The Sanger and Schiff Who Cried Wolf

“The Russians are coming” again, according to NYT David Sanger:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/30/us/politics/2020-election-security-briefings.html

The Russians are “aggravating tensions in our cities,” according to Adam Schiff:
https://www.thedailybeast.com/adam-schiff-trumps-willfully-fanning-the-flames-of-violence-in-cities

How are we to believe them after they lied about the “Russian hacking” of the DNC emails?
https://raymcgovern.com/2020/08/21/no-forensic-evidence-russia-hacked-dnc-emails/

Tilting With Windmills

A Stillborn Letter to the NYT, from Ray

Since he has been so critical of the NY Times, Ray thought, in all fairness, he would give the Times a chance to fess up on how the Gray Lady has become a woman of easy virtue when it comes to Russia-gate.  Ray took some pain to adhere to the required NYT rubrics and was careful to keep the word count down below the limit; he also tried to be respectful — gentle, even.  But, alas, his letter (text follows) did not appear.  It has now been 110 days since it was revealed that Crowdstrike fessed up in December 2017.

August 16, 2020
To the Editor:
Re “Ex-F.B.I. Lawyer Expected to Plead Guilty in Review of Russia Inquiry” (Aug 15, p. A16)
(https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/14/us/politics/kevin-clinesmith-durham-investigation.html)

Reporting on the false data given the surveillance court, Adam Goldman notes that US Attorney John Durham “has also been examining the intelligence community’s most explosive conclusion … that President Vladimir V. Putin intervened to benefit Mr. Trump.”

That “most explosive conclusion” is a dud. Its propellant was an “assessment”, sans evidence, that Russia hacked the DNC emails. That was defused by horse’s-mouth-type congressional testimony by Shawn Henry, president of the cyber firm CrowdStrike. Asked by Rep. Adam Schiff on Dec. 5, 2017 for “the date on which the Russians exfiltrated the data”, Mr. Henry admitted, “We just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.”

The FBI let CrowdStrike do the forensics on what was being called an “act of war”. Ex-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was still claiming in Nov. 2018, “The forensic evidence was overwhelming about what the Russians had done.”

Mr. Schiff kept Mr. Henry’s testimony secret until May 7, 2020 — 100 days ago.

Ray McGovern
Raleigh, NC
Chief, CIA’s Soviet Analysis Branch (1970s)
Morning briefer of the President’s Daily Brief (1981-1985)

What Cardinal Dolan Should Say at the RNC

By Ray McGovern

What Dolan chooses to focus on will be quite telling.  I am hoping that at least some of what he says reflects some of the cardinal tenets of Catholic social teaching.

As a Cardinal, that is, a “Prince of the Church” I am the first to acknowledge that I lack the ascetic appearance of a prophet.  Nor do I claim to be one. I do wish, though, to leave a prophetic message with you this evening, so I will quote freely from other prophets — ancient, and those of our own time.  I am inspired, most of all, by Proverbs 31:8-9: “Speak out for those who cannot speak … defend the rights of the poor and needy.” So, here goes.

First, a clear message from Deuteronomy 27:19: “Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the orphan, or the widow.”

Four years ago, Pope Francis pointed out that “the sin that Jesus condemns most” is hypocrisy.  “It is hypocritical to call oneself a Christian and send away a refugee.” Francis condemned what he termed the “contradiction in those who want to defend Christianity in the West and … are against other religions and against refugees.”

Last September, the Pope called attention to Jesus’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus, calling to mind some of the colorful, instructive details. Francis warned:

“In the end, we too risk becoming like that rich man in the Gospel who is unconcerned for the poor man Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Too intent on buying elegant clothes and organizing lavish banquets, the rich man in the parable is blind to Lazarus’s suffering. Overly concerned with preserving our own well-being, we too risk being blind to our brothers and sisters in difficulty.”

With all the current talk about the economy, I wish also to bring to mind a basic tenet of Catholic social teaching: the preferential option for the poor.  (Some wags have called Catholic social teaching the best kept secret of the Church.  The more reason to remind.)

In 1986, the U.S. Catholic bishops issued a formal statement on the economy, calling on us to make a fundamental “option for the poor.” I shall quote just one sentence: “The more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others.”

Yes, Catholic bishops issuing a solemn call for the redistribution of wealth.  A radical idea, indeed, in the original sense of radical — rooted in the core of our Abrahamic faith. Another way to say that is that no one is entitled to accumulate still more of what they don’t need, while others are deprived of the necessities of live.  This is our common Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition and challenge.  Is our country going in this direction?

I regret that this does not go over well with many of you, but ringing in my ears are the words of a more recent profit, Archbishop Oscar Romero, who fell to an assassin’s bullet 40 years ago:

“A gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society … what kind of gospel is that?”

We all know what happened to Romero — and to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  But as Dr. King put it:  

“A time comes when silence is betrayal.”

This is one of those times.

May God bless all people, including those in the United States of America.

NO FORENSIC EVIDENCE RUSSIA HACKED DNC EMAILS

Hey, NYTimes! Tell Us Why This Is Not ‘Fit to Print’
By Ray McGovern, August 21, 2020

It has been 105 days since Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, was forced to release sworn testimony by Shawn Henry, President of Crowdstrike, admitting there was no forensic evidence that the DNC emails so damaging to Hillary Clinton were hacked — by Russia or anyone else.  ( See: https://consortiumnews.com/2020/05/09/ray-mcgovern-new-house-documents-sow-further-doubt-that-russia-hacked-the-dnc/  )

The following excerpts from Henry’s testimony speak for themselves. The dialogue is not a paragon of clarity; but if read carefully, even cyber neophytes can understand: 

___________________________

Ranking Member Mr. [Adam] Schiff: Do you know the date on which the Russians exfiltrated the data from the DNC? … when would that have been?

Mr. Henry: Counsel just reminded me that, as it relates to the DNC, we have indicators that data was exfiltrated from the DNC, but we have no indicators that it was exfiltrated (sic). … There are times when we can see data exfiltrated, and we can say conclusively. But in this case, it appears it was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.

Mr. [Chris] Stewart of Utah: Okay. What about the emails that everyone is so, you know, knowledgeable of? Were there also indicators that they were prepared but not evidence that they actually were exfiltrated?

Mr. Henry: There’s not evidence that they were actually exfiltrated. There’s circumstantial evidence … but no evidence that they were actually exfiltrated. … 

___________________________

“QED”, said former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney.  “Quod erat demonstrandum: that which was to be demonstrated” (for those a bit stale in the old rubrics of geometry).

We in VIPS had been saying what Shawn Henry finally admitted since Dec. 12, 2016.  See: US Intel Vets Dispute Russia Hacking Claims, ( https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/12/us-intel-vets-dispute-russia-hacking-claims/  ).

Finally, we thought, the truth emerges.  Better late than never — and how late it was!

Sadly, we have not yet seen the end of the wait.  The Establishment media story that Russia hacked the DNC emails is too big to fail.  CrowdStrike’s admission had been suppressed.  We feel as though we are waiting for Godot.

Shawn Henry testified under oath on Dec. 5, 2017, but it was not until May 7, 2020 — TWO AND A HALF YEARS LATER — that he was forced to release Henry’s testimony, parts of which actually do merit the usually-overused term “bombshell”.  How, we wondered, would the NY Times and other Establishment media handle this puncture of the hot air balloon named “Russian hack of the DNC”?

Well, it turns out that a quick-reaction “bombshell removal team” was summoned into action to defuse and bury both bomb and shell.  Readers of the Times and other “mainstream” media have been prevented from learning of the CrowdStrike president’s testimony.  Incredibly, the MSM seem to be on their way to duplicate Adam Schiff’s two-and-a-half year deep-sixing caper — only 26 months to go.

On August 18, Lee Camp invited Ray onto “Redacted Tonight” to discuss this, Julian Assange plight, and other front-burner issues.  Lee, a comedian by trade, was in a deadly serious mode, having done serious homework, asking serious questions.

By the way, one of his best programs aired three years ago, after Patrick Lawrence told “the saga of the missing hack” in an excellent article in The Nation, which raised hackles among the HWHW (Hillary Would Have Won) partisans there.  Lee’s coverage of the hack canard then is a hoot.  I’ll include a link to that one below the interview this week.

Here’s the link to my interview (Tuesday) that aired yesterday:

Julian Assange Prosecution an “Abomination” Says Former CIA Man

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfqrD3vd14I.

August 20, 2020, 16 minutes

_____________________________

And below is the link to the Lee Camp-McGovern Interview 3 years ago. With artful use of video clips; enjoy!

Intelligence Analysts Say Russia Didn’t Hack U.S. Election

August 26, 2017 (16 minutes)

For extra credit:

1 —

Former CIA Analyst on the Agency’s History of Lying to the Public

September 7, 2017 (21:40 minutes)

2 —

Lack of a Hack: for Dummies

August 5, 2020

https://raymcgovern.com/2020/08/05/lack-of-a-hack-for-dummies/.

Finally: Some good advice on “accommodating”:  Huckleberry Finn’s black friend, Big Jim, answers Huck’s question about accommodating to the conventional wisdom — in this case on slavery: ”Just because … everybody believes it’s right, that don’t make it right.”

Just because almost everyone believes the political hacks, hacking the Russian-hack story, that don’t make it true.

The Abyss of Disinformation Gazes Into Its Creators

By Patrick Armstrong, August 17, 2020

TEXT

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.

Friedrich Nietzsche

The other day the U.S. State Department published “Pillars of Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem“. The report should have a disclaimer like this:

Everything you read in the NYT or hear Rachel Maddow say about Russia is true: Putin is a murderer, a thief and a thug, he shot down MH17, poisoned the Skripals, elected Trump, invaded Georgia and stole Crimea. If you question any part of this, you are controlled and directed by Russian Disinformation HQ.

Freedom of speech does not entitle you to doubt The Truth.

The methodology of all of these things – this is one of several – is uncomplicated. Paul Robinson has commented on the dependence of so much comment about Russia, and this report in particular, on the myth of central control.

  1. Anything anywhere on Russian social media, whether sensible or crazy, was personally put there by Putin to sow discord and weaken us. All social media or websites based in Russia are 100% controlled by Putin.
  2. The Truth about Russia is found in the West’s official statements and in the “trusted source media”. Anyone who questions it benefits Putin, who wants to bring us down, and is therefore acting as a servant of Russian Disinformation HQ.

The argument really is that simple and can be found in its baldest (and stupidest) version on the EU vs DiSiNFO site, The NATO Centre of Excellence is pretty bad while The Integrity Initiative seems to have been embarrassed into silence. Note the “disinfo”, “excellence” and “integrity” bits – that’s called gaslighting. Who funds these selfless truth seekers? The EU, NATO and the British government. But they’re good and truthful, unlike those tricky Russians.

In this particular effusion they look at seven websites, six of which are registered in Russia and one in Canada. The report declares that they are in an ecosystem directed from Russian Disinformation HQ. In reality they are sites in which publish writers who – to take one example – think that it is a bit unusual that a deadly nerve agent smeared on a door handle requires the roof of the house to be replaced. But doubt, these days, is the outward sign of an inward Putinism.

Door handle!

Yeah, OK, but why the roof?

Putinbot!

One of the websites mentioned in the report is the one you’re reading now – Strategic Culture Foundation.

The Strategic Culture Foundation is directed by another Russian intelligence agency, the S.V.R., according to two American officials. 

Could these be the officials who told the NYT about the bounties? Or gave it the photos it had to walk back a few days later? Or said their sources had “mysteriously gone quiet?” Or told it all 17? Or said it was probably microwave weapons? Or gave us years of scoops about how Mueller was just about to lock him up? Or told the NYT that Russia’s “economy suffers from flat growth and shrinking incomes“? Probably, but you’re not supposed to ask these questions.

The report has a good deal of speculation about who backs Strategic Culture Foundation (p 15). Personally I don’t much care who runs it (and I very much doubt that the Kremlin understands the point of running an opinion website). I’ve been in the USSR/Russia business for some time and what I think hasn’t changed much since 1986 or so. I’ve written for a number of sites which have faded away and I will not permit having what I write changed; the one time it happened twelve years ago, I immediately switched my operations elsewhere. Strategic Culture Foundation has never changed anything I’ve submitted and only twice suggested a topic – this one and Putin’s weaponised crickets. (And the warning is still up at the U.S. State Department site!) The other writers on the site whom I know haven’t changed their views either. Strategic Culture Foundation hasn’t created something that didn’t exist before, it’s collected something that already existed. What do we writers have in common? Well, Dear Reader, look around you. Certainly we question The Truth. Or maybe SCF is a place where people “baffled by the hysterical Russophobia of the MSM and the Democratic Party since the 2016 election” can find something else? Or maybe it’s part of Madison’s “general intercourse of sentiments”?

There was a theory in the Cold War that the two sides would eventually converge. I often think that they met and then kept on going and passed each other. In those days the Soviets did their best to block what they considered to be – dare I suggest it? – disinformation. And so RFE/RL, BBC, Radio Canada and so on were jammed. We, on our side, didn’t care who listened to Radio Moscow or read Soviet publications. Today it’s the other way round. Which fact prompts the easy deduction that the side that’s confident that it has a better connection to reality and truth doesn’t waste effort trying to block the other. In a fascinating essay, the Saker describes Russian propaganda for its home audience: “give as much air time to the most rabid anti-Kremlin critiques as possible, especially on Russian TV talkshows”. They even took the trouble to dub Morgan Freeman’s absurd “we are at war” video. That’s brilliant – we won’t tell you they hate you, we’ll let them tell you they hate you.

The report talks as if this “ecosystem” were big and influential. But it’s a tiny mouse next to a whale. Total followers on Twitter of all seven sites are 156 thousand (p65). That’s nothing: the NYT has 47.1 million Twitter followers, BBC Breaking News 44.8, WaPo 16.1. Why even Rachel Maddow has ten million followers eager to hear her explain how Russia is going to turn off your furnace next winter. So the rational observer has a choice to make after reading this report: either the report ludicrously over-exaggerates the influence of this “ecosystem” or 156,000 website followers are astonishingly influential and I, with my Strategic Culture Foundation pieces, personally control several Electoral College votes.

The real message of “Pillars of Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem“, to someone who isn’t invested in spinning – ahem – theories about a Kremlin disinformation conspiracy, is that the “pillars” are feeble and the “ecosystem” small: Maddow alone has three times the followers of these seven plus the RT (3 million) the “all 17” report spent nearly half its space irrelevantly ranting about. Or maybe it’s saying that American voters are so easily influenced that “the Lilliputian Russians, spending a pittance compared to the Goliaths of the Clinton and Trump campaigns, was the deciding factor in 2016“.

Ironically this thing appeared at the same time as two that suggest Washington’s view of Moscow needs some work: It’s Time to Rethink Our Russia Policy and The Problem With Putinology: We need a new kind of writing about Russia. Good to see titles like that but they aren’t really rethinking anything: they still agree that Putin’s guilty of everything that Maddow says he is. Real re-thinking might get a toehold, for example, were people to contemplate why it is imbecilic to say that Moscow holds military exercises close to NATO’s borders. But you’ll only see that sort of thing on Strategic Culture Foundation and the others.

But now the abyss gazes back

Clinton loses an election, blames Russia, the intelligence agencies pile on, the media shrieks away. Americans are told patriotic Americans don’t doubt. And now we arrive at the next stage of insanity. William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, informs us that “Russia is backing Donald Trump, China is supporting Joe Biden and Iran is seeking to sow chaos in the U.S. presidential election…”. I guess that means that Russia and China will cancel each other out and that he’s telling us that Iran will choose the next POTUS. Who would have thought that the fate of the “greatest nation in earth” (as Presidents TrumpObamaBush JrClintonBush Sr and Reagan like to call it) would be hidden under a turban somewhere in Iran?

So, American, know this: your “trusted sources” are telling you not to bother to vote in November – it’s not your decision.

‘Racism Makes a Liar of God’

How the American Catholic church is wrestling with the Black Lives Matter movement.
By Elizabeth Bruenig, NY Times, August 6, 2020

In 1963, when 250,000 demonstrators gathered at the Lincoln Memorial and heard the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, they did so under the prayerful invocation of Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle of Washington. He called for the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of Christians to the injustice of racial discrimination, condemned violence and praised the activists who had possessed the courage to go forth, like Moses, in search of a beautiful country.

Five decades later, these hopes seem in many respects unfulfilled. About one in five Americans identify as Catholic, and as of 2018, roughly six in 10 white Catholics felt that police killings of Black men were isolated incidents rather than evidence of a profound and lethal bias. Prominent Catholic commentators, including Bill O’Reilly and Father Dwight Longenecker, fear and reject the Black Lives Matter movement.

American Catholic unease with Black Lives Matter has been particularly noticeable during the protests over the killing of George Floyd. Statues commemorating Junipero Serra, a Spanish monk responsible for founding several of California’s Catholic missions in the early days of European colonization, have been torn down by protesters outraged by Father Serra’s eager participation in the conquest of North America, including the torture, enslavement and murder of some of the Native Americans he intended to convert.

Other religious statues, too, have been damaged by protesters. Coupled with the vandalism of a handful of Catholic churches along with a slew of ordinary buildings, the attacks on statuary have sparked fury among conservative Catholics, confirming what they perhaps already believed: that racial justice movements — or at least this particular one — are antithetical to the Christian faith, rooted in Marxism and atheism.

A Catholic anti-abortion activist, Abby Johnson, tweeted in June: “The Catholic Church is burning. And everyday, liberal Catholics continue to throw matches on Her with sacrilegious nonsense like this,” in reference to an icon showing Mr. Floyd as a Jesus figure, dying in his mother’s arms.

Andrew Sullivan, a Catholic writer, argued in July that Black Lives Matter and Christianity are “fundamentally incompatible world views.”

In a July 5 statement, Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane, Wash., wrote: “BLM is in conflict with Church teaching regarding marriage, family and the sanctity of life. Moreover, it is disturbing that BLM has not vocally condemned the recent violence that has torn apart so many cities.”

Steady in the midst of this supposed conflict between faith and anti-racism efforts is Gloria Purvis. She is a Black Catholic — a designation lonely enough even without intrafaith political strife, as only 3 percent of American Catholics are Black. Ms. Purvis hosts a popular Catholic radio show, “Morning Glory!”, and a limited television series, “Authentically Free at Last.”

After the murder of Mr. Floyd, Ms. Purvis denounced his killing and the many killings of Black men and women by the police that had come before.

“I said I thought racism was demonic,” she told me over a recent dinner at a Washington bistro. In the weeks following Mr. Floyd’s death, “Morning Glory!” featured episodes devoted to saints who resisted racism in their lifetimes, the impact of racial discrimination on society at large and the reality of systemic racism itself.

Her comments set off a wave of recrimination via tweets and emails from indignant listeners.

“Racism makes a liar of God,” she told me. “It says not everyone is made in his image. What a horrible lie from the pit of hell.”

Her radio program was dropped in June by Guadalupe Radio Network, a Catholic station based in Midland, Texas. After outcry on social media, the network released a statement claiming that Ms. Purvis’s show had temporarily been suspended not for her remarks on racism but because the network had detected “a spirit of contention growing among the hosts.” Guadalupe Radio Network did not respond to a request for comment.

Ms. Purvis didn’t buy the explanation: There had always been occasional, friendly disagreements between the show’s hosts, but it had never been an issue before. Ms. Purvis told me the network has neither reinstated her program nor offered any explanation of when or if it plans to air it again. She still believes the show was suspended because of her explicit condemnation of police killings of Black people and her impassioned exhortations against racism.

I asked Ms. Purvis about the toppled statues and the church vandalism, which have been raised repeatedly as evidence of the imagined conflict between Christianity and today’s anti-racism movement.

She sighed. It isn’t that she dismisses sacred sites or representations of the saints; in fact, she told me, she credits a visit to the grotto where Our Lady of Lourdes is believed to have appeared with the birth of her daughter, after a 15-year struggle with infertility. And she was present when Pope Francis canonized Father Serra during the pontiff’s first visit to the United States. But she wishes it were possible to stipulate without incurring rancor that objects of piety have their place in the order of things.

“In the Catholic world, we’re pro-life, right?” she said. “But we were so quick to forget about a man killed in the street in favor of things that can be rebuilt or replaced. This injustice that happened to George Floyd seemed to evaporate as soon as money or property came into it.”

After she spoke out about Mr. Floyd’s death, Ms. Purvis was inundated with videos sent by her fellow faithful, condemning Mr. Floyd with an exaggerated version of his criminal record.

“I thought: Any Catholic who can watch that and not be bothered by it is missing something in their faith,” Ms. Purvis said. Mr. Floyd, she said, “had a right to life. But he also had a right to a natural death.”

That this foundational principle could be overlooked in the name of icons seemed to exhaust and dispirit her.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize racism is a sin,” she said. “Having these discussions makes people uncomfortable.”

It should not be so difficult for so many Christians to affirm that yes, Black lives matter, without conditions or complaints. “We are being called to love our neighbor,” Ms. Purvis observed, “and my God, my God, we are failing.”

Ms. Purvis maintains hope for the future. She wants to see a sincere reckoning with anti-Black racism within the church. “We need to name it,” she said, “and say: Yes, we have sinned; yes, religious orders owned slaves; we did not speak out in the abolition movement; we pushed some people even in the celebration of Mass to the side or to the back, so they could only receive our Lord when others were done.” That much and more is necessary.

This month, Americans will march on Washington in commemoration of the original march on the capital for civil rights and in hopes of reviving and redoubling efforts to achieve racial equality.

A diverse group of Catholics including clergy and laypeople — myself among them — have prepared a letter exhorting our bishops to join us at this march, to fulfill the hope laid out for Christians in the first epistle of John: “Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/06/opinion/gloria-purvis-george-floyd-blm.html?campaign_id=39&emc=edit_ty_20200806&instance_id=21019&nl=opinion-today&regi_id=69540701&segment_id=35399&te=1&user_id=e69a6cb2bbba5cd47ffe27ec9fb45fbe

+++++++++++++++++++++++

For further background — particularly on how Georgetown University was built by enslaved people owned by the Jesuits in Maryland — see this article written by Ray four years ago:  https://consortiumnews.com/2016/04/17/the-shame-of-the-jesuits/ .

President Trump spent his first two years of college at Fordham, although this is not widely known.  Fordham will not release his grades.  A course in Ethics was a sophomore-year requirement back in that day.  The word on the street is that he got a passing grade, but only because he had someone take the final exam for him … as he reportedly did with the SATs.