The words apply well to Robert Parry, who died last night. Truly, such as he was, he gave himself outright — as the consummate journalist. Robert Frost won four Pulitzers for poetry; Robert Parry was deserving of at least four for journalism.
Medically, a third stroke in four weeks was the proximate cause. But what brought on the strokes? Bob was thoughtful enough to share with us his own insights regarding the underlying cause, in an apologia he struggled to write after his first stroke on Christmas Eve.
His eyesight was impaired. His vision for professional journalism was unimpaired.
Here is a link to his New Year’s Eve apologia. The text, too, is included below:
An Apology and Explanation
December 31, 2017
From Editor Robert Parry: For readers who have come to see Consortiumnews as a daily news source, I would like to extend my personal apology for our spotty production in recent days. On Christmas Eve, I suffered a stroke that has affected my eyesight (especially my reading and thus my writing) although apparently not much else. The doctors have also been working to figure out exactly what happened since I have never had high blood pressure, I never smoked, and my recent physical found nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps my personal slogan that “every day’s a work day” had something to do with this.
Though I don’t like the word “weaponized,” it began to apply to how “information” was used in America. The point of Consortiumnews, which I founded in 1995, was to use the new medium of the modern Internet to allow the old principles of journalism to have a new home, i.e., a place to pursue important facts and giving everyone a fair shake. But we were just a tiny pebble in the ocean. The trend of using journalism as just another front in no-holds-barred political warfare continued – with Democrats and liberals adapting to the successful techniques pioneered mostly by Republicans and by well-heeled conservatives.
Ray talked Wednesday about the Dumb-Strzok FBI; the unfolding of FBI-gate; and the evidence “inadvertently” destroyed by the FBI & NSA. He also recounted time spent, on a small Veterans For Peace delegation last March, with 16 year-old Ahed Tamimi and her family, who refuse to acquiesce to Israeli oppression in their small West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. The VFP delegation stayed with the Tamimis and had a chance to experience personally Israel’s stun-grenade-cum-tear-gas hospitality.
Ray’s segment starts at minute 32:00 (with FBI-gate); the Tamimi family part runs from minute 49:30 to 57:00. Dennis Bernstein of KPFA’s Flashpoints conducted the interview.
The Obama Administration’s ‘Brazen Plot To Exonerate Hillary Clinton’ and sabotage Trump Is Starting To Leak Out, According To Former Fed Prosecutor
This 31-minute interview of diGenova is well worth watching …
Joe diGenova, a former federal prosecutor says the truth is starting to seep out about the Obama Administration’s “brazen plot to exonerate Hillary Clinton” and “frame an incoming president with a false Russian conspiracy,” in an exclusive interview.
DiGenova connects the dots on former Obama administration Justice Department and FBI officials who may have “violated the law, perhaps committed crimes” to politicize law enforcement and surveillance against political opponents. …
White Supremacy and Military Bases: a Short Talk by Ray on “The White Man’s Burden” — the bloody burden on people of color, and other “others” like the young Palestinian woman, Ahed Tamimi — that is.
(Filmed & Published by Other Voices, Other Choices)
Ray was speaking on the Sunday panel on NATO, at the Conference on U.S. Foreign Bases in Baltimore (Jan. 12-14). Running through the earlier talks was the pivotal role played by white supremacy and racism.
By Diane Roark
Senate Leader Mitch McConnell this Tuesday pulled out his bag of parliamentary tricks to avoid a meaningful alternative to extending, until 2023, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). On January 11, Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi cooperated in the House of Representatives to beat back rising bipartisan opposition to unconstitutional domestic snooping that has been ineffective in preventing terrorism in the US.
Cloture limits total debate on the bill to 30 hours (often actually far less), with no more than one hour per senator. It also requires that proposed amendments be filed by certain deadlines. This will severely weaken the threat of Senators Paul and Wyden to filibuster passage of S.139, also requiring participation in the filibuster by numerous colleagues. Additionally, cloture bans consideration of amendments that have not been filed by specified times.
Using Section 702 authority and operating without warrants, the National Security Agency (NSA) has since at least 2008 scanned fiber optic lines entering the United States, copying, storing and searching them using a list of targets and other key words. Stored “hits” from these electronic transmissions may contain mere passing mention of such items. No warrants are obtained to scan and collect these electronic communications to or from US persons. Nor do analysts from NSA, FBI and elsewhere get a warrant to pull US persons’ messages from the databases and search them for any reason, even criminal investigations, not just counterterrorism. During House debate, supporters of Section 702 advocated excepting 702 operations from Fourth Amendment requirements.
Declassified opinions from the FISA Court (FISC) document longstanding and serious NSA violation of FISC’s guidelines, plus the Court’s inability to trust the Agency’s word. The Court found no way to enforce even the very lenient conditions it imposed. In 2008, then-Speaker Pelosi had ridiculed any suggestion that Section 702 would enable warrantless surveillance. But if any law should be rejected because of widespread abuses, this is it. Surprisingly, supporters of S.139 claimed during House debate that there had been no or minimal compliance problems, and those supporting an amendment to S.139 did not challenge this claim. Nor did they note that FISA allows emergency collection for three days while getting a warrant.
In an apparently deliberate loophole, Section 702 does not define what is “foreign” collection. Many communications between persons located in the US routinely are routed abroad to less crowded or cheaper fiber optic lines. Such communications re-entering the US therefore often are purely domestic, but could be labeled as “foreign” because they are returning from abroad. All such communications are searched using key words, and retained if there is a “hit.” So, for instance, if your email to a nearby buddy discusses a terrorist “bomb” explosion in New York, it may be copied and dumped into a 702 database.
In another sleight of hand, NSA secretly redefined its use of terms to avoid their common and prior technical meaning. Collection now occurs only when an analyst retrieves an item from the database; this abets NSA in misleading the public about the extent of collection. NSA has repeatedly refused to tell even its Congressional Intelligence Committee overseers how many US persons or communications are in such databases, a tally or range that mostly should be available using 2001 technology.
Despite this sorry record, the Judiciary Committee’s S. 139 bill extending Section 702 actually “legalizes” what FISC declared to be violations of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment banning unreasonable, warrantless search and seizure. It allows databased communications, whether foreign or domestic, to be searched by NSA and other agencies, for any purpose and without a warrant.
Past claims that pending terrorist attacks were blocked due to domestic surveillance have not withstood scrutiny.
Failure traces to NSA’s “collect it all” approach that buries useful information. Even were a few claims of 702 prevention of domestic terrorism reliably verified, the responsibility to protect our freedom and republic is far more important. Almost inexplicably, US terrorist attacks by untargeted persons who were radicalized and trained online to create bombs occur regularly.
These online sites, not ordinary persons’ electronic activities, should have blanket NSA coverage, but the agency repeatedly fails at this most basic task.
Diane Roark retired in 2002 after 17 years on the Republican staff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. During her last five years, she was the majority staffer responsible for oversight of NSA finances and operations, and in her final months she strongly opposed the onset of domestic surveillance.
and, from Wikipedia:
Diane Roark is an American whistleblower who served as a Republican staffer on the House Intelligence Committee from 1985 to 2002. She was, right after 9/11, “the House Intelligence Committee staffer in charge of oversight of the NSA”. Along with William Binney, Ed Loomis, and J. Kirk Wiebe, she filed a complaint to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General (DoD IG) about the National Security Agency’s highly classified Trailblazer Project. Her house was raided by armed FBI agents in 2007 after she was wrongly suspected of leaking to The New York Times reporter James Risen and to Siobhan Gorman at The Baltimore Sun in stories about NSA warrantless surveillance. This led to her suing the government in 2012 because they did not return her computer, which they had seized during the raid, and because the government failed to clear her name. The punitive treatment of Roark, Binney, Wiebe, and Loomis, as well as, and, in particular, then still active (rather than retired) NSA executive Thomas Andrews Drake, who had gone in confidence with anonymity assured to the DoD IG, led the Assistant Inspector General John Crane to eventually become a public whistleblower himself and also led Edward Snowden to go public with revelations rather than to report within the internal whistleblower program.
FBI ‘Should Feel Embarrassed’ by Its Russian Meddling Claims –Ex-CIA Analyst
Jan. 15, 2018 (The audio is 8 minutes long; click on the start-arrow toward the end of the above link.)
Speaking to Radio Sputnik about his explosive, detailed and documented but broadly overlooked investigation into how US intelligence agencies, not Russia, were the ones trying to meddle in the 2016 US presidential race, retired CIA officer-turned political activist Ray McGovern outlined why changing Americans’ minds on the matter is so difficult.
McGovern’s report, which came out last week, provided new, documented proof on some of the ways US intelligence officers attempted to interfere in the 2016 election, and on how pro-Clinton FBI staffers now involved in the Trump-Russia collusion investigation worked to try to immunize former Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton from crimes including lying to the FBI and endangering state secrets.
Sputnik: Tell us a little about this report, and how you came about creating it.
Ray McGovern: Well, it was not very difficult. The fact that our report is unique is a symptom of the blanket coverage saying that Russia interfered in our election. Even most of my progressive colleagues believe that and so this is a counter-narrative, and it’s really hard to change your mind around into believing something very different, even if, as in this case, it’s based on documentary evidence [as cited in:
So, just let me note at the outset that this is the first request, after several days of this article being up on the web in various places, for an interview, on this shocking news that it might not be Russia that intervened into our election, but rather the FBI in cooperation with the CIA and others who we call the deep state.
The story is simply this: the exchange of emails that was released by the Department of Justice Inspector General shows that very top-level FBI officials, including the head of counterintelligence, were plotting to make sure #1: that Trump did not win and #2: that if he did win, they would be able to push a narrative saying ‘Aha, he didn’t win fairly, and it was the Russians that helped him win.’
That is the narrative that prevails in our media right now; it’s a really, really shameful thing because even my progressive friends believe it. Even the progressive websites that used to automatically print my materials, like CommonDreams for example, or Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. I am shunned, like those dissidents in Russia way back when the Soviet Union existed.
Sputnik: Why would the FBI and the CIA try to promote this Russian-hacking narrative, when implying that they could allow such a thing to happen makes them look incompetent?
Ray McGovern: If it were true, it would make them incompetent. You’re quite right; they’re pushing a narrative that should be embarrassing, but the American people are not aware of what’s really going on, because the media presents a one-sided view here.
The intelligence agencies were first and foremost determined [to ensure] that Trump could not win. You have not only this business coming out of the FBI – mainly documentary evidence in the form of text messages, but the…[forensically disproven] notion that Russia hacked into the DNC emails and gave them to WikiLeaks.
When I say that’s disproven, it all hinges on the forensic studies we have supervised, made and reported on, which show that this Guciffer 2.0 is a fraud…He’s an entity that was invented, we think [“we” being Bill Binney from the NSA, earlier, and I ] we think that it was probably our own security services who invented Guciffer 2.0 and used this entity as a way of showing ‘Oh, here are Russian templates on these messages!’ and ‘Oh, here’s a little bit of Cyrillic!’ They superimposed this ‘evidence’ on these messages to show that the Russians hacked. That is disproven by forensics now. [See:
It’s very important that people know this, but just as other things that show the faults of the narrative that prevails, it does not appear in the media, not even in the so-called progressive media.
Sputnik: Donald Trump is known for his difficult relationship with the security agencies. What do you make of that?
Ray McGovern: Well let me just give you one example. Right before he became president, that is on the 6th of January …the FBI, the CIA and the NSA gave him a scurrilous document that indicated that he had been guilty of all manner of profane and other activities captured by the [Russian FSB] when he visited Moscow many years ago.
Why did they do that? They did it as an annex to another report that had no proof in real evidence, that is, that the Russians, under the direction of President Putin, interfered in our elections.
What happened was, three of them presented it, and one stayed behind, and that was James Comey of the FBI…[who] gave [Trump] what was called the dossier, the dossier about all of these terrible things. Now none of them are true. It’s disproven and really conjured up. Why did they do it?
It’s an old tactic that the FBI uses. They say to an incoming president, ‘we have this information on you, so just be aware.’…If I were Mr. Trump, I would react very, very negatively to that, because this is the old implicit trick of blackmail; that the security services have this information on a new president, and they can use it at any time if he does not do the bidding of the security services.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Takes on David Satterfield, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East; Suggests He Read Up on What’s Been Going On
Zakharova briefing, Jan. 2018 (excerpts below)
The official Foreign Ministry spokesperson holds weekly briefings, the transcripts of which are posted on the ministry’s official website. We focus extensively on Russia’s long-term strategy in Syria. The US State Department could have already introduced its high-ranking official to our statements, briefings, and transcripts of remarks made by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The Presidential Executive Office, primarily President Vladimir Putin, the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry talk daily about the steps that Russia is taking to resolve the situation in Syria …
How is that unclear? … We could not have anticipated such incompetence in an Acting Assistant Secretary of State.
In yet another statement, Satterfield noted that the United States plans to act on Syria through the UN in opposition to the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi. … This is a counterweight to Sochi … We cannot and will not legitimize a settlement process that is alternative to the one that Russia is pursuing.
Is he aware that Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, was in Moscow and met with the Russian Foreign Minister and Defense Ministry? Is he aware that modalities were arranged to connect the UN directly to the holding of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi? Did he not hear the statements made by the UN Secretary-General and his special envoy? …
It is striking that the United States openly talks about opposing the Congress. It may well be that they are trying to package the events in Sochi as something in opposition to the processes unfolding in Geneva. We have repeatedly said that all these processes are intertwined. A full-fledged settlement is impossible without Geneva and Astana, or without connecting the negotiation platforms, which have been active over the past several years. … What is surprising, though, is that the opposition to holding the Congress in Sochi is now stated openly, in particular, by US diplomats. It is now becoming clear why some Syrian opposition groups are saying that they do not have a clear position with regard to participating in the Congress. It is clear who is behind this and who is actively hampering this process. (Emphasis added)
Shortly afterwards, when we failed to hear, first of all, from the United States – as the leader of some anti-terrorist coalitions in Syria – confirmation of its desire to work together, Russia had to start that operation to counter terrorist groups which you observed, almost openly, sometimes online, as you visited the regions. During this operation, we have repeatedly stated that the United States and the international coalition that it leads provide direct support to certain terrorist groups.
Certain politicians in the United States claim that it was not Russia that scored such a truly major victory in the decisive battle against ISIS, but the United States. Now, everything is distorted and portrayed as if the United States was left there face to face with the enemy. It is just lack of understanding of what is actually happening in that region.
I would like to turn to specific subjects. The number of provocations by Jabhat al-Nusra militants and radical illegal armed formations, including attacks against Russian military bases, increased markedly in Syria in the first days of 2018. By the way, David Satterfield could share a lot of interesting information about the role of the United States in supporting this entity with US legislators. …