Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 26, 2017

The "Russian Influence" Story Falls Apart - A New Fairy Tale Is Needed

The Obama White House and some Democratic officials pressed Facebook to find evidence for alleged "Russian interference" in the U.S. election. When Facebook found none, the pressure increased. Facebook went back, again found nothing and political pressure increase further. Congress threatened to investigate. Senator Warner flew to California and demanded the "right" results. Eventually Facebook gave in:

By early August, Facebook had identified more than 3,000 ads addressing social and political issues that ran in the United States between 2015 and 2017 and that appear to have come from accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency.

All hailed Facebook - finally there was something they could build their anti-Russian campaign on.

It is of course idiotic to believe that 3,000 ads for which some $100,000 was spent over two years would somehow effect a U.S. election. In a U.S. presidential election more than $2 billion is spend on advertising. Facebook's ad revenue per year is some $27 billion.

Moreover - as it now turns out these 3,000 advertisements which "appeared" to be "associated" with something "Russian" were not anti-Clinton or pro-Trump but were a mix of pro- and contra ads on various social issues:

The batch of more than 3,000 Russian-bought ads that Facebook is preparing to turn over to Congress shows a deep understanding of social divides in American society, with some ads promoting African American rights groups, including Black Lives Matter, and others suggesting that these same groups pose a rising political threat, say people familiar with the covert influence campaign.

The Russian campaign — taking advantage of Facebook’s ability to send contrary messages to different groups of users based on their political and demographic characteristics — also sought to sow discord among religious groups. Other ads highlighted support for Democrat Hillary Clinton among Muslim women.

(Note again - there is no evidence that any of the ads were "Russian bought" or part of a "Russian campaign". Those are mere assertions by the Washington Post authors.)

As we now learn that these ads were not, as earlier assumed, pro-Trump and anti-Clinton, the narrative has to change. Earlier it was claimed that the alleged Russian aim was to get Trump elected. That no longer holds:

“Their aim was to sow chaos,” said Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “In many ­cases, it was more about voter suppression rather than increasing turnout.”

How pro- and anti-Black Lives Matter ads might have suppressed voter turnout will stay Senator Warner's secret.

Instead of "Russia helped Trump" we now get an even more implausible "Russia wanted to sow discord" narrative. As if Donald Trump's campaign style had not been enough to cause controversies.

The Washington Post has been the major outlet to push the "Russian influence" baloney. It has long left all journalistic standards behind. Today it goes even further. An editorial now claims that Russia interfered in the German elections by pushing the right-wing AfD vote through last minute tweets from some Twitter bots:

The party was buoyed by social-media campaigns of the kind Russia has used elsewhere — faceless bots that multiply messages over and over. Once again, the Kremlin’s quest to disrupt democracy, divide the West and erode the rules-based liberal international order may have found a toehold.

No evidence is presented that any online activity "buoyed" the AfD. No evidence is presented that anything Russian was involved. Here is the sole point the editorial builds on:

In the final hours of the campaign, online supporters of the AfD began warning their base of possible election fraud, and the online alarms were “driven by anonymous troll accounts and boosted by a Russian-language botnet,” according to the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab.

The Atlantic Council is financed by foreign (Middle East) interest, NATO and the oil- and weapon industry. It has been a major driver of the anti-Russian new Cold War narrative. Its "Digital Forensic Research Lab" indeed claims to have found a few Twitter accounts which have their names written in Cyrillic(!) letters. Only Russian influence accounts would ever do that! It even found one tweet warning about election fraud that was retweeted 500(!) times. That MUST have helped the AfD to receive more than 12% of the 47 million cast votes in Germany - (not!). 

Election fraud in the German pen and paper balloting is nearly impossible. No one will take vague claims thereof as serious. It is simply not an issue in Germany and any such claim would not effect the vote. German officials have found no sign of "Russian" election hacking or of voting fraud.

What the Washington Post editors and the Atlantic Council have missed in their search for undue election influence in the German  election is the large support of a islamophobic U.S. megadonor for the rightwing Germany AfD party:

[O]ne of the major publishers of online content friendly to the far-right [German] party is an American website financed in large part and lead by Jewish philanthropist Nina Rosenwald.

Rosenwald’s site, the Gatestone Institute, publishes a steady flow of inflammatory content about the German election, focused on stoking fears about immigrants and Muslims.

The fake news stories by the Zionist agitators were translated into German and disseminated to support the AfD.

Allegations of "Russian influence" in U.S., French and German elections is made up from hot air. No evidence is or ever was presented to support these claims. Massive election interference by other foreign interests, like large Saudi donations to the Clinton Foundation, or Zionist Jewish financier support for extremist positions in Germany and France is ignored.

The story about "Russian influence" was made up by the Democrats to explain Clinton's loss of the election and to avoid looking at her personal responsibility for it. It also helps to push the new cold war narrative and to sell weapons. As no evidence was ever found to support the "Russian influence" campaign, Facebook and others come under pressure to deliver the "evidence" the U.S. intelligence services could not produce.  The now resulting story of "sowing chaos" is something out of la-la-land.

If there is something to learn from this sad story it is this: The lack of objectivity and journalistic integrity is a greater threat to western democracy than any "Russian influence" could ever be.

Posted by b on September 26, 2017 at 01:50 PM | Permalink

Comments
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Once again, the Kremlin’s quest to disrupt democracy, divide the West and erode the rules-based liberal international order may have found a toehold.

O, it hurts. The irony, it hurts. Repeating myself from the end of the last thread: The whole ugly mess would be a farce through and through if not for the suffering of innocents and the endless, meaningless attempted destruction of everything noble in the human spirit.

Posted by: bc | Sep 26, 2017 2:10:09 PM | 1

There is nothing illegal about attempting to influence another nation's elections. However, in most countries, it is illegal for citizens to actively work with foreign governments to do so.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Sep 26, 2017 2:11:56 PM | 2

"The lack of objectivity and journalistic integrity is a greater threat to western democracy than any "Russian influence" could ever be."

Without journalistic integrity, there is no democracy as the average voter cannot make an informed choice. The threat won some time ago.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 26, 2017 2:28:05 PM | 3

Whats most outragoues about this is that same western liberal media
daily could whine about russian propaganda, meanwhile themselves could write propaganda everyday! These people are brainwashed, and unfortunately they fool alot of westerners.

Not sure what illegal thing there is with political ads to begin with?
Again there is no logic to the brainwashed liberal.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 26, 2017 2:32:34 PM | 4

There is no end to this, these liberals wont stop until Trump declare war on Russia, they are sick in their heads, racist against Russians, no other way to define their irrational hatred.

'Where are the Russians?': No sign of Russian meddling reported during ongoing German elections
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCYpfV_XLNk

Posted by: Anon | Sep 26, 2017 2:47:31 PM | 5

2
That is news to me.

I think you have to label it 'treason' and the country concerned 'enemy' to get anywhere in law.

Or some illegality has to be involved.

Is Russia America's Enemy?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 26, 2017 2:50:53 PM | 6

From http://www.businessinsider.de/collusion-russia-trump-crime-2017-6?r=US&IR=T

"James Gardner, an election law expert at SUNY Buffalo Law School, said the answer to whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia "depends on what specific actions formed the basis of collusion." Political historian Allan Lichtman agreed, saying indictments and prosecutions would depend upon the particular circumstances of a case and interpretations of the law that are not always clear.

Both Lichtman and Gardner said the federal statute criminalizing treason could apply. But putting aside treason, "there are numerous laws" that could be implicated by collusion with any foreign government, Lichtman said.

Those include the Logan Act, which forbids dealings by private individuals with foreign governments involved in disputes with the US; the Stored Communications Act, which creates Fourth Amendment-like privacy protections for email and other digital communications; and the Espionage Act.

John Coates, an election law expert at Harvard University Law School, pointed to relevant federal statutes that could apply, including at least two federal statutes governing campaign contributions and donations by foreign nationals and two governing fraud and conspiracy offenses."

Posted by: ralphieboy | Sep 26, 2017 3:12:48 PM | 7

Ah Ha! The Bezos Bozo strikes again! The only real way to hurt that man is in his Amazon.com pocketbook. Boycott the disgusting online retailer and urge everyone to, explaining that Bezos is a far bigger threat to peace and democracy than Russia, China, and DPRK combined.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 26, 2017 3:13:08 PM | 8

@4 and 5


@b - the US papers were bought out at least as early as 1915 in the run up WWI.

Nothing here Cicero couldn't have commented on.

And so it goes.

Posted by: Mr. Unpopular | Sep 26, 2017 3:23:50 PM | 9

@ 4 and 5 f'reals this time...

What the hell does liberal have to do with any of this? It's all neo-con, eh?

Posted by: Mr. Unpopular | Sep 26, 2017 3:24:45 PM | 10

Mr Unpopular

Are you joking or perhaps a liberal yourself? The russian conspiracy bs is spread by liberal media companies.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 26, 2017 3:32:49 PM | 11

I usually can't miss by always first assuming that reports by officials or media in the West are disinformation narratives.

I also am usually right to assume that they project on some other what these vermin in the West are in themselves. They tell us what they are planning or already doing right out of their mouths if you listen carefully.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Sep 26, 2017 3:36:22 PM | 12

@ Karlofi 8
”The only real way to hurt that man is in his Amazon.com pocketbook.”

Untouchable he is. In addition to being well subsidized on every shipment by the taxpayers, he is owned by that famous 3-letter agency. Look up the contract.

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 26, 2017 3:36:44 PM | 13

@ Anon 11...

AND... endlessly parroted at need by the neocons. This entire thing really isn't a left/right or red/blue deal - it's pro-war and pro-intervention propaganda from the elite rich of both sides in the US.

Posted by: Oilman2 | Sep 26, 2017 3:41:48 PM | 14

if only hillary clinton could have spent 100,000 over the course of 2 years to influence the election, LOLOL...

Posted by: james | Sep 26, 2017 3:53:50 PM | 15

in other related news, hillary clinton has influenced her good friends in saudi arabia to let women drive.... for all the money they gave her to lose the election, that was the least she could do for the women of saudi arabia!

Posted by: james | Sep 26, 2017 3:59:25 PM | 16

there is no liberal foreign paper, you're confusing their domestic narrative with the foreign one

Posted by: scottindallas | Sep 26, 2017 4:08:58 PM | 17

7

Sounds like they would have to stretch that a lot. But that is what lawyers are for.

The Logan Act does not seem to apply as influencing an election is not "negotiating with foreign governments".

They are basically doing to Trump what Republicans did to Clinton with the Libyan investigation - keep going on and on to accidentally uncover something relevant in the end.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 26, 2017 4:12:54 PM | 18

My iphone gives me a news feed that is often from CNN, Washington Post, NY Times, ABC/NBC news. It is constant Trump bashing. No useful news if any at all on such things as Syria, economic issues (other than the DOW), health care (other than insurance friendly Congressional nonsense). All useful news has to be found on alternative media of which this site is definitely one of the best on Syria.

Posted by: financial matters | Sep 26, 2017 4:15:13 PM | 19

Look, if Whitewater, Vince Flynn's murder, Benghazi, Clinton Cash, Pizzagate don't need evidence that leads somewhere, neither does Russian hacking. Pussies whining because their loser boy Trump doesn't have the prestige actually winning the election would give him is stupid, useless and boring. Go cry in the Electoral College.

Puting favored Trump. Tough shit if jingo xenophobia is dogmatically acceptable to conservatives. That's going to be an embarrassment.

It's true that Putin was a gigantic fool for favoring Trump, but that's his shame to bear.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Sep 26, 2017 4:16:23 PM | 20

20

Stop being emotional, of Course Trump is better than Hillary on Russia.

Posted by: zeke | Sep 26, 2017 4:36:24 PM | 21

And another alleged Russki conspiracy bites the dust!

In reversal, feds say Russian hacking attempt didn't hit Wisconsin election systems

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/in-reversal-feds-say-russian-hacking-attempt-didn-t-hit/article_c75959b6-3fb5-5c93-91c8-f8ae3fa9c10a.html

Posted by: Gareth | Sep 26, 2017 4:36:44 PM | 22

Posted by: financial matters | Sep 26, 2017 4:15:13 PM | 19
I backed Bernie and several Dem candidates back when that seemed to matter. Because of that I get about 50 plus emails a day asking for money. ALL without exception begin with a Trump bashing statement, each more strident than the last (probably because I am not giving them anything).
As you noted, there is nothing about Syria, loads about Russians, vague invasion hysteria regarding Ukraine,endless black/white nonsense and don't get me started on the latest flag/NFL rants.
I've protested in person and in writing just about every military adventure the US was ever involved in during my life time and until the last few years it was a fairly lonely process. But now, the level of information on and rejection of the Syrian war appears to be as high as it was at the end of the Vietnam war. So we are getting somewhere, maybe. What is that number, is it 13 percent of a population that is needed to create real change?

Posted by: frances | Sep 26, 2017 4:40:16 PM | 23

Bezos is nothing more than an apparatchik of the new USSA. Amazon is the company store. There is no "boycotting" the company store. And anyway it's too late for that. You WILL read the company newsletter, you WILL watch those writings being reinforced on the Company Channel Network, you WILL shop at the company store, you WILL be surveilled by the company in order to maintain company supremacy and ever-increasing profits.

As long as the company 'owns' the water you drink and the land you live on at least. And it's not Bezos who owns the company, he's just on the board.

Posted by: sejomoje | Sep 26, 2017 4:57:45 PM | 24

21 :-))

Trump is not my Bride, Putin says

“It’s hard to deal with people who confuse Austria and Australia, but there’s nothing you can do about this,” he said, probably referring generally to Washington foreign policy circles, though the original gaffe is attributed to former President George W. Bush. “Apparently, this is the level of political culture within a certain part of the U.S. establishment.”

Posted by: somebody | Sep 26, 2017 5:25:59 PM | 25

The Russian conspiracy claim is just the corporate Democrats excuse for losing the election to a blowhard reality TV star and real estate hustler who had to be bailed out from several bankruptcies by the Saudis and the US government. Despite having almost every media outlet and government bureaucrat on her side, Hillary Clinton lost.

Where'd she lose? In the Rust Belt states that have been hit hardest by neoliberal trade policies that have wrecked the local economies in those states.

The whole Russia thing really doesn't even involve the Republican Party - its mostly internal Democratic Party politics, with Sanders Democrats trying to use Clinton's loss to unseat the corporate Wall Street crowd, and the Clintonites fighting to stay in power by claiming that their loss wasn't due to their crappy policies and incompetence, but rather to a massive Russian conspiracy.

Don't forget, the American oligarchs who control the media were really hoping for a Jeb Bush vs. Hillary Clinton election, and despite pushing hard for that, it almost came up as a Bernie Sanders vs. Donald Trump election. Indicating a loss of control by the plutocracy - that's the take home message. They're still struggling to re-establish control, which is what flogging the Russia hype is all about.

Truth is, America would be better off with someone like Putin in the executive office, someone who wouldn't be afraid to imprison at least a few leading Wall Street financiers for their role in the 2008 economic collapse.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Sep 26, 2017 5:30:20 PM | 26

That story in the Washington Post was pathetic. It reminds me of a saying, 'if you torture the data, it will eventually confess'

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Sep 26, 2017 5:30:26 PM | 27

sejomoje @24--

Fortunately, it's not that bad--yet. But it will probably need to get close to that before the disparate US citizenry arises in an attempt to overcome it all.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 26, 2017 5:37:11 PM | 28

take the iphone, amazon, wapo and etc. etc. and flush them down the toilet.... alternatively - take a ride into the toilet, lol..

Posted by: james | Sep 26, 2017 5:39:17 PM | 29

Ok james, of course I agree with all of that, but when 99% or more of everyone else haven't the ability to differentiate between real and fake news, there's no boycott that will "work". It's still a numbers game. The whole thing will need to collapse before it's "found out". If it were somehow possible to "boycott" Amazon, Apple et al, the other oligarchs would be thrilled and would feverishly whtewash themselves as the new saviors. And it would work; eg Obama eg MAGA eg Zuckerberg/Musk 2020.

Posted by: sejomoje | Sep 26, 2017 6:06:03 PM | 30

Apparently, the FBI is capable of discovering corruption within collegiate basketball but is incapable of properly investigating allegations related to national security. Or perhaps the FBI will say it was too busy doing the NCAA investigation to properly deal with the DNC's allegations its servers were hacked by Russian agents. https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/dont-be-shocked-college-hoops-is-dirty-be-surprised-it-took-so-long-to-get-exposed/

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 26, 2017 6:33:08 PM | 31

@karlof1 31
No, its just that the best FBI investigators are the fresh newbies, and they are the ones given run of the mill cases. Its not until they have been thoroughly indoctrinated into proper FBI "investigative methods" that they are assigned to the important cases that involve the ruling class...

Posted by: guano | Sep 26, 2017 6:46:29 PM | 32

Well, Roger Stone's first turn in the barrel is today. It's just those dumb-ass congressmen this time, he still has a date with Mueller.

The main guy right now is Manafort. At the very least Trump and his camp have to take heat for not properly vetting their staff. This Facebook shit will be small potatoes when they finish downloading this guy. It's beyond me why you guys keep beating the drum when you have to know you'll be eating it somewhere down the road. Only you won't, you'll move on to something else to be outraged about. There was people playing silly bugger and that's a real fact no matter how you cut it. Mueller has Manafort by the nuts and will test his loyalty to the max.

Everybody keeps saying after all this time not a shred of evidence has been put forward. Do you imagine for one fucking second that the special counselor posts a progress report day by day? He's like one of those S400s, once he's locked on you're fucked.

And what's with this Obama business? That's so 2016, Hillary too. It's Trump, sweethearts. He's the one who might get us all killed. He spends as much time thinking up ways to fuck the NFL African-American players as how to deal with Kim or the SAA. It's not looking good. Let's hope there's a piss tape. It's our best shot.

Posted by: peter | Sep 26, 2017 6:51:17 PM | 33

@b on September 26, 2017 at 01:50 PM

Your assumption that journalists and journalism is somehow "independent" and somehow "voice of truth" might be a cause of your frustration. You (and probably 70% of the population believe in this mantra) are drilled into this thinking, along some other tenets of capitalism like, "independent judiciary", "self governing/correction market", "human rights" and so on.

The epicenter of this nonsense narratives are those who owns the media, NGO, various military org. that is capitalist class. So no wonder that can tell us whatever they want and whenever they want depending of their agenda.

And people believe it, that is astonishing. They glued to screen big or small and buy all this shit.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 26, 2017 7:08:30 PM | 34

Take for example recent Equifax hack, if that happened at all.

Nowhere you will find who did this. That's is out of question.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 26, 2017 7:11:45 PM | 35

guano @32--

You're probably very close to being correct with your comment, particularly when it comes to nabbing CIA criminals, https://counterinformation.wordpress.com/2017/09/22/the-cia-70-years-of-organized-crime/

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 26, 2017 7:12:35 PM | 36

It's being charged that there were some Russian ads promoting African American rights groups, including Black Lives Matter, and others. If true, it's because Russia supports the same values in other countries that the US does, and sees value in supporting human rights wherever necessary. That's what the US does, including spending large amounts of money to support disssident groups in various countries. And so Russia looks at the United States, sees there is ample evidence of human rights problems, and simply does (in a much smaller way) what the US has been doing for years (if Russia in fact actually did anything.) While we're on the subject, that Russian concern for democracy and human rights might have extended to the undemocratic promotion of Hillary Clinton's nomination for president.
--from the US State Department

Democracy and respect for human rights have long been central components of U.S. foreign policy. Supporting democracy not only promotes such fundamental American values as religious freedom and worker rights, but also helps create a more secure, stable, and prosperous global arena in which the United States can advance its national interests. In addition, democracy is the one national interest that helps to secure all the others. Democratically governed nations are more likely to secure the peace, deter aggression, expand open markets, promote economic development, protect American citizens, combat international terrorism and crime, uphold human and worker rights, avoid humanitarian crises and refugee flows, improve the global environment, and protect human health.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 26, 2017 7:15:00 PM | 37

How is life out there in dreamland peter @ #33? I doubt that 1% of posters on this board have any affinity for drumpf but that is beside the point, the issue is about the way dems have been wasting energy and political capital on a blatant snipe hunt in preference with coming to terms with their failings and fuck-ups.
Right now people in PR are dying because neither agent orange nor the dems really care about PR or puerto rican people - they have no meaningful political influence because PR isn't a state and the people elected to DC to represent them are only advisors they have no actual you know voting power, so they will starve before caring and sharing dems do anything. Much easier to score points by beating up a crazy conspiracy about those awful russkies eh?
Your post makes me ill it sums up in a couple of sentences everything that is really wrong about amerikan political system and the elitist arseholes who enable it.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 26, 2017 7:16:02 PM | 38

debs@ 38

Talk about moving on. I rest my case.

Posted by: peter | Sep 26, 2017 7:25:41 PM | 39

@ 30 sejomoje.. i am not as cynical as you thinking 99% can't differentiate.. i think a much higher percent can... regardless, the onslaught of lies will continue unabated, especially in the western msm.. that you can take to the bank... you almost couldn't take it to bank of america back in 2008, but they got bailed out too, so you can take it there still as well!

i do agree with you though, it matters not the name of the corp, as they are all interested in turning profit.. i see the financial system one built on usury/interest.. the amount owing can never be paid back..growth has to continue endlessly, however the finite world we live in has a limit - something money and those focused on it, don't seem to care about.. thus the environmental holocaust we continue to inch towards.

everything that might have belonged to the commons or public, has been converted into private.. all for greater monetary profit of course. however, the option to do this is mostly now over.. i guess they could privatize the canadian health care system and i would be wazooed as well.. privatize the alaska waters for more exploration of oil, in spite of environmental risks and etc. etc.. all for profit of course. at some point, and i don't believe we are quite their yet - the system of money we have will have to change to a gift based society... these are some of the crazy ideas i am getting from reading charles eisensteins book 'sacred economics'...

Posted by: james | Sep 26, 2017 7:26:08 PM | 40

Yes, this comment may seem OT, but it very much is On Topic. Occasionally, one discovers an article or information that must be shared with as many as possible. Such was the link I provided in my reply to guano and for the link I'm leaving with this comment. The article's title is somewhat provocative and certainly can be applied to the thread topic: "Journalism and Pornography: Real Crime is Always Organized. But what it examines is the essence of how our current mess was begun, although it certainly is argued that it all started well before 1947. Anyway, enough of my rambling; here's the link, https://www.blackagendareport.com/cia_real_organized_crime

I wonder if Valentine will be proven correct in his conclusion.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 26, 2017 7:33:57 PM | 41

Peter @33

African-Americans? I cannot understand why Americans insist on being hyphenated. Is it a law or something else?

~ ~ ~ ~
your other musings:

"Everybody keeps saying after all this time not a shred of evidence has been put forward. Do you imagine for one fucking second that the special counselor posts a progress report day by day?"

No, no daily progress report is expected. But haven't you noticed the daily leaks? Is that proper?

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 26, 2017 7:37:13 PM | 42

No one seems to have mentioned that Le Pais (sp?) (major Spanish and pro government paper) has published accusations that the Russians are behind the Catalonia independence movement. I have a few friends living in Barcelona and they are outraged by this story. Of course, these same people are all Hillary supporters and accepted the claims that Putin destroyed Hillary's run for president.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 26, 2017 7:42:56 PM | 43

@james 40
Western MSM might just be catching up to the levels of fantasy our western capitalist overlords would have us believe we are bound by. Infinite growth is now possible in this media climate. The nature of capital, man creation, is not bound by mother nature herself. Long may the deliria continue. It'll be the shortest, most embarrassing empire in history.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Sep 26, 2017 7:46:56 PM | 44

In Stunning Reversal, DHS Says Russians Were Not Behind Attempted Wisconsin Vote Hacking

Just in time for the weekend, the Associated Press reported on Friday that the Department of Homeland Security had notified 21 states earlier that day that their election systems had been targeted by malicious cyber actors. The states and DHS quickly jumped to the conclusion that Russia had ordered the cyberattacks, even though it was reported that the identity or identities of the perpetrators were inconclusive. Yet, the news spread like wildfire after readers had been primed as reports of possible infiltration of state election systems had circulated for nearly a year.
Even so, for many states, the call Friday from the Department of Homeland Security was the first official confirmation that their election systems had, in fact, been targeted by hackers.

But in a stunning reversal - one which we doubt will put endless rumors of Russian cyberinterference to bed - the AP now reports that DHS has told Wisconsin that the Russian government was not involved in the cyber-targeting.

In an email to the state’s deputy elections administrator that was provided to reporters at the Wisconsin Elections Commission meeting on Tuesday, Homeland Security said that initial notice of Russian involvement was made in error. Also, as we noted at the time, the government did not originally assign blame to the Russians when news of the alleged "scanning" initially broke on Friday although most medias jumped at the opportunity to blame Putin.

Infuriated by the error, some state officials said that DHS should provide an explanation for the error, or at least issue an apology to state elections officials, who were understandably unnerved by the news of Russian involvement.[.]

Send a memo to Mueller and cc Putin.

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 26, 2017 8:05:06 PM | 45

The AfD result couldn't possibly because of the introduction of non-Germans into Germany, could it? Who would want Islam in their country? Certainly not the Burmese...


Recent studies have found the German press took an entirely uncritical approach to mass migrations of kebabs in accordance with the 'we can do this' policy of Merkel. The amount of gaslighting in the German media is immense compared to a few German articles on the Gatestone Institute.


Posted by: Lemur | Sep 26, 2017 8:10:38 PM | 46

Wow!! Today's testimony by Roger Stone before the House Intelligence Committee carpet bombed that institution, essentially calling the entire affaire the Big Lie that it is! And about time too! Here's a partial take provided by Sputnik, https://sputniknews.com/us/201709261057724757-rorger-stone-russia-gate-testimony/

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 26, 2017 8:47:33 PM | 47

They are basically doing to Trump what Republicans did to Clinton with the Libyan investigation - keep going on and on to accidentally uncover something relevant in the end.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 26, 2017 4:12:54 PM | 18

Correction of a typo: "keep going on and on to accidentally uncover something irrelevant

I will always remember when English teacher drilled my high school class on antonym, and a boy said "portant" for "important" (you know, potent -> impotent -> potent), so possibly an investigation aims to discover something levant.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 26, 2017 8:49:31 PM | 48

To late integrity left us after JFK assisination /gladio and the invention of instant coffee .
Western ideals died with Socrates

Posted by: falcemartello | Sep 26, 2017 8:58:43 PM | 49

Agree with all about scumbag Bezos...

Ever think about Joe Lunchpail who works in one of those Amazon warehouses...?

Here is a deeply disturbing and in depth account of what goes on in those USA sweatshops...great piece of reportage by a small-town PA newspaper...The Morning Call...

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/amazon/mc-allentown-amazon-complaints-20110917-story.html#page=1

Company keeping ambulances in the parking lot during summer because workers dropping like flies...

All workers start as temps, with fake promises of full-time work if they cut the mustard...scam 'recruiters' luring workers with misleading ads about 'fun' and 'fast-paced' work environment with promises for advancement...

Most workers never actually get full time...they have to meet heartless 'quotas' or they're toast...never mind full-time...

Unbelievable snapshot of life in Capitalist Paradise...

I have to wonder how many of these poor honest people in the Keystone State believed conman Drumpf when he promised them the MAGA yellow brick road...

Well worth reading...rarely will you find true journalism like this today...and only in small papers that still have a connection with the people...

there is actually a whole series on Amazon by the Morning Call...

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/amazon/

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 26, 2017 9:00:36 PM | 50

Let's see, Yeltsin is Washington's man and Yeltsin appointed Putin. Therefore Washington has a man in the Kremlin while the Kremlin has a man in Washington. Turn about is fair play, isn't it?

Posted by: Dave | Sep 26, 2017 9:16:35 PM | 51

Toivos @ 43

Yes, I was following that too. Here's an example from Yahoo News of how twisted the discourse has become:

But the Catalan situation is unprecedented, in part because it appears to have significant support from outside the country, notably from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been promoting the cause of Catalan independence with a series of incendiary tweets and posts.

Assange is widely suspected of fronting for Russia, which as part of its campaign to destabilize Western democracies has supported secessionist movements from Scotland to Texas. Barcelona and the surrounding resort towns along the Costa Brava are favorite vacation and second-home spots for wealthy Russians, including alleged mafia heads reportedly linked to the Kremlin. Some of them are facing criminal charges by the national government — charges that might not survive a transition to a new, Russia-friendly Catalan national government. “The situation is confusing and highly combustible,” says one longtime resident who declined to be quoted by name, given the intensity of feeling on the issue.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/will-barcelona-secede-spain-catalan-independence-vote-russia-stirring-pot-222118737.html

So, is Spain upset because they will no longer make money from Russian criminals who stay at their resorts?

The slippery slope of dominos falling as smaller quasi-states must be a real concern, after Brexit, Crimea, etc. Poland wants its own cooperative group. Even the rise of the AfD might be regarded as a bit of a split as the balance for power shifts in Deutchland, as b may or may not agree.

The shrillness of the rhetoric reveals the anxiety of the dominating government. Invoking Russia for everything gone wrong without concrete evidence is counterproductive. Especially when the Russians themselves have run a brilliant campaign by releasing photos of US SF Humvees amongst the ISIS fortifications NE of Deir Ezzor. THAT is Russian influence.

Posted by: Stumpy | Sep 26, 2017 9:18:52 PM | 52

@51 at least vlad the retailer had the decency to put Boris outta Russia's misery - maybe the world will get lucky and drumpf plus the rest of the parasites on both sides of 'the divide' in DC will also suffer simultaneous massive heart attacks bought about by lack of worthwhile use of that muscle too.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 26, 2017 9:28:52 PM | 53

Falcemartello @ 49 Western ideals died with Socrates

Sad how few today have even the foggiest idea of what you're talking about.

And even sadder, a "democracy" put Socrates to death (Because the average Athenian was as ignorant and confused as the average citizen is today.)

It's enough to make a misanthrope of anyone.

Posted by: Ken Nari | Sep 26, 2017 10:09:50 PM | 54

@5 Anon

It's not just liberals bleating about Russia...mainstream Republicans are fully on board with the propaganda fake news war promoting Russia as America's #1 enemy. Cf. John "dead man walking" McCain and his sidekick Lindsey "the ghoul" Graham.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Sep 26, 2017 10:14:47 PM | 55

flankerbandit @ 50: Thanks for that slice of reality. Your example of the new American capitalist experience, is what the corporate empire wants for the globe.

oilman @ 14 & nf @ 26: More slices of reality. Anon, please grab a clue, and quit watching Fox "News".

b, as always, thanks for the therapy...

Posted by: ben | Sep 26, 2017 10:21:17 PM | 56

The USA seemed terrified and helpless by the alleged successful manipulations by Russia in the world's elections, simply because the USA thought it had the monopoly of such manipulations. Maybe it has found its match or just inventing one to manipulate further.

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 26, 2017 11:07:28 PM | 57

@42 likklemore

Black Americans generally do not refer to themselves as African-Americans. That's more of a white liberal PC thing. Black people is what they use outside of officialdom and (mainstream) media/academic circles.

It's a bit like 'Jewish people...a term used by PC gentiles who think 'Jews' sounds too harsh or "offensive." Jews generally refer to Jews as, wait for it, Jews. (You wouldn't say Catholic people, Muslim people or Lutheran people after all.)

It's a funny place, planet Earth.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Sep 26, 2017 11:11:33 PM | 58

FoxNews:
The Washington Post has made a correction to an explosive cover story that undermines the entire premise of Monday’s front-page article headlined, "Obama sought to prod Facebook on Russia role."
The problem, according to a Facebook executive, is that when Obama reached out to the social media giant in 2016 to discuss political disinformation spreading on the site, he didn’t actually call out Russia – essentially making the Post’s headline misleading and inaccurate. Or, as President Trump would call it, “fake news.” . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 26, 2017 11:15:51 PM | 59

@46 Lemur

Kebabs? What food do you call people from your ethic group/religion/nationality...sour grapes?

Muslims are not a monolithic bloc of people who all think and act alike. You need a strong dose of reality my friend.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Sep 26, 2017 11:20:35 PM | 60

"Kebab"-speak...another Zio-speech artifact. Beware of anyone trying to downplay these evil thinktanks. Gatestone et al have bought property across the board of the English-speaking internet. It goes waaaay deeper than "influencing German elections". Gatestone has regular daily articles on "alternative" blogs like Zerohedge, which are linked and relinked to infinity and beyond by the gullible, xenophobic rubes. It's blatant Pam-Geller-level Islamophobic bulletpoint hasbara and it's quintessentially FUCKED up, "Lemur" that you would defend it here of all places.

Posted by: sejomoje | Sep 26, 2017 11:30:36 PM | 61

They are also now claiming that russia was behind the JFK assassination. There were articles on newsweek, washington post and aol that I've seen. Headline on newsweek "DID RUSSIA KILL A U.S. PRESIDENT? NEW CIA DOCUMENTS REVEAL SPY’S THEORY ABOUT JFK'S DEATH" with a video playing of jfk speaking then cutting to hillary clinton talking about russian threat and how we will not sit idly by if they attack us.

Posted by: joe defiant | Sep 27, 2017 12:07:00 AM | 62

" ... erode the rules-based liberal international order."

Hahaha!! Stop, you're killing me!

You'd think by now they could have come up with at LEAST a couple rust-belt nobs to say, "I was going to vote for Clinton, but Russia convinced me to vote Trump."

Posted by: Notneo | Sep 27, 2017 1:19:02 AM | 63

If Russia can control countries such as USA, Spain, and Germany it's hard to believe how they couldn't control Albania, Slovakia, Belarus, and the other small countries and let the Soviet Union fall. Putin must really be a genius.

Posted by: joe defiant | Sep 27, 2017 1:50:01 AM | 64

@ 10

The comments section of Zerohedge is filled with either the brain-dead, the uneducated or trolls who intentionally muddy the waters by conflating liberal, fascist, communist, socialist and anarchist with no apparent understanding or any distinction btw them.

Apparently the success of MoA with its thoughtful, careful commentators is starting to attract the same idiots.

Posted by: Bolt | Sep 27, 2017 1:51:54 AM | 65

The answer to your conundrum is found ... right .. here:

Defense.gov/news/contracts

More than a $billion every day, $15 every milli-second.
Well $15:isn't so bad! Let's give them another $100B!!

E pluribus no hey comidas, no hey nada, todos.

Posted by: Chipnik | Sep 27, 2017 3:07:37 AM | 66

Surely by now the "Russia did it" crowd have managed to prove exactly the opposite?. All their efforts have led to nothing, thereby proving a negative.

However, originally this obsession was to enable the impeachement of Trump. But why would anyone now WANT to impeach him, as he has become a second Hillary. The US now has generals running the country, massive "
freedom-limiting security", massive debts, War threats against nuclear powers to support the US nuclear industry and its subsidies etc.

Posted by: stonebird | Sep 27, 2017 4:58:57 AM | 67

65 Bolt

I have condemned neocons, no problem, when I condemn liberals guys like you show up. What is your problem?

Posted by: Anon | Sep 27, 2017 5:42:36 AM | 68

Moscow may have just sent a (not so) 'happy happy' birthday postcard ...

Military-to-military: 'farewell, Lt. Gen. Valery Asapov' it seems ...

Washington sees opportunity to shift more idle MIC inventory, no doubt... a win-win?


ukraine-ammunition-depot-explosion

Posted by: x | Sep 27, 2017 6:39:42 AM | 69

the recent outbreak of anti-russia hysteria that still reverberates came about as an action operation in response to trump's noises implying a position favoring detente in official relations and an equivocation of the two nations in terms of roles on the global stage.
the objective of the propaganda campaign remains to cut away any support for those positions, on either side of the aisle and on every street corner.

Posted by: b real | Sep 27, 2017 8:44:51 AM | 70

I have a family member who adopted a Russian girl. Are the "correct" Feds going to come and arrest him for having something Russian?

Posted by: JSonofa | Sep 27, 2017 8:59:15 AM | 71

"NATO is waging information war on Western opinion, deploying fake news to encourage hysterical fear of Russia"
https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/911687259996479488

Posted by: Anon | Sep 27, 2017 9:35:59 AM | 72

The Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA, reports that the US has used banned white phosphorus bombs in Deir Ezzor, killing three and injuring five.

http://sana.sy/en/?p=114680

Posted by: sarz | Sep 27, 2017 10:02:45 AM | 73

@73
The US military regularly uses white phosphorous which is not banned. They used it in Mosul, for example. Also cluster munitions, but the US has never signed that treaty in fact it has been absent from many treaties listed here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 27, 2017 10:30:47 AM | 74

recruit: but why oh why must we deal with prols with deception?

... some idiot on MoA: "liberal media companies" ...

member: take a good look. they're dumb as door knobs. __we make this point daily__, via various channels and in various lands. the facts speak for themselves.

... some idiot on the street: "should I kneel now?" ...

recruit: so no equality, liberty, and fraternity?

member: note it ends with fraternity. do you have fraternal feelings with dumb doorknobs? would you care for the liberty comprehensible for the rabble? Do you feel equal to these morons?

recruit: you make excellent points there. where do I sign?

Posted by: nobody | Sep 27, 2017 11:31:28 AM | 75

Trump adopted a Russian girl, too. Or an eastern European in any case. She seems absolutely repulsed by him now.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Sep 27, 2017 11:46:33 AM | 76

"The Atlantic Council: ‘Debates' propaganda between people who hate Russia & people who really hate Russia."
https://twitter.com/27khv/status/913012517282222080

Posted by: Anon | Sep 27, 2017 11:49:13 AM | 77

The USA and Israel use white phosphorus via a loophole they deemed legal: "for the express purpose of illumination". Of course, the murderous liars actually use it to burn people to death. Dropping it from aircraft on civilians.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Sep 27, 2017 11:52:07 AM | 78

From comments to WP article:

What I find fascinating is that not one example of these incredibly-effective, FB ads has been revealed. What was the content of these election-swinging wonders? I’m sure Madison Ave would love to crib the amazing techniques of these Russian Mad Men.

Ha, showing one of those ads would be a mental equivalent of thawing specimens with the 1918 influenza and unleashing them on the public. In any case, true facts are obscured in a very convenient way. We know that incredibly effective campaign with minuscule budget was unleashed from accounts tied to Russia. But anyone can be a Russian troll master on the internet! And 100,000 USD is really meager even by Putin standards -- he is a tight wad, so he tries to achieve with billions what Americans try with hundreds of billions. 1B USD/10,000 is just below the minimum for their budget positions. Recall an uncovered agent who was installed in New Jersey, her living expenses for a year or two exceeded the number WP and other media are tossing around. This points to an exceedingly smart but poor mastermind. And the most plausible answer is Tuvalu.

With 15,000 inhabitants and hardly any resources, few countries would have smaller budget. But with our attention diverted to Russia, the invasion of Tuvalu is once again removed from our plans. Perhaps we are enslaved already.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 27, 2017 12:13:27 PM | 79

@44 madmax2.. i fully agree!

@74 don bacon / @78 fastfreddy... that is most unfortunate, but alas the exceptional nation with israel in tow, will not be bound by a shred of humanitarianism...

Posted by: james | Sep 27, 2017 12:23:42 PM | 80

WaPo forced to retract claim that Obama told Zuckerberg to tackle alleged Russian meddling

The Washington Post has been forced to remove Russia from the headline and alter the content of its front-page “scoop” over a supposed conversation between Barack Obama and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, after the social network denied the newspaper's claims.

Under the headline“Obama sought to prod Facebook on Russia role,” the three-author story alleged that “Obama and his top aides quietly agonized over how to respond to Russia’s brazen intervention on behalf of the Donald Trump” prior to the 2016 election, before the last US president “pulled the youthful tech billionaire aside and delivered what he hoped would be a wake-up call” last November.
...

Facebook denied that the talk with Obama was about anything Russia. WaPo had to retract a central claim of its story.

Posted by: b | Sep 27, 2017 12:57:35 PM | 81

wow - wapo forced to retract, lol.... boycott bezos and wapo..

Posted by: james | Sep 27, 2017 2:23:56 PM | 82

Observations made by Bill Blum between Cold War-1 and Cold War-2 are prescient as usual, https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/09/27/cold-war-then-cold-war-now/

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 27, 2017 2:58:40 PM | 83

And since the entirety of RussiaGate is due to the defeat of HRC, this item at The Duran has some relevance. What I found most interesting was the author calls "The Clinton Body Bags," particularly the numerous dead bodyguards--12--which totals 47 besides all those others her polices killed, maimed, displaced, bankrupted for life, etc., http://theduran.com/hillary-clinton-compares-trump-to-putin-killing-journalists-forgets-libya-syria-seth-rich-vince-foster-video/

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 27, 2017 3:35:43 PM | 84

@ b's 81

This makes the 2nd retraction this week on Russia-gate.
"Russia did it."DHS had to reverse itself after stating the Russians attempted hacking 21 states including Wisconsin Vote.

Wisconsin officials demanded DHS should explain the error and an apology. See link @45.

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 27, 2017 3:55:36 PM | 85

But why would anyone now WANT to impeach him, as he has become a second Hillary. The US now has generals running the country Posted by: stonebird | Sep 27, 2017 4:58:57 AM | 67

Hillary's backers are and were the CIA folks, not the Pentagon. The CIA and Pentagon are political adversaries,which is why the screaming continues, that and because when the screaming finally stops, HC may be off to jail.

Posted by: frances | Sep 27, 2017 4:18:27 PM | 86

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 27, 2017 12:13:27 PM | 79
Love it, thank you! The incredible stupidity around this supposed $100 thousand genius ad placement is jaw dropping.

Posted by: frances | Sep 27, 2017 4:21:33 PM | 87

This makes the 2nd retraction this week on Russia-gate.Posted by: likklemore | Sep 27, 2017 3:55:36 PM | 85
But that is the trick isn't it, they flood the MSM with a lie, wait a while and retract it with little fan fair.
So some believe the original story, some the retraction, some never heard of either. What do you have? Confusion; people don't know what to believe and that boys and girls is just the way they like it.

Posted by: frances | Sep 27, 2017 5:34:28 PM | 88

The whole point of all the Russia nonsense is to provoke Trump into doing something truly stupid (like firing Mueller) - with Trumps temperament, this is a pretty good bet. This strategy works better if there _isn't_ any actual collusion.
It's pretty elegant actually.

Posted by: ian | Sep 27, 2017 6:03:17 PM | 89

James @ 87

That trick works very well. I am shocked Trump’s DHS is in on the lie


Karlof1 @ 84

If we can trust the RINO critters in D.C., calling for a 2nd Prosecutor!!

Republicans Push For 2nd Special Counsel To Investigate Hillary, Comey, & Lynch

“Their crimes are well documented”

[.]Perjury, obstruction of justice, secret airport tarmac meetings, leaking of government documents, and the destruction of 33,000 government emails... perhaps the GOP has finally mustered up the balls to bring in the real criminals to justice.
The Gateway Pundit reports…


In July, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee requested a second special counsel separate from Robert Mueller to probe aspects of the 2016 election and actions by the Obama administration including Hillary Clinton.

In light of reports that Comey ended the FBI investigation into Hillary’s emails before interviewing seventeen key witnesses including Hillary herself, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee renewed called for a second special counsel Tuesday.
Excerpt of the letter can be read below...


September 26, 2017

Dear Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein:

We write to renew this Committee’s recent call for a second special counsel, to investigate matters which may be outside the scope of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Such a step is even more critical given the recent revelation that former FBI Director James Comey had prepared a statement ending the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, before interviewing at least 17 key witnesses, including the former Secretary herself. At least one former career FBI supervisor has characterized this action as “so far out of bounds it’s not even in the stadium,” and “clearly communicating to [FBI executive staff] where the investigation was going to go.”

Among those witnesses the FBI failed to interview prior to the Director’s preparation of his statement were Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, both of whom were close Clinton aides with extensive knowledge of the facts surrounding the establishment of a private email server. Last year, this Committee inquired repeatedly of the Justice Department about the facts surrounding Ms. Mills’ and Ms. Samuelson’s involvement. Our inquiries were largely ignored. Recently, we wrote to you to request responses to those and other unanswered questions pertaining to the Clinton investigation. We have not received a response. However, as the most recent Comey revelations make clear, ignoring this problem will not make it go away.

As we pointed out at the time, both Ms. Mills and Ms. Samuelson received immunity for their cooperation in the Clinton investigation, but were nevertheless permitted to sit in on the interview of Secretary Clinton.[.]


~ ~ ~ ~ ~
They can't pass a repeal or make a budget. Wake me up when Jeff Sessions makes the announcement.

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 27, 2017 6:07:29 PM | 90

likklemore @89--

I'm all for another SP for HRC and kin as IMO that's what ought to have been done to begin with. No, I won't hold my breath.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 27, 2017 6:25:57 PM | 91

karlof1 @ 90

Please continue to breath normally. This is the Judiciary Committee's "2nd request" to the DOJ for a 2nd Special Prosecutor to investigate Clinton Crimes. The first was in July.

Seriously, instead of on their knees requesting, how about a demand with a DDD (drop dead date)?

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 27, 2017 6:45:51 PM | 92

likklemore @91--

What the HJC ought to do is launch its own investigation; it does have that power and much more at its fingertips. And as far as I can tell, it's not doing much currently.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 27, 2017 7:05:52 PM | 93

Stephen F Cohen says:
(from behind the paywall at the nation)

Do Liberal Democrats Want War With Russia?
By Stephen F. Cohen

“Russiagate” is abetting the possibility of direct military conflict with Moscow, and liberals, once opponents of such politics, are promoting it.

A lifelong “liberal Democrat” of varying sorts, Cohen frames the question as follows:

Each month brings the United States closer to actual war with Russia. Three peril points are well-known: Syria, where recently US-assisted forces apparently killed three senior Russian officers; Ukraine, where Congress and perhaps the Trump administration have decided to send more weapons, which Kiev vows to use against Russian-backed rebels in Donbass; and on Russia’s western borders, where the Washington establishment says Moscow is menacing “NATO’s borders”—without explaining how NATO got there from Germany.

But there is another perilous factor—the one in Washington called “Russiagate,” with its persistent (and still unproved) dual allegations that “Putin’s Kremlin” directed a massive attack on American democracy in various ways during the 2016 presidential campaign, from hacking the DNC and disseminating e-mails unfavorable to Hillary Clinton to using Russian media agencies and even Facebook to plant “Russian disinformation” and related pro-Trump “fake news” in the minds of American voters. And, still more, that Trump’s American “associates,” perhaps the president himself, “colluded” with the Kremlin in this nefarious operation.

Having grown into an inescapable political phenomenon, “Russiagate” abets the chances of war with Moscow in at least three ways. It depicts Russia as a “hostile nation.” It has crippled Trump’s promise to ease tensions by cooperating with Moscow. And it discourages anti–Cold War voices in American mainstream media and politics.

In the past, liberal Democrats did not always, initially, or unanimously oppose such practices, but eventually many of them did so, as during the Vietnam War and the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. But for more than a year the Democratic Party, including leading liberals, as well as influential media outlets associated with them, have been deeply complicit in promoting “Russiagate,” with few if any mainstream exceptions.

Indeed, “Russiagate” allegations did not begin after Trump’s election in November 2016, as widely said, but in the summer and fall of 2016, with liberal Democratic journalists and pro-Clinton media, including The New York Times, seeding the notion of a “Trump-Putin” conspiracy, with the now infamous anti-Trump “dossier,” then being secretly funded by the Clinton campaign, and Mrs. Clinton herself branding Trump a “Putin puppet” during one of their nationally televised debates. When President Obama announced sanctions against Russia in December 2016, including, he said, cyber-attacks embedded somewhere in that nuclear country’s infrastructures, he cited what has become known as “Russiagate” as a reason, still without presenting any proof.

Since then, Democrats, many of them self-professed liberals, have unrelentingly pumped up and perpetuated “Russiagate.” In Congress, for example, Representatives Adam Schiff, Jackie Speier, Eric Swalwell, and Maxine Waters, and Senators Mark Warner and Richard Blumenthal have been in the forefront. Abandoning journalistic standards of verifiable evidence, reliable sources, and balanced coverage, The New York Times and The Washington Post have increased their publication of sweeping allegations as virtual facts. (For their practices, see the many critical articles by the award-winning journalist Robert Parry at consortiumnews.com.) That print news is amplified almost nightly on MSNBC and CNN. Many other smaller liberal outlets play the same role.

Still worse, liberal or pro-Democratic media have trumpeted “Russiagate’s” most reckless charge that in 2016 America “came under attack by the Russian government,” as Morgan Freeman intoned in a recent video produced by Hollywood liberals. “We are at war,” he declared. Can this mean anything other than that Washington must immediately launch an “attack” on the other nuclear superpower?

Nor is this implicit call for war merely coming from questionably informed celebrities. During the past week, a Times editorial told readers that in 2016 Russia “sought to undermine America’s own sovereignty,” much as it had done Ukraine’s in 2014. According to the eminent liberal Democratic policy intellectual Robert Reich, Russia committed an “unprecedented attack on our democracy,” the professor apparently having forgotten or discounted Pearl Harbor and 9/11. And in a major foreign policy speech on September 21, the “maverick” Bernie Sanders told the Democratic Party, “We now know that the Russian government was engaged in a massive effort to undermine one of our greatest strengths: The integrity of our elections, and our faith in our own democracy.”

No, Cohen emphasizes, we do not “know” that, which brings him to what liberal Democrats have not done, but what they once did:.

§ They have evinced no skepticism regarding official and mainstream media allegations about a purported Kremlin hack of the DNC or its surreptitious abuse of Facebook and other media, despite contrary evidence and testimony. Pro-Democratic mainstream newspapers and networks have produced no investigations or editorials in this contrarian regard, again with few exceptions.

§ They have not protested, as liberals once did, the growing criminalizing of customary “contacts” with Russia—financial, diplomatic (such as back channels), even conjugal, but while still promoting the truly “fake news” anti-Trump Dossier.

§ Though once the enemies of covert intelligence operations in American politics, liberals have not protested, or even shown interest in, the now evident role of Obama’s Intel chiefs in the origins and perpetuating of “Russiagate.” And they have shown even less interest in new evidence that Trump’s campaign was in fact surveilled by the FBI, as the president later suggested and for which he was widely derided. (See, for example, Evan Perez, et al., CNN.com, September 19.) Instead, Democrats, including liberals, have turned the intelligence agencies into an iconic source (of testimony and leaks). Indeed, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, whose ethnic slurs about Russians as inherently subverting did not perturb liberals either, is on the advisory board of Hollywood’s new “Committee to Investigate Russia,” which scripted Morgan Freeman.

§ Above all, perhaps, liberals once would have been shocked into protest by a recent Times article characterizing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative methods as “aggressive tactics,” “shock-and-awe tactics to intimidate witnesses and potential targets.” Methods, as one source put it, “to strike terror in the hearts of people in Washington.” But there is no liberal outrage, no ACLU actions, only articles applauding Mueller for his “scrupulousness” and egging him on, as by Ryan Lizza in The New Yorker. Not even when the Times suggests that Mueller, unable to find evidence of electoral “collusion,” might be “on a fishing expedition” reminiscent of past abuses. (Now we learn Mueller wants IRS records going back many years, long before Trump’s political rise. Will Democratic figures who participated in the plunder of Russia in the 1990s worry about where such investigations will stop?)

§ Finally, liberal Democrats seem indifferent to the slouching toward forms of media censorship. Some of it is soft: informed anti-“Russiagate” and anti–Cold War voices are regularly excluded from mainstream news reporting, opinion pages, and broadcast panels. But there is also an adumbration of harder censorship—official and unofficial campaigns, both well-funded, to purge “Russian disinformation and propaganda” from American media, even if expressed by Americans as their own analytic, dissenting opinion. (See Samantha Power’s demand that we “enhance our vigilance” and her longing for media “gatekeepers” and “umpires.”) And this too betrays a disregard for the First Amendment but also contempt for American voters, who presumably, zombie-like, have no critical minds of their own. About this, the normally loquacious PEN and other civil liberties guardians are also silent.

In short, Cohen thinks, liberal Democrats are betraying their own best traditions. Privately, some justify their new illiberalism by insisting it is necessary for the “Resistance” against Trump, that Trump is the greater evil. But history has long shown that such ends-justify-means reasoning does not end well for liberals—or anyone else.

And, of course, liberal Democrats were once in the forefront of politics to avoid nuclear war with Russia. No longer.

Posted by: mauisurfer | Sep 27, 2017 8:35:59 PM | 94

Serial Russian basher NYT has another one out tonight: "Never mind FB. It was the Twitter!"

Posted by: Bart in VA | Sep 27, 2017 8:55:06 PM | 95

Sen. Mike Warner (D.VA) needs to get a life.

Keep fishing: FaceBook Ads. Now Reddit?

The Hill.com

Warner sees Reddit as potential target for Russian influence
http://www.thehill.com/policy/technology/352584-warner-sees-reddit-as-potential-target-for-russian-influence


Reddit could be the next target for federal investigators exploring Russian influence over the 2016 presidential election.
A representative from Sen. Mark Warner’s (Va.) office told The Hill that Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, is interested in Reddit as a potential tool of Russian social media influence.

Warner has also spearheaded efforts to scrutinize Facebook and Twitter as potential tools for foreign interference in the election. Reddit declined to comment.

Experts who have studied Russia’s attempts to influence the election say that Warner is right to be interested in Reddit. They note that many fake news stories can be traced back to the platform, pointing to it as the catalyst behind the spread of Pizzagate, a baseless conspiracy theory that sought to link Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to a fictitious pedophilia ring in a Washington pizzeria in the final days of the campaign.[.]

Putin influenced my kitties with catnip and they ripped up the carpet.

Posted by: lkklemore | Sep 27, 2017 8:58:41 PM | 96

Many thanks for the article and your comments, mauisurfer @93.

Posted by: spudski | Sep 27, 2017 9:02:12 PM | 97

@93 Thanks.

Posted by: beq | Sep 27, 2017 9:13:56 PM | 98

@93 mauisurfer.. thanks also for the stephen cohen article... is there such a thing as a '''liberal democrat'''?? the democrat and republican parties are toast.. many folks just haven't woken up to it yet.. they have to start over from scratch.... alternatively, maybe that is more a reflection on the usa at this point - toast - and will have to start over again on a different footing.. at present having the corporations as your main footing doesn't look much different then a type of corporate totalitarianism, with the msm as propaganda ministry..

Posted by: james | Sep 27, 2017 9:31:16 PM | 99

Does anyone actually believe Putin would want someone with such thin skin, that takes any negative comment as a personal slight, a person who can't get basic facts straight, to be in charge of American launch codes?!

I don't think Putin or the Kremlin wanted to see either Trump or HRC win. But what could he really say or do?

Posted by: P walker | Sep 27, 2017 9:59:52 PM | 100

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