By Mike Whitney
June 02, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - Is Russiagate an investigation of foreign meddling into US elections or retaliation for Washington’s stunning defeat in Syria?
The opening of the Russiagate investigation closely coincides with the Battle of Aleppo, which was the turning point in the 6 year-long Syrian War. In July 2016 –the same month the FBI reportedly began its Russia hacking investigation — Russian-led forces launched their long-awaited Aleppo military offensive. Syrian, Iranian and Hezbollah fighters surrounded the city cutting off critical supplylines to the Sunni militants who remained inside a rapidly shrinking cauldron. In a bitterly-contested, winner-take-all slugfest, loyalist troops flushed the terrorists out of their hideouts and spiderholes, corralled them into smaller, isolated pockets, and forced them to either surrender or retreat. After months of aerial bombardment and door-to-door urban warfare, the opposition collapsed, the Syrian Army regained control of the city, and the broken jihadist militias fled eastward towards Raqqa, Deir Ezzor and beyond.
The CIA’s defeat was a humiliating blow to Director John Brennan whose support for mostly foreign-born extremists was supposed to achieve Washington’s regime change aspirations with less fallout than a full-blown ground war like Iraq. But the plan failed miserably casting serious doubt on Washington’s ability to maintain its regional hegemony or global domination. Russiagate, which is less of an ‘investigation’ than it is a public relations ‘smear campaign’, is the predictable reaction to Washington’s colossal defeat in Aleppo. It is an attempt to expand on the economic sanctions-meme, that is, to use all the tools at one’s disposal to wage war on the enemy. Russia has become the single greatest obstacle to Uncle Sam’s imperial ambitions; it is the emergent threat of which Paul Wolfowitz warned during the Bush years. This is why Russia is relentlessly demonized by the media, penalized with harsh economic sanctions, and disparaged among the allies. And this is why Brennan launched Russiagate. It’s a form of asymmetrical retaliation, 4th Generation “hybrid” warfare, all of which falls under the heading of “Full Spectrum Dominance”, the cornerstone of the Pentagon’s war doctrine.
According to Mother Jones, it was not the FBI that initiated the “Trump-Russia connection”.. but ..”Former CIA Director John Brennan says he was the one who got the ball rolling.”
Indeed. Brennan appears to be the central figure in this political fiasco, the font from which many of the spurious accusations, the bogus claims and the ominous pronouncements seem to emerge. Why is that?
It’s because Brennan’s army of Salafist misfits were clobbered in Aleppo leaving the Director with egg on his face. That’s why Brennan wants payback, he wants to hurt the people who hurt him, namely, Putin. That’s what Russiangate is all about: Revenge.
But how does Trump fit in with all this, after all, Trump had no part in Syria, and he certainly had nothing to do with Brennan’s defeat in Aleppo.
Trump was merely added to the mix after the smear campaign had already begun and the demonization process was in full-swing. It’s almost like Trump was an after-thought on the part of the perpetrators who must have figured they could kill two birds with one stone. The only problem is that they forgot that attacking a sitting president can be a lot thornier than slandering a foreign adversary. For one thing, it requires proof of wrongdoing which has been the glitch from the get-go. The media and the political class have mastered the accusations and fearmongering-part, they’re a just bit short on the proof-part which is what they really need to work on. Regrettably for them, they have yet to produce any hard evidence of foreign meddling or collusion in the 10 month-long probe. (Ex-DNI Director James Clapper has said repeatedly that there is no “smoking gun” proof of collusion.) On top of that, we now know that the foundation upon which they have built their pyramid of lies, the so called Intelligence Community Assessment, was written by hand-picked analysts whose conclusions were arguably twisted to fit the policy. In other words, the ICA is a thoroughly-unreliable document that represents the political objectives of its authors. In layman’s terms, it’s worthless.
In last week’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Brennan demonstrated once again his uncanny ability to control the narrative. In tightly scripted comments, the former Spook Chief attempted to frame members of the Trump campaign by suggesting their relations with Russian officials were either improper or illegal, a dubious charge that he has yet to prove. Here’s part of what he said:
“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. It raised questions in my mind about whether Russia was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.”
That was all the Washington Post needed to demand “a full investigation of Russia’s election-year hacking, (and) any sort of Trump campaign collusion.”
The Post doesn’t quibble about trivial matters like probable cause, reasonable doubt or the presumption of innocence. Heck, no. Let’s impanel a Grand Jury and let the impeachment proceedings begin! It’s a wonder that the W.P’s coverage is taken seriously by its readers. The bias is so glaring, you could cut it with a knife. And Politico is even worse. Here’s a blurb from Politico’s Austin Wright on the same Brennan quote from above:
“(Brennan’s) remarks, before the House Intelligence Committee, are the most direct acknowledgment yet by a current or former U.S. official that Russia sought to recruit Americans to help in its effort to affect the 2016 contest. The remarks also further complicate matters for President Donald Trump, who has dismissed the investigations into Russia’s election meddling as a “witch hunt.” (Politico)
This is delusional. There’s no evidence “that Russia sought to recruit Americans”. None. This is pure speculation based on the fearmongering blabber of a former CIA Director whose credibility is on a par with Bernie Madoff. We’re not talking about ‘honest’ Abe Lincoln here. We’re talking about the former head of the most diabolical organization in history, an organization that, since its inception in 1949, has engaged in all manner of demonic behavior including torture, death squads, rendition, black sites, kidnapping, extortion, drug trafficking, regime change and, of course, the arming, training and funding of Islamic extremists which is the source of the current terrorist plague that has engulfed the planet. It all started with the CIA. The idea that people take the specious palavering of this man at face value, is beyond belief. The truth is, Brennan’s appearance on the Hill was a thoroughly-rehearsed performance that was concocted to advance the geopolitical agenda of his paymasters, an agenda that, in all probability, involves a war with Russia. Isn’t that the real objective?
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In the last week the media has been stumbling over themselves to report on the “new developments” in the investigation. As it happens, those new developments involve Trump’s son in law and chief advisor, Jared Kushner, who has been identified as a “person of interest”.
Think about that for a minute. After a ten month-long investigation involving all 14 US Intelligence agencies, the best they can come up with is a person of interest? It’s an admission that they have nothing. Here’s a clip from the New York Times that helps to put the Kushner matter into perspective:
“…responding to questions from The Times about the meetings with Mr. Kislyak and Mr. Gorkov, Ms. Hicks said the meetings were part of an effort by Mr. Kushner to improve relations between the United States and Russia, and to identify areas of possible cooperation.
But the Trump transition was unique in its unwillingness to use the government’s communications lines and briefing material for its dealings with many foreign governments, partly because of concern that Obama administration officials might be monitoring the calls….” (“Investigation Turns to Kushner’s Motives in Meeting With a Putin Ally”, New York Times)
Horrors! So the Trump team actually wanted to improve relations with Russia. How could they dream of such a thing? (sarcasm) And, at the same time, they wanted to keep their contacts under wraps because they knew the Obama’s Stasi had them under surveillance. Is that a crime or is the real crime the fact that Susan Rice had been unmasking the names of people in the new administration and delivering them to the intelligence agencies so they dig up dirt on them and leak it to the media? Who’s the real criminal here? Take a look at this revealing clip from CNN:
“Russian government officials discussed having potentially “derogatory” information about then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and some of his top aides in conversations intercepted by US intelligence during the 2016 election, according to two former intelligence officials and a congressional source.
One source described the information as financial in nature and said the discussion centered on whether the Russians had leverage over Trump’s inner circle. The source said the intercepted communications suggested to US intelligence that Russians believed “they had the ability to influence the administration through the derogatory information.”” (CNN)
If Trump or his people are in cahoots with Moscow, then they should be charged with a crime. No one objects to that. But the American people also deserve to know whether the Intelligence agencies were bugging the Trump campaign and what justification they had for conducting that investigation. After all, what is the greater danger to democracy: The prospect that some foreign country might have extracted a few emails from unprotected servers at the DNC or that rogue spymasters operating in the interests of god-knows-who are scooping up everything they can on the opposition party so they can drag them through the mud, undermine their campaign, and sabotage their political agenda?
That’s a no brainer, isn’t it?
Have you read about the recent ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that proves that the NSA has been illegally surveilling innocent American citizens for years? Here’s an excerpt from an article at Motherboard:
“Thursday, the Department of Justice released the 99-page court opinion from last month that ordered the National Security Agency to delete much of its surveillance on American people, which was collected improperly and in potential violation of the Fourth Amendment. The DOJ released the opinion as part of a 2015 plan to be more transparent…..The court order triggered the surprise announcement two weeks ago that the agency would be severely scaling back its domestic surveillance and destroying previously collected data on Americans….
According to the opinion—parts of which are redacted—the NSA improperly collected untold numbers of “multi-communications transactions” (MCTs) as they were in transit around the internet. The NSA is intentionally vague about what MCTs are, but they are believed to be groups of emails, metadata, screenshots of your inbox, and still-classified types of digital information (here’s the best primer explaining MCTs). (“This Is the Secret Court Order That Forced the NSA to Delete the Data It Collected About You”, Motherboard)
Can you appreciate the danger that these massive information dragnets pose to democracy? It has nothing to do with whether “I have nothing to hide” or not. That’s completely irrelevant. The Forth amendment doesn’t merely protect one’s own personal privacy, it prevents the state from acquiring coercive surveillance powers that pave the way for police state tyranny. Can’t you see that?
We may not know all the details yet, but it seems fairly obvious from the amount of leaks from the Trump White House that classified information is being routinely gathered by operatives within the government itself and deliberately leaked to the media in order to inflict maximum damage on the administration. In other words, there are elements operating within the intelligence community that are using their power to incriminate a sitting president and remove him from office. Simply put, the intel agencies have ‘gone rogue’ and now pose a real and present danger to the republic itself. And while no one really knows how much Obama knew about this massive domestic spying operation that was going on right beneath his nose, we DO know that the collection of information on private citizens greatly accelerated on his watch. (“Circa has reported that there was a three-fold increase in NSA data searches about Americans and a rise in the unmasking of U.S. person’s identities in intelligence reports after Obama loosened the privacy rules in 2011.”) It’s worth noting, that the ultimate goal of these massive domestic-surveillance programs is to create a lock-down society where the behavior of every citizen can be completely monitored and controlled.
Trump may be a rotten president but, in the big scheme of things, he’s just small potatoes. What we need to know is whether a shadow government –staffed by the intel agents and political meatpuppets– now controls the levers of state power, a hidden government that might be planning to oust the president or –god help us–launch a war on Russia.
The only way to get to the bottom of this is by investigating the man who appears to be at the very center of the action, John Brennan. If anyone knows how the system really works, it’s Brennan.Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at email@example.com.
This article was first published by Counterpunch -