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NYT reporter who sold the world on WMDs, Judith Miller, is now pushing the “Russian election hack” lie [Video]

The New York Times journalist who sold the world on WMDs is back to sell the story of “Russia election hacking”

Alex Christoforou

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Were it not for the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, one would think that it was 2003 WMDs all over again.

The same Iraq war playbook is being dusted off in order to sell a ridiculous information war based on the equally ridiculous notion that Russia hacked the US elections in Trump’s favor…and at the expense of Hillary Clinton.

All the lies are in place.

Politicians like McCain and Graham are hitting talk show circuit, warning about a “dictator” threatening American democracy.

“Fake news” is the new Patriot act, a dumbed down catchphrase used to rally support while curbing citizens’ freedoms.

The US president is ordering a secret investigation, results pending before inauguration day.

The CIA is leading the charge by misleading. Anonymous sources are today’s “Ahmed Chalabi.”

American “values” are under attack. Retaliation first, fact later. The “DNC hack” is Colin Powell’s “anthrax” moment. Saddam is Putin. Iraq is Russia. Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) have become Weapons of Cyber Destruction (WCD).

…And Judith Miller is back. Ready sell another conflict, cyber or hot, to an American public fattened up on a diet of “Russian aggression”.

Miller seems to always pop up to corroborate CIA propaganda.

Let’s remember who Judith Miller is, and what she did in 2003, so as to avoid the same (or and even worse) fate in 2016.

Via Wikipedia

Miller became embroiled in controversy after her coverage of Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) program both before and after the 2003 invasion was discovered to have been based on the inaccurate information in the intelligence investigations, particularly those stories that were based on sourcing from the now-disgraced Ahmed Chalabi.  The New York Times later determined that a number of stories she had written for the paper were inaccurate. According to commentator Ken Silverstein, Miller’s Iraq reporting “effectively ended her career as a respectable journalist.” Miller acknowledged in The Wall Street Journal on April 4, 2015 that some of her Times coverage was inaccurate, although she had relied on sources she had used numerous times in the past, including those who supplied information for her reporting that had previously won a Pulitzer Prize. She further stated that policymakers and intelligence analysts had relied on the same sources as hers, and that at the time there was broad consensus that Iraq had stockpiles of WMD.

Miller was later involved in the Plame Affair, in which the status of Valerie Plame as a member of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) became widely known. When asked to name her sources, Miller invoked reporter’s privilege and refused to reveal her sources in the Central Intelligence Agency leak and spent 85 days in jail protecting her source, Scooter Libby. Miller later was forced to resign from her job at the New York Times in November 2005. Later, she was a contributor to the Fox News Channel and a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute.

*****

At The New York Times, Miller wrote on security issues, particularly about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. Many of these stories later turned out to have been based upon faulty information.

On September 7, 2002, Miller and fellow Times reporter Michael R. Gordon reported the interception of “metal tubes” bound for Iraq. Her front-page story quoted unnamed “American officials” and “American intelligence experts” who said the tubes were intended to be used to enrich nuclear material, and cited unnamed “Bush administration officials” who claimed that, in recent months, Iraq had “stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and [had] embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb”. Miller added that

Mr. Hussein’s dogged insistence on pursuing his nuclear ambitions, along with what defectors described in interviews as Iraq’s push to improve and expand Baghdad’s chemical and biological arsenals, have brought Iraq and the United States to the brink of war.

Shortly after Miller’s article was published, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and Donald Rumsfeld appeared on television and pointed to Miller’s story in support of their position. As summarized by the New York Review of Books, “in the following months, the tubes would become a key prop in the administration’s case for war, and the Times played a critical part in legitimizing it.” Miller later said of the controversy

[M]y job isn’t to assess the government’s information and be an independent intelligence analyst myself. My job is to tell readers of The New York Times what the government thought about Iraq’s arsenal.

In an April 2003 article, Miller, ostensibly on the basis of statements from the military unit in which she was embedded, reported claims allegedly made by an Iraqi scientist that Iraq had kept biological and chemical weapons until “right before the invasion.” This report was widely repeated in the press. Miller went on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and stated:

Well, I think they found something more than a smoking gun. What they’ve found is a silver bullet in the form of a person, an Iraqi individual, a scientist, as we’ve called him, who really worked on the programs, who knows them firsthand, and who has led MET Alpha people to some pretty startling conclusions.

On May 26, 2004, a week after the U.S. government apparently severed ties with Ahmed Chalabi, a Times editorial acknowledged that some of the paper’s coverage in the run-up to the war had relied too heavily on Chalabi and other Iraqi exiles, who were bent on regime change. The editorial also expressed “regret” that “information that was controversial [was] allowed to stand unchallenged.” However, the editorial explicitly rejected “blame on individual reporters.”

On May 27, 2004, the day after the Times’ mea culpa, James C. Moore quoted Miller in an article in Salon:

“You know what … I was proved fucking right. That’s what happened. People who disagreed with me were saying, ‘There she goes again.’ But I was proved fucking right.”

The statement about being “proved…right” was in relation to another Miller story, wherein she’d claimed that trailers found in Iraq had been shown to be mobile weapons labs. However, that claim too was subsequently refuted as false.

It was alleged later in Editor and Publisher that, while Miller’s reporting “frequently [did] not meet published Times standards”, she was not sanctioned and was given a relatively free rein, because she consistently delivered frequent front-page scoops for the paper by “cultivating top-ranking sources.”

In October 2005, The New York Times Public Editor Byron Calame wrote:

Ms. Miller may still be best known for her role in a series of Times articles in 2002 and 2003 that strongly suggested Saddam Hussein already had or was acquiring an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction … Many of those articles turned out to be inaccurate … [T]he problems facing her inside and outside the newsroom will make it difficult for her to return to the paper as a reporter.

Two weeks later, Miller negotiated a private severance package with Times’ publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. She contested Calame’s claims about her reporting and gave no ground in defending her work. She cited “difficulty” in performing her job effectively after having become “an integral part of the stories [she] was sent to cover.”

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Trump witch hunt dots connected: CNN to Steele to John McCain (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 110.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss documents released which show that Christopher Steele admitted to using posts by ‘random individuals’ on the CNN community website ‘iReport’ in order to back up his fabricated Trump dossier.

President Trump took note of Steele’s use of CNN citizen journalist posts, in a twitter tirade that blasted the British ex-spy for running with unverified community generated content from a now now-defunct ‘iReports’ website as part of his research.

Trump the proceeded to rip into late neocon Arizona Senator John McCain, tweeting that it was “just proven in court papers” that “last in his class” McCain sent the Steele’s dossier to media outlets in the hopes that they would print it prior to the 2016 US election.

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Via The Daily Caller

A federal court unsealed 43 pages Thursday of a deposition that former British spy Christopher Steele gave as part of a lawsuit over his infamous anti-Trump dossier.

To the disappointment of many observers, the full deposition was not unsealed in Thursday’s motion. Instead, portions of Steele’s interview, which he gave in London on July 13, 2018, were unsealed in separate court filings submitted in the lawsuit.

Steele’s full deposition totaled 145 pages. The portions published Thursday focus mainly on questions about the dossier’s claims about Aleksej Gubarev, a tech executive who Steele alleges took part in the hacking of Democrats’ computer systems.

Gubarev has vehemently denied the claim and sued Steele and BuzzFeed News, which published the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017.

U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro, who handled the lawsuit, ordered a slew of previously sealed documents to be made public Thursday. Ungaro dismissed the lawsuit on Dec. 19 but did not weigh in on whether the dossier’s claims about Gubarev were accurate.

It is unclear whether Steele’s entire deposition will be released. A source familiar with Steele’s interview tempered expectations of any bombshells in the document, saying that Steele avoided going into detail about his efforts to create the dossier and his sources.

A deposition given by former State Department official David Kramer was perhaps the most enlightening document contained in the dump.

Kramer, a longtime associate of late Arizona Sen. John McCain, was BuzzFeed’s source for the dossier. Kramer shared the dossier with at least 11 other reporters, including CNN’s Carl Bernstein. (RELATED: John McCain Associate Gave Dossier To A Dozen Reporters)

Kramer obtained the dossier in late November 2016 after visiting Steele in London. Steele acknowledged that Kramer and McCain were picked as conduits to pass the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey. McCain met with Comey on Dec. 9, 2016 and provided all of the dossier’s memos that had been written up to that point.

“I think they felt a senior Republican was better to be the recipient of this rather than a Democrat because if it were a Democrat, I think that the view was that it would have been dismissed as a political attack,” Kramer said in the deposition when asked why Steele and his business partners at Fusion GPS wanted McCain to meet with Comey.

Via Washington Examiner

Former British spy Christopher Steele admitted that he relied on an unverified report on a CNN website for part of the “Trump dossier,” which was used as a basis for the FBI’s investigation into Trump.

According to deposition transcripts released this week, Steele said last year he used a 2009 report he found on CNN’s iReport website and said he wasn’t aware that submissions to that site are posted by members of the public and are not checked for accuracy.

web archive from July 29, 2009 shows that CNN described the site in this manner: “iReport.com is a user-generated site. That means the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked, or screened before they post.”

In the dossier, Steele, a Cambridge-educated former MI6 officer, wrote about extensive allegations against Donald Trump, associates of his campaign, various Russians and other foreign nationals, and a variety of companies — including one called Webzilla. Those allegations would become part of an FBI investigation and would be used to apply for warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

During his deposition, Steele was pressed on the methods he used to verify allegations made about Webzilla, which was thought to be used by Russia to hack into Democratic emails.

When asked if he discovered “anything of relevance concerning Webzilla” during the verification process, Steele replied: “We did. It was an article I have got here which was posted on July 28, 2009, on something called CNN iReport.”

“I do not have any particular knowledge of that,” Steele said when asked what was his understanding of how the iReport website worked.

When asked if he understood that content on the site was not generated by CNN reporters, he said, “I do not.” He was then asked: “Do you understand that they have no connection to any CNN reporters?” Steele replied, “I do not.”

He was pressed on this further: “Do you understand that CNN iReports are or were nothing more than any random individuals’ assertions on the Internet?” Steele replied: “No, I obviously presume that if it is on a CNN site that it may has some kind of CNN status. Albeit that it may be an independent person posting on the site.”

When asked about his methodology for searching for this information, Steele described it as “what we could call an open source search,” which he defined as “where you go into the Internet and you access material that is available on the Internet that is of relevance or reference to the issue at hand or the person under consideration.”

Steele said his dossier contained “raw intelligence” that he admitted could contain untrue or even “deliberately false information.”

Steele was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to investigate then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. Fusion GPS was receiving funding at the time from the Clinton campaign and the DNC through the Perkins Coie law firm.

The series of memos that Steele would eventually compile became known as the “Trump Dossier.” The dossier was used in FISA applications to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

When asked whether he warned Fusion GPS that the information in the dossier might be “Russian disinformation,” Steele admitted that “a general understanding existed between us and Fusion … that all material contained this risk.”

Steele also described his interactions with Sen. John McCain’s aide, David Kramer, whose own deposition showed that he provided BuzzFeed with a copy of the dossier and had spoken with more than a dozen journalists about it.

“I provided copies of the December memo to Fusion GPS for onward passage to David Kramer at the request of Sen. John McCain,” Steele said. “Sen. McCain nominated him as the intermediary. I did not choose him as the intermediary.”

When asked if he told Kramer that he couldn’t “vouch for everything that was produced in the memos,” Steele replied, “Yes, with an emphasis on ‘everything.'”

When asked why he believed it was so important to provide the dossier to Sen. McCain, Steele said: “Because I judged it had national security implications for the United States and the West as a whole.”

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Trudeau’s Top Bureaucrat Unexpectedly Quits Amid Growing Corruption Scandal

In a scathing letter to Trudeau, Wernick said that “recent events” led him to conclude he couldn’t hold his post during the election campaign this fall.

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Via Zerohedge


Since it was exposed by a report in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper earlier this month, the scandal that’s become known as the SNC-Lavalin affair has already led to the firing of several of Trudeau’s close advisors and raised serious questions about whether the prime minister was complicit in pressuring the attorney general to offer a deferred prosecution agreement with a large, Quebec-based engineering firm.

And according to the first round of polls released since the affair exploded into public view…

…it could cost Trudeau his position as prime minister and return control to the conservatives, according to the CBC.

Campaign Research showed the Conservatives ahead with 37% to 32% for the Liberals, while both Ipsos and Léger put the margin at 36% to 34% in the Conservatives’ favour.Since December, when both polling firms were last in the field, the Liberals have lost one point in Campaign Research’s polling and four percentage points in the Ipsos poll, while the party is down five points since November in the Léger poll.

Meanwhile, as the noose tightens around Trudeau, on Monday another of the key Canadian government officials at the center of the SNC-Lavalin scandal has quit his post.

Michael Wernick, clerk of the privy council, the highest-ranking position in Canada’s civil service and a key aide to Justin Trudeau, announced his retirement Monday. Trudeau named Ian Shugart, currently deputy minister of foreign affairs, to replace him.

In a scathing letter to Trudeau, Wernick said that “recent events” led him to conclude he couldn’t hold his post during the election campaign this fall.

“It is now apparent that there is no path for me to have a relationship of mutual trust and respect with the leaders of the opposition parties,” he said, citing the need for impartiality on the issue of potential foreign interference. According to Bloomberg, the exact date of his departure is unclear.

As we reported in February, Canada’s former justice minister and attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, quit following allegations that several key Trudeau government figures pressured her to intervene to end a criminal prosecution against Montreal-based construction giant SNC. Wernick was among those she named in saying the prime minister’s office wanted her to pursue a negotiated settlement.

Wernick has since twice spoken to a committee of lawmakers investigating the case, and during that testimony both defended his actions on the SNC file and warned about the risk of foreign election interference, as “blame Putin” has become traditional Plan B plan for most politicians seeing their careers go up in flames.

“I’m deeply concerned about my country right now, its politics and where it’s headed. I worry about foreign interference in the upcoming election,” he said in his first appearance before the House of Commons justice committee, before repeating the warning a second time this month. “If that was seen as alarmist, so be it. I was pulling the alarm. We need a public debate about foreign interference.”

Because somehow foreign interference has something to do with Wenick’s alleged corruption.

Incidentally, as we wonder what the real reason is behind Wernick’s swift departure, we are confident we will know soon enough.

Anyway, back to the now former clerk, who is meant to be non-partisan in service of the government of the day, also criticized comments by a Conservative senator and praised one of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers.

Wernick’s testimony was criticized as overly cozy with the ruling Liberals. Murray Rankin, a New Democratic Party lawmaker, asked the clerk how lawmakers could “do anything but conclude that you have in fact crossed the line into partisan activity?” Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said he seemed “willing to interfere in partisan fashion for whoever is in power.”

Whatever Wernick’s true motives, he is the latest but not last in what will be a long line of cabinet departures as the SNC scandal exposes even more corruption in Trudeau’s cabinet (some have ironically pointed out that Canada’s “beloved” prime minister could be gone for actual corruption long before Trump). Trudeau had already lost a top political aide, Gerald Butts, to the scandal. A second minister, Jane Philpott, followed Wilson-Raybould in quitting cabinet.

Separately, on Monday, Trudeau appointed a former deputy prime minister in a Liberal government, Anne McLellan, as a special adviser to investigate some of the legal questions raised by the controversy. They include how governments should interact with the attorney general and whether that role should continue to be held by the justice minister.

As Bloomberg notes, the increasingly shaky Liberal government hasn’t ruled out helping SNC by ordering a deferred prosecution agreement in the corruption and bribery case, which centers around the company’s work in Moammar Qaddafi’s Libya. Doing so would allow the company to pay a fine and avoid any ban on receiving government contracts. That decision is up to the current attorney general, David Lametti; of course, such an action would only raise tensions amid speculation that the government is pushing for a specific political, and favorable for Trudeau, outcome.

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France To Ban Yellow Vest Protests In Neighborhoods With “Ultra” Radicals

Philippe added that he has asked the State Judicial Agent to “systematically seek the financial responsibility of troublemakers.”

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Via Zerohedge


France is cracking down on “yellow vest” protesters following a weekend of renewed violence – as the Macron administration announced on Monday that it would ban demonstration in several areas of france – including the Champs Elysees in Paris, if “ultra elements” are present, according to Interior Minister Edouard Philippe.

‘We will ban demonstrations if ultra elements’ are present, said Philippe, according to CNEWS.

The ban will apply to “neighborhoods that have been most affected as soon as we have knowledge of” the “ultras.”

“I am thinking of course the Champs-Elysees in Paris, the place Pey-Berland in Bordeaux, the Capitol Square in Toulouse”, Philippe added, where “we will proceed to the immediate dispersal of all groups.

Philippe added that he has asked the State Judicial Agent to “systematically seek the financial responsibility of troublemakers.”

Saturday marked a significant escalation in violence during the group’s 18th straight week of protests – which began as a revolt against a climate-change gas tax and expanded into a general anti-government movement.

As we noted on Sunday, the riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

Sounds like things are about to get a lot more violent in Gay Paree.

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