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Russiagate explained: The DC swamp is using “Gish gallop” tactics to try and impeach Trump

The American people are being manipulated toward an anti-detente agenda by the Democrats.

Alex Christoforou

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Breaking down the narrative about Russia’s half of Russiagate, and then breaking down the narrative about Trump’s half of Russiagate, reveals without a shadow of a doubt, the absurdity of the the year long American investigation into election meddling, DNC hacking, and information censorship and surveillance.

Caitlin Johnstone on “Russiagate Explained”…

Michael Flynn is in the news again. Russiagaters are gushing with excitement at the revelation that Flynn’s lawyers are no longer sharing information with the president’s legal team now that Robert Mueller’s investigation is looking more closely at the former National Security Advisor’s involvement in the production of a film about an exiled cleric from Turkey. The story goes that this separation means that Flynn has struck a deal with Mueller, which Mueller wouldn’t permit him to do if he didn’t have damning information on Trump.

Of course this excitement is dependent on the false belief that Mueller’s job is to get the president impeached, and that he would only cut deals toward that ultimate end. It is also dependent on the false belief that there is any evidence to be found that Trump illegally colluded with the Russian government to steal the 2016 election. And, like the rest of the Russiagate enthusiasm around Flynn, it is also somewhat dependent on compartmentalizing away from the fact the Turkey and Russia are two completely different countries.

This is all par for course in the interminable dance of soaring excitement followed by thinly veiled disappointment that Russiagaters have been engaged in for over a year. I’ve been receiving some complaints that I don’t recap enough on the specific details of why I reject the establishment Russia narrative so aggressively, so if you’re just tuning in, what follows is a quick synopsis of how this weird thing has been going so far.

At the beginning of 2015 Hillary Clinton was already scaring people with her intensely hawkish positions on Russia, long before she went all-in on her horrifying support for a no-fly zone in a region where Russian military planes were conducting operations. Coincidentally this same nation Clinton wanted to fight happens to be the nation everyone in her political party is supporting new cold war escalations with today.

When WikiLeaks began releasing Democratic party emails, those ever-trustworthy truth angels collectively known as the US intelligence community began asserting that the leaks were provided by Russian hackers, a claim WikiLeaks denies. Clinton, still widely expected to win the presidency, used that opportunity to call for “military responses” to cyber intrusions, saying as president she would “make it clear that the United States will treat cyber attacks just like any other attack.”

In a debate with Trump in October of 2016, Clinton asserted that “17 intelligence agencies” had all concluded that Russia was behind the WikiLeaks releases, which this year we learned was actually four agencies, which was actually three agencies plus Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, which was actually two dozen agents from the CIA, FBI and NSA that Clapper hand-picked himself. James Clapper is a known Russophobic racistwho has said that Russians “are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever,” and that “It is in their genes to be opposed, diametrically opposed to the United States and to Western democracies.”

Clinton has continued to repeat the “17 intelligence agencies” lie long after it was conclusively debunked, and Democratic party loyalists continue to repeat it to this day. They do this to manufacture the illusion that this is something agreed upon by the entire US intelligence community and not two dozen analysts picked by a man with a seething eugenicist hatred of Russians.

Russia, incidentally, functions with regard to the United States as the right arm of China, the chief rival of the US power establishment Clinton has spent her career immersed in.
In January Clapper’s ODNI released its much anticipated intelligence report on the Russian hacking allegations to the public, which spent much of its space bizarrely talking about the fact that RT America covers third party presidential candidates and Occupy Wall Street. It ties Guccifer 2.0 to the WikiLeaks releases on very shaky grounds, despite an abundance of evidence that “Guccifer 2.0” is in fact an US establishment psyop and not a hacker at all.

To this day we’ve seen no hard evidence of Russian hacking the Democratic party emails despite assurances from NSA veterans that if such evidence exists it can surely be found on NSA records and safely shared with the public without exposing any sources or compromising any methods that aren’t public knowledge already. And yet the anti-Russia sentiment that assertion sparked has been used to manufacture support for sanctions, troops along Russia’s border, NATO expansionism and proxy conflicts. This is simply unacceptable in a post-Iraq invasion world. When it comes to assertions which lead to war, including cold war, the US intelligence community must be considered guilty until proven innocent. They have lost the trust of every sensible person forever.

The many, many gaping plot holes in the Russian hacking narrative are likely why as 2017 has worn on establishment loyalists have been opting to focus more on allegations that Russia used a pervasive propaganda campaign to get Trump elected. This includes RT America, which has the temerity to air the anti-establishment opinions of Americans whom mainstream media outlets refuse to platformPikachu-gate, and a narrative about $100,000 in Facebook ads somehow influencing a $6.8 billion election despite the fact that the ads in question rarely mentioned the election and most of them not being seen until after it was over.

Most disturbingly, the “Russian propaganda” angle has led to a large percentage of the US population supporting and promulgating the narrative that Americans need to be protected from ideas or information, which has led to enormous increases in corporate censorship across all major social media platforms. Which of course works out nicely for the unelected power establishment which has a vested interest in manipulating the ideas and information that Americans consume.

So that’s the narrative about Russia’s half of Russiagate. The story about Trump’s half is even more absurd.

The notion that Democrats may be able to get Trump impeached for colluding with Russia really took hold in January with the release of the now-infamous Christopher Steele dossier, which alleges that Russians have been blackmailing Trump into compliance with their agendas using a video they took years prior of Trump paying a bunch of prostitutes to urinate on a bed the Obamas once slept in. Apart from the obvious fact that nothing about this is even remotely believable, the dossier itself is riddled with significant errors and mostly unverified, and Steele himself has been distancing himself from parts of it. Some of the more high-octane Russiagaters have claimed that since some small parts of the Dossier have been confirmed to contain accurate basic information it must therefore all be true, which is the same as claiming that since Alex Jones was right about Iraq WMDs he’s definitely right about everything else he says as well.

Oh, and the position on Ukraine that the dossier alleges Trump was blackmailed into espousing? It’s virtually identical to Obama’s, and arguably more anti-Russia.

You’ll also hear a lot of talk about how Trump has “financial ties to Russia”, meaning he is necessarily therefore financially beholden to the Kremlin. This story of course requires that you ignore the many, many other foreign countries with which Trump has financial ties in order to view this as significant. Why would Trump exclude Russia from his map of business deals when the arm-waving hysteria about that country didn’t start until last year? In order to make Russian business ties look significant amid a sea of other foreign business ties you need to make the case that Russia is uniquely nefarious among nations, and few Americans saw it that way until the anti-Russia propaganda campaign began last year.

There’s talk about how some campaign officials met with Russians, which is only suspicious if you ignore all the other foreign nationals they met with and doublethink your way into believing that Russia has always been viewed as uniquely malicious among nations. Manafort and Gates were indicted for stuff that had nothing to do with Trump or Russia, and back in August the Washington Post ran a story explicitly stating that Papadopoulos was a very low-level aide whose attempts to arrange meetings between campaign officials and Russians were consistently rejected by the Trump campaign.

Taken individually, parts of Russiagate look like they could maybe possibly somehow lead somewhere plausible. Taken together, it’s obvious that the American people are being manipulated toward an anti-detente agenda by the Democrats who just want Trump impeached and the US power establishment which wants to secure geopolitical power by aggressively undermining its potential rivals.

The term Gish gallop refers to a fallacious debate tactic in which one barrages one’s opposition with a deluge of individually weak arguments which take far too long to debunk individually in a way that sustains the audience’s interest. This is all Russiagate amounts to. When Russiagaters tell you that there’s “too much smoke for there not to be fire”, they are unwittingly telling you “I’ve been won over by a Gish gallop fallacy.” Every single aspect of their argument can be easily debunked without exception, but since there’s so much of it and since pundits are assuring them of its reality so confidently, they believe.

Every few weeks there’s some major new “bombshell” revelation which Russiagaters get all excited about, only to have people read the actual information in the “bombshell” and find out it’s not actually anything incriminating or particularly remarkable. Take all those “bombshells” together, though, and you create the illusion of something real. That’s all this nonsense is.

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The conclusion of Russiagate, Part II – news fatigue across America

The daily barrage of Russiagate news may have been a tool to wear down the American public as the Deep State plays the long game for control.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Presently there is a media blitz on across the American news media networks. As was the case with the Russiagate investigation while it was ongoing, the conclusions have merely given rise to a rather unpleasant afterbirth in some ways as all the parties involve pivot their narratives. The conclusion of Russiagate appears to be heavily covered, yet if statistics here at The Duran are any indication, there is a good possibility that the public is absolutely fatigued over this situation.

And, perhaps, folks, that is by design.

Joseph Goebbels had many insights about the use of the media to deliver and enforce propaganda. One of his quotes runs thus:

The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.

and another:

That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one’s secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

If there has ever been a narrative that employed these two principles, it is Russiagate.

A staggering amount of attention has been lavished on this nothing-burger issue. Axios reports that an analytics company named Newswhip tallied an astounding 533,074 web articles published about Russia and President Trump and the Mueller investigation (a number which is being driven higher even now, moment by moment, ad nauseam). Newsbusters presently reports that the networks gave 2,284 minutes to the coverage of this issue, a number which seems completely inaccurate because it is much too low (38 hours at present), and we are waiting for a correction on this estimate.

Put it another way: Are you sick of Russiagate? That is because it has dominated the news for over 675 days of nearly wall-to-wall news cycles. The political junkies on both sides are still pretty jazzed up about this story – the Pro-Trump folks rejoicing over the presently ‘cleared’ status, while of course preparing for the upcoming Democrat / Deep State pivot, and the Dems in various levels of stress as they try to figure out exactly how to pivot in such a manner that they do not lose face – or pace – in continuing their efforts to rid their lives of the “Irritant-in-Chief” who now looks like he is in the best position of his entire presidency.

But a lot of people do not care. They are tired.

I hate to say it (and yes, I am speaking personally and directly), but this may be a dangerous fatigue. Here is why:

The barrage of propaganda on this issue was never predicated on any facts. It still isn’t. However, as we noted a few days ago, courtesy of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, at present, 53% of US registered voters believe that the Trump campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

That means 53% of the voting public now believes something that is totally false.

Many of these people are probably simply exhausted from the constant coverage of this allegation as well. So when the news came out Sunday night that there was no evidence of collusion and no conclusive evidence, hence, of obstruction of justice by the Trump Administration – in other words, this whole thing was a nothing burger – will this snap those 53% back into reality?

Probably not. Many of them may well be so worn down that they no longer care. Or worse, they are so worn out that they will continue to believe the things they are told that sustain the lie, despite its being called out as such.

C.S. Lewis wrote about this peculiarity of human nature, in particular in the seventh book of his Chronicles of Narnia. After a prolonged and fierce assault on the sensibilities of the Narnians with the story that Aslan, the Christ figure of this world, was in fact an angry overlord, selling the Narnians themselves into slavery, and selling the whole country out to its enemy, with the final touch being that Aslan and the devilish deity of the enemy nation were in fact one and the same, the Narnians were unable to snap back to reality when it was shown conclusively and clearly that this was in fact not the case.

The fear that was instilled from the use of false narratives persisted and blocked the animals from reality.

Lewis summarized it this way through the thoughts of Tirian, the lead character in this tale:

Tirian had never dreamed that one of the results of an Ape’s setting up as a false Aslan would be to stop people from believing in the real one. He had felt quite sure that the Dwarfs would rally to his side the moment he showed them how they had been deceived. And then next night he would have led them to Stable Hill and shown Puzzle to all the creatures and everyone would have turned against the Ape and, perhaps after a scuffle with the Calormenes, the whole thing would have been over. But now, it seemed, he could count on nothing. How many other Narnians might turn the same way as the Dwarfs?

This is part of the toll this very long propaganda campaign is very likely to take on many Americans. It takes being strongly informed and educated on facts to withstand the withering force of a narrative that never goes away. Indeed, if anything, it takes even more effort now, because the temptation of the pro-Trump side will be to retreat to a set of political talking points that, interestingly enough, validate Robert Mueller’s “integrity” when only a week ago they were attacking this as a false notion.

This is very dangerous, and even though Mr. Trump and his supporters won this battle, if they do not come at this matter in a way that shows education, and not merely the restating of platitudes and talking points that “should be more comfortable, now that we’ve won!”

The cost of Russiagate may be far higher than anyone wants it to be. And yes, speaking personally, I understand the fatigue. I am tired of this issue too. But the temptation to go silent may have already taken a lot of people so far that they will not accept the reality that has just been revealed.

Politics is a very fickle subject. Truth is extremely malleable for many politicians, and that is saying it very nicely. But this issue was not just politics. It was slander with a purpose, and that purpose is unchanged now. In fact things may even be more dangerous for the President – even risking his very life – because if the powers that are working behind the people trying to get rid of President Trump come to realize that they have no political support, they will move to more extreme measures. In fact this may have already been attempted.

We at The Duran reported a few months ago on a very strange but very compelling story that suggested that there was an attempted assassination and coup that was supposed to have taken place on January 17th of this year. It did not happen, but there was a parallel story that noted that the President may have been targeted for assassination already no fewer than twelve times.  Hopefully this is just tinfoil-hat stuff. But we have seen that this effort to be rid of President Trump is fierce and it is extremely well-supported within its group. There is no reason to think that the pressure will lighten now that this battle has been lost.

The stakes are much too high, and even this long investigation may well have been part of the weaponry of the group we sometimes refer to as the “Deep State” in their effort to reacquire power, and in their effort to continue to pursue both a domestic and geopolitical agenda that has so far shown itself to be destructive to both individuals and nations all over the world.

Speculation? Yes. Needless? We hope so. This is a terrible possibility that hopefully no reasonable person wants to consider.

Honestly, folks, we do not know. But we had to put this out there for your consideration.

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Schaeuble, Greece and the lessons learned from a failed GREXIT (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 117.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine a recent interview with the Financial Times given by Wolfgang Schäuble, where the former German Finance Minister, who was charged with finding a workable and sustainable solution to the Greek debt crisis, reveals that his plan for Greece to take a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone (in order to devalue its currency and save its economy) was met with fierce resistance from Brussels hard liners, and Angela Merkel herself.

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Via FT

“Look where we’re sitting!” says Wolfgang Schäuble, gesturing at the Berlin panorama stretching out beneath us. It is his crisp retort to those who say that Europe is a failure, condemned to a slow demise by its own internal contradictions. “Walk through the Reichstag, the graffiti left by the Red Army soldiers, the images of a destroyed Berlin. Until 1990 the Berlin Wall ran just below where we are now!”

We are in Käfer, a restaurant on the rooftop of the Reichstag. The views are indeed stupendous: Berlin Cathedral and the TV Tower on Alexanderplatz loom through the mist. Both were once in communist East Berlin, cut off from where we are now by the wall. Now they’re landmarks of a single, undivided city. “Without European integration, without this incredible story, we wouldn’t have come close to this point,” he says. “That’s the crazy thing.”

As Angela Merkel’s finance minister from 2009 to 2017, Schäuble was at the heart of efforts to steer the eurozone through a period of unprecedented turbulence. But at home he is most associated with Germany’s postwar political journey, having not only negotiated the 1990 treaty unifying East and West Germany but also campaigned successfully for the capital to move from Bonn.

For a man who has done so much to put Berlin — and the Reichstag — back on the world-historical map, it is hard to imagine a more fitting lunch venue. With its open-plan kitchen and grey formica tables edged in chrome, Käfer has a cool, functional aesthetic that is typical of the city. On the wall hangs a sketch by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who famously wrapped the Reichstag in silver fabric in 1995.

The restaurant has one other big advantage: it is easy to reach from Schäuble’s office. Now 76, he has been confined to a wheelchair since he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1990, and mobility is an issue. Aides say he tends to avoid restaurants if he can, especially at lunchtime.

As we take our places, we talk about Schäuble’s old dream — that German reunification would be a harbinger of European unity, a step on the road to a United States of Europe. That seems hopelessly out of reach in these days of Brexit, the gilets jaunes in France, Lega and the Five Star Movement in Italy.

Some blame Schäuble himself for that. He was, after all, the architect of austerity, a fiscal hawk whose policy prescriptions during the euro crisis caused untold hardship for millions of ordinary people, or so his critics say. He became a hate figure, especially in Greece. Posters in Athens in 2015 depicted him with a Hitler moustache below the words: “Wanted — for mass poverty and devastation”.

Schäuble rejects the criticism that austerity caused the rise of populism. “Higher spending doesn’t lead to greater contentment,” he says. The root cause lies in mass immigration, and the insecurities it has unleashed. “What European country doesn’t have this problem?” he asks. “Even Sweden. The poster child of openness and the willingness to help.”

But what of the accusation that he didn’t care enough about the suffering of the southern Europeans? Austerity divided the EU and spawned a real animus against Schäuble. I ask him how that makes him feel now. “Well I’m sad, because I played a part in all of that,” he says, wistfully. “And I think about how we could have done it differently.”

I glance at the menu — simple German classics with a contemporary twist. I’m drawn to the starters, such as Oldenburg duck pâté and the Müritz smoked trout. But true to his somewhat abstemious reputation, Schäuble has no interest in these and zeroes in on the entrées. He chooses Käfer’s signature veal meatballs, a Berlin classic. I go for the Arctic char and pumpkin.

Schäuble switches seamlessly back to the eurozone crisis. The original mistake was in trying to create a common currency without a “common economic, employment and social policy” for all eurozone member states. The fathers of the euro had decided that if they waited for political union to happen first they’d wait forever, he says.

Yet the prospects for greater political union are now worse than they have been in years. “The construction of the EU has proven to be questionable,” he says. “We should have taken the bigger steps towards integration earlier on, and now, because we can’t convince the member states to take them, they are unachievable.”

Greece was a particularly thorny problem. It should never have been admitted to the euro club in the first place, Schäuble says. But when its debt crisis first blew up, it should have taken a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone — an idea he first floated with Giorgos Papakonstantinou, his Greek counterpart between 2009 and 2011. “I told him you need to be able to devalue your currency, you’re not competitive,” he says. The reforms required to repair the Greek economy were going to be “hard to achieve in a democracy”. “That’s why you need to leave the euro for a certain period. But everyone said there was no chance of that.”

The idea didn’t go away, though. Schäuble pushed for a temporary “Grexit” in 2015, during another round of the debt crisis. But Merkel and the other EU heads of government nixed the idea. He now reveals he thought about resigning over the issue. “On the morning the decision was made, [Merkel] said to me: ‘You’ll carry on?’ . . . But that was one of the instances where we were very close [to my stepping down].”

It is an extraordinary revelation, one that highlights just how rocky his relationship with Merkel has been over the years. Schäuble has been at her side from the start, an éminence grise who has helped to resolve many of the periodic crises of her 13 years as chancellor. But it was never plain sailing.

“There were a few really bad conflicts where she knew too that we were on the edge and I would have gone,” he says. “I always had to weigh up whether to go along with things, even though I knew it was the wrong thing to do, as was the case with Greece, or whether I should go.” But his sense of duty prevailed. “We didn’t always agree — but I was always loyal.”

That might have been the case when he was a serving minister, but since becoming speaker of parliament in late 2017 he has increasingly distanced himself from Merkel. Last year, when she announced she would not seek re-election as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party that has governed Germany for 50 of the past 70 years, Schäuble openly backed a candidate described by the Berlin press as the “anti-Merkel”. Friedrich Merz, a millionaire corporate lawyer who is the chairman of BlackRock Germany, had once led the CDU’s parliamentary group but lost out to Merkel in a power struggle in 2002, quitting politics a few years later. He has long been seen as one of the chancellor’s fiercest conservative critics — and is a good friend of Schäuble’s.

Ultimately, in a nail-biting election last December, Merkel’s favoured candidate, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, narrowly beat Merz. The woman universally known as “AKK” is in pole position to succeed Merkel as chancellor when her fourth and final term ends in 2021.

I ask Schäuble if it’s true that he had once again waged a battle against Merkel and once again lost. “I never went to war against Ms Merkel,” he says. “Everybody says that if I’m for Merz then I’m against Merkel. Why is that so? That’s nonsense.”

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