A Coup in Imperial Washington

DeepStaters had nothing to justify eavesdropping on Carter Page.By David Stockman, May 03, 2019

a succinct summary by a serious former Washington insider
Well, there’s a new bad cop in town, and his name’s Bill Barr.

That’s the narrative scalp-hunting Democrats on Capitol Hill pushed this week.

Forget the 448-page Mueller Report. It’s a pile of trivia, non-sequiturs, innuendo, smears, lies, and regurgitated Deep State agitprop.

There’s only one sentence you need to read about the whole matter. It’s this one, from the four-page missive now known as the Barr Letter:
The investigation did not establish that [Carter] Page coordinated with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

That’s the essence of the entire $40 million inquisition. And it stinks to high heaven.

FISA warrants subsequent wiretaps on Carter Page were fraudulently obtained. We’re talking about the heart of the whatever state meddling happened in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Without the electronic surveillance on the headquarters of the Republican candidate for the highest elective office in the land, Russiagate wouldn’t have amounted to a hill of beans.

It’s not some crazy conspiracy theory… the Deep State DOES exist. … They had one thing on Carter Page in July 2016. It was an unproven claim from the infamous Steele Dossier that he’d gone to Moscow to cut some sort of sinister energy deal with Russia.

But we now know, definitively, that it didn’t happen. Page was never even indicted. And the Mueller Report makes no effort whatsoever to confirm the false claim in the Steele Dossier.

Well, Barr is now investigating the provenance of the Trump-Russia probe. And his team at the Justice Department is reexamining the 35-page Steele Dossier to determine whether its allegations were part of a Russian disinformation campaign. [sic]

Here’s how Politico framed it:
Barr is conducting the review in parallel with the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, who has been examining the FBI’s efforts to surveil a one-time Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page. The application to monitor Page was based in part on information from Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who authored the bombshell dossier and served as a confidential source for the bureau.

The FBI code-named its Carter Page operation “Crossfire Hurricane.” But … Carter Page was exceedingly thin gruel – certainly not enough to support a counterintelligence investigation. He was a nobody in the Trump campaign. He presented exactly zero threat to national security.

“To the extent that there was any overreach, I believe it was some – a few people in the upper echelons of the bureau and perhaps in the department,” Barr said. “We’re working together on trying to reconstruct exactly what went down.”

So, here’s the thing… and it far outweighs all the tonnage of the Mueller Report… plus the Barr Letter… plus the Barr Press Conference… plus the Mueller Letter… 

There was no basis for mobilizing the intelligence community’s surveillance machinery against Carter Page.

It was evident he had nothing to do with military secrets. There was no excuse for wiretapping him. That’s even if he’d been a paid energy advisor on Vladimir Putin’s personal payroll.

The Obama administration committed the gravest possible assault on individual constitutional rights. They misused the vast machinery of national security to meddle in a presidential election for partisan advantage.

That’s heinous. It cuts right to the quick of democracy’s survival in America.

The FISA application – slathered in redaction ink as it is – proves the real meddlers in the 2016 election are its signers. That’s the very top tier of Obama’s national security team, including John Brennan, Susan Rice, James Clapper, and the secretaries of Defense and State. [sic for SecDef and SecState]

Indeed, it’s their criminality that’s established by the Mueller Report.

Carter Page was just a patsy for a Deep State coup.

Intel and Law Enforcement Tried to Entrap Trump

By Larry C. Johnson, May 3, 2019

This is the kind of intelligence analysis done “back in the day;” conclusions based on facts. not squishy “assessments.”
After combing through the Mueller report, former CIA and State Department analyst Larry Johnson concludes:
“The preponderance of evidence makes this very simple–there was a broad, coordinated effort by the Obama Administration, with the help of foreign governments, to target Donald Trump and paint him as a stooge of Russia.

“The Mueller Report provides irrefutable evidence that the so-called Russian collusion case against Donald Trump was a deliberate fabrication by intelligence and law enforcement organizations in the United States and the United Kingdom and organizations aligned with the Clinton Campaign. …

“The Mueller investigation of Trump “collusion” with Russia prior to the 2016 presidential election focused on eight cases:
The Proposed Trump Tower Project in Moscow
George Papadopolous
Carter Page
Dimitri Simes
Veselnetskya Meeting at Trump Tower (June 16, 2016)
Events at Republican Convention
Post-Convention Contacts with Russian Ambassador Kislyak
Paul Manafort

“One simple fact emerges–of the eight cases or incidents of alleged Trump Campaign interaction with the Russians investigated by the Mueller team, the proposals to interact with the Russian Government or Putin originated with FBI informants, MI-6 assets or people paid by Fusion GPS, not Trump or his people. There is not a single instance where Donald Trump or any member of his campaign team initiated contact with the Russians for the purpose of gaining derogatory information on Hillary or obtaining support to boost the Trump campaign. Not one.  [Emphasis added.]
“Simply put, Trump and his campaign were the target of an elaborate, wide ranging covert action designed to entrap him and members of his team as an agent of Russia.
“Let’s look in detail at each of the cases.”
And Larry proceeds to do just that in his full text. Readers, you may wish to tell any neighbors who still place credence in “mainstream media.”

Free Verse That Provokes

Excellent Vocation
By Mark Curey, unknown to Ray, who emailed Ray the following of the blue

I have just come back Stateside
Most of the working years overseas
What is most strange..
Not that folks agree or disagree 
as to Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya,
Niger and ?
Not that folks don’t know why
they hold a position
Not that folks agree or disagree on
Iran or North Korea or Venezuela
Not that folks agree or disagree as
To Russia or China
Even one’s positions from pacifism to
just war theory to treaties to interventionists
All of it…

What is most shocking?
Relatively speaking nobody is
speaking or thinking
We have swung from moral relativism
to not knowing anything to not
wanting to know anything to not 
not wanting to think at all

How can one have a nation without
a curious and educated citizenry 
Folks ..us humans are lazy to do
our P.T. but we are neglecting our minds
A mind is a beautiful thing along with the body
Yet without thinking about the highest things
the soul shrivels

Your soul is not shriveled Ray
Let’s stay irreverent brother

How can we not read and not take
seriously Article I Section 8?
Clear as a bell
How has Congress abrogated for decades
its constitutional duty as to Article 1
Section 8 ? How? Why?

How could any President want to usurp
The authority of Congress as to Article
1 section 8? What sane person would 
assume a moral or legal responsibility
for something that risks their very soul
that they lack the authority for ?

It is so precious that the people
decide through our representative 
democracy. This necessitates a
national conversation.
They can’t make the case in the light of day
So we bomb at night
Gil Scott Heron was premature
The bombings will be televised
With colorful graphics

Congress prefers the middle of the night 
And the folks rally round the flag
” The love of one’s country is a terrible thing “
Patriot Game Liam Clancy 
Riveting lines
And voila 
First time EVER
War Powers Act 1973..
First time reaches any President’s desk
Veto as to Yemen
No one is talking about it
No one is covering it 
Forget about an opinion
The opposition to love is not hate
It is apathy

Common sense men like you risk
Being derided for being alarmist
by complicit sheep
Don’t rock the boat nation
Get yours while you can
Dreams of avarice
The left and the right are materialism
run amok
The here and now
No discussion on the War Powers Act

You have a few politicians through the years
Pounding the issue
Pat Buchanan
Ron and Rand Paul
Tulsi Gabbard
But they are attacked with the ad 
hominem that they offer you.
Anti semitic
It chills the debate, journalism, and the
1st amendment
Folks are scared
Career over country
No one wants the label that 
Kills so they enable others to be
Killed literally
The imperial presidency 
We threw off the king but we all
Want our Saviour 

Coolidge was maybe the last humble guy 
In the office 
It’s a shame
No one cares
Trump is being deceptive over this
As they all raise the flag on the Russia hoax
The hoax is on us 
I appreciate your example 
You are fighting that good fight
I am not a pacifist but I am only
One inch to the right of pacifism
Just war theory … defense only..
We are so far from that

The mechanism is there in the
Constitutional framework to
Avoid the abuse of power
And yet Congress abrogated a long time ago
And the people abrogated too
Apathy is the opposite of love
Your speeches are animated with
Anything but apathy Ray
You are making a difference in helping
Snap potential citizens out of their
Apathy to force the constitutional

I think that that focus while not
A guarantee not to be duped but
Apathy makes us complicit
The enabling nation
My mentors taught me in
I try to do the same
We are in the efforts business Ray
God is the results business
Speaking of God
Our church has lost her voice
And moral and intellectual Authority
A terrible loss to the West 
God bless you Ray 


Looking back

Mini-debate between Ray and Rumsfeld, May 4, 2006

It does not seem like 13 years ago that Ray confronted prevaricator Rumsfeld. And since it was on live TV at noon in Atlanta, the TV pundits could not ignore it that evening; e.g., “How long have you held such animus toward Secretary Rumsfeld!, Mr. McGovern?”

(9 minutes)

There is a bit more on this in the Bio section of raymcgovern.com

As sign of the times, how would Olbermann play this now?  And even more mentally stable pundits will not Interview Ray now, for reasons we know only too well. 

O Tempora, O Mores!

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.