Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Today's Links

"The Democratic Party, working in close sync with the Pentagon and the CIA, has conducted an unrelenting campaign of anti-Russian hysteria aimed at creating a new, ostensibly liberal, constituency for war among privileged layers of the middle class. Democrats have endorsed every new act of military escalation in Syria, demanding only that the Trump administration present a “comprehensive” plan for war and, in some cases, calling for the passage of a new authorization for use of military force to legitimize military aggression." Bill Van Auken, WSWS

The Democrats are also seeking by means of their neo-McCarthyite campaign against Russia to channel mass anger within the US over Trump's attacks on democratic rights and social programs behind the war agenda of American imperialism....

The entire edifice of charges of supposed Russian interference in the election in support of Trump, promoted by the US spy agencies and the Democrats, rests on bald assertions backed by no substantive evidence. The role of the media in promoting this hysterical campaign, whose logical outcome is war between the world's two largest nuclear powers. WSWS

“In the world of Democratic loyalists the idea that reality should be observable is now a subversive conspiracy.” Karl Kaiser

1--Why Democrats keep losing elections (video) Tucker Carlson ((provocative)

2--BRICS: Syria's Territorial Integrity Is Non-Negotiable

 The BRICS countries are at one on the necessity of enhancing the effectiveness of counterterrorism efforts. We have a Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, which has held two meetings and has a considerable potential. These efforts should be taken in an interdepartmental format.   ... The BRICS countries are at one on the necessity of enhancing the effectiveness of counterterrorism efforts. We have a Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, which has held two meetings and has a considerable potential. These efforts should be taken in an interdepartmental format.

3--The “People’s Summit:” Sanders wing seeks to give Democratic Party a facelift

In his opening address to the “People’s Summit,” Sanders made a point of solidarizing himself with the hysterical anti-Russian campaign waged by the Democrats and much of the media....

The reforms promoted by Sanders and his allies are, in fact, extremely limited. They do not in any way challenge the basic property interests or power of the ruling corporate-financial elite. They include a $15 minimum wage, “Medicare for all,” student loan forgiveness and a tax on financial speculation. There are no calls, as in genuine insurgent social movements of the first part of the last century such as Populism, for public ownership of sections of industry such as the railroads and utilities. Sanders’ proposals are anemic even compared to demands raised in an earlier period by reform factions within the two major parties for universal health care, affordable public housing, etc.

The “People’s Summit,” held in Chicago June 9-11, was part of an effort by the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party and a faction of the trade union bureaucracy, backed by several pseudo-left groups, to refashion the image of the Democratic Party in the aftermath of its 2016 electoral debacle.

These forces are politically motivated by the fear that the crisis of the Democratic Party, particularly its loss of support in the working class, will prevent it from carrying out its traditional role of diverting and dissipating social opposition and subordinating the working class to bourgeois politics. Frightened by the explosive growth of anger against the entire political establishment and increasing interest in socialism among working people and particularly youth, they are seeking to give this party of Wall Street and the CIA a political facelift....

The party establishment is instead focusing on prosecuting its anti-Russian witch-hunt and attacking President Donald Trump from the right, labeling him a stooge of the Kremlin, while all but ignoring the administration’s savage attacks on health care, immigrant and democratic rights, public education and environmental and safety regulations....

Lawrence Dreyfuss, a spokesman for the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), echoed the Democrats’ anti-Russia rhetoric, telling the World Socialist Web Site that the Russians posed the greatest threat to “the autonomy of our country, perhaps in all our history.”
“Regardless of capitalism,” he said, “you have a problem because our country can’t work if it’s not an autonomous country. Even if that threat to our autonomy comes from Wall Street, I’ll take that over feeling like we’re being controlled by a country whose constitution I can’t abide by.”...

The basic premise of the “People’s Summit” was that an amelioration of social inequality can be achieved without overthrowing the capitalist system. The vast economic decay of American capitalism over the last four decades, however, and the rise of a financial oligarchy to the pinnacle of economic and political power, mean that any struggle to seriously improve the conditions of the working class will require an attack on concentrated wealth and power. This can be achieved only through a socialist revolution by the working class.

4--The US escalation in Syria and the threat of world war

Syria is not an “exporter” of terror, but rather the victim of the Al Qaeda-linked militias that were unleashed upon the country by the CIA and Washington’s regional allies in a war for regime change. As for Al Qaeda’s “safe haven,” it has been defended by the US, which has repeatedly denounced the Syrian government and Russia for bombing these so-called “rebels” and insisted that only ISIS can be targeted....

The threat was to be dealt with by the US military seizing for itself “a base of operations in what is eastern Syria, along the Euphrates,” from Raqqa in the north to the Iraqi and Jordanian borders to the south. One of the aims of the American intervention, she stated, would be to “energize Sunni populations in the Euphrates River zone, which has been a hotbed of ISIS support, but before it, Al Qaida support.” In other words, Washington will seek to reignite the sectarian war for regime change based on Sunni Islamist militias, but this time with American “boots on the ground.”
How many US troops will this operation require? “I don’t know,” Kagan said. “It’s not 150,000 guys. But it’s got to be enough to be present and to extend presence forward.” Key to this military adventure, she added, was to “prepare for what the Russians and the Iranians will try to do to respond.”...

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party, working in close sync with the Pentagon and the CIA, has conducted an unrelenting campaign of anti-Russian hysteria aimed at creating a new, ostensibly liberal, constituency for war among privileged layers of the middle class. Democrats have endorsed every new act of military escalation in Syria, demanding only that the Trump administration present a “comprehensive” plan for war and, in some cases, calling for the passage of a new authorization for use of military force to legitimize military aggression.

5--The New York Times steps up its anti-Russia campaign

. The newspaper is attempting to condition American public opinion and overcome popular opposition to an escalating military confrontation with the world’s second-largest nuclear power....

The Times presents zero evidence to back up a wild reference to “the sheer scope and audacity of the Russian efforts.” The editorial simply declares, “American intelligence agencies have concluded,” followed by a long list of allegations:
“Under direct orders from President Vladimir Putin, hackers connected to Russian military intelligence broke into the email accounts of senior officials at the Democratic National Committee and of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta. They passed tens of thousands of emails to the website WikiLeaks, which posted them throughout the last months of the campaign in an attempt to damage the Clinton campaign.

“Even more disturbing, hackers sought access to voter databases in at least 39 states, and in some cases tried to alter or delete voter data. They also appear to have tried to take over the computers of more than 100 local election officials in the days before the November 8 vote.”

The most recent allegations, about alleged hacking into voter databases and local election computers, are based on a National Security Agency (NSA) report leaked to The Intercept web publication, which even The Intercept admitted contained no underlying evidence to substantiate the NSA’s claims.

Not a single one of the reports in the Times or Post is the product of a genuine investigation by journalists. Instead, the main reporting on the “Russian hacking” affair consists of taking dictation from unidentified intelligence officials. In not a single case did these officials offer evidence to substantiate their claims, invariably made in the form of ambiguous phrases like “we assess,” “we believe,” “we assess with high confidence,” etc. Such claims are worth no more than previous assertions that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction—a lie used to justify a war that has killed more than one million people.
Editorial page editor James Bennet presents not a single fact that supports the Times ’ assertions...

One recent study found 81 instances—not counting outright CIA-backed military coups—in which the US government financed political parties, organized disinformation campaigns, carried out assassinations, blackmailed candidates, or otherwise sought to install its own nominees by rigging elections in countries on every continent.
One of the most flagrant such examples was the 1996 presidential election in Russia, won by the US-backed Boris Yeltsin (See: “Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin: When the White House fixed a Russian election”).

6---Russians overwhelmingly back Putin policies – US pollster

7--Anthrax And “Russiagate”: Mueller’s Special Counsel Appointment Should Raise Concern

    Major players in the U.S. government made strong efforts to link the anthrax attacks to the Iraqi government – efforts that Mueller played no part in. But in the following six years, Mueller did participate in a public disinformation campaign that muddied the waters regarding the 2001 anthrax attacks.
He and his bureau were in a position to unravel the underlying rationale for mounting an illegal invasion that left over a million Iraqi civilians dead. Instead, they worked to bury that rationale and stoke fears that would help to prop up public support for the invasion. Looking back at the way in which the case was handled, it is clear that Mueller may not be the most suitable candidate for heading the ongoing investigation into “Russiagate.”

Flimsy evidence and false accusations

As early as Nov. 9, 2001 – less than one month after the anthrax attacks began – the FBI had identified anthrax in the letters as being of the “Ames strain,” a strain of anthrax that was isolated by U.S. researchers in 1981. Due to its domestic origins, the FBI concluded that the attacks were likely perpetrated by someone working within the U.S. and not by a foreign actor.

Despite having this knowledge, the Bush administration sent then-Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN with a prop vial of anthrax in order to obtain support for the Iraq War. Mueller could’ve turned the course of events at the time by making sure the press was aware that the most likely culprit was inside the U.S., but instead chose not to interfere with Bush’s neoconservative agenda. Powell’s presentation of “evidence” of Iraq’s alleged possession of chemical and biological weapons formed a major part of the U.S. effort to build a case for war in Iraq – although the country’s possession of these weapons would eventually prove to be a falsehood

8--Comey admits NYTimes story was a lie

testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, former FBI Director James Comey cast doubt on a Feb. 14 New York Times report titled “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence.

The article, which relied on “four current and former government officials,” said that “Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election” and that “the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.”

Comey was asked about the report during an exchange with Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho.

RISCH:  I remember, you — you talked with us shortly after February 14th, when the New York Times wrote an article that suggested that the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians. This is not factual. Do you recall that?


RISCH: OK. So — so, again, so the American people can understand this, that report by the New York Times was not true. Is that a fair statement?

COMEY: In — in the main, it was not true.

Later in the hearing, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, asked Comey: “Would it be fair to characterize that story as almost entirely wrong?” To which Comey replied: “Yes.”

9--Election Con 2016: New Evidence Demolishes the Myth of Trump’s “Blue-Collar” Populism

Income-wise, the single largest group of Trump supporters was comprised of individuals hailing from households earning incomes of more than $100,000 a year – which made up 35 percent of all his voters. Those earning between $75,000 to $100,000 a year accounted for 19 percent of Trump voters, meaning that 54 percent of the president’s supporters came from households earning over $75,000 a year. Another 20 percent of Trump supporters earned between $50,000 to $75,000 a year, putting them over the national median household income, which has long hovered around $50,000. In sum, approximately three-quarters of Trump voters were from households earning more than the national median income, while just one-quarter earned less than the median....

Trump voters were not more likely to be unemployed, to be lower income, or to hail from geographic regions harmed by outsourcing of manufacturing jobs. Rather, Trump supporters were mainly driven by reactionary positions on social and political issues

10--St Clair on the 2016 election "Whitelash"??

Clinton lost the white vote by almost the exact same margin that Obama did to Romney in 2012....
The problem... is that Trump did 2% better with blacks than Romney did and Hillary performed 5% worse than Obama for a total spread of 7% less than the 2012 margins.
Even more startling.... is that Trump won a higher percent of Hispanic votes (29%) than Romney (27%) and Hillary won a much smaller share of Hispanic votes (65%) than Obama (71%) for a total decline of 8% from 2012.
Even so, Hillary should have won the election. Why? Because Trump got 1.5 million fewer votes than Romney....
The fatal problem is that Hillary got 5.4 million fewer votes than Obama, many of those black and Hispanic voters, and lost 6 states that Obama won twice: Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio." ("Roaming Charges: Whitelash, White Heat?")

11--Diagnosing the Trumpen Proletariat

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst entitled Explaining White Polarization in the 2016 Vote for President: The Sobering Role of Racism and Sexism found that “while economic dissatisfaction was part of the story, racism and sexism were much more important and can explain about two-thirds of the education gap among whites in the 2016 presidential vote.” The analysis used data from a national survey conducted during the final week of October (just days before the election), and concluded that the negative effects of neoliberalism and the rule of Wall Street were not the single most important factor in the victory for Trump. Rather it was “whiteness” and misogyny which played a pivotal role...

None of this is to say that Hillary Clinton didn’t have plenty of white people supporting her, nor that Trump didn’t have support from non-white communities. But, taken in toto, it was the angry white vote which sealed the presidency for Trump.

12--Dislike of candidates or campaign issues was most common reason for not voting in 2016

13--Map of Syria June 21


After a 10 month-long investigation, neither the media, the DNC or the Intel agencies have produced any more evidence than they had on Day 1, in fact, many parts of their narrative are beginning to unravel. The only thing that has remained consistent throughout, is the determination of the corporate media to repeat the same lies over and over again without the slightest hesitation or remorse. Just last week, Hillary Clinton again reiterated the obvious fiction that that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously concluded that Russia hacked Democratic emails.

But this isn't true, and Hillary knows this isn't true. So why does the media which keep repeating the lie over and over again. What's their motive?  Here's excerpt from an article by Robert Parry explains what's really going on:

Clinton’s statement is false regarding the unanimity of the 17 agencies and misleading regarding her other claims. Both former DNI James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan acknowledged in sworn testimony last month that the Jan. 6 report alleging Russian “meddling” did not involve all 17 agencies

Intercept: "While the document provides a rare window into the NSA’s understanding of the mechanics of Russian hacking, it does not show the underlying “raw” intelligence on which the analysis is based. A U.S. intelligence officer who declined to be identified cautioned against drawing too big a conclusion from the document because a single analysis is not necessarily definitive."...BTW, this little tidbit was sandwiched halfway through the Intercept piece: According to the Department of Homeland Security, the assessment reported reassuringly, “the types of systems we observed Russian actors targeting or compromising are not involved in vote tallying.”

was Russian intelligence probing U.S. electoral systems? Quite plausibly yes, and it should be a matter of concern for every American as it suggests a vulnerability in the electronics behind how we vote. But did Russia actually interfere with the election or seek to use the probing to elect a particular candidate? The answer is clearly no. The article and the document it is based on should serve as a wake-up call to those who are complacent about the security of our technologies. But on a political level, we are back to square one, with often hysterical allegations surfaced as part of the media and political storm we now refer to as Russiagate

In his Senate testimony Thursday, Comey combined allegations of White House interference in the Russia probe with inflammatory accusations against Moscow. In a laudatory editorial on Friday, the New York Times singled out for praise Comey's declaration, “This is about America.”  Russia “tried to shape the way we think, we vote, we act… They're coming after America.”

The World Socialist Web Site has repeatedly explained the political issues in the anti-Russian campaign, which represents an effort by the most powerful sections of the military-intelligence apparatus, backed by the Democratic Party and the bulk of the corporate media, to force the Trump White House to adhere to the foreign policy offensive against Moscow embarked on during the second term of the Obama administration, particularly since the 2014 US-backed ultra-right coup in Ukraine.
Those factions of the ruling class and intelligence agencies leading the anti-Russia campaign are particularly incensed that Russian intervention in Syria stymied plans to escalate the proxy civil war in that country into a full-fledged regime-change operation. They want to see Assad in Syria meet the same fate as Gaddafi in Libya and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Their fanatical hatred of Putin indicates that they have similar ambitions in mind for the Russian president.

Here's what Comey said in his testimony:

"I explained that we had briefed the leadership of Congress on exactly which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those Congressional leaders that we were not personally investigating President Trump. I reminded him I had previously told him that. He repeatedly told me, 'We need to get that fact out.... The President went on to say that if there were some 'satellite' associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn't done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out that we weren't investigating him."

Comey's statement confirms that Trump supported the apprehension of  "associates of his who did something wrong."

This is not about truth or fairness or protecting this country from foreign threats. It's about toppling a democratically-elected government that the permanent class in Washington doesn't like. For the record, collusion with a foreign government against the interests of the United States  is tantamount to treason. It is  definitely a moral crime and we would never defend it, we would attack it.  But there's no evidence that it actually happened. This whole story is a hoax, it's a lie that those who tell it are beginning to believe. That is the definition of mass hysteria. It is deeply hurting our country and yet, otherwise smart people are press forward as if it is all entirely real, despite mounting evidence that it's not real at all. Yesterday, for example, James Comey told the Senate that a major New York Times story from February that pushed a "Russia collusion" narrative was actually garbage. The story in question, you won't be surprised to learn, was based on anonymous sources and, after Comey made his comments, the Times admitted it couldn't even find those sources for a response. (sarcastically) Whatever. The Russians hacked our democracy, let's find another witch to burn.
Tucker Carlson

The NSA "intelligence report" the Intercept publishes along the piece does NOT show that "Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack". The document speaks of "cyber espionage operations" - i.e someone looked and maybe copied data but did not manipulate anything. Espionage via computer networks is something every nation in this world (and various private entities) do all the time. It is simply the collection of information. It is different from a "cyberattack" like Stuxnet which was intended to create large damage,

The "attack" by someone was standard spearfishing and some visual basic scripts to gain access to accounts of local election officials. Any minor criminal hacker uses similar means. No damage is mentioned in the NSA analysis. The elections were not compromised by this operation." (Do Not Trust The Intercept or How To Burn A Source, Moon Of Alabama)

It seems to me that the DNC-media-Intel Community establishment needed this leak to shore-up their evidence-free Russiagate storyline

 “A politicized analysis that violated normal rules for crafting intelligence assessments.”
Here’s how veteran journalist Robert Parry summed it up:
“The report contained no direct evidence that Russia delivered hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta to WikiLeaks….The DNI report…as presented, is one-sided and lacks any actual proof. Further, the continued use of the word “assesses”….suggests that the underlying classified information also may be less than conclusive because, in intelligence-world-speak, “assesses” often means “guesses.” (“US Report Still Lacks Proof on Russia ‘Hack’”, Robert Parry, Consortium News

It is more important to remove Donald J Trump than leak classified information that documents that Russian Encryption has been broken.
“Obama administration said that they do not have any evidence that Russia hacked voting”. The only reason for the GRU penetration would be to determine if they could hack the electronic voting systems. Since this was kept silent, it indicates that the systems are hackable and likely have been from the get-go by design by the corporations who built them. The only counter is paper ballots counted in public.

The (intercept)article even says that NO EVIDENCE has been presented: "While the document provides a rare window into the NSA’s understanding of the mechanics of Russian hacking, it does not show the underlying “raw” intelligence on which the analysis is based. A U.S. intelligence officer who declined to be identified cautioned against drawing too big a conclusion from the document because a single analysis is not necessarily definitive."
The information is a lie, just like the original report from the Director of National Intelligence, as I detail here:

Einsatzgruppen  rolling putsch

Mueller is a card-carrying apparatchik of the Deep State, who was there at the founding of today's surveillance monster as Director of the FBI in the aftermath of 9/11. Since the whole $75 billion apparatus that eventually emerged was based on a vastly exaggerated threat of global Islamic terrorism that doesn't exist, Russia had to be demonized into order to keep the game going----a transition that Mueller fully subscribed to.
So he will "find" extensive Russian interference in the 2016 election and bring the hammer down on the Donald for seeking to prevent it from coming to light. The clock is now ticking and his investigatory team is being loaded up with prosecutorial killers who have proven records of thuggery when it comes to finding crimes that make for the fame and fortune of the prosecutors----even if the crime itself never happened. David Stockman

The January 6th presentation of the Steele "dossier" to Trump was an outright act of Hoover-style blackmail by the FBI director; and a ringing statement that the phony "Russian meddling" narrative would be used against the White House whenever it suited the purposes of Comey and the Deep State he represented.

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