Just a few years ago, the Russiagate narrative dominated the news sphere: anyone who questioned the status quo was labeled a Putin puppet or a Russian bot, including American journalists. In recent months, Israeli officials have similarly labeled anyone and any organization who opposes them as anti-Semitic or Hamas sympathizers, even going so far as to label the International Court of Justice anti-Semitic. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took both narratives a step further over the weekend, calling on the F.B.I. to investigate pro-Palestinian protests for alleged financial ties to Russia. Her statements came in the wake of the ruling from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which stated that there is prima facie evidence of Israel committing genocide in Gaza though the ruling stopped short of ordering a cessation of Israel’s military actions in the strip.
On Tuesday, October 10, 2023, By Any Means Necessary on Radio Sputnik ceased its broadcast. This was not a voluntary decision by the show’s hosts, Sean Blackmon and myself, Jacqueline Luqman. For legal reasons, there is not a lot I can say about the ending of our show and our termination. What I will say is that the ending of our show was a consequence of our commitment to anti-Zionist principles, which we adhered to in our personal organizing and expressed in our work on the show throughout its existence. While we consistently presented our guests with whatever corporate media narrative was spun about a given controversial topic we had invited them to discuss, we understood the power of imperialist propaganda and never legitimized the lies of the US empire and its lackeys and vassal states.
Tampa, Florida – Defense attorneys representing three US citizens accused of operating a Russia-directed “malign influence campaign” to “sow discord” in the United States urged Federal Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli to dismiss the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) case against their clients this September 28, arguing their continued prosecution threatens to “blow a hole in the 1st Amendment.” “This is a very dangerous case. I have not seen anything like it in 25 years of practicing law. The government is trying to put three of its critics in jail for making political speeches, organizing peaceable rallies and publishing political articles,” Leonard Goodman, an attorney representing one of the defendants, commented to The Grayzone outside the US district courthouse in Tampa, Florida.
Let us cast our minds back just briefly to the very fine afternoon of July 22, 2016. It was an especially bright Friday, as you may recall, because WikiLeaks released a lot of Democratic Party emails that day, so shining a light worthy of a night game at Yankee Stadium on the party’s corrupt machinations to destroy Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid in the service of the first Goldwater Democrat, the ever-endearing Hillary Clinton. Pause a moment to summon the time. Now recall the following Sunday, July 24, when Robbie Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, appeared back-to-back on the Sunday morning news programs to proclaim that never-named “experts” had never-shown “evidence” that it was the Rrrrrrussians who pilfered the mail and gave it to Julian Assange’s operation.
The first thing to understand about John Durham is that he was a fearless prosecutor who went after organized crime and put in prison retired and active FBI agents who protected the mob for money or other enticements. One of the agents he stopped had enabled James “Whitey” Bulger Jr., once one of America’s most wanted men, the Winter Hill Gang boss who evaded arrest for sixteen years. In his forty-five years as a state and federal prosecutor in Connecticut and Virginia, Durham worked often and closely with FBI agents, especially on cases that involved violations of federal racketeering statutes.
There are certain things I do not quite get since Special Counsel John Durham’s report on the epically corrupt conduct of Donald Trump’s enemies during the 2016 election campaigns went to Congress last week. Many things, actually. For all the ground Durham covers in his 306–page report, I don’t get why he left a lot of things undone and unexamined, a lot of names unnamed and a lot of conclusions unconcluded after a four-year investigation into the very unfunny fiasco known as Russiagate. And then there are a few things I do get. Chief among these is that, with the already-evident burying of the Durham Report, we now witness the obliteration of a highly significant passage in our national history.
There is no report, investigation or new revelation, including the recent release of Special Counsel John Durham’s “Report on Matters Related to Intelligence Activities and Investigations Arising Out of the 2016 Presidential Campaigns” that will implode the myth that Russia was responsible for the election of Donald Trump. Myths are impervious to facts. They fulfill an emotional yearning. They are a short circuit from reality into a world of childish simplicity. Hard and painful questions are avoided. Thought-terminating cliches are spat out to blissfully embrace a willed ignorance. The cynical con the Democratic Party and the FBI carried out to falsely portray Donald Trump as a puppet of the Kremlin worked, and continues to work, because it is what those who detest Trump want to believe.
Six years and millions of dollars later, the “Durham report” released on May 15th confirmed once again what a few of us had the nerve to argue before all of the reports and stories that subsequently emerged – that “Russiagate” was the most massive fraud ever perpetrated on the U.S. public by a section of the capitalist rulers and represented a maturing of a form of U.S. neofascism unique to this historical moment. The public may have forgotten that during the Trump Administration U.S. Attorney General Bob Barr assigned John H. Durham as special counsel to review the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign. The Durham report, as it is being referred to in the media, corroborated many of the conclusions reached by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report in 2019.
A new four-part investigation for the Columbia Journalism Review by Jeff Gertz examines the role of the media in pushing the “Russiagate” narrative that dominated headlines during the Trump administration. Doubts about the veracity of claims of Russian interference from the FBI and even the CIA were repeatedly ignored and pushed aside by mainstream media outlets in their push to hold the narrative together. Jeff Gertz joins The Chris Hedges Report for a deep dive into the role of the Hillary Clinton campaign and individual press outlets in the media show we’ve come to know as “Russiagate.”
Shortly after the election of Donald Trump, revelations that a Russian disinformation campaign had helped sweep the 45th president to power shook the media and the wider culture. The unfolding drama of the Mueller Report and a Senate investigative panel gripped the nation for the next four years. But now, journalist Matt Taibbi has revealed that the source of many of the claims of ongoing Russian disinformation during the Trump presidency, Hamilton 68, was itself a disinformation operation concocted by former US intelligence officials. Matt Taibbi joins The Chris Hedges Report to discuss his findings and dissect how legacy media, the public, and even Congress were taken along for the ride in the ‘Russiagate’ saga.
Joe Lauria: On CN Live! Wednesday night, as we were interviewing journalist Matt Taibbi of Twitter Files fame about the psychological aspects of Russiagate, I thought back to one of Robert Parry’s major revelations for Consortium News: the existence of a C.I.A. perception management program begun during the Reagan administration. It had the aim of selling false stories to the American people to further the interests of the national security state. There had been previous programs of deception run by the C.I.A., including infiltrating the media and the arts. But the Reagan-era program was geared to a post-Vietnam public that had grown dangerously wise to U.S. militarism and official lying. Parry discovered the documents outlining the program while rooting around in the Reagan presidential library archives, and he first wrote about it in CN on June 30, 2008 when he broke the story.
Last week Matt Taibbi, with access to Twitter's internal papers, debunked the fake Hamilton 68 propaganda dashboard that was used to create many stories about alleged Russian disinformation. I had done similar five years earlier but had no access to the original data. There were enough secondary indications to conclude that the dashboard was a sham. Still, have the case made with primary data is a valuable addition. There has been no Russian influence or disinformation campaign. Two days later the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) published a five part longread from an 18 month long investigation into the 'Russigate' drama and on how the media had cooked it up. CJR's editor wrote the intro: No narrative did more to shape Trump’s relations with the press than Russiagate. The story, which included the Steele dossier and the Mueller report among other totemic moments, resulted in Pulitzer Prizes as well as embarrassing retractions and damaged careers. For Trump, the press’s pursuit of the Russia story convinced him that any sort of normal relationship with the press was impossible.For the past year and a half, CJR has been examining the American media’s coverage of Trump and Russia in granular detail, and what it means as the country enters a new political cycle. Investigative reporter Jeff Gerth interviewed dozens of people at the center of the story—editors and reporters, Trump himself, and others in his orbit.
The banner headline atop page one of The New York Times print edition [now six] years ago today, on Jan. 7, 2017, set the tone for two years of Dick Cheney-like chicanery: “Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says.” Under a media drumbeat of anti-Russian hysteria, credulous Americans were led to believe that Donald Trump owed his election victory to the president of Russia, whose “influence campaign” according to the Times quoting the intelligence report*,* helped *“*President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton.” Hard evidence supporting the media and political rhetoric has been as elusive as proof of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2002-2003.
The United States was founded by dissenters. The Declaration of Independence is one of history’s most significant dissenting documents, inspiring people seeking freedom around the world, from the French revolutionists to Ho Chi Minh, who based Vietnam’s declaration of independence from France on the American declaration. But over the centuries a corrupt centralization of American power seeking to maintain and expand its authority has at times sought to crush the very principle of dissent which was written into the United States Constitution. Freedom to dissent was first threatened by the second president. Just eight years after the adoption of the Bill of Rights, press freedom had become a threat to John Adams, whose Federalist Party pushed through Congress the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts.
Five years ago today, Congress learned from sworn, horse’s-mouth testimony that there is no technical evidence that Russia (or anyone else) hacked the DNC emails showing how the DNC had stacked the deck against Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s rival for the Democratic nomination. I can almost hear readers new to this website cry out in disbelief: "That cannot be. Official Washington and the media assured us that the Russians hacked those emails in order to help Trump win. And didn’t Obama throw out 35 Russian diplomats in reaction? And what about those 12 Russian intelligence agents indicted for hacking?" Were U.S. officials and media mistaken? No, not mistaken. They were lying. "But … but, does this mean Special Counsel Robert Mueller knew there was no concrete evidence of Russian hacking just six months into his 22-month investigation into Trump-Russia collusion?"