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The Defeat of Judge Roy Moore

The success of the disinformation campaign and how to stop it

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Alabama Special Election cycle has been the source of much drama in the American media over the last month.  The vacancy left in the U.S. Senate by the appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions to Attorney General needed to be filled, and the people of Alabama had three people to pick from: Democrat Doug Jones, and Republicans Luther Strange and Judge Roy Moore.

When Judge Moore won the primary election, this was seen as a victory for strong conservatives, who feared that Strange would act much as the Establishment Republicans do – which is apparently in their own interests, rather than the interests of the people as manifested in the policy decisions proposed and promised by President Trump.

There has long been controversy surrounding Judge Moore, for his very strong Christian stance about directing the probate judges to continue the Alabama state ban on same-sex marriages (after the US Supreme Court ruled such bans as unconstituional) in 2016, and for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the lobby of his courthouse in 2003.

Moore was seen as what he is – a true conservative and a firebrand at that, someone who, like Trump, would light the establishment on fire and destroy its power, and someone who would not be afraid to be controversial in the cause of what is truly right, especially in that he follows the traditional Christian worldview very strongly.  For him, religious practice is not just something to be talked about, it is something to be lived.

This, again, is much like the brazen honesty that we see in President Trump himself.

The aforementioned “establishment” should be explained here. In this author’s estimation, the “establishment” politicians are those who seem to forget that they are in Congress to serve the American people they were elected to represent.  Now, while it has been a long time since the United States truly functioned as the representative republic its Constitution defines it to be, in relatively recent decades, the disconnect between DC and the rest of the nation seems to have increased beyond belief. Many times, citizens of the USA, in either party, could be heard to complain that Congress does not serve anyone but itself, and, depending on who the party in power was, we could be sure that the party not in power would be rife with complaints about how “elitism” of the party in power hurt the average American.

In 2014, though, it appeared that more Americans than usual got a rude awakening to just how widely true this assertion was.  In that year there was a midterm election, and it was extremely significant, because the result of it was that the Senate went from being a Democrat majority to a Republican majority.

Even more significant was how this happened.  In an unusual development, the GOP had no overall party platform that each GOP candidate used as their core message in his or her campaign.  Each GOP winner, whether in the Senate or House, won because their message was “I am going to stop Obama.”

I am going to stop Obama.  If you elect me, we will stop his “fundamental transformation” of America and make things right, (get them back as they used to be).

That was the message, and every candidate that ran on this message was victorious.

But then came the betrayal.

In case by case, bill by bill, the new GOP majority capitulated to Democrat minority pressure in almost every single bill or measure proposed.  The GOP had majorities in both houses.  They could effectively stop Obama and his policies in their tracks.  But they didn’t.  And they didn’t again.  And again.  Sometimes we heard the GOP congressmen claim that they were trying to “position themselves” to do something really significant, but they almost never did it.

Understanding this series of events, what this author calls “the Great GOP Betrayal of 2014”, is perhaps the main cause of the phenomenon that is Donald Trump, and his unexpected and dramatic election victory.

There were a whole lot of American citizens, this one included, that held no trust for Congress, GOP or Democrat.  Trump won the nomination because even Ted Cruz still played politics.  The American conservatives had been betrayed one too many times, and they sensed this and all it took was Senator Cruz playing the game of expediency in politics once or twice, and that was all.

Donald Trump said all the wrong things, to all the people they needed to be said to, and this both frightened and thrilled many of us.  We were frightened because for almost fifty years the vaunted American right to freedom of speech had been increasingly snuffed out by political correctness Thought Police, and Mr. Trump said these things anyway, and we feared for the end of his political career, even though we strongly agreed with him.  We were thrilled because we saw that it wasn’t only ourselves that felt what he said, but that many of our friends still did, too, only we had been silenced by the Left.

Judge Moore is one of these kind of people.  Flamboyant, but honest.  Although the man was long involved in politics, many conservatives saw the same necessary spirit in him, the same fire to overturn the conventional way things are done, and to flout political correctness and other liberal maxims and to make America great again. It was precisely along these lines that Steve Bannon promoted Judge Moore and backed his candidacy.

But something happened along the way.  A number of women surfaced with strange stories, claiming that when Judge Moore was in his early thirties, he tried to have relationships with them while they were teenagers.

The scandal surrounding this was immediate and widespread.  The story was broken in such a way as to paint a picture of the Judge as some sort of child molester, because the age difference was so huge as to be inappropriate or perverted.

The press managed to be slightly subtle in that the strength of the allegations was in their indirect sense of innuendo.

This had an extremely effective impact on the nation, and it began to unravel the Judge’s chances.  Even President Trump was cautious in his response to this matter, saying, correctly but cautiously, “If Judge Moore did these things, he should do the right thing and exit the campaign.”

To President Trump’s credit, this was precisely correct.  However, it didn’t help.

Further, Judge Moore actually damaged himself much more in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, when he was vague, answering “not generally, no” to the question about if he was “dating girls that young at that time.” He further appeared to step in it when he said that he did not recall ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother.

Hannity charged ahead because these answers were far too ambiguous for him, and one thing this author knows personally about Sean is that he is a man of his word.  Sean Hannity is a man that is definitely responsive to his own conscience, and he is not one to brush things under the rug like this.  And true to form, he didn’t, and gave the Judge 24 hours to clean this mess up, saying “You must immediately and fully come up with a satisfactory explanation for your inconsistencies… If [Moore] can’t do this, [he] needs to get out of this race.”

Judge Moore did so, in an open letter through Twitter addressed to Sean, but available for all to read.

He also continued from that point until the election to firmly and completely deny the allegations against him.  However, in a strange turn, the weekend before the election, he disappeared for a couple days.  Also, in an appearance very close to the election, his wife committed a blunder by saying “we are not anti-Semitic, one of our lawyers is a Jew!”

This writer remembers, as an Alabama kid myself, watching a TV commercial in the 1970’s about Jimmy’s Jewish friend.  I learned that a good way of showing you’re prejudiced is to try to say you are not.  It would seem that Mrs. Moore missed the commercial.

The damage was done.  The media was out to get Judge Moore, and their disinformation campaign worked wonders.  This author did not even know about the reply the Judge gave until researching for this piece.  This, though this writer intensely follows the news aggregators and websites that support conservative candidates.

Eventually, as we know, President Trump endorsed Moore and did it in a very pragmatic way:  Look at what he stands for, and look at what the other guy has stood for.  But it wasn’t quite enough, and on the night of December 12, Doug Jones, a Democrat, became the first Democrat Senator-Elect in Alabama in 25 years.

Now, the Democrat party is crowing with great confidence about the “victory” in this election and the certainty that 2018 is going to be the year that swings their way again.  This author wants to make a few predictions about the next set of events we will likely see, but then there is something more important to be said.

(1) The “allegations” against Judge Roy Moore will seem to vanish, because there is no need to bring them up anymore since he has been defeated in the election. This is a problem. If these allegations really had merit, they should be pursued. But they won’t be.

(2) NEW allegations with much greater ferocity will be brought against President Trump and selected GOP individuals, all of whom show greatly conservative leanings. Since that is not many, most of the attention will be on Trump. I think we can note that this has already started, but it will amplify radically because the people who used this tactic against Moore will believe it can work against the President.

(3) The Democrats will get very bold about 2018 (again we already see this in statements by Sen. Charles “Chuck” Schumer and no doubt Rep. Nancy Pelosi will chime in if she hasn’t already) – and the Dems will act like they are completely in control.

(4) This will lead to some very interesting public drama, but it will also cloud the picture. If our President is smart (and he is), he will probably use this situation very positively. He has already started by congratulating Senator-Elect Jones, and this is certainly appropriate. I suspect that Jones is more extreme on the liberal side than even HE knows, but at the same time, I think he will also (at least on his own) be rather amenable to Trump. The key here is how much pressure can Jones take from the others in his party.

This author believes that President Trump can snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat.  He is already doing so.  However, the president’s great talents notwithstanding, there is a problem that has to be faced.

We do not know if Judge Moore misbehaved thirty years ago.  But his campaign was destroyed by these allegations, and one major one was proved to be at least a partial fabrication, the altered yearbook signature, which was “tweaked” for the purpose of this slander.

In the campaign, “character” was raised as an issue, but in reality it was slander and gossip that brought this candidate down, and nothing more.  The awesome power of the mass media on a population that has been largely taught to avoid critical thinking, but instead to “go with the flow”, has worked a sad wonder here.

You see, these stories magically appeared forty years after they supposedly took place, timed perfectly to coincide with the intended defeat of a political candidate twenty-eight days before his possible election. This was a November surprise that worked where the October Surprise attempt against Donald Trump last year (the Access Hollywood – Billy Bush video clip) didn’t.

This author is almost sure the allegations are false and only fabricated because of the necessity to defeat this renegade candidate at all costs.  As predicted above, time will bear this idea out.  We shall see.

But a problem exists as to why (1) the American people do not seem to be able to smell the rat in this situation, and (2) the politicians attempt not to be blunt in the face of a need by the American people to be so.

In this, the power of political correctness, secular humanist “compassion” and militant feminism all worked very effectively to damage President Trump’s ability to move the country to a better place.

It seems that the first issue, the populace’s perceived inability to smell a rat, is actually the reflection of a real need. The need for honesty.

Americans are people that crave honesty.  Many of us admire Donald Trump simply because he says what he thinks.  If we disagree, we disagree, but at least we know, and we know without the shadow of a doubt.  Judge Moore gave us a big shadow of doubt, and that was fodder for the dishonesty brigade that is the mainstream media in the United States.

The second part of this problem is that a great number of our people have been taken in by the influence of what can only truly be called “cultural Marxism” but which bears the face of “progress” and “compassion” and even “repentance for our nation’s crimes.”

This impulse, to be compassionate and fair at all costs actually does come with a cost, because our standards for what constitute compassion and care have been altered.  Instead of honesty and responsibility, for example, we espouse entitlement and victimhood.  Instead of changing our own lives to become better people, we insist that the world around us is unfair, and we try to change the externals, including other people’s behavior, or our own recording and retelling of history, to make ourselves feel better.

We stop trusting the gut instinct of conscience in ourselves and instead we espouse the “groupthink” that is handed to us by the forces of “common sense”, unmindful that we already possess enough common sense to know that garbage really IS garbage.  Finally, we all do it together.  As denizens of the fishbowl, it becomes hard to see that we are really being played, and if we try to look, sometimes the sheer discomfort of what we begin to see is enough to make us want to “take the blue pill” and shrink back into blissful, willful ignorance.

The gift of being able to see that reality is NOT groupthink, and that people can express it fearlessly and powerfully, is the gift of such people as President Trump, Rand Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Sanders, and Steve Bannon, politically speaking.  It is also fomented by the publications of what are called the “alternative media”, who are alternative simply because the writers and journalists and analysts have laid claim to their desire to think things through, critically for themselves, and then share their thoughts with their audiences, not to obtain just another slavish group of drones that think their way, but who think critically for themselves.

This ability to think honestly and critically, to analyze things with open-mindedness that is not enslaved to the socially “acceptable” themes of the day, this is our work as citizens – each one of us is called to do this.

The United States’ great success as a young nation was at its best when its people engaged in critical thought.  We squabbled a lot, argued a lot and it was intense at times, but honest people make things happen.  The fuzzy warm feel-good of groupthink has been largely responsible for taking our freedom away.  If we want to make the most of the chance that has been given us, hopefully this piece has illustrated some of how we, personally and as a people, can accomplish this.

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CIA Director and NYT Accidentally Expose Skripal Poisoning Hoax – DUCKGATE (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 189.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the stunning, inadvertent, admission by the New York Times and CIA Director Gina Haspel that much of what we know from the Salisbury-Skripal poisoning is pure fabrication and manipulation.

‘Duckgate’, as it is now being dubbed, was used to trick US President Trump into expelling 60 Russian Diplomats over false photographic evidence presented to him by Haspel, as it was provided to her by UK authorities.

The manipulation of POTUS Trump, courtesy of CIA Director Haspel, the UK government (and accidentally documented on by the NYT), has now blown open some serious holes into the entire narrative that Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by Russian agents with the deadly Novichok nerve agent.

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Via The Blogmire…


(SEE UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM)

Well this is interesting.

I had intended to put up a new thread for people who want to continue commenting on the Salisbury and Amesbury cases, as the last piece I did on it has reached an unmanageable 1,500+ comments. But just as I was about to do so, I was alerted to an important piece over on the Moon of Alabama website, entitled, “CIA Director Used Fake Skripal Incident Photos To Manipulate Trump“.

The gist of the piece is as follows. Back in April 2018, the Washington Post published an article about the decision taken by the United States to expel 60 Russian diplomats in the wake of the Salisbury poisoning. According to the authors, the day after the decision was made, President Trump reacted in anger when he found out that the French and the Germans were expelling just four diplomats each:

“The next day, when the expulsions were announced publicly, Trump erupted, officials said. To his shock and dismay, France and Germany were each expelling only four Russian officials — far fewer than the 60 his administration had decided on. The President, who seemed to believe that other individual countries would largely equal the United States, was furious that his administration was being portrayed in the media as taking by far the toughest stance on Russia.”

Mr Trump, it seems, believed that he had been misled by officials, as the piece goes on to say:

“Growing angrier, Trump insisted that his aides had misled him about the magnitude of the expulsions. ‘There were curse words,’ the official said, ‘a lot of curse words.’”

Whether Mr Trump was misled about the magnitude of the expulsions is impossible to say without a transcript of that meeting. What does seem certain, however, is that he was misled in another, far more important way, as Moon of Alabama goes on to point out.

In an article in today’s New York Times about the head of the CIA, Gina Haspel, an extraordinary piece of information is revealed — albeit unwittingly, it would seem, by authors who probably have no idea of its significance. Pointing to that same meeting mentioned in the Washington Post article, in which Mr Trump was persuaded to expel 60 diplomats, here is the NYT’s account of what took place:

“During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the “strong option” was to expel 60 diplomats.

To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia’s attack.

Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives [my emphasis].”

If you’re late joining the party, and don’t understand what is so extraordinary about this, let me spell it out plainly and unambiguously:

Firstly, there were no dead ducks as a result of poisoning. None. Zilch. Nada!

Secondly, there were no children sickened by nerve agent. None. Zilch. Nada!

Yet even though there were no dead ducks, and no sick children, Mr Trump was apparently persuaded by the head of the CIA to expel 60 diplomats after being shown pictures of dead ducks and sick children.

In addition to the extraordinary nature of this revelation, there is also a huge irony here. Along with many others, I have long felt that the duck feed is one of the many achilles heels of the whole story we’ve been presented with about what happened in Salisbury on 4th March 2018. And the reason for this is precisely because if it were true, there would indeed have been dead ducks and sick children.

According to the official story, Mr Skripal and his daughter became contaminated with “Novichok” by touching the handle of his front door at some point between 13:00 and 13:30 that afternoon. A few minutes later (13:45), they were filmed on CCTV camera feeding ducks, and handing bread to three local boys, one of whom ate a piece. After this they went to Zizzis, where they apparently so contaminated the table they sat at, that it had to be incinerated.

You see the problem? According to the official story, ducks should have died. According to the official story children should have become contaminated and ended up in hospital. Yet as it happens, no ducks died, and no boys got sick (all that happened was that the boys’ parents were contacted two weeks later by police, the boys were sent for tests, and they were given the all clear).

And yet despite the fact that no ducks died and no children were made sick, the director of the CIA (a.k.a. the Canard Invention Association), allegedly using information given to her agency by the British Government, showed the President of the United States pictures of dead ducks and sick children, apparently from Salisbury, to persuade him to take extreme action (Note: You can read more about the duck feed and all the other holes in the official story here). In other words, Mr Trump was lied to, and in a big way, and with potentially huge consequences.

I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the claims made in the New York Times piece, since the purpose of inserting the bit about the ducks and the children was to cast Gina Haspel as a strong leader, rather than to cast doubt on the Skripal story. My guess is that Mr Trump might be quite interested to know that he was misled, either by the director of the CIA and/or the British Government. It might even make him wonder this: if no less a person than the President of the United States was given a false version of events, what are the chances that the rest of the story stacks up?

As ever, someone got some ‘splaining to do.  Discuss among yourselves.


PS. An aside. The Independent, which is apparently a publisher of news, has picked up on this storyhere. In their piece, they basically repeat what was said in the New York Times about how Gina Haspel persuaded Mr Trump using the dead ducks and sick children pics. But here’s the thing. Whilst it doesn’t surprise me that writers in the likes of the Washington Post or New York Times might not know too many details regarding the Salisbury case, the Independent knows full well that there were no dead ducks and no sick children. And so since they are writing about it, they must know that either the CIA director or the British Government, or both, knowingly misled the US President. Yet they say nothing about this in their piece. Why? Simply because they are not journalists, but stenographers, and they have no intention of informing their readers of what is true and what is real. I’m not sure how they live with themselves, but somehow they manage.


UPDATE: The Guardian has published an article (18th April), in which the director of public health at Wiltshire Council, Tracy Daszkiewicz, was asked to comment on the New York Times report. Here is what she said:

“There were no other casualties other than those previously stated. No wildlife were impacted by the incident and no children were exposed to or became ill as a result of either incident [my emphasis].”

So according to Ms Daszkiewicz, not only were no children made ill (which we already knew), but nor were any exposed to the substance. How does this accord with the official narrative? In that scenario, Mr Skripal gave bread to three boys, one of whom ate a piece, less than half-an-hour after his hands had become contaminated. In which case, they would undoubtedly have been exposed to it. Then again, if he wasn’t contaminated at that time … well, that would agree with Ms Daszkiewicz’s assessment, but it would have another consequence involving cans and worms!

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Airline wars heat up, as industry undergoes massive disruption (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 145.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the global commercial airline industry, which is undergoing massive changes, as competition creeps in from Russia and China.

Reuters reports that Boeing Co’s legal troubles grew as a new lawsuit accused the company of defrauding shareholders by concealing safety deficiencies in its 737 MAX planes before two fatal crashes led to their worldwide grounding.

The proposed class action filed in Chicago federal court seeks damages for alleged securities fraud violations, after Boeing’s market value tumbled by $34 billion within two weeks of the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX.

*****

According to the complaint, Boeing “effectively put profitability and growth ahead of airplane safety and honesty” by rushing the 737 MAX to market to compete with Airbus SE, while leaving out “extra” or “optional” features designed to prevent the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes.

It also said Boeing’s statements about its growth prospects and the 737 MAX were undermined by its alleged conflict of interest from retaining broad authority from federal regulators to assess the plane’s safety.

*****

Boeing said on Tuesday that aircraft orders in the first quarter fell to 95 from 180 a year earlier, with no orders for the 737 MAX following the worldwide grounding.

On April 5, it said it planned to cut monthly 737 production to 42 planes from 52, and was making progress on a 737 MAX software update to prevent further accidents.

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Via Zerohedge…

Step aside (fading) trade war with China: there is a new aggressor – at least according to the US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer – in town.

In a statement on the USTR’s website published late on Monday, the US fair trade agency announced that under Section 301 of the Trade Act, it was proposing a list of EU products to be covered by additional duties. And as justification for the incremental import taxes, the USTR said that it was in response to EU aircraft subsidies, specifically to Europea’s aerospace giant, Airbus, which “have caused adverse effects to the United States” and which the USTR estimates cause $11 billion in harm to the US each year

One can’t help but notice that the latest shot across the bow in the simmering trade war with Europe comes as i) Trump is reportedly preparing to fold in his trade war with China, punting enforcement to whoever is president in 2025, and ii) comes just as Boeing has found itself scrambling to preserve orders as the world has put its orderbook for Boeing 737 MAX airplanes on hold, which prompted Boeing to cut 737 production by 20% on Friday.

While the first may be purely a coincidence, the second – which is expected to not only slam Boeing’s financials for Q1 and Q2, but may also adversely impact US GDP – had at least some impact on the decision to proceed with these tariffs at this moment.

We now await Europe’s angry response to what is Trump’s latest salvo in what is once again a global trade war. And, paradoxically, we also expect this news to send stocks blasting higher as, taking a page from the US-China trade book, every day algos will price in imminent “US-European trade deal optimism.”

Below the full statement from the USTR (link):

USTR Proposes Products for Tariff Countermeasures in Response to Harm Caused by EU Aircraft Subsidies

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has found repeatedly that European Union (EU) subsidies to Airbus have caused adverse effects to the United States.  Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) begins its process under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to identify products of the EU to which additional duties may be applied until the EU removes those subsidies.

USTR is releasing for public comment a preliminary list of EU products to be covered by additional duties.  USTR estimates the harm from the EU subsidies as $11 billion in trade each year.  The amount is subject to an arbitration at the WTO, the result of which is expected to be issued this summer.

“This case has been in litigation for 14 years, and the time has come for action. The Administration is preparing to respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of U.S. countermeasures,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.  “Our ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with the EU to end all WTO-inconsistent subsidies to large civil aircraft.  When the EU ends these harmful subsidies, the additional U.S. duties imposed in response can be lifted.”

In line with U.S. law, the preliminary list contains a number of products in the civil aviation sector, including Airbus aircraft.  Once the WTO arbitrator issues its report on the value of countermeasures, USTR will announce a final product list covering a level of trade commensurate with the adverse effects determined to exist.

Background

After many years of seeking unsuccessfully to convince the EU and four of its member States (France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom) to cease their subsidization of Airbus, the United States brought a WTO challenge to EU subsidies in 2004. In 2011, the WTO found that the EU provided Airbus $18 billion in subsidized financing from 1968 to 2006.  In particular, the WTO found that European “launch aid” subsidies were instrumental in permitting Airbus to launch every model of its large civil aircraft, causing Boeing to lose sales of more than 300 aircraft and market share throughout the world.

In response, the EU removed two minor subsidies, but left most of them unchanged.  The EU also granted Airbus more than $5 billion in new subsidized “launch aid” financing for the A350 XWB.  The United States requested establishment of a compliance panel in March 2012 to address the EU’s failure to remove its old subsidies, as well as the new subsidies and their adverse effects.  That process came to a close with the issuance of an appellate report in May 2018 finding that EU subsidies to high-value, twin-aisle aircraft have caused serious prejudice to U.S. interests.  The report found that billions of dollars in launch aid to the A350 XWB and A380 cause significant lost sales to Boeing 787 and 747 aircraft, as well as lost market share for Boeing very large aircraft in the EU, Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, and UAE markets.

Based on the appellate report, the United States requested authority to impose countermeasures worth $11.2 billion per year, commensurate with the adverse effects caused by EU subsidies.  The EU challenged that estimate, and a WTO arbitrator is currently evaluating those claims

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Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence

RT

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Via RT…


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ report has cleared Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ charges but maintains that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Yet concrete evidence of that is nowhere to be seen.

The report by Mueller and his team, made public on Thursday by the US Department of Justice, exonerates not just Trump but all Americans of any “collusion” with Russia, “obliterating” the Russiagate conspiracy theory, as journalist Glenn Greenwald put it.

However, it asserts that Russian “interference” in the election did happen, and says it consisted of a campaign on social media as well as Russian military intelligence (repeatedly referred to by its old, Soviet-era name, GRU) “hacking” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the DNC, and the private email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

As evidence of this, the report basically offers nothing but Mueller’s indictment of “GRU agents,” delivered on the eve of the Helsinki Summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in what was surely a cosmic coincidence.

Indictments are not evidence, however, but allegations. Any time it looks like the report might be bringing up proof, it ends up being redacted, ostensibly to protect sources and methods, and out of concern it might cause “harm to an ongoing matter.”

‘Active measures’ on social media

Mueller’s report leads with the claim that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) ran an “active measures” campaign of social media influence. Citing Facebook and Twitter estimates, the report says this consisted of 470 Facebook accounts that made 80,000 posts that may have been seen by up to 126 million people, between January 2015 and August 2017 (almost a year after the election), and 3,814 Twitter accounts that “may have been” in contact with about 1.4 million people.

Those numbers may seem substantial but, as investigative journalist Gareth Porter pointed out in November 2018, they should be regarded against the background of 33 trillion Facebook posts made during the same period.

According to Mueller, the IRA mind-controlled the American electorate by spending “approximately $100,000” on Facebook ads, hiring someone to walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask,” and getting Trump campaign affiliates to promote “dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA.” Dozens!

Meanwhile, the key evidence against IRA’s alleged boss Evgeny Prigozhin is that he “appeared together in public photographs” with Putin.

Alleged hacking & release

The report claims that the GRU hacked their way into 29 DCCC computers and another 30 DNC computers, and downloaded data using software called “X-Tunnel.” It is unclear how Mueller’s investigators claim to know this, as the report makes no mention of them or FBI actually examining DNC or DCCC computers. Presumably they took the word of CrowdStrike, the Democrats’ private contractor, for it.

However obtained, the documents were published first through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 – which the report claims are “fictitious online personas” created by the GRU – and later through WikiLeaks. What is Mueller’s proof that these two entities were “GRU” cutouts? In a word, this:

That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.(p. 43)

However, the report acknowledges that the “first known contact” between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks was on September 15, 2016 – months after the DNC and DCCC documents were published! Here we do get actual evidence: direct messages on Twitter obtained by investigators. Behold, these “spies” are so good, they don’t even talk – and when they do, they use unsecured channels.

Mueller notably claims “it is clear that the stolen DNC and Podesta documents were transferred from the GRU to WikiLeaks” (the rest of that sentence is redacted), but the report clearly implies the investigators do not actually know how. On page 47, the report says Mueller “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”

Strangely, the report accuses WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange of making “public statements apparently designed to obscure the source” of the materials (p.48), notably the offer of a reward for finding the murderer of DNC staffer Seth Rich – even though this can be read as corroborating the intermediaries theory, and Assange never actually said Rich was his source.

The rest of Mueller’s report goes on to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with anyone even remotely Russian and to create torturous constructions that the president had “obstructed” justice by basically defending himself from charges of being a Russian agent – neither of which resulted in any indictments, however. But the central premise that the 22-month investigation, breathless media coverage, and the 448-page report are based on – that Russia somehow meddled in the 2016 election – remains unproven.

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