Mike Whitney — The Unz Review May 19, 2017
Why is it a “conspiracy theory” to think that a disgruntled Democratic National Committee staffer gave WikiLeaks the DNC emails, but not a conspiracy theory to think the emails were provided by Russia?
Which is the more likely scenario: That a frustrated employee leaked damaging emails to embarrass his bosses or a that foreign government hacked DNC computers for some still-unknown reason?
That’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?
Former-DNC employee, Seth Rich, not only had access to the emails, but also a motive. He was pissed about the way the Clinton crowd was “sandbagging” Bernie Sanders. In contrast, there’s neither evidence nor motive connecting Russia to the emails. On top of that, WikiLeaks founder, Julien Assange (a man of impeccable integrity) has repeatedly denied that Russia gave him the emails which suggests the government investigation is completely misdirected. The logical course of action, would be to pursue the leads that are most likely to bear fruit, not those that originate from one’s own political bias. But, of course, logic has nothing to do with the current investigation, it’s all about politics and geopolitics.
We don’t know who killed Seth Rich and we’re not going to speculate on the matter here. But we find it very strange that neither the media nor the FBI have pursued leads in the case that challenge the prevailing narrative on the Russia hacking issue. Why is that? Why is the media so eager to blame Russia when Rich looks like the much more probable suspect?
And why have the mainstream news organizations put so much energy into discrediting the latest Fox News report, when– for the last 10 months– they’ve showed absolutely zero interest in Rich’s death at all?
According to Fox News:
“The Democratic National Committee staffer who was gunned down on July 10 on a Washington, D.C., street just steps from his home had leaked thousands of internal emails to WikiLeaks, law enforcement sources told Fox News.
A federal investigator who reviewed an FBI forensic report detailing the contents of DNC staffer Seth Rich’s computer generated within 96 hours after his murder, said Rich made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time….
Rod Wheeler, a retired Washington homicide detective and Fox News contributor investigating the case on behalf of the Rich family, made the WikiLeaks claim, which was corroborated by a federal investigator who spoke to Fox News….
“I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and Wikileaks,” the federal investigator told Fox News, confirming the MacFadyen connection. He said the emails are in possession of the FBI, while the stalled case is in the hands of the Washington Police Department.” (“Family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich blasts detective over report of WikiLeaks link”, Fox News)
Okay, so where’s the computer? Who’s got Rich’s computer? Let’s do the forensic work and get on with it.
But the Washington Post and the other bogus news organizations aren’t interested in such matters because it doesn’t fit with their political agenda. They’d rather take pot-shots at Fox for running an article that doesn’t square with their goofy Russia hacking story. This is a statement on the abysmal condition of journalism today. Headline news has become the province of perception mandarins who use the venue to shape information to their own malign specifications, and any facts that conflict with their dubious storyline, are savagely attacked and discredited. Journalists are no longer investigators that keep the public informed, but paid assassins who liquidate views that veer from the party-line.
WikiLeaks never divulges the names of the people who provide them with information. Even so, Assange has not only shown an active interest in the Seth Rich case, but also offered a $20,000 reward for anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of Rich’s murder. Why? And why did he post a link to the Fox News article on his Twitter account on Tuesday?
I don’t know, but if I worked for the FBI or the Washington Post, I’d sure as hell be beating the bushes to find out. And not just because it might help in Rich’s murder investigation, but also, because it could shed light on the Russia fiasco which is being used to lay the groundwork for impeachment proceedings. So any information that challenges the government version of events, could actually change the course of history.
Have you ever heard of Craig Murray?
Murray should be the government’s star witness in the DNC hacking scandal, instead, no one even knows who he is. But if we trust what Murray has to say, then we can see that the Russia hacking story is baloney. The emails were “leaked” by insiders not “hacked” by a foreign government. Here’s the scoop from Robert Parry at Consortium News:
“Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, has suggested that the DNC leak came from a “disgruntled” Democrat upset with the DNC’s sandbagging of the Sanders campaign and that the Podesta leak came from the U.S. intelligence community….He (Murray) appears to have undertaken a mission for WikiLeaks to contact one of the sources (or a representative) during a Sept. 25 visit to Washington where he says he met with a person in a wooded area of American University. ….
Though Murray has declined to say exactly what the meeting in the woods was about, he may have been passing along messages about ways to protect the source from possible retaliation, maybe even an extraction plan if the source was in some legal or physical danger…Murray also suggested that the DNC leak and the Podesta leak came from two different sources, neither of them the Russian government.
“The Podesta emails and the DNC emails are, of course, two separate things and we shouldn’t conclude that they both have the same source,” Murray said. “In both cases we’re talking of a leak, not a hack, in that the person who was responsible for getting that information out had legal access to that information…
Scott Horton then asked, “Is it fair to say that you’re saying that the Podesta leak came from inside the intelligence services, NSA [the electronic spying National Security Agency] or another agency?”
“I think what I said was certainly compatible with that kind of interpretation, yeah,” Murray responded. “In both cases they are leaks by Americans.”
(“A Spy Coup in America?”, Robert Parry, Consortium News)
With all the hullabaloo surrounding the Russia hacking case, you’d think that Murray’s eyewitness account would be headline news, but not in Homeland Amerika where the truth is kept as far from the front page as humanly possible.
Bottom line: The government has a reliable witness (Murray) who can positively identify the person who hacked the DNC emails and, so far, they’ve showed no interest in his testimony at all. Doesn’t that strike you as a bit weird?
Did you know that after a 10 month-long investigation, there’s still no hard evidence that Russia hacked the 2016 elections? In fact, when the Intelligence agencies were pressed on the matter, they promised to release a report that would provide iron-clad proof of Russian meddling. On January 6, 2017, theDirector of National Intelligence, James Clapper, released that report. It was called The Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA). Unfortunately, the report fell far-short of the public’s expectations. Instead of a smoking gun, Clapper produced a tedious 25-page compilation of speculation, hearsay, innuendo and gobbledygook. 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)
Repeat: “the report contained no direct evidence”, no “actual proof”, and a heckuva a lot of “guessing”. That’s some “smoking gun”, eh?
If this ‘thin gruel’ sounds like insufficient grounds for removing a sitting president and his administration, that’s because it is. But the situation is even worse than it looks, mainly because the information in the assessment is not reliable. The ICA was corrupted by higher-ups in the Intel food-chain who selected particular analysts who could be trusted to produce a document that served their broader political agenda. Think I’m kidding? Take a look at this excerpt from an article at Fox News:
“On January 6, 2017, the U.S. Intelligence Community issued an “Intelligence Community Assessment” (ICA) that found Russia deliberately interfered in the 2016 presidential election to benefit Trump’s candidacy… (but) there are compelling reasons to believe this ICA was actually a politicized analysis that violated normal rules for crafting intelligence assessments…… to ensure this one reached the bottom line conclusion that the Obama administration was looking for. …
….Director of National Intelligence James Clapper explained in his testimony that two dozen or so “seasoned experts” were “handpicked” from the contributing agencies” and drafted the ICA “under the aegis of his former office” … While Clapper claimed these analysts were given “complete independence” to reach their findings, he added that their conclusions “were thoroughly vetted and then approved by the directors of the three agencies and me.”
This process drastically differed from the Intelligence Community’s normal procedures. Hand-picking a handful of analysts from just three intelligence agencies to write such a controversial assessment went against standing rules to vet such analyses throughout the Intelligence Community within its existing structure. The idea of using hand-picked intelligence analysts selected through some unknown process to write an assessment on such a politically sensitive topic carries a strong stench of politicization….
A major problem with this process is that it gave John Brennan, CIA’s hyper-partisan former director, enormous influence over the drafting of the ICA. Given Brennan’s scathing criticism of Mr. Trump before and after the election, he should have had no role whatsoever in the drafting of this assessment. Instead, Brennan probably selected the CIA analysts who worked on the ICA and reviewed and approved their conclusions….
The unusual way that the January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment was drafted raises major questions as to whether it was rigged by the Obama administration to produce conclusions that would discredit the election outcome and Mr. Trump’s presidency.”
(“More indications Intel assessment of Russian interference in election was rigged”, Fox News)
Repeat: “A politicized analysis that violated normal rules for crafting intelligence assessments.” That says it all, doesn’t it?
Let’s take a minute and review the main points in the article:
1–Was the Intelligence Community Assessment the summary work of all 17 US Intelligence Agencies?
No, it was not. “In his May 8 testimony to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, Clapper confirmed …(that) the ICA reflected the views of only three intelligence agencies — CIA, NSA and FBI – not all 17.”
2–Did any of the analysts challenge the findings in the ICA?
No, the document failed to acknowledge any dissenting views, which suggests that the analysts were screened in order to create consensus.
3– Were particular analysts chosen to produce the ICA?
Yes, they were “handpicked from the contributing agencies” and drafted the ICA “under the aegis of his former office” (the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.)
4– Was their collaborative work released to the public in its original form?
No, their conclusions “were thoroughly vetted and then approved by the directors of the three agencies and me.” (Clapper) This of course suggests that the document was political in nature and crafted to deliver a particular message.
5–Were Clapper’s methods “normal” by Intelligence agency standards?
Definitely not. “This process drastically differed from the Intelligence Community’s normal procedures.”
6–Are Clapper and Brennan partisans who have expressed their opposition to Trump many times in the past calling into question their ability to be objective in executing their duties as heads of their respective agencies?
Absolutely. Check out this clip from Monday’s Arkansas online:
“I think, in many ways, our institutions are under assault, both externally — and that’s the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system,” said James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence. “I think as well our institutions are under assault internally.”
When he was asked, “Internally, from the president?” Clapper said, “Exactly.” (Clapper calls Trump democracy assailant”, arkansasonline)
Brennan has made numerous similar statements. (Note: It is particularly jarring that Clapper– who oversaw the implementation of the modern surveillance police state– feels free to talk about “the assault on our institutions.”)
7–Does the ICA prove that anyone on the Trump campaign colluded with Russia or that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections?
No, it doesn’t. What it shows is that –even while Clapper and Brennan may have been trying to produce an assessment that would ‘kill two birds with one stone’, (incriminate Russia and smear Trump at the same time) the ICA achieved neither. So far, there’s no proof of anything. Now take a look at this list I found in an article at The American Thinker:
“12 prominent public statements by those on both sides of the aisle who reviewed the evidence or been briefed on it confirmed there was no evidence of Russia trying to help Trump in the election or colluding with him:
The New York Times (Nov 1, 2016);
House Speaker Paul Ryan (Feb, 26, 2017);
Former DNI James Clapper , March 5, 2017);
Devin Nunes Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, March 20, 2017);
James Comey, March 20, 2017;
Rep. Chris Stewart, House Intelligence Committee, March 20, 2017;
Rep. Adam Schiff, House Intelligence committee, April 2, 2017);
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senate Intelligence Committee, May 3, 2017);
Sen. Joe Manchin Senate Intelligence Committee, May 8, 2017;
James Clapper (again) (May 8, 2017);
Rep. Maxine Waters, May 9, 2017);
President Donald Trump,(May 9, 2017).
Senator Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, indicated that his briefing confirmed Dianne Feinstein’s view that the President was not under investigation for colluding with the Russians.”
(“Russian Hacking and Collusion: Put the Cards on the Table”, American Thinker)
Keep in mind, this is a list of the people who actually “reviewed the evidence”, and even they are not convinced. It just goes to show that the media blitz is not based on any compelling proof, but on the determination of behind-the-scenes elites who want to destroy their political rivals. Isn’t that what’s really going on?
How does former FBI Director James Comey fit into all this?
First of all, we need to set the record straight on Comey so readers don’t get the impression that he’s the devoted civil servant and all-around stand-up guy he’s made out to be in the media. Here’s a short clip from an article by Human Rights First that will help to put things into perspective:
“Five former FBI agents…raised concerns about his (Comey’s) support for a legal memorandum justifying torture and his defense of holding an American citizen indefinitely without charge. They note that Comey concurred with a May 10, 2005, Office of Legal Counsel opinion that authorized torture. While the agents credited Comey for opposing torture tactics in combination and on policy grounds, they note that Comey still approved the legal basis for use of specific torture tactics.
“These techniques include cramped confinement, wall-standing, water dousing, extended sleep deprivation, and waterboarding, all of which constitute torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in contravention of domestic and international law,” the letter states.
Those signing the letter to the committee also objected to Comey’s defense of detaining Americans without charge or trial and observed, “Further, Mr. Comey vigorously defended the Bush administration’s decision to hold Jose Padilla, a United States citizen apprehended on U.S. soil, indefinitely without charge or trial for years in a military brig in Charleston, South Carolina.” (“FBI Agents Urge Senate Judiciary Committee to Question Comey on Torture, Indefinite Detention”, Human Rights First)
Get the picture?
Comey is a vicious political opportunist who doesn’t mind breaking a few legs if it’ll advance his career plans. I wouldn’t trust the man as far as I could throw him. Which isn’t far.
American Thinker’s Clarice Feldman explains why Comey launched his counter-intel investigation in July 2016 but failed to notify Congress until March 2017, a full eight months later. Here’s what she said:
“There is only one reasonable explanation for FBI Director James Comey to be launching a counter-intel investigation in July 2016, notifying the White House and Clapper, and keeping it under wraps from congress. Comey was a participant in the intelligence gathering for political purposes — wittingly, or unwittingly.” (“Russian Hacking and Collusion: Put the Cards on the Table”, American Thinker)
Are we suggesting that the heads of the so called Intelligence Community are at war with the Trump Administration and paving the way for impeachment proceedings?
Yep, we sure are. The Russia hacking fiasco is a regime change operation no different than the CIA’s 50-or-so other oustings in the last 70 years. The only difference is that this operation is on the home field which is why everyone is so flustered. These things are only suppose to happen in those “other” countries.
Does this analysis make me a Donald Trump supporter?
Never. The idea is ridiculous. Trump might be the worst US president of all time, in fact, he probably is. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other nefarious forces at work behind the smokescreen of democratic government. There are. In fact, this whole flap suggests that there’s an alternate power-structure that operates completely off the public’s radar and has the elected-government in its death-grip. This largely invisible group of elites controls the likes of Brennan, Clapper and Comey. And, apparently, they have enough influence to challenge and maybe even remove an elected president from office. (We’ll see.)
And what’s more surprising, is that the Democrats have aligned themselves with these deep state puppetmasters. They’ve cast their lot with the sinister stewards of the national security state and hopped on the impeachment bandwagon. But is that a wise choice for the Dems?
Author Michael J. Glennon doesn’t think so. Here’s what he says in the May edition of Harper’s Magazine:
“Those who would counter the illiberalism of Trump with the illiberalism of unfettered bureaucrats would do well to contemplate the precedent their victory would set. …
American history is not silent about the proclivities of unchecked security forces, a short list of which includes the Palmer Raids, the FBI’s blackmailing of civil rights leaders, Army surveillance of the antiwar movement, the NSA’s watch lists, and the CIA’s waterboarding. …. Who would trust the authors of past episodes of repression as a reliable safeguard against future repression?”
(“Security Breach– Trump’s tussle with the bureaucratic state”, Michael J. Glennon, Harper’s Magazine)
The Democrats, that’s who.
MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Reprinted from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)