Summary: Even on the Left there are many who see through the RussiaGate propaganda, understanding that it serves the interests of our elites – but neither the Right nor Left. Here Ann Garrison takes the next step: discovering the origin of this information operation. The answers will help us decide how to respond.
By Ann Garrison at the Black Agenda Report, 22 May 2019.
Robert Mueller took two years to cook up a nothing-burger, but we need to find out who conspired to wreck relations with Russia and censor the Left.
We need a bipartisan Muellergate investigation to determine who cooked up the Russiagate conspiracy that has taken over US foreign policy and driven American political discourse from idiotic to imbecilic.
However, in the schreechfest that our domestic politics has become, we’re no more likely to get a bipartisan Muellergate investigation than we are to get bipartisan agreement on anything but war, austerity, and the “socialist” aspersions now hurled at Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Tulsi Gabbard, and Ilhan Omar. Following Trump’s lead, Democrats have begun attacking their own left flank.
I suffered through Volume I of the Mueller Report nevertheless; it’s such a crashing bore that its authors no doubt trusted few would actually read it. Someone else will have to read and review Volume II, which worries the question of whether or not Trump and friends attempted to obstruct justice in the investigation of the “collusion,” aka “conspiracy,” that didn’t happen. At one point Mueller finally acknowledges that there’s no definition of “collusion” in US criminal law, so they were really considering charges for criminal conspiracy. (Calling it “conspiracy” in the first place might have risked allegations that the US government is engaged in “conspiracy theory,” a term invented by the CIA to patently discredit narratives about world-changing events like the Kennedy, King, and Malcolm X assassinations, and the various false flag operations staged to start wars.)
The “Executive Summary” of Vol. I begins with this a priori assumption:
“The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion. Evidence of Russian government operations began to surface in mid-2016. In June, the Democratic National Committee and its cyber response team publicly announced that Russian hackers had compromised its computer network. Releases of hacked materials—hacks that public reporting soon attributed to the Russian government—began that same month. Additional releases followed in July through the organization WikiLeaks, with further releases in October and November.”
Mueller did no forensic evidence of his own to determine how the DNC and Podesta emails reached Wikileaks. He relied in part on Crowdstrike, which the DNC hired to conduct an investigation in lieu of the FBI’s own (despite the agency’s $9 billion budget). Crowdstrike has ties to the Atlantic Council, through its Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Dimitry Alperivitch, and its President and Chief Strategy Officer Shawn Henry. Henry was formerly with the FBI, where Mueller appointed him to be Executive Assistant Director of its Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch. It’s also worth noting that Google Capital invested $100 million dollars in Crowdstrike.
Mueller didn’t bother to interview any members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), not even Bill Binney, who conducted an independent forensic investigation and concluded that “the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack,” and that “the copying was performed on the East coast of the U.S.” (Not in Russia or Romania.)
Some have said that the DNC or the alleged hackers in Romania may have had internet connections faster than the rest of us mere mortals, but why didn’t Mueller at least look into that instead of ignoring the VIPS report? Wouldn’t the NSA have been more than capable of confirming it? And if the DNC had some sort of unusually speedy internet connection, wouldn’t it have long since offered its internet service bill in evidence?
Mueller did not even talk to Julian Assange, a central player in this saga who is now sitting in London’s Belmarsh Prison while his lawyers fight extradition requests from both Sweden and the US. Assange offered to talk to Mueller in exchange for limited immunity, presumably immunity from charges relating to publication of the DNC and Podesta emails, but Mueller declined.
Russiagate was first and foremost a deflection of attention from the Democrats’ failure and the content of the DNC and Podesta emails. So it’s no surprise that Mueller never entertained the idea that the DNC and Podesta emails might have informed the American public about what the Clinton campaign was hiding or that the public might have a right to know.
Nor did he ever consider that the FBI, the CIA, and/or NSA might have fabricated Russiagate. Forty-five years after the Church Committee, it’s as though Cointelpro and Operation Mockingbird never happened. Now even liberal progressives are in love with the FBI and the CIA.
The post-2016 election.
This section includes a curious set of allegations:
“The Russian Embassy made contact hours after the election to congratulate the President-Elect and to arrange a call with President Putin. Several Russian businessmen picked up the effort from there.”
Isn’t that what heads of state do? Don’t the world’s most powerful heads of state call to congratulate one another on their election? And isn’t that what big businessmen in big corporate states do? Don’t they try to make contacts they can utilize to do business? Trump never stops touting the US weapons sales he negotiates with his head-chopping Saudi friends and neither did Hillary Clinton.
Here’s another curious allegation:
“[Kiril] Dmitriev and [Jared] Kushner’s friend collaborated on a short written reconciliation plan for the United States and Russia, which Dmitriev implied had been cleared through Putin. The friend gave that proposal to Kushner before the inauguration, and Kushner later gave copies to Bannon and incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.”
Isn’t that what heads of state and secretaries of state are supposed to do? Shouldn’t the world’s two greatest nuclear powers do their best to reconcile instead of escalating the new nuclear arms race and amassing more and more troops and missiles on either side of Russia’s European borders?
Another allegation is that Trump’s first National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, attempted to negotiate an easing of tensions caused by the sanctions that Obama had imposed on Russia after Trump won the 2016 election and Russiagate sprouted wings.
This is one of several instances in which Trump, like a broken clock, might be right once or even twice a day. However, he’s since been so relentlessly vilified as a “Russian stooge,” “Putin puppet,” etcetera, that Russian scholar Stephen F. Cohen worries he may be politically unable to negotiate us out of another confrontation as perilous as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Cohen also argues that US-Russia tensions are now worse than they were at any time in the First Cold War.(He coined the “New Cold War” to describe them.)
After the Mueller Report was released, Cohen said, on his weekly broadcast with John Batchelor, that, “Moreover, if you read the footnotes, and as a scholar, I always look at the footnotes—and there’s hundreds of them—it’s amazing how many of Mueller’s footnotes are to newspaper accounts and even tweets. I’ve never seen what purports to be a scholarly research work footnote tweets.”
Where’s the beef?
Much of Volume I is a long tedious account of how various Trump associates had contact with various Russians, all leading up to the great big nothing-burger.
“… while the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges. Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal. And our evidence about the June 9, 2016 meeting and WikiLeaks’s releases of hacked materials was not sufficient to charge a criminal campaign-finance violation. Further, the evidence was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump Campaign conspired with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.”
Social media crime.
Mueller does, however, hold fast to the allegations that Russians conspired to use social media to influence the 2016 election and sow social discord in our otherwise tranquil nation. He never asks why Hillary Clinton’s billion-dollar campaign couldn’t create enough of its own meme-bombs to defeat Russia’s. Nor does he ask whether these claims might have to do with ruling-class anxiety that the internet threatens their control of the narrative, and they’re rushing to censor it.
And why would he? The Mueller Report relies heavily on “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution,” more simply known as the “intelligence community assessment,” which concludes with a list of “key judgements,” most centrally this:
“Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.”
The US-led liberal democratic order meaning of course more war, austerity, and oligarchic rule. It’s grim, but polls at least show that most Americans don’t give a damn about Russiagate and care more about their own impoverishment as wealth inequality continues to soar. Otherwise Trump and the Democratic Party establishment wouldn’t feel compelled to demonize socialism, which 51% of young Americans now prefer to capitalism. And naming it or not, more and more Americans readily see that there’s nothing in this so-called US-led order for them.
See her follow-up article: “Russiagate, Like Count Dracula, Will Never End.“
About Ann Garrison
Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. See her Twitter feed at @AnnGarrison. Especially see these recent articles by her at the BAR …
- Pentagon Manhunt for Julian Assange Preceded Swedish Rape Allegations.
- Assange Is Not a Journalist (If Journalists Are Ass-Kissing Propagandists for the Ruling Class).
About the Black Agenda Report
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For More Information
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This failure of the news media and our political system is an example of the broad institution failure I discuss in A new, dark picture of America’s future.
- A review of Russiagate, its propaganda and hysteria.
- Secrets untold about the DNC hack, the core of RussiaGate.
- Debunking RussiaGate, attempts to stop the new Cold War.
- RussiaGate: fragments of a story large beyond imagining.
- The RussiaGate story implodes. The Left burns with it – by Glen Ford at the Black Agenda Report.
- Peter van Buren shows the path to RussiaGate.
- The best analysis of RussiaGate: its effects & results – By Emmet T. Flood, special counsel to the President.
An essential book about RussiaGate
By Stephen F. Cohen (2018).
“From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate.”
From the publisher (much of this is nonsense) …
“Are we in a new Cold War with Russia? How does a new Cold War affect the safety and security of the United States? Does Vladimir Putin really want to destabilize the West?
“America is in a new Cold War with Russia even more dangerous than the one the world barely survived in the twentieth century. The Soviet Union is gone, but the two nuclear superpowers are again locked in political and military confrontations, now from Ukraine to Syria. All of this is exacerbated by Washington’s war-like demonizing of the Kremlin leadership and by Russiagate’s unprecedented allegations. US mainstream media accounts are highly selective and seriously misleading. American “disinformation,” not only Russian, is a growing peril.
“In War With Russia?, Stephen F. Cohen – the widely acclaimed historian of Soviet and post-Soviet Russia—gives readers a very different, dissenting narrative of this more dangerous new Cold War from its origins in the 1990s, the actual role of Vladimir Putin, and the 2014 Ukrainian crisis to Donald Trump’s election and today’s unprecedented Russiagate allegations.
“Cohen’s views have made him, it is said, ‘America’s most controversial Russia expert.’ Some say this to denounce him, others to laud him as a bold, highly informed critic of US policies and the dangers they have helped to create.
“War With Russia? gives readers a chance to decide for themselves who is right: are we living, as Cohen argues, in a time of unprecedented perils at home and abroad?”