Agencies Concluded That Russia Is Responsible” Myth that originated with Hilary Clinton is wrong, has always been wrong, and was confirmed as wrong by former ODNI James Clapper in his May 8, 2017 testimony before the Senate Subcommittee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election [1]. SENATOR AL FRANKEN: “The Intelligence Communities [sic] concluded, all 17 of them, that Russia interfered with the election.” GENERAL JAMES CLAPPER: “Senator, as I pointed out in my statement, there were only three agencies directly involved in the assessment (CIA, NSA, FBI). SENATOR AL FRANKEN: “But all 17 signed on.”

Freedom Rider: Endless Propaganda

Popular Resistance, Revolution, Rebellion, Capitalism

By Margaret Kimberley for Black Agenda Report – The cover of the latest issue of TIME magazine has an image almost identical to one that appeared in the satirical MAD magazine. The juxtaposition of comedy with alleged seriousness shows the intensity of propaganda emanating from corporate media and others among the ruling classes. The object of the inadvertent mimicry is, of course, Russia. No stone is unturned in the attempt to connect the Trump administration with the government of that country. The endless efforts are meant to manipulate millions of people already inundated with levels of Russophobia exceeding that of the Cold War era. Russia is not the only target of attempts to manufacture consent. In a matter of a few days the corporate media told tall tales that are easily disproven. First, president Trump was accused of giving classified information to the Russian foreign minister. That story was quickly followed by an attempt to blame North Korea for a worldwide computer hack and ransomware attack. Not to be outdone, the media began a new tack of libels against Syrian president Bashir al-Assad. He now stands accused of burning bodies in a facility that is ominously referred to as a crematorium. There is no better way to demonize than to evoke comparisons with Adolph Hitler.

Let’s Call Western Media Coverage Of Syria By Its Real Name: Propaganda

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By Michael Howard for Paste Magazine – In his essential study of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, University of Kent Professor Richard Sakwa writes that, somewhere down the road, Western media’s reductive, ideological coverage of the conflict “will undoubtedly become the subject of many an intriguing academic study.” That’s if the human race isn’t wiped out by environmental catastrophe or nuclear holocaust first—far from a sure thing, especially with the Trump regime running amok, lobbing cruise missiles and sending armadas (or not) and dropping MOABs, and all of it to quell suspicions that the president’s undersized hands might reflect a certain priapic compactness. But while, as Sakwa says, the reportage of Ukraine’s civil war by our renowned newspapers has been abysmal and embarrassing, it doesn’t hold a candle to that of Syria, where any pretense of real journalism was done away with long ago. Syria is proof of how low mainstream Western media are prepared to sink in the service of state power; it’s where journalistic standards, like global jihadists, go to die. Rank propaganda is the order of the day. Honest observers are appalled.

NY Times Creates North Korea Panic Over Unprovable Claim

Flickr/ John Pavelka. 
Star of the DPRK 
Panorama Hall of the Operation for the Liberation of Taejon;
Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum
Pyongyang, DPRK (North Korea)

By Adam Johnson for FAIR – From the beginning, the Times frames any potential bombing by Trump as the product of a “stark calculus” coldly and objectively arrived at by a “growing body of expert[s].” The idea that elements within the US intelligence community may actually desire a war—or at least limited airstrikes—and thus may have an interest in presenting conflict as inevitable, is never addressed, much less accounted for. The most spectacular claim—that North Korea is, at present, “capable of producing a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks”—is backed up entirely by an anonymous blob of “expert studies and classified intelligence reports.” To add another red flag, Sanger and Broad qualify it in the very next sentence as a figure that is “impossible to verify.” Which is another way of saying it’s an unverified claim. When asked on Twitter if he could say who, specifically, in the US government is providing this figure, Broad did not immediately respond.

Young People Want Radical Change—Survey Blows Lid Off Right-Wing And Corporate Economic Propaganda

Rena Schild / Shutterstock

By Les Leopold for AlterNet – Most politicians and pundits throw their hands up in despair. They argue there is really nothing we can do about rising inequality because of the powerful impacts of global competition and automation. Those who are falling behind just don’t have the skills needed to prosper in the modern world. Life is unfair. Get used to it. But, these fatalists are dead wrong. There is ample evidence to show that many other nations have far less inequality but are also using the most advanced technologies, and are more open to foreign competition. Furthermore, the mainstream Democrats have convinced themselves, that despite the Sanders surge, most Americans do not support bold policies to reverse runaway inequality. These officials believe that most Americans reject “socialistic” programs. Does a social democratic program appeal to most Americans? We decided to test the mainstream Democratic Party phobias by asking 200 randomly selected 18 to 40 year-olds to evaluate a strong platform aimed at reversing runaway inequality.

Media's Language Is Meant To Deceive Us Into War

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By Lee Camp for Redacted Tonight. Following bombings in Afghanistan and Syria, the media has become rather fluent in the “language of war.” Turn on your TV and you’ll be witness to government and mainstream media outlets trying to soften and normalize barbaric bombing by using manipulative words to describe it all. The mainstream media’s use of words like “cruising” and “loitering” to describe weapons that maim and destroy innocent people only diminishes the gravity of warfare. And at its core, the media’s propping up the technology of weapons, such as the Tomahawk missile, are essentially a massive, glorified advertisement for waging more war. What’s more, networks like MSNBC and Fox News both gush over the missile strikes and even suggest that these actions make Trump look more presidential. Redacted Tonight host Lee Camp shows how it should be hardly a surprise that in a time of war, corporate-funded media outlets are lacking in the humanity department.

A Critique Of ‘False And Misleading’ White House Claims About Syria’s Use Of Lethal Gas

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By Theodore A. Postol for Information Clearing House – “Truth Dig”- This is my third report assessing the White House intelligence Report (WHR) of April 11. My first report was titled “A Quick Turnaround Assessment of the White House Intelligence Report Issued on April 11, 2017 About the Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria,” and my second report was an addendum to the first report. This report provides unambiguous evidence that the White House Intelligence Report contains false and misleading claims that could not possibly have been accepted in any professional review by impartial intelligence experts. The WHR was produced by the National Security Council under the oversight of national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. The evidence presented herein is from two selected videos that are part of a larger cache of videos that are available on YouTube. These videos were uploaded to YouTube by the SMART News Agency between April 5 and April 7. Analysis of the videos shows that all the scenes taken at the site the WHR claims was the location of a sarin release indicate significant tampering with the site.

The 25 Rules Of Disinformation

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By Isaac Davis for Waking Times – We are in the post-constitutional era in the United States, a time when the government does whatever it wants to whomever it wants, and there is not a thing anyone can do about it. How it is possible that the president can bomb a foreign country or threaten a full-scale international war without so much as even mentioning the need for Congress to chime in, let alone actually vote on a declaration of war? The short answer is, disinformation and propaganda, which is the domain of mainstream media. When people are confused, when truth is hidden, when agendas are presented as life or death options, and when the public has no clue about which laws government is bound to, then anything goes. Regarding disinformation, the following list of 25 rules of disinformation is from Twenty-Five Ways To Suppress Truth: The Rules of Disinformation (Includes The 8 Traits of A Disinformationalist) by H. Michael Sweeney, and offers a comprehensive way of processing information in a time of universal deceit.

What Russia-Gate Has Wrought

Green Party leader Jill Stein and retired Lt. General Michael Flynn attending a dinner marking the RT network’s tenth anniversary in Moscow, December 2015, sitting at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin.

By Robert Parry for Consortium News – Since Trump took those actions – in accordance with the neocon desires for more “regime change” in the Middle East and a costly New Cold War with Russia – Russia-gate has almost vanished from the news.On April 4, Trump fully capitulated to the neoconservative bash-Russia narrative amid dubious claims about a chemical attack in Syria. On April 6, Trump fired off 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase; he also restored the neocon demand for “regime change” in Syria; and he alleged that Russia was possibly complicit in the supposed chemical attack. I did find a little story in the lower right-hand corner of page A12 of Saturday’s New York Times about a still-eager Democratic congressman, Mike Quigley of Illinois, who spent a couple of days in Cyprus which attracted his interest because it is a known site for Russian money-laundering, but he seemed to leave more baffled than when he arrived. “The more I learn, the more complex, layered and textured I see the Russia issue is – and that reinforces the need for professional full-time investigators,” Quigley said, suggesting that the investigation’s failure to strike oil is not that the holes are dry but that he needs better drill bits.

Jeremy Scahill Slams Fareed Zakaria on CNN

Scahill criticizing Syria media coverage

By Josh Feldman for Mediate. On CNN’s Reliable Sources this morning, The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill went off on the “atrocious” media coverage of the Syria missile strikes, even calling out CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in particular. Last week Zakaria said that after that strike, Trump “became President of the United States.” This morning, an hour before Scahill was on CNN, Zakaria said that he congratulates President Trump for striking a “blow against evil.” Scahill told Brian Stelter that CNN “needs to immediately withdraw all retired generals and colonels from its airwaves.” And then he said this: “You know, Fareed Zakaria––if that guy could have sex with this cruise missile attack, I think he would do it.” He also slammed Brian Williams for his strange quotation of Leonard Cohen in speaking about the “beauty of our weapons.”

Five Top Papers Run 18 Opinion Pieces Praising Syria Strikes–Zero Are Critical

Not The Onion.

By Adam Johnson for FAIR – Five major US newspapers—the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and New York Daily News—offered no opinion space to anyone opposed to Donald Trump’s Thursday night airstrikes. By contrast, the five papers ran a total of 18 op-eds, columns or “news analysis” articles (dressed-up opinion pieces) that either praised the strikes or criticized them for not being harsh enough