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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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EXPLOSIVE: Michael Cohen sentencing memo exposes serial liar with nothing to offer Mueller (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 38.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the Michael Cohen sentencing memo which paints the picture of a man who was not as close to Trump as he made it out to be…a serial liar and cheat who leveraged his thin connections to the Trump organization for money and fame.

It was Cohen himself who proudly labelled himself as Trump’s “fixer”. The sentencing memo hints at the fact that even Mueller finds no value to Cohen in relation to the ongoing Trump-Russia witch hunt investigation.

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Via Axios

Special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York have each submitted sentencing memos for President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, after Cohen pleaded guilty in two different cases related to his work for Trump and the Trump Organization.

The big picture: The Southern District of New York recommended Cohen serve a range of 51 to 63 months for four crimes — “willful tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, illegal campaign contributions, and making false statements to Congress.” Mueller, meanwhile, did not take a position on the length of Cohen’s statement, but said he has made substantial efforts to assist the investigation.

Southern District of New York

Mueller investigation

Michael J. Stern, a federal prosecutor with the Justice Department for 25 years in Detroit and Los Angeles noted via USA Today

In support of their request that he serve no time in prison, Cohen’s attorneys offered a series of testimonials from friends who described the private Michael Cohen as a “truly caring” man with a “huge heart” who is not only “an upstanding, honorable, salt of the earth man” but also a “selfless caretaker.”

The choirboy portrayed by Cohen’s lawyers stands in sharp opposition to Cohen’s public persona as Trump’s legal bulldog, who once threatened a reporter with: “What I’m going to do to you is going to be f—ing disgusting. Do you understand me?”

Prosecutors focused their sentencing memo on Cohen as Mr. Hyde. Not only did they detail Cohen’s illegal activities, which include millions of dollars of fraud, they also recognized the public damage that stemmed from his political crimes — describing Cohen as “a man who knowingly sought to undermine core institutions of our democracy.”

Rebuffing efforts by Cohen’s attorneys to recast him as a good guy who made a few small mistakes, prosecutors cited texts, statements of witnesses, recordings, documents and other evidence that proved Cohen got ahead by employing a “pattern of deception that permeated his professional life.” The prosecutors attributed Cohen’s crimes to “personal greed,” an effort to “increase his power and influence,” and a desire to maintain his “opulent lifestyle.”

Perhaps the most damning reveal in the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memo is that Cohen refused to fully cooperate. That’s despite his public relations campaign to convince us that he is a new man who will cooperate with any law enforcement authority, at any time, at any place.

As a former federal prosecutor who handled hundreds of plea deals like Cohen’s, I can say it is extremely rare for any credit to be recommended when a defendant decides not to sign a full cooperation deal. The only reason for a refusal would be to hide information. The prosecutors said as much in their sentencing memo: Cohen refused “to be debriefed on other uncharged criminal conduct, if any, in his past,” and “further declined” to discuss “other areas of investigative interest.”

 

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Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Huawei CFO Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


You do have to wonder about the political savvy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. The furious fallout from China over the arrest of a senior telecoms executive is going to do severe damage to Canadian national interests.

Trudeau’s fawning over American demands is already rebounding very badly for Canada’s economy and its international image.

The Canadian arrest – on behalf of Washington – of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, seems a blatant case of the Americans acting politically and vindictively. If the Americans are seen to be acting like bandits, then the Canadians are their flunkies.

Wanzhou was detained on December 1 by Canadian federal police as she was boarding a commercial airliner in Vancouver. She was reportedly handcuffed and led away in a humiliating manner which has shocked the Chinese government, media and public.

The business executive has since been released on a $7.4 million bail bond, pending further legal proceedings. She is effectively being kept under house arrest in Canada with electronic ankle tagging.

To add insult to injury, it is not even clear what Wanzhou is being prosecuted for. The US authorities have claimed that she is guilty of breaching American sanctions against Iran by conducting telecoms business with Tehran. It is presumed that the Canadians arrested Wanzhou at the request of the Americans. But so far a US extradition warrant has not been filed. That could take months. In the meantime, the Chinese businesswoman will be living under curfew, her freedom denied.

Canadian legal expert Christopher Black says there is no juridical case for Wanzhou’s detention. The issue of US sanctions on Iran is irrelevant and has no grounds in international law. It is simply the Americans applying their questionable national laws on a third party. Black contends that Canada has therefore no obligation whatsoever to impose those US laws regarding Iran in its territory, especially given that Ottawa and Beijing have their own separate bilateral diplomatic relations.

In any case, what the real issue is about is the Americans using legal mechanisms to intimidate and beat up commercial rivals. For months now, Washington has made it clear that it is targeting Chinese telecoms rivals as commercial competitors in a strategic sector. US claims about China using telecoms for “spying” and “infiltrating” American national security are bogus propaganda ruses to undermine these commercial rivals through foul means.

It also seems clear from US President Donald Trump’s unsubtle comments this week to Reuters, saying he would “personally intervene” in the Meng case “if it helped trade talks with China”, that the Huawei executive is being dangled like a bargaining chip. It was a tacit admission by Trump that the Americans really don’t have a legal case against her.

Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland bounced into damage limitation mode following Trump’s thuggish comments. She said that the case should not be “politicized” and that the legal proceedings should not be tampered with. How ironic is that?

The whole affair has been politicized from the very beginning. Meng’s arrest, or as Christopher Black calls it “hostage-taking”, is driven by Washington’s agenda of harassment against China for commercial reasons, under a legal pretext purportedly about Iranian sanctions.

When Trump revealed the cynical expediency of him “helping to free Wanzhou”, then the Canadians realized they were also being exposed for the flunkies that they are for American banditry. That’s why Freeland was obliged to quickly adopt the fastidious pretense of legal probity.

Canadian premier Justin Trudeau has claimed that he wasn’t aware of the American request for Wanzhou’s detention. Trudeau is being pseudo. For such a high-profile infringement against a senior Chinese business leader, Ottawa must have been fully briefed by the Americans. Christopher Black, the legal expert, believes that Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

What Trudeau and his government intended to get out of performing this sordid role for American thuggery is far from clear. Maybe after being verbally mauled by Trump as “weak and dishonest” at the G7 summit earlier this year, in June, Trudeau decided it was best to roll over and be a good little puppy for the Americans in their dirty deed against China.

But already it has since emerged that Canada is going to pay a very heavy price indeed for such dubious service to Washington. Beijing has warned that it will take retaliation against both Washington and Ottawa. And it is Ottawa that is more vulnerable to severe repercussions.

This week saw two Canadian citizens, one a former diplomat, detained in China on spying charges.

Canadian business analysts are also warning that Beijing can inflict harsh economic penalties on Ottawa. An incensed Chinese public have begun boycotting Canadian exports and sensitive Canadian investments in China are now at risk from being blocked by Beijing. A proposed free trade deal that was being negotiated between Ottawa and Beijing now looks dead in the water.

And if Trudeau’s government caves in to the excruciating economic pressure brought to bear by Beijing and then abides by China’s demand to immediately release Meng Wanzhou, Ottawa will look like a pathetic, gutless lackey to Washington. Canada’s reputation of being a liberal, independent state will be shredded. Even then the Chinese are unlikely to forget Trudeau’s treachery.

With comic irony, there’s a cringemaking personal dimension to this unseemly saga.

During the 197os when Trudeau’s mother Margaret was a thirty-something socialite heading for divorce from his father, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, she was often in the gossip media for indiscretions at nightclubs. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards claims in his autobiography that Margaret Trudeau was a groupie for the band, having flings with Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood. Her racy escapades and louche lifestyle brought shame to many Canadians.

Poor Margaret Trudeau later wound up divorced, disgraced, financially broke and scraping a living from scribbling tell-all books.

Justin, her eldest son, is finding out that being a groupie for Washington’s banditry is also bringing disrepute for him and his country.

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US Commits To “Indefinite” Occupation Of Syria; Controls Region The Size Of Croatia

Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005.

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Via Zerohedge


“We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation” — a Syrian resident in US-controlled Raqqa told Stars and Stripes military newspaper. This as the Washington Post noted this week that “U.S. troops will now stay in Syria indefinitely, controlling a third of the country and facing peril on many fronts.”

Like the “forever war” in Afghanistan, will we be having the same discussion over the indefinite occupation of Syria stretching two decades from now? A new unusually frank assessment in Stars and Stripes bluntly lays out the basic facts concerning the White House decision to “stay the course” until the war’s close:

That decision puts U.S. troops in overall control, perhaps indefinitely, of an area comprising nearly a third of Syria, a vast expanse of mostly desert terrain roughly the size of Louisiana.

The Pentagon does not say how many troops are there. Officially, they number 503, but earlier this year an official let slip that the true number may be closer to 4,000

A prior New Yorker piece described the US-occupied area east of the Euphrates as “an area about the size of Croatia.” With no Congressional vote, no public debate, and not even so much as an official presidential address to the nation, the United States is settling in for another endless occupation of sovereign foreign soil while relying on the now very familiar post-911 AUMF fig leaf of “legality”.

Like the American public and even some Pentagon officials of late have been pointing out for years regarding Afghanistan, do US forces on the ground even know what the mission is? The mission may be undefined and remain ambiguously to “counter Iran”, yet the dangers and potential for major loss in blood and treasure loom larger than ever.

According to Stars and Stripes the dangerous cross-section of powder keg conflicts and geopolitical players means “a new war” is on the horizon:

The new mission raises new questions, about the role they will play and whether their presence will risk becoming a magnet for regional conflict and insurgency.

The area is surrounded by powers hostile both to the U.S. presence and the aspirations of the Kurds, who are governing the majority-Arab area in pursuit of a leftist ideology formulated by an imprisoned Turkish Kurdish leader. Signs that the Islamic State is starting to regroup and rumblings of discontent within the Arab community point to the threat of an insurgency.

Without the presence of U.S. troops, these dangers would almost certainly ignite a new war right away, said Ilham Ahmed, a senior official with the Self-Administration of North and East Syria, as the self-styled government of the area is called.

“They have to stay. If they leave and there isn’t a solution for Syria, it will be catastrophic,” she said.

But staying also heralds risk, and already the challenges are starting to mount.
So a US-backed local politician says the US can’t leave or there will be war, while American defense officials simultaneously recognize they are occupying the very center of an impending insurgency from hell — all of which fits the textbook definition of quagmire perfectly.

The New Yorker: “The United States has built a dozen or more bases from Manbij to Al-Hasakah, including four airfields, and American-backed forces now control all of Syria east of the Euphrates, an area about the size of Croatia.”

But in September the White House announced a realignment of its official priorities in Syria, namely to act “as a bulwark against Iran’s expanding influence.” This means the continued potential and likelihood of war with Syria, Iran, and Russia in the region is ever present, per Stripes:

Syrian government troops and Iranian proxy fighters are to the south and west. They have threatened to take the area back by force, in pursuit of President Bashar Assad’s pledge to bring all of Syria under government control.

Already signs of an Iraq-style insurgency targeting US forces in eastern Syria are beginning to emerge.

In Raqqa, the largest Syrian city at the heart of US occupation and reconstruction efforts, the Stripes report finds the following:

The anger on the streets is palpable. Some residents are openly hostile to foreign visitors, which is rare in other towns and cities freed from Islamic State control in Syria and Iraq. Even those who support the presence of the U.S. military and the SDF say they are resentful that the United States and its partners in the anti-ISIS coalition that bombed the city aren’t helping to rebuild.

And many appear not to support their new rulers.

We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation,” said one man, a tailor, who didn’t want to give his name because he feared the consequences of speaking his mind. “I don’t know why they had to use such a huge number of weapons and destroy the city. Yes, ISIS was here, but we paid the price. They have a responsibility.”

Recent reports out of the Pentagon suggests defense officials simply want to throw more money into US efforts in Syria, which are further focused on training and supplying the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (or Kurdish/YPG-dominated SDF), which threatens confrontation with Turkey as its forces continue making preparations for a planned attack on Kurdish enclaves in Syria this week.

Meanwhile, Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005:

Everyone says the streets are not safe now. Recent months have seen an uptick in assassinations and kidnappings, mostly targeting members of the security forces or people who work with the local council. But some critics of the authorities have been gunned down, too, and at night there are abductions and robberies.

As America settles in for yet another endless and “indefinite” occupation of a Middle East country, perhaps all that remains is for the president to land on an aircraft carrier with “Mission Accomplished” banners flying overhead?

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