DNC-Gate: Patrick Lawrence Saw Through It From the Start.

How the DNC fabricated a Russian hacker conspiracy to deflect blame for its email scandal
By Patrick Lawrence, July 25, 2016

In late July 2016, author Patrick Lawrence*** was sickened, as he watched what he immediately recognized as a well planned and highly significant “Magnificent Diversion.” The Clinton-friendly media was excoriating Russia for “hacking” DNC emails and was glossing over what the emails showed; namely, that the Clinton Dems had stolen the nomination from Bernie Sanders.

Six weeks before, on June 12, 2016, Julian Assange had announced that he had “emails relating to Hillary Clinton pending publication.”  But he did not publish them until July 22 — three days before the Democratic National Convention. It was clear even then that the Democrats, with invaluable help from intelligence leaks and other prepping to the media, had made good use of those six weeks before the convention.  The media was primed to castigate the Russians for “hacking,” while diverting attention from the grand larceny showing through the emails themselves.  It was a liminal event  of historic significance, as we now know. The “Magnificent Diversion worked like a charm — and then it grew like Topsy.

Patrick Lawrence was onto it from the start.  He commented that he had “fire in the belly” on the morning of July 25 and wrote what follows pretty much “in one long, furious exhale” within 12 hours of when the media started really pushing the “the Russians-did-it” narrative.  Here’s the text of his article:

How the DNC fabricated a Russian hacker conspiracy to deflect blame for its email scandal
Leaked revelations of the DNC’s latest misconduct bear a disturbing resemblance to Cold War red-baiting
By Patrick Lawrence, July 25, 2016
Now wait a minute, all you upper-case “D” Democrats. A flood light suddenly shines on your party apparatus, revealing its grossly corrupt machinations to fix the primary process and sink the Sanders campaign, and within a day you are on about the evil Russians having hacked into your computers to sabotage our elections — on behalf of Donald Trump, no less?
Is this a joke? Are you kidding? Is nothing beneath your dignity? Is this how lowly you rate the intelligence of American voters? My answers to these, in order: yes, but the kind one cannot laugh at; no, we’re not kidding; no, we will do anything, and yes, we have no regard whatsoever for Americans so long as we can connive them out of their votes every four years.
Clowns. Subversives. Do you know who you remind me of? I will tell you: Nixon, in his famously red-baiting campaign — a disgusting episode — against the right-thinking Helen Gahagan Douglas during his first run for the Senate, in 1950. Your political tricks are as transparent and anti-democratic as his, it is perfectly fair to say.
I confess to a heated reaction to events since last Friday among the Democrats, specifically in the Democratic National Committee. I should briefly explain these for the benefit of readers who have better things to do than watch the ever more insulting farce foisted upon us as legitimate political procedure.
The Sanders people have long charged that the DNC has had its fingers on the scale, as one of them put it the other day, in favor of Hillary Clinton’s nomination. The prints were everywhere — many those of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who has repeatedly been accused of anti-Sanders bias. Schultz, do not forget, co-chaired Clinton’s 2008 campaign against Barack Obama. That would be enough to disqualify her as the DNC’s chair in any society that takes ethics seriously, but it is not enough in our great country. Chairwoman she has been for the past five years.
Last Friday WikiLeaks published nearly 20,000 DNC email messages providing abundant proof that Sanders and his staff were right all along. The worst of these, involving senior DNC officers, proposed Nixon-esque smears having to do with everything from ineptitude within the Sanders campaign to Sanders as a Jew in name only and an atheist by conviction.
Wasserman fell from grace on Monday. Other than this, Democrats from President Obama to Clinton and numerous others atop the party’s power structure have had nothing to say, as in nothing, about this unforgivable breach.They have, rather, been full of praise for Wasserman Schultz. Brad Marshall, the D.N.C.’s chief financial officer, now tries to deny that his Jew-baiting remark referred to Sanders. Good luck, Brad: Bernie is the only Jew in the room. 
The caker came on Sunday, when Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and (covering all bases) CNN’s “State of the Union” to assert that the D.N.C.’s mail was hacked “by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.” He knows this — knows it in a matter of 24 hours — because “experts” — experts he will never name — have told him so. …
What’s disturbing to us is that experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, and other experts are now saying that Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.
Is that what disturbs you, Robby? Interesting. Unsubstantiated hocus-pocus, not the implications of these events for the integrity of Democratic nominations and the American political process? The latter is the more pressing topic, Robby. You are far too long on anonymous experts for my taste, Robby. And what kind of expert, now that I think of it, is able to report to you as to the intentions of Russian hackers — assuming for a sec that this concocted narrative has substance? 
Making lemonade out of a lemon, the Clinton campaign now goes for a twofer. Watch as it advances the Russians-did-it thesis on the basis of nothing, then shoots the messenger, then associates Trump with its own mess — and, finally, gets to ignore the nature of its transgression (which any paying-attention person must consider grave). 
Preposterous, readers. Join me, please, in having absolutely none of it. There is no “Russian actor” at the bottom of this swamp, to put my position bluntly. You will never, ever be offered persuasive evidence otherwise. 
Reluctantly, I credit the Clinton campaign and the DNC with reading American paranoia well enough such that they may make this junk stick. In a clear sign the entire crowd-control machine is up and running, The New York Times had a long, unprofessional piece about Russian culprits in its Monday editions. It followed Mook’s lead faithfully: not one properly supported fact, not one identified “expert,” and more conditional verbs than you’ve had hot dinners — everything cast as “could,” “might,” “appears,” “would,” “seems,” “may.” Nothing, once again, as to the very serious implications of this affair for the American political process. 
Now comes the law. The FBI just announced that it will investigate — no, not the DNC’s fraudulent practices (which surely breach statutes), but “those who pose a threat in cyberspace.” The House Intelligence Committee simultaneously promised to do (and leave undone) the same. This was announced, please note, by the ranking Democrat on the Republican-controlled committee. 
Bearing many memories of the Cold War’s psychological warp — and if you are too young to remember, count your blessings — it is the invocation of the Russians that sends me over the edge. My bones grow weary at the thought of living through a 21st century variant. Halifax, anyone? 
Here we come to a weird reversal of roles.
We must take the last few days’ events as a signal of what Clinton’s policy toward Russia will look like should she prevail in November. I warned in this space after the NATO summit in Warsaw earlier this month that Cold War II had just begun. Turning her party’s latest disgrace into an occasion for another round of Russophobia is mere preface, but in it you can read her commitment to the new crusade. 
Trump, to make this work, must be blamed for his willingness to negotiate with Moscow. This is now among his sins. Got that? Anyone who says he will talk to the Russians has transgressed the American code. Does this not make Trump the Helen Gahagan Douglas of the piece? Does this not make Hillary Clinton more than a touch Nixonian? 
I am developing nitrogen bends from watching the American political spectacle. One can hardly tell up from down. Which way for a breath of air?
Patrick Lawrence is Salon’s foreign affairs columnist. A longtime correspondent abroad, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune and The New Yorker, he is an essayist, critic, editor and contributing writer at The Nation. His most recent book is “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century”. Follow him on Twitter. Support him at Patreon.com. His web site is patricklawrence.us.
*** A year later, on August 9, 2017, Lawrence interviewed several VIPS and composed “A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack.”
Lawrence wrote, “Former NSA experts, now members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.”
And so it was.  Again, Lawrence got it right.  But, sadly, that cut across the grain of acceptable Russia-gate narrative at The Nation at the time.  He was let go.
Hat tip to VIPS’ Todd Pierce for happening upon Patrick Lawrence’s July 25, 2016 on the Web.

Treatment of Assange Compared to That Accorded to Dirty Dossier’s Steele

By Annie Machon, former MI5 intelligence officer
(A DIRECTLY Russia-gate-related article from the Sam Adams Associates website [[ http://samadamsaward.ch ]] by Annie Machon, one of SAAII’s most experienced and active members.)

While it is all too easy to become frustrated and annoyed by what passes for news in the legacy media these days, this article in the Daily Mail [[ https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6088015/Ex-British-spy-trump-dossier-wins-legal-battle.html ]] did arouse my particular ire early one morning – and in this instance no particular blame attaches to the newspaper, it is simply reporting some unpalatable facts.

The gist of it is that former British MI6 intelligence officer and current mercenary spy-for-hire, Christopher Steele, author of the discredited “Dirty Dossier” about Donald Trump, has been accorded First Amendment rights in a court case in the USA.

You might wonder why this article caused me so much spluttering annoyance over my breakfast? Steele’s treatment is in marked contrast to that accorded to Wikileaks publisher and editor in chief, Julian Assange, and the hypocrisy is breathtaking. Allow me to expound.

Christopher Steele is a British intelligence officer of pretty much my vintage. According to what is available publicly, he worked for MI6, the British overseas intelligence gathering agency, for 22 years, serving in Russian in the early 90s and in Paris at the end of that decade – around the time that MI5 whistleblower, David Shayler, was imprisoned in that city pending a failed extradition case to the UK. It is probable that Steele would have been monitoring us then.

After being outed as an MI6 officer in 1999 by his former colleague, Richard Tomlinson, he was pretty much desk-bound in London until he resigned in 2009 to set up, in the inimitable way of so many former spooks, a private consultancy that can provide plausibly deniable services to corporations and perhaps their former employers.

Steele established just such a mercenary spy outfit, Orbis Business Intelligence, with another ex-colleague Chris Burrows in 2009. Orbis made its name in exposing corruption at the heart of FIFA in 2015 and was thereafter approached as an out-sourced partner by Fusion GPS – the company initially hired to dig dirt on presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016 by one of his Republican rivals and which then went on to dig up dirt on behalf of Hilary Clinton’s DNC.

The result is what has become known as the “Dirty Dossier”, a grubby collection of prurient gossip with no real evidence or properly sourced information. As a former MI6 intelligence officer, Steele should be hanging his head in shame at such a shoddy and embarrassingly half-baked report.
On a slightly tangential note, there has been some speculation, suppressed in the UK at least via the D Notice censorship system, that MI6 agent and Russian traitor Sergei Skripal, the victim of the alleged Novichok poisoning in the UK earlier this year, remained in contact with his handler Pablo Miller, who also is reported to work for Orbis Business Intelligence. If this were indeed the case, then it would be a logical assumption that Orbis, via Miller, might well have used Skripal as one of its “reliable sources” for the Dossier.

Despite all this, Steele has won a legal case in the USA, where he had been sued by three Russian oligarchs who claimed that the Dirty Dossier traduced their reputations. And he won on the basis that his report was protected by First Amendment rights under the constitution of the USA, which guarantees US citizens the right to freedom of expression. Despite the fact that Steele is British:

“But Judge Anthony Epstein disagreed, writing in his judgment that “advocacy on issues of public interest has the capacity to inform public debate, and thereby furthers the purposes of the First Amendment, regardless of the citizenship or residency of the speakers”.”

This is the nub of the issue: Steele, a former official UK intelligence officer and current mercenary spy-for-hire, is granted legal protection by the American courts for digging up and subsequently leaking what appears to be controversial and defamatory information about the current President as well as various Russians, all paid for by Trump’s political opponents. And Steele is given the full protection of the US legal system.

On the other hand we have an award-winning journalist and publisher, Julian Assange, whose organisation Wikileaks has never been found to report anything factually incorrect in over 10 years, being told that if he were to be extradited from his current political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to face the full wrath of a vengeful American establishment, he is not entitled to claim protection of the First Amendment because his is an Australian citizen not an American.

It has been an open secret for years that the US government has installed a secret Grand Jury in Virginia (the home of the CIA) to investigate Assange and bring him to “justice” for publishing embarrassing US government documents as well as evidence of war crimes. There have been calls from US politicians for the death sentence, life in prison without parole, and even assassination. The US has been scrabbling around for years to try to find any charge it could potentially throw at him – hell, it will probably make up a new law just for him, so desperate as it is to make an example of him.

However, the fake “Russiagate” narrative gave the US deep state an additional spur – against all evidence and Assange’s own statements – it alleges that “Russia” hacked the DNC and Podesta emails and Assange was the conduit to make them public. This is seen as a win-win for the US establishment, apparently if erroneously proving that Russia hacked the US presidential election and confirming that Assange runs an “non-state hostile intelligence agency”, according to current CIA Director, Mike Pompeo
Except he does not. He is an editor running a high-tech publishing outfit that has caused embarrassment to governments and corporations around the world, not just America. If he can be prosecuted for publishing information very much in the public interest, then all the legacy media feeding off the Wikileaks hydrant of information are equally vulnerable.

This being the case, surely he of all people requires the protection of the First Amendment in the USA? Otherwise the concept that free media can hold power to account is surely dead?

First published on RT Op-Ed on 24 August 2018.

Shocked Vladimir Putin Slowly Realizing He Didn’t Conspire With Trump Campaign

‘Who The Hell Was I Working With Then?’ Asks Russian President

MOSCOW—Saying that he had been “totally blindsided” by the revelations from the recently released findings of the Mueller investigation, a shocked Vladimir Putin reportedly came to the realization Tuesday that he didn’t conspire with Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign after all. “What the hell? I worked so hard on this—if I wasn’t colluding with the Trump campaign, who the hell was I colluding with?” said the dumbfounded Russian president, growing increasingly angry as he scrolled through his email inbox and recounted his numerous efforts at covert communication with individuals who he had thought were high-ranking Trump officials, but now he suspected were bots or anonymous internet trolls.

“Man, it seemed so legit. I can’t believe I let myself get conned like this. I spent so much time emailing back and forth with DonaldTrump46@hotmail.com about compromising the democratic voting process, and now it turns out it was all fake? And we spent so much time gathering all that kompromat on the wrong people. Goddammit, I feel like I’ve wasted my life.” At press time, Putin was frantically double-checking that Russia had assisted in propping up a dictator in Syria and not some other country.

Ray on Why the Deep State Hates Julian Assange

At the April 5 online vigil to demonstrate support for Julian Assange and to send up a loud international shout to discourage Ecuador and the UK from bowing to U.S. pressure to hand him over.  Ray reviewed the bidding and provided informal commentary.  The interviewers were Joe Lauria and Elizabeth Lea Vox. 
Ray’s segment came at the start of the multi-hour vigil; his comments run for the first 16 minutes, after which he, Joe, and Elizabeth cross-talk until minute 33:25.

Mexican Daily Frontpages VIPS Warning on Venezuela

By Ray McGovern

Fulton Armstrong advises that La Jornada, one of Mexico’s leading national newspapers, has frontpaged a translation of VIPS’ Memorandum of April 4 to President Trump, urging caution regarding Venezuela.
Here is the link to the article in La Jornada: 
And the link to the earlier VIPS Memo is here:
Fulton Armstrong was principal drafter of the VIPS Memo; he been National Intelligence Officer for Latin America, and also National Security Council Director for Inter-American Affairs.  La Jornada placed the VIPS Memo at the  center of its front page today, Sunday, under the headline: Intervenir en Venezuela llevará a la guerra con Rusia, alertan a Trump (“Tump is warned that intervention in Venezuela could lead to war with Russia.”)
Here’s how La Jornada introduced its readers to VIPS, below which we offer an informal English translation:

El grupo Veteranos Profesionales de Inteligencia por la Cordura (VIPS, por sus silgas en inglés) advierte en el presente memorando al gobierno del presidente estadunidense Donald Trump que su intento de interferir en Venezuela puede acabar provocando una guerra entre Estados Unidos y Rusia. VIPS fue fundado en 2003 y su primera declaración, redactada en el mismo formato y enviado al entonces presidente estadunidense George W. Bush y su gobierno, fue una disertación para refutar los argumentos y distorsiones que utilizó dicha administración para justificar la invasión a Irak.

“The group Veteranos Profesionales de Inteligencia por la Cordura (VIPS, by its initials in English) warns in its current memorandum to the government of U.S. President Donald Trump that his attempt to intervene in Venezuela could end up provoking a war between the U.S. and Russia.  VIPS was founded in 2003 and its first memorandum, written in the same format and sent to then-U.S. president George W. Bush and his government, was a commentary refuting the arguments and distortions which that administration used to justify the invasion of Iraq.”

The Spanish translation of the text of the Memo follows that lead-in.

A German translation is expected to be posted in a day or two on a prominent German website.

Any ideas as to how to circumvent the censors in the U.S.?

Does John Brennan Know Who Guccifer 2.0 is?

Ray discusses this and other Russia-gate issues on a panel at the Left Forum.  He provides Russia-gate background and status as of a year ago — including a guess as to who was the actual “intruder” into DNC emails; the CIA’s “obfuscation” offensive cybertool leaked to WikiLeaks and published on March 31, 2017; and why you may not have heard about any of this.
June 2, 2018, 19 minutes (Ray’s remarks run from min. 6:30 to 25:35.)

Why the keffiyeh?  Ray had been on a Veterans For Peace delegation to Palestine in February/March 2017; often chooses to wear the keffiyeh as sign of solidarity with the Palestinian people, whom Israel could not dehumanize without the support of U.S. tax dollars.