Only If the News Fits, Do We Print

By Ray McGovern, May 7, 2022

Two years ago today (May 7, 2020) Adam Schiff (D, California), Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, was forced to perform what Nixon co-conspirator John Ehrlichman famously called a “modified limited hangout”.

On that day, Schiff released sworn testimony that there was zero technical evidence that Russia — or anyone else — hacked those DNC emails so prejudicial to Hillary Clinton (later published by WikiLeaks).

Now, please, before you put me in Putin’s or Trump’s pocket, read on: The testifier was Shawn Henry, the head of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike. For reasons former FBI Director James Comey would never really explain, he deferred to CrowdStrike to do the forensic work on the DNC computers that were supposedly “hacked”. Comey told Congress that CrowdStrike “would share with us what they saw”.

In June 2019, it was revealed that CrowdStrike never produced an un-redacted or final forensic report for the government because the FBI never required it to, according to the Justice Department.

Are you starting to smell a rat? What about the “modified limited hangout”?

Well, if some or all of this is news to you, it is because the NY Times and other major media have deep-sixed it for exactly two years now, and counting. It gets worse — much worse.

What Did Schiff Know & When Did He Know It?

Fasten your seatbelts: It was on December 5, 2017 that Shawn Henry gave sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee — see the official transcript at https://intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/sh21.pdf . Henry testified that there was no technical evidence that Russia, or any other entity, hacked the DNC emails that were published by WikiLeaks just before the Democratic Convention in July 2016. (The emails showed how the deck had been stacked against Bernie Sanders — in the primaries, for example.)

Shawn Henry is a longtime protege of former FBI Director Robert Mueller and headed Mueller’s FBI cyber investigation unit. After retiring from the FBI in 2012, he took a senior position at CrowdStrike. At his testimony on Dec. 5, 2017, he had Graham M. Wilson, a partner at Perkins Coie, as well as David C. Lashway of Baker & McKenzie in support.

Falling Silently in the Forest

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, relying on (1) the extensive expertise and professional experience of two members who happened to have been Technical Directors at NSA, (2) the revelations of Edward Snowden, and (3) the immutable principles of physics, had already concluded that the accusation of that Russian hack on the DNC was phony. (That Brennan’s CIA “believed” it to be credible helped not a whit.)

Below is how we began “Allegations of Hacking are Baseless”, our Memorandum of December 12, 2016 (a year before Shawn Henry was forced to choose between telling the truth or perjuring himself). We wrote:

A New York Times report on Monday alluding to “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” leading the CIA to believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin “deployed computer hackers with the goal of tipping the election to Donald J. Trump” is, sadly, evidence-free. This is no surprise, because harder evidence of a technical nature points to an inside leak, not hacking – by Russians or anyone else. (See: https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/12/us-intel-vets-dispute-russia-hacking-claims/ )

We even included a brief tutorial on the difference between a “hack” and a leak, but we were already, in Dec. 2016 going up against deeply encrusted popular “belief” based on intelligence-corporate media connivance.

‘Modified Limited Hangout’

Schiff was able to hide Shawn Henry’s testimony for two and a half years. Under considerable pressure from a new Director of National Intelligence, who threatened to release the testimony himself, Schiff finally relented and released it (as mentioned above) on May 7, 2020. As for Establishment media, the transcript of Henry’s testimony fell like the proverbial tree in the forest with no one around to hear it.

Did the NY Times et al. get “The Memo” ordering all to avoid Henry’s testimony like the plague? Actually, in this particular case, corporate media had quite enough incentive of their own to hide from media consumers the fact that “Russian hacking”, the cornerstone of Russia-gate, was a crock, and that viewers and listeners had been had.

When I wrote about the released— well, sort of released — Shawn Henry transcript the following day, there was a wealth of background information to provide context to this sordid affair. I included a four-minute discussion I had had with Schiff just five days after Trump took office, a reminder that the Dems were well into “Russian hacking” as the centerpiece of Russia-gate from the very start. (That clip, and lots else, is embedded in: https://consortiumnews.com/2020/05/09/ray-mcgovern-new-house-documents-sow-further-doubt-that-russia-hacked-the-dnc/ )

So Schiff knew on Dec. 5, 2017 that “Russian hacking” of those DNC emails was bogus. I was recently asked, why do you suppose he did not tell Robert Mueller, the “Inspector Javert” in hot pursuit of “Russian election interference”, whose $32-million investigation of Russia-gate lasted from May 2017 till March 2019? Good question. Did Shawn Henry misplace the telephone number of Mueller, his old boss and mentor? Or did Mueller know, and despite knowing, continued his Javert-like chase until after the mid-terms in November 2018. (That worked for the Democrats; and, not incidentally, Schiff took back the reins of the Intelligence Committee.)

Most Americans have no idea how they’ve been had on Russia-gate. And the NYTimes et al. have every reason to keep them in the dark about “Russian hacking”. Most people have little idea as to how the steady drumming on Russian perfidy has conditioned them not only to distrust “the Russians”, but to hate them. (What, after all, could be more hateful than being responsible for giving us four years of Trump?) Sadly — and admittedly — it cannot be considered unreasonable to be convinced that everything out of Trump’s mouth is a lie and that he would never ever tell the truth about Russia — given what Obama and others call his “bromance” with Putin.

There are, of course, dangerous implications in all this for what Americans may be asked in terms of confronting Russia on Ukraine.

On wider Russia-gate issues over the past five years and my tree-falling-in-forest attempts to expose the malfeasance of our corporate-captive media, readers may wish to review this:
https://covertactionmagazine.com/2021/11/05/ray-mcgovern-the-man-who-got-russiagate-right-and-tried-to-warn-the-public-to-no-avail/

Germany: Bad News Far Outweighs the Good

Albrecht Müller

By Ray McGovern, May 6, 2022

The good news from Germany is very limited and parochial; the bad news downright alarming. Alarm rises from increasing evidence that — how to say this — Germany has “kicked its World War II syndrome once and for all”, to borrow from the exultant words of Gulf War-1-victorious President George H. W. Bush 40 years ago.

After destroying a second-rate Iraqi army Bush bragged, “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all.” He was referring to the perception in some quarters that, after the disaster of Vietnam, the U.S. was being too shy about using military force.

Have we come to the point where the Germans have shaken off their earlier “shyness” after the disaster of WWII?  This gives me goose pimples. Yes, I’m old enough to have lived through the entire war, but — unlike Russia — my country had two great oceans to help defend it. I can only imagine the size of today’s goose pimples on Russians — not only those who lived through the war, but also those who have been given personal accounts of it from fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers.

The small piece of recent good news involves a thoughtful article by a serious German journalist. The day after VIPS published its (May 1) Memorandum for The President, warning him not to ignore Russian warnings about the possible use of nuclear weapons, Germany’s most respected progressive website, NachDenkSeiten, published a full translation, giving it front-page prominence. ( See:  https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=83432 )

Of more importance, NDS’s editor-in chief, Albrecht Mueller, saw fit to attach (1) a preface; (2) a detailed comparison of what VIPS wrote with what German media are saying; and (3) his conclusions (Fazit), based largely on Germany’s increasingly hawkish Ukraine-related actions — some of them unprecedented since WWII — which are stoked and widely applauded by the mainstream media there. I found Mueller’s presentation, especially his description of front-page coverage in his newspaper, “Die Rheinpfalz am Sonntag”, somewhat shocking.

Albrecht Mueller was chief of planning for Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt and also a member of the Bundestag from 1987 to 1994 (and the author of bestsellers). Not surprisingly, he is distraught at what has happened to the SPD (Social Democratic Party) and to the media — and the dangers posed to peace in Europe. This is the bad news, just as the 77th anniversary of VE Day is about to be celebrated in Moscow and elsewhere.

Has it taken Germany only two generations to forget the horrors of the war inflicted by the Nazis under Hitler? The Russians, having lost 26 million during that war, have not forgotten This is a combustible mixture.

Dissecting One Front Page

I found Albrecht Mueller’s observations about the captive, one-sided press so much on point that I translated them into English, including the detailed critique he gives to his regional newspaper on May 1. It follows, together with his preface and conclusions, below:

____________________________

NachDenkSeiten – Die kritsche Website
Putins Nuklearwarnung ist KEINE Leere Drohung
(Putin’s Nuclear Warning is NO Empty Threat)
2 Mai 2022

[With preface and conclusion by editor-in-Chief Albrecht Mueller in English translation]

Preface

Veteran U.S. intelligence officers, in a Memo to President Biden, warn him not to dismiss as an empty threat Russian President Putin’s references to nuclear weapons. The recent Memo from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) [ See: https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2022/05/01/intel-vets-nuclear-weapons-cannot-be-un-invented/ ] was translated by Thilo Haase. Ray McGovern notes that this is probably the most important VIPS Memo since the one sent to President Bush on Feb. 5, 2003 exposing Colin Powell’s lies earlier that day at the UN.

Bearing in mind the warning published by VIPS on May 1 about the abominable risks of the ongoing war [in Ukraine], I call your attention to the front page my regional newspaper [Die RheinPfalz am Sonntag] on May 1. That page is peppered with attempts to play down the dangers of war and to offer encouraging reassurances for providing weapons for the war. That is typical for many products of our major media. And so I make concrete reference to that and compare it with the warning from the veteran intelligence officers.

[At this point NachDenkSeiten publishes a German translation of the full text of the VIPS Memo and adds a Conclusion critique by editor Mueller.]

From “Nie Wieder Krieg” to “War? No Problem!”

After the end of the horrible Second World War there was at least a large consensus: War Never Again! (Nie Wieder Krieg!) This avowal came also from people who were connected with the Nazis and/or with the German military.  The shock of the many killed, the destroyed cities, and the millions of refugees at least had the result that the lust for war and for the military shrunk to almost zero.  Nie Wieder Krieg was the common watchword. By the way, even in 1980 there was clearly a majority for this attitude. And so the SPD on May 11 won the Landtag election in Nordrhein Westphalia with an absolute majority precisely with this avowal: Nie Wieder Krieg.

Today that is pretty much forgotten. We have become accustomed to this reality that the Bundeswehr has been transformed from an army for defense into an instrument of military intervention abroad, fumbling around outside the NATO area. Now we talk about and admit to delivering weapons, training Ukrainian soldiers by the USA on German soil, ammunition for tanks, etc.

A Prime Example of this war-friendly public opinion formation is the front page of my regional newspaper yesterday [Die RheinPfalz am Sonntag, May 1]

The only items that had nothing to do with the war and our participation in it were the small football report on the upper left, the equally tiny weather report on the lower left, and a small ad for eyeglasses on the lower right of the page.

In all the other articles (from #1 to #6 [as numbered in the photo above]) Germany’s participation in the war is treated sympathetically. A large notice on the right side (#7) points to an inside article with eight suggestions as to how to protect from high inflation. No mention is made of the possibility that this inflation could have something to do with the increase in weapons expenditures and the universally endorsed sanctions.

One Article After Another

The lead story (#1) reports that the USA is giving Ukrainian soldiers weapons-training in Germany — presumably in Grafenwoehr and Ramstein. Absent is any critical commentary regarding this abuse of German soil by the U.S. military, even though this marks an additional step in the participation of our country in this war.

In the second largest article (#2) it is reported that Germany is providing not only 50 Gepard tanks, but also the ammunition for those tanks. Die Rheinpfalz am Sonntag report is based on statements by the Parliamentary State Secretary for Defense, Thomas Hitschler (SPD).

He announces that what’s happening is the provision “not only of weapons systems and the tank itself, but also the logistical and additional aspects like the issue of the training”. (By the way: Thomas Hitschler, now SPD Bundestag member (Suedpfalz) now occupies the seat I once had. Times are changing.)

Referring to the Hitschler’s statements, Article #3 states that, by providing 50 German anti-aircraft tanks, Germany is equipping Ukraine with an important military capability; it goes on to say: “Amid all the criticism, including justified criticism, of providing German tanks to Kyiv, Berlin now shows that, in the end, it is a reliable NATO ally.” Here we see a familiar two-step manipulation. The commentator refers to the criticism of Germany and of Scholz for their earlier hesitancy to provide weapons and then turns that into an implied message that providing weapons is sensible and good [because, of course, being “a reliable NATO ally” is, ipso facto, sensible and good].

Article #4 reports that the German Finance Minister and Chairman of the FDP has called for a halt to state support for former Chancellor Schroeder. “Former holders of the highest offices, who apparently stand on the side of criminal governments, should not be able to count on support from this country.” [Emphasis added, RM]

Article #5 states that the Greens, at their party congress Saturday in Duesseldorf, decided that Ukraine should get “support with effective, including heavy and complex, weapons”, and that “the Bundeswehr special fund of 100 billion [euros; roughly equal to U.S. dollars] was approved by a majority of the Greens there.”

In item #6 (the so-called “Sunday word, Wish of the Week”), our issue is also discussed, indirectly. In an apparent allusion to the reluctance of Bundeskanzler Scholz to provide weapons to Ukraine, the article conveys the impression that he has now obeyed the orders of the media and created the needed “clarity”.

Conclusion

What is being done here on a single page of a newspaper is an example of what many media in Germany are doing these days: They are playing down wars, they are promoting the idea that our participation in wars by supplying weapons and training Ukrainian soldiers is self-evident, nothing special, just a matter of course. Clearly, we are to be accustomed to wars.

This is dangerous because it systematically grinds down resistance to wars. The latest polls showing great admiration for German Foreign Minister Baerbock and her party colleague and Economics Minister Habeck indicate how popular the advocacy of confrontation has become. We have come a long way from the erstwhile consensus on “Never Again War.” Again, this is a dangerous development. Today’s politicians no longer have to take into account a popular opinion favoring peace.

It is good that that at least veteran officers of U.S. intelligence agencies are warning against war. This is how far we have come: the leaders of the Green Party are playing with war. Intelligence veterans are warning against it.  [Emphasis added.]

Who Defeated the (First) Nazis?

By Scott Ritter & Larry Wilkerson
May 6, 2020

As the anniversary of VE-Day approaches, it is helpful to call to mind the reality that Russia and the U.S. have been natural allies. Together, 77 years ago they defeated Nazi armies, including those who attacked Russia by coming through Ukraine. Nazi collaborators there, led by Stepan Bandera, did the Nazi SS work in killing tens of thousands of potential resisters to the German invasion.

Fast forward to Feb. 2014 and the West used Bandera’s successors (today’s “neo-Nazis”), to spearhead the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government and the shelling of two Russian-speaking provinces. There 14,000 were killed and countless wounded since the coup d’etat in Kyiv — the “most blatant coup in history”.

As Berlin began to contemplate deeper military involvement in Ukraine earlier this year, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov pointedly reminded his German counterpart about what happened the last time. It seems that, in Germany, “NEVER AGAIN” (Nie wieder Krieg) has become an empty slogan — at least in today’s “ruling circles”. (See: https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=83432

Ukraine Update on The Critical Hour

Ray interviewed May 2, 2022
(13 minutes)

The May 1 VIPS Memorandum for the President — perhaps our most important so far — provided the initial peg for the discussion. In that Memo we advised President Biden NOT to dismiss as idle threats President Putin’s public reminders that Russia has nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles to deliver them. ( See: https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2022/05/01/intel-vets-nuclear-weapons-cannot-be-un-invented/ .)

If the experienced military officers I trust are correct in predicting substantial Russian advances in Ukraine in the next few weeks, this will come as a rude shock to Americans conditioned to believe the emerging corporate media narrative that Ukraine government forces have all but won.

What then?  I speculate that this might be the time for a (false flag) chemical attack blamed on the Russians — and further escalation.

The Cuban missile crisis in 1962, when the Soviets tried to put nuclear missiles in Cuba was cited in the interview as an apt analogy. (I included a related episode from my own personal experience as a newly arrived 2/Lt at the Army Infantry School at Fort Benning in the autumn of 1962.)

Most will remember that President Kennedy saw Khrushchev’s daring move as an existential threat that the U.S. could not tolerate. Similarly, a preponderance of evidence suggests, to me at least, that Putin saw an existential threat from U.S. missiles being emplaced in Romania and Poland (but not in Ukraine — yet) and decided that Russia would not tolerate this threat in its own backyard. Putin apparently got a nihil obstat from his powerful ally, Xi Jin-ping; waited until the Beijing Olympics were over; and launched the invasion. 

I am not suggesting that the Cuban-like existential threat, together with a waiver on Westfalia (so to speak) given by Xi to Putin, were the only things prompting Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. I think “denazification” played a significant role in his decision. In addition, there were signs early this year that Kyiv was about to mount a major attack on Donetsk and Lugansk in March. The bulk of the Ukrainian army were in position to do so at very short notice. And OSCE observers reported in February an uptick in the kind of shelling in Donetsk and Lugansk that had already killed some 14,000 people since the coup d’etat in 2014.